The Female Costume

of this period has been severely satirised by contemporary writers, as we have already remarked, and we are inclined-to think unjustly so; for, in nearly all the illuminations of this reign, it appears elegantly simple, particularly when compared with that of the reign of Rufus, the tasteless and extravagant fashions of which certainly provoked and deserved both ridicule and reprobation.

The authors of the famous ' Roman de la Rose,9 William de Lorris, who died in 1260, and John de Meun, his continuator, who finished the poem about the year 1304, are amongst the most bitter of these satirists, particularly the latter, who, it has been acknowledged, extended his sarcasms beyond the bounds of truth and decency. It is true that they were both Frenchmen, and that their philippic is directed against their own countrywomen ; but the same style of costume was generally prevalent at the same period through Europe, and England then, as now, adopted the most whimsical fashions of her continental neighbours. A double marriage in the year 1298 contributed also not a little to the introduction of French fashions; Edward I. marrying the sister, and his son, the Prince of Wales, the daughter of Philip IV. of France, surnamed Le Bel. The ladies of the reign of Edward I. appear in the robe or kirtle,5 made high in the neck, with long tight sleeves, and a train, over which is generally seen another vestment, the surcoat, super-tunic, or cyclas,8 without sleeves, but as long in the skirt as the gown itself, and sometimes held up by one hand to keep it out of the way of the feet. To these two garments are added, as occasion may require, the mantle, fastened on the shoulders by cords and tassels. Indeed the effigy of Aveline, Countess of Lancaster, given in the last chapter, presents very nearly the costume of this reign; it being quite of the close of that of Henry III. a.d. 1269. The effigy of Eleanor, queen of Edward I., is remarkable for its simplicity, and the absence of any kind of head-tire; her hair streaming naturally upon her shoulders from under the regal diadem. But in illuminations of this period, the hair of married ladies and noble dames is generally gathered up

6 Vide p. 149, where the kirüe and mantle are alone mentioned.

6 The Sosquenie, surquayne, or suckeney was an exterior garment at tins period. William de Lorris says it is the handsomest dress a woman can wear:—

" Nulle robe n'est si belle, A dame ne ä damoiselle; Femme est plus cointe et plus mignotte, En surquayne que en cotte."

Chaucer translates " surquayne/' " röchelte;" but no dress like a rochet is seen upon female figures of this reign. Sousqwnille is still French for a coachman or groom's frock.

behind into a caul of golden network, over which is worn the peplus or veil, and sometimes upon that a round low-crowned cap ; while the younger females are depicted with flowing ringlets, bound by a simple garland, or fillets of gold or silk, or by the still more becoming chaplet of real flowers. The authors of the ' Roman de la Rose* mention all these articles of apparel, and thereby confirm the authenticity of the illuminations, while they appear to fail in proving their charges of folly and extravagance, except perhaps in two points; the first being the unnecessary length of the trains, in allusion to which the satirist advises the ladies, if their legs be not handsome, nor their feet small and delicate, to wear long robes trailing on the pavement to hide them; those, on the contrary, who have pretty feet are counselled to elevate their robes, as if for air and convenience, that all who are passing by may see and admire them. And another poet of the thirteenth century compares the ladies of his day to peacocks and magpies; " for the pies," says he, " naturally bear feathers of various colours; so the ladies delight in strange habits and diversity of ornaments. The pies have long tails that trail in the dirt; so that the ladies make their tails a thousand times longer than those of peacocks and pies." The second rational complaint is against a very ugly species of wimple called a gorget, which appears about this time. John de Meun describes it as wrapped two or three times round the neck, and then being fastened with a great quantity of pins, it was raised on either side the fkce as high as the ears. u Par Dieu V* exclaims

Female of the reign of Edward I., with the gorget and long trailing robe.

From Sloane MS. 3983.

the poet; " I have often thought in my heart when I have seen a lady so closely tied up, that her neckcloth was nailed to her chin, or that she had the pins hooked into her flesh;" and certainly 'he is so far correct, as the reader will acknowledge, on referring to the annexed figure from an illumination of this date. But, unless it be to the projections of the gorget on each side that he alludes, we are at a loss to discover what he means by their hoods being thrown back, and their horns advanced as if

Female of the reign of Edward I., with the gorget and long trailing robe.

From Sloane MS. 3983.

io wound the men, and propped up by gibbets or brackets. Strutt applies these observations to the horned head-dress, so frequently met with in later illuminations; but there is not the slightest indication of such a fashion prevailing at this time in any MS. we have inspected.

Vintage Women Fashion Illustration
Female head-dresses, temp. Edward L Royal MS. 15, D. 2.

In my edition of ' Strutt's Dress and Habits' (1842, vol. ii., page 128, note), I have remarked that " the horns, reprobated by John de Meun, at the beginning of the fourteenth century, are totally different from those which distinguished the horned head-dress, so called, par excellence, at the beginning of the fifteenth ; and that it is quite evident that the former are the projections of the wimple, pinned up on each side of the face as before mentioned for the poet*s words are " fichées en deux cornes et entour la touelle." There is also another passage respecting the horns (line 1407, et infra), in which they are distinctly said to be " Sur les oreilles," where those formed by the end of the great gorget are seen, when the veil is cast off or thrown back. Mr. Wright, in an article inserted in the first number of the Archaeological Journal, contends, however, " that these passages refer to the Horned-shaped Head-dress,'* properly so called; and quotes some other MSS., stated to be of the end of the thirteenth and beginning of the fourteenth centuries, to prove the existence of such monstrosities, nearly a century before they are pictorially delineated. Even granting the dates of these MSS. to be correct, which may perhaps admit of a doubt, I think it will be found, upon an examination, that these allusions are not to any high peaked or forked attire placed on the head, as in the fifteenth century, but to the terminations of the gorget or wimple, as before described, and certain convolutions of the hair on each side of the head, which might suggest to a satirist the appellation of rams-horns ; for be it noticed that in the poem printed

