Tutorial: How to pre-wash fabric

So, you’ve been shopping. You’ve got yourself some nice fabric which you’re planning to have turned into your brand new medieval clothing.

Purchases! Including two lengths of fabric for medieval clothes.

However, before you can cut your fabric out and sew it together you first need to pre-wash it. This tutorial will show you how.

Continue reading “Tutorial: How to pre-wash fabric”

Tutorial: A 14th Century hair and veil style

A popular fourteenth-century veil style is to have a pair of plaits framing your face which are visible under your veil.

Follow our tutorial to recreate it.

Continue reading “Tutorial: A 14th Century hair and veil style”

Guide: Medieval camp cooking

Cardiff Castle Garrison provides an authentic hot lunch cooked in our living history camp at many of our shows. For anyone interested in trying their hand at cooking for the group, or those who’d like to know a bit more about cooking authentically in camp, read on!

DSC_0066

Continue reading “Guide: Medieval camp cooking”

Guide: Modern foods unavailable in 14th Century Britain

Following on from our camp cooking guide, here is a list of common modern foods which were unavailable in fourteenth-century Britain. This list is by no means comprehensive, but is intended to cover most of the basics.

 

Continue reading “Guide: Modern foods unavailable in 14th Century Britain”

Show report: Bank holiday at Caerphilly Castle – 28th & 29th August

Garrison had a lovely time this August bank holiday with a show at the thirteenth-century Caerphilly Castle.

Craft, clothing, cooking, weapons and armour displays were provided for the public.

Please check out our photos below, and thanks to everyone who came and made it such a fun event!

Show report: Newport Ship Open Day – August 2016

We were delighted to return to the Newport Ship this month for their open day. Now in their new warehouse, this medieval ship is being painstakingly preserved and studied. Five hundred timbers had returned from freeze-drying at the York Archaeological Trust only two days before, so it was great to have a look at the progressing work.

A model of the 15th century ship
A model of the 15th century ship

We set up a range of displays for the public to help interpret medieval life including archery, weapons, armour, crafts and music. It is always great to make links between our displays and the archaeology at hand. For example, in showing medieval spinning and wool processing we could relate this to the sheep wool (potentially of Merino type [Mulville and Hunter Zooarch JISCMail 2003]) and other animal products that were found in the ship’s caulking and luting material; these included raw fibres, dyed fibres and woven material which were used in sealing the timbers and plugging leaks (Jones 2013, 4 & 10). The ship also had a silver coin inserted into a cut out in the stempost/keel join, potentially placed as a token of good fortune at the start of the ship’s construction. A largely 15th century (and thus contemporary) token or badge consists of a coin sealed inside a pewter purse (Spencer 1998; Spencer 1990, 116-117, 134-135, Figures 311-314c). One interpretation of these finds is that a belief existed that carrying a token of wealth increased your chances of attracting wealth to you.

We look forward to seeing the ship’s continued conservation and reassembly!

IMG_5816
Showing the bows, bolts and arrows.
IMG_5818
Crafts and crossbows being shown to visitors (and to Friends of the Newport Ship!).
IMG_5819
A box of spindles and wool.
IMG_5807
Displays of crafts and weapons, including the referenced purse-shaped pewter token.
IMG_5806
Crafts and musical instruments.

Jones, T. 2013. S.O.S. News from the Friends of the Newport Ship, 21.

Spencer, B. 1998. Museum of London Medieval Finds from Excavations in London 7: Pilgrim Souvenirs and Secular Badges. London: The Stationery Office.

Spencer, B. 1990. Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum Medieval Catalogue Part 2: Pilgrim Souvenirs & Secular Badges. Wiltshire: Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum.

Recipe: Skewers and Greens

For the second day of Melee at Cardiff Castle I wanted to cook something quick and simple.  I was inspired by “To the King’s Taste” (Lorna J. Sass 1975). Fresh summer vegetables are a frequent item in 14th century menus but there aren’t often recipes involving them as these dishes were too simple to be worth recording.

I used fresh carrots (found in the market by another member). These beautiful colours would have been usual to medieval people; orange carrots only became popular in the last couple of hundred years.

carrotss
Beautiful purple carrots. Before the enclosure and improvement movements in agriculture in the 18th century vegetables were grown in many more varieties that we use today.

