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Embroidery Pattern for Queen Gabrielle’s Favors

AEthelmearc Gazette - 8 hours 50 min ago

Gentles wishing to make favors or other items for Her Majesty Queen Gabrielle to give as gifts during Her reign are invited to use the information below. Note that these are a variation of the favors from Her Majesty’s last reign, so if you already have one of those favors, it can be easily modified for the current reign.

Embroidery Pattern For Her Majesty Gabrielle
Escarbuncle & Crown with Parfume Drop
Designed by THL Jaqueline de Molieres 2017

Use this embroidery design when making items for soon-to-be Queen Gabrielle to officially gift. Place this design on anything you wish: belt favors, pouches, needle cases, pin cushions, drink covers, etc. Use whatever materials you like (linen, silk, wool, cotton), red background with white and gold threads. Reduce or enlarge the design as needed. The pattern is designed to use a chain stitch for escarbuncle and crown, and stem stitch for parfume drop.


Before you start, I suggest washing the fabric – red has a tendency to bleed.

Then do some test stitching to determine stitch size, how many strands of floss, etc. I counted stitches, but the number of stitches may change if you reduce or enlarge the pattern.

Do the escarbuncle first; then finagle the placement of the crown and drop if need be.

The completed escarbuncle and crown with parfume drop can be stitched directly onto the fabric for your finished piece, or cut into a rondel and appliquéd onto anything you want.


If you want, you could add a bead or pearl in the center.


For the base of the crown, make 2 rows of chains, slightly curved per the pattern, just above the escarbuncle. At each end, there are 3 chains up with a horizontal chain toward the center from the second chain. In the very center there are 3 chains up with 2 horizontal chains from the second chain. Between the end & the center on each side, place just one chain at the halfway point.


Surround the escarbuncle and crown with two rows of stem stitch parfume drops, the inner row being gold, a little space, then a second row being white.

Categories: SCA news sites

1627 Knight’s Tomb in Jamestown conserved

History Blog - Sun, 2017-04-23 23:28

Since late last year, Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists have been excavating the Memorial Church, built in 1907 over the foundations of three 17th century churches, the earliest being the 1617 timber-frame church in which the Jamestown colonists held the first representative assembly in English North America in 1619. (The second was built in 1640, the last in 1680.) The site was excavated in 1901 by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (today known as Preservation Virginia) before construction of the Memorial Church. The foundations of the 1617 church were discovered in that dig, but archaeological priorities and methods were different then, and the APVA team poured concrete between the remains of foundation and wall thinking it would keep them intact. Archaeologists today are removing the concrete (no small task — some sections are as much as five feet deep) to uncover elements in the soil that their predecessors wouldn’t have noticed or cared about but that contain potentially significant information about the construction of the 1617 church.

One of the aims of the new excavation is to conserve a unique ledger gravestone (a marker that lies horizontally covering the full length of a grave) known as the Knight’s Tomb. Moniker notwithstanding, there is no knight, or anyone else for that matter, buried under the stone. There was originally, but sometime in the 17th century it was moved to the chancel aisle, just inside the doorway of the brick church, and recycled as a paver. It is the only surviving ledger stone in the United States.

The slab is six by three feet in dimension and has inset carvings which once held brass plates that identified and glorified the deceased. You can see the bolt holes that once affixed the plates to the stone. In the upper right hand corner is a shield, whose brass inlay would have been a family crest. Across from it is a scroll, and in the middle is a knight in plate armor standing on a rectangular pedestal which likely contained the full funerary inscription.

Because of the loss of the brass plates, researchers aren’t certain who the knight in question was, but there aren’t a ton of candidates. There are in fact only two knights who were buried in the 1617 church: Thomas West, Lord De La Warre, who died on the transatlantic voyage and was buried in Jamestown in 1618, and Sir George Yeardley, who actually managed to land in the Americas alive and well. He was Governor of Virginia during that first General Assembly meeting held in the original church in 1619. He died in 1627 and was buried in the church.

“When you’re studying mortuary practices, when you’re studying monuments, you never want to go to the records of the person who died, you want to go to the records of their offspring, of their family members who are still living,” said [Assistant Curator with Preservation Virginia Hayden] Bassett. “They’re the people who are largely going to be dealing with the logistics of getting a massive stone over here.”

Bassett said after searching through the journals of both men’s extended families, he thinks Preservation Virginia may have found mentions of the stone by Yeardley’s step-grandson Adam Thorowgood II, whose mother married Yeardley’s youngest son, Francis.

“What they mention is that they would like to have a black marble tomb with the crest of Sir George Yeardley and the same inscription as upon the broken tomb,” Bassett said. “We believe that might reference this stone.”

It was unearthed by the APVA in the 1901 dig. Its brass plates were long gone by then, and the stone was broken in several fragments, all of them quite large, one of them the full bottom half of the stone. They decided to keep it pretty much where they found it, moving it just a foot south. To seal it in place and fill the joins between the fragments, the team poured Portland cement around it and into the cracks. People loved their Portland cement back then because it’s so hard and durable, but as a preservation material it’s unfortunately terrible. The contrast between its hardness and the more porous, softer period materials causes moisture problems and puts undue stress on the historic structures.

The Knight’s Tomb is no exception. To ensure its long-term health, Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists knew they’d have to get it out of that cement trap and into the hands of modern conservators who use materials that can be reversed should they cause problems down the line. On April 10th, conservator Jonathan Appell of of Atlas Preservation, an expert in the conservation of historic monumental stone memorials and gravestones, began the difficult job of releasing the ledger stone.

The cement around the edges of the gravestone was hand-chiseled away. Thankfully, the people who installed it in the floor of the Memorial Church in the early 20th century did not set it in a bed of Portland cement. Instead it was placed on slate shims over a mortared brick base, so once the cement was removed from the sides and under the edges, the stone could be pried off its base relatively easily. Once the Portland cement was gone, the stone came up in the same fragments it was first found in back in 1901. Very carefully and painstakingly, the team moved the stones up wooden ramps onto a platform where the detailed conservation will take place.

You can see some of their hard work explained by Jonathan Appell in this wonderful video on the Jamestown Rediscovery YouTube channel:

That YouTube channel is a gem, very much worth following and/or bookmarking. They have several videos documenting the current excavation of the 1907 Memorial Church.

Unrelated to the church and its tombs, this video about the discovery and conservation of the most complete set of jacks of plate (an armoured vest of overlapping plate sewn onto canvas) in the United States is just plain cool.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Eastern Results from the February 2017 LoAR

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2017-04-23 17:24

The Society College of Arms runs on monthly cycles and letters. Each month, the College processes name and armory submissions from all of the Kingdoms. Final decisions on submissions are made at the monthly meetings of the Pelican Queen of Arms (names) and the Wreath Queen of Arms (armory). Pelican and Wreath then write up their decisions in a Letter of Acceptances and Return (LoAR). After review and proofreading, LoARs generally are released two months after the meeting where the decisions are made.
An “acceptance” indicates that the item(s) listed are now registered with the Society. A “return” indicates that the item is returned to the submitter for additional work. Most items are registered without comments. Sometimes, the LoAR will address specific issues about the name or armory or will praise the submitter/herald on putting together a very nice historically accurate item.
The following results are from the February 2017 Wreath and Pelican meetings. The submissions in this letter are from Herald’s Point at Pennsic 2016.

EAST acceptances

Aoife inghean Donnchaidh. Name.

Benjamin le Rat. Name and device. Sable, in pale a hand inverted Or and a rat statant argent.

The submitter requested authenticity for “English.” While both name elements are in English, they do not appear to have overlapped in time. Thus, this name is not authentic, but it is registerable.

Brannoc of Mountain Freehold. Name and device. Sable, a frying pan fesswise argent and issuant from base a demi-sun Or.

Although the name was submitted as Brannoc_ of Mountain Freehold, no documentation was provided in the Letter of Intent for the requested spelling of the given name. Instead, the only documentation was for Brannock as a 16th century English given name. Fortunately, Lillia Pelican Emerita found examples in 16th century English of names that use the endings -oc and -ock interchangeably. Based on this data, Brannoc_ is a valid variant spelling of the attested Brannock and we can register the given name as submitted.

Mountain Freehold is the registered name of an SCA branch.

Brigid nyn Thomas O’Neill. Name.

The submitter requested authenticity for “Irish.” The byname and construction are authentic for 16th century Anglicized Irish. Unfortunately, we were unable to document the given name Brigid in 16th century Anglicized Irish; it was documented on the Letter of Intent in English. Given the overlap in naming pools between 16th century English and 16th century Anglicized Irish, is it possible that a woman from an Anglicized family living in Ireland in the 16th century could have been named Brigid, but we cannot say for sure.

Cailin Macsalny. Badge. (Fieldless) Two arrows inverted in saltire argent, overall a boar’s head erased close Or.

The boar’s head was submitted as simply erased, which would place the severed edge closer to where the neck meets the shoulders. Instead, this head has the severed edge right behind the ears, so we reblazoned this as erased close. No difference is granted for this distinction; it is a purely artistic note.

Christopher of Smoking Rocks. Holding name and device (see PENDS for name). Per pale embattled vert and sable, a winged stag and a wolf combattant, in base two trenkets in fess, blades to center Or.

The charges in base were submitted as two leather worker’s knives. We modified the blazon to use the accepted term for this type of knife.

Submitted under the name Úlflundr Járnhauss, that name was pended as Úlfr Járnhauss.

Conchobar mac Óengusa. Name and device. Per bend vert and azure, in sinister chief a wolf salient argent.

Nice 10th and 11th century Gaelic name!

Cristina da Treviso. Name.

Daithi Dubh. Device. Vert, a dragon between three mullets voided and interlaced, each within and conjoined to an annulet argent.

