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Christmas Blog

Beautiful, thoughtful, unusual Christmas gift ideas;

Christmas is upon us with all the joy, excitement and ?perfect gift? search panic that it can create. Let us help you find that perfect gift, and more besides.

A book can bring so much pleasure to the bookworm in your life and we have a wide range; from Medieval Cat?s colouring book, to cooking and brewing recipe books. There are books for every budget including subjects such as gardening and philosophy, all the way to the magnificent leather-bound facsimiles such as In Service to the Duke.

To further help ease the search we have put together a variety of excellent value gift packs, beautifully presented and ready for the Christmas tree. These limited edition collections can be found under ?A Christmas Wish List? and include;

? Deluxe Pamper Pack ? from the lovely ladies at the Medieval Still Room, a sample collection containing the fragrance which graced the Queens of Europe, a velvety balm to indulge the skin, and a clear lip balm as sweet as honey for the lips;

? Dilettante?s Card Game set ? contained within a drawstring bag, a period replica card deck; a pouch containing 12 pewter jettons and a conveniently pouch sized book containing rules for the many popular card games played in period;
? Elegant personal wash set; snugly packed within a drawstring bag, a double sided timber comb, a tablet of nablis soap, and the softest of hand woven cotton white towel, edged with grey bands and fringing;

Please be advised that to ensure orders (within Australia) arrive before Christmas the last shipping date will be Friday the 16th of December. After this date, we cannot guarantee that orders will reach people in time.

From everyone here at Mainly Medieval, we wish you all a joyous festive season, and a safe and prosperous 2017.

Loreena, Roxy, Elden and Paul.

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2016 St Ives Menu – 14th Century

Louise has generously allowed us to publish the 14th century menu for the 2016 St Ives 14th Century Village.

It’s not an accurate representation of how a 14th Century encampment would eat because it needs to take into consideration modern eating times, and the practicalities of cooking in a camp rather than a castle kitchen. But it did work as an excellent modern mediveal faire menu.

 

? Friday Saturday Sunday Monday
Breakfast Porridge Porridge
? Scrambled eggs and ham (G/F) Scrambled eggs and ham (G/F)
? Bread and honey Bread and honey
?
Snacks Fruit Fruit
? Almonds Almonds
? Boiled eggs Boiled eggs
?
Lunch Cold spread Cold spread
? Chicken meatballs Leach Lombard with sauce
? Broad beans yfried Green Poree
? Lamb Ausoerre (Lamb cooked in green sauce) Gele of Flesh (Chicken Jelly)
? Cheese fritters Fenkel in Sops
? Salat Salat
? Tarte in Ymbre day (Onion and Egg Pie) Tarte in Ymbre day
? Fruit tarts Fruit tarts
?
Afternoon snack Cheese and herb ‘pizza’
? Leftover cold spread
?
Dinner Soup Kitchen:
Vegetable soup or Chicken and vegetable soup
Beef cooked as Venison, served with Frumenty Pease Pottage
? Lentil Pottage, served with pickled vegetables Pease pottage with ham
? The Castle Subtelty from Forme of Curye with individual sambocade tarts Applemoy
? Chamber spices Chamber spices

 

Louise is a member of Company of the Staple, a Living History 14th Century group which focuses on Calais in 1376. Company of the Staple were the host group of the 14th Century Village at St Ives 2016, and members from Company of the Staple did the majority of kitchen organisation and cooking for this event.

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Mirror in Parchment

Excellent analysis of early 14th C English Society based on the illustrations of the Luttrell Psalter.

Much more than the usual references to pastoral life

 

Mistress Margia of Glen More

Currently not available through book depository

 

[tabs] [tab title=”Publisher’s Blurb”] The British Library’s Luttrell Psalter is probably the best-known of all English illuminated manuscripts. Even before it was bought for the nation in 1929, social historians were using it to illustrate early-14th-century agrarian life in the Midlands. This book presents a detailed analysis and critique of the use of these illuminations as records of historical experience, and an examination of the relationship between them and the construction of time past. The Luttrell Psalter was made in order to consolidate the social position of Sir Geoffrey Luttrell as Lord of Irnham at a time when his family was shaken by a scandalous charge of incest. By drawing on research on the village of Irnham as well as on Sir Geoffrey’s manor itself – his tomb, his will and the urban illuminators he employed – the author seeks to show that, rather than serving as a perfect mirror in miniature of a feudal society, the Luttrell Psalter flaunts the cracks and contradictions in the social system of the time, and ultimately heralds that system’s demise. [/tab] [/tabs]

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Further Reading for the Humoural Theory

At St Ives 2016, we did two talks. One on gemstones and their meanings and one on The Humoural theory.

