The Bycocket C.1310 - 1450
At the beginning of the 14th Century the
Bycocket (or Byecocket, "chapeau á bec") came into
fashion and was worn by men and women when riding or hawking.
It consisted of a hat (similar to a "Robin Hood" Hat) with a tall
crown that had an upturned brim, which projected out sharply at the front
into a point.
Frequently the peak and crown were heavily ornamented with embroidery and
spangles (an old Goldwork term for sequins, which has been documented
as far back as Ancient Egypt!). These spangles were "adopted as an English
Fashion" during the 13th and 14th Centuries and not only adorned hats and
headdresses of the period, but the clothing of both sexes too.
One Italian Lady in a MS c.1310 shows her riding with her hawk on her
wrist, her side braids turned up under her
Bycocket, which is embroidered in a
symmetrical pattern and a single jewel at the front of her hat, above the
Another image of a Noble Woman wearing a Bycocket is from an ivory mirror case
in the (V & A) Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Under her
Bycocket is a simple veil and her hair flows
By the mid to the latter half of the 14th Century, the Bycocket was still the
favoured Hat to be worn by both sexes while hawking, but it became much
more exaggerated. The crown would be oversized and elaborately decorated.
One such Bycocket is shown in a MS to be
encrusted in real or embroidered Peacock Feathers, with fur on its
upturned brim, while streamers fly backwards from it.
While another image from a metal worked design, shows an Italian mans
Bycocket which fashions a split brim over the
ear. Froissart himself mentions that Beaver Fur and Ostrich Feathers were
in use for larger forms of Bycockets.
By the 15th century, the Bycocket went
completely out of fashion in England , France and Spain , but it was still
worn in the Netherlands by prosperous Merchants, Masters of the Guilds in
the Low Countries and by Noble Lords as far away as Hungary .
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