Submitted as Vert, a dragon segreant between three mullets voided and interlaced within and conjoined to annulets argent, the blazon has been modified to remove the unnecessary posture (as segreant is the default for dragons) and to clarify the relative relationships between the mullets and annulets.

As established in the November 2011 precedent, “mullets of five and six points voided and interlaced are found in period armory so that their voiding and interlacing may be considered part of their definition of type allowing them to be used as non-primary charges.”

Artist’s note: Please instruct the submitter to draw the dragon’s wings in better proportion with its body which should lie in the center of the field.

Donnchadh mac Eóin. Name.

Nice Gaelic name for c. 1200 onwards!

East, Kingdom of the. Heraldic title Golden Lyre Herald.

Edmund Forster. Device. Azure, a camel statant contourny Or, on a chief wavy argent three thistle heads purpure.

There is a step from period practice for the use of thistle heads without slips and leaves.

Artist’s note: Some commenters found the thistle heads difficult to recognize, in part due to their internal detailing. In the future, use fewer hatchmarks to make the thistle heads easier to identify.

Edwyn Le Clerc. Badge. Argent, an open book and in chief a feather fesswise quill to dexter within a bordure wavy azure.

Elspeth Scot. Name and device. Vert, a capital letter E and a gore sinister argent.

This name is clear of the registered Elizabeth Scott under PN3C1, by the difference of two syllables in the given name: El-iz-a-beth vs. Els-peth.

Nice Scots name for the 15th century onwards!

There is a step from period practice for the use of a gore with another charge on the field.

Erin inghean Chonchobhair. Name and device. Per saltire purpure and Or, in saltire a mallet and a needle inverted sable.

This name combines an English given name with a Gaelic byname, an acceptable lingual mix under Appendix C.

Eyfríðr Einarsdóttir. Name.

Fionnghuala Chláirseóir. Name and device. Azure, four swans naiant two and two argent.

This name was submitted as Fionnghuala Cláirseóir, with a request that the byname be changed to a feminine form if one existed. Applying a strict interpretation of standard Gaelic grammar, because the given name is feminine, the byname should be spelled Chláirseóir with the initial C lenited. As the submitter specifically requested a distinctly feminine form, we have changed the byname to add the lenition.

However, as more and more Gaelic documents become available, it has become clear that lenition was applied idiosyncratically in practice; it is omitted far more frequently than we had previously thought. Therefore, the spelling of the byname without the lenition is registerable as well. If the submitter prefers the spelling Cláirseóir, she may make a request for reconsideration.

Nice device!

Godiva de la Mer. Name and device. Azure, a heart sable irradiated argent.

This name combines an English given name with a French surname, an acceptable lingual mix under Appendix C.

Period examples of irradiation show a pattern of rays having good contrast with the field, regardless of the main charge’s tincture. If more than 2/3 of the edge of the main charge is separated from the field by the rays, the irradiation functions as a form of fimbriation for contrast purposes. Substantial rays such as these also function as a modifier to the main charge, much like adding wings, and add a DC from an unmodified version of the same charge.

Godiva de la Mer. Badge. (Fieldless) Two natural seahorses respectant tails entwined, the dexter azure and the sinister Or.

Gregor the Vigilant. Name and device. Argent, on a bend sable between a brown bull’s head cabossed proper and a cardinal gules, three Maltese crosses palewise argent.

By precedent, the Vigilant is a registerable English byname. [Godfrey the Vigilant, 10/2010 LoAR, A-Æthelmearc].

There is a step from period practice for the use of the cardinal, a New World bird.

Gwenllian ferch Llewellyn ap Henry. Name and device. Purpure, a domestic cat sejant contourny and a chief rayonny Or.

The submitter requested authenticity for Welsh. This name is authentic for Welsh in the 16th century, and possibly earlier as well.

Hallbjorn Tryggvason. Name.

Nice 9th-10th century Icelandic name!

Hallveig Alfarinsdóttir. Name and device. Argent, a reremouse inverted sable maintaining in its feet a spear fesswise and on a chief azure a crescent in sinister Or.

A question was raised in commentary about whether Alfarinsdóttir needed to be Álfarinsdóttir, with an acute accent on the first A. Norse names with the protheme Alf- are recorded both with and without an acute accent on the A. Either form, therefore, is registerable.

Nice 9th-10th century Icelandic name!

Recent precedent states that “there is a step from period practice for the use of a reremouse inverted.” (Emelyn de Chelseye, 3/2010). However, this is at odds with the long-standing and oft-reiterated precedent that states “We do not allow inverted animate charges in SCA heraldry except when in recognized orientation, such as in annulo. (Daibhidh MacRaibert, 2/1999, upheld 6/2016)” To resolve the conflict between precedents, as of September 2017 reremice inverted in any posture will no longer be registerable.

Isaac Klingensmith of Æthelmearc. Name (see RETURNS for device).

John fitz Thomas. Name.

This name does not conflict with the registered Johan Fitztomas. Names must be different in both sound and appearance in order to avoid conflict. SENA permits us to analyze the necessary changes in sound in appearance under two different subsections of PN3C: “Names may be different in sound under one standard and appearance under another standard.”

Here, the name is clear under PN3C1 because there are changes in appearance that affect two syllables: John vs. Johan and Fitz_Thomas vs. Fitztomas. The name is clear by sound under PN3C2 because Johan has one more syllable than John. Therefore, this name is registerable.

The submitter requested authenticity for 14th century England. This name meets that request.

Leonora da Ferrara. Name.

This item was pended from the September 2016 Letter of Acceptances and Returns to discuss whether the name presumes upon the historical Eleanor of Naples, also known as Leonora da Ferrara and Leonora or Eleonora of Aragon, first Duchess of Ferrara.

The fact that she was Duchess of Ferrara (and de facto ruler of Ferrara according to some sources) does not by itself make her important enough to protect. PN4D1 states in relevant part:

Sovereign rulers of significant states are generally important enough to protect. Some historical city-states are not considered significant states. Provinces or regions integrated into larger units like the Holy Roman Empire are not generally considered significant states. Sovereigns of small states that did not give rise directly to modern countries will not be protected under this clause, nor will legendary kings of any state (though these kings may be individually important enough to protect).

Ferrara did not directly give rise to any modern country; it was integrated into modern Italy. Thus, even treating Leonora as a ruler of Ferrara, it is not an entity whose rulers are automatically protected from presumption and Leonara’s significance must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Leonora does not have an article in the Encyclopedia Britannica (not even in the on-line edition). Her Wikipedia article is fairly brief and contains mainly generalizations about her qualities without accompanying citations. Although she patronized artists and authors, she is not linked to any major work that would be familiar to non-specialists. Her portrait is not particularly famous, even among students of Italian Renaissance costuming. She was a member of a famous family and had famous children, but we were presented with no evidence that she herself made any significant historical, artistic, scientific or social contributions. Therefore, Leonora da Ferrara/Eleanor of Naples/Eleonora of Aragon is not significant enough to protect from presumption and this name is registerable.

Molly Blythe. Name change from Maria Alegreza Nicoletti and badge. Sable, a rabbit courant contourny within an annulus of roundels argent.

The submitter’s prior name, Maria Alegreza Nicoletti, is retained as an alternate name.

Submitted as Sable, a rabbit courant to sinister within 13 roundels in annulo argent, the blazon has been modified to remove the number of roundels.

Molly Blythe. Release of name Molle Blythe.

Nivashi Byhari. Name and device. Per pale argent and azure, in pall inverted three peacock feathers conjoined at the quill counterchanged.

Nivashi is the submitter’s legal middle name. As Nivashi is a given name by type, it may be used as the submitter’s registered given name.

Rose Sorin. Name.

Nice French name for c. 1300!

Sabat Ocharra. Name.

Uluric Josepsone. Name.

EAST returns

Alianora la Tesserande. Device change. Purpure, on a pile inverted Or, a peacock feather purpure.

From the May 2015 LoAR, “The SCA has a long-standing precedent that says that piles inverted and per chevron are not entirely interchangeable, but each must be considered for conflict against the other, granting no difference between the two. (Return of badge, Canton of Dragonsfire Tor).”

This device must therefore be returned for conflict with the badge of Emelyn Pacok, (Fieldless) A peacock’s plume palewise purpure. Considering this submission as a feather on a per chevron inverted field, there is one DC for the field, but none for placement.

The submitter is advised to draw the pile inverted in such a way that better fills the shield. While the February 2008 precedent on the length of piles allows for as little as 75% of the overall height of the shield based on a single theoretical example from Legh, it does not explicitly apply to piles inverted; we decline to extend the allowance here, and encourage the submitter to use at least 85% of the length, and 33% of the width, of the shield in future depictions.

Ana Ximenez de Hume. Badge. (Fieldless) On a flame gules a dandelion in seed slipped and leaved argent.

This badge is returned for redraw, for violating SENA A2C2 which states “Elements must be drawn to be identifiable.” Commenters were unanimous in their inability to recognize the tertiary charge as a dandelion in seed. Absent period documentation of a dandelion in seed, the submitter is encouraged to draw individual seeds and tufts, relatively few in number, to assist in recognition of the charge. We decline at this time to comment on whether dandelions in seed are registerable if depicted recognizably.

Andreiko Eferiev. Device. Gules, a cloud sable within a bordure Or.

This device is returned for violation of SENA A.3.B.4.a, which states “Charges must have good contrast with the background on which they are placed.” The submitter attempted to document an Individually Attested Pattern for late-period English heraldry. While sable charges on gules fields were sufficiently documented, and evidence of both bordures and clouds in English heraldry were established, the pattern of a low-contrast complex primary charge and a high-contrast secondary charge was not sufficiently documented by the submitter (who provided only two examples), and subsequent examples were not found in commentary.

