Sherts, Trewes, & Hose .i. :
A Survey of Medieval Underwear

by maistre Emrys Eustace, hight Broom
IAmBroom @ yahoo . com

Why We Wear Underclothing:

  • Warmth
  • Cleanliness (protect the outer, better garments from soiling)
  • Erotic suggestion of undress (e.g., modern fads for eveningwear resembling underclothing; Tudor chemises which peekaboo from bodices)
  • Erotic shaping of the body (brassieres, corsets, foxtails, tightly fitting men's hosen)
  • Control (restriction of the breasts and male pouch)
  • Decorum

Rarity of Evidence from Period

Medieval underclothing was generally covered by outerwear almost as thoroughly as modern underclothing, but with a much lighter restriction on its display. Thus, we do have illustrations of workers at hard labour wearing nothing more than their "underclothes". Prisoners were displayed in their underclothing as a debasement, so paintings depicting the execution of contemporary notorious figures such as religious heretics and the Master of the Knights Templar provide rare complete views of these garments.

We occasionally get glimpses of the edges of these garments, as during periods when the undertunic peeks out from the sleeves or neckline of the outer wear, or through the slits in the bottom hem of tunics, but it is difficult to glean much more information than length out of these.

c1390. 2 courtiers or ducal uncles of Richard II.  [Houston p111]


Since the Medievals did not seem to attach much erotic importance to underclothing, there are few "titillation" depictions of these, even in religious allegories of damnation. Lovers in bed are invariably depicted naked except for nightcaps. The damned in hell are typically portrayed either nude (naked and defenseless), or wearing the excessively rich and vain clothes for which they were condemned (exemplifying the mortal sin of vanitas).

1200-25. Peasants, from psalter in British Museum. [Houston p51]

Be wary of interpretations based on single illustrations, or their interpretations by others. The second figure in the drawing at right seems to be a worker stomping a shovel into the ground barefoot (ouch!), and thus without hosen; compare his figure with others beside him and it becomes less clear. He is probably wearing both hosen and shoes; the modern rendering of this period illustration does not make this obvious.


Linen was often chosen for comfort in garments worn next to the skin. It was easy to bleach: laid in the sun wet, UV light will oxidize the water and bleach the fabric (when laid out dry in UV, the plant fiber oxidizes instead, turning it yellow). However, this was still a luxury item: sunning linen would occupy scads of sunlit, flat, and presumably arable land.

Woolen undergarments appear in various references, which offered the sensibility of additional warmth at the cost of comfort; thus, there are occasional references to class distinctions, with the rich preferring linen underclothes. There are also admonitions to wear sensible wool for undergarments, instead of bowing to the (supposedly) unhealthy fashion to wear finer cloths.

Blended textiles were very common (e.g., fustian is sometimes described as a wool/silk blend), and might have made a pleasant compromise in warmth and comfort. Linen/wool underclothing is therefore believable, although I have never heard evidence of such. There are also references to linen linings for wool hosen.

Silk was tremendously costly, and, as today, was rarely used for garments which were not meant to be seen (modern erotic underwear does not meet this criterion). For hosen, however, there are some rare references to its use. Henry VIII ordered silk hosen to be made for his sister.

Cotton was probably not used at this time for underclothes. Although imported to Europe by at least the 13th c (from India and Arabia), it seems to have been prohibitively expensive. It is frankly poorly suited to these uses: it shrinks tremendously in washing, and continues to shrink, making it poorly suited to tightly fitted hosen (wool fibers stretch and relax back to near original size); it retains moisture, making it a poor insulator and a good rotter; it weakens when wet; it stains easily. Bear in mind when reading sources from our period that until the 18th c the term "cotton" or "coton" could refer to any of: wool fiber, cotton (plant) fiber, or various specific cloths made of wool or cotton or both.

