Clothing in the Court of Henry VIII - Masques & Christmas Festive Attire (Lord of Misrule)

topic posted Thu, May 29, 2008 - 1:52 PM by  hsifeng
Before I post a whole lot in this vein, I wanted to make sure that items from Henry VIII would be acceptable as part of the 'Tudor' umbrella of this group? I have a nice little reference that I have been reading through and wanted to share if it was alright?
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  • Sorry for the delay in posting! (crossposted from my LJ account)

    A nice collection of transcribed manuscripts relating to expenses for various entertainments under the court of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary, Elizabeth and James: The Loseley Manuscripts

    The following titles caught my eye:

    "Jousting and Tilting"
    Miscellaneous Entries related to the Royal Tents, Halls, Pavilions, Toyles, etc.”
    “Particulars of Sir Thomas Cawarden’s Armoury, seized at the time of Wyatt’s insurrection”
    “Purveyance for the Royal Household”
    “Inventories of the Earl of Somerset’s Effects”

    From “Original Papers illustrating the Revels and Dramatic Entertainments of the English Court. Masques, Interludes, etc. Notice of George Ferrers, as Lord of Misrule” (page 45-46): The following is a partial account of the garments made to clothe the Lord of Misrule for the festivities taking place at Court for Christmas 1552 and the week following. While there is only a partial description of the garments in this paraphrase, there is more detail in the original document (as well as yardages and pricing).

    This fabric was used to make a robe in ‘white’ with a wide embroidered guard of cloth of gold, wrought in knots. This robe was created for the Lord of Misrule (Sir Thomas Carden) for Christmas festivities in the year 1552. In addition to this item, there was a coat of silver with a guard of gold & silk leaves lined in fur, a cappe of mayten’nce (cape of office?) with red feathers and chamblet thrumbe (?) with a plume of feathers, a robe of red baudkyn with a wide embroidered guard of purple/silver lined in fur, a coat of cloth of gold with both red and green velvet and a boarder of more cloth of gold, a robe of purple furred velvet with white and black lining and a matching hat (both decorated with blue and yellow ‘goulde tensell’, a pair of hosen made with cloth of gold with embroidered panes, a pair with cloth of gold and both red and green velvet, two pair of ‘buskyns’ (?), a hat made from cloth of gold with green satin leaves, etc. etc. etc.

    The document goes on to describe the clothing provide to the retinue of the Lord of Misrule in this same period, as well as the ‘costumes’ for various people who would be playing parts in the Hunt and other entertainments. Two of these characters were an Irishman and Irishwoman. The following is a direct transcription, including yardages and pricing. Original footnotes retained.


    A large garment of blewe and redde satten pained, con’ viij y’ds. At vj (s) viij (d) the y’d, liij (s) iiij (d), lined w(ith) black buckeram vi y’ds, iiij (s), w(ith) a hear (wig) of blacke flaxe, and a hed pece of dornix+, w(ith) by estimac’on ij (s) iiij (d), w(ith) a sword price ij (s) vj (d), w(ith) a pair of buskens of bridges satten, con’ I y’d di. at v (s) the y’d, vij (s) vj (d) in all …. lxviij (s) ij (d)


    A mantele of red and blew satten paned, con’ ix y’ds at vi (s) viii (d) the y’d, lx (s), liyned w(ith) red buckeram, v y’ds, ii (s) vi (d), w(ith) a smock of yellow buckeram, con’ vi y’ds, iiij (s), w(ith) a hear of flax, worth by estimac’on iii (s) iiij(d), w(ith) a girdle of red sarcenet, con’ I q’ter y’d, xvi (s); in all, besides w’kemanship and other charges of provisio’……..lii (s) viii (d)

    * It is evident from these entries that the attire of the Irish at this period wsa national and peculiar. (original editors note – not mine!)
    + Dornix, a course sort of damask made at Deornick in Flanders.

    Thanks to my friend Kat for the following information on the pricing notations:

    s = shilling; d = pence; y'd or 'yds = yard/yards.

    roman numerals:
    i = 1, v = 5, x = 10, l = 50,
    j = i and is used at the final position within the number

    She also provided this site for information on conversion of values:
    • I'm not usually given to one-word answers, but all I can think of is...