Removal of the bordure would bring the submission into alignment with the documented patterns, but would create a conflict with the badge of Mell MacAlpin (Fieldless) A cloud sable.. Given how recently the badge was registered, we encourage the submitter to reach out to the heralds of Calontir to seek permission to conflict from Mell MacAlpin.

Isaac Klingensmith of Æthelmearc. Device. Argent, a raven rising sable maintaining with its beak an annulet gules.

This device is returned for conflict with the badge of Stephen Grimfalcon, Argent, a falcon striking sable within a bordure gules. There is only one DC for change to the type of secondary (annulet vs. bordure). There is no DC for the nearly identical postures of the birds.

EAST pends

Giana di Nicholò da Firenze. Device change. Argent, a bend sinister vert, overall a wyvern erect sable.

Commentary on this submission centered around the potential conflict with Charles the Traveler raised in the LoI: Argent, a bend sinister vert, overall a drakkar sable its sail paly gules and argent. There is most certainly one DC for the change in type of overall charge, but there are conflicting precedents over whether the tincture of a ship’s sail constitutes half the charge, which is necessary for the second DC to clear the conflict.

Current precedents state the following:

1. There is no DC for type of ship (lymphad, drakkar, rowboat, etc.). This is based on period practice, which changed the type of ship depicted on a given set of arms depending on when it was being painted.

2. There is no DC for sails furled vs. unfurled. This is largely based on the previous precedent; if lymphads have sails furled by default, drakkars have sails unfurled by default, and rowboats have no sails at all, there is no way to compare the status of the sails in any sort of meaningful way.

3. There is no DC for the tincture of an unfurled sail as half the charge. Also largely based on the first two precedents, if the sail is not consistently half the charge of a boat (or indeed depicted at all) there is no way to provide consistent difference for its tincture.

We seek further commentary on whether unfurled sails should be considered half of a heraldic charge when considering whether there should be a distinct change for tincture between charges.

This was item 20 on the East letter of November 30, 2016.

Úlfr Járnhauss. Name.

Submitted as Úlflundr Járnhauss, the given name was a hypothetical constructed name based on the Old Norse elements Úlf- and -lundr. PN1B2b of SENA permits name phrases to be constructed from attested period elements. However,”[w]e generally require at least three examples to consider something a pattern, as sometimes a single name phrase can create the appearance of a pattern that does not actually exist.” PN1B2b. Only a single example of –lundr as a second element could be found. Thus, this construction is not registerable.

After the Pelican decision meeting and the close of commentary, the submitter gave permission to change the given name to Úlfr, a male name found at p. 15 of Geirr Bassi’s The Old Norse Name. As we did not have adequate time to do so before the release of this Letter, we have pended this name for conflict-checking and commentary on the form Úlfr Járnhauss.

His device is registered under the holding name Christopher of Smoking Rocks.

This was item 33 on the East letter of November 30, 2016.

Filed under: Announcements, Heraldry

Important notice on fundraising and raffles…

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2017-04-23 15:38

“No Raffles Please”

AEthelmearc financial policy states that “The Chancellor of the Exchequer must be notified in advance of all fundraising at SCA activities to insure compliance with SCA Corporate guidelines.” Please note that this doesn’t say “or someone else” there. Please also note the lack of exceptions. The reason for this is that fundraising can be a great aid, but it can also be a way to get into a heap of trouble if mishandled.

Part of the reason for this reminder is that the topic of raffles has come up yet again. Raffles count as “games of chance”, which are regulated by the states. As far as His Grace Christopher and I have been able to determine, the SCA Inc. is not _clearly_ allowed to run games of chance as a fundraiser in any of the three states that we operate in.

Happily there are other ways to raise money. We can hold auctions (silent and otherwise), we can hold bake sales. We can even “pass the hat”. If someone has a clever idea for a fundraiser that does not include chance, then I’m likely to approve it.

On a happier note, many, many thanks to all the exchequers (and several seneschals) for all of their hard work! Their efforts to provide accurate info made the process of assembling the complete Domesday report possible, and in turn, keeps the Society and the IRS happy with us. (Because like the Domesday of old, this is ultimately all about the taxes.)

Finally, I’ll note that my term as your Exchequer ends at Pennsic. I’m planning to apply for a second term; if anyone is interested in this position, I’d be happy to answer any questions. Please send any letters of interest to

ae.king@aethelmearc.org, ae.queen@aethelmearc.org and/or ae.exchequer@aethelmearc.org.

In service, —Tofi

Chancellor of the Exchequer
Master Tofi Kerthjalfadsson

Exchequer contact info and other information


Categories: SCA news sites

Second parchment manuscript of Declaration of Independence found in UK

History Blog - Sat, 2017-04-22 22:23

Harvard researchers have discovered a second manuscript written on parchment of the Declaration of Independence in a county archive in Chichester, UK. The only other parchment manuscript is the original Matlack Declaration in the National Archives, the large-scale, or “engrossed,” in the parlance of 1776, version with John Hancock’s John Hancock that everyone pictures when they think of the Declaration of Independence. The newly discovered one is engrossed too, at 24″ x 30″ the same dimensions as the Matlack Declaration, only this one is oriented horizontally instead of vertically.

In August 2015, Emily Sneff was working on a database of every known example of the Declaration of Independence for Harvard’s Declaration Resources Project when she came across a reference to a copy of the Declaration kept in the West Sussex Record Office. The document was described in the archive’s catalog as “Manuscript copy, on parchment, of the Declaration in Congress of the thirteen United States of America.”

She initially suspected it would turn out to be a printed copy of a kind that were widespread in the 19th century because she had encountered such errors — copies mistakenly catalogued as manuscripts even though they were later prints — in other archives. The reference to parchment, however, was unusual and intriguing. She contacted the West Sussex Record Office and they sent her a CD with photographs of the document.

The pictures made it clear that it was indeed a manuscript, not a printed copy, and that wasn’t the only uncommon feature. The names of the signatories were not in their traditional order, with Hancock’s signature first and the rest grouped according to the states they represented in the Second Continental Congress. The punctuation of the text is idiosyncratic and there’s very little of it. There appears to be a spot of erased text at the top, and the neat, compact handwriting was unlike any Sneff had seen before.

Sneff took the pictures to her colleague Danielle Allen, and together they worked for two years to unlock its mysteries. They dubbed the manuscript the Sussex Declaration, which is more than a geographical designation. They believe the Sussex Declaration to have belonged to Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond, also known as the “Radical Duke” for his avowed anti-colonialist stance and support of American independence. It was likely made in America, probably New York or Philadelphia, and then sent overseas to the Duke, but who commissioned it and whose is the wonderful hand that wrote it remain uncertain.

The leading candidate for the commissioner of the parchment is James Wilson of Pennsylvania, himself a signatory of the Declaration of Independence, one of the greatest legal minds of the nascent republic who played a large part in the drafting of the US Constitution and was appointed by President George Washington as one of the first six justices of the Supreme Court. He believed fervently that the principles of the Declaration should play a central role in the political ideology of the United States, despite its not having the strength of law. The Sussex Declaration, notably the arrangement of names, may be making a political statement about the importance of the new country having a strong federal government if it is to succeed.

Analysis of the parchment, handwriting and spelling date the Sussex Declaration to the 1780s, a period when these issues were front and center in a United States in dire financial straits, fraught with conflict about the role of central government versus the states and still governed by the loose Articles of Confederation.

Among the chief political debates of the era, Allen said, was whether the new nation had been founded on the basis of the people’s authority or the authority of the states. By reordering the names of the signers, perhaps the most conspicuous feature of the parchment, the Sussex Declaration comes down squarely on one side of the argument.

On most documents of the era, Allen said, the protocol was for members of each state delegation to sign together, with signatures typically running either down the page or from left to right, with the names of the states labeling each group. An exception was made for a small number of particularly important documents — including the Declaration, which was signed from right to left, and which omitted the names of the states, though the names were still grouped by state.

“But the Sussex Declaration scrambles the names so they are no longer grouped by state,” Allen said. “It is the only version of the Declaration that does that, with the exception of an engraving from 1836 that derives from it. This is really a symbolic way of saying we are all one people, or ‘one community,’ to quote James Wilson.”

Read about Sneff’s and Allen’s use of handwriting and parchment analysis and their examination of spelling errors in the names of the signatories in their first published paper on the Sussex Declaration (pdf). Their second paper (pdf) focuses on James Wilson, the evidence indicating he commissioned the Sussex Declaration and why. They’re both fascinating, but I was particularly captivated by the second because I knew nothing about James Wilson and he deserved far better from me.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Gold coin hoard found in piano declared treasure

History Blog - Fri, 2017-04-21 23:27

Last November, piano tuner Martin Backhouse was having a hard time with some sticky keys on a 1906 Broadwood & Sons upright piano he was overhauling for The Community College of Bishops Castle. Martin found the problem when he removed the keys: eight parcels full of gold coins.

The school alerted the Finds Liaison Officer for the region, Peter Reavill, and he and his colleagues at the Portable Antiquities Scheme examined and catalogued the hoard. Inside seven cloth-wrapped parcels and one suede drawstring pouch, they counted 913 gold sovereigns and half-sovereigns ranging in date from 1847 to 1915, issued in the reigns of Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V. The weight of the coins totals more than 6 kilos (13+ pounds) of gold bullion.

