Sadd & Nerve Cloth?

Making, Pictures, Queries, Resources

Moderator: Moderators

Tom H
Posts: 148
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 2:16 pm
Location: Cheshire

Sadd & Nerve Cloth?

Postby Tom H » Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:37 am

I'm interested in reconstructing a livery coat for a Chester Wait, (civic musician), and, although I can base the shape on examples illustrated elsewhere, the colour is more of a problem.

There are various records of payment for cloth for the waits coats, but only one describes the cloth itself and is vague about the colour.

City Treasurer account rolls for 1588-89 mention this, "Item to mr ffletcher draper the xjth december for xviij yeardes of sadd nerve collored broade Cloath att vijs iiijd the yeard Viz for three of the eldest waytte men x yeardes for iij gownes iij yerdes for towe Coate Clothes for towe of the Yonger Wayttmen"

Elizabeth Baldwin in her excellent book "Paying the Piper" suggests sadd is a dark colour and nerve is striped or banded. The questions still occur to me though, what dark colour and what is meant by striped.

My feeling is that the dark colour would be blue to match with the city colours, but this may not necessarily be the case.

If nerve means striped or banded, then is this a different colour woven in, such as red and blue, or is it just a striped effect created in the weave of the cloth?

Any suggestions or ideas would be very gratefully received!

Tom H
Posts: 148
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 2:16 pm
Location: Cheshire

Re: Sadd & Nerve Cloth?

Postby Tom H » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:19 pm

Still looking for any clues on this one....

I've found a bit more out. It would seem that the nerve part does not mean striped/banded as I've seen suggested but rather "new" as in neuve/neuf. I've recently found a couple of references detailing the permitted cloth colours in England in 1552 according to a ruling of Edward VI. One of these is called "sad new colour". But no more details as to what this particular colour could be.

Any ideas anyone?

Master Jarvis
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 4:08 pm

Re: Sadd & Nerve Cloth?

Postby Master Jarvis » Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:02 pm

Just a quick thought, as I have little knowledge upon the subject of costume, but could 'sadd' be a reference to 'said' cloth- ie that which has already been mentioned.

E.G. We pay Ted the tailor (however much) for to make twelve tunics of finest cloth.
We also pay Fred the Draper (however much) to supply said new cloth.
I have absolutely no supporting evidence, but thought that even a rubbish idea is better than none at all.

Sorry if my lack of knowledge was completely unhelpful.
Master Jarvis.

I'm not wierd, it's you!

User avatar
Post Centurion
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:31 pm
Location: under a pile of cables in a server room

Re: Sadd & Nerve Cloth?

Postby Merlon. » Wed Nov 04, 2009 8:06 am

The OED give a definition of "sad" as regards to cloth as follows:-
b. Esp. of clothing or fabric: of such a shade; dark-coloured; sombre. Now rare (arch. and poet. in later use).

?1504 S. HAWES Example of Vertu sig. cc.iiiv, We had ben but a lytell whyle there But that we sawe a lady clere Ryght well appareled in sad gere.
1560 T. BECON Catech. VI, in Wks. I. 536 If they be olde women and maryed: not lyght apparell, but sad raiment pleaseth a godly husband.
1590 SPENSER Faerie Queene I. xii. 5 Arayd in antique robes downe to the grownd, And sad habiliments.

One of the definitions of "nerve" in the OED is:-
1. trans. Sc. To ornament with threads or narrow bands of some material. Obs. rare.

1532 in J. B. Paul Accts. Treasurer Scotl. (1905) VI. 24 For foure elnis blak taffateis to nerve and geit them [sc. hose]. ?1553 (c1501) G. DOUGLAS Palice of Honour (London) 547 in Shorter Poems (1967) 40 Mony entrappit stede with sylkis sere. Mony pattrell neruyt with gold I tald.

So its bands of cloth, ribbons or tapes added to the garment, not strips in the cloth

Tom H
Posts: 148
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 2:16 pm
Location: Cheshire

Re: Sadd & Nerve Cloth?

Postby Tom H » Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:27 am

Thanks Master Jarvis and Merlon

Master Jarvis: You're quite right to suggest checking meanings of words, especially when only different by one letter, but in this instance I am sure it is the word sad rather than said. But thanks anyway, as I already had re-visited the meaning of the word nerve.

Merlon: thanks for the details about the definition of nerve, meaning strips added to the cloth. This may make sense in this context as the Chester Waits were civic officials and entertainers of a sort and embellished coats would make some sense. That said I am still unsure whether the description in the original document "sadd nerve collored" means nerve - strips added - or the elusive "sad new colour" listed as one of the official colours permitted in England in 1552. Still considering this, and indeed what exact colour this "sadd" colour was. It must have been sombre as your quotes and others suggest, I'm also reminded of the 17th century ballad, "In Sad and Ashy Weeds".

Thanks again.

Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:45 pm
Location: Yorkshire

Re: Sadd & Nerve Cloth?

Postby seamsmistress » Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:44 am

you need to have a chat with Mulberry dyer on this one. Debbie is something of an expert in the field. My understanding of 'sadd coloured' is a dull coloured cloth using [in all probabilty] hedgerow dyes, so think earthy colours & you'd be about right. As to nerve - have never come across that word in a textile description before, so I really can't help. I can't see that it's an applied stripe though, as the reference seems to point to a 'whole woven' piece of cloth. Also, applied decoration in bands for this date tends to be described as 'guarded' in period references. To me, the text suggests that nerve is a colour - am meeting some highly knowledgeable tudor types at the weekend, I'll try & remember to ask one of them.

User avatar
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2923
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:46 pm
Location: Gyppeswyk, Suffolk

Re: Sadd & Nerve Cloth?

Postby gregory23b » Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:22 pm

"using [in all probabilty] hedgerow dyes,"

The Pastons bought sad coloured cloth from London, why the logic to hedgerow dyestuffs assuming you mean cheaper and duller colours? But bear in mind that black is a sad colour as is grey.

middle english dictionary

Isabela on G23b "...somehow more approachable in real life"

"I know my place." Alice the Huswyf

User avatar
Post Centurion
Posts: 522
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 8:56 pm
Location: Leeds

Re: Sadd & Nerve Cloth?

Postby Neibelungen » Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:53 pm

I was under the impression 'sad' colours were those using an iron mordant, while the tin or alum based ones gave 'bright' colours. ie a brown or an orange final colour.

Military Metalwork
Accoutrements, Regalia, Headdres & Metalwork


Re: Sadd & Nerve Cloth?

Postby skuldelev » Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:15 am

My understanding is that Sad is something of a descriptive, i.e., dull, rather than a specific colour.

Return to “Costumes”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests