The Early Modern Commons

British Tars, 1740-1790

Recent Posts

Origins of a Myth: Tarred Clothing

17 January 2021

I've often read in secondary sources that sailors intentionally tarred their clothing for waterproofing. I haven't seen a primary source that proves this in my period of study.As with...

Color Your Own Historic Sailor

1 June 2020

Back in 2017, my colleague Ben Bartgis shared an April Fool's Day post over at Napoleonic Tars: 1790-1820.The reaction was so positive that Ben decided to make it a real thing and asked...

The Last Stitch

17 March 2020

Outlander, Season 3 (2017).Follower Justin Anderson e-mailed me a short time ago with a specific request:I'm curious if you have any insights into the origins of the idea that burial...

Crossing the Line

16 October 2019

Often on this webpage I address assumptions about the past that are imposed by later generations. Sewing a corpse through the nose, wearing canvas hats, nearly all sailors' superstitions,...