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Re: [Authentic_SCA] Elizabethan monk

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  • Chris Laning
    ... The Franciscan habit hasn t changed a whole lot (though it has changed some) over the centuries. It s basically a T-tunic with triangular side gores, which
    Message 1 of 11 , May 7 2:21 PM
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      On May 7, 2010, at 11:41 AM, eldwin_nightowl wrote:

      > I want to have relatively authentic Franciscan garb of the
      > Elizabethan era. I realize there's a problem--The Dissolution of
      > the Monasteries, which began under King Henry VIII, started closing
      > down the monasteries. But it looks like some, at least, continued
      > into Queen Elizabeth's time.
      >
      > Does anyone have info or a link to a pattern for an authentic robe?
      > I've looked at several sources on the Internet, but I'm not sure how
      > reliable they are. The other thing is I might be willing to
      > slightly sacrifice absolute authenticity if it will mean I won't end
      > up running around in summer heat wearing 100% wool.


      The Franciscan habit hasn't changed a whole lot (though it has changed
      some) over the centuries. It's basically a T-tunic with triangular
      side gores, which sometimes continue along lower side of the sleeve/
      underarm. St. Francis himself referred to the habit shape as a "Tau
      cross" (T-shaped).

      This link from a couple of years will give you a chance to see a
      couple of original examples, although these are 13th rather than 16th
      century. The image of the Cortona tunic is especially good and would
      give a good costumer enough information to make one without a pattern,
      using geometric shapes and a few measurements (which is probably the
      way to go).
      http://www.livescience.com/history/070910_saint_francis.html

      This site gives a good view of another habit of St. Francis and a
      pattern diagram taken from the original. The cut of this particular
      habit is slightly more complicated, so perhaps it was pieced from
      scrap lengths of cloth:
      http://portiunculathelittleportion.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-men-of-third-order-tertiaries-are.html

      The original habits were "russet," which is a technical term referring
      not to a color, but to a blend of unbleached white wool and the undyed
      wool from "black" sheep. As you'll know if you know sheep, "black"
      sheep can be various shades of gray, brown, very dark brown and
      reddish-brown colors, so depending on the exact mix of wools and the
      color of the sheep used, the colors of the original habits can be
      anywhere from light to dark brown, gray or a mixture. The color of the
      habits was not really standardized until the 19th century. (Today the
      brown habit is dyed rather than natural colored wool. Even today,
      though, if I understand correctly, while habits may be made from a
      good quality wool twill, they are still not tailored closely to the
      body but follow the general T-tunic shape.)

      As you'll see from the photos, the hood or "capuche" (ca-POOSH) is a
      separate item not sewn to the tunic. Most habits also have some
      pockets concealed inside the sleeves or the hood, and some have vents
      on the sides in order to reach a pocket underneath.

      Both Franciscan friars and nuns generally wore two layers -- a
      lighter, possibly washable under-tunic and the wool over-tunic. We
      know this because St. Francis directed one of his friars, as an
      exercise in humility, to go out preaching wearing just his under-
      tunic! My educated guess is that linen would be a likely undertunic
      material, but I don't know of any direct support for this.

      People who want to dress as friars have a tendency on their first
      attempts to make tunics that are too short (should be ankle length)
      too skimpily cut (should be wide enough to take long strides
      comfortably), or made of materials that are too lightweight -- the
      real ones are wool and about the weight of serge (heavier than suit
      weight, but not as heavy as coat weight).

      Friars also didn't generally dress in rags or have habits that were
      not hemmed at the edges; they may have had patches if areas became
      worn, but they did not set out to look like beggars, and we have ample
      evidence that seams and hems were finished carefully. (Clothes last
      longer if properly seamed and hemmed.)

      Rope belts also don't need to be really heavy -- 3/8 or 1/2 inch rope
      is plenty heavy enough. The rope is worn doubled (folded in half),
      and it's fastened at the waist with a simple lark's head knot. I can
      provide instructions if you want to know exactly how to tie the proper
      knots.

      BTW, if I am reading the history correctly, friars did not wear a big
      conspicuous rosary attached to their belts until well after our
      period. They probably had paternosters or rosaries like anyone else,
      but carried them in a pocket or bag.

      A technical (or nitpicky! ;) point of clarification here: Franciscans
      are friars ("brothers") and not monks. Although men in the religious
      life in various Orders are colloquially described as "monks,"
      technically only the Benedictines and those derived from them
      (Cistercians, Trappists, etc.) are monks. Dominicans and Franciscans
      are both friars, and I believe Carmelites are too. Augustinians are
      canons, and so forth.

