Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Monday, July 28, 2008

Cleaning in a Medieval Castle

This is by far the hardest blog I’ve had to write. Why? Because I simply haven’t been able to find as much information as I would have liked to. However, I will present to you what I’ve learned and hopefully it will enlighten you. If you have any additional information, please feel free to post it!

There has been much conflicting information about whether or not people in the middle ages were as clean as we were within out homes. I think its all hogwash. With what little tools they had to use comparatively and the way they lived, I believe they kept their homes to the best of their abilities.

Think about it, they didn’t have vacuums, steam cleaners, Swiffers, Lysol or Windex… We do, and there are definitely people out there that still don’t take advantage of all the advanced housecleaning tools and products. They still live in pigsties!

Where did the phrase “you live in a pigsty” come from?

Well the word pigsty, originated in the 1590’s as of course the word for a pigpen. It wasn’t until the late 1800’s that it was used to describe someone’s living conditions as a dirty, messy or nasty place.

So how did they go about cleaning a medieval castle? Well, everyone had his or her own job to make sure that the place was in order, as well as someone to report to.

Obviously the lord and lady would be the head honchos, but underneath them you could have a steward, housekeeper, in some instances you may even have a chatelaine or castellan. A chatelaine is a mistress of the castle and a castellan is the governor of a castle. A husband and wife could be castellan and chatelaine together. These two would take the place of a lord or lady, let’s say they were not in attendance at the home or in some are instances if there was no lord, the lady may employ a governor, and vice versa.

A steward, also referred to as a seneschal was much more likely. His job was to take care of the estate and supervise the staff, as well as take care of the events in the great hall. The housekeeper would be in charge of the kitchen staff, the chambermaids, and cleaning of the estate.

Underneath the big dogs you might have various other workers, all the way down to the actual people who would do the cleaning, housemaids, scullions, and laundresses were the people who really cleaned quite a bit…

A housemaid would have quite a to do list from the time she woke in the morning. She would need to sweep the floors, generally downstairs until those who were sleeping had risen, then she would head upstairs. But even sweeping was a big deal. For instance, a lot of medieval castles had the floors strewn with rushes or straw. It was her job to see that these were cleaned up and replaced, but how often? It depended on the castle and who ran it. Some were changed monthly, some seasonally and some once a year. Whatever the case you can only imagine what was found underneath…

During the 15th century, the great scholar Erasmus wrote in a letter to a friend the following:

“The doors are, in general, laid with white clay, and are covered with rushes, occasionally renewed, but so imperfectly that the bottom layer is left undisturbed, sometimes for twenty years, harbouring expectoration, vomiting, the leakage of dogs and men, ale droppings, scraps of fish, and other abominations not fit to be mentioned. Whenever the weather changes a vapour is exhaled, which I consider very detrimental to health. I may add that England is not only everywhere surrounded by sea, but is, in many places, swampy and marshy, intersected by salt rivers, to say nothing of salt provisions, in which the common people take so much delight I am confident the island would be much more salubrious if the use of rushes were abandoned, and if the rooms were built in such a way as to be exposed to the sky on two or three sides, and all the windows so built as to be opened or closed at once, and so completely closed as not to admit the foul air through chinks; for as it is beneficial to health to admit the air, so it is equally beneficial at times to exclude it."

Rush or straw woven mats were introduced to some to help with cleaning, so that these could be taken outside and beaten while the floors were swept, however some still preferred the strewn look. Herbs would be sprinkled throughout the rushes and mats to keep stench away. Some of the herbs used were lavender, chamomile, rose petals, daisies, cowslips, marjoram, basil, mint, violets, sage, and fennel.

In Thomas Tusser’s book Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry, he gives lots of advice to housekeepers during the middle ages, here is what he says about getting rid of fleas in the rushes:

"While wormwood hath seed, get a bundle or twain,
to save against March, to make flea to refrain:
Where chamber is sweept, and wormwood is strown,
no flea, for his life, dare abide to be known.
What savour is best, if physic be true,
for places infected, than wormwood and rue?
It is as a comfort, for heart and the brain,
and therefore to have it, it is not in vain."

Sometimes the housemaid would even scrub the floors and walls with water and lye soap. (Lye soap is made from using the ashes of trees and shrubs, mixed with lard.) However this was only if they were made of stone or wood. If the wood happened to be covered over with plaster, she’d want to steer clear of using a water based cleaning method. Same goes for dirt floors.

