Friday 30 September 2016

Gentlemen Of The Night.

For those members that live in the UK.

A documentary film which explores the rich smuggling history of Christchurch and its operations within the neighbouring 'wild land' of the New Forest is being shown at the Regent Centre Christchurch as part of the Christchurch Heritage Festival which runs from 17 – 30 October.
Read more at http://www.blackmorevale.co.uk/gentlemen-of-the-night-18th-century-smuggling-uncovered-to-be-screened-at-regent-christchurch.

Feast of The Hunter's Moon.

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Fort Dobbs: War For Empire


Boiled Apple Pudding

Pirates Event.

An original 18th century pirate flag.

That aside, over the weekend of Feb 3rd through Feb 5th 2017, in Ashland, Ohio (north/central Ohio, USA) in support of the annual Put-in-Bay pirate festival, a group of the reenactors and pirate enthusiasts gather for a weekend of making (and repairing) our gear and clothing,
The main purpose of this weekend, is for those of us with more historical knowledge and skills, to teach and assist others in getting their gear to be more authentic. That said, this Make/Mend weekend is basically an advertisement for a festival that has very relaxed standards of authenticity, and an air of acceptance, with a passive encouragement to improve the level of authenticity in the participants.
The weekend starts Friday evening, and goes throughout all day Saturday, and into later Sunday afternoon. Cost is TDB, but is based off the rental of the space, divided by the number of attendees that actually show up (it has averaged $10-$15 per person for the last few years we have been doing this). Cost is flat, whether you can attend only a single day, or come for the entire duration.
Most who attend this event either day trip, or stay at a local hotel (participants try to all choose the same hotel, to give Saturday night a more celebratory air), as no "official" accommodations are available. We have contrived cheap/free very modest accommodations in the past, but we can not guarantee this... So if your attendance is contingent of cheap/free accommodations, please reach out to me privately, and we can talk.
Obviously, this event has been focused for the Put-in-Bay pirate festival participants, and acts as a further attempt to rope folks into that, but I thought I would open this up to a broader audience in case anyone within reasonable commuting distance was interested. Attending the Put-in-Bay pirate festival, or any other reenactment, I myself, or any of the other organizers support is not required for this.
Let me know if you are interested!

Stockings PDF.

siftingthepast_l-accordee-de-village_jean-baptiste-greuze_1761 stockings.

Monday 26 September 2016

Spunks or Matches.

Brimstone or sulfur tipped matches/spunks that I made some years ago.

Spunks or Matches?
As occasionally happens one gets used to using a certain term or word to describe an object. Then one day your use of that word is put to question, & you find yourself clawing through the pages of a dictionary trying to justify your choice of word. Well this recently happened to me in regards to my use of the term “spunks”, to denote sulphur tipped matches. After my research I find myself still a little lost. I can not remember when or where I first heard this term used, but I have used it ever since. Here then below are the results of my search, & I leave it up to you to decide which term to use. From what I can see, the term “match” or “spunk” seem to hold equal sway.
Regards, Keith.

Detail of the altarpiece of the Saint Georges church in Haguenau, Bas-Rhin, France.
In this lower image Joseph is holding flint & tinder in his left hand, & is about to strike downward against the flint with the steel held in his right hand. Below you can see an open wooden tinderbox & some spunks/sulphur headed matches/splints/tapers.

A relic of Sir John Franklin's last expedition 1845-1848. Seven brimstone matches found by Lieutenant W.R. Hobson at an abandoned camp site at Cape Felix, King William Island on 25 May 1859. They were collected by the McClintock Search Expedition 1857-1859. Each match is a flat sliver of wood. Traces of sulphur are visible on the ends of three matches.

Match Sellers.

Painting by Pieter Claesz 1636.

This wooden box for 'spunks' or sulphur matches dates from the early 19th century. It was turned out on a lathe at Kirkpatrick-Durham in Kirkcudbrightshire.

The box is in the form of a barrel which unscrews two-thirds of the way up. It has the initials R.I. (for Robert Innes) on the bottom.

Sulphur matches or 'spunks' have a long history, and may have been used by the Romans.