      I'd be interested in your source for some monasteries possibly
      continuing into Elizabeth's time. My educated guess is that some small
      communities might have continued to exist unofficially, but if so,
      they would likely have become something more like a college of canons
      and would probably have reverted to secular clothing. I'm always happy
      to be proved wrong when I assert something, though ;)

      As for hot weather, you may be able to find a weight of wool that will
      hang well and still not be too hot. The habit is loose, and if it's
      100% natural fiber it will breathe well. I've worn 100% wool in 100-
      degree weather and I was warm, but not uncomfortably so. If you wear a
      moderate weight linen undertunic, that will help the overtunic hang
      correctly and may let you get away with a lighter weight of wool.

      There's also a (modern and possibly apocryphal) story about a novice
      asking older nuns of an order that still wears traditional habits like
      this about what it's like to wear the habit all year round. "Our habit
      is very penitential," says one. "In the summer it's heavy and hot, and
      in the winter it's drafty." "It's very practical, our habit," says the
      other. "In the summer it's loose and cool, and in the winter it's
      thick and warm." ;)

      Do ask if you have more questions.
      ____________________________________________________________

      O (Dame) Christian de Holacombe, OL - Shire of Windy Meads
      + Kingdom of the West - Chris Laning <claning@...>
      http://paternoster-row.org - http://paternosters.blogspot.com
      ____________________________________________________________
    • gedney@OPTONLINE.NET
      ... The Larks head knot is also what you get when you tie what is generally called reef knot or square Knot and give it an uneven tug. I think there is a
      Message 2 of 11 , May 7 3:00 PM
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        > Rope belts also don't need to be really heavy -- 3/8 or 1/2 inch
        > rope
        > is plenty heavy enough. The rope is worn doubled (folded in
        > half),
        > and it's fastened at the waist with a simple lark's head knot. I
        > can
        > provide instructions if you want to know exactly how to tie the
        > proper
        > knots.

        The "Larks head knot" is also what you get when you tie what is
        generally called "reef" knot or "square Knot" and give it an uneven tug.

        I think there is a slightly more accurate knot name for this, but I will have
        to check my copy of Graumonts Encyclopedia when I get home.

        Capt Elias


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Chris Laning
        ... The lark s head I m talking about is this one: http://www.free-macrame-patterns.com/larks-head-knot.html The loose ends of the rope go through the loop
        Message 3 of 11 , May 7 4:20 PM
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          On May 7, 2010, at 3:00 PM, Captain Elias wrote:

          > The "Larks head knot" is also what you get when you tie what is
          > generally called "reef" knot or "square Knot" and give it an uneven
          > tug.
          >
          > I think there is a slightly more accurate knot name for this, but I
          > will have
          > to check my copy of Graumonts Encyclopedia when I get home.

          The lark's head I'm talking about is this one:
          http://www.free-macrame-patterns.com/larks-head-knot.html

          The loose ends of the rope go through the loop like the blue cord in
          the picture.

          -------------------------------

          Do you know whether there's a proper name for the knot you get if you
          start to tie an overhand knot, but wrap the end through the loop six
          or eight times instead of once?
          http://paternosters.blogspot.com/2007/08/why-knot.html

          In embroidery it's called a "bullion knot," but I haven't found a
          proper name or instructions for it on the net. It's what Franciscans
          use -- and by the evidence of paintings, have used for a very long
          time -- for the three hanging knots on the loose end of the friar's
          rope belt. I seem to get quite a few hits on this specific article in
          my blog, and I suspect it's partly for this reason.

          (Answer to trivia question no one asked: friars have three knots, Poor
          Clare nuns have four, and Third Order Franciscans have five ;)

          ____________________________________________________________

          O (Dame) Christian de Holacombe, OL - Shire of Windy Meads
          + Kingdom of the West - Chris Laning <claning@...>
          http://paternoster-row.org - http://paternosters.blogspot.com
          ____________________________________________________________
        • eldwin_nightowl
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          Message 4 of 11 , May 7 5:03 PM
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            Wow, that's a whole lot of useful info. Thanks very much!
          • eldwin_nightowl
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            Message 5 of 11 , May 7 6:26 PM
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              MODERATOR NOTE - As a courtesy to our many members who receive their list mail in digest form, we ask that you not top post. Please delete any text which does not require repetition. Thank you.
              Jehanne de Wodeford, Pacific Time Zone Moderator

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              Dame Christian,


              It appears the sources I saw say monks and friars continued through
              Queen Elizabeth of England's time, but not officially in England. I seem
              to recall they continued in Ireland longer than in England, but don't
              have a source for that right now.

