MyGen-logo [ Outlaw Genealogy  | Bruce History  | Lost Chords ]
[ Projects | News | FAQ | Suggestions | Search | HotLinks  | Resources | Ufo  ]

Medieval Gloves

1264 - St. Michael's Parish - Bernewelle - Grant to Robert son of Hubert Walter of all rents in Cambridge and outside for a yearly payment of a pair of white gloves

About Gloves in Medieval times: 

In medieval times, the use of gloves by the aristocracy became more frequent, being worn in home sports (hunting with falcons, archery) and simply as ostentatious displays of luxury. In the courtly etiquette, if the knight offered perfumed white gloves to a lady and she accepted them, this established a relation of dependency between them. 

The custom of presenting a pair of white gloves to the neophyte at the conclusion of an initiation ceremony has a long historical tradition, and it is recorded already in the 10th century. A chronicle relates that in the year 960, the monks of Saint Alban’s Monastery in Mainz (Germany), presented a pair of gloves to the bishop at his investiture. The prayer pronounced during the investiture ceremony included a phrase beseeching God to cloth with purity the hands of His servant.
Similarly, the kings of France received a pair of gloves at their coronation. The consecrated hands of the king, like those of the bishop, should not be soiled by contact with impure things. After the ceremony, the Hospitaler burned the gloves, to prevent their later use for profane purposes.
The use of gloves by medieval masons is confirmed by documentary evidence. In the year 1322, at Ely (a cathedral city of England), the sacrist purchased gloves for the masons engaged in the “new work”, and in 1456, at Eton College, five pairs of gloves were presented to the “layers” of the walls, “as custom may have required”.
Gloves were a customary New Year gift, sometimes substituted by “glove money”. Also, gloves were a traditional present of lovers to their fiancés.

Medieval Gloves

Next is a pair of gloves is a pair of "falconry" gloves - gloves like these are seen in the illuminations of the 13th and 14th century, worn by noble men and women.
I used very fine goat leather, sewn with linen thread. The tassel is made of silk thread.


Faith And Purity Defined By Masonic Gloves - In medieval times, the use of Masonic gloves became more frequent by the aristocracy being worn in some sports like hunting with falcons or archery and simply as ostentatious displays of luxury. In the courtly etiquette, if the knight offered perfumed white gloves to a lady and she accepted them then this established a relation of dependency on both of them. In the Christian church of the middle ages, gloves were always worn by priests or bishops in the performance of ecclesiastical functions. They were made of linen and were milky white in color. The gloves given to the candidate for himself are intended to teach him that the acts of a mason should be spotless and pure as the gloves are now given to him.

The symbolism of the gloves is, in fact, but a modification is that of the apron. Apron and gloves both signify the same thing; both are allusive towards purification of life. 

Gloves and Mittens in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

Gloves appear in two sets of contexts before the 16th century: in ecclesiastical and royal/ceremonial contexts, and in scenes of outdoor labor and falconry. It is only in the very end of the 15th century, and later, that they are worn as a fashionable accessory.

I've attempted to divide up the gloves by type. For additional information on the history of gloves and their manufacture, see Gloves, their annals and associations and also these links.