Historical Hats, Costumes & Accessories

Made by Nobility, for Nobility

The Torque C.1220 - 1327

White Raw Silk Torque with Goldwork Arcades and Whitework Flowers c.1189-1199 Around the time of 1199 the "Torque" or "Toque" was originally a narrow band of cloth worn about the head resembling a "Pill-box." It was used solely as a travelling hat for Noble Women when they travelled by horse.

By 1220 it became fashionable to wear the "Torque" at every level of society. In France it was referred to as a "Chappel." It was widened into a stiff linen band or "fillet" (approx 4") frequently in some brilliant colour in linen or silk (White and red were popular). A narrow chin band was worn with this "Torque" and was called the "Barbette." This was a narrow piece of cloth that was worn under the chin, which went up either side of the face to the top of the head, under the "Torque." At this point in time, no hair was visible around the face as the hair was confined in plaits or a net at the back of the head. This net was known as the "Crispine" and was shaped like a bag. They were made out of gold, silver or coloured silk.

Around about 1260, the hair started to be seen. Plaits became coils (Ramshorns), which were worn under the "Torque" on either side of the face. Clever Ladies in waiting artfully arranged veils over these coils. They were worn either tucked up, around or in the "Torque", as there was sometimes no crown (top). A few of the "Torque´s" from this time period can be seen in various churches around the country. York Minster is one such place. Here you can see the many variations of the "Torque". Plain, Pleated or solidly crowned. Most of them have the hair curled or coiled over each ear.

During the period of Edward I (1272), the "Torque" was wider at the top than the bottom and became a heavily jewelled band. The hair was still coiled over each ear as before and veils arranged in the same manner.

In 1307 the "Torque" was wider again and was sometimes covered in gold work and jewels for nobility. Hair was still coiled into the ramshorns but was now starting to be encased in the Crispine over each ear (Later to become the "Crispinette"). Young or old of the upper and middle classes wore this style of headdress but a strip of cloth or braid was worn by humbler folk.

By 1327 the "Torque" was still worn by women but other forms of headdresses came to be in use.

Rust velvet and goldwork torque with veil Burgundy velvet torque with veil Red velvet torque with veil Blue Brocade Torque, Encrusted with Jewels and Pearls, with Veils trimmed to match Torque Green Velvet Torque with Linen Wimple and Veil Rust linen torque with veil Cream silk torque encrusted with jewels and pearls Gold and blue linen torque with veil Cream linen torque with jewels and pearls Red Silk Torque encrusted with Jewels and Pearls forming Daisies, inspired by ‘Mille Fleur’ Tapestries Rust Brocade Torque with Jewels and Pearls and Veils Fully Authentic Hand Sewn Linen Pleated Torque, with Hand Sewn Linen Veil Dark Blue Velvet Torque encrusted with Goldwork, Jewels and Pearls and Handsewn Silk Veil and Barbette Blue Velvet Torque with Linen Veil, made for Carisbrooke Castle Museum for their schools display in the Museum German Style Purple Torque with Silk veil. Source from 'Deutsches Leben' White Raw Silk Torque with Goldwork Arcades and Whitework Flowers c.1189-1199 White Silk Torque with pleats and Gilt Goldwork, based on the carving of Marguerite of France known as 'The Pearl of France'


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