Hell Broke Luce ~ Tea Dueling With The English Eccentric ~ The Incredible Range of Hopewell Trade ~ Combat Bubbles ~ Panoramic Views of Mars ~ The Incredibly True Adventures of Gerda Wegener and Lili Elbe (Terribly NSFW) ~ Armless Maidens of the American West
“Your underwear will still consist of a linen shirt and braies, but now the braies will be cut short and tight, not unlike modern underpants, with a fastening cord at the top. Over your braies you will wear colored hose (leggings) of the finest wool, like modern tights. These are normally attached to the fastening cord of the braies-a bit like a modern woman’s garter belt…. Should you button up your newly tailored doublet only to find that close-fitting tailoring cruelly reveals a fat belly, do not forget that men also wear corsets at this time. While the traditional image of knights in armor is accurate and widely accepted, the equally representative image of knights wearing corsets and garter belts is perhaps less well known.” - from Chapter 5: What to Wear, of The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer
This is absolutely not another attempt to get cute people to perform male hotness for me at larps. Honestly!
Shown above: Chausses et Braies XII-XIV via Le Comptoir du Château. 100% linen. Available in many colors; sizing is tailored. Ships worldwide via le Petite Paquet International. 109,00 € (EUR)
John Duns Scotus of Duns, Scotland, was one of the most celebrated philosophers of the medieval era. He was a brilliant thinker who taught in Oxford, Cambridge, and Paris. He also had the enviable luck to be famous in his day, the late 1200s and early 1300s. “The Subtle Doctor”, as he was known, wrote works that would become university textbooks for years. All of this philosophy was not without it’s quirks; one of his accepted teachings was that tall conical hats helped to funnel information to the wearer’s head.
Incidentally, seven hundred years later, his name is synonymous with idiocy.
This wasn’t caused by the hat thing. The prestige shifted to shame in the 1500s, with the rise of reformers and humanists. Duns’ works were considered to be needlessly complex, and the revolutionary winds of change meant that everything associated with him was suddenly out- including the hats. The hats took on a meaning of shame as an effect of the fallen star of his teachings, just as his name did- by 1577 the name had become synonymous with stupidity and stubbornness (though this may have been more directed at the man’s followers than the scholar himself).
It’s unclear when exactly people started making bad students wear the dunce cap as a sign of shame; a dunce table for failing students appears in the 1624 play, “The Sun’s Darling”, but the word “dunce cap” doesn’t appear in English until Dickens’ novel, “The Old Curiosity Shop”, in 1840.
(The source of all of the above is the excellent educational materials of the Museum Division’s Schoolhouse, in the little town of Fort Walton Beach.)
One of the most malignant of old Border goblins, Redcap lived in old ruined peel towers and castles where wicked deeds had been done, and delighted to re-dye his red cap in human blood. - An Encyclopedia of Fairies by Katharine Briggs (links mine).
Okay, so the lady above is wearing a bow rather than a hat. I like imagining modern day redcaps picking ever more unusual headgear, and getting chewed out for by the elder redcaps- perhaps literally, given their violent inclinations. A redcap costume can be done by simply adding a red hat and some fake blood to your usual garb. However, if you relish details:
A short thickset old man, with long prominent teeth, skinny fingers armed with talons like eagles, large eyes of a fiery-red colour, grisly hair streaming down his shoulders, iron boots, a pikestaff in his left hand, and a red cap on his head. - Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties
Redcaps are a particularly malicious sort of fairy, and as the Encylopedia’s description implies, are usually associated with a particular haunt. One of the more famous is Hermitage Castle; in the 1300s, Lord Soulis of Hermitage Castle was thought to be abducting children and performing terrible rituals with their blood to summon a redcap to protect him (source: Hermitage Castle link, and the Redcap entry in An Encylopedia of Fairies). They can be nearly impervious to harm by mundane weapons; Soulis’s redcap wasn’t defeated, just circumvented. Briggs’ research indicates that holy items are the only effect way of driving them off.
If you’d like more information about the types of hats worn in Soulis’ era, check here.