Category Archives: Clothing

Clothing Colonies Exploration Family Food Household Travel

One large frying pan & three paires of Irish stockings

From John Smith’s The Generall Histories of Virginia (1624)


This post comes from a text published in 1622, advising prospective pilgrims travelling to the New World on the provisions they needed to take with them; ‘such necessaries as either private families or single persons shall have cause to furnish themselves’ to prevent the hindrance of the ‘Progresse of that noble Plantation.’ What’s particularly interesting is that the text sheds light not only on what may have been a typical family’s belongings, but also on the costs involved in purchasing everyday items such as shirts and wooden spoons. I’ve used the National Archives to gather the modern price equivalents: a penny in 1620 was worth about 40p, a shilling about £4.80, and a pound about £96.


Apparrell. Apparrell for one man, and so after the rate for more.

One Monmouth Cap — 00 li. 01 s. 10 d.
Three falling bands [collars] — li. 01 s. 03 d.
Three shirts — li. 07 s. 06 d.
One waste-coate — li. 02 s. 02 d.
One suite of Canvase — li. 07 s. 06 d.
One suite of Frize [woollen cloth] — li. 10 s. 00 d.
One suite of Cloth — li. 15 s. 00 d.
Three paire of Irish stockings — li. 04 s. — d.
Foure paire of shooes — li. 08 s. 08 d.
One paire of garters — li. 00 s. 10 d.
One doozen of points [laces] — li. 00 s. 03 d.
One paire of Canvase sheets — li. 08 s. 00 d.
Seven ells [one ell was c.45 inches] of Canvase, to make a bed and boulster, to be filled in Virginia 8. s.—
One Rug for a bed 8. s. which with the bed serving for two men, halfe is—li. 08 s. 00 d.
Five ells coorse Canvase, to make a bed at Sea for two men, to be filled with straw, iiij. s.—
One coorse Rug at Sea for two men, will cost vj. s. is for one—— li. 05 s. 00 d.

[sub-total] 04 li. 00 s. 00 d.


Victuall. For a whole yeere for one man, and so for more after the rate.

Eight bushels of Meale —02 li. 00 s. 00 d.
Two bushels of pease at 3. s.— li. 06 s. 00 d.
Two bushels of Oatemeale 4. s. 6. d. — li. 09 s. 00 d.
One gallon of Aquavitae — li. 02 s. 06 d.
One gallon of Oyle — li. 03 s. 06 d.
Two gallons of Vineger 1. s. — li. 02 s. 00 d.
[sub-total] 03 li. 03 s. 00 d.


Armes. For one man, but if halfe of your men have armour it is sufficient so that all have Peeces and swords.

One Armour compleat, light — li. 17 s. 00 d.
One long Peece, five foot or five and a halfe, neere Musket bore — 01 li. 02 s. — d.
One sword — li. 05 s. — d.
One belt — li. 01 s. — d.
One bandaleere [a broad belt to support a musket] — li. 01 s. 06 d.
Twenty pound of powder — li. 18 s. 00 d.
Sixty pound of shot or lead, Pistoll and Goose shot — li. 05 s. 00 d.
[sub total] 03 li. 09 s. 06 d.


Tooles. For a family of 6 persons and so after the rate for more.

Five broad howes [hoes] at 2. s. a piece — li. 10 s. — d.
Five narrow howes at 16. d. a piece — li. 06 s. 08 d.
Two broad Axes at 3. s. 8. d. a piece — li. 07 s. 04 d.
Five felling Axes at 18. d. a piece — li. 07 s. 06 d.
Two steele hand sawes at 16. d. a piece — li. 02 s. 08 d.
Two two-hand-sawes at 5. s. a piece — li. 10 s. — d.
One whip-saw, set and filed with box, file, and wrest — li. 10 s. — d.
Two hammers 12. d. a piece — li. 2 s. 00 d.
Three shovels 18. d. a piece — li. 04 s. 06 d.
Two spades at 18. d. a piece — li. 03 s. — d.
Two augers [tool to bore holes in wood] 6. d. a piece — li. 01 s. 00 d.
Sixe chissels 6. d. a piece — li. 03 s. 00 d.
Two percers [tool for boring holes] stocked 4. d. a piece — li. 00 s. 08 d.
Three gimlets [ditto] 2. d. a piece — li. 00 s. 06 d.
Two hatchets 21. d a piece — li. 03 s. 06 d.
Two froves to cleave pale [?] 18. d.— li. 03 s. 00 d.
Two hand-bills 20. a piece — li. 03 s. 04 d.
One grindlestone 4. s. — li. 04 s. 00 d.
Nailes of all sorts to the value of 02 li. 00 s. — d.
Two Pickaxes — li. 03 s. — d.
[sub-total] 06 li. 02 s. 08 d.


