Mundification - demonstrations of medieval and post medieval technology
Welcome to the website of Guthrie Stewart. I am a historical re-enactor who has spent a number of years learning how to use medieval technology, mainly in the areas of bronze casting and alchemy, with a subsidiary interest in pewter casting. My period of interest is the three hundred years from the mid 13th century to the mid 16th century, a time of great but slow technological change and improvement, which is reflected in the artefacts of the period. I can carry out live demonstrations and discussions or lectures on the following topics:
Copper alloy and pewter casting
Assaying of precious metals
Each of these was part of everyday life for some people in the medieval period, and fit nicely into wider events based on topics as diverse as James the 4th of Scotland, medieval crafts and industry, and scholarly knowledge of the period. If desired, the setup can simply be a static display without any fire in use, but most fun and education can be had with the melting of metal, boiling of water and other sorts of basic chemistry. Bronze casting is perhaps the only chance many people will have of seeing red hot ceramics and metal, from which they can appreciate the skill and dangers involved in working with such metals. My usual setup comes with a fire shelter to keep the rain off, otherwise some form of shelter is recommended.
To contact me, please email guthrie at mundification dot co dot uk.
Or phone 01324 411522.
Back in 2001 I took up medieval re-enactment, specifically the Wars of the Roses period with a group affiliated to the Fed. After a few years of spending events lounging about and fighting people (Often called beer and bash), I thought it would be more interesting to learn to do some living history. With my chemistry degree, I naturally thought of alchemy, but after some research deemed it too dangerous and complex to try, especially with the limited facilities open to me. A couple of years later I got my own property and began experimenting. The first area I tried was pewter casting, which was easy enough to begin with because of the low temperatures and simple methodology, although my ability to carve stone moulds is pretty poor. It then took 3 years of experimentation to reach the stage by 2010 where I could confidently demonstrate alchemy and successful bronze casting. It also took several years to work out a design of portable furnace which was both somewhat authentic, safe to use and easy to build and transport. Fortunately my work background had provided some relevant experience, including work in an analytical laboratory and a factory which made high temperature furnace insulation. Therefore I was used to dealing with chemicals and high temperatures before I started replicating medieval technology.
It has also taken a while to build up a wardrobe of period costume from circa 1300 to the 1550's. Well made period costume helps the public see that things were different then, but also that whilst people were dressed and did things differently, the clothing was not as impractical as some might think. Wool is reasonably fire resistant, and a leather apron and gloves would often be worn. Accurate costume is part of the overall impression given to the public that also comes from the period substances and techniques, which hopefully leaves them with an impression of similarity yet difference between then and now.
The domain name is explained in the alchemy sub-section.
Information sources which I have found essential to my research
(Unless otherwise stated, all images are copyright to me)