As part of the humoural theory talk, we recommended

“The fyrst boke of the introduction of knowledge made by Andrew Borde, of physycke doctor. A compendyous regyment; or, A dyetary of helth made in Mountpyllier” written by ah, Andrew Borde, who was Henry the 8th’s physcian after Sir William Butts passed. (They believed in clear titles then….)

For a very basic overview, there’s also the wikipedia page

Here’s a free copy of the Dyetary of helth available online at archive.org
Archive.org

And a version of the hard copy available on book depository, because we like physical copies of books. And also because I personally found the free version extremely hard to read.

Buy a copy on Book Depository

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How to pickle eggs

Pickling is a very important part of medieval life. Preserving food to last the winter when one doesn’t have access to greenhouses or to aeroplanes capable of tranporting goods from the other side of the world.

Pickles need a dark consistent temperature during the pickling process. Pickling in medieval times would have been done in stoneware or in ceramics, with oil, or waxed linen covers to seal the tops.

Kept in a dark cool cupboard or cellar, it would have been safe until ready to eat.

Here’s a good redaction of one of the earliest written down picking sources – Compost from Forme of Cury
http://www.godecookery.com/goderec/grec5.htm

I’d post more links about the history and written sources, but someone has already done it, so I’ll link to them instead.
https://turnspitandtable.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/pass-the-pickled-eggs/

Medieval chickens don’t lay every day like modern chickens and they don’t lay in winter. So keeping eggs becomes important as a good source of protein during winter and as a way to save any excess eggs.

So here’s a simple and easy way to pickle eggs.

Things you will need
12 eggs
Steralised sealing jar (about 1 L)
600ml of apple cider vinegar
Pickling spices (You can buy a combination of spices called, surprising, “pickling spices” in most supermarkets. It’s dill, whole mustard, peppercorn….)

Firstly, hard boil those eggs. You want a long hard boil, about an hour to get them nice and hard. Make sure there’s plenty of water in the pot and the eggs are covered or they will explode.

Let the eggs cool and then peel them. An easy way to do this is to gently roll the eggs between your hand and the bench until it peels.

If there are any eggs where the yellow yolk breaks the surface of the white or is very close to the surface, put those aside to be eaten. If the yellow is too close to the surface, it won’t work well for the pickling.

Put the rest of the eggs into the jar.

Take a small saucepan and put the vinegar and the pickling spices in it. Let these boil together for about half an hour. Then pour the mix over the eggs and seal the jar.

If there is any left over liquid, you can use this as the base for a new pickling solution.

The eggs want about a month for pickling and are then good to eat within 6 months.

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Scribes and Illuminators – Review

Scribes and Illuminators; Christoper de Hamel

This is part of a series on medieval craftsmen from the University of Toronto Press. (Must find some of these other titles, glass painters, armorers, goldsmiths etc)

The name gives it away, this is about paper and parchment makers, ink-makers and scribes and illuminators, binders and booksellers.

There’s a lot of references to period sources, including quotes from written sources and lots and lots of manuscript images. It’s not a how to, except in making the tools. There’s a fair amount of detail on how to stretch a hide and then scrape it to make the parchment and some photos of a modern reconstruction. There’s actually a lot of images in this book – photos of artefacts and modern reconstructions, and lots and lots of manuscript images. (including an adorable half finished 15th century sketch of French birds.)

Cennino says

Get it from someone who is a good goldbeater; and examine the gold; and if you find it rippling and matt, like goat parchment, then consider it good.

The tone is good and flows well without being too dry.The book is less than 70 pages so it can’t go into great depth about the subject matter, but it does present a good (and well researched) broad brush on the subject matter.

I would recommend this book for anyone getting started in making parchment, ink or looking at getting into illumination. It’s a good history of, and has some information about how to do it, but it is definitely not a “how to”.

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

[tabs] [tab title=”Publishers Blurb”] Illuminated manuscripts survive in great numbers from the Middle Ages. They are often beautifully preserved, enabling us to appreciate the skilled design and craftsmanship of the people who created them. Christopher de Hamel describes each stage of production from the preparation of the vellum, pens, paints and inks to the writing of the scripts and the final decoration and illumination of the book. He then examines the role of the stationer or bookshop in co-ordinating book production and describes the supply of exemplars and the accuracy of texts. He follows the careers of a number of specific scribes and illuminators who emerge not as anonymous monks but as identifiable professional lay artisans. He also looks at those who bought the completed books, why they did so, and how much they paid.His survey ranges from the eleventh century through the golden age of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries to the luxurious manuscripts existing at the invention of printing. [/tab] [/tabs]

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Sir Stallard’s Pick

James Stallard is a 14th century re-enactor from Victoria. An extremely experienced fighter, well regarded in the Australian National Scene, we asked him for his favourite books to share with everyone.

