Elizabethan, Inventories, Research

Wills and a Possible Linen Kirtle

Last Friday and over the weekend I put together a list of 16th century English wills that are available through google books.


Some highlights include the Sandwich Book of Orphans which gets into orphans their wardship or guardians and the cost of their upkeep. Most interesting is the record of Tomasine Wolters, it covers the repair of her houses, the amount of rent her properties collected, the repairing of her shoes and purchase of her wardrobe and other necessities.


Another interesting tidbit (in a different document) was the mention of a possible linen kirtle.

“..To Effam Hargrave widow one lyne kertle and my white petticoate”

The full will is here.

It started a good debate on FB, did that mean linen, did that mean lined? I haven’t run across any other mention of a kirtle like that before. So I did some digging, drawing on Drea Leed’s database for variations on how linen was spelled in period.

“linen” “lening” “linnen” “lynon” “lynen” “lynne” “linninge” “lynnynge” “lyn clothe” “lin[en]” “lynn[en]” “lenone” “lin clothe” “lynenn” “lynnyne” “lynnyn” “lynuen” “lynnen” “lawn” “lockram” “cobweb lawn” “cobweb lawne” “copwebbe lawne” “cobwebbe lawne” “cobwebe lawne” “copweb lawne” “copwebb lawne” “band of lane” “lane slevis” “layn” “lawne” “lokeram” “lokorame” “lockeram” “lockrom” “locram” “loceram”

And I ran it through the will I had collected, then I pulled out anything that wasn’t the usual coif or tablecloth.

Snippet view couldn’t get what year
15788 Item vij paire of Sleves three of linnen clothe and iiij of Lawne wroughte with golde and Silke.

1587 – Will of Roger Simpson
2 lynnynge apprens, 2 linninge churchef, 3 napkins, one payre of lynne sleves….

1606 Sandwich Book of Orphans
 It m paid Tho Horsman formakinge a Dublet a paire of hoose and a wastecote he fynding lenone for tho Dublet for Tho Ingram iiij s ij d

1564 Mychaell Clerkson Testamentum
A pair of lynnyn sleves and a pair of fusshyn sleves, xijd

1592 Will of Richard Rawstorne
I geve 8m unto Ralph Hoult one sute of my worst apparell To Edward Nuttall a paire of gray breeches laid wth vj laces and one dublet of milion fustion and my best paire of netherstockf saving one To Rogger Pilkington one paire of lynuen breeches cutt To my sonne Henry my best oloake best dublet best jirkin and my best hose To William Pilkington one dublet of cutt canvas and one paire of new shooes ..

Snippet view couldn’t get what year
one lynnen apperne

So no other kirtles but the one mentioned, but it may crack the door open an inch to the possibility of them.



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