This important and extensive collection of medieval and early modern shoes come from the collections of the Grosvenor Collection in Chester, dating from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries. They were found in the city ditch and so have been discoloured by the mud. With drying out and preservation they are also smaller than they were in the past! Some pieces are pre-cut soles with ready made holes for stitching, others are more complete, like the child’s shoe. There are a number of different shoe styles reflecting changes in fashion and taste across the Middle Ages and into the early Modern period. If you look closely at these shoes you can see how they still show signs of their past owners, especially in the almost complete adult shoe. Can you see where someone’s toes have stretched the leather? Can you see the stitch holes where the shoe was made, repaired and recycled? These shoes allow us to think about the movements made by people in the past, whether that was in the home, across the city or further afield.
c.Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries
In Chester city ditch