Although it's a bit of a way for us, we had a good turnout.
|The De Vey colour chart.|
|Symon is already far too hot sitting in the shade at 9am, let alone fighting in the blazing sun at 4pm. Photo by Caroline Williams.|
|Conical helms in the armoury, with an upside down bucket helm in the middle and another at the back left of the table. Photo by Caroline Williams.|
Most of us were wearing linen to keep cool, which has the added advantage of being hard-wearing and easily washable without risking shrinkage, so many of us washed our clothes in the evening and left them to dry in the evening. This is in fact one of the principles of early medieval clothing: linen would be worn as an under layer (under tunics, underdresses, braies) because it could be easily washed, whereas the overtunic would be made of wool, and would rarely be washed.
|Early medieval laundry. Photo by Caroline Williams.|
We took an extensive living history display to this show.
Trevor took his pole lathe, as shown below. I briefly discussed the lathe in my post on Stoke Potteries, but here you can see it properly in use. The horizontal segment of wood with a string round it is the piece which is being shaped. Trevor is holding a chisel against this piece of wood, and as he works the foot pedal, the piece being shaped is rotated, allowing him to hold the chisel in one place while still chiselling away at 360 degrees of the piece to be shaped.
|Trevor using a pole lathe. Photo by Rosemary Watson.|
|Fire-lighting kit. Photo by Caroline Williams.|
Clare brought her embroidery. The first image shown below is based on the Bayeaux Tapestry. The colour scheme is authentic: the Anglo-Saxons would quite happily give a horse blue legs to indicate that they were behind and shaded. The gentleman on horseback is a Norman, as evidenced by his short hair.
|Image based on the Bayeaux Tapestry. Photograph by Caroline Williams.|
|St Catherine and her wheel. Photo by Caroline Williams.|
Staying on the textiles theme, Osgyth brought her spinning materials. Below you can see the unprocessed sheep's wool. To the right are the metal combs which were used to disentangle and clean wool. Combs are one of the most ancient methods of cleaning fleece: carders were not introduced until much later. The combing process pulls out the long staples, separates them, and aligns them in the same direction so that they are easier to spin. Pieces of dirt and the shorter staples remain caught in the anchor comb to be discarded.
|Combed and uncombed wool, ready for spinning. Photo by Caroline Williams.|
Once spun, fibre is dyed. Below you can see Osgyth's basket of naturally-dyed fibres. We often imagine the medieval period as characterised by browns and greys; if you couldn't afford to dye your clothes at all you might well be wearing a very restricted colour pallet, but the bright yellow and lighter green shown below are comparatively easily produced, as they are made from weld, a plant which grows widely throughout Britain and which does not require complex processing or selection of a particular part of the plant. Similarly the pinks can be produced from madder which also grows widely, so even someone comparatively poor could wear quite bright colours provided they had the time to harvest the plants and dye the fibre.
Once spun, fibre can be used for a number of things. The most well known is weaving. Shown below is a warp-weighted loom, one of the oldest types of loom. The origin of the name is clear when you look at the photo below: the warp threads have weights on them to keep them hanging straight and minimise tangling. You may notice that the cloth on the loom is comparatively narrow: this is because unless you have two weavers, the maximum width of cloth you can weave is an arm's length, as you have to pass the "shuttle" (bearing the weft thread, shown slotted into the left hand-side of the loom) from one side to another. As as result of this constraint, early medieval clothes were typically constructed from a rectangle of cloth with a hole cut for the head, with gores added at the side to increase the width, as this makes very efficient use of the cloth you can manufacture.
|Osgyth's warp weighted loom. Photo by Caroline Williams.|
|Osgyth's tablet weaving loom. Photo by Caroline Williams.|
|Samples of Osgyth's tablet weaving. Photo by Caroline Williams.|
|Sprang loom. Photo by Caroline Williams.|
Clun was a beautiful site to do a show. Sadly the site of the castle makes it impossible to do a show there, it being primarily steep hill, but most of us went up for a visit after hours, and two of us were able to attend the tour given by archaelogist Richard Morriss.
They think the original Norman castle was up on the hill's peak, where it commanded a good view of the valley. Clun is in the Welsh Marches and the original castle would have been built as part of the Norman efforts to subdue the Welsh.
|Possible site of the Norman castle? Photo by Caroline Williams.|
|13th century castle. Photo by Caroline Williams.|
|View across the valley at sunset. Photo by Caroline Williams.|