After cleaning up the floor as much as she could a housemaid would then move onto the fireplaces. She clean out the ashes and soot and replace it with new logs for the day. Once upstairs she would clean out the basins and replace them with fresh water, as well as empty the chamber pots.

She would also sweep the floors and make the bed. If the bed needed cleaning she would collect up the linens to be given to the laundress. If the tapestries were in need of cleaning, she would have to take them down and outside to beat the dust and grime out of them. The maid would also be in charge of wiping down tables, benches, candlesticks, etc... pretty much any piece of furniture in any of the rooms. The housemaid would also be in charge of polishing any gold or silver in the house.

If she happened to finish her chores early, she could help out the cooks or laundresses. If the mattress itself needed cleaning, which it often did, because of lice, fleas and other nasty bedbugs, the maids would have to un-stuff it, have the mattress cleaned and then re-stuff it.

***It should also be noted that Parliament during the 14th century seemed to understand the need for cleanliness and its link to disease. Here is a proclamation they made in 1388:

"Item, that so much dung and filth of the garbage and entrails be cast and put into ditches, rivers, and other waters... so that the air there is grown greatly corrupt and infected, and many maladies and other intolerable diseases do daily happen... it is accorded and assented, that the proclamation be made as well in the city of London, as in other cities, boroughs, and towns through the realm of England, where it shall be needful that all they who do cast and lay all such annoyances, dung, garbages, entrails, and other ordure, in ditches, rivers, waters, and other places aforesaid, shall cause them utterly to be removed, avoided, and carried away, every one upon pain to lose and forfeit to our Lord the King the sum of 20 pounds..."

The laundress had a taxing job on the hands. Her hands were seeped in water day after day and would become dry and cracked. Her job was to clean and dry all the linens and garments within the household. The laundress also had the privilege, whether she liked it or not, to know about everyone’s bodily functions… Gagging… However nasty seeing the bloodstained sheets and then having to scrub them may have been, these ladies could rake in on the bribes from courtiers who would pay to know the cycles of queens, or even to see the sheets after a marriage is consummated.

Being a laundress was back breaking work. These ladies had to haul the water needed to do their cleaning from the well, moat or the closest river to where they did laundry, sometimes outside and sometimes in a designated room. After being heated, the water was dumped into a vat or into a bucking basket. Not only did they have to supply the water, they made the soap as well, using the method described above for lye soap. Lye soap was strong stuff, and could cut through the toughest grease spots, and other stains.

After getting the steamy water filled with lye soap, the laundress dumps the linens in and stirs with a wooden paddle, then literally beats the laundry until it’s clean.

Her job may have been a little easier than those who didn’t have access to such tools and took their laundry to the nearest river, soaked it and the beat it with and against rocks… That could take forever…

The next and last cleaning job I will discuss today is the job of a scullion or scullery maid. She or he was the lowest ranking among the servants, and may even be responsible for cleaning the chamber pots of other servants. They reported to the kitchen maid or cook. A scullion’s job was to clean the kitchen. This included, the floors, fireplace, pots and pans, and other dishes and utensils, disposing of the refuse. They were required to rise first and light all the fires and begin heating the water. Occasionally if they were down in servants, a scullion might serve the people in the hall and polish silver, gold and other expensive plate.

So what would you rather do?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Excellent Blog Awards

I just found out that History Undressed was just given an "Excellent Blog Award" by Scandalous Women (7/15).

Thank you so much, I am completely honored!!!

The blog meme was started by the Mommy Project.

Now it is my turn to pass the award on to some blogs I find excellent. It’s hard to choose because there are so many good blogs out there, but here are 10, in no particular order, that I think deserve an Excellent Blog Award:

Monday, July 14, 2008

History of Hygiene: Bathing, Teeth Cleaning, Toileting, & Deodorizing

In present times we are obsessed with bathing. How many shampoo brands are there? Soaps, razors, perfumes? Hundreds, thousands! People make a stink, literally, if they smell the dreaded B.O…. Nobody wants to be downwind of someone who hasn’t bathed in awhile…

How did they wipe after going number two? We’ll discuss that next week who cleaned the toilets out…

So how did they deal with this in history? As usual we will only be discussing a part of history’s time line, Medieval through Regency times. In addition to the different time periods, we also have to remember that hygiene practices would have been different between peasants, nobles and royalty… Who would you rather be?

