Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

ships-msg - 1/24/08


Ships and shipbuilding. Sailor's food. Privateers.


NOTE: See also these files: pirates-msg, med-ships-art, ships-bib, nav-inst-msg, boat-building-msg, Seakeeping-p1-art, Seakeeping-p2-art, rope-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: moonman at camelot.bradley.edu (Craig Levin)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Mariners, ships and like that

Date: 4 Oct 1993 18:04:09 -0500

Organization: House of the Moss Rose


uf380 at freenet.Victoria.BC.CA (William Underhill) writes:

>To any gentles out there who share this interest,

>From Lord William the Mariner, greetings, salutations and salute

>the brow...


      Salutations, fellow waterman!


>Are there any gentles out there who have an interest in naval and

>marine history? By this I mean anything from marine architecture

>to naval battles, from navigation to techniques of sail - in shoret

>(sp) anything connected with ships and sailing? I'd sure like to hear

>from you. Also, does anyone out there (interested or not) know of

>some good sources for research material (don't anyone say "Try your

>local library, please. Despite the fact that we have a naval facility

>just a loud shout down the road from here, you'd think ships never

>existed until the turn of the century, to judge  by what they have

>in the local public and university libraries.


>William the Mariner


      Sure. I can come up with a few titles & authors right off the

bat. Anything by S. E. Morison, is good. Not only is he a Harvard

historian, he is a dedicated yachtsman, so anything he says about the

voyages of exploration is pretty much verifiable-he's sailed along

their routes, and understands the problems of the sailor. Hakluyt's

PRINCIPALL NAVIGATIONS is one of the best Tudor annals of

exploration. John Hale's another excellent author, as is J. H. Parry.

There's also H. A. Calahan, but you ought to take whatever he says

with a _large_ grain of sea salt. David Howarth's work, SOVEREIGN OF

THE SEAS, covers all of period England, and can be extrapolated to the

rest of period North Europe.


Pedro de Alcazar


Craig\The Moonman\Levin         Pedro de Alcazar

moonman at camelot.bradley.edu     Shire of Dernehealde, Midrealm



From: moonman at camelot.bradley.edu (Craig Levin)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Mariners, ships and like that

Date: 4 Oct 1993 23:01:41 -0500

Organization: House of the Moss Rose


blaxson at shade.UWaterloo.ca (Brian A.Laxson) writes:

>BTW  Does anyone know of the capacity for cargo of late-period wooden  

>ships.  (I.e.  17 th century Galleons)  My "local gathering of books"  

>listed several launch weights but no references to the CARGO after crew,  

>cannons, food stores etc.


      Unfortunately, they did not think in terms of cargo tonnage as

we do. In fact, David Howarth, in his excellent book SOVEREIGNS OF THE

SEA, more or less admits that the the value of a "ton" varied from

time to time. But, if what we can glean from marine archaeology is

correct, by 1415, ships as large as 1400 tons were being constructed.

However, these were very rare-in fact, they were built by Henry V for

his French wars. More typical vessels were in the 80-550 ton range, in

the 1550's.


Craig\The Moonman\Levin         Pedro de Alcazar

moonman at camelot.bradley.edu     Shire of Dernehealde, Midrealm



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: mikes at silver.ucs.indiana.edu (Michael L. Squires)

Subject: Re: Mariners, ships and like that

Summary: Chaucer and William Bourne

Keywords: navigation

Organization: Indiana University

Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1993 04:59:53 GMT


>>Are there any gentles out there who have an interest in naval and

>>marine history? By this I mean anything from marine architecture


Chaucer wrote a little book on the use of the astrolabe; I got a copy from

the Folger very cheaply.  William Bourne's Regiment for the Sea was

published about 1570 and was a standard text for navigation into the 17th

century.  There are also a number of 16th century English manuals on

cannon, but I haven't seen them.


The Hakluyt Society published the Regiment and a number of other books

on similar topics.  They should be in a big library.



From: huff at bronze.lcs.mit.EDU (Robert Huff)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Mariners, ships and like that

Date: 5 Oct 1993 17:13:57 -0400


      My local library has a really neat (if post-Restoration) book

called _Deane's Doctrine_, a reprint of a manual by Sir John Deane.

      It's sort of a price guide/mil-spec/architects meta-manual on how

to build warships. (This is from memory of about two years ago -

permission to quote me is not granted ....)


                                          Diego Mundoz




Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: mikes at nickel.ucs.indiana.edu (michael squires)

Subject: Re: Mid 11c. Ships

Organization: Indiana University

Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1993 16:41:18 GMT


> Greetings.  Are there any ship pilots resting here at the bridge?  I am

> looking for information regarding merchant ships mainly sailing the English

> channel in the 11c.  Any literary refrences would be helpful.


Look up the name "Bass" in your local card catalog.  He is an important

underwater archaeologist and has written or co-authored books on shipping.

I have a table-top book which shows photos and reconstructions of ships

from the bronze age to the Vasa which he authored.


Michael L. Squires, Ph.D   Manager of Instructional Computing, Freshman Office,

Chemistry Department, IU Bloomington, IN 47405 812-855-0852 (o) 81-333-6564 (h)

mikes at indiana.edu, mikes at ucs.indiana.edu, or mikes at nickel.ucs.indiana.edu



From: james at nucleus.cuc.ab.CA (James Prescott)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Mid 11c. Ships

Date: 22 Dec 1993 17:47:52 -0500

Organization: Atomic Data Communications



Lewis, A.R. and Runyan, T.J.

European Naval and Maritime History, 300-1500

Indiana University Press


ISBN 0-253-20573-5 (pbk.)


Thorvald Grimsson/James Prescott (james at nucleus.cuc.ab.ca)



From: dickeney at access2.digex.net (Dick Eney)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Drakkar

Date: 3 Feb 1994 21:26:38 -0500

Organization: Express Access Online Communications, Greenbelt, MD USA


Peter Rose <WISH at uriacc.uri.EDU> wrote:

>Does anyone know what a Drakkar is?  I know it's some kind of boat,

>but that's about it.

> --Azelin


It's the rowing galley used as a warship by the Vikings (as contrasted

with the "roundships" used as merchantmen). Means "dragon"; also spelled

drekkar; latter spelling is that used for the newsletter of Storvik in

Atlantia (storvik = "great bay").  The Longship Company of the Markland

Militia has a reconstructed Viking longship, a drakkar, and named

"Fyrdraca" ("dragon of the war-band"). She normally cruises with six

oars manned on a side but can, I believe, accomodate twenty (10 a side)

plus a handful of passengers and everybody's gear.  'Nuf for now?


|-- Vuong Manh (dickeney at access.digex.com) Storvik, Atlantia |



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: clevin at oucsace.cs.ohiou.edu (Craig Martin Levin)

Subject: Re: Medieval Sea Ports

Organization: Ohio University CS Dept,. Athens

Date: Sat, 9 Apr 1994 17:21:57 GMT


Joseph Heck <ccjoe at showme.missouri.edu> wrote:

>What were the common sea ports along the 'irish sea basin'. I would assume

>Dublin would be right up there, as perhaps Barmouth... but does anyone know

>the other ports - specifically in Ireland & Wales? Or, for that matter,

>where I could find out?


      The Irish Sea wasn't much of a trade route, as compared to

      the Mediterranean or even the Narrow Seas. I think your best

      bet is a book by the title of A NAVAL HISTORY OF ENGLAND, by

      G. J. Marcus, but even he though he's "comprehensive", says

      little about the Irish Sea. Maybe you might try poking

      around in the index of the Mariner's Mirror, which is a

      great magazine for the study of maritime history.


Craig Levin                           Pedro de Alcazar

Ohio University History Department           Shire of Dernehealde

clevin at oucsace.cs.ohiou.edu                        Midrealm



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: ab575 at FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Rebecca Cairns)

Subject: Mary Rose Report

Organization: The National Capital FreeNet, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Date: Tue, 3 May 1994 18:29:10 GMT


Isabella sends greetings unto all gathered on the bridge this fine day:


As previously promised, here is Betsy True's report on the Mary Rose

lecture given by Ann Stirland last Thursday in Madison, WI.  The report

is quite detailed and definitely of interest to readers of the Rialto.


For those who are interested, Betsy also posted an encoded file that

is the picture of "an orate ship" which may or may not be the Mary Rose.

This graphic was encoded using BinHex 4.0 for the MAC.  To save bandwidth,

I won't post this file but if anyone is interested, they can drop me a

line and I'll e-mail it to them directly.


If any in this forum also attended the lecture and wish to add their own

report, I'd be interested to see it, as would others, I'm sure.


--------------------------- Begin Included Message ---------------------------


Newsgroups: bit.listserv.scuba-l

From: btrue at MACC.WISC.EDU

Subject: LONG: account of Mary Rose lecture

Date: Mon May  2 19:34:33 1994


An account of Ann Stirlind's lecture on the Wreck of the Mary Rose


The Mary Rose and her Crew: The Manning, Sinking and Raising of King Henry

the VIII's Flagship

Ann Stirland, University College London, Editor, International Journal of



Ann Stirland's background is as a physical anthropologist. A more complete

description of artifacts is given in the book of similar name by Margory

Rule, published in 1982 by Windward Press.


When Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509 he inherited 5 ships and set

about building a navy with the ambition of reclaiming France. The Mary Rose

was named after a favorite sister, her keel laid in 1511, sank in 1545,

raised and refitted in 1546 to be a warship. Three named personnel were Sir

George Carou, (Admiral?) Thomas Spait, Shipmaster, and Sir Thomas Windam,

Captain. The crew consisted of soldiers (gunners and archers) under the

captain and sailors under the master's direction for a total of 415 people.


In the only existing illustration done of her from 1546, she is shown to be

a 4 masted barque, about 600 tons, with two castles (bow and stern),

refitted with guns. There are several rows of gun ports along sides, the

lower set quite close to the water level. (90 guns were later found.) A

tent of heavy netting is stretched over the tops of the castles, presumed

to be an anti-boarding device and is believed to have trapped many of the

men during sinking (the only 30 survivors believed to have been in the



On a calm morning in July, the Mary Rose sailed out of Portsmouth harbor

into the Isle of Wight sound to do battle. She turned to starboard to

present her broadside guns, heeled over and sank very suddenly in 40 fee

of water without a shot fired. She came to rest at 60o angle in soft silt.

An attempt was made by an Italian team to raise her but they only succeeded

in pulling her masts out. Over time the tides and storms filled her in and

eroded away the exposed port side, a shelly sea bed was laid down over all.

Her exact location was lost over time until 1980's when amateur

archeologist located her and this was confirmed by side scanning equipment.


The sound is contaminated by effluent from seaside towns (conger eels

mentioned), low viz and generally unpleasant to dive in. Exploration and

excavation of this site was accelerated using local divers (including

Prince Charles). A decision was made to raise the wreck. The Royal

Engineers made a plan to place a sling around her and raise her into a

cradle on a barge and this was done on live TV (with mishap). She now can

be viewed in a Portsmouth museum undergoing a 20 year conservation plan.


Her significance as a wreck is due to the fact that she is the only Tudor

warship found. Although nothing on this ship has the name "Mary Rose",

archeologists are quite sure of her identity because of the ornateness and

elaborateness of the artifacts and the presence of Henry VIII's insignia on

some guns.


The planking construction shows both clinker style (overlapping) in her

older construction and the newer carvel style (butt joints, end-to-end) in

the parts that were modified when she was made a warship. The carvel

planking allowed them to make gun ports with doors that sealed better when

shut, and generally was easier to seal. Some of these were no more than one

meter from the water level and her sinking is thought to be caused by

shipping water during that starboard turn with the gun ports open.


Of the 90 guns found, one was 12 feet long, some weighed 2 tons, were in a

range of sizes, including a smaller brass swivel gun. Some were quite

ornate and had a Tudor rose insignia. Items found: molds and cannon ball

shot of various sizes, novel anti-personnel missiles of flint shards

wrapped in light wood, carved linstocks (to light the cannons), English

long bows (of yew wood from other parts of world), boxes of arrows in silk

bindings (no flights or points), leather circles with holes (thought to be

arrow spacers or a round of ammo unit.). The bows are remarkable in that

they are of extraordinary draw weight. Modern bows are at 40-60 lbs. Of

these, most were at least 125 lbs, a few at 80 lbs, and three at 180 lbs

(had to be sitting to use). This is beyond most modern athletes ability to

draw, a record mentioned was about 80 lbs. Ann mentioned that all able

bodied men of that age were supposed to be practiced at long bow from the

age of 6 onward.

The site was well preserved by the anaerobic environment of the silt. Other

artifacts included: Ship's bell (brass?), block and tackle (wooden), tools

(wooden, metal), ship's compass (metal), carpenters tools (wooden, metal),

lantern (wooden), dishes (wooden), spoons (wooden), bottles, musical

instruments, pewter plate ware, tankard (or tyg, wooden), bowl (elm) with

personal mark, leather jerkin, leather shoes (with complete feet still in

them as bones), combs (with nit's eggs), pepper mill with pepper corns.


The barber-surgeon's quarters held an oak chest of tools of his trade.

