Butchers- can you recommend any books?

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Christabel
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Butchers- can you recommend any books?

Postby Christabel » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:20 pm

I'm trying to find out more about what it was like to be a butcher in the late 16th/early 17th century. Can anyone recommend useful books/source material? Or is anyone out there a specialist?
The things I really need to know are:
- are there any images of a butchers shop from the period? (I have seen ones by Carracci, Beuckelaer and Aertsen which look more like stalls, with a bar or hooks to hand meat from, but I remember seeing a shop at Shrewsbury with a drop-down shutter which becomes a display board for wares)
-what status could these men achieve? (I have come across butchers signing legal documents with a cross through to the butcher who owned Harvard House in Stratford, and a great satirical verse about a blue-blooded man marrying a rich butcher's daughter, but an inventory would be great. Basically, I need to know whether it is reasonable that a small-town butcher could live in a fairly upmarket house)
- what role did butchers' guilds play at this late stage? (I know widows could carry on their husband's trades and enter guilds.)
- what effect did Lent have on them? I know tavern owners were fined for preparing meat in Lent, and butchers were banned from selling meat on Sundays and Holy Days except at certain times.
- what did they wear? I have seen a German woodcut of men in fancy pinked clothes, but Carracci has men in practical aprons.
-did they process the by-products e.g tallow for candles, or sell it on?
- rules concerning disposal of products are clear, indictating that beasts should be slaughtered at the butcher's shop and not in the highway. However, how practical was this? Is there any evidence as to where slaughter really took place?
-are there any surviving butchers' tools in a museum that you know of? Or any replica makers?

Thanks if you can help with any of this! Christabel.



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Bevis Gittens
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Re: Butchers- can you recommend any books?

Postby Bevis Gittens » Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:54 pm

Not directly related to Butchers but the article "The Leather Crafts in Tudor and Stuart England" http://www.bahs.org.uk/14n1a2.pdf does mention butchers as a source of leather. Might have a few useful bits in the notes/bibliography?

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Re: Butchers- can you recommend any books?

Postby Merlon. » Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:32 pm

Hmm, lots of questions
First thing where in England are we talking about? The best details available relate to the London area
Lent: Unless you had specific authorisation or circumstances you were banned by National (i.e. not by-law) Law from consuming meat and fish during Lent. If found out you faced a twenty shilling fine per incidence of consuming meat or a month in gaol. The Privy Council specifically authorised six butchers in the London area to kill and dress livestock to supply the individuals who were allowed to eat meat. Obviously there was an illicit trade in meat for consumption, butchers who were identified were referred to the Privy council for punishment
Tallow and other by-products: The Butchers did not process the by-products themselves, but sold them on. In London, Guild precedence gives you a clue as to the relevant power of the guilds. The order of relevant guilds is Leathersellers, Tallow Chandlers, Girdlers, Butchers, Curriers, Loriners, Glovers,
Achievable Status: Depends on the ability of the individual, you could become a big fish in a pond, obviously the bigger the pond the better
Guilds Still wielded a lot political power at this time
Randle Holme writing in 1688 gives a detailed list of the tools used by Butchers at that time. The words are below, there are pictures as well, can’t upload them at the minute Photobucket is playing up. If you PM a postal address I can send you copies of the pictures.
Randle Holme's Academy of Armory wrote:Butcher's stan.In this quarter is set down the shape of four Butchers Instruments all lying in Pale; I shall begin with the highermost and so proceed to the lowest. The first is termed a Stan; it is only a Stick about an Inch in Diameter with two sharp ends cut with shoulderings, and serveth to keep open a Beasts Belly, and stretch out its Legs when it is slain, till it be cold, and ready to be cut down, or cut into Quarters.
Butcher's pick The second is called a Pick; this is a strong thick Staff near 3 or 4 Inches in Diameter, Hooped with Iron at both ends; into one is fastned a long Pin or Iron pick, and the other a small Pickell grains; with this Instrument the Dead Beast while it is in Fleaing is supported, so that it lyeth streight on its back with its Feet upwards; and this is done by sticking the grains into its side, and the pick into the ground.
Raising prick The third is a raising Prick; it is all Iron, with a sharp point, and a round Eye at the thicker end of it; with this the Flesh of a Beast is pricked, to make the Hide part from it the better.
Beast tree The fourth is a Beast Tree, that is a Tree, or thick Arm or Post of Wood, with a snag on it at one end, and diverse holes through it at the other end, with a pin to put therein; It is to hang and draw a Slaughtered Beast up aloft while the Butcher is taking out the Belly; by means of the holes and pin; the hinder Legs may be opened to what distance it shall please the Slaughter Man.
Shamble hook The Hook is a thing known by every one seeing they are so common in all Shambles (and other private places) to hang their Meat upon.
Butcher's axe The Axe, which is the right form of the Butchers Knocker Down is thus made; it is to strike down great Beasts when the Butcher is to Blood them and tickle them out of their Lives, and with the sharp end Bones and Joints are to be cut into pieces.
Butcher's cleaver The Cleaver is in a manner for the same use as the Axe; only with this difference, it is used to cut the small Bones, and the Axe for the cutting of the great and large Bones, being it hath weight and substance in it, whereas the other is light and slender, and the Handle Iron, of one and the same piece with the cleaving part.
Skewers. He beareth two Skewers or Flesh pricks between two Dutch Cleavers or Chopping Knives.
Cleavers These I call so [Dutch Cleavers or Chopping Knives] because they are generally thus drawn by the Dutch and German Heralds; yet for distinction sake, if the higher be termed an Hatchet like Cleaver, or a Chopping Knife of an Hatchet shape, it were not much wide of the mark. And the other an Hulch or round Backed Cleaver; Those that have the Backs bending inwards, are termed down (swaid, or broken) Backt Cleavers.
Drag hooks: Here are two sorts of Drag Hooks, the one for high places, the other for low Rooms, the one having a long shank in a Twirle, and the other a short, with a double hook at the bottom; upon these are hung two Veals or Muttons at a time in their Cambrills.
Butcher's rope Is a Butchers Rope, with a Noose at one end, and the other pendant; with this great Beasts are held or tyed to a Post, while they are Knocked on the Head, or stricken down to be Blooded.
Treble hook The second thing in this quarter, is a Trebble Hook fixed all in order upon one Stem or Bar; some call it a Kril Hook, but for what use it is, I understand not yet, except to hang Spits on in Kitchins; or Arms, as Muskets and Pikes on, as in Noblemens and great Persons Halls, and then the hooking part is to be erected.



