Renaissance Faire Costumes – Were There Any Women Pirates in Renaissance England?
By Philip Wynne
You bet! They were most definitely in the minority but they were never the less there and very able. So don’t worry about sacrificing your well established credibility among your fellow renaissance faire friends when you buy a really cool and very authentic pirate costume…one you wanted bad, you wanted real bad! Rest assured you are in the right when you carry your own cutlass!
More later about who you can base you character on but first let’s get to that killer outfit designed with the essentials. Did I mention that this is also a costume that is not only renaissance faire appropriate but will wear well at that Halloween party where we adults get to dress up or down, your call.
The chemise, the foundation for ALL renaissance era clothing or costumes is important. The fortunate thing about a pirates costume is that if they were a pirate and were caught they typically were executed. So flaunting the statuary laws by dressing above their station and risking a fine was not a major concern, know what I mean? All chemise styles, fabrics and colors, except purple of course are appropriate for your new festival garb. Stick to the full length version even though you are running with the guys.
If you are going to base your costume on the pirate why not be the captain? Do you want to be climbing the rigging or swabbing the decks? Didn’t think so! You will however need to be armed. A loose fitting chemise and equally loose over dress can hide many weapons.
Thigh high boots, maybe for that Halloween party but not at the local renaissance faire. It would not be quite authentic and would most definitely be uncomfortable walking around in them at the fair all day. You will want them to be black leather and calf high. They will not be as fitted as most women wear today but loose and roll down a little at the top.
Lady Mary Killigrew
She was a daughter of a pirate and married to a pirate from Suffolk England. Her husband was appointed by Queen Elizabeth I to the rank of Vice-Admiral and was charged with suppressing piracy. When the good captain Sir Killigrew went to sea the Lady Mary “commandeered” her castle staff and went to sea herself. Her luck finally ran out in 1570 when she captured a German merchant carrying freight and sailed it to Ireland to see what she could get for her pirates work.
One problem the owner of the vessel she pirated was a friend of Queen Elizabeth, this is not a good thing. There are multiple versions of what took place next but the outcome was that she quit the pirating business…and took up fencing stolen goods! What a gal!
Want to learn more about the Renaissance Faire and the appropriate costumes to wear? Stop by my Renaissance Faire Costumes blog [http://www.renaissancefairecostumes.org] and learn more about the clothes of the Nobles, Peasants and Court of Renaissance Europe. Lady Mary was a pirate but lets not forget she was also a Noble Lady so she may have also worn a beautiful Avon Jupon gown [http://www.renaissancefairecostumes.org] of velvet with a satin chemise. One costume is never enough!