Sheepskins

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jelayemprins
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Sheepskins

Postby jelayemprins » Tue Sep 25, 2007 7:46 am

Urgh

How many re-enactors fall into the trap of having sheepskins on their tent floors?

Why?

Think about it. :x

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Postby Malvoisin » Tue Sep 25, 2007 12:30 pm

You mean some sickos have traps in their tents coverd over with sheepskins. :shock:
Is this a muddyeval anti burgular thing?


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Sheepskins

Postby Brother Ranulf » Wed Sep 26, 2007 10:57 am

Hi Ian,

In my "Oswald" persona I often portray a shepherd and claim "ancient rights" for having sheepskins:

From the early rectitudines singularum personarum: "About the shepherd. A shepherd's due is that he should have 12 night's dung at Christmas and 1 lamb from the year's young ones, 1 sheepskin and the milk of the flock for a week after the equinox and a bowlfull of whey or buttermilk all summer."

This refers to the common rights of various peasant types around 1100 and sets the precedent for fleece being given as part-payment for shepherd service. I have among my research papers a copy of a scene from the Winchester Psalter showing a shepherd wearing a hood with the same texture as the sheep at his feet - my bet is he made it from a sheepskin obtained in this way.

Go next to the Winchester Pipe-Roll of 1208-1209 and, in the accounts of sheepskins: "In payment of three shepherds, 3" - they also qualify for 3 lambs, so we can see a continuity of the above rights throughout the 12th century. The same document records the sale of 1497 sheepskins, almost certainly destined for the parchment-maker.

I'm still waiting for the dung and buttermilk, though. :(


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Postby DeviantShrub » Wed Sep 26, 2007 11:10 am

Brother Ranulf - thank you for sharing that.

As someone whose ancestors were almost invariably shepherds (at least as far back as we know) it's an especially interesting subject!



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Re: Sheepskins

Postby Fox » Wed Sep 26, 2007 11:21 am

jelayemprins wrote:Urgh

How many re-enactors fall into the trap of having sheepskins on their tent floors?

Why?

Think about it. :x

F.A.M.C.C. You'll hav to PM me to find out what FAMCC means as I can't possibly reveal it here :evil:


Well aren't you full of mystery.

Random acronyms and everything.

I don't put sheepskins on the floor of my tent; it had never occured to me.

But what are you on about?



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o.k I give in.......

Postby lucy the tudor » Wed Sep 26, 2007 11:39 am

Ermmm, sorry, not having got into having enough cash for dead animals for floor coverings yet, I have not researched what was used (really fancy a boar skin with hooves to scare the school kids when I can afford it but.....)
So, just in case any other innocent also hasn't worked out why not as well, in the spirit of community support for my fellow terminally unaware folk, I will tentatively raise my empty head above the parapet.
Apart from the fact that they get ever so grubby, are a bit thick and tend to trip you up, and other guesses which are probably a bit woolly (sorry),


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Postby DeviantShrub » Wed Sep 26, 2007 11:49 am

Lucy, at great risk of sounding silly - I sort of assumed that sheep had greater value with their skins on (i.e. producing lots of lovely wool year after year to turn into clothes)?

However talking of floor-covering for tents, speaking/writing as someone who'd like to let the public look in their authenty tent next season, what would be an appropriate yet practical option? For example, if I were to go to the nice Vic James and ask for a canvas groundsheet, would I find myself being growled at by those who 'know better'.



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Postby Wiblick » Wed Sep 26, 2007 11:59 am

we use two for the dogs to lie on, we get grass....



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Good point, deviant shrub, but......

Postby lucy the tudor » Wed Sep 26, 2007 12:08 pm

I agree that sheep were valuable as wool in distant times, (if not in our present days of low wool values to the poor upland farmers), but it didn't stop people eating them. This would surely have at least fairly often released a whole skin, and indeed bones and horns which we use for other things. Eventually they keel over and die too, so even though this wouldn't have given the finest
quality skin, it surely wouldn't have been wasted by the shepherd.....
I don't know what the opinions of others are re canvas ground sheets being visible, surely a bit visible through the skins and tapestry rug like stuff would be acceptable? maybe we had better never open our tent unless we are trading, when slightly lower standards are often acceptable to allow for the fact the MOPs are coming in, in all weathers with their grubby boots on. :?
Still wondering about the original reason at the beginning of this thread.....

