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mazers-msg - 12/1/18


Medieval drinking bowls originally of hardwood.


NOTE: See also the files: utensils-msg, iron-pot-care-msg, ovens-msg, nefs-msg, aquamaniles-msg, p-tableware-msg, drinkng-strws-msg, wood-utn-care-msg, merch-pottery-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



Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 18:46:02 -0400

From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>

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

Subject: Re: Mazers?


Kristen M. Sieber wrote:

> Does anyone know where I can get mazers?  Or turn

> mundane objects into mazers.  I've only actually seen

> pottery ones, but I understand they were made out of a

> variety of materials.  Thanks.

> ===

> Morgaine of Glastonbury

> MKA Kristen Morgaine Sieber

> Barony of Aquaterra

> Kingdom of An Tir

> lady_gawain at yahoo.com


You'll find mazers were generally made of wood.

You'll get the most information on them in books on Treen -

woodenware used in the kitchen. There are half a dozen that have

been written. The best is by a man named Pinto.

Mazers often had a lid, often had a metal rim or lining.

Sometimes carved or engraved. Sometimes with slogans.





Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 22:03:46 EDT

From: <LrdRas at aol.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu, steps at antir.sca.org

Subject: Re: Mazers?


ma*zer (noun)


[Middle English, from Middle French mazere, of Germanic origin; akin to Old

High German masar gnarled excrescence on a tree]


First appeared 14th Century


: a large drinking bowl orig. of a hard wood





Date: Wed, 16 Jun 1999 11:06:38 -0400

From: "Gray, Heather" <Heather at Quodata.Com>

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

Subject: RE: Mazers?


I remember reading up on mazers years ago -- yes, generally out of wood (the

bowl part, that is), sometimes footed, sometimes not.  The word is based on

the bowl having been popularly made from a type of speckled Maple -- I think

it referred to the pattern in the wood.  The bowl of most of the ones I saw

were wider than they were deep (kind of like the old Roman drinking bowls

shape-wise, I think, although I don't know what those were made of, and they

were called something else, like cratella).  Many came to be framed in

metal, like Magnus was saying, and some of these belonged to families,

guilds, universities, and might have a metal disk inside in the center of

the bowl with the arms/crest on it.  The footed ones end up looking a bit

like a wide-bowled goblet.  Been trying to find an example on the 'net, and

interestingly enough there's a beer brewing contest that uses the term mazer

cup for the prize cup. The cups they were using for tasting were ceramic

though, and not as wide as the medieval ones, but one had 2 small handles,

like a welcome cup, which looked nice. Here are a few links:


For some fascinating ones that are nothing like the English ones, see a

current maker in WI of Norwegian style wooden things:



Something a little closer to the English/Roman style:

http://www.tomthomson.org/tc18.htm (second cup on page)


Scottish early 17th c., appears to be silver, and theorized to have had a

leather covering on the base.



Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, B3

3DH, Telephone: 0121 303 2834 (In England) has a collection of them, called

the Pinto Collection of Treen


A Definition of Treen



The books by Edward Pinto ("Treen and other wooden bygones...." and also

:Treen; or, Small woodware throughout the ages") is available at our

university library, so perhaps it is in yours as well.


This one is called a mazer, and is medieval in origin, but perhaps has been

named a mazer because of the ceremonial nature the cup sometimes have, like

at medieval universities.  It is made from a horn, and is framed in metal,

with a stand. At Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge (UK):






Date: Tue, 08 Aug 2000 17:15:48 -0400

From: rmhowe <MMagnusM at bellsouth.net>

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

Subject: Re: Mazers


Every time I have previously read articles on mazers in books they

were made of a cup generally of maple, sometimes with a similar cover,

often rimmed and footed in silver, also sometimes with a silver engraved

plate in the bottom. Mazer referring to maple as it were. Beautiful

things. I think I may have photographed one or two at the DeWitt-

Wallace Decorative Arts Museum in Williamsburg, VA two. (They have

a number of assorted Scottish quaiches there as well.)


Perhaps Mazer is a name traditional to _this_ one, or a previous owner.

Perhaps the original name bestower was a bit groggy at the time.



An Illustrated History of English Plate by Charles James Jackson,

        Hardback, Dover, two volumes.


Hope, W. H. St. John: On the English Medieval Drinking Bowls Called


        Archaeologia, 1886-87, Vol. 50, pp.129-93 plus plates.


