HOME ABOUT ME SITE MAP A MEDIEVAL WOMAN'S LIFE - AT HOME - BIRTHS - WEDDINGS - DIVORCE - DEATHS - MANNERS - EDUCATION - EMPLOYMENT - RECREATION
CLOTHES - ITEMS OF CLOTHING - DRESS ACCESSORIES FABRICS & SEWING BEAUTY, HEALTH & HYGIENE MY TALKS MY SEWING MY ARTIFACTS BIBLIOGRAPHY LINKS

CLOTHES &
ACCESSORIES

DRESS
ACCESSORIES

TIPPETS

BELTS & GIRDLES

PURSES & BAGS

HEADWEAR

FOOTWEAR

JEWELLERY

GLOVES

Medieval Gloves
HAWKING GLOVES - GLOVES IN HOUSEHOLD ACCOUNTS - KNITTED GLOVES - GLOVES FOR WORKERS

Gloves are one of the items mentioned by Andreas Capellanus in his 12th century text, De Amore, when he speaks of what may and may not be freely given to a lady love without being inappropriate-

A lover may freely accept from her beloved these things- a handkerchief, a hairband, a circlet of gold or silver, a brooch for the breast, a mirror, a belt, a purse, a lace for clothes, a comb, cuffs, gloves, a ring, a little box of scent, a portrait, toiletries, little vases, trays....

This indicates that gloves were an item of clothing widely worn as a dress accessory, probably in winter at the very least, by women of all classes and not solely for utilitarian purposes. Many time periods in history consider a well-bred woman improperly dressed for society without hat and gloves, although there is no way to tell if this also applied to medieval women. Osbern Bokenham's Life of St Elizabeth talks of how devout Elizabeth was when she was young saying:

the Solemn Holy days this girl observed with such devotion that would not permit anyone to lace up her sleeves until after mass. On Sundays she would not wear gloves until noon, no matter how cold it might be..

Hawking gloves
Hawking was a pastime which was very popular amongst upper class ladies. Naturally, a specific glove would have been worn to protect the lady's hand. The detail above right comes from the 1300-1320 German manuscript, the Manesse Codex shows a woman wearing a hawking glove.

Gloves in household accounts
The household accounts of the Great Warderobe of 1360-1361, the king made gifts to the domicella of Brittany. Among them are listed eighteen pairs of leather gloves.

Knitted gloves
Only a few knitted items survive in tact from the medieval period, but among them is a knitted glove, now in the Museum of London. The lack of finds might be due to the nature of the item itself- gloves are usually worn until no longer serviceable and then discarded. The glove shown at right dates to the 15th century and comes from a London deposit. It is likely that the mitten style shown here was not worn by the wealthy upper classes, but more likely knitted at home and worn for warmth. The construction and method is simple.

Gloves for workers
Gloves were worn by outdoor workers, both male and female, for practical purposes. The gloves shown here date to 1498 and are from a misericord at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, in Maurienne, France. They are typical of a unisex working glove and look to be made of leather and lined with fur, or perhaps made of sheepskin with the fleece to the inside. The split fingers allow for greater ease of manipulation while working without the need to remove the gloves altogether.

Copyright © Rosalie Gilbert
All text & photographs within this site are the property of Rosalie Gilbert unless stated.
Art & artifact images remain the property of the owner.
Images and text may not be copied and used without permission.