The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

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guthrie
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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:56 pm

Brother Ranulf wrote:Welcome to the forum, Caedmon, and you are welcome to join the discussion.

The subject of medieval/post-medieval cauldrons in the UK is one that has never been scientifically studied in much depth, giving a fairly vague picture. In an ADS report on a bronze skillet found at Stanford in the Vale, G C Dunning writes:

The types of bronze vessel mentioned above [including cauldrons] can not as yet be dated closely within the medieval period. They are seldom found in archaeological contexts so that reliance must be placed on other evidence. Contemporary illustrations show cauldrons already in the late twelfth century and skillets in the thirteenth century. Both types appear to have continued in use with little change over several centuries, even as late as the seventeenth.
(My italics)

He admits that the skillet could date anywhere from 1200 to 1500.

I expect you are already aware of this small bronze Scottish cauldron (14th century??) from Dumfries:
http://www.futuremuseum.co.uk/collectio ... ldron.aspx

Yes, there's a definite lack of proper study of medieval cauldrons, but I think there's enough evidence now to draw it all together, if someone would do so.

The Dumfries one is what I mean, more globular, whereas the Mary Rose ones have much flatter bottoms.
The book "English Bronze cooking vessels and their founders 1350-1830" by Roderick Butler and Christopher Green, has plenty of photographs and drawings and some dates. Theres lots of 17th century ones, fewer medieval ones, but re. medieval ones they write, on page 171, about an unmarked onw which has unusual handles, "Several attributes of this cauldron suggest that it is most likely to be a medieval casting. The almost spherical body resembles forms regarded by Drescher (1968) as being of 13th to 15th century date." Drescher being to Drescher, H. 1968 Mittelalterliche Deibeintopfe aus Bronze. In Renaud, J. G. N. (ed) Rotterdam Papers, 23-33.

Page 165 of Butler and Green has photos of 3 cauldrons, which are tentatively dated 15-16th century, and they are grouped together mainly on stylistic grounds, some features of which are closer to moulds found at Taunton, so a kind of WEst Country sort.
I'd have to see the Tudor Monastery farm cauldron in a still to compare it to the pictures in the books I have.



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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby caedmon » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:37 pm

Brother Ranulf,

I am very familiar with the the Dumphries/Futuremuseum pieces, those being the main visual sources for my castings. I do have a wax of the one you linked, but have not made a shell for it.

Also you note that it's small. Is there a commonly accepted sizing? At 305 mm diameter it seems more a medium to me.

In the absence of real data I had classed them as:

less than 250mm : small
250mm - 400mm : medium
400mm - 600mm : large
more than 600mm : are you kidding me?


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:17 pm

Looking through Butler and Green, the medieval- Tudor cauldrons seem to be around a foot in diameter and holding 5 gallons or so, often a bit larger.
Moreover, they refer to the Birdall Foundry in Exeter, active in the 16-early 17th centuries, from which tonnes of casting waste was found. Much of it was in fragments big enough to work out that most vessels cast were cauldrons with capacities between 3 and 5 gallons, rim diameters in the 260-340mm or so. Only 10% were less than 240mm in diameter.
There's vessel wall fragments in "The medieval Household" by Geoff Egan, they reckon the cauldron would have been 300mm in diameter, although there might have been confounding factors.


Do you have any sort of list of surviving cauldrons and sizes that you'd be willing to share?



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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Brother Ranulf » Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:30 pm

[Puts on best Crocodile Dundee accent]

"Nah, that's not a cauldron - THIS is a cauldron:"

hortus_deliciarum01a.jpg
hortus_deliciarum01a.jpg (33.07 KiB) Viewed 4881 times


(Hortus deliciarum, Germany 1167 to 1185).

Four knights = large

Two knights = medium

Head and shoulders = small


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby caedmon » Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:58 pm

guthrie wrote:So yes, the general form is conserved, but there's differences in the legs, general shape and the arms. In general, the older they are the more globular in shape.


I can see that. Early examples like the [url=http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections/471343?img=0]Cloister's cauldron (49.69.6){/url} are very globular. I had not thought about it in being a time based shift.

guthrie wrote:Can you say what Scottish ones you have been working off, because there's not that many known about and I don't recall reading about any in excavation reports.


As I noted to Br. Raulf, I was looking at pieces in the Dumphries Museum & Camera Obscura.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby caedmon » Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:09 pm

Guthrie,

There you go taunting me with Butler & Green.

My list is really just stuff I have found online. There's very little rhyme or reason to it. Mostly county museums, antiques dealers, and auction catalogs. I had identified Butler & Green as the main target source, but have been unable to track down a copy.

