Thursday, July 26, 2012

Belleek Newslettre (# 16.2)


The British Isles manifest the pinnacle and core of
the world’s aspirations and celebrations this year !!

Of primary importance, in honour of our Queen’s
Jubilee being celebrated this year, our Belleek
Pottery was commissioned to craft a special Parian
item in her honour !! I’ve included, following, the
Pottery’s announcement of this unique Basket
designed especially for Her Majesty including some
memorable parcels of knowledge surrounding its
conception, design and production !!

Queen's Jubilee Basket !! 
Queen's Jubilee Basket !! 

Secondly, Great Britain NOW has accomplished a
magnanimous feat which, has completely escaped
them for the past 99 occurrences of this event !!

YES, you’re correct !! Their own Bradley Wiggens,
or should I say SIR Bradley Wiggens (??) has
honoured the isles with his undaunted victory in the
99th. Tour de France !! Riding for Team Sky, not

only did Wiggens win the 21 leg event for his Queen

and country, BUT his close teammate, fellow Briton
Christopher Froome finished SECOND overall !!

Additionally, their Sky teammate, world champion
sprinter Mark Cavendish, was superbly assisted to
victory by Bradley in his stellar finish Sunday on the
Champs-Élysées, where he has won four years in a
row !!

NOW, with a few well deserved medals in our
Summer Olympics and this will indeed be recorded
in history as a trifecta year !!


Belleek Collectors’ Int’l Society
is pleased to invite you to attend
the 2013 Collectors’ Convention!

Flamingo Casino Las Vegas NV !!


October 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th 2013

at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas

Nearest airport: McCarran Airport, Las Vegas

        Committee and Chair People are working hard and plans are
  underway! Combine your love for Belleek, see old and meet new
  friends, see the great scenery of Nevada as well as the famous
  “Las Vegas Strip.”
        This is the Convention for “thinking outside the box!”
        It is our hope that our friends from all parts of the Belleek
  collecting world will join us. There will be, before and after,
  convention side trips offered to see the main attractions of Las
  Vegas, in addition to a visit to “Old Fremont Street”.
        More details will follow with registration information.
  Registration forms will soon be found on the Pottery Web Site.
  Information will also be sent to previous attendees and chapter
  presidents via e-mail.

BCIS Logo !!

A note from
Angela Moore,
BCIS president.

Belleek Trademark Plaque !!

Let's party while we can.
All good things must come to an end.
This will be our LAST
Belleek International Convention.
It’s one not to be missed!
Our chapters are unable to host future conventions,
but, our sincere thanks go out to all those chapters
who played host to us at past conventions.
They were all great ones!
This last convention is being hosted by the members,
who have hosted earlier ones,
we couldn’t do it without them.
So, let’s go out in style! Belleek Style!
Special things planned,
we hope you can make it!!!!

** I WONDER ??

Why is the plural for cheese "cheeses" and not
"choose" ??

You know, kind of like geese and goose.

** One Bad Bird !!

David got a parrot for his birthday. Unfortunately,
it had a bad attitude and screamed expletives all the
time. David tried hard to change the bird's behavior
by constantly saying polite words and playing soft
music, but nothing worked. When he yelled at the
bird, it just got ruder.

Finally, in a moment of desperation, David put the
parrot in the freezer. He heard the bird squawking,
kicking and cursing. Then it got quiet. David worried
he had hurt the bird, so he opened the freezer.

The parrot calmly stepped onto David's arm and said,
"I'm sorry that I offended you. I will change my
behavior immediately."

Astounded by the bird's sudden politeness, David
was about to ask what had changed him when the
parrot said, "May I ask what the turkey did?"


I ‘m going to initiate my article by attempting a
VERY brief but hopefully interesting history of
entanglements and warring which, occurred on Irish
soil basically inclusive of raids begun at the end of
the eighth century as the first Viking raiders
appeared in Irish waters !! This is in NO way an
attempt to recreate a work as voluminous as War
and Peace, but JUST a simple introduction to
further speculation arising from my weak synapses !!
My feeble attempt to render a proper historical
synopsis of light skirmishes to intercontinental
battles is not intended to encompass an entire
chronicled time-line, but only to establish a
fractional source of documented milestones the
reader may wish to expound and elaborate on for
their own knowledge !!

