Fulford battlefied under threat

July 2015 dig

The Fulford Tapestry

Monks habit

Summary of published report

Visiting the site



Images of flood on the day of the battle

12 panoramas of the battle site

YouTube videos

The Fulford Tapestry

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Finding Fulford cover

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How to make the habit

I have had a number of enquiries about the habit's construction so I contribute this rather poor sketch to give some idea of how it was put together. The aim was to minimise cutting and waste as both of these would have guided the original design. after making 4 belt loop, not a scrap of the material was wasted and by unpicking the stitching, the cloth could be reshaped/ recycled for another monk.

I used a material called 'boiled wool' which looks rough but was very comfortable and stood up to the harsh conditions of wet and cold extremely well. This was already dyed brown and might darken it some more next year when I have another crop of woad.


  • The arms take a lot of material but worked very well and looked right.
  • Cut the triangles that will form the side gussets (essential if you are to stride out) then pin the sleeves and trim the material at the other end to make it square. (not quite as shown in the sketch below. )


  • After sewing the front and the top of the habit, the two sleeves are stitched along the bottom seam. All this is done with the cloth reversed (inside out).
  • With the help of a friend, mark the place for the sleeves and the gussets (but they were dead central for me so you could just snip away).
  • Attach the sleeves and the gussets and invert the whole garment so the seams are all concealed. Note that the gussets as cut, are asymmetrical and I put the right-angled edge at the front on both sides.
  • To shape it around the shoulders, three small tucks were made around the back. Then a bigger triangular fold was made  which had its apex where the sleeve joined and ended by the neck. This gave a triple layer of material at the shoulder. This fold/tuck continued to the hood but was not stitched beyond the collar.
  • Finally, a small tuck was taken around the inside of the hood which sealed the various shaping-folds at the back and shoulder and acted a bit like a collar. This made sure that the shoulders stayed in position, the body fabric did not 'tug' on the hood and made a good weather-seal keeping the rain and wind out.

I added a piece of tablet weaving round the hood and put some belt loops around the waist plus I hemmed the fringes. The whole thing was given a hot wash (no detergent) then treated with  'polarproof' from NikWax to prevent the wool adsorbing water (replacing the lanolin). Subsequent washes have been in hot water using soap, not detergent.

It sounds a bit smug to say that it worked perfectly and I wouldn't change a thing. It was comfortable. The shoulders stayed in position even when carrying my uncomfortable backpack. The copious cloth for the hood could be folded in a variety of ways to deflect the wind, act as the first line of defence against the rain, make snug pillow/nightcap at night and the folds that followed the construction of the habit made it very easy to give the hood its 'monkish' shape.

The belt meant it could be hitched up for striding out or keeping the hem clear of the vegetation. The sleeves could be folded back and I did consider incorporating a means of tying them back but this did not prove necessary as the folds stayed in place so when it was warm I could have most of my arms exposed.

I hope this helps. The habit was designed for day and night wear so that the wearer would always be ready to rise and serve his god. I found it an extremely comfortable and practical garment which was simple to make.

Good luck!


Related sites Facebook  Twitter (@ helpsavefulford)        Visiting Fulford        Map York

There is a site devoted to saving the battlesite: The site has the story of the process that has allowed the site to be designated an access road to a Green Belt, floodplain housing estate.

And another website for the Fulford Tapestry that tells the story of the September 1066: This tells the story embroidered into the panels.

The author of the content is Chas Jones - fulfordthing@gmail.com  last updated June 2015

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