The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

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Charles Drew
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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Charles Drew » Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:31 pm

Really very disappointed to hear so many things being described as being new for the Tudor age. The stand out example for episode 2 being spices. These werent new at all, and had been trickling down for centuries. You couldnt even make a claim for them being affordable for most people by then. Many were certainly resonable affordable to most people for at least a century (am happy to be corrected here). Am sure they were still considered luxaries and lets face it some still are - vanilla for example isnt cheap nor is saffron (and that was grown in this country at the time).

Personally I feel that the whole Tudor thing is a bit odd, why Tudor? The early 16th century isnt really different enough from the late 15th century (yes before the barrage of replys - there are some changes in fashion and other small things that are contantly changing), but other than peace(ish) theres nothing new. No revolutions in farming, cloth production etc etc. I wouldnt mind at all but its the various things that are described as new or 'Tudor' which are much older in origin.



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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Brother Ranulf » Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:49 pm

You are right Charles. I was shouting at the screen when they implied that fulling mills appeared in Tudor times - they were first introduced in England in the 1180s and became widespread in the 13th century. It was a brilliant opportunity to emphasise the role of English Cistercians in bringing about the mechanisation of tasks like fullering, but it was missed.

Maybe it means that they do not intend to cover anything earlier than 1500, so every earlier innovation is being attributed to that period . . .


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby John Waller » Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:11 pm

Vanilla is one spice I can't find in the 1481 Petty Customs records as it wasn't introduced to Europe by Cortes until the 1520s along with chocolate. Cinnamon, saffron, pepper, sugar, salt, nutmegs, cloves, mace and ginger all feature. Only one record of lemons but loads of oranges. One cargo manifests 100,000 oranges.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Grymm » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:02 pm

Vanilla, AFAIK, doesn't rock up in English cookery, or indeed language, until the 1660s following hot on the heels of chocolate.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:20 am

I have the impression the date is conditioned in part by what facilities are available. I.e. if there was a good replica 10th century village complete with people who ran it in costume, then they would do that instead.
The blast furnace was interesting, but they didn't do anything with it. I'm interested in the bellows setup of it, I'd like to see the evidence for the pair to be set at an angle and worked by the direct water wheel action, rather than via levers and chains lifting the top part of the bellows up.

I saw one bronze cauldron in use, it reminded me more of a 17th century shape, although I didn't see it for that long, and she was milking the sheep into a much later sort of bronze pan. This shows just how hard it is to get decent authentic cauldrons and skillets, the problem is of course the price and last I heard nobody was making them.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Charles Drew » Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:03 am

Two things:

First, appologies bad wording on my part. I didnt mean to suggest that vanilla was in europe by the 1500's (in fact had no idea when it appeared) was simply trying to say that many spices may have been seen as a luxuary as vanilla is today because of its price, but not beyond to pocket of most people. So sorry for that.

Secondly the blast furnace was intersting, however does anyone know when it was first introduced. I ask because good quality steel was obviously being made pre 1500 (just look at all the armour and weapons), and am wondering what type of furnace was being used before the blast furnace. Also (and my knowledge is rusty here) blast furnaces tend to produce pig iron rather than steel and it then has to be turned into steel I know this can be done in a cementation furnace but again have no idea when these appear. One thing they said that made be think was that they run the furnace continuously. Wouldnt they need to shut it down after every fireing to knock the bottom out to clear it of slag? Also they only mentioned charcoal and iron ore no mention of limestone or any other flux!



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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:10 pm

Blast furnaces were in use on the continent by, IIRC, the later 14th century.
Nope, I just checked a book, apparently they were around since hte 12th century in Sweden and Germany, reached the Namur region of Belgium in the early 15th, from where they reached northern france in the 1450's, and the technology reached England in the late 15th century. (See "The Wealden iron industry" by Jeremy Hodgkinson)

Before that people used bloomery furnaces, which were smaller and less efficient and produced a bloom of iron, a cake up to sort of normal wedding cake size I guess, then it was beaten with hammers when hot until it was all welded together. Not as high carbon content as a blast furnace, which needs a finery forge for burning the carbon away (not cementation, which is adding more carbon to make it more like steel).
When working properly you can run a blast furnace for a few weeks or even longer before you need to strip it down and reline and stuff, it depends in part upon the materials you used and how it is built. THe previously mentioned book says a campaign started in October and continued until late spring, and the slag would be tapped out. Embarassingly I can't remember if it floated on top of the iron or not.
Archaeometallurgy is now a mature discipline and there's a society for it, of which I am a member.

