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Chavles f{eiilkc« 


Cornell University 

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the Cornell University Library. 

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the United States on the use of the text. 

U800 .F43'™" ""'"""^ '^'^^ 
Anmour a weapons 


. 3 1924 030 737 005 

[Photograph by Hauser S- Menei. 
Armour of Philip II. Madrid. 
















Writers on Arms and Armour have approached the subject 
from many points of view, but, as all students know, their works 
are generally so large in size, or, what is more essential, in price, 
that for many who do not have access to large libraries it is 
impossible to learn much that is required. Then again, the papers 
of the Proceedings of the various Antiquarian and Archaeological 
Societies are in all cases very scattered and, in some cases, 
unattainable, owing to their being out of print. Many writers on 
the subject have confined themselves to documentary evidence, 
while others have only written about such examples as have been 
spared by time and rust. These latter, it may be noted, are, in 
almost all cases, such as the brasses and effigies in our churches, 
quite exceptional, representing as they do the defences and 
weapons of the richer classes. What the ordinary man wore, 
how he wore it, and how it was made are all questions worthy of 
attention. The works of our greatest romancers have so little 
regarded the development of armour, and even to-day such 
anachronisms are seen in pictures and books, that though many 
comfortable and picturesque notions may be disturbed by the 
actual truth, yet the actual truth will be found to be no less 
interesting than fiction. A handy work, not excessive in size 


or price, and giving really correct information, seems therefore 
to be needed and should be popular. Such a work is this which 
Mr. ffoulkes has undertaken, and if we recognize what an immense 
amount of information has to be condensed within the limits of 
a handbook, I think we shall fully appreciate his endeavours to 
give an appetite for larger feasts. 

Tower of London Armouries. 



Author's Note 9 

List of Authorities . . . . . lo 

Introduction .... . . . . ii 

The Age of Mail (1066-1277) ... .... 15 


The Transition Period (1277-1410) 30 


The Wearing of Armour and its Constructional Details . 47 

Plate Armour (1410-ABOUT 1600) 68 

Horse Armour 87 

The Decadence of Armour 92 

Weapons . . . 100 

INDEX ... .110 


At the request of many of those who attended my course of 
lectures, dehvered before the University of Oxford during the 
Lent Term, 1909, I have collected and illustrated some of the 
more important notes dealing with the Development of European 
Defensive Armour and Weapons. These pages are not a mere 
reprint of those lectures, nor do they aspire to the dignity of 
a History of Armour. They are simply intended as a handbook 
for use in studying history and a short guide to the somewhat 
intricate technicalities of the Craft of the Armourer. 

No work, even of the smallest dimensions, can be produced 
at the present day without laying its author under a deep sense 
of indebtedness to Baron de Cosson for his numerous notes on 
helms and helmets, and to Viscount Dillon for his minute and 
invaluable researches in every branch of this subject. To this 
must be added a personal indebtedness to the latter for much 
assistance, and for the use of many of the illustrations given in 
this work and also in my course of lectures. 

Oxford, 1909. 

The following works should be consulted by those who wish 
to study the subject of Armour and Weapons more minutely : — 

A Critical Inquiry into Ancient Armour, Sir Samuel Meyrick ; 
A Treatise on Ancient Armour, F. Grose ; Ancient Armour, 
J. Hewitt ; Arms and Armour, Lacombe (trans, by Boutell) ; 
Arms and Armour, Demmin (trans, by Black) ; Armour in England, 
Starkie Gardner ; Waffenkunde, Wendelin Boeheim ; Guida del 
Amatore di Armi Antiche, J. Gelli ; Dictionnaire du Mobilier 
Franfais (vols, ii and vi), VioUet-le-Duc ; Encyclopedia of Costume, 
Planche ; A Manual of Monumental Brasses, Haines ; Engraved 
Illustrations of Antient Armour, Meyrick and Skelton ; Monu- 
mental Effigies, Stothard ; The Art of War, C. W. C. Oman; 
Archaeologia, The Archaeological Journal, The Proceedings of the 
Society of Antiquaries; the Catalogues of the Armouries of Vienna, 
Madrid, Paris, Brussels, Turin, Dresden ; the Wallace Collection, 
London and Windsor Castle. 

The author is indebted to the publishers of Wendelin Boeheim's 
Waffenkunde for the use of the illustrations 33 and 35, and to 
Messrs. Parker, publishers of Haines's Monumental Brasses, for 
the figures on Plate III. 


As a subject for careful study and exhaustive investigation 
perhaps no detail of human existence can be examined with quite 
the same completeness as can the defensive armour and weapons 
of past ages. Most departments of Literature, Science, and Art 
are still living reahties ; each is still developing and is subject to 
evolution as occasion demands ; and for this reason our knowledge 
of these subjects cannot be final, and our researches can only be 
brought, so to speak, up to date. The Defensive Armour of 
Europe, however, has its definite limitations so surely set that 
we can surround our investigations with permanent boundaries, 
which, as far as human mind can judge, will never be enlarged. 
We can look at our subject as a whole and can see its whole length 
and breadth spread out before us. In other aspects of life we can 
only limit our studies from day to day as invention or discovery 
push farther their conquering march ; but, in dealing with the 
armour of our ancestors, we know that although we may still 
indulge in theories as to ancient forms and usages, we have very 
definitely before us in the primitive beginnings, the gradual 
development, the perfection, and the decadence or passing away, 
an absolutely unique progression and evolution which we can 
find in no other condition of life. 

The survival of the fittest held good of defensive armour until 
that very fitness was found to be a source rather of weakness 
than of strength, owing to changed conditions of warfare ; and 
then the mighty defences of steel, impervious to sword, lance, 
and arrow, passed away, to remain only as adjuncts of Parade and 
Pageant, or as examples in museums of a lost art in warfare and 
military history. As an aid to the study of History our interest 


in armour may be considered perhaps rather sentimental and 
romantic than practical or useful. But, if we consider the history 
of the Art of War, we shall find that our subject will materially 
assist us, when we remember that the growth of nations and their 
fortunes, at any rate till recent times, have depended to a large 
extent on the sword and the strength of the arm that wielded it. 

There is another aspect of historical study which is of some 
importance, especially to those who stand on the outskirts of 
the subject. This aspect one may call the ' realistic view '. The 
late Professors York Powell and J. R. Green both insisted on 
the importance of this side of the subject ; and we cannot but 
feel that to be able to visualize the characters of history and to 
endow them with personal attributes and personal equipment 
must give additional interest to the printed page and other docu- 
mentary evidences. When the study of defensive armour has 
been carefully followed we shall find that the Black Prince appears 
to us not merely as a name and a landmark on the long road of 
time ; we shall be able to picture him to ourselves as a living 
individual dressed in a distinctive fashion and limited in his 
actions, to some extent, by that very dress and equipment. The 
cut of a surcoat, the hilt of a sword, the lines of a breastplate, will 
tell us, with some degree of accuracy, when a man lived and to 
what nation he belonged ; and, at the same time, in the later 
years, we shall find that the suit of plate not only proclaims the 
individuality of the wearer, but also bears the signature and 
individuality of the maker ; a combination of interests which 
few works of handicraft can offer us. 

From the eleventh to the end of the fourteenth century we 
have but a few scattered examples of actual defensive armour and 
arms ; and the authenticity of many of these is open to doubt. 
The reason for this scarcity is twofold. Firstly, because the 
material, in spite of its strength, is liable to destruction by rust 
and corrosion, especially when the armour is of the interlinked 
chain type which exposes a maximum surface to the atmosphere. 
A second reason, of equal if not greater importance, is the fact 


that, owing to the expense of manufacture and material, the 
various portions of the knightly equipment were remade and 
altered to suit new fashions and requirements. Perhaps still 
another reason may be found in the carelessness and lack of 
antiquarian interest in our ancestors, who, as soon as a particular 
style had ceased to be in vogue, destroyed or sold as useless lumber 
objects which to-day would be of incalculable interest and value. 

For these reasons, therefore, we are dependent, for the earlier 
periods of our subject, upon those illuminated manuscripts and 
sculptured monuments which preserve examples of the accoutre- 
ments of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Of these, as far as 
rehabihty of date is concerned, the incised monumental brasses 
and sculptured effigies in our churches are the best guides, because 
they were produced shortly after the death of the persons they 
represent, and are therefore more likely to be correct in the details 
of dress and equipment ; and, in addition, they are often portraits 
of the deceased. 

Illuminated manuscripts present more difficulty. The minia- 
ture painter of the period was often fantastic in his ideas, and was 
certainly not an antiquary. Even the giants of the Renaissance, 
Raphael, Mantegna, Titian, and the rest, saw nothing incongruous 
in arming St. George in a suit of Milanese plate, or a Roman 
soldier of the first years of the Christian epoch in a fluted breast- 
plate of Nuremberg make. ReHgious and historical legends were 
in those days present and living realities and, to the unlearned, 
details of antiquarian interest would have been useless for instruc- 
tive purposes, whereas the garbing of mythical or historical 
characters in the dress of the period made their lives and actions 
seem a part of the everyday life of those who studied them. 

This being the case, we must use our judgement in researches 
among illustrated manuscripts, and must be prepared for ana- 
chronisms. For example, we find that in the illustrated Froissart 
in the British Museum, known as the ' Philip de Commines ' copy,^ 
the barrier or ' tilt ' which separated the knights when jousting 

1 Harl. MS. 4379, Brit. Mus. 


is represented in the Tournament of St. Inglevert. Now this 
tournament took place in the year 1389 ; but Monstrelet tells 
us ^ that the tilt was first used at Arras in 1429, that is, some 
forty years after. This illustrated edition of Froissart was pro- 
duced at the end of the fifteenth century, when the tilt was in 
common use ; so we must, in this and in other like cases, use the 
illustrations not as examples of the periods which they record, 
but as delineations of the manners, customs, and dress of the 
period at which they were produced. 

The different methods of arming were much the same all over 
Europe ; but in England fashions were adopted only after they 
had been in vogue for some years in France, Italy, and Germany. 
We may pride ourselves, however, on the fact that our ancestors 
were not so prone to exaggeration in style or to the over-ornate 
so-called decoration which was in such favour on the Continent 
during the latter part of the sixteenth and the first half of the 
seventeenth centuries. 

For a fuller study of this subject Sir Samuel Meyrick's great 
work on Ancient Armour is useful, if the student bears in mind 
that the author was but a pioneer, and that many of his statements 
have since been corrected in the light of recent investigations, 
and also that the Meyrick collection which he so frequently uses 
to illustrate his remarks is now dispersed through all the museums 
of Europe. Of all the authorities the most trustworthy and most 
minute and careful in both text and illustrations is Hewitt, whose 
three volumes on Ancient Armour have been the groundwork of 
all subsequent works in English. Some of the more recent writers 
are prone to use Hewitt's infinite care and research without acknow- 
ledging the fact ; but they have very seldom improved upon his 
methods or added to his investigations. For the later periods, 
which Hewitt has not covered so fully as he has the earlier portion 
of his subject, the Catalogues Raisonne's of the various museums 
of England and Europe will assist the student more than any 
history that could possibly be compiled. 

^ vi. 333, trans. Johnes, 1810. 


THE AGE OF MAIL (1066-1277) 

With the Norman Conquest we may be said, in England, to 
enter upon the iron period of defensive armour. The old, semi- 
barbaric methods were still in use, but were gradually superseded 
by the craft of the smith and the metal-worker. This use of iron 
for defensive purposes had been in vogue for some time on the 
Continent, for we find the Monk of St. Gall writing bitterly on the 
subject in his Life of Charlemagne. He says : ' Then could be 
seen the Iron Charles, helmed with an iron helm, his iron breast 
and his broad shoulders defended by an iron breastplate, an iron 
spear raised in his left hand, his right always rested on his uncon- 
quered iron falchion. The thighs, which with most men are 
uncovered that they may the more easily ride on horseback, were 
in his case clad with plates of iron : I need make no special 
mention of his greaves, for the greaves of all the army were of 
iron. His shield was of iron, his charger iron-coloured and iron- 
hearted. The fields and open places were filled with iron, a people 
stronger than iron paid universal homage to the strength of iron. 
The horror of the dungeon seemed less than the bright gleam 
of the iron. " Oh the iron, woe for the iron," was the cry of 
the citizens. The strong waUs shook at the sight of iron, the 
resolution of old and young fell before the iron.' 

The difficulty of obtaining and working metal, however, was such 
that it was only used by the wealthy, and that sparingly. The more 
common fashion of arming was a quilted fabric of either linen or 
cloth, a very serviceable protection, which was worn up to the end 
of the fifteenth century. Another favourite material for defensive 
purposes was leather. We read of the shield of Ajax being com- 
posed of seven tough ox-hides, and the word ' cuirass ' itself 

i6 THE AGE OF MAIL chap, i 

suggests a leather garment. Now, given either the leather or 
the quilted fabric, it is but natural, with the discovery and use 
of iron, that it should have been added in one form or another 
to reinforce the less rigid material. And it is this reinforcing 
by plates of metal, side by side with the use of the interlaced 
chain armour, which step by step brings us to the magnificent 
creations of the armourer's craft which distinguish the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries. 

Sir Samuel Meyrick ^ leads us into endless intricacies with his 
theories of the various kinds of defensive armour in use at the 
time of the Conquest ; but these theories must of necessity be 
based only upon personal opinion, and can in no way be borne 
out by concrete examples. If we take the pictured representations 
of armour as our guide we find certain arrangements of lines which 
lead us to suppose that they indicate some peculiar arrangement 
of metal upon a fabric. The first and oldest of these varieties is 
generally called ' Scale ' or Imbricate armour. We find this 
represented on the Trajan Column, to give only one of the many 
examples of its use in very early times. That it was a very pliant 
and serviceable defence we may judge from the fact that, with 
some alteration in its application, it formed the distinguishing 
feature of the Brigandine of the fifteenth century. The scales were 
sewn upon a leather or quilted garment, the upper row overlapping 
the lower in such a manner that the attachment is covered and 
protected from injury (Plate I, i). The scales were either formed 
with the lower edge rounded, like the scales of a fish, or were 
feather-shaped or square. 

Another method of reinforcing the leather defence has been 
named the ' Trellice ' coat. It is always difficult to discover 
exactly what the primitive draughtsman intended to represent 
in the way of fabrics, and it is quite open to question whether 
these diagonal lines may not merely suggest a quilting of linen or 
cloth. If it is intended to represent leather the trellice lines would 
probably be formed of thongs applied on to the groundwork with 

^ Archaeologia, xix. 128-30. 

Plate I 

I. /Aodel op Scale armour 2. From Bib. Nat. Pans MS 40b Mil th cent. 6. Hodel of trcl~ 
lice /+.From Qay&ux Tapestry S. Hodel op KinOed armour 6. From Harl. MS. Brib 

Mus. 605 Xlth cent. 7. Model of Mail 6. From Oie, Album op Wilars de Honecorb . 

XIII tfi. cent. 9. Model op- Banded Mail 10. Model of Banded Mail after Meyr^icK ^~^,-^ 

II. Model rf Banded Marl apter Wallen 12. Konnance of Alexander Bib. Nat Paris circ 
'"■'^ lo. Figure on buttress of 5. Mary's Church, Oxford. ' 





metal studs riveted in the intervening spaces (Plate I). This 
arrangement of lines is very common on the Bayeux Tapestry. 

Another variety to be found in early illuminated manuscripts 
goes by the name of ' Ringed ' armour. It is quite probable that 
the circular discs may have been solid, but on the other hand, 
from the practical point of view, a ring gives equal protection 
against a cutting blow, and is of course much lighter. The illustra- 
tion of this form of defensive armour is of rather earher date than 
that at which we commence our investigations, but it appears with 
some frequency in manuscripts of the twelfth century. Mr. J. G. 
Waller, in his article on the Hauberk of mail in Archaeologia, 
vol. lix, is of opinion that aU these arrangements of line represent 
interhnked chain armour. If this is the case chain-mail must 
have been much more common than we imagine. From the very 
nature of its construction and the labour expended on its intricate 
manufacture it would surely, at least in the earlier periods, have 
been only the defence of the wealthy, ^^'hen we examine the 
protective armour of primitive races we find quilted and studded 
garments used, even at the present day, so it seems far more 
probable that our illustrations represent some similar forms of 
defensive garments than that they are all incompetent renderings 
of the fabric of chain-mail only. 

That the making of chain-mail must have been laborious in 
the extreme we may judge from the fact that the wire which 
formed the links had to be hammered out from the solid bar or 
ingot. As far as can be gathered, the art of wire-drawing was not 
practised till the fourteenth century, at which time Rudolph of 
Nuremberg is credited with its discovery. The roughly-hammered 
strips were probably twisted spirally round an iron or wood core 
and then cut off into rings of equal size (Fig. i). The ends of the 
rings were flattened and pierced, and, when interlaced, the pierced 
ends were riveted together or sometimes, as is the case with 
Oriental mail, welded with heat. Links that are ' jumped ', that 
is with the ends of the ring merely butted together and not joined, 
generally show either that the mail is an imitation, or that it was 

B 2 

20 THE AGE OF MAIL chap, i 

used for some ceremonial purpose ; for this insecure method of 
fixing would be useless in the stress and strain of battle or active 
service. The most usual method of interlinking the rings is for 
each ring to join four others, as will be seen in the drawing on 
Plate I, No. 7. No. 8 on the same plate shows the mail as 
more generally depicted in illuminations. When we consider the 
inexperience of the scribes and illustrators of the Middle Ages we 
must admit that this representation of a very intricate fabric 
is not only very ingenious but follows quite the best modern 
impressionist doctrines. 

Portions of chain-mail survive in most armouries and museums, 
but their provenance is generally unknown, and 
much that is of Oriental origin is passed off as 
European. Chain-mail itself comes in the first 
instance from the East, but when it was intro- 
duced into Europe is difficult, if not impossible, 
to state. It is certainly represented as worn 
Fig. I. Probable by the Scythians and Parthians on the Trajan 
method of making Column, and is probably of greater antiquity still. 
From the beginning of the thirteenth century, 
for about sixty or seventy years, we find a curious arrangement 
of lines intended to represent a form of defensive armour, both 
in illuminated manuscripts and also on carved monuments 
(Plate I, 12, 13). 

Mr. Waller, in the article on the Hauberk referred to above, 
gives it as his opinion that this ' Banded Mail ', as it is called, was 
but a variety of the ordinary interlinked mail ; but if we examine 
the illuminations of the period we shall find that it is shown side 
by side with the representation of what all authorities admit to 
be chain-mail. No. 12 on Plate I shows the arm and leg defences 
to be formed of this banded mail, while the head is protected with 
the ordinary chain-mail. We have then to try and discover how 
these horizontal bands dividing each row of links in the mail can 
be shown in a practical form. Meyrick vaguely suggests a row 
of rings sewn edgeways on the body garment and threaded with 


a leather thong (Plate I, 10), with the under fabric caught up 
between the rows of rings and formed into a piping through 
which a cord was threaded. This theory has been quoted 
by VioUet-le-Duc in his DicUonnaire du Mobilier Franfais, by 
Dr. Wendelin Boeheim in his Waffenkunde, and by more recent 
writers ; but none of these authorities seems to have taken the 
trouble to test its practicability. The human body being rounded, 
the tendency of these edge-sewn rings would be to ' gape ' and 
thus give an opening for the weapon. In addition to this, the 
number of rings so used would make the weight of the defence, 
hanging as it did from the shoulders alone, almost insupportable. 
A third and perhaps the most conclusive of all the arguments against 
Meyrick's theory is that we frequently find the inside of a banded 
mail coif shown with the same markings as the outside, which 
aspect would be impossible if the rings were arranged as he suggests. 
From models specially made for this work we find that if leather 
was used at all it must be after the manner of No. 9 on Plate I. 
Here the rings are covered with the leather on both sides, so that 
there is no possibility of their gaping, and, in addition, the leather 
being pressed against the rings, on the outside by wear and usage 
and on the inside from the pressure of the body, would show ring- 
markings on front and back which might be represented in the 
manner shown in the illustration. The drawback to this theory 
is not only the weight of such a defence, but also the heat from 
lack of ventilation. By far the most practical theory put forward 
is that of Mr. Waller,^ who gives an illustration of a piece of Oriental 
mail with leather thongs threaded through each alternate row of 
rings. This gives a certain solidity to the net-like fabric and yet 
does not add appreciably to its weight. No. 11 on Plate I shows 
this arrangement drawn from a model, and when we compare it 
with the figures below, taking into consideration the difficulty 
of representing such a fabric, we are forced to admit that this last 
theory is the most practical. This is especially so in No. 12 ; for 
the mail covering for the head is probably made in one piece 

^ Archaeologia, lix. 

