Monday 30 April 2012

Pepy's Diary Posts.

Friday 30 April 1669

Up, and by coach to the coachmaker’s: and there I do find a great many ladies sitting in the body of a coach that must be ended by to-morrow: they were my Lady Marquess of Winchester, Bellassis, and other great ladies; eating of bread and butter, and drinking ale. I to my coach, which is silvered over, but no varnish yet laid on, so I put it in a way of doing; and myself about other business, and particularly to see Sir W. Coventry, with whom I talked a good while to my great content; and so to other places — among others, to my tailor’s:


Sunday 29 April 2012



Alexander Selkirk aka Robinson Crusoe's Drinking Cup.

Author's edited image.

The drinking cup, formed of a small

cocoa-nut shell, presents a simple ornament

scratched with a knife with Selkirk's

own hand, is three inches and a quarter

deep, by two and a half inches diameter.

Mrs Gillies assured the writer, it had

formerly a silver foot and stem, but that

her father had disposed of it. Wanting

that appendage, Sir Walter and Constable

took it to Edinburgh, where the present

foot and stem of rosewood, nearly three

inches high, was added, making the whole

about six inches in height. They also

added the silver band or fillet that

encircles the outside of the cup, bearing Drinking-Cup of Alexander Selkirk,

this inscription—The Cup of Ala. Selkirk,

Robinson Crusoe's Sea Chest.

This wooden sea-chest (pictured here closed) was used by Alexander Selkirk during his solitary stay on the island of Juan Fernandez in the Pacific Ocean from 1704-9. Born in Largo in Fife, Selkirk was the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's 'Robinson Crusoe'.
Sea-chest of Alexander Selkirk of Lower Largo, Fife, used by him during his solitary stay on the island of Juan Fernandez in the Pacific Ocean, 1704 - 1709
In 1704, after a quarrel with his captain, Selkirk asked to be put ashore on the uninhabited island of Juan Fernandez, 800 miles off the coast of Chile. In 1713, four years after his rescue, his experiences were published, giving Defoe his inspiration.


Author's edited images below.

My sincere thanks to Jenny Baker for bringing this to my attention.

Met an Old Friend in the Forest.

Friday 27 April 2012


Making 18th century Spunks Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEi-wkobZEc

I assume the "crosier" mentioned above came from the design of the Old English steel as below.

Thursday 26 April 2012

The Slow Match.

Four 17th century paintings, each displaying a match cord used for lighting a pipe.

Two links to making match-cord:


The 18th Century Grenadier's Match Case.

Match Case
A brass grenadier's match case was found in the northwest corner of the west casemate (Level II) (fig. 47). This is a perforated cylinder with reinforcing bands around the top and bottom. There is a perforated cone in one end. The whole case is 7 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. It was held by two rivets to a brass plate 4.2 by 2.1 inches in size which was sewn to a belt. It was designed to carry a slow match for igniting incendiaries, such as grenades. The slow match and pull ring were not found. A similar specimen is illustrated by Darling (1970, p. 1). It was probably a relic of the British occupation.

The match cord was lit from smouldering tinder in the tinderbox, then kept safe in this match case.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

The Masquerade Mask.

Seeing as our annual Masquerade Party is on the 23rd June I thought I would post some masks for attendees to think about.

Probably the easiest to make would be these black leather masks, depending on where your skills lay.

The common bauta mask.

Something with a bit more style.

The Black Velvet Moretta.

Masquerade Masks.

The Venetian exception

The carnival of Venice has gotten more and more popular over the past twenty years. Still, the usage of masks in the city served a different purpose in history, especially in the 18th century. In Venice, masks were used in everyday life as a way to remain incognito, and to transgress social classes. The Venetian society, which was very fond of intrigues of all sorts, found in masks a very convenient way to remain discrete in all situations. And, oddly enough, masked parades such as carnivals were relatively rare in Venice.