Knitting is almost never mentioned in the manufacture of any garments except headgear, prior to the 16th c. Queen Elizabeth received a gift of knitted hosen from Spain, which quickly became the height of fashion for the well-to-do; the implication is that knitted hosen were unknown in England prior to this, and her father wore hosen cut of broadcloth.

An exception of which I am aware: there are depictions of the Madonna knitting what appears to be a shirt for the Christ child. As always with religious pictures, one must be very cautious in the interpretation of what is depicted. What appears to be supportive evidence that knitted underclothing was worn by babies, it is far more likely a symbolic biblical reference:

John 19:23. The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also the coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.

Thus, this may be merely a Medieval interpretation of how such a coat could be constructed; this is not proof that such garments were ever made.

From a post to H-Costume by Dawn T. Jacobson, dated 14 Oct 95:

"Although it appears that knitted caps were becoming more commonplace by the late 16th Century, it appears that knitted hose did not catch on until well into ERI's reign (the 1570s). Stockings had to be imported from Italy or Spain, and were very expensive. In 1566, the first mechanized wireworks was built in England, supplying a source of good steel knitting needles in small enough sizes to allow the knitting of hose. An example of the fineness of the work are the silk stockings found in the grave of Johan III, buried in Uppsala in 1592. The stockings, made much as stockings are made today, knitted in stockinette stitch with a single purl down the back to serve as a seam, started with 254 stitches cast on. By comparison, a stocking I'm presently knitting on #1 pins started with only 1/2 that many stitches cast on. By my estimate (Rutt did not provide a gauge for Johan III's stockings), they are 18-20 stitches to the inch.

In the 16th c., German references mention the use of knitting to make berets, hats, and stockings (according to a post to H-Costume by Julie Adams dated Mon, 9 Oct 95 [Textilier Hausrat]). Apparently, the English were far behind the Germans and Spaniards in this regard. One member of H-Costume offered a plausible excuse for why it took so long before Europeans, who knew how to knit in various forms throughout the Medieval period, used it for hosen. After all, knitted items are extremely springy, waste no thread, and can form seamlessly fitted hosen; knitting seems ideally suited for hosen. However, she explained that in the time that it took her to knit one inch of a leg-sized tube, she could weave one foot of woolen cloth.

Loincloths / Trewes / Breeches / Braies / Bracchæ


Usually not intended to be normally seen, these seem to be universally white or unbleached in the Medieval period. (Please contact me immediately if you find other evidence!)

The braies were cinched at the waist with a running cord or girdle which laced in & out of the rolled hemline. The hosen were originally tied to this (until the late 14th or early 15th c.). Additionally, the purse could be tied to this cord, and thus kept under the tunic, out of harm's way. Slits in long tunics allowed access to the purse without "hoisting the mainsail."

A consistent feature of depictions of Medieval braies is a wide, baggy bunching at the waistband, as though lots of fabric were being gathered. Having worn an attempt at such for some time now, trussing my hosen from the front & sides of the running cord (which I made from simply a bias-cut strip of broadcloth), I can attest that thin cords bite into the waist over the day, especially when cinched tightly enough to support the hose (and I haven't even added a purse full of silver!). Additionally, such cords in period depictions appear quite wide themselves, although an expected large knot is not apparent. Wider cloth strips would certainly spread out the stress; but I am less sure of this because of the absence of large knots.

c1430-40 Stealing a judge's britches. Tarrant p53

1200s Crusader trewes peeking between mail legs. Laver p56

Lady Kate Oakley (Val Winkler) suggested to me the pattern similar to the one at right, which is based on 13th c braies. In the 13th c, of course, tunics were longer, and the hose could stop at the knees, so the braies might have been made of two leg rectangles, instead of a single rectangle at the waist. This pattern would allow short braies to be worn in the high-hosen period of the late 14th c, without major modification of an existing pattern.

When the hosen began to be affixed by points to the under-cotehardie or pourpoint, the design requirements shifted for the breeches. (I will use this newer word to distinguish them from the previous form, although it is not a historical distinction. Bear in mind that the words we use to differentiate clothing types are often modern distinctions, or merely linguistic trends - such as from 'braccae' to 'braies' to 'breeches' - that did not indicate a specific difference in period.) They were now visible more often than not, and a baggy pair of breeches just would not do on the silhouette of a buffed-out 15th c courtier. The pattern above would work for a brief period (no pun intended), but by the time the Lancastrian men of the early 1400's were showing off their full buttocks in joined hosen, the "breech" part of the hosen would require a cut more closely resembling modern men's pants (with a J-shaped fork pattern). Actual breeches may have followed suit, at least amongst the middle-class, since skilled tradesmen of this era seem be wearing quite snugly tailored breeches. I presume that the high-fashion joined hosen of this time were worn without breeches beneath them, to produce the smooth flattering curves depicted in the paintings.

1490 Toledo Museum

The breeches no longer needed a cinch cord to snake in & out of the hem, so the hem fully enclosed the cord. Wrapping around more than a full circle of the waistline and overlapping in front, the ends were pulled back together, gathering the front center. In this way, the breeches could be well-fitted behind, while there was enough give when open to make them easy to don. This also created the pouch seen in most 15th c depictions of men stripped to their underclothes. In fact, statues of the crucifixion provide an excellent chance to study the 3-D form of (sometimes) realistic underclothes. Don't miss the chance at your next museum visit! To the right is image from Boccaccio, ca 1475, of a woman prisoner wearing trewes.

The pouch simultaneously hid, and called attention to, the package beneath. Although the breeches are now visible, they are still universally white or undyed (in my experience).


15c. Hallam (P Encycl)

The month of February in Le Duc de Berry's Très Riches Heures shows a well-known, humorous depiction of a worker woman warming her legs & privates before a fire, her dress hiked up to her waist. This pornographic detail of a Medieval prayer book provides a rare look under the skirts of our period. Notably, the man is wearing hosen that end in a band just below the knees; since it is winter, his tunics will all be long, and there's no need for him to wear the high hosen that go with his warm weather attire. A picture in Knives & Scabbards shows a couple in flagrant delecto in front of a knifeseller's stand; the woman wears only calf-high hosen, but no 'panties'

1412-6 Tres Riches Heures - February

Normally, underpants would seem to be an inconvenience, as long underskirts provide much easier access for the toilet, are warm (when they reach to the ground), and are easier to make. Of course, menstruation produces a different incentive. The rags of old would need to be retained by some sort of trewes, or at the least a loincloth. Arguably, this could be a spare pair of her husband's borrowed for the occasion, although given pervasive and antiquated views on the moral 'cleanliness' of women during periods, it seems less likely. Perhap along with her personal rags, each woman kept an old pair of trewes for this use.


After the age of swaddling, and before the children began adolescence, what evidence I have seen suggests children went without underclothing. There is an anecdotal reference to mothers walking young boys just outside the threshold to pee, and also planting lettuce there (which loves frequent waterings!). Obviously, this simplifies potty-training accidents. There are cartoons of whipped schoolboys and tree-climbing lads, showing bare bums beneath their tunics, as in this image from  Bodleian c1445.


Coifs and Hoods Used as Coifs

Coifs, made of linen or silk, provide both warmth and protection for more expensive (and less washable) headgear from hair oil. They also offer immunity from "hat hair"!

c1340. Luttrell Psalter. Note
'under-hood' & late use of cross-garters. Houston p 103

I do not know when they first came into use, but they were immensely popular in England in the 13th c., and by the 14th c had lost favor, their use retained mostly by lawyers, according to [Houston p84]. However, this seems not to have been the case abroad, as shown in [Houston 116] of an Italian merchant from the late 14th c., who wears a coif under his chaperone (worn here as a hat). In every instance I have seen, including padded ones for arming, the coifs are white. They are tied beneath the chin with a single cord, which emanated from flaps over the ears, and typically the cord slopes forward at a diagonal angle to the chin. This angle is what keeps the coif secure from shifting forward in a helmet (from a personal, unpleasant experience).

As an alternative, the liripipe hood, or chaperone, was occasionally worn under hats, as depicted in the Luttrell Psalter, mid-14th c [Houston p103]. These hoods with short "nubbins" of liripipes are someitmes referred to as "capucin" hoods, after the monks, and they develop for dandies into the cloth-wasting, longer liripipes. Worn this way, the purpose of the hood seems to be to warm the head, and to protect the hat from hair oils. The hat might only be worn here to keep the sun out of his eyes. Since the picture is of a labourer, we may assume the combination is not merely for fashion's sake; and thus the hood is being worn de facto as underclothing, just as the coif would have been in the previous century. I presume this garment was always made of wool or wool blends, to provide springiness in the tightly-fitted face opening. This springiness allowed the rolled face opening to be used as a hatband when the chaperone was converted (again, late 14th c.) from a hood to a hat, as in the figure of the Italian merchant above. Finds of these hoods in London and elsewhere show a row of small buttons which help fit the hood tightly under the chin.

1375-00 Italian merchant. Houston p116

Finally, I note that almost all depictions of Medievals in bed show them wearing nightcaps, and nothing else.

Shirts / Sherts

Although often completely hidden by outer garments, its necessity in this age before hot baths, cheap soap, and washing machines is obvious to anyone who has worn a wool suit jacket. There are occasional glimpses of coloured and even embroidered undersleeves poking out from cuffs; however, bearing in mind that this would probably be the most-washed garment on the body, I find it highly unlikely that these are glimpses of the undermost shirt. It is possible that these are sometimes faux-sleeves.

Fashion is conservative, usually differing more in minor hem length and tailoring than in actual innovation, even between generations. The garment in question here was not even meant to be seen by anyone beyond the immediate household. When the outer tunics are being cut with rectangular sleeves + square gores, it is a sure bet that the underwear is no fancier. But what about during the cotehardie craze (c 1350-1450), when 'Cut Was King'? Wouldn't a square-cut sleeve produce unsightly bunching, when milady was tightly laced into her sensuously-curved cotehardie top?
The cost of a tailored sleeve is two-fold: tailoring time and wasted material. A T-tunic can be cut without any waste at all. The burial shirt of Saint Louis shows that scraps cut from the neckhole were cleverly fashioned into neckline facing and gores for the armscye (the armpit region of the sleeve).

Personal experience in the SCA shows that underneath most lined cotehardies, armscye bunching does not show through. Under heavy fabric (velvet, heavy jacquards, fustian, etc), this would certainly be true. Relatively square sleeves and body patterns were de rigueur in the previous century, and were haute couture in the poofy-shirt era of the next century.

1400-1599 Shirts. Willet p24

The shirt never needs to be so well tailored in the chest that it would require lacing or buttoning, nor have I ever seen a depiction of such a medieval shirt. A simple linen shirt, spreading out comfortably from the mid-point of the armscye, can be worn with a simple lace or button at the throat to close the collar. In order to protect high outer collars from sweat, a courtier would need a shirt that had a collar as well (although it might be a simple standing collar). If any mere shirts did have a button closure, the buttons were most likely handmade fabric ball-buttons. This is an age where a gift of some pins was the romantic equivalent of a bouquet of flowers; metal was not cheap, and neither were horn buttons.


1412-6 Tres Riches Heures - June

The shirt appears to show at the cuff and hems of 11th through 13th c garments, even for the well-to-do. Sometime after this, it appears to be banished from the view of polite society until the Renaissance. There is still some argument for men's shirts retaining enough length to cover the crotch, even after outer hemlines rose. A crotch-length tunic is far warmer in the privy and while dressing, and it is at these moments (experience shows) that every bit counts. It's a simple matter to hike a longer shirt up underneath a fitted cotehardie, out of sight. In fact, as the painting of the execution to the right reveals (from an edition of Froissart's Chronicles, c1425), both generous sleeves and long hems could be hidden beneath tightly tailored clothing.

Padded, Doubled, & Fitted Undertunics: Gypons/Jupons/Paltocks/Gambesons/Doublets

As mentioned in the previous section on Hosen, in the late 14th c the hemlines rose so high that it was necessary to tie them to an outer garment. This temporarily relieved tailors of the problem presented by fitting garments over the seat; hosen tied to a shirt had more room to move and stretch (from the shoulders) than if they were still tied to the waist. It also provided surer modesty and warmth, since it ensured there would be no gapping at the waistline. By the 15th c, this garment had migrated from under- to outer wear.

A simple shirt would not hold up to the daily tugging of points from a pair of hosen. The undertunic, which had become fitted along the lines of the cotehardie, was rugged enough for the task, and was outfitted with 4-6 or more pairs of holes through which the points of the hosen were passed & tied. As mentioned earlier, a medieval technique for making strong holes in fabric was to spread the threads out from a single "gap" in the weave with radial buttonstitches; thus, the fabric is never cut. It is reasonable to assume this buttonhole technique was also used here, to pass braided cords through.

Supposedly, this garment became heavily padded in the chest during the last decade of the 14th c, producing the "pigeon-breasted" apearance of young dandies seen in illustrations of King Richard II's court. I have been unable to conclusively verify this super-padding. In civilian garments; it may merely be an artistic convention, like the demi-grapefruit breasts which mysteriously grew from the chests of virgins in this period. On the other hand, this huge chest effect of young dandies continues into the Lancastrian regime, with seam details that were missing in most of these Richard II-era depictions.

The corresponding military garment, the gambeson, was certainly padded. The very word "gambeson" comes from the Anglo-Norman French word gambeisé, "quilted".

Women's Underdresses

Women's underdresses begin as loose-fitting shirts or chemises, probably cut simply to a T-tunic shape (i.e., without gussets). In the 12th & 13th c we see the loose, flowing bliauts bound just beneath the breasts with wide belts. The usual interpretation is that this "high-waisting" caused the dress to billow out over the belly, suggesting continual pregnancy and thus fertility. To appreciate this, we must free ourselves from the rather recent notion that "Thin Is In", and remember that the goal of any married couple was to have enough children to overcome infant (and maternal) mortality, with enough progeny to carry out the family chores. Men often remarried multiple times, in an age when divorce was unheard of. However, there may be one more practical reason for high-belting which I have never heard discussed. Underneath that freely-flowing bliaut was loose-fitting chemise, and under that, bare skin. Belting beneath the bosom cinched the breasts in place, providing support in a day when there was nothing yet resembling a brassiere to support the weight.

13th c undersleeves scoop out of the external sleeves to envelope the hands of wealthy women. This serves a double purpose, to emphasize the class distinction from those who labour with their hands, and to protect costly embroidered sleeve cuffs from grease and grime. Clean, bleached linen cuffs could be easily replaced by the wealthy, recycled into lesser uses.

1412-16 Tres Riches Heures - June

By the 14th c they began wearing an under-cotehardie beneath the visible cotehardie; i.e., an undergarment became more highly fitted so as to not produce unsightly wrinkles in the sexy form of the tight cotehardies. Modern reenactors (of both sexes) can attest to how readily a fitted cotehardie of cotton or linen reveals bulges from underlying modern underwear. "Panty lines" from bulky underclothes which today are mildly unfashionable might have been unthinkably vulgar to a Medieval woman. This garment is not necessarily the innermost layer, by the previous arguments in the Shirt section. Instead, they might have been wearing a shirt of fine cloth, covered by a smoothing under-cotehardie, and finally an outer garment; in the manner of modern panties (for comfort & cleanliness), a slip (for smoothing), and a skirt (for show).

By the end of the 14th c we begin to see evidence of an underdress made of fine or sheer cloth peeking out of the bustlines and sleeves. Another glimpse of these delicate underdresses is found in depictions of nursing mothers, as with the Madonna (1453-4) by Jean Fouquet, where the underdress is almost sheer. Pictures of bathhouse attendant women appear in the Wenceslas Bible, made in Bohemia c1390-1400. These women were regarded in their day as being of dubious moral nature, or perhaps outright prostitutes, and are presumed to be dressed in contemporary underclothes (a rare Medieval instance of eroticizing underclothing).
Mistress Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn (Heather Rose Jones) describes these pictures in a post to H-Costume dated 15 Feb 1996:

"There is a whole set of pictures from this manuscript depicting bath-house attendants going about their work. Looking at the garments as a set, what we appear to have is a garment that is relatively tight (but not fitted) in the torso, flaring to a calf-length skirt. The top looks basically like a "tube-top" (but of woven fabric) with what today would be called spaghetti-straps. In some cases, the fabric is portrayed as sheer enough that you can see the woman's body through it. Often there is a sash at the waist. (Blue seems to have been a favorite color for this.) Other evidence in the manuscript suggests that this garment is simply an ordinary undergarment. In the illustration depicting the birth of Samson (f. 34), his mother is depicted as wearing an identical-looking garment in childbed. I don't think that there is any need to interpret the garment as boned or stiffened in any way. If the ladies wearing them in the pictures look ... well... "firm" might be a delicate way of putting it, I think we have to understand that these illustrations were probably meant as erotica, and that young ... um ... sprightly bodies were portrayed.

Later, on Sat, 17 Feb 1996, she wrote:

"My general point is that the Wenceslas Bible has a very large number of portrayals of variations of this particular garment. It's an astoundingly rich resource for the dress of a particular occupation in a particular time and place. And one of the delightful things about the collection of illustrations is that there is a fair amount of variation in the details of what is clearly the same basic garment. The fabric ranges from sheer to opaque; the skirts vary in fullness; the straps may be present or not, and if present range from about an inch and a half wide to extremely narrow (ca. ½ inch); the straps, if present, may appear to be the same fabric as the dress or may be in a contrasting fabric; if the latter, there is usually a band of the same contrasting fabric along the top edge of the dress; one shows both these items and the hem decorated with a design of lines and dots; one illustration clearly shows a center front seam, most give no indication of seam lines at all; most are worn with a sash tied as a belt, but some are worn with nothing belt-like.

"Another source, the Jena Codex, shows yet another variation on the style - also from Bohemia, possibly from slightly later (I haven't been able to track down the date of the manuscript). Here, the contrasting strap and band style appears but with the body of the dress clearly gathered into the upper band.

Corsets / Bodices / Pair of Bodies

We will deal only briefly with this topic, as it is probably entirely post-Medieval. Janet Arnold, the renowned expert on Elizabethan clothing, proposes that the earliest remaining corset in England is from Queen Elizabeth's effigy in Westminster Abbey. Evidence exists for corseting as early as the beginning of the 16th c Various authors have explored the possibility that the narrow, stylized female torsos of the 15th c were the resulting of corseting; most conclude that if any restriction was used it was achieved by tight-lacing cotehardies.


Believe it or not, there is at least one piece of evidence that this "figure aid" is Medieval. There is a diatribe by an English bishop against women who wear foxtails beneath their cotehardies, supplementing what Nature gave them!

1453-4. Jean Fouquet, from the Melun Diptych.


Textiler Hausrat, Kleidung und Haustextilien in Nürnberg von 1500 -1650, Deutscher Kunstverlag publisher, 1990. 

Anderson , Ruth M. Hispanic Costume 1480 - 1530. ISBN 87535-126-3

Arnold, Janet. Patterns of Fashion - The Cut and Construction of Clothes for Men and Women c 1560-1620.