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Christabel
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Re: Butchers- can you recommend any books?

Postby Christabel » Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:30 pm

Thank-you, both. Merlon, the region is Herefordshire and Bevis, I have found out about early references ot the glove trade in Herefordshire thanks to the article. Merlon, I will pm you.



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Re: Butchers- can you recommend any books?

Postby Joolz » Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:44 pm

You asked about tools of the trade - here are some 19thC cleavers, but they are little different throughout the ages - particularly the one-piece steel butcher's cleavers (mentioned in the Holme tract above). Don't know anyone making replicas, unfortunately, but you can still pick up originals (19thC ones, that is).

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Re: Butchers- can you recommend any books?

Postby Lord High Everything Esle » Thu May 05, 2011 2:48 pm

Butchers wives were recognised by the chandlers guilds as having the right to sell rush lights made from the tallow.

Theie gilds performed the Cruxifiction in Mystery plays persumable because they had a ready supply of blood....


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Re: Butchers- can you recommend any books?

Postby Paul D » Sat May 07, 2011 10:54 pm

Also see i you can acces the TV programme "Filthy Cities". There was quite some detail about the cheats that back street butchers would employ to use all parts of a pig, incliding the head, heart etc and how they would use chemicals to disguise rotten meat as fresh sausage. You may be able to get it on Iplayer or on line. I think it was on BBC1 just a few weeks ago there were 3 programmes in total. Think the butchers stuff was in the second. Hope this helps.



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Christabel
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Re: Butchers- can you recommend any books?

Postby Christabel » Sun May 08, 2011 4:12 pm

Brilliant! I can witter on about tallow candles now! (But not make them, as it's very much a museum we're working in, and sources of heat and atmospheric pollution are right out of the question... But as it's a smelly procedure, I'm not too sad!)

I did see the part of the filthy cities but must have turned it on after the butchers bit. I can't do Iplayer here as our Broadband link is too slow, but thanks for the thought.



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Re: Butchers- can you recommend any books?

Postby Bevis Gittens » Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:14 am

Not sure if you are still interested but recently found this... nice knie detail

Annibale Carracci ca 1580 - Butchers

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... rracci.jpg


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