Life in a Medieval Castle 1: Clothes

This is the start of a new series, based on material from my book.

Wealthy men and women wore similar outer clothes[i] – a tunic with long sleeves made of linen, an over-tunic with shorter sleeves made of wool lined with fur, and then a hood and a mantle, usually circular and also fur-lined.[ii] The length, style and decoration of the clothes depended on the sex and status of the wearer, but people loved bright colours.[iii] Men’s tunics reached to the knee or below and were worn with breeches, linen under a long tunic, more substantial fabric when they showed under a shorter tunic.

Women’s tunics were floor length and linen (like a nightgown – indeed, they often slept in it). The tunic was slit at the neck and fastened with a brooch, and a girdle or belt at the waist. These also gave the opportunity for ostentation.[iv]  The men who served in lordly households wore livery to mark out who they served.[v]

Clothes in Britain were of better quality cloth than those on the continent, due to the mechanisation of the fulling process, using local water mills. This process shrank and tightened the cloth and made it stronger.[vi]Later in the fourteenth century, fashion dictated a wide variation of styles.[vii] While unmarried, Alina would have worn her hair loose, but once married she would have worn her hair in plaits wound over her ears in a ‘ramshorn’ and over that a wimple, a cloth headdress that covered the hair. Many also wore a cloth around the neck.[viii]

 


[i] Mortimer, Ian, The Time Traveller’s Guide To Medieval England,p.110
[ii] Mortimer, Ian, The Time Traveller’s Guide To Medieval England,p.106
[iii] Mortimer, Ian, The Time Traveller’s Guide To Medieval England, p.9
[iv] Labarge, Margaret Wade, Mistress, Maids and Men: Baronial Life in the Thirteenth Century (1965),  p.139
[v] Mortimer, Ian, The Time Traveller’s Guide To Medieval England,p.102
[vi] Stark, Rodney, The Victory of Reason, p.152-154
[vii] Mortimer, Ian, The Time Traveller’s Guide To Medieval England,p.101
[viii] Mortimer, Ian, The Time Traveller’s Guide To Medieval England,p.112
Hull, Marvin, Medieval Women © 2001-2008, http://www.castles-of-britain.com/castlezb.htm

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s