Author Archives: Robert/Isobel Bedingfield

Master Robert Bedingfield’s Report on the Great Muster of Gardiner’s Company of the London Trayned Bandes the fourteenth day of October 1597

Master Bedingfield’s watching

By Order of Captain Gardiner, a Very Great Muster of the Company was held the week before St. Luke’s at the Cat’s Perch Inn, wherein the Company did receive good service and drink.

Mostly done

The Cat’s Perch having been stolen some years before is (still) in a rebuilding year and has recently completed for the most part a Very Great Kitchen, missing only a roof, door, shutters, a proper dresser, shelving, an oven, a brazier, interior walls and floor befitting it.

An abundance of very satisfying and wholesome meat was served, as well as the Cat’s Perch’s well-famous Incredibly Strong Ale, and was admired and consumed in quantities large by the Company.


FIRE! Fire, I say!

Hello, My name is Olivia. Serve your own damn self


The cooks did prepare our meals upon an open hearth and expressed satisfaction with the kitchens accommodations.

Butter was churned,

Makin’ butter while the sun shines

The Company fed well,

I know not this “chipotle”

and all had a Very Fulsome and Satisfying Dinner.


Drill was the Order of the Day (see what I doth there), with the Pike making a Very Ardent,            if Unskilled show of its prowess, to the Delight of Fanny, the Innkeep.

No, we’re not doing Charge to Horse

Later in the Day, the Pike did hone their skill by trimming the shrubbery.

A lovely hedge

The Company’s Shotte was also Very Well Accounted in practice.

Give…FIRE! Fire, I say!

BANG! Bang, I say!

The practice of Sword was not neglected and the Company acquitted itself in its use Very Respectfully.

The pointy end go in…Oowww!


There was after the Dinner a competition of a Popinjay Shoot, sponsored by Capt. Gardiner and overseen by Master Bedingfield, who had previously engaged with the Innkeep to procure a Popinjay for this purpose.

When the commissioned Popinjay was determined to have been kept too close to the kitchen fires,

It has ceased to be! This is a dead Popinjay!

…a substitute was offered, with a Very Energetic negotiation as to price and the true nature of its Popinjay-ness being in dispute.

6 Shillings…no, pence! 6 pence! Wait…we’ll pay you!

At the end, a very fine Shoot was held

Volley fire

with Mistress Kate winning the Shoot by detaching the Popinjay from its hat.

De-hatted the fowl, she did


After a fine Supper, the Company took its ease and a Very Well-earned rest.

So, when’s the gambling starting?

Bet I finish this before Zeke does his

In all a very fine Muster was had with the Company now Proudly to field a Very Formidable force of fine Young Gallants.

Like this fine, downy-cheeked lad

Timeline 1596-1597

*For all to enjoy, and use as conversation starters at Muster:


A flush toilet is illustrated in an English pamphlet, The Metamorphosis of Ajax by John Harrington.

– The Swan Theater opens in Paris Gardens, Bankside.

– 1596 began a three year span of bad harvests that ended in 1598.

– Jan. 27 – Francis Drake dies.

– Feb. 14 – Archbishop  of Canterbury John Whitgift begins building his hospital and school at Croydon (completed in 1599).

– March 23 – Henry Unton, diplomat, dies.

April 9 – Siege of Calais, Spanish troops capture Calais.

– June 30-July 4 – – English troops commanded by Robert Essex sack Cadiz.

– July 23 Lord Hunsdon dies; Lord Cobham appointed Lord Chamberlain.

October 18 – “Second Armada”, a Spanish fleet sent to attack England in revenge to the raid on Cadiz, is wrecked in storms near Cape Finisterre, Spain.

– November – 34 residents of Blackfriars sign a petition asking the Privy Council to stop Burbage’s rebuilt Blackfriar’s theater from opening.

– November 21 – Bartholomew Steer attempts to launch a rebellion on Enslow Hill in Oxfordshire.

 Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge is founded (classes begin in 1598).



– The Vagabonds Act 1597 in Parliament (39 Eliz. c. 4) introduces penal transportation as a punishment for the first time.

– Ben Jonson is arrested for staging The Isle of Dogs at the Swan Theater.

– Feb. 2 – James Burbage dies.

– (early) – First Quarto editions of Richard III, Richard II, and Romeo and Juliet published.