The vast majority of research recounted here was
extracted verbatim from Sites within the On-Line
Wikipedia Encyclopedia and other relevant
authorities !!

Numerous episodes of Irish history, predating the
Viking invasions, can be researched in the work
Lebor Gabála Érenn
. Roughly translated into English
as ‘The Book of the Taking of Ireland’ this creative
recital is the Middle Irish title of a loose collection
of poems and prose narratives recounting the
mythical origins and history of the Irish from the
creation of the world down to the Middle Ages. It
narrates the story of Ireland from the time of the
biblical creation to the restored reign of Máel-
Sechlainn as the 157th. king of Ireland. This
‘pseudo-history’ of Ireland is recounted in stories
of occupations of the island both before and after
the biblical flood. An important record of the
folkloric history of Ireland, it was compiled and
edited by an anonymous scholar in the 11th. century,
and might be described as a mélange of mythology,
legend, history, folklore and Christian historiography.
It is usually known in English as The Book of
Invasions or The Book of Conquests, and in Modern
Irish as Leabhar Gabhála Éireann or Leabhar
Gabhála na hÉireann.

Editor’s Note : DEFINITE on the ‘to read/study’
list this Winter !!

Another important Irish manuscript is the Táin Bó
whose setting has traditionally been
identified as the first century A.D. The earliest
extant manuscript of any version of the work was
written in the early 12th. century in the great
monastery of Clonmacnoise overlooking the Shannon
River. Sometime between these two dates, the Táin
Bó Cúailnge
came into existence. It has been a basic
assumption of Irish literary studies that the Táin
Bó Cúailnge
was written to be the Aeneid of Ireland.

Editor’s Note : When Virgil was dying in 19 BC he
asked for the unfinished Aeneid to be destroyed.
The emperor Augustus refused the request. This
decision affected the course of literary history and
the development of western culture. Even in his own
lifetime Virgil's poetry had become a school text.
Early Christian writers who attempted to reject
Virgil could escape neither his style nor his attitudes.
Christian thought assimilated them both. The Aeneid
and the Bible were probably the two most
consistently read books in Western Europe for
two thousand years.

Táin Bó Cúailnge or roughly translated into English
as “The driving-off of cows of Cooley", more usually
rendered The Cattle Raid of Cooley or The Táin is a
legendary tale from early Irish literature, often
considered an epic, although it is written primarily in
prose rather than verse. It tells of a war against
Ulster by the Connacht queen Medb and her husband
Ailill, who intend to steal the stud bull Donn Cuailnge,
opposed only by the teenage Ulster hero Cú Chulainn.
A similar tale set in the West of Ireland is Táin
Bó Flidhais
. Other versions of the Táin also exist !!

Traditionally set in the 1st. century AD in an
essentially pre-Christian heroic age, the Táin is the
central text of a group of tales known as the Ulster
Cycle. It survives in two main written versions or
“recensions” in 12th. century manuscripts, the first
a compilation largely written in Old Irish, the second
a more consistent work in Middle Irish.

Regardless of your personal beliefs, myself, I trust
that most, if not all, parables and legends have their
foundation firmly attributed to actual occurrences
and events !! But, moving on, we’ve now eclipsed the
ages of unrecorded history and have learned scholars
and holy persons, etc., to transcribe and record
factually our daily chronicles !!
"AD. 793. This year came dreadful fore-warnings
over the land of the Northumbrians, terrifying the
people most woefully: these were immense sheets of
light rushing through the air, and whirlwinds, and
fiery dragons flying across the firmament. These
tremendous tokens were soon followed by a great
famine: and not long after, on the sixth day before
the ides of January in the same year, the harrowing
inroads of heathen men made lamentable havoc in
church of God in Holy-island, by rapine and
      Entry for the year 793 in the
                Anglo Saxon chronicle

793 AD is predominantly used as the starting point
of ‘viking’ history, as it was this year that the
Monastery on Lindisfarne Island off the Northeast
coast of England was violently raided and sacked
which, was followed in 795 by raids upon the
northern coast of Ireland.

The Vikings conducted extensive raids in Ireland
and founded the cities of Waterford, Cork, Dublin
and Limerick. The Vikings and Scandinavians settled
down and intermixed with the Irish. Literature,
crafts, and decorative styles in Ireland and Britain
reflected Scandinavian culture. Vikings traded at
Irish markets in Dublin. Excavations found imported
fabrics from England, Byzantium, Persia and central
Asia. Dublin became so crowded by the 11th.
century that houses were constructed outside the
town walls.

