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How would a medieval village dock be lit at night?

 
 
Noddy24
 
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2004 03:01 pm
Fish are not convenient creatures and it seems likely to me that medieval fishing boats wouldn't always be able to dock before sunset.

Does anyone know what sort of illumination might have been used to guide the boats to short?

Bonfires? Fires in braziers?

Were lighthouses ever used to attract small boats instead of warning all boats off rocky shores?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 3,628 • Replies: 15
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2004 03:04 pm
That's a good question. I was going to guess oil lamps -- but I don't have any real historical knowledge.
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blueveinedthrobber
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2004 03:07 pm
well the lights would have to be run on batteries back then....they didn't have electricity available yet....
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2004 03:41 pm
Didn't they run about with torches, chasing vampires back then?
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Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2004 04:01 pm
This is an interesting question and I suspect that it depends on what kind of fishing was being done. If it was inshore, it was done from small open boats that were beached not docked. But in that case you would want to be in before sunset in any case. Deep water fishing, done from larger boats, might need to be docked but then they would be dependent on the tide (which waits for no man, or woman) and they would probably be out over night in any case. If they were going long distances to fish, such as Iceland, or in the 15th century Newfoundland, the would process the fish on board or on the beach. So the return trip is basically the same as a merchantmen, (dock with the tide) I doubt that dock lights of any sort were used on a regular basis.
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2004 04:08 pm
Who would believe it? I found a great source.


Medieval Lighting!!!


It has four of five clickable links.

....and *ahem* torches figure prominently...
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2004 04:14 pm
...

How 'bout putting a Bird Lamp in your story? (I'm assuming your writing a medieval story...

-------

Lamps commonly burned a variety of oils but could also house candles.
Sea birds such as the Great Awk and Stormy Petrel were used around the
Shetlands and Hebrides, contain much fat and were used like a lamp by simply
inserting a wick of dried moss down the throat of dead specimen and lit.
--------
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2004 04:31 pm
Lash--

Great link--thank you.

Why don't you lash bird lamps to oaken stakes and go a-chasing vampires?
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2004 04:33 pm
The smell...
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2004 04:36 pm
I think I can use a fire basket.


Can you imagine the stench of burning feathers from a bird lamp?
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2004 04:43 pm
Those medieval folk were pretty gross.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2004 04:49 pm
Lash--

I think more likely that medieval folks were uninformed about any connections between "stench" and "possibly deadly disease".

Piped in water is wonderful for stimulating an aesthetic sense--or at least for removing body odor.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2004 04:53 pm
The best pics we have from medieval boats are on the Bayeux Tapestry:

http://www.hastings1066.com/pics/tap3.jpg

And when you look at a ship from between 1500 and 1600 (which is past-medieval)

http://www.calderdale.gov.uk/wtw/images/timeline/1500_1600/ship.jpg

you still don't find any navigational lamps.

As far as I remember, even in the beginning of 19th century, there weren't more than just a single kerosin lantern on board of ships.

Thuis, I doubt that fishing boats had any at all - especially in mediƩval times (when you even didn't find a lamp in all houses).
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2004 04:53 pm
Um, moonlight?
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2004 04:58 pm
So, the boats didn't have lamps, but of course there were some on land: fires.

These fires later were positioned on towers which then become lighthouses.

Fishing at night was done only in 'light' nights, and of course fishermen tried not to go too far away from the coast.

Quote:
History of lighthouses > Medieval lighthouses
The decline of commerce in the Dark Ages halted lighthouse construction until the revival of trade in Europe about AD 1100. The lead in establishing new lighthouses was taken by Italy and France. By 1500, references to lighthouses became a regular feature of books of travel and charts. By 1600, at least 30 major beacons existed.

These early lights were similar to those of antiquity, burning mainly wood, coal, or torches in the open, although oil lamps and candles were also used. A famous lighthouse of this period was the Lanterna of Genoa in Italy, probably established about 1139. It was rebuilt completely in 1544 as the impressive tower that remains a conspicuous seamark today. The keeper of the light in 1449 was Antonio Columbo, uncle of the Columbus who crossed the Atlantic. Another early lighthouse was built at Meloria, Italy, in 1157, which was replaced in 1304 by a lighthouse on an isolated rock at Livorno. In France the Roman tower at Boulogne was repaired by the emperor Charlemagne in 800. It lasted until 1644, when it collapsed owing to undermining of the cliff. The most famous French lighthouse of this period was one on the small island of Cordouan in the estuary of the Gironde River near Bordeaux. The original was built by Edward the Black Prince in the 14th century. In 1584 Louis de Foix, an engineer and architect, undertook the construction of a new light, which was one of the most ambitious and magnificent achievements of its day. It was 135 feet in diameter at the base and 100 feet high, with an elaborate interior of vaulted rooms, richly decorated throughout with a profusion of gilt, carved statuary, and arched doorways. It took 27 years to build, owing to subsidence of the apparently substantial island. By the time the tower was completed in 1611, the island was completely submerged at high water. Cordouan thus became the first lighthouse to be built in the open sea, the true forerunner of such rock structures as the Eddystone Lighthouse.

The influence of the Hanseatic League helped increase the number of lighthouses along the Scandinavian and German coasts. At least 15 lights were established by 1600, making it one of the best-lighted areas of that time.

During this period, lights exhibited from chapels and churches on the coast frequently substituted for lighthouses proper, particularly in Great Britain.



source: britannica
0 Replies
 
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2004 05:41 pm
Walter--

Thanks.

All this information is beginning to gel very nicely.
0 Replies
 
 

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