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belts-msg - 7/24/11


Medieval and SCA belts and baldrics.


NOTE: See also the files: gloves-msg, jewelry-msg, p-favors-art, pouches-msg, chasity-belts-msg, coronets-msg, leather-msg, lea-tooling-msg, leather-bib, leather-dyeing-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given  by the individual authors.


Please respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear  at this time. If information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



From: djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu (Dorothy J Heydt)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Ring buckles (was "A reasonable attempt")

Date: 12 Apr 1996 16:41:18 GMT

Organization: University of California at Berkeley


David Friedman <ddfr at best.com> wrote:

>So far as I can remember, simple ring buckles go back very far in the SCA.

>I know of no reason to believe that they originated because of problems

>with buckle tongues breaking.


At BART practice last night I asked Flieg--a genuine Dinosaur who

has been around ever since Diana's back yard.  He says ring

buckles have been used in the SCA ever since he can remember, and

that he's also seen them on brass effigies (or the rubbings thereof).


Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin          Dorothy J. Heydt

Mists/Mists/West                   UC Berkeley

Argent, a cross forme'e sable           djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu




From: habura at matisse.its.rpi.edu (Andrea Marie Habura)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Ring Buckles (was "A reasonable attempt")

Date: 16 Apr 1996 20:22:45 GMT

Organization: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


On the dangly-end belt: Daveed of Grenada (I think--this is a repost,

thanks to a recalcitrant server) wonders where the style comes from.


A lot of the English memorial brasses--especially from the High Gothic--

do show this style...but all of the buckles, as far as I can tell,

have tongues.


Here's a sample of the styles, which I gleaned from Muriel Clayton's

_Catalog of Rubbings of Brasses and Incised Slabs_, HMSO 1979.


Many 13th c. brasses (e.g. D'Aubernon, 1277; de Trumpington, 1289)

and some 14th c. ones (Fitzralph, 1323; Hastyngs, 1347) show the

sword belt buckled with a tongued buckle (exact shape varies) and the

long tail of the belt tucked up behind the sword and left to dangle.

It's not looped about the rest of the belt in any way.


Some 14th c. brasses (de Cobham, 1354; Loutterell, 1390; d'Eresby,

1400) do show the classic "SCA loop", somewhat modified in the d'Eresby

brass. The de Cobham buckle is round with a (hard to see) tongue,

at about 10:00; the Loutterell buckle is square, and looks to have

a central vertical bar with a tongue; the d'Eresby buckle seems to be

trefoil shaped. I can't see a tongue, but the loop is atypical and

so loosely done that the belt would slide right off if the tongue

weren't there.


Another 14th c. belt is just a straight thick belt with a clasp or

buckle closure, and no discernible tail. (You 14th c. types are all

nodding your heads up and down in recognition.) Examples: de la Pole,

1380; de Retford, 1390; de Knevyngton, 1370; Harsick, 1384.


15th c. brasses (e.g.: Gaynesford, 1450; Paris, 1427; de Brewys,

1426) often show a totally impractical belt: it's a simple

ring of material, no sign of a buckle, with a circumference much greater

than the hips. It's worn slantways on the right hip, but there's

no waist cincture to keep the belt from spontaneously sliding to

the floor the minute the wearer moved. I don't see a loop or hook

at the right hip, although that might do the trick.

The St. Leger brass (1470) shows a buckled loose belt dangling forward;

the sword is the low point and covers the groin. No loop.


My guess is that someone looked at the looped 14th c. brasses,

especially one like the de Cobham brass, and designed something

that looked similar. Without the weight of the sword on the belt,

the ring buckle works, and gives a good "look and feel".


Alison MacDermot

*Ex Ungue Leonem*



From: IMC at vax2.utulsa.EDU (Marc Carlson)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: re: Ring Buckles (was "A reasonable attempt")

Date: 16 Apr 1996 20:57:44 -0400


<ciorstan<brettwi at ix.netcom.com(Brett Williams)>>

>I suppose a flimsy argument could be put up for the supposition of ring

>buckles on the evidence that a fringed garter was found tied in exactly

>the same knot used to fasten a set of ring buckles (see the wonderfully

>funky fringed garter in Crowfoot's _Medieval Textiles_...).


Not a source I have immeadiately to hand.


On the other hand, it is discussed in Egan & Pritchard's _Dress

Accessories_ (p71) does show that specific knot, but on a ring buckle

with a pin (i.e., a "ranged buckled").