As for sizes, I have seen a lot in the 150mm range, and the 300-400mm range, I know there were larger, but as I really don't have capacity to cast anything larger than about 350cm, so I hadn't paid attention to them. The thing that is hardest to find is weight. I've been working with a local sculptural founder who want me to make everything ridiculously thick & heavy. Hopefully I can get my own furnace set up in the next year so that I can explore more period techniques.

Could you suggest any other sources I should be looking at? I have not yet looked at Biringuccio because I do 14th c. reenactment and considered him to late, but after reading some of your blog think that may have been a mistake. I am especially interested in casting methods. I have been working with a comment in Theophilus, which goes some thing to the effect "oh, and by the way, cauldrons are made in same manner as bells". Which suggests that they were cast whole, but then I told by the curator of the Carmarthenshire County Museum that the Myddfai is presumed to have been cast in two halves, and this seems to be the case as well for some 17th c. cauldrons. Doing multi-part cauldrons would also allow me to make much larger pieces.

(wow, this is awesome. I never realized I would find anyone else interested in my own sub-specialization of obscurity.)


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:46 pm

Well it took me ages to find Butler and Green; the copy I have is almost a discard because several pages are photocopies stuck in where the printing went wrong and missed them out.
The Museum of London has quite a few intact skillets and cauldrons, but has signally failed to publish them in a modern manner, despiute all the other useful boooks they have made.

Ah ha, my blog is being useful. I'm afraid I haven't done so much on bronze casting this year. If there's anything in particular you are interested in I'll see what I can find. The techniques of casting in the early 16th weren't much different from the medieval, I think you have to go all the way back to Theophilus and the 12/13th century for them to be much different.

I might have something on the Mydffi, but be wary - not all museum people, or even archaeologists, actually know much about casting and how it is done.

If you can get into a university archaeological department library, you've got a chance. The aforementioned Birdall foundry, roghly 1525-1624, is written up in the Proceedings of the DEvon Archaeological Society, number 58, 2000. titled "Excavatiopns of an Early Post-medieval Bronze foundry at Cowick street, Exeter, 1999-2000, by S. R. Blaylock. It has lots of drawings of bits of clay, and how the cauldrons were laid out and cast. Basically they did it in the same loam as used for bells. Some early cauldrons seem to not have chaplets so may well be lost wax, in which case you would also expect there not to be a seam running from rim to rim via the base, because you only need that if your outer layer is taken off again.

My own pet hypothesis is that they had metal patterns, with bits sticking up out the top of the mould. This is supported by such findings as inner mould with finger marks on it meaning it was pressed onto the inside of a cauldron mould, and by the flash line, showing that there is a messy gap between the two halves of the outer mould. However accounting for the string line or whatever it is called, I forget what, is difficult. Another possibility is that the inner and outer moulds are of loam, but you use a kind of clay or clay and sand, which is shaped to suit, then the outer mould put over it, then the outer mould is removed, you dry the inner mould, the clay/ clay and sand dries and cracks off, you place the outer mould back on it with some chaplets to ensure correct spacing, lute up all around the gaps, dry the lot, fire it to 4 or 500C, then cast into it. THe ones with different height wire marks are interesting, I really don't think you'd cast separate halves then braze together, although that is a rather wide and poorly finished mark. My pet hypothesis explains it with reference to different mould halves put together on the wrong mould.

The weird thing about Theophilus, now that you've made me go and look it up, is that he writes of using brass for cauldrons and suchlike, but the alloy in common use later in the medieval period was a leaded antimony bronze. Brass doesn't like sitting in fires much, and was expensive. The Historical Metallurgy Society has some articles on cauldrons and the like in its journal.

THe Kentwell foundry managed at least 1, probably 2 or 3 cauldrons, using a hybrid method, basically they made plaster inner and outer moulds, the problem being getting the right size difference between the inners and outers. I don't think they did that then, in part because there'd be more evidence for it.

There's a few of us interested in this, but the problem is lack of proper meeting and casting opportunities. Plus the Kentwell foundry needs a rebuild but I'm too far away to do it and there's not the right combination of knowledgeable and local people available.



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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:00 am

Looking through my files, I find that the Belfast museum has several medieval cauldrons, of about 6 to 9 inches diameter at the mouth.

Attached is a photo of some of the small skillets and such in the museum of London.

Having found a picture of the Mydfai cauldron I don't see why anyone would htink it had been cast in two halves, it looks perfectly normal to me.
Attachments
DSC02275.JPG



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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby caedmon » Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:20 am

guthrie wrote:Looking through my files, I find that the Belfast museum has several medieval cauldrons, of about 6 to 9 inches diameter at the mouth.

Attached is a photo of some of the small skillets and such in the museum of London.

Having found a picture of the Mydfai cauldron I don't see why anyone would think it had been cast in two halves, it looks perfectly normal to me.


