They consisted of hose or long stockings (the Norman chausses, in fact) tied by points, as the laces were called, to the doublet, which was sometimes open in front, about halfway down the breast, show-
in g a placard or stomacher, over which it was laced like a peasant's bodice. This was a fashion just introduced. Over the doublet was worn either a long or a short gown, according to fancy or circum? stances ; the former hanging loose, the latter full of plaits before and behind, but plain at the sides, and girdled tightly about the waist. These upper vestments had sleeves of various descriptions, very full and slashed in front, so as to let the arm through, or cut open at the elbow behind, and showing the sleeve of the doublet or even of the shirt, the doublet being slashed also and laced across for ornament's sake merely.
Small caps, or " bonets " as they are called, the French word bonet (bonnet) becoming naturalized, we believe, about this period, of various shapes, but principally round and fitting the head closely, with rolls of fur round them, or the lining simply turned up, and a feather at the back or at the side, sometimes jewelled up the stem, formed the general head-dress; but the hood and tippet were also worn.
Boots reaching to the middle of the thigh and tuitoed over with straps, like the modern top-boot, are frequently seen in illuminations of this period, with long spurs and enormously long pointed toes and a sort of clog fastened by a strap over the instep, or merely by the pressure of two small side-pieces, is seen vying in length with the toes of the hose or chaussés above it.
The hair was worn extremely bushy behind and at the sides, as in the preceding reign.
The materials of which the gowns, doublets, &c., were made were splendid; of course, in proportion to the fancy of the wearer. We will not say the rank or the means, for the sumptuary laws continually quoted have proved that, then as now, the folly of dressing beyond both was but too common in England. Richard writes for his short gowns of crimson cloth of gold; " that one with droppue, and that other with nett, lined with green velvet gowns of green velvet and green satin; placards and stomachers of purple and green satin ; doublets of purple and tawny satin, lined with galand cloth and outlined with buske; "a cloke, with a cape of violet ingrained, the both lined with black velvet and he had also a long gown of purple cloth of gold, wrought with garters and roses, and lined with white damask, which was the gift of the queen.
The poor young prince, by right King Edward V., received for the ceremony of the coronation of his usurping uncle a short gown, made of two yards and three-quarters of crimson cloth of gold, lined with black velvet; a long gown of the same stuffy lined with green damask; a shorter gown, made of two yards and a quarter of purple velvet, lined with green damask; a stomacher and doublet, made of two yards of black satin; besides two footcloths, a bonet of purple velvet, gilt spurs, and magnificent apparel for his henchmen or pages.
To all the officers of state and to the principal nobility cloths of gold and silver, scarlet cloth, and silks of various colours were given as liveries and perquisites. To " the Duke of Bukks" (Buckingham), who stands first, eight yards of blue cloth of gold, wrought with " droops," eight yards of black. velvet, and twelve yards of crimson velvet were delivered as a special gift from the king.
The henchmen or pages of the king and queen wore doubtlets of green satin, long gowns of crimson velvet lined with white sarcenet, and black bonnets. The king's henchmen had also provided for them long gowns of white cloth of gold and doublets of crimson satin.
We might fill pages with similar extracts from this book of the wardrober, but we have extracted as much as is necessary for our present purpose, and refer the curious reader to the document itself for the description of the horse-furniture, embroideries for banners, pennons, canopies, &c., and all the pomp and circumstance of the gorgeous ceremony amidst which Richard assumed a crown he had no right to wear, and lost, with his life, in twenty-six months from the date of his usurpation.
Was this article helpful?