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Senior Member
posted 02-21-2001 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for deborahknowles   Click Here to Email deborahknowles     Edit/Delete Message
For my latest novel, please could someone tell me what the average height of an adult male was in the 1300s? (A nobleman.)
Also, where can one obtain medieval costume in the UK?


Philip Davis
posted 02-21-2001 02:37 PM           Edit/Delete Message
There tends to be much nonsense talked about "people being shorter in the olden days" and this general comes from a misunderstanding of what an average is. (particularly a confusion between mean and norm). A more helpful way of understanding height might be to consider the number of people actually getting to their full potential height. For most western men this full potential height is probably slightly over 185cm (6 foot). However, disease and malnutrition will affect people achieving their maximum height. Since both disease and malnutrition were more common place in the medieval period there were less people who achieved the full potential height. As both disease and malnutrition affect the rich less than the poor your nobleman is more likely to have been a six footer than his peasant contempories. There were still enough six footers amoung the peasantry to fill the ranks of the english long bow men, who need to be about six foot to manage the long bow.

There are many medieval costume makers in the UK. Some just do theatrical costumes (ie using modern materials and techiques to produce medieval looking clothes) and a few do genuine medieval clothing. Post a request for information in the soc.history.medieval newsgroup (Your browsers help file should tell you how to do this) where I know that some UK medievalist used to hang out.

And the astronomyours beheldyne the constellacions of hys bryth by thare castle, and foundyn that he sholde bene wyse and curteyse, good of consaill
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