Misc Tent info

Gathered by myself & others from the 75 years discussion group see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/75years

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Middle English Tente, from old French, from vulgar Latin tenta, from the feminine past participle of tendere to stretch


Middle English pavilon, from the Old French paveillon, from Latin papilio (stem papilion) butterfly , ornate tent, Latin dictionary gives Generals tent.


Eadwine Psalter

Coloured Getalds

Some more on tents and pavilions in medieval Holland from: J.W.J. Burgers en E.C. Dijkhof - De oudste Dordtse stadsrekeningen van Dordrecht, 1283-1287 (The oldest city-accounts of Dordrecht), Hilversum, 1995. P44-46 etc translation Henk 't Jong, tScapreel, Dordrecht, 2001

The city of Dordrecht had her own 'pawelio(e)nen' and they were stored, hanging up, in the church and were put together, dismantled, aired, washed and repaired in the churchyard. There were several and every once in awhile they made new ones. This was done by Willem de Tintemaker (!), who is mentioned in 1284 as repairing 'tinte' (tents). We don't know if these were the pavillions or other tents, but in 1286 he got a large job in making several new pavillions with all their trimmings, including the red and white linen banners to put on the pavillions and masts (seperate ones). For this over a 1000 ells of 'slagdoek' a kind of sturdy cloth, (probably tentcanvas, but in the same account 'kaenpe' (hemp) is mentioned in a much smaller quantity) was needed or ca 700 meters of 60-90 cm wide cloth. Surely it was a lot of cloth and enough to make several 1 masted pavillions.

The masts, called 'tintebome' (tenttrees) for the pavillions are mentioned as well, and were probably used again for the new pavilions. A new one was made for the occasion, as well, it had iron parts which were made and put onto it by the blacksmith, Arnoude Boytssone (after which the mast had to be washed because it had lain in the mud in front of the smithy) for 17s6d. These must have been there for the sake of the construction of a 'bell', perhaps even iron spokes or a ring with eyes or hooks to fasten spokes to or any other construction possible... Any suggestions?

The new pavillions needed several pounds (ca 9) of white, yellow, red and blue 'tvine' (twine; double yarn) thread, as well as thinner yarn (among which 3s6d for red yarn, which was probably used for the banners), 'covelare' (blue linen), 'ghistelsaey' (serge from the Flemish village of Ghistelle), 'linwaed' (linen) and pieces of leather. Also 400 'sticken' or (probably) tentpegs, 49 ropes and 8 wooden hammers (so 8 tents? or four; 2 men working on a tent at the time?) were bought. The linen (33,5 ell) was dyed yellow for 8 s, which leads me to believe that this might have been used to make cheap banners with coat of arms of the count, a red lion on yellow, to add to the city banners (for which 9 ells of red and white was bought). There are no wages for a armorial painter though....It might therefore also have been for other uses, like interior separators, linings, etc.

Willem earned 7lbs for his work, which was a lot of money at the time. The whole account for the pavillions came to 56 lb 7s 1d.and amounted to the 'Tintemaker' earning 1/8 of the whole expense. The fact that a person was called 'de Tintemaker' meant there was a use for such a man the whole year round and separate militia-persons might have employed him to make their own more modest 'tents'. This part of his job was probably a lot more common, so he became not known as the Pavlllionmaker but stayed the Tentmaker. In the next year the city council paid him another 5 lbs for pavillions.

From 1300, by the poet accompanying the march North to Carlise

"And far off was the noise heard of neighing horses: mountains ans valleys everwhere covered with sumpter horses and waggons with provisions, and sacks of tents and pavillions. "

On reaching Caerlaverlock castle Tents were put up to accomodate the troops "and leaves , herbs and flowers gathered up in the woods, which were strewn within; then our people took up their quarters."

The seige of Carlaverock ed N H Nicolas (1828), 3,65


The communal accounts of Bruges clearly differentiate between tents and
pavillions. There is one particular account about tents and pavillions made
for William of Jüülich, just after the battle at Courtrai. I'm not
completely clear about the terminology used, but as far as I can see now, I
think it can provide written evidence on wheel spoke construction.

The account clearly says that carpenters are hired to make "masten, staken
en voersten". All three are wooden things used in tents and pavillions.
"masten" are poles (i.e. centerpoles). "staken" are stakes or spokes.
"voersten" seem to be the pinnacles.

Early in Edward II reign:-

15 tents and pavillions were bought for the king and his army, at a cost of 500 Pounds. Two were substancial halls, one with seven poles and two porches. There was a four poster chapel and even ten stables for horses.

BL, MS Cotton Nero C.Viii f 54

1324 invortory of John de Swynnerton Two tents for campaigning 6 marks

Cal Inquisitions Miscelaneous 1307-1349, no 797

The Edward III tent is from: K. Staniland, 'Medieval Courtly Splendour', in: Costume 14, 1980, p. 12

Edward III in 1352 (I know, I know...) had a tent of deep blue ornamented with stars and crowns of yellow worsted and a green tent, lined with red (a lined tent would prevent you from getting after images of opposite colours on your retina, because the sun would not that easily be able to shine through two layers of cloth, the outside one canvas, the inner one ...? But think of the cost!!!) powdered with eagles of yellow worsted. Of course these were royal tents; only the king and the higher nobles could have been able to spend the money on such luxury. The tents you see most in miniatures are white and have coloured stripes over the seams between the widths of cloth at least from the early 14th c onwards.


Edward had in his army his pavillioner with 16 men under him


Rolls of Henry III

.To the sheriff of London. Contrabreve to let Master Maunsell have without delay 6,000 ells of white canvas, 1,000 ells of serge and bunting (stamine), 1,000 ells of canvas dyed in India(Ynda), 3,000 ellsof black canvas, timber, cords, irons, leather and thread to make the king's pavilions, so that they may not remain unmade by default of the sheriffs.

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