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Anslow, Florence / Practical millinery

Chapter I: The history of millinery,   pp. 1-24 PDF (5.1 MB)

Page 2

would be needed to greet them. So the great lady, feeling the 
responsibility of the charge of her husband's property, would 
turn her attention to his people in the hamlet just outside the 
castle.  She would teach the women to spin, to weave, and 
to plan, and cut out their materials to the best advantage; to 
make clothes for themselves and their families, and to complete 
these outfits maybe with the caps of the day (Fig. 1, a & b) 
banded with bright colours-green, red, or blue. Such caps are 
not greatly different from many one sees to-day, and Fig. 1, c, 
is thought to have suggested the design for the modern police 
and fireman's helmets. 
   Woman's head-dress has always varied according to her 
station. In Norman times there was nothing showy or smart 
about it. No matter whether the lady lived in castle or farm- 
stead, her gown was simple, and her hair, that was coiled closely 
about her head, was almost hidden beneath the folds of her 
coloured head-rail, couvre-chef, or wimple, made of silk, cloth, or 
linen, according to her social position. Portraits of Matilda of 
Flanders, wife of the Conqueror, show her head covered with a 
deep wimple falling straight down from beneath her crown. 
Other wealthy women held this 21yd. length of fine material 
in place with an embroidered head-band, and on state occasions 
when guests assembled at the castle for wedding or other fes- 
tivities, or the women put on their prettiest clothes to welcome 
back the soldiers, the soft silk wimples were circled by a band 
of gold set with jewels (Fig. 2). In summer my lady's wimple 
drooped gracefully about her shoulders, but in winter when keen 
winds flapped the tapestry restlessly against the rough-hewn 
stone walls of her sanctum, she was pleased to pleat her wimple 
and drape it round her neck like a scarf, leaving the end to fall 
over one shoulder towards the back. Worn thus, it was more 
,convenient when she slipped on her long outdoor cloak and drew 
its hood over her head to protect her from the weather as she 
went from one part of her draughty stronghold to another, or 
tanswered a hasty summons to cure the sick. 

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