Costume, dance and music

 

Smithfield Decretals, c.1340. British Library Royal 10 E.IV.
Smithfield Decretals, c.1340. British Library Royal 10 E.IV.

Many people taking part in celebrations to mark the 700th anniversary of their church’s dedication may be wondering how to dress up authentically.

Romance of Alexander. French, mid-14th century. Bodleian MS 264.
Romance of Alexander. French, mid-14th century. Bodleian MS 264.

Illuminated contemporary manuscripts reveal a great deal of  information about the type of garments worn in 1315. In rural areas people wore simple things – tunics and robes, and they rarely changed their clothes.

Alison Merry, who has provided a number of illustrations for our website, has explored the world of 14th century fashion.

Many of the images depict ordinary, every day life. Here, children can be seen enjoying walking on their stilts.

Our regular costume workshops proved very popular and various garments came off the production line for our celebratory weekend.

For patterns to make a coif (simple and more advanced), please visit the 1315 Procession website’s Resources page.

Procession (11)
At Harescombe a shawm heralded the arrival of Bishop Maidstone

Led by Robin Burton of Delfryn, we formed a small choir known as Middle Ages. For information about some of the songs learnt at our workshops, and how they sound, please visit the 1315 Procession website’s Resources page.

Two songs were created for children using contemporary medieval music, Walter and Merry and Siglo the Salmon. The tune for Walter and Merry is Edi beo thu, a carol that was composed at Llanthony Secunda in Gloucester in 1296.  Middle Ages learnt the original version which tells the story of the annunciation and is written in Middle English.

Sumer is icumen in
Sumer is icumen in

A surprising number of folk songs and hymn tunes can trace their origins to the early fourteenth century and before. The best-known of these is Sumer is icumen in which dates to the mid-13th century and it has a very simple melody that can be sung as a round.

Some lively dance tunes from the period survive, and fragmentary descriptions of dance forms. Although the earliest mention of Morris dancing dates to 1448, it evolved from an earlier period and we are delighted that the Three Horseshoes in Frampton invited England’s Glory Ladies Morris to dance on the village green on Friday 26th June.

Schoolchildren and adults learnt dances which they performed at the Churchwardens’ Ale and in the processions at Whaddon and Frampton accompanied by folk musicians playing traditional instruments.

Slide 5 (2)
The girls in this ‘fourteenth century style’ band play on the tabor, cymbals, recorder, symphony, fiddle and organ