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King Henry V Costume 1413-1422

King Henry V Costume 1413-1422
by Dion Clayton Calthrop

By Pauline Weston Thomas for Fashion-Era.com

King Henry V Costume History 1413-1422
Pictures and Text by Dion Clayton Calthrop

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Houppelande Costume Plate -  MAN OF THE TIME OF HENRY V - 1413-1422Lady 1413-1422 - CostumeThis costume history information consists of Pages 161-175 of the chapter on 15th century dress in the 9 year reign of King Henry The Fifth 1413-1422  and taken from English Costume by Dion Clayton Calthrop.

The 36 page section consists of a text copy of the book ENGLISH COSTUME PAINTED & DESCRIBED BY DION CLAYTON CALTHROP.  Visuals, drawings and painted fashion plates in the book have a charm of their own and are shown amid the text. The book covers both male and female dress history of over 700 years spanning the era 1066-1830.
This page is about dress in the reign of King Henry The Fifth 1413-1422. The images and details are a good resource for costuming Shakespeare's stage plays of the Plantagenet era.

For the Introduction to this book see this introduction written by Dion Clayton Calthrop.  I have adjusted the images so they can be used for colouring worksheets where pupils add some costume/society facts.
My comments are in italics.Short houppelande - Henry V era.

HENRY THE FIFTH

Reigned nine years: 1413-1422.
Born 1388. Married, 1420, Katherine of France.

THE MEN

I think I may call this a transitional period of clothes, for it contains the ragged ends of the time of Richard II, and the old clothes of the time of Henry IV, and it contains the germs of a definite fashion, a marked change which came out of the chrysalis stage, and showed itself in the prosperous butterflies of the sixth Henry's time.

We retain the houppelande, its curtailments, its exaggerations, its high and low collar, its plain or jagged sleeves. We retain the long hair, which 'busheth pleasauntlie,' and the short hair of the previous reign. Also we see the new ideas for the priest-cropped hair and the roundlet hat.

I speak of the men only.

It was as if, in the press of French affairs, man had but time to ransack his grandfather's and his father's chests, and from thence to pull out a garment or two at a venture. If the garment was a little worn in the upper part of the sleeve, he had a slash made there, and embroidered it round.Mean wearing gown with belt with bells -1413AD.

Priest Cropped Hair & A Baldrick - A Belt with Bells

If the baldrick hung with bells was worn out in parts, he cut those pieces away and turned the baldrick into a belt.

If the skirts of the houppelande were sadly frayed at the edge, enter Scissors again to cut them off short; perhaps the sleeves were good - well, leave them on; perhaps the skirts were good and the sleeves soiled - well, cut out the sleeves and pop in some of his father's bag sleeves.

Harfleur - AgincourtMan wearing a turban 1400s

Mind you, my honest gentleman had trouble brewing: no sooner had he left the wars in Normandy and Guienne than the siege of Harfleur loomed to his vision, and after that Agincourt - Agincourt, where unarmoured men prevailed over mailed knights at the odds of six to one; Agincourt, where archers beat the great knights of France on open ground! Hear them hammer on the French armour with their steel mallets, while the Frenchmen, weighed down with their armour, sank knee-deep in the mud - where we lost 100 men, against the French loss of 10,000!

Henry V at Le Havre

See the port of Le Havre, with the English army landed there - Henry in his full-sleeved gown, his hair cropped close and shaven round his head from his neck to an inch above his ears, buskins on his feet, for he wore buskins in preference to long boots or pointed shoes. The ships in the harbour are painted in gay colours - red, blue, in stripes, in squares; the sails are sewn with armorial bearings or some device.

Some of our gentlemen are wearing open houppelandes over their armour; some wear the stuffed turban on their heads, with a jewelled brooch stuck in it; some wear the sugar-bag cap, which falls to one side; some are hooded, others wear peaked hats. One hears, 'By halidom!' I wonder if all the many, many people who have hastily written historical novels of this age, and have peppered them with 'By halidoms,' knew that 'By halidom' means 'By the relics of the saints,' and that an 'harlote' means a man who was a buffoon who told ribald stories?

