Reference Books

Along the way, Staple has collected a few books to help with our research in the 14th century. I’ve listed them here so that people don’t need to find them for themselves. These sources are primarily about medieval England, as that’s Staple main focus for portrayal.

This list will be updated as I get the various book sources together.


Cooking and Dining in Medieval England – This is my favourite book about the way that the English were cooking, serving and dining in the 14th century. Has some recipes but is mostly informational. 

Pleyn Delit – Recipe redaction collection, mostly pretty good, not all 14th century but has the original receipe and the source and then their redaction for it. 

Medieval Kitchen – Recipes from France and Italy – 14th and 15th century recipe redactions from France and Italy cookbooks. 

Treasure Trove of Benefits and Variety at the Table – A fourteenth century Egyptian Cookbook  This one is quite good because despite the fact that it’s Egyptian 14th century, so not particuarly relevant to English or French re-enactment, it does go into quite a lot of detail about all aspects of cooking. The author basically assumes that the reader knows nothing about cooking and so goes into detail about everything. Has several bread recipes and talks about the different types of wood for burning and which woods you shouldn’t use for cooking. 


Medieval Garments Reconstructed  – 14th century finds from Greenland. Really excellent anaylsis of the stitches used and the various ways used to finish the garments.

Fashion in the Age of the black prince – extremely detailed study about textiles and fashion between 1340 and 1363 in London. Very dense text so a bit dull reading, but extremely useful.

Medieval Household

Textiles and Clothing


Stepping through time – is one of the best references on shoes and patterns. It covers a broad archaeological area.

The Museum of London’s Shoes and Patterns is also an excellent resource and focuses on finds found in London.



Knives and Scabbards – Museum of London book, excellent resource



The Merchant of Prato – written by Iris Origo, it is a collection of the information from the letters from and to Francesco di Marco, who believed that you should write the letter three times and send it by three different couriers and expected the same in return.

He was somewhat of a nitpicking micromanager and so we have lots of small details that many other people didn’t think to write down.

Letters to Francesco Datini – Francesco and his wife lived about a day’s travel apart from each other, and this book, which has translations of her letters back to him, are full of little details about living on the farm and of her sending him food from the farm in Prato. She oversees his laundry being done, and so there are lists of clothing being sent back and forth.


Medical Texts

The Major Surgery of Guy de Chauliac  – 14th century surgeon book. French. Written after the black plague swept through Europe. Text is a bit flowery, and definitely a product of it’s time, but is a must have for anyone doing medical in 14th century.

Canon of Medicine: Avicenna

Healing & Society in Medieval England : A Middle English Translation of the Pharmaceutical Writings of Gilbertus Anglicus

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