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What Was Worn Under The Tunic in the 11th Century? *
By Steven Lowe
This article appeared in Varangian Voice issue 70
There's VERY little reliable information on 11th century hose – and no surviving artefacts. The earliest hose from the Viking region are, as I understand it, 14th century - way later than Viking times. So we have to use a lot of guesswork.
Certainly, the Bayeux Tapestry seems to indicate people wearing hose, as do several 11th century Anglo-Saxon illustrations. Or maybe they're really tight trousers.
Suitable footwear has been a bit of an issue for Handakas members for quite some time. I don't know about the others, but I'd been looking at patterns on websites for quite some time, and had even gone so far as to buy the leather and waxed thread and try to resize the pattern for the shoe from Parliament St. York, found at http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/shoe/construction.html to fit my "boxes they came in" sized feet, but I was daunted by the prospect of cutting and stitching and making SHOES. I mean, this is something done by specialists, isn't it? Something that needs specialised skills I don't have...?
We in Adelaide have been blessed by the arrival of Amelia and Jeremy from Victoria. Jeremy kindly offered his experience, assistance, tools and carport to give Handakas members the chance to make some basic turned shoes. Those of us who could make it, gathered on 12 February 2007 and set to with a will making patterns, cutting and marking leather and stitching. Several pairs of shoes were well under way by the end of the afternoon, and the process was no-where near as daunting with Jeremy to nudge us along the way.
I have added to the Handakas website a "photo essay" covering the materials used and the process involved. If other re-enactors are feeling like I did before the workshop, perhaps the photos and description of the process involved will help you get started. Your medieval garb will never look quite right until you have a proper pair of shoes, so it is well worth the effort, and nowhere near as hard as you might think!
If you'd like to give it a try yourself, take a look at Medieval footwear: A contemporary approach to medieval turned shoes on the Handakas website.