22 THE AGE OF MAIL chap, i 

with that of the arms and legs, but the leather thongs have been 
omitted on the head and hands to give greater ease of movement. 

Before leaving the subject of fabrics it may be well to warn 
those who consult Meyrick that this author is rather prone to 
enunciate theories of the different forms of mail which, like that 
of the banded mail, do not work well in practice. He mentions, 
among many other varieties, what he calls ' Mascled ' mail. He 
asserts that this was formed of lozenge-shaped plates cut out in 
the centre and applied to linen or leather. He says that it was 
so called from its likeness to the meshes of a net (Lat. macula). 
Now when we consider that the word ' mail ' itself comes to us 
from the Latin ' macula ', through the French ' maille ' and the 
ItaUan ' magUa ', we find that Meyrick' s ' Mascled mail ' is but 
a tautological expression which can best be applied to the net-like 
fabric of the interlinked chain defence, and so his ' Mascled mail ' 
would more correctly be styled a ' Mascled coat ', and this coat 
would probably be formed of the chain variety as resembling the 
meshes of a net more closely than any other fabric. 

Double mail is sometimes to be met with on carved monuments, 
and this would be constructed in the same manner as the single 
mail ; but two links would be used together in every case where 
one is used in the single mail. 

Having briefly described the varieties of fabric and material 
which were in use at the time of the Conquest for defensive armour, 
we may pass to the forms in which those materials were made up. 
The first garment put on by the man-at-arms was the Tunic, which 
was a short linen shirt reaching- usually to just above the knee ; 
it is often shown in miniatures of the period beneath the edge of 
the coat of mail. 

At one period the tunic appears to have been worn incon- 
veniently long, if we are to judge from the seals of Richard I, in 
which it is shown reaching to the feet. This long under-garment was 
quite given up by the beginning of the thirteenth century, and those 
representations of Joan of Arc which show a long under-tunic falling 
from beneath the breastplate are based upon no reliable authority. 


Next to the tunic was worn the Gambeson, called also the 
Wambais and Aketon, a quilted garment, either used as the sole 
defence by the foot-soldier, or, by the knight, worn under the 
hauberk to prevent the chain-mail from bruising the body 
under the impact of a blow. The gambeson is shown on Fig. g, 
appearing beneath the edge of the hauberk just above the 

The HaAibeijk,_a:hich was worn over the gambeson. w as the 
chief body defence. It is true that we read of a ' plastron de fer ', 
which seems to have been a solid metal plate worn over the breast 
and sometimes^ at the back ; but it was invariably put on either 
under the hauberk itself or over the hauberk, but always beneath the 
Jupon or surcoat, which at this period was the outermost garment 
worn. In either case it was not exposed to view, so it is impossible 
to tell with any degree of accuracy what was its shape or how it was 
fixed to the wearer. Hewitt ^ gives two illustrations of carved 
wooden figures in Bamberg Cathedral, which show a plastron de 
fer worn over the jupon, which seems to be studded with metal. 
The figures were executed about the year 1370. The form of the 
hauberk, as shown on the Bayeux Tapestry, was of the shirt order 
(Plate I, 4, 6). It was usually slit to the waist, front and back, 
for convenience on horseback, and the skirts reached to the knee, 
thus protecting the upper leg. It is perhaps needless to point out 
that the extreme weight of mail with its thick padded under- 
garment made the use of a horse a necessity, for the weight was 
all borne upon the shoulders, and was not, as is the case with 
suits of plate, distributed over the limbs and body of the wearer. 
The sleeves of the hauberk were sometimes short ; sometimes 
they were long and ended in fingerless mittens of mail. The three 
varieties of sleeve are shown on Plate I, while the mittens turned 
back to leave the hand bare appear on the Setvans brass (Plate 
HI, 2). 

Wace, the chronicler, seems to suggest different forms of defen- 
sive habiliments, for we find mention of a short form of the 

^ Ancient Armour, ii. 138. 

24 THE AGE OF MAIL chap, i 

hauberk, called the Haubergeon. In his Roman de Rou he writes 
of Duke William at the Battle of Senlac :— 

Sun boen haubert fist demander/ 

while of Bishop Odo he says : — 

Un haubergeon aveit vestu 
De sor une chemise blanche. 

The fact that he mentions the tunic (' chemise blanche ') seems to 
imply that it was seen beneath the hem of the haubergeon, which 
would not be the case with the long-skirted hauberk. Occasionally 
in illuminated manuscripts the hauberk is shown slit at the sides ; 
but for what purpose it is difficult to imagine, for it would impede 
the wearer when walking and would make riding an impossibility. 
The defences of the leg, made of mail like the hauberk, seem 
to have been used, at first, only by the nobles, if the Bayeux 
Tapestry is taken as a guide. The common soldiers wore linen or 
leather swathings, sometimes studded with metal, but in appear- 
ance closely resembling the modern puttee. The upper portion 
of the leg was protected at a later period with Chaussons, while the 
defences from knee to foot were called Chausses. Wace mentions 
' chances de fer ', but we must remember, as was noticed in the 
introduction, that Wace wrote some seventy years after the 
Conquest, and probably described the accoutrements worn at his 
own time. The Bayeux Tapestry is nearer the period, as far as we 
can date it with any correctness, but here we are hampered to 
some extent by the crude methods of the embroider ess. The 
chaussons are not often shown in illuminations, for the long- 
skirted hauberk covers the leg to the knee ; but the chausses 
appear in all pictorial and sculptured records of the period, made 
either of mail or of pourpointerie, that is fabric studded with metal. 
Towards the end of the thirteenth century the chaussons and 
chausses were made in one stocking-like form covering the foot ; this 
is shown on Plate I, 8, 12. In the first of these illustrations only 
the front of the leg is covered, and the chausses are laced at the back. 
1 Roman de Rou, 1. 13254 et seq. 


As the manufacture of mail progressed the whole of the wearer's 
person came to be protected by it. In addition to the coverings of 
the body we find continuations that protected arms and legs, and 
in course of time the neck and head were protected with a Coif or 
hood of mail, which is shown in use in Plate I, No. 12, and thrown 
back on the shoulders on No. 8. Although of no protective use, 
the Surcoat is so essentially part of the war equipment of the 
knight that it needs more than a passing notice. It first appears 
on Royal seals at the beginning of the thirteenth century, in the 
reign of King John. Some modern writers have suggested that it 
was first used in the Crusades to keep the sun off the mail ; however 
this may be, we have written proof that it was of use in protecting 
the intricate fabric of chain armour from the wet, which by 
rusting the metal played havoc with its serviceability. It will be 
seen in different lengths in the figures on Plate I. In The Avow- 
ynge of King Arthur, stanza 39, we find — 

With scharpe weppun and schene 
Gay gowns of grene. 
To hold thayre armur clene 
And were^ hitte fro the wete. 

Like the hauberk, the surcoat was slit to the waist in front and 
behind for convenience on horseback, and was usually girt at the 
waist with a cord or belt. It was frequently decorated with the 
armorial bearings of the wearer. When the barrel helm was worn, 
conceahng the whole face, some such cognizance was necessary 
that the knight might be recognized. The Setvans brass (Plate III) 
shows the armorial device powdered over the surcoat. 

The headpiece characteristic of the Norman Conquest is the 
conical nasal Helm. We should draw a distinction between the 
Helmet and the Helm. The former is, of course, a diminutive 
of the latter. At the time of the Norman Conquest the head 
covering would rank rather as a helmet, as it did not entirely 
cover the face. The Norman helmet was conical, usually formed 
of four triangular pieces of metal plate riveted in a ring and 

1 Protect. 

26 THE AGE OF MAIL chap, i 

meeting at the apex. Sometimes a Nasal or nose-guard was 
added (Plate I, 4, 6). That this nasal must have been broad 
enough to conceal the face to a great extent we may judge 
from the story how the Norman soldiers believed their leader 
to be killed, and how William, raising his helm, rode along the 

Fig. 2. From the effigy of Hugo Fig. 3. From a figure in the Cathedral 

Fitz Eudo, Kirkstead, Lines., thir- at Constance, thirteenth century, 

teenth century. 

lines crying ' I am here, and by God's help I shall conquer '. 
The Bayeux Tapestry illustrates this incident. On some of the 
Conqueror's seals we find the helmet tied on with laces. Ear- 
flaps were sometimes added, as may be seen on the chessmen 
found in the Isle of Lewis, now in the British Museum. 

Fig. 4. From the Great Seal of Fig. 5. Brit. Mus. Roy. MS. 20. D. i, 

Alexander II of Scotland, thirteenth thirteenth century, 


During the twelfth century the helmet gradually became the 
helm. The ear-flaps were fixed, becoming an integral part of the 
defence, and closed round to join the nasal, this arrangement 
forming at length the ventail or visor. This gives us what is known 
as the ' Barrel helm ' (Fig. 2), in which the whole head is enclosed 
and the only opening in the front is the ' ocularium ' or vision 
slit. Next we have the same kind of helm with the addition of 
holes for breathing in the lower portion (Fig. 3). In some varieties 


the back of the helm is shorter than the front, as on Fig. 4, and in 
this kind also we sometimes find breathing holes added. The Great 
Seals of the kings are a most useful guide in discovering the 
accoutrements of each period, and especially so for the helms and 
helmets, which are easier to distinguish than the more minute 
details of dress and equipment. It will be understood that in 
time the fiat-topped helm was given up in favour of the ' Sugar- 
loaf ' helm (Fig. 5), as it is generally called, when we consider the 
importance of a ' glancing surface ' in armour. Although thick- 
ness of material was of some importance in defensive armour, this 
providing of surfaces from which a weapon would slip was considered 
to be of supreme importance by the armour-smiths of later periods. 
In the conical helm, as indeed in nearly all great helms, the vision 
and breathing apertures were pierced in the plates of the helm 
itself and were not part of a movable visor, as was the case in 
the helmet. The weight of these helms must have been great ; for 
they do not seem to have been bolted on to the shoulders, as were 
the fifteenth and sixteenth century tilting helms, but to have 
rested upon the crown of the head. The drawing on Plate I, No. 8, 
shows a padded cap which was worn under the mail to protect 
the head from pressure. On No. 12 of the same plate we see the 
helm being put on over the mail coif ; the padded cap is worn 
under the mail. For tournaments the helm was sometimes made 
of toughened leather, which was called ' cuirbouilli ' from the fact 
that it was prepared by being boiled in oil and then moulded to 
shape. This material was very strong and serviceable and was 
used, as we shall see later on, for reinforcing the chain armour and 
also for horse armour. It was generally decorated with gilding 
and painting. For the tournament held at Windsor in 1278 we 
find mention of ' xxxviii galee de cor '} As we have shown, these 
great helms were not attached to the body armour and were thus 
hable to be struck off in battle. In order to recover them a chain 
was sometimes stapled to the helm and fastened to the waist or 
some portion of the body armour (Fig. 6) . 

'^ Archaeologia, xvii. 




The usual form of helmet in the twelfth century is the cup- 
shaped headpiece of which the Cervelliere is a typical example 
(Fig. 7). It was either worn as the sole defence or was used in 
conjunction with the helm as an under-cap. The wide-rimmed hat 
of iron is found all through the period of defensive armour with 
which we deal. It appears in the thirteenth century (Fig. 8) and 
is also to be found in the fifteenth. There is an example of one 
of these war-hats [Eisenhut) in the museum at Nuremberg. 

Fig. 6. Detail from 
the brass of Sir Roger de 
Trumpington, Trumping- 
ton, Camb., 1290. 

Fig. 7. From the 
monument to Johan 
le Botiler, St. Bride's, 
Glamorganshire, 130G. 

Fig. 8. Add. MS. 11. 
639, f. 520, thirteenth 

The Shield at the time of the Conquest was kite-shaped. It 
was long enough to cover the body and legs of the warrior when 
mounted, but it must have been a most inconvenient adjunct to 
his accoutrements. As we have seen in the Monk of St. Gall's 
records, the shield was sometimes made of iron ; but the more 
usual material was wood covered with leather or the tough cuir- 
bouilli. Its broad flat surface was from the earliest times used 
by the painter to display his art, which at first was not systema- 
tized, but consisted of geometrical patterns and strange birds and 
beasts that had no special meaning. As time went on each knight 
retained the device which was borne upon his shield and came to be 
recognized by it, and from this sprung the comphcated science of 


Heraldry, which has survived, with all its intricate detail, to the 
present day. The surface of the shield was often bowed so that it 
embraced the body of the wearer. That some must have been flat 
we may suppose from the fact that the soldiers in the Bayeux 
Tapestry are represented as using them for trays to carry cups 
and plates at the ' Prandium '. In St. Lucy's Chapel, at Christ 
Church Cathedral in Oxford, in the window depicting the 
martyrdom of St. Thomas of Canterbury, are to be seen two 

Fig. 9. From the Romance of Alexander, Fig. 10. a, a. Enarmes. 

f. 150, Bod. Lib., fourteenth century. b. Guige. 

varieties of decorated shields. Two of the knights bear shields 
painted with geometrical designs, while Fitz Urse carries a shield 
on which are three bears' heads erased, a punning cognizance 
from the name of the wearer. The date of the window is about 
the end of the thirteenth century. The shield was attached to 
the wearer by a thong passing round the neck, called the Guige. 
When not in use it was slung by this thong on the back. When 
in use the arm and hand passed through the short loops called 
Enarmes (Fig. 10). The Royal blazon first appears on the shield 
in the reign of Richard I. Occasionally we find circular shields 
depicted in illuminations ; but they were generally used by the foot- 
soldiers. As the development of defensive armour proceeds we 
shall find that the shield becomes smaller, and in time is discarded, 
the body defences being made sufficient protection in themselves. 


It will be readily understood that the change from mail 
to plate armour was not brought about at once. Difficulty of 
manufacture, expense, and conservatism in idea, all retarded the 
innovation. Some progressive knight might adopt a new fashion 
which did not come into general use till many years after, in 
the same manner that, from force of circumstances, or from 
a clinging to old methods, we find an out-of-date detail of armour 
like the coif of mail, shown on the brass of Sir W. Molineux, appear- 
ing in 1548, or the sleeved hauberk in the Dresden Museum which 
was worn without plate defences for the arms by Herzog August 
at the Battle of Miihlberg in 1546. Acting on the method adopted 
in the preceding chapter, we may first consider the materials used 
during the beginning of the Transition Period, and afterwards 
we shall show how those materials were made up. 

During the fourteenth century iron, leather, whalebone, and 
quilted fabrics were all employed for defensive purposes. The 
illustration from the Romance of Alexander (Fig. 9) shows the 
gambeson still worn under the mail, and the legs are covered in 
one instance with a metal-studded or pourpointed defence ; 
a second figure wears what appears to be scale armour, while the 
third has no detail shown upon the legs, which may be an oversight 
on the part of the artist, or may suggest that plain hose were worn. 
Iron was used for the mail and scale armour and was also employed 
in making a pliable defence called Splinted armour, which at a later 
period became the Brigandine (Plate II). 

There are several of these brigandines to be found in the 
Armouries of England and Europe, but the majority of them date 
about the middle of the fifteenth century. As will be seen in the 

Plate II 

(Outside.) (Inside.) 

Brigandine in the Musee d'Artillerie, Paris. 


illustration, the brigandine was made of small plates of iron or 
steel overlapping upwards and riveted on to a canvas-lined 
garment of silk or velvet. The plates were worn on the inside 
in most cases, and the rivet heads which showed on the silk 
or velvet face were often gilded, thus producing a very brilliant 

We find many references to these splinted defences in the In- 
ventories of the period, which form a valuable source of information 
on the subject of details of armour. The Inventory of Humphrey 
de Bohun,^ Earl of Hereford, taken in 1322, gives : — ' Une peire 
de plates coverts de vert velvet.' Again, in one of the Inven- 
tories of the Exchequer, 1331,^ is noted: — 'Une peire de plates 
covert de rouge samyt.' The Inventory of Piers Gaveston, dated 
1313, a document fuU of interesting details, has * : — ' Une peire 
de plates enclouez et garniz d' argent.' The ' pair of plates ' men- 
tioned in these records refers to the front and back defences. In 
the accounts of payments by Sir John Howard we find in the year 
1465, IIS. 8d. paid for 20,000 ' Bregander nayles'.* Brass was 
employed for decorative purposes on the edges of the hauberk, 
or was fashioned into gauntlets, as may be seen in the gauntlets 
of the Black Prince, preserved at Canterbury. Chaucer writes in 
the ' Rime of Sir Thopas ' : — 

His swerdes shethe of yvory. 
His helm of laton bright. 

Laton, or latten, was a mixed metal, much resembling brass, 
used at this period for decorative purposes. 

Whalebone was employed for gauntlets and also for swords 
used in the tournament. Froissart uses the words ' gands de 
baleine ' in describing the equipment of the troops of PhiHp von 
Arteveld at the Battle of Rosbecque. 

Quilted garments were still worn, either as the sole defence 
or as a gambeson under the mail. As late as the year 1460 we find 

1 Arch. Journ., ii. 349. ^ Vol. iii. p. 165. 

^ New Foedera, ii. 203. * Arch. Journ., Ix. 95-136. 



regulations of Louis XI of France ordering these coats of defence 
to be made of from 30 to 36 folds of linen. ^ 

Leather, either in its natural state or boiled and beaten tiU it 
could be moulded and then allowed to dry hard, was frequently 
used at this period for all kinds of defensive armour. 

In Chaucer's ' Rime of Sir Thopas ', from which we have quoted 
before, occur the words, ' His jambeux were of quirboilly.' The 
jambeauxwere coverings for the legs. This quirboilly, cuirbuUy, or 
cuirbouilli, when finished was an exceedingly hard substance, and 
was, on account of its lightness as compared to metal, much used 
for tournament armour and for the Bar ding or defence for the horse. 
In the Roll of Purchases for the Windsor Park Tournament, held 
in 1278, mention is made of cuirasses supplied by Milo the Currier, 
who also furnished helms of the same material.^ In the Inventory 
of Sir Simon Burley, beheaded in 1338, we find under ' Armure de 
guerre ' : — ' Un palet (a headpiece) de quierboylle.' There is 
a light leather helmet of the ' morion ' type, dated sixteenth 
century, in the Zeughaus at Berlin. 

Banded mail still appears in drawings or on monuments up to 
the end of the fourteenth century. 

