The Normans in England:
1066 to 1485 CE
This diagram comes from a book about ‘The Normans’. Though it’s for kids, the consultants for the book included Professor of History, J.C. Holt, from the University of Reading. In this section it talks about Norman dress for the ladies. It explains about the ‘wimple’ – which, in my opinion, is basically hijab that would be worn as part of ‘being modest’.
Some might suggest that though it’s fine to sign-post how Norman ladies would wear such gear, the fact remains that they were a foreign (‘French’) influence on an Anglo-Saxon culture in Britain; this is the only reason why the Anglo-Saxons might be influenced by them. That is to say, the hijab-concept is not part of British heritage – since the British truly are more connected with Anglo-Saxon culture.
Fine. That’s actually a good point.
(PIC SOURCE: ‘The Normans’ by Patrick Rooke (1977), pg. 39.)
450 to 1066 CE
This is a book about ‘The MIddle Ages’ generally. but this section talks about Anglo-Saxon dress. It is actually for secondary level students. Anyway, I noticed the hijab again, worn by the Anglo-Saxon lady…
O.K. O.K. So, one may argue, that such outfits were truly only for the higher-rank females in such a society, and only they would wear such ‘modest-wear’ dresses. However, the poorer classes wouldn’t wear them. And so, we ought to look at what most people would wear and not what some, privileged people wore.
That’s actually a good point.
Oh. O.K. so… it looks like the lower rank women would dress modestly too. Quote: “it was usual for women to cover their heads.”
(PIC SOURCE: ‘The Middle Ages’ by R. J. Cootes (1972), pg. 31.)
Don’t be fooled when politicians/mainstream media/pressure groups and powers-that-be try to persuade you that the hijab is intrinsically anti-English (or indeed anti-European). If you’re 1) fair; 2) a rational, thinking person (not an emotional, irrational one); and 3) possess integrity – guess what? You ought not to put yourself as an obstacle for those choosing to want to wear hijab at the very least. Why? Wearing hijab has a greater right to be considered an organic and integral part of English culture than not – based on the fact that it was always here and for so long and for similar reasons!
Maintaining that it is a piece of outmoded fashion-statement is an ideological position based on belief (not facts or truth).
First, hijab is not an irreverently conceived fashion-statement because it is purely a modest-statement. Secondly, and this is the important bit: surely you can see that to claim something is truly English or British based on a heritage as old as the 1950s-1960s at the latest (after the so-called ‘sexual revolution’) or the 1920s at the earliest (when the Flappers flouted the people with their fashion-statements), when there existed an equally English heritage since the Saxons and Normans that ran on till, let’s say, the 1920s (at the earliest) or the 1950s (at the latest); the newer heritage is just less than a hundred years old; the older is just less than two thousand years old…
Whether you agree with the older, wiser, more mature heritage is irrelevant, especially when the newer one – like the sterotypical teen – is all the rage. The claim to the actual British Values is connected to the old, classical Virtues, one might say, which is not the one with all the material glitter but the one that is spiritually gold; not the one anorexic with apparent meaning, hanging off, barely on – but the one, solid, dignified, unflinchingly savvy with the full weight of a real heritage.
Important Follow-up post: See ‘English Girls Wearing Hijab 100 Years Ago‘.