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Creating beginners guides (WOTR ~1485)

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 8:11 pm
by Paddy
Hello all,

As many posts have said, I'm trying to get together various bits and pieces for beginners to re-enactment, and am currently tinkering with a guide to costume, and bare minimum kit to take part in events. Could anyone who wouldnt object to me pestering them at some point in the not too distant future please sign up below, along with what period clothing you know about, and basically act as a kind of authenticity panel to some of my (hopefully) bright ideas.

Thanks for your time all.

EDIT: I might as well split these off by period, expect two more later on.

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 8:32 pm
by Sophia

Glad to help out as have said in previous posts. I am not a pro but I have a certain amount of knowledge mainly for late WOTR.

I have in fact started drafting things for you and a mate who has built up good basic kit on a shoestring has agreed to pose for me. Useful as she crossdresses to fight as an archer as well as having women's kit. :)

Will also try and take some picture of the kit I have done over the past couple of years including some real don'ts which I perpetrated to start with :oops: .

All the best,

Sophia :D

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 8:43 pm
by craig1459
The Buckinghams Retinue website has some good kit tips for beginners C15

Bucks Site

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 8:44 pm
by Paddy
Fantastic :D My dear, you are an angel, and need to be found in the beer tent to show my gratitude.

WOTR isnt my period, but how would this stand as a kit list to attend a national (try not to laugh at any howlers - and some guidance on no-no colours would help too)?

Tunic (short, long sleeved, linen)
Trousers (linen, drawstring - am I right in guessing that it should really be joined hose at this point - hoping we can get away with this?)
Shoes (Leather, ankle height. While boots are better, shouldnt shoes be ok - thinking of price here?)
Belt (thin, leather)
Helmet (simple skull cap still in use or not? Again hoping so, as could do other periods with it)
Doublet (Wool? - also covers any bodge jobs on the torso. Thinking dark blue)

Probably something awful there, but prod away please.

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 8:51 pm
by Dave B
Sorry, what year are we in roughly?

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 8:52 pm
by Paddy

Sorry for any confusiuon caused by poor terminology (all mine), like I said, this one isnt my bag, but given how popular it is, cant really not have a section on it!

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:18 pm
by Sophia
In interrim see following guidelines at ... =dress.htm

for War of the Roses Federation

and ... ard%20.pdf

Medieval Siege Society

You are right - this is quite a long way off and will raise eyebrows to put it politely.

Will try and do something sooner rather than later for WOTR

Sophia :D

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:18 pm
by Tuppence
I don't mind signing up.

I know about pretty much all periods (well, from Egyptian New Kingdom to about now, anyway :lol: ), although might be rusty on a couple.

Trousers were around in the 15th century.

The problem you have is that during the periods when hosen were worn (be they single legged or conjoined), they were really the sign of a peasant (and I do mean ditch digging, mud eating peasant, when I say peasant).

By far the better way to do it (imo) would be to have a pair of trousers - cheap and easy to make if you're doing early, early medieval. But also have hosen (single legged) and braies (long) - even cheaper and easier to make - for anything post 11th century.

(Split hosen still fine for 15th century - lowly, but nothing like as underneath-the-bottom-rung-of-the-ladder as trousers.)
Tunic (short, long sleeved, linen)
perfect - don't forget keyhole neck, and unsplit (not that it's really an issue if it's short, but just in case!)
Trousers (linen, drawstring - am I right in guessing that it should really be joined hose at this point - hoping we can get away with this?)
see above
Shoes (Leather, ankle height. While boots are better, shouldnt shoes be ok - thinking of price here?)
Rather than shoes, I'd go for short ankle boots. There's not that much difference in price, and you'll have less p-ed off people with wet feet (used to have shoes, now have boots - much better).
Belt (thin, leather)
fine - hardest part here is the buckle - if you want it to be multi period, go for something plain and d ring. avoid modern pones like the plague
yes, although whether this is tricky depends on whether you're still doing multi period, and what dates if you are - let me know and I'll go into mind numbing detail!! :D
Helmet (simple skull cap still in use or not? Again hoping so, as could do other periods with it)
not sure - ask somebody for whom armour isn't dull :wink:
Doublet (Wool? - also covers any bodge jobs on the torso. Thinking dark blue)
wool, yes - lined in linen.

dark blue, no. although it depends on how dark a dark blue you mean. In general a dark blue would be a bit too high status, as it'd probably be an indigo dye, much of which came from france at this date (15th), and which being imported was therefore costly.

I'd generally stick to lighter, and therefore cheaper colours. lighter blues, yellows, browns, lighter pinks, madder (orangey) reds and oranges - that sort of thing.
Avoid brighter and darker colours generally - also avoid greens and purples (double dye bath). def. avoid anything bright red or black (available but v high status).

obviously these are just suggestions - a more exact date (or dates), and I can be more exact.

If I disappear for a bit at any point soon, p-mail me - I'm now into the run up to both hastings and the re-enactor's market, which are practically on top of each other, so aaarrrggghhh!!

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:27 pm
by Paddy
Hmmmmmmm, interesting on the colours. We wanted to base the doublets on the universitys colours, but still portray lower class/poorer people (uni colours are blue and red). Guess we can just make it lighter blue.

The trousers are simple enough - we made a test pair on saturday :D

Ankle boots you say? Reasoning makes sense. Will nosey around suppliers (will be a bulk order) and hunt out patterns in case we have a crack at them ouselves.

Thanks for the buckle tip - easy mistake avoided.

Cheers for the help thus far :D

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:47 pm
by nutmeg_bec
You can get a muddy light green on linen with just nettle tips (I used Iron Sulphate as a mordant).

I suppose you could use the blue really sparingly (trims made from material strips etc) as a bit of a compromise against the cost?

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:48 pm
by gregory23b
Out of interest why is this a multi period thing? I ask because there will be a number of quite obvious compromises that might result in having neither one nor the other.

The loose hose (trousers) as Debs points out are labourer's gear, knee pads and gaiters too, low rung. So that means no decent armour, or any flash accessories that would contradict the effect.

Seems if you are aiming for WOTR, then it might be easier to get that right (ish) from the offset, then look at the core items that can be used earlier, eg open hose (although not identical can be obscured by a decent cote thing).

Debs is also right re colour, they are not to be taken lightly, put away all modern notions of colours, ie just because you can buy it, does not mean they could, blues, deep reds are some of the most expensive colours.
As you now realise you may have a contradiction between your trousers and the intended colours, ie peasants in the best colours. It has to be said that in the main most groups fall short at this, it is an old established thing, so in some ways if you go for muted colours you may well stand out like a sore thumb - in a weird ironic way.

Tinctoria - Moira - does a nice hand dyed sampler set, intended to be used as a visual guide to match modern dyed fabrics to known medieval colours schemes. Well worth the money and interesting in its own right, I think she still lurks here and kate tyler knows her.


Craig, seems the Buckinghams are into their farm implements...;-)

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:58 pm
by guthrie
I'm not an armour buff, but although a skull cap is a reasonable start, I would suggest that, given the cheapness of places like GDFB or the second hand market, that you go for kettle helms. They will offer a little bit more protection with the brim.

What weapons are you wanting to fight with? With a kettle helm, padding, sword and buckler, you can get on the field easily enough, or replace the sword and buckler with a bill and you'd be fine.
Although kettle helms varied in shape over the roughly 300 yers that they were in use, peopel will generally accept any old kettle helm as at leas tbeing a helmet. Or you can pick up a cheap sallet, they arent that expensive or uncommon in the period, and would provide enough protection.
But I dont think you want to be going for full articulated lobster tail sallet with matching dropping bevor to begin with.

Gloves as well- they can be gardening gloves, as long as they are made of leather and dont have "Bloggs gardening shop" emblazoned across the back of them. Whilst I think they did often fight without gloves in them thar days, they are useful these days for preventing sore injuries from being really painful ones.

And if you make quite high up the leg split hose, the tops will be hidden by the doublets anyway, and your braies will cover anything people shouldnt see, and you can go back to the late 13th century wearing them, and come up to Scotland to the wars of independence. Once you have a shirt and single leg hose and braies, (And ankle boots) you can get away with merely a normal tunic and a coif, and hey presto! you go back 200 years to the 1300's.

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 10:04 pm
by craig1459
Yeah kettle hats are a good bet for footsoldiers - emerged at the end of the twelfth century and in use until the fifteenth.

Don't recycle ARP helmets...please :lol:

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 10:10 pm
by Paddy
Re: helmets

The kettle brigade are convincing me, however, the reason we were looking at skull caps was again multi-period usefulness. Have to put it to the rest on how we spend our money.

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 10:16 pm
by gregory23b
Ubiquitous kettle hat? which one? WOTR ones are somewhat different from earlier ones, ie not like Majicockocoskiviis (whatever) Bible.

Agree re ARP helmets they should be steam rollered on sight, bah humbug.

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 10:18 pm
by guthrie
Well, kettle helms are good for 300 years, as craig says, but I have seen very few pictures of skullcaps, although I understand theres a picture or two in the Macjijowski [sic] bible. So I would put my money on a kettle helm.

Your going to have to face it, it is impossible to put together kit that can cover 1485 back to, say 1300. You could have 1300 kit that would do for 1100, I think, but again, helmet differences would be noticeable. Not to mention the civilian clothing.

Obviously, one shirt could do them all, and ankle boots would do, but over the period of say 1100 helmets changed, mail and padding changed, hose length changed, tunics changed and became doublets, doublets changed length and design etc etc. I think your best choosing a roughly 50 year period and trying to fit inside it. Those of us with more time and money can try and narrow the period down to say 10 years.

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 10:31 pm
by Paddy
One text later, and I've narrowed down where we're aiming for. See title.

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 10:34 pm
by craig1459
The ones in the Magicjetski that I know are of "spangenhelm" form being made from 2 or 4 plates. However, I've got an illustration here from 1245 of Stamford Bridge(!) showing kettle hats which appear to be of the bowl form seen in the C15, albeit nicely painted. Alas my scanner is kaput :(

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 10:42 pm
by guthrie
Can you make out if the top is of one piece of metal, with the brim tacked on round the edge, or if the top rounded bit is made of, say 4 pieces of metal with the brim attached on to it?