I chopped the carrots and put them to boil in a big pot over a fire of split logs with a little flame and a lot of embers to boil gently.  I added salt to the water as with the group working outside all day a little extra salt is necessary.

While the carrots were cooking I started the meat. The sources suggest trimmings from preparing larger joints and offal be chopped very finely . As I was short of time I cheated (this may be a recurring theme) and used 1.6kg of beef mince.  I seasoned it with salt, pepper, herbs and about two level tsp of Poudre Douce, a mild spice mix. Every good chef would have their own version of this popular seasoning but it often contained cinnamon, ginger, grains of paradise, nutmeg, sugar and galangal.

meat
Kneading the mince helps it stick together on the skewers and mixes the seasoning in.

The meat was kneaded and shaped into sausages to put on the skewers. I soaked mine overnight so they didn’t catch fire.  To cook the meat I put the bakestone over a fire of hot embers to heat up and used a little butter to grease it and check the temperature. When it was sizzling I put the first batch of skewers on to cook.

cooking
Hiding your camera under a pot and taking pictures when there are no public around to see is an imperfect way to make a blog post. This is the cooking set up for the meat; I was unable to get pictures of the veg.

I added 1kg of frozen peas to the carrots and simmered them while I prepared the second batch of skewers.  Once the first batch were browned all over I swapped the second batch on to cook, drained the veg and added spinach, rocket, butter and pepper to it. I put a lid over the veg and knocked the fire down to let it steam in the heat from the pan until the meat was done.

food
A portion each of meat and veg; tasty and very filling.

I served it up as fairly as possible to the twelve we had in camp on Sunday and everyone said they enjoyed it very much.

Show report: Grand Medieval Melee at Cardiff Castle – 13th & 14th August

Another old favourite this weekend at Cardiff Castle’s Grand Medieval Melee: a show Garrison have been attending for many years. As usual, we had a wonderful time demonstrating crafts, clothing, arms and armour, and even had authentic music provided by one of our members. Have-A-Go archery was also a great hit with the public. Thanks so much to everyone who came along and made it such a special show for us.

NB: Garrison are going to be super-busy over the next couple of weeks. Please drop in and see us at the Newport Ship Open Day on 20th August, or at Caerphilly Castle on 28th and 29th August. See our event page for more detail.

Show report: Big Cheese at Caerphilly Castle – 30th & 31st July

It was another amazing year greeting the thousands of visitors who came to Caerphilly’s Big Cheese at the end of July.

The event is a long-running cultural celebration set in and around Caerphilly Castle, and featuring large numbers of traders, street entertainers, falconry and a traditional fun fair.

We provided have-a-go archery for members of the public, and craft, arms and armour and cooking displays.

See our pictures below:

 

Recipe: A vegetarian-friendly medieval dish

Vegetarian friendly Medieval dish – Cheesy lentils

Jayne Lutwyche sometimes produces authentic medieval meals at our events, cooked over our fire. This recipe, and the stewed lambs’ hearts one which will follow it, were served at Joust! in June 2016.

As Medieval cooks it’s often difficult to find interesting, veggie friendly meals which aren’t pottage-based. Last season we were experimenting with a great dish, which was simple, quick to cook, and delicious.

All you need are:

The amount you need varies, depending on how many are in your camp. But a rough two-to-one ratio lentils:cheese works.

  1. To prepare your dish soak your lentils/chickpeas the night before (alternatively buy canned versions, and ensure you store them in something authentic whilst in camp)
  2. Slice your cheese – as fine as you can as this helps it melt. Chunks also work.
  3. Get a mortar and pestle and grind a few pinches of black pepper. Other spices can be used – I’ve seen cinnamon recommended to give it a bit of an authentic kick.
  4. Add your cheese and lentils to a pot. To be very authentic consider using ceramic and placing it in the ashes of your camp fire. If you can’t do this a metal cauldron or pot will do.
  5. Stir occasionally, mixing in your pepper and spices.
  6. Cooking time is approximately 20 minutes.

Voila! Delicious – non-pottage – veggie dish or side.