Female Gorgets

by M. Jubinal, entitled ' Des Comètes/ people are directed to cry "Herste, Belief and in another satire quoted by Mr. Wright, the protuberances are called " bosses,"—" Portent les boces cum cornue bestes," expressions which cannot be properly applied to the sharp and towering horns worn in the fifteenth century, but are perfectly descriptive of the various protuberances distending the gorget and coverchef of female figures of the reigns of Edward I. and II. (vide annexed specimens, figs, a, b, c, and d). The effigy of Donna Savelli, at Rome (fig. e)9 presents us with another variety, the pins sticking out right and left ; and in the effigy of Can de la Scala (fig./) we have a specimen of male head-attire, twisted into something like rams' horns ; but in no case do we find anything approaching to the horned head-dress of the fifteenth century (vide chap. xii. and xiii.). Finally, there is a passage quoted by Mr. Wright himself, from the testament of Jehan de Meun, which proves that the horns alluded to by the satirists were situated at the side of the head; for it states distinctly that between the towel (or gorget) and the temple and the horns, there is a space through which a rat might pass, or the largest weasel between this and Arras—

Et la temple et les comes pourrait passer un rat

Ou la greigneur moustelée qui soit jnsques Arras."

This space, formed by the distension of the gorget, is visible on each side of the face of figure d. I am therefore unshaken in my opinion tha.t there was no similarity between the horns alluded to by the satirists of the time of Edward I., and those worn by the ladies in the fifteenth century.

Of ornaments, we have a long list furnished us by the same authors; but unless they were worn by persons who could not afford such splendour, we perceive nothing in the articles themselves to carp at. Jewels, buckles of gold, rings, earrings, and chaplets of fresh flowers, or goldsmiths' work in imitation of them, are very natural and elegant ornaments for a female, and to carry the worth of one hundred pounds in gold and silver upon the head is only a reproach where it is incompatible with the circumstances of the wearer. The golden, net caul, termed crestine, creton, crespine, crespi-nette, was an elegant addition to the female costume of this period, and fonned for the next two centuries an important article of a lady's wardrobe.

The injurious practice of tight lacing we have already discovered in existence in the reign of Rufus or Henrj 1.5 and, in a MS. copy of the * Lajr of Syr Launfal,' written about the year 1300, we have the following description of two damsels, whom the knight unexpectedly meets in a forest :—

" Their kirtles were of Inde sendel, Y-laced small, joly/, and well, There misrht none «raver 20:

Y-bordered -with gold right well y-sette, Y-pellured with gris and gros; Their heads were dight well withal, Everich had on a jolyf coronal,

Their kerchiefs were well schyre, Arrayed with rich gold wyre."

The second line in the French original is still stronger ; they are said to have been Lacies moult estreitement, " very straightly or tightly laced." The Lady Triamore, in the same romance, is also described as

" Clad in purple pall, With gentyll body and middle small."

And, in another poem, we read of a lady with a splendid girdle of beaten gold, embellished with emeralds and rubies, " about her middle small."

By the first quotation we perceive also that the kirtle was at this time an exterior garment, like the robe or gown, if not, indeed, another term for the same thing. " Inde Sendel" may mean either Indian silk or light blue silk ; the words Inde and Pers being frequently used to express that colour. Sarcenet or saracennet, from its Saracenic or Oriental origin, was known about this period. The robe of Largesse or Liberality, in the ' Roman de la Rose/ is said to have been

"-bonne et belle,

D'une coute toute nouvelle,

D'un pourpre Sarraxinesche—Line 1172.

Gauze, Latinized gazzatum, and thought to have derived its name from being manufactured at Gaza, in Palestine, Brunetta or burnetta, and several other fine and delicate stuffs, are mentioned by writers of this reign.7 Tartan, in French tyretaine, in Latin tiretanus, was a fine woollen cloth, much used for ladies' robes, and generally of a scarlet colour.8 John de Meun speaks of

" Robbes faites par grand devises, De beaux draps de soies et de laine, De scarlate de tiretaine."

Roman de la Rose.

There is no visible alteration in the ecclesiastical costume.

The initial letter of Edward's name in a MS. of his reign furnishes us with the appearance of an archbishop in his official vestments. The mitre has very nearly its modern form.®

7 Brunettam nigram, gazzatum, et aliura quemcumque pannum notabiliter delicatura, interdicimus universi. Concil. Budense, anno 1279, cap. 61.

8 From whence, probably, its name, the teint or colour of Tyre; scarlet being indifferently used for purple by the early writers, and including " all the gradations of colours formed by a mixture of blue and red, from indigo to crimson " Vide Illustrations of Northern Antiquities, 4to. Edinb. 1814, p. 36.

• A rich and curiously wrought stuff, called checker at us, was worn at this period by the superior clergy (capa cum nodolis checkeratus subtilis operis facta de easula episcopi Fulconis. Visit. Thesauri, S. Pauli, Lond. a.d. 1295); and marble cloth, a thick stuff manufactured of party-coloure*1

Figure Drawing Template Egyptian

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