The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

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The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby uksimes » Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:27 am

last evening, my wife reminded me that at almost every 'living History'/re enactment event we visited this year, there was a preponderance of fellas wearing bells, (and no, they wern't jesters). More precisely, they seemed to be single/double falconry type bells, usually attached to their money pouch.
is this a documented/genuine early attempt at a burgular alarm system, or just another affection :crazy: ?


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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Langley » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:32 pm

Admittedly only going on what I was told although that by peopleI trust not to perpetrate re-enactorisms but two reasons - 1. As you say, burglar alarm on your purse. 2. Wandering around with a longbow but tinkling is saysing "I am not a poacher, I am warning off the potential prey". I too would welcome any further evidence. I believe that Lady L has seen evidence for sewing bells onto kid's clothing to prevent them getting lost. Perhaps that works for archers who have been to the beer tent too?



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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby JC Milwr » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:40 am

Someone this year also claimed they were pilgrim bells; altough I think this is a twisting ofthe Canterbury Bell pilgrims badge. (Hmm, just remembered I used to have one of those, wonder what happened to it?!)


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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Medicus Matt » Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:39 am

In the report of the trial of Jean du Bois (Paris, 1390), one of the witnesses described her purse as being of green velvet, "from which hung little bells on silk cords".
Obviously not particularly effective as an anti-theft device, seeing as the one in question had been stolen.


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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Tod » Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:28 pm

Why did hippies used to have them hanging off every thing? Wrigleys do a cure-all.



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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Fox » Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:48 pm

There are pictures of medieval costume featuring bells; some looking very fashionable.
And there are plenty of pictures with purses featuring bells, some with lots of bells.

I haven't done any work to say how common these are (say compared to purses without bells), or at what periods bells on costumes were fashionable and for whom.
But the evidence is out there.... get looking. :D



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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby John Waller » Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:35 pm

I'm all for them as it usually means I can get early warning of a knob with a leather corset, pink hair, piercings and tats on display, fox tail, black shirt and sunglasses, carrying a can of lager on their way to sit in their stargazer chair. (exceptions apply) :D


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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby uksimes » Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:36 pm

John Waller wrote:I'm all for them as it usually means I can get early warning of a knob with a leather corset, pink hair, piercings and tats on display, fox tail, black shirt and sunglasses, carrying a can of lager on their way to sit in their stargazer chair. (exceptions apply) :D


Ah, I see you've met my wife then? :lol:


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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:38 am

Wasn't it one of the things that Wycliffe moaned about, the noise that pilgrims made with their singing, and druming, and pipes and bells (and whistles) and did not some other eclesastical type say it was okay because it kept the morale of pilgrims up and let every know they were coming? Or is that my imagination?


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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Tom H » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:40 am

There were working versions of the Canterbury Bell sign for pilgrims, not just a flat badge.

In 1407 the suspected Lollard William Thorpe was examined for heresy by the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Arundel. Thorpe complained against the abuses of pilgrimage including "I know well, that when divers men and women will go thus after their own wills to have with them both men and women that can well sing wanton songs and some other pilgrims will have with them bagpipesl so that every town they come though, what with the noise of their singing, and with the sound of their piping, and with the jingling of their Canterbury bells and with barking out of dogs after them, that they make more noise that if the king came there away with all his clarions and many other minstrels." - apologies for the modern spellings only got that version with me at the moment. Good news for bagpipers like me that the Archbishop gave bagpipers his blessing in his response to Thorpe.

So bells being worn is probably ok, for people likely to have undertaken a Canterbury pilgrimage. But as to so many being worn, that is another matter. But unless events are stipulating ratios of knights, archers, high status tents (or any tents for that matter), it can lead to a distorted view of the past being presented. Very similar to people wearing glasses, yes they existed, but I doubt that 10% of the population wore them in 15th century as one might assume as a visitor to a living history event.



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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Fox » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:47 am

Tom H wrote:Very similar to people wearing glasses, yes they existed, but I doubt that 10% of the population wore them in 15th century as one might assume as a visitor to a living history event.

Bad form; low blow.
Dental condition would be a much fairer target.



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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Tom H » Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:01 pm

Fair comment, Fox. Not suggesting that people shouldn't have things like glasses as a compromise between what's needed and what's authentic. Just something to bear in mind when discussing how we represent the past in displays.

Dentistry illustrations aside, we don't see many period images of teeth, but slender waist size in medieval images might be another target...



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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Ghost » Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:43 pm

John Waller wrote:I'm all for them as it usually means I can get early warning of a knob with a leather corset, pink hair, piercings and tats on display, fox tail, black shirt and sunglasses, carrying a can of lager on their way to sit in their stargazer chair. (exceptions apply) :D


:D :D :D :D :D


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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Langley » Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:56 pm

OK - I now have a third excuse having actually been to Canterbury and having a St Mary Undercroft Pilgrim badge I wear on my hat (felt sorry for her being relegated to crypt by Beckett) and staying in the ancient hostelry right at the end of the pilgrim trail. (On expenses as it was for work). It is a Canterbury Pilgrim Bell.burglar alarm on my purse/deer scarer....



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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Grymm » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:26 pm

Folly bells, belts, baldricks and collars hung with rumbler bells, are a posh nob fashion for the late 14thC and early 15thC.