Pottery of various sorts, i.e.. bleeding bowls, knives and saws, urethral

syringe (for treatment of gonorrhea with mercury) general anesthetic

(mallet!), velvet cap (as seen in a Hans Holbein painting of a


Human remains study was immensely difficult because of the extent of mixing

of body parts.totally commingled burial. Ann was impressed, though, by the

pristine condition of the bones (muscle insertions very clear) due to the

anaerobic environment of silt. She estimated that she has 92 fairly

complete skeletons and a sample of a total of 179 bodies. There was bony

evidence of battle injuries, occupational stresses and diet. She was

impressed that there were few fractures in the collection of bones: 3 ribs

(they likely wore half armor), 11 skulls (healed depressed fractures), a

nose fracture, a couple of cases of healed child hood rickets and an

avulsion fracture of the tibia (muscular pulling of bone). Bony avulsion

fracture of tibia was similar to same occurring when one jumps down to a

surface moving upward (like a ship deck). One unusual spinal lumbar area

showed overgrowth locking of articular surfaces. She postulated might be

from working in a low ceilinged gun bay (construction showed to be lower

than average height of men) hauling great weight of cannon where the added

stress of having to work slightly bent over would show in the bones. She

felt the shoulders showed stress of lifelong archery practice from her

research into Olympic athletes' injuries: 14.5% unjoined acromium (?) where

3% is normal. One skull had a neat healed impression of a bodkin armor

piercing arrowhead point in the cranium, a possible shot from above and

through an inadequate helmet.


Ann theorizes that these men were probably healthier and larger in stature

than the normal population of the time. They were all males, ages ranging

from late teens to over 40, one 10 year old, possibly a cabin boy.


Because of the hosts of people coming forward spuriously claiming

descendancy and reburial, the caretakers of these remains have chosen to

keep a low profile and to only make them available for anthropologists'

study, so they are not on display.


Betsy True, Medical Illustrator   Medical Illustration, Univ. of WI-Madison

H6/134 CSC   608-263-6028   btrue at macc.wisc.edu


---------------------------- End Included Message ----------------------------


In service to the Dream,


*  SCA: Isabella Oakwood              |                                    *

*       Barony of Skraeling Althing,  |      "I hear and I forget,          *

*       Ealdormere, Midrealm          |       I see and I remember,         *

*  MKA: Rebecca Cairns                |       I do and I understand."       *

*       Kanata, Ontario  Canada       |                 - Confucius.        *

*  NET: ab575 at FreeNet.carleton.ca     |                                     *




Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: mikes at nickel.ucs.indiana.edu (michael squires)

Subject: Re: steam engine

Summary: they had the technology

Organization: Indiana University

Date: Wed, 11 May 1994 15:42:05 GMT


Suze.Hammond at f56.n105.z1.fidonet.org (Suze Hammond) writes:

>As James Burke has so often pointed out in "Connections", many ideas are

>tinkered with off and on for centuries until some much-needed technology

>(such as consistant metalurgy for decent boilers, and the technology to

>make a relatively air tight piston-to-cylinder fit, in this case) catches

>up to the imaginations of humanity.


One of the (main deck?) guns on the Mary Rose, sunk 1545 and raised in 1981,

was a breech-loader made of a single sheet of wrought iron forged around a

mandrel using a large trip-hammer and forge-welded into a cylinder.  When

discovered it was thought to be one of the standard iron guns forged out

of bundles of iron rods, but X-rays showed the true structure.


Iron was delivered to the gunworks in "blooms" which had to first be forged

into a sheet or rod before being forged into a cannon. Later in the century

the English figured out how to cast iron into large cannons with a fairly

small risk of explosion.  The casting process required the bore be drilled

out after casting.  Muzzle-loaders replaced breech-loaders as gunpowder

got much better during the late 16th century and gunnery tactics moved

towards longer ranges and the breech-loaders couldn't contain the gas



Piston seals were made of leather into the late 19th century.


The main problem for a 20th century engineer caught in 16th century

England would be (1) the boiler (2) something useful to do with the engine.

Steam engines came into common use in England and Wales to pump out mines

which had been mined so deeply that water was filling up the diggings, and

horse/ox/man power was insufficient to pump out the water.


Michael L. Squires, Ph.D   Manager of Instructional Computing, Freshman Office,

Chemistry Department, IU Bloomington, IN 47405 812-855-0852 (o) 81-333-6564 (h)

mikes at indiana.edu, mikes at ucs.indiana.edu, or mikes at nickel.ucs.indiana.edu



From: IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu (I. Marc Carlson)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: re: Viking Ship Info

Date: 26 Mar 1995 21:03:06 -0600

Organization: UTexas Mail-to-News Gateway


<from: dnb105 at psu.edu (Ferret)>

>Could you possibly E-mail or post any dimensions of the original ships ?

>Most noteable the keel depth and displaement. Perhaps easier would be some

>titles that include dimensions or prints.


You might try a book called _The Viking_, published by Crescent Books,

in 1975 (and later) in agreement with the original publishers AB Nordbok.

There is no specific author, although Bertil Almgren is the "Chief

Contributor".  The LC number is 82-830302 (for that matter, since PSU

doesn't appear to have a copy, the OCLC number is 9371738).  It's not

the archaeological work I'd prefer to suggest to you, but it's got some

decent drawings in it (and has the added bonus on not being in Danish :) ).


"Mihi Satis Apparet Propter     Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn

  Se Ipsum Appetenda Sapientia"    University of Northkeep

-- St. Dunstan                  Northkeepshire, Ansteorra

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



From: 2Lt Aryeh JS Nusbacher <nusbacher-a at rmc.ca>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Sailcloth (was Re: SCA Fallacies)

Date: 14 Apr 1995 17:51:07 GMT

Organization: Royal Military College of Canada


I don't know about Mediterranean sails, but English and other northern

European sails were made out of hemp, not cotton, for most of the

period that there _were_ sails.


Aryk Nusbacher               |  

Post-Graduate War Studies Programme |    

Royal Military College of Canada    |    

Kingston, Ontario               



From: darrell.markewitz at ambassador.com (Darrell Markewitz)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


Date: Thu, 18 May 1995 13:45:20 GMT

Organization: AMBASSADOR BOARD (519) 925-2642 HST/V.32bis


This is a copy of a note I sent to the CBC - you all will be interested!


VIKING SHIP is launched in Newfoundland!


I am writing you to let you know about a developing story taking place

in Newfoundland.


Viking Boat Tours is a new commercial venture being 'launched' by Paul

Compton of St. Lunaire. He has organized the research, design and

construction of a replica of a Norse 'knaar', the same type of vessel

that brought the first European colonists to North America, some time

about the turn of the first millennium.  The 'Viking Saga' is a 43 ft

version of the type of merchant ship that was used by the Norse traders

who followed in the wake of the better known Viking 'dragon ships'.

Although fitted out to modern safety standards, the 'Viking Saga' is

based on the slightly larger ship known as Skuldelev 1, excavated in

Denmark. The original ship is dated to the 11th century, roughly

contemporary to the settlement at L'anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland.


The World Heritage Site at L'anse aux Meadows preserves the remains of

this first settlement attempt by the Norse. It pre-dates the much

heralded English colonies on the American east coast by some 600 years.

A combination of archaeological and saga evidence dates the settlement

to some time between 996 and 1010 AD. The site was not discovered until

the early 1960's by the Norwegian Helge Ingstad. It consists of the

ruins of some 10 structures, including dwellings, boat sheds and a

forge. The colony is thought to have endured for about four years before

it was abandoned. It may have also served as an over wintering  shelter

and  ship repair station.


My connection with this enterprise is small. As a blacksmith

specializing in historic reproductions, I have produced a few items for

the project. I have had a long interest in the Norse culture and the

exploration of Vinland. In 1993 & 94, I researched and produced historic

display based on the L'anse aux Meadows settlement for the Orangeville

Medieval Festival.


The Viking Saga thus is the first ship of its type to be built in Canada

for 1000 years. It is a tribute to the beginnings of European history in

Canada.  The story of Viking Boat Tours marks a success story in a

region that has had little good news of late.


For more information reguarding the launch of the Viking Saga contact:


Paul Compton

Viking Boat Tours

Box 45

St. Lunaire, NFLD, A0K 2X0


709-623-2098 (FX)


Submitted by:


Darrell Markewitz

the Wareham Forge

the Hamlet of Wareham

RR # 2 Proton Station, ON, N0C 1L0

519-923-9219 (wareham.forge at ambassador.com)



From: 2Lt Aryeh JS Nusbacher <nusbacher-a at rmc.ca>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Hard Tack anyone?

Date: 19 Jun 1995 16:52:30 GMT

Organization: Royal Military College of Canada


elbert at robles.callutheran.edu (Faedrah) wrote:

> I'm doing a report on the food eaten by sailors from the year 1550 BACK.

> hard tack is a likely kinda thing as well as jerky, limes, and don't for-

> get the rum rations!


I would suggest that before 1550, you would find none of the above; except

perhaps some sort of dried meat (more likely salt pork), and perhaps

not even that.  


Ship's biscuit, but not, I think, hardtack.


Fresh meat and vegetables, on the other hand, do not seem unlikely.  

Remember that before 1550, almost all maritime routes were coastwise.

Even early voyages of exploration (Vasco da Gama, for instance) were

largely extended coasting expeditions.  Captains had ample opportunity

for putting in to buy supplies, hunt local wildlife, and drive the dodo

into extinction.


The Spanish Plate Fleet was

just starting to be deployed on its annual run to America in the

16th century; and it sailed with long-haul supplies; but off the top

of my head I think that in addition to carrying water and biscuit,

ships carried a certain amount of livestock.  Salt fish, of course,

was a staple of all military and naval supply around 1550 in most of

Europe; especially herring from the North Sea and cod from the Grand



Garrett Mattingly's book on the Armada covers a lot of the logistical

considerations of the Invincible Armada of 1588, but remember that

even that expedition touched shore at several points before expecting

to reach the Netherlands.


I think a ration of spirits in the Navy probably dates back to the

use of Irish grain alcohol as a substitute for the more usual beer

ration during the late sixteenth century wars in Ireland. Rum would

have waited for extensive planting in the West Indies in the 17th

century, but again that is off the top of my head.


Additional protein and crunch was, of course, provided by the weevils

in the biscuits.


Aryk Nusbacher               |  

Post-Graduate War Studies Programme |    

Royal Military College of Canada    |     nusbacher-a at rmc.ca

Kingston, Ontario                http://www.rmc.ca/~nusbache/home.html



From: rorice at nickel.ucs.indiana.edu (rosalyn rice)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Hard Tack anyone?

Date: 20 Jun 1995 02:04:58 GMT

Organization: Indiana University, Bloomington


2Lt Aryeh JS Nusbacher  <nusbacher-a at rmc.ca> wrote:

>Additional protein and crunch was, of course, provided by the weevils

>in the biscuits.


      But if you knocked the edge of the biscuit against a hard surface

like a table then you could shake the weevils out and enjoy a

protien-free repast. (Either that or you could soak the biscuit in water

or broth and then skim the inhabitants off the top, but the former method

was more common in the navy.)


      Lothar (as much a landsman as Aryk but aware of this bit of naval




From: scj427 at aol.com (SCJ427)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Hard Tack anyone?

Date: 25 Jun 1995 03:36:56 -0400

Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)


Try turning the hard tack into soup.


Salt Pork

Hard Tack or Ship's Biscuit

Dried Beans



Soak overnight and then boil.... it actually tastes excellent and the

ingredients can keep for an eon on the shelf if kept dry and free from



Stefan MacMorrow ap Rhovannon



From: colette at morgan.ucs.mun.ca (Colette Goodyear)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Hard Tack anyone?

Date: 22 Jun 1995 15:14:37 GMT

Organization: Memorial University of Newfoundland


2Lt Aryeh JS Nusbacher  <nusbacher-a at rmc.ca> wrote:

>Ship's biscuit, but not, I think, hardtack.


There's a question I've been asking myself--what is the difference

between the two?  All the primary references that I've seen

refers to "ship's biscuit."  For a while, I blithely assumed

that ship's biscuit and hard tack were the same thing


To bring this OOP for a second--looking at my Dictionary

of Newfoundland English, I find that hard tack and sea biscuit

are used interchangeably to refer to the same thing from the

mid-1700's onwards (the first citation the DNE gives dates

to 1766).  However, the sources quoted in the Dictionary are drawn

from works that were written specifically about Newfoundland so

there is a possibility that this is a regional thing. Nowadays,

the stuff is referred to variously as "biscuit" (rare), "sea-biscuit,"

"hard-tack," "ship's bread" (again, rare), and "brewis."  Sometimes

people make a distinction between the uncooked cakes (hard-tack)

and the cooked dish (brewis). The commercially available stuff

is marked "hard bread" on the package and gives a recipe for

Brewis on the side.


But, then again, I've never seen the term "hard tack" used in

the period that Faedrah and myself are interested in.  So I'm

starting to wonder (a) what is the difference between the two

and (b) when and why did the terms become interchangeable (at

least in this area of the world)?


Crunching on a piece of the stuff (ow!) as I write this,


colette at plato.ucs.mun.ca



From: Tfranklin <franklin at merlin.nando.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Drakkars

Date: Fri, 14 Jul 1995 00:51:37 -0400 (EDT)

Organization: News & Observer Public Access


     "Drakkars" were "Dragon Ships".


      On an 80 foot long Dragon ship the mast rose 60-66 feet above the

bridge, and the sail itself was more than 330 square feet.


      By the way, I haven't found any indication that any Vikings ever

named themselves after their boats.  


      An informative book on the subject of Vikings is"  The Vikings:  

Lords of the Seas"  by Yves Cohat (Discoveries, Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

Publishers, NY)  ISBN 0-8109-2865-5


      Tfranklin the Librarian



From: Tfranklin <franklin at merlin.nando.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Drakkar: Reposted

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 1995 00:15:51 -0400 (EDT)

Organization: News & Observer Public Access


Several days ago Hal Heydt quoted my posting...

>Tfranklin <franklin at merlin.nando.net> wrote:

>     On an 80 foot long Dragon ship the mast rose 60-66 feet above the

>bridge, and the sail itself was more than 330 square feet.


...and wrote:


>Any chance you dropped a zero there?  By rough calculations, that

>would make the sail about 5 feet wide, which seems a tad



>     --Hal Ravn


Shortly thereafter Gene Clyatt added:


>Sure was easy to store, though it wouldn't catch much wind, eh?



