Lady Mary Boleyn
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The First of August in the Year of Our Lord, 1521 - Forty-Five past Six in the Eve

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I humbly thank those of ye who didst submit queries of curiosity to me over the last week and encourage those who didst nay enquire of me, prithee, at thy leisure, to do so.  

My first query do be from one Mistress Flyinby who asketh:

        "M'lady, I am curious why you have a dark and gloomy background, instead of something more light hearted?  You have such a light hearted spirit about most of your entries . . . so I inquire. "

Ah!  A MOST excellent and thoughtful query to be sure and one that most definitely warrants a response.  Although this layout doth appear gloomy, it be naught without reason.  It be well known that there be laws in England that do regulate the dress of the social classes, these laws being known as sumptuary laws.  It doth serve to distinguish each of the classes from the Royalty, to Nobility, merchant and middle class, to the peasantry and working class.  Black, being the most difficult of colours to match, dye and maintain in fabric be therefore the most expensive, and be the preferred colour of the nobility.  If one doth look at my portrait in the upper left corner of my musings, my dress do be of black velvet, ermine sleeves, black velvet under sleeves and crimson trim along the neck line.  And tis nay true that the law prohibits anyone save for His and Her Majesties to wear the royal purple.  

Here do be a more complete list of what one be permitted and what one may not be permitted to wear and as thou mayest see, they do be most specific:

       MEN:

    None shall wear cloth of gold or silver, or silk of purple color except Earls, all above that rank, and Knights of the King (and then only in their mantles).

    None shall wear cloth of gold or silver, tinseled satin, silk, cloth mixed or embroidered with gold or silver, or foreign woolen cloth except Barons, all above that rank, Knights of the Garter, and Privy Councillors.

    None shall wear any lace of gold or silver, lace mixed with gold or silver, silk, spurs, swords, rapiers, daggers, buckles, or studs with gold, silver or gilt except Baron's Sons, all above that rank, Gentlemen attending the Queen, Knights and Captains.

    None shall wear velvet in gowns, cloaks, coats, or upper garments, or embroidery with silk, or hose of silk except Knights, all above that rank, and their heirs apparent.

    None shall wear velvet, satin, damask, taffeta, or grosgrain in gowns, cloaks, coats, or upper garments, or velvet in their jerkins, hose or doublets except Knight's Eldest Sons and all above that rank.

     

      WOMEN:

    None shall wear cloth of gold or silver, or silk of purple color except Countesses and all above that rank. (Viscountesses may wear it in their kirtles)

    None shall wear silk or cloth mixed with or embroidered with silk, pearls, gold or silver except Baronesses and all above that rank.

    None shall wear cloth of silver in belts or kirtles except Wives of Knights and all above that rank.

    None shall wear embroideries of gold, silver or silk (mixed) or headdresses trimmed with pearls except Wives of Baron's Eldest Sons, all above that rank, Baron's Daughters, Wives of King's Knights or Privy Councillors, or Maids of Honor.

    None shall wear velvet in upper garments or embroidery with silk thread except Knight's Wives and all above that rank.

    None shall wear velvet in kirtles or petticoats, or satin in gowns, cloaks and other outer garments except Wives of Knight's Eldest Sons, Gentlewomen attending Countesses, and all above that rank.

    None shall wear . . .satin, damask, taffeta or grosgrain in their gowns except Landed Gentlemen's Wives and all above that rank.

Thou might be interested in knowing the names of some of the colors we oft use in textiles.  Goose dropping green, puke (which do be a russet brown and quite lovely I must admit), and puce.  Velvets, damasks and brocades to be the most favored for their richness and heaviness.  We do be having a bit of a mini ice age here in England and do favor the heavier fabrics.

So, my dear flyinby, in brief, my layout and colors be naught indicative of my personal nature or personality, but do be reflective of my station.  I hath very much enjoyed answering thy query and implore thee to do so again in the very near future!

Til then, anon dearhearts!

Lady Mary

 

Days of Yore - Anon

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