They are also all over horse harness, especially the stuff for tourneys, and on dogs and hawks plus one of Thomas Becket's pilgrim tokens was a clapper bell...no really, just for a change they really are, 'horse harness and religeous significance', rather than that phrase being archeologist/museum speek for, I dunno.

http://www.virtue.to/articles/bells.html

On a revival tip http://www.selbytimes.co.uk/news/local-news/district-news/bells_toll_to_stop_town_thefts_1_3800582


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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:28 pm

Yes I have done the Canterbury pilgrimage (three times) in real life. In fact all the pilgrimage badges I own are from places I have visited as a real life 21st century pilgrim.


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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby uksimes » Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:59 pm

Fox wrote:There are pictures of medieval costume featuring bells; some looking very fashionable.
And there are plenty of pictures with purses featuring bells, some with lots of bells.

I haven't done any work to say how common these are (say compared to purses without bells), or at what periods bells on costumes were fashionable and for whom.
But the evidence is out there.... get looking. :D

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/nictdQS0TayEgPCH-vq3FA

http://www.virtue.to/articles/bells.html


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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Fox » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:33 am

Tom H wrote:Dentistry illustrations aside, we don't see many period images of teeth

No. But we do find them in the ground....

But:
Glasses? Guilty.
Fat? Guilty.
Great teeth? Guilty.

But you are right, we often represent minority aspects of medieval life, and, at least, we should be aware of it.



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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby acecat999 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:09 am

Fox wrote:
Tom H wrote:Dentistry illustrations aside, we don't see many period images of teeth

No. But we do find them in the ground....

But:
Glasses? Guilty.
Fat? Guilty.
Great teeth? Guilty.

But you are right, we often represent minority aspects of medieval life, and, at least, we should be aware of it.



do modern clothes designers pick desirable people to showcase their new designs?
no
lack of evidence is not evidence of lack as they say.......

maybe contemporary artists didn't think paint old, fat, speccied people with bad teeth would pay their rent back then either?



of course fox is right whatever period we reenactment be it medieval, roman, victorian or last tuesday, in the main we reenact minority aspects (only ones I can think that reenact the common folk are the ww2 home front groups but I might be wrong)


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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby gregory23b » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:02 pm

"maybe contemporary artists didn't think paint old, fat, speccied people with bad teeth would pay their rent back then either? "

Painters were paid to paint what was asked of them and according to tradition, some painted realistically, warts and all, see Memlinc's painting of Italian man with facial scar, on the other hand the hyper-realistic/idealistic Flemish paintings of people that would not look out of place in Close Encounters. As far as I can tell, there is less 'realism' that meets the eye.

Spectacles, however are seen in pictures, on craftsmen and writers and others, often religious personalities or known secretary types, so I wouldn't include specs as a default sign of infirmity or deficiency, rather they are on personae of respect and reverence.


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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Fox » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:22 am

gregory23b wrote:Spectacles, however are seen in pictures, on craftsmen and writers and others, often religious personalities or known secretary types, so I wouldn't include specs as a default sign of infirmity or deficiency, rather they are on personae of respect and reverence.

Absolutely. And if I'm wearing specs (sometimes my eyes are too iritated for my very special contacts), I like to tell the public they can tell something about me from the fact I'm wearing them, that being that I must make a living using my eyes; reading, writing or a craft of some sort.



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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby uksimes » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:04 pm

gregory23b wrote:"
......so I wouldn't include specs as a default sign of infirmity or deficiency, rather they are on personae of respect and reverence.


Although in my case alas, more likely the former :doh:


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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Strickland » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:07 pm

Mate of mine on here uses a scrotal, sorry, crotal bell as hes a wandering trader, apparently something particular to that.



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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Medicus Matt » Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:26 pm

Strickland wrote:Mate of mine on here uses a scrotal, sorry, crotal bell as hes a wandering trader, apparently something particular to that.



There's an Anglo-Saxon law that required anyone who wasn't local to ring a bell when wandering around outside of town/village bounds, to indicate that he was a travelling merchant/trader rather than a thief/vagrant/pikey etc. Don't know if that requirement carried on in the post Conquest high Middle Ages?


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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby steven pole » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:34 pm

I am that said person who wears crotals on my traders basket :-).
Certainly a good way to attract attention when i want to sell some stuff and lighten my load :D



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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:45 pm

Last month I went to canturbury again and actually got to see the real relics of St. Tom at the Catholic church there.


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Re: The use of bells, (or, Ding Dong!)

Postby Langley » Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:47 am

Hi Marcus, like you. Only wear badges from places I have actually been. that includes my little saint from Antwerp, St giles from Winchester and the Virgin from Tintern. Actually - to let you into a secret, helped design the "Mediaeval" Tintern badge. After all - Lady L is the Virgin Mary's Back Side... We were doing an event there when the new statue was being carved and Phil the sculptor was struggling with the fall of woolen as opposed to linen headdress so Lady L ended up sitting for him whiile he carved the back of Her head. (She was playing a Pre-monstratensian Nun from While Ladies Aston near Droitwich). We then worked with one of Phil's working drawings for the new statue and Clin from Lionheart and a back of a fag packet sketch placing the Virgin against a background of the abbey window tracery. Colin made a dozen with a IX IX for 9th of the 9th - the date of the blessing of the new statue which belong to the dozen of us who were there. He then removed the IX IX and you can now obtain a brand new Mediaeval pilgrim badge from the Fireinds of Tintern because we gave them the rights to the design as a way of contining their good work. We have a personal reason - one of her ancestors, Richard De Wych, was the last Abbot. (Yes - he was a married man becoming a religious only later in life thus can be an ancestor). Since he had the job of handing over to Henry VIII it felt right to be involved with putting something back.




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