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Ideas for Tudor rat catcher

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:39 pm
by Tom H
In early April I will be doing some storytelling at a museum event that has the theme of medicine and hygiene. I'm thinking of presenting the stories as a ratcatcher and trying to put together some kit. I'm looking for ideas that I could carry with me.

So far, I'm thinking
Poisons bottles,
Dead rat
Small animal skins
One of those mousetraps with the heavy wooden block

Struggling a bit to find much info, though there is the ballad sheet - Famous Ratcatcher and his travels, and some street cries from 17th century which I'm going to cheat with and use. I also think my ratcatcher may be scruffy rather than the dandy implied in the song and woodcut.

The stories are sorted, it's just the props and fleshing out the character I'd like to improve.

Any ideas or suggestions of books or online references would be much appreciated.
Thanks!

Re: Ideas for Tudor rat catcher

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:57 pm
by Hobbitstomper
Not sure of the 17th but from what I read the 19th century approach would involve:

Terriers
Big sticks
Several of the poor or children (to use sticks)
Something to block up the escape holes
Antiseptic (for dogs)
Thick boots with trousers inside them

Re: Ideas for Tudor rat catcher

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:28 pm
by Tamsin Lewis
There are at least 2 ratcatcher ballads in the Pepys Ballads. Do you have them both?

Re: Ideas for Tudor rat catcher

Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:47 am
by Tom H
Thanks both,

Tamsin - I've only found the Famous Ratketcher one in the Pepys ballads, had a quick search for the other and can't seem to find it. Probably had what my wife calls " a boy's look" - could you let me know the title of the other?

Thanks
Tom

Re: Ideas for Tudor rat catcher

Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:27 pm
by Tamsin Lewis
My apologies, Tom - it's not in Pepys after all.
Hyder Rollins has it in his "Cavalier and Puritan" ballads.

Come buy a mouse-trap, or, a new way to catch an old rat: being a true relation of one Peters a Post of Rotterdam, who tempting an honest woman to lewdness, was by her and her husband catch't in a mouse trap, by what means the following story shall relate
To the tune of Packingtons Pound

I can't see it online anywhere but it should be possible to get from a library

Hope this helps

Tamsin

Re: Ideas for Tudor rat catcher

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:30 pm
by Tom H
Very useful, thanks Tamsin. I look into getting hold of a copy of that book.

I love those ballad titles with the synopsis of the plot, don't you? My favourite is Shameless Joan, the old woman of Finsbury....

Re: Ideas for Tudor rat catcher

Posted: Thu May 05, 2011 2:51 pm
by Lord High Everything Esle
Isnt there a famous picture some where of a ratcatcher with a long pole and a circular cage on the top end?

Gos knows what its for though.

Re: Ideas for Tudor rat catcher

Posted: Fri May 06, 2011 10:54 pm
by Chris T
There are (if I remember correctly) ratcatchers in some of the "Cries of London".

There is a good illustration of a mousetrap in one of the "Dutch genera" paintings: I have it in a book, will post details when I get back with my books.

Re: Ideas for Tudor rat catcher

Posted: Sat May 07, 2011 10:05 am
by Tamsin Lewis
From Derings "The Citty Cries"
"Rats or mice, ha' ye any rats, mice, polecats or weasels, or ha' ye any old sows sick of the measles?
I can kill them, and I can kill moles, and I can kill vermin that creepeth up and crepeth down, and peepeth into holes."

Gibbons "Cries of London"
"Ha' ye any rats or mice to kill?"

Re: Ideas for Tudor rat catcher

Posted: Sun May 08, 2011 12:33 am
by steven pole
I thought this would be useful to you? http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/taxidermy-rat-pre ... 500wt_1156

Re: Ideas for Tudor rat catcher

Posted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 12:36 am
by Jack Campin
Is this the "Dutch painting" you meant?

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=36756&p=373306

I was astonished that nobody here has direct experience with period mousetraps.