A MAN OF THE TIME OF HENRY V - 1413-1422

A MAN OF THE TIME OF HENRY V - 1413-1422Right - The man - a 'dandy' of the Henry V era wears a short skirted houppelande with long flowing sleeves. His legs are covered with two coloured hose and his shorts are also of two different colours. Notice the sugar-bag cap with a jewel stuck in it. Heraldic surface decoration enriches the material which in medieval times was always known as stuff - good stuff being the best fabric available.

The Turban

Still, among all these gentlemen, clothed, as it were, second-hand, we have the fine fellow, the dandy - he to whom dress is a religion, to whom stuffs are sonnets, cuts are lyrical, and tailors are the poets of their age.

Such a man will have his tunic neatly pleated, rejecting the chance folds of the easy-fitting houppelande, the folds of which were determined by the buckling of the belt.

His folds will be regular and precise, his collar will be very stiff, with a rolled top; his hose will be of two colours, one to each leg, or parti-coloured. His shoes will match his hose, and be of two colours; his turban hat will be cocked at a jaunty angle; his sleeves will be of a monstrous length and width.

He will hang a chain about his neck, and load his fingers with rings. A fellow to him, one of his own kidney, will wear the skirt of his tunic a little longer, and will cause it to be cut up the middle; his sleeves will not be pendant, like drooping wings, but will be swollen like full-blown bagpipes. An inner sleeve, very finely embroidered, will peep under the upper cuff.

The Sugar-bag Cap & A HoodSugar bag-cap and a hood.

His collar is done away with, but he wears a little hood with cut edges about his neck; his hair is cropped in the new manner, like a priest's without a tonsure; his hat is of the queer sugar-bag shape, and it flops in a drowsy elegance over the stuffed brim.
As for his shoes, they are two fingers long beyond his toes.

We shall see the fashions of the two past reigns hopelessly garbled, cobbled, and stitched together; a sleeve from one, a skirt from another. Men-at-arms in short tunics of leather and quilted waistcoats to wear under their half-armour; beggars in fashions dating from the eleventh century; a great mass of people in undistinguishable attire, looking mostly like voluminous cloaks on spindle legs, or mere bundles of drapery; here and there a sober gentleman in a houppelande of the simplest kind, with wide skirts reaching to his feet, and the belt with the long tongue about his middle.

Heraldic Images

The patterns upon the dresses of these people are heraldry contortions - heraldic beasts intertwined in screws and twists of conventional foliage, griffins and black dogs held by floral chains to architectural branches, martlets and salamanders struggling in grotesque bushes, or very elaborate geometrical patterned stuffs.

There is a picture of the Middle Ages which was written by Langland in 'Piers the Plowman' - a picture of an alehouse, where Peronelle of Flanders and Clarice of Cockeslane sit with the hangman of Tyburn and a dozen others. It is a picture of the fourteenth century, but it holds good until the time of Henry VIII, when Skelton, his tutor, describes just such another tavern on the highroad, where some bring wedding-rings to pay their scot of ale, and 'Some bryngeth her husband's hood Because the ale is good.'

Both accounts are gems of description, both full of that rich, happy, Gothic flavour, that sense of impressionist portraiture, of broad humour, which distinguishes the drawings in the Loutrell Psalter.

I feel now as if I might be accused of being interesting and of overlaying my history with too much side comment, and I am well aware that convention demands that such books as this shall be as dull as possible; then shall the vulgar rejoice, because they have been trained to believe that dullness and knowledge snore in each other's arms.

However wholeheartedly you may set about writing a list of clothes attributable to certain dates, there will crop up spirits of the age, who blur the edges of the dates, and give a lifelike semblance to them which carries the facts into the sphere of fiction, and fiction was ever on the side of truth. No story has ever been invented by man but it has been beaten out of time by Nature and the police-courts; no romance has been penned so intricate but fact will supply a more surprising twist to life. But, whereas facts are of necessity bald and naked things, fiction, which is the wardrobe of fact, will clothe truth in more accustomed guise.

Cloaks

I put before you some true facts of the clothes of this time, clothed in a little coat of facts put fictionally.

I write the word 'cloak'; describe to you that such people wore circular cloaks split at one or both sides,
on one side to the neck, on the other below the shoulder;
of semicircular cloaks,
of square cloaks,
of oblong cloaks,
all of which were worn (I speak of these, and you may cut them out with some thought); but I wish to do more than that - I wish to give you a gleam of the spirit in which the cloaks were worn.

