Shoes and Pattens
Until recently, very little was known about medieval shoes. Glimpses in manuscript illustrations and on funerary monuments, with the occasional reference by a contemporary writer, was all that the costume historian had as evidence, not least because leather tends to perish after prolonged contact with air, and very few actual examples survived. In recent years, however, nearly 2,000 shoes, many complete and in near-perfect condition, have been discovered preserved on the north bank of the Thames, and are now housed in the Museum of London. This collection, all from well-dated archaeological contexts, fills this vast gap in knowledge, making it possible to chart precisely the progress of shoe fashion between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries.
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12th-century ankle-shoe Adult's ankle-shoe Adult's shoe ankle archaeological assemblage Baynards Castle Billingsgate binding-stitch buckle calf calf/cattle cattle century chaussures child's construction Cutting pattern dendrochronology deposits drawstring early 15th early 15th-century early/mid 12th-century early/mid 15th edge edge/flesh butt seam Edw iv example excavated fastening flap foot footwear freeze-drying front grain/flesh stitches Groenman-van Waateringe Group G15 heel heel-stiffener holes Hubert Walter illustrated infill inner side instep lace-holes laced lasting-margin latchet late 14th Late 14th-century shoes low boot medieval shoes mid 14th-century Museum of London normally one-piece pair period poulaines present collection probably rand registered shoes reinforcement cord repair revetment Scale 1:3 approx Seal House seems sewn sheep/goat shoemakers side-laced sole solvent-drying strap style surviving Swan Lane Table terminus post quem thong thread toggle toggle-fastened topband Trig Lane tunnel-stitches turn-shoe turn-welt upper vamp and quarters vamp stripe vamp throat Waterfront wear Westminster Abbey worn wrap-around