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English Costume by Dion Clayton Calthrop

English Costume by Dion Clayton Calthrop
WILLIAM THE SECOND - 1087-1100

By Pauline Weston Thomas for Fashion-Era.com

English Costume by Dion Clayton Calthrop
WILLIAM THE SECOND - 1087-1100

English Costume History 1087This costume history information consists of Pages 10 to 20 of the chapter on 11th century dress in the era of William The Second 1087-1100 and taken from English Costume by Dion Clayton Calthrop.

The 36 page section consists of a text copy of the book ENGLISH COSTUME PAINTED & DESCRIBED BY DION CLAYTON CALTHROP.  Visuals, drawings and painted fashion plates in the book have a charm of their own and are shown amid the text. The book covers both male and female dress history of over 700 years spanning the era 1066-1830. This page is about dress in the 13 year reign of King William The Second 1087 -1100.

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A MAN OF THE TIME OF WILLIAM II. (1087-1100)For the Introduction to this book see this introduction written by Dion Clayton Calthrop.  I have adjusted the images so they are mostly 400 pixels high and can be used for colouring worksheets where pupils add some costume/society facts.
My comments are in italics.

WILLIAM THE SECOND

Reigned thirteen years: 1087-1100
Born c. 1060.

A MAN OF THE TIME OF WILLIAM II - 1087-1100

Right - This costume plate illustrates the caped fighter wearing wide drawers with an embroidered border hem. Beneath this are long woollen Long John style pantaloon like drawers cross bound with leather thongs.

THE MEN

About this time there came to England a Norman, who settled near by the Abbey of Battle - Baldwin the Tailor by name, whom one might call the father of English tailoring.

Baldwin the Tailor sat contentedly cross-legged on his bench and plied his needle and thread, and snipped, and cut, and sewed, watching the birds pick worms and insects from the turf of the battleground.

England is getting a little more settled.

The reign opens picturesquely enough with William Rufus hastening to England with his father's ring, and ends with the tragedy of the New Forest and a blood-stained tunic.A MAN OF THE TIME OF WILLIAM II -  (1087-1100)

Clothes begin to play an important part. Rich fur-lined cloaks and gowns trail on the ground, and sweep the daisies so lately pressed by mailed feet and sopped with blood where the Saxons fell.

The Cloak pushed through a Ring.

Flemish Weavers - Rich Fabrics - Fine Cloths

Times have changed since Baldwin was at the coronation at Westminster on Christmas Day twenty years ago. Flemish weavers and farmers arrive from overseas, and are established by William II in the North to teach the people pacific arts, causing in time a stream of Flemish merchandise to flow into the country, chiefly of rich fabrics and fine cloths.

Longer Tunics For Men

The men adopt longer tunics, made after the same pattern as before - split up either side and loose in the sleeve - but in many cases the skirts reach to the ground in heavy folds, and the sleeves hang over the hands by quite a yard.

The necks of these tunics are ornamented as before, with coloured bands or stiff embroidery.

Embroidered Long Cuffs

The cuffs have the embroidery both inside and out, so that when the long sleeve is turned back over the hand the embroidery will show.

Cloaks 1087-1100Ankle Garters

The fashion in cloaks is still the same - of a semicircular pattern.

Curled Toes on Shoes

The shoes are the same as in the previous reign - that is, of the shape of the foot, except in rare cases of dandyism, when the shoes were made with long, narrow toes, and these, being stuffed with moss or wool, were so stiffened and curled up at the ends that they presented what was supposed to be a delightfully extravagant appearance.

Ankle Garters

They wore a sort of ankle garter of soft leather or cloth, which came over the top of the boot and just above the ankle.

Men's Hair & Beards

The hair, beard, and moustaches were worn long and carefully combed - in fact, the length of the beard caused the priests to rail at them under such terms as 'filthy goats.' But they had hardly the right to censorship, since they themselves had to be severely reprimanded by their Bishops for their extravagance in dress.

Welsh TrousersWelsh Trousers

Many gentlemen, and especially the Welsh, wore long loose trousers as far as the ankle, leaving these garments free from any cross gartering. These were secured about the waist by a girdle of stuff or leather.

The ultra-fashionable dress was an elongation of every part of the simple dress of the previous reign. Given these few details, it is easy for anyone who wishes to go further to do so, in which case he must keep to the main outline very carefully; but as to the actual length of sleeve or shoe, or the very measurements of a cloak, they varied with the individual folly of the owner. So a man might have long sleeves and a short tunic, or a tunic which trailed upon the ground, the sleeves of which reached only to the elbow.

I have noticed that it is the general custom of writers upon the dress of this early time to dwell lovingly upon the colours of the various parts of the dress as they were painted in the illuminated manuscripts. This is a foolish waste of time, insomuch as the colours were made the means of displays of pure design on the part of the very early illuminators; and if one were to go upon such evidence as this, by the exactness of such drawings alone, then every Norman had a face the colour of which nearly resembled wet biscuit, and hair picked out in brown lines round each wave and curl.

These woollen clothes - cap, tunic, semicircular cloak, and leg coverings - have all been actually found in the tomb of a Briton of the Bronze Age. So little did the clothes alter in shape, that the early Briton and the late Norman were dressed nearly exactly alike.

Tomb of William II

When the tomb of William II was opened in 1868, it was found, as had been suspected, that the grave had been opened and looted of what valuables it might have contained; but there were found among the dust which filled the bottom of the tomb fragments of red cloth, of gold cloth, a turquoise, a serpent's head in ivory, and a wooden spear shaft, perhaps the very spear that William carried on that fatal day in the New Forest.

Also with the dust and bones of the dead King some nutshells were discovered, and examination showed that mice had been able to get into the tomb. So, if you please, you may hit upon a pretty moral.

THE WOMENA WOMAN OF THE TIME OF WILLIAM II. (1087-1100)

And so the lady began to lace....

A moralist, a denouncer of the fair sex, a satirist, would have his fling at this. What thundering epithets and avalanche of words should burst out at such a momentous point in English history!

However, the lady pleased herself.

A WOMAN OF THE TIME OF WILLIAM II - 1087-1100

This shows a gown that fits far more closely to the female form. The sleeves gain width fullness above the wristline.

Ladies Begin Lacing

Not that the lacing was very tight, but it commenced the habit, and the habit begat the harm, and the thing grew until it arrived finally at that buckram, square-built, cardboard-and-tissue figure which titters and totters through the Elizabethan era.

The paragraph above is exceptionally observant of the silhouette changes that came into being a few hundred years later. Conversely reading the paragraph directly below which he wrote in the early 1900s, in the C21st seems almost unbelievable and slightly ludicrous to us, but is the result of Dion Clayton Calthrop's Victorian upbringing whatever he may really have thought.The Neater Figure of 1135.

Our male eyes, trained from infancy upwards to avoid gazing into certain shop windows, nevertheless retain a vivid impression of an awesome affair therein, which we understood by hints and signs confined our mothers' figures in its deadly grip.

That the lady did not lace herself overtight is proved by the many informations we have of her household duties; that she laced tight enough for unkind comment is shown by the fact that some old monk pictured the devil in a neat-laced gown.

It was, at any rate, a distinct departure from the loosely-clothed lady of 1066 towards the neater figure of 1135.

The lacing was more to draw the wrinkles of the close-woven bodice of the gown smooth than to form a false waist and accentuated hips, the beauty of which malformation I must leave to the writers in ladies' journals and the condemnation to health faddists.

However, the lacing was not the only matter of note. A change was coming over all feminine apparel - a change towards richness, which made itself felt in this reign more in the fabric than in the actual make of the garment.

The gown was open at the neck in the usual manner, was full in the skirt and longer than heretofore, was laced at the back, and was loose in the sleeve.

