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Medieval garden tools

Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:23 am
by conanthelibrarian
I am certain many of the experts out here will know where I will be able to source gardening implements, please?

The tools are for use in a medieval kitchen garden, so any help with sourcing items or suggestions for things that we may find invaluable would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Re: Medieval garden tools

Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:48 am
by John Waller
Jim the Pot makes various watering devices.

Re: Medieval garden tools

Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 1:35 pm
by Brother Ranulf
Cultivating tools, like most things, evolved and changed during the medieval period - spades irons, for instance, came in a variety of shapes depending on region and period. Some years ago I made the wooden part of a 12th century spade (using ash wood) and found a smith willing to make the iron shoe for it, based on the photos and measurements I supplied.

I am not aware of any evidence for single-handed forks or trowels (other than those used by masons), certainly in the early/mid medieval.

There is evidence for weeding sticks and something called a "spud", both with long handles for use in two hands. Weeding sticks were used as a pair, one with a flat metal hook and the other ending in a metal crescent shape; you placed the hook around the base of the weed, then pushed the crescent against the stem and pulled the plant out with the hook. The spud was a flat, rectangular blade about 36mm wide and 52mm long extending into a narrow tang which would fit into a long handle on the same axis and would be used for hoeing and cutting weeds at ground level, or perhaps for digging up root crops.

The mattock was roughly a 4 feet long ash wood handle with a small flat blade mounted at about 80 degrees to its socket, used for digging, hoeing or taking out a narrow trench.

Sadly I know of nobody offering these kinds of tool, except I have seen some Polish traders offering distinctly non-English styles of medieval spade in the past.

I have many images of these tools and others, mainly 12th century in date, such as this one of a man using weeding sticks in manuscript MS K 30, a psalter at St John's College Cambridge dating to about 1195. The "business ends" were in reality of iron and many examples are known.

MS K 30 June.jpg

Re: Medieval garden tools

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:21 am
by Alan E
'The Medieval Garden' by Sylvia Landsberg has several illustrations of tools in medieval gardens. The 1520 picks look remarkably like fisherman's anchors! One-handed tools seem to be limited to types of bill-hook and reaping hooks, as the Brother says.

Re: Medieval garden tools

Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:02 pm
by conanthelibrarian
Thank you for your help, particularity Brother Ranulf.

I've been looking in the Landsberg book, but was hoping there would be someone out there who was supplying this sort of thing. It looks as though I will have to try to find someone to make the items for me, as they have to be English in style.

Thanks.

Re: Medieval garden tools

Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:13 pm
by sally
if you let me have the specifications for the styles you decide on, Gareth is planning a run of forge days over the winter an may be able to assist

Re: Medieval garden tools

Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 3:04 pm
by conanthelibrarian
That would be brilliant Sally. I'll let you know as soon as I have the specifications from the person who is going to be using them.

Thanks.

Re: Medieval garden tools

Posted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:13 am
by Brother Ranulf
Further to the weeding sticks I mentioned, I found this English window roundel in the V&A collection, dated to 1450 - 1475 (re-used in a private house, but the original location is unknown). It shows that weeding was still done this way towards the end of the middle ages, although the "crescent" end has been replaced by a simple forked stick. The hook appears to have a socket with a nail hole:

15th century weeding sticks.jpg


15th century weeding sticks - Copy.jpg
15th century weeding sticks - Copy.jpg (16.93 KiB) Viewed 4355 times

Re: Medieval garden tools

Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:04 pm
by Mark Griffin
Any smith, given source material, will be able to do these. Gareth, has Sally says, does fine stuff as well as Andy Kirkham, Red Dog forge etc.

Museum of London has some nice little hand tools, no idea if they are on display but its a great site for rummaging in the stores.

Re: Medieval garden tools

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 3:40 pm
by John Waller
gardenmuseum.org.uk in Lambeth. Visited it once some years ago however it is closed to visitors at the moment but they may respond to queries.

Re: Medieval garden tools

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:15 pm
by bourbon
Ferrers Household have a pair of weeding sticks. Pete the carpenter just kept his eyes open when walking, He also has build various different types of spade.

Re: Medieval garden tools

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:25 pm
by ZacharySamples
You know, you're absolutely right! I mean, my olds do enjoy work in the garden, plant and grow up everything they can, so I help them sometimes and even found a great shop of tools, this one, to make my mommy happy and to make her life easier. So, now she spends more time growing something than with me.