To which I respond today:


No, I did not drop a zero.  Allow me to refer you again to "The Vikings:  

Lords of the Seas" by Yves Cohat.  (ISBN 0-8109-2865-5 or LC#91-75507)  

The sentence reads:  "The rectangular Viking sail was a great step

forward:  on an 80-foot-long dragon ship, the mast rose 60-66 feet above

the bridge, and the sail itself was more than 330 square feet.  (Woven in

a double thickness of a raw wool or cloth, the Viking sails were often

colored red to draw attention to the ship.)"

      The book includes many pictures, including several of the Viking

ships.  All of the illustrations show the bottom of the sail being

several feet *above* the level of the boat.

      In fact, to quote from pages 7 and 8 of "Great Adventures of the

Vikings" by John Geipel (ISBN 528-82204-7 or LC#77-72486), he describes a

Viking longboat which was found by archaeologists: "Measuring 77.6 feet

(23.5 meters) from stem to stern, 7.6 feet (2.3 meters) across the beam,

and 6 feet (1.9 meters) from keel to gunwales...the mast originally

must...have towered about 39.6 feet (12 meters) above the deck.  It's

yardarm which measured 36.3 feet (11 meters) supported a huge rectangular

sail of "wadmal", a rough woolen cloth."


      I guess Hal's figures were based on a sail which started at the

deck and went to the top of the mast.  In that case, Gene would be

correct in his assumption that it might be easy to store, although not

very good for catching wind.  In reality, the sail clearly did *not*

cover the entire length of the mast, allowing for a greater width than

five feet.


Thomas the Librarian



From: Kel Rekuta <krekuta at tor.hookup.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: How to build a corracle?

Date: 24 Sep 1995 14:47:25 GMT

Organization: HookUp Communication Corporation, Oakville, Ontario, CANADA


> A friend asked me if I can find instructions on how to build a corracle.

> Can anyone help?  Please e-mail as well as posting; I'm going to be away

> for a couple weeks and probably won't see the posting.


I would ask A. G. Smith, an illustrator, publisher and medieval

engineer   /  tinkerer.


He built one about ten years back. Its about eight feet long and

looks like a huge walnut shell half. Whether it floats, I couldn't

say. However, everything else I've seen him build works fine, so I

wouldn't be surprised.


He lives in Windsor Ontario and is in the phone book. Perhaps someone

on the 'Net in Windsor or Detroit could be more specific as to his






From: "Jim N. Deakin" <J.N.Deakin at shu.ac.uk>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re how to build a corracle

Date: Thu, 28 Sep 1995 11:00:04 GMT

Organization: Sheffield Hallam University


Arval said:

> A friend asked me if I can find instructions on how to build a corracle.

> Can anyone help?  Please e-mail as well as posting; I'm going to be away

> for a couple weeks and probably won't see the posting.


In 'Practical Wood Working' for January 1993 (vol 27, No 11), there is an

article and plans for a Shrewsbury style coracle, as built on a course at

Bewdley Museum. It's a five page article with measurements and plenty of

details. It uses some modern materials, but period alternatives should be

simple to find. It also uses screws to attach the seat to six support props,

which would almost certainly be jointed in, in period.


There's also a book (which I haven't the references for with me) called

something like 'forgotten crafts'. It's a fairly superficial coffee-table

type of book, but it has a single page illustration showing coracle designs

from (I think) three different areas. It would probably be possible to adapt

the magazine plan to produce similar versions.


I'm not sure what the copyright position would be, but if it's impossible for

you to get hold of the article I might be able to scan the article and email

it to you. Some of it's on coloured paper, so it probably wouldn't photocopy



In Service,

Niall of Stone Ford


From:    Jim Deakin,        |

Sheffield Hallam University |         This space deliberately left blank

Computer Services,         |

   Pond Hill,               |

    Sheffield  S1 1WB       |

      England.              |

Email on: J.N.DEAKIN at shu.ac.uk



From: ejpiii at delphi.com

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Re how to build a corracle

Date: Sat, 30 Sep 95 21:52:50 -0500


"Jim N. Deakin" <J.N.Deakin at shu.ac.uk> writes:

>> A friend asked me if I can find instructions on how to build a corracle.

In addition to the other post, you could try the Welsh museum in Cardiff Wales.

They have several books on the subject, including plans of several versions. You

might be able to find them on one of the British history usenet groups, and

there may even be a web page.

I'm sorry I don't have more complete info, but it's lost in my library,

and will likely never see the light of day again!




From: Jeremy J. Johnson <jeremy at jjohnson.demon.co.uk>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


Date: Fri, 19 Jan 1996 13:24:40 GMT


The Mayflower III


The Mayflower III will be an historically accurate (as fars as possible) full

size reconstruction of the Pilgrims Mayflower of 1620. She is to be built over

the next two years on the River Thames in London, England, and then sailed on a

goodwill voyage from England to America early in 1998. She will then return to England in time for the Millennium Celebrations at the end of 1999.


We are looking for descendants of the orginal pilgrims, passengers and crew. If you know you are one please get in touch and we will keep you up to date with

progress via email and suggest ways that you could get involved with the project. We look forward to talking to you.


Our web site (URL below) contains loads of background information about the project, including some really exciting sponsorship opportunities (such as

'Treenail' and Plank sponsorship), details about the construction of the ship and a proposed route for the voyage. Other information such as educational, genealogical and historical resources is in development and will be added over the next two years.


Posted by: Jeremy Johnson, WWW:


Email: jeremy at jjohnson.demon.co.uk



From: FPAGNIEL at UGA.CC.UGA.EDU (Frederick Pagniello)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Row a trireme....for real....

Date: Thu, 14 Mar 96 17:24:35 EST

Organization: University of Georgia



I found a flier posted outside the office of the Classics Dept. today, and

thought of passing it on to the readers of the newsgroup.

                          ROW IN GREECE

                  JULY 28 to AUGUST 17, 1996

             in the larget oared ship in the world

Wanted:   Physically fit men and women under 5' 10" who have a sense of

                     humor and an appreciation of history

                Rowing experience desirable but not required

For:        Sea-trials of the 170-oared Greek trireme Olympias

Goals:                  Sprint speeds over 9 knots

                        Simulate battle manoeuvres

                       FREE accommodations in Greece!

           A rowing adventure: row in unison with 169 others


                               Ford Weiskittel,

                               Trireme Trust USA,

                               803 South Main Street,

                               Geneva, New York 14456.

This is all the information that was provided on the flier.  Can't reproduce

the picture of a trireme sailing under the Greek flag, though.  Vale.

Gnaeus Valerius Sidero civis Romanus.



From: car13 at psu.edu (Claire Rutiser)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Row a trireme.... Now: Viking Longship

Date: Thu, 21 Mar 1996 18:13:16 GMT

Organization: CAC


FPAGNIEL at UGA.CC.UGA.EDU (Frederick Pagniello) writes:

>Rowing in a group is not easy, as I discovered in '83 when I had the

>opportunity (twice) of rowing on the Viking longship of the Longship Company,

>at WorldCon.  Never afforded the opportunity of raiding Baltimore Harbor.


>By the by, does anyone have the words to "Bend over Greek sailor"?  One of the

>songs we rowed to.  Vale.


The longship this gentleman mentions is the Fyrdraca, a 32 foot 12 oared

vessel located at Soloman's Island, Maryland.  The Fyrdraca is owned and

operated by the Longship Company, which is not really a company but a

small non-profit medieval group.  We also have the Gyrfalcon, a smaller

vessel which we take to demos and events.


    There are few things more memorable in my life than rowing up the

Potomac River one afternoon and evening in October 1991, where we went to

meet 3 viking ships which had come over from Norway for the Columbus

aniversery.  Traffic slowed on the George Washington Parkway (on the

Virginia side of the Potomac) and the people who saw us must have mistaken

our 32 foot boat for the 60 foot plus boats from Norway. [They used gas

engines -we don't.]


    If anyone is interested in rowing the longship, we would love to

have you.  We will be having trips about twice a month once the boat

gets in the water this spring.  There is an email list to notify members

of voyages.  For more info email me at: car13 at ecl.psu.edu.


      - Claire



From: corwyn at aol.com (CORWYN)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Row a trireme....for real....

Date: 21 Mar 1996 22:31:48 -0500


Admiral Corwyn here


I couldnt resist the urge to stick my oar in on this topic, as well as the

urge to make the preceeding pun.


jkrissw at aol.com (JkrissW) writes

> masters at nwlink.com (Tom Gibson) writes:

>>The problem

>>they had is that rowing (multi-persons per oar) is not something you

>>learn in a short time (real oarsmen [slaves] were [ahem] "full-time



>I hate to pierce the bubble of years of Hollywood images, but in the glory

>days of the ancient Greek city-states, the rowers were paid or

>conscripted, but not slaves.  I can't quote a source offhand, but I

>remember seeing this in several pertinent histories. There are a number

>of references to the oarsmen taking up arms to assist the marines on deck

>after their ship had grappled an enemy.  


Correct on both points.  Slave driven oared galleys were most typical in

the renn.  Mediterranean war galleys (mohammedan and christian) as well as

later.  Unsuprisingly, the use of slaves required a different (and far

simpler) rowing arrangement- one level of oars, with multiple oarsmen

chained to it.  As a trivia note the outside orasman, who had to keep the

pace, and needed some skill, was often a non-enslaved prisioner (ie, a

criminal or converted slave).

Some good sources for the topic:

Casson, L _Ships and seamanship in the ancient world_ Princeton

university press, 1971

Anderson, RC, _Oared Fighting ships_ , 1957

Rodgers, WL Greek and  Roman Naval Warfare_ naval Institute press, 1937,

(recently reprinted)

_The age of the galley: mediterranean oared vessles since pre-classical

times_ Conway's History of the ship, J Morrison, ed. Naval institute press

(in USA) 1995 (The best And most recent of the lot for nuts and bolts of

oared ships, construction, use, evolution, etc)

Casson, L _The ancient mariners_  Princeton university press, 1991 (very

good general reference-the most accessable and cheapest of the lot)


Okay.  Thanks for your tolerance.  I feel much better now.


If you are in the Mists (West K). for collegium, and want to know more

drop by my class.


Avast and belike. Heave along ho. Kedge out the fo'csl yarbloccoughs.


Baron Corwyn Da Costa, Lord High Admiral , West kingdom (CINCNAVWEST),




From: Corbie <corbie at radix.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Vanity SCA plates (was Re: YKYITSCAW...)

Date: Sun, 05 May 1996 19:08:18 -0500

Organization: RadixNet Internet Services


Ann Sheffield wrote:


> The Longship Company is a group in Maryland that owns, maintains, and

> sails/rows a reproduction Viking ship.  In the eighties, when a certain

> BMW advertising campaign and a certain vogue in fitness equipment

> cooincided, they had a bumper sticker that read:




> -Ann Sheffield


I've seen the supposed 'longship' in question (met them at a boat

event), and it was quite awful -- the Longship Company apparently had a

hard time conveying their wishes to the boatbuilder, and so they got

what basically looks like a modern double-ended fishing boat (ca. 1900)

with a dragon's head stuck on the front.  Bleah.


I feel sorry for them when I heard the story of their woes with the

shipbuilder.  But (from a boatbuilding pov) Dragonships are quite

difficult... all that wood to steam-bend!


What I don't like about them is the attitude of one of their volunteers,

who apparently knows everything possible about Viking life -- he's quite

the scholar -- and therefore feels it's his right to be quite arrogant

and patronizing to anyone in non-period clothing (as I was -- jeans and

a volunteer t-shirt for the organization I was with). Ugh.  (Look, do I

really need or want a 20-minute dissertation on nalbinding when I'd

rather talk to the other volunteers about how the ship actually



Oh well.  That's not precisely on-topic for this thread. Just letting

off steam...





Date: Mon, 07 Apr 1997 11:55:36 -0400

From: "James A. Barrow" <redfalcon at thomson.net>

Organization: Red Falcon Armouries

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Research Help


GWB wrote:

> I am relatively new to the Society and am seekign a wee bit of help.  I

> have chosen a mid 16th century ships master (armed Merchantman) as my

> persona.  The problem I have is the lack of information on merchant

> shipping of that period.


> There appears to be a plethora of information about Naval vessels but

> not much on merchant men.  The most helpful things I have found so far

> are bigraphies of Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Hawkins.


> Alaric Morgenseg, Master of the "Sea Dragon"  (the ships name may change

> shortly)


Like most of the references that you have run across, my knowledge is more to the technical side of the ships rather than the men who sailed them.  However, perhaps I can "steer" you in the right direction (OK, so that was weak).


Essentially, there were two types of merchant shipping during this time period.  The first consisted of transport of goods of state and/or military significance.  These merchantmen sailed in larger convoys, protected by whatever vessels the navy could spare at the moment, from the big ships of the line all the way down to the light corvetttes and fast frigates.  


The second type is what you personna is geared toward: the armed merchantmen, or

privateer.  At this period in time, the two main seapowers were England and Spain.  France had not yet arisen as a strong force in overseas trade and colonization, and Portugal, who historically had a strong seafaring tradition, had been forced into an uneasy alliance with Spain.  Naturally, being the two main contenders for control of shipping lanes, England and Spain were at war.  


Armed merchantmen were typically funded by private citizens or limited partnerships for the express intent of turning a profit. Letters of Marque were issued to the captains. These were documents issued by the Crown that in effect legitimized piracy, but only toward the vessels of an enemy or its allies.  Now, obviously, a state of declared war must exist between two nations before the Letters were issued, which led to a great drawback of the privateering trade:  not knowing when the war was over.  A voyage of a privateer may last several years, particularly those sailing to the Americas to prey on galleons returning from the New World loaded with treasure. There were several cases of the Fleet Commandant of a small armed merchant fleet sailing from England, attacking

Spanish and Portugese shipping, returning to England with his spoils, and then being hung for piracy because the war had ended while he was at sea, and his Letters of Marque had been revoked before they had expired.  