We may now turn to the making up of these varied materials, 
and will endeavour, step by step, to trace the gradual evolution 
of the full suit of plate from the first additions of plate defence 
to mail till we find that the mail practically disappears, or is only 
worn in small portions where plate cannot be used. 

Setting aside the plastron de fer, which, as has been noticed, is 
seldom shown in representations of armour, we find the first 
additional defence was the Poleyne or knee-cop. We must suppose 
that there was good reason for thus reinforcing the mail defence 
on this part of the body. Probably this was due to the fact that 
the shield became shorter at this period, and also because the 
position of the wearer when mounted exposed the knee, a very 
delicate piece of anatomy, to the attacks of the foot -soldier (Fig. 
II). Poleynes are mentioned in a wardrobe account of Edward I in 
1 Arch. Journ., Ix. 95-136. 2 Archaeologia, xvii. 




1300. They were frequently made of cuirbouilli, and this material 
is probably intended in the illustration (Plate III, i), as elaborately 
decorated metal is rarely met with at this period. At the end of 
the thirteenth century appear those curious appendages known as 
Ailettes. On Plate III, 2, the figure is shown wearing the poleynes 
and also the ailettes. For practical purposes they are represented 
on recumbent figures as worn at the back, but in pictorial illustra- 
tions they are invariably shown on the outside of the shoulder. 

Fig. II. From Roy. MS. 16. G. vi, 
f. 387, fourteenth century. 

Fig. 12. Bib. X at., Paris, LawceZo^ 
du Lac, fourteenth century. 

Some writers consider that they were solely used for ornament, 
presumably because they are generally shown decorated with 
heraldic blazons. Against this, however, we may place the fact 
that they are depicted in representations of battles, and in Queen 
Mary's psalter (2. B. vii in the British Museum) the combatants 
wear plain ailettes. The German name for the ailettes {Tartschen) 
suggests also that they were intended for shoulder-guards. Four- 
teenth-century Inventories abound with references to ailettes. In 
the Roll of Purchases for Windsor Park Tournament are mentioned 
thirty-eight pair of ailettes to be fastened with silk laces supplied 
by one Richard Paternoster. In the Piers Gaveston Inventory 

c 2 


before quoted are : 'Les alettes garnis et frettez de perles.' These, 
of course, would be only for ceremonial use. The illustration 
(Fig. II) shows different forms of ailette, and occasionally we find 
the lozenge-shaped, and once (Brit. Mus. Roy. MS. 2. A. xxii, fol. 
219) they assume a cruciform shape. Thejattachment of the 
ailettes with the laces referred to in the Windsor Park Inventory 
is shown on Fig. 12. In the Chroniques de Charlemaine, preserved 
in the Bibliotheque Royale at Brussels, the ailettes appear to be 
laced to the side of the helmet. This occurs in so many of the 
miniatures that it must be taken as a correct presentment of this 
detail in arming. It may be, however, that, as this manuscript 
was produced in the year 1460, it recorded a later method of using 
the ailette which, per se, disappears about the middle of the four- 
teenth century, as far as monumental records exist. 

The next addition of plate to the equipment of mail seems to 
have been on the legs. The only monumental brass that gives this 
fashion of arming is the Northwode brass at Minster, Sheppey. As 
the legs are of later date than the rest of the brass, although most 
probably correct in design, it may be better to trust to a monument 
which is intact, as is the statue of Gulielmus.Berardi, 1289, which 
is carved in the Cloister of the Annunziata Convent, Florence 
(Fig. 13). Here we find the front of the leg entirely protected by 
plates which may be intended for metal, but which, from their 
ornate decoration, seem rather to suggest cuirbouilli. These 
jambeaux, or, as they are sometimes called, Bainbergs or Beinbergs, 
of leather have been before referred to as mentioned by Chaucer. 

Returning to monumental brasses again, we find on the 
Gorleston brass (Plate III, 3) that the plate additions are still 
more increased. Besides the poleynes and the ailettes there are 
traces of plate jambs on the legs, and the arms are protected by 
plates and circular discs on shoulder and elbow. 

After 1325 ailettes are rarely met with. On No. 4 of Plate III 
these details seem to be advanced in some points, and are shown 
with the methods of attaching them to the wearer. The Rerebrace 
is strapped over the mail, and the disc at the bend of the Coude 

Plate III 

1. iiirjoha d' AuberaoriO, 1277 Stoke D'Abzrnoa. Stirrey 2. Sir Robt. de Sztvans, 1506, Ctiartham,- 
Kent d.A razmben of tbe deBacoQ family, clSlO.Oorlcaton. Suffolk ^. Sirjoto D'Acibe.rnotia,ii27 
Stoke D'AberDOQ.Sarrey 5 William deAldebur'§t2,c.ia6Q,Aldboroo$la,york5 6.A KQi^ht.c.ii.OO. 
Lau^bton, LiQcolnshins. 




or elbow-piece is held in place by Aiguillettes or laces — called at 
a later period Arming-points. The poleynes overlap the jambs, and 
so cover the junction of the two pieces, and the latter are held to 
the leg with straps. The Solerets are among the earliest examples 
of a defence of laminated plates, that is, of strips of metal 
riveted upon leather in order to give more ease of movement than 
would be possible with a solid plate. The Vambrace is worn under 
the sleeve of the hauberk, and not, as in the preceding example, 

Fig. 13. Gulielmus Berardi, 
Florence, 1289. 

Fig. 14. Bib. Nat., Paris, Tristan 
and Iseult, fourteenth century. 

over the mail. This figure is especially interesting because it shows 
the different garments worn with the armour of this period. Above 
the knees appears the tunic ; over this comes the hauberk of mail, 
in this instance banded mail ; over the hauberk are shown the 
Upper Pourpoint, a quilted garment, and, above this, the surcoat, 
or, as this variety is called, the Cyclas. The difference between 
the surcoat proper and the cyclas is that the former is of even 
length all round, while the latter is shorter in front than behind 
(see also Fig. 14). The coif of mail has now given place to the 
Camail, which does not cover the head, but is attached to the 
helmet, and is not joined to the hauberk, but hangs over the cyclas. 


In the next example (Plate III, 5) we find the mail still worn on 
the legs and arms, but on the latter the vambrace and the coude 
plate seem to be hinged in the manner adopted during the period 
of full armour. The upper part of the leg is protected by studded 
pourpointerie, which was frequently employed as being of more 
convenience on horseback. These thigh defences were called the 
Cuisses. The Bascinet is shown and also the short surcoat or Jupon. 

The brass of an unknown knight (Plate III, 6) is typical of 
what has come to be known as the ' Camail ' period. The arm- 
and leg-pieces completely enclose the limb and are fastened 
with hinges and straps as in the later periods. The gauntlets 
show the Gadlings, or knuckle-knobs, which are a marked feature 
of this period, and the whole suit is richly decorated with engraved 
borders. Some writers divide the Transition Period of armour 
into ' Surcoat ', ' Cyclas', ' Jupon', and 'Tabard'. This, however, 
seems unnecessary if we are considering only the development of 
defensive armour, and not the whole question of costume. The 
camail is so marked a detail of the knightly equipment that it may 
reasonably be used to describe the fashion in armour from about 
1360 to 1405. In this example the figure is clad in complete plate, 
though the hauberk is worn beneath, as may be seen at the lower 
edge of the jupon and also in the ' vif de I'harnois ', or portion of 
the body at the armpit, which was unprotected by plate. In some 
instances this vital spot was protected by a circular, oval, crescent- 
shaped, or square plate attached by laces, which modern writers 
call the Rondel, but which Viscount Dillon, in a most interesting 
article, proves to have been the Moton or Besague ^ (Fig. 15). 

The effigy of the Black Prince at Canterbury is a good example 
of the armour of this period, but it is interesting to note that, while 
the monumental brasses frequently give such details as straps, 
buckles, &c., this effigy shows no constructional detail whatever. 
We find that in Spain there were minute regulations drawn up as 
to the manner in which a deceased warrior might be represented 
on his tomb. The details of sheathed or unsheathed sword, helm, 

^ Arch. Journ., Ixiv. 15-23. 




spurs, &c., all had some significant reference to his life and achieve- 
ments.^ It is almost superfluous to point out that those details 
which referred to the knight's captivity, or the fact that he had 
been vanquished, were more honoured in the breach than in the 

The armour of this period was often richly decorated with 
engraving, as may be seen on the brass to an unknown knight 

Fig. i6. Knightly figure in Ash 
Church, Kent, fourteenth century. 

Fig. 15. Brass of Sir T. de S. 
Quentin, Harpham, Yorks, 1420. 

Fig. 17. Bib. Nat., Paris, 
Tite-Live, 1350. 

at Laughton, Lines., and also on the monument to Sir Hugh 
Calverley at Bunbury, Cheshire. Of the jupon. King Rene, in his 
Livre des Tournois, about the year 1450, writes that it ought to 
be without fold on the body, like that of a herald, so that the 
cognizance, or heraldic blazon, could be better recognized. The 
jupon of the Black Prince, preserved at Canterbury and admirably 
figured in Monumenta Vetusta, vol. vii, is embroidered with the 
Royal Arms, and is quilted with cotton padding. So general is the 
use of the jupon at this period that it is a matter of some conjecture 

^ Carderera, Iconografia. 




as to what form the body armour took that was worn under it. 
The effigy of a knight in Ash Church, Kent (Fig. 16), elucidates 
this mystery and shows, through openings of the jupon, horizontal 
plates or splints riveted together. In Fig. 17 we see these plates 
worn without the jupon. The term Jazeran is often applied to 
such armour. 

The camail, or hood of mail, which we have before referred to, 
was separate from the hauberk, and during the fourteenth century 
was worn over the jupon. It was attached to the bascinet by 
VerveUes or staples which fitted into openings in the helmet. 
A lace was passed through these staples, as is shown on Fig. 18. 


Fig. 18. a. The Camail attached to the helm. 
6. The Camail showing the staples. 

Fig. 19. Bib. Nat., Paris, 
TUe-Lwe, 1350. 

From a French manuscript of the early fifteenth century (Fig. 19) 
we see how the camail was kept from ' riding ' over the shoulders. 
In the little wooden statuette of St. George of Dijon, which is 
a most useful record of the armour of this period, we find that, in 
addition, the camail is fastened to the breast with aiguiUettes. 

The Great Heaume, or helm, of the fourteenth century differs 
but little from those of the late thirteenth century which were 
noticed in a preceding chapter. The shape was either of the 
sugar-loaf order or a cylinder surmounted by a truncated cone 
(Fig. 20). Notable examples of actual specimens in England at 
the present day are the helms of Sir Richard Pembridge at Hereford 
Cathedral and the helm of the Black Prince, surmounted by a crest 
of wood and cuirbouilli, preserved at Canterbury. In an Inventory 




of Louis Hutin, made in 1316, we find : ' ii heaummes d'acier, item 
V autres dans li uns est dorez.' This seems to suggest that the 
gilded helm was of some other material than steel, possibly leather. 
It is rare to come across constructional detail in illuminations, but 
the illustration (Fig. 21) from a French manuscript of about the 
year 1350 shows a method of attaching the helm to the wearer's 
body. In the preceding chapter we noticed the chain used for 
this purpose on the Trumpington brass. 

Fig. 20. Fourteenth-century helm, 
Zeughaus, Beriin. 

Fig. 21. Bib. Nat., Paris, 
Tite-Live, 1350. 

The most popular of the light helmets at this period was 
the Bascinet. It appears on nearly every monumental brass that 
depicts a military figure, and is an essential part of that style of 
equipment known as the ' camail '. The later form of bascinet 
has a movable visor which is known among armour collectors as 
the ' pig-faced ' bascinet (Plate V) . Sometimes the hinge is at 
the top, and sometimes, as in No. 2 of this plate, the visor is pivoted 
at the sides. Froissart calls the visor ' carnet ' and ' visiere '. In 
the Bohun Inventory, before referred to, are given : ' ii bacynettes, 
lun covert de quir lautre bourni.' This shows that while some 
helmets were of polished metal, others were covered with leather, 
and indeed silk and velvet as fancy dictated. Frequent references 
to these ' covers ' for helmets occur in Inventories and Wills. The 
helmet and other portions of the suit of plate armour were some- 

Plate IV 

[Photograph by Hauser S- Menet 
Jousting armour of Charles V. Madrid. 


times tinned to prevent rust, as is shown in one of the Dover Castle 
Inventories of 1361 : — ' xiii basynetz tinez.' Sometimes, in the 
case of Royalty or princes of rank, the bascinet was encircled with 
a fillet or crown of gold and gems. Among the payments of Etienne 
de Fontaine, in 1352, are mentioned no crowns for ' quarente 
grosses perles pour garnir le courroye du basinet de Monsieur le 
Dauphin'. The Orle, or wreath worn turban-wise round the 
bascinet, is sometimes shown, as on Fig. 22, of a decorative nature. 
It is supposed by some writers to have been devised to take the 
pressure of the great helm from the head, for 
the helm was often worn, as in the preceding 
century, over a lighter headpiece. From the 
usual position of the orle, however, and from 
the fact that it is invariably shown highly 
decorated and jewelled, this explanation can 
hardly hold good, for a padding worn as shown 
in the illustration would not be of much 
service in keeping off the pressure of the helm, 
and of course the jewelled decoration would be fig. 22. The Orle, 
destroyed at once. Another theory is that the from the monument of 
orle was made by wrapping the Lambrequin Sir H. Stafford, Broms- 

■, ■ 1 ■, r 1 . . r , grove, Kent, 1450. 

or Mantling — which hung from the back of the 

helmet and which is still used in heraldic drawings — much in the 
same manner as the modern puggaree is worn in India. In this 
illustration appears also the gorget of plate that was worn over 
the throat and chin with the bascinet. 

The shields of the fourteenth century present an infinite variety 
in shape and decoration. The heraldic blazoning has by this time 
been systematized into somewhat of a science, which in Germany 
especially was carried to extravagant extremes. The long kite- 
shaped shield is to be found in records of the period, but the more 
common forms were the short pointed shield as shown on Plate III, 
and that which was rounded at the lower edge. Frequently the 
shield is represented as 'bouche', or notched, at the top right-hand 
corner, to enable the wearer to point his lance through this opening 


without exposing his arm or body to attack. In the Inventory of 
Louis Hutin are mentioned ' iii ecus pains des armes le Roy, et un 
acier ', which shows that the shield was sometimes made of steel, 
though usually it was fashioned of wood and faced with leather, or 
of cuirbouilli. In a transcript of Vegecius (Brit. Mus. Roy. MS. i8. 
A. xii) the young knight is advised to have ' a shelde of twigges 
sumewhat rounde '. The shield of the Black Prince at Canterbury 
is pointed at the lower edge, and is made of wood faced with 
leather, on which are set out the Royal arms in gesso-duro or plaster 




Before proceeding to examine the suit of Full Plate, with all 
its interesting details and differences as exemplified in the various 
armouries of England and Europe, it will be well to make clear 
the main principles which governed the manufacture of such 
armour. We should remember that the whole history of our 
subject is one long struggle of defensive equipment against offen- 
sive weapons. This is brought out clearly at the present day in 
the Navy, where the contest between gun and armour-plating is the 
dominant factor in naval construction. As the weapons of the 
Middle Ages became more serviceable, the armour was increased in 
weight. The Longbow and the Crossbow marked distinct periods 
in the development of defensive armour ; for so important a factor 
did these weapons become, especially the latter, that they were used 
for testing the temper of the metal, large or small weapons being 
used as occasion demanded. Those writers who are prone to 
generalize upon such subjects tell us that the invention of gun- 
powder sounded the knell of defensive armour, but this is by no 
means accurate, for guns were used in sieges as early as 1382, and, 
as we shall find farther on in this chapter, the armour of the 
late sixteenth century was proved by pistol shot. The result of 
the improvement of firearms was that for many years armour 
became heavier and thicker till the musket was perfected, and 
then it was found that even highly-tempered steel would not resist 
the impact of a bullet. 

It is a safe assertion to make that a full suit of plate armour 
at its finest period — the fifteenth century — is the most perfect 
work of craftsmanship that exists. 

A Crest 
B >5Kall 
e Visor 
D Bcavor 




B>ere brace 

Coude. or eiboW-coP 
K Vambraca 




Palette, or Roade I 

Q Ta^icts 
R Breech 


Qenouillere or Knze-cop 
V lamb 
W oolaret 

Fig. 23. 

CHAP. Ill 



This assertion is not made without fully considering the real 
value of such work, which must fulfil all those essentials with- 
out which no true work of craftsmanship can have any merit. 
The first of these is that the work should fulfil its object in the 
best possible manner ; secondly, that it should be convenient and 
simple in use ; thirdly, that it should proclaim its material ; and 
fourthly, and this is by no means the least important, that any 
decoration should be subservient to its purpose. To take our 
axioms in the order given, it may appear to the casual student 
that if armour were sufficiently thick it would naturally] fulfil its 

Fig. 24. Maximilian breastplate and taces. Fig. 25. Coude or Elbow-cop. 

primary reason for existence. But we find, on careful examination 
of plate armour, that there are other considerations .which are 
of equal, if not greater importance. Of these the most noticeable 
is the ' glancing surface '. It is somewhat difficult to exemplify 
this by a hne-drawing, though it is easy to do so with an actual 
example. Referring to the Maximilian breastplate (Fig. 24), we 
find that a lance, the thrusting weapon much favoured in the 
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, would, on striking the breast 
be deflected along the grooved channel nearest to the point of 
impact till it reached the raised edge either at the top or at the 
sides, when it would be conducted safely off the body of the wearer. 
The same surface is to be noticed on all helms and helmets after 
the twelfth century, the rounded surfaces giving no sure hold 




for cutting or thrusting weapons. The Coude (Fig. 25) shows this 
same glancing surface used to protect the elbow, and, again, the fan- 
shaped plate on the outside of the knee effects the same result 
(see Frontispiece).^ The great jousting helms are so constructed 
that the lance-point should glance off them when the wearer is in 
the proper jousting position, that is, bent forward at such an angle 
that the eyes come on a level with the ocularium or vision slit 
(Plate V, 5). These helms are also made of plates varying in 
thickness as the part may be more exposed to attack. The Great 
Helm in the possession of Captain Lindsay of Sutton Courtenay, 
near Abingdon, has a skull-plate nearly a quarter of an inch thick, 
for, in the bending position adopted by the wearer, this portion of 
the helm would be most exposed to the lance. The back-plate is 
less than half that thickness. This helm is one of the heaviest in 
existence, for it weighs 25 lb. 14 oz. Again, we may notice the 
overlapping Lames or strips of steel that are so frequently used 
for Pauldron, Rerebrace, Vambrace, Soleret, and Gauntlet ; all 
present the same surface to the opposing weapon, and, except in 
the case of the Taces, where the overlapping from necessity of form 
must be in an inverse direction, the chance of a weapon penetrating 
the joints is reduced to a minimum (Fig. 23). A portion of the 
pauldron which is designed for this glancing defence, and for this 
only, is the upstanding Neck- or Shoulder-guard which is so generally 
described as the Passe-guard. It is curious, with the very definite 
information to hand (supplied by Viscount Dillon in the Archaeo- 
logical Journal, vol. xlvi, p. 129), that even the most recent writers 
fall into the same mistake about the name of this defence. Space 
will not admit of quoting more fully Viscount Dillon's interesting 
paper ; but two facts cited by him prove conclusively that the 

^ The terms ' coude ' and ' genouilliere ', ' palette,' and such-like words of 
French origin, are open to some objection in an English work when ' elbow-cop ', 
'knee-cop', or 'poleyne' and 'rondel' can be substituted. They are only 
employed here because of their general use in armouries at the present day, and 
because the English words are of rarer occurrence and are less likely to be met 
with by those beginning the study of armour. ' Cuisse ' and ' cuissard', however, 
are always used for the thigh-pieces, and no anglicized term is found in 
contemporary writings unless it be ' Quysshews.' 