In case anyone's interested, I went ahead and took an old ring buckled

belt and remade it in about ten minutes, taking it apart by popping the

rivets, wrapping a bar of metal (taken from an old belt buckle) around the

ring, punching four holes (one for the pin, three eyeholes further along

to buckle it to, and reassemble them by resetting the rivets).  I probably

should find some sort of belt end, but that's not absolutely necessary

at this moment.  A few minutes to change it from something that may not

be documentable, to something that is definately documentable.


>But I don't think such an argument would stand more than the provervial

>paper dog in Purgatory!


It depends on how many O or D rings the garter has.  Two rings will hold the

knot in place a bit better than one, but stil not so well as a buckle.


"Fides res non pecunniae,         Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn

sed temporis"                    University of Northkeep/Company of St. Jude

-- Unknown Recreator             Northkeepshire, Ansteorra

                                 (I. Marc Carlson/IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu)



From: ddfr at best.com (David Friedman)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Belt Question

Date: 22 Apr 1996 04:06:33 GMT


Bryan J. Maloney (bjm10 at cornell.edu) wrote:


> However, what is an appropriate "dark age" form of

> such a buckle?  Would it be a separate tang or all of a piece with the

> rest of the buckle?  Is either okay?  It's fairly simple to make either

> type.


My impression, from looking at a lot of jewelled migration period belt

buckles, is that the movable tongue is the more common form. My guess is

that the conclusion would carry over to ordinary buckles, but I haven't

looked. For the situation somewhat later, you might try the Museum of

London book of Dress Accessories.




ddfr at best.com



From: cfrc_gagetown at brunswickmicro.nb.ca

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: belt buckles

Date: 19 May 1996 22:52:01 GMT


>   Stuart Chignell <c9404409 at student.anu.edu.au> writes:

> I have been trying to find a source of belt buckles unfourtunately I

> haven't been able to find anything I liked that was big enough.  So I

> wanted to try making them myself.  Can anyone give me any suggestions on

> where to start.

> Thanks in advance,

> Stuart Chignell.


Greetings Stuart Chignell:


It would depend on how big a belt buckle you want.  If you are looking for 'big' then it will not be period.  Buckles were made out of

expensive materials (expensive to the people of the time) and therefore made large enough to do the job.  But no larger.  If you

wanted a really expensive buckle, you would go after silver or gold.  I can only say how to make a period buckle based on the

average for the 14th century.


To make an average 14th century 'D' buckle:


Decide how large a buckle you want.  The larger the thicker.  If the strap is one inch wide, you should use 3/16 inch round stock.  

Take a piece long enough to keep the proportions of a capital 'D' when the inside measurement of the flat part is just wide enough to

admit the strap.  You may do this by drawing the buckle full-size on paper and measuring first.  Heat with a torch and bend into a 'D'

shape so that the ends meet on the flat side.  Take a length of 1/8 inch round stock that is long enough to over hang the round part by

a 1/16 on an inch.  It must also be able to wrap around the flat part of the 'D' and touch itself on the other side.  The part that wraps

around is heated and hammered flat.  It is then bent around the 'D.'


To affix the buckle to a strap, a slot (not hole) is cut into the strap.  Ensure enough of an end is left to fold back unto itself with room to

rivet or sew as you wish.


The 14th century saw the use of other buckles for specific uses.  What I have given here is only the easiest to make with the least

instructions. I hope this can help.


With your leave to sign myself,

His Lordship Daniel of Stafford Pele, AoA, GoA

Quarterly sable and gules, a castle and in dexter chief a mullet of four points argent.



From: Kim Pollard <kim at inna.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: belt buckles

Date: Thu, 23 May 1996 07:16:00 -0400


On Thu, 23 May 1996, Robert W. Pastor wrote:


> Colin McArthur wrote:

> I've made buckles using a large brass ring (obtainable at Tandy). Get a

> brass rod at your local craft store and fabricate a cross piece. Attach

> your belt to the cross piece and pull the other end through the ring. It

> looks great.


Believe it or not, you may also find brass rings at many cloth stores!  

I've seen them as large as 2.5" in diameter to as small as .5" -- and

they are generally prices a little lower than the above mentioned store



Good luck with your belt buckle!




From: stosh at netopia.net

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: belt buckles

Date: Fri, 24 May 1996 08:08:39 GMT

Organization: Sprint Canada Inc.


>Greetings unto Stuart Chignell,


>In article <319FBE6A.6778 at student.anu.edu.au>, Stuart Chignell

><c9404409 at student.anu.edu.au> wrote:


> I have been trying to find a source of belt buckles unfourtunately I

> haven't been able to find anything I liked that was big enough.  So I

> wanted to try making them myself.  Can anyone give me any suggestions on

> where to start.


Perhaps you might try to carve a buckle out of horn or antler.   I

seem to recall some antler belt buckles from the "VIKING" period.


