Is what’s popularly referred to as an “Irish overdress” actually Irish? Where did we learn it from, and how did it become such a generic faire/SCA staple?

I reached out the the SCA Garb group on Facebook for more information about the Irish Overdress and a little bit of an SCA History lesson.

First of all, the proper name for the “Irish overdress” is a Shinrone gown, which dates from the 16th century. Reconstructing History has a pattern [link].

Some of the bits of the history lesson are quoted below. I have removed names, since the group is closed.

“’Irish Overdress’ was a RenFaire misinterpretation of some of Lucas De Heere’s prints of Irish Women which was adopted and stuck because there was so little to go on and so little research into Irish clothing. The Shinrone gown has some similarities in appearance but is of a much more complicated construction.”


One such print by Lucas De Heere.


Shinrone gown

Lady Sorcha Dhocair inghean Ui Ruairc’s packed on Irish women’s garb: [link]

A note on drawstrings and pleated sleeves as relates to the leine: [link]

The Honourable Baroness Ceara Shionnach of Burbage House’s information on Irish clothing: [link]

I feel it is important to mention that the “history lesson” part of the discussion included points that one should wear what makes one comfortable, how the SCA culture has changed in regard to authenticity, and not scary new people away. If you want to throw together some garb that can do double duty at RenFaires and SCA, or if you’re trying to stock your Gold Key with something quick and easy, then the “Irish Overdress” that’s available in commercial patterns easily found at your local craft store will work. If you want to portray a 16th century Irish woman, maybe do some more research.

Then again, I like research.

Go forth and discover! <3

How to be a Tudor : a dawn-to-dusk guide to everyday life
by Ruth Goodman
Publisher: London : Viking, 2015.
Great Britain – Social life and customs – 16th century.
Great Britain – History – Tudors, 1485-1603.


[Find it in a library near you]

Coming out December of this year. 😀


I have three days to make this for the known world costuming symposium, so if anyone has tips on how to even begin with that hat, please let me know, I’m screaming inside.

Thanks for the heads up, @sca-nerd​!

It appears to be a Cranach gown, which gives us a starting point. More specifically, it is from a 1546 manuscript titled 

The Saxon studbook: Collection of portraits of Saxon princes, with rhymed text; from the period between 1500 – 1546. (

Mscr.Dresd.R.3) [Link]

I found a page from What People Wore When:

A Complete Illustrated History of Costume from Ancient Times to the Nineteenth Century for Every Level of Society that shows a similar headdress and has a brief description: [Link]

Could it be a decorated wulsthaube? [Tutorial Link]

Maybe a stuchlein? [Tutorial Link]

Or maybe a combination of the two, with the outer stuchlein decorated?

An Exorcism in Elizabethan London | History Today

An Exorcism in Elizabethan London | History Today

Twa Corbies, recorded by Cannach

Twa Corbies (or Two Ravens) is a traditional Scottish/English folk song. It was first collected and published in 1611 by Thomas Ravenscroft (tell me that isn’t just fun, name-wise), in his collection Melismata. It is recorded as Child Ballad #26.

International Music Source Library Project’s Entry (includes PDF sheet music): [Link]

There is a “happier” version of the song, but I like the cynical one better.


As I was walking a’ alane,
I heard twa corbies makin’ a mane.
The tane untae the tither did say,
Whaur sail we gang and dine the day, O.
Whaur sail we gang and dine the day?

It’s in ahint yon auld fail dyke
I wot there lies a new slain knight;
And naebody kens that he lies there
But his hawk and his hound, and his lady fair, O.
But his hawk and his hound, and his lady fair.

His hound is to the hunting gane
His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl hame,
His lady ta’en anither mate,
So we may mak’ our dinner swate, O.
So we may mak’ our dinner swate.

Ye’ll sit on his white hause-bane,
And I’ll pike oot his bonny blue e’en
Wi’ ae lock o’ his gowden hair
We’ll theek oor nest when it grows bare, O.

We’ll theek oor nest when it grows bare.
There’s mony a ane for him maks mane
But nane sail ken whaur he is gane
O’er his white banes when they are bare
The wind sail blaw for evermair, O.
The wind sail blaw for evermair.

Happy October!

Late period illuminated family trees.

So what do we consider late period? The latest I could find was late 16th century, but the majority was 14-15th.

For search terms (in the image description field of your favorite manuscript database, try “genealogy.” That seems to pull up the most results.

Here are some highlights:

King’s 395, ff. 32v-33: Genealogy of the kings of England
c. 1511, with additions before 1553



Lansdowne 204, f. 196: Royal genealogy
c. 1440-1450



Harley 7353: Genealogy of Edward IV
1460-c. 1470


Harley 7026, f. 4 – Genealogy of the Holland family
between c.1400-c.1410


Harley 838, f. 12v-13 and 38
2nd half of the 15th century




Harley 318, f. 6r: Genealogy of the Kings of England
3rd quarter of the 15th century, after 1445 and before 1461

The Bodleian has a lot of great stuff too, which you can find here: [Link] The earliest looks like it is from the end of the 13th century.

Highlights from the Bodleian:

MS. Bodl. Rolls 5, view 36: Genealogy of the Kings of England to Richard III. Chronicle of the Percy Family to 1485.
c. 1485
[Link] – hopefully this will work. Linking to specific items in the Bodleian is always… interesting.
There are a lot of pages from this one. Totally cool.



MS. Ashmole 845, f. 074r. Genealogy of the Kings of England, from Edward I to Henry VIII.
16th century



MS. e Mus. 42, fol. 031v-032r: Genealogy. Edward I to Edward IV
c. 1467-1469