Plate V 

I. Ba&cin^t f nom the tomb of tine, BlackPrinc2,,Canb2-rbury,AIVth. cent. . — , . 

2.Visored Bascirxzb from the statuette of S.George, DijonjXIVbh. cent. ^ — , 

3.5alade, F\.oyal Armourj^, Turin, AVth. cent A,.5alade with visor and beavor/- 
riusee de la porta de Halj Brussels, AVth. cent S. The Brooas Helm , f\otunda 
Woolwich XVtK- AVI th. cent 6. Armeb, Fkoyal Armoury, Turin y.Burgoneb,-^ 
Brib.Mus. AVIth.cenb 8. BurQonet and Buffe, F<wqyal Armoury, Turin AVI Eh ant 
9. Morion, Brus&el&j AVI th. cent. lO. Cabas&eb,Turin,AVlLh,cenb II. Lobsber- 
bailed Pob helnne-b, Turin , XVII bh. cent. 


passe-guard is quite another portion of the armour. In the Tower 
Inventory of 1697 appears the entry, ' One Armour cap-a-pe 
Engraven with a Ragged Staffe, made for ye Earle of Leisester, 
a Mainfere, Passguard and Maineguard and Gantlett.' Now it is 
hardly reasonable to suppose that this ridge on the pauldron 
should be specially mentioned as the Passe-guard without any notice 
of the pauldron itself. In the Additional Notes to the above 
article Viscount Dillon gives, from a List of Payments made in 
connexion with jousts held on October 20, 1519, ' 9 yards of Cheshire 
cotton at 7(^. for lining the king's pasguard.' That the neck- 
guard to which we refer should need lining on the inside, where 
it did not even touch the helmet, we may dismiss at once ; and 
that the lining should be on the outside is of course absurd. As 
far as can be gathered from recent research the passe-guard is 
a reinforcing piece for the right elbow, used for jousting. It was 
lined to protect the ordinary arm defence underneath from being 
scratched, and also to lessen the shock to the wearer if it were 
struck. It is to be hoped, from this reiteration of Viscount 
Dillon's researches, that at any rate one of the many errors of 
nomenclature in armour may be corrected. 

With regard to the thickness of plate armour, we should remem- 
ber that it was forged from the solid ingot, and was not rolled in 
sheets as is the material of to-day from which so many forgeries 
are manufactured. The armourer was therefore able to graduate 
the thickness of his material, increasing it where it was most 
needed, and lessening it in those parts which vvcre less exposed. 

With regard to the proving of armour an article in Archaeologia, 
vol. li, also by Viscount Dillon, is of great interest as showing the 
indifferent skill of the English ironsmiths of the sixteenth century. 
In 1590 a discussion arose as to the quality of the English iron 
found in Shropshire as compared to the ' Hungere ' iron which 
came from Innsbruck. After some delay Sir Henry Lee, Master 
of the Tower Armouries, arranged a test, and two breastplates 
were prepared, of equal make and weight. Two pistol charges 
of equal power were fired at the test breastplates, with the result 

Plate VI 

[Photograph hy~Viscount Dillon. 

Engraved suit of armour given to Henry VIII by the Emperor Maximilian. 



that the foreign armour was only slightly dented, while the English 
plate was pierced completely, and the beam on which it rested 
was torn by the bullet. A bascinet in the Tower, which belonged 
to Henry VIII, bears two indented marks, signifying that it was 
proof against the large crossbow. In the Musee d'Artillerie in 
Paris, a suit made for Louis XIV bears proof marks which are 
treated as the centres for floriated designs (Plate VIII). No excuse 
need be offered for thus borrowing from papers by Viscount Dillon 
and other writers in Archaeologia and the Archaeological Journal, 
for these publications are not always at hand to those interested 
in the subject of armour and equipments. They are, however, 
indispensable for careful study ; for they contain reports of the 
most recent discoveries and investigations of the subject, and are 
written, for the most part, by men whose expert knowledge is at 
once extensive and precise. 

Another detail of importance in connexion with the protective 
power of armour occurs in the great jousting helms, which invari- 
ably present a smooth surface on the left side, even when there 
may be some opening, for ventilation or other purposes, on the 
right. The reason for this was that the j ouster always passed 
left arm to left arm with the lance pointed across the horse's neck. 
It was therefore important that there should be no projection or 
opening on the left side of the helm in which the lance-point could 
possibly be caught. 

We next turn our attention 'to Convenience in Use. Under 
this head the armourer had to consider that the human body 
makes certain movements of the limbs for walking and riding, or 
fighting with arm and hand. He had so to construct the different 
portions of the suit that they should allow of all these movements 
without hindrance ; and at the same time he had to endeavour to 
protect the body and limbs while the movements were taking 
place. The arrangements for pivoting elbow- and knee-joints need 
scarcely be detailed ; for it will be seen by a glance at any suit 
of plate armour how the cuisse and jamb are pivoted on to the 
genouilliere, and move with the leg to a straight or bent position 


without allowing these plates to escape from under the genouil- 
liere. The coude is sometimes pivoted in the same manner, but 
more often it is rigid and of such circumference that the arm can 
bend within it and yet be very adequately protected. In the 
overlapping lames or strips of metal which give ease of move- 
ment to the upper arm, the hands, the waist, and the foot, we 
find that much careful work and calculation was needed to ensure 
comfort to the wearer. On the foot, the toepiece and four or more 
arches of metal overlap upwards on to a broader arch, while above 
this three or more arches overlap downwards, thus allowing the 
toe-joint and ankle to be bent at the same time (Fig. 26). In 
a suit in the Tower, made for Prince Henry, son of James I, all 
the arches of the soleret overlap downwards. This points to 
a certain decadence in the craftsmanship of the armourer of the 
period, though the excuse might be offered for him that the suit 
was intended only for use on horseback. There are generally one, 
two, or more of these movable lames joining the genouilliere to 
the jamb, and above this the cuisse to the genouilliere to give 
greater flexibility to the knee fastenings. The separate arm- and 
leg-pieces are, when made in two halves to encircle the limb, 
hinged on the outside and closed with strap and buckle, or with 
locking hook or bolt on the inside. This, of course, is to ensure 
greater protection to these fastenings, especially on horseback. 
Higher up again we get the tuilles or faces, which, from the fact 
that to adapt themselves to the human form they must narrow 
at the waist and spread out below, overlap upwards. From 
the faces are hung the tassets, with strap and buckle, which 
give increased protection to the upper leg, and yet are not in 
any way rigid. When the tassets are made of more than one 
plate they are attached to each other by a most ingenious 
arrangement of straps and sliding rivets. On the inner edge of 
each plate the rivets are attached to a strap on the under 
side ; but the outer edge, requiring more compression of the 
lames together, is furnished with rivets fixed firmly in the upper- 
most plate and working loose in a slot in the back plate, thus 

Plate VII 

I Fasse-6aard 2 Grand- 0uard i). TiltiaO cuisse I.. Half sait for trie Sfcect:izza§,;Naren2ber6 
1A,50-I600 a. Polder fuittoa b.Laace rest cClciez^e 



CHAP. Ill 

allowing an expansion or contraction of half an inch or more to each 
lame. It is somewhat difficult to explain this ingenious arrangement 
in words, but Fig. 27 will show how the straps and rivets are set. 
When the tassets were discarded about the end of the sixteenth 
century the cuisses were laminated in this way from waist to knee. 
The gauntlet is generally found with a stiff cuff, and from 
wrist to knuckles the plates in narrow arches overlap towards the 
arm, where they join a wider plate which underlaps the cuff. 
The knuckle-plate is usually ridged with a rope-shaped crest or 
with bosses imitating the knuckles. The fingers are protected by 


§ 1 

Y**, 1/ -1,1 ,1 1 


Fig. 26. Soleret. 

Side. Back. Front. 

Fig. 27. Method of using sliding rivets. 

small plates, from four on the fourth finger to six on the second 
finger (in some examples there are more or less), which overlap 
from knuckle to finger-tip. The thumb is covered in like manner, 
but has a lozenge-shaped plate to connect it to the cuff. This 
metal hand-covering was sewn on to a leather glove or attached 
to it with leather loops (Fig. 28). The vambrace is generally rigid, 
either a solid tube or hinged on the outside and fastened on the 
inside by straps or hooks. It is held to the lower edge of the coude 
by a rivet. The lower portion of the rerebrace is also tubular, while 
the upper portion, where it joins the pauldron, is often laminated, 
with the plates overlapping, downwards as a rule, though there 
are instances of these plates overlapping upwards. They are 
joined in the same way as the laminated tassets by a riveted strap 
on the inner side, and by sliding rivets at the back, thus giving 
the arm freedom of movement forwards in the direction most 
needed, but less freedom towards the back. 

CHAP. Ill 



These sliding rivets working in slots have come to be called 
' Almain ' rivets from the fact that the Almain rivet, a light half 
suit of armour, was put together to a great extent by this method. 
These suits will be referred to later in the chapter. 

The Pauldron is hung on the shoulder by a strap from the 
gorget or the breastplate, or it is pierced with a hole which fits 
over a pin fixed in one of these portions of the armour. In most 
suits of plate of the fifteenth and early sixteenth century that 
portion of the pauldron which covers the breastplate is larger on 

^ S^ff 

Fig. 29. Turning ' lock-pins '. 

Fig. 28. Gauntlet. 

Fig. 30. Gorget. 

the left side than on the right. The reason for this is that the 
position of the lance when held ' in rest ', that is couched for the 
charge, necessitates a certain curtailment of the front plate of 
the pauldron, and, at the same time, the left arm being held rigid 
at the bridle, and being exposed to the attacking weapon, requires 
more protection than does the right, which, when using the lance, 
was guarded by the Vamplate or metal disc fixed to the lance 
above the Grip. 

Breast- and back-pieces are held together on the shoulders and 
sides by straps, but the lames of the faces, and in some cases the 
breast and back themselves, are fastened with turning pins which 
play an important part in holding the suit together (Fig. 29). 


The Gorget (Fig. 30) is made in two halves, each composed of 
a single plate or, sometimes, of two or three horizontal lames. 
The two portions are united by a loose-working rivet on the left 
side and are joined by a turning pin on the right. The gorget was 
worn either over or under the breast- and backplates. 

Perhaps the most ingeniously contrived suit in existence, 
which completely protects the wearer and at the same time 
follows the anatomical construction of the human body, is that 
made for Henry VIII for fighting on foot in the lists. It is num- 
bered xxviii in the Armoury of the Tower. There are no parts 
of the body or limbs left uncovered by plate, and every separate 
portion fits closely to its neighbour with sliding rivets and turning 
pins to give the necessary play for the limbs. It is composed of 
235 pieces and weighs 93 lb. 

The wearing of the bascinet, salade, burgonet, and like helmets 
needs no detailed description. In the preceding chapter we noticed 
the method of attaching the camail to the bascinet. When the 
great helm was made a fixture in the fifteenth century, as distinct 
from the loose or chained helms of preceding periods, it was either 
bolted to the breast and back, as on Plate VII, or it was fastened 
by an adjustable plate which shut over a locking pin, as shown 
on Plate V, 5, and a somewhat similar arrangement at the back, 
or a strap and buckle, held it firmly in place, while if extra rigidity 
was needed it was supplied by straps from the shoulders to the 
lugs shown in the drawing of the Brocas Helm on Plate V. The 
Armet, or close helmet, fits the shape of the head to such an extent 
that it must be opened to be put on. This is arranged by hingeing 
^the side plates to the centre, and, when fixed, fastening them with 
a screw at the back to which a circular disc is added as a protection 
to this fastening (Fig. 31). The armet shown on Plate V opens in 
the front and when closed is fastened with a spring hook. The 
different parts of the armet are the Ventail, A, and Vue, B, which 
together make the Visor ; the Skull, c ; and the Beavor, D 
(Plate V, 6). 

Having now arrived at some understanding of the construction 


of the suit of armour we will pass on to the wearing of the suit. 
A man could not wear his ordinary clothes under his armour ; the 
friction of the metal was too great. In spite of the excellence of 
workmanship of the armourer any thin substance was bound to be 
torn, so a strong fabric was chosen which is called in contemporary 
records Fustian. Whether it at all resembled the modern fabric 
of that name it is difficult to determine, but certainly the wearing 
powers of this material or of corduroy would be admirably adapted 
for the purpose. Chaucer writes in the Prologue to the Canterbury 
Tales, line 75 : 

Of fustyan he wered a gepoun 

AUe bysmoterud with his haburgeoun. 

This would refer to the rust-stains that penetrated through the 

interstices of the mail. In Hall's 

Chronicles (p. 524) is mentioned 

a levy of troops ordered for the 

wars in France in 1543, for which 

it was enjoined : ' Item every man 

to hav an armyng doublet of 

ffustyean or canvas ', and also ' a 

capp to put his scull or sallet in '. ^lo. 31. Armet 

These last were coverings for the 

helmets which we have noted on page 42. The helmets had linings, 

either riveted to the metal or worn separately as a cap. The tilting 

helm was provided with a thick padded cap with straps to keep it in 

its place. Some of these caps exist in the Museum at Vienna. 

King Rene, in his Livre des Tournois, advises a pourpoint or 
padded undergarment to be put on under the body armour, 
' stuffed to the thickness of three fingers on the shoulders for 
there the blows fall heaviest.' It seems that in Brabant and the 
Low Countries the blows fell heavier, or that the combatants were 
less hardy, for he advises for them a thickness of four fingers, filled 
with cotton. Viscount Dillon mentions in his Armour Notes ^ the 
fact that a ' stuffer of Bacynetts ' accompanied Henry V to 

^ Arch. Journ., Ix. 


Agincourt. He also quotes a letter from James Croft to Cecil on 
July I, 1559, which states that a man cannot keep his corselet and 
pay for the wear and tear of his clothes due to the rubbing of the 
body armour, under 8^. per day. 

Sir John Smith, in his Animadversions (1591), writes: 'No man 
should wear any cut doublets, as well in respect that the wearing 
of armour doth quickly fret them out, and also by reason that the 
corners and edges of the lames and joints of the armour do take 
such hold upon such cuttes as they do hinder the quick and sudden 
arming of men.' 

An interesting description of the arming of a man, entitled, 
'Howe a manne schall he armed at hys ese when he schall flghte 
on foote,' is preserved in the Life of Sir John Astley (a manuscript 
in the possession of Lord Hastings) } The knight is first dressed in 
a doublet of fustian, lined with satin, which is cut with holes for 
ventilation. This satin was to keep the roughness of the fustian 
from the wearer's body ; for he wore no shirt under it. The doublet 
was provided with gussets of mail, or Vuyders, attached under the 
armpit and at the bend of the elbow by Arming Points or laces. 
These mail gussets were to protect the parts not covered by the 
plate armour. The ' Portrait of an Italian Nobleman ' by Moroni, 
in the National Gallery, shows the figure dressed in this arming 
doublet. A pair of thick worsted hose were worn, and shoes of 
stout leather. It must be noticed here that the soleret, or sabaton 
as it is sometimes called, covered only the top of the foot, and had 
understraps which kept it to the sole of the shoe. First the saba- 
tons were put on, then the jambs, genouilliere and cuisses, then the 
skirt or breech of mail round the waist. This is sometimes known 
as the Brayette. Then the breast- and backplates were buckled 
on with the accompanying faces, tassets, and Garde-rein or plates 
to protect the loins. After this the arm defences, and, if worn 
over the breastpiece, the gorget ; and, finally, the helmet 
completed the equipment. The sword was buckled on the left side 
and the dagger on the right. 

^ Archaeologia, vol. Ivii; Arch. Journ., vol. iv. 


The armour for jousts and tourneys was much heavier than the 
Hosting or War harness. From the fact, which has been previously 
noticed, that the combatants passed each other on the left, this 
side of the armour was reinforced to such a degree that in time 
it presented a totally different appearance from the right side (see 
Plate VII). The weight of jousting armour was so great that it 
was impossible for the wearer to mount without assistance. De 
Pluvinel, in his Maneige Royal (1629), gives an imaginary con- 
versation between himself and the King (Louis XIV) as 
foUows : — 

The King. ' It seems to me that such a man would have 
difficulty in getting on his horse, and being on to help 

De Pluvinel. ' It would be very difficult, but with this arming 
the matter has been provided for. In this manner at triumphs 
and tourneys there ought to be at the two ends of the lists a 
smaU scaffold, the height of a stirrup, on which two or three 
persons can stand, that is to say, the knight, an armourer 
to arm him, and one other to help him. The knight being 
armed and the horse brought close to the stand, he easily 
mounts him.' 

Reference has been made to the fact that modern writers call 
the sliding rivet the ' Almain ' rivet. Whenever mentioned in 
Inventories and such-like documents, the Almain rivet stands for 
a suit of light armour. Garrard, in his Art of Warre (1591), dis- 
tinctly says, ' The fore part of a corselet and a head peece and 
tasses is the almayne rivet.' Among the purchases made on the 
Continent by Henry VIII in 1512 may be noted 2,000 Almain 
rivets, each consisting of a salet, a gorget, a breastplate, a back- 
plate, and a pair of splints (short faces). In the Inventory 
of the goods of Dame Agnes Huntingdon, executed at Tyburn 
for murdering her husband in 1523, we find ' sex score pare of 
harness of Alman rivets'. The 'pare', of course, refers to the 
breast- and backplates. The word Alman, Almaine, or Almain, 
shows that the invention of this light armour and the 


sliding rivets which were used in its construction came from 

That the wearing of armour caused grave inconvenience to some, 
while to others it seems to have been no hindrance at all, we may 
gather from the following historical incidents. In 1526 King 
Louis of Hungary, fleeing from the Battle of Mohacz, was drowned 
while crossing the Danube because of the weight of his armour. 
On the other hand we find that Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, 
when forced to fly at the Battle of Radcot Bridge, escaped easily 
by swimming the river to safety in full armour. We should remem- 
ber that the weight of plate armour was less felt than that of mail, 
because the former was distributed over the whole body and limbs, 
while the latter hung from the shoulders and waist alone. King 
Henry V, in courting Queen Katharine, says : — ' If I could win 
a lady at leapfrog, or by vaulting into my saddle with my armour 
on my back,' which seems to imply that this feat was at any rate 
a possibility. Oliver de la Marche describes Galliot de Balthasin 
in 1446 as leaping clear out of his saddle ' Arme de toute '. We 
may safely consign Sir Walter Scott's description of the feasting 
knights to the realms of poetic licence, for he writes : — 

They carved at the meal with gloves of steel 

And drank the red wine through their helmets barred. 

Now if there were two portions of the knight's equipment 
which would be put off at the first opportunity, and which could 
be assumed the most rapidly, they were the helmet and gauntlets. 
To drink through a visored helmet is a practical impossibility. 
I'he word Beavor, which is generally derived from the Italian 
hevere, to drink, has been considered by Baron de Cosson, with far 
more probability, to be derived from the Old French baviere 
(originally = a child's bib, from have, saliva). 