Household Implements. For a family of 6 persons, and so for more or lesse after the rate.

One Iron Pot 00 li. 07 s. — d.
One kettle — li. 06 s. — d.
One large frying-pan — li. 02 s. 06 d.
One gridiron — li. 01 s. 06 d.
Two skillets — li. 05 s. — d.
One spit — li. 02 s. — d.
Platters, dishes, spoones of wood — li. 04 s. — d.
[sub-total] 01 li. 08 s. 00 d.


For Suger, Spice, and fruit, and at Sea for 6 men —00 li. 12 s. 06 d. So the full charge of Apparrell, Victuall, Armes, Tooles, and houshold stuffe, and after this rate for each person, will amount unto about the summe of 12 li. 10 s. — d.

The passage of each man is 06 li. 00 s. — d.
The fraight of these provisions for a man, will bee about halfe a Tun, which is 01 li. 10 s. — d.

So the whole charge will amount to about 20 li. 00 s. 00 d [c.£1920 today]

Nets, hookes, lines, and a tent must be added, if the number of people be gretter, as also some kine. And this is the usuall proportion that the Virginia Company doe bestow upon their Tenants which they send. Whosoever transports himselfe or any other at his owne charge vnto Virginia, shall for each person so transported before Midsummer 1625, have to him and his heires for ever fifty Acres of Land upon a first, and fifty Acres upon a second division.


From Thomas Hariot’s A Brief Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (1590)




Clothing from beyond the grave

On my recent travels to central and eastern Europe I visited Mikulov castle in the Czech Republic. A beautifully renovated building, it is home to some fantastic 17th Century treasures including clothing recently excavated from the coffins of Margaretha Franciska Lobkowicz (1597-1617) and her husband Wenzel Wilhelm Lobkowicz (1592—1621), who are buried in the crypt of the parish church of St Wenceslas. In 2003, the Regional Museum in Mikulov obtained the couple’s burial garments following the anthropological examination of the skeletal remains that had been carried out by Eva Drozdová of the Department of Anthropology, Masaryk University in Brno. Margaretha was Lady-in-Waiting to Empress Anna, wife of Emperor Matthias. In February 1616, she married and the following year, at the age of twenty, she died giving birth to a son. 

The quality of the photos is rather poor due to the dark conditions in which the clothes are preserved.



Doublet detail

Doublet detail

Doublet detail

Stockings and garter

Stockings and garter
Child’s clothing and shoes

For more on 17th Century clothing see here
© 2009-2013 All Rights Reserved
Clothing Conversation Custom London

Will you weare any weapons to daye?

More entertaining conversation from John Florio. This time a man visits his friend at home and waits while he dresses. Florio provides some really lovely detail about clothing, and gives us a glimpse into the daily lives of Londoners in late 16th Century London. The conversation takes place between Mr Nolano, Mr Torquato, and the servant, Ruspa. It is entitled ‘of rising in the morning, and of things belonging to the chamber’.