Chivalry by Maurice Keen

9780300107678
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Deeds of Arms by Steven Mulburgher

A translation of Charney Tournament in England 1100-1400

9781891448447
(Note, this book is currently out of print.)

The Book of the Order of Chivalry by Ramon Llull.
9781843838494

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

Just for fun

The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer
9781845950996
“This book isn’t essential by a bloody good read and lots of fun. For more advanced readers it seems basic but there is always something to learn. I’m intermediately read of the medieval topic and I’m loving this book because it’s very vivid! And learning more about poor people!”

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

Records of the Medieval Swords by Ewart Oakeshott

9780851155661

 

Stop buying F***ING Viking swords for 14th Century! I’m don’t care how cheap it was!

 

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Tell us what you really think James…..

Got a favourite chivalric or tournament book? Comment with a link and let us know, we’d love to know what yours is.

[tabs] [tab title=”Chivalry Publisher Blurb”] Chivalry–with its pageants, heraldry, and knights in shining armor–was a social ideal that had a profound influence on the history of early modern Europe. In this eloquent and richly detailed book, a leading medieval historian discusses the complex reality of chivalry: its secular foundations, the effects of the Crusades, the literature of knighthood, and its ethos of the social and moral obligations of nobility. “This is a rich book, making effective use of all sorts of documents and illustrations. Keen moves easily across Europe in search of the international spirit of chivalry…The pageantry he presents is colorful and his conclusions uplifting.”–David Herlihy, New York Times Book Review “An elegantly written, important book.”–Carolly Erickson, Los Angeles Times Book Review “Splendid…Keen is exemplary in the use he makes of many kinds of medieval literature, epic and lyric poetry, family and military histories, didactic treatises, translations into the vernacular of books of the Bible and of works from ancient Rome.”–R.C. Smail, New York Review of Books “Original [and] beguiling.” –Fiona MacCarthy, Times (London) “A most readable and comprehensive survey: stimulating, informative, a splendid creation of context.”–Nicholas Orme, Times Higher Education Supplement “All historians of Western society …will do well to refer to this book.”–Georges Duby, Times Literary Supplement [/tab][tab title=”Deed of Arms”] During the 14th century, men of arms–knights and soldiers–exercised themselves in various forms of competitions to both refine their skills and as a matter of national honor. Steven Muhlberger details these contests, analyzing how their renown was of great politial importance. Drawn from an extensive study of all remaining sources from the 14th century, Dr. Muhlberger brings his considerable scholarly expertise together with a knack for accessible writing to produce what will become the definitive work on the subject [/tab][tab title=”The Book of the Order of Chilavlry”] Ramon Llull (1232-1316) composed The Book of the Order of Chivalry between 1274 and 1276 as both an instrument of reform and an agent for change. His aim was to create and codify the rules for a unilateral Order of Chivalry. Loyalty to the Order, coupled with common sense, religious faith, education, and martial prowess, were in his view the keys to victory in the Holy Land and the Reconquista. The book was an immediate success and widely disseminated across Europe, eventually reaching a medieval English audience, though through a fanciful translation of a translation by William Caxton, in which most of the stylistic nuances of the Catalan original were lost. This new translation is directly from the original Catalan, so capturing for the first time in English the concise, austere style that characterises Llull’s prose; it is presented with introduction and notes. It will be essential reading for all scholars and enthusiasts of medieval chivalric culture. Noel Fallows is Associate Dean and Professor of Spanish at the University of Georgia, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London [/tab][tab title=”Time Travellers Guide To Medieval England”] The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there…Imagine you could travel back to the fourteenth century. What would you see, and hear, and smell? Where would you stay? What are you going to eat? And how are you going to test to see if you are going down with the plague? In The Time Traveller’s Guide…Ian Mortimer’s radical new approach turns our entire understanding of history upside down. History is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived, whether that’s the life of a peasant or a lord. The result is perhaps the most astonishing history book you are ever likely to read; as revolutionary as it is informative, as entertaining as it is startling [/tab][tab title=”Record of the Medieval Sword”] Forty years of intensive research into the specialised subject of the straight two-edged knightly sword of the European middle ages are contained in this classic study. Spanning the period from the great migrations to the Renaissance, Ewart Oakeshott emphasises the original purpose of the sword as an intensely intimate accessory of great significance and mystique. There are over 400 photographs and drawings, each fully annotated and described in detail, supported by a long introductory chapter with diagrams of the typological framework first presented in The Archaeology of Weapons and further elaborated in The Sword in the Age of Chivalry. There are appendices on inlaid blade inscriptions, scientific dating, the swordsmith’s art, and a sword of Edward III. Reprinted as part of Boydell’s History of the Sword series. [/tab] [/tabs]

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Amsterdam Ceramics : A City’s History and an Archaeological Ceramics Catalogue 1175-2011 – Review

Alex the Potter of Flaming Gargoyles says “It’s great!”

