Thursday 27 January 2022

Coifs and other non-hat headgear for women, 1600 to 1650


Coifs are regarded, certainly among English Civil War re-enactors, as the thing that women must wear on their heads. It is a little more complex than that, and looking at women’s probates across the Stuart period you can see a distinct dividing line; pre 1650 90% of the non-hat headgear for women are coifs, post 1650 90% of the non-hat headgear are hoods. Unsurprisingly Gregory King’s 1688 “Annual consumption of apparel” does not list coifs at all, but has two sections for women’s non-hat headwear, “Hoods, dressing and commodes” of which he believed there were 400,000 a year, and the less common, but more fashionable, “Tours and locks” of which there were only 4,000 a year. (1)

Non Coifs