[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on t he PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

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Tales From Munden's Chantry
Part Three

Over on my Mastodon account I've started posting threads about some medieval accounts from Munden's Chantry. Every now and then, I'll collate them, lightly edit them, and post them here. If you want to comment on them, Mastodon would be the place to do it ...

Here's the third batch.

Ninth Post

Die festo conceptionis S. Marie, in pane 8 1/2d, Item in servicia 8d. Item in carnibus bovinus ovinis et porcinis 8 1/2d. Item in piscibus 8d. Item in candelis 2 1/2d.
 Summa 3s

The feast of the Conception of Saint Mary (8 December). For bread, 8 1/2d, for beer, 8d, for meat of cows sheep and pigs 8 1/2d. For fish 8d. For candles 2 1/2d.
 Total: 3s (should be 35 1/2d, 2s 11 1/2d ) A typical week in most respects, with a slightly higher than usual expenditure due to the candles.

I'm translating 'carnibus bovinus ovinis et porcinis' as 'meat of cows sheep and pigs' rather than, say, 'beef, mutton, and pork' because those terms have connotations in modern English that might not map onto the medieval Latin meanings. We might be safe in assuming that the meat is that of mature animals, especially since they've had porcellus before.

Sheep are particularly interesting, though. In Latin we clearly have an ovis/agnus distinction for sheep/lamb, and presumably mutton/lamb. In English, though, there is also a distinction concerning the age of sheep. A hogget is a sheep which is in its second year, that is to say, not a lamb, but perhaps not quite old enough to be mutton. The Middle English Dictionary - https://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/middle-english-dictionary/dictionary- has a few quotes for hogget, and several suggest that there is no direct Latin equivalent. EG 'et j hogget emptis' or 'Item octo hoggettes.'

Which is to say that it would probably be safe to say 'beef, mutton, and pork' but it might not be completely accurate.

Tenth Post

Die sabbati proximo post festum S. Lucie virginis, in primis in pane 9 1/2d. Item in servicia 10 1/2d. Item in carnibus bovinis ovinis et porcinis 4 1/2d. Item in piscibus 10 1/2d. Item in farina avenarm 1 1/2d. Duo carpentarii ad mensam per 2os dies.
 Summa 3s 1/2 d.

The first Saturday after the feast of St. Lucy the Virgin (Lucy of Syracuse, 13 December), first for bread 9 1/2d. For beer 10 1/2 d. For meat of cows, sheep. and pigs 4 1/2 d. For fish 10 1/2d. For oatmeal 1 1/2d. Two carpenters at table for 2 days.
 Total 3s 1/2 d.

The cost for meat is way down and the cost for fish is way up. This is due to the Ember Days which follow the feast of St. Lucy. The Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the feast were fast days, which did not require absolute fasting, but did require abstinence from flesh. Thus, the change in the amounts spent for flesh and fish - the numbers roughly reversed from the usual spending.

Also of note, a couple of carpenters were doing some work and were fed as part of their pay.

Eleventh Post

Die sabbati proximo post festum S. Thome apostoli, in primis in pane 9 1/2d. Item in servicia 13 d. Item in carnibus bovinis ovinis et porcinis 9d. Item in piscibus 4 1/2d. Item in racemis clovys 1 1/2d. Item in sinapio 1 d. Item in lacte et ovis 1d.
 Summa 3s 3 1/2d.
 Summa totalis termini 31 s 3d

The first Saturday after the feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle (21 December), first for bread 9 1/2d. For beer 13 d. For meat of cows, sheep. and pigs 9 d. For fish 4 1/2d. For raisins (and) cloves, 1 1/2d. For mustard 1 d. For milk and eggs 1d.  Total 3s 3 1/2 d.
 Total to the end: 31 s 3 d

Some good stuff here. First, let's check the maths!

The total looks good, the Summa totalis ... my maths say they've spent 377 1/2 d, which is 31s 5 1/2 d. - a difference of 2 1/2 d. There were some maths errors in the early weeks. Over by 1 d, then under by 4 d, and then just a few weeks ago, over by 1/2 d. which accounts for the difference in our two totals. That's nice.

There's mustard, again, a month later than the last purchase. Also milk and eggs for the first time. I would suggest that this means that they usually provide their own milk and eggs, but that as December begins, their own ability to provide those items is failing.

Which brings us to 'racemis clovys.' Here Savernak drifts into 'pseudo-Latin' using 'clovys' for 'cloves.' I think he means raisins and cloves, rather than raisins of cloves, since that latter is not a usage with which I am familiar. Cloves show up in quite a few medieval recipes, both on their own and as part of some of the common spice mixes. Poudre fort often contains cloves according to Hieatt and Butler in Curye on Inglysch.