Which leads to the second great danger of being a privateer:  while your government has blessed you with the sacred task of harrying enemy shipping, your still just a pirate to the enemy, not subject to the normal protocols of dealing with captured prizes.  The immediate punishment for those found guilty of piracy was hanging.  When a legitimate naval vessel lost an engagement, the ship would be officially surrendered (provided it wasn't sunk), the sailors taken prisoner, and a prize crew set on it to sail her to the nearest friendly port for emergency repairs, and then on to her  new country for a refit, after which she became a commissioned vessel.  The vanquished officers were treated with deference to their rank.  


A privateer's life expectancy after defeat, however, was about as long as it took to throw a rope over a yardarm.  Knowing this, privateers were EXTREMELY careful about who and when they engaged.  Capture of a privateer was a long a bloody fight, because the merchantmen knew that they could not surrender, lest they swing in the breeze.  If they were lucky enough to be taken to shore after capture, Jesuit inquisitors usually were responsible for the trials, which had but one outcome:  pronounced guilty of piracy on the high seas, proclaimed a heretic, and burned at the stake.


The armed merchantman was one of the best strategies employed by England during the war with Spain (I may be mistaken, but I don't think Spain Issued Letters of Marque....don't quote me on that though).  It used ships and crews that cost the Crown nothing to harry the Spanish all over the world.  To protect the larger galleons, more ships of the line had to be pulled from fleet service to be sent to convoy duty, which made life easier on English fleet.  Capture of a privateer was an iffy proposition at best, not only because of the ferocity of the privateers, but also because they were typically smaller and very heavily armed.  To attack a privateer one on one with anything less than a ship of the line was paramount to suicide.  However, the large behemoths necessary to subdue the

privateers were too slow to catch them on the open seas. The most effective way the Spanish ever found to deal with armed merchantmen was to hunt them with small packs of corvettes class frigates that were essentially counterparts of the privateers.


Perhaps a good research avenue for you would be to locate Letters of Marque issued during the 1600's.  Just reading them should provide a wealth of info.


I hope this helps somewhat.


Oh, BTW, COOL personna!  My personna is also 1600's, but Spanish.  HMMM....Oh, the possibilities!!


In service,

Jaime Alejandro del Halcon



Date: Tue, 08 Apr 1997 13:08:40 -0400

From: "James A. Barrow" <redfalcon at thomson.net>

Organization: Red Falcon Armouries

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: More Privateering (was Research Help)


Mark S. Harris wrote:

> Greetings unto Jaime Alejandro del Halcon,


> "James A. Barrow" <redfalcon at thomson.net> wrote:

> > The second type is what you personna is geared toward: the armed  

> > merchantmen, or privateer.


> <snip>


> I fear I must take exception to this statement, although the differance

> may be one of semmantics. Are you classing all merchantmen that carried

> armament as privateers? I would think this would not be the case. There

> were a number of merchantmen that would carry a few to many cannon for

> their own defense. If the merchantmen that the privateers were preying

> upon were unarmed then there would not have been the need for the

> privateers to be as heavily armed as they were. They weren't armed

> primarily to fight off the enemy naval vessels for you yourself said

> they couldn't really do that, that speed was their main defense.


> Please clarify your statement. Even if you were drawing the line

> between a lightly armed merchantman and a heavily armed merchantmen/

> privateer, the original poster may not have been.


> Thanks.

>   Stefan li Rous




No, not all merchantmen could be classified as privateers; however, for

their own defense, nearly every merchant vessel was armed to some

degree, mainly for defense against pirates, although less scrupulous

captains were certainly not above taken prizes of opportunity when

possible, and therefore engaging in piracy themselves.  


The term "armed merchantman" is specifically used to refer to a vessel

whose master has been granted Letters of Marque, also referred to as a

privateer.  Just because a merchantman is armed does not make her a

"armed merchantman", or "privateer", just like owning a revolver does

not make a person a cowboy.


As to what the original poster intended to mean, I cannot say.  I only

assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that because he used the term "armed

merchantman" he understood the historical context that the phrase should

be taken in.


Sorry about the confusion!!





From: Tom Rettie <tom at nospamformeplease.his.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: steam bending (was Re: Making Portable SCA

Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997 10:30:37 -0700


Robert (Morphis at physics.niu.edu) Wrote:

> My understanding is that Henry the VIII's fleet was made using

> steam boxes, but I am told that the Viking ships were not, each

> plank being hewn to shape.  Any thoughts or knowledge out there

> about either of these alledged facts?


I've done some research on medieval shipbuilding, and I've never found

any references to steam bending in period ship construction.  Keep in

mind that planking tended to be either unseasoned, or at least less so

than we are accustomed to, and thus bends more easily than the

kiln-dried lumber you find at the lumber yard.  It would also be much

easier and cheaper to just soak timbers that you thought might need it.


Early shipbuilders tended to use timber that naturally approximated the

shape they required, such as for ribs and the keel, when they could.

Hewing something to shape makes for a weaker piece, as the fibers of the

wood are cut rather than being continuous.  In lapstrake construction,

the hull planks are bent to shape and then pegged (as in Viking

construction) or clench-nailed or roved (later European construction) in

place.  Yes, they used iron nails, though they were expensive.  In later

frame construction, the skeleton of the ship was built first, and then

the hull planks were attached to the skeleton.  


I commend to you "The Good Ship" published by Johns Hopkins University

Press as a good source on period ship construction techniques.  The

author's name escapes me at the moment.


That's the 10 second answer, to the best of my knowledge. Those that

know better are welcome to correct any of the above.


Findlaech mac Alasdair



Subject: ANST - scouting report ...

Date: Sun, 15 Feb 98 14:50:40 MST

From: "j'lynn yeates" <jyeates at bga.com>

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


was killing some time in the bookstore yesterday and noted a couple

of items that might be of interest ...


* Scientific America:

this months issue has a article on the development and

engineering of norse longships.  noted a number of great detail

drawings that would be useful to those interested in the construction

and design details that made these ships so unique and deadly.


* "A Tabloid Look At History": (i *think* that was the title)

a book that examines and reports many important historical incidents

from the perspective of the supermarket tabloids ... file under






From: "Lady O'Ceo (Lady of the Myst)" <ilona at peak.org>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Medieval Ships

Date: Thu, 04 Jun 1998 10:14:55 -0700

Organization: Multi-Media Artisans


TiernanC wrote:

> I need to do some research on what types of ships were used in the early 14th

> century, namely by the Irish ans Scottish.  


Maduinn math! The type of sailing vessel would depend on it's intended

use. Around Alba and Eire the shores are very rugged and the seas rough.

General requirements would be a stout hull (planked), high freeboard,

and comparatively shallow draft. Some possible types to expand your



Bark (barque), brig, schooner, galiot, galleon (technically later than

your requested period), coaster, merchanter


You could also try looking under shipwright, history of sailing, and

maritime museum. Hope this helps.  


Rick Schmidt

Oak and Iron Forge


aka Duncan Alexander Malcolm MacDuibh Kilgour  (Alex)



From: Christopher Allen Schultz <schultzc at csd.uwm.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Medieval Ships

Date: Thu, 4 Jun 1998 14:00:09 -0500

Organization: University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee



> Bark (barque), brig, schooner, galiot, galleon (technically later than

> your requested period), coaster, merchanter




My interest is later (16th century) and I was going to wait until I can

get my documentation before replying.  But really the Bark, Brig and

schooner are much much later, try way out of period like 18th and 19th

century.  The "cog" was attributed to the Hansa which would be 14th

century, but I have not found documentation for it that old and certainly

no pictures (artist rarely reproduced ships in realistic detail in period,

the people on the ship were more important so the ship becomes a rough

sketch).  The "hulk" is an earlier version of the "cog".  The viking

dragon ships were still around in the 14th century, but the norsemen were

not going viking as much (shore defences had gotten to good).  The galleon

is later and most of its earlier varients are limited to the Med. since

they are really not seaworthy.  Columbus' toy boats were Med. coast

runners of three different types (the largest was a carrack (sp?)), but I

don't think that any of them are old enough to date back to the 15th



Coaster and merchanter are descriptive terms not types of ships and were

probably used from Greek time on.


Christophe Baernklau



Date: Thu, 4 Jun 1998 14:31:23 -0500

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

Subject: re: Medieval Ships

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


<tiernanc at aol.com (TiernanC)>

>I need to do some research on what types of ships were used in the early 14th

>century, namely by the Irish ans Scottish.  I realize ships were available but

>you'd be surprised that no one seems to know anything about it.  I can't even

>find any books about it!


This is by no means a complete listing:


Friel, Ian.  The Good Ship; Ships, Shipbuilding and Technology in England,

    1200-1520.  London: British Museum Press, 1995.

Gardiner Robert and Richard W. Unger. Cogs, Caravels, and Galleons, the

    Sailing Ship, 1000-1650.  Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1994.

Hutchinson, Gillian.  Medieval Ships and Shipping. London: Leicester

    Leicester University Press, 1994.

Marsden, Peter.  Ships of the Port of London; Twelfth to Seventeenth

    Centuries AD.  London:  English Heritage.

Seaver, Kirsten.  The Frozen Echo, Greenland and the Exploration of

    North America, 1000-1500.  Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996.

Unger, Richard W.  The Ship in the Medieval Economy, 600-1600. London:

    Croom Helm, 1980. (An extensive bibliography, but since I haven't

    actually read all them, I'm reluctant to suggest them.)


You can also try (as general outlines):

Landstrom, Bjorn. The Ship, an illustrated history.

     NY: Doubleday, 1961.

Canby, Courtland. A history of ships and seafaring. 1963.


I'm not sure just how much the Irish or the Scots did by sea, other

than fishing.  As far as I can determine (with the limited resources

I have on hand this moment), neither had a truely distinctive shipbuilding

or international trade thing.


>I'd also like to know about passages, like what the fee would be for passage

>between the two countries and was there piracy?  (I'm sure there was).  Any

>info and refernce will be helpful.


Well, it could just be that the crennelations on the Cogs were just there

to fight off the stiff trade competition :)  I'm afraid I have no idea about

what passage might have cost, however.


The basic ships of the early to mid 14th century in the nothern seas, as

opposed to those of the Mediterranean, seem to have been "Coasters" (such

as the Kalmer boat) smallish vessels used for fishing or local

transportation, a "roundship" (such as those seen in the seals of the

Cinque Ports) clearly derived from the old Norse double ended vessels,

old Knorrs (a centuries old Norse design used for long range ocean

voyages, such as to Iceland and Greenland), Stern ruddered vessels

derived from the roundships, and finally the (relatively) huge squared

hulled Cogs.  The roundships are probably those that are also referred

to as "Hulks"


Marc/Diarmaid O'Duinn

lib_imc at centum.utulsa.edu



From: Obsidian <"obsidian" at raex.(NOSPAM)com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Medieval Ships

Date: Thu, 04 Jun 1998 10:35:59 -0400

Organization: The Obsidian Group


TiernanC wrote:

> I need to do some research on what types of ships were used in the early 14th

> century, namely by the Irish ans Scottish.




> I'd also like to know about passages, like what the fee would be for passage

> between the two countries and was there piracy?  (I'm sure there was).

Typical 14th century vessels were cogs. The cog design was developed

out of Scandinavian knarrs (not Viking longships, those were much

narrower). Cogs were anywhere from 25 to 75 feet long, and wide-beamed,

with blunt, stubby prows. They were usually single-masted, though later

period vessels start to add more. Warships of the era were essentialy

the same thing, with "castles" fitted out fore and aft, for archers or



I'm not real familiar with the exchange rates, so I'm afraid to say

much, lest I steer you wrong. Obviously a pilgrim in a large party going

from Dover to Calais would be paying a lot less than a noble travelling

from Dover to, say, Italy. Standard monies of the era all over Europe

were descendents of the denarius; silver coins noticeably smaller and

thinner than modern dimes. In the British Isles, this was the penny, and

its purchasing power was very very roughly about $1.00 modern American.

So I wouldnt be surprised if fares started at half a pound or more (ie.

$100.00 +)


Piracy? Boy was there ever. In the British Isles a constant threat were

North African slavers, and French pirates. So prevalent was this danger

that any vessel spotted at sea was automatically assumed to be hostile;

and it is one of the factors accounting for the fact that Mediaeval

seamen hugged coastlines at all times (the other being that there was no

reasonable way of determining longitude back then).


Nigel FitzMaurice, Forester



From: gtv_13 at my-dejanews.com

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Medieval Ships

Date: Thu, 04 Jun 1998 23:28:56 GMT


"Thomas Bravard" <thumb at direct.ca> wrote:

> There was something called a COG tended to be used by the

> merchant countries.  St Brendan sailed a leather boat that is

> a wooden frame with leather stretched over it.  I know that

> a replica was sailed across the Atlantic.


> Piracy.....Oh yeah the Irish were famous for it. Into the Elizabethan era.

> passage was what you could afford.


> Thomas


St. Brendan was supposed to have lived around the 6th Century.  His vessel was

called a curragh (or canoe).  I read the book about the replica ("The Brendan

Voyages) and Nat'l Geographic published an article by the same author with

photos.  (The curragh was on the cover; sorry, I don't remember what issue.)


BTW, a comment was made that, besides modern survival rations provided by a

commercial sponsor, they took along Period foodstuffs (cheese, sausages,

etc.).  The modern stuff didn't hold up too well against the elements, but the

Period food, other than for occasional green fuzz (which they scraped off) did

remarkably well.  Think about it!