– March – Lord Cobham dies.

– probable first performance of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice.

April 23 – Probable first performance of Shakespeare ‘s The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Conversation subjects for Muster (Humor)

Presenting to you today, selected excerpts from the newest edition of the pre-eminent 16th century bird-watcher’s manual that describes many of the birds to be found in Surrey, home of the Cat’s Perch Inn!  (I am told that all those within the Bandes have a keen eye for the birds.)



Part III – Sparrows

Known to alle, the most common sparrowe, passer domesticus.


Part V – Robins

The common Redbreasted Robin, erithacus rubecula (ordinarily seen in the company of other winged creatures).


Part VII – Owles and divers other raptors


The Breasted Owle, athene boobicans, is observed only at night, due to its solitary and wandering nature.  Usually seen in pairs.


Part IX – Flightless Birds

Rarely seen, and oft misunderstood, England’s only flightless bird, the Prickly Warbler, spinictus philosophicus.


Part XIV – Somewhat Naked Birds

The fortunately elusive Bird-Man of Putney.  Seen late at night, singing off-key. Pictured: We think it might be a mating display, we’re not sure.


Part XXIV – Inordinately Large Birds

The Common Sussex Widgeon, calamitus palumbus. Often seen sitting below trees.  Not flightless, it just needs a boarding pass.


Part CXXXIX – The Popinjay


Seen here without its customary head and neck plumage.


Thank you all, the book is not available for sale at this time.


Popinjay Shoot for 2017 Muster

We will have a Popinjay shoot at October Muster in less than a week!

The popinjay was a sport, and a way for militias to practice shooting.  A beautiful image of such a shoot is in the watercolour album of a Dutch artist named Adriaen van de Venne:

(source: Adriaen van de Venne’s Album, Martin Royalton-Kisch, British Museum, 1988)

This picture shows three men shooting with guns at the popinjay.  The prize went to the man who shot the last of the popinjay off the pole, using target guns (doelroeren).  The bird is made of wood, and the man who shot the last piece off was declared “king”.

We will not be using guns, but boffer arrows, so that no-one gets hurt, either by ammunition gone astray, or flaming wooden bird bits falling to the ground.

Master Robert Bedingfield has declared for this muster that all who wish to shoot with the bow shall demonstrate their skill by hitting the popinjay.  There will be a prize of a quarter angel for the first person to shoot our popinjay hard enough to make it spin, and a couple of other small prizes to those with the most interesting hits upon the bird.

“Now, in a new tune, new gesture, but old language”

I had occasion to perform in Ben Jonson’s 1610 play The Alchemist at Pennsic this year. In going over the script I found a number of words and phrases that Jonson used that I thought I’d share with the group. You can add these to those you put in your language worksheet in the Impression Workbook. Or just save them up for use whenever.

I’ve divided them up into single words (including insults) and phrases. I’ve also added some commentary.


gallants (rich or well-to-do men)

heart (used like “darling”)

pox (we know this one, but Jonson uses it a lot)

treat (verb, used as “deal” I’ll not treat with you)

gull (verb and noun referring to cheating or the cheat-ee)

spittal (short for “hospital”)

how (multi-purpose word, meaning “What?”, “No!”, “Are you f**king kidding me?”, etc.)


rogue (used a lot)

bawd (sexual insult)



puck-fist (a miser, or one who boasts)

polecat (not the skunk, but a kind of mink)


scurvy (adjective, often used with “yellow”)

One of my favorite lines from the play, “my scurvy, yellow, baboon don”.


hang me, yourself

day owls (I got nothing)

fine, young quodling (probably from “codling”, and likely refers to a young or immature man)

brain of a tailor (my fav, used as “holy shit” or the like)

sooty, smoky-bearded (nice alliteration)

hence, away &

flee, mischief (either one is a rude send off)

I fart at thee (my opening line)


Kitchen Update — Shaka, when the walls didn’t fall

With the mortaring of the last brick, the Company kitchen wall is now one for the history books.


we haz wall

we haz wall!

The wall stands ~6′ 11″ high, and will serve as the hearth and cooking area. A wall oven will be built into the right corner, with a raised hearth to its left, more or less centered on the wall.

hearth & oven base

hearth & oven base

We’ll be laying the block for those next week. The hearth will be done for Muster. To the left of the hearth is a salt niche, that will get some final touch-up grinding.

salt niche

salt niche

The outsides still need to be cleaned; we’ll be using mortar acid cleaner to get the haze off.

