Clothing made to be worn in and about the Bayleaf Farmstead.  Bayleaf is a timber-framed open-hall house originally from Chiddingstone, Kent, built in two phases.  The earliest part (the open hall and service end) was built between 1405 and 1430.  The later part (the upper end, which replaced an earlier structure) was built between 1505 and 1510.  The house is presented as it might have been around 1540. Bayleaf forms part of a recreated Tudor farmstead, which includes a barn from Cowfold, West Sussex, built in 1536 and a detached kitchen (called ‘Winkhurst’) from Sundridge, Kent, built between 1490 and 1540, a farmyard, orchard and garden. For more information about Bayleaf Farmstead please see our blog: bayleaf1542.wordpress.com

The Tudor kitchen is the focus of much of the Museum’s live interpretation.  Visitors can observe food being cooked, talk to the interpreters, and taste the food.

Tudor female clothing, c.1540

Female clothing, c.1540

The householder’s wife would have worn a linen shift, over which she would have worn a woollen or fustian (a wool and cotton mix) sleeved or sleeveless front-laced kirtle.  A kirtle could be worn on its own but was usually worn under a woollen or fustian gown.  Her hair would have been covered by a linen coif, pinned to a forehead cloth.  She would also have worn a linen neckerchief or neck cloth and a ‘partlet’ (like a bib or short tabard which ‘filled in’ the low-cut front of a gown, as well as helping to keep it clean and her warm), linen over-sleeves and a linen or woollen apron.  Cut-hose stockings made of cloth were held in place by tied garters.  Woollen – and sometimes linen – cloth was dyed using readily-available dye stuffs, such as madder, woad and weld.

The women in this picture are wearing linen forehead cloths and coifs, linen neckcloths, woad-dyed gowns over a kirtle (the ‘red’ kirtle dyed with madder), and linen aprons.  The woman on the left has linen oversleeves; the woman on the right wears a linen partlet.  Both women have leather pockets attached to their girdles.


Male clothing c.1540
Male clothing c.1540


The householder would have worn a linen shirt, over which he would have worn a woollen, fustian, canvas or leather doublet or jerkin and ‘hose’ (or ‘upper’ or ‘trunk’ hose, also called ‘breeches’).  The words ‘doublet’ and ‘jerkin’ were often used interchangeably to refer to the same garment, but a jerkin was usually a sleeveless garment worn over the doublet.  Hose were tied to the doublet with laces (called ‘points’) and sometimes had codpieces.  ‘Nether hose’ or stockings could be knitted or woven and were attached to the upperhose with laces.  Like women, men wore linen coifs, sometimes tied under the chin.  Over this, a working man would have worn a knitted cap (sometimes known as a ‘Monmouth’ cap or a ‘statute’ cap – the latter reflecting parliament’s successive legislative attempts to protect the English woollen industry by regulating the production, marketing and wearing of woollen caps).

In this picture, the man wears a woollen Monmouth cap, an unbleached canvas doublet over a linen shirt, madder-dyed breeches and woollen cuthose.  His breeches and cuthose are laced to the doublet.  Note the laced cod flap.

Men and women wore leather belts, onto which they attached their ‘pockets’ or purses or (for men) knives (in leather scabbards), tools and water flasks.  Leather shoes were sometimes lined with woollen cloth to make them warmer.

Some linen clothing would have been made at home but most clothing – both linen and woollen – was professionally produced and made.  Women were active in the clothing trade as seamstresses, making linen undergarments, head and neckwear; the rest of the clothing trade was dominated by men – tailors, haberdashers, shoemakers and mercers.


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