The minstrels’ gallery of Exeter cathedral dates from the fourteenth century. The front is divided into twelve niches, each of which contains a winged figure or an angel playing on an instrument of music. The instruments are so much dilapidated that some of them cannot be clearly recognized; but, as far as may be ascertained, they appear to be as follows:—1. The cittern. 2. The bagpipe. 3. The clarion, a small trumpet having a shrill sound. 4. The rebec. 5. The psaltery. 6. The syrinx. 7. The sackbut. 8. The regals. 9. The gittern, a small guitar strung with catgut. 10. The shalm. 11. The timbrel; resembling our present tambourine, with a double row of gingles. 12. Cymbals.
The shalm, or shawm, was a pipe with a reed in the mouth-hole. The wait was an English wind instrument of the same construction. If it differed in any respect from the shalm, the difference consisted probably in the size only. The wait obtained its name from being used principally by watchmen, or waights, to proclaim the time of night. Such were the poor ancestors of our fine oboe and clarinet.
The First known skating Illustration
frequently the different members of the same band of minstrels present differences of costume, as in the instance here given, from the title-page of the fourteenth century MS. Add., 10,293; proving that the minstrels did not affect any uniformity of costume whatever.
The donors seem to be chiefly tradespeople rather than merchants of the higher class, and of the latter half of the fourteenth century. Here, for example, are William Cheupaign and his wife Johanna, who gave to the Abbey-church two tenements in the Halliwelle Street. One of the tenements is represented in the picture, a single-storied house of timber, thatched, with a carved stag’s head as a finial to its gable.
They were grateful men, these Benedictines of St. Alban’s; they have immortalised another of their inferior officers, Walterus de Hamuntesham, fidelis minister hujus ecclesiæ, because on one occasion he received a beating at the hands of the rabble of St. Alban’s while standing up for the rights and liberties of the church.
For an actual historical example of the tournament in which a number of knights challengers undertake to hold the field against all comers, we will take the passage of arms at St. Inglebert’s, near Calais, in the days of Edward III., because it is very fully narrated by Froissart, and because the splendid MS. of Froissart in the British Museum supplies us with a magnificent picture of the scene.
In the monumental effigy of Sir Robert Shurland, who was made a knight-banneret in 1300, we seem to have a curious and probably unique effigy of a knight in the gameson. We give a woodcut of it, reduced from Stothard’s engraving. The smaller figure of the man placed at the feet of the effigy is in the same costume, and affords us an additional example.
This engraving of the latter part of the fourteenth century, gives a very clear representation of a ship and its boat. The earl is setting out on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In the foreground we see him with his pilgrim’s staff in hand, stepping into the boat which is to carry him to his ship lying at anchor in the harbour. The costume of the sailors is illustrated by the men in the boat. The vessel is a ship of burden, but such a one as kings and great personages had equipped for their own uses; resembling an ordinary merchant-ship in all essentials, but fitted and furnished with more than usual convenience and sumptuousness.
The humble life of the country rectors and vicars.
There is an ancient rectory house of the fourteenth century at West Deane, Sussex, of which we give a ground-plan and north-east view on the following page; but the rectory belonged to the prior and convent of Benedictine Monks of Wilmington, and this house was probably their grange, or cell, and may have been inhabited by two of their monks, or by their tenant, and not by the parish priest.
The humble life of the country rectors and vicars.
There is an ancient rectory house of the fourteenth century at West Deane, Sussex, of which we give a ground-plan and north-east view on the following page; but the rectory belonged to the prior and convent of Benedictine Monks of Wilmington, and this house was probably their grange, or cell, and may have been inhabited by two of their monks, or by their tenant, and not by the parish pries
Next, round plates of metal, called placates or roundels, were applied to shield the armpits from a thrust; and sometimes they were used also at the elbow to protect the inner side of the joint where, for the convenience of motion, it was destitute of armour. An example of a roundel at the shoulder will be seen in one of the men-at-arms in the woodcut
Illustration the sepulchral effigy in Westminster Abbey of John of Eltham, the second son of King Edward II., who died in 1334. Here we see first and lowest the hacqueton; then the hauberk of chain mail, slightly pointed in front, which was one of the fashions of the time
The shepherds, throughout the Middle Ages, seem to have been as musical as the swains of Theocritus or Virgil; in the MS. illuminations we constantly find them represented playing upon instruments; we give a couple of goatherds from the MS. Royal 2 B vii. folio 83, of early fourteenth-century date.