One of the pouches was packed with cardboard that provided an important clue to when the hoard was hidden. It was an ad for Shredded Wheat created after 1926 and likely before 1946. Attempts to trace the ownership history of the piano to determine who might have stashed the coins inside it went nowhere. After its manufacture by Broadwood & Sons of London, it was sold to music teachers Messrs. Beavan & Mothersole of Saffron Walden, Essex. There is no trace of its movements for almost 80 years. The trail picks up again in 1983 when it was acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Hemming, also of Saffron Walden, for the children to learn on. It remained with the Hemmings until last year when they donated it to the Bishops Castle Community College.

On April 20th, John Ellery, senior coroner for Shropshire, held an inquest in Shrewsbury and declared the gold coins treasure according to the 1996 Treasure Act, which means they now officially belong to the Crown. The British Museum will convene a Treasure Valuation Committee to assess the market value of the coins. Local museums will be given the chance to acquire the hoard for the assessed sum, which will then be split between finder Martin Backhouse and the piano’s owners, the Bishops Castle Community College.

Coins made of precious metals that are more than 300 years old qualify as treasure, but these coins are comparatively recent. The determination that they are treasure is based on three criteria: 1) they are made of gold, 2) they were deliberately hidden with the ultimate aim of recovering them at a later date, 3) the owner and/or heirs are unknown. This was the standard applied to the Hackney Double Eagle hoard discovered in a London backyard in 2010, whose coins are also gold and have almost the exact same date range (1854-1913). The publicity from that case resulted in the identification of the legitimate owner, the son of the original owner who had died in 1981.

That has not happened in this case, despite the coroner adjourning the inquest twice to give any potential claimants the chance to come forward. Surprising absolutely nobody, many claimants came forward, almost 50 of them, hoping to get their hands on some of that sweet, sweet gold sovereignage, but no evidence was found to substantiate any of the claims, hence the treasure verdict.

This video from the British Museum’s YouTube channel tells the story of the Piano Hoard.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Watch NOVA’s Holocaust Escape Tunnel

History Blog - Thu, 2017-04-20 23:58

When researchers discovered an escape tunnel dug by Jewish prisoners in the forest of Ponar outside Vilnius, Lithuania, last year, their investigation was filmed by PBS for a future episode of its consistently excellent NOVA series. The NOVA episode premiered on PBS Tuesday, 73 years almost to the day after the escape on Passover night, April 14th, 1944, and it did not disappoint.

It opens with an overview of the history of the Jewish community of what was then known as Vilna. This was one of the largest, richest and most culturally important Jewish communities in Europe, even earning the moniker of the “Jerusalem of Lithuania,” not a title that was cast about carelessly. Part of the program is dedicated to the archaeological excavation of the site of the Great Synagogue Complex, obliterated by the Nazis and finished off by the Soviets after the war. The team is hoping to unearth the architectural remains of the mikvah, the ritual bath, but has very little time so it’s quite suspenseful.

In parallel with the city excavation, the team in the forest seeks evidence of unknown mass graves and to find the escape tunnel in Pit 6 used by the 11 survivors of the Ponar Burning Brigade, a group of 80 Jewish prisoners forced by the SS to dig up tens of thousands of bodies of their loved ones (murdered by Nazis and Lithuanian militia between 1941 and 1944), stack them in alternating layers with logs, pour gasoline on them and burn them to cinders. There are some wrenching photos of these monstrous structures, and NOVA does a compelling job of explaining the sheer scale of this sickening project.

It also illustrates the technology used to find the tunnel very well. They focus on the non-invasive exploration of the site by electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), a technology used by geologists, oil and gas prospectors, but still very new to archaeology. The experts explain how the technology works in the context of this particular site, identifying distinct areas that stand out from the sand all around them. You can’t help but share their excitement as they identify first the exit point of the tunnel, then other points along the expected route of the tunnel which decisively confirm the find.

But the greatest triumph of this program, in my opinion, is the involvement throughout of the children of the escapees. They’re the ones who explain the Burning Brigade’s function, the horror their fathers experienced, how it haunted them for the rest of their lives. This is more than an effective framing device. The whole point of the Burning Brigade was to obliterate all the evidence of Nazi mass-murder, culminating in one last mass-murder of the Burning Brigade members themselves. Once they were dead, there would be nobody left to remember the Nazi atrocities in the Ponar forest. They escaped not just to save their lives, but so that someone would be alive to tell the tale.

The children of the survivors telling the stories they’d heard from their fathers and then being presented with all the evidence discovered by the archaeologists and researchers confirming those stories is not only deeply moving, but a final defeat of the Nazi attempt to cover up their crimes.

In conclusion, watch this show.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Court Report – Aethelmearc Academy of the Rapier, April 15th

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2017-04-20 19:07

Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Marcus & Margerite, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of Aethelmearc Academy of the Rapier, April 15th, Anno Societatis LI, in the Shire of Coppertree. As recorded by Don Po Silvertop the Rogue, Scarlet Guard Herald.

In the early afternoon:

Her Majesty called before her Baron Daniel del Cavallo and presented him with replacement award medallions, for those which had been lost.  In so doing, Her Majesty remarked on the curious absence of any recognition for His Excellency’s Service and made him a Companion of the Order of the Keystone as well.

Her Majesty then (with some trepidation) invited Her Order of the White Scarf to attend her.  She spoke of the Order’s constant activity throughout the Kingdom, but noted that the task really required further expansion of the Order’s numbers.  She then requested the presence of Lord Jacob Martinson, and spoke of his prowess and service both during his tenure as former Queen’s Champion and afterward, and then she inducted him as a Companion of the Order.  (Scroll in progress, Calligraphy and Illumination by Countess Anna Leigh, Words by Don Po Silvertop the Rogue).

Video courtesy of Lord Cyrus Augur.

Court was then suspended.

In the late afternoon:

Her Majesty announced the winner of the day’s bearpit tourney, Master Benedict Fergus atte Mede, speaking of a wager between Herself and Her Excellency Baroness Desiderata Drake.

Her Majesty then sought to be attended by Marcellus Titus Cincinatus, and requested he inform the Court of a recent heroic event at school in which his quick thinking and willingness to take responsibility in a crisis assisted others, and named him as Her inspiration for the day, and bestowed upon him a Golden Escarbuncle

Finally Her Majesty brought forward Lady Mair the Pavilion Rider, who had volunteered upon short notice to act as Mistress of the Lists for the day’s tourney.  Her Majesty Thanked Lady Mare for her efforts and then thanked all who had labored, teaching and marshaling, to make the day possible.

There being no further business, the Court of Her Majesty was closed.

Faithfully submitted,

Don Po Silvertop the Rogue

Scarlet Guard Herald

Photo credit to: Lady Aerin Wen

Categories: SCA news sites

Model looms found in ancient tomb in China

History Blog - Wed, 2017-04-19 23:21

An archaeological survey of a subway construction site in Chengdu, Sichuan province, southwestern China, unearthed a tomb containing four model looms. It dates to the reigns of the Han Dynasty Emperors Jingdi (157 to 141 B.C.) and Wudi (141 to 88 B.C.). The tomb is 24 feet long, 16 feet wide and 9 feet high and made of painted wood. It is divided into five chambers, a full-length burial chamber above, four small chambers underneath. Archaeologists discovered the remains of a woman about 50 years of age. While the jade seal on her coffin was broken, likely by tomb robbers not long after the burial, her name can still be read on it: Wan Dinu.

It was in one of the four rooms under the burial chamber that the model looms were found. Made of wood and bamboo, the model looms have preserved cinnabar-dyed red silk threads and brown silk threads on the beams. Each of the models is to scale, about 1/6th the size of their full-size cousins, and come with an array of accessories and operators which are also about 1/6th life-sized. There are tools for warping, rewinding and weft winding and 15 carved figurines including weavers (four men) and their assistants (nine women). The weavers are about 10 inches high and are depicted in action poses, warping, rewinding and weft winding, just as their real-life counterparts would do using the tools also included in the loom tableau. The figurines all have individual names written on the breast, which means they were probably representations of actual weavers and their assistants.

The largest of the four looms is 33 inches long, 10 inches wide and 20 inches high, about the size of a toy piano, but its historical significance is oversized.

“We are very sure that the loom models from Chengdu are the earliest pattern looms around the world,” said the study’s lead researcher, Feng Zhao, the director of the China National Silk Museum in Hangzhou, China, and a professor at Donghua University in Shanghai.

It’s thought that the earliest looms date to China’s Neolithic age, including looms found in China’s eastern Zhejiang province: an approximately 8,000-year-old loom from the Kuahuqiao site; and a roughly 7,000-year-old loom found at the Hemudu site, Zhao said. Other looms include pieces of Egyptian creations from about 4,000 and 3,400 years ago, respectively, and Greek looms illustrated on vases dating to about 2,400 years ago, the researchers said.

However, unlike their predecessors, pattern looms are used to weave a “complex kind of textile,” Zhao told Live Science in an email. Weavers used this type of loom to create patterns by stringing up the weft (the crosswise yarn on the loom) and weaving the warp (the longitudinal yarn that is passed over and under the weft) through it, he said.

These model looms are replicas in miniature of a technology that revolutionized silk manufacture in the 3rd century, making possible the creation of the famed Han Dynasty Shu jin silks, textiles that were traded across Europe, Asia and the Levant via the Silk Road.

The fascinating paper on the discovery, the reconstruction of the looms, how they were operated and their historical meaning has been published in the journal Antiquity and can be read in its entirety free of charge here.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Unofficial Court Report: Last Court of Brion III and Anna III

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2017-04-19 17:16

On the 1st of April, A.S. LI, also numbered 2017 in the common era, Their Majesties Brion III and Anna III traveled to the Barony of Dragonship Haven, there to witness the Coronation of Their Heirs. That morning, Their Majesties opened their Last Court of the reign.

