Huge trove of Tudor-era shoes unearthed

A total of 22 individual shoes made of thick cattle leather were found in London, United Kingdom, a massive rediscovered ditch called the Faggeswell brook that ran down to the old Fleet river.

The Tudor shoes (by Crossrail)

The leather shoes were made around 1550 and worn by ordinary Londoners. The unisex slip-ons worn by Elizabethans more than 450 years ago were on trend for the time, with low heels fashionable at Queen Elizabeth’s court. The shoes are similar to today’s modern espadrilles, and were found alongside other styles that fastened with a strap over the instep.

Tudor shoes (pictured left) and modern resemblance (picture right) (by Crossrail)

The shoes were found with other general household rubbish including cooking wares, money boxes, a horse harness and ceramic wares. Sometime around 1570-90 the ditch was becoming very boggy, partly as it was being used as a dump for the neighbourhoods rubbish. These conditions were ideal for the preservation of leather goods. The shoes were all fairly generic apart from one which belonged to a child and was decorated.

Three-part horse harness with an unusually ornate buckle (by Crossrail)

Due to the wet ground conditions in the area of the brook archaeologists were able to recover rarely found Tudor textiles – leather and plant remains all preserved in excellent condition. Other belongings include a horse harness strap with an unusually ornate buckle and knotted reins and a scabbard for holding a sword, knife or other large blade.  Two distinctive silk bands used for decorative trimming for trendy clothes of the time were also found.

Silk woven bands (by Crossrail)

 

(after Crossrail, Daily Mail Online & Express)

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