The hood made of black silk, which was worn by men, is called bauta. It is completed by a piece of lace which hides the bottom of the face and goes down to the waist. It was traditionally accompanied with a tabaro (a coat, usually black or grey, scarlet for the noble), a tricorn, and a larva (a white semi mask). Women would usually wear a moretta, which is a black velvet mask.

Damper Recipe


Sunday 22 April 2012

An 18th Century Ship's Decanter-Timbertown Port NSW.

Recently my youngest son and my Daughter-in-law bought me a bottle of port for my Birthday. The bottle looked very familier, so I did a search. This bottle is very representative of an 18th century ship's decanter. They purchased this port from Timbertown here in NSW, it is about 3 hours drive away. Timbertown is a 19th century theme village, & they make their own wines.

 The top is sealed with a cork and a wax seal.


18th century decanters.

Reading Glass Fire Lighting & The Hudson Bay Tobacco Tin.

Making fire with a burning glass or reading glass is easy when using tinder. Plant tinders don't even have to be charred first. But using the Hudson Bay tobacco tin as a tinderbox because it has a burning glass in the lid is not recommended, not by me anyway.
The tinderbox is used to prepare plant tinders. Tinder material is charred directly in the fire & then placed in the tinderbox to smother it. When you want to make fire you simply strike sparks into the tinderbox, hold some dry grass kindling against the smouldering tinder & blow into flame.
If you do this with the Hudson Bay tobacco tin, you will smoke up the burning glass in the lid, & in winter it may crack from the heat of the smouldering tinder. Better I think to carry a seperate reading glass or use specticles if you wear them.

 The Hudson Bay Tobacco Tin.
 Author's reading glass and case.

Author's tinderbox with tinder and a musket flint.

Reading Glass Fire Lighting Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvveEG5yDXc

Monday 16 April 2012

Living History World Wide.

I know there are followers here from all over the world, so if any of you are looking for a working Living History group in your area, this is probably a good place to look and ask questions:

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Pieter Hermansz Verelst

But by accident he did direct us to a painter that was then in the house with him, a Dutchman, newly come over, one Evarelst, who took us to his lodging close by, and did shew us a little flower-pot of his doing, the finest thing that ever, I think, I saw in my life; the drops of dew hanging on the leaves, so as I was forced, again and again, to put my finger to it, to feel whether my eyes were deceived or no. He do ask 70l. for it: I had the vanity to bid him 20l.; but a better picture I never saw in my whole life; and it is worth going twenty miles to see it.
Samuel Pepys April 11th 1669.
Marketplace :  By Pieter Hermansz Verelst

Making A Crow in the 17th Century.

Tiled Stoves for Winter Warmth. A Link.


English Taste: The Art of Dining in 18th Century England

18th Century Day with the Wallace Collection in England.

Tuesday 10 April 2012

My Pack Improvement.

Some of you may remember my posts on the market wallet. Normally I do not use the market wallet, but today I thought of a way of using it in combination with my knapsack to save carrying too much weight in my scrip. I like to use the scrip (later called a haversack) for foraging, and on a long trip perhaps to carry an extra bottle of water, but I would rather not start a trek by carrying extra weight in a shoulder carry bag.
The Market Wallet.

The market wallet can be carried over the shoulder........

Or on a stick over the shoulder as in this 18th century painting.....

Or over the arm as this lady is doing at the Thames in Richmond in this 17th century painting.

This is my pack as I normally carry it.

This shows my pack with the new addition of the market wallet, secured under the flap of my knapsack along with my oilcloth. I have trail food in one side, and rum, snares, cordage etc in the other side.

It has been 3 months since my operation for a complete hip replacement, and I have progressed to uphill walks to the top of Dragon's Tol and beyond. Today I thought I should start carrying a bit of weight, so I took this pack for a trial walk.

It worked well, carried comfortably and well ballanced. I am very pleased with the outcome.

Period Items 3.