As for only mentioning charcoal and iron ore, they really didn't spend much time at the furnace, and I imagine they weren't wanting to give the audience too much information, as is often the case with this type of prgram.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Brother Ranulf » Thu Nov 28, 2013 10:44 pm

The bell-casting in this week's offering was interesting, but it did not mention the process for full-sized bells. These were cast in enormous pits, usually in the grounds of the parish church or monastic church so the finished article need not be moved very far - the amount of bronze needed was huge. Bell-pits have been identified at various sites; at Kirkby Malzeard it is thought that bells were cast inside the base of the church tower in 1591.

The tiny "clock" shown being fitted by Peter and Tom had a face and hands, which was unnecessary for monastic clocks. Their function was simply to automatically sound a bell (cloche, the origin of "clock") at certain hours, so no dial was needed - just the mechanism and a striker.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:23 am

Ooohh, got to stop you there, brother!

The stereotyped view about bell casting is as you, in pits in the monastery grounds. But there really isn't much evidence that it was actually common practise.
For instance, one of the proponents of it, Trevor Jennings, has a long list of temporary bell foundry sites, of which I can only count around 37 medieval ones. Given that over 3,000 medieval bells survive, 37 doesn't seem very many.
Moreover, we can trace many of them back to their founder by the letters and words on them, and it turns out that lots of them were made in permanent foundries in towns, such as York, Worcester, London and quite a few others.THis Kirkby Malzeard, what is the name of the church? I don't see it in Jennings book, although obviously he will have missed some. (It was effectively self published in 2006)

The 20% tin thing is also a bit iffy, because Theophilus says to use 25%, Biringuccio around 22, 23, 24% or more, depending on the type of bell to be made. Plus you lose a little tin in the melt anyway because it evaporates more easily. In fact the foundry work, as with the blast furnace, was a total wasted opportunity. Sure, the public don't need to know everything about it, but a couple of minutes more on the methods and how it all worked would have helped a lot.

A friend of mine was exercised by the religious bit - explainingt about transubstantiation and calling it medieval kind of belittles the billion or so Catholics for whom it is stil doctrine.

Hmm, what else? I'm pretty sure they did bathe in various ways, although she's right about the hair. And those ridiculous pantaloons are annoying me.

Other than that, a fairly good introduction to the period.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:08 am

I managed to find Alex Bayliss' PhD on statistical analysis of bells, medieval and 16th century, and haven't read all of it by any means. This quote suggests why people are so obessed with bells being cast on the site of the church/ abbey:
It is true, however, that a disproportionately small number of bells from northern counties
can be assigned to foundries (compare Figs 1 and 229). It is unclear whether this is
because of the relatively poor recording of these northern bells, most of which only
appear in lists, without illustration, or whether the logistics of transporting bells in the
hilly northern counties meant that the industry had to be organised differently in this
region. There do not appear to be substantial lines of related founders, such as exist in
London and some of the other provincial foundries, in York. Rather the analysis seems to
reveal a number of relatively independent workmen who cast bells. This may suggest that
a model of itinerant founders, casting in churchyards, familiar from the documentary
records of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is more appropriate for the northern
counties in this period.

(from page 231 of volume 1)

So, combine one or two well known examples of casting pits being found in churches dating from, IIRC, about the 12th century, to the apparent greater popularity of the practise in the 16th and 17th centuries, and it is understandable that people would think it was done that way. But it appears clear from the information presented in her thesis that certainly hundreds, and probably thousands, were cast in towns in actual working foundries that made anything from a few bells a decade to one or two a year. For much of the medieval period London had two foundries producing church bells, which is a lot of business, hardly a sign that bells were mostly cast on site using temporary pits and furnaces.
And in fact looking through Jenning's list again, the majority of the temporary site operations are actually 17th and 18th century, moreover they are often in out of the way places like Cornwall, rather than say Richmond.
It also occured to me that this change in the 17th and 18th century might be down to the shift to cast iron for everything, making it harder to keep a bell furnace and pit in operation, so easier to build your own furnace and pit on site because everyone's buying cast iron cauldrons and firebacks and pots these days so nobody is using anything made from a large furnace. Just an idea, not sure how much mileage in it though.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Brother Ranulf » Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:14 am

So, combine one or two well known examples of casting pits being found in churches dating from, IIRC, about the 12th century . . .


