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  • Sarah Hodges (bef.1819 - d.)
    1861 Census Ledbury, Herefordshire Sarah Hodges daur unmarried 43 Gloveress, bornLedbury, Herefordshire Residence : Ledbury, Herefordshire, England - 1851 Updated from MyHeritage Famil...
  • Sir John Barnard, MP, Lord Mayor of London (c.1685 - 1764)
    Family and Education b. c.1685, 1st s. of John Barnard, citizen (glover) and merchant of London, of George Lane, St. Botolph’s by Sarah, da. of Robert Payne of Play Hatch, Sonning, Berks. educ. Wands...
  • John Shakespeare (1537 - 1601)
    Shakespeare, William (DNB00) - Wikisource, the free online library ) Feb 23, 2011 - The great mediæval guild of St. Anne at Knowle, whose members included the leading inhabitants of Warwickshire, was j...

Gloves were born of necessity and were originally crude mittens fashioned from animal skins by prehistoric cave dwellers. Nevertheless, they still kept hands warm in cold climates and were essential protection when working with potentially harmful primitive tools or when hunting animals with uninviting claws and teeth.

In 1922, a British explorer named Howard Carter discovered the oldest known pair of gloves, beautifully preserved, in the tomb of the Egyptian King, Tutankhamun. They were made of linen and date from circa 1350 BCE.

The ancient Greeks and Romans used a form of glove for fighting contests called caestus. It is believed boxing gloves and the sport itself originated here.

The Greeks wound and tied long strips of leather around the fighter's hands and knuckles for protection. A variety called sphairai were fitted with cutting blades. The Romans didn't hold back and added various iron plates, spikes and studs to the makeshift gloves.

By the Middle Ages, thousands of artisan glovers operated in Europe. Affluent men would wear ornamented gloves as a symbol of position in society and in the 9th century, women began wearing gloves too.

In the 12th and 13th centuries, Italy, France and Spain were the main competitors in the glove industry, and in the 14th century glover's guilds began to form.

France saw their first guild formed in 1342, and in 1349 The Worshipful Company of Glovers of London formed in England by "glove makers in London who wished to protect the high standards of their craft". Their first decree was that gloves must not be sold by candlelight, as "folk could not tell whether they were of good or bad leather or lawfully or falsely made".

By the 16th century glove fashion had become elaborate and opulent among the higher ranks of society. Queen Elizabeth I of England, for example, would wear richly embroidered and bejewelled gloves, which she would repeatedly put on, and take off again to draw attention to them.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries it was essential for the upper classes to wear gloves for all formal occasions. The Dictionary of Etiquette that was published in 1904 states that:

"Gloves should be worn by a lady when walking or driving, at tea dances, balls, dinner parties, the opera or theatre. Men should wear gloves in the street or at a ball, when paying a call, driving, riding and in church."

By the 1970s this addition to our outfits, once considered a manifestation of elegance, was relegated to use only on nippy days and formal occasions.

Worshipful Company of Glovers

The Worshipful Company of Glovers is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. Glovers were originally classified as Cordwainers, but eventually separated to form their own organization in 1349. They received a Royal Charter of incorporation in 1639.

The Company ranks sixty-second in the order of precedence of Livery Companies. The Company's motto is True Hearts and Warm Hands.