The Vikings pillaged monasteries on Ireland's west
coast in 795 and then spread out to cover the rest
of the coastline. The north and east of the island
were most affected. During the first 40 years, the
raids were conducted by small, mobile Viking groups.
By 830, the groups consisted of large fleets of
Viking ships. From 840, the Vikings began
establishing permanent bases at the coasts. Dublin
was the most significant settlement in the long term.
The Irish became accustomed to the Viking presence.
In some cases they became allies and married each

In 832, a Viking fleet of about 120 invaded
kingdoms on Ireland’s northern and eastern. Some
believe that the increased number of invaders
coincided with Scandinavian leaders' desires to
control the profitable raids on the western shores
of Ireland. During the mid-830s, raids began to
push deeper into Ireland, as opposed to just
touching the coasts. Navigable waterways made this
deeper penetration possible. After 840, the Vikings
had several bases in strategic locations dispersed
throughout Ireland.

In 838, a small Viking fleet entered the River
Liffey in eastern Ireland. The Vikings set up a base,
which the Irish called a longphort. This longphort
eventually became Dublin. After this interaction, the
Irish experienced Viking forces for about 40 years.
The Vikings also established longphorts in Cork,
Limerick, Waterford, and Wexford. The Vikings
could sail through on the main river and branch off
into different areas of the country.

One of the last major battles involving Vikings was
the Battle of Clontarf on the 23rd. of April, 1014,
in which Vikings fought both for the Irish over-king
Brian Boru's army and for the Viking-led army
opposing him. Irish and Viking literature depict the
Battle of Clontarf as a gathering of this world and
the supernatural. For example, witches, goblins, and
demons were present. A Viking poem portrays the
as strongly pagan. Valkyries chanted
and decided who would live and die.

Devenish contains one of the finest monastic sites in
Northern Ireland. A round tower thought to date
from the 12th. century is situated on the island, as
are the walls of the Oratory of Saint Molaise who
established the monastery in the 6th. century, on a
pilgrim route to Croagh Patrick in County Mayo. It
became a centre of scholarship and although raided
by Vikings in 837 and burned in 1157, it later
flourished as the site of the parish church and St
Mary’s Augustinian Priory.

Devenish Tower not only survives till this day, but is
honoured and remembered as an integral part of
Belleek’s world renown Pottery Mark !!

Historians are agreed that English and French
involvement in Ireland was an historical inevitability,
but the surprising manner in which it actually
happened could not have been foreseen at the time.

Previously, Dairmait Mac Murchada the King of
Leinster had been expelled from Ireland after being
defeated by King Rory O'Connor of Connacht and
the Dubliners. A ruthless warrior now humiliated by
defeat, Mac Murchada's only goal was to win back
his Kingdom. With this in mind, he sailed to Britain
and sought a meeting with King Henry II of England
in 1166, in the hope that Henry might help him in
his quest.

King Henry met Mac Murchada, but was reluctant
him. He had just become King, and his hold over
England was still weak and he did not wish to start
an expensive war. Nevertheless, he had been given
permission by the Pope shortly before to claim
Ireland as part of his kingdom in order to reform
the Church. As a compromise, he authorized Mac
Murchada to privately recruit anyone he could from
the English populace but had no more to do with the
matter himself.

Mac Murchada then travelled to Bristol, on the west
coast of England, where he recruited the Earl of
Pembroke, Richard FitzGilbert de Clare (better
known as Strongbow) as well as a handful of lesser
Anglo-French barons. For the next several years,
severe hostilities between the four warring Kings of
Ireland continued with abrupt intermittent periods
of harmony along with creation of new alliances until
the situation changed suddenly in May of 1171 when
King Dairmait Mac Murchada died and Strongbow
was crowned King Richard of Leinster, after
suppressing a short-lived revolt, and became the
first non-native to be King of an Irish province.
The other Kings in Ireland were astounded at how
quickly and successfully an Anglo-French Lord had
become legitimately established in Ireland. After
mustering an army of 60,000 and aided by the
exiled Lord MacTorkil of Dublin, King O'Connor laid
siege to Dublin. However, Strongbow turned the
tables by storming out from the city walls and
defeated O'Connor with the superior Anglo-French
military technology and tactics.