Bathing…

As in a lot of things medieval bathing was by some seen as a form of sexual debauchery and by others seen as letting the devil into you. It was also widely believed that being naked and letting the water touch you would make you severely ill.

At any rate, those that were able to in medieval times bathed more than we thought they did, by most historians standards. It particularly became more popular during the outbreak of the Black Plague. People were looking for reasons why it was spreading and how to decrease the effects, they found that frequent hand-washing in warm water, warm wine and also in vinegar helped. They also found that keeping the surroundings more clean helped too.

I’m also sure that looking, feeling and smelling clean was a bonus not only to yourself but to those around you.

Medieval kings and lords and their household bathed more than most. Some had special rooms set aside for bathing and others bathed in huge tubs brought into their rooms. The tubs tooth forever to fill as the water had to be gather, heated and then carried in buckets to their rooms, where it was poured in and mixed sometimes with perfumes, scented oils and flower petals. Their ladies were just as lucky.

Because gathering water was so difficult several people may enjoy the bath before the water was thrown out. Especially within the poor. The eldest went first down to the youngest, hence the saying “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water…”

Peasants submerged themselves in water rarely for a bath and were more likely to wash quickly with plain water and a rag and if they were lucky some soap. During warm months they may have slipped away to the river for a dip.

Hand-washing before entering the great hall for a meal was standard. During the crusades, knights brought soap from the East. Prior to that people used water only and the oils from flowers.

In chambers, people had basins of water for washing the face and hands, and maybe a more intimate part of themselves…

Rivers, lakes, ponds, etc… were used to taking dips and rinsing the filth from one’s body.

As a writer of historical fiction, and a lover of history in general, I try to do a lot of things the way they were done way back when. I dry my clothes in the sun sometimes, (not on a clothesline, but just a drying rack I set on my deck), I have a tapestry on my wall and an antique painting of a Highlander, I drink wine from goblets, I sit outside with the only light coming from torches and lanterns, I buy food from fresh markets and farms, I attend a Renaissance festival yearly, Huzzah! And I use homemade soaps from a local farmer. I really like them a lot. She makes them almost close to the way they were made in medieval times, and they smell fantastic.

Soft soaps were made of mutton fat, wood ash, and natural soda. Often they had flowers and herb oils added for a sweet smell, but this was very expensive. Hard soaps were made of olive oil, soda, lime, herbs and flowers.

In some cities they had public bath houses, where people could bathe all day. (Check out my previous blog, on the city of Bath England http://historyundressed.blogspot.com/2008/04/taking-waters-in-bath-england.html)

Elizabeth I, is said to have had a bath once a month. She herself also restored the bath houses in Bath, England.

During Regency times bath houses and sea bathing became popular. In the homes of the wealthy they bathed in copper tubs lined with linen. The poorer if they had a wooden barrel would bathe in them.

Earlier in the nineteenth century the hands, feet and face were regularly washed as in previous centuries, and the rest of your body every few weeks or longer. However the tides quickly changed.

It is said that Beau Brummel bathed every day, and made this more popular among the aristocrats. He believed men should smell clean, without the use of perfumes.

In some journals you read that children of the wealthy and their parents bathed daily. Some in the summer even bathed twice a day.

For the poor a weekly bath that all the family shared was more common.

It wasn’t until piping became regular sometime in the 19th century for homes to have water brought to them, rather than servants gathering the water themselves.

Brushing Teeth…

The first toothbrush was not patented until 1857, so how did they get their teeth clean? Obviously from accounts in history of even the wealthiest and most royal of people having brown teeth, that most people didn’t get them all too clean…

Those that tried used the following methods:

Medieval:

* Rinsing mouth with water to remove gunk from mouth.
* Rubbing teeth with a clean cloth to wipe tartar buildup and left over food particles from the teeth.
* Chewing herbs to freshen breath, mint, cloves, cinnamon, sage
* Using “toothpicks” to clean out the teeth.
* Mint and vinegar mixture, used to rinse out the mouth.
* Bay leaves soaked in orange flower water and mixed with musk.
* “Barbers” would also be used as dentists and would extract teeth that were rotting or bothering a person profusely. They sometimes were able to muck out the junk in teeth and create a filling of sorts.

