Q&A: Women’s Experiences in Jamestown Colony
We are grateful to Rebecca Suerdieck, who portrays Marye Bucke, and Valarie Gray Holmes, who portrays Angela, for taking time to answer additional questions from students about their presentation. Answers by Rebecca Suerdieck are proceeded by RS. Responses by Valarie Gray Holmes are proceeded by VGH.
Q: Can you speak to the clothing at Jamestown?
RS: The English at Jamestown wore the Clothing that was appropriate for the job that they had. Most people were working class and their clothing would have been made of linen or wool. Those who could afford silk wore it, but this was worn by only the very wealthy people.
Q: What did men wear vs. what women wore?
RS: Everyone wore a shirt or shift made of linen. Women wore long skirts called petticoats and a fitted bodice and jacket. Men wore knee-length britches and long socks, along with vests (known as wescots) and jackets.
Q: For Valarie, are you wearing what Africans wore?
VGH: No this is what Angela may have worn when she was in Jamestown. It is not an outfit specifically only for Africans but women working.
Q: Why did they wear the clothes that they did?
RS: The English wore the fashions of the day. Clothing was for warmth and protection, as well as modesty.
Q: What kind of hat are you wearing (Rebecca and Valarie)?
RS: Marye Bucke is wearing a linen cap called a “Coif” (pronounced “kw-off”). This is made to cover the hair as a sign of modesty. The Blue Cap is a fashion cap known as a “Town Cap” or “Flat Cap.” These were popular in England from the 1580s – 1630s.
VGH: I have a headwrap on. It is along piece of cloth that is wrapped and tucked around my head.