              My primary persona is Elizabethan, but not a monk, so if I want to stay
              authentic I may simply have to move my monk--excuse me, friar--a few
              years earlier or out of England (or at least to an isolated community).

              Again, thank you very much for your detailed and very informative
              response.

              Eldwin Nightowl <http://eldwin.loveshade.org/>
            • gedney@OPTONLINE.NET
              ... I m aware. have you seen this site? http://www.almy.com/Cincture.pdf The reason I thought I d check is that most knots have different names when they are
              Message 6 of 11 , May 7 7:35 PM
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                > The lark's head I'm talking about is this one:
                > http://www.free-macrame-patterns.com/larks-head-knot.html
                >
                > The loose ends of the rope go through the loop like the blue
                > cord in
                > the picture.


                I'm aware.

                have you seen this site?
                http://www.almy.com/Cincture.pdf

                The reason I thought I'd check is that most knots have different
                names when they are tied in different things

                A clove hitch is tied on a post, when tied on its own rope to make
                a loop is called two half hitches

                In this case, you were correct.
                A larks head knot tied onto a metal ring is a ringbolt hitch.
                Tied on a post it's a cow hitch
                Tied on some rope it's a larks head...



                > Do you know whether there's a proper name for the knot you get
                > if you
                > start to tie an overhand knot, but wrap the end through the loop
                > six
                > or eight times instead of once?
                > http://paternosters.blogspot.com/2007/08/why-knot.html
                >
                > In embroidery it's called a "bullion knot," but I haven't found
                > a
                > proper name or instructions for it on the net. It's what
                > Franciscans
                > use -- and by the evidence of paintings, have used for a very
                > long
                > time -- for the three hanging knots on the loose end of the
                > friar's
                > rope belt. I seem to get quite a few hits on this specific
                > article in
                > my blog, and I suspect it's partly for this reason.

                It's often called a bead knot, as it was sometimes used for tying "sailors rosaries"
                The more common term is "blood knot"

                It is used a lot in "Quipus" which are accounting tools used by the Inca and
                modern Andean Natives. The number of loops in each knot would be used
                to count demoninations (ones, fives, tens, etc.)

                Capt Elias


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • George A. Trosper
                ... Apparently the huge majority are, although there s at least one group calling themselves Carmelite *monks* up in Wyoming. According to their web-site -
                Message 7 of 11 , May 8 8:16 AM
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                  Chris Laning wrote:
                  > Dominicans and Franciscans are both friars, and I believe Carmelites are too.
                  Apparently the huge majority are, although there's at least one group
                  calling themselves Carmelite *monks* up in Wyoming. According to their
                  web-site - http://www.carmelitemonks.org/Aboutmonks.html - they're
                  cloistered, which means they don't go out the way friars do, run
                  parishes, etc., so they're using the word strictly. Without further
                  research, I'd bet that this situation is very new, so not SCA-relevant,
                  tho clearly 21st-c. relevant.

                  However, their site also reminds me of the Carthusians, a cloistered
                  order that is in fact non-Benedictine, with an 11th-c. rule by St.
                  Bruno. They're the ones that have "charterhouses" (by folk etymology
                  from Chartreuse, where they came from).
                  http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/monastic+order says that
                  they're the ONLY non-Benedictine monks of the West*, so they're probably
                  the only long-established major order.

                  Nevertheless, the Carmelite monks' site mentions Brigetine monks, which
                  seems to be a misspelling for the Brigittine Monks, who are also pretty
                  new (1976, from the Wikipedia) in the life of the Church. And I wouldn't
                  bet against there being others.
                  > technically only the Benedictines and those derived from them
                  > (Cistercians, Trappists, etc.) are monks.
                  It's not the rule's source that matters, it's the kind of rule.
                  Cloistered religious are monks or nuns, un-cloistered are friars or
                  sisters--the latter confusingly often called nuns. To top it off,
                  cloistered Carmelite nuns designate an out-*sister* to deal with the
                  rest of the world.