A cloak will partake of the very soul and conscience of its owner; become draggle-tailed, flaunting, effeminate, masterful, pompous, or dignified. Trousers, I think, of all the garments of men, fail most to show the state of his soul; they merely proclaim the qualities of his purse. Cloaks give most the true man, and after that there is much in the cock of a hat and the conduct of a cane.

In later days one might tell what manner of man had called to find you away if he chanced to leave his snuff-box behind. This reasoning is not finicky, but very profound; accept it in the right spirit.

Now, one more picture of the age.

The rich man at home, dressed, as I say, in his father's finery, with some vague additions of his own, has acquired a sense of luxury. He prefers to dine alone, in a room with a chimney and a fire in it. He can see through a window in the wall by his side into the hall, where his more patriarchal forebears loved to take their meals. The soiled rushes are being swept away, and fresh herbs and rushes strewn in their place; on these mattresses will in their turn be placed, on which his household presently will lay them down to sleep.

THE WOMEN

Every time I write the heading 'The Women' to such chapters as these, I feel that such threadbare cloak of chivalry as I may pin about my shoulders is in danger of slipping off.

Should I write 'The Ladies'? But although all ladies are women, not all women are ladies, and as it is far finer to be a sweet woman than a great dame, I will adhere to my original heading, 'The Women.'

However, in the remote ages of which I now write, the ladies were dressed and the women wore clothes, which is a subtle distinction. I dare not bring my reasoning up to the present day.

As I said in my last chapter, this was an age of medley - of this and that wardrobe flung open, and old fashions renovated or carried on. Fashion, that elusive goddess, changes her moods and modes with such a quiet swiftness that she leaves us breathless and far behind, with a bundle of silks and velvets in our arms.

How is a fashion born? Who mothers it? Who nurses it to fame, and in whose arms does it die? High collar, low collar, short hair, long hair, boot, buskin, shoe - who wore you first? Who last condemned you to the World's Great Rag Market of Forgotten Fads?

Now this, I have said, was a transitional age, but I cannot begin to say who was the first great dame to crown her head with horns, and who the last to forsake the jewelled caul. It is only on rare occasions that the decisive step can be traced to any one person or group of persons: Charles II, and his frock-coat, Brummell and his starched stock, are finger-posts on Fashion's highroad, but they are not quite true guides. Charles was recommended to the coat, and I think the mist of soap and warm water that enshrines Brummell as the Apostle of Cleanliness blurs also the mirror of truth. It does not much matter.

No doubt - and here there will be readers the first to correct me and the last to see my point - there are persons living full of curious knowledge who, diving yet more deeply into the dusty crevices of history, could point a finger at the man who first cut his hair in the early fifteenth-century manner, and could write you the name and the dignities of the lady who first crowned her fair head with horns. For myself, I begin with certainty at Adam and the fig-leaf, and after that I plunge into the world's wardrobe in hopes.

A Woman's Caul Headress

Hairstyle - Caul Headress - 1413-1422 - Henry FifthCertain it is that in this reign the close caul grew out of all decent proportions, and swelled into every form of excrescence and protuberance, until in the reign of Henry VI, it towered above the heads of the ladies, and dwarfed the stature of the men.

This curious head-gear, the caul, after a modest appearance, as a mere close, gold-work cap, in the time of Edward III, grew into a stiffer affair in the time of Richard II, but still was little more than a stiff sponge-bag of gold wire and stuff and a little padding; grew still more in the time of Henry IV, and took squarer shapes and stiffer padding; and in the reign of Henry V, it became like a great orange, with a hole cut in it for the face - an orange which covered the ears, was cut straight across the forehead, and bound all round with a stiff jewelled band.

Then came the idea of the horn. Whether some superstitious lady thought that the wearing of horns would keep away the evil eye, or whether it was a mere frivol of some vain Duchess, I do not know.

As this fashion came most vividly into prominence in the following reign, I shall leave a more detailed description of it until that time, letting myself give but a short notice of its more simple forms.

We see the caul grow from its circular shape into two box forms on either side of the head; the uppermost points of the boxes are arranged in horns, whose points are of any length from 4 to 14 inches. The top of this head-dress is covered with a wimple, which is sometimes stiffened with wires.