Michel (of Rye)



Date: Thu, 3 Oct 1996 14:17:48 -0500 (CDT)

From: "I. Marc Carlson" <LIB_IMC at centum.utulsa.edu>

To: ansteorra at eden.com

Subject: RE: FW: Re: sources & misconceptions


<ches at io.com>

>My apoligies to anyone who already recieved this missive but I would like to

>know from you all if any one else has found any documentation supporting the

>tankard hanging off the belt.....


Let's think about this.

After hitting the more basic sources (Luttrel Psalter, Gaston de Foix's

Hunting Book, Ye Olde Bigge Boke of Paint on Parchment, and so forth,

the only things I find hanging from belts are pouches, knives, penners

& ink horns, crossbow quivers, and sounding horns (and those are hung by



So, does that mean cups were never worn?  Don't be silly.  We can't *prove*

that Henry II didn't vote Republican.  OTOH, were they commonly worn from

the belt?  No, not from this evidence.


Moreover, unless I'm mistaken *cups* don't make much of an appearance

anyway. Sure, we know they had them, we find cup sherds all the time,

(actually, we find sherds all the time, but I need to check the kind)

but often I'm led to believe that some people used whatever was at hand

including a picture of a feast in de Foix that clearly shows only ONE cup

being used by one of the thirteen people in the picture (and he appears

to be one of the servants) while two of the others are shown drinking from

costrels, with other costrels lying about.  The argument might be made

that they are eating outside, but after all isn't that sort of spontaneous

thirst quenching the sort of reason that one would wear one's cup



Clearly the question is then, who WOULD wear a tankard or cup hanging from

their belts?  Rich people and Nobles?  Of course not, *they* have servants

to take care of such things.  Townsmen?  They HIRE people to take care of

things like that.  Peasants and serfs?  Where would they use them?  While

working in the fields?  That's what costrels are for.


For that matter, how would they be hung?  Earthenware cups are relatively

fragile. Cups with handles are as rare as blue blood on a battlefield.

Leather tankards with handles *might* have existed before the 1500s, but I

can't say one way or the other.  OTOH, they might have carried them in

cup holders (leather cases for them), but they would still be safer if

kept in the luggage, or in one's haversack.


I. Marc Carlson, Reference Librarian    |LIB_IMC at CENTUM.UTULSA.EDU

Tulsa Community College, West Campus LRC|Sometimes known as:

Reference Tech. McFarlin Library        | Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn

University of Tulsa, 2933 E. 6th St.    | University of Northkeep

Tulsa, OK  74104-3123 (918) 631-3794    | Northkeepshire, Ansteorra



Date: Fri, 4 Oct 1996 10:00:36 -0500

To: ansteorra at eden.com

From: gunnora at bga.com (Gunnora Hallakarva)

Subject: Re: FW: Re: sources & misconceptions


Margaret Rae Carignan asked:

>>My apoligies to anyone who already recieved this missive but I would like to

>>know from you all if any one else has found any documentation supporting the

>>tankard hanging off the belt.....

<summa: succinct nice letter discrediting such practices as unsupported

and a witty conclusion that said practice is, probably, not period>


While I don't know about tying goblets and/or tankards to one's clothing,

there is plenty of period evidence for spoon cases throughout at least the

early period.  These cases could hang from the clothing, but very frequently

folks wore "pockets" or small pouches that hung inside their clothes...

where you would not see such an item.  Period practices also included

stowing small items inside the waist of a belted tunic, or in a volumnious

sleeve as current fashion dictated.  Even the liripipes on hoods were used

to store stuff.  Thus I'd guess that it was *much* more likely to carry your

spoon in such a location where it wouldn't get lost, stolen, or be torn

loose (as items dangling from one's clothing are prone to do!)


Everyone was assumed to have their own knife and spoon... that wasn't a

host/ess's duty to provide.  I'd guess the paintings of peasants with spoons

in their hatbands was a result of them being too poor for a spoon case.  But

I also have documentation from the German areas (probably others as well)

that a popular courting gift was a carved spoon... a good way to spend a

long winter cooped up indoors!   So carrying a spoon in one's hatband might

be a way of flirting, or even of showing off a gift received. (In the Baltic

area, coutring gifts also included carved buttons of bone, wood or amber,

small carved pigs, etc as well).


We do know that Viking women tied a bunch of things to their brooches, but

while I've seen brooch-suspended knives, I've yet to see a spoon treated

this way.  My personal experimentation leads me to believe that many spoons

are fragile... horn spoons can be (the neck is the danger point) and

finely-carved wooden spoons would be as well.  Thus the spoon case provided

protection for said spoon. And spoons are labor intensive to make, as

well... I've done it!  and you'd want to protect the labor investment, so it

just doesn't make sense to hang them around outside your person to be

knocked around and possibly broken.





