14th Century Curfew

Medieval curfews, also known as “couvre-feu”  or fire covers, are ceramic or iron covers used to keep the embers of the fire overnight.

Some extant example of curfews are

The Medieval Household, Daily Living C.1150-C.1450 has some drawings of fragments found of some ceramic curfews, plus some good history and written descriptions.

British Museum has two potential 14th century curfews but no images of either

Curfew 1 and curfew 2


A French example

No date given except for “lower middle ages”.



A page on the archeology of Villeneuve-d’Ascq says that this is a photo of a 13th century terracotta fire cover


Seems to have been two styles of curfews – one in which the curfew covered the coals completely and one in which the coals were banked up behind it


15th century, beautifully styled couvre-feu


This 19th century book refers to an early 18th century work in which a curfew has been drawn for reference. Again a half bell, presumably because the fire is being bank in a corner.



a much later example, the V&A has a brass fireguard which is from the 17th century



  • 0

Mistakes were made

We talk a lot about the dishes that went right, where we tried them out and people say nice things about them and ask for the recipe.

And then people say “oh no I couldn’t do it, I don’t know how to cook”. Well, I didn’t know how to cook before I started cooking for medieval events. I’ll do a blog article about how to go from being unable to boil eggs to cooking on a campfire for 100 people another time. But today I want to talk about the three biggest mistakes I’ve made when trying to make a medieval dish.

Read More…

  • 0

Heidenische küchen (Heathen Cakes)

Heathen cakes are from the 14th German manuscript Ein Buch Von Guter Spise


5*. Heidenische kuchen (Heathen cakes)
Diz heizzent heidenische kuchen. Man sol nemen einen teye und sol (den) dünne breiten und nim ein gesoten fleisch und spec gehacket und epfele und pfeffer und eyer dar in und backe daz und gives hin und versirtez niht.
These are called heathen cakes. One should take a dough and should spread it thin and take a boiled meat and chopped fatty bacon and apples and pepper and eggs therein and bake that and give out and do not damage.


Redaction from Medieval Cookery


Read More…

  • 0

Chyches (Spiced Roasted Chickpeas)

I think what I love most about medieval cooking is looking at the different versions there are under the same nominal title. Forme of Curye is the 14th Century English manuscript and it has a couple of different versions as a result of being manually rewritten out and copied. That puts some slight variation differences depending on which text you happen to look at.

This recipes, Chyches or Chiches, has what seems like a minor issue but does create a difference in redacting it. And that is the placement of a comma or lackthereof between two words.

Read More…

  • 0

Clothing and Accessory Guidelines for a Living History Event

A few years ago, we found ourselves in need of some basic do’s and don’ts for personal clothing and accessories for a living history event. I’m publishing them here in case they are of use to a broader audience, and to submit them for criticism.

  • 0

Spinach Tart – Le Menagier de Paris

Good vegetarian dishes are always on my list to find new recipes and try them out. This leafy green and cheese pie from Le Manager De Paris looks like it’ll fit the bill perfectly!

  • 0