Female headgear from 1000 to 1300

Compared to later periods the woman of the early medieval period wore pretty simple head dresses. Often just a veil but towards the later period the barbette and fillet combination became popular among the noble women.

I gather pictures of head gear. I find them in illuminated manuscripts, sketches and in paintings. Some of the pictures are quite small and a bit blurred, but I thought it was important to have pictures from different sources rather than just the famous high quality ones. I gather pictures of head gear. I find them in illuminated manuscripts, sketches and in paintings. Some of the pictures are quite small and a bit blurred, but I thought it was important to have pictures from different sources rather than just the famous high quality ones. They are organized by century and by style.

Read more about the styles of the medieval female head dress, here.

1000’s

1100’s

Veils, sometimes worn with wimple or gorget

In the 1100’s women wore veils to cover their hair  in keeping with Christian custom, which was often parted in the center and hung down in long braids. The braids might a wig purchased from the dead. The wimple and veil combination was introduced in the later part of the century.

1200’s

Veil, wimple, gorgets and huva caps

The wimple and veil of the 1100’s still seen on nuns today, was still worn mainly by older women and widows. Veils and gorgets were also common. A gorget covers the neck. It was a tube that draped around the neck and sometimes covered the upper chest. 1

Possibly the most comfortable 1200’s and 1300’s headgear is the cap, which is also called St. Birgitta’s Huva.2

Barbette, chin band and crespine or caul (hair net)

One distinctive feature of 1200’s and 1300’s women’s headwear was the barbette (headdress), a chin band to which a hat or various other headdress might be attached. This hat might be a “woman’s coif”, which more nearly resembled a pillbox hat, severely plain or fluted. The hair was often confined by a net called a crespine or crespinette or caul, visible only at the back. Later in the century the barbette and coif were reduced to narrow strips of cloth, and the entire hairdress might be covered with the crespine, the hair fashionable bulky over the ears. Coif and barbettes were white, while the crespine might be colored or gold.3

Female commoners

1100’s
1200’s

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