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cl-Wales-msg - 8/28/04


Clothing of medieval Wales. Resources.


NOTE: See also the files: Wales-msg, Roman-Wales-bib, clothing-msg, cl-Anglo-Saxn-msg, merch-cloth-lst, seamstresses-msg, underwear-msg, p-shoes-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given by the individual authors.


Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From: Heather Rose Jones <hrjones at socrates.berkeley.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Welsh clothing

Date: Wed, 23 May 2001 10:26:08 -0700

Organization: University of California at Berkeley


Ken Chapin III wrote:

> My wife and I are just getting involved with the SCA. She wants to take a

> welsh persona. We've been searching the net for info on very old welsh

> clothing but are having a hard time of it. Could someone suggest somewhere

> to look? Everything I've found dates to the 17 and 18 hundreds, I think

> she'd prefer something much earlier. HELP!!! Does anyone have patterns?


For a variety of reasons, not least including the low volume of (easily

accessible) information, the topic of Welsh clothing is very sparsely

covered before the 18th century (when Lady Llanover singlehandedly

"invented" Welsh National Dress, from the ordinary clothing of the time).


One of the difficulties in researching this topic, when compared to

other pre-modern European cultures, is the small amount of information

available on the visual arts in Wales, as well as the difficulty in

disentangling representations of "native" culture in that art from art

that represents a more universal pan-Insular or pan-Western-European

style.  The reasons for this scarcity of visual arts are varied and

include the relative poverty of the native Welsh nobility before the

Edwardian conquest, the cultural shift of focus towards England after

that event, and a simple disinterest in publishing what _does_ survive

among those studying the subject.  (For example, there are illuminated

manuscripts that were produced in Wales that, as far as I can tell, have

never been published, in full or in part, in a way that would make their

art available to researchers.)


This last deficiency is being remedied in part by Peter Lord's excellent

series "The Visual Culture of Wales" (University of Wales Press), of

which the volumes "Industrial Society" and the early modern volume whose

title I forget are available, with the Medieval/Renaissance volume

expected within a couple years.


Written descriptions of clothing in Wales are more available, but must

be winkled out of their hiding places in a wide variety of genres, and

then evaluated for evidentiary value.


I've done a start on the latter approach (as well as including what few

visual representations I can find) for Welsh clothing up to around 1300,

in my booklet "Medieval Welsh Clothing to 1300" (available from a few

SCA booksellers -- unfortunately I'm not taking orders myself at the

moment).  I hope to turn this booklet into a web site at some point in

the future, but I'm trying to avoid such distractions while I'm supposed

to be finishing the dissertation.


The overall picture for the period I was studying seems to be that Welsh

clothing did not differ drastically from that of their neighbors,

although there were certain characteristics of material or style that

were recognized as being associated with the Welsh, although not

uniquely so.  (This included characteristics like the continued use of

rectangular cloaks into the medieval period, a haphazard attitude

towards the wearing of shoes, even in battle, and often comments on what

foreigners considered to be sparsity in clothing, e.g., a single linen

tunic and cloak rather than both linen and wool tunics.)


After the period I was studying, clothing, especially of the upper

classes, looked to England for style and inspiration. There is evidence

for various "regional styles" or characteristic garments among the

ordinary people, but this should be set in a similar context of regional

styles within different areas of England -- there was no real

characteristically or iconically "Welsh" dress, in the sense of a style

of clothing that was uniquely and universally associated with that region.


There's plenty of room for further research in this field, especially in

terms of combing through written accounts for fragments of information.





Heather Rose Jones

hrjones at socrates.berkeley.edu




From: Heather Jones <hrjones at socrates.berkeley.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Head-gear

Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2003 10:30:52 -0700

Organization: University of California, Berkeley


Jen wrote:

> Does anyone out there know where I could find information on what sort

> of head gear a women in 12th century Wales would wear?  Thanks.


In vague terms, there are 12th c. references to women's headgear

styles in Giraldus Cambrensis (Itinerary Through Wales /

Description of Wales), and there are references to at least two

different types of headgear in the Welsh laws (although it is

much less clear what dates of usage these references can be

considered to cover), but to the best of my knowledge, there is

nothing available that will give you direct information on what

to make and wear.


Giraldus describes Welsh women as wearing a headdress "like what

the Parthian women wore" ... well, given that he's comparing the

style to that of a people living a millennium earlier in another

part of the world, about which he would have had zero direct

informtion, all this tells us is that Welsh women were wearing

something that was similar to what Giraldus _imagined_ Parthian

women to have worn, which doesn't really help at all.


The laws use two terms for women's headdress: "pen-lliain"

(literaly head-linen) and "pen-guch" (literally head-boat,

probably referring to some shaped object that vaguely resembled a

coracle).  The latter seems to have been considered either a

lower class or less formal item of dress.  It would be reasonable

to associate these terms with some sort of linen veil and some

sort of coif-like item respectively, but that's about as much as

you'll get.




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org