Over Long Sleeves on Ladies Gowns

Longer Sleeves - Ladies Gowns 1100The sleeve as worn by the men - that is, the over-long sleeve hanging down over the hand - was also worn by the women, and hung down or was turned back, according to the freak of the wearer. Not only this, but a new idea began, which was to cut a hole in the long sleeve where the hand came, and, pushing the hand through, to let the rest of the sleeve droop down. This developed, as we shall see later.

Fastened CloakWoman in Fastened Cloak c1100

Then the cloak, which had before been fastened by a brooch on the shoulder or in the centre of the breast, was now held more tightly over the shoulders by a set of laces or bands which ran round the back from underneath the brooch where they were fastened, thus giving more definition to the shoulders.

You must remember that such fashions as the hole in the sleeve and the laced cloak were not any more universal than is any modern fashion, and that the good dame in the country was about a century behind the times with her loose gown and heavy cloak.

Short Gowns

There were still the short gowns, which, being tucked in at the waist by the girdle, showed the thick wool chemise below and the unlaced gown, fitting like a jersey.

The large wimple was still worn wrapped about the head, and the hair was still carefully hidden.  See more on these lady's hair

A Lady Ready For Bed

Shall we imagine that it is night, and that the lady is going to bed? She is in her long white chemise, standing at the window looking down upon the market square of a small town.

The moon picks out every detail of carving on the church, and throws the porch into a dense gloom. Not a soul is about, not a light is to be seen, not a sound is to be heard.

The lady is about to leave the window, when she hears a sound in the street below. She peers down, and sees a man running towards the church; he goes in and out of the shadows. From her open window she can hear his heavy breathing. Now he darts into the shadow of the porch, and then out of the gloom comes a furious knocking, and a voice crying, 'Sanctuary!'

The lady at her window knows that cry well. Soon the monks in the belfry will awake and ring the Galilee-bell.

The Galilee-bell tolls, and the knocking ceases.
A few curious citizens look out. A dog barks. Then a door opens and closes with a bang.

There is silence in the square again, but the lady still stands at her window, and she follows the man in her thoughts.

Now he is admitted by the monks, and goes at once to the altar of the patron-saint of the church, where he kneels and asks for a coroner.

The coroner, an aged monk, comes to him and confesses him. He tells his crime, and renounces his rights in the kingdom; and then, in that dark church, he strips to his shirt and offers his clothes to the sacrist for his fee. Ragged, mud-stained clothes, torn cloak, all fall from him in a heap upon the floor of the church.

Now the sacrist gives him a large cloak with a cross upon the shoulder, and, having fed him, gives him into the charge of the under-sheriff, who will next day pass him from constable to constable towards the coast, where he will be seen on board a ship, and so pass away, an exile for ever.

The night is cold. The lady pulls a curtain across the window, and then, stripping herself of her chemise, she gets into bed.

WILLIAM THE SECOND

Reigned thirteen years: 1087-1100
Born c. 1060

This costume history information consists of Pages 10 to 20 of the chapter on 11th century dress in the era of William The Second 1087-1100 and taken from English Costume by Dion Clayton Calthrop.

The 36 page section consists of a text copy of the book ENGLISH COSTUME PAINTED & DESCRIBED BY DION CLAYTON CALTHROP.  Visuals, drawings and painted fashion plates in the book have a charm of their own and are shown amid the text. The book covers both male and female dress history of over 700 years spanning the era 1066-1830. This page is about dress in the 13 year reign of King William The Second 1087-1100.

For the Introduction to this book see this introduction written by Dion Clayton Calthrop.  I have adjusted the images so they are mostly 400 pixels high and can be used for colouring worksheets where pupils add some costume/society facts.
My comments are in italics.

You have been reading English Costume History at www.fashion-era.com © from the chapter William The Second - 1087-1100, from Dion Clayton Calthrop's book English Costume.

NEXT HENRY I

Page Added August 2010. Ref:-P784.

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