When word got back to King Henry of England that
the man who he knew as the Earl of Pembroke
(Strongbow) had established himself as King of a
province in Ireland, he was furious. The way he saw
it, he had given permission for his citizens to help
Mac Murchada militarily, not to rival his authority
as King. Henry, rather pointlessly, issued a decree
forbidding Strongbow to go to Ireland, cut off the
supplies from England and set out for Ireland
himself with large army arriving in Waterford in
October 1171. Realising that the King could and
would defeat him, Strongbow intercepted Henry
before he had even arrived offering apologies and
begging forgiveness.

Henry's anger must have relented for he let
Strongbow remain Lord of Leinster, provided he
submitted authority to the King of England. When
Strongbow died in 1176, the liberty of Leinster
passed into the hands of King Henry who granted
all his rights as Lord of Ireland to his youngest son
Prince John. Prince John was Lord of Ireland until
he became King of England in 1199, but in that time
he showed little respect for the remaining Irish

The expansion of the Anglo-French colony in Ireland
continued under the Lordship of Prince John in the
period 1170 to the end of the 1200s. The response
of the Irish Kings was largely to submit to the more
powerful invaders. However, the general populace
was less enthusiastic and a whole area of folklore
developed with retrospective predictions about the
invasion and promises of a liberator who would come
and free Ireland from the Anglo-French. The
Anglo-French, in turn, had their own prophecies of
the invasion and their destiny to succeed. The story
of the expansion of the colony is largely made up of
the actions of individual barons, with occasional
input from the King.

The Irish Kings continue warring internally for
centuries with intermittent invasions from England
and sporadic allegiances with French and Spanish
Kings !! In fact, bands of mercenaries fought for
both the Irish kings and English barons, swapping
sides for money. Scottish warriors (gallowglass)
began to come over offering their services as well.
Within the Gaelic territories, power began to centre
on every minor chief who could command a war-band.

The Battle of Kinsale was one of the most important
battles in Irish history. It finally brought success
to England in its fight to conquer Gaelic Ireland.
fought on Christmas Eve morning 1601, in the small
unknown port of Kinsale. On one side were two of
the most important Gaelic leaders inr, Hugh O'Neill
and Hugh Roe O'Donnell. On the other, was Lord
Deputy Mountjoy and his
Ulste English Army.

O'Neill had persuaded the Spanish King, Phillip III,
to send 6,000 men to help the Irish in the battle.
But only 4,000 Spanish soldiers actually made it to
Kinsale. The port was beseiged by Spanish and
English forces for over two months, until O'Neill
arrived with his army in mid November. They had
walked over 300 miles through bog and mud in
freezing weather, so by the time they reached
Kinsale, O'Neill's men were in no condition to fight.

Due to a lack of communication between the Irish
and Spanish forces, the Spanish Army retreated
when they should have been charging towards the
enemy. The Irish were outnumbered and the Spanish
surrendered. O'Neill and his army retreated back to
Ulster but only a few years later, he and other clan
leaders had to leave Ireland forever in what is
called 'The Flight of the Earls' in 1607. The whole
of Ireland was under English rule for the first time.

The 23rd. of September, 1641 represents the
commencement of the Great Catholic-Gaelic rebellion.
The rebels declared their loyalty to the Crown but
assaulted the settlers. Terrible atrocities were
reported. On Portadown Bridge, 100 Protestants
were stripped, thrown into the water and murdered.
The rebels were reported to be horribly injuring
women and children and leaving them to die slowly.
Some people were buried alive. It seems the
atrocities were the result of wild indiscipline, not
policy. In total there were around 12,000 deaths.
The effect on the Northern Protestant subconscious
was profound.

The rebellion had been led by Ulster Catholic
landowners under Phelim O'Neill who had resorted
to arms, possibly in imitation of the Scottish
Covenanters who achieved special recognition for
Presbyterianism in Scotland. Their inferiors however
were overcome with bitterness and they turned on
the Protestants, killing 2000 and driving tens of
thousands away, stripped of everything. Beginning at
Ulster, the revolt spread. The atrocities were
exaggerated back on the mainland, and the people
there demanded revenge. The English Civil War
might have given the Irish Catholics chance to press
their advantage, but they were divided. The Old
English hoped for mercy by the king and would not
concede leadership to Owen Roe, the nephew of
Hugh O’Neill. They did not support him in his
confrontations with the Scottish Covenanter army
at Ulster. The Leinster lords meanwhile were unable
to get government forces out of Leinster.

