Irish Mantle

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Irish Mantle

Postby Daithi on Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:24 pm

There are frequent references to the desired issue of Irish mantles to English infantry serving in Ireland from about 1570 to 1600 with particular mention ofthe payment of 5s to each man to buy a mantle once in Ireland during the late 1590's.

Can anyone clue me to what a mantle is ? Size, shape, type of wool used and anything else I need to know to make one :-)
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Re: Irish Mantle

Postby finnobreanan on Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:40 pm

A mantle is a cloak made of wool. It is usually semi circular in shape (like a half moon) and drapes over the shoulder. When worn they reach below the knees. Reconstructing History makes a pattern from an original example, but they are indredibly easy to make without one.
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Re: Irish Mantle

Postby Daithi on Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:17 pm

Thanks :-)
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Re: Irish Mantle

Postby brendan on Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:24 am

Mairead Dunleavy's Book 'Dress In Ireland' has a fairly long section on what the Irish Mantle might have been.
Essentially, it was the basic mantle shape with a lot of processing - very few reenactors have attempted the whole process described AFAIK
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Re: Irish Mantle

Postby Eoghan on Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:14 am

The "Mantles" first referenced by the English in the 1530s are what the Irish of the period called an brat (sing.).

These garmets functioned as a thick sleeping bag/cloak that traveled with you for those wet Irish nights outside the tower house. It provided refuge from wet and cold. It is interesting to think about; there are no documented tent like structures for na buannaiti during 1500-1599. No evidence of them using the guerrilla warfare tactics of the rural ceithrenn to acquire such structures from the invading English or buying them from the Spanish. So, these guys were most likely camping under the stars every night in their bratte.

These differ in size and style based on your 16th c. character's place in the world. The richer you are, a tabby woven, tough (melton cloth and the like) and clean semi circular piece fabric is what you would have had. This is because if your a lord or the relative of said lord, you are probably sleeping on the top floor of a tower house not the wet ground. Unless you are traveling on foot to a battle. The rougher/tougher slightly poorer buannadha or ceithrenn would have worn something with a Flokati rug like knap. That knap on a fabric would provide a wonderful surface to deflect water during a cold night on the grassy Irish ground the night before a battle.

The Irish from 1300-1590 used to make this amazing Flokati like fabric. It's exact origins and construction techniques are now unknown, but, such bratte (pl.) are clearly documented in said time period. We see L. De Heere's and other pictures from the 1530s depicting the clearly richer buannaiti wearing the tougher fabric Bratte. The common Éireannach of J. Derick's woodcuts (this being a rather lousy reference, but, a period woodcut none the less) are shown weaing the Flokati like garmets.

Aesthetically, to us modern steel and history junkies; the Flokati style bratte are WAY cooler looking than the plain woven fabric. This is one of those things where you must consider the moment in the past. In the Renaissance, loom woven fabric was the more expensive making it more fashionalbe to those who could aford it (the all too well known 16th. c cliché "the clothes make the man").

Questions, if you have any, please ask. I have been known to attempt an answer at a question and miss it by an inch :? more like a mile :D

Hope this helps.
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Re: Irish Mantle

Postby Cathal on Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:20 am

The first evidence for the flokati-like fabric dates afaik to 9th century Hedeby. One of our traders has some perfect reconstructions in stock, made of hand spun wool down in Romania. Have a look here: http://www.fahrendehaendler.de/Vehi-Mer ... fer-_.html
I own one of these blankets. It's incredible warm and watertight.
In "Early Gaelic Dress -An Introduction" by Scott Barrett there's a description of mantle and flokati on pages 12/13

Hope this helps!
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Re: Irish Mantle

Postby Daithi on Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:53 am

Thanks for all that :-) I shall be acquiring one of those blankets now :-)

I think I shall be making a mantle in kersey from Stuart Peachy, wider than the peroid fabric but I can play with the piece to make a suitable look :-)
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Re: Irish Mantle

Postby brendan on Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:12 pm

you can always add in a fake seam
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Re: Irish Mantle

Postby Daithi on Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:15 pm

That's my thinking, his kersay is 54" wide. Which would work nicely.
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