Ooh, the big one is obviously the original for Patrick Thaden's cauldron from a few years back. And taking your foot for reference, It looks to have just under a 300mm diameter? The larger skillet is interesting, looks to be be about 150mm, but the spout I haven't see before. That would come in handy.

Your suggestion on a mismatched multipart mold makes sense. Here is a photo of the flash line/braze seam on the Myddfai:

myddfai_seam.jpg


As you can see it doesn't extend all the way down. Here's the cauldron I referenced earlier with a similar flash line:

sturton.jpg


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Brother Ranulf » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:01 am

Theophilus did not necessarily mean brass; he can only have used the Latin terms orichalcum, cyprium/cuprium or aes which have often been loosely translated as brass by later writers.

Orichalcum is literally "yellow copper ore" but often refers to copper alloys, while aes means "copper ore, copper, bronze or brass". In part of his text Diversarum artium schedula he mentions gems made "in auro, argento et cupro", which has been oddly translated as "of gold, silver and brass". I believe that 16th to 19th century English writers used "brass" to mean any kind of copper alloy, or even copper itself, and this idea has persisted in the literature up to recent times.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:03 am

Brother Ranulf wrote:Theophilus did not necessarily mean brass; he can only have used the Latin terms orichalcum, cyprium/cuprium or aes which have often been loosely translated as brass by later writers.

Orichalcum is literally "yellow copper ore" but often refers to copper alloys, while aes means "copper ore, copper, bronze or brass". In part of his text Diversarum artium schedula he mentions gems made "in auro, argento et cupro", which has been oddly translated as "of gold, silver and brass". I believe that 16th to 19th century English writers used "brass" to mean any kind of copper alloy, or even copper itself, and this idea has persisted in the literature up to recent times.

Brass was used in the medieval periuod as well, bronze sort of started talking over the copper/ tin in I htink hte 17th century,. BUt the Theophilus mention I was going by was chapter 66, "Making coarse brass", where you cement calamine and copper together, "THis alloy is called coarse brass and out of it are cast cauldron's, kettles and basins." The authors discuss the issue of aes versus aurichalcum, but as long as the translation of calamine, meaning the zinc carbonate IIRC, is correct, then THeophilus is discussing the use of what we call brass. Also I found some older papers on things like lavers, they were high zinc and I'm sure I've found mention of a high zinc cauldron or two before. The 14-16th century cauldons in England are products of a highly developed supply chain and industrials scale, and are rather different to what was available in Theophilus's time.



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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:08 am

caedmon wrote:
guthrie wrote:Looking through my files, I find that the Belfast museum has several medieval cauldrons, of about 6 to 9 inches diameter at the mouth.

Attached is a photo of some of the small skillets and such in the museum of London.

Having found a picture of the Mydfai cauldron I don't see why anyone would think it had been cast in two halves, it looks perfectly normal to me.


Ooh, the big one is obviously the original for Patrick Thaden's cauldron from a few years back. And taking your foot for reference, It looks to have just under a 300mm diameter? The larger skillet is interesting, looks to be be about 150mm, but the spout I haven't see before. That woulhttp://www.livinghistory.co.uk/foru ... p=359566#d come in handy.

Your suggestion on a mismatched multipart mold makes sense. Here is a photo of the flash line/braze seam on the Myddfai:

myddfai_seam.jpg


As you can see it doesn't extend all the way down. Here's the cauldron I referenced earlier with a similar flash line:

sturton.jpg

Now that's totally nuts. A flash line that genuinely stops would be impossible given what we know of casting techniques at the time. You either have one all the way around or you don't. You can't stop halfway, because that would leave chuncks of the outer mould stil in place, which might just be the solution, although I'd expect more flash lines elsewhere because of it. It is rather a broad line though.



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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby caedmon » Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:59 am

Does Butler & Green have foundry marks? I've been looking at the Myddfai with a more critical eye. I think it's 17th c., from the Fathers Foundry.

RIMG0723141.jpg


Well, damn. Now I have to find a new cauldron to pattern off of.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:01 pm

Actually from that angle it does look rather later, because of the verticality of the walls of the cauldron.

Butler and green has foundry marks, and you're right, that triple leaf thingy matches the Fathers foundry. B &G have even included an otherwise unattributed cauldron to their section of the book on the basis of that mark. So yes, it's not medieval.

There's nothing wrong with making up your own mould perhaps lost wax cast or with strickle boards, as long as the shape is similar to 14th century cauldrons. It shouldn't have to be identical to an extant version, because once you look closely at medieval stuff you find that it varies a lot within specific type.
See for instance here:
http://distillatio.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/an-observation-about-medieval-buckles-which-may-or-may-not-have-any-significance-about-how-people-made-buckles/



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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby bugbear » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:28 am

(please forgive me for being late to the thread; I had to google to find an applicable forum).

My hobby/interest is woodworking, although crafts and skills of all kinds and all ages have fascinated me all my life.

