Costume and Textiles

The majority of the museum’s costume collection is representative of clothing worn by men, women and children over the past 200 years. However, some items date from much earlier than this, such as a sixteenth-century gauntlet believed to have been worn by Mary, Queen of Scots. The collection also includes military uniform and equipment.
The textiles collection ranges from bedspreads to tapestries, and from stumpwork to samplers. This collection includes a set of eight Aubusson tapestries and pieces of a Wernier tapestry dating from 1700.

Objects in our costume and textiles collection are on display in the Costume in Context, Town and Country and Furniture galleries.

Here are digital copies of the gallery text labels:

Many more objects are kept in storage and can be viewed by appointment.

Other Contacts:

The Arts Society, Saffron Walden

Bishop’s Stortford Decorative & Fine Arts Society

Gauntlet (SAFWM : 70524)

Embroidered leather glove, reportedly belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots. She is said to have given it to Marmaduke Dayrell, a member of her household, on the morning of her execution in 1587. (Current location: Costume in Context gallery)

Coat (SAFWM : 1913.97)

Corporal’s greatcoat, part of the 17th Essex Rifle Volunteers’ uniform, made in the 1860s. (Current location: Costume in Context gallery)

Shoes (SAFWM : 1887.82)

Women’s yellow brocade shoe, dating from between 1720 and 1740. (Current location: storage)

Mittens (SAFWM : 1839.354.3)

Infant’s mittens made from Flemish bobbin lace, believed to have belonged to King Charles II. (Current location: storage)

Uniform (SAFWM : 1983.418.22)

Uniform of W. Wybrew, Station Master at Audley End railway station in the 1930s. (Current location: Town and Country gallery)

Bonnet (SAFWM : 1962.89)

Day bonnet, dating from the 1880s, in brown velvet. (Current location: storage)

Dress (SAFWM : 1966.20.8)

Yellow and cream striped silk gauze day dress, worn by Mary Midgeley in Saffron Walden in about 1870. (Current location: storage)

Corset (SAFWM : 1972.8)

Waspie corset, made in the late 1800s, with whale boning. (Current location: Costume in Context gallery)

Dress (SAFWM : 1970.4)

Child’s dress with matching cape, dating from the late 1800s. (Current location: storage)

Bonnet (SAFWM : 1977.219)

Quaker bonnet in brown silk with cream net, dating from the 1800s. (Current location: storage)

Fan (SAFWM : 1984.178)

Black painted silk fan, dating from the early 1900s. (Current location: storage)

Sampler (SAFWM : 70038)

Sampler, made by Ann Crussell in 1793. (Current location: storage)

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