On This Day: 28 November 1703

On this day in 1703, Thomas Bowrey paid Mrs Mary Rose for hats. Mrs Rose was described as a hatter, rather than a milliner. Milliners made and sold women’s hats and the term had been used since the 16th century. Hatters just made and sold hats – thus, presumably, both men’s and women’s

At this time, Bowrey was not indulging himself, the hats would be part of the cargo of the Rising Sun – one of the hundreds of ships damaged in the Great Storm two days earlier. The hats had been delivered over a month earlier and I find myself wondering how well they had been packed and whether they survived the storm.

The bill was for 60 cloth hats, 10 fine cloth hats and 10 beaver Carolinas. A beaver Carolina was the low-crowned, wide-brimmed hats women wore over their caps later in the 18th century. Perhaps, this early, the term was used for any hat made of beaver.

For me, the joy of the Bowrey papers is the great range of topics covered by them: hat making to shipbuilding; royalty to paupers; taking the waters at a spa to piracy and slavery. I am gradually building a detailed catalogue of the papers and other documents relating to Thomas Bowrey which should, when complete, make it easier for researchers to locate these gems.

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