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assistance finding a photo of a knight (bitt) (edited by admin)


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I am looking for some assistance regarding a photo of a knight (bitt) that I could add to a resource file I am constructing to post onto the MSW. Little has been written about these singular belaying points and whether they were fitted or not depended on the method of hoisting the lower yards. They were also used for the line that hoisted the topmast.

 

Knight bitts were generally short, had four sheaves and an eye bolt on one side. They were mounted slightly off-center (to avoid the stays) and just aft of the main and fore masts. There was also a much smaller one mounted forward of the mizzen mast. Typically, they passed down to a lower deck to enable stronger fixing. Interestingly, they were NOT square in cross-section.

 

In time, these were replaced by the typical bitt pairs with their associated cross pieces.

 

Any help with a useable image - and any extra information - would be much appreciated.

 

Pete

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Druxey,

 

Thanks for replying.

 

R.C.Anderson makes a brief reference to French & Dutch models & drawings that showed them in use and he assumes that probably English ships would have used them as well but does not make any specific reference. I have found drawings of a German ship that interestingly (and RCA describes that) these bollards/ bitts/ knights were below foc'sle/ quarter deck level. Eventually, they 'surfaced' up to deck level. Time .... 16/ 17 C. Goodwin, page 219, rightly makes reference to this bitt (and others) under the heading of 'Topsail Sheet & Jeer Bitts'

 

Pete

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I wish to add to what I said yesterday but first, have a look at this incredible scratch build of a 1660 ship by YankeeD and amongst his photos, there is a main knight (bitt) aft of the main mast opening.

 

http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/13719-the-7-provinciën-by-yankeed-scale-150-1665-according-to-drawings-by-mr-o-blom-first-wooden-scratch-ship-build/page-2?hl=knight#entry433736.

 

My immediate problem is one of terminology - RC Anderson talks about these singular, short bitts as 'knights' whilst Goodwin and Mondfeld refer to these same bitts as 'knightheads'. The use of these bitts was phased out around 1650 - 1660 and replaced by the bitt pairs soon to be followed by the addition of the cross piece. It seems to me that we have relics of these 'knights' in the form of the knightheads that support the base of the bowsprit. So it looks like we can use the terms 'knight' or 'knighthead' ?

 

My second problem is to find a photo of an actual 'knight' bitt that I can use when publishing my work back onto the MSW.

 

Pete

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I thought that one knight(head) was on the forecastle close to the fore mast and another on the upper deck near the main mast in 16th century ships and earlier. Some folk term the bollard timbers either side of the bowsprit in later ships with a central bowsprit as 'knightheads'. Confusing!

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Druxey, the fore knight and main knight aft of their respective masts had long pins down to a lower deck; the mizzen knight was forward of the mizzen mast and supported by standards (i.e. no long pins).

 

In summary then - knightheads/ bollards around the bowsprit and any other singular bitts are now termed bollards seems the way to go.

 

Pete

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Mark - thanks for the Wasa link. 1628 was on the cusp of change for that type of bitt. A photo on the Wasa website showied a pair of bitts with a cross piece which would have replaced the knight bitt ( and also signaled a change in the way yards were hoisted).

 

Pete

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I had always understood that Knights or knight heads were simply references to the fact that the verticals of bitts etc were often in early times actually carved with heads - usually of knightly style.

I remembered seeing Wasa - long long ago - when she had just been lifted and amongst the "pieces "  lying all around were the bitts shown in section 67 of Mark's Wasa link above. That has indeed Knight heads carved on it

 

  So I think that Knights etc were not actually technical descriptions in the way that "bitts" are

Edited by SpyGlass
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Hi Spyglass,

 

in the Dutch version the socalled 'knecht' refers to all upright pieces used for belaying lines and ropes. They can (but do not always) have sheaves in them.

The main ones have sheaves, and are used for hoisting topmasts and yards. Those were the ones that were pimped with a head on top, in stead of a more basic head, as shown in the log of YankeeD.

 

There were also smaller knechten, attached to the inboard railing as belaying points.Some had, and some had no sheaves. 

 

Three pics: the forward and main knight in the William Rex modell Amsterdam), and a knight attached to the railing of the forecastoledeck of the (no longer existing) Hohenzollernmodell (Dutch warship 1660)

 

 

Jan

post-176-0-18621800-1477395095_thumb.jpg

post-176-0-99350300-1477395095_thumb.jpg

post-176-0-45179900-1477395096_thumb.jpg

Edited by amateur
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Hello Druxey,

 

They all come from various model-building fora. The two from William Rex have been posted in a Dutch forum, the one one the HZ-modell has beenposted by Peter (OLympic1911), but not in the thread here, but in the German version (at segellschiffsmodellbau.com)

 

Quite a number of pics of a large Dutch model (owned by the museum in Gent, not on display)  are in the warshipvasa.freeforums.com.

But due to copyright-issues, I'm not a librty to repost them here....

 

Jan

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  • 2 weeks later...

R.C. Anderson goes into this briefly in Rigging of Ships in the Days of the Spritsal Topmast on page 136. This is the fixture at deck level that corresponds with the Ramshead Block, used for hauling yards. Mounted singly and asymmetrically offset from the centerline for a fair lead that avoids the stays. I just went back and checked Anderson because I thought the fixture at deck level was the "ramshead" and the block above was the Ramshead Block. But Anderson does call the fixture at deck the Knight, and the block above IS the Ramshead Block. He points out the ring on the side of the Knight is for the dead end of the hauling part of the tackle and that the fourth sheave in the knight is for the toprope- meaning its not going to have a line rover through it in daily use.

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