In the period from 1641 until the Cromwellian
invasion of 1649, two thirds of Ireland were ruled
by the Irish Catholic Confedaration, (the
'Confederation of Kilkenny'), while Protestant
areas of Ulster remained variously under the
control of royalists, Scottish Covenanters and

The Old English and Gaelic Irish were Catholic, but
the English parliament was becoming more puritan
and anti-Catholic. All Irish Catholics became anxious
that their religion would prejudice their rights to
land. The interests of the Irish and Old English
were increasingly coinciding. Atrocities on both sides
were slowly hammering the people into two camps –
Catholic and Protestant.

By 1649, Oliver Cromwell had defeated King Charles
I in England, but there were still strong Royalist
armies allied with Irish Catholic rebels in Ireland.
In 1649 Cromwell came to Ireland, striking first at
Drogheda. Drogheda is seen in Irish nationalist
legend as anti-Irish racism, but the garrison there
was commanded by an English Catholic and largely
under English officers, Royalists. Inflamed by an
initial setback, Cromwell showed little mercy to the
soldiers and priests, killing 2000 of them and having
more shipped to Barbados. Cromwell may have
believed he was taking revenge for 1641, although
Drogheda had not been involved – it was within the
English Pale.

Government policy was to crush the Catholic people.
Cromwell marched south. Some surrendering
garrisons were treated well, but Wexford suffered
2000 casualties including 200 women and children in
the marketplace. Cromwell dispossessed landowning
Irish Catholics and shared their land amongst his
soldiers and financiers. The transportation of those
landowners to a barren province was known as ‘the
curse of Cromwell’. Those left behind, tenants and
labourers, still felt humiliated.

In August of 1649, Cromwell launched a programme
aimed at evangelisation, the removal of rebellious
priests and landowners and the crushing of
resistance. These ideas had been mooted before,
but 1641 showed their urgency. Cromwell brought
20,000 fighters to Ireland, the best army in
Europe, and resistance was crushed with much
brutality. Such religious zeal were left was involved
that the Catholic church was swept aside. All
Catholic estates were confiscated and their owners
relocated, if they could prove they had not rebelled.
William Petty carried out a detailed land survey of
Ireland. Vacated estates were given to Cromwell’s
soldiers and financiers, while the former proprietors
were left to scramble for land west of the Shannon.
Protestant clergymen and schoolmasters were sent
over, and there were strenuous efforts to get the
Irish into Protestant churches, although language
was a barrier. However, many Protestant churchmen
already in Ireland were reluctant to work within
Cromwell’s framework. Cromwell’s regime did not
last long, and more moderate people (including his
son Henry) came to the fore.

Now, we can begin to visualize the tragic rift that
befell the Catholics and Protestants, and is still, in
many tragic instances, in excess of 360 years later,
still festering itself on the innocent masses !!
Historically, much of this abuse was directly a result
of their bigoted and merciless ruling class !!

In 1685, James II became a Catholic king of
England and this created temporary joy among his
followers !! Unfortunately, the succession of William
of Orange together with his wife Mary, who usurped
the crown from James II, was to trigger in all
likelihood the final religious dissension in Ireland !!

Notable events preceding this segregation occurred
on the 28th. July, 1689 when British ships in the
Foyle river finally broke the boom and relieved the
Irish town of Derry from the extended summer
siege !! Shorty thereafter, William of Orange landed
in Ireland and defeated James II at the Boyne on
the 1st. of July, 1690 !!

The remainder of Irish engagements were primarily
with the English, although, at seemingly
inconsequential moments, other countries united with
one faction or the other as apparently suited their
perceived destinies !!

Toward the end of the 18th. century, one of the
more notable battles was planned and staged, but
in the final synopsis, emerged as a rather extensive
blunder !! Mainly withdrawn again from excerpts in
the Wikipedia, I enclose some details following !!
Likewise, the reader may find it stimulating to
execute additional research regarding specific
individuals, places and events to satisfy their
curiosity !!