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Postby zauberdachs » Wed Sep 26, 2007 12:30 pm

Perhaps it's the feel of wool under foot? Or maybe it's an alergy thing?

It is perhaps a waste of a good sheep skin to trample it underfoot?


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Postby Dave B » Wed Sep 26, 2007 12:52 pm

Because certain (insert region of your choice here) people would be too excited to sleep on their fronts?


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Postby Fox » Wed Sep 26, 2007 1:00 pm

Well, I'm glad it wasn't just me.

Having established that no one else seems to know the reason behind the original post, is there any chance of enlightenment?

And the explanation had better not be a wooly one...

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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:56 pm

:?:


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Postby oakenshield » Wed Sep 26, 2007 4:48 pm

if you eat mutton you have a spare sheep skin seams a shame to waste it and its nice getting out of bed on a cold morning and having a warm fleese on the floor



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Postby gregory23b » Wed Sep 26, 2007 6:13 pm

Sheep fells - skins were sold, not sure if that was with fleece on or not, seems wasteful of the fleece, leather is useful of course.



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Postby DeviantShrub » Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:30 am

oakenshield wrote:if you eat mutton you have a spare sheep skin seams a shame to waste it and its nice getting out of bed on a cold morning and having a warm fleese on the floor


See, it's the on the floor concept I don't get (and have never seen except in the 1970s), but maybe that's because my tent isn't big enough to fit people, stuff and still have floor space left over. A snuggly fleece on the bed on the other hand is an understandable delight at tail ends of the camping year.



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Postby Malvoisin » Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:47 am

DeviantShrub wrote:However talking of floor-covering for tents, speaking/writing as someone who'd like to let the public look in their authenty tent next season, what would be an appropriate yet practical option?


IMO; Straw, hey, bracken. If you was right posh, maybe planks, some hemp matting? King Stephen at the siege of Newbury 1152 had flowers strewn on the floor (to quote David Crouch) which is nice but he was a king after all.

I don't know for sure but I imagine the process for cleaning a fleece with skin still attached, is very different from just cleaning shorn wool, and more expensive :?:

r.e original post: I still think he's proposing a pit of spikes in his tent covered over with fleece... Let me know how he gets on. :lol:


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Sheepskins

Postby Brother Ranulf » Thu Sep 27, 2007 11:10 am

Come on Jelly, je vouz en priz put us all out of our communal "miserere" . . .

wot's wrong with floor fleece?

personally I would rather sleep on it than stand on it; 12th century monks and nuns were restricted to lambskin or black cat instead of opulent furs for lining their winter clothing, so why not have it draped abouth the tent a bit? :wink: But, whatever swings your thurible . . .

Deviant shrub - regarding the dead sheep/live sheep thing, the Winchester Pipe Roll for 1208-1209 I referred to before is a kind of annual account for the Bishop's farm; it might be worth giving the relevant extract here:

The same render account of 858 sheep remaining from the previous year. And of 47 sheep for the payment of herbage, after birth, and before clipping. And of 8 bought before birth. And of 137 young ewes mixed with two-year-olds. Sum: 1050. In live ones sold at the time of Martinmas, 46. In those dead before birth, 20. In those dead after birth and before shearing, 12. Sum: 78. And there remain 972 sheep.
The same render account of 584 wethers remaining from the previous year. And of 163 wethers mixed with two-year-olds. And of 16 rams from Lindsey, which came by brother Walter before shearing. Sum: 763. In living ones sold at the time of Martinmas, 27 wethers, 10 rams. Paid to the men of Bishopton before shearing by writ of the seneschal, 20. By death, before shearing, 14. Sum: 71. And there remain 692 sheep.
The same render account of 322 old sheep remaining, with lambs from the previous year. By death before shearing, 22. And there remain 300; whence 137 are young ewes, mixed with sheep, and 163 males, mixed with wethers.
The same render account of 750 lambs born from sheep this year because 20 were sterile, and 30 aborted. In payment of the smith, 2; of shepherds, 3. In tithes, 73. In those dead before shearing, 105. Sum: 181. And there remain 569 lambs.
The same render account of 1664 large sheep-skins whence 16 were from the rams of Lindsey. In tithes, 164. In payment of three shepherds, 3. In the balance sold 1497 skins with 16 skins from Lindsey which made 11 pondera.


