Collection of Miss A. Wilson.



No. 94. An antique Spanish leather stole for priest, made of green leather stamped in gold. Early part of eighteenth century; a rare specimen.

From a very early period stoles have been worn, as they are at present, as a portion of the ecclesiastical vestments of a priest, and also of the coronation robes of a sovereign prince. “Forth comes the priest with stole about his neck.”—Chaucer, Canterbury tales. Henry IV. is described as having been arrayed at the time of his coronation as a bishop that should sing mass, with a dalmatic like a tunic, and a stole about his neck. (MS. WY. College of Arms.)

When the tomb of Edward I. was opened in Westminster Abbey, A.D. 1774, his corpse was found arrayed in a dalmatic or tunic of red silk and a mantle of crimson satin, fastened on the shoulder with a gilt buckle or clasp, decorated with imitative gems and pearls. The sceptre was in his hand, and a stole was crossed over his breast of rich white tissue, studded with gilt quatrefoils in filigree work and embroidered with pearls in the shape of what are called “true lovers’ knots.” The stole of Thomas a Becket, which is elaborately ornamented, is preserved with other of his vestments in the cathedral of Sens.

Collection of D. J. Hile, Esq.

No. 95. Man’s antique leather girdle, ornamented with metal design.

No. 96. Man’s antique leather girdle, interwoven with metal wire.

No. 97. Man’s antique leather girdle, ornamented with metal studs.

To “gird the loins” is of course a very old custom. Girdles, worn by the Saxons and Normans, as depicted in illuminations or tapestry, are not remarkable in form or ornament, but those worn by people of distinction were most costly, being frequently adorned with jewels, as Charlemagne’s was.

The earliest information extant upon girdles dates from the twelfth century. On King John’s effigy in Worcester Cathedral is a gilt girdle, and mention is made in an inventory of his jewels of a gold girdle set with gems. In the reign of Henry IV. Caddis leather girdles were worn, so often mentioned as manufactured at Cadiz from English leather. To them the pouch or purse was appended, as well as the dagger and rosary, and in some instances the penner and inkhorn, and books were also carried by the studious. “May my girdle break if I fail,” was an old saying of imprecation against false promises, because the purse hung to it. Early in the reign of Edward IV., in order to promote a reform in dress, an act was passed prohibiting the wearing of girdles which were ornamented with gold or silver on any part of them. Many examples of this article of dress occur in the brasses and monumental effigies, and it is frequently alluded to by writers of the Middle Ages. During the reigns of Henry VII. and Henry VIII. very beautiful girdles were worn by ladies. Girdles sometimes took the form of chains, particularly in the time of Mary and Elizabeth, and had large pendants to the ends, as seen in a brass in Margaretting Church, near Brentwood, Essex. They were frequently entirely composed of links of metal, gold, or silver, with flowers, engraved cameos, or groups of stones intermixed. The gentleman’s girdle was less elaborate, and frequently of leather ornamented with studs. Girdles with rich buckles were fashionable in 1738, and a common form of robbery was to cut the lady’s girdle behind and draw it from the waist.