The cleaning of armour is frequently alluded to in Inventories. 
In the Dover Castle Inventory of 1344 is mentioned ' i barrelle pro 
armaturis roUandis '. Chain-mail was rolled in barrels with sand 
and vinegar to clean it, just as, inversely, barrels are cleaned in 


the country at the present day by rolhng chains in them. The 
mending and cleaning of armour was of the first importance, and 
the traveUing knight took with him an armourer who was provided 
with such things as ' oil for dressing my lord's harness, a thousand 
armyng nayles (rivets) a payre of pynsores, pomyshe (pumice 
stone), fylles, a hammer and all other stuffe and tools belonginge 
to an armorer ' } 

We can gather but little of the methods of the armourers in 
their work. It was so important a craft that its operations were 
most jealously guarded, and the term ' Mystery ', which was 
applied to the Trade Gilds of the Middle Ages, can be most fittingly 
given to that of the armour-smith. In the Weisskunig of Hans 
Burgkmair, the noted German engraver, appears an interesting 
woodcut of the young Maximilian in the workshop of Conrad 
Seusenhofer, the famous armourer. In the text the master-smith 
is described as being anxious to make use of the ' forbidden art ', 
but the young king replies, ' Arm me according to my own taste, for 
it is I, not you, who have to take part in the tournament.' What 
this forbidden art may have been we have no suggestion given us. 
It seems, from this account, to be more than likely that Seusenhofer 
possessed some mechanical means for stamping out armour plate ; 
for it goes on to say, ' So this young King invented a new art for 
warriors' armour, so that in the workshop 30 front pieces and 
30 hinder pieces were made at once. How wonderful and skilful 
was this King ! ' 

A most interesting album of designs by one ' Jacobe ', who has 
been identified by the late Herr Wendelin Boeheim as Jacobe Topf, 
is now, after many vicissitudes, in the Art Library of the Victoria 
and Albert Museum, South Kensington. From the somewhat 
naive treatment of the designs they can hardly be considered to 
be working drawings, but were more probably sketches submitted 
to the different patrons of the armourer and kept for reference. 
The Album has been reproduced in facsimile, with a preface giving 
its history and verifying the suits drawn on its pages, by Viscount 

1 Arch. Journ., vol. Ix. 




CHAP. Ill 

Dillon, Curator of the Tower Armouries. Space ^\ill not admit of 
more notice of this unique volume. Its author seems to have 
worked almost entireh^ for the nobles of the court of Queen Eliza- 
beth ; only two of the designs were made for foreigners. Of the 
famous armourers of Italy, the ]\Iissaglias, Xegrolis, and Campi; 
and of the great Colman family, Seusenhofer and \Yoli, the master- 
craftsmen of Germany, we can do no more than mention the names. 

Experts in armour, like Baron de 
Cosson and Herr Boeheim, have in the 
various archaeological journals of 
England and Germany brought to light 
many interesting facts about these 
armourers, but the confines of this 
handbook do not admit of detailed 
quotation, nor, indeed, is it neces- 
sary to study these details till the 
primary interest in defensive armour 
has been aroused. When this has been 
achieved the student will certainly 
leave no records unexamined in follow- 
ing to its farthest extremes this most 
fascinating studj'.-^ 

It is almost superfluous to discuss 
the third of our axioms, namely, that 
which concerns the confession of material. All armour of the 
best periods does this to the full. It is only under the blighting 
influence of the Renaissance that we find metal so worked 
that it resembles woven fabrics, or, worse still, the human 
form and features. The limited space at our disposal precludes us 
from investigating the various Coats of Fence, or body protections 
of quilted fabrics with metal, horn, and other materials added. 
Mention has been made in the chapter on the Transition of the 
Brigandine, which formed a very serviceable defence \\ithout being 

1 Boeheim, Meister der Waffenschmiedkunst; De Cosson, Arch. Journ., 
vol. xlviii. 

Fig. 32. Archer wearing jack. 
From the Beauchamp Pageants, 
fifteenth century. 


so unwieldy as the suit of plate. There are several of these 
brigandines in English and European armouries. These defences 
weigh as much as 18 lb., and are made of many small pieces of 
metal. An example in the Tower contains 1,164.^ Fig. 32, from 
the Beauchamp Pageants (Cotton MS., Julius E. iv), shows an 
archer of the year 1485 wearing the jack over a shirt of mail. 
The Jack was used by the rank and file, and was stuffed and 
wadded or composed of plates of metal or horn laced together with 
string between layers of leather or linen. 

1 Arch. Journ., Ix. 

E 2 


PLATE ARMOUR (1410-about 1600) 

It is so very rare to be able to fix the date of a suit of armour 
at a particular year that we are forced, in dividing our periods of 
defensive armour with any degree of minuteness, to have recourse 
to the records existing in monumental effigies. The earliest brasses 
which show the whole suit of plate without camail or jupon are 
those of one of the d'Eresby family at Spilsby, Lincolnshire, and 
of Sir John Wylcotes at Great Tew, Oxon., both dated 1410. In 
these brasses we find that the camail has become the Standard of 
Mail, or collarette, worn under the gorget of plate. The hauberk 
is seen beneath the faces and, in the former brass, in the ' ddfaut 
de la cuirasse ' , or unprotected part at the junction of arm and 
body. In the Great Tew brass this part is protected by oval 
plates which, as we have noticed in a preceding chapter, are 
called motons or besagues. Hewitt does not seem to have come 
across these terms in the course of his very minute investiga- 
tions, but calls them Croissants or Gouchets. He quotes a 
passage from Mathieu de Coucy's History of Charles VII (p. 560) 
which runs : — ' au-dessous du bras at au vif de son harnois, par 
faute et manque d'y avoir un croissant ou gouchet.' Haines, 
in his Monumental Brasses, mentions the moton, but assigns 
this name to a piece of plate rarely met with, shaped to fit 
under the right armpit only. With the disappearance of the 
jupon we see the body defence exposed to view. The breast- 
plate is globular in form, and below the waist we see the faces 
or laminated strips of plate overlapping each other, which at 
this early period were attached to a leather lining. As we 
have seen in the chapter on the Construction of Armour, at 


a ' later period these taces were held together by sliding rivets, 
which allowed a certain amount of vertical play. Plate armour, 
during the earlier years of the fifteenth century, was naturally 
in a somewhat experimental state, and we find frequent examples 
of the old forms and fashions in contemporary representations. 
About the year 1440 appears a distinct style, called ' Gothic ', 
which, of all types of defensive armour, is perhaps the most 
graceful. This term, ' Gothic,' is as inappropriate, in the rela- 
tion which it bore, to armour as to architecture ; but its use is so 
general that we must perforce adopt it for want of a better. 
The salient points of Gothic armour are the sweeping lines 
embossed on its surfaces (Plate VIII). The cuirass is generally 
made in two pieces, an upper and a lower, which allows more 
freedom for the body. From the taces are hung Tassets, ending 
in a point towards the lower edge. The later form of Gothic 
breastplate is longer, and the taces fewer in number. Armour 
was so frequently remade to suit later fashions, or, from lack of 
antiquarian interest, so often destroyed, that there is little of 
this Gothic armour existing in England, except those suits which 
have been acquired from the Continent by private collectors or 
public museums. Almost all of them are incomplete, or, if com- 
plete, have been restored — particularly the leg armour — at a recent 
date. Perhaps the finest example of this style is to be found on 
the ' Beauchamp ' effigy in St. Mary's Church, Warwick. Space 
will not allow of a full account of the documents connected with 
the making of this magnificent figure, which was executed by 
Will. Austin, a bronze-founder, and Bartholomew Lambespring, 
a goldsmith, in 1454, fifteen years after the death of the Earl. All 
these interesting details are given very fully in Blore's Monumental 
Remains. To students of the constructional side of armour this 
monument is particularly valuable because all the fastenings, 
rivets, and straps are conscientiously portrayed, not only on the 
front, but also at the back. Charles Stothard, the antiquary, when 
making drawings of the figure for his work on Monumental Effigies, 
turned it over and discovered this example of the care and technical 

70 PLATE ARMOUR chap, iv 

ability of the makers. The breastplate is short, and consequently 
the taces are more numerous than when the breastplate is longer. 
They consist of five lames. From the taces hang four tassets, 
two bluntly pointed in front, and two much shorter, and more 
sharply pointed, over the hip-bones. The taces are hinged at the 
side for convenience in putting on and off. The coudes are large 
and of the butterfly- wing type, and the soUerets * are of normal 
length. In many of the Gothic suits these soUerets, following the 
custom in civil dress, were extravagantly long and pointed. This 
form is called ' a la poulaine ', while the shorter kind are known 
as ' demi-poulaine '. 

Some writers are apt to confuse this term ' poulaine ' with 
' poleyne ', the knee-cop used in the earlier days of the Transition 
Period ; it is needless to point out that they are quite distinct. 
Baron de Cosson has put forward a most interesting theory in 
connexion with this effigy. He finds a close resemblance between 
the armour here portrayed and that shown in the picture of 
St. George, by Mantegna, in the Accademia at Venice. The Earl 
of Warwick, who is represented on this monument, is known to 
have been at Milan in his youth, and to have taken part in tourna- 
ments at Verona ; so it is more than probable that he ordered his 
armour from the Milanese armourers, of whom the famous Mis- 
saglia family were the chief craftsmen, and who made some fine 
suits of this Gothic style. 

The next distinctive style to be noticed is called the ' Maxi- 
milian '. It can hardly be said that this new design was evolved 
from the Gothic, though of necessity there must be a certain 
similarity between them, at least in constructional detail. It 
is more likely, when we consider the individuality of the young 
Maximilian, especially as recorded in Hans Burgkmair's Weiss- 
kunig, and his interest in every art, craft, and trade, that it 
was a fashion made, so to speak, to order. The Maximilian 
Period of armour may be said to last from about 1500 to 1540. 
It is distinguished by the radiating fluted channels that spread 
from a central point in the breastpiece, closely resembling the 

Plate VIII 

Armour of 
(i) Archduke Sigismond of Tyrol, 1470, 

{2) Louis XR' of France, 1680. 




flutings of the scallop-shell (Fig. 24). The main lines of the 
suit are heavier and more clumsy than those of the Gothic 
variety. The breastplate is shorter, globose in form, and made 
in one piece as distinct from the Gothic breastplate, which was 
generally composed of an upper and lower portion. The pauldrons 
are larger and the upstanding neck-guards more pronounced. The 

Fig. 33. Gothic suit. Turin 

Fig. 34. Maximilian suit. 
Armoury, 1523. 


coude and genouilliere are both smaller than in the Gothic suit, 
and fit more closely to the limbs. In imitation of the civilian dress 
the soUeret becomes shorter and broader in the toe. This variety 
is known as the ' bee de cane ' or ' bear-paw ' soleret. Some 
writers use the term Sabaton for the foot-defence of this period. 
This term is found (sabataynes) in the Hastings manuscript referred 
to in the preceding chapter. The pauldrons of the Maximilian 

74 PLATE ARMOUR chap, iv 

suit are generally of unequal size ; that for the right arm being 
smaller, to admit of the couching of the lance under the armpit 
(Fig. 34). The tassets are made in two or more pieces, connected 
with the strap and sliding rivet described in the preceding chapter. 
The fluting on the Maximilian armour is not without practical pur- 
pose, for, besides presenting the ' glancing ' surface, which has been 
before referred to, it gives increased strength and rigidity without 
much extra weight. A modern example of this is to be found in the 
corrugated iron used for roofing, which will stand far greater 
pressure than will the same thickness of metal used fiat. 

It is at this period of the history of defensive armour that we 
first find traces of that decadence which later on permeated every 
art and craft with its pernicious poison. It is to be found in the 
imitating of fabrics and also of the human face in metal. There 
exist suits of plate in many museums, both in England and on the 
Continent, in which the puffings and slashings of the civilian attire 
are closely copied in embossed metal, entirely destroying the 
important glancing surfaces on which we have laid such stress. It 
is alleged that this fashion in civilian dress was intended to suggest, 
by the cutting of the material to show an undergarment beneath, 
that the wearer was a fighting man who had seen rough service. 
If this be the case it is the more reprehensible that metal should 
be treated in a similar manner ; for hard usage would dent, but 
it would not tear. A portion of one of these debased suits is drawn 
on Fig. 42. 

It must not be supposed that all armour at this period was 
fluted. There was still a good deal which had a plain surface, 
and this plain armour continued to be used after the Maximilian 
armour had been given up. It may have been that the evil 
genius of the Renaissance pointed to the plain surfaces as ex- 
cellent fields for the skill of the decorator, a field which the 
strongly-marked flutings of the Maximihan armour could not 
offer. At first this decoration was confined to engraved borders, 
or, if the design covered the whole suit, it was so lightly engraved 
that the smooth surface was in no way impaired, though perhaps 


some of the dignified simplicity of the plain metal was lost. 
An instance of this proper application of ornament to armour is 
to be found in the ' Seusenhofer ' suit in the Tower (Plate VI), 
made to the order of the Emperor Maximilian for Henry VIII. 
It is one of the finest suits of this period in existence. The orna- 
ment is lightly engraved all over it, and includes representations 
of the legends of St. George and St. Barbara. Instead of faces 
and tassets the lower part of the body and the thighs are protected 
by steel Bases made in folds to imitate the skirts worn in civilian 
dress. It will be remembered that in the preceding chapter a con- 
versation between Seusenhofer and the young Maximilian was 
quoted, and when we study this suit carefully we feel that the 
young king did wisely in the choice of his master-armourer. 
The craftsman's Poin^on or mark is to be found at the back of the 

If space but permitted we might devote many pages to the work 
of the great armour-smiths as exemplified in the armouries of 
Madrid and Vienna. It is difficult, at this period of history, to 
generalize at aU satisfactorily. Each suit is, iji many ways, distinct 
from its neighbour, just as the character and personality of the 
wearers differed. The young Maximilian's words to Seusenhofer, 
'Arm me according to my own taste,' is true of every suit that we 
examine, for it is evident that each man had his own favourite 
fashion or, from physical necessity, was provided with some special 
variation from the usual form. An instance of this may be noted 
in the Barendyne helm at Haseley Church, near Thame, in which 
an extra plate has been added at the lower edge of the helm to 
suit the length of neck of the last wearer. 

As the experience of the armourer increased, and as the science 
of war developed, the armed man trusted more to the fixed defences 
of his person than to the more primitive protection of the rnovable 
shield. In the tilt-yard and also in war the mounted man en- 
deavoured to present his left side to his adversary. On considera- 
tion the reason for this will be plain, for the right arm was required 
to be free and, as far as possible, unhampered by heavy armour, but 

76 PLATE ARMOUR chap, iv 

the left arm, held at rest at the bridle, could be covered with as 
heavy defences as the wearer might choose. This form of unequal 
arming is well shown on the Frontispiece. The left shoulder wears 
a large pauldron with a high neck-guard, and the elbow wears the 
passe-guard which we have noticed in detail in the preceding 
chapter. The leg armour in this suit should be noticed, for it is 
extremely fine and graceful in line, and yet proclaims its material. 
The suit of Henry VIII (Plate VI) is a good specimen of armour 
of the MaximiHan period, but without the flutings which generally 
distinguish this style of plate. The neck-guards are high and the 
large coudes show the glancing surface plainly. This detail also 
is shown on the fan plates at the genouillieres, which in the Tower 
Inventories are called by the more English term ' knee-cops '. The 
bridle-hand of the rider wears the Manifer (main-de-fer). Those 
writers who still follow blindly the incorrect nomenclature of 
Meyrick give the name Mainfaire or Manefer to the Crinet or neck 
defence of the horse. How this absurd play upon words can ever 
have been taken seriously passes understanding. 

The manifer is solely the rigid iron gauntlet for the bridle-hand, 
where no sudden or complicated movement of the wrist or fingers 
was needed ; another instance of the difference in arming the two 
sides of the body. This difference of arming is more noticeable 
in the jousting armour, for in military sports, especially during 
the sixteenth century, the object of the contestants was to score 
points rather than to injure each other. We find, therefore, such 
pieces as the Grand-guard, and with it the Volant piece, the Passe- 
guard, the Poldermitton — so called from its likeness to the ' epaule 
de mouton ', and worn over the bend of the right arm — and the 
various reinforcing breastplates which were screwed on to the left 
side of the tilting suit to offer a more rigid defence and also to 
present additional glancing surface to the lance-point. In some 
varieties of joust a small wooden shield was fastened to the left 
breast, and when this was the case the heavy pauldron was dis- 
pensed with. The large Vamplate (Plate XI) sufficiently protected 
the right arm from injury. The Nuremberg suit (Plate VII) shows 


this form of arming for the joust. The great helm is firmly screwed 
to the back and breast, the two holes on the left side of the breast- 
plate are for the attachment of the shield, the rigid bridle-cuff 
covers the left hand, and the curved elbow-guard — this is not the 
passe-guard — protects the bend of the left arm as the poldermitton 
protects the right. The large circular disc defends the vif de I'har- 
nois, and is boucht' or notched at its lower end to allow the lance 
to be couched, resting on the curved lance-rest in front and lodged 
under the Queue at the back. The legs, in this variety of joust, 
were not armed ; for the object of the j ousters was to unhorse 
each other, and it was necessary to have perfect freedom in gripping 
the horse's sides. Sometimes a great plate of metal, curved to 
cover the leg, was worn to protect the wearer from the shock of 
impact. This was called the t)ilge, or Tilting Cuisse, which is shown 
on Plate VIII behind the figure of Count Sigismond, and also on 
Plate VII. The large-bowed saddle also was used for this end. 
There is one of these saddles in the Tower which measures nearly 
5 feet in height. Behind the saddle-bow are two rings which 
encircled the rider's legs. It is needless to point out that in this 
form of joust the object was to break lances and not to unhorse ; 
for, if the latter were intended, the rider stood a good chance of 
breaking his legs owing to his rigid position in the saddle. 

The Tonlet suit (Fig. 35) was used solely for fighting on foot. 
The bell-shaped skirt of plate was so constructed with the sliding 
rivets or straps which have been before referred to, that it could 
be pulled up and down. Sometimes the lower lame could be taken 
off altogether. When fighting with axes or swords in the lists this 
plate skirt presented a glancing surface to the weapon and pro- 
tected the legs. The tonlet is variously called by writers upon 
armour. Bases, Lamboys, or Jamboys ; of the two latter terms 
jamboys is the more correct. The Bases were originally the cloth 
skirts in vogue in civilian dress at the time of Henry VIII, and 
when defensive armour followed civilian fashion the name came 
to be applied to the steel imitation. 

Towards the end of the sixteenth century we find the weight 




of the war harness gradually decrease. The richly-ornamented 
suits which mark this period were in no way suited for any practical 
purpose and were used only for parades. Extended campaigns 
and long marches necessitated lighter equipment, and we find in 
contemporary records instances, not only of the men-at-arms dis- 
carding their armour owing to its inconvenience, but also of 

Fig. 35. Tonlet suit. 

