Hello, our tour through Secrets of the Castle concludes in Episode 5. Peter, Ruth, and Tom wind down their time at Guedelon Castle. It is September and Peter, Ruth, and Tom prepares to work on the Great Tower. They discuss how much people moved around in the Middle Ages, following the work. Once work on a project was ended, they had to find jobs suited to their skills. Perhaps, 13th Century Common people may have had a wider view of the world than modern people.
Stonemasons were the most well-traveled. They also found and brought ideas into their construction methods. Peter and one of the stonemasons work on an arch for the great tower. The arch had to fit in well and once the stone did, they were able to shape the arch. Peter works on carving the black stone for the arch. Each stone had to be carved differently with different tools. For example, sandstone, since it was so soft could not be carved with a chisel. Peter puts in the stonemason’s mark. Archeologists and historians have studied these marks. Stonemasons’ marks are one way to demonstrate how much people have moved around. Peter puts in T for Tom, P for Peter, and R for Ruth. They use a wooden form to put together the arch. The arch will be alternating between black and white.
The textile industry was at the height during the 13th Century. The trade-in dyes were popular. Ruth explores the trade. She harvests wold leaves which were made to make blue dye. France had the perfect climate for wold leaves. They were ground up and then made into balls. Once ground up, the wold would release the enzymes used to make blue. Making it into balls helped with transportation. Blue was fashionable in Medieval France. France was the largest exporter. To make the dye, lye and stale urine were added to the wold. Ruth concludes that everything needed stale urine to complete chemical processes. Ruth helps dye silk threads.
In the meantime, Ruth and her daughter Eve make gold thread. Eve is a textiles expert. They both experiment in ways to make gold thread. They try to wind the gold around a thread. Ruth then rolls it with her fingers and easily makes gold thread. Gold thread was used for bishops' robes and tapestries. Ruth tries to embroider a cushion with gold thread and the silk threads she dyed. The type of embroidery that was used is something that required a seven-year apprenticeship. Ruth and Eve explore the history of embroidery as a business. It was the only occupation where women could become masters of the trade.
Guedelon was set in a forest. However, over time, forests were cleared to help build cities, farm the land and build castles. Tom helps with processing wood for a new door. The woodsman shows Tom the natural splits in the woods. They split the wood with wedges. They remove the bark. Then they make the Mortis and tenon joints to help hold the doors together. This type of joint was used in Stonehenge. The door is then seasoned for a year. Then the pegs are put into the door. The only metal that was used in the door was on the hinges.
This is another STEM and STEAM episode. The stones had to carefully be measured to have space for the mortar. You can easily break this episode up into clips to share with a class. You can even use the clips on dying for an art classroom. Use your imagination and use this series in a classroom.
You can access the YouTube video here.
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