Everyday life

The Bayeux Tapestry sheds light on everyday life in the 11th Century.

 

The Bayeux Tapestry reveals details of men's private life in the 11th Century. The English and the Normans were dressed in the same way. They wore knee-length tunics with a belt around their waist. Underneath, they probably wore breeches (type of underpants), hidden under the hose, which covered the legs and were fastened to the breeches. The aristocrats stand out from the common people with their cloaks, either short or long, depending on the circumstances, and fastened with a brooch. The English are represented with moustaches and long hair while the Continentals have short hair and clean-shaven faces.

The lower frieze in scene 10 shows several scene of agricultural activity : ploughing with an ass-drawn plough, sowing, harrowing with a draught horse wearing a horse collar and bird hunting with a sling.

 

 

In scene 36, many artisans are depicted engaged in the construction of ships : lumberjacks using their axes and carpenters using doloires and other tools.

 

 

The preparation of a meal is depicted just before the scene of the Battle of Hastings : bread is being made, soup is being cooked and chickens are being roasted on a spit. The chickens are distributed to soldiers, who eat on their shields. Odo and the leaders are having their meal around a table in the shape of a horseshoe.

 

 

Pierre Bouet and François Neveux
International experts on the Bayeux tapestry

 

Further reading:

The Bayeux Tapestry by Pierre Bouet and François Neveux
Hardback due out in October 2013, éditions Ouest France