Several readers have asked for information concerning Celtic clothing during the Medieval and Renaissance Periods. In this article I will attempt to shed some light on what was worn by people in Ireland and Scotland during this time.

Let me begin by saying that as the Renaissance advanced through Europe and into the British Isles, so did fashion. The more well to do a person was, the more their clothing reflected the styles popularized on the continent, but more slowly. Especially Ireland, but also Scotland, was considered the remote reaches of the Tudor Empire. Si it is to be expected that ideas arrived there more slowly and the same id true of fashion. Clothing of the nobility in Ireland and Scotland was essentially the same as in the Courts of Europe, only the changes in styles arrived later.

One item of clothing which remained essentially unchanged throughout the Medieval and Renaissance Periods in Ireland and Scotland is the Leine. Pronounced lay-na, this is an all purpose garment worn by men and women, with minor differences noted between the sexes. Similar to what in Europe was called a chemise, the leine is what today would be considered a very large, very long shirt.

The leine was worn to a length generally between mid thigh and mid calf, but could be as long as ankle length. It was frequently shortened by wearing a belt over it, at the waist, and then bloused out over the belt.

The leine was usually made of woven linen. So much fabric was used in the construction of a leine - sometimes as much as 15 yards - that the amount of cloth permitted was legislated during the reign of King Henry VIII. The body of the leine was heavily pleated and the sleeves hung down to knee length.

The amount of fabric used was a sign of wealth and social standing, as was the color. The preferred color was yellow, from saffron dye, for those who could afford it. The color was also legislated at the same time and yellow was outlawed. The addition of fancy embroidery or jewels was also made illegal. These laws were enacted, to little avail, in an attempt to control the lives and habits of the Irish people.

Men tended to wear the neck open, to show off their muscled chests. Women wore either a rounded neckline or kept it closed to the neck. There is some evidence that the latter style was preferred for unmarried women.

Even if other items of clothing were worn, the leine was always worn. Women might add a gown over it, men might add pants or a coat, but the leine was always underneath.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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