It was a lovely day today. We spent the morning wandering around Evesham some more, and revisited the Almonry Museum, with its wonderful and random collection. For instance, I am not certain what these shiny things are, because they weren’t labeled. I’m guessing Roman buttons from the other stuff in the case they were in.
This was next to them, similarly unlabeled. The spoon I recognize, though it is small. Perhaps a Roman baby spoon?
The fact that Roman spoons had a spike rather than a handle suggests that they could be used for spearing food – a sort of one pronged fork. The Latin word for this kind of spoon, cochlearium, is similar to cochlea (snail shell), so they may have evolved to pick snails or winkles from their shells, but the Romans were pragmatic enough that they also used them for dormice, olives, and hand to hand combat.
The rustic agricultural implements were well labeled. I now know what a spuddle and a biddle look like though I have no idea how to use them.
The faggot clamp however was explained in detail. It’s for bundling up firewood.
This fine set of branding irons did not come from the torture chamber or the cattle ranch.
This being a fruit growing area, baskets for holding the fruit were required. These irons were used to mark the finished baskets to guarantee that they gave good measure. Bushel and peck are measures of volume used for dry goods. Two gallons make one peck, and four pecks make one bushel.
While we are on the subject of obsolete units, this little mechanical adding machine works in farthings, pence, shillings, and pounds.
To add you use the stylus to move the columns up and down, and you have to squiggle it around the top to carry one. It’s an abacus with sliders rather than beads. They work pretty well. I used to have one when I was a kid, but mine just did numbers, not currency.
They have a whole room devoted to Simon de Montford and the Battle of Evesham. Last time I blew this off saying de Montford wasn’t very important, but I suppose I should explain why he is overrated. First off, de Montford was Norman French, as were most of the English ruling class from 1066 to 1399. It doesn’t really matter which frogs were in charge, does it? Secondly, when he tried to build up support against Henry III (or should I say Monsieur Henri Le Troisieme, another bloody frog) he called together a parliament which for the first time included not just the barons and knights, but also a few rich people from the cities. Big fat hairy deal. This small step from aristocracy to plutocracy is seen as a big thing by the plutocracy that is currently in charge of things. But what did the average serf in the field see from all this? Bugger all. Third, de Montford lost. I rest my case.
And so back to Pershore, where sadly the greengrocer was all out of the delicious Pershore plums we bought last week, and the ones they have this week are not as good. However, we did pop into an excellent butcher and cheese shop.
The Pershore Blue looked suspiciously zombie colored, but the white stilton with stem ginger is excellent.