Yes, we gots some cleanin' to do

Yes, we gots some cleanin’ to do

Gardiner's has a handball court!

Gardiner’s has a handball court!

Elsewhere on the site, the sawhorses are still frisky, with one of the small ones’ having delusions of grandeur.


The next work weekend will entail setting the hearth and oven slabs onto the block supports, layout of the rest of the kitchen and more site clean-up and prep. Also, building corrals for the sawhorses.



The Famous Ratketcher

The Famous Ratketcher

with his travels into France, and of his returne to London

(To the Tune of Tom a Bedlam)


There was a rare Rat-catcher,

Did about the Country wander,

The soundest blade of all his trade,

Or I should him greatly slaunder.

          For still would he cry, a Tatt tat at tat

          tara ra rat to ever

          To catch a mouse, or to carouse,

         Such a Ratter I saw never.


Upon a Poale he carried

Full fourty fulsome Vermine:

Whose cursed lives without any Knives,

To take he did determine.

        And still would he cry, &c.


His talke was all of India

The Voyage and the Navie

What Mice or Rattes or wild Plcats,

What Stoates or Weesels have yee.

          And still would he cry, &c.


In London he was well knowne,

In many a stately House

He layde a Bayte, whose deadly fate

Did kill both Ratte and Mouse.

          And still would he cry, &c.


But on a time, a Mayden,

Did him so fair entice,

That for her a Baite, he layed straight,

Would kill no Rate nor Mice.

          And still would he cry, &c.


And on the baite she nibbled

So pleasing in her taste,

She likt so long, that the Poysin strong,

Did make her swell i’the waiste.

          For still would he cry, &c.


He subtly this perceiving,

To the Country straight doth hie him,

Where by his skill, he poysoneth still,

Such vermine as come nigh him.

           And still would he cry, &c.


He never careth whether

He be sober, lame, or tipsie,

He cab Collogue with any Rogue,

And cant with any Gipsie,

           And still would he cry, &c.


He was so brave a bowzer,

That it was doubtful whether

He taught the Rats, or the Rats taught him

To be drunke as Rats, together.

          And still would he cry, &c.


When he had tripped this Islande,

From Bristow unto Dover,

With Paineful Bagge and painted Flagge,

To France he sailed over.

          And still would he cry, a Tatt tat at tat

          tara ra rat to ever

          To catch a mouse, or to carouse,

          Such a Ratter I saw never.

The Happie Obtaining of the Great Galleazzo

The Happie Obtaining of the Great Galleazzo

by Thomas Deloney, who is mysteriously absent at sea

To the tune of Monseurs Almaigne


O Noble England, Fall downe upon thy knee,

And praise thy God with thankfull hearte, Which still maintaineth thee.

The forraine forsce, that seeke thy utter spoile,

Shall then through His especiall grace, Be brought to shamefull foile.

With mightie pow’r they come unto our coast,

To overrun our Countrie quite, They make their brags and boast.


In strength of men, they set their onley stay,

But we, upon the Lord our God, Will put our trust alway.


This great Galleazzo, which was so huge and hye,

That like a bulwarke on the sea, Did seeme to each man’s eye.

There was it taken, unto our great reliefe,

And divers Nobles, in which train, Don Pietro was the chief.

Strong was she stuft, with Cannons great and smalle,

And other instruments of warre, Which we obtained all.

A certaine sign, of good successe we trust,

That God will overthrow the reste, As He hath done the firste.


Then did our Navie pursue the rest amaine,

With roaring noise of Cannons great, Till they neere Calais came.

With manly courage, they followed them so faste,

Another muightie Gallion, Did seeme to yield at last.

And in distresse, for safeguard of their lives,

A flag of truce they did hand out, With manie mournefull cries.

Which, when our men, did perfectly espie,

Some little Barkes they sent to her, To board her quietly.


This mightie vessel, was threescore yards in lengthe,

Most wonderfull to eache man’s eye, for making and for strength.

In her was placed, an hundreth Cannons greate,

And mightily provided eke, with bread-corne wine and meat.

There were of Oares, two hunderedth I weene,

Threescore foote and twelve in length, well measured to be seene.

