It’s a tenterhook! – the devices by which cloth was attached to the drying frame or tenter. As the cloth dries the tenterhooks prevent the cloth from shrinking. Hence – on tenterhooks…and if you look at the map you may find tenterfields near wool producing mills.
I know it looks like a bit of lumpy metal – but its rather important to the development of the medieval economy.
My other challenge of the week is for my class, but I don’t see why everyone can’t have a go if they wish, is to look at a local map and see how many place names near them are associated with the wool or cloth trade – obviously that will depend where you’re reading this from. But in addition to sheep, there’s wool – an no Wool in Dorset is not associated with the wool trade somewhat bizarrely, cloth manufacture and dyeing. Happy hunting.
Its a watering can – or a thumb pot. There’re plenty of Roman examples in existence. Place the pot holed side down in a bowl of water and the water enters the chamber. Cover the hole on the top of the pot with your thumb and hey presto – the water stays in the ceramic pot until you remove your thumb and the water cascades out. The one in the image is a reproduction – I shall be asking Father Christmas for one this year – assuming he’s not staying at home and maintaining social distancing…
This matula, or urine sample bottle, can be found in the Museum of London. Ancient civilisations including the Sumerians used urine to diagnose illness and by the medieval period it had evolved into a branch of medicine called uroscopy – or put another way doctors reckoned they could tell which of your four humours was out of balance simply by studying your urine. All they needed to do was look at the colour, the smell and, horror of horror, the taste of the medicine. They even had a handy chart to help them.
Charles I wore this shirt on the 30th January 1649. It is made from knitted silk and he asked for it to prevent him from shivering. He did not want people to think that he was afraid to go to his execution.
This very personal item once belonged to Elizabeth I – hence the E. There is a hinge and a portrait inside the ring. No one knows who the woman is but given the head dress it is not unreasonable to suppose that it’s Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn.
I think this is a tricky challenge – though again I think that some of the students who attend my classes have seen the full size image. This item is kept somewhere associated with the First Lord of the Treasury.