About 12th  Century Men's Hats : Click Images for full/larger view

You may ask yourself “Why doesn’t my documented tunic look ‘right’??” My first answer is "Have you forgotten Head Gear???" As my lord Efenwealt days “without a hat I am just a guy in a medieval tunic. With a hat, I’m a medieval guy!” This is so true. The prettiest dress will only look like a costume if you don’t put the appropriate headgear with it.

“What IS the appropriate headgear?” you may ask… Well, let me tell you! 

Men's Hats
For men in the 11th – 12th C. (longer, actually, but that is the time we are looking at here) a pointed cap with a little "doomiflagee-thingy" on the top is typical. (Image from the Rheims Missal, 1285)
from the foot of a cross from the Abbey of Saint Bertin, 2nd half of the 12th c. By Godfrey of Claire.
Coifs are another typical piece of headgear for centuries.  (Image from a 12th Century bestiary) The hat could be worn on top of the coif, or the coif alone. Think of the coif as underwear for your head. If you weren’t washing your hair often, you would want to protect your hats from oil and lice. How? By wearing a coif under them. I also believe that the point at the top of the hat came into use so that you only had to touch the loop or tag, and keep your greasy filthy hands off the rest of the hat, thus keeping it cleaner.
Another style of hat is the Phrygian cap. I have found pictures of these in manuscripts from the 6th and 9th C. as well as the 12th. They were worn extensively. This is a cap just like the smurfs wear, actually, with a bulbous shape hanging over the forehead.(caption: Phrygian cap in a detail of the Tree of Jesse Stained glass window, to the right of the royal portal, Chartres Cathedral, 12th C.)
A Phrygian cap on the tomb of Geoffrey Plantagenet in Le Mans Cathedral, 12th C.

 Return to Aénor's homepage
 View my Bibliography