Lord Alexandre Saint Pierre was called forward. Praising his skills as a calligrapher and artist, Their Majesties called for the Order of the Laurel and bade Alexandre to sit vigil and contemplate whether he would accept a place in that Order, his answer to be given that evening.

Cosimo de Venezia and Lady Elaine Howys of Morningthorpe were called forward and recognised as Master Bowmen.

Mistress Mercedes Vera de Calafia was called forward. Though she was absent, Her Majesty bestowed upon Mercedes her Queen’s Award of Courtesy for her exemplary behaviour as Kingdom Seneschal.

Their Majesties called for Lord John fitz Thomas and Lady Janna von Guggisberg. For their good works as event stewards for King’s and Queen’s Bardic and Arts & Sciences Champions, they were awarded the Order of the Burdened Tyger.

Laurence Vaughn was summoned before the Throne. In recognition of his skills as a fighter and winner of the year’s Novice Tourney, in addition to service to multiple baronies, he was awarded the Order of the Silver Tyger. A scroll will be forthcoming.

The Crown called for Baron Duncan Kerr. They praised his skill with horses and at the equestrian games and named him the premier of the new Order of the Silver Mantle. He was given a scroll calligraphed by Mistress Nest verch Tangwistel with illumination by Melina al-Andalusiyya.

Mistress Eloise of Coulter was called for and Their Majesties spoke of her attention to detail in researching and practicing her clothing, lifestyle, and mannerisms and awarded her the King’s Order of Excellence. She was given a small girdle book created by Mistress Sarra the Lymner with words by Sir Jan Janowicz Bogdanski.

Master Rowen Cloteworthy and Mistress Suba al-Hadid were announced as the next Baron and Baroness of Bhakail.

Their Majesties called for Lady Nastassiia Ivanova Medvedeva called Tasha. They spoke of her work as record-keeper and webminister for the reign and for that and more gave her a Court Barony. She was given a scroll created by Mistress Saerlaith ingen Chennetig with words by Sir Lucius Aurelius Varus.

Mistress Kayleigh MacWhyte was summoned and praised by the Crown for her work as royal scheduler and scribe. She was given an Augmentation of Arms and a scroll created by Lord Vettorio Antonello.

The Crown next called for Mistress Lucie Lovegood and Baroness Isabelle de Montreuil sur Mer. They were each given a small gift.

Before she was dismissed, Their Majesties had further words for Baroness Isabelle de Montreuil sur Mer. For her excellent work as Head Lady in Waiting, she was given an Augmentation of Arms, with a scroll illuminated by Lady Palotzi Marti and calligraphed by Mistress Eleanor Catlyng.

Their Majesties called for Duchess Katherine Stanhope and Duke Randall of the Dark, thanked them for their friendship and gave them gifts as a token of that friendship.

Lady Anne de Basillon, Lady Audrye Bennett, Lord Hugh Tauerner, Rhiannon Grimolfsdottir, Lord Robert of Angelspur, and Baron Robert dwe Makmayane were called before the Crown. For their efforts assisting the reign, they were each presented with tokens of the Queen’s Award of Esteem.

Next, King Brion called for Elian of the Fellswood, Lady Marian Kirkpatrick, Agnes de la Court, and Baroness Alana of Skye. For each of their efforts, they were given tokens of the King’s Award of Esteem.

His Majesty called for Lady Cellach Dhonn Inghean Mhic an Mhadaidh, Baron Cristoff Gockerhan von Loch called Clockwork, Master Ryan McWhyte, Duchess Aikaterine Fitzwilliam, Baron Duncan Kerr, Baroness Jeanne de Robin, and Master Rowen Cloteworthy. For their service to His Majesty and the reign, each was awarded the King’s Cypher.

Queen Anna then called for Lady Serafina della Torre and Lady Fortune St. Keyne. For their service to Her Majesty, they were awarded the Queen’s Cypher.

King Brion called Lady Clarice d’Allaines le Comte and Lord Corwin Blackthorn before the throne. In recognition and thanks for their service, they were awarded the King’s Cypher.

Thereafter, Her Majesty called for Lady Sitt al-Gharb ha-niqret Khazariyya called Raven, Lord Johannes Mikkinen, Lord Grimolfr Skulason, Lord Alaric Godricsson, Lord Hassan ibn Abd al-Malik, and Lady Yasemin bint al-Hajjar. For all their service to the Queen and the reign, they were each awarded the Queen’s Cypher.

The Crown asked for the attendance of Lord Agapios Cargos. For his exemplary service and comportment on the Queen’s Guard, he was presented with a Court Barony and Granted Arms. He was given a scroll to commemorate this, created by Mistress Fiona O’Maille ó Chuan Coille.

Finally, Their Majesties called for the Princes Royale, Lord Duncan Tarragon and Lord Nigel Tarragon. In recognition of all the young men gave, and gave up, for their parents’ reigns, each was given a Court Barony and a Grant of Arms. Both received scrolls crafted by Brion Rex and Anna Regina.

The main business of Court concluded, Brion turned to Anna and sang “You Will Always Be My Queen”. The audience could be heard quietly singing along with him on the chorus. Her Majesty was moved to tears.

Her Majesty then dismissed the retainers, ladies-in-waiting, and Queen’s Guard. The royal household now dismissed, the Crown called for Their Heirs. Prince Ioannes walked in by himself, then waited as his Princess, Honig, processed in with her retainers and ladies to the sound of drumming and a recorder solo by Lord Arne Ulrichsson. With Ioannes and Honig kneeling before them, King Brion then took the crown from Queen Anna’s head and he and Anna crowned Honig Empress. Brion then took the crown from his own head and he, Anna, and Empress Honig crowned Ioannes Emperor of the East. Now Duke Brion and Duchess Anna withdrew to much applause and thus began the coronation ceremony of Ioannes and Honig.

These are the events of the Court as I recall them. My thanks to all the heralds who helped with this reign, and all those other retainers, ladies in waiting, guards, scribes, and all those others who made the day and the reign the wonderful time it was.

Long live the King! Long live the Queen! Long live the East!

Pray know I remain,
For Crown and College,

– Master Rowen Cloteworthy

Filed under: Court Tagged: coronation, court report

New Baron and Baroness Announced for Bhakail

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2017-04-19 16:23

Photo by Mistress Philadelphia Brown, courtesy Master Rowen Cloteworthy

At the Last Court of Their Majesties Brion and Anna, it was announced that Master Rowen Cloteworthy and Jamilia al-Suba al-Hadid min Bhakail al-Sheikha al-Mu’allim (Mistress Suba al-Hadid) will be Invested as the next Baron & Baroness of Bhakail by Their Majesties Ioannes & Ro Honig on June 3rd at Bhakail Investiture and King’s & Queen’s Rattan Champions.

More information on the event can be found here: http://eastkingdom.org/EventDetails.php?eid=3163


Filed under: Announcements, Court, Events, Heavy List, Local Groups Tagged: Barony of Bhakail, Bhakail, Investiture

Pennsic 46 War Point Schedule Announced

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2017-04-19 10:20

The full schedule of war points for Pennsic 46 was announced on April 19th.

The daily schedule for the points can be found on the Pennsic web page here.

There are a total of 42 total points, including 17 for armored combat, 14 for rapier combat, 6 for archery, 2 for thrown weapons, 2 for arts & sciences, and 1 for volunteer service.

Detailed descriptions of the war point rules have not yet been posted, but are expected shortly.

Pennsic War 46 will take place July 28 through August 13 at Cooper’s Lake Campground in Slippery Rock, PA.

This year’s Pennsic War will be a contest between the Kingdoms of the East, the Middle, and Ealdormere and their allies vs Aethelmearc and Northshield and their allies.

You can pre-register to attend Pennsic War using this online form. Online paid registration will close on Saturday, June 17th.

Filed under: Announcements, Events, Pennsic Tagged: Pennsic, pennsic 46, pennsic war points, War Points

10 coffins, 8 mummies, 1,000 ushabtis found in Luxor tomb

History Blog - Tue, 2017-04-18 23:36

Archaeologists have discovered a tomb containing 10 coffins, eight mummies and more than 1,000 funerary statues in the Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor. The team had to work hard to get to this point, removing more than 450 cubic meters of debris before reaching the door to the entrance of the tomb.

The tomb is T-shaped with an open courtyard leading to a rectangular hall which is connected to a second chamber by a corridor. The longitudinal chamber held four painted wood coffins, the inner chamber six. In a shaft nine meters (30 feet) long, archaeologists found more Ushabti figurines, plus wooden masks and the handle from a sarcophagus lid.

While the human remains are in varying states of decay — from intact linen-wrapped mummies to disarticulated skeletonized body parts — the coffins are largely in good condition. Some are broken, but the rich polychrome paint in combinations of yellow, red, blue, green and black is still vibrant.

First built to house the mortal remains of an 18th Dynasty city judge named Userhat who lived around 3,500 years ago, the tomb was converted into a duplex in the 21st Dynasty. That means the artifacts and human remains do not all belong to Userhat or members of his family/retinue. The mummies and wooden sarcophagi found in the second chamber were placed there at that time. The inner chamber also held more ushabti funerary figurines made of faience, terra cotta and wood and a group of clay pots painted in patterns of orange and green.

The tomb was opened to add more mummies during the 21st Dynasty, about 3,000 years ago, to protect them during a period when tomb-robbing was common, [head of the archeological mission Mostafa] Waziri said at the site.

“It was a surprise how much was being displayed inside” the tomb, Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany told reporters outside the tomb.

Ushabti figurines represented the servants and workers who would follow the deceased into the afterlife and serve him there as they had served him in this world. The discovery of so many of them at one time is of great historical significance. And there could well be more to come. The whole tomb has not been fully excavated yet. There is at least one more room which archaeologists are working on now.