It has been notable in this series that they're using rather more period style woodworking tools (especially axes)
than previous. Most programs use 19th century tools, because they're excellent and cheap, and many tools
didn't change (much...) over time.

However, one piece of voiceover had me shouting at the television; in the 4th episode, when
they were painting the George/Dragon hanging, we were told that the pigments were applied using
"size" which is just glue (fair enough) made by boiling up animal fat. FAT!?

Aargh!

The series has been (in general) odd. I've seen all the others, but this one seems to have
had quite a high budget for projects and experiments, and yet each project is given
very little screen time or detail - the lead salt extraction pan would have been half an
episode (at least...) on Green Valley.

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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:26 pm

You're not late, the series isn't finished until the Christmas episode at New Year...

I suspect that there's more accurate too use because of getting in more experts and using what Weald and Downland have to hand; there are several people who make period authentic woodworking tools nowadays, mostly for re-enactors.

The Size thing is a good catch, I missed that one. And they have trimmed things a bit too much; for instance Jack was actually filmed making the still for the wine distillation, but they never showed that at all, and I think there's a lot more footage to be had. It would be nice if they bunged some of it on iplayer or as an extra DVD.



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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby bugbear » Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:07 am

While I'm in nit-picking mode...

Did anyone else find that barley crop a bit on the short side, and remarkably free of weeds ?!

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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Mark Griffin » Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:43 pm

I happen to know a couple of things. 1. The budget is smaller than what most people spend on a nice curry and 2. They are looking at 12/13th century next.

whilst 1 isn't an excuse, when you absolutely have to produce 30 or whatever mins of tv and have no money, your choices are a bit limited.....


http://www.griffinhistorical.com. A delicious decadent historical trifle. Thick performance jelly topped with lashings of imaginative creamy custard. You may also get a soggy event management sponge finger but it won't cost you hundreds and thousands.

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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Mark Griffin » Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:46 pm

oh and its v nice to see all the pretty cauldron pics, thanks.


http://www.griffinhistorical.com. A delicious decadent historical trifle. Thick performance jelly topped with lashings of imaginative creamy custard. You may also get a soggy event management sponge finger but it won't cost you hundreds and thousands.

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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:56 pm

Hmmm, 12/13th century, introduction of better ploughs and methods and IIRC harnesses and stuff. Not sure if there's many other differences, cloth is woven, albeit different weave, cheese will be made the same way, same with fires, floors, etc.
Wonder how the fainting ladies would cope with big linen underwear and slit fronted tunics?



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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Brother Ranulf » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:40 pm

12th/13th century: Oxen instead of horses for ploughs and heavy carts, horses for harrowing; bashing pigs over the head with the back of an axe before singeing off the bristles, pigs out in the woods for pannage, extremely complex feudal obligations including carrying service with carts or finding a sumpter when called upon and working on the demesne for set parts of each week, payment of rent, a penny at Hock-day, 5 pence land tax, Church-scot and other fees. There is also the obligation of all freemen except Jews to serve 40 days' military service, often castle guard for 1 penny per day.

The observance of feast days and attendance at church, weekly markets and annual fairs, salt production and distribution, salting meat and fish, gastel cake, producing sausages and sauces, net making, winnowing and threshing, using weeding sticks, making a two-wheeled cart, stone-masonry, as well as maintenance of roads, hedges and ditches would all be possibles.

Some tools have not yet appeared in any of the series, including the typical 12th - 14th century shovel, used for moving soft materials (clearing ditches would be an example) - these oak-bladed shovels featured in an article in an archaeology journal and I made an exact replica which can be seen in use here:

DSCF4590 - Copy.JPG


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Mark Griffin » Sat May 17, 2014 1:07 pm

just a heads up, the next series is on the mid-medieval castle. They are shooting lots at Guedelon.


http://www.griffinhistorical.com. A delicious decadent historical trifle. Thick performance jelly topped with lashings of imaginative creamy custard. You may also get a soggy event management sponge finger but it won't cost you hundreds and thousands.

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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby bugbear » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:00 pm

I've just been re-watching both Green Valley and Tudor Monastery, and have a request for the new series.

Will you please stop using modern (post 1900) carborundum stones to sharpen your sickles, bill hooks and scythes?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Faithfull-Scyth ... ing+scythe

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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Brother Ranulf » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:30 pm

Seconded. In the photo I posted above of the shovel in use, Phil has an accurate 12th century hone/whetstone attached to his belt along with his knife. These are extremely well known from archaeological finds and are generally perforated for suspension at the belt or around the neck:

PAS 446 hone stone pendant.jpg


I think these things were covered at length in a previous thread:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=34678&p=361806&hilit=sharpening+stones#p361806

Those used with scythes are usually cigar-shaped like their modern versions - but not of carborundum.


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