April 15, 2019

Who was The Typical Tudor? Save the date to find out

Save the weekend of Friday 3 to Sunday 5 April 2020 to be among the first to see copies of The Tudor Tailor’s new book.

Research for The Typical Tudor, Jane and Ninya’s follow-up to The Tudor Tailor, has been underway for a long time. We’ve been promising to update the book and add new research based largely on a huge survey of documentary evidence gathered together in a database of more than 60,000 items from wills, accounts and inventories dated 1485 to 1603.

Perceptions that The Tudor Tailor was mostly about elite dress led us to focus on lower and middle-class dress as worn by “The Typical Tudor” in our ongoing research. Some early insights into what ordinary people wore came from the many volumes of Essex wills (helpfully transcribed by Emmison) and we were able to hint at these in The Tudor Tailor.

However, when we look at any source material – pictures, artefacts, documents – we must acknowledge that we can’t be sure whether any of it is typical of the people who lived in the Early Modern era because the vast majority of what once existed is gone. Even the most robust interrogation of the best evidence provides only a shadowy glimpse of what people wore and who those people were. It is for this reason that we are interpreting the material for our new book in as wide and inclusive a way as possible. All averages are based on a broad sweep of data which includes outliers as well as those firmly in the mainstream.

The book will be launched next year at a conference exploring the “Bodies of Evidence” for ordinary people’s clothing. Visit our Facebook page for updates and check in here for regular announcements about the speakers, programme and venues. Put the date in your diary and plan your trip to Nottingham – home of Robin Hood (allegedly) – a Champion of the Ordinary Man and Woman!