Both are very good. I have them.


See also some books on Treen (Woodenware). I'd take a look but mine

are behind a big stack at the moment. Pinto is a leading authority.

I'm pretty sure there are at least four books, I think I have this.

Until we get some new bookcases up I'm a bit afraid of






Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2000 15:42:24 -0500

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - mazers????


>> The brewers, vintners, mazers and bakers produced these goods if the

>> estate could maintain them, and they were responsible for meeting the

>> household production needs


Nisha Martin wrote:

> My ignorance is showing....what's a mazer? Thanks.


In addition to being a vessel, a mazer is also a term used to describe

people who make mead.





Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2000 14:54:02 -0500

From: "Daniel Phelps" <phelpsd at gate.net>

Subject: Re: SC - mazers????


Was asked:

what's a mazer?


Check out the book "Wassail! In Mazers of Mead" chapter XIII Horns, Mazers

and Mether Cups.  A mazer is a wooden drinking vessel.  Quote, "The wooden

vessels, whether ornamented with silver or not, are known as mazers, from a

Middle English word related to maple, which was the favorite wood for the

vessel. The Icelandic word mosurr, (NOTE THERE IS A DOUBLE DOT OVER THE O)

which is obviously the same as mazer, means a maple-tree.  The Old French is

maselin and in that form we find it in Chaucer.  The old Germanic word

ma'sa' means a spot and it has been suggested that the spotted nature of the

grain of maple wood lead to this name."  He goes on to talk of reference to

period mazers made of ash, birch, alder, rosemary-tree, and reference to

those with two lugs.  He further talks of ornamentation of silver and/or

gilt with a foot added.  He the describes and classifies some extant period

specimens. Large communal bowl types like the Scrope, Rochester and

Bannatyne or Bute mazers are the described in detail.  He the digresses and

writes about mazers left in period wills, literary and legal reference.

Returning to the main discussion he says that "There are three stages in the

development of the mazer in the Middle ages.  From the fourteenth to

fifteenth centuries the bowls were generally deep, with plain, narrow,

silver bands.  From the middle of the fifthteenth century to the middle of

the sixtieth century the bowls became shallower.  In the succeeding

Elizabethan period metal straps connecting the band round the rim to the

foot were often added."


He then talks about stemmed mazers made for individual use.  He proceeds to

discuss several existing Scottish examples and ends with a discussion of the

transition of that mazer form to silver goblets.  He provides two

illustrations of period examples one of the communal type and one of the

individual footed type.  The communal type looks like a large rounded bowl



"the rim, base and side strips are of silver and the bowl is of  wood."


The second is described:


"The bowl is of wood, and the stem and rim is of silver"


Its form is like that of a saucer champagne glass as illustrated in my "Mr.

Boston Deluxe Official Bartender's Guide"


Hope this helps.


Daniel Raoul



From: "Daniel Phelps" <phelpsd at gate.net>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 18:24:30 -0400

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Wassail was How old are drinking straws?


>> My copy of "Wassail! In Mazers of Mead" G.R. Gayre Phillimore & Sons. Ltd.

>> London 1948, page 31 figures 2 & 3 shows line drawings of "Beer drinking

>> through tubes in ancient Babylonia" and "Bottling Beer by syphon in Ancient

>> Egypt."  Unforunately it does not give a reference to their sources.


Stefan replied:

>Thanks. I don't think I remember anyone mentioning this book previously.

>It sounds like it might be good for researching some other things like

>wassail, mazers and mead.

>So what kinds of things does it cover? What is your opinion of it?

>I assume that is long out of print, though.


I think that it has been republished.  It is subtitled "An account of Mead,

Metheglin, Sack and other Ancient Liquors, and of the Mazer Cups out of

which they were drunk, with comment upon the Drinking Customs of our

forebears".   That about sums it up.  Heavy on the "primary source"

references; Rig-Veda, Virgil, Plutarch, misc. Roman.,  Homer misc. Greek ,

Beowulf, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Heimskrigla, The Mabinogion, Kalevala,

Chaucer, Hieronymus Cardanus, Shakespear, Pepys, Digbie, Milton, The Goodman

of Paris, Spenser, Rabelais to name some of the more well known.    Lots of

anthropological African sources by the way.  Oddly I don't think it

references "The Tain".


If you check the archives I quoted extensively from it in our discussion of

mazer cups a little while back.


Daniel Raoul


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org