1815 “Ye may light a SPUNK o' fire in the red room.”—‘Guy Mannering’ by Sir Walter Scott, xi.
In the morning early, before dawn, the first sounds heard in a small house were the click, click, click of the kitchen-maid striking flint and steel over the tinder in the box. When the tinder was ignited, the maid blew upon it till it glowed sufficiently to enable her to kindle a match made of a bit of stick dipped in brimstone [sulphur]. The cover was then returned to the box, and the weight of the flint and steel pressing it down extinguished the sparks in the carbon. The operation was not, however, always successful; the tinder or the matches might be damp, the flint blunt, and the steel worn; or, on a cold, dark morning, the operator would not infrequently strike her knuckles instead of the steel; a match, too, might be often long in kindling, and it was not pleasant to keep blowing into the tinder-box, and on pausing a moment to take breath, to inhale sulphurous acid gas, and a peculiar odour which the tinder-box always exhaled.
Sabine Baring-Gould, Strange Survivals, 1892, Devon, England
1843, John Wilson, John Gibson Lockhart, William Maginn, James Hogg, The Noctes Ambrosianæ of “Blackwood", Volume IV, page 396,
“Spunks "” spunks "” spunks "” who will buy my spunks?" "” cried an errant voice with a beseeching earnestness 
1530, blend of spark + funk (obsolete, “spark”).
Funk (“spark, touchwood”) is from Middle English funkefonke (“spark”), from Old English *funce, *fanca (“spark”), from Proto-Germanic *funkô*fankô (“spark”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)peng-*(s)pheng- (“to shine”), and is akin to Middle Low German funkefanke (“spark”), Middle Dutch vonke (“spark”), Old High German funchofunko (“spark”),German Funke (“spark”).
NOUN:  A piece of tinder, sometimes impregnated with sulphur; a match
1530s, "a spark," Scottish, from Gaelic spong "tinder, pith, sponge," from Latin spongia

The term "spunk" originated in the early 1600's in the British Isles meaning "a spark," having been adopted from the Gaelic spong for "tinder," which in turn comes from the Latin spongia. The Latin appears to be derived from how closely the popular kindling touchwood resembles natural sponges. 
Spunk: A spark of fire or small portion of ignited matter.
Sponk: A word used in Edinburgh which denotes a match or anything dipped in sulphur that takes fire.
Proceeding Of The Old Bailey. London’s central Criminal Court.
 a Betty was found lying near the Door, and some Matches and a Tinder box was found upon the Prisoner; 
Williams lent them a Bag and some Matches,
 and a Pistol, several Picklock Keys, and some Matches, found upon him.
 Picklock Keys, and a Tobacco Box, with Tinder and Matches in it, were found in his Pocket. 
 with a Chissel, a Dark Lanthorn, and a Bundle of Matches. 
 Candle and Matches,&c. lying on the Ground. 
about him, with a Tinder Box, Flint, Steel, Matches, a Gimblet, Knife and Pick lock key:
America's 19th-century spunk-faker supposedly sold matches (spunks)
...the infant at its mother's side too often awoke.....The mother was soon on her feet; the friendly tinder-box was duly sought. Click, click, click; not a spark tells upon the sullen blackness. More rapidly does the flint ply the sympathetic steel. The room is bright with the radiant shower. But the child....shouts till the mother is frantic. At length one lucky spark does its office - the tinder is alight. Now for the match. It will not burn.....Another match, and another, and another. They are all damp. The baby is inexorable; and the misery is only ended when the goodman has gone to the street door, and after long shivering has obtained a light from the watchman.
Charles Knight, Once Upon a Time, 1854.

