Girdle books were small portable books worn by monks, clergymen and nobles between the 13th and 16th centuries. It consisted of a book whose leather binding continued loose below the cover of the book in a long tapered tail with a large knot at the end which could be tucked into ones “girdle” or belt.
It served both the utilitarian function of enabling hands-free carrying and protecting valuable books from theft and the elements. It also made a visible statement of social position wealth and learning (or at least literacy).
Girdle Books evolved during the 14th and 15th century eventually becoming more decorative in nature, as jewel encrusted presentation books, and fell out of favour late in the 16th century.
There are only 26 medieval girdle books still in existence.
- 1 Hard Cover A6 notebook
- 1 piece soft leather approximately 40cm x 60cm
- 1 metre 4mm leather cord
- 1 piece soft leather approximately 30cm x 3cm
I used a pattern that I found on a website that is sadly no longer available
The folded edges were pieced with a craft knife prior to lacing with the leather cord, with the ends being simply finished by knotting.
The addition of a middle strap to keep the book closed was effected by cutting a slit in the inside back cover, inserting the strap and attached by sewing.
Lady Ydeneya’s girdle book
This item was entered in the Arobryn A & S competition, at Pencampwr 2008 an received a score of 28/50