Jordi d'Andraitx



From: ldcharls at swbell.net

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Medieval Ships

Date: Thu, 04 Jun 1998 17:43:25 +0000


TiernanC wrote:

> I need to do some research on what types of ships were used in the early 14th

> century, namely by the Irish ans Scottish.  I realize ships were available but

> you'd be surprised that no one seems to know anything about it.  I can't even

> find any books about it!


  According to the History Channel documetary "The Great Ships" the

Viking longships (knarr and drakaar) began to be replaced around the

12th or 13th century by the 'cog', a sailing ship with higher sides than

the Viking ships as well as 'castles' fore and aft for defense against



Lord Charles MacKinnon

Barony of Bryn Gwlad

Kingdom of Ansteorra



Date: Fri, 5 Jun 1998 8:48:17 -0500

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

Subject: re: Medieval Ships

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


<Larry Johnson <ljohnsn1 at idt.net>>

>In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.  A little rhyme that was taught to

>grade school students before outcome based education and multiculturalism were

>introduced into the curriculum.  A little note aside, the three ships of

>Columbus were pretty old when the Queen of Portugal gave them to him.  Another

>ship to look up is called the Mary Rose, a wreck off the East Coast of

>England, where about 175 English Longbows were recovered recently. Noted in

>the book, Longbow, by Robert Hardy.


My understanding is that at the end of the 14th century there were some

major shifts in ship design resulting from the marriage of the "Cog"

and "Hulk" forms, so that really ships after about 1400, including

the Mary Rose, and the Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria were similar

to (but not identical to) ships from before 1400, but were *more*

similar to later era ships.  I thought the person who wrote in had

asked about 14th century (1300s era) vessels.


As an aside, a Cog was purportedly excavated from Bremen some time

back (all I've seen are references to it, so I am reluctant to be

more specific).



lib_imc at centum.utulsa.edu



From: clevin at ripco.com (Craig Levin)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Medieval Ships

Date: 5 Jun 1998 14:11:16 GMT


TiernanC <tiernanc at aol.com> wrote:

>I need to do some research on what types of ships were used in the early 14th

>century, namely by the Irish ans Scottish.  I realize ships were available but

>you'd be surprised that no one seems to know anything about it.  I can't even

>find any books about it!


Most material on late mediaeval shipping is centered on the

Mediterranean, with the exception of stuff on the Hanseatic

League and a goodly smidgen of material on the English coastal

defenses, some of which I did myself as a Master's thesis about

three years ago. In all my searches for signs of an active Gaelic

presence on the seas in the fifteenth century, I found

essentially nothing. If you like, I will send you my thesis on

English coastal defense, and/or a smaller work I did at the same

time on ship design, which, alas, is mostly based on

Mediterranean sources; just give me a little time to resurrect

them from my old 386sx...


>I'd also like to know about passages, like what the fee would be for passage

>between the two countries and was there piracy?  (I'm sure there was).  Any

>info and refernce will be helpful.


One thing I _can_ say is that piracy and smuggling was probably

endemic to every ocean until very recently. Piracy is generally

going to do well when there's no major naval power in a given

area. In the late Middle Ages, this was the case in the North

Atlantic. The closest that either side of the Hundred Years War

ever got to having a regular navy similar in operation to a

modern navy was when Henry V purchased around three dozen ships

with money from the Chamber (his personal purse) to tear apart

everything on the northern coast of France. The regents who

governed the land after his death for his son sold the ships off

to pay his huge war debt. Usually, if ships were needed for a

military purpose (almost always shipping troops or supplying

them, in England's case), the king bought cargo or passenger

space like any other customer. There's one major exception-the

Cinque Ports-but if you want to get into that, I may as well send

you the Master's thesis!


Passage, even for the king, seems to essentially have been what

the market would bear. In dire emergencies, the king might order

a draft of all ships and men from a port or set of ports, but

they seem to have been paid even then-or if they weren't, you can

be sure that they'd make themselves "unavailable" for the next

such mission.


Dom Pedro de Alcazar

Barony of Storvik, Atlantia

Storvik Pursuivant

Argent, a tower purpure between 3 bunches of grapes proper



clevin at ripco.com

Craig Levin



From: Dmckeon at swcp.com (Denis McKeon)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Medieval Ships

Date: Wed, 10 Jun 1998 14:42:51 -0600


Bomlin wrote:


>I had the lucky experience of working in London for about a year and a half and

>I visited the Naval Museum in Portsmouth twice.  The Mary Rose musuem is very

>well done.  The HMS Victory(Nelson's ship) is also on display within 100 feet

>of the Mary Rose.  The Mary Rose is currently in a temporary facility which is

>being used to treat the lumber so that it will not decay any furthur.  The

>Victory is on display outside in a drydock.


>For planning purposes, Portsmouth is about 2 hours by train from Waterloo



For something a bit closer to London, although mostly past the SCA period,

may I strongly recommend a 20-minute ride on the Docklands Light Rail

from Tower Hill down the north side of the Thames to Island Gardens

and a walk under the Thames in the Greenwich Foot Tunnel to:


    http://www.nmm.ac.uk/ National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, UK


which has a room full of detailed ship models, nearly all of which were

made contemporaneously with the ships they represent, and in many cases

were contructed for the naval architect or shipyard owner to use as a

selling piece: "Yes, Admiral, 34 guns, and the flag cabin would be here ...."


There are also various non-nautical places of interest in Greenwich,

several closer to period, but I'll leave that for another thread.


To return, one can ride by boat up-river, past the Tower, and the

reconstruction of the Globe Theatre, to Westminster, and try to imagine

what it all would have looked like before the bridges were built.


The History channel, IIRC, has been running a well-done series on old ships -

ranging from Viking longboats through square-riggers.  


The 18 books in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series are also past

period (1800-1815), but are delightful nautical reading. Imagine the

period and manners of Jane Austen combined with nautical topics better

done than Forester's Hornblower.


For more on that topic, and for other nautical URLs, see:








From: "Morgan E. Smith" <mesmith at calcna.ab.ca>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Cogs/etc.

Date: Thu, 18 Jun 1998 08:06:36 -0600

Organization: Calgary Community Network Assoc.


Recently someone was asking about medieval ships, and so forth - I

wasn't really following the thread too closely, but yesterday I noticed

that the Naval Institute Press has a listing for the following book:

  from Conway's History of the Ship series


  Cogs, Caravels and Galleons: the Sailing Ship 1000-1650 AD

  Professor Richard W. Unger

  ISBN 1557501246




Morgan the Unknown



Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 12:01:26 -0500 (EST)

From: Jenne Heise <jenne at tulgey.browser.net>

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

Subject: Ships, anyone?


A web site that I just came across, containing the lecture notes of a

University of Bangor professor on 'history/archaelogy of the ship':




This was cited in the less scholarly but still fascinating, web page on

Ancient Greek ships:




(This page is an addendum to the web site on Bulfinch's Mythology).


Jadwiga Zajaczkowa (Shire of Eisental; HERMS Cyclonus), mka Jennifer Heise

jenne at tulgey.browser.net



Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 16:07:00 -0800 (PST)

From: sion warwick <lostboy_sion at yahoo.com>

To: northshield net <northshield at minstrel.com>,

        sca-arts x <SCA-ARTS at UKANS.EDU>

Subject: new publications


New publication listings,



Steffy, J Richard `Wooden ship building and the interpretation of

shipwrecks', 314pp, Chatham Publishing, Jan 1999, hbk, ISBN 1 86176

104 X





Date: Thu, 27 May 1999 12:12:11 -0400 (EDT)

From: Jenne Heise <jenne at tulgey.browser.net>

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

Subject: a few web sites


The following are excerpted from the Net Scout Report:


15. Medieval English Urban History





6.  The Cely Papers





7.  NAVIS [Java]



Sponsored by the European Commission Directorate General X, this site hosts

a database on ancient ship archaeology, with information on over 100

ancient shipwrecks all over Europe. The site can be somewhat confusing and

difficult to navigate, but it contains a wealth of information for

archaelogists and perhaps ancient historians and classicists. The database

is searchable by several options (wreck information, ship contents,

literature, exact dating, component images, and search & plot) or

browseable by ship number or country. Additional resources at the site

include image and distribution maps (robust system strongly recommended),

two thematic reviews (Fleets and Frontiers, Maritime Commerce), overviews

of ten European maritime museums, and related links. A help section and

guided tour are available. [MD]


13. Capitolium.org: the Official Website of the Imperial Forums [.avi or






Jadwiga Zajaczkowa (Shire of Eisental), mka Jennifer Heise

jenne at tulgey.browser.net



Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999 18:21:35 -0400

From: renfrow at skylands.net (Cindy Renfrow)

Subject: Re: SC - Nautical foodstuffs


>I am preparing an article on foodstuffs served on Ships during period,

>especially during late period. I have lists of foods that were served, but

>I was wondering if anybody had recipes that I might also include, such as

>salmagundi, ship's biscuit, hardtack, ragout, etc.




Well, Plat (Delights for Ladies) has some very interesting (& comical)

ideas about how to preserve flesh on ships by tossing it overboard in

pierced casks & dragging it behind the boat.  He also has several different

bisket recipes, a recipe for "To make Troffes for the Sea", "How to keepe

rosted Beefe a long time sweet and wholsome..." that was "fully proued in

that honourable voyage unto Cales." Etc.


Cindy Renfrow/Sincgiefu

renfrow at skylands.net



Date: Wed, 06 Oct 1999 23:16:49 +0100

From: Thomas Gloning <Thomas.Gloning at germanistik.uni-giessen.de>

Subject: SC - Nautical / travel food


Let me mention two types of sources (I'll give an example for every



1. Travelogues


There are many medieval and early modern (nautical) travelogues

mentioning aspects of food and nutrition. E.g. (I mentioned this example

a few months ago): Balthasar Springer sailed with a portuguese crew from

Lisbon to Cochin and Calicut and came by the Cape of good hope twice. In

his travelogue (printed 1509), he mentions that they landed at the Algoa

Bay and that they bought oxen, cows and sheep from the people there to

provide the ship with food ("da funden wir wassers genuog Ochssen Kuw

vnd Schaf/ vnd verkaufften vns die Moren genuog vmb ein wenig alts

eysens: vnd wolten sunst anders nicht haben/ wir speissten vnser Schife

do mit groser meng fleisch vnd wassers").


Another aspect is, that travellers/ sailors made their remarks about the

foreign cuisines they came across, see e.g.:

- -- Paviot, J.: Cuisine grecque et cuisine turque selon l'expŽrience des

voyageurs (XVe-XVIe sicles). In: Bryer, A./ Ursinus, M. (eds.):

Manzikert to Lepanto. The Byzantine World and the Turks 1071-1571.

Amsterdam 1991 (Byzantinische Forschungen 16).

- -- Gillet, Ph.: Par mets et par vins. Voyages et gastronomie en Europe,

XVIe-XVIIe sicles. Paris 1985.

- -- The description of making sort of 'bread' in Guinea by Samuel Brun in

his 'Schiffarten' (1624, 70f.) [should be interesting for the bread

historians; see also the introduction of Hirschberg to the facsimile, p.

XIX., where he mentions several other texts describing the near

relatives to bread found by sailors.]

- -- Not to mention the detailed account on cannibalism in the travelogue

of Hans Staden 1557 and others.


2. Medical books for travellers/sailors/passengers on ships


It seems, that there were special books that gave advice what to eat and

what not to eat on a travel or on a ship, e.g.:


- -- Schorer, Ch.: Medicina Peregrinantium, Oder Artzney der Raisenden

worinnen begriffen/ wie sich die Raisenden in Essen und Trincken/ etc.

verhalten/ vnd zugleich allerley Kranckheiten begegnen sollen (...). Ulm

1666. Roughly: 'Med. Per. or medicine for travellers, containing advice,

how the travellers should deal with (?) eating and drinking etc., and

how they can deal with all sorts of illness. Ulm 1666 (seems to be the

second ed.).


Then, there are the dictionaries (incl. the nautical dictionaries), the

cookery books and the nautical handbooks (e.g. Furttenbach, Architectura

navalis, 1629), one _could_ check ... But I won't bother you with that.


Let us know, what you find!





Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 09:57:16 -0400

From: "Jeff Gedney" <JGedney at dictaphone.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: liqueurs


Stefan hath writ:

> It does appear to have been used more and more as

> the making of beer changed from a cottage industry to the first mass

> production factory based industry. Probably because of it;s perservative

> properties. This shift may have been helped along by the use of hops since

> it allowed larger batches to be made and sold before they went bad.


Well, to be more precise, the preservative qualities were the impetus for

mass production of beer (at least in England). "Flemish" (hopped) Beer was

produced in prodigious quantity for supplying the Tudor navy, since it kept

much better (due to the Hops, and the pasteurizing effect of mashing and

boiling the wort)  than water or any other drink.

Wine was not a primary choice of the British sailor because it was deemed

"foreign", and (if made in sufficent manner to survive in a heaving hot ship

more than a couple of weeks) was in fact, rather too strong for thirst

quenching (a happy sailor is one thing, depending on a drunk sailor is

quite another)

A keg of fresh water would go brackish and slimey in a couple of weeks.

Beer could take months to go bad.

It is the adoption of beer as the basic beverage onboard ships that enabled

long ocean crossings, since water casks have to be refreshed every couple

of weeks, and even with favorable winds, an Atlantic crossing was 24 days

or so in Drake's day.


"Flemished Beere" was produced by "state" breweries in such prodigious

quantity in Portsmouth and other "navy" towns that the roads in certain

areas were literally lined with casks of beer ready for the Channel fleet.


During the Armada campaign and afterward, the Navy paid a premium

to get this beer to the sailors who were regularly in short supply for want of

sufficient transport. Things got so bad, at some points that the Navy

essentially commandeered almost every fishing vessel on the East Anglian

and Southern coasts capable of ferrying the half tun "pipes" out to the fleet.