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Postby DeviantShrub » Thu Sep 27, 2007 11:35 am

Malvoisin wrote:
DeviantShrub wrote:However talking of floor-covering for tents, speaking/writing as someone who'd like to let the public look in their authenty tent next season, what would be an appropriate yet practical option?


IMO; Straw, hey, bracken. If you was right posh, maybe planks, some hemp matting? King Stephen at the siege of Newbury 1152 had flowers strewn on the floor (to quote David Crouch) which is nice but he was a king after all.


You missed the 'practical' bit out of your answer there. ;)

I have no problems kipping on straw (as our thread starter well knows), but I suspect the likes of EH would complain if it all got stamped into their pristine lawns, as well as practical considerations around transporting the stuff. On the other hand, maybe a layered effect could work - with straw/hay/bracken on top of canvas?



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Postby Malvoisin » Thu Sep 27, 2007 1:18 pm

DeviantShrub wrote:
Malvoisin wrote:
DeviantShrub wrote:However talking of floor-covering for tents, speaking/writing as someone who'd like to let the public look in their authenty tent next season, what would be an appropriate yet practical option?


IMO; Straw, hey, bracken. If you was right posh, maybe planks, some hemp matting? King Stephen at the siege of Newbury 1152 had flowers strewn on the floor (to quote David Crouch) which is nice but he was a king after all.


You missed the 'practical' bit out of your answer there. ;)

I have no problems kipping on straw (as our thread starter well knows), but I suspect the likes of EH would complain if it all got stamped into their pristine lawns, as well as practical considerations around transporting the stuff. On the other hand, maybe a layered effect could work - with straw/hay/bracken on top of canvas?


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Postby gregory23b » Thu Sep 27, 2007 1:39 pm

yeah, come on Jelly Imprint, tell us...



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Hmmmmm

Postby rob the tudor » Fri Sep 28, 2007 10:28 am

Original posting person-Did pm you, no reply.
Have you stopped playing with us now?
(or are you someone who has a life and does not watch the website quite so often as me, or check your email?) :roll:

Lucy, signed in as Rob in error and too idle to correct it 'cos I should be working.....


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FAMCC

Postby jelayemprins » Sat Sep 29, 2007 2:10 pm

hee-hee

i coined the term 'medieval camping club' a few years back. Its all in the mind- my mind!

FAMCC = 'federation against medieval camping club. '

A mentality thats ripe in English re-enactment.

You know how it works if you've been to a medieval re-enactment event.

1/ Buy/make a costume to get involved
2/ ASAP get a semi 'authentic' tent - I say semi coz no one has a real one a.f.a.i.k. in this country. When was cotton canvas first introduced? And everybody has one regardless of social level portrayal. :x and do you have a wagon to carry it in?
3/ we equip it with things from markets - usually because 'our friends have got one' too, the group self styled authenticity officer says its ok and therefore must be acceptable...
4/ Our ancestors pre 1500 were pretty tough types on the whole. Witnessing public executions for fun. No coffee. Using a log as a pillow. Common Soldiery sleeping rough on campaign under hedges, in barns. No dentistry, deodorant, understanding of germs, dysentry on campaign, forced marches in medieval shoes :) 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse a recognisd threat in most peoples lives..........

So Fluffy rugs on the floor of a tent???????

Don't get me started! Find me a reference! There's more ranting left in here yet

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Postby Handbag » Sat Sep 29, 2007 3:29 pm

agreeing with jelayemprins. we have sheepskins in our tent but on the bed - or behind the curtain to cover over my partners very inauthentic gunpowder box!!.

i cannot find any pictorial evidence to say sheepys were used as floor coverings.

attached are 2 15th century pics showing :
firstly the good old grass. (capitulation of colle di val d'elsa 1479)
and 2ndly a nicely patterned rug (King Rene d'Anjou's Le Coueur Empris)

personally speaking we have an under sheet covered over with reed matting.but our bed covers most of the tent anyway!!!



