Leather shoe/boot from Sample 11

Pointy toed shoes, similar to the poulaines found at Prescot Street during the evaluation in 2006, and the scraps found in sample 11 from the excavation in 2008, started to disappear from contemporary fashion around the 1470’s and 1480’s. The really pointy poulaines from the 2006 evaluation were eventually dated to the late 13th century to early 14th century – almost a hundred years before the conventional end of the Medieval period.

Contemporary illustrations suggest that the pointy toed shoe was replaced by shoes with wide, round, or square shaped toes during the late 15th century – which must have been far more comfortable and practical for everyday wear. However, different styles may have been worn at the same time, and it is difficult to give a definate date to the fine example we have from sample 11, although a similar shoe was found from a 16th century context at Gun and Shot Wharf in Southwark in 1988 and dated, by association with ceramic finds, to c.1480 – c. 1550AD.


Close up of leather offcuts from Sample 11

This may suggest that the pointy-toed shoes found in the early post-Medieval pit that produced the finds Steve recovered from sample 11 were probably deposited some time after they were had last been worn. So it look as if these shoes could be very, very late medieval – or very, very early post medieval. But we won’t really know until they have been examined by a leather specialist. They have been sent off to the Museum of London for analysis today, so, for anyone interested in pointy shoes, Medieval footwear or what did Anne Boleyn really wear under her voluminous skirts, watch this space…