In fact there are far more than just 2 examples from the 12th century and the practice of founding bells on-site became fairly widespread in the 13th:

At Worcester Cathedral in 1220 the great bells were melted by William of Broadwas the sacrist, and being recast were consecrated by Bishop Blois in honour of Christ
and His Mother ; and " Hauteclere " in honour of St. John the Evangelist.

At St. Albans, under Abbot Roger Norton (1260-90) there were cast "a great bell truly and a most sonorous one called by the name of Saint Amphibalus for tolling
curfew daily," and others in honour of St. Alban and St. Katherine, under the superintendence of the Prior Sir John de Marins.

In a manuscript preserved in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, is a treatise of Henry III.'s reign by Walter de Odyngton, monk of Evesham, on the
making of bells, their tuning, and proper proportions of weight and size. Cannons and stocks were substituted for the treading-plank method (as previously used at
Canterbury).

In olden times people were proud of their bells, and gave liberally not only in money but also in kind ; and when a bell was cast in the church or churchyard there
was great local excitement, and people presented household utensils and other objects of metal to the casting. This, as we have already seen was the case at
Bridgwater in 1284, where, including 425 lbs. of metal from the old bell, 1,861 lbs. in all were contributed, of which 1,780 lbs. were used in the actual casting.
[Church Bells of England by H. B. WALTERS, M.A., KS.A.]

Some years ago after a dig at a priory in East Anglia I enquired if any evidence for a bell pit had been discovered. The reply was "No - but we were not looking for that". The documentary evidence takes on a greater import in the face of this kind of selective excavation.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:34 am

Sure, it happened, and archaeologists aren't perfect. But in the context of circa 1500, I argue that it is wrong to say that bells are cast on site, when we've got perfectly good evidence of loads of bells being cast in permanent foundries and transported up to around 50 miles overland. Especially when you are filming less than 50 miles from London.

What seems more likely to me is that in the 11/12 and well into the 13th centuries, bells were more often cast on site, simply because permanent foundries didn't really exist. In the later 13th century onwards, there was a growth in permanent copper alloy foundries in big towns, (and some more short term ones in smaller towns) in part because towns were growing and improving, and in part because the growth of use of copper alloys for cauldrons, skillets, buckles and other things (I have papers pointing out the increase in copper alloy use e.g. of cauldrons), and the general improvements in the economic circumstances, meant there was a permanent year round market for their various products. Which in turn meant it was very profitable to build and use the same furnaces for years on end, on the same site; much more efficient than travelling to a church, digging a pit and building a furnace, all of which would take at least as long as transporting the bell to the site if you just cast it using your furnace at home. For building a furnace you need clay and rock and maybe some sand and dung and stuff, then you need to dry it. Cheaper to do it at the same site with the same furnace and cart the finished bell or take it by ship.

IN fact the 13th C. Worcester bells are mentioned in Jennings book, as is Kirkby Malzeard, although apparently not St Albans in the 13th century. But it is important to note that archaeological excavation found evidence on one site in Worcester for a late 14th-late 15th century foundry, making bells and other bronze objects. THere's also good documentary evidence for foundries in the town from the 14th century onwards and of a 16th century one who got most of his income from producing pewter tankards and bronze containers. THe archaeological report reckons that bell founding was carried out in the city from 1400-1700. ( See Excavations at Deansway, Worcester, 1988-89, Hal Dalwood and Rachel Edwards)

For more information on the bells, see "Validating Classical multivariate models in archaeology - English medieval bellfounding as a case study", by Alexandra Bayliss, PhD thesis from UCL college of archaeology. You can get it for free from Ethos, the British library thesis digitization project.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Brother Ranulf » Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:12 pm

Thanks Guthrie, I will certainly follow that up.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:51 pm

No problem. Can you tell I'm a bit of an archaeometallurgist?