Since 1691 and the end of the Williamite war,
Ireland had chiefly been controlled by the minority
Anglican Protestant Ascendancy constituting
members of the established Church loyal to the
British Crown. It governed through a form of
institutionalised sectarianism codified in the Penal
Laws which discriminated against both the majority
Irish Catholic population and non-Anglican
Protestants (for example Presbyterians). In the
late 18th. century, liberal elements among the
ruling class were inspired by the example of the
American Revolution (1776–1783) and sought to
form common cause with the Catholic populace to
achieve reform and greater autonomy from Britain.
As in England, the majority of Protestants, as well
as all Catholics, were barred from voting because
they did not pass a property threshold. Another
grievance was that Ireland, although nominally a
sovereign kingdom governed by the monarch and
Parliament of the island, in reality had less
independence than most of Britain's North American
colonies, due to a series of laws enacted by the
English, such as Poynings' law of 1494 and the
Declaratory Act of 1720, the former of which gave
the English veto power over Irish legislation, and
the latter of which gave the British the right to
legislate for the kingdom.

When France joined the Americans in support of
their Revolutionary War, London called for
volunteers to join militias to defend Ireland against
the threat of invasion from France (since regular
British forces had been dispatched to America).
Many thousands joined the Irish Volunteers. In
1782 they used their newly powerful position to
force the Crown to grant the landed Ascendancy
self-rule and a more independent parliament
("Grattan's Parliament"). The Irish Patriot Party,
led by Henry Grattan, pushed for greater
enfranchisement. In 1793 parliament passed laws
allowing Catholics with some property to vote, but
they could neither be elected nor appointed as state
officials. Liberal elements of the Ascendancy
seeking a greater franchise for the people, and an
end to religious discrimination, were further inspired
by the French Revolution, which had taken place in a
Catholic country.

The prospect of reform inspired a small group of
Protestant liberals in Belfast to found the Society
of United Irishmen in 1791. The organisation
crossed the religious divide with a membership
comprising Roman Catholics, Presbyterians,
Methodists, other Protestant "dissenters" groups,
and some from the Protestant Ascendancy. The
Society openly put forward policies of further
democratic reforms and Catholic emancipation,
reforms which the Irish Parliament had little
intention of granting. The outbreak of war with
France earlier in 1793, following the execution of
Louis XVI, forced the Society underground and
toward armed insurrection with French aid. The
avowed intent of the United Irishmen was to "break
the connection with England"; the organization
spread throughout Ireland and had at least 200,000
members by 1797. It linked up with Catholic
agrarian resistance groups, known as the Defenders,
who had started raiding houses for arms in early

Despite their growing strength, the United Irish
leadership decided to seek military help from the
French revolutionary government and to postpone
the rising until French troops landed in Ireland.
Theobald Wolfe Tone, leader of the United
Irishmen, travelled in exile from the United States
to France to press the case for intervention.

Tone's efforts succeeded with the dispatch of the
Expédition d’Irland, and he accompanied a force of
14,000 French veteran troops under General Hoche
which arrived off the coast of Ireland at Bantry Bay
in December 1796 after eluding the Royal Navy;
however, unremitting storms, indecisiveness of
leaders and poor seamanship all combined to prevent
a landing. The despairing Wolfe Tone remarked;
"England has had its luckiest escape since the
Armada." The French fleet was forced to return
home and the veteran army intended to spearhead
the invasion of Ireland split up and was sent to fight
in other theatres of the French Revolutionary Wars.

I will now terminate my discussion of this extended
rambling portion of the varied factions warring over
Irish soil as it was never my intent to provide quite
this mass of information and definitely, NOT my
desire to encroach on any readers sensitivities
regarding our unalienable religious freedoms, rights
and thoughts !!

SO, what IS my actual reasoning for all my
preceding verbiage ?? VERY elementary and
fundamental actually !! I would like to present a
brief discussion of what I refer to as LOL Shield
Services !!

Your primary question, hopefully, is exactly what do
the initials LOL represent ?? Well, I can guarantee
you that it’s NOT ‘Laugh-Out-Loud’ as Tweeter’s
Tweet acronyms !! So, precisely what is their
symbolic significance ??

I spend immense amounts of time studying and
examining my Belleek collection for any miniscule
clue as to some peculiar reason the Pottery might
have produced a specific item !! You all appreciate
and realize that they did produce some quite
exceptional although curious and unique items
throughout their history !! In any case, one night
an epiphany struck me and I discouvered, what I
now believe to be another historical bond between
our Pottery and the Middle Ages !!

