Th Century Arms and Armour to approximately 1180 AD

The individual in Figure 2 is wearing a hauberk that extends to his mid thighs or knees and to his wrists. He has an integral coif covered by a steel bowl-shaped or conical helm with a nasal bar protecting the face. Under the mail is worn a gambeson as they did in the previous century to prevent chaffing by the mail. The chausses or mail leggings were much more popular in the 12th century. These were worn by lacing with leather straps behind the leg and calf. Normal for this period would be a large heater shaped shield with a supporting strap over the right shoulder. The sword typical of this period is carried on a sword belt around his waist

Both the arms and feet were now more commonly protected with mail than in the previous century. In the last few decades of the 12th century, the sleeves of the hauberk became longer, ending in mitten-shaped mail gloves called "mufflers", which were slit at the wrist to permit the hands to be withdrawn at will. The palms were not covered with mail, since this would impede one's grip of a weapon. Early forms of mufflers left the fingers and thumbs exposed.

Figure 2 (left) Armouring of the 12th Century

12th Century Hauberk
Long and usually

sleeveless full-skirted cloth gowns called "surcoats" were typically worn over the mail towards the end of the 12th century. These first appeared in the second half of the

12th century but did not become widely popular until the 13 th century. Figure 3 on the right from the Winchester Bible illustrates knights wearing surcoats. It is possible that they developed through the influence of the Crusades. Armour worn under the intense sun of the Middle East would have been uncomfortable to wear. The compromise was to wear light coloured surcoats to deflect the worst of the sun's rays.

Winchester Bible
Figure 3 Introduction of the surcoat

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