      • Thanks for saying so. I cannot take credit, this was a trickle down find that I got from Marion McNealy (I don't know where she got it from). I have to say, the more I read in this manuscript the more nuggest of goodness I am finding!
        • Masques

          Fri, August 1, 2008 - 12:16 PM
          My husband and I shall be attending our first masqued ball and I am completely new at the whole masque thing. Any help? Web sources I can check out, images, anything... PLEASE!
          • Re: Masques

            Fri, August 1, 2008 - 2:02 PM
            Try the Loseley MSS at There are multiple sections in the manuscripts dealing with balls, masques, etc. These are original documents from the period, with a small amount of ‘front matter’ from the editor/compiler of the collection.

          • Re: Masques

            Mon, August 4, 2008 - 11:01 AM
            It really depends on what you mean by a masqued ball. Is it just a fancy dress (i.e. costume) ball? In which case, a more particular question will get a more helpful answer. A masque, however, was a theatrical entertainment, so the kind of information you'll find in period sources probably won't do you any good.
            • Re: Masques

              Mon, August 4, 2008 - 7:08 PM
              Well, and then there's the tradition of masking. If you are wearing a mask, no one knows who you really are, and therefore, no one can really hold YOU responsible for your actions. Henry VIII originally met Anne Boleyn during a Masque, and since he was masked, he could get away with acting like he wasn't really a married king, and everyone had to pretend they didn't really know who he was. In the same way, you hear of masked people at balls in later periods, and in fairy tales. They follow the same tradition. It's more widely followed in Europe than in England. But one of the reasons that masks are such a popular item for Faires is that they really were something that people used. And of course, doctors thought that long-nosed masks might protect them from the plague.
            • Re: Masques

              Mon, August 4, 2008 - 7:30 PM
              Two well-known examples of masked party-goers in period are Mercutio and Co. at the Capulet's in R & J and the one in Much Ado. A masque as a form of dramatic entertainment is in the Tempest (did someone already say that?), and Ben Jonson's famous masques with costumes by Inigo Jones - but those are very late period examples, or rather, Jacobean.
              • Re: Masques

                Tue, August 5, 2008 - 8:49 AM
                When you go to a party wearing a mask, that's masking or guising (you're "in guise"). We used this trick to some effect once or twice in court back in Agoura. Castiglione tells us that *by definition* if you're wearing a mask you can't be recognized. That means, by the rules of the game, even if I know perfectly well who you are, I'm not allowed to recognize you as long as you have the mask on. As you can imagine, Dante had enough fun with this for two people!

                It is not the same thing as a Masque, which is a courtly entertainment , usually a kind of short play or elegant speeches, with dancing and music, performed (by courtiers) for an audience (of courtiers).
                • Re: Masques

                  Tue, August 5, 2008 - 12:21 PM
                  Although if the courtiers in the Masque are wearing masks, the two can then overlap, as in the Henry VIII example. Hal was a bit of a rascal, that way.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Masques

                    Tue, August 5, 2008 - 12:23 PM
                    (See---fount of useless knowledge---though I thank you, Maggie, for filling me in on the examples in Dante!)
                    • Dante F.

                      Tue, August 5, 2008 - 12:48 PM
                      Deena, the Dante to whom Maggie refers is Dante Fields, not Alighieri, although Dante F. would have been pleased as punch with the mistake.

                      If you poke about in some of the pictures on St. George Alumni, you'll his picture and better appreciate Maggie's drift. He was a wonderful creature.
                      • Re: Dante F.

                        Tue, August 5, 2008 - 12:51 PM

                        Darlin' Dante, dead center, head cocked, and full da business.
                        • Re: Dante F.

                          Tue, August 5, 2008 - 1:58 PM
                          Oh goodness, that was thoughtless of me.One forgets that the whole world didn't necessarily know Dante Field. He took up such a large chunk of the universe at Northern and Southern Faires both.
                          • Re: Dante F.

                            Tue, August 5, 2008 - 2:19 PM
                            Not thoughtless at all, Dear Maggie. Too thoughtful, really.

                            I think the whole world does know Dante, they just haven't realized it yet! God, can you imagine what sort of nonsense he's up to now?

                            Thanks for the reminder, although it makes me a bit melancholy.
                            • Re: Dante F.

                              Tue, August 5, 2008 - 6:40 PM
                              Sorry, don't know Dante. Never did the big faires, and probably never will.
                              • Re: Dante F.

                                Wed, August 6, 2008 - 7:33 PM
                                I'm afraid my time with the RPFS Court was post-St. George, though they did visit us. I thought most of them were marvelous, and a few of them had pikes in very uncomfortable places about coming back to play with us. It doesn't really matter much what I think, now. I'm too vocal online to be allowed to be a courtier at RPF, you see.

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