Amsterdam Ceramics provides a look at the ceramic finds in Amsterdam over the past 900 years. It’s organised by time period and each piece has a brief description of what the item is and the size. Each chapter has a brief intro with some other (non ceramic) archeological finds. (Iron handsaw! Finally we find someone who has the evidence!)

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide[tabs] [tab title=”Publishers Blurb”] Amsterdam Ceramics explores nine centuries of urban history and archaeological ceramics from the city of Amsterdam. A total of 1247 archaeological ceramic items are presented in a catalogue which is chronologically subdivided into nine chapters covering the period 1175-2011, and offers a representative selection of finds from over 200 excavation sites. In introductory chapters to each chronological period the finds are set alongside the changing topography of the city. [/tab] [/tabs]

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September Newsflash

Greetings Gentle Readers,

Spring has arrived! Our thanks to everyone following our blog and facebook ? we love sharing bits of quirky research and interesting links with everyone.

A number of changes have also been implemented to the website, such as the stock lines being offered, along with a bundle of new stock and titles.

Of our home grown suppliers, the Medieval Still Room have increased their offerings of products including a Sleep salve, honey amber, and the 2016 release of the Queen of Hungary Water, and the 2016 Yule tide incense in cone form. Further, the popular clear lip balm is being released in modern lip balm twist tubes as well as the normal containers; so now you can take this gentle medieval lip balm with you everywhere.

Regards older stock lines; unfortunately, we have had to remove belt mounts from our catalogue due to difficulty with supply. Rest assured, we?re doing our best to ensure that orders already made are being completed. Once we can secure a reliable supply we will bring back a range of belt mounts.
Our next upcoming event is St Ives Medieval faire on the 24th and 25th of September. If you are near St Ives or travelling close by it?s well worth a visit, and we will be showcasing our latest products as well as the classics. Please note; for those wanting to collect orders at the Fair, your orders need to be in the by the 10th of September.

Until next time, we bid you good reading!

Loreena, Roxy, Paul and Elden

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14th Century English Feast Menu

This is an example menu of a 14th Century English (with French and German influences) done for 50 people, and oculd easily have done 100). This feast was held in 2011.

This feast was done in the “messes” style, with 6 to a mess, unless otherwise stated. There were 3 servers/pantlers bringing out the messes to the table. ?Each course had 2 removes (except for first course). As is common in 14th century feasts, the sweet and savoury are mixed between courses (because of the need to balance the humours).

On Table for the entire feast:

  • Fruit; apples, pears, citrus, dried fruit and nuts tray/platter/board
  • Bread, salt, oil, butter?
  • Green salat decorated with flowers

To be refreshed at the end of each course.

R = to be removed

1st course: on table with above. Mess of 8 x 5

1st remove
Sweet/fruit Savoury Vegetarian Sauce
Strawberyes with cr?me wastard (in a pastry shell) Chicken meatballs endored? Mushroom stuffed rolls Garlic and cheese sauce
*gyngre brede on plate with Tourtelete Allows de beef? Iflagun?
Tourteletes in frytour?

 

After first course, remove all dishes except permanents which should be refreshed.

 

2nd course: Mess of 8 x5:

1st remove
Sweet/fruit savoury Vegetarian/grain Sauces
R Applemoy and *biscuit? R Drechouns ? R Gourdes in potage *verde sawse
R Grete pyes Funges? *Iance sawce
Black porray Frumenty?
2nd remove
Sweet/fruit savoury Vegetarian/grain Sauces
Almond cream + Sr Plum preserve pud tartlets Rst boned stuffed joint of kid or Lamb Rstd garlic

 

Piper?
Eggplant?

 

Complete removal except permanents ?

3rd course:

1st remove
Sweet/fruit Savoury Vegetarian Sauce
Candied walnuts and pine nuts R samon roste in sauce Spinach with, lemon & ricotta R verde sawse
syrosye and *biscuit *Duck liver flans Blamanger *Iance sawce
2nd remove
Sweet/fruit Savoury Vegetarian Sauce
* gyngre brede Citrus chicken?? Slyt soppes n/a
Tart de bray

 

The meal ended here but wafers and hippocras (spiced red wine) would be the traditional finish to the meal.

__________________________________________________

We heavily relied on Brears “Cooking and Dining in Medieval England” for this feast.

If you are interested in attending feasts, check out our guide for attending your first feast.