Who agrees that a pewter tankard tied to one's belt causes black-and-blue

contusions on one's knees!  Ouch!


Gunnora Hallakarva




Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 06:26:09

From: Nancee Beattie <nbeattie at blackcat.dunklin.k12.mo.us>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: wide belts


>Does anyone have a reference or picture for very wide belts on women?  I've

>never seen a picture with one.  I rather thought it was an SCA custom (due

>to how handy such a belt can be) but question whether it is "period".


Look at the early 15th century--houppelands and Burgundian V-neck gowns are

both frequently worn with wide belts.





Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 19:16:10 -0600

From: theodelinda at webtv.net (linda webb)

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: wide belts


Most of the period pictures I've seen of women in houppelandes feature a

fairly wide belt under the breasts, and some of women from the closely

fitted cotte era (I will not say "cotehardie" any more x 100) show a a

hip belt which might be 2-3 inches wide.  As far as I can recall, the

11-12th centuries (so-called "Norman" dress and the bliaud) also

involved belts at least 2 inches or so in width.  Some of the

Anglo-Saxon dresses seem to have involved belts, as the overgown appears

to be kilted up at the waist, but there's not way to tell what kind of

belt is used.  And Duerer and Holbein both show, in their drawings of

women in German territiories, some fairly wide belts.  I think that both

the Tres Riches and Tres Grandes Heures show enough women's clothing,

both noble and comon, to give you a start on that period, and you might

also consult the Luttrell Psalter and Queen Mary's Psalter, which are

frequently used as sources for books on illumination. The Tacuinam

Sanitatis also has a lot of good pictures to work with, even if it

wasn't _meant_ to be about clothing.

   Of course _Dress Accessories_ includes belts, but they don't get too

gender-specific. From a practical point of view, any belt that is meant

to hold anything of any weight has to be sturdy enough to be stable, so

if you can find an illustration from the period, you are good to go.

However, I will note that most of the time, noble women don't seem to

have carried too much on their belts--they didn't have to be practical,

at least when portrayed in their good clothes!

   Memorial brasses and sculptures probably would be worth looking at,

too. Now, please note that I am not making any statements pro or con

those belt/bustier things that a lot of women wear, to good or bad

effect, as a sort of pseudo-renaissance garb.




Date: Tue, 16 Dec 1997 02:52:44 EST

From: EowynA <EowynA at aol.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re:  wide belts


Someone asked,

>Does anyone have a reference or picture for very wide belts on women?  I've

>never seen a picture with one.


The Medieval Woman's Calendar, 1997, December, shows two ladies in Burgundian

gowns (or are they Yorkists?) with very wide belts - 4" at least.  These belts

start just under the breast line, and look as if they do not go as far down as

the waist.   Quite a few illustrations of This style of dress show a very wide

belt.   That calendar is at work, so I cannot cite ms. info.


So I pulled a random illuminated ms. book off my shelf -- A Medieval Book of

Seasons, by Marie Collins and Virginia Davis (Harper Collins, 1992).  Page 56

shows a lady in a white belt about the same width as the strip of fabric above

the belt (neckline to below the breasts) -- I'd say 4-5" or so. It is from a

late 15th c. Flemish ms. in the FitzWilliam museum.   There are other examples

of women wearing wide belts with houppelands and such, but none as extreme as

that example.


Now, I certainly agree that the  very wide belts worn at the waist, with a

separate skirt and bodice styled like the 16th century country lass (or is

that tavern wench?) don't seem to appear in my references with anything near

the frequency as they are seen at Ren Faires and events.  In fact, I have yet

to see such a thing in manuscripts.   Perhaps you were referring to this

style?   But I believe the original posting was in reference to houppelands

and such earlier fashions.


Eowyn Amberdrake,   Caid

       Ancore Imparo -- I am still learning



Subject: ANST - Whats a guy to do?

Date: Tue, 05 Oct 1999 22:05:03 MST

From: Brent Hanner <behanner at mindspring.com>

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


Was looking through the Manessa Codex today and a few other pictures

and noticed something that causes me a delima.  Every sword belt

in the book is white (granted may have missed one).  plus

several other pictures from that period have the same thing.

I'll post some stats tomorrow.  So whats a guy to do?





Subject: Re: ANST - Re: Whats a guy to do

Date: Sun, 10 Oct 1999 12:43:39 MST

From: Brent Hanner <behanner at mindspring.com>

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


JHORTON at sfaadm.sfasu.edu wrote:

> If i were printing a period book, i would not waste time cutting a block

> with the likness of a squire.


Well lets look at the evidence.


