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A Text by Herbert Norris
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The Cotehardie

The cotehardie was a shaped garment fitting tight on the shoulders and at the waist and hips, It was constructed in four parts, Fig. 312), seamed down the back, sides and front, where it was fastened. The seams on the hips were sometimes left undone for about three or four inches from . the bottom and were buttoned with one or two buttons in the same style as those in front. The cotehardie shown in Fig. 311 is "parti-coloured" white and black, and both sides embroidered ("brayden") or woven in a gold design, A band of gold on which buttonholes are worked descends the front, and the garment is fastened by jewelled and enamelled buttons all the way down, The sleeves, which came only to the elbow, were either inserted in the armhole, or cut all in one with the side and back pieces, This particular cotehardie being half white and half black, the right sleeve is all white and the left all black. (When the cotehardie was "quarterly," i.e. each front and back piece alternately of the two colours, the sleeves would be half and half, the seams being on the outside and underside, not front and back, This is explained in Fig. 313, and should be carefully remembered.) At the edge of the sleeve a piece of material was attached about three inches in width, and in length anything up to five feet, One end was sewn round the arm, the remainder falling to the ground in the form of a long streamer. The name TIPPET was given to these streamers, and occasionally applied also to the liripipe of the hood, "With his tippet ybounde about his hed" is a description given later by Chaucer. These tippets were always white, in cloth, silk or linen, and great care was exercised to keep them without a crease, For this reason they were pressed between planks of wood when not in wear. This applies to women"s tippets as well as those of the men.

Underneath the cotehardie a short jacket was worn, with tight sleeves buttoned from elbow to wrist, That worn by the nobleman in Fig, 311 is parti-coloured, the right sleeve being purple and the left blue, To the waist of this short jacket was attached the hose, also parti- coloured, the right leg being blue and the left purple, The hose and foot part are combined, and the toes have long points stuffed with wool. The short jacket referred to above, and seen in Fig. 314, was called a PALTOCK (later POURPOINT, see p, 225, which became an important item of apparel). The chief use of the paltock was as a foundation to which undersleeves and hose could be attached. Laces of silk or braid, with tags or points at the ends, were fixed to the top of the hose or to the shoulder end of sleeves, and these were passed through eyelet- holes inserted at the waist-line or armhole of the paltock. "To truss the POYNTS." They have a weed (garment) of silk, called a paltock, to which their hosen of two colours, or pied with more, are fastened with white HERLOTS (latchets) without any breeches (drawers) . , , 2

The costume in Fig, 311 was not complete until the hood and belt had been added. .-coloured blue and

The former, also partr purple, had a liripipe quite five feet in length, and a very richly ornamented border round the cape part edged with leaf-like dagges, A distinctive feature of the costume of this time was a very rich girdle or hip-belt of goldsmith"s work and jewels, worn very low down on the hips (never worn round the waist during this reign), from which sometimes hung a sword or BASELARD on the left side and frequently a dagger on the right, called a MISERICORDE, and so named because rt Was generally used to inflict the "mercy-stroke" and deprive a wounded antagonist of life.

Fig. 314 shows a young man in the act of trussing his left leg hose by tying his poynts to the eyelet-holes in the paltock. , the hose on the right leg is only half on, displaying a bare thigh, and the SLOPS, marked A (see p. 245). The holes for inserting the poynts are seen at the waist-line 1 of the paltock, and also up the front where the paltock is laced over. the sherte. The sleeves also were sometimes tied on, but it was quite usual to have them fixed to the paltoCk. Although the method of trussing hose is mentioned under this period, there is no doubt that from early times some such means of supporting leg-coverings was known (see Vol. 1., p. 269). positive proof is not forthcoming, however, until the fourteenth century, when evidence is obtained from paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and from the remains of original garments.

Excavations carried out in 1921 at Heriolfsnes, a centre of Danish colonists in South Greenland until the end of the fourteenth century, have brought to light many garments, the shapes of which are identical with the general type of costume worn during the fourteenth century by the middle classes in England, France and Denmark. They are now preserved in the National Museum at Copenhagen, and are very valuable as examples of the cut of the costumes under discussion in this chapter.

Bibliography

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2005 January 28