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Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:30 am
by Adam the Archer
Hi all

I have been looking at pomanders, and trying to gain some insight as to whether the oranges studded with cloves were used in 16th century.

My understanding is that pomanders were wooden or metal. But I have seen somewhere that Cardinal Wolsey had one that was a hollowed out orange filled with the smelly stuff.

The oranges studded wth cloves seem to have been a Christmas / New Year's present rather than something that would have been worn as an everyday pomander - and possibly more towards the 17th rather than 16th century.

Can anyone throw some more light on this?

Many thanks


Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:48 am
by Wiblick
see this topic ... =pomanders

and Sally Pointer should be along any moment to help you some more.


Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:55 am
by sally
yep, as best we can tell, Wolseys was more likely to be an orange skin, that would have been dried over a small block to retain its shape, then with a sponge inside soaked in aromatic vinegar.

You do get references to cloved oranges relatively early on (am away from my notes so can't think of a specific source right now) but generally they are mentioned in stillroom books as something you dried in the stillroom, then beat to a powder to add to sweetbags, not to carry round as themselves

Re: Pomanders

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:42 am
by Karen Larsdatter
More extant examples at (though none there are oranges studded with cloves) :)

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:20 pm
by lidimy
I recall seeing an orange studded with cloves at Stranger's Hall here in Norwich, but I can't remember whether it was 16th or 17thC. It *should* have been 16th as that's what we were studying at school at the time but I wouldn't like to say for sure. You could email them... ... ent=200.23

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:00 pm
by Tom H
The pomander recovered from the main deck of the Mary Rose, (the only one on board) was carved from boxwood in the shape of an orange studded with cloves. So that's a fairly good indicator that such things existed in 1545.

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:22 pm
by Adam the Archer
Thanks all.

Tom, I thought the same about the Mary Rose pomander, then wondered if it was something made to look like the Wolsey examples

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:22 pm
by sally
thats an excellent point about the Mary Rose pomander and a very good date check to suggest that they were familiar by that point- - I will try to dig out my other references for you for this date point- they are seriously buried in my research heap at the moment. Most pomander recipes that survive are for paste balls though, some with some very wierd and wonderful ingredients

Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:06 pm
by Elenna DeVargr
Was there any earlier reference to oranges? I've looked at the petty custom account 1480-81 Imports and I've found examples of large amounts being imported but I'm interested in finding when they where originally introduced and what they were used for.

Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:52 pm
by sally
isnt the first recorded UK shipment of Seville oranges in the 1200s sometime??