Here are how the belts span out.  These are sword belts only and they

are all white.

(Note:one looks slightly greyish but we will assume its faded or bled)


Uppernobility :  5

Herren   :  8

No Stated Title : 8


Plate #4- Most likey ritter or higher

Plate #19- 2 foot soldiers with white belts. Definitely not knights.

Plate #61- Soldier of some sort could be a ritter

Plate #66- Soldier of some sort could be ritter or better.

plate #92- 2 Soldiers of some sort could be ritter

plate #108- Soldier,  most likely ritter or better.

plate #127- Not actually a sword belt but very similar.  Crossbow belt

worn like a sword belt.  No rank given.

plate #135- More than likely a noble of some sort.


The majority of the sword belts are on people who are ritters or above

but in 13th century Germany knighthood was still a rather middle class

thing. Knighthood would be the equililant of recieving your AoA.  But

the fact is that even those that aren't ritters in the Codex are wearing

white sword belts.


So whats a guy to do.





From: bbrown1382 at aol.com (BBrown1382)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Plaque Belt Closure

Date: 26 Mar 2000 14:19:30 GMT


Plaque belts of the 14th and 15th centuries appear generally to fasten w/

a buckle and strap end arrangement. The closures are often not easy to see on

effigies because the hardware is closed and rotated around to ride under the

left kidney leaving only plaques showing in the front. This appears to be

common on belts where the plaques are riveted to a leather foundation. Belts of

armorial or otherwise decorated plaques also occur where the individual plates



Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2000 21:19:57 -0500

From: "Helen Schultz" <meistern at netusa1.net>

To: <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: Re: Belt help


Hello, Christian.


Your best source for researching these belts is from paintings or  

manuscript pages.  The ones I have seen did have a buckle somewhat like  

the modern ones (meaning with the single prong) except for their shapes.  

I have seen examples of both the short ones like you have described,  

but have also seen some that buckled close to the body but had a  

"tongue" that extended the entire length of the dress.... yes, those  

were quite long.  I seem to recall seeing them buckled both in the front  

and in the back of the dress/robe.  The Italians left some wonderful  

examples in their frescoes.  Sorry that I can't really give you some  

specifics as to which paintings or manuscripts to look at, as I am not  

really that organized at the moment. There are two wonderful books on  

the Italian frescoes, but they are not of the country you desire.

I have done a Houppeland with a similar style belt and used a  buckle  

from a modern elasticized belt (cut it off and just used it on the belt  

at the position I wanted it... with the tail down the back).  Looked  

really nice -- probably not exactly period, but nice anyway.  This  

particular buckle was roundish and cut out into a mostly knotwork  



  ----- Original Message -----

  From: Christine Cooper20

<<<  I need to make a belt for my circa 1450 Burgundian robe.  I have seen  

them from the front plenty of times so I know that it should be several  

inches wide and that it should sit rather high up (covering the lower  

ribs, yes? giving excellent support in place of modern undergarments).  

But what about the back?  I've seen some pictures (can you tell I'm new  

to this research thing?) which just barely show the ends kind of  

sticking out from the ladies' backs.  So obviously they were rather  

short belts.  How did they buckle?  I mean, was it a buckle?  The only  

belt I wear (hard to believe it's green, eh?) has just a metal ring and  

the belt is long enough (and narrow enough) to loop through and around  

itself.  I can't imagine that a 4-inch wide belt would want to be so  

acrobatic.  So how did the darned things stay?  


Christian O'Cuinn >>>



Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2000 00:33:50 -0600

From: Bjorn Grimnirsson <viking822 at in-tch.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Belt help


Christine Cooper wrote:

>   I need to make a belt for my circa 1450 Burgundian robe. <snip>

> Christian O'Cuinn


Buckles date back at least to Roman times - though I would imagine they

were often thought of more as a piece of jewelry replacing lacing and

knots than the utilitarian item they are today.  Raymond's Quiet Press

(http://www.nmia.com/~rqpltd/) has a few English buckles around the time

period you're looking at.  The buckles would probably be rather small

and placed in the middle of one end, buckled a strap from the other end

(http://www.nmia.com/~rqpltd/RomanGermanic_Belt.html - it's not a lady's

belt or medieval, but it shows what I'm talking about).  A belt could

also be laced together with a leather thong through punched holes on the

ends of the belt (like a shoe).  Of course, being 9th century Norse

myself and knowing nothing about the fashions of later periods, this is

only semi-educated guesswork.





are hinged together, sometimes with a differently shaped and decorated spacer

plate (also hinged). The belt is taken on and off by slipping the pin from a

selected hinge (the pin is best drilled and chained to a ring soldered to the

back of its plate if you don't want to risk losing it). Clearly one had best

maintain their body proportions (or have some extra plates!) if they use this



Sir Brian duBois Breton, Atlantia.


