The Reticulated Headdress - The Cross Tree C.1399 -1422
The Reticulated Headdress known as the "Cross Tree," "Gibbet,"
"Winged," or "Box" Headdress started life as
Crispinettes from the reign of Richard II.
The Cross Tree consisted of gold or silver cauls (nets), which projected
out more over the ears at the sides than the Crispinettes.
Above the cauls at right angles to the head are pieces of wire, which curve
upwards to carry a rectangular veil that hangs like a curtain.
Width was the dominant feature. Worn on top of this was a Coronet. This
style was very much in vogue during Henry IV’s reign and even elderly middle class
women wore this style along with a wimple at the throat. It was thought,
by some, to be "Ugly and Unbecoming."
A Holy Bishop tells us in writing of a
"gentlewoman who came to a feast having her head so strangely attired with
long wires and pins, that her headdress resembled a ‘Gibbet’.
She was consequently scorned by the whole company, who said she
carried 'Gallows upon her head.'" This Headdress can be seen on the
beautiful effigy of Princess Beatrice of Portugal, Countess of Arundel
in the Fitzalan Chapel, Arundel Castle.
Ladies of a lower rank used a circular roll of material, ornamented
with jewels and plaques of enamels, in place of the coronet and wore
this style without the wires. A beautiful effigy of Lady Shelton 1423
in Great Snoring Church, Norfolk shows this, as does the
effigy of Lady Katherine Greene at Lowick, Northamptonshire.
Sometime during the reign of Henry V the cauls extended upward into
vertical points. A circular veil was then draped over the points.
This style of headdress was known as the "Horned Headdress" or
"Snail Headdress" An effigy of Lady De Thorpe, Ashwelthorpe Church in
Norfolk can be seen wearing this style of Headdress.
This Headdress remained in use by upper and middle class women
throughout the reign of Henry V along with the
Heart Shaped Hennin. By the time
of Henry VI (1422), the "Cross Tree" Headdress was no longer seen at
Court, although the Heart Shaped Hennin
was still worn.
Cross Tree Headdress Reproduced with Kind Permission of
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