The Clothing of the Common Sort, 1570-1700

The Clothing of the Common Sort, 1570-1700

by Margaret Spufford, Susan Mee


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The Clothing of the Common Sort, 1570-1700 by Margaret Spufford, Susan Mee

Most histories of costume in early modern Britain concentrate on the clothing of the social elite--on the silks and embroidery worn by courtiers, aristocrats, performers, the metropolitan rich. These are both more likely to have been documented, and more likely to have survived in museum collections. But it leaves out almost all of the clothes worn by almost all of the population. The Clothing of the Common Sort focuses on the clothing of children and young adults of the "common sort" during the period 1570 to 1700--the sons and daughters of "ordinary" people going about their daily lives in towns and villages across England. The study employs a number of innovative sources not previously exploited for the purpose, including probate accounts and inventories.

The volume also examines the acquisition of clothing, from purchase of fabric, through production by tailors and 'women with a needle', to payment for ready-made items. In so doing, it uncovers evidence of the myriad tradesmen, craftsmen, artisans and "women with a needle" who were involved in the production and dissemination of clothing and accessories in towns and villages across England in the late 16th and 17th centuries.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780198807049
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 01/02/2018
Pages: 351
Sales rank: 683,124
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Margaret Spufford O.B.E., M.A., Ph.D., Litt.D., Hon. Litt.D. (Keele), F.R.Hist.S., F.B.A. was a Social Historian of early modern England whose reputation was made by a series of pioneering books & articles. Whilst a teaching fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge she accumulated a large group of students who called themselves 'the Spuffordians'. In 1995 Margaret began the British Academy Hearth Tax project & by the time of her death in 2014 eight large county volumes had been published. For most of her life she was an Oblate of the Anglican Benedictine Nunnery at West Malling, Kent. Margaret was married to Peter Spufford, Emeritus Professor of European History at the University of Cambridge. Her son is the author, Francis Spufford. Her daughter, Bridget, predeceased her.

Susan Mee BA Hons. (1st Class), MA (Dist.), Ph.D is a Social Historian who specialises in the History of Textiles & Dress. Her research interests include the textiles & dress of the 16th to 18th centuries, & the Art Deco period (c.1909-1939). Susan has worked with museum collections of historic dress in Suffolk, Shropshire & Herefordshire. She is currently employed as an independent lecturer & researcher, & as a tutor for the WEA. Susan is married & has two children & one grandchild. She lives in Suffolk.

Table of Contents

1. Probate accounts and Clothing
2. The cost of apparel in seventeenth-century England, and the accuracy of Gregory King
3. Clothing the poorest. Evidence from poor relief records
4. Clothing the families of labourers, and of husbandmen and their peer group, leaving goods worth up to L100
5. Clothing the families of yeomen and their peers, leaving goods worth L100-L300
6. Clothing the families of the 'chief inhabitants'. Evidence from probate accounts with a charge value of L300 and above
7. Customers and Tradesmen
8. Conclusion: The Clothing of the Common Sort
Glossary of Garments and Accessories
Glossary of Fabrics

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