Fig. 36. War suit, 1547. 
Vienna Armoury. 

commanders ordering them to lighten their equipment for greater 
rapidity of movement. Sir Richard Hawkins, in his Observations 
on his voyage into the South Sea (1593), writes: 'I had great 
preparation of armours as weU of proofe as of Hght corsletts, yet 
not a man would use them, but esteemed a pott of wine a better 
defence than an armour of proofe.' Again, Sir John Smythe, in 
his Instructions, Observations and Orders Militarie (1595), writes : 
. . . ' I saw but very few of that army (at the camp at Tilbury) 

Plate IX 

Design for a suit of armour for Sir Henry Lee, from the Almain Armourer's Album. 


that had any convenience of apparrell to arme withal.' Edward 
Davies, in i6ig, mentions the fact that men armed ' with a heavie 
shirt of mail and a burganet, by that time they have marched in 
the heat of summer or deepe of winter ten or twelve English miles, 
they are apt more to rest than readie to fight '. As early as the 
year 1364 we find that at the Battle of Auray Sir Hugh Calverley 
ordered his men to take off their cuisses that they might move 
more rapidly. In the armour of the late sixteenth century one 
of the chief points of difference from the former fashions is to be 
found in the cuisses. Whereas these defences were formerly made 
of one, or possibly two plates, we now find them laminated from 
waist to knee and joined by the strap and sliding rivet arrangement 
which we have noted in the arm defences and tassets. The tassets 
are now no longer used (Fig. 36). Very soon the jambs were given 
up in favour of buff boots, and when once this was established 
the next step was the half suit which will be noticed in a succeeding 

After the fourteenth century the great helm was but seldom 
used for war, but for jousting it was still retained, and, as this 
form of military sport was practised more scientifically, so the 
weight and shape of the helm were made to suit the necessary con- 
ditions. The Brocas helm (Plate V) is the finest example of 
English helm of this period ; it weighs 22 lb. The other known 
examples of home manufacture are the Westminster helm, which 
was discovered in the Triforium of Westminster Abbey in 1869, and 
weighs 17 lb. 12 oz. ; the Dawtray helm at Petworth (21 lb. 8 oz.) ; 
the Barendyne helm at Haseley, near Thame (13I lb.) ; the Fogge 
helm at Ashford, Sussex (241b.); the Wallace helm, in the collec- 
tion at Hertford House (17 lb.) ; and the great headpiece in the 
possession of Captain Lindsay of Sutton Courtenay, Abingdon, 
which turns the scale at 25 lb. 14 oz. It will be seen from the weight 
of these helms that they could only be used for the jousting course 
and were put off on the first opportunity. The details of their 
construction have been noticed in Chapter III. 

On referring to Plate V it will be seen that the bascinet was the 


82 PLATE ARMOUR chap, iv 

precursor of the Salade, which may be considered the typical 
headpiece of the fifteenth century. The rear peak of the bascinet 
is prolonged over the neck, and in a later form of German origin 
the peak is hinged to allow the wearer to throw back his head with 
ease. The ocularium, or vision slit, is sometimes cut in the front 
of the salade, but more often it is found in a pivoted visor which 
could be thrown back. The Beavor is generally a separate piece 
strapped round the neck or, in tilting, bolted to the breastplate. 
Some writers caU this the Mentoniere, but this name should rather 
be apphed to the tilting breastplate which also protected the 
lower portion of the face. Shakespeare uses the term beavor very 
loosely, and frequently means by it the whole helmet. 

The German 'Schallern', or salade, so called from its shell-like 
form, seems to have been evolved from the chapel-de-fer or war- 
hat by contracting the brim at the sides and prolonging it at the 
back. In fact, in Chastelain's account of the fight between Jacques 
de Lalain and Gerard de Roussillon the salade worn by Messire 
Jacques is described as ' un chapeau de fer d'ancienne fa9on ' } 
The salade was often richly decorated. Baron de Cosson, in the 
preface to the Catalogue of Helmets exhibited at the Archaeological 
Institute in June, 1880^, instances a salade made for the Duke of 
Burgundy in 1443, which was valued at 10,000 crowns of gold. 
More modest decoration was obtained by covering the salade with 
velvet and fixing ornaments over this of gilded iron or brass. 
There are several of these covered salades in the various collections 
in England and on the Continent. Sometimes the salade was 
painted, as we see in an example in the Tower. 

The Armet, or close helmet, followed the salade, and is men- 
tioned by Oliver de la Marche as early as 1443.^ The name is 
supposed to be a corruption of ' heaumet ', the diminutive of 
' heaume', the great helm of the fourteenth century.* Whereas the 
salade is in form a hat-like defence, the armet fits the head closely 

'- G. Chastelain, p. 679. - Arch. Jonrn., xxxvii. 

^ Oliver de la Marche, p. 288. 

* N.E. Diet, gives Armette, a diminutive of Arme. Armez is also found. 


and can only be put on by opening the helmet, as is shown on 
Plate Y and Fig. 31. The various parts of the armet have been 
already described in Chapter III. The armet does not appear in 
monumental effigies in England before the reign of Henry VIIL 
The English were ne\'er in a hurry to take up new fashions in 
armour ; being to a large extent dependent on the work of foreign 
craftsmen, they seem to have waited to prove the utility of an 
innovation before adopting it. Against this, however, we must 
place the fact that in the picture at Hampton Court of the meeting 
of Henry VIH and [Maximilian, the English are all shown wearing 
armets, while the Germans still wear the salade. The armet on 
the Seusenhofer suit in the Tower, which has been noticed in this 
chapter, is a verv perfect example of this stvle of headpiece. 

The Burgonet is an open helmet, and, as the name implies, of 
Burgundian origin. To those students who consult [Nleyrick it is 
advisable to give a word of warning as to this author's theory of 
the burgonet. He assumes that it is a variety of the armet, but 
with a grooved collar which fitted over the gorget. His authority 
for this assertion is a single reference in the Origines des Chevaliers 
Armorit's et Heraiix, by Fauchet.'- Space will not allow of the in- 
vestigation of this authority, but Baron de Cosson in the Catalogue 
above quoted effectively disposes of [Meyrick's theory.^ The salient 
points of the burgonet, as may be seen on Plate V, are the Umbril 
or brim projecting over the eyes, and the upstanding comb or (in 
some cases) three combs that appear on the skull-piece. In the 
best examples these combs are forged with the skull out of one 
piece of metal, a totir de force in craftsmanship that could hardly 
be surpassed. The ear-flaps are hinged at the sides, and at the 
base of the skuU is fixed the Panache, or plume-holder. The face- 
guard, when used ^\ith the burgonet, is called the Buffe,^ and, like 
the beavor worn with the salade, is held in place by a strap round 
the neck. This form of helmet was chiefly used by light cavalry. 

1 Paris, 1606, fol. 42. See Cat. of Helmets, Arch. Jouni., xxxvii. 

- Arch. Journ., xxxvii. 

^ The term Bufe is sometimes wrongly used for the upright shoulder-guards 
on the pauldron. 

F 2 




The Morion and the Cabasset are both helmets worn by foot- 
soldiers, and appear about the middle of the sixteenth century. 
The cabasset is generally to be distinguished by the curious little 
point projecting from the apex. Often the comb and upturned 
brim of the morion are extravagant in form and tend to make the 
helmet exceedingly heavy and inconvenient. 

The shields of the fifteenth and sixteenth century were more 
for display than for use, except in the tilt- 
yard. As we have seen, the development 
of plate armour, especially on the left side, 
made the shield not only unnecessary, but 
also inconvenient. In the joust, however, 
where it was important that the lance 
should find no hold on a vital part of the 
body, such as the juncture of the arm, the 
shield was used to glance the weapon off, 
or, where unhorsing was the object, it was 
ribbed with diagonally crossing ridges to 
give the lance-point a surer hold. The 
Pavis or Pavoise (Fig. 37) was more 
generally used by archers and crossbowmen as a cover. A good 
specimen of the pavis exists in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, 
and there are two large examples of heavier make with peepholes 
for the archer, and wooden props as shown in our illustration, at 
Brussels and Berlin. 

Fig. 37. Pavis. Cotton MS 
Julius E. iv, 1485. 




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1' «ip^' ' >"'^)-::; \ 

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.^' ■■'■ V 

-'''"^ imp* j*£^^j^^4 


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The fully-equipped knight, whether in the cumbrous garments 
of mail or in the more adaptable suit of plate, was so entirely 
dependent on his horse, both in active warfare and in the tilt-yard, 
that some notice of the defences of the Destrier or war-horse is 
necessary in this short examination of the history of defensive 
armour. On the Bayeux Tapestry there is no suggestion of armour 
of any kind upon the horses, but \Ya.ce writes in the Roman de 
Rou (Une 12,627) — 

Vint Williame li filz Osber 
Son cheval tot covert de fer. 

We should remember, however, that ^^'ace wrote in the second 
half of the twelfth century and, like the other chroniclers of the 
Middle Ages, both in picture and text, portrayed his characters 
in the dress of his own time. The Trapper of mail shown on 
Fig. 38 is taken from Stothard's drawing of one of the paintings in 
the Painted Chamber at \A^estminster, now destroyed.^ These decora- 
tions are supposed to have been executed about the year 1237. 
Here the horse is shown covered with a most inconvenient housing 
of mail, which can hardly have been in very general use, in this 
particular form at any rate ; for it would be almost impossible for 
a horse to walk, let alone to trot or gallop, with such a defence. 
The textile trapper was, of course, lighter, and was used merely 
for ornament and display, though it may have been designed, as 
the surcoat was, to protect the mail defence beneath from wet. 

Jean Chartier, in his Histoire de Charles VI (p. 257), states that 
sometimes these rich trappings or housings were, after the death 
of their owner, bequeathed to churches, where they were used for 
1 Monumenta Vetusta, vol. vi. 



altar hangings, or inversely, when trappings were needed, the 
churches were despoiled of their embroideries to provide them. 

The mailed horse appears as early as the Roman period, and is 
shown on the Column of Trajan, but in Europe he does not seem 
to have been commonly in use much before the thirteenth century. 
As the man was sometimes defended entirely by garments of 
quilted fabrics, so the horse also wore pourpointed housings. We 
can only surmise, from the folds and lines shown on seals or draw- 
ings, which variety is intended ; but the stiff lines of the housing 

Fig. 38. Trapper of Mail, from 
the Painted Ctiamber, Westminster, 
thirteenth century. 

Fig. 39. Ivory chessman, from 
Hewitt's Ancient Armour, fourteenth 

on the seal of Roger de Quinci, Earl of Winchester (1219-64), and 
its raised lozenges, seem to suggest a thicker substance than does 
the more flowing drapery on Fig. 11. Matthew Paris, in describing 
the Battle of Nuova Croce in 1237, writes that ' A credible ItaUan 
asserted that Milan with its dependencies raised an army of six 
thousand men-at-arms with iron-clad horses '. An ordinance of 
Philip the Fair, in 1303, provides that every holder of an estate 
of 500 Hvres rental should furnish a man at-arms well mounted on 
a horse ' convert de couvertures de fer ou de couverture pour- 
pointe'. The caparisoned horse first appears on royal seals in the 




reign of Edward I. In the Roll of Purchases of Windsor Park 
Tournament (1278), the horses are provided with parchment crests, 
and the Clavones or rivets used for fixing these crests are 
mentioned in the ^^"ardrobe Accounts of Edward I in 1300 : 
' cum clavis argenti pro eodem capello.' The earliest note we 
have of a rigid defence for the horse is in the Windsor Roll, 
which contains the following item : — ' D Milon le Cuireur xxxviij 


FiG. 40. Horse armour, a, Chamfron ; B, Crinet ; c, Peytral ; d, Flanchards ; 
E, Argon ; f, Cantel ; G, Crupper ; h, Tail-guard ; j, Metal rein-guard ; 
K, Glancing-knob. 

copita cor de similitud' capit equoz.' This headpiece was of 
leather, either used in its natural state or as cuirbouilli, and 
seems to be the material suggested in the ivory chessman (Fig. 39) 
illustrated in Hewitt (vol. ii, p. 314). In the Will of the Earl of 
Surrey (1347) is mentioned a breastpiece of leather for a horse. 
In the fifteenth century we find the horse protected with plate 
like his rider, and usually the lines of the Barding or horse 
armour follow those of the man. Fig. 40 shows the armed 
horse with the various portions of his defence named. 

The Chamfron is sometimes provided with hinged cheek-plates 

90 HORSE ARMOUR chap, v 

and usually has a holder for a plume. On the forehead are often 
shown the arms of the owner or a tapered spike. Angellucci, in 
his preface to the Catalogue of the Turin Armoury, differentiates 
between the chamfron (tesera) and the Frontale or plate protecting 
the front of the head alone. There are fine suits of Gothic horse 
armour both in the Musee d'Artillerie in Paris and also in the 
Wallace Collection at Hertford House. The latter is one of the 
best-arranged mounted suits in existence. The different pieces 
of the horse armour bear the delicate sweeping lines embossed on 
the surface in the same way that the armour of the man is treated. 
The restored linings of leather and skin show how the horse was 
protected from the chafing of the metal. The Peytral or Poitrel 
is hung from the neck and withers, and is frequently provided with 
large bosses, called Bossoirs, Pezoneras, or Glancing-knobs , to direct 
the lance-thrust away from the horse. It is often hinged in three 
pieces. The Flanchards hang from the saddle on either side, and 
are sometimes, as on Plate IV and the Frontispiece, curved upwards 
in the centre to admit of the use of the spur. The back of the 
horse is protected by the Croupiere or Crupper, which is made up 
of several pieces riveted or hinged together. The root of the tail 
is covered by a tubular plate called the Gardequeue, which is often 
moulded into the form of a dragon or dolphin. All these plates 
were lined with leather or wadded with cotton to prevent chafing. 
Often, however, cuirbouilH was used instead of metal and was richly 
decorated with painting and gilding. A picture of the Battle of 
Pavia in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, shows many of these 
painted bards, and the same material is doubtless intended in the 
relief of the Battle of Brescia on the Visconti monument at Pavia. 
These leather bards have entirely disappeared and are not to be 
found in any collections except for a portion of a crupper of this 
material in the Tower. The saddle, with its high Arciones or 
peaks, back and front, was in itself an efficacious protection for 
the waist and loins. The term Cantle is sometimes used for either 
plate, but it is generally accepted as the name for the rear peak. 
Both this part and the front plate are often covered with metal. 


The great jousting saddles have been noticed in the preceding 
chapter. The reins are protected from being cut by hinged plates, 
as shown on Plate X.^ 

These pieces constitute the armour of the horse as usually 
found in museums and in painting and sculpture. There is, how- 
ever, in the Zeughaus in Vienna a curious portrait of Harnisch- 
meister Albrecht, dated 1480. The horse on which he rides is armed 
completely with plate except for an aperture in the flanchards 
for using the spur. The legs are covered with hinged and bolted 
defences very similar to those of the armour for men. It might be 
supposed that this was but a fantastic idea of the painter, if 
Viscount Dillon had not discovered a Cuissard, or thigh-piece, which 
much resembles those shown on the picture, in the Musee de la 
Porte de Hal, Brussels. In the days of the Decadence, when the 
craft of the armourer was to a great extent overwhelmed by the 
riotous fancy of the decorator, the horse shared with his rider in 
this display. The armour shown on Plate X, known as the 
Burgundian armour from the badges of the Emperor Maximilian 
which adorn it, does not offend in this respect, because the 
embossing serves to give rigidity to the metal without interfering 
with its defensive qualities. The same may be said of the barding 
shown on the Frontispiece, but on Plate IV the loss of dignity in 
line, and the embossed hemisphere — which, for its purpose, should 
be smooth — show the beginning of the decay in constructional 
skill. The highly ornamented pageant armour made for the 
Elector Christian II, now in the Dresden Museum, though extra- 
ordinarily perfect in workmanship, should be classed rather as the 
work of goldsmith or sculptor than as that of the armourer. 

^ This is not the ' garde-rein ' See p. 62. 



In the practice of any of the crafts, or apphed arts as they are 
now called, the surest and most manifest signs of decadence are 
to be found in two aspects of that craft. The first of these is that 
which refers to the material used. With regard to armour this 

consideration is faithfully adhered to in most 
examples of the armourer's work up to the 
end of the fifteenth century ; but by the 
beginning of the sixteenth century we find 
the craftsman becoming wearied of his 
technical perfection and the simplicity and 
constructional dignity which invariably ac- 
companies such perfection. His efforts are 
now directed to fashioning his metal into 
such forms as in no way suggest his material, 
but only show a certain meretricious skill 
in workmanship. Fig. 41 shows a very 
favourite form of this artistic incoherence. The defensive properties 
of the helmet are in no way increased, but rather are annulled by 
presenting hollows and projections where before a smooth surface 
existed. It is superfluous to point out the grotesque and bizarre 
effect of this human face in metal.'- Another instance of this 
wilful disregard of material is to be noticed in those suits which 
imitate the puffed and slashed dress in fashion for civilian wear 
during the sixteenth century. Many of these suits exist in English 
and European armouries, which proves that they were popular, 

^ That this fashion in hehnets was a general one we may judge from the fact 
that most armouries possess examples of these human-faced helmets. 

Fig. 41. Grotesque 
helmet, sixteenth century. 




but to the true craftsman there is something degrading in the efforts 
of the expert ironworker, expending his energies, not to produce 
a finely constructed piece of work, but rather to imitate the seams 
and pipings of the work of a tailor or dressmaker ; and, however 
much we may admire his technical skill, we must, perforce, place 
his artistic aspirations side by side with the ' grainer and marbler ' 
who was so conspicuous a factor in domestic decoration in the 
middle of the nineteenth century. 
Fig. 42 shows this decadence carried 
to its furthest pitch. By the middle 
of the sixteenth century the Renais- 
sance, which had been, in the first 
instance, the birth of all that is best 
in European art and craftsmanship, 
became a baneful influence. The 
expert painter, having mastered the 
intricacies of his art, turned them 
into extravagant channels and ex- 
aggerated action ; foreshortened 
figures and optical illusions took the 
place of the dignified compositions of 
the earher period. Nor could the 
crafts escape this deadly poison. To 
the credit of the craftsmen we may 
hope that the luxurious indulgence 

and ostentatious display of the princely patron was the cause of 
decadence in the crafts, rather than the inclination of the workers 
themselves. Still the fact remains that, as soon as the plain and 
constructionally sound work began to be overspread with orna- 
ment, architecture, metal-work, wood-carving, and all the allied arts 
began to be debased from their former high position. With the 
decoration of armour its practical utility began to decline. It 
must be admitted, however, that one reason for the decoration 

^ This suit is shown with the brayette attached ; which for obvious reasons 
is exhibited in most armouries separate from the suit. 

Fig. 42. Puffed suit, sixteenth 
century. Vienna.^ 

94 THE DECADENCE chap, vi 

was that armour was, by degrees, less and less used for war and only 
retained for pageant, joust, and parade in which personal display 
and magnificence were demanded. 