Eleventh Post

Die sabbati in festo S. T proximo post festum S. Thome Cantuarienis, in primis in pane Die sabbati proximo post festum natalis Domini in primi in pane 8d Item in servicia 12d. Item in carnibus bovinis ovinis et porcinis 9 1/2 d Item in piscibus 6 d. Item in 3bus libris candelarum 3 d. Duo extrani videlicit carpintarii per 2os dies
 Summa 3s 2 1/2d

Saturday on the Feast of Saint T after the Feast of St Thomas of Canterbury, first for bread The first Saturday after the feast of the birth of the Lord (Christmas, 25 Dec.), first for bread 8d. Item for beer 12 d. Item for meat of cows, sheep, and pigs 9 1/2d. Item for fish 6 d. Item for three pounds of candles 3 d. Two others, that is, carpenters, for two days.
 Total: 3 s 2 1/2 d. The total includes two carpenters for two days. Lots of carpenters in the last few months, even in the middle ages, houses are a money pit.

But first, the dates. There's a cancelled reference to the to the feast of Saint 'T' probably Thomas, after the feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury. That seems a bit redundant, and is changed to the the first Saturday after the Nativity. The Nativity is 25 December, and the feast of Thomas of Canterbury aka Thomas Becket, is 29 December. In 1453, the 25th was Sunday and the 29th was the following Thursday.

More candles, holding steady at a purchase every three weeks or so. The amount continues to rise, which means either the price is going up or they are using more. Since it's late December, increased candle use seems reasonable.

Otherwise, a pretty normal week.

Twelfth Post

Die sabbati proximo post festum circumcisionis Domini, in primis in pane 6d. Item in servicia 10 d. Item in carnibus emptis 7 1/2d. Item in piscibus emptis 5 1/2d. Item in lacte butiro et ovis 1 1/2d.
 Summa 2s 6 1/2d

The first Saturday after the feast of the circumcision of the Lord (January 1), first for bread 6 d. Item for beer 10d. Item for bought meat 7 1/2d. Item for bought fish 5 1/2d. Item for milk butter and eggs 1 1/2d.
 Total 2s 6 1/2d.

We're into 1454 now, and celebrating a feast that I confess I was not aware of, that of the circumcision of the Lord. The time makes sense, it just had never occurred to me that it was something worth celebrating with a feast.

Another couple of interesting points. This week the fact that the meat and fish are being bought is emphasised, while the types of meat are omitted. Maybe he was just tired when filling out this entry. More milk, butter, and eggs after only two weeks since the last purchase of milk and eggs. Again, the implication is that their own sources are (pardon the pun) drying up. Another possibility is that their menus are now requiring more eggs and milk, but that seems a little unlikely.

And as a final Latin note. ' in lacte butiro et ovis' is the preposition 'in' taking the ablative, and the three items listed are all different declensions or number and so look very different at first glance. 'Lac,' milk, is third declension neuter, hence 'lacte.' 'Butyrum,' butter is second declension neuter, giving us 'butiro' as the internal 'y' becomes an 'i.' And 'ovum,' egg is also second declension neuter, but is plural in this case (little joke there), so 'ovis' since they didn't buy a single egg, 'ovo.'

Thirteenth Post

Die sabbati proximo post Ep. festum Ephi festum Epiphanie, in primis in pane 7 1/2d. Item in servicia 12d. Item in carnibus bovinis ovinis et porcinis 8d. Item in piscibus 6d. Item in farina avenarum 1d.
 Summa 2s 10 1/2d

The first Saturday after (Ep. festum Ephi) the feast of Epiphany (6 Jan.), first for bread 7 1/2d. Item for beer 12 d. Item for meat of cows, sheep, and pigs 8d. Item for fish 6d. Item for oatmeal 1 d.
 Total 2s 10 1/2d.

I'm not quite sure what the cancelled text represents (Ep. festum Ephi). It might simply be scribal error or misspellings. The handwritten equivalent of a typo. 'Ephi' starts to look like an abbreviation for Epiphanie, but perhaps he decided that was clear. He might have started to write, 'post Epiphanie' realised he needed a post, started 'festum Epiphanie,' realised he had messed up Epiphanie, and decided to scratch it all out and start again. This is a case where I wish I could see the actual manuscript, to see if there is an extra clue in the layout on the page. The MS does not appear to have been digitised, though, so short of a trip to the Dorset History Centre to look at DC-BTB/CD/83, that's not happening.

Might be fun to do at some point, though.

In any case, a fairly typical week. Our old friend oatmeal appears for the first time since early December. A pennyworth of oatmeal lasts a good while, it seems. Back in October, they bought oatmeal on two consecutive weeks in the middle of the month. Then nothing until the second week of December, and now the second week of January. That does work out to buying oatmeal once a month, and every time except this one, it's been 1 1/2d.

('Tales From Munden's Chantry' is a nod to Ostrander and Truman's Grimjack, in case you care.)

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