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(62 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
Mercers were originally exporters of wool and importers of velvet, silk and other luxurious fabrics; and also makers and sellers of goods made from these. However, their role and interests changed over time. See guilds; London: trade; shopping. Elizabeth Coatsworth Bibliography Sutton, A. F., The Mercery of London: trade, goods and people, 1130-1578 (Aldershot: 2005).


(487 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
Alternative names are: brokour, broker(e), broggour, -er, bragger; also wool-monger (wol-monger, wolmangner, wollemonegere, etc). The second element in woolbrogger derives from a Middle English word (from Anglo-French brocour and broggour; see also Anglo-Latin brocator) meaning a broker, factor or agent -- a middleman. Brogger and its equivalents seem most frequently to occur without any qualification, except by context: and the contexts are very varied, not only in relation to different types of commercial activity but also in…

Colour and weave effects (check, stripes and mottling)

(1,672 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
Checks are formed when there are two or more differentiated yarns in both warp (vertical) and weft (horizontal) direction. Stripes have two or more differentiated yarns in the warp OR weft -- a textile with the latter is usually described as 'banded', rather than 'striped'. The direction of the stripes, however, can only be determined in surviving fragments if at least either a starting border or selvedge has survived. A plaid, referring to a pattern, is a checked pattern in which differential spacing between colour variants in both warp and weft achieves an effec…


(113 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
The Middle English adjective 'streit' means 'narrow'. Straits were narrow cloths, woven in single width as opposed to the double-width broadcloths). Straits are often qualified by place of manufacture (for example Suffolk-streit; Essex-streit ; Kendal-streit). The earliest reference in the Middle English Dictionary is to the Wardrobe Accounts of Richard II in 1394: ' Pur ij verges et dimi de streit noir... la verge ij s' . Elizabeth Coatsworth Bibliography Baildon, W., 'A wardrobe account of 16-17 Richard II, 1393-4', Archaeologia 62 (1911), 503-14, at 510. Kurath, H., Kuhn, S. M…


(11 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
See beds: ante-1100; beds: post-1100; soft furnishings. Elizabeth Coatsworth


(28 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
Haberdashers' occupation was to sell ribbons, beads, purses (see pouches and purses: purses post-1100), gloves, pins, caps and toys (small-wares). See caps; guilds; hat/hatters. Elizabeth Coatsworth


(6 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
See pall. Elizabeth Coatsworth


(96 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
The Middle English Dictionary surmises this name is probably akin to 'cogge' as in 'cog-wheel', and therefore implies a fabric that is lumpy, knobbly. It is clear that it was a coarse kind of cloth made of inferior wool. The few references date to the 14th century only, and all occur in lists of cloth-types in legislation (see cloth: dimensions and weights; naming of cloths). Elizabeth Coatsworth Bibliography Kurath H., Kuhn S. M., Reidy J. and Lewis, R. E., ed., The Middle English Dictionary (Ann Arbor, MI: 1952-2001), s.v. cog-ware.


(477 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
The English term derives from Old French roie, raie and Anglo-French rai, rei. There are references  going back to c. 1418-19, in an early set of Suffolk accounts, as in a mention of a red garment with stripes of gold -- in these cases it is impossible to know whether the stripes are woven in or applied in some way (' Willelmo Barnham, pro 2 capis de rubeo cerico, cum rayys de auro'). The second meaning, that of a striped cloth, has related words such as rai(e)fin, striped cloth of high quality. This cloth was important enough to be mentioned several times in legislation, with re…

Norfolk worsteds

(7 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
See worsted. Elizabeth Coatsworth


(417 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
Goscelin was a monk of St Bertin: a monastery, at St Omer in Flanders (corresponding roughly to modern Belgium and contiguous parts of north-eastern France), which had a long history of association with the ecclesiastical and royal élite of Anglo-Saxon England. He came to England in 1058, to join the household of Herman, bishop of Ramsbury and Sherborne, and appears to have spent the rest of his life in England. He died in the early12th century, after 1107. A number of saints' lives and other works have been ascribed to him, which included first-hand accounts of conte…


(29 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
See nuns, monks, convents and monasteries: the monastic orders and their costumes. Elizabeth Coatsworth


(179 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
The amice (Latin amictus) consisted of a square or rectangle of cloth, usually linen, placed round the neck to prevent the more precious vestments being soiled by the hair or perspiration. Despite its utilitarian origins the amice could be lavishly decorated. It is recorded that Queen Edith, wife of King Edward the Confessor (d. 1066), gave as a gift to an abbot an amice (Latin amictum) of enormous value and great beauty. It was decorated with gold and precious stones, and though the source does not specify how the effect was achieved, it was probably embroid…


(173 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
Probably named from Kersey, a town in Suffolk, this cloth is first mentioned in 1262. Most references refer to legislation governing wool cloth (see cloth: dimensions and weights); no garments made of this material are mentioned before 1450, and there seem to be no literary references. A modern definition, however, says it is now used of a compact, lustrous woollen fabric, diagonally ribbed or twilled, which has been heavily fulled and finished with a short nap. Possibly it has changed its meani…


(7 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
See vegetable fibre. Elizabeth Coatsworth

Breuddwyd Rhonabwy

(10 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
See Dream of Rhonabwy . Elizabeth Coatsworth


(111 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
A kind of woollen cloth woven, or originally woven, in Kendal, a town in Westmorland (now Cumbria); therefore called Kendal cloth, cloth kendalles; as an adjective it meant made of Kendal cloth. The earliest references to the cloth date from legislation of 1390, and imply cloth of the poorest quality (see cloth: dimensions and weights). Gowns and hoods of Kendal are mentioned from c. 1443, from earlier Proceedings in Chancery recorded in the reign of Elizabeth 1. See also the naming of cloth. Elizabeth Coatsworth Bibliography Kurath, H., Kuhn, S. M., Reidy, J. and Lewis, R. E., ed., The Midd…


(8 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
See armour: plate armour. Elizabeth Coatsworth

Boniface, St

(463 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
Boniface ( c. 675-754) was one of a number of Anglo-Saxon missionaries to northern Europe, but certainly one of the most important. He was born in Wessex and given the name Wynfrith. His first (unsuccessful) missionary venture was to Frisia, but in 718-19 on a trip to Rome he was given a new name (Boniface) and commissioned by Pope Gregory II to preach to the heathens: his success is indicated by his consecration as bishop (at first without a fixed see) in 722; and as archbishop in 732, when he received the pallium from Pope Gregory III. His base became Mainz and from there he was inst…

Weaving (weaves)

(1,661 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Coatsworth
Weave may or may not be easily visible on textile, depending on the type of patterning or finishing processes used. The basic requirements are (1) the warp, the fixed element and also the longitudinal element in a length of fabric, the individual threads of which have to be tensioned in some way so that other threads can be woven through them (for example, in a warp-weighted loom , by the use of loomweights tied to the warp threads which have been suspended from the warp-beam at the top). An individual warp is called an end; (2) the weft, the transverse elements in a textile, usually parall…
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