And yet subdued, with manie others more,

And not a ship of ours was lost, the Lord be thankt therefore.


Lord God Almightie, which hath the heartes in hand,

Of ev’ry person to dispose, defend this Englidh land.

Bless Thou our Soveraigne with long and happie life,

Indue her Counsel with Thy Grace, and end this mortall strife.

Give to the rest, of Commons more and lesse,

Loving heartes, obedient minds, and perfect faithfullnesse.

That they and we, and all with one accord,

On Sion Hill may sing the prayse of our most mightie Lord.

The Cat’s Perch Inn

(More Gardiner’s music for the upcoming Muster)

The Cat’s Perch Inn

(A song whereas Master Robert Bedingfield doth Prayse the Inn.)

When returning from sea,

I’m longing to see

A beautiful face so fine,

And I crave to partake

Of the finest of steaks,

And drink the sweetest of wines.

Where the music is beautiful,

And the alewives are dutiful,

And the prices are, oh, so fair

You’ll not find their kin

At the Cat’s Perch Inn

‘Cause they have not a one of them there

Oh, the Cat’s Perch is not much to look at,

          A broken down inn, we confess.

          The music is rough

          And the women are tough

          But, oh Lord, the beer is the best.


Not one friendly face

You’ll find in that place,

An inn for the hard-drinking man,

The inside is rank,

And the outside is dank,

And we go there as oft as we can.

Good folks won’t go near it,

And constables fear it,

But we cherish it’s halls without fail

No power can stay us,

Or dare to delay us,

From drinking her God-blessed ale.

  Oh, the Cat’s Perch is not much to look at, &c.


When the thirst of the ages

Inside of us rages

Our gullet’s as dry as sand,

We follow the route,

To the brew that’s without

Compare in all of the land.

No matter the crop,

Oat, barley or hop

What comes from her kegs is quite sound.

To he that says “Fie it”,

I say he should try it

‘Ere his wife puts him in the ground.

Oh, the Cat’s Perch is not much to look at, &c.


When Gardiner’s had come,

With pike, shot, and drum

To the Cat’s Perch to Muster thereby,

Sweet Fanny assailed them,

And wined, dined, and aled them

And fed them on cake and cheese pie.

Master Robert had paid

A fair muster’s wage,

James Hamilton’s cards led the deal,

The Reverend bewailed them,

And the Gentlemen tailed them,

And all had a very fine meal.

Oh, the Cat’s Perch is not much to look at, &c.


Oh, the Cat’s Perch is not much to look at.

A decrepit old inn, there’s no worse.

The patrons are wary, And the women are scary,

But they have the best beer on this earth.

Kitchen Site Update

Things have been happening at the Gardiner’s kitchen site this past month.

A load of gravel was put down on the road. While not complete, it will make the drive down better for those in cars.

New road, now gluten-free!

New road, now gluten-free!

If you are driving down the road, you’ll need a place to park. We’ve had some gravel put down in the parking area. More cars can now be parked to either side.

The white zone is for loading and unloading

The white zone is for loading and unloading

We plan to expand the parking area in the future, so this roadway is temporary.

The Company decided to purchase a used port-o-john, rather than renting one whenever we had something going on at the site. It was delivered this week.

PJ - Copy

While the outside fits in well with the surrounding forest, the inside is a different story:

One that ends with tears and a journey

One that ends with tears and a journey

The main thing is, it’s ours and it works.

Bob tested. Bob approved.

Bob tested. Bob approved.

The biggest news is the work that’s been done on the kitchen brick walls. The Company hired a local bricklayer, who started work on Friday. After just one day, the wall is almost complete.

It's a Wall! Mostly!

It’s a Wall! Mostly!

Laura1 - Copy

The sidewall to the right of Laura is the final height, just under 7 feet. The remaining work should be done next week, in time for the first work weekend, March 26th. We’ll be working on the hearth and oven, and doing layout on the charcoal braziers which go somewhere along here, I think.

Where's Laura

Where’s Laura

Zeke has been hard at work planning the timber framing, which we’ll get started later this year.

Those who can come to the work weekend can help us get the kitchen and the site ready for Muster.

We hope everyone can get out to Muster, this year April 28th – May 1st. You really have to see the site to appreciate how beautiful it is.

Lookin' good

Lookin’ good