The engraved and inlaid suits of the late sixteenth and seven- 
teenth centuries, although they offend the craftsman's eye as does 
the decorated bicycle of the Oriental potentate to-day, do not 
transgress that important law, on which so much stress has been 
laid, of offering a glancing surface to the opposing weapon. It is 

when we come to the embossed 
suits with their hollows and pro- 
jections that we find the true 
character of armour lost and the 
metal used only as a material for 
exhibiting the dexterity of the 
workman without any considera- 
tion for its use or construction. 
This interference with the glanc- 
ing surface is noticeable in the 

Fig. 43. Casque after Negroli, six- suit illustrated in Fig. 42, but 
teenth century. Paris. ^^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^^ -^ ^^^^ ^^^^^^^ -^ 

that the designer had reason for his embossing of the metal — if 
the imitation of the puffed suit was to be carefully portrayed. 
The same, however, cannot be urged for those suits which are 
simply covered with ornament with no purpose, little meaning, 
and less composition or design. If we set aside our opinions as 
to the suitability of the ornament, we are compelled to admire the 
wonderful technical skill which produced such pieces as the suit 
made for King Sebastian of Portugal by Anton Pfeffenhauser of 
Augsburg, and now in the Madrid Armoury. Here every deity 
of Olympus, the allegorical figures of Justice, Strength, and the 
Cardinal Virtues, crowd together with Navigation, Peace, and 
Victory ; Roman warriors fighting with elephants are found among 
Amorini, Satyrs, and Tritons ; while every inch of the metal not 
devoted to this encyclopaedia of history and legend is crowded 
with fohage and scroll-work of that debased and unnatural form 




which has become the branding mark of this period of the 

It \W11 be sufficient to give one example of this prostitution 
of art and craftsmanship. This helmet after Xegroh (Fig. 43), 
and a similar example, signed by Negroli, at Madrid, show how 
the canons of the armourer's craft were ignored at this period. It 

Fig. 44. Pageant shield, sixteenth century. Vienna. 

is true that the casque still provides a metal covering for the 
head, and that the comb gives an additional protection to the 
skull, but when we examine the embossed figures at the side — and 
marvellously good the embossing is — we find lodgements for the 
sword or spear which would most certainly help to detach the 
helmet from its wearer. As to the comb, it may fairly be cited as 
an example of all that is artistically worst in the late Renaissance. 
Its technical merits only emphasize this. The warrior. is laid on 
his back to suit the required shape of the helmet, and to give point 

96 THE DECADENCE chap, vi 

to his position his hair is held by two figures whose attributes 
seem to suggest that intercrossing of birds, beasts, and fishes which 
delighted the decadent mind of the~period. The figures are human 
to the waist and end in a dolphin's tail. Angels' wings spring 
from their shoulders and leopards' claws from the junction of tail 
and waist. Not content with this outrage to the dignity of art, 
the craftsman ends his warrior in an architectural base which has 
not even the slight merit of probability which the tail of the merman 
might offer. In short it is an example of technical skill at its 
highest, and artistic perception at its lowest point. The shield 
from the Vienna collection (Fig. 44) is another example, like King 
Sebastian's suit, of meaningless decoration. The strapwork does 
not in any way follow the lines of the shield, and the female figures 
seem to be introduced only to show that the craftsman could 
portray the human form in steel as easily as he could the more 
conventional ornament. 

As the armourer, weary of constructional skill, turned to 
ornament as a means of showing to what further extent his powers 
could expand, so, with this change in his point of view, his con- 
structional skill itself declined. The headpiece, which in the 
golden age of the armourer was forged in as few pieces as possible, 
is in the late seventeenth century made of many pieces, as the 
art of skilful forging declines. The ingenious articulations of the 
soleret are changed, and the foot is cased in plates which, over- 
lapping only in one direction, preclude the easy movement of the 
wearer. The fine lines of leg and arm defences, which in the 
fifteenth and sixteenth century follow the shape of the limbs, give 
place to straight tubular plates which can only be likened to the 
modern stove-pipe. The grace and symmetry of the Gothic suit 
shown on Plate VIII, especially the leg armour, exemplify this 
merit of the best period of armour, while the suit made for 
Louis XIV, and the gilt suit of Charles I in the Tower, offend in 
the opposite direction. Another sure indication of the decadence 
of the craftsman is to be found in the imitation of constructional 
detail with no practical purpose. Examples of this may be seen 


in late seventeenth-century armour, where a single plate is 
embossed to represent several overlapping plates or lames, and also 
in the plentiful use of ' clous perdus ' or false rivets which are 
scattered broadcast on some suits in places where no rivets are 

To turn from the degradation of the simplicity and constructional 
perfection of armour to the reasons which led to its gradual disuse, 
we find that, after the Gothic period, armour became heavier, 
partly because of the shock tactics in vogue on active service and 
partly because, in the case of jousting armour, strength and great 
weight were needed to protect the wearer from vital injury, and 
partly because the improvement of firearms necessitated extra 
defence. The temper of the metal used was such that it would 
resist a pistol shot, as we have noticed in Chapter III ; and on 
examining the surface of the metal we find, as in the Pembridge 
helm, that it is of so fine a texture that a modern knife will not 
leave a scratch when testing it. Therefore we must regard the 
weight of armour as one of the chief reasons for its disuse. Again, 
mihtary tactics necessitated forced marches and longer expeditions 
than before ; or at any rate it was discovered that when 
engaging in long expeditions the troops were chafed and hindered 
by their armour. It is somewhat curious to note that as the leg 
was the first part of the body to be armed with plate, so the leg 
armour was the first to be discarded. The jambs were the first 
pieces to go, and were replaced, in the case of the mounted man, 
by thick buff leather boots. The tassets were prolonged to the 
knee or — to describe this portion of the armour in a different way — 
the cuisses themselves were formed of riveted lames and the 
tassets discarded. 

The helmet at the latter end of the seventeenth century is 
generally open and of the burgonet type. The breastplate 
is usually short and projects downwards at the lower portion 
after the fashion of the ' peascod ' doublet of civilian wear. As 
early as 1586^ at the siege of Zutphen, we find officers discarding 
their armour and keeping only the cuirass. From the Hatfield MSS. 





we learn that a penny a day was allowed to each soldier in 1590, 
over and above his pay, for the wearing and carriage of his armour, 
because it had become the custom for the troops to give their 
accoutrements to the baggage-carriers when on the march : 
' a matter both unseemly for soldiers and also very hurtful unto the 
armour by bruising and breaking thereof, whereby it becometh 
unserviceable.' In Cruso's Militarie Instructions for the Cavallrie 
(1632), we find that the arquebusiers had wholly left off their 
armour in favour of buff coats. Turner's Pallas Armata (1670) 
mentions the armour of officers as ' a headpiece, 
a corslet and a gorget, the captain having a 
plume of feathers in his helmet, the lieutenant 
not '. Further on we read, ' now the feathers 
you may peradventure find, but the headpiece 
for the most part is laid aside.' Fig. 45 shows 
that half armour was still worn during the 
Commonwealth, but by the Restoration very 
little was retained except for ceremonial use. 
As far as can be gleaned from contemporary 
letters and histories, Charles I never wore either 
the somewhat cumbrous gilt suit which is shown 
at the Tower or the more graceful half suit of 
blued steel in which Vandyke represented him in 
his equestrian portrait. All the metal defence we 
can be sure he actually wore is a steel broad-brimmed hat covered 
with velvet. The headpiece used by the cavalry during the Civil 
War is of the same type as No. 11 on Plate IV, a variety of the 
burgonet with a movable nasal. The breastplate continued to be 
worn during the wars of Marlborough, but that, too, was discarded 
when the efficacy of the musket proved its uselessness. The last 
survival of plate armour is to be found in the gorget. This became 
smaller as the uniform was changed, and in the end was simply 
a small crescent of brass hung at the neck. It was worn by infantry 
officers up to the year 1830, at which date it was given up in 

Fig. 45. Cromwellian 
pikeman. Tower. 


The last official use of full plate armour was at the Coronation 
of George TV, when the King's Champion, Dymoke, entered West- 
minster Hall and threw down the gauntlet to challenge those who 
disputed the King's right to the crown. The suit worn on this 
occasion belonged originally to Sir Christopher Hatton, Captain of 
the Guard to Queen EUzabeth, and was made by Jacobe,^. whose 
designs for armour have been referred to in Chapter HI. The suit 
is now in the Guard Room at Windsor. The Guardia Nobile of 
the Pope still wear the picturesque half armour of the sixteenth 
century. The cuirass and helmet of the Household Cavalry of the 
present day are not survivals, for they were introduced at the 
time of the Coronation of George IV. 

The study of defensive armour and weapons must of necessity 
need much careful comparison of examples and investigation of 
documentary evidence, but, even when undertaken only super- 
ficially, it will add greatly to the interest of modern history and of 
the arts of war. Costume can only be studied from pictorial and 
sculptured records, but in the case of armour we have, after 
a certain period, actual examples not only of historical but also of 
personal interest. With modern methods of arrangement and 
with the expert care of those most learned in this subject these 
examples will be an ever-present record which may be examined 
with more interest than might be bestowed upon many branches 
of the applied arts ; because, in addition to the interest centred 
in the personality of the wearers, we have the sure signs of the 
master-craftsman which are always evident in good craftsmanship, 
and, not infrequently, the sign-manual of the worker himself. 

^ Considered to be the same as Topf. 

G 2 



The Sword. At the time of the Conquest the sword was 
straight, broad in blade, two-edged and pointed. The Quillons 
were straight and the grip ended in a Pommel which, as far as we 

Fig. 46. Sword-hilts. 

can judge from illustrated records, was square, round, lozenge- 
shaped or tref oiled (Fig. 46). There is not much change in the 
general lines of the sword during the twelfth century except in the 
form of the pommel. 

In the thirteenth century the point, instead of starting abruptly 




at the extreme end of the blade, is of a more gradual form, showing 
that the use of the sword for thrusting was more general than in 
the previous centuries. The Grip seems to be very short for the 
proper balance of the weapon, if we may judge from those shown 
on Plate III, i, 2, 3. 

The quillons curve upwards towards the point and the pommel 
is frequently decorated with the badge or arms of the owner. The 
symbol of the Cross is frequently found on the sword-pommel. At 
this period the handle and scabbard are frequently enriched with 

Fig. 47. A, Pommel ; b, Grip ; c, Knuckle- 
bow ; D, D, Quillons ; e, Counter-guard ; F, Pas 
d'ane ; g, Riccisso ; h, Blade. 

Fig. 48. Schiavona. 

ornamental metal-work set with gems, as we find on the monument 
of King John in Worcester Cathedral. The cruciform shape of 
the sword-hilt continues through the fourteenth century without 
much radical change in its construction, but in the fifte'^nth 
century we find the 'Pas d'ane', which is formed of two rings 
curving above the quillons on each side of the Ricasso, or squared 
part of the blade above the hilt (Fig. 47). It is usual to describe 
the sword as it is held for use in the hand ; that is, with the point as 
the highest part and the pommel as the lowest. After the fifteenth 
century sword-play began to be studied as a science, and we find 
that, besides being used for offensive purposes, the sword-hilt was 




SO designed as to be a defence in itself. From this we get all the 
guards and counterguards, which are so varied and intricate that 
it would require more space than is at our disposal to treat of 
them with any degree of completeness. 

The type of sword that was thus developed by practice in its 
use was purely for thrusting purposes. The sword for cutting 

alone is generally simpler in form. The 
Cutilax, Falchion, Dussack, and Cutlas 
are all weapons of this order and 
generally have a simple hilt. The 
modern Claymore is really an adapta- 
tion of the Italian Schiavona (Fig. 48), 
and is in no way derived from the 
Claymore proper, the Two-hand sword 
of the Middle Ages. This great weapon, 
often as much as 6 feet in length from 
point to pommel, was used by foot- 
soldiers, and special military arrange- 
ments were made for the space given to 
its users, who required a good sweeping 
distance between each man (Fig. 49). 
The Hand-and-half sword is a variety 
of cross-hilted sword, in which the grip 
is sujB&ciently long for two or three 
fingers of the left hand to be used to assist the right hand in 
delivering a swinging cut. 

The early Dagger is of much the same form as the sword ; it 
was worn on the right side with the sword on the left. One 
variety of the dagger was called the Misericorde. It was finely 
pointed and, as its name grimly impHes, was intended to penetrate 
the joints of the armour to give the coup de grace to the fallen 
knight. The Main-gauche is also of the dagger order, but has 
a broad knuckle-guard and long straight quillons. It was used 
in conjunction with the rapier in duels with the point upwards, 
more as a means of warding off the sword-thrust than for 

Fig. 49. Two-hand sword. 


actual stabbing. The Anelace and Cinquedea are broad-bladed 
short weapons used for stabbing only. The Baselard was the 
short sword carried by civilians in the fifteenth century. 

Of staff weapons the principal is, of course, the Lance. At the 
time of the Conquest and up to the fourteenth century the shaft 
of the lance was of even thickness with lozenge- or leaf-shaped 
point. During the fourteenth century we find the shaft swelling 
just above the grip and then tapering below it. Plate XI, 14, 
shows the lance provided with a vamplate or shield, which pro- 
tected the hand and made the right gauntlet unnecessary. Tilting 
lances are sometimes as much as 15 feet in length, and one specimen 
in the Tower weighs 20 lb. An engraving by Lucas Cranach (1472- 
1553). which depicts a tourney or melee of knights, shows the 
combatants preceded by squires on horseback who support these 
weighty lances till the moment of impact, when, it is presumed, 
they moved aside out of danger. The lance-point was sharp for 
active service, but for tournaments it was supposed to be blunted. 
This practice, however, was so often neglected that ordinances 
were framed enjoining the use of the Coronal or trefoiled button, 
which is shown on Plate XI, 15. 

The other long-shafted staff weapons may be divided into those 
for stabbing and those for cutting. The Gisarme is a long- 
handled weapon which some writers consider to have been much 
the same as the Pole-axe. From Wace we learn that it was sharp, 
long, and broad.'- It was in all probability a primitive form 
of the Bill. This was also a broad-bladed weapon and was used 
only by foot-soldiers. It seems to have been evolved from the 
agricultural scythe. The Godendag was the name given by the 
Flemings to the Halbard. It had an axe-blade with .curved 
or straight spikes at the back and a long point to terminate the 
shaft. In this detail it differed from the pole-axe. The halbard 
proper was used as early as the thirteenth century and appears 
in the designs from the Painted Chamber at Westminster figured 

^ ' . . granz gisarmes esmolues' {Roman de Ron, 1. 12907). 
' . . . gisarmes lunges e lees' (ib., 1. 13431). 


by Stothard.^ From the seventeenth century onwards it was used 
only for ceremonial purposes and was richly decorated. It was 
carried on parade by infantry drum-majors in England as late as 
1875. It was much favoured by the Swiss, who armed the front 
rank of the footmen with this weapon. Those used for parade 
purposes are elaborately engraved on the blades, while the shafts 
are often covered with velvet and studded with gilded nails. These 
ornate weapons are used still by the Gentlemen-at-Arms on State 
occasions. The Voulge is a primitive weapon evolved from an 
agricultural implement of the same class as the liedging bill in use 
at the present day. The Lochaber axe is of much the same form ; 
its distinguishing feature being the hook at the top of the shaft, 
which was used in scaling walls. The Glaive is also a broad-bladed 
weapon, but where the bill and gisarme are more or less straight 
towards the edge, the glaive curves backwards. It is often to be 
found richly engraved for show purposes. In French writings the 
word glaive is sometimes loosely used for lance or sword. 

The stabbing or thrusting long-shafted weapons include the 
Lance, Spear, and Javelin. After these the most important is the 
Pike. This is very similar to the spear, but was used exclusively 
by foot-soldiers. In the seventeenth century it was carried by 
infantry interspersed among the arquebusiers. There are several 
works on pike-drill and treatises on its management. Lord Orrery, 
in his Ari of W^ar, comments on the differences in length and recom- 
mends that all should be i6|^ feet long. The shaft was made of 
seasoned ash and the head was fastened with two cheeks of iron, 
often 4 feet long, which ran down the shaft to prevent the head 
being cut off by cavalry. At the butt-end was a spike for sticking 
into the ground when resisting cavalry. In a treatise entitled The A rt 
of Training (1662) directions are given that the 'grip' of the shaft 
should be covered with velvet to afford a sure hold for the hand. 
This grip was caUed the Armin. There are also suggestions that 
a tassel should be fixed midway to prevent the rain running down 
the shaft and so causing the hand to shp. When we consider that 

1 Monumenta Vetusta, vol. vi. 

Plate XI 

LVotd^z Z.Malbard -3. Glaive ii..Raaszz^n or Spzbum. 5.PaPtizaa 6. 5pOQ.toon_ 
7. Oisarm.e 8. Pike 9. Aace 10. Lochiaber axz II. Pola axe 12. Holy Water spnoklzp 
15. Bill l^. Lance aad Varnplate 15. Lance poiobs for wan aad jou5b,/Aadpid 
tS.Secttoascf Laace shafts, Tower. 




the pikeman had to keep the cavahy at bay while the arquebusier 
was reloading — a lengthy process — we can understand the impor- 
tance of these regulations. The pike was carried by the colour- 
sergeants in the British Army at the beginning of the nineteenth 
century, and was last used in the French Army in 1789. The 
Spontoon is a species of half-pike, which was carried by the colour- 
sergeants in the British Army up to the end of the eighteenth 
century, if not longer. The Spetum and the Ranseur are often 
confused. The names are usually given to those weapons which 
have sharp lateral projections fixed at a more or 
less acute angle to the point. They could not be 
used for cutting, but used for thrusting they 
inflicted terrible wounds. The Partizan is some- 
what of the same order, but is known best in 
museums in its decorated form as used in 
ceremonial parades. These show- weapons were 
used by the Judge's guard in Oxford up to 
1875, and are still carried by the Yeomen of 
the Guard on State occasions. 

The Bayonet, although introduced in France 
in 1647, is so essentially a part of the firearm 
that we need do no more than mention it 
among the thrusting weapons. The scope of this work will not 
allow of any notice of firearms ; that subject, owing to modern 
developments, is too wide to be treated in a few sentences. 

Of short-handled weapons the Club or Mace is to be found 
on the Bayeux Tapestry, and is generally quatrefoil or heart- 
shaped at the head. The mace was the weapon of militant 
ecclesiastics, who thus escaped the denunciation against ' those 
who fight with the sword'. It is generally supposed that the 
Gibet was of the same order. Wace, in the Roman de Rou (line 
13459). writes :— 

Et il le gibet seisi 

Ki a sun destre bras pendi. 

The mace was usually carried slung by a loop to the saddle-bow 

Fig. 50. Morning 


or on the right wrist, so that, when sword or lance were lost, it 
could be used at once. A less ornamental weapon is the Holy- 
water Sprinkler. This is formed of a ball of iron studded with sharp 
projecting spikes, and fixed upon a long or short handle. The 
Morning Star is akin to the Military Flail, a weapon derived from 
the agricultural implement of that name. It is much the same as 
the Holy- water Sprinkler, except that the spiked ball is not socketed 
on the handle but hangs from a chain (Fig. 50) . The names of these 
two weapons are often transposed, but we propose to adhere to 
the nomenclature used in the Tower Armouries as being more likely 
to be correct. The War-hammer and Battle-axe need but little 
description. They were generally used by horsemen, and their 
general form only varies in detail from implements in use at the 
present day. The Pole-axe was a weapon in great request for 
jousting on foot, in the 'champ clos'. The blade is much like the 
halbard, but at the back is a hammer-shaped projection with 
a roughened surface. 

The Longbow may be said to have gained the battles of Senlac, 
Crecy, and Agincourt, and so ranks as one of the most important 
of English weapons. It was from $^ to 6 feet in length and was 
made of yew, or, when this wood was scarce, of witch hazel. It is 
a popular tradition in the country that the yew-trees which were 
so important for the manufacture of this weapon were grown in 
churchyards because they were poisonous to cattle, and the church- 
yards were the only fenced-in spaces. There is, however, no 
documentary evidence to support this. The string was of hemp 
or silk. The archer carried twenty-four ' clothyard ' shafts in his 
belt and wore a wrist-guard called a Bracer to protect his wrist 
from the recoil of the string. These bracers were of ivory or 
leather and were often decorated. The arrows were tipped with 
the goose-quill, but Roger Ascham, in his Toxophilus, writes that 
peacock arrows were used ' for gayness '. So notable were the 
English bow-makers for their productions that in 1363 we find the 
Pope sending to this country for bows. 

