Lexis of cloth and clothing: medieval royal wardrobe accounts project


Building on the success of the AHRC funded The Lexis of Cloth and Clothing in Britain c. 700-1450, this follow-up project offers a way for school-children, students and interested members of the public to engage with a number of facets of Britain’s medieval past - its language, manuscripts, and the clothing worn by the royal family.

Aims and objectives

A new website will provide an introduction to cloth and clothing in the royal household during the reigns of Edward I, Edward II and Edward III. It will showcase some of the fascinating manuscripts held at the National Archives and demonstrate how The Lexis of Cloth and Clothing in Britain c. 700-1450 can help to reveal their secrets. Bespoke illustrations created by Maggie Kneen of the garments described in the accounts will bring the manuscripts to life and allow comparison with the clothes worn by the royal family today.

We will be conducting visits to schools throughout the country helping children to explore the world of medieval fashion. Through a combination of talks, exercises and competitions the team will strive to ignite the interest of a new generation of historians and celebrate our rich shared heritage.

Finally, we will be organizing a host of public events, workshops, and talks at the National Archives and around the country.

It’s going to be a busy year so be sure to follow us on our blog and on Twitter @WardrobeLexis.


Principal investigator

Dr Louise Sylvester

Louise Sylvester is Reader in English Language at the University of Westminster. She was co-investigator on an AHRC-funded five-year project, The Lexis of Cloth and Clothing in Britain c.700-1450: Origins, Identification, Contexts and Change, principal investigator on the Leverhulme funded project The Vocabulary of Medieval Dress and Textiles in Unpublished Sources, and has published widely on historical linguistics, medieval dress and fashion and medieval romance. 

E: [email protected]


Dr Mark Chambers

Mark Chambers is Research Associate at Durham University, specialising in medieval and early modern drama, medieval clothing and fashion, and late-medieval language contact. At present he is part of a 5-year collaborative AHRC funded project: Records of Early English Drama, Northeast (REED-NE).

E: [email protected]

Research associate

Dr Charles Farris

Charles Farris has recently been appointed Postdoctoral Research Associate on the project and is based at the University of Westminster. He completed a PhD thesis, entitled The Pious Practices of Edward I, 1272-1307, at Royal Holloway, University of London. His interests include medieval kingship, material culture and religion.

E: [email protected]

Twitter: @FarrisCharles

Project advisor

Dr Laura Tompkins

Laura Tompkins is Reader Advisor at The National Archives. She has recently completed an AHRC funded PhD at the University of St Andrews under the supervision of Professor Chris Given-Wilson, with a thesis entitled The Uncrowned Queen: Alice Perrers, Edward III and Political Crisis in Fourteenth-Century England, 1360-1377.

E: [email protected]

Project advisor

Mr Peter Cornwell

Peter Cornwell is Director of the Data Futures Lab based at the University of Westminster. In his recent career, he has been director of a number of U.S. and European companies and of the Visual Media Institute of ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany; professor of public art at Angewandte, Vienna and Central Saint Martins, London; and visiting professor of distributed computing at Imperial College, London.

E: [email protected]

Durham UniversityArts and HumanitiesNational Archives


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