… there’s an account over on the National Leather Collection blog.
IMOLC have recently discovered that they don’t own the collection of jacks, bombards and bottels that they’ve had on display in the old museum for the past 70 years. They have until the start of March to crowdfund £33000 otherwise the collection will be broken up and sold off. For details, see IMOLC’s blog post.
Watling Court Bombard in the MoL (Photo: MoL Blog)
The Watling Court Bombard was found, oddly enough, in a dig at Wattling Court. The London Archaeological Archive catalogue gives the dimensions as 240mm high and 150mm wide at the maximum point. Allowing for the handle, that makes it roughly about a two quarts (2.4l), or maybe a little larger. Period is given as 1066-1485 from the find context, from the shape of the body and handle, I’d put it at the later end of that range. A 15th century carving on the Buttery Hatch at New College (pictured in Baker on p91) is a good match. The shape is more globose than the ones I’ve done, but is the sort of shape that lends itself to use of the “puzzle mould” for shaping.
Puzzle mould for bombard, photo by Peter Adams
I haven’t been able to find any views of the base, so I can’t say how many layers there are between the base and the side. The back seam stitching up through the handle is missing and the welt piece has gone, but there must have been at least one layer in the handle and back as well.
Baker, Oliver, Black Jacks and Leather Bottells, 1925, privately published
The MoL line drawing is taken from
English Medieval Industries: Craftsmen, Techniques, Products edited by John Blair & Nigel Ramsay, A&C Black, 1991 p312
If anyone is interested in 15th century leatherwork, woodwork, or any aspect of maritime construction, the Newport Ship have their Specialist Reports online.
The introduction of the Fabric Specialist Report gives some background of the ship.
In 2002, during the construction of the Riverfront Theatre, on the banks of the River Usk in Newport, South Wales, an archaeological find of great significance was unearthed. In the summer of that year, while undertaking the excavations for the theatre’s orchestra pit, the well-preserved remains of a 15th century clinker built merchant vessel were discovered.
Be prepared for turn-welted poleyns, leather pump components and an archer’s bracer (MSG 154 on p90).
Three leather firebuckets at the top of the main stairs in Cawdor Castle, dating to the eighteenth century, later emblazoned with the lst Earl Cawdor’s coronet and monogram. Construction is riveted throughout and virtually identical to those at Cotehele House in Cornwall, HMS Victory and any number of other sites (including this). The top band and handle loops are metal, these buckets have a particularly fine paint job.
Here’s some more photos of the same buckets.
I give in. I’m only about 2/3 of the way through the Scottish National Museum photos and I just can’t face them at the moment. So working backwards from the end of the trip instead, here’s a gallery of leather objects from Cotehele House in Cornwall.
A pair of eighteenth century leather fire buckets in the kitchen. Riveted construction throughout, the top band is thin metal. Similar buckets are in Fort Nelson from HMS Invincible, Cawdor Castle and on HMS Victory in Portsmouth.
Detail of the top bands showing how the handles attach.
Large Black Jack/Bombard that was in the punch room when we visited. The style dates it to the first half of the seventeenth century, it stands really roughly 20″/510mm high when measured to the nearest knee.
There are four layers in the handle. This bombard has a really nice shape around the spout, it looks like it only had very light use and has been looked after. I’m sorry I don’t have any more information about it.
Cotehele House is a National Trust property at St Dominick, near Saltash, PL12 6TA. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cotehele/
We’re back from Blighty and only have 8,000 photos to sort. Galleries get consistently high scores on this blog, so I’ll do a few more soon but here’s an amusing tale to tide you over.
Originally planning to visit Tewkesbury, we were put off by the B&B owner the night before. So on a late change of plan, we were visiting Cirencester instead and had decided to do a circuit of the town before parking and going to the museum. On the way through, we passed this street and I nearly made a flippant comment about the name being some sort of omen.
We located the museum, pub, public loos and market and found our way back to the parking, at the intersection of Ermine Street and the Foss Way. We got out of the car and walked straight in to an antique market. On the second table was this:
Jack pictured having a picnic lunch at the amphitheatre while the bestiaritrix exercised their dogs.
The bloke wanted £25 and sort of tried to imply that it was an original. I’m 95% certain I’m now the proud owner of a Beabey jack that has only been used a dozen times. There was a slow leak due to a bubble in the pitch lining where the handle and base meet, but I fixed that earlier today. I’m sure there’s a moral in the story about signs and wonders somewhere but I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader.