Encyclopedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles

Get access Subject: History
Edited by: Gale Owen-Crocker, Elizabeth Coatsworth & Maria Hayward
The single volume Encyclopaedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles of the British Isles c. 450-1450 is a unique work that intends to bring together in 582 signed articles the latest research from across the range of disciplines which contribute to our knowledge of medieval dress and textiles.

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London: archaeology

(697 words)

Author(s): Gale R. Owen-Crocker
Since London has been a major city since Roman times, and was an administrative hub, ecclesiastical centre and international port throughout the Middle Ages, its many and varied inhabitants have left traces in the form of artefacts which have been steadily recovered from the earth in modern times and placed in the city's museums. However, a series of archaeological excavations in the 1970s and 80s dramatically increased the quantity of recovered objects. These discoveries place London in the for…

London: trade

(1,218 words)

Author(s): John Oldland
Cloth exports only became important to London's trade at the end of the 14th century. It was not until the 1360s that English cloth exports exceeded imports, and not until the 1430s that the volume of wool exported nationally in the form of cloth exceeded wool exports. With the decline of the English international fairs at the end of the 13th century London had become the principal entrepot for cloth from Brabant, Flanders and northern France as the Great Wardrobe continued to purchase their quality cloths from overseas in the early 14th century. London's cloth industry revived in the…

London: Victoria and Albert Museum

(986 words)

Author(s): Gale R. Owen-Crocker
English medieval textiles, mostly embroideries, many opus anglicanum , are, at the time of writing (2010) exhibited in various galleries in different parts of the museum. Many of them bear heraldry associated with known persons. Some embroideries carried out in England (mostly in London) are on linen, some on sumptuous imported silk, including red velvet, mostly of Italian origin. Floor 0 of the museum, a gallery devoted to the period c. 300-1500, contains a number of important items, including the Clare Chasuble (Fig. 22), the Butler-Bowdon Cope (Fig. 20), the Syon Cope and the al…


(2,481 words)

Author(s): Gale R. Owen-Crocker
The warp-weighted loom Known from antiquity, the warp-weighted loom is a vertical loom, on which warp threads are suspended from a horizontal beam and attached to loomweights at the bottom. The loom consists of two wooden uprights, to the top of which a vertical wooden cloth beam is attached. The beam may be made to rotate so that finished cloth can be wound onto it. Brackets on the uprights support one or more heddle rods. As a preliminary to weaving, the warp threads may be attached to a cord which is in turn attached to the cloth beam. Alternatively, a tablet-woven…


(697 words)

Author(s): Penelope Walton Rogers
Romano-British loomweights were triangular, but circular clay loomweights arrived in Britain from the Continent in the 5th century and became one of the most common artefacts to be recovered from Anglo-Saxon settlements. There is no clear evidence for their use outside the Anglo-Saxon zone of the British Isles (although individual weights have sometimes been called loomweights) until the Viking Age, when irregularly shaped stone loomweights, often of steatite, appeared in the Scandinavian-occupied Northern Isles. Circular loomweights can be categorised as 'annular', '…

Luttrell Psalter

(720 words)

Author(s): Gale R. Owen-Crocker
The Luttrell Psalter was made, according to its text, for Sir Geoffrey Luttrell (1276-1345), a wealthy Lincolnshire landowner, probably between 1325 and 1335. Its Latin text contains the 150 Psalms, a calendar, canticles, liturgical matter and the office for the dead. It is valued today as an outstanding example of Gothic art. A large book -- 35 x 24 cms (approx 14 x 9.5 inches), 312 folios -- it has brightly-coloured illuminations on almost every page, including historiated initials, line fillers…