English Language and Linguistics

English Language and Linguistics

Lexis of Cloth and Clothing in Britain

This five-year research project is based at the Universities of Manchester and Westminster and is funded by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.


The project’s main aim is to undertake a trans-disciplinary study with the purpose of producing an analytical corpus of medieval dress and textiles terminology of the British Isles in the form of a searchable database, innovatively illustrated. At its centre is the assembly and examination of textiles/clothing lexis in the early languages of Britain (Old and Middle English; Welsh, Old Irish and minor Celtic languages; Anglo-Norman/French, Medieval Latin, Anglo-Norse), investigating the genesis and subsequent development of the vocabulary. The terms and their citations from both documentary and literary texts will be analysed in awareness of surviving textiles/dress accessories and graphic images in medieval art. Thus, the Project will investigate the complex relationships between vocabulary, artefact and image. Also included in the database will be definitions in modern English of medieval technical processes and artefacts; and ‘thumbnail sketches’ of significant surviving artefacts.


Principal investigator: Professor Gale Owen-Crocker, Professor of Anglo-Saxon Culture, University of Manchester

Co-investigator: Dr Louise Sylvester, Reader in English Language, University of Westminster

Post-doctoral research assistant: Dr Mark Chambers, Research Associate, University of Westminster.

For more information on the project, please visit its website: