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Oh No! I Burnt The Soup!

It’s a terrible feeling?when you realise that you looked away from your delicious pottage for just a second and now it’s burnt. It’s too late to start another pot, and people are depending on this for their meal. We’ve compiled the list of medieval sources about removing the burnt taste from the pottage here.

Continue reading Oh No! I Burnt The Soup!

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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

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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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!)

[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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Cleaning your linens

Taking care of your beautiful household linens – Table cloths:

With the best will in the world ? stuff gets spilled, and some things are more difficult to remove than others.

For a general wash;

  • Treat any normal stains with an oxygen-based or colour safe bleach, following the directions regards pre-soaking etc. We advise not using chlorine bleach as this can damage the textile.
  • A hot wash with a regular detergent on the delicate cycle should wash clean the table cloth, and help to keep the fringe from getting tangled.
  • To minimize or avoid ironing, lay the table cloth out wet from the wash on a counter or table, smooth out the wrinkles, and then hang so it falls straight. Otherwise, a short tumble dry – again, this is to keep the fringe maintenance down to a minimum.
  • Once dry, fold carefully and store under other linens so that the folds will set as seen in period art.
  • Alternatively, you can iron the patterns in as desired with a hot iron and steam.


To remove candle wax

There are a number of ways to achieve this but our preferred method (and one used in period) is as follows;

  • simply scrape off the excess candle wax;
  • lay several sheets of CLEAN (non-waxed) paper underneath the candlewax spill and another sheet of paper on top of the area;
  • with the iron on a low heat, gently iron over the spot to allow the brown paper to draw out the oily residue left behind (yes, they did have irons ? though it took considerably more technique and experience to use them);
  • IMPORTANT!! Keep the Iron moving so that you don?t burn the fabric!
  • Move the affected area onto fresh sections of the paper so that they can draw the oils more efficiently.


To aid with the removal of Red wine stains;

  • Mop as much as you can but do NOT rub at the red wine ? it will just grind into the fibers;
  • If you can (depending on the state of the diners), dilute the stain with water ( or soda water) and mop with a clean towel;
  • Then (and this would have been an expensive fix in period), pour a generous amount of salt onto the freshly mopped red wine spill and allow it to dry;

Wash as usual, but before drying, check to see if the stain is still there ? some stain may require stronger solutions to deal with any residual stain.


Don’t have linens yet? Why not buy some of the beautiful ones at Mainly Medieval? The featured image on this post is our?

Household Linens – Napkins, towels and tablecloths

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Military Surgery 1300-1600 -Review

Military Surgery: 1300-1600
Caution, surgery operations are of two kinds, those which benefit the patient and those which usually kill him

By Jonathon Davies & Michael Harbinson

There are some excellent in-depth medieval surgery titles out there, such as
The Major Surgery of Guy De Chauliac, but for those who just want a quick, painless overview of the subject, there’s Davies and Harbinson’s Military Surgery: 1300-1600. At under $15, this punchy little pamphlet from Stuart Press, of Green Valley fame, weighs in at just 25 pages from title to bibliography.

What is there is excellent. It’s too short to go into great detail but that also means that there’s little waffle. Every sentence is an economical and useful slice through the topic.

There are brief descriptions of the various tools used by medieval surgeons, the various types of surgery that were performed, and the various types of wounds that a military surgeon might see. Burns, bruising and fractures are all covered.

Being focused on military surgery particularly, the kind of medical services available to soldiers is considered, and the type of wounds they sustained from the evolving weapons of the medieval battlefield. We follow the development of diagnosis and treatment as armour piercing infantry weapons, then firearms became commonplace.

This pamphlet is too basic for anyone already well studied in surgery or medieval military wounds, but it is an excellent primer. There’s no shortage of blood-curdling detail and grim realities of the horrors of medieval warfare for the curious, without gratuity.
Buy From Mainly Medieval

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A Proper Newe Booke of Cookery – Review

A Proper Newe Booke of Cookery; Margaret Parker’s Cookery Book

Edited by Anne Ahmed


This facsimile is based on the Corpus Christi copy of “A Proper Newe Booke of Cookery”, which was lost for several hundred years before being found again. It’s in the best condition of all the copies that still exist and the font of the facsimile is clear and easy to read. And if it wasn’t, the translation by Catherine Hall on the left is definitely easy enough to read.

The redactions of the recipes at the end of the book are a little conservative. Good recipes which would work and easy enough for a beginning cook to follow. But based on personal experience with medieval dishes, it is my opinion that they could be more than this redaction allows for.

But it is a good book for anyone interested in 16th century cooking, which shows how they thought of their food and how it should be prepared. Unlike other books, there is no talk of other things around food, such as the serving hall, but it does give the “order of meats” and how they should be served which is good tips for anyone interested in doing a period banquet.

A Proper Newe Booke of Cokerye