Date: Fri, 5 May 2000 13:38:43 -0500 (CDT)

From: "Pixel, Queen of Cats" <pixel at hundred-acre-wood.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Penners?


On the west front of Wells Cathedral there is a statue of a woman who has

a number of things hanging off her belt. One is very obviously a pouch.

There are two other things hanging beside/behind it that are less obvious

as to what they are. One of the two looks very like a small container of

some sort, and the other one could be a penner, or a knife, a large

needlecase, or any number of other things which are longish and narrowish

and might be hanging off a woman's belt.


I was planning on taking a closer look at the photo this weekend--my love

has been scanning them and printing them out, and I only saw the b/w

printout--and seeing if I could figure out what the mystery objects might

be. If you like, I could probably convince him to email you a copy of the






12 Oct 2000 19:30:33 -0000 from Norsefolk at egroups.com list

From: "Gunnora Hallakarva" <gunnora at realtime.net>

Subject: Re: Baldrics


Ulric the Fox asked:

> I am looking for any information I can find on sword baldrics.

> I have seen a couple of pictures of baldrics in use, but I am

> looking for information on making one (a pattern would be great).


Here are some resources you may find useful:


Regia Angelorum: Baldrics from the Bayeaux Tapestry



Ellis-Davidson, Hilda R. The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England: Its  

Archaeology and Literature.  Oxford: Clarendon.  1962.


Anglecynn Anglo-Saxon Reenactors with Baldrics




Torslunda Vendel Helmet Plate showing "Dancing Man" with Baldric



R. L. S. Bruce-Mitford. "Fresh Observations on the Torslunda Plates."

Frühmittelalterliche Studien 2 (1968) pp. 233-236.


Gilt-bronze Vendel Baldric-Mount, 7th century AD



Vendel Chieftain's Sword (shows mounting on scabbard for affixing to




King's Ransom Leather Crafts






From: Nambeanntan at aol.com

Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 00:15:47 EST

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] suspenders

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


stefan at texas.net writes:

> Hmmm. I thought of baldrics, but those were used to hang swords not

> hold up pants. So, I'm afraid this is getting further off subject, but

> does anyone know when suspenders (ie: the straps that go over the

> shoulders to hold up pants, not the heraldic kind) first appear.

> Are they period?


Main Entry: sus=C2=B7pend=C2=B7er

Pronunciation: s&-'spen-d&r

Function: noun

Date: 1524

1 : one that suspends

2 : a device by which something may be suspended: as a : one of two

supporting bands worn across the shoulders to support trousers, skirt, or

belt =E2=80=94 usually used in plural and often with pair b : British : a fastener attached to a garment or garter to hold up a stocking or sock; also : a

device consisting of garter and fastener

- sus=C2=B7pend=C2=B7ered /-d&rd/ adjective


Would this do.




Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 21:43:19 -0800

From: "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm at efn.org>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] suspenders


Stefan li Rous wrote:

> > 'Lainie

> > -my sweetie's a fireman, and I'll tell you- it's the suspenders!

> Hmmm. I thought of baldrics, but those were used to hang swords not

> hold up pants. So, I'm afraid this is getting further off subject, but

> does anyone know when suspenders (ie: the straps that go over the

> shoulders to hold up pants, not the heraldic kind) first appear.

> Are they period?


I don't know what they are called, but my friend Grendal (Master Master

Nicolai Grendal Gornych) has these... things that he wears over his

chainmail. Looks alot like the harness I used to put on my kids when

they were little and we went to the mall or whatever. One strap right

under the 'bustline' (for lack of a better word) and two that go over

the shoulders. Nick saw pictures of them in Byzantine stuff (he's byz)

and didn't know why they were there. So he made one and wore it to see

what happens. What happened is that with it strapped on firmly, when he

raises his arm to throw a blow, only the section of chainmail above the

harness moves with his arm- he's not raising the whole side of his mail

when he moves, which means a lot less fatigue. The shoulder straps keep

the rib strap from sliding down. I've seen it in action- it's pretty



Admittedly, it doesn't hold up one's pants, but if it gives an edge in

battle, that might be more important.





From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] suspenders

Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 05:48:58 -0600


Keep in mind, the dictionary is discussing the history of the word, not

necessarily the history of the object.


German lederhosen, which are medieval dress, have button on leather straps

that serve as suspenders.  The question is not "are the period," but "what

were they called and what was their construction."


BTW, try the term "galluses."




>Main Entry: sus=B7pend=B7er

>Pronunciation: s&-'spen-d&r

>Function: noun

>Date: 1524


>Would this do.


