Anatomy of a Brogue from Chancery Lane in Dublin.

This is the first in a series of posts which will feature the leather finds from Chancery lane in Dublin. The footwear came from the infill of a late medieval quarry which lay just south of Dublin Castle. The site was excavated by Claire Walsh and her team in late December 2002 in dreadful weather. Details of the excavation can be found in Medieval Dublin IX.

I compiled a full catalogue of the assemblage, which contained a total of 25 almost complete examples of Brogues and Shoes as well as numerous fragments of both.



The first two images show the upper and sole constructions of the brogue. The parts were stitched together using thong as opposed to thread and fragments can still be seen in situ. The uppers comprised a vamp, back part, heel-stiffener, two latchets and a lacing thong. The vamp has a short tongue which rises on the instep.

The sole in this case is made from two layers of leather, placed flesh side to flesh side and then stitched to the rand and the upper. The wide rand was placed between the upper and sole. The seat area of the inner-sole is missing. There is some wear damage to the outer face of the outer-sole but no impressions which would suggest a heel-lift was ever fitted. This possibly suggests an early sixteenth century date for the brogue. A section of rand approximately 20mm wide and 2mm thick is still fixed to the vamp. The rest of the vamp is delaminating and fragile.


The second main element of the upper consists of a one-piece back-part and heel-stiffener. The roughly square-shaped heel stiffener was stitched into the sole-seam and tunnel stitches were used to attach it to the back-part. A separate latchet was stitched to the top-edge on either quarter. A closed seam was used with grain/flesh stitches. The left side latchet is missing.


A fragment of the bifurcated lacing thong remains in situ on the right latchet and the grain/flesh stitch holes of the closed seam are visible.


The brogue was made for the left foot as can be seen above. The toe is oval and the waist narrows slightly. The remnants of the broad rand sit neatly against the medial side of the sole. The thinner inner sole, possibly of calfskin was stitched to the main sole.


The two soles fit tightly together. The edge/flesh stitches in the outer-sole are closely spaced. A single length of thong was used to assemble the sole to the upper using a serpentine stitch pattern.


Walsh, C. 2009. An early medieval roadway at Chancery Lane: from Duibhlinn to Ath Cliath? Medieval Dublin IX. Four Courts Press, Dublin.




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