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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sun Sep 30, 2007 4:01 pm

So I have to sleep rough, enjoy people being hung, drawn and quartered and sh** myself to death to be a re-enactor. What a load of B***cks. :roll:


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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sun Sep 30, 2007 4:09 pm

And while I'm at it, as an event organiser just how many people do you reckon would enjoy your centre stage medieval camp consisting of a dozen blankets drapped between trees? If I wanted to "live" medieval I'd move to Afganistan. No running water, no sanitation, no medicine, public executions, warlords, religious maniacs, massive mortality rate.


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Postby gregory23b » Sun Sep 30, 2007 5:05 pm

Jelly, rant all very well and good, however creature comforts were the order of the day. Was it Goodman who mentioned that soldiers on campaign moaned that the hobilars and scurriers got the best billets as they went in advance of the marching army.

Also cushions are featured regularly in inventories, blankets etc.

Hardy and devoid of a need or want for comfort are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Also the French moaned about Scottish castles as being too windy and cold - austere perhaps.



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Postby Handbag » Sun Sep 30, 2007 5:07 pm

i dont think thats the point. i think the point is that if you are going to display authentic stuff to the public it is wise to actually authenticate it first!

i dont think anyone is saying you cant use sheepskins to sleep on /walk on whatever but if there is no evidence to say it actually happened if you want to be authentic you shouldnt premote it to the public.
as the thread about inauthentic kit shows most people on here pride themselves on their authenticity and dont wander around in para boots telling the public how authentic they are etc.

so far ive not come up with any evidence to say sheepskins were used to line tent floors so when i display my tent i dont put them on the floor anymore. they go on the bed and possibly on my chair to keep my bottom warm!!

whilst i agree we can never be totally 100 percent medieval authentic - that would be stupid for the very reasons marcus has set out but we can do our best within modern constraints.but if we start changing obvious pieces of historic evidence to suit us even its something as small as sheepskins on your floor during show times i can see it landsliding into the whole para boots are ok thing!!

if this thread is about what i think its about surely we can just pick our sheepskins off the floor while public are about and put them back down when we wanna sleep on them.

maybe jelay comes from a group that is very dedicated to authenticity and if that works for them thats fine. if others want to keep their sheepskins and their group is happy that this doesnt affect any authentic integrity then fine too.
after all no one is telling you to do anything. just sharing ideas and evidence.

phew!! i dont think ive ever written such a long post on this forum before.- perhaps i was scare people may take offence!!! :lol:



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Postby gregory23b » Sun Sep 30, 2007 6:08 pm

Handbag, Jelly was trying to use an argument based on comfort rather than accuracy or at least mingling the two, the argument of comfort and the use or not of sheepskins is a false one are there are plenty of examples of our 'hardy ancestors' who used soft and warm things to take the rough edges off life.

I would bet our ancestors did not actually enjoy dysentry any more than anyone today, putting up with something out of necessity is not the same as saying one relishes it.

I agree with his doubt on the use of sheepskins but not for the same reasons, or not all of his reasons - ie those ones above.



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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sun Sep 30, 2007 6:59 pm

I don't mean to be mocking authenticity, one of the very first things i do when i show anyone around my camp is that just how unauthentic it and all the "medieval camps"are for the reasons Ian gives.
I have to say that when i was forced, along with the rest of my group to go plastic at tewks this year I really enjoyed it. It enabled me to enjoy a level of comfort and relaxation that i cannot obtain normally with them.
I could use a gas stove which meant food and a hot drink in minutes rather than hours. I could make use of airbeds and pillows. I could set and break camp, again in minuts rather than hours. I didn't have to keep checking that tinnies, sleeping bags, food wrappers and so on were pocking out or being left by MOPs as they passed through.
Perhaps oraginisers should encourage more plastic camping to take place, along with the daytime security to ensure it is safe to leave valuable kit around a plastic camp. that way I could erect a make believe lean too or something. My own feeling is that, along with "medieval craft fayres and markets" the public expect to see tents and wood fires and all the rest of it.
I actually agree with the notion that the events I attend are not accurate representaions of medieval life but are 1300-1800 camping holidays.


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