An informative discussion of this can be found at the Mary Rose website.

Also Several books on the Armada campaign discuss the resupply woes

that the Channel fleet sufferred.

Check out the following books for more information:


"Founded upon the Seas : A Narrative of Some English Maritime

and Overseas Enterprises During the Period 1550 to 1616" by

Walter Oakeshott


"Spain's Men of the Sea : Daily Life on the Indies Fleets in the

Sixteenth Century" by Pablo E. Perez-Mallaina,

Carla Rahn Phillips, Translator


"The Voyages and works of John Davis, the navigator" by

A.H. Markham


"Discovery : Exploration through the Centuries" by Eric Flaum


"The Adventure of Sail" by Captain Donald Macintyre, RN

On side a note: "beere" was not necessarily hopped in period, and the

term Flemished or flemish beer was used to denote beer made in the

hopped fashion, since the English at first imported their navy beer from

the flemings, because of the qualities of the hops that the flemish used.

They did not start making it themselves until it was clear that the

imports were falling far short of what was needed by the fleet.

At that time several admirals got the state to finance the construction

of or subsidize a number of brewies. This was achieved in very short

order and the way the Navy started turning out ships, biscuit, and beer,

going from a few ships a year to full production in only a couple of

years was the "Manhattan Project" of the time.


It was not till after period that the term "beer" became synonymous with

the use of hops.





Date: 10 Oct 2000 13:11:19 -0000

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

Subject: FWD Viking Banner-Vanes from Norsefolk


While looking for something else entirely I found another interesting

source discussing the gilded weathervane/prow-ornaments:


Martin Blindheim.  "The Gilded Vikingship Vanes: Their Use and

Technique" in: R.T. Farrell, ed.  The Vikings.  London: Phillimore.  

1982.  ISBN 0850334365. pp. 116-127.


Blindheim has several other "graffiti" type drawings ca. 1150-1250

which are similar to the Bryggen stick, showing this type of vane on

the prow and in one instance the mast of various Viking-type ships as



Graffiti from Urnes Stave Church at Sogn, Norway

Graffito on inner wall of Borgund Stave Church, Sogn, Norway

Graffiti on inner wall of Kaupanger Stave Church, Sogn, Norway

Graffito on outer wall of Reinli Stave Church, Oppland, Norway


He differentiates between two types of vane:  veðrviti, or prow-

ornaments, and flaug, which were affixed at the top of the mast.


Apparently Br¿gger had proposed that the Heggen vane had been used


a merki ("standard") and carried about atop a staff, similar to the

banners on the Bayeaux Tapestry, but Blindheim disagrees.


Apparently there's a good bit of saga evidence for these vanes

appearing on ships: "It appears that such vanes were easily taken

down and put up again, and that they were used on warships as signs

of importance.  They could be seen shining in the sun at some

considerable distance, and people would infer from the shining that

warships were approaching."


Haakons saga Haakonssons is one of the sagas cited, where Haakon is

launching a sea-attack against the Ribbungs, using deceit by sending

the small ships first and warships under sail next to make the enemy

think that these were cargo ships, which apparently were rarely

rowed.  Only when the Ribbungs rowed out and were very close did they

see the gilded vanes and so discover that these were warships by the

glittering of the gilded vanes (veðrvitar glitudu ved ‡


er s—len skein ‡).


Other saga mentions include:


The ship which brought Harald Hardrada home had vanes that looked

like red gold (veðrvitar varu sv‡ at sj‡ sem rautt gull



Sigurd Slembe's saga, which refers to the glitter of the golden vane

(skok veðrvita ’ v‡tum byr gulli gla¾stan of gramskipi).


In discussing the physical condition of the surviving vanes,

Blindheim notes that the holes which occur along the curved bottom

edge were almost certainly used for some sort of dangling ornament,

but that the wear on the holes is too great for cloth or tassels or

ribbon to have caused it -- he thinks that there were originally

metal rings in these holes, from which fabric streamers or even

gilded metal oblongs were dependent.


Another interesting note is that the surviving vanes have been

altered to allow them to be used on the various churches where they

were preserved.  In some cases the angles of the design have been

altered, others the overall vane trimmed down and the original edge

trimming set in, etc.  Apparently vanes which were originally in use

on ship-prows have an upper corner angle of about 110 degrees

(veðrvitar), while those designed to fly from a mast or as actual

weathervanes on a building have a corner angle of 90 degrees (flaug).


Another interesting note is that Blindheim says that all the extant

vanes are gilded copper, but that several sources will list some as

brass.  The animal ornaments that stand on top of the vane at the

outer end are also largely copper with various other metals, but

always of a slightly different composition from the vane. The method

used in gilding the vanes is apparently identical to the techniques

in Book III of Theophilus' De Diversis Artibus (flame-gilding).

Blindheim breaks the composition down as follows:


S¿derala vane 95% copper, 1 mm gilding, lion on top 80% copper, 20%



Heggen vane 90% copper, lion on top 70% copper, 20% zinc, 5% lead, 5%



KŠllunge vane 90-95% copper, lion on top 90-95% copper


Tingelstad vane 97% copper, 2-3 mm gilding, dragon on top also 97%



Lolland vane ?, horse on top 90% copper, 1-5% iron, zinc, tin,

silver, etc.


Very detailed dimensions and weights are given for the various

structural elements of each vane, and notes on how each element is

constructed are listed -- this would be very nice for craftsmen

reconstructing these who are looking for specific documentation on

materials and methods.


And, linking nicely with the thread on ship-law, Blindheim also

briefly discusses a bit of the law associated with war-fleets, which

I'll quote:


"In Norway the laws for the 'leidang', the fleet of warships, said

that the leidang-obligations went as far inland as the salmon was

able to swim up river.  In some places that was quite a long way.  

The leidang system meant that in case of war a district had to muster

a fixed number of ships with equipment and with men. In times of

peace the ships had to be put away in common boat-sheds and sails and

other objects had to be kept in special central places.  In the

Middle Ages these places were the churches."


This leads me to think that the folks looking for ship-law should

look at the leidang or leding regulations, as this might give you

some ideas about law aboard ships.





Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001 16:53:55 -0500

From: rmhowe <MMagnusM at bellsouth.net>

To: "- Stephan's Florilegium" <stefan at texas.net>,

   - Authenticity List <authenticity at yahoogroups.com>

Subject: Book stamps / boat models / Pilgrim Ampullae from Dublin


Wallace, Patrick F.(Ed.):  Miscellanea 1: Medieval Dublin Excavations

      1962-81, National Museum of Ireland, 48pp PB Royal Irish

      Academy, Dublin, 1988 PB ISBN 0901714712, HB ISBN 0901714712.

      $13.49 in paperback from Amazon.com.

        The first section is a Bibliography of Dublin 840-1300

      listing all articles. About 5 pages of solid bibliography

      by Patrick Wallace.

        The second section is A 'Winchester-style' Bronze Mount

      by Andrew Halpin. This depicts four differnt mounts. Similar

      ones are thought to possibly have been sword pommels. This

      one is highly carved in an animalistic romanesque style and

      is thought to have been a ceremonial staff end of some type.

     (Although to me it looks like the animals would have been

      upside down in context). 10 C. English Import. Two inches

      wide by about 5/8" thick. Shown actual size in three

      orthographic drawings, and one photo.

        The third section if Ship Graffiti and Models by Arne-Emil

      Christianson. This one looks like fun, it has a number of

      graffiti of early ships including a horned dragon head ship

      and some obvious toys and models. Both carved models and real

      boats are illustrated. Also a Birka coin and a wooden gaming

      piece from High Street which is rather like a checker piece.

      25 illus. Bibliography.

         The fourth section is Romanesque bookbinding fragments

      by Joseph McDonnell and has a number of book stamp styles

     illustrated. Not the actual punches but the impressions of

      them.  This kind of illustration is fairly rare. The leather

      bits and the six different stamp designs used are depicted.

      A palmette, a repeating palmette, a lobe shaped dragon, a dove

      without a nimbus enclosed in a palmette frame, an Ostrich?,

      and a boar.

        The last section if Pilgrim Souvenirs by Brian Spencer

      which consists of quite a number of differently shaped

      Ampullae. Ten illustrations and about 40 citations in the



Magnus Malleus, OL, Atlantia, GDH / R.M.Howe


***Not to be forewarded to SCA-Universitas or any open Newsgroups,

especially the Rialto. Closed email lists of the SCA or reenactor

community are fine.



From: "Raymond C. Parks" <rcparks at rt66.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Nautical reference material

Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2001 21:47:10 -0700

Organization: Rt66.COM, New Mexico's #1 ISP


  If you are not interested in period things nautical, skip this message

and feel good.


  For those of you who are CostCo (formerly Price Club) members, they

seem to have an interesting series of books available.  The series is

probably available elsewhere, but that's where I found them.  The series

is "Conway's History of the Ship".  The book I picked up is

_Cogs,_Caravels,_and_Galleons_, subtitled "The Sailing Ship 1000-1650".

There seems to be one about Viking ships, also.  I didn't get around to

reading until this week, but it contains quite scholarly articles with

frequent references to archeological finds.  The articles are not afraid

to admit what is not known - e.g. the article on cogs notes that they

were supplemented and replace by "hulks" of which little is known.  The

articles on cogs and earlier ships pay particular attention to the

Hanseatic League.  For those of you with a nautical bent, this could be



Goetz Liedtke

Ray Parks



From: lilinah at earthlink.net

Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 08:32:45 -0700

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Need Reference info


Brighid ni Chiarain wrote:

>TITLE: Spanish diet in the Atlantic crossing, the 1570s.



>SOURCE:  Terr Incogn. 1984;16:57-70.


In case some folks don't understand the reference, "Spanish diet..."

is an article in a magazine, Terra Incognita, Issue 16, published

1984, on pages 57 to 70.





Date: Fri, 07 Sep 2001 11:13:29 -0400

From: johnna holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] pickled lemons


Here are some additional and interesting articles

and books that deal with diet in the English navy,

and scurvy along with its prevention.


See the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, 1990.

Fasting and Feasting, ed. Harlan Walker, London: Prospect Books, 1990.

Powers, Jo Marie. "L'Ordre de Bon Temps: Good Cheer as the Answer"

pp.164-172. --discusses Samuel de Champlain's efforts to survive

the winter of 1606-1607 in New France, knowing that as in the

previous two winters many would of scurvy during the bitter cold.


Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, 1989.

Staple Foods, ed. Harlan Walker, London: Prospect Books, 1990.

Black, Maggie. "Survival Kit (16th Century Seaman's Fare)"

pp.57-60.  --includes the 1588 daily issue of food per sailor.


Thick, Malcolm. "Sir Hugh Plat's Promotion of Pasta as a Victual

for Seamen." Petits Propos Culinaires #40 [1992], pp.43-50.

--Yes, that Sir Hugh Plat who wrote Delightes for Ladies, spent

a great deal of time between 1589 and 1607 promoting a better

diet for seamen. He especially promoted the use of dried macaroni.


Perry, Charles. "Preserved Lemons." Petits Propos Culinaires #50

[1995], pp.22-24.  --discusses the literature of preserving lemons

and the odd fact that there is little scientific literature on what

is happening when these fruits are preserved.


Shepard, Sue. Pickled, Potted, and Canned. How the Art and Science

of Food Preserving Changed the World. NY: Simon and Schuster, 2000.

--contains a chapter "Navy Blues" on the provisioning of ships,

including a concise account of James Lancaster's efforts in 1600

to avoid scurvy on trips to the East Indies. Lancaster took with

him "bottles of lemon juice, of which he gave three spoonfuls every

morning to each man." (p.209)


Giles Milton. Nathaniel's Nutmeg, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999,

also describes in detail James Lancaster's voyages in chapters entitled

"Wonderfully Unwholesome Climes" and "Music and Dancing Damsels."


See also Carpenter, Kenneth J. The History of Scurvy and Vitamin C.

Cambridge: C.U.P., 1986.


Johnna Holloway



From: "Robin Carroll-Mann" <rcmann4 at earthlink.net>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 11:59:40 -0400

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Spanish seafaring food


I was browsing through LIBRO (Library of Iberian Resources Online) at

http://libro.uca.edu and I came across an interesting tidbit.  The following is

from _Consulate of the Sea and Related Documents_, which is a 15th

century compilation of laws, regulations, and customs governing merchant




The section below deals with food for sailors:


145-Food Which Must Be Provided for the Sailors by the Patron

To continue: Every patron of a vessel or a boat which has a deck must

provide the following food for the whole crew: Meat three times per

week. This means on Sunday, Tuesday, and on Thursday. On the other

days of the week he shall provide soup for them, in addition to the bread

given the crew each evening. Also three times per week, in the morning

and in the evening he shall provide them with wine. To supplement the

bread ration they should be given cheese or onions or sardines or other

kind of fish.

In addition, the master of a vessel is required to issue rations of wine, if it

will not cost him more than three and one-half besants. If he procures

raisins or even figs, he should make wine; if he should not be able to get

either figs or raisins or if they cost more than thirty milliares per thousand

rolls, the master will not be required to issue wine rations.

Furthermore, the patron shall double the rations of the crew on all official

holy days. Finally, he shall employ proper personnel to prepare the food

for the crew.


Brighid ni Chiarain *** mka Robin Carroll-Mann

Barony of Settmour Swamp, East Kingdom

rcmann4 at earthlink.net



From: "sscott at datuma.com" <sscott at datuma.com>

Date: Wed Jun 4, 2003  7:39:20 AM US/Central

To: bryn-gwlad at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Bryn-gwlad] Dragonships compared to the Mary Rose


> Please pardon my ignorance, I have been reading these missives

> comparing the Mary Rose to a viking longship...  What, pray, is the

> Mary Rose?  Historically or in literature?