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 10:59 pm
by craig1459
There are certainly no spangen as with the Magicjetski and the artist has shown joins and rivets on the great helms in the picture. It LOOKs like a single-piece dome - but no indication of the construction of the brim

Also found late C13 picture of a carving in a German cathedral of two figures jousting, one of whom is wearing what could best be described as an ARP helmet :shock: :lol:

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 11:00 pm
by Sophia

You could try the following people for boots:


These are just in the order they were in my Bookmarks. As far as I can remember they all do Medieval and some cover Dark Age as well. Best idea is to talk to all of them - some people do a reduced price range or offer machine sewn shoes in standard sizes.

Sophia :D

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 12:23 pm
by Tuppence
You could have 1300 kit that would do for 1100, I think, but again, helmet differences would be noticeable. Not to mention the civilian clothing.

other way round :D there's quite a lot of stuff that you could have in 1300 that would be wrong for 1100, but most stuff you'd have in 1100 would still be around by 1300, although lower class.

On the buckle thing, if concentrating on 15th c, then double d rings are ok too - but not for earlier (goes back to the you can use it later, but not earlier).

the reason I asked about dates for padding is because once you get into the 15th c it gets quite different. For anything from c12th c on you could get away with a just above mid thigh length, front opening gambeson. For very early (pre 12th) it shouldn't really open - not an issue if under mail, but quite big one if worn on it's own - (eg if front opener worn on it's own, it'd be banned for hastings.) Once into the mid 15th c, you're into proper, fitted padded jacks, with quite defined shaping to the stitching.

Books I'd recommend:

medieval tailor's assistant - sarah thursfield.
anything by phyllis / cw cunnington or james laver
museum of london medieval finds series
a short history of costume and armour - either randolph and scwabe or kelly and schwabe
visual history of costume (published by batsford)

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 12:26 pm
by mac (crucesignati)

I'll give you any info you need regarding C13th crusading clothing/equipment (Templar biased)

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 12:28 pm
by guthrie
Ok, there you go, I dont know enough about 1100 kit. Maybe I shall go and learn more....

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 6:18 pm
by craig1459
"Battle of Stamford Bridge" L'Estoire de Sainte Aedward le Roi by the school of Matthew Parris, English c1245 (MS. Ee359, folio 32v, Cambridge University Library)

Kettle Hat

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 11:38 pm
by Tuppence
You can get a muddy light green on linen with just nettle tips (I used Iron Sulphate as a mordant).
sorry - should have made the distinction - I was thinkingof a darkish forest green :D [/quote]

Posted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 7:51 pm
by Paddy
mac (crucesignati) wrote:Paddy

I'll give you any info you need regarding C13th crusading clothing/equipment (Templar biased)
PMing presently :D

I happened to notice that one, as I've been meaning to get in touch now I have the internet at home again (ditto to tuppence and saxon, if they read this).

I'll just shove in a clarification here before I read eveeryone elses posts - this is group kit and beginners bare minimum guides, not a set of personal kit for decades of use (jut incase some people were confused)! This is about stretching meagre (and boy do I mean meagre) funds so we can get new people in something, doing something and having a go at the minimum cost to them - if you tell a student they can join in your snazzy hobby, but only after shelling out X-hundred pounds, they wont even try, and I think thats too great a loss.


Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 1:14 pm
by alexmby
paddy stop calling other ppl dear, whether male or female. I'M you dear. just me. no one else. Love you xxx
grumble calling ppl dear, grumble
call me later and menind me I'm meant to be telling you off. Rah. PS bought you a present (chocolates) see you NEXT WEEK!!!!!!!

Posted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 8:14 am
by willomk1
setting up a group with students can have its draw backs in the cash dept but having belonged to both sheffield uni and hudds uni reenactment groups there are ways round it

however forget the multi period thing its the road to disaster all you end up with is a mix of kit thats innapropriate for almost any event and your seen as cowboys just playing at the hobby Wang heads and other assorted names.

so pick one peroid and run with it

kit if you can get an ethos of making alot of your own kit going thats such an advantage allows group to buy wool and patterns and members make it up.

Sheffield uni is particualy strong at this and i think would be keen to help their the nevil household

pic colours that are cheap and correct for your over all status buy in bulk

as a group try to accumilate spare kit for new member so people can have a go with little cost

apply for sponsor ship from local pubs etc

get in touch with local groups for help and of course training

have lots of other tips but main just pm me cheers Willo

which uni is it by the way

Posted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 6:27 pm
by Jenn
have you thought about girls at all ?( I don't mean in general ) just in your soc becuase all your talk about kit appears to be men's kit and even if they're fighting women will need women's kit some of the time.
I would absolutely agree with a pick a period and run with it. Despite having being re-enacting since I was 12. I didn't join any of the re-enactment groups at anythe unis I went to for exactly this reason. Too much wang and too many would be elves
I am not in anyway suggesting that your group are like this btw just suggesting what other people's perceptions will be