Metal Tableware

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Metal work was so expensive that it was only used where necessary, and therefore rarely made its way onto the table. Whilst cooking kit is almost all ironware so that it doesn’t get damaged in the open fires used as a cooker, the only table implement (other than knives) in common use was a flesh fork ; and even these would only be owned by reasonably well off Jarls and above.

Flesh forks

Similar to a toasting fork the flesh fork is used to hold down the meat whilst it is carved ; it is too large to use as a personal eating fork as we do today, although the very rich may have used them to eat large cuts of meat and avoid the need to pick up greasy meat with their fingers.


There is some evidence of metal spoons being in existence if not for daily use. The Sutton Hoo burial has two matching silver spoons and doubtless the use of spoons carried through from this early date. It must however be stressed that this is a king’s burial mound and it is not known how the spoons were used ; they may have been communion or baptismal spoons as they were inscribed Paul and Saul (bible characters). Subsequently unless your character is a king (or possibly a Bishop) then you should avoid the use of metal eating spoons.


A variation of a combined spoon and fork, called not surprisingly a spork, is also readily available from some traders, but once again this is not something that was in use in our period and so should be avoided.

Eating knives

Short eating knives should be up to 6" long, though they may be shorter. Eating knives are usually suspended vertically from the belt by a single loop of leather stitched or riveted to the sheath.

Eating knives are usually sharp and are an essential part of re-enactment (assuming you want any food!). For safety, sharp knives may not be taken onto the battlefield, though the empty sheath may still be worn.