Tagged ‘Mary Ring’

1 Red petticote

July 22nd, 2007 by Jill Hall

Writing up the information about 17th-century linen cloth got me thinking about Mary Ring’s probate inventory. Probate inventories of a deceased’s goods were taken for tax and inheritance purposes. In the early 17th century it was rare for a woman’s goods to be inventoried. It was rarer still for clothes to be itemized, man’s or woman’s; usually they were lumped together under ‘wearing apparel’, sometimes along with whatever cash was on hand. What we have here, in the inventory dated 1633, is a precious gem – a list of a woman’s possessions, including individual entries for items of clothes.

Here are a few notes from the inventory, which runs several pages. Particularly tonight I’m interested in the garments for which a color is listed. A few days ago I wrote about why we’re calling The Jacket a jacket but the interpreters describe the same item as a waistcoat. This inventory is one of the primary source documents I mentioned that leads us to say “waistcoat” in the 1627 English Village.

1 black Say kertle 12s

1 Red petticote 16s

1 violet coloured petticoate 5s

1 Wastcoat mingled coloured 3s

1 violet coloured wastcoate 1s 6p

1 pr blew stockins (no value listed)

1 mingled coloured petticoate 5s

Historical documents often raise more questions than they answer. This one makes me wonder if the violet colored petticoat and waistcoat were worn together as a suit. How about the mingled colored ones? Were they a suit? And why was the red petticoat assigned a higher value than the other petticoats?

One thing is certain, Mary Ring wasn’t wearing just black, white and grey like the stereotypical pilgrims of our school days.

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