The Anglosaxon Females

of all ranks wore long loose garments reaching to the ground, distinguished in various documents by the names of the tunic, the gunna or gown, the cyrtle or kirtle, and the mantle. The first and last articles describe themselves; but the terms gown and kirtle have caused much disputation from the capricious application of them to different parts of dress. The British gown, Latinized gatmacum by Varro, we have already seen was a short tunic with a

Anglo-Saxon Females. Fig. a, Etheldrytha, a princess of East.Anglia, from the Benedictional of St Etbelwold.

Fig. b. From Abbot Elfnoth's book of Prayers. Harl. MS. 8908.

Anglo-Saxon Females. Fig. a, Etheldrytha, a princess of East.Anglia, from the Benedictional of St Etbelwold.

Fig. b. From Abbot Elfnoth's book of Prayers. Harl. MS. 8908.

sleeves reaching only to the elbows, and worn over the long tunic. And that the Saxon gunna was sometimes short, we have the authority of a Bishop of Winchester, who sends as a present "a short gunna sewed in our manner."8* Now there is also

88 16 Mag. Bib. p. 82. A gown is also mentioned made of otter's skin, which shows it to have been an exterior garment, p. 88.

authority sufficient to prove that a similar description of vestment was called a kirtle.87 No short tunics are, however, visible in Saxon illuminations, and we must therefore presume the gunna or gown generally means the long full robe, with loose sleeves, worn over the tunic 5 and the kirtle, an inner garment, at this period, as we find it mentioned in the will of Wynfloeda among " other linen webb," and in one place described as white. The sleeves of the tunic, reaching in close rolls to the wrist, like those of the men, are generally confined there by a bracelet, or terminate with a rich border, and the mantle hangs down before and behind, covering the whole figure, except when looped up by the lifted arms, when it forms a point or festoon in front like the ancient chasuble of the priesthood.88 The head-dress of all classes is a veil or long piece of linen or silk wrapped round the head and neck. This part of their attire is exceedingly unbecoming in the illuminations, in a great measure probably from want of skill in the artist; for no doubt it was capable of as graceful

87 The very name implies a short garment. In the Icelandic song of Thrym we have the line, " a maiden kirtle hung to his knees." In the MS. copy of Pierce Ploughman's Creed (Harleian, 2376), the priests "are said to have " cut their cotes and made them into curtells " (the printed edition reads courtepies); and in a romance called the Chevalier Assigne (MS. Cotton. Caligula, 2) a child inquires, " What heavy kyrtell is this with holes so thycke ?" and he is told it is " an hauberke " (i. e. coat of mail), which seldom reached even to the knee.

an arrangement as the Spanish mantilla. The Saxon name for it appears to have been heafodes rcegel (head-rail), or woefies, derived from the verb wcefan, to cover; but this head-gear was seldom worn except when abroad, as the hair itself was cherished and ornamented with as much attention as in modern times. The wife described by Adhelm, Bishop of Sherborne, who wrote in the eighth century, is particularly mentioned as having her twisted locks delicately curled by the iron of those adorning her ;89 and in the Anglo-Saxon poem of c Judith,' the heroine is called " the maid of the Creator, with twisted locks."40 As we find it amongst the Franks and Normans platted in long tails, it may have been similarly worn by the Anglo-Saxons; but with the exception of the figure of Eve, who is represented in most illuminated MSS. with her hair dishevelled and hanging about her almost to her knees, we have met with no female entirely divested of her head-rail.

Golden head-bands, half circles of gold, neckbands, and bracelets, are continually mentioned in Anglo-Saxon wills and inventories. The headband was sometimes worn over the veil or head-cloth. Amongst other female ornaments, we read of earrings, golden vermiculated necklaces, a neck cross and a golden fly beautifully ornamented with precious stones.41

96 De Virginitate, p. 307. 40 Frag. Judith, edit. Thwaite.

41 Du§dale's Monasticon, p. 240-263, and Strutt and Turner, passim.

Hose or socca were most probably worn by females as well as by men, but the gown or tunic invariably conceals them. As much of the shoes as is visible is generally painted black. In shape they appear similar to those of the men.