The matches were thin splints of soft wood, sharpened at both ends, and tipped with sulphur. The street-dealers were the chief match-sellers. Several matches were spread out, fan-like, into bunches; and according as trade was bad or good, so were we invited to buy three, four, or more bunches for a penny.
Matches and Match-makers, in Chamber's Journal, 1862.
(1)             Tinder, touchwood, as a means of raising fire from a spark (Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. Gl.), also in Eng.; later, a sliver of wood dipped in a preparation of sulphur and used for the same purpose (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 128; s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.). Hist.; in modern usage, since the mid. 19th-c.: a phosphorous friction match, a lucifer (Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc. Also fig.Sc. 1755  S. Johnson Dict.:
Sponk, a word in Edinburgh which denotes a match, or anything dipt in sulphur that takes fire.Abd. 1794 
 J. Anderson Peat Moss 30: 
The natives where such fir abounds are in the practice of splitting it into chips, somewhat thicker and larger than those used in the towns for sponks, and employing these instead of candles for giving light.Sc. 1822 
 Scott Pirate vii.: 
A gathering peat on the kitchen fire, and a spunk beside it.Dmf. 1822 
 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 308: 
When ill Rab Duff and me laid brunstane i' the logie, and were ta'en i' the verra act o' clapping a spunk till't. Ayr. 1830 Galt Lawrie Todd VI. v.: The puff of passion to which he had put the spunk was out.Ags. 1853 
 W. Blair Aberbrothock 15: 
Maister Bell's discoorses are no that ill to mak spunks for bawky pipes.Mry. 1872 
 W. H. Tester Poems 143: 
Has sworn to tax the little lowes That emanate frae spunks.Abd. 1879 
 G. MacDonald Sir Gibbie xxvii: 
The san' paper 'at they hed been lichtin' a thoosan' or twa lucifer spunks upo'.Per. 1881 
 D. Kippen Crieff 199: 
Spunks were narrow pieces of fir roots about six inches long, with brimstone on the points, which ignited at the sparks in the tinder-box.wm.Sc. 1886 
 Trans. Gael. Soc. Inv. XII. 394: 
The making of these matches, or “spunks” as they were called, gave occupation in the long evenings to the male part of the family, who split up fine pieces of fir, and dipped the ends into melted brimstone or sulphur, and thus produced a rude lucifer match.
(2) A thin slip of wood, a spill used for making spunks as above; a splinter, smithereen, chip, in gen. (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 268); fig. something of no value. Adj. spunkie, like a spill.Dmf. 1810  R. Cromek Remains 148: 
The deil sat grim amang the reek, Thrang bundling brunstane matches; Ye'll run me out o' wun spunks.Sc. 1824 
 Scott Redgauntlet xvii.: 
All broken to pieces; fit for nought but to be made spunks of.Fif. c.1850 
 W. D. Latto Twa Bulls 26: 
Wi' that he leaped among the trunks, An' knocked the luckless box to spunks.Abd. 1851 
 W. Anderson Rhymes 72: 
To hear a' his stories they never wad tire, As they sat in a burichie roun' his spunk fire.Mry. 1887 
 A. G. Wilken Peter Laing 45: 
The bull gaed to the han' barrow an' brak it to spunks.

Thursday 22 September 2016

Update On Dorset Buttons.

Dorset Buttons.
Dear Keith
It’s very difficult to date a Dorset Button exactly. All I can say is that there are four different types of Dorset Buttons with many variations within each type.
1. The first buttons were made with sheep’s horn, fabric and thread (High Tops and Dorset Knobs)
2. Some used just fabric and thread (Birdseyes and Mites)
Wire rings were introduced in the 1730s and two further types of buttons were added to the range:
3. Those were made with wire, fabric and thread (Singletons)
4. The Dorset thread button used wire and thread (Dorset Cartwheel and Blandford Crosswheel)
The earliest example of buttons worked on a wire rings that I have seen on an item of clothing is in the collection at the Fashion Museum, Bath. A women’s gown dated 1730-39 which has Dorset Cartwheel buttons worked on wire rings on each sleeve. I have also seen Dorset Knob buttons used as decoration on a child’s dress dated 1861-70 in the collection held at the Museum of London. Dorset Singleton Buttons, also worked on a wire ring, were also used on many items of clothing.
I hope this helps

Best wishes
01747 829010
Visit the Cygnet Gallery, Shaftesbury, for a selection of gifts and kits featuring Dorset Buttons.

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Blades & Gun Update.

A subscriber to my video channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHEOMSZJETfj3GnoyONuvCQ?view_as=public) said they would like a closer look at my knife, so I decided it was easier for me to post images of the blades & guns I carry here on my blog so it is there for future reference.

My .62 caliber/20 gauge flintlock fusil. 42 inch smoothbore barrel with a steel ramrod.

My .70 caliber smoothbore flintlock pistol.

My axe/tomahawk.

Hunting knife.

Legging knife.

Stag handle friction clasp knife.

All about New France Old England

Who are the 60th Foot?

