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.
Greetings Gentle Readers,
Our sincere apologies – January slipped past and February is here. We have been busy rebuilding stocks, placing orders and researching new and interesting products from local Artisans. This year we hope to expand our library of instructional pdfs, as well as book and product reviews and more events.
Feast Day for February
This month in the medieval calendar one of the many martyrs celebrated is St Valentine on February 14th. Yet mystery still abounds; which St Valentine? There were no less than 3 Valentines martyred and celebrated for their heroic love to their fellow man and all three were celebrated on this date.Nor was the exchange of gifts between couples actually a part of the St Valentines celebration. From literary sources such as Chaucer and the Paston letters, we learn that showing love and affection on this particular date was almost co-incidental, and secular in nature. A common belief held in England and France throughout the period was that birds of every kind, began to pair on February 14th. Thus it was seen as an auspicious day for people to celebrate and show their love.Today we celebrate St Valentine’s day with cards, chocolates and flowers. Flowers and letters of affection also figured largely during the medieval period along with small tokens such as pewter badges depicting hearts, flowers and other symbols of earthly as well as divine love.
A Medieval Token of Affection for the Feast of St Valentine
Should you wish to show your loved one a lasting token of your affection with something a little different, may we suggest our range of replica medieval pewter pins and badges? Order before Feb 7th and these tokens will arrive beautifully presented in elegant white packaging, ready for the big day.
Until next time, we bid you good reading!
–Loreena, Roxy, Paul and Elden
Image: Birds from De Artes Venandi Cum Avibus, Pal. lat. 1071 21v (Sicily, 1240’s) – http://digi.vatlib.it/view/bav_pal_lat_1071/ Copyright Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana
Beautiful, thoughtful, unusual Christmas gift ideas;
Christmas is upon us with all the joy, excitement and ‘perfect gift’ search panic that it can create. Let us help you find that perfect gift, and more besides.
A book can bring so much pleasure to the bookworm in your life and we have a wide range; from Medieval Cat’s colouring book, to cooking and brewing recipe books. There are books for every budget including subjects such as gardening and philosophy, all the way to the magnificent leather-bound facsimiles such as In Service to the Duke.
To further help ease the search we have put together a variety of excellent value gift packs, beautifully presented and ready for the Christmas tree. These limited edition collections can be found under ‘A Christmas Wish List’ and include;
· Deluxe Pamper Pack – from the lovely ladies at the Medieval Still Room, a sample collection containing the fragrance which graced the Queens of Europe, a velvety balm to indulge the skin, and a clear lip balm as sweet as honey for the lips;
· Dilettante’s Card Game set – contained within a drawstring bag, a period replica card deck; a pouch containing 12 pewter jettons and a conveniently pouch sized book containing rules for the many popular card games played in period;
· Elegant personal wash set; snugly packed within a drawstring bag, a double sided timber comb, a tablet of nablis soap, and the softest of hand woven cotton white towel, edged with grey bands and fringing;
Please be advised that to ensure orders (within Australia) arrive before Christmas the last shipping date will be Friday the 16th of December. After this date, we cannot guarantee that orders will reach people in time.
From everyone here at Mainly Medieval, we wish you all a joyous festive season, and a safe and prosperous 2017.
Loreena, Roxy, Elden and Paul.
St Ives has come and gone and October has arrived. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who visited the shop and attended our lectures at St Ives. We hope you all had a wonderful a time; we certainly enjoyed the event, and look forward very much to going back next year.
The 14th Century encampment menu for the 2016 St Ives Medieval Faire.
Excellent analysis of early 14th C English Society based on the illustrations of the Luttrell Psalter.
Much more than the usual references to pastoral life
Mistress Margio of Glen More
Looking for further reading about the Humoural theory? This is an original text by Henry the 8ths Physcian.
Feeling the heat? Getting ready to store the re-enactment clothes
until Autumn rolls around once more? Wondering how on earth
you can wash away the accumulated fragrance from a dozen or
more events out of your woollens, silks and linens?
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
I’d post more links about the history and written sources, but someone has already done it, so I’ll link to them instead.
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
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.
A book about parchment, ink and illumination.