I doubt it; the suspenders-for-pants is an American (and therefore

post-period) thing. The British suspenders are, indeed, stocking

garters. . . and damned if I can remember the joke about an

American using the term and being misunderstood by some

British folk.







From: Isobel de Kirkbryde <kirkbryde at yahoo.com>

Date: November 11, 2007 1:00:37 PM CST

To: ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: [Ansteorra] Ring belts vs buckles


BOTH are period.


Yes, I know buckles were made during period.  However, ring belts were also worn.  


Master Michael Fenwick of Fotheringhay and I saw ring belts in the Viking exhibit at the Swedish National Historical Museum in Stockholm this summer.  Yes, they were worn with the same "knot" that is worn in the SCA,  The major difference was the width of the belt.  The ones we saw in the museum were about 1/2" high for the leather with appropriately sized rings.  


We saw exhibits that were later in period where they used buckles and belts with holes, much like our modern belts. Moreover, we know from archaeological grave-digs, whose accounts Mistress Roane and Master Michael have translated, that Swedes in the Viking era also used buckles remarkably like those we use today.


So both are period: ring-belts and buckled belts alike.


Lady Isobel de Kirkbryde leanbh a Úna

Guild Head of the Guild of St. Camillus de Lellis, Kingdom of Ansteorra

V-Scribe Canton of Skorragardr

Deputy Northern Regional Scribe

Member of Clann Lochlan

Member of Clann Haddock

Member of House MOO



From: Susan McMahill <sueorintx at hotmail.com>

Date: November 11, 2007 7:55:15 PM CST

To: "Kingdom of Ansteorra - SCA, Inc." <ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Ansteorra] Ring belts vs buckles


I would guess that if they didn't have holes in the belt, they were  

certainly tang-less; if they have holes, then a tang was probably  

lost. There might also be evidence of wear on the ring of the belt  

that would determine if a tang had ever been present. Smaller belts  

than our 1-1/2 to 2 inch SCA 'standard uniform' belts would also hold  

their knot better. I have a couple of ring belts and I don't readjust  

them much at all once I am finally dressed. Technology changes for a  

reason. The tang came because of the inherent difficulties with  

fasteners (rings, buckles, etc) without them. At some point, however,  

it would make sense that there might not have been tangs. If these  

belts were Viking period or earlier, why might they not have tangs.  

"real" people used the technology that was available to them. In the  

location that these rings were found, perhaps tang-less rings were  

the norm. Just playing devil's advocate.




> That would be my  

> thought too... A ring belt just will not inherently stay, and will  

> loosen constantly. There is no reason to use it, when adding a


> simple tang makes it much more effective. And since these were "for  

> real" for people in the middle ages, I don't think they would do  

> it.


> JP



From: Jean Paul de Sens <jeanpauldesens at gmail.com>

Date: November 13, 2007 9:20:45 AM CST

To: "Kingdom of Ansteorra - SCA, Inc." <ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Ansteorra] Ring belts vs buckles


Isobel, I'm afraid I agree with Lorraine. A belt on a model is not really

verification that the ring of metal *was* a belt buckle.  Since when they

recovered it, unless it had been in a bog, it was probably just a  

ring of metal.


it could have been used like this one :



as an extension.


Finding a ring of metal, slapping some leather on it and calling it a  

belt is not very good proof.




On Nov 13, 2007 8:44 AM, Isobel de Kirkbryde <kirkbryde at yahoo.com>  


> Were they truely "ring" belts... or had they just lost their tang?

> L DeerSlayer



From: Isobel de Kirkbryde <kirkbryde at yahoo.com>

Date: November 13, 2007 8:44:45 AM CST

To: ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Ansteorra] Ring belts vs buckles


<<< Were they truely "ring" belts...

or had they just lost their tang?


L DeerSlayer >>>


They were truly ring belts.  They were NOT buckles that had lost their tang.  Not at all.  We saw one that we could walk right up  to, touch and observe quite closely.  It was indeed a ring belt  with the knot to hold the belt in place.  It was on a woman's  Viking dress which also had beautiful wool trim and wonderful  broaches.  As I said before, thought, the belt was very narrow  compared to what I usually see in the SCA.


Lady Isobel de Kirkbryde leanbh a Úna

Guild Head of the Guild of St. Camillus de Lellis, Kingdom of Ansteorra



Date: Wed, 5 May 2010 16:24:44 +1200

From: Massaria da Cortona <massaria at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Lochac] Fabric Belts?