                  But you call them all Brother (or Father) or Sister . . . except some
                  Benedictine-type and Carthusian monks who like the Portuguese-derived Dom.
                  > I'm always happy to be proved wrong when I assert something, though ;)
                  Me, too! I don't remember if you in particular have provided me that
                  service, but if you did, I hope I proffered proper thanks.

                  --Gerard

                  * There are also Eastern Church monks, none of whom are Benedictine. And
                  let's not talk about canons regular.
                • George A. Trosper
                  ... I d just about bet money that there were no communities isolated enough. As Gerard, I shall somehow die at age 79 on the Pilgrimage of Grace, in 1536 (16
                  Message 8 of 11 , May 8 8:48 AM
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                    eldwin_nightowl wrote:
                    > My primary persona is Elizabethan, but not a monk, so if I want to stay
                    > authentic I may simply have to move my monk--excuse me, friar--a few
                    > years earlier or out of England (or at least to an isolated community).
                    I'd just about bet money that there were no communities isolated enough.

                    As Gerard, I shall somehow die at age 79 on the Pilgrimage of Grace, in
                    1536 (16 years from my current "now"), when many of us Northerners rise
                    up and declare "you will NOT do this to our Church!"--see, e.g.,
                    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12084b.htm --so I suppose I'm
                    prejudiced.* Nevertheless, the Suppression of the Monasteries seems to
                    have been very thorough and systematic indeed, at least in part for
                    financial reasons. (See http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10455a.htm for a
                    highly anti-monarchical, pro-Catholic account, probably outdated in some
                    respects by more recent scholarship.)

                    Of course you'd be welcome to flee to any SCA Barony, Province, Shire,
                    or other unit *after* the Dissolution and tell horror stories for the
                    rest of your life to anyone who'd listen. I mean, I know a distinguished
                    Lord who died in the Battle of the Banners and has lived several decades
                    since in the Barony of Loch Salann! But it would probably prove
                    difficult or impossible to live in community, pretty much essential to
                    call yourself a friar.

                    --Gerard

                    * I've also recently seen Poulenc's opera /Les Dialogues des Carmélites
                    /set in Revolutionary France.
                  • MaryL
                    ... [...] ... Now this kind of thing is one of many reasons why I love reading this list!!! On those few occasions when someone has added the story of how I
                    Message 9 of 11 , May 8 9:45 PM
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                      --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "George A. Trosper" <gtrosper@...> wrote:

                      > As Gerard, I shall somehow die at age 79 on the Pilgrimage of Grace, in
                      > 1536 (16 years from my current "now"), when many of us Northerners rise
                      > up and declare "you will NOT do this to our Church!"
                      [...]
                      >
                      > Of course you'd be welcome to flee to any SCA Barony, Province, Shire,
                      > or other unit *after* the Dissolution and tell horror stories for the
                      > rest of your life to anyone who'd listen. [...]

                      Now this kind of thing is one of many reasons why I love reading this list!!!

                      On those few occasions when someone has added the story of "how I came to this Kingdom from Shrewsbury / Antioch / Genoa / Stratford-atte-Bowe / the court of the Khan / etc." to his or her persona's life history, I always enjoy hearing the tale. To me, it's the icing on the persona cake. :-)

                      Adelicia di Rienzi
                      (Mary Llewellyn)
                    • lariandrobert@fuse.net
                      ... Not at all! The 16th century reform of Juan de la Cruz and Smilin Terry was about making the discalced Carmelites monchas MORE cloistered, getting them
                      Message 10 of 11 , May 10 4:21 AM
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                        ---- "George A. Trosper" <gtrosper@...> wrote:
                        > Chris Laning wrote:
                        > > Dominicans and Franciscans are both friars, and I believe Carmelites are too.
                        > Apparently the huge majority are, although there's at least one group
                        > calling themselves Carmelite *monks* up in Wyoming. According to their
                        > web-site - http://www.carmelitemonks.org/Aboutmonks.html - they're
                        > cloistered, which means they don't go out the way friars do, run
                        > parishes, etc., so they're using the word strictly. Without further
                        > research, I'd bet that this situation is very new, so not SCA-relevant,
                        > tho clearly 21st-c. relevant.
                        Not at all! The 16th century reform of Juan de la Cruz and Smilin' Terry was about making the discalced Carmelites monchas MORE cloistered, getting them farther out of the world, if possible. They saw this as a return to primitive practice, of course. Whether that view is based in objective reality or wishful thinking is largelt irrelevant SCA recreation.
                        Malcolm
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