Nevine el-Aref, the spokeswoman for the antiquities ministry, said: “there is evidence and traces that new mummies could be discovered in the future.”


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

How to Ride Before a Prince

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2017-04-18 22:20

THL Maeve ni Siurtain previews a new part of the Kingdom Equestrian Competition this June. Based on figures and patterns from period riding manuals, the competitors will take part in a Ride Before a Prince. This specific competition was a war point at Gulf Wars this year.

Beautiful horses caparisoned in colorful fabric at an event are definitely eye catching.

This year at Melee Madness, where the Kingdom Equestrian Championship will be held, there will be a twist to the competition. At the 50 Year celebration there was a class/competition called “Riding before a Prince” which is based on the writings of late 16th century equestrian masters.

The King’s Champion, THL Aaliz de Gant has tasked the competitors to not only practice their martial skills, but their unity with the horse they ride. Harmony between horse and rider, especially at a gallop made the rider accomplished in period.

Just as the fencing community is using the instruction of period fencing masters, so now the equestrian community has begun exploring the writings of Pluvinel, Markham, and Grisone. In what I have read of the fencing masters, there are specific stances and movements of the body. It is the same in riding; there are descriptions of how a rider should sit on a horse, hold one’s hands, and handle the reins. There are patterns to follow, which can be ridden at any gait. Some of them look very strange, with circles and spirals (called “the snail) as well as halts with the horse turning on its front or back legs.

For the Ride Before a Prince, the riders will choose the movements that will best show the horse’s abilities (and their own). These figures will be done to music, much like modern day freestyle dressage tests. This part of the competition will show off not only the rider’s skill in handling their horse, but also the horse’s talents.

So come watch and be entertained by the hard work and harmony of the Kingdom’s riders on Saturday morning at Melee Madness!

Categories: SCA news sites

Napoleon’s first love captured in a ring

History Blog - Mon, 2017-04-17 23:36

Before he was General Bonaparte, before he was First Consul, before he was Emperor of the French, even before the French Revolution that made it possible for a Corsican nobody to reach such dizzying heights of power, Napoleon Bonaparte was a wet-behind-the-ears graduate from the École Militaire in Paris. The first Corsican to graduate from the institution, Napoleon completed the program in one year instead of two (forced by a precipitous decline in his finances after the death of his father), so he was just 18 years old when he received his first commission as second lieutenant in the La Fère regiment in October 1785.

He was stationed in a garrison in Valence, southeastern France, where he was introduced to one Madame Grégoire du Colombier, a cultured, charming woman who saw promise in the young lieutenant and took him under her wing. From the memoirs of Emmanuel, Comte de Las Cases, who accompanied Napoleon to exile on Saint Helena and assiduously documented everything he said:

Madame du Colombier often foretold that [Napoleon] would be a distinguished man. The death of this lady happened about the time of the breaking out of the Revolution: it was an event in which she took great interest, and in her last moments was heard to say that if no misfortune befell young Napoleon, he would infallibly play a distinguished part in the events of the time. The Emperor never spoke of Madame du Colombier but with expressions of the tenderest gratitude; and he did not hesitate to acknowledge, that the valuable introductions and superior rank in society which she procured for him had great influence over his destiny.

She could have had a more personal connection to the future emperor. In early 1786, she invited him to stay at her estate at Basseaux, outside Valence, where he met her daughter Charlotte Pierrette Anne, known as Caroline. Napoleon courted Caroline du Colombier that summer and there were intimations that he might even propose. That didn’t happen, but Napoleon remembered their sweet young love until the end of his life. The Comte de Las Cases again:

Napoleon conceived an attachment for Mademoiselle du Colombier, who, on her part, was not insensible to his merits. It was the first love of both; and it was that kind of love which might be expected to arise at their age and with their education. “We were the most innocent creatures imaginable,” the Emperor used to say; “we contrived little meetings together; I well remember one which took place on a midsummer morning, just as daylight began to dawn, it will scarcely be believed that all our happiness consisted in eating cherries together.”

Napoleon moved on from Valence, following his career star. Caroline married Monsieur Gamparet de Bressieux, a much older former army captain, in 1792 when General Bonaparte was on his Egyptian campaign. They stayed in touch, corresponding occasionally over the years. In 1804, now Emperor Napoleon I replied warmly to a letter from Caroline de Bressieux, offering to help her brother and herself. Shortly thereafter he appointed her lady in waiting to Madame Mère, his mother Letizia Bonaparte.

Madame Junot, the Duchesse D’Abrantès, described Madame de Bressieux at court after her appointment as Letizia’s lady in waiting.

She was both witty and good and her manners were at once gentle and agreeable. I can very well understand the Emperor going to gather cherries with her at six o’clock in the morning merely to talk to her and with no less worthy motive. A thing that struck me the first time I saw her was the interest she seemed to take in the Emperor’s most trifling acts. She kept her eyes fixed upon him with an attention that could only come from the heart.

And that was a decade after their youthful romance had passed and they had married other people. One day, when Napoleon, his mother and Caroline were all together, he asked her who owned the Basseaux estate where they had spent their summer of love together. Caroline replied that her sister and brother-in-law lived there now. The Emperor expressed a desire to grant them any wish, in honor of his fond memories of the estate. Caroline declined in their name, assuring him that those happy memories were gift enough.

He said no more about it, but a few weeks later he presented Caroline with a token of his appreciation for all Basseaux had meant to him. It was a ring, a seemingly modest one, made of gilded bronze with a central bezel containing a miniature carved country scene under a glass cover. It was the carving, made of marine ivory, that made this ring a masterpiece. In exquisite detail, the scene depicted a group of country folk collecting fruit from trees under the shadow of an ancient temple. The fruits were, of course, cherries.

The ring stayed in Caroline’s family, a treasured heirloom, for more than 200 years. On Sunday, March 26th, the heirs sold this beautiful symbol of Napoleon before he was THE Napoleon at auction in Paris. The pre-sale estimate was 15,000-20,000 € ($16,000-21,000). It sold for 36,250 € ($38,580), a tribute to its artistry, yes, but more so the poignant sweetness of its history.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Spring Crown Combatants Announced!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2017-04-17 11:43

Unto the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, greetings from Kameshima Silver Buccle
Principal Herald.

Being the Roll of Combatants and Consorts vying for the title of Heirs to
the Sylvan Kingdom, the tournament to take place before Their Majesties
Timothy and Gabrielle upon the field at Sylvan Glen on the 13th of May,
Anno Societatis LII:

Duke Sven Gunnarsson for Duchess Siobhán inghean uí Liatháin
Duke Sir Malcolm Duncan MacEoghainn for Viscountess Rosalinde Ashworth
Duke Marcus Eisenwald for Countess Margerite Eisenwald
Duke Sir Titus Scipio Germanicus for Countess Anna Leigh
Count Sir Andreas Morgan for Countess Kallista Morgunova
Earl Sir Thomas Byron of Haverford and Countess Sir Ariella of Thornbury,
each for the other
Baron Sir Maghnus an Chnoic na n’Iora for Brehyres Gwendolyn the Graceful
Sir Angus MacBain for Maîtresse Yvianne de Castel d’Avignon
Baron Sir Murdoch Bayne for Baroness Rioghnach ni Rose
Sir Finn Marland O’Shannon for Lady Sigrid Wilhelm
Baron Sir Alonzio of the Peacemakers for Baroness Alexandra dei Campagnella
Sir Gareth Kincaid for Mistress Juliana Delamare
THL Rouland of Willowbrooke and Mistress Jenna MacPherson of the Lion’s
Tower, each for the other
Master Tigernach mac Cathail for Dame Bronwyn MacFhionghuin
Lord Gregory Hillson for Dame Kateryna Ty Isaf
Sir Hauoc the Wild for Raven Hildebrand
Sir Arnþorr inn sterki for Lady Ceirech Na Hinsi
Sir Marek Viacheldrago for Lady Sybilla Julianna Daetwyller
Baroness Beatrix Krieger and THL Thorsol Solinauga, each for the other
THL Lothar Hügelmann for Baroness Elizabeth Arrowsmyth
THL Madison Morai for Lady Stasha Sebastian
Lord Leo Dietrich for Baroness Aemelia Soteria
Lord Arden Scot of Clann Scot for Lady Dierdre Scot of Clann Scot
Lord Cormacc mac Gilla Bridghe for Lady Elena de la Palma
Lord Oliver Sutton for Lady Grainne Shionnach
Lord Cheng Tai Ren for Dai Li
Cid Hiyo for Diana Hiyo
Salvidore Moro di Medici for Kaelena Kobor

The field stands at 31 combatants.

Please direct any questions, concerns or corrections to me off-list at
ae.herald@aethelmearc.org. Thank you!

In Honor and Service,
Kameshima Zentarō Umakai
Silver Buccle Principal Herald, Kingdom of Æthelmearc

Categories: SCA news sites

5 Archbishops of Canterbury found under a church floor

History Blog - Sun, 2017-04-16 23:05

The mortal remains of five Archbishops of Canterbury have been discovered in a hidden chamber underneath the floor of the deconsecrated church of St Mary-at-Lambeth in London. The surprise find was made last year during renovations to the building, now the home of the Museum of Garden History, but was kept quiet to protect the crypt until it was stabilized.

Contractors discovered the secret entrance to the crypt when removing some York stone pavers to even out the treacherous floor and make the altar area wheelchair accessible. Lifting the flagstones, contractors found the entrance to a passageway with a staircase going down into the darkness. They attached a cellphone to a long stick and filmed the brick-lined vault. They were shocked to discover it was crammed from floor to ceiling with lead coffins, 30 of them. One of the coffins, they noted, had a red and gold pointed hat perched upon it, the mitre of an Archbishop.