And I've also realised it is a little unfair to castigate a tv program about something which simply isn't widely known - I've already discussed on my blog the problems with the Shire book on bellfounding, written in the 80's by Trevor Jennings, which spends about 4 times as much space on itinerant bellfounders as it does on the permanent town based foundries. Add to that a lack of modern books on medieval foundry stuff, and it's no wonder people don't know much.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:38 pm

At least we're not as bad as the Metro reviewer:
The worst school history tripTudor Monastery Farm (Picture: Laura Rawlinson)

I thought The Great Penguin Rescue (Eden) was bad.
Over at Tudor Monastery Farm (BBC2), Ruth was showing us how the Tudors combed their hair, Peter – or it might have been Tom – had a wicker basket on his face and was playing with bees, while voice-over woman read out facts about monks and yeast and pigs in a manner that suggested her husband had run off with his yoga teacher and she had no idea how she was going to pay the mortgage.

She really needed to lighten up.
Seriously, whose idea of prime-time TV is this?
It’s like being trapped inside the worst school history trip you ever had, where you turn up at some dusty house and a bunch of out-of-work actors are wearing daft hats and pretending to be peasants, nipping out the back for a quick fag and to check their email to see if their agent has bagged them that part as an extra in Emmerdale they’d set their heart on.

It all got a bit pagan at the end with a Midsummer’s Eve frolic but it was too little too late to rescue the kind of show that used to be Open University and a beard after midnight.
Apparently, the Tudors never drank water, only ale – you can see which way my night was headed…


http://metro.co.uk/2013/11/28/whose-idea-of-prime-time-tv-was-tudor-monastery-farm-4204710/


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Simon Atford » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:13 am

guthrie wrote:At least we're not as bad as the Metro reviewer:
The worst school history tripTudor Monastery Farm (Picture: Laura Rawlinson)

I thought The Great Penguin Rescue (Eden) was bad.
Over at Tudor Monastery Farm (BBC2), Ruth was showing us how the Tudors combed their hair, Peter – or it might have been Tom – had a wicker basket on his face and was playing with bees, while voice-over woman read out facts about monks and yeast and pigs in a manner that suggested her husband had run off with his yoga teacher and she had no idea how she was going to pay the mortgage.

She really needed to lighten up.
Seriously, whose idea of prime-time TV is this?
It’s like being trapped inside the worst school history trip you ever had, where you turn up at some dusty house and a bunch of out-of-work actors are wearing daft hats and pretending to be peasants, nipping out the back for a quick fag and to check their email to see if their agent has bagged them that part as an extra in Emmerdale they’d set their heart on.

It all got a bit pagan at the end with a Midsummer’s Eve frolic but it was too little too late to rescue the kind of show that used to be Open University and a beard after midnight.
Apparently, the Tudors never drank water, only ale – you can see which way my night was headed…


http://metro.co.uk/2013/11/28/whose-idea-of-prime-time-tv-was-tudor-monastery-farm-4204710/



Yet another example of a TV reviewer who decides what they think of a programme before they watch it and then using it as a vehicle for their snide unfunny opinions. All too common these days I'm afraid.

Criticizing a programme based on knowledge of the subject (as on here) is fine. Criticism based on ignorance is not.



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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:38 pm

It is okay to criticise the program for the way it presents things, but that review is too snide and nasty.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:37 pm

A longer discussion of my suggestion re. bells and where they were made can be found at my blog:
http://distillatio.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/where-were-medieval-church-bells-cast-have-people-got-completely-the-wrong-idea/


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Dathi » Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:49 pm

Finally gave up last after trying to watch episode 3 on BBC's On Demand. The 900th rendition of contaminated water not safe to drink finally cracked me.

Mind you, this one has been filmed on what looks to be a budget of £3.60 a scene.



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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:22 pm

I'd agree about the water, not so sure about the budget; it was a bit more like they threw it together over some weekends with willing volunteers in the background.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Brother Ranulf » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:30 am

I just saw episode 5 on iPlayer and the issue of monks' clothes was raised with regard to wearing underwear. Ruth Goodman stated that "According to the Rule of St Benedict, a monk was supposed to wear his woollen tunic next to his skin". This is not what the Rule says - chapter 55 begins:

Let clothing be given to the brethren according to the circumstances of the place and the nature of the climate in which they live, because in cold regions more is needed while in warmer regions less.