To: lochac at sca.org.au


<<< Does anyone know of period sources that have belts of the same sort of heft and carrying capacity as the ol' faithful leather ring belts, but made of fabric of some kind? >>>


I can't speak to how much weight fabric belts could hold compared to

leather ones, but they were not uncommon. Here's an extant example:



There are hunting girdles in musseums in Bavaria which are made of

richly embroidered fabric and would go with the raiper hanger you

posted (ie from much later than the example above). Sadly, there are

no photos online for those.





From: James Anlage <hrothgarthorsson at yahoo.com>

Date: August 6, 2010 1:33:11 PM CDT

To: trimaris-temp at yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: [tri-temp] Metal or Jeweled Belt


<<< I need some direction on where to find a nice belt to wear with a sideless surcoat..  Any suggestions on where I could find one? Been looking on the 
however nothing hits my fancy on the sites that I looked at...thanks :)


Now you're speaking MY language! I've been doing and teaching projects like that 
since I started in jewelry in our kingdom 26 years ago. I've created quite a few 
jeweled belts in that time, mostly for women, and one or two for ArtsSci.


If you have basic skills (simple soldering and brazing, know which end of a 
pair of pliers to hold, knowing how to cut metal and not your fingers, etc), 
creating a simple but gorgeous jeweled belt is relatively easy.


If not, the earlier suggestion involving Walmart or some other outlet can be 
pursued. In that case, don't settle for some pre-assembled belt. Take care in 
finding attractive matching pieces that you can chain together yourself. Pay 
close attention to the type of chain you get, being sure that it doesn't clash 
with the pieces of the belt.


You can easily salvage chain from other jewelry you 
can find cheaply at thrift stores or flea markets. 

Pay close attention to the spacing between the pieces of the belt; you want 
the belt to have a full and balanced appearance. The worst thing is a few 
mismatched pieces with lots of chain between them. And if you can't find any 
single color to match your outfit, take care in choosing combinations of colors.


Worst case scenario: use jewels of red, purple, blue and green. It's a cliche, 
but when modern people see those colors together against bright metal, they 
think "MEDIEVAL!". 

And at the risk of pointing out the obvious, be sure that the pieces of 
jeweled metal intended for the belt have places where chains can be attached.


When assembling the belt, start by measuring how long the belt has to be 
made. This is important: you need not only the length around your waist or hips, 
but how far it will drape, if that is the style you are making.


Measure the length of each piece and multiply it by how many you have. 
Subtract that from the desired belt length and that will give you the length of 
chain that is needed to fill in between. Multiply that by how many segments of 
chain will be used between; two would be a logical minimum. There will be some 
blurring of the numbers in this equation... you must take into account the size 
of the individual rings of the chain and any connecting rings that will hold the 
chain segments to the pieces of the belt. 


Once everything is in one place, go to town with the pliers by putting 
everything together. Eliminate any kinks in the chains.


Finally, choose a method of fastening the belt closed. The quickest and 
easiest way is to put lanyard hooks on the ends. They're cheap, strong and 
sturdy, not too bad looking, and can be found in silver or gold tone. The 
underside is that they are hard to open. Another method would be to fashion 
small hooks at the ends of the chains, though these could work their way loose 
while you're wearing the belt in garb. Been there, saw it happen.


With effort and attention to details, you will have a beautiful piece that 
will be the envy of all those around you.


I hope this has been of help. I really must write an article on this someday.


Baron HRothgar



From: Vicky Eisenstadt <alysounJ at gmail.com>

Date: August 6, 2010 7:29:13 AM CDT

To: trimaris-temp at yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: [tri-temp] Metal or Jeweled Belt


Raymond's Quiet Press  www.quietpress.com


On Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 8:11 AM, rhiannon_branwen_corcoran <

rhiannon_branwen_corcoran at yahoo.com> wrote:

<<< I need some direction on where to find a nice belt to wear with a sideless

surcoat..any suggestions on where I could find one? Been looking on the internet however, nothing hits my fancy on the sites that I looked at...thanks :) >>>



From: "Susan L. Trautman" <talisman at bellsouth.net>

Date: August 6, 2010 7:27:55 AM CDT

To: trimaris-temp at yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: [tri-temp] Metal or Jeweled Belt


You might try walmart or K mart tacky as that may sound they sometimes carry 
nice metal belts that can pass for period.





From: Aspasia <aspasia1490 at yahoo.com>

Date: August 6, 2010 12:56:46 PM CDT

To: trimaris-temp at yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: [tri-temp] Metal or Jeweled Belt


Contact Baron HRothy at www.preciousplunder.com. He did some for Duchess Elspeth (which she loaned to several other crowns), Vicontess Elitha, me and several others. It would be a special order, price would depend on what you want.


He can also make it as authentic as you want.


Maitresse Aspasia Moonwind

Honor Before Honors


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
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Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org