The figure below illustrates a typical hauberk of the 11th Century extending to mid thighs or knees with loose sleeves. Although the illustration is derived from a 12* century manuscript "Life of St.Guthlac", the chain mail adequately illustrates the typical armouring of the 11th century extending to mid thighs or knees with loose sleeves and the coif integral with the hauberk. Over the coif is a steel cap with a nasal bar protecting the face. Wealthier knights and those of importance may also have had chausses or mail leggings laced across the back of the calf.
Under the hauberk can be seen a loose form of tunic or gambeson to prevent chafing from the rings of the mail. Some type of padded garment may have also been worn over, or in place of, the plain tunic shown. Later in the 11th century, loose fitting surcoats were worn over the mail. Often these were white or other light colours to help reduce the heating effect of the sun during battle.
The figure carries a large kite type shield with a supporting strap or "guige" over the right shoulder.
The sword of this period is carried on a sword belt around his waist. The lance is shown shortened in the figure, but would usually have been about 7 feet long.
The helmet used by the Saxons was usually of spangenhelm type, made of iron plates overlaid on the outside with sheets of gilt copper secured by silver-capped nails. This form of construction and decoration remained unchanged for centuries. The nasal guard was characteristic of the Norman helmets. Most warriors during the Battle of Hastings often wore mail hoods or "coifs" underneath their helmets.
Figure 1 Eleventh Century Knight
Was this article helpful?