Nolano: What ho, M Torquato, will you lye a bed all day?
Torquato: Who is there? Who calleth me? Who asketh for me?
Nolano: A friend of yours. Are you up?
Torquato: M Nolano, I pray you, excuse me. Ile be with you by and by.
Nolano: Rise at your leisure, for I will stay for you.
Torquato: The doore is open, will it please you to come in?
Norlano: God give you good morrow.
Torquato: The like to you, you are very heartily welcome.
Norlano: Are you not ashamed to lie a bed so long?
Torquato: I was not asleep, I was slumbering.
Norlano: How have you rested this night?
Torquato: Well, but I have had many dreadfull dreames. What ho, Ruspa, come hither, where art thou? What art thou doing?
Ruspa: Here I am. What lacke you?
Torquato: Open that window and give me my clothes.
Ruspa: What apparell will you have this day?
Torquato: First give me a clean shirt, one of the fine ones.
Ruspa: There are but two that be cleane.
Torquato: Where be all the others?
Ruspa: The laundress hath fix of them.
Torquato: Dispatch and give me a shirt.
Ruspa: With what band with you have it?
Torquato: With a falling band [a band or flat collar worn around the neck].
Ruspa: There is none.
Tarquato: Give me one with ruffes then.
Ruspa: Here is one with ruffes.
Tarquato: Give me my wastecote.
Ruspa: Which will you have, that of flannell?
Tarquato: No, give me that which is knit.
Ruspa: What sute of apparell will you weare today?
Torquato: That of white satten, laide on with gold lace.
Ruspa: That lacks I know not how many buttons.
Torquato: Set them on then by and by.
Ruspa: I have neither needle, thred, nor thimble.
Tarquato: Mr Nolano, think not the time long, Ile be with you presently.
Nolano: In the meane while I will reade this booke.

Here follows an inventory of all Tarquato’s clothes. Presumably to assist the reader in learning the Italian names. He owns:

A long gown furr’d with Martines, a furr’d gown, a night gown of chamlet [a fabric made from Angora], a rugge gowne, a cloake lined with bayes, a cape cloak of fine cloth, a riding cloake of broad-cloth, two doublets, one coate, one velvet Jerkin, one Spanish leather jerkin, one of beaver and the other of felt, and two velvet caps.

He also owns shoes:

Two payre of bootes, one of Spanish, the other of neates leather, one payre of spurrs, three payre of boote hose, one payre of pumps and pantofles [a sort of indoor shoe], and a payre of night slippers.

The inventory continues with:

A dozen shirtes, two of handkerchers, and as many falling bands of lawne, eight ruffes bandes with their hand cuffs, four towels, six wipers [flannels], eight quoifes [night cap or skull cap], ivory combes, cisors, eare pickers and other knacks [nick nacks].

Back to the conversation:

Ruspa: Will you weare shooes or buskins to daye?
Tarquato: Give me the shooing horne, to pull on my shooes. Tye my poynts [laces] with slyding knotts but not with fast knotts.
Ruspa: What girdle will you have?
Torquato: Reach me that of blew velvet embroydered.
Ruspa: Will you weare any weapons to daye?
Torquato: Give me my sword and dagger.
Ruspa: Take this rapier, for it is lighter.
Torquato: Reach me the combe, to combe my beard.
Ruspa: Everie thing is in the case upon the window.
Torquato: Where be my gloves? I see them not.
Ruspa: You forgot them in some place yesternight.
Torquato: What ho, Ruspa, bring hither some drinke.
Ruspa: What would you have Master?
Torquato: Bring some wine, and a manchet [a loaf of fine bread], and
a napkin. Wash the glasses verie well.
Ruspa: Anon, anon, Ile come by and by.
Torquato: Pour out some wine and give me a drinke.
Nolanto: I marvell how you can drinke so earlie. I drinke very
seldome between meales.
Torquato: It is good to drinke in a morning to charme the mist.
Ruspa: Will your worship have anything else?
Torquato: Give me my cap and gird my sword about me.
Nolano: This cloake becommeth you verie well.
Ruspa: Shall I goe with you?
Torquato: No, dresse up the Chamber and laye everything in his place.
Nolano: I pray you let us lose no more time.
Torquato: I am readie, goe before and I will followe you. What ho, boy,
come after me.
Ruspa: I come, but first I will shut the dore.
Torquato: Lock it with the key
Ruspa: Fast binde, fast finde.
Torquato: And he that shuts well, avoydeth ill luck.

