It was to
a surge of medieval music that Ann Horsley, our April speaker,
entered the village hall. She made a regal figure in robes,
hand-sewn by herself, as she told us of the life and times of
an Elizabethan lady.
From bottom to top she showed us her clothes, designed to impress.
Brocade and silk, embroidered with gold thread and jewels, formed
the underskirt, peeping out from a slashed over-gown while puffed
sleeves, removable from the bodice, were edged with intricate
lace. A starched white ruff could be worn around the throat
but hers was made to frame the low neckline and superfluity
of jewels, particularly ropes of pearls, favoured by the queen.
Tied on cords from the wrist were necessary articles: a pouch
in lieu of a pocket; a sweet-smelling pomander to mask the street
foulness; a small prayer book and a feather fan. A farthingale
and padded roll held up the skirt, adding to the weight and
In her home, the lady was responsible for the servants and the
food, a consideration when the courses at dinner could be twenty
for a celebration! Most would be meats, small beer for all and
wine for the wealthy. To make a good marriage, knowledge of
culinary herbs and medicines, as well as cosmetics, an ability
to make music, to dance and instruct the children, was necessary,
leaving little time for formal education.
After Anns talk, our Secretary asked for ideas to celebrate
100 years of the Federation and announced the Resolutions to
be discussed at our May meeting. Forthcoming visits were to
David Austin Roses, to London and to talk by one of the Calendar
Girls. A request was made for knitted clothes and blankets for
a premature baby unit and, as with our help at the Sunday café,
the WI will be happy to assist. New members will be sure of
a warm welcome.