What have we here, hempen hampen? St. Martin has cut the feather cloak of the swanwife into an ale-conner’s breeches. Tell her to buy me a cambric shirt and tie a knot in the handkerchief. We will stitch together green gowns and drowned men’s jerseys, wooden shoes and iron crowns. It doesn’t take a cloak of invisibility to spot the invention of the traditional kilt. In the language of fans, widow’s weeds form a hat-trick with bridal veils and christening gowns. It would be best to turn your coats, for the mantle of Elijah has fallen on the shirt of Nessus. Is that a pantomime dame or is it just a boy in a dress to confuse the fairies? Do not dress up as a stag, for that is devilish; red riding hoods and vampires’ cloaks were all the rage when this old hat was new. Armed with the Virgin’s girdle, Janet’s tied her kirtle green and is not afraid of doing penance in a shift. The glove is up! or was it thrown down by a champion in spiked armour? Throwing his cap into the ring and her bonnet over the windmill, the outlandish knight pulls off a silken gown. It fits, Sire, it fits!
So don’t get your knickers in a twist, put on seven-league boots and come to this two-day conference on Costume in Legend and Tradition, to be held on Saturday 31st August and Sunday 1st September 2019 as the fourteenth Legendary Weekend of the Folklore Society, at Blackburn Museum, Lancashire BB1 7AJ. If you’re into masquerades, rings of power, glass slippers or ghosts in sheets, we’d like to hear from you. Anyone can contribute – folklorists, designers, costume historians and brave little tailors. Presentations, which should be 20 minutes long, can take the form of talks, performances, or film presentations. The conference fee is £25 for speakers, £50 for others attending
Jeremy Harte, Folklore Society