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Welcome to the Reverend’s Big Blog of Leather. Some years ago I wrote and published a vanity piece on leather work in the first half of the seventeenth century. This blog is my way of avoiding both the production costs and requirement to actually finish a manuscript for a second edition. I’ve expanded the timeframe slightly to include my medieval and Anglo-Saxon leather work as it gives me more opportunity to show off. My approach is to use home made or substitute tools such as butter knives, so you can’t claim that you don’t have the tools necessary to try any of these. Consider this site a tribute to the number of things you can do with the back of a butter knife.

I’ve used categories that match the chapters in the first edition, so you can select a particular category and get all the relevant posts on that subject. There’s a couple of new categories as well, such as “Archery Equipment” and the self explanatory “Dig Reports” to present more of the source information. Please enjoy your reading and feel free to try any of the projects yourself.

The Reverend’s Big Book of Leather page contains sample chapters from the book that started it all. The introduction gives much of the background, but due to being defrocked by a database crash at the ULC, I’m no longer a real reverend. I do play one on TV.

21 thoughts on “About

  1. Found this site by accident and am very impressed by your breadth of knowledge and eridition. Lots of lovely photos a real bonus, as museums rarely produce catalogues these days, too keen on face painting for kids and selling plastic toys ! Obviously you are pretty hot on the Post-Medieval. I am very interested in tools and especially those made of bone,antler and horn. I have found work by Dr Ian Riddler to be topknotch and can recommend several of his publications for the general reader. No-one seems to know as much about tools and combs as he does. “Materials of Manufacture ” is a good read but any google search will bring up his articles. He wrote something on the Lewis chessmen (also see the BM DVD) and games of all types. I think that he has also written alot about walrus ivory as well. All in a very readable style. Would also mention a book that I am reding at the mo, “The Material Culture of Anglo-Saxon World”, Exeter Uni Press.

    • Thanks David, I’ll keep an eye out for those. The early modern thing is partially an accident of circumstance, I haven’t put much of my Anglo Saxon or Roman stuff up yet. I rather enjoyed The Material Culture of Anglo-Saxon World as well.


  2. Hi – my father has a leather bottle very similar to the bottle shown in your photos from the Lincolm Museum… just missing the leather strap.

    Can you recommend a good way of selling this item? Or even a rough valuation?

    Many thanks.

    • Hi Ingrid,
      I couldn’t even try a rough valuation. The best way to sell it would be through one of the major auction houses but make sure it will be in an antique auction rather than a general one and ensure they know what it is. Even if you just print out my post and take it along 😉


    • Coming from a point of almost total ignorance, I’d recommend the UK, but the USA or parts of mainland Europe may be the right answer as well.

  3. I’ve had a great time reading through your blog, particularly all of your leatherworking and archery posts. I’m interested in the pine arrow chest that you picture on your photostream. I looked for a post about it, but could not find it. My knowledge on woodworking is much later period, so I was hoping that you might have more information about the originals from the Mary Rose, and the one you recreated. Did I miss it somehow along the way?
    Thanks for all the information you’ve shared, I’m sure I’ll be spending a great deal more time here in the future!

    • Hi Eric, the short answer is that it’s a simple six board chest with three nails in each corner and a few at regular intervals. The base sits between the sides and ends, the ends fit between the sides, the top is the full length and width. I’ll find the report and do a how-to post on my other blog in the next few days.


  4. Greetings Reverend. I greatly enjoy your site. I have been interested in leather bottles and other vessels for many years and have some reproductions. I few years ago I had the opportunity to visit the Royal Ontario Museum and to handle some of the vessels in their collection. They have a costrel which has had unspeakable but useful thing done to it. It has a square hole cut through the side, which makes it possible to see the inside. An odd about this costrel and their bombard is that there is no visible coating of the inner surfaces. The appearance is that of flesh side leather. I expected to see some indication of pitch, which would provide a smooth surface. Whatever was used to waterproof these objects, it must have “soaked” into the leather, as wax could do, but it is not a surface coating.

    Looking forward to the lost chapters.

  5. Hi Leatherworking Reverend, I am making a website on medieval life for schoolkids in Ireland. I would like to use the image of the Saxon quiver, and am asking your permission to do so? Best wishes, Paul

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