Allow me to digress momentarily for a
brief discussion regarding the nourishment and
sustenance requirements for these massive armies
of men and their support !! A simple bowl of
porridge is obviously NOT going to sustain a husky
armed fighting knight for even a brief morning
skirmish !! He requires lots of meat and veggies and
of course some ale !! NO double arches ‘happy-meal’
to satisfy a REAL man !! Now, expending only a
slight amount of imagination, what is probably the
most prevalent variety of abundant protein available,
without stalking your own game and partaking in
what may involve an exhausting hunt ?? OF
COURSE !! LAMB !! They’re as voluminous in Ireland
as row hedges and ducks !!

Let’s assume for the moment that your army brought
along their own cook and some surfs to clean up
after the meal, but what about eating utensils ??
I just can’t imagine carrying about dining services
for an army !! I would think that each soldier would
accept responsibility for his own cutlery ?? Now, I
would expect that the land baron’s castle would have
sufficient storage for place settings for their
tenants and possibly some guests, but during an
extended siege, when the surrounding surfs from
your protected lands arrive at your castle, you’re
probably somewhat hard pressed to feed them all
more less provide place settings ?? Lacking
recyclable or disposable picnic ware, we’ve got to
provide some form of serving platters and utensils
for those involved in the hostilities !! Again, minimal
reflection of this situation envisions an immediate
solution to our dilemma !!

"Qu'ils mangent de la brioche", a phrase commonly
attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette of France and
roughly translated into English as “Let them eat
cake”, spoken when informed that the peasants had
no bread, is an analogous solution to our
predicament !!

In our quandary, we require elemental tableware for
an army !! What does every invading army arrive
equipped with ??  Weapons and armor of course !!
Just think of it, every invader outfitted with their
own helmet and shield !! Their shield, if they’re
noble in stature, may even carry their armorial or
family crest !!

Editor’s note : Refer to several of my Archived
Newslettres for discussions of Belleek Miniature
Armorial (Crested) Items !!

Thus, let them drink from their helmet and utilize
their shield as a (large) platter to dine from !! It’s
a natural !! Cleanup is a breeze with an expected
battle to wage following a gargantuan feast, one
need only dunk their helmet and shield in the castle
moat or a nearby stream and they’re as sanitized as
following your previous engagement !! Let’s face it,
extensive ‘germ theories’ were rather non-existent
during the Middle Ages !!

Thus, so is born our Leg of Lamb Shield Services !!
Fundamental necessity !!

As time progresses, the village blacksmith, so
named because he forged the ‘black’ metal iron,
throughout the Middle Ages concentrated primarily
on his production and repair of armor and weapons
along with other fanciful accoutrements for his
soldiers and of course horseshoes !! As hostilities
subsided and diminished in frequency, he begin
allocating more of his time and energies to the
manufacture of castle necessities including tableware,
utensils, hinges, keys and locks, i.e., basically
anything that could be cast of iron !! So now society
has advanced from dining out of a wooden bowl with
their fingers to service on a metal platter complete
with forged utinsils !!

A favourite metal for casting tablewares was pewter,
a silver-gray alloy of tin with various amounts of
antimony, copper, and sometimes lead !! The
constituents of pewter were first controlled in the
12th. century by town guilds in France. By the 15th.
century, the Worshipful Company of Pewterers
controlled pewter constituents in England. This
company originally had two grades of pewter, but in
the 16th. century a third grade was added. The
first type, known as "fine metal", was used for
tableware. Use of pewter was common from the
Middle Ages until the various developments in glass-
making during the 18th. and 19th. centuries.
Pewter was the chief tableware until the making of

Parallel with the pursuit of pewter manufacture and
the advent of the discouvery, toward the end of the
Middle Ages, of the ‘white’ metals, i.e., silver, gold
and copper, etc., the task and range of the smith
became specialized and we see the emergence of
skilled silversmiths and coppersmiths devoting their
talents to exquisite and flawless metal sculpture and
unique implements !! A significant quantity of this
manufacture was devoted to utensils such as knives,
forks, and spoons used as tableware !!

