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While just as today many elements of fashion were common to different cultures, there were also essential differences. This category summarises distinctively Brythonic items.

The Brythonic peoples were the original inhabitants of the British Isles prior to the arrival of the Saxons and later Vikings following the collapse of the Roman Empire. While at one point they could have been described as 'Romano-British' by the time of the 8th Century those Brythonic Kingdoms still standing were all placed at the Western or Northern fringes of the old Imperial Provinces where Romanisation had never been as all-encompassing as elsewhere in Britain.

Inhabitants of Wales, Cornwall and 'The Old North' would have all spoken a language that was mutually intelligible but had, due to their enforced isolation from one another, started to evolve into the variations we might identify as Cumbric, Welsh and Cornish (please note the Picts in Scotland have their own page under 'specialist kit types).

There are limited finds from the Brythonic world in our period, and much information from later contexts (i.e Gerald of Wales) has traditionally been accepted uncritically despite the potential for bias.

A basic Brythonic Kit consists of:

Is-Jerkynn: A basic Kyrtle, similar to that of the Saxons or Vikings. Some tunics may have been longer then was the fashion elsewhere, perhaps following an Irish influence. By the 9th and 10th centuries these tunics could be past knee length. Some examples may show fringing on the bottom hem. In general, the garment should come to knee length for men and can go to floor length for women.

Linen would be used for under-shirts while wool or thicker linen would be used for outerwear.

Lavroc: Leg coverings, often 3/4 length shorts in linen or wool. Longer versions are tight fitting trousers that may include a loop under the foot similar to hose.

Blevens/Jerkynn: The 'Irish Sea Coat' as it is often described. A jacket made out of wool and lined with linen with sleeve length varying between sleeveless to full sleeves but most often around elbow length. Often decorated richly with embroidery/braid.

Gloc/Klok: A large, warm woollen cloak usually lined with linen. It should be large enough to be pulled up over the head and still cover most of the body and legs. The edges are usually fringed, either by the wool being left unwoven at the edge or with a separate fringe added. Often worn across the body by warriors in order to keep arms free, with a brooch pinning it at one shoulder.

Shoes: As with much of the Early Medieval world, we have limited information on shoes however most varieties of turnshoe are fairly universal. There is also the irish 'bog-shoe' which is very similar to earlier (iron age) insular examples and may have been common to Brythonic areas.

Colours/Patterns: Any permissible colours are usable, and in some instances there can be distinct variations such as Alkanet 'False Purple' for characters from a South-Western background.

Likewise, Patterns would run the gamut evident in the rest of the Early Medieval world however basic checks, stripes and other patterns may be preferable.

This is only a very basic overview, and thanks go to Kathy Hall of Morvleydh for her work on bringing together available evidence from around the Brythonic world which is largely cribbed here.

For illustrative images of Brythonic Kit in action seek out groups such as Cwmwd Ial and Morvleydh.

Pages in category ‘Brythonic’

This category contains only the following page.