Jane and Ninya disappeared into the Data Batcave in Copenhagen (with intern Hannah, pictured far left) for a week to begin the New Year with The Typical Tudor as the top priority for 2017. The document database currently contains nearly 50,000 clothing-related items, including garments, accessories, weapons and materials.

These have come from approximately 20,000 wills, inventories and accounts dating from 1485 to 1603 and across a geographical spread of 16th century England from Northumberland to Cornwall and Monmouthshire to Norfolk.

A broad spectrum of society is represented from humble labourers to wealthy gentlemen – and there are some widows, maidservants and spinsters too (more than a third of the items are women’s).

The TT team’s plan was to focus on cassocks and frocks for the first foray into the database. What actually happened was that they started looking at cassocks and found all sorts of exciting results, which raised a lot of questions and prompted much useful discussion and decision making about methodology and how to approach the rest of the data. There is new confidence that the week’s work has smoothed the path for analysing the rest of the garments in a rigorous yet efficient way.

A summary of some of the findings was sent out to the TT eNewsletter subscribers. The figures being reporting now are not final because the database is still growing and undergoing refinement. But they do give a good indication of the trends and conventions, as well as offering a tantalising glimpse into what can be gleaned about other garments as the project gets going.

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