> Thanks for the entertainment...and, in advance, the enlightenment...

> ;->


> Lady Dior


The Mary Rose was one of Henry VIII's major warships.  It was built

around 1510 and sank in 1545.  It was raised in 1982 and has provided

an enormous amount of info and artifacts about early 16th century

life.  There is a lot of information online, such as

www.maryrose.org, and there have been various books written about the

ship and its recovery.





From: clevin at ripco.com (Craig Levin)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Ship-related

Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 10:41:32 +0000 (UTC)


Athelinda <nequila at imadrunk.com> wrote:

>Pedro and others,

>   I am specifically looking for an idea of the positions of crew on a

>1560-1580 caravel and a brief description of what each does.  The

>floriligeum has much wonderful seafaring info, but not that!  I know

>absolutely nothing to begin with.


Okay. Understand that, by and large, a caravel is going to have a

fairly small crew for the time-it was originally a coastal

trading vessel, built as much for ease of handling as much as

anything else, which made it the type of choice to go nosing

around foreign shores.


From the bottom up, according to Parry's _Age of Reconnaissance_

(currently available from Amazon, so go forth and grab!):


ship's boys - you have to start someplace, and this is it. When a

cook isn't available, and on most caravels he wasn't (the Nin~a

and Pinta didn't have one, though the Santa Maria, a carrack,

did), they cook, and in most situations they're basically

apprentices, literally learning their lines.


seamen - on a caravel, you normally didn't have the deep

breakdown of men into specific types of seaman; when you've got

about two dozen guys to run an ocean-going vessel, everyone's got

to be able to do a lot of different tasks.


craftsmen - there are some tasks, however, that do take time to

learn. Most ships' rosters listed carpenters, caulkers (who make

the stuff that gets stuffed between the hull strakes, and do the

stuffing), and coopers (it was simply easier to have somebody

already on staff who could make barrels-no outsourcing for these

guys!). Interestingly enough, Parry believes that the typical

mariner knew enough about making sails to make a post just of

sailmaker needless. Some rosters list a cook.


petty officers - boatswain/bosun, who takes care of the ship's

rigging and other gear; if this wasn't complicated enough, he's

also the guy who often gets tagged with teaching the boys. Along

with him, there's the steward, who covers the consumables. He

works fairly closely with the cooper.


pilot and master - at this point in time, the master may still be

the ship's owner, but he's most certainly the guy on board in

charge, owner or not. Both he and the pilot are going to command

watches, switching on and off, and both of them will know the art

of piloting. Piloting is also called coastwise navigation, as

opposed to celestial navigation, because the pilot and the master

are taking their bearings from landmarks (often tall cliffs and

mountains, so you're not really hugging the coast, but hanging

off just close enough to make them out) and soundings, when they

aren't using "dead reckoning" (deducing their position from their

compass heading and speed, a dicey procedure because there really

isn't such a thing as a reliable clock one can use at sea until

the 1700's). Some masters and pilots would have known how to find

their latitude using Polaris (which isn't precisely above the

North Pole, then or now, so just getting Polaris' angle above the

horizon isn't enough) or a sun shot at noon, when the sun is due

south, which is simple-as long as you're swift with an abacus and

have the formulae and tables handy. Voyages of exploration might

also have a gentleman on board as a captain; intelligent ones

listened to those dreadful middle class types, the pilot and the

master, dullards often ended up playing star roles in the

Historia Tragico-Maritima (also for sale!).


Please feel free to ask more questions. Were it not for my

obligations, I could go on about this all day. <grin>





clevin at ripco.com

Craig Levin                     Librarians Rule: Oook!



Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 16:02:23 -0500

From: "David J. Hughes" <davidjhughes.tx at netzero.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Ship-related


Athelinda wrote:

> Ok, more questions then.  What is a quartermaster?


  Date: 15th century

1 : a petty officer who attends to a ship's helm, binnacle, and signals


  master of marines?

OOP   commander of the marine contingent of a ship, more commonly on

military vessel a Sergeant, Lieutenant or Major ( A major may hold the

RANK of captain, but is never called such aboard ship.  There is only

ONE captain on a ship, even if his actual rank is midshipman)

Date: 1669

2 : one of a class of soldiers serving on shipboard or in close

association with a naval force;


> Their roles in history and SCA?


> Were there chaplains?  Surgeons?

> -Athelinda


On larger ships, possibly, although some services considered having a

chaplain aboard bad luck.  On British ships, particularly after Henry

the VIII split from the RCC, the captain would read divine services.

In addition, on larger military vessels, the chaplains primary duty

would often be the education of the ship boys and "young gentlemen"

(Midshipmen) in reading, writing, etc.


Note that a physician or Doctor of Medicine held higher qualifications

than a Surgeon, whose medical skills rarely exceeded passing out

nostrum medicines and performing radical amputations. A modern US Navy

combat medic would have been considered a Godsend on most period ships.



Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 21:46:16 -0500

From: "David J. Hughes" <davidjhughes.tx at netzero.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Ship-related


Athelinda wrote:

> Pedro and others,

>    I am specifically looking for an idea of the positions of crew on a

> 1560-1580 caravel and a brief description of what each does.  The

> floriligeum has much wonderful seafaring info, but not that!  I know

> absolutely nothing to begin with.

> Thanks,

> Athelinda


Let's look at a merchant ship (A military ship will have many more

officers and crew)


Jobs that have to be done




Master- navigator, sailing master

Handles the ship.  Determines course, when to change course, number

and positions of sails, adjusting  ballast or cargo to adjust ship's

trim.  Makes or orders sailing entries into the ship's log.


Captain  person responsible for EVERYTHING on the ship, in overall

command.  Determines ratings of crew, oversees discipline, condition

of crew, stores, food, lines, lines, sails, spars, yards, mast,

cables, rigging, etc.  May delegate any or all of these jobs, but is

ultimately responsible.  Responsible for the ship's log.


Optional Owner   guy who actually owns the ship, deals with all the

economic factors.  If not the owner, the Purser handles these matters.


Purser  responsible for all ships stores (food, spare sails and rope,

water supplies, fire wood, crew comforts like spirits, wine, beer,

cloth, sewing supplies for clothing and sails, spare yards and spars,



One person may hold any or all of the above positions.


Masters mate  trained to do all the master's duties, Master's

assistant.  May be more than one aboard.  Sails the ship when Master

not on deck.


Petty officers


Bosun  Boatswain  a petty officer having charge of hull maintenance

and related work.  Often also acts as foreman for coordinating the

efforts of the hands


Optional  coxswain  a sailor who has charge of a ship's small boat(s)

  and its crew and who usually steers


Hands  Seamen of various ratings, not petty officers.


Helmsman qualified to handle the wheel, steer a course as directed,

read the compass, note wind shifts and sea conditions to assist the



Linesman  casts the log to determine ship's speed through the water,

determines water depth in shallow areas.


Topman/men  Sailor skilled in working the sails from the mast and

yards.  Sets, shortens , reefs and furls sails, replaces sails as needed.


Idlers  Sailors not qualified to work as topmen.  Handle lines on deck

as ordered, hauls the lines to raise, lower, or adjust sails, man

pumps, capstan (Main winch for raising anchor or other heavy lifting),

general ship maintenance, such as swapping and holystoning the decks.


Loblolly boy  ship's medic.


Cook  in charge of the galley, particularly the stove.  May not

actually cook, but merely issues the supplies so the crew can cook

their own food, or may cook.


Slushy  Cook's assistant


Ranking of seamen (Later period for the names, but the general concept



Seaman 1st class  Professional seaman, probably more than 5 years

service, can do almost any job aboard that has to do with sails,

lines, rigging, masts, yards, spars or hull.


Able bodied seamen can "reef, splice and steer"  skilled sailor,

rarely has lees than 2 years service.


Seaman  can place his hand on any line on the ship, in the dark, in

the middle of a raging storm


Landsman  beginner.  Does NOTHING concerning the handling of the ship

without supervision.


Ship's boy  a youngster, fetches and carries, runs messages, etc.


A merchant caravel could have as few as twenty personnel, total, so

many of these jobs could be done by a single person, as needed.


In addition, there could be  Surgeon, Carpenter, Gunner and/or

Gunner's Mate, Blacksmith, midshipman (ship's boy being trained as a

master's mate), Clerk (to handle paperwork), Cargomaster, Supercargo

(an officer of indeterminate duties)


David Gallowglass



From: clevin at ripco.com (Craig Levin)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Ship-related

Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2003 17:55:20 +0000 (UTC)


Athelinda <nequila at imadrunk.com> wrote:

>Ok, more questions then.  What is a quartermaster?  master of marines?


Depending on where you go, a quartermaster's usually in charge of

supplies. "Master of Marines" is a new one. On some larger

vessels, a master at arms might have been on the roster as the

person who would have that kind of responsibility, but most

caravels, as I mentioned before, were merchantmen, and, even when

on a commission to explore, wouldn't have been heavily armed.

Portuguese East Indiamen (that is, the ships on the "carreira da

India" to and from the homeland and the Orient) often carried

soldiers who were being sent from one fort to another-just

passengers, typically.


For the most part, the Portuguese had the upper hand in the

Indian and Pacific Oceans in terms of warship technology: the

cannon-armed roundship-the ancestor to every man-of-war until the

Monitor and the Merrimac. Unlike the galley, which has a

contingent of marines for its tactics of ram-and-board, the can-

non-armed roundship fights best by avoiding close contact and

bashing its opponents with gunfire. In the event that it does get

boarded, the boarding party normally ends up in the waist (the

middle of the ship), the defenders shoot at them from the

forecastle and the quarterdeck, and the boarding party becomes

fish food.


>Their roles in history and SCA?


While lots of folks have nautically inclined personae (I did, for

a very long time), and there have been branches on some USN

vessels, there is no Known World Navy. <grin>


As for naval history-it's a massive subject even when skimmed. I

suggest trying to obtain some of the books mentioned in the

Florilegium section via ILL.


>Were there chaplains?  Surgeons?


Portuguese and Spanish vessels sometimes had chaplains, as

opposed to clergymen en route somewhere who were simply

fulfilling their vows. Most likely, they'd have been attached to

the gentleman in charge, rather than being like modern chaplains,

who are on their country's payroll.


Surgeons? Sometimes. Personally, if I had a choice of being

treated by a Renaissance physician, who would've diagnosed me

using ancient Greek and Roman texts and had an apothecary dose me

with some dubious herbal crud (or worse, if he accepted the new

science of Paracelsus, with his use of mercury compounds!) and

being treated by a surgeon, who'd have received his training in a

hands-on manner, with quite a bit of empirical knowledge (that

is, he knows which techniques and approaches work, but not why),

I might well decide that my fortune stood higher with the

surgeon. Mind you, I might just avoid them both and hole up with

some chicken soup and bedrest. <grin>





clevin at ripco.com

Craig Levin                     Librarians Rule: Oook!



Date: Sat, 19 Jul 2003 11:56:19 -0500

From: "David J. Hughes" <davidjhughes.tx at netzero.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Ship-related


Athelinda wrote:

> So far, that's them.

> -Athelinda


>>Define the total complement (How many people people total, not

>>counting passengers) and I could set up starboard and port watches,

>>deck officers, supplementaries needed.


Is that because you have specific individuals volunteering to be on

your hypothetical ship.


On an actual period ship, your listed complement won't get out of harbor.




First Mate

Master of Marines (Master at Arms)

      Nobody to be master of. No troops listed.


     Possibly officer, possibly crew




   always an officer


    Honorary Officer



   Always an officer (warranted by the Surgeons Board, rather than

commissioned by the Crown, in the British Navy.)


   Neither fish nor fowl, between grass and hay.  Officer trainee,

gives orders to the crew as if an officer, but neither officer nor crew


Let's look at one job, leaving harbor.


Three masted caravel, in harbor, anchored with standard two anchors,

with 200 meters of cable on each anchor.


Man the capstan, minimum four, more likely eight sailors.  Possibly a

fiddler or other beat keeper to keep them coordinated.

Quartermaster over sees laying the cable in the cable hold, 4 ships

boys (minimum) nipping the cable to keep it running from the lower

capstan to the cable hold, four to six sailors laying the cable in the

cable hold. One or two men to "cat" the anchor (keep it from banging

against the hull.)


That's 13 to 23 men to raise the first anchor.  When the second anchor

  weighs (comes of the ocean bottom), you'll want the ship to be

making headway so as to be under control.

At least one helmsman, 4 topmen to loose the foretopsail, six waisters

(idlers) to handle lines, probably a bosun to oversee, although the

Masters mate could do that.


That's another 11 crew needed during the 2 to 5 minutes between the

time the anchor weighs and the anchor watch is relieved.


Call it 24 sailors needed to handle the ship, divided 8 expert, 8

experienced, 8 trainees.  If any novices (landsmen), they don't count

for much, say 4 novices would equal 1 experienced sailor in usefulness.


One sail now set, ship under minimal control, the crew at the capstan

and cable tier can now enter the waist and rigging to set other sails

as needed, secure the anchors, capstan, cables, and other tasks.


For comparison, in  1492, Columbus sailed with the Nina, a two master

lanteen rigged caravel, the Pinta, a three masted square and lanteen

rigged caravel, and the Santa Maria, a three masted nao.

Between them, they had a complement of 104 virtually all experts or

experienced, probably roughly 20, 35, 50, based on the sizes and

handling requirements of each.


Note that when the Santa Maria ran aground and was wrecked (Dec 25,

1492), the Pinta having previously sailed separately, the Nina was

unable to accommodate 40 of the Santa Maria's crew, who were left to

build a fort, Navidad, on Hispaniola.