Two of the coffins had nameplates – one for Richard Bancroft (in office from 1604 to 1610) and one for John Moore (1783 to 1805) whose wife, Catherine Moore, also had a coffin plate.

Bancroft was the chief overseer of the publication of a new English translation of the Bible – the King James Bible – which began in 1604 and was published in 1611.

According to Mr Mount, St Mary-at-Lambeth’s records have since revealed that a further three archbishops were probably buried in the vault: Frederick Cornwallis (in office 1768 to 1783), Matthew Hutton (1757 to 1758) and Thomas Tenison (1695 to 1715). [...]

Also identified from coffin plates was the Dean of Arches John Bettesworth (who lived from 1677 to 1751) – the judge who sits at the ecclesiastical court of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Because the church had been extensively rebuilt in the Victorian era, nobody thought there was still a crypt underneath it. The church is so close to the Thames that any underground space would have been dangerously flood-prone, and it was believed that any vaults under the church were cleared out by the Victorians and filled with soil. That was almost true. Most of the vaults were cleared of their coffins and filled in, but one of them, the crypt underneath the altar, the holiest location in the church and thus the burial place for multiple Archbishops of Canterbury, was left alone.

The church of St Mary-at-Lambeth has a very long and storied connection to the Archbishops of Canterbury. Edward the Confessor commissioned the construction of the first Westminster Abbey in 1042. The Romanesque church was still being built when Edward’s sister Goda had a more modest wooden church built across the river on her manor of Lambeth. St Mary’s was rebuilt in stone a few decades later. By the end of the 12th century the manor of Lambeth belonged to the Archbishop of Canterbury, which elevated its profile considerably. The Archbishop’s residence, Lambeth Palace, was built next door in 1197, and St. Mary’s graduated from the parish church of a small manor to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s palace church.

Almost entirely rebuilt in 1851, St Mary-at-Lambeth was used for burials until 1854. An estimated 26,000 burials took place there, nearly 16,000 of them in just two decades (1790-1810). Prominent residents were buried at St Mary’s. There are three Grade II listed graves in the churchyard, those of Captain Bligh of The Mutiny on the Bounty fame, pioneering plant collector and royal gardener John Tradescant and artificial stone manufacturer John Sealy.

Fallen into disrepair, its parishioners depleted by neighborhood blight, St Mary-at-Lambeth was deconsecrated in 1972 and was slated for demolition to make way for a parking lot. It was saved from that dire fate by one Rosemary Nicholson, a gardening history buff who had sought out the dilapidated church to visit the overgrown and neglected tomb of John Tradescant. She appealed directly to the Archbishop of Canterbury and with her husband John founded the Tradescant Trust to rescue the church and burial ground. They were extraordinarily successful, raising money for much-needed repairs and securing a 99-year lease on the church and property from the Diocese of Southwark. The Trust gave St Mary-at-Lambeth new life as the Museum of Garden History, the first of its kind in the world.

The Garden Museum closed in October 2015 for a major £7.5 million ($9,400,000) refurbishment. It will reopen on May 22nd with a new glass panel in the floor that will allow visitors to view the staircase into the crypt. The coffins, which have been left untouched in the chamber, will not be accessible.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Details Regarding the Upcoming Kings and Queens Archery Champions

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2017-04-16 10:18

Kings and Queens Archery Champions

Panteria (Shire of Panther Vale)

5/26 through 5/29

Peter the Red, Queen’s Champion,  and I, Godric of Hamtun, King’s Champion, would like to invite you all to the 2017 edition of the East Kingdom K&Q Archery Championship, which will be held in the Shire of Panther Vale at their Panteria event. The archery competition will be held on Sunday May 28th and the following schedule has been tentatively approved. The ranges will be set up on Saturday evening May 27th. Peter the Red and I will need marshals to help us run the event. Please contact me at godricofhamtun@yahoo.com if you are a marshal and can give of your time.

On Sunday:

  • 9:30-10:30am: Open warm ups, bow inspections and competitors sign in.
  • 10:45am: A word from their Royal Majesties.
  • 11:00am: Competition starts with 3 mass shoots of varying distances and times.
  • Noon-12:30: Lunch
  • 12:30-2:30pm: Competition restarts with 10 station roving range.
  • 2:30-2:45pm: Top 16 archers are selected.
  • 2:45-4:00pm: Finals to determine Queen’s Champion of Archery; King’s Champion of Archery is chosen by the King. First shoot will take the field from 16 to 8 competitors, the second shoot will take the field from 8 to 4 competitors, the third shoot will take field 4 to 2 competitors and the final shoot will determine the Queen’s Champion of Archery.

This is a very ambitious schedule and I would very much like to stay as close to it as possible. Please, if you are competing, try and be at the range before 10:30am on Sunday to be inspected and to sign in for the tournament. This should be a very exciting tournament. Our theme for this year is The Princess Bride.

We look forward to seeing many on you at this event it should be a very fun and challenging shoot to determine our next champions. Thank you all!

In service

Master Godric of Hamtun

King’s Champion of Archery

Filed under: Archery Tagged: archery, King and Queen's Champions

You have 3 days to see Liverpool’s glorious Minton tile floor

History Blog - Sat, 2017-04-15 23:25

St George’s Hall in downtown Liverpool is a grand Neoclassical building constructed between 1841 and 1854. Located across the street from the Lime Street railway station, St George’s Hall was designed first and foremost to host Liverpool’s triennial music festivals, plus concerts, dances and other cultural activities. The Liverpool Corporation raised funds for the new building by selling subscriptions, and in 1839 held a design contest to choose an architect for the hall.

The winner was Harvey Lonsdale Elmes, a 25-year-old architecture prodigy who also happened to win another contest held at the same time to design a new building for the Civil and Crown Courts. He suggested both projects be combined, and thus St George’s Hall became the only combined concert venue, ballroom and courthouse in the country, possibly the world.

The Great Hall, a vast space 169 feet by 77 feet with 82-foot ceilings, was lavishly decorated with monumental red granite columns, statues and tunnel vaulting. But its greatest glory is the floor, a riot of color composed of more than 30,000 tiles depicting Liverpool-related motifs including the liver bird, the symbol of the city, and maritime imagery like Neptune, tridents, dolphins and sea nymphs. The floor was installed in 1854, the jewel in the crown of St George’s Hall. It is today the largest, most intricate example of a Minton tile floor.

Founded in 1845, Minton, Hollins & Company specialized in decorative tiles for the floors and walls of churches, public buildings and private homes. Minton’s encaustic tiles — ceramic tile with multiple colors created by different colors of clay rather than different glazes — were all the rage in the Victorian era. They were considered the epitome of beauty and durability and won gold medal upon gold medal at trade shows across the globe. There are Minton encaustic tile floors in the Palace of Westminster, the Victoria & Albert Museum, prestigious hotels, elegant mansions and even in the United States Capitol.

St George’s Hall only enjoyed the full glory of its Minton tile floor for a decade. A wooden covering was added in the 1860s to make it more comfortable for dances and other events. This reduced the wear and tear from thousands of foxtrotting feet over the decades, but it also left the tile unmaintained, not to mention hidden away. The building was all but abandoned in the 1980s when the courts moved to a new building. With no money for ongoing maintenance, the great neoclassical building, widely considered one of the most spectacular examples of the period in the world, rapidly deteriorated.

In the 1990s funds were raised to repair parts the building, and in the early 2000s a major refurbishment project saved St George’s Hall. In 2007, the Grade I listed building opened to the public once again, restored to its former splendor. The Minton floor, however, was deemed too fragile to expose to all those feet again. It was covered with protective wooden panels which are very rarely removed. Sections of the floor received the first thorough restoration only in 2015.

If you’d like to see the greatest extant Victorian encaustic tile floor, you have a brief window to do so. The floor will be uncovered and open to visitors only until Wednesday, April 18th. The entrance fee is £2.50 to view the floor from a viewing platform. There are also Walk the Floor tours (£10) and a Night on the Tiles option (£12, including a flute of prosecco).


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

The Aquamanile: A Whimsical Way to Proper Table Manners

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2017-04-15 20:56

Elska á Fjárfelli of the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn shares with us one of her entries into the Ice Dragon Pentathalon.

As seen at the Ice Dragon Pentathlon this weekend.

As part of my research into medieval soap I stumbled onto the ritual of hand washing at the table, and the use of whimsical pitchers to pour the water to do so. As black soap is not all that visually exciting, a beautiful medieval aquamanile reproduction would be the perfect eye candy for my A&S displays. Except all the ones I found available were in Europe, and as shipping is worrisome and prohibitively expensive, I took the plunge and decided to build my own.

An aquamanile, from the Latin words for water (aqua) and hand (manus), is an animal- or human-shaped vessel used for washing the hands. Medieval European examples date from the 12th C through the 15th C and, apart from curious shapes, have two water openings, one for pouring and one for filling, and a handle. According to one source, the name aquamanile for the vessel was not invented until the 19th C.; the medieval name for the aquamanile was lavoratorium, and the bowl receiving the water was the manilia. But as most resources including the MET designate these vessels as aquamanile, I will do the same.

From Francis Seager’s School of Virtue (1557) comes this poem to direct children to bring their parents water to wash when clearing the table after a meal:

Then on the table                     attend with all diligence,
It for to void,                           when done have thy parents.
Each side of the cloth               do thou turn in;
Folding it up,                           at the higher end begin.
A clean towel then                   on the table spread,
The towel wanting,                  the cloth take instead.
The basin and ewer                 to the table then bring,
In place convenient,                their pleasure abiding.
When thou shalt see                 them ready to wash,
The ewer take up,                    and be not too rash
In pouring out water               more than will suffice.
Chatto, 1908

The aquamanile from Castle Hoensbroek which was found in the castle moat. The figure probably represents a ram. This aquamanile is dated to the mid 14th century and decorated with green-tin glaze.

