Loxwood Joust: Little known facts about Medieval fashion

There are jut a few weeks until Loxwood Meadow is transformed for the annual festival of Medievel mayhem, on August 5&6 and 12&13.

Friday, 7th July 2017, 1:42 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:45 am
A Medieval housewife and her tyranical husband at the Loxwood Joust

And as the final preparations are made, the team behind the Loxwood Joust have compiled a series of fascinating Medieval facts to whet your appetite.

Here, the event’s own Medieval Housewife reveals little known facts about the fashions of the time.

• Ordinary people in the middle ages would only wear clothes made of wool or linen. They made their own clothes at home but members of the nobility had their clothes made by tailors. The higher the status of the person, the better the quality of the material for their clothes to show that they were more important people.

• In 1363 laws were introduced to control how grand the clothes of ordinary people could be. Sumptuary laws said who could wear which type of fur and what colours you could wear depending on whether you were a worker, a knight or a lord.

• For years it was believed that medieval women didn’t wear bras or pants – until 2012 when remnants of medieval linen underwear were found beneath the floor boards of a castle.

• Some women fitted detachable hems to their dresses; they were a great idea – if the bottom of your long gown got muddy, the last few centimetres could be unpinned and removed to be cleaned.

• Sleeves were also detachable so the look of your favourite dress could be changed by changing the colour of your sleeves – so you could wear your best sleeves on special occasions.

• For a young woman a new pair of sleeves was a special gift from your boyfriend – especially green ones - as in the famous song ‘Green Sleeves’ which might have been written by King Henry VIII himself.

• However, if a woman was called Mistress Green Gown it meant she had loose morals; gossips would say she was always rolling around on the grass with men, staining her clothes green.

• Some prostitutes would try to pretend they were respectable by wearing an apron like an ordinary housewife. So in 1463 a law was passed forbidding them from wearing aprons, which became a woman’s badge of respectability.

• After a woman was married she was expected to keep her hair covered; young women could wear their hair loose as this might attract a man, but once she was had a husband she would cover it so she wouldn’t tempt anyone else.

• Shoes were expensive; to impress people it became fashionable to have long pointed shoes – these points became so long that men would tie them back to their knees so they didn’t trip over them.

Loxwood Joust is held at Loxwood Meadow over two weekneds, on August 5&6, and 12&13. For full details and to buy tickets visit www.loxwoodjoust.co.uk