Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Question from TudorRose - Henry VIII's shoes

Has anyone heard of the shoe that was invented by a local villiger for king Henry viii?
Theese are the broad toed silk shoes that you see him wearing in his portraits.

4 comments:

PhD Historian said...

Can you tell us where you first read this story?

My first impression, without knowing much about the history of footwear, is that it is another of those fanciful stories created by novelists.

Henry's square-toed footwear was certainly distinctive, but it is seen in numerous portraits from the period and earlier. I know the pointed toe, especially the over-long floppy pointed toe, was medieval Italian and French in origin. I have the feeling that the square toe was Dutch and German in origin.

TudorRose said...

I first read this story at School. In the school library I picked up a book on mary queen of scots it was from the focus on history range.Published by Longman.
The Name of The shoes That were invented and made for The king were called reddershacks.
I'm thinking they were named after the maker.I think they were a german invention also.
The villiger wrote told or wrote to the king telling him of his new invention,the king being pleased with what he saw asked the villiger what they could be used for and in his reply he said the shoes could be used for running,jumping leaping,swimming and a game of dartis.(Darts)
Funny as it sounds I couldn't imagine swimming in them could you. They would be soaked.
I couldn't have thought the king did or would of done this either. I don't think the king swam.He mostly would have used them to walk about outside and to stroll around the his palace and castle grounds in. Comfterble for wearing though I'd say.

Foose said...

Here ya go! A letter allegedly written to Henry by a Scottish priest in 1543:

"Moreover, wherfor they call us in Scotland Reddshankes, and in your Graces dominion of England, roghe footide Scottis, Pleas it your Majestie to understande, that we of all people can tollerat, suffir, and away best with colde, for boithe somer and wyntir, (excepte whene the froest is most vehemonte), goynge alwaies bair leggide and bair footide, our delite and pleasure is not onely in huntynge of redd deir, wolfes, foxes, and graies, whereof we abounde, and have greate plentie, but also in rynninge, leapinge, swymmynge, shootynge, and thrawinge of dartis: therfor, in so moche as we use and delite so to go alwaies, the tendir delicatt gentillmen of Scotland call us Redshankes.

"And agayne in wynter, whene the froest is mooste vehement (as I have saide) which we can not suffir bair footide, so weill as snow, whiche can never hurt us whene it cummes to our girdills, we go a huntynge, and after that we have slayne redd deir, we flaye of the skyne, bey and bey, and settinge of our bair foote on the insyde thereof, for neide of cunnyge shoemakers, by your Graces pardon, we play the sutters; compasinge and measuringe so moche thereof, as shall retche up to our ancklers pryckynge the uppir part thereof also with holis, that the water may repass when it entres, and stretchide up with a stronge thwange of the same, meitand above our saide ancklers, so, and pleas your noble Grace, we make our shoois..."

I found it on a Website:

http://www.tartansauthority.com/Web/Site/Highland
_Dress/Reddshankes.asp

It doesn't say whether Henry actually adopted the look, though. 1543 is late for him to be still interested in sportswear, although he was apparently a shoe-hound and had lots of different pairs. But none when he died! Maria Hayward suggests he just stopped wearing shoes and depended on his chair to be carried around.

TudorRose said...

The correct word for the shoes is Reddshankes which means red legs or red bare legs.The shoes were invented by the scots.
There is no picture of theese to see what they looked like.