|“||…any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head—it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil.||”|
|St. Paul, Letter to the Corinthians|
All women and girls who have passed puberty must cover the tops of their heads. A simple headscarf is sufficient for “domestic” purposes, such as working around a fire.
However, for “going out” or performing high status activities (such as embroidering or music) a more formal style of head covering must be worn over a cap or scarf. All outer coverings should partially cover the lower neck and breast bone; a good rule of thumb is that they should hide the neckline of the dress underneath and no hair should really be easily visible.
No circlets or bands should be worn over the head covering. Embroidery is for RICH English only and is only found on headbands worn under the head covering. Simple decorative stitching is allowed, but most outer coverings should to be plain and ideally of natural or bleached linen or wool. It is worth noting however that pure white linen is considered RICH.
So basically a lady should wear a head covering consisting of two parts, a base layer that may be a cap, headscarf or headband. Over this should be worn the outer covering of a wimple or veil that is typically pinned in place.
A piece of cloth that is wrapped around the head and shoulders as a covering and is usually pinned to a cap or band beneath. Veils should be worn in such a way as to cover the hair and neckline.
Wimples or Veils with emerging Headbands
Worn with a Carolingian Style Dress
by Louise Archer (GA)
London, British Library, MS Cotton Galba A XVIII fol.120v (GA)
by Louise Archer (GA)
POOR All Periods
A simple cloth cap often tied or perhaps pinned in place. English caps are slightly larger than their Viking equivalent so that it can cover more of the hair as dictated by Christian doctrine. For English women they are generally considered to be working items and so can only be worn on the Wic.
Very Early to Early
A simple cloth cap, often tied or perhaps pinned in place, such as the Coppergate or Dublin style caps. May be worn by Vikings on or off the Wic.
Sizes vary between 14x38cm (5½“x15”) to 18x59cm (7“x23¼”).
Viking women have the option of wearing caps made from wool, linen or even silk as an alternative to going bare haired and are not restricted to just wearing them on the Wic.
by Steph Everest
Worn by Viking women
by Louise Archer
POOR All Periods Allowable
The drawing to the left is from Almgeren’s ‘The Viking’, published in 1966, where he introduced the idea of Viking women wearing a simple headscarf. Currently we have neither artistic nor archaeological evidence to support such a garment. It is allowed purely because some sort of simple head covering must have been worn by the POOR to cover their hair.
Viking Headscarf or Headband
A simple rectangle of cloth that can either be worn as a headscarf or by folding it into thirds, as a headband. The short ends of the rectangle are usually tasselled. May be worn by Vikings on or off the Wic.
Sizes vary between 15x60cm (6“x23½”) to 24x70cm (9½“x27½”).
All Periods Allowable Although we have little evidence for women wearing hoods they are allowed to provide another alternative if, for instance, a wimple or veil is unavailable. They are also useful for women who have just come off the battle field. Please note that women wearing hoods is not encouraged.