vic-bayleaf-1540 (Small)

Man in Tudor clothing c.1540 standing in front of Bayleaf, a Wealden hall house originally from Chiddingstone in Kent.

The Historic Clothing Project, established in 2007, is a unique and innovative investigation into the construction and production of lower status clothing across a broad chronological period. The aim of the project is to produce a comprehensive stock of replica historic clothing covering a range of periods to clothe those working in our exhibit buildings.

The clothing is produced on site by a team of 30 volunteers who meet once a month under the supervision of the Museum’s Domestic Life Interpreter, Lesley Parker, and historic clothing consultant, Barbara Painter.

All the clothing is produced with rigorous attention to detail. It draws on a variety of evidence (surviving textiles and garments, pictorial and documentary evidence) and, in so far as possible, replicates historic production methods. Fabric is carefully sourced and hand dyeing is done on site, whenever possible using plants from our historic gardens.

The project has so far produced Medieval male and female clothing (c.1310), Medieval male and female clothing (c.1380), Tudor male and female clothing (c.1540), Stuart male and female clothing (c.1630) and Victorian female clothing (c.1890). In 2014 work is currently underway to complete a Georgian male and female clothing (c.1760) and has just begun on a late Saxon (c.950) female outfit.

The Friends of the Museum have supported the project from the outset and are its main funders. It has also received smaller amounts of funding from the University of Chichester and the Pasold Research Fund.


A 44-page booklet about the Historic Clothing Project is available from the Museum shop, priced £4, plus £1.50 post & packaging.  To order please phone 01243 811022 or send a cheque for £5.50 (made payable to SMS Ltd) to Singleton Museum Services Ltd, Singleton, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0EU.  If sending a cheque, please make sure you tell the shop what it is for.