The papers linked here are more formal write-ups of various topics.

15th Century English Mead: Initial Review of Hydromel, Metheglin, and Melomel Recipes in Wellcome MS.MSL.136, discusses the three mead recipes in this c.1444 medical manuscript including related recipes, their role in the medical context of the manuscript, and the details of the recipes.

ABSTRACT: Wellcome MS.MSL.136, a mid-15th century collection of medical recipes, includes three recipes for mead (honey wine). Analysis of the details of the recipes and comparison to the corpus of English and European mead recipes of the same period illuminates aspects of mead making and consumption in Medieval England. Additionally, it provides specific connections to practices in other periods and geographies, gives insights into changes in mead recipes and use over time, and highlights areas for additional investigation. These recipes show the duality of mead in the medieval period as a drink of medical and recreational significance, with recipes originating locally and remotely, historically and contemporaneously. The first recipe in the manuscript is a metheglin (mead with herbs, originally medicinal), one of several versions of a single early recipe for this Welsh medicinal drink, each with significant differences of ingredients and methods. This recipe contains the earliest known use in mead of an egg as a method to measure specific gravity (sugar content). The second recipe is an early example of a fruited mead (melomel) in a currently unique recipe that appears to be recreational in nature. This melomel uses wine lees to aid fermentation. The third recipe, later in the text, contains only honey and water and is likely intended to serve as a medicinal substrate. Versions of this “ydromell” recipe appear widely in texts derived from Byzantine and Arab medical sources. This recipe also shows an intriguing use of “sour leven” or sourdough yeast.

Last Updated March 25, 2021