Our illustration represents Isabel of Bavaria, Queen of Charles VII., making her entry into Paris attended by noble dames and lords of France, on Sunday, 20th of August, in the year of our Lord 1389. There was a great crowd of spectators and the bourgeois of Paris, twelve hundred, all on horseback, were ranged in pairs on each side of the road, and clothed in a livery of gowns of baudekyn green and red. The Queen, seated in her canopied litter, occupies the middle of the picture, in robe and mantle of blue powdered with fleur-de-lis, three noblemen walking on each side in their robes and coronets.
The illustration, from a fourteenth-century manuscript, represents a siege. A walled town is on the right, and in front of the wall, acting on the part of the town, are the cross-bowmen in the cut, protected by great shields which are kept upright by a rest. The men seem to be preparing to fire, and the uniformity of their attitude, compared with the studied variety of attitude of groups of bowmen in other illustrations, suggests that they are preparing to fire a volley.
The woodcut represents the execution, in Paris, of a famous captain of robbers, Aymerigol Macel. The scaffold is enclosed by a hoarding; at the nearer corners are two friars, one in brown and one in black, probably a Franciscan and a Dominican; the official, who stands with his hands resting on his staff superintending the executioner, has a gown of red with sleeves lined with white fur, his bonnet is black turned up also with white fur. In the background are the timber houses on one side of the place, with the people looking out of their windows; a signboard will be seen standing forth from one of the houses. The groups of people in the distance and those in the foreground give the costumes of the ordinary dwellers in a fourteenth-century city.
The picture of a semi-choir of Franciscan friars is from a fourteenth-century psalter. The picture is worth careful examination for the costume of the friars—grey frock and cowl, with knotted cord girdle and sandalled feet; some wearing the hood drawn over the head, some leaving it thrown back on the neck and shoulders; one with his hands folded under his sleeves like the Cistercians at p. 17. The precentor may be easily distinguished in the middle stall beating time, with an air of leadership. There is much character in all the faces and attitudes—e.g., in the withered old face on the left, with his cowl pulled over his ears to keep off the draughts, or the one on the precentor’s left, a rather burly friar, evidently singing bass.
In a MS. volume of romances of the early part of the fourteenth century in the British Museum, the title-page of the romance of the “Quête du St. Graal” is adorned with an illumination of a royal banquet; a squire on his knee (as in the illustration given on opposite page) is carving, and a minstrel stands beside the table playing the violin
The picture represents a priest confessing a lady in a church. The characters in the scene are allegorical; the priest is Genius, and the lady is Dame Nature; but it is not the less an accurate picture of a confessional scene of the latter part of the fourteenth century.
A Fourteenth Century House
European Trade Routes in the 14th Century
Empire of Timurlane
The Jews of Cologne burnt alive
From a Woodcut in the "Liber Chronicarum Mundi:" large folio, Nuremberg, 1493.
In 1370, the people of Brussels were startled in consequence of the statements of a Jewess, who accused her co-religionists of having made her carry a pyx full of stolen hosts to the Jews of Cologne, for the purpose of submitting them to the most horrible profanations. The woman added, that the Jews having pierced these hosts with sticks and knives, such a quantity of blood poured from them that the culprits were struck with terror, and concealed themselves in their quarter. The Jews were all imprisoned, tortured, and burnt alive. In order to perpetuate the memory of the miracle of the bleeding hosts, an annual procession took place, which was the origin of the great kermesse, or annual fair.
Costume of an Italian Jew of the Fourteenth Century.--From a Painting by Sano di Pietro, preserved in the Academy of the Fine Arts, at Sienna.
"The Way to catch Squirrels on the Ground in the Woods"--Fac-simile of a Miniature in the Manuscript of the "Livre du Roy Modus" (Fourteenth Century)
One of the best ways of pleasing Louis XI. was to offer him some present relating to his favourite pastime, either pointers, hounds, falcons, or varlets who were adepts in the art of venery or hawking
(Fourteenth Century).--From a Miniature in the "Chroniques de Saint-Denis" (Imperial Library of Paris).
Costumes of the Common People in the Fourteenth Century: Italian Gardener and Woodman.--From two Engravings in the Bonnart Collection.
Charles V of France
Costume of English Servants in the Fourteenth Century.--From Manuscripts in the British Museum.
Costumes of a young Nobleman and of a Bourgeois in the Fourteenth Century.--From a painted Window in the Church of Saint-Ouen at Rouen, and from a Window at Moulins (Bourbonnais).