Knives, a primary cutlery form, have been made in
many places. In Britain the industry became
concentrated by the late 16th. century in and
around Birmingham and Sheffield. However, the
Birmingham industry increasingly concentrated on
swords, made by "long cutlers", and on other edged
tools, whereas the Sheffield industry concentrated
on knives. The first documented use of the term
"cutler" in Sheffield appeared in a 1297 tax return.
A Sheffield knife was listed in the King's possession
in the Tower of London fifty years later. Several
knives dating from the 14th. century are on display
at the Cutlers' Hall in Sheffield.

Silverware, including knives, is identified by a highly
structured hallmarking systems !! One of the most
complex in the world is that of the United Kingdom,
(Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland),
and Ireland !! These nations have, historically,
provided a wealth of information about a piece
through their series of applied punches !! These
impressions include assayer’s, date, city and maker’s
marks !! Irish silver also contains the image of
Hibernia !! This mark was introduced in 1730, and
is still in use today !!

So, depending upon the particular invaders and
corresponding allies of the Irish, a determination
was inevitable as to your table setting !! One could
expect possibly a fine silver platter for their leg of
lamb with a splendid pewter tankard or tyg of ale,
relative to the country of your ally and antagonist !!
BUT, the days of the contaminated greasy shield
and bloody hairy helmet were definitely history !!

Editors Note : Refer to Newslettre # 14.1
published Monday, May 24, 2010 for an article
regarding Tygs !!

Once civilized society accedes the standards of
tableware, evolution will inevitably ferret out
increasingly functional and superior composition !!
Europeans commenced to experiment with Porcelain,
which, originated in China !! Although proto-
porcelain wares existed dating from the Shang
Dynasty (1600–1046 BCE), by the Eastern Han
Dynasty period (196–220) glazed ceramic wares had
developed into porcelain. By the Ming Dynasty
(1368–1644), porcelain art was being exported to
Europe !!

These exported Chinese porcelains were held in such
great esteem in Europe that in the English language
china became a commonly–used synonym for the
Franco-Italian term porcelain. Apart from copying
Chinese porcelain in faience (tin glazed earthenware),
the soft-paste Medici porcelain in 16th. century
Florence was the first real European attempt to
reproduce it, with little success.

Early 16th. century, the Portuguese brought back
samples of kaolin clay, which they discovered in
China to be essential in the production of porcelain
wares, but the Chinese techniques and composition
to manufacture porcelain was not yet fully
understood. Countless experiments to produce
porcelain had unpredictable results and would meet
with failure. In the German state of Saxony, the
search concluded with an eventual discovery in 1708
by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus that
produced a hard, white, translucent type of
porcelain specimen with a combination of ingredients,
including kaolin clay and alabaster, mined from a
Saxon mine in Colditz. It was closely guarded as a
trade secret by the Saxon enterprise.

In 1712, many of the elaborate Chinese
manufacturing secrets for porcelain were revealed
throughout Europe by the French Jesuit father
Francois Xavier d'Entrecolles and soon published in
the Lettres édifiantes et curieuses de Chine par des
missionnaires jésuites
. The secrets of porcelain
manufacturing, which d'Entrecolles read about and
witnessed in China, were now known and began being
used in Europe. Emulating this flawless
manufacturing procedure remained the only hurdle
to the final stage of implementing production of
their ancestors utilitarian metal table wares in an
exceptional and unrivaled Porcelain culminating in
exquisite Parian Leg of Lamb Shield Services !!

Convolvulus LOL Shield Service !! 

                        Illustrated above is a beautiful
                  Ring Handle Ivory Convolvulus and Dawg Rose
                          Leg of Lamb Shield Service !!

As we all know the extensive history of the
voluminous experimentation, trials and tribulations
of production at the Belleek Pottery, I will not
reiterate it here !!

Grass LOL Shield Set !! 

                  Illustrated above is a another beautiful
                Grass Pattern Leg of Lamb Shield Service !!
              Look closely, it’s the Mother-in-Law Set !!

In conclusion, by production of these exquisite and
splendidly crafted Leg of Lamb Shield Service
Replicas, our present day Belleek Pottery has
honoured with Lots of Love, Ireland’s ancient
courageous and heroic warriors, whom left Lots
of Legacies !!


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Del E. Domke, Belleek Consultant
16142 N.E. 15th. Street

Bellevue,  WA    98008-2711

Telephone :  1 (425) 746-6363

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