Calving Crossbows

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Mark
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Calving Crossbows

Postby Mark » Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:01 am

After much thought.I have come to my own conclusions about this but I would be interested in other peoples views.

Why use a Crossbow to give birth to a Calf?

Heres the quote from 1469.
......Also, syr, we pore sanz deners of Caster haue brook iij or iij stelle bowys; wherfor we beseche yow, and ther be eny maker of steelle bowys jn London whyche is verry kunnyng, þat ye wyll send me woord, and i shall send yow the bowys þat be brokyn, whyche be your owne greet bowe and Roberd Jaksonys bowe and Johon Pampyng[[ys] bowe. Thes iij haue kast so many caluys þat they shall neuer cast qwarellys tyll they be new mad. I praye yow fynd the menys that my lord may haue some resonable meane profyrd so þat he and my lady may vndyrstand that ye desyir to haue hys good lordshep. I promyse yow jt shall do yow ease, and your tenauntys both. And God preserue. J.P.

...These three have cast so many calves that they shall never cast quarrels till they be new made.....

Oggie.



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Mark GRaves
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Postby Mark GRaves » Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:20 am

This reads as though the bows (prods) are broken, and I think it needs to be read in that ciontext.

Could this refer to splinters or some other form of pieces breaking off due to poor quality steel etc - i.e. "calving" as in modern parlance a glacier is said to "calve" an iceberg??


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gregory23b
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Postby gregory23b » Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:48 am

It might mean blows, have a look at the middle english dictionary, odd links.


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Postby Adam R » Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:03 pm

kast so many caluys þat they shall neuer cast qwarellys


Interesting the differentiation between kast and cast too. I like Mark's theory - and not just because we are neighbours ;)


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Mark
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Postby Mark » Fri Oct 12, 2007 7:49 pm

Thanks for the replies.To stimulate thought on the subject.Here is a link to a modern tool for "kasting caluys"

http://www.ritchey.co.uk/index.php?page ... 9576c376ed

Oggie.

PS: Adam,is my memory correct in thinking you are Waltham way?



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Postby Mark » Fri Oct 12, 2007 7:55 pm




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Sophia
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Postby Sophia » Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:59 pm

Suggests an interesting variation of "swords into ploughshares" doesn't it. :D


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Postby Mark » Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:11 pm

Sophia wrote:Suggests an interesting variation of "swords into ploughshares" doesn't it. :D


It certainly does Sophia,and with the Pastons about to become beseiged in Caister Castle, the Ploughshares needed to become swords again pretty quickly.

Oggie (Buckinghams Retinue)



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Postby Adam R » Sat Oct 13, 2007 12:01 am

Interesting links Mark - they look almost exactly like - Blimey! :shock:

... and yes - near Waltham is right :wink:


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gregory23b
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Postby gregory23b » Sat Oct 13, 2007 12:25 pm

Might also be linked to Baleen, it was used as Xbow prods, somethign odd about it casting, casting off, certianly to do with wearing out as they need to be repaired.

mmm nice conundrum.


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Postby Mark » Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:07 pm

This is from the 1841 Book of Archery by George Agar Hansard .

John Paston, writing to his brother, thus expresses his uncertainty of getting some necessary repairs done to some arbalists, which belonged to himself and several other members of his family:--

"Also, sir, we poor sans derniers (moneyless men) of Caister have broken three or four steel bows; wherefore we beseech you, if there be any maker of steel bows in London which is very cunning, that ye will send me word, and I shall send you the bows that be broken, which be your own great bow, and Robert Jackson's bow, and John Pampeny's bow; these three last have cast so many calvys, that they shall never cast quarrils till they be new made."

A pun seems here to be intended. To cast calves, means to kill enemies; styled calves in contempt. Quarrils are square-headed arrows
.........................................................................................................
I tried to make sense of this by ,for example seeing if there was anything in the Duke of Norfolks (Pastons enemy at Caister) heraldry like a Cow or a Bull that may expain why their enemies could have been called Calves as a pun.I havn't as yet discovered anything like that and my feet are firmly in the Calf birthing aid camp..unless proved otherwise!
Oggie.(Buckinghams Retinue)



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Colin Middleton
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Postby Colin Middleton » Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:19 pm

It's not possible that it is a slang term is it. Something like 'casting a calf' meaning a jam or missfire, which might sent the shock into the prod and risk breaking it?


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Postby Merlon » Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:38 pm

If you look in the OED
Under the definition of casting
1. That casts, in various senses of the vb. a. trans. Of a bow, etc.: Throwing, shooting (see also quot. 1483). b. intr. Of bees: Swarming.

Under the definitions for Calf and Calves
b. to slip (cast) the calf: to suffer abortion; said of the cow, also (humorously) of women (obs.)

So it could very well be to with misfiring



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Postby Mark » Mon Oct 15, 2007 2:58 pm

Merlon wrote:If you look in the OED
Under the definition of casting
1. That casts, in various senses of the vb. a. trans. Of a bow, etc.: Throwing, shooting (see also quot. 1483). b. intr. Of bees: Swarming.

Under the definitions for Calf and Calves
b. to slip (cast) the calf: to suffer abortion; said of the cow, also (humorously) of women (obs.)

So it could very well be to with misfiring


This is possible although the original quote was that they "haue brook iij or iij stelle bowys." and that they needed to be remade.Which implies physical damage to the Bow so that it wont shoot at all rather than any misfires or stoppages.
The OED definition for Calf and Calves could also be evidence for its use as a Calf birthing aid.
Is it possible that in England in the 1460's there may have been an abundance of materiel brought back from France at the end of the 100 years war,including Military hardware like Crossbows?
The evidence for me is :
1. The original quotation "kasting caluys"
2. The OED definition
3. The modern calving jack with its Crossbow shape and similar levering mechanism.
4. The availability of crossbows in this period.

It would be great to find another reference to calving in this period!
Oggie.




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