The climate of the 15th century is reputed to have been colder then to what we are now accustomed. Fur lined garments were common for people of all classes. “The brisk trade in second-hand furs which went on during the Middle Ages made it easier for those with little money to wear furs.” The type and quality of the fur is was what separated
the upper classes from the lower, or at least were supposed to. Beale says on page 5 of her book: ” During the 15th century, when living standards were rising, Peter Idley, a gentleman falconer who wrote some verses for his son, complained that it was hard to tell ‘a tapster, a cookesse, or a Hosteller’s wife fro a gentilwoman’.” Sumptuary Laws were passed throughout the 15th century making it illegal for certain classes to wear certain types of fur. It was obviously a problem.
The quality of the fur pelts themselves determine their worth more then the species of the fur. “In the Winter months the fur fibre is thicker, fuller and more lustrous. Later in the mating season, when animals are shedding some of their hair, skins are poorer in quality and the fur is often marked; it is scantier still in Summer.” -Beale, page 22
It was not uncommon to combine specific furs for economical reasons.
“It became customary for the lining that showed, known as the purfell of a gown, to be made of more expensive skins then those used for the rest, although of the same color.” – Beale, page29
Below I list appropriate furs according to the law. Whether you would have or could have afforded to break the law and pay the fine is a matter to be discussed with the group.
*** Note: We do not allow the use of synthetic furs within the group due to their flammable nature.
We strongly urge our members to recycle old fur garments and to not purchase new fur skins.
(These are well beyond the portrayal levels within our group)