Arnold, Janet. Queen Elizabeth's Closet Revealed.

Boucher, François. 20,000 Years of Fashion. The History of Costume and Personal Adornment (Expanded Edition). (Harry N. Abrams, Inc., NY 1983). ISBN 0-8109-1693-2.

Crowfoot, Elisabeth; Frances Pritchard, and Kay Staniland. Textiles and Clothing, c.1150-c.1450. (Medieval Finds from Excavations in London: 4) (alias "T&C") (London: HMSO, 1992).

Kohler, Karl. A History of Costume. ISBN 0-4862-1030-8.

Hallam, Elizabeth, Ed. The Plantagenet Encyclopedia. (Grove Weidenfeld, NY 1990, ISBN 01-8021-1289-7)

Houston, Mary G. Medieval Costume in England and France, The 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries (Dover Publications, NY, 1996; 1st pub. Adam & Charles Black, London, 1939, as Vol. II of "A Technical History of Costume")

Kybalova, Herbenova & Lamarova. The Pictorial Encyclopedia of Fashion.

Laver, James. Costume & Fashion: A Concise History. (Thames and Hudson, NY 1985, ISBN 0-500-20190-0)

Nockert, Margareta. "The Bocksten Man's Costume", Textile History, 18 (2), 1987

Plantagenet Encyclopedia, British Library MS Cotton Nero E II pt2 f20v.

Rutt, Richard. A History of Hand Knitting (Interweave Press, ISBN 0-934026-35-1)

Sronkova, Olga. Gothic Woman's Fashion. (Prague, 1954)

Tarrant, Naomi. The Development of Costume. (National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh, w/ Routledge, London, 1994)

Waugh, Norah. Corsets and Crinolines. (Routledge, Theatre Art Books, NY, 1995; 1st publ. Theatre Art Books, NY, 1954)

Waugh, Norah. The Cut of Men's Clothes, 1600-1900. (Routledge, Theatre Art Books, NY; 1st publ. Theatre Art Books, GB, 1964)

Willett, c & Cunnington, Phillis. The History of Underclothes. (Dover Publications, 1992; 1st publ. Michael Joseph Ltd., London 1951)


Bibliothèque Nationale de France. One of the greatest repositories of medieval images for research purposes, as evidenced by nearly every costume book I've ever opened. Also, a very friendly institution to deal with; I thank them for permission to freely use their images for non-commercial educational purposes. The website, unfortunately, does not yet carry as much content as the Bodleian.

1,000 Illuminations from the Department of Manuscripts (pages in English):

The execution picture was found at: 

Bodleian Library, Oxford University. The Bodleian site contains several of its manuscripts in high resolution, full-page images. Be sure of which page of which manuscript you want, as the images behind the microscopic thumbnails are often 3 Mb. However, the grain of the pages can almost be seen in the shots!

Schoolboy whipped by teacher (small size):

Bohemian Bath House Babes (Wenceslas Bible).  If anyone finds a source for more pictures than this one, please let me know!

Carlson, I. Marc (Diarmaid O'Duinn / Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn). Footwear of the Middle Ages. Copyright 1999.  I cannot too strongly recommend his websites on period clothing finds, shoes, and related commentaries.

Duc de Berry's Très Riches Heures, 

H-Costume (Historic Costuming List). A highly informed list of worldwide historical costume enthusiasts, with topics ranging from prehistoric clothing finds to 1970's disco wear. Some warnings: The digest version alone can be 20kb per day. Some on the list are openly snobbish towards the SCA; however, they are still eager to help. The list, like most costuming material, is quite flammable. To subscribe, send email to, and in the body of the message, put "subscribe h-costume" or "subscribe h-costume-digest".

Phebes, Gaston. The Hunting Book.

An SCA recreation of ca 1265 braies, by Andy Goddard (Copyright 1997).

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