In the 1690s Thomas Bayly, a wealthy silk merchant, and his wife lived in Marlborough. They were a stylish couple who dressed to impress in hand made garments of silk, linen & cotton.Mrs Bayly in her under garments
Last Monday at our February meeting we were fortunate enough to meet Mr & Mrs Bayly and to have a close look at their clothes. Angela Munn from the Merchant’s House in Marlborough, who had lovingly recreated their complete outfits, introduced us to two volunteers who modelled the clothes.
The curtains opened and there were Mr & Mrs Bayly dressed only in their under garments and over the next hour they were helped into their beautiful period costumes.
Mrs Bayly started wearing a mop cap, a shift, stays (originally whale bone but plastic for the modern version), knitted stockings held up with ribbons for gaiters and identical shoes. Angela explained that at this time there were no left or right hand shoes and people swapped them each day. She mentioned a gentleman called William Lee who invented a knitting machine for stockings but he was refused a patent as people were worried knitters would be out of a job so he moved to France to continue his work.
Mrs Bayly in her gown
Finally Angela added a “fontage” in front of Mrs Bayly’s mop cap which was a small coiffe with lace and ribbons. It was explained that a French lady, Madame Fontage invented this headwear after returning late from hunting one day. Being in a hurry she piled up her hair and added lace and ribbons. The fashion became popular both sides of the Channel.
Mr Bayly in his shirt and breaches
It was then Mr Bayly’s turn. He first appeared in a long linen shirt with silk lined linen breaches. Angela had taken the pattern of this shirt from the collection of patterns created by Janet Arnold (Patterns of Fashion). She explained that it was in the 1660s that men started wearing ensembles to match, that is to say, breaches, waistcoat & coat. Angela read several passages from Samuel Pepys’s diaries in which he talks about his own under garments.
Mr Bayly buttons his waistcoat
Mr Bayly’s full length waistcoat was added and then a truly magnificent full length coat made from a wool fabric with 103 buttons & buttonholes lovingly made my Angela.
Angela tieing Mr Bayly's cravat
A white neck cloth was then tied in the form of a
Mr Bayly, silk merchant of Marlborough
Finally Mr Bayly put on a magnificent wig and held a walking stick. Angela explained that Louis XIV started the fashion of wearing wigs when he started to go bald.
Mr & Mrs Thomas Bayly
The couple then paraded the length of the hall to show off their fine costumes.
The Merchant's House (Marlborough Trust), (Open to the public)
132 High Street,
Telephone: +44 (0) 1672 511 491
Information in this blog is provided by branch members who have attended the meeting, workshop or event.
Marlborough & District Branch is a member of the Embroiderers' Guild, the UK's leading crafts association
* The Embroiderers' Guild website -https://embroiderersguild.com/
* The Guild Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/embroiderersguild/
* The Guild Pinterest pages - https://uk.pinterest.com/theembroiderers/