In Redwall, records are kept and cared for by the Redwall Recorder.  He or she records events on scrolls that are kept in the abbey's Gatehouse.  Most of the time, the recorder knows precisely where everything is, although the scrolls seem to be an unorganized jumble to anybeast else.  There's no record of how parchment or paper is made in Redwall, nor how the abbeybeasts make ink or where they get the quills they use to write with.  On the other paw, we do know how quills, paper, and ink were made in the Middle Ages, as well as how records were kept.


    Illumination is little more than illustrations for text, but it was carried to an extremely developed art in the Middle Ages.  The borders of pages were elaborately decorated, and certain letters would be oversized and lavishly decorated.  Prior to the thirteenth century, most illumination and scribe-work was done in monasteries by several monks working together.  One monk might spend his entire life on a single volume.  Monks would often write complaints in the margins of their works, or including unusual drawings.

bullet Medieval Manuscripts: What Is Illumination?


    There were several different methods of making ink in medieval times, some more complicated than others.  A monk or scribe would have to make his own inks.  One traditional recipe was to take a quantity of albumen [egg white] and mix thoroughly with soot. Then add honey and mix into a smooth paste. The ink is then ready to use.  Another was to gather some "lawyer's wig" mushrooms (Corprinus comatus) and place in a glazed pot or small cauldron. Leave somewhere warm for several days to allow the mushrooms to liquefy. Pour off the liquid and either use it as it is or boil until it is about half its original volume for a blacker ink. Note: this ink is less permanent than some of the others, but is easy to produce.

bullet Medieval Manuscripts: Inks


    Here are some tips on writing with a quill pen, taken from "Medieval Manuscripts".

bullet Never overload the amount of ink on your quill, attempt to have only enough to complete three letters at a time. Be slow and patient.
bullet Even if you thoroughly clean each quill after use it is better to use separate quills for different colored inks.
bullet Errors in text or spelling can be corrected by either GENTLY scrapping the ink from the surface then write over or by under-lining the error with a thin red line which indicates a mistake.
bullet The illuminated capitals are outlined in ink then painted in using fine brushes. These brushes could be of boar, horse-hair, goat or imported camel-hair.


    A material called "vellum" was the most common writing material used in the medieval times.  The skin of a calf, kid, or lamb would be de-fleshed in a bath of lime, stretched on a frame, and scraped with a lunellum while damp. They could then be treated with pumice, whitened with a substance such as chalk, and cut to size.  To prepare it for being written upon, the scribe would rub the surface with very finely-ground bone-ash, or with pulverized sandarac.

bullet Paper, Vellum, Parchment, and Ivory


    Quill pens were the typical writing instrument of the Middle Ages.  They were normally made from the flight feathers of geese.  The only tool needed was a sharp, small knife.  A detailed explanation of how a quill pen is made can be found aat the link below.

bullet The Quill Pen