Cullercoats Costume

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Last night we presented our Tudor Talk and Costume Display hosted by Cullercoats WI in a lovely spacious hall  – the Methodist Hall in North Tyneside.A number of local WI groups attended and there were well over 100 guests.

Our Tudor Costume Talk/Lecture is a very interesting, lively and informative talk about the design/construction and inspiration for my  historical gowns,as well as a brief history of the people who wore them. Integral to the event was a display of four costumes on mannequins with headdresses, fans, underwear and jewellery as well as a personal appearance by King Henry VIII.  Costumes for Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots and Anne Boleyn were also included.

Henry VIII was resplendent in full regalia – including a gold damask doublet with matching jewelled codpiece.  We mentioned that the codpiece is from Middle English: cod, meaning “scrotum” is a covering flap or pouch that attaches to the front of the crotch of men’s trousers and usually accentuates the genital area. It was held closed by string ties, buttons, or other methods. It was an important item of European clothing in the 15th and 16th centuries, and is still worn in the modern era in performance costumes for rock music and metal musicians.


I mentioned the Landknecht mercenaries of Germany – apparently when their clothes became accidentally slashed by the swords the shirt below became visible between the cuts – and hence the fashion for slashed clothes. Slashed clothes were popular throughout the 16th Century and beyond. I have just received the email below from Caroline who attended my talk last night.

“Just to say I did a little research on the word”Landknecht and it means a 16th century european mercenary foot soldier armed with a pike or halberd.  The word is pronounced:”lantsknekt”  Also the larger english dictionary gives the fantastic historic wird:lansquenet!  Hope this is useful.  Loved your talk last night and all the beautiful dresses, also your husband’s contribution.  All god wishes,Caroline.”

Thank you so much for this information Caroline – the pronunciation is most useful. I am pleased you enjoyed my talk!

Tudor Costume Early C16

I was also asked about Tudor shoes –The shoes of common people were generally made of leather, and while they were fairly simple in construction they were also very durable. Soles were made of wood, cork, or extra layers of leather, and uppers, or the tops of shoes, were either tied or buckled in place. Shoemakers, called cobblers, also developed the ability to make very tall boots for riding or fieldwork.

Most wealthy men of the sixteenth century wore slippers made of soft leather, silk, or velvet, often in patterns matched to their outfits.

The footwear of the upper classes was usually far from practical. In keeping with the century’s trend toward rich fabrics and elaborate ornament, both men and women wore shoes that emphasized fashion over comfort or ease of use. Men in the early part of the century were fond of very wide-toed shoes. Leather slipons, called duck’s bill shoes, flared out at the toe. In their most extreme form they could be as wide as twelve inches at the toe and forced men to walk like a duck. Underwear PicxxThis fashion faded by midcentury, and most wealthy men wore slippers made of soft leather, silk, or velvet, often in patterns matched to their outfit. Women also adopted an extremely impractical form of shoe called the chopine. These slippers sat atop a platform that ran the length of the shoe and could be as high as twenty-four inches. Chopines were very difficult to walk in.. Such shoes were not intended for outdoor wear, of course, and both sexes wore overshoes called pattens and pantofles to protect their dainty shoes if they did go outside in them.

A splendid evening was had by all – feedback was excellent.

Comments from guests included –

“The lecture was of great interest to everyone as it combined both history and costume design”.

“It was an extremely fascinating talk and when I saw Henry VIII arriving in full regalia it made my day”.

We had lovely cakes and tea with everyone afterwards – the cheese scones were particularly delicious.  Mick enjoyed a pleasant chat to Marjorie the WI President . I would like to thank the WI for their kind hospitality and help in making the evening such a great success.

Long shot henry pic

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