Select Glossary

Pages xxxv-xxxvii

The Church Records of St Andrew Hubbard, Eastcheap, c1450-c1570. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1999.

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Almain-rivets: a kind of light armour first used in Germany, in which great flexibility was obtained by overlapping plates sliding on rivets.

Baslard: a kind of dagger usually worn at the girdle.

Beam light: the light or lights kept burning on the rood beam, presumably near or before the rood itself; these lights were maintained by subscriptions levied from the parishioners, payments which by the later fifteenth century had often come to represent an important part of churchwardens' income.

Camlet: originally a costly and beautiful eastern fabric reputedly made by mixing silk with camel's hair but, with time, a name applied less specifically to light stuff (much used in female apparel) made of wool mixed in the loom with the hair of the angora goat or with cotton or linen yarn.

Celure: a canopy covering a bed, dias, altar etc., or carried above the Host during a procession; possibly also the hangings of a bed, the tapestry of a wall or a screen of drapery.

Chafing dish: a vessel to hold burning charcoal or other fuel, for heating anything placed upon it; a portable grate.

Conduct: a hired or salaried chaplain, especially one hired to read prayers in the chapel of a college of which he is not on the foundation or, in late medieval parish usage, a supernumerary chaplain hired to sing.

Dagswain: a coarse coverlet of rough shaggy material.

Dighting: the action of the verb dight, having various senses: putting in order, arraying, dressing, preparing, repairing, winnowing (corn), wiping.

Font taper: a large candle used at the solemn ceremony of the blessing of the font on the eves of Easter and Whitsunday, and apparently lit at all times of baptism.

Grayle: variant of grail or gradual, a book containing all the music sung by the choir during the celebration of Mass; a church usually needed at least two, one for each side of the choir.

Grogan: variant of grogram, a coarse fabric of silk, or of mohair and wool, or of these mixed with silk, often stiffened with gum.

Haft: a handle, especially that of a dagger or knife.

Harquebus: the early type of portable gun, varying in size from a small cannon to a musket, which on account of its weight was, when used in the field, supported upon a tripod, trestle, or forked rest; the name generic for portable fire-arms in the sixteenth century.

Judas light: the 'judas' was a stock painted to imitate a candle: those for the pascal candle were often very large, others were smaller. A taper might be attached to the end of the stock, thus appearing to be a much larger candle than it actually was.

Kine: cows.

Latten: a mixed metal of yellow colour, either identical with or closely resembling brass.

Mazer: a bowl, drinking cup or goblet without a foot, originally made of mazer wood, often richly carved or ornamented and mounted with silver or gold or other metal. The term could be applied to bowls made entirely of metal.

Miniver: a kind of fur (quite possibly ermine) used as a lining and trimming in ceremonial costume.

Morse: the clasp or fastening of a cope, frequently made of gold or silver and set with precious stones.

Musterdevillers: a kind of mixed grey wollen cloth, much used in the later middle ages and apparently taking its name from the town now called Montivilliers in Normandy.

Noble [Nobil]: unknown, but used in the St Andrew Hubbard accounts [eg 26] apparently to denote music accompanied by organ playing.

Nutte: variant of nut, a cup originally made from the shell of a coconut (or made to resemble this) mounted in metal.

Paschal taper: an exceptionally large candle which stood in an equally large candlestick placed to one side of the high altar and lit with considerable ceremony from the newly blessed fire on Easter morning, remaining in the Sanctuary until Ascension Day.

Pece: a wine cup or drinking vessel.

Peise: a weight, often the weight used in a clock to advance its mechanism.

Regals: a small portable organ having one or sometimes two sets of reedpipes, played with keys by the right hand while a small bellows was worked with the left hand.

Riddel: the side curtain of the altar. (The iron riddel was the bar on which the curtain hung).

Sarsenet: a fine, soft silk material made both plain and twilled, in various colours.

Say: a cloth of fine texture resembling serge; in the late middle ages sometimes partly of silk, subsequently entirely of wool.

Scala Coeli: Eamon Duffy writes that, 'according to a legend, while celebrating a requiem at the church of St Mary at Santa Coeli (in the monastery of Tre Fontane, near St Paul's outside the walls of Rome), St Bernard was granted a vision of the souls for whom he prayed ascending to heaven by a ladder - the "Scala Coeli". This legend was the basis for an indulgence, applicable to the dead, attached to requiem Masses celebrated in the church. In due course this indulgence was made available in specially nominated churches outside Rome. In May 1500 Henry VII secured the "Scala Coeli" indulgence for requiem Masses celebrated in his new chapel in Westminster Abbey, and, in accordance with his will, it was secured for the cemetery chapel at the Savoy in 1512. The prestigious gild of St Mary at Boston in Lincolnshire procured the indulgence in 1510, and its popularity spread rapidly; by the 1520s bequests for Masses "at Scala Coeli" were common.' (The Stripping of the Altars, pp. 375–6.)

Splint: one of the plates or strips of overlapping metal of which certain portions of medieval armour were sometimes composed; especially one of a pair of pieces of this nature used for protecting the arm at the elbows.

Teise: a measure of six feet; a fathom.