A MEDIEVAL WOMAN'S LIFE - AT HOME
- BIRTHS - WEDDINGS - DIVORCE - DEATHS - MANNERS - EDUCATION - EMPLOYMENT
CLOTHES - ITEMS OF CLOTHING - DRESS ACCESSORIES FABRICS & SEWING BEAUTY, HEALTH & HYGIENE MY TALKS MY SEWING MY ARTIFACTS BIBLIOGRAPHY LINKS
Medieval Sumptuary Laws
ENGLISH LAWS - FRENCH LAWS - ITALIAN LAWS - GERMAN LAWS
Sumptuary Laws were brought in place periodically to restrict what people ate but more particularly, what people wore. After the Black Death caused a worker's shortage and the lower classes were able to charge more for their services, the upper classes were increasingly concerned about the newly affluent townsfolk and merchant classes who could now afford to dress like their social superiors.
In a world where one's dress generally
denotes one's social status, and as merchants were born lower, this
was deemed not in the least acceptable by the upper classes. Not to
mention, many a merchant's wife sent him to the poorhouse attempting
to keep up with the latest court fashions which they could not afford,
all for the sake of appearances. Sumptuary laws passed by the King was
the answer to this, although with varying degrees of success.
1336 - Law regulating the number of courses at dinner
1337 - Law protecting English woolen industry prohibiting the wearing of fabrics not woven in England and restricting furs
1355 - Statute regulating the dress of prostitutes
1361 - Proclamation to fix prices of food in London
1363 - Petition from Commons to fix the price of 'little victuals'
1363 - Statute Concerning Diet and Apparel
1364 - Repeal of The Statute Concerning Diet and Apparel
1399 (or 1388?) - Possible statute 'regulating apparel suitable to every man's distinct rank and quality' Listed in the Parliamentary History of England and Knighton's chronicle, official roll lost
1402 - Sumptuary law petition proposed by Commons
1406 - 1402 petition resubmitted with additions
1409 - Law on the playing of games
1414 - 2 petitions proposed by Commons on price fixing (rejected), proclamation on unlawful games
1419 - 1414 petition on price fixing resubmitted
1420 - passing of sumptuary law
1422- succession of Henry VI
1439-40 - sumptuary regulation for the dress of prostitutes (repeat of 1355)
1463 - Statute of Apparel
1465 - Statute forbidding the making of shoes with pike past the ordained length
1466? - Proclamation on the length of shoe pikes
1477 - Act of Apparel adds to 1463 Statute
1477 - Law on gambling and illegal games
1483 - Statute of Apparel
1283 - Burghers and their wives are prohibited from wearing coronals of gold or silver or precious stones or gold belts
1360 - Prostitutes are forbidden to wear
embroidery of any kind, pearls, gilt or silver buttons and squirrel
edges on their clothes.
1332 - Wives of knights, judges and doctors
are permitted to wear silver-gilt jewellery.
1356 - Laws concerning clothing restrictions
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