The Crossbow or Arbalest is first heard of in the twelfth century, 




and at this date was considered so ' unfair ' a weapon that the 
Popes forbade its use. Innocent II in 1139 fulminated against this 
barbarous weapon, but allowed of its use by Christians against 
Infidels. By the end of the thirteenth century, however, it was in 
general use. At first the crossbow was strung by hand; but when 
it was made more powerful, mechanical means had to be resorted 
to to bend the bow, which was often of steel. There are two 
varieties of war crossbows : that strung with the ' goat's-foot ' lever, 

Fig. 51. Crossbow and goat's-foot lever. 

Fig. 52. Crossbow and windlass. 

which is shown on Fig. 51, and a heavier kind called the arbalest 
'a tour' , which was strung with a cog-wheel and ratchet arrange- 
ment called the Moulinet or windlass (Fig. 52). The arbalest 
' a eric ' is a larger form of this variety. The archer using these 
heavy weapons was entrenched behind a Pavis or shield fixed 
in the ground as shown on Fig. 37. The Quarel or bolt used 
for the crossbow is shorter and thicker than that used for the 

Of the other projectile-hurling weapons, such as the Fustibal or 
Sling, the different forms of Catapult used in siege operations, and 
the innumerable varieties of firearm, we have no space to write. 
The former, being mostly fashioned of wood and cordage, are seldom 


to be met with in museums, and we can only judge of their design 
and use from illuminated miniatures and paintings. The firearm, 
being, as it is, subject to further development, cannot be taken 
into full consideration in this work except so far as it affected the 
defensive armour and in time ousted the staff-weapon. 

With this bare enumeration of the principal weapons in use 
from the twelfth to the eighteenth century we draw our all too 
meagre notes to a conclusion. The subject is so vast, because each 
example is distinct in itself and because no general rule holds 
absolutely good for all, that many volumes might be produced 
with advantage on each epoch of the defences and weapons of 
Europe. No better advice to the would-be student can be given 
than that of Baron de Cosson in the Introduction to the Catalogue 
of Helmets and Mail {Arch. Journ., vol. xxxvii). He writes : 
' For the study of ancient armour to be successfully pursued it is 
of primary importance that a careful examination be made of 
every existing specimen within our reach. . . . Every rivet-hole and 
rivet in a piece must be studied and its use and object thought out. 
The reasons for the varied forms, thicknesses, and structure of the 
different parts must have special a-ttention. . . . This alone will 
enable us to derive full profit from our researches into ancient 
authors and our examination of ancient monuments. This pre- 
liminary study will alone enable us to form a sound opinion on 
two important points. First, the authority to be accorded to any 
given representation of armour in ancient art . . . whether it 
was copied from real armour or whether it was the outcome 
of the artist's imagination ; and also whether a piece of existing 
armour is genuine or false, and whether or no it is in its primitive 

To this may be added that in studying armour at its best epoch, 
that is during the fifteenth century, we find the dignity of true 
craftsmanship proclaimed, and utility and grace attained without 
the addition of that so-called decoration which with the advent 
of the Renaissance was the bane of all the crafts. 


Aiguillettes, 38, 41. 
Ailettes, 35, 36. 
Aketon, 23. 
Albrecht, Harnischmeister, 

horse-armour of, 91. 
Almain rivets, 59 ; suits of, 


Anelace, 103. 

Angellucci, on horse armour, 

Arbalest, a eric, 108 ; a tour, 

Arciones, 90. 

Armet, earliest use in Eng- 
land, 83 ; parts of, 60, 82. 

Armin, 104. 

Arming-doublet, 61. 

Arming-points, 38. 

Armour : allowance for wear 
and tear, 98 ; convenience 
in use of, 55 ; details of 
construction of, 56 ; en- 
graved, 40 ; essential points 
in its manufacture, 48 ; 
fastenings of, 56 ; for tour- 
naments reinforced on left 
side, 55 ; heavier on left 
side, 76 ; inconvenience of, 
63, 81 ; last official use of, 
98 ; making of, 65 ; method 
of putting on, 62 ; puffed, 
92 ; reason for increased 
weight, 97 ; testing of, 52 ; 
wearing of, -61. 

Armourers, names of, 66 ; 
workshop, 65. 

Ascham, Roger, Toxophilus, 

Ashmolean Museum, pavis 
at, 84. 

Astley, Life of Sir J., 62. 

August, Herzog, armour of, 

Auray, Battle of, 81. 

Austin, Will., 69. 


Bainbergs or beinbergs, 36. 
Balthasin, Galliot de, 64. 
Bamberg, wooden figures at, 


Banded mail, 20. 

Barding, 89. 

Barrel helm, 25, 26. 

Bascinet, 39; of Henry VIII, 
proof marks on, 55 ; ' pig- 
faced,' 42 ; precursor of 
salade, 82. 

Baselard, 103. 

Bases, yy ; of steel, 75. 

Battle-axe, 107. 

Bayeux Tapestry, 19, 23, 24, 
26, 87, 106. 

Bayonet, 106. 

Beauchamp effigy, 69 ; 
pageants, 66. 

Beavor, 82 ; derivation of, 64. 

Berardi, Gulielmus, monu- 
ment of at Florence, 36. 

Berlin Zeughaus, 34. 

Besague, 39, 68. 

Bill, 103. 

Black Prince, effigy of, 39 ; 
gauntlets of, 33 ; helm of, 
41 ; jupon of, 40 ; shield 
of, 46. 

Blore, Monumental Remains, 

Boeheim, Wendelin, Wa-ffen- 
kunde, 21, 65. 

Bossoirs, go. 

Bracer, 107. 

Brayette, 62, 93 (note). 

Breast- and back-pieces, 
fastenings of, 59 ; dis- 
carded, 98. 

Breech of mail, 62. 

Bregander nayles, 33. 

Brescia, Battle of, on Visconti 
monument at Pavia, 90. 

Brigandine, 16, 30, 66. 

Brussels, horse cuissard at, 

Buffe, 83. 
Burgkmair, Hans, Weisskunig, 

65, 70. 
Burgonet, 83, 97. 
Burgundian horse armour in 

Tower, 91. 
Burgundy, enriched salade of 

Duke of, 82. 

Cabasset, 83. 

Calverley, Sir H.,at Battle of 

Auray, 81 ; monument of, 

Camail, 38, 41. 
Cantle, 90. 

Cap worn under helm, 27. 
Garnet, 42. 
Cervelliere, 28. 
Chain-mail harmed by rain, 


Chamfron, 89. 
Chapel-de-fer, 82. 
Charlemagne, armour of, 15. 
Charles I, armour of, 96, 

Chartier, Jean, describes 
horse trappings, 87. 

Chaucer, 33, 34, 36, 61. 

Chausses, 24. 

Chaussons, 24. 

Christ Church, Oxford, win- 
dow at, 29. 

Christian II, enriched armour 
of Elector, at Dresden, 91. 

Chroniques de Charlemaine, 36. 

Cinquedea, 103. 

Clavones, 89. 

Claymore, 102. 

' Cloth-yard ' arrow, 107. 

' Clous perdus,' 97. 

Coat of defence, 34. 

Coif of mail, 27. 

Coronal, 103. 

Coronation of George IV, 98, 


Corrugated iron similar to 
Maximilian armour, 74. 

Cosson, Baron de, 64, 66, 70, 
82 ; advice to students of 
armour, 109; disputes Mey- 
rick's theory of burgonet, 

Coucy, Mathieu de, 68. 
Coude, 36, 50. 
Covers to helmets, 42. 
Cranach, Lucas, tilting lances 

drawn by, 103. 
Croissants, 68. 
Crossbow, used for proving 

armour, 47 ; varieties of, 

Crossbows forbidden by the 

Popes, 107. 
Crupper or croupiere, 90. 
Crusades, 25. 
Cruso on the discarding of 

armour, 98. 
Cuirass of leather, 15. 
Cuirbouilli, 34 ; crest of, 41 ; 

helms of, 27 ; horse armour 

of, 89 ; leg armour of, 36 ; 

poleynes of, 35 ; shields of, 

Cuissard, 50 ; for horse, 91. 
Cuisses, 39, 50 ; laminated, 

58, 81 J taken off in battle, 

81 ; for tilting, yy. 
Cutilax, 102. 
Cutlas, 102. 
Cyclas, 38. 


Dagger, 102. 

Davies, Edward, 81. 

' Defaut de la cuirasse,' 68. 



Destrier, 87. 

Dilge, T7. 

Dillon, Viscount, 39, 50, 52, 

55, 61, 66, 91. 
Dussack, :o2. 
Dymoke, 99. 

Edward I, wardrobe account 

of, 34, 89. 
Eisenhut, 28. 
Elbow-cop, 50. 
Enarmes, 29. 
Eresby, d', brass of, 68. 

Falchion, 102. 
Fauchet, reference to bur- 

gonet, 83. 
Fitz Urse, shield of, 29. 
Flanchards, 90. 
Fontaine, Etienne de, helmet 

of, 45. 
Froissart, 13, 33, 42. 
Frontale, as distinct from 

chamfron, 90. 
Fustian worn under armour, 

Fustibal, 108. 


Gadlings, 39. 

Gambeson, 23, 30, 33. 

Gardequeue, 90. 

Garde-rein, 62. 

Garrard, Art of Warre, 63. 

Gauntlet, 50 ; of Black Prince, 
33 ; construction of, 58. 

Genouilliere, 50. 

Gibet, 106. 

Gisarme, 103. 

Glaive, 104. 

Glancing-knobs, 90. 

Glancing surface, 48 ; on 
helm, 27. 

Godendag, 103. 

Gorget, 60 ; survival of, 98. 

Gorleston brass, 36. 

Gothic armour, 69 ; horse 
armour in Wallace Collec- 
tion, 90 ; symmetry of, 96. 

Gouchets, 68. 

Grand-guard, 76. 

Grip of lance, 59 ; sword, loi. 

Guardia Nobile of the Pope, 

Guige, 29. 
Guns first used, 47. 

Haines, Rev. H., Monumental 

Brasses, 68. 
Halbard, 103. 
Hall, Chronicles, 61. 
Hand-and-half sword, 102. 
Hatfield MS. as to wear and 

tear of armour, 98. 
Hatton, suit of Sir C, 99. 
Haubergeon, 24. 

Hauberk, 19 ; sleeves of, 23 ; 
worn under plate, 38. 

Hawkins, Sir R., Observations, 

Helm, great, or Heaume, 25, 
41 ; Barendyne, at Haseley, 
75, 81 ; Brocas, at Wool- 
wich, 60, 81 ; caps worn 
under, 27, 61 ; chained to 
body, 27 ; construction of 
jousting, 50-5 ; Dawtray,at 
Petworth, 81 ; decorated, 
27 ; Fogge, at Ashford, 8i ; 
method of fixing, 60 ; 
Pembridge, 41 ; ' sugar- 
loaf,' 27 ; at Sutton Courte- 
nay, 50, 81 ; Wallace Collec- 
tion, 81 ; Westminster, 81. 

Helmet, covers for, 42 ; gro- 
tesque, 92 ; jewelled, 45 ; 
Norman, 25 ; tied with 
laces, 26 ; tinned to pre- 
vent rust, 45. 

Henry V, 64. 

Henry VIII and Maximilian, 
helmets worn at the meet- 
ing of, 83 ; suit for fighting 
on foot, 60 ; suit made by 
Seusenhofer, 76. 

Heraldic devices on shields, 

Hewitt, John, 14, 23, 68 ; 
ivory chessman illustrated 
by, 89. 

Holy- water sprinkler, 106. 

Horse armour, complete suit 
of, 91. 

Horse trappings and church 
embroideries, 87 ; first 
shown on English seals, 88. 

Hosting harness, 63. 

Household cavalry, 99. 

'Hungere ' iron, 52. 


Imbricate armouries, 16. 

Inventory of Humphrey de 
Bohun, 33, 42 ; Sir Simon 
Burley, 34 ; Dover Castle, 
64 ; Louis Hutin, 42, 46 ; 
Piers Gaveston, 33, 35 ; 
Tower Armouries, 52. 

Jack, 6j. 
Jacobe, 65, 99. 
Jambeaux, 34. 
Jamboys, jy. 

Jambs, 36 ; discarded, 81. 
Jazeran armour, 41. 
Joan of Arc, 22. 
John, King, 25. 
Jupon, 23 ; of Black Prince, 

Knee-cop, 50. 

Lalain, Jacques de, 82. 
Lambespring, Bartholomew, 

Lamboys. See Jamboj'S. 
Lambrequin, 45. 
Lames, 50. 
Lance, 103. 
Laton, or latten, used for 

armour, 33. 
Leather, used for armour, 34 ; 

horse armour, 90 ; morion 

at Berlin, 34. 
Lee, Sir Henry, tests armour, 


Leg armour, of horse at Brus ■ 
sels, 91 ; of plate, intro- 
duced and discarded, 97. 

Lewis, Isle of, ivory chess- 
men found at, 26. 

Lochaber axe, 104. 

Longbow, 107. 

Louis, King of Hungary, 
death by drowning of, 64. 

Louis XIV, armour of, 96 ; 
proof marks on armour of, 


Mace, 106. 
Madrid, 94. 
Mail, banded, 20 ; chain, 19 ; 

cleaning of, 64 ; ' mascled,' 

22 ; method of making, 20. 
Main-guard, 52. 
Mainfaire, wrong use of, 76. 
Manifer or mainfere, 52, 76. 
Main- uche, 102. 
Mantegna, St. George by, 

Mantling, 45. 
Marche, Oliver de la, 64. 
Maximilian I, 65 ; armour, 

70 ; horse armour of, in 

the Tower, 91. 
Mentoniere, 82. 
Meyrick, Sir Samuel, 14, 16 ; 

theory of banded mail, 20, 

21 ; theory of mascled 

mail, 22, 76 ; theory of 

burgonet, 83. 
Misericorde, 102. 
Missaglias, 66. 
Mohacz, Battle of, 64. 
Molineux, Sir W., brass of, 30. 
Moustrelet, 14. 
Morion, 83 ; of leather at 

Berhn, 34. 
Morning Star, 107. 
Moroni, portrait by, 62. i 
Moton, 39, 68. 
Moulinet, 108. 
Miihlberg, armour worn at 

the Battle of, 30. 

Nasal, 26. 
Negroli, helmet by, 95. 



Northwode brass, 36. 
Nuova Croce, Battle of, 88. 
Nuremberg, tilting suit at, tj. 


Ocularium, 26, 82. 

Odo, Bishop, 24. 

Orle, 45. 

Orrery, Lord, Art of Wane, 


Painted Chamber, designs in 

the, 87, 103. 
Palette, 50. 

Pallas Armata. See Turner. 
Panache, 83. 
Paris, Matthew, 88. 
Partizan, 106. 
Pas d'ane, loi. 
Passe-guard, 50, 52, 76. 
Pauldron, 50, 59, 73. 
Pa via, picture of Battle of, at 

Oxford, 90. 
Pavis or pavoise, 84, 108. 
Peascod doublet, 97. 
Pezoneras, 90. 
Pfeffenhauser, suit by, 94. 
Philip the Fair, ordinance of, 

Pike, 104 ; last use of, 106. 
Plastron-de-fer, 23, 34. 
Plates, pair of, 33. 
Pluvinel, de, Maneige Royal, 


Poitrel or peytral, 90. 

Poldermitton, 76. 

Pole-axe, 103 ; used in 
' champs clos ', 107. 

Poleynes, 34, 35, 36, 50. 

Pommel of sword, 100. 

Pourpointerie, 30 ; for tour- 
neys, 61. 

Puffed armour, 74. 


Quarel, 108. 
Queue, yj. 
Quillons, 100, loi. 


Radcot Bridge, Battle of, 64. 

Ranseur, 106. 

Rein-guards of metal, 91. 

Renaissance, decadence of 
the armour of the, 95. 

Rene, King, 40, 61. 

Rerebrace, 36, 50 ; construc- 
tion of, 58. 

Ricasso, 10 1. 

Kichard I, 22 ; shield of, 29. 

Ringed armour, 19. 
Rivets, sliding, 56. 
Roman de Rou. See Wace. 
Rondel, 39, 50. 
Rosbecque, Battle of, 33. 
Roussillon, Gerard de, 82. 

Sabatons or sabataynes, 62, 


Saddle for jousting, in the 
Tower, 77. 

St. Gall, Monk of, 15, 28. 

St. 'George, statuette of, at 
Dijon, 41. 

Salade, evolved from bas- 
cinet, 82 ; decorated and 
painted, 82. 

Scale armour, 16, 30. 

Schiavona, 102. 

Scott, poetic licence of Sir 
Walter, 64. 

Sebastian, parade suit of 
King, 94. 

Senlac, Battle of, 107. 

_Setvans brass, 25. 

Seusenhofer, 65 ; suit by, in 
the Tower, 75, 83. 

Shield, temp. Norman Con- 
quest, 28 ; fourteenth cen- 
tury, 45 ; faced with gesso, 
46 ; of twigs, 46. 

Sigismund, armour of Count, 


Smythe, Sir John, Animad- 
versions, 62, 78. 

Solerets, 38, 50 ; construc- 
tion of , 56 ; ' a la poulaine,' 
70; 'bear-paw,' 73; 'bee 
de cane,' 73 ; ' demi-pou- 
laine,' 70. 

Spain, regulations as to 
monuments in, 40. 

Spetum, 106. 

Splinted armour, 33 ; on Ash 
monument, 41. 

Spontoon, 106. 

Standard of mail, 68. 

Stothard, Charles, 69, 103. 

Surcoat, 23, 25. 

Surrey, Earl of, horse armour 
in Will of, 89. 

Swords, 100 ; and dagger 
play, loi, 102. 

Taces, 50 ; construction of, 56. 
Tassets, 69 ; and cuisses com- 
bined, 97 ; discarded, 81. 

Tonlet, Tj. 

Topf, 65, 99. 

Tournament, of St. Inglevert, 
14 ; armour, yy ; helms, 
27 ; and swords, 33 ; at 
Windsor Park, 27, 34, 35, 
89 ; crests used at, 89. 

Trapper, of mail, 87 ; textile, 

Trellice coat, 16. 

Trumpington brass, 28, 42. 

Tuilles, 56. 

Tunic, 22, 38. 

Turner, Pallas Armata, 98. 

Turning pins, 59. 

Two-hand sword, 102. 

Umbril, 83. 
Upper pourpoint, 38. 

Vambrace, 38, 50 ; construc- 
tion of, 58. 

Vamplate, 59, y6. 

Vegecius, 46. 

Ventail, 26. 

Vere, escape of Robert de, 64. 

Vervelles, 41. 

Vienna, painting of horse 
armour at, 91 ; pageant 
shield at, 96. 

Vif de I'harnois, 39. 

Viollet-le-Duc, Diciionnaire 
du Mobilier Franfais, 21. 

Visiere, 42. 

Visor, 26. 

Volant piece, 76. 

Voulge, 104. 

Vuyders, 62. 


Wace, Roman de Rou, 23, 24, 
87, 103, 106. 

Waller, J. G., 19, 21. 

Wambais, 23. 

War-hammer, 107. 

War-hat, 28. 

Warwick, Earl of, 70. 

Whalebone, used for gaunt- 
lets and swords, 33. 

William the Conqueror, 24, 26. 

Windsor Park. See Tourna- 

Wylcotes, Sir John, brass of, 


Zutphen, armour discarded 
at siege of, 97. 

Oxford : Printed at the Clarendon Press by Horace Hart, M.A.