Brass Care

Tips and instructions for caring for brass

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Annunciation – 25th of March

This month in the medieval world we celebrate not a saint – but the principle Marian (Cult of Mary) event; Solemnity of the Annunciation or ‘Festum incarnationis’ (feast of the incarnation). It is held on the 25th of March and documentation across the medieval and renaissance world show that it has been celebrated on this date from the 4th Century.

The celebration commemorates the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary to announce that she had been chosen to be the mother of Christ, Son of God. Mary was invoked as the compassionate intercessor and protector of humanity and for her courage, humility and gentleness.

The Cult of Mary grew in strength in the 12 and 13th Centuries and flourished from the 14th Centuries onwards. It is believed that the veneration of Mary and her status as the mediator to God and a source of refuge for man is one of the a major Tenant and driving force behind the Age of Chivalry with its concept of the honour of a lady. Where women had often been viewed as a source of evil, the growth of the age of chivalry and the flourishing of the cult of Mary helped to change this attitude.
For Mary there is no single shrine, rather there are literally thousands of Marian shrines across the medieval world. They celebrate an apparition or other miracle ascribed to her, and most are part of or the reason for pilgrimage routes.

There are a host of pilgrims badges associated with Mary and of the Annunciation, some of which are associated with a particular shrine (eg Our Lady Undercroft at Canterbury), and others which were universal symbols and could be bought at any shrine.

We carry a number of the most popular badges associated with Mary

Letter 'M' badge

Letter ‘M’

Madonna and Child badge

Madonna and Child

Fleur de Leys badge

Fleur de Leys

Our Lady of Walsingham badge

Our Lady of Walsingham

Our Lady Undercroft badge

Our Lady Undercroft

The Annunciation badge

The Annunciation

Virgin and Child badge

Virgin and Child

Walsingham garnet fleur badge

Walsingham garnet fleur

Winged Heart badge

Winged Heart

The Annunciation – Tommaso Masolino da Panicale 1423

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How to pickle eggs

Pickling is a very important part of medieval life. Preserving food to last the winter when one doesn’t have access to greenhouses or to aeroplanes capable of tranporting goods from the other side of the world.

Pickles need a dark consistent temperature during the pickling process. Pickling in medieval times would have been done in stoneware or in ceramics, with oil, or waxed linen covers to seal the tops.

Kept in a dark cool cupboard or cellar, it would have been safe until ready to eat.

Here’s a good redaction of one of the earliest written down picking sources – Compost from Forme of Cury
http://www.godecookery.com/goderec/grec5.htm

I’d post more links about the history and written sources, but someone has already done it, so I’ll link to them instead.
https://turnspitandtable.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/pass-the-pickled-eggs/

Medieval chickens don’t lay every day like modern chickens and they don’t lay in winter. So keeping eggs becomes important as a good source of protein during winter and as a way to save any excess eggs.

So here’s a simple and easy way to pickle eggs.

Things you will need
12 eggs
Steralised sealing jar (about 1 L)
600ml of apple cider vinegar
Pickling spices (You can buy a combination of spices called, surprising, “pickling spices” in most supermarkets. It’s dill, whole mustard, peppercorn….)

Firstly, hard boil those eggs. You want a long hard boil, about an hour to get them nice and hard. Make sure there’s plenty of water in the pot and the eggs are covered or they will explode.

Let the eggs cool and then peel them. An easy way to do this is to gently roll the eggs between your hand and the bench until it peels.

If there are any eggs where the yellow yolk breaks the surface of the white or is very close to the surface, put those aside to be eaten. If the yellow is too close to the surface, it won’t work well for the pickling.

Put the rest of the eggs into the jar.

Take a small saucepan and put the vinegar and the pickling spices in it. Let these boil together for about half an hour. Then pour the mix over the eggs and seal the jar.

If there is any left over liquid, you can use this as the base for a new pickling solution.

The eggs want about a month for pickling and are then good to eat within 6 months.

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Cleaning your linens

Want to know how to get your beautiful linens clean after an event? Here’s how!

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