The Cistercian Order chose not to permit underwear, but they took a dim view of practically everything.

Linen breeches/braies are specifically mentioned in the Rule for any monk travelling away from the monastery ("which they receive from the cellar and which on their return they replace there, washed"). It is clear from the Canterbury sign language and from manuscript illustrations that Benedictines in England wore linen shirts from at least the 10th century; English, French and German monks also added hide and fur garments in winter.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Mark Griffin » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:36 am

English, French and German monks also added hide and fur garments in winter


Darn right. I can heartily recommend sheepskin lines bootees for wandering around cold cloisters in. And as for my budge lined nether garments.... mmmmmmmmm


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Henri De Ceredigion » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:14 am

As there seem to be a large number of criticisms / complaints, I have phoned the BBC's helpline and they say the following:

"If you believe that a BBC service / programme is not stating the truth about a subject or not reporting facts, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints and register your query as a complaint. All complaints are investigated and replies are given within ten working days, save those complaints that come in such volume that a press release will be made addressing those concerns"



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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:06 pm

Henri De Ceredigion wrote:As there seem to be a large number of criticisms / complaints, I have phoned the BBC's helpline and they say the following:

"If you believe that a BBC service / programme is not stating the truth about a subject or not reporting facts, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints and register your query as a complaint. All complaints are investigated and replies are given within ten working days, save those complaints that come in such volume that a press release will be made addressing those concerns"

A full blown complaint seems taking it a bit far. But if you want to play bad cop and we can play good cop that would be fine.


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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Simon Atford » Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:23 pm

guthrie wrote:
Henri De Ceredigion wrote:As there seem to be a large number of criticisms / complaints, I have phoned the BBC's helpline and they say the following:

"If you believe that a BBC service / programme is not stating the truth about a subject or not reporting facts, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints and register your query as a complaint. All complaints are investigated and replies are given within ten working days, save those complaints that come in such volume that a press release will be made addressing those concerns"

A full blown complaint seems taking it a bit far. But if you want to play bad cop and we can play good cop that would be fine.


I think the complaints procedure is more for current affairs isn't it?



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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby caedmon » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:57 am

guthrie wrote:I saw one bronze cauldron in use, it reminded me more of a 17th century shape,


Hi, I'm a newb, so please excuse any gaffs in forum etiquette. This is the piece in the central hearth? It looked very much like the Myddfai Cauldron to me which has been dated to the 15th c. I agree that it also looks like some late 17th c. cauldrons as well, such as those made by the Sturtons. I had assumed there was a conservatism of form for large cauldrons, am I wrong here?

My interest is that I have been casting small bronze (& iron) pots and skillets inspired by some Scottish pieces for a while and wanted to try my hand at larger ones. I had settled on the Myddfai as my model, but I really want something that can reasonably work for my period (late 14th c. Scotland) Being in Alaska makes it hard for me to do primary research.



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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Brother Ranulf » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:59 pm

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


Brother Ranulf



"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

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Miss Costello
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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Miss Costello » Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:02 pm

I can see the butter making scene ending up on a comedy show..

:|



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Brother Ranulf
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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby Brother Ranulf » Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:29 pm

:D


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"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

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Re: The Farm goes back to Tudor Times

Postby guthrie » Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:47 pm

caedmon wrote:
guthrie wrote:I saw one bronze cauldron in use, it reminded me more of a 17th century shape,


Hi, I'm a newb, so please excuse any gaffs in forum etiquette. This is the piece in the central hearth? It looked very much like the Myddfai Cauldron to me which has been dated to the 15th c. I agree that it also looks like some late 17th c. cauldrons as well, such as those made by the Sturtons. I had assumed there was a conservatism of form for large cauldrons, am I wrong here?

My interest is that I have been casting small bronze (& iron) pots and skillets inspired by some Scottish pieces for a while and wanted to try my hand at larger ones. I had settled on the Myddfai as my model, but I really want something that can reasonably work for my period (late 14th c. Scotland) Being in Alaska makes it hard for me to do primary research.

Our etiquette here is pretty loose, you can even, despite what some disgruntled people say, disagree with other people.

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.
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.


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