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Burton Pendants

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Can anyone give me an idea of what the 'burton pendants' are used for?  I've looked through two books on rigging and I see them hanging there, but they are always shown just hanging there loose with nothing further attached to them.  Are they for the purpose of hoisting things off the deck?  If so, would they be tied off when not in use?  Hard to imagine these lines just swinging around on a rolling ship.

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I believe the main purpose of the burton pendants was to put tension on shrouds and backstay - mainly lower shrouds.  A tackle could be attached to these and the shroud laniards and used to tighten the shrouds when initially fitted and later as needed.  See plate 177 in Darcy Levers's Young Sea Officers Sheet Anchor (1819) for example.  These were called pendant tackles on 19th century American Ships and served the same purpose until rigging screws came into use.  See S.B.Luce, Seamanship (1868) Figure 46 for example



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