A WOMAN OF THE TIME OF HENRY V - 1413-1422

1413-1422- Henry V Lady in Surcoat and Under GownHer surcoat is stiffened in front with fur and shaped with a band of metal. Her belt is low on the hips of the under-dress. The horns on her head carry the large linen wimple.

There is also a shape something like a fez or a flower-pot, over which a heavy wimple is hung, attached to this shape; outside the wimple are two horns of silk, linen, or stuff - that is, silk bags stuffed to the likeness of horns.

I should say that a true picture of this time would give but few of these very elaborate horn head-dresses, and the mass of women would be wearing the round caul.

The surcoat over the cotehardie is the general wear, but it has more fit about it than formerly; the form of the waist and bust are accentuated by means of a band of heavy gold embroidery, shaped to the figure. The edges of the surcoat are furred somewhat heavily, and the skirt often has a deep border of fur. Sometimes a band of metal ornament runs across the top of the breast and down the centre of the surcoat, coming below the fur edging. The belt over the hips of the cotehardie holds the purse, and often a ballade or a rondel.

You will see a few of the old houppelandes, with their varieties of sleeve, and in particular that long, loose double sleeve, or, rather, the very long under-sleeve, falling over the hand. This under-sleeve is part of the houppelande.

Trains on Houppleandes

All the dresses have trains, very full trains, which sweep the ground, and those readers who wish to make such garments must remember to be very generous over the material.Ladies Fur Edged Surcoat 1413-1422

The women commonly wear the semicircular mantle, which they fasten across them by cords running through ornamental brooches.

They wear very rich metal and enamel belts round their hips, the exact ornamentation of which cannot be described here; but it was the ornament of the age, which can easily be discovered.

In the country, of course, simpler garments prevail, and plain surcoats and cotehardies are wrapped in cloaks and mantles of homespun material. The hood has not fallen out of use for women, and the peaked hat surmounts it for riding or rough weather. Ladies wear wooden clogs or sandals besides their shoes, and they have not yet taken to the horns upon their heads; some few of them, the great dames of the counties whose lords have been to London on King's business, or returned from France with new ideas, have donned the elaborate business of head-boxes and wires and great wimples.

As one of the ladies rides in the country lanes, she may pass that Augustine convent where Dame Petronilla is spiritual Mother to so many, and may see her in Agincourt year keeping her pig-tally with Nicholas Swon, the swineherd. They may see some of the labourers she hires dressed in the blood-red cloth she has given them, for the dyeing of which she paid 7s. 8d. for 27 ells. The good dame's nuns are very neat; they have an allowance of 6s. 8d. a year for dress.

This is in 1415. No doubt next year my lady, riding through the lanes, will meet some sturdy beggar, who will whine for alms, pleading that he is an old soldier lately from the field of Agincourt.

NOTE

As there is so little real change, for drawings of women's dress see the numerous drawings in previous chapter.

HENRY THE FIFTH

Reigned nine years: 1413-1422.
Born 1388. Married, 1420, Katherine of France.

Houppelande Costume Plate -  MAN OF THE TIME OF HENRY V - 1413-1422Lady 1413-1422 - CostumeThis costume history information consists of Pages 161-175 of the chapter on 15th century dress in the 9 year reign of King Henry The Fifth 1413-1422  and taken from English Costume by Dion Clayton Calthrop.

The 36 page section consists of a text copy of the book ENGLISH COSTUME PAINTED & DESCRIBED BY DION CLAYTON CALTHROP.  Visuals, drawings and painted fashion plates in the book have a charm of their own and are shown amid the text. The book covers both male and female dress history of over 700 years spanning the era 1066-1830.
This page is about dress in the era of King Henry The Fifth 1413-1422. The images and details are a good resource for costuming Shakespeare's stage plays of the Plantagenet era.

For the Introduction to this book see this introduction written by Dion Clayton Calthrop.  I have adjusted the images so they can be used for colouring worksheets where pupils add some costume/society facts.
My comments are in italics.

 

You have been reading English Costume History at www.fashion-era.com © from the chapter Henry The Fifth 1413-1422, from Dion Clayton Calthrop's book English Costume.

Page Added 5 August 2010. Ref:-P798.

NEXT - HENRY THE SIXTH - 1422-1461 

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