Page images
PDF
EPUB

The mag

king's head, who was then conducted to his throne. After this ceremonial the king laid aside the regal vestments and crown; he then clothed himself in a lighter dress and crown, and, thus habited, came to dinner." nificence with which Richard proceeded to the Cņusades, is mentioned in terms bordering on romance; it gained him the envy of the French monarch, on account of his su. perior pomp and valour. His mantle is described to have been striped in strait lines, adorned with half moons of solid silver, and nearly covered with shining orbs, in imitation of the system of astronomy. :

John. The busy scenes which were exhibited during this reign, did not allow of great luxuries in dress; lowever, it appears from an original record in the Tower, " that the sum of 741. 19:. 9d. was ordered to be paid, by the king's treasurer, for the purchase of coronation robes for the use of the king and his consort, Isabel, when she was crowned queen, and John inaugurated the second time.”

HENRY III. This oppressive reign was also an era of pomp and ostentation. In Stow's Annals, we find that Henry kept his Christmas at Winchester, in the year 1 236, with great festivity, waiting the return of messengers be had sent to Provence to protract a marriage with Eleanor, daughter of count Raymond, sovereign of that country.

The marriage solemnity took place at Canterbury, and the queen was crowned at Westminster on the twentieth day of January following: The number of various " estates" which resorted to the coronation was so great, that the whole metropolis was scarcely sufficient to receive them. On this occasion the city was ornamented with silk, and at night illuminated with innumerable lamps, to shew to greater effect the several pageants that were exhihited. To meet their sovereign and bis consort, the citizens, arrayed in garments, called Cyclades*, embroidered with gold and silk of various colours, rode on horses “ finely trapped arraie,” to the number of three hundred and sixty; every

* The garments called Cycludes, by Matthew Paris, which he informs us were woru by the citizens of London on this occasion, a pear to have been sur-couts, or gowns, rather than mantles ; because be speaks of them as surrounding ibeir other restments

The Cycius, that formed part of the coronation habit of Judith, daughter to the king of Bohemia, A.D. 1096, is expressly said to have resembled the Dating which was a species of long iunic, with loose sleeves, reaching to the elbows.—Siruli's English Dresses,

citizen

citizen bearing a gold or silver cup in his hand, the king's trumpeters'sounding before the company.

The same monarch, when conferring the honour of knighthood on William de Valence, was arrayed in a gilded vestment of Baudekins *; he wore a coronet, or small crown of gold upon his head, called in the English lan-guage, a garland, and set upon his throne in great majesty. i .

The extraordinary pomp exbibited by Henry and his court, on the marriage of his eldest daughter. Margaret, with Alexander III, king of Scotland, is distinguished by Matthew Paris, 'as“ the lasciva vanitas, or lust of vanity."' « There were," says he, « great abundance of people of all ranks, multitudes of the nobility of England, France, and ScotJand, with crowds of knights and military officers, the whole of them wantonly allorned with garments of silk, and so transformed with abundance of ornaments,'that it would be impossible particularly to describe their dresses, without being tiresome to the reader, though they might indeed excite his astonishment: Upwards of one thousand knights, on the part of the king of England, altended the nuptials in vestments of silk, which were cominonly called Cuinteses t. These on the morrow were laid aside, and the same knights appeared in new robes, representing themselves as courriers. Sixty knights, with other officers of equal rank, attended on the appointment of the Scottish monarch, habited in equally splendid vestments”. · The habits of the men, do not appear to have been materially altered during the third century. The seeming novelies were the Tabard, and the (ver.all. The first we have sufficiently described in our account of Southwark; the latter appears to have been appropriated to the same purposes as the modern great coats, and were used by those wbo travelled; they were also denominated Balanırana, and . Balandrava; but were forbidden to be worn by the clergy, as appertaining to the laity.

* Baudkins, or cloth of Baudkins, in Latin Baldekinus, was one of the most precious species of stuff that appeared in England at this period : it is said to have been composed of silk, interwoven with threads of gold, in a rich stile. It derived its name from Baldeck, formerly Babylon, where it is supposed to have been first manufactured. This stuff was probably known upon the Continent for some time before it was introduced into England. The above monarch appears to have been the first who used it for his vesture.-Matthew Paris; Strudi's Dresses.

+ Queintice, queintise, neatness, curiously ornamented with devices; whence Cointises, dresses fancifully adorned.--Urry's Chaucer. Whence probably quaint also ?

The · The Wimple, or Gimple, formed part of the dress of the ladies during this period, and was introduced towards the conclusion of the twelfth century. The white wimples were probably made of linen; but many appertaining to ladies of high ranks were ornamented with gold embroidery. This was considered as the first part of the head dress, and covered by the veil or coverchief, which concealed the wimple and the head, but not the face. The wimple was curiously plaited, and confined to the head by an ornamental circle of gold. The Huca, or Hyke, was a sort of coverchief for the ladies, and descended to the shoulders ; it was afterwards adopted by the men as a mantle, which not only covered the head and shoulders, but the whole body. A garment of the same name is in use among the Kabyles and Arabs at the present day. The Gorget, or Throatpiece, originated upon the Continent, and seems to have been of linen; it was three times wrapped round the neck, fastened with a great quantity of pins, and raised on each side of the face, so as to conceal the ears, and had the appearance of two horns; it is so closely attached to the chin, that it had the a rance of being nailed to it, or that the pins pierced the flesh. Cretores, or crests of gold, ornamented with jewels, were often worn over the wimples. Gloves seem to have been introduced about this time.

Edward I. efter this monarch, in the year 1300, had married Margaret, daughter of Philip the Fair, king of France, at Canterbury; the citizens of London met her four miles from the city, and conducted her to Westminster. Ou this occasion, their number amounted to six hundred, dressed in red and white liveries, with the cognizances of their mysteries embroidered on their sleeves.

· EDWARD II. The vanity of dress had become so prevalent in this reign, that a contemporary historian com. plains “ the squire endeavoured to outshine the knight in the richness of his apparel; the knight, the baron ; the baron, the earl; and the earl, the king himself. This extravagance occasioned the four lines by the Scots:

Long beirds hertiless,
Peynted wh«ods witless,
Gav cotes graceless,

Maketh Englond thrifeless. EDWARD III. In this reign the kingdom was blessed wilh such tranquillity and plenty, in consequence of the many victories obtained by i dward's bravery, that pomp and splen: dour assumed the greatest sway; " such great quantities of

garments

[ocr errors]

garments lined with fur, of fine linen, of jewels, of gold and silver plate, and rich furniture; the spoils of France, were brought into England, that every woman of rank obtained a share." " Then," says Thomas of Walsingham, “ the ladies of this country became vain and haughty in their attire; and were as much elated by the acquisition of so much finery, as the ladies of France were dejected by its loss."

This being the age for chivalry and tournaments, the pompous exhibitions on those occasions contributed not a little to promote the succession of new fashions; the knights were habiled in decorations of gallantry, and constantly displayed the most brilliant appearance. One of the orders of the king on such an occasion, was, to“ prepare a tu. nic, and a cloak with a hood, on which were to be embroidered one hundred garters, with buckles, bars, and pendants of silver; also a doublet of linen, having round the skirts, and about the sleeves, a border of long green cloth, worked with the representations of clouds, with vine branches of gold, and the following motto, dictated by the king : “ IT IS AS IT IS.”

“ These tournaments,” says Henry Knighton, “ are at. tended by many ladies of the first rank and greatest beauty. They are dressed in party-coloured tunics, one half being of one colour, the other half being of another; with short hoods and liripipes, or tippets, which are wrapped about their heads like cords; their girdles are handsomely ornamented with gold and silver; and they wear short swords, or daggers, before them in pouches, a little below the navel; and thus habited, they are mounted on the finest horses that can be procured, and ornamented with the richest furniture.” Such a masculine appearance did not, however, escape the satire of contemporary writers. ,

Chaucer speaks of " the horrible disordinate scantiness of clothing, such as the cut sloppes and hanselynes,” which were so constructed to sit so closely upon their limbs, as to appear indecent. Their hozen were parti-coloured, and divided in the middle, so that each thigh was of a different colour, and “the hinder parts were horrible to be seen." To make the portrait more outré, the jackets were without lappets, and party-coloured. Our author censures “ the outrageous array of the women," in a general manner.

To such an excess had this article of the human economy arrived, that the House of Commons, in the thirty-seventh VOL. IV, No. 100. 4, B

year

the kingese tournandies of the foured tupianother; weed about tended by dressed in her half beim zich are wdsomely ornas

year of this reign, exhibited a complaint in parliament, « against the general usage of wearing apparel, not suited either to the degree or income of the people.” The consequence of which was that an act passed, in which, among other restrictions, it was ordained :

“ That tradesmen, artificers, and persons in office, called yes men, shall wear no cloth in their apparel, exceeding the price of forty shillings the whole cloth; neither shall they embellish then garments with precious stones, cloth of silk, or of silver; nor shall they wear any gold or silver upon their girdles, knites, rings, garters, nouches, (collars) ribands, chains, bracelets, or seals ; na any manner of apparel embroidered or decorated with silk, o any other way; their wives and their children shall wear the same kind of cloth as they do, and use no veils but such as are made with thread, and manufactured in this kingdom; nor any kind of furs, excepting those of lambs, rabbits, cats, and fores,

" Merchants, citizens, burgesses, artificers, and tradesmen, a well in the city of London, or elsewhere, who are in the posses. sion of the full value of 5001. in goods and chattels, may, with their wives and children, use the same clothing as the esquires, and gentlemen who have a yearly income of 100l.; and such of them as are in possession of goods and chattels to the amount of 1000). may, with their wives and children, wear the same apparel as the esquires, and gentlemen who have 20001. yearly. No groom, yeoman, or servant, belonging to the persons above named, shall exceed the apparel ordained for grooms and servants of lords and others.See Harl. MSS. No. 7059.

RICHARD II. The laws relating to dress, established by his grandfather, were little attended to by this monarch, or his subjects ; he was so exceedingly fond of pomp, and so erpensive in his apparel, that Holingshed informs us, “he had one coat, or robe, which was so enriched with gold and precious stones, as to cost no less than thirty thousand marks;" a prodigious sum at that time. The king's example operated upon the courtiers to such a degree that they, in a great measore, cxceeded him in extravagance, Sir John Arundel had no less than fifty-two new suits of apparel for his own person, of cloth, of gold, or of tissue. The spirit of expensive decoration diffused itself among the lower classes; the fashions were continually changing, and each one aimed at the means to outshine his neighbour in the novelty and grandeur of his babit. Some of these wore wide surcoats reaching to their loins; others wore garments reaching to their heels, close bofore, and strutting out on the sides, so that at the back men had an effeminate appearance"; this they called by the ridiculous name of goxn;

« PreviousContinue »