The hundreds of surviving examples show the popularity of aquamanilia during the Middle Ages. The aquamanile was a sculptural vessel, often cast in copper alloy using the lost-wax method, and made in many forms such as lions, griffins, horses, unicorns, stags, dragons and even men. Aquamanilia were important items for religious hand washing rituals, but were also a luxurious show piece at a Lord’s table. For a more humble clientele pottery aquamanilia were available, evident by their mention in two inventories of medieval citizens in the city of Deventer, the Netherlands. Regular sets of ewers and bowls are found in many inventories, but the aquamanile surely is the pinnacle of medieval hand washing equipment.

Animal shaped aquamanilia were not a new idea. Late Roman, early Byzantine, and Islamic cultures had a vibrant tradition of hollow-cast vessels in animal form. Although late Roman and early Byzantine examples were made to contain oil rather than water, they could be seen as precursors of medieval aquamanila in how they were made, as well as in the use of animal forms. Islamic aquamanilia could have been among the luxury items brought to the West through diplomatic gift exchange, trading routes, or even as booty from the Crusades. Western European metalworkers, proficient in the casting of solid objects, relearned a set of skills that had been lost in the West since antiquity when adapting the designs of Islamic hollow-cast vessels to create aquamanilia.

Example of a copper alloy Dragon aquamanile from The Metropolitan Museum, which has one of the largest and most important collections of aquamanilia in the world. This dragon aquamanile is supported by its legs in front and on the tips of its wings behind, and has a tail that curls up into a handle. It was filled through an opening in the tail, now missing its hinged cover. Water was poured out through the spout formed by the hooded or cowled figure held between the dragon’s teeth. In addition to its visual power, this aquamanile is distinguished by fine casting, visible in the carefully chased dragon’s scales and other surface details.

As is indicated by the name, aquamanilia were used by the general populace to wash the hands. Initially aquamanilia were used in both Christian and Jewish religious ritual, but by the 12th C the vessels start appearing outside the church, and at the dinner table. The aquamanile would be used in combination with a wide, shallow bowl, usually made of metal, and sometimes of pottery, and with towels made of linen, plain white or damask, which could be striped. (Heise 2007)

Sometimes guests were formally conducted to an adjoining lavatory accompanied by the music of a minstrel, but ordinarily they remained in the hall and received from the ewer the warm water; often perfumed with rose-leaves, thyme lavender, sage, chamomile, marjoram or orange peel, one or all. The water and the towels were, of course, presented in the order of social standing of the guest, and it was esteemed a signal honor thus to serve a king or a great noble. In accord with the dignity of the ceremony the water jug and the basin in great houses were often of gold or silver curiously wrought and enameled.
Edward Mead in his The English Medieval Feast, 1967. (Heise 2007)

There are several period scented water recipes available to use with the aquamanile. For instance Sir Hugh Plat’s Delightes for Ladies lists “An Excellent Washing Water Very Cheap” which is distilled and “Diverse sorts of sweet handwaters made suddenly or extempore with extracted oils of spices.” which uses extracted essential oils. Another way to make scented water would be by infusion as suggested by Le Menagier de Paris, a 14th century cook- and housekeeping book, where a description is given for water used to wash the hands:

Pour faire eaue a laver mains sur table, mectez bouillir de la sauge, puis coulez l’eaue et faictes reffroidier jusques a plus que tiede. Ou vous mectez comme dessus comomille et marjolaine, ou vous mectez du romarin, et cuire avec l’escorche d’orenge. Et aussi feuilles de lorier y sont bonnes.”

“To make water for washing hands at table: Boil sage, then strain the water and cool it until it is a little more than lukewarm. Or use chamomile, marjoram or rosemary boiled with orange peel. Bay leaves are also good.”

Scented washing water samples I have made:

Water scented with sage: home grown and dried sage leaves, boiled with rain water. Sage helps in keeping skin healthy, including skin inflammations like eczema.

Water scented with Rosemary and Orange: personally harvested rosemary (from the Carolina’s, where it is grown as an ornamental) and dried orange peels, boiled with rain water. The acids in orange peels act as a natural degreaser. Rosemary (family of sage) helps in keeping skin healthy and has an antibacterial effect.

My Project
Years ago I played in a university ceramics studio, but hand building sculptures was never really my thing. For the past few years I’ve stored a small kick wheel but had no kiln. After a friend of mine offered to bisque and glaze our projects my kid and I played around for a winter or two, with the idea to reclaim clay from our property and throw small Viking type cups, bowls & vessels. Trying to build an aquamanile is lightyears beyond that, and not a minor decision, so in the hope one would work I started work on three different shapes.

The Aquamanile from Castle Hoensbroek
I wanted to do this one as it was found in the Netherlands. But for the life of me I could not throw a pitcher to then narrow the waist without collapsing the clay, so this design bit the dust in the throwing stage. The bump on the rear of this ram seems to indicate it was thrown as one shape, with that being the plugged neck.

Aquamanile in the shape of a stag
Found in Rye, UK and dated to the 14th C. It is 24 cm high and 35.5 cm long and made from red earthenware with lead glaze. The body is tubular, the antlers lie back to form the handle, and the hind legs are missing. The body seems to be made from a large tubular vessel with a smaller vase chest and a bud vase head.

Aquamanile in the shape of a ram
This aquamanile is assumed to be from Scarborough, England and made between 1250 to 1350 CE. It is made from earthenware with green glaze and measures 23.9 cm by 29.2 cm by 13.3 cm. It seems to be made from two larger jars, with a small bud vase as the head and a separately thrown neck as the water intake. It likely is missing its horns, from the absence of glaze on the sides of the head.

Woodcut by Jost Amman, 1568

Short Glossary:
Bisque: The first stage of heating clay. Bisque dry means the object is ready to be bisqued. A clay object first is bisqued heated so it is hard, then glaze is added and it is heated again to melt the glaze. So each glazed piece is heated twice, once to harden, and once to glaze.
Leather Hard: letting clay dry for a while (often overnight) to partially dry out to a stage where it will be sturdy enough to withstand adding things onto it, like handles, legs etc.
Kiln: the oven clay is fired or heated in (I borrow the use of a friend’s kiln).
Slip: very watered down clay which can be used as glue.
Score, scoring: drawing lines into the clay with a sharp object to increase the surface of where two pieces of clay will be attached. Slip is added to cover the inscribed lines to soften the clay for maximal stickiness and thus adherence.
Wheel: the apparatus clay is thrown on. A heavy weight is kicked around an axle with a small tray at the top, the heavy weight keeps the small tray turning with just enough time between kicks to throw shapes out of clay. I use a mechanical kick wheel which looks like and works very similar to the kick wheels used in medieval times.

Possible Way of Assembly of the Stag

The Ram Aquamanile

Some Thoughts:
Reconstructing from museum photographs is not straight-forward, especially in this case as the stag is photographed in profile. As no detail is shown from a top view, reconstruction of the handle requires a bit of guesswork and a lot of careful scrutiny of the original image. In this case: as aquamanilia are expected to have two water holes, a small spout and a larger intake, where would the intake be? Is the handle made of one antler with one row of points, as it would seem from the single row visible, or two?

Interpretation found on the internet. Single antler and no water in-take hole.








Original from the British Museum.

I disagree with this interpretation for the following reasons:

About the antlers: I think there are two staves with two rows of points. There is a slight highlight [1] on the bottom of the front antler with a darker line behind it and I think that darker line is the bottom of the back antler, indicating there are two staves.

There is one row of antler points visible. I think that is coincidence: the top two happen to have been broken off at some point and the lower ones happen to be hiding behind the front antler (like they are in the photograph of my reproduction). Two oval break points are visible at [2] and [3], the right shape for a point and most telling: missing the glaze.

About the water intake: Aquamanilia are supposed to have both a spout and a water in-take, but where is it here? The only place that makes sense would be at the bottom of the antlers, hiding in between. Therefore I interpret the bump at [5] to be the top rim of the water intake, hiding behind the two horizontal last antler points [4], one on each side (another reason to need two antler staves). From the very similar profiles on my version and the original version I am fairly confident this interpretation makes the most sense.

Mine seems to be bit chunkier as the original as I am not proficient at throwing thin, plus I worried too small of a footprint for the bottom antlers, which doubles as a handle, would break too easily.

The finished interpretation; top view.

Ready for first use, with the matching bowl.


Amman, Jost (1568) Panoplia omnium lliberalium mechanicarum (Book of Trades); Der Haffner (The Potter), one of 133 woodcut book illustrations. Frankfurt: Sigmund Feierabend. The British Museum.

Chatto, Edith Rickert Francis Seager’s School of Virtue (1557) part of the Babees Book:

Medieval Manners for the Young: Done into Modern English from Dr. Furnivall S. Texts, p.151 London / New York: Duffield & Co., 1908

Greco, Gina L. & Rose, Chrisine M. (ed.) The Good Wife’s Guide (Le Ménagier de Paris, 1393). Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009.

Heise, Jennifer (2007) Hygiene of the Middle Ages and Rennaissance, Volume One: Personal Grooming The Compleat Anachronist #136

Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET): Medieval Aquamanilia

Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET): Dragon aquamanile

Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET): Stag aquamanile

Plat, Sir Hugh (1609) Delightes for Ladies. London: printed by Peter Short.

St. Thomas Guild: Medieval Table Manners; the aquamanile from Castle Hoensbroek.

Virginia & Albert Museum (VA): Ram aquamanile

Waterdene, Chrestienne de: Facebook post Stag Aquamanile.



Categories: SCA news sites