Despite the fact that this term may conjure images of underwear, it is used to describe instances where items of clothing have been deliberately hidden or buried in a building. The evidence for this practice dates back to the Middle Ages.
A late 19th/early 20th century hat found in Cupar, Fife with a single leather glove. The hat was found folded in half. It now belongs to the Karen Finch Reference Collection housed at the Textile Conservation Centre. CG2.a
Builders, owners or residents appear to have hidden clothing and other objects in the fabric of buildings, intentionally sealing the space afterwards. Garments have been discovered at a later time when changes are being made to a building. They have been found most commonly near entrance and exit points in buildings, for example windows or chimneys.
In some instances the hidden clothing has been found with other objects, concealed at the same or a later time, for example coins and documents.
Typically the garments that have been found are clothes that have been worn and used before they have been hidden.
The tradition of concealing clothes can be related to the practice of concealing other objects such as dried cats, witch bottles and charms in buildings. These types of object have been discovered hidden in similar places. The concealing of these items including garments can be related to folklore and superstitious traditions relating to the ritual protection of a household and its inhabitants.
Concealed garments are most often found with other objects in a cache.