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Charcoal Incense Burners

Brass Incense Burner

We’re big fans of incense. We love making it, and smelling the fragrance as it burns away on charcoal. But it’s a bit of a dying art these days. So here’s some tips about burning loose incense on charcoal.

All charcoal burners require sand at the bottom. Charcoal is an intense heat and this sudden heat can damage the burner, especially ceramic ones. A level of about a cm at the bottom is required to smooth out the heat transition.

Firstly, find a good place to set the burner while it’s burning incense. (You shouldn’t move the burner once the charcoal inside). Make sure the burner is either on stone or on something which won’t mind the heat.

When lighting the charcoal, use tongs and a constant flame – either a candle, gas stove or a BBQ lighter. Once flame has touched the charcoal DON’T TOUCH THE CHARCOAL.

Lit charcoal looks extremely similar to unlit charcoal so don’t touch it if there’s a possibility it’s caught.

If you hold your hand above the charcoal, you should be able to feel the warmth emitting from it. If you’re in a quiet place, and you listen carefully, you should be able to hear a slight crackling sound – this also means that it’s caught. If you aren’t sure, put it back into the flame.

Once it’s lit, place it on the sand in the burner and then sprinkle a small amount of loose incense, or a cone, onto the charcoal tablet. The scent should release almost instantly. Be careful not to add too much or you could smother the charcoal.

A charcoal tablet burns for about 45 minutes. You may need to add more incense onto the tablet during this 45 minute period.

Our incense products

Want to learn more about charcoal burning?
Pamphlet on different types of charcoal and what they were used for

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Happy New Year!

We’re now back from holidays and looking forward to a new exciting year of medieval events.

Check out the calendar of exciting events happening in 2024 and we looking forward to hearing from you about all your Mainly Medieval needs.

Paul, Loreena, Elden and Roxy

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December Saint of the month – St Nick

St Nicholas. late 12th to early 13th century. St Nicholas was the bishop of Myra in the 4th century and his best known miracle involved saving three impoverished girls from a life of prostitution by secretly delivering three bags of gold coins to their home, on three consecutive nights. Another involves the restoring to life of three boys who had been murdered, butchered and pickled in barrels. This miracle earned him the role as the patron saint of children and also the patron saint of sailors and fishermen. He continues to be one of the most widely celebrated saints – as Santa Claus. The relics of St Nicholas found their way to the city of Bari in Italy in the 11th century, having been stolen from Myra (in Modern Turkey) by Bari merchants or sailors. St Nicholas, who had always been a popular saint in the east, now became one of Europe’s most popular saints.

His feast day is December 6th.

Want your own St Nick? Buy a replica pewter badge here

Learn more about St Nicholas on the wikipedia page

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November Saint of the month – St Martin of Tours

This month’s Saint of the Month is St Martin of Tours. Born around 316AD and died in 397AD.

He is Celebrated on Nov 11th.

Martin is believed to have been a soldier in the Roman army. Our replica badge depicts the legend of the cutting of Martins cloak in two in order to share it with a near naked beggar. That night, Martin received a vision in which the beggar revealed himself to be Christ. Martin vowed to abandon his military career for the life of a monk – later becoming Bishop of Tours.

Martin was the first confessor saint – one who became a saint through an exemplary life rather than through martyrdom.

This replica badge is based on an original found in the Netherlands, currently in a private collection. Purchase your own replica badge for St Martin of Tours here.

Further information about St Martin of Tours can be found on his wikipedia page.

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Treasure Trove of Benefits and Variety at the Table – A fourteenth century Egyptian Cookbook – Review

There’s an exciting new translation of a 14th century Egyption Cookbook. It’s the first time it’s been fully translated into English.? What’s even more fascinating is that the author takes the time to talk about things that aren’t mentioned a great deal in the usual European sources.?

It talks specifically about how to make bread (delicious bread, which uses milk instead of water) and about various egg recipes. (A few European sources mention eggs briefly, but mostly to say that everyone knows about eggs so there’s no need to talk about it). It specifically talks about the kind of wood that a cook should use “pick dry firewood, which does not create a great deal of smoke due to it’s wetness, such as olive or dry oak. Wood of oleander and trees with milky sap and the like must be avoided, as should firewood from the fig tree and any wood high in moisture”. And there’s an entire chapter on incenses.

Nawal Nasrallah is a fantastic translator. The book is extremely informative without being too dry. (Nasrallah uses the index and glossary to go super in depth about the translation and to talk specifically about why particular translations should be used which is also extremely instructional.)

Overall, this is an excellent collection to anyone’s medieval cookbook collection.

There’s a few pictures and figures from 14th century sources scattered throughout the book, to help illustrate various points. Including an ancient Egyption hand mixer, glass beakers, and bronze perforated incense burners.

There is also 22 modern adapations of some of the recipes in the appendix, complete with beautiful food photography. Dried apricot stew looks pretty good!

Buy it now on Book Depository

Publisher’s Blurb

The fourteenth-century Egyptian cookbook, Kanz al-faw?’id fi tanw? al-maw?id, is a treasure trove of 830 recipes of dishes, digestives, refreshing beverages, and more. Here, for the first time, it has been meticulously translated into English and supplemented with a comprehensive introduction, glossary, illustrations, and twenty-two modern adaptations of its recipes.

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Lochac Cook’s Guild Symposium – Campfire Cooking and Ceramics (5/8/18)

On August 5th, Company of the Staple member Roxy talked about Campfire cooking and cooking with ceramics on a campfire. These are the notes from that talk. These notes were originally posted to

The above image is of a saucepan with oil, for deep frying cheese fritters. It is in a trivet, and being cooked with charcoal.
Continue reading Lochac Cook’s Guild Symposium – Campfire Cooking and Ceramics (5/8/18)

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The Major Surgery of Guy de Chauliac – Review

If you’re into medieval surgery books, then the major surgery of Guy de Chaulic has got to go onto your reading list.

Guy de Chaulic was a 14th century surgeon and he wrote this book (which has been translated to English) after the Black Death had swept through Europe.

The wording is quite flowery at times, and the book is definitely a product of it’s time, but it’s an amazing resource for anyone whose into the medical history of the medieval period.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide