Anglo-Saxon Clothes

This session uses packs of evidence to get the children thinking about what garments they would choose for a particular character.

   Not only do they get to see the evidence - in illuminations from manuscripts, the written word, or grave-goods from Pagan burials - but they also get to feel, smell and try on reproduction clothes.

   Usually, I split the group into two teams, who each have a 'character' to dress. As we do this, after having collected what we think are the right garments, I give them their period names and some interesting facts. For example: shoes were made from leather and each foot was the same shape - only by wearing them did they become 'left' and 'right'.

   We also briefly touch on religious significance in clothing, such as Muslim women wearing the hijab which is very similar to the Anglo-Saxon wimpel. From the 7th century onwards England was firmly Christian and this was reflected in the way people dressed, lived and worked.

Questions answered: What did ancient clothes look like? What were they made fom? Why did people have to wear certain items? Are they itchy, scratchy, smelly? Were clothes influenced by people's beliefs?