This red colour comes from madder (Rubia tinctorum) root. Madder is one of the most ancient dyes and was used by the early Egyptians, and the Greek and Romans. In Medieval times madder root was traded in markets all over Europe – especially in France and England. In York up to now exist part of city known as a „Madder Market”.
Red colour from madder was loved by Vikings. Among them red clothes were wear even by kings, and often given as a precious gift. In the tenth century poem, Hrafnsmál, there is mention about the red cloaks of the court poets as a symbol of the king's favour.
However madder reached height of its fame much after Middle Ages, when was used to produce colour known as a „Turkey Red”, used on the famous red coats of British Soldiers.