The reconstruction of medieval costumes at Pembridge

Our history society outing to Pembridge on 7th May gave us a fascinating insight into medieval dress.  We started by examining the effigies on the tombs of two generations of the Gour family, wealthy and well-connected civil servants. Unusually the men are depicted in civilian dress rather than in military knightly armour more usual at this period.  The clothing of both couples is beautifully detailed.

In 2015 a group of locals started a project to reproduce this clothing.  We were shown the results, displayed on four mannequins in a side chapel.  Two members of the group explained how they tackled the project: how they tried to reproduce the cloth of the period and the methods of construction. There was input from local knitting specialists, leather workers and jewellers.  While there were obviously some very experienced needle workers locally, one of our speakers, who had never previously threaded a needle, quickly learnt to design, cut and sew with great skill.

The group then decided to make a set of wedding garments such as would have been worn by Roger Mortimer and Joan de Geneville at their marriage in Pembridge church in 1301.  These garments were based on pictures and manuscripts of the period, with special reference to the list of clothing which Roger Mortimer was wearing when he was captured and imprisoned in 1330.

Jane H

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