Gloves do not appear to have been worn by either sex before the eleventh century.4* In some instances the loose sleeves of the gown supply their place by being brought over the hand; in others the mantle is made to answer the same purpose; but one of the female figures copied for the heading of this section has something very like a glove upon the left hand. It has a thumb, but no separate fingers, and is painted blue in the miniature, which is of the «lose of the tenth century : a curious pair of similar mufflers, for we can scarcely call them by any other name, occurs in a MS. about a century later. Vide Anglo-Norman Ladies. Chap. 5.a

Cloth, silk, and linen were of course the principal materials of which their dresses were made; and red, blue, and green seem to have been the prevailing colours with both sexes. Very little white is observed in female apparel. The head*

41 At the close of the tenth or beginning of the eleventh century, five pair of gloves made a considerable part of the duty paid to Ethelred II. by a society of German merchants for the protection of their trade. Leges Ethelredi, apud

Brompton; and quoted with great propriety by Mr. Strutt in proof of their excessive rarity. Dress and Habits, vol. i.

48 These figures seem to have escaped Mr. Strutfs notice, though he has inspected both MSS. and drawn much from the latter.

dress is always coloured. Indications of embroidery are visible in some illuminations. The patterns are generally rings, flowers, and springs. The standing figure in page 47 represents Etheldrytha, j a princess of East Anglia, and is copied from the ' Duke of Devonshire's splendid Benedictional of the tenth century. The dress is sumptuous, consisting of an embroidered scarlet mantle over a tunic or gown of gold tissue, or cloth of gold. The veil and shoes are also of the latter costly material, and yet she is represented as a sainted abbess. The conventual dress indeed of the Anglo-Saxon era differed in nowise from the general female habit, and Bishop Adhelm intimates that the dress of royal Anglo-Saxon nuns in his time was frequently gorgeous.

the clergy were also undistinguishable from the laity except by the tonsure,44 or when actually officiating at the altar ; and their inclination to the pomps and vanities of the world is obvious from the order promulgated in 785, forbidding them to wear the tinctured colours of India, or precious gar-

44 And this they endeavoured to hide by letting the hair grow so as to fall over it, notwithstanding their thunders against the laity; for an article interdicting the practice appears in Johnson's Canons sub anno 960, c. 47. Beards were forbidden only to the inferior clergy by the ancient ecclesiastical laws, and " dans un concile tenu à Limoges en 1031, on declara qu'un prêtre pouvait se raser ou garder la barbe à volonté." Lenoir, Monumens François.

ments and Boniface, the Anglo-Saxon missionary, in his letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, inveighs against the luxuries of dress, and declares those garments that are adorned with very broad studs and images of worms announce the coming of Anti-Christ.4®

In the same spirit, at the Council of Cloveshoe, the nuns were exhorted to pass their time rather in reading books and singing hymns than in wearing and working garments of empty pride in diversified colours.47 The official ecclesiastical habits will be best understood by a glance at the engravings. The mitre, it will be perceived, formed as yet no part of the episcopal costume. Its first appearance in the Latin church was about the middle of the eleventh century.48

Some difficulty exists in detailing the episcopal dress; but the principal articles were the alb or white under-tunic; the dalmatica, an upper robe; the stole, an embroidered band or scarf going round the neck, the two ends hanging down, before; the chasuble, which covered the whole person except when lifted up by the arms, and afterwards opened at the sides and cut in front so as to preserve its original pointed appearance when the arms were raised; and the pallium or pall, an ornamental collar or scarf which a metropolitan or archbishop was invested with, or received from the Pope, on his nomination to the see. Gregory the Great bestowed the pallium on St Augustin, first Archbishop of Canterbury, and he wears it embroidered with crosses over the chasuble in the following engraving. It may be as well to remark at the same time, that the crosier or cross was carried by the archbishop, and the pastoral staff, made like the shepherd's crook, and improperly called the crosier, by the bishop. Vide Bacon's New Atlantis.

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