Hydref fest gives visitors glimpse of 18th century life

Hydref fest gives visitors glimpse of 18th century life

Andy and Bob Karnavas, blacksmiths, at the Hydref festival in 2015 at the Depreciation Lands Museum in Hampton.

Sunday 18 September 2016

18th Century Colonial Spanish Dagger.

Spanish Colonial Dagger 18th century. Flamboyant blade with gold inlaid design including the letters "R.S." Excellent brass-mounted horn hilt with pommel in crown form. 14 7/8" overall, blade 9 1/2".

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Battle of Rocroi

NEW - 17th Century Life & Times

The Modern Reenactor: Reenacting in a Modern World

The Modern Reenactor: Reenacting in a Modern World: Finding Our Place Photo: Wilson Freeman, Drifting Focus Photography If you're a reenactor and you have a Facebook account, chance...

Pirates Wanted.

If you are into the early 18th century & interested in pirating, then I suggest you contact this crew. You don't have to live locally & attend all their meetings, you can join & attend the events in various places that you are able to get to. To me this looks like a grand crew to be a member of. Please contact Mr Donald Ridenbaugh at the address at the bottom of this post.

The Crew of the Scavenger is looking for new members to swell our ranks. Though we are based in Florida, membership is open to anyone willing and able to travel to festivals and events with us. Apart from attending events from time to time, we have a yearly road trip to open air living history locations, like Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, Saint Mary's City, and the like. We also will begin hosting our first living history pirate encampment this coming January, with the first one being located on an island in the Gulf of Mexico.

We are a living history pirate crew dedicated to as accurate a representation of the sea rovers of the golden age of piracy as possible. We use archaeological evidence, illustrations, paintings, and texts, created during the period to inform our impressions. Particular attention is paid to the 1710's, when possible. We even have authenticity guidelines and a list of vendors that sell accurate clothing for our time period, to make assembling your kit even easier.

If you love the age of sail, digging through 300 year old documents for evidence for an impression, if you like period camping, boating, overturning peoples misconceptions about history, educating, or just like drinking on a beach in authentic garb and talking about history, get in touch with us.
Also, if you'd rather talk in person, feel free to meet up with us at our encampment at the upcoming Saint Augustine Pirate Gathering, in November, where you can meet the whole crew, and talk pirate stuff over a drink or two.

Monday 12 September 2016

Lewis and Clark 1950 movie.

A terrible movie, but you may find it interesting.

Traditional Pre-Clearance highland sporran designs.

Traditional Pre-Clearance highland sporran designs.

This sporran claims to be 17th century.

“From the late 17th century and early 18th century, sporrans were generally fitted with clasps. Made of brass or occasionally silver; the metal work of some existing clasps from this period are seen as works of art”.

Sunday 11 September 2016

Some Observations on the Methods by Which Pirates Carry'd Weapons, With Illustrations.

Some Observations on the Methods by Which
Pirates Carry'd Weapons,
With Illustrations.
The Pirate Brethren Articles on The Art of Reenacting.

Plus some images I have collected.

Pistol with belt hook.

To answer Keith H. Burgess's question specifically about the Blackbeard image - an artist hired by the author of Charles Johnson's "General History of Piracy" in 1724 used a description in Johnson's text to create the image. The problem is that no other document corroborates Johnson's description. Johnson's work with Blackbeard is highly questioned since there are plenty of questionable or outright proven wrong parts of the Blackbeard chapter - not to mention that none of Johnson's descriptions of any pirate captains have ever been corroborated. There is a strong chance that Johnson invented his description of Blackbeard from thin air. I cover this issue at the end of my Blackbeard's Firsts article: https://csphistorical.com/.../the-firsts-of-blackbeard.../

To sum up my findings from over the years, the most common way for a sailor or pirate to carry his pistol or pistols during this time appears to be stuck into a belt or girdle, often with the aid of a belt hook. The use of holsters should be approached with great caution - the evidence regarding them is sketchy and not well understood as of this time. I tend to see a bias in people these days towards trying to come up with holsters since our society has been so engulfed in American Westerns where practically all guns are kept in holsters. The most accurate thing to do is to simply stick to having pistols in belts/girdles.

David Fictum.
(My thanks to David Fictum & Matty Bottles for their contribution to this blog post).

Image: What Not To Do! Photo with kind permission of Matty Bottles.