Elizabethan:

* Rubbing teeth with the ashes of burnt rosemary.
* Powdered sage rub used to whiten teeth.
* Vinegar, wine and alum mouthwash
* After dinner comfits were eaten to freshen breath

Renaissance:

* The same practices for cleaning were in use, but the “barbers” aka dentists had begun to learn more about dentistry.
* The first dentures, gold crowns, and porcelain teeth, were constructed in the 1700’s.
* 1790 brought about the dental foot engine, similar to the foot pedal of a spinning wheel, it rotated a drill for cleaning out cavaties.
* The first dental chair was made in the late 1700’s.


Regency:
* They again used the same methods.
* A letter from Lord Chesterfield to his son urges the use of a sponge and warm water to scrub the teeth each morning.
* The recommendation of using one’s own urine in France was widely flouted by Fouchard, the French dentist.
* Gunpowder and alum were also recommended.

Toileting…

A bathroom or toilet back in the day was referred to as a garderobe or privy. In castles and monasteries/convents they had large arrangements of these for the people.

I had the fortune of grandparents residing in France while I grew up, and so I visited several times. On one particular occasion we visited a small village in the south of France, I can’t remember the name now. At any rate, I had to go potty. I followed the signs in the village to the public restroom and was floored, literally… There was just a hole in the floor.

As I was a young adolescent at the time, I wasn’t quite sure how to maneuver it. I’d been camping before so hence I’d had the pleasant (joking!) experience of peeing on the ground, but a hole? How would I am? I’m female, not trained in the arts of target practice while urinating… Needless to say I was able to handle it, but I couldn’t help but imagine at the time how medieval it was J

Garderobes were a room in a castles or monastery that had a bench with a hole in it. Not unlike how we use a toilet today. The person would sit down, do their business wipe with straw, moss, leaves, wool or linen rags, and then walk away. The waste would fall down a shoot into a pit or a moat. If into a cesspit it was then cleaned and mucked out by gong farmers. Garderobes were sometimes blocked off by a screen or door and sometimes out in the open.

When I visited Ireland they showed us a garderobe with chunks of moss for writing. It was pretty interesting.

At some point an enemy took it upon himself to use the garderobe as means of access to gain entry to a castle…yuck! So they were then built with iron bars so no one could climb up them.

Chamber pots were used in bedrooms in a castle that didn’t have a garderobe. Some of the larger castles actually had a latrine tower, which was filled with them. Some city walls also had privies so the guards could use them while on duty.

Imagine sitting on that cold stone in winter with the wind whipping up and hitting you square in your most sensitive spot… No thanks!

For peasants, a toilet was a bucket in the corner of the room that was tossed into the river, or a bucket behind the house, or a tree in the forest. No privies for these folks. Unfortunately water for cooking and bathing came from the same river…shudder…Perhaps this is why they thought bathing could make you ill?

Chamber pots were used widely up to the 18th century and then began to taper off as more and more households began using toilets. Some chamber pots were hidden in boxes. Growing up one of the coolest pieces of furniture we had was a chamber pot box. My mom, humorously, used it as a side table. If you took her accoutrements off and lifted the lid, there was the hole where the pot would have sat. Quite funny.

Chamber-pots would be emptied into sewers or cesspits.

Even during Regency times sewage and waste could bring about illness. Some London homes had toilets, not like the standard toilets that we have today, but they did include piping, however these pipes frequently backed up causing fumes to carry throughout the house. Some people had “earth closets” that would periodically drop dirt into the pipes to flush out the waste. The poor had privies in the backyard that were emptied into a cesspool. “Night soil men” would come by and empty the muck. All the pipes from homes and the wagons full of muck were dumped into the Thames River. This led to plenty of epidemics until emptying waste at certain times and away from the water supply was developed.

Manor homes had cesspits, that frequently became overflowed. They were often in the cellars of these homes and were emptied by the “night soil men.”

Although a flushable toilet was invented in the 1500’s there was no way to use it since they didn’t have running water. However they were able to develop systems of valves to keep the smells from coming up from the toilets, and periodic flushing was done.

De-Odorizing…

Obviously there wasn’t any Secret, Degree, Old Spice or Gillette, so what did they do to keep the big bad B.O. away?

Using perfumes was widely popular even in the middle ages. Oils from flowers, mixed with herbs and spices created all sorts of pleasant smells that both males and females indulged in.

When they did bathe, nobles and royals or even rich merchants bathed with scented soaps, so that their skin would take on the fragrance as it may not be a few days or longer until they could bathe again.

Nose-gays (literally kept the nose happy, or gay!) became popular when walking in the court or through crowds. A nosegay was something to keep the smells at bay, held in the hand, on the writs on a lapel. They could be a small bouquet of flowers, a sachet of dried flowers and herbs, an orange studded with cloves, or a sprig of herbs. People would often hold it up to their noses when walking in a large crowd.

Flowers and fresh herbs often adorned table tops in homes to keep the house smelling fresh…but we’ll discuss housecleaning in a couple of weeks.

____________________________________
I have invariably left some things out, so if you know more, please share!

In the meantime what do you think? Could you go to the bathroom in a bucket or in a garderobe? Wiped with straw or moss? Chewed herbs for fresh breath? Bathed in a river? Carried a nose-gay?

Monday, July 7, 2008

History of Makeup, Jewelry and Gloves

Since the beginning of time we’ve adorned our figures with some sort of decoration. Whether it is a holly branch, bone necklaces, paint, we’ve always enhanced our looks with makeup, and jewelry.

Today’s blog is going to be on the history of makeup and jewelry, and of course because I love gloves, I’m throwing that in too! But, as usual, I will only be discussing a portion of history, so this concise bit of information will only journey up to the Victorian era.

Makeup

Egyptians have the earliest documentation of using makeup. Men and women both used an unguent concoction that they would rub on to their skin to keep it moisturized and wrinkle free. People today are still using these methods! Come on, everyone marvels at the feel of silky smooth flesh…

Darkening the eyes of women, for a seductive gaze, was also popular. The gals would use soot to color the lids of their eyes, and their lashes. Underneath their eyes they would color dark green.

There are references in the Bible of women using makeup to paint their faces as well, so we know that women in the Holy land also adopted these methods. Wearing eye makeup supposedly would ward off evil spirits and improve eyesight.

In Roman times, while they still used kohl to darken the lids and lashes of the eye, they also used chalk to whiten the complexion and rouge on the cheeks and lips. White lead was also popular for lightening the face. The Persians used henna to dye both the skin and hair.

During the Middle Ages, having a lighter complexion was a sign of wealth and status. Why? Because the peasants were outside working all day, developing a tan, while the upper classes were able to sit inside at their leisure, or under a shady tree. Needless to say, women used makeup to lighten their skin. Some even went so far as to bleed themselves to achieve the light pallor. Wearing pink lipstick was also popular, as it is today.

There is a story during the late 17th and early 18th century, that an Italian woman created a white powder for the face, which was called Aqua Toffana, or sold as “Manna di San Nicola.” Unfortunately, the makeup was made of arsenic…but on purpose. You see this makeup was sold under the guise of a cosmetic when in fact it was made and sold to women who wished their husbands dead. Over 600 hundred men died, most likely from kissing the faces of their wives. Toffana was executed after the Roman authorities forced their way into the church where she’d sought sanctuary from the charges held against her.

During Elizabethan England women wore egg whites on their faces for a lovely glazed look. Yikes! I wouldn’t want to look like a doughnut! Heavy white makeup was popular, as was ruby red lips. Looking pure was popular, hence the light skin, light hair, red lips and red cheeks.



Elizabeth I, on the right & Lettice Knollys, Countess of Essex and Leicester, on the left. Look how similar? You could mistake Lettice for the queen!

During Charles II’s reign in England (1660- 1685), the use of heavy makeup became popular to hide the pallor of illness, and to associate one’s self as healthy. The men would wear the makeup too; Charles II was one of those who used lots of creams and powders.
This carried through the French Revolution when red rouge and lipstick became popular as a sign of vitality and fun. The French became known as “The Painted French.”

During the Regency era, a pale face was still considered popular and so bonnets and parasols were used to keep the sun from their faces. Unfortunately deadly whiteners, made of lead, arsenic and mercury were used too and could cause hair loss, stomach aches, shaking and eventual death.


There is a story of a famous courtesan, Catherine "Kitty" Maria Fisher who died in 1767 from overuse of the whitener. After being known for her numerous affairs and even having a nursery rhyme sung after her, Kitty married a John Norris, a respectable man. They were only married four months before she passed.






The nursery rhyme goes:

Lucy Locket lost her pocket
Kitty Fisher found it
Not a penny was there in it
Just a ribbon’ round it

Lucy was a prostitute and her pocket was both her poor lover and her purse where she kept her pay. Kitty reportedly took up with the man even though he had no money.

Dandies during the Regency era also wore cosmetic creams, scents, powders and pastes, even rouging their cheeks. Because of this wearing makeup among manly men was pooh-poohed.

During the Victorian era makeup was disliked and associated with courtesans, prostitutes and actresses. Women did use home-made face washes, masks and creams. Lipstick was only used by lower class women, and ladies of the upper class would use a sheer pomade to give the lips a shine. Some would discreetly add a tinge of color to pinken their lips slightly. Natural products were used instead of the deadly ones. Rice powder, oatmeal, rose water, honey, egg whites, beet juice, and lemon juice among the ingredients.


Jewelry

Gold has been very popular for making jewelry at least since Egyptian times. Why? Several reasons. Gold is rare, doesn’t tarnish and is easily manipulated to take on new shapes, either by melting or heating it to bend.

The Egyptians also used colored stones, glass, and enamels to decorate the gold. By Roman times, sapphires, emeralds, garnets, diamonds, and amber were in use.

The wearing of jewelry became so popular amongst all classes of people that during the Middle Ages, sumptuary laws were passed to ban the lower classes from wearing jewelry. In France, a royal ordinance in 1283 states that no bourgeois or bourgeoisie were allowed to wear girdles (belt) that were made of gold, silver or adorned with pearls, and gemstones. In England, the laws were very similar.

Precious stones were kept by many. Some of the lower classes and middle classes would keep the stones against future needs, like savings. The upper classes when they weren’t flaunting them on their persons would save them for more jewelry, plate or give them away as gifts during weddings and New Years. Of course they also kept some for sentimental value as we still do today.

The wearing of jewelry is much like we do today also. Some worn on day to day occasions and some that are kept for special days and celebrations.

Crown jewels have always been important to any empire. (More on crown jewels 8/25/08.)





Fake jewelry became popular during the Middle Ages as well and was often used for children, funeral proceedings and sometimes intently, just as it is today. The Italians were especially good at creating the fake jewels to look real.

During the 17th century jewelry became more a part of ones costume, and women often had earrings, made from pastes, to match each of their outfits during the day. At night, precious gems and stones were used. Stomachers on gowns were often decorated with the jewels as well. Sometimes even sleeves and skirts might be adorned with jewels and brooches here and there. Pearls were very popular especially on clothing. In Paris a man named Jacques developed a method to make very realistic looking pearls by coating blown glass hollow balls with iridescent fish scales and varnish. He would fill the balls with wax to strengthen them.

The cameo became hugely popular during this time, and with the widely easy making of steel, and glass and porcelain they were made in abundance. By Victorian times, machine made jewelry was being made quite a bit. Some Victorian women rebelled against these pieces preferring the hand crafted. Jewelry by this time was also being seen as more romantic.


Gloves

Glove making goes back to caveman times where they would make mitts to cover their hands from the cold. The crude mittens grew from oddly shaped constructions to the fingered creations they are today. Many see glove making as an art.

Made of leather, fabric and metal they take all sorts of shapes and forms. The glove that a horse master wears was infinitely different to the delicately embroidered glove of a lady. The leather glove of a gardener is different from the sleek leather of a gentleman. Three-fingered gloves would be worn by field hands and shepherds or even a falconer. Five fingered gloves were worn mostly by people of the church, nobles and royals.

Homer mentions in his book The Odyssey the Laertes is wearing gloves to protect himself from the brambles.

Besides being used as protection from cold weather, thorny bushes, or being used as part of armor or simply a fashion statement, gloves hold many symbols too.

In Regency times if a woman were to slowly peel away her glove, it would be like a striptease! In medieval times if a man threw his gauntlet, it meant a duel to the death. Same thing in Regency times, if a man slapped another man with his glove, a fight was inevitable.

It was during the 13th century that lady’s began to wear gloves as a fashion statement. They were made of silk, furs, leather and linens, and reached from wrist to even elbows. Some were adorned with jewels and pearls, or embroidered with gold, silver and corded silks. There were even sumptuary laws during some times and places! Samite (a heavy silk, sometimes interwoven with gold) gloves were banned in 1294 in Bologna, and in 1560 perfumed gloves were banned in Rome.