Date: Mon,  7 Feb 2005 22:27:44 -0500

From: "Jeff Gedney" <gedney1 at iconn.net>

Subject: Lemons as antiscorbutics

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


John Smith in his 1626 book on ships and sailing, A Sea Grammar, has the following line in his instructions regarding the proper victualling of a ship for a voyage to sea:


  "A Commander at Sea should doe well to thinke the contrary, and provide for himselfe and company in like manner; also seriously to consider what will bee his charge to furnish himselfe at Sea with bedding, linnen, armes, and apparrell, how to keepe his table aboord, and hi expences on shore, and provide his petty Tally, which is a competent proportion according to your number of these particulars following.

  Fine wheat flower close and well packed, Rice, Currands, Sugar, Prunes, Cynamon, Ginger, Pepper, Cloves, greene inger, Oyle, Butter, Holland cheese, or old Cheese, Wine vineger, Canarie sacke, Aqua vit¾, the best Wines, the best waters, the juyce of Limons for the scurvy, white Bisket, Oatmeale, gammons of Bacon, dried Neats tongues, Beefe packed up in vineger,Legs of Mutton minced and stewed, and close packed up, with tried sewet or butter in earthen pots. "


In 1610 the Governor of Jamestown Lord la Ware took scurvy while travelling to Jamestown, and he was forced for his health to repair to "the western isles" by which I think he means the Bahamas:"In these extremities I resolved to consult with my friends, who finding nature spent in me, and my body almost consumed, my paines likewise daily increasing, gave me advice to preferre a hopefull recoverie, bfore an assured ruine, which must necessarily have ensued, had I lived but twentie daies longer in Virginia, wanting at that instant both food and Physicke, fit to remedie such extraordinary diseases; wherefore I shipped my selfe with Doctor Bohun and aptaine Argall, for Mevis in the West Indies, but being crossed with Southerly winds, I was forced to shape my course for the Westerne Iles, where I found helpe for my health, and my sicknesse asswaged, by the meanes of fresh dyet, especially Oranges nd Limons, and undoubted remedie for that disease: then I intended to have returned backe againe to Virginia, but I was advised not to hazard my selfe, before I had perfectly recovered my strength: so I came for England; in which accident, I doubt notbut men of judgement will imagine, there would more prejudice have happened by my death there, than I hope can doe by my returne."


So as far as lemons, and oranges, go, here appears to have been a plantations in the American tropics long established, by this time and at least a rudimentary awareness of the efficacy of citrus as an antiscorbutic.


Capt Elias

-Renaissance Geek of the Cyber Seas



Date: Wed,  9 Feb 2005 15:23:02 -0500

From: "Jeff Gedney" <gedney1 at iconn.net>

Subject: Citrus, Scurvy and The Royal Navy

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Venturing companies (and government "Navies" in time of war) had to pay restitution and/or pensions to widows and orphans of crewmen lost in legitimate action or accident, according to the various laws such as the Law of Oleron.


They did not have to pay for criminals killed for offense, deserters, mutineers, and victims of crew to crew violent crime aboard ship.


They DID have to pay for the hospitalization or upkeep of men who were disabled and had to be placed in the care of whatever hospital facilities are nearest.


How much these laws were complied with on a regular basis is unknown, but it is pretty clear that care and maintenance of sick men ashore and afloat was a significant expense.


It is also clear that these expenses were often only partially paid and often only after a great deal of intercession and legal challenge. Naturally the worst sufferers were men who were not in the care of a "good" captain who believed that he was feudally responsible for those in his charge. Many captains and some admirals were beggared and some totally ruined in the days after the Armada, as the practice was that the crewmen had to be paid as soon as they set foot on land, and the promised payment to the ships owners and captains for their service was very slow in coming from the Admiralty. Consequently the men were forced to remain on board for several months, *in harbor*, eating rotten food and drinking foul water and sour beer. There was an epidemic through the fleet, and many captains were forced to set men ashore and make up their care and pay out of their personal funds.


Good book on the subject:

"Medicine and the Navy 1200-1900" by JJ Keevil (2 vols)



Enterprise of England the Spanish Armada

by Roger Whiting


The enterprise of England; an account of her emergence as an oceanic power.

by Woodrooffe, Thomas


Capt Elias

-Renaissance Geek of the Cyber Seas



Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 11:32:27 -0400

From: "Jeff Gedney" <gedney1 at iconn.net>

Subject: RE: sour cabbage - German recipe

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> I was told once and never got docs on it. That an

> English captain in the late 1500s, mentions an

> observation that the Germanic nations' sailors did

> not seem to suffer like English sailors of scurvy.

> This was attributed to the consumption of pickled

> cabbage. In order to get his crew to eat the pickled

> cabbage, he had a barrel brought on board and had it

> labeled for officers only.


Sounds up my alley...

I'll see what I can find...


But it sounds apocryphal. Ship's stores were generally closely watched and apportioned out by stewards. Stuff listed for the captain's table would not go into the general "messe" in the way described. The English would eat almost anything to relieve their boredom of the beer biscuit and salt cod/salt beef diet...including eskimo dog, penguin, manatee, dolphin, corn, grass, whatever the can catch or gather that might be conceivably or even remotely edible.


I think if they were put ashore in Germany, after months of eating weevily biscuit, maggoty salt beef and cod, drinking scummy water, and smelling the gasses that issued from the festering bilges every night as they try to sleep, that a fresh crock of sauerkraut in a dry German inn would seem like cheese and wine on a bed of rose petals.


I seriously doubt that they would have to be coaxed into eating any sort of fresh food.


On scurvy:

I know that in the Elizabethan period the cause and cure of scurvy was still widely unknown.


A major complication being that the modern concept of Scurvy as a vitamin C deficiency rarely was experienced. The period Scurvy diagnosis usually included descriptions of symptoms associated with other vitamin deficiencies, such as "wet" beriberi (A vitamin B1 deficiency usually associated with the high alcohol content of the sailor's diet), and pellagra. There were lots of theories as to causation, yes, but the notion of a purely dietary deficiency causing the condition was not among them. The most usual period theory being that the very atmosphere of the ocean was bad for you, the very ocean was inimical to non ocean based life. This was commonly called "malaria"(bad air "mal+aria").


Once you got back on the wholesome land, the very vapors of the good earth cured you. It was pretty well established hat some foods and medicines would help to deter the condition at sea, but why they worked was anyone's guess, ad the exact foods and medicines recommended varied from pace to place and era to era.


For example, it was known that some fruits deterred scurvy, but it was thought that the acidic nature of the foods was the curative agency, so in his 1565 voyage, Sir John Hawkins shipped, and distributed, his favorite remedy for scurvy, which was a mixture of sulfuric acid, sugar and water. (and you thought Coke was bad for the teeth!)



Keevil, J. J., "Medicine and the Navy: 1200-1900: Vol 1

1200-1649", E. & S. Livingstone, Edinburgh, 1957


Capt Elias

Dragonship Haven, East

(Stratford, CT, USA)

Apprentice in the House of Silverwing



Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2006 22:41:05 -0400

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius"

      <adamantius.magister at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] 100 Mile Feast

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


On Sep 20, 2006, at 9:31 PM, Daniel Phelps wrote:

> For what it is worth in furtherance of this discussion I was just

> reading Cheyney's "A History of England, From the Defeat of the

> Armada to the Death of Elizabeth" Vol. 1.  In the chapter titled

> "The Seizure of Contraband" it is cited that on the 27th of July

> (1588) the council issued from the court at Nonesuch a formal

> "order and decree" for the forfeiture of goods seized on certain

> neutral German ships bound for Spain. Under "Victual" are listed

> "Bacon, Corne, Wheate, Barley, Meale, Beanes, Peason and such

> lyke."  Such would suggest to me some of the more common bulk

> commodities in trade which were shipped long distances by sea in

> the last quarter of the 16th century.   If I might inquire:

> Would Peason be peas?


Extremely likely. Middle English texts refer to "peyson"


>  What is the consensus regarding what grain is ground for "Meale"

> in this reference?


Could be almost anything. Actually, I'm more interested in what the

"corne" was, if not barley or wheat. Bear in mind, though, that this

is listed as "Victual", and not as cargo. IOW, strictly speaking, not

necessarily direct evidence of import or export, and perhaps merely

that sailors had to eat.


It could probably be argued either way...





Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2006 06:15:38 -0500

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] 100 Mile Feast

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Peason is the plural of pease and is as you surmise, peas in modern  



Meal is any ground grain other than wheat, which is flour. The usage is

imprecise, so it is impossible to determine the actual grain unless



The German ships metioned are very probably from the Hanse (Hanseatic

League) which formally began in 1241 and held its last meeting in  1669.  The

Hanse controlled much of the trade in Northern Europe from the Baltic to

Spain and all points in between.




> For what it is worth in furtherance of this discussion I was just reading

> Cheyney's "A History of England, From the Defeat of the Armada to the

> Death of Elizabeth" Vol. 1.  In the chapter titled "The Seizure of

> Contraband" it is cited that on the 27th of July (1588) the council issued

> from the court at Nonesuch a formal "order and decree" for the forfeiture

> of goods seized on certain neutral German ships bound for Spain. Under

> "Victual" are listed "Bacon, Corne, Wheate, Barley, Meale, Beanes, Peason

> and such lyke."  Such would suggest to me some of the more common bulk

> commodities in trade which were shipped long distances by sea in the last

> quarter of the 16th century.   If I might inquire:

> Would Peason be peas?

> What is the consensus regarding what grain is ground for "Meale" in  

> this reference?


> Daniel



Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2006 06:25:32 -0500

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] 100 Mile Feast

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Corn, in the British usage, tends to be the major grain grown in a region.

This was very likely rye, if coming out of Northern Europe headed to  



A synonym for victuals is provisions. I doubt the English would seize a

ship's food, but if the quantities were large, they might consider such as

military provisions.  However, 1588 is the year of the Armada and the  

is less than two weeks before the English engaged them on August 7, so they

might be trying to stop anything from getting through to Spain.




> Could be almost anything. Actually, I'm more interested in what the

> "corne" was, if not barley or wheat. Bear in mind, though, that this

> is listed as "Victual", and not as cargo. IOW, strictly speaking, not

> necessarily direct evidence of import or export, and perhaps merely

> that sailors had to eat.


> It could probably be argued either way...


> Adamantius



Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2006 21:28:08 -0400

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

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Confiscated Goods was 100 Mile Feast

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Was written:


Could be almost anything. Actually, I'm more interested in what the

"corne" was, if not barley or wheat. Bear in mind, though, that this

is listed as "Victual", and not as cargo. IOW, strictly speaking, not

necessarily direct evidence of import or export, and perhaps merely

that sailors had to eat.


My response:


Regards "corne" I'm confused as to what it was. Side note the  

listing "Victual" was preceded by "Munityon" which contained as one  

would expect callyvers, muskettes, armour, powder, brimston,  

saltpeter, bulletts, copper, leade and matche as well as cables,  

masts, anchors, cordage, pitch, tarre, tallow and pitchstone.  It  

also included "Ordynance not belonginge to the shipps, canvas and  

Danske Poldavyers".   Does anyone recognize what "Danske Poldavyers"  



Was further written:


The German ships mentioned are very probably from the Hanse (Hanseatic

League) which formally began in 1241 and held its last meeting in 1669.  The

Hanse controlled much of the trade in Northern Europe from the Baltic to

Spain and all points in between.


My response:


The ships were from Konigsberg, Dantzig, Stralsund, Rostock, Stettin,  

Wismar, Lubeck, and Hamburg. The court declared that although the  

ships and their cargoes might justly be confiscated, the queen  

nevertheless intend only to take the munitions of war and victuals  

contained in them, leaving the vessels themselves with all their  

other commodities to their owners.


Ultimately in response to protests of the Hanse towns. the court  

instructed on 8 August of that year that the captured goods be  

divided into three categories; contraband goods, "mere merchandise"  

not useful for purposes of war and goods belonging to subjects of the  

king of Spain.  The first and third were confiscated the second was  

to be either returned or sold and the result paid to the ship owners.


Was further written:


Corn, in the British usage, tends to be the major grain grown in a region.

This was very likely rye, if coming out of Northern Europe headed to  



Rye was listed separately but as this list was intended to not just  

include what was on the ships but also "...articles which then and in  

the future should be subject to confiscation if taken by a neutral  

into the dominions of any of England's enemies..." perhaps the term  

was included for completeness.  Alternatively they might have been  

going from one or more of the ships cargo manifests and that was how  

such was listed.





Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2006 20:53:02 -0500

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Confiscated Goods was 100 Mile Feast

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


> Regards "corne" I'm confused as to what it was.  Side note the listing

> "Victual" was preceded by "Munityon" which contained as one would expect

> callyvers, muskettes, armour, powder, brimston, saltpeter, bulletts,

> copper, leade and matche as well as cables, masts, anchors, cordage,

> pitch, tarre, tallow and pitchstone.  It also included "Ordynance not

> belonginge to the shipps, canvas and Danske Poldavyers".   Does anyone

> recognize what "Danske Poldavyers" were?


Danske Poldavyers is Danish-made sailcloth canvas (probably in bolts) in

this usage.  Poldavyers is a coarse canvas used for sacking and  



> Was further written:


> Corn, in the British usage, tends to be the major grain grown in a region.

> This was very likely rye, if coming out of Northern Europe headed to

> Spain.


> Rye was listed separately but as this list was intended to not just

> include what was on the ships but also "...articles which then and in the

> future should be subject to confiscation if taken by a neutral into the

> dominions of any of England's enemies..." perhaps the term was included

> for completeness.  Alternatively they might have been going from one or

> more of the ships cargo manifests and that was how such was listed.


> Daniel


It is also possible that it was an indeterminate mix of grains and was

simple called corn rather than maslin, which is more commonly a mix of rye

and wheat.




<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