Next time, admiring a man’s lodgings, and a dinner party.

More from Florio: Let us make a match at tennis and Master Andrew, will it please you to eate an egg?


© 2009-2013 All Rights Reserved

Clothing Court Marriage

Upon her heade a crowne of refined golde

These fragments come from an account of the marriage of Elizabeth, daughter to James I, and Frederick V of Palatinate ( a region of Germany), on 14th February 1613 at the Royal Chapel, Whitehall.  The celebrations began on the Thursday with a spectacular firework display on the river Thames, and continued into the weekend with mock sea battles, masques, and all manner of ‘triumphant sportes’.  The weekend culminated in the royal wedding itself.

The Court being placed full of people of many Estates, sortes, and Nations, first came the Bride-groom from the newe built Banquetting-house, attired in a white Satten sute, richly beset with Pearle and Golde, attended on by a number of young gallant Courtiers, both English, Scottish, and Dutch, all in rich manner, every one striving to exceede in sumptuous habilliaments, fitte for the attendants of so princely a Bride-groome.  After came the Lady Elizabeth, in her Virgin-robes, clothed in a gowne of white Satten richly embroidered, led betweene her royall brother Prince Charles, and the Earle of Northampton.  Upon her head a crowne of refined golde, made imperiall by the Pearles and Dyamonds thereupon placed, which were so thicke beset that they stood like shining pinnacles.  Upon her amber coloured haire, hanging plaited down over her shoulders to her Waste, betweene every plaight Gold spangles, Pearles, Riche stones, and Diamonds, and many Diamonds of inestimable value embroidered upon her sleeves, which dazzled and amazed the eyes of the beholders.  Her traine in most sumptuous manner carried up by fourteene or fifteene Ladies, attired in white Satten gownes adorned with many rich Jewells.


After went a traine of Noble-mens Daughters, in white Vestements, gloriously set forth.  These Virgin Brides-maides attended upon the Princesse like a skye of Celestiall starres.  After them came another traine of gallant young Courtiers in sutes embroidered and Pearled, who were Knightes, and the sonnes of great Courtiers.  After them came four Heralds at Armes, in their rich coates of Heraldrie, and then followed many Earles, Lords, and Barrens, of Scotland as well as England, in most noble manner, then the king of Heralds bearing upon his shoulder a Mace of Golde, and then followed the honourable Lords of his Highness privie Councell, which passed along towards the Chappell.  And then came four reverend Bishops of the Land in their Church habilliaments.  After them four Seargiants of the Mace, bearing upon their shoulders foure riche Enamelled Maces.

Then followed the right Honourable the Earle of Aundell carrying the kings Sword. And then in great Royaltie the Kings Majestie himself in a most sumptuous black sute with a Dyamond in his hatte of a wonderfull value.  Close unto him came the Queene attired in white Satten, beautified with much embroidery and many Diamonds.  Upon her attended a number of married Ladies, the Countesses and wives of Earles and Barrons, apparelled in most noble manner which added glory into this triumphant time and Marriage. Then went the passages of our States of England, accompanying the princely Bride and Bridegroome to his Highness Chappell, where after the celebration of the Marriage, contracted in the presence of the King, Queene, prince Charles and the rest, they returned into the banquetting house with great joy.


The Lady Elizabeth thus being made a Wife was led backe by two Batchellors as before.  At the Bridegrooms returne from Chappell went five of his own Country gallants clad in crimson Velvet laide exceedingly thicke with gold lace, bearing in their hands five silver Trumpets. They presented him with a melodious sound of the same, flourishing so delightfully that it greatly rejoyced the whole Court, and caused thousands to say at the same time ‘God give them joy, God give them joy’.  Thus preparing for dinner they passed away a certain time and after fell to Dancing, Masking, and Revelling, according to the custome of such Assemblies, which contined all the day and part of the night in great pleasure.

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