Th Century Arms and Armour to approximately 1275 AD

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Figure 4 below illustrates Sir Roger de Trumpington, a brass form from Trumpington

Church, Cambridgeshire. He wears a scabbard attached to the sword belt by thongs. His hauberk extends to his mid thighs and is the sleeves extend to the wrists, often ending in mufflers or mitten-like extensions with an opening which could be closed with a lace just below the wrist. He has a separate coif that covers his shoulders. Under the coif is a steel cap which accounts for the irregular shaped head.

Over the hauberk is worn a surcoat which was often of fine material - silk - and may have been embroidered, the bottom edge showing a finished, dagged, edging. This is held in place by a thin cord or leather belt tied about the waist. Numerous reasons for the surcoat have been brought forward, including that the surcoat was worn over the armour to simply keep the armour clean. Another suggestion is that they were a garment modelled on the flowing robes of the Saracens, designed to keep the armour cool in the heat of the Holy Land. Finally, they may have been adopted to display the wearer's coat of arms.

Under the hauberk is worn a gambeson to protect from chaffing by the mail. The chausses are augmented by cuir-boulli5 protecting the knee caps. This is an example of the beginnings of the development and integration of plate armour. These were normally used to divide the chausses and provide intermediate support of the heavy mail around the knee. It is thought that a single piece of mail from thigh to foot could impede ease of movement.

He has a heater type shield suspended by a strap or "guige" over his right shoulder. The sword typical of this period is carried on a sword belt hung over the hips allowing the weapon to hang at the front of his body angled slightly forward. There were two common helmet designs during this period. The first being the "chapel de fer" or kettle hat.

Figure 4 Armouring of the 13th Century

It resembled a medieval cauldron or kettle. The other consisted of a round bowl with a wide brim, assembled from number of plates riveted together, as was the earlier "spangenhelm". A second helm was the "great helm" similar to the one illustrated behind the head in the above figure. This was extensively used by the knightly class and was often worn with a coif. It also had a guard chain attachment to prevent the loss of the helmet during battle.

Figure 4 Armouring of the 13th Century cuir boulli - hardened leather by super saturating in water or boiled in molten wax.

14th Century Arms and Armour (to approximately 1385 AD)

Figure 5 below illustrates Sir John d'Abernon, cl340 in the Parish Church of St. Mary,

Stoke d'Abernon, Surrey. It shows armouring typical of this century, including a basinet form of helmet and aventail.

The armour of the 14th century was characterized by the increased useage of plate armour made of various materials, including latten (a brass-like copper alloy), whalebone, iron and steel. For the duration of the 14t century, the knight would continue to wear a chain mail hauberk. The hauberk only reached to just below hip level, sleeves extending to the wrist. Mail chausses were worn, covered with plate armour on the legs, called "greaves" strapped with leather behind the legs. After mid 14th century, the arms were frequently completely covered in plate armour and the arm protection was completed with a pair of gauntlets. In the latter half of the century, breast plates made their first appearance. During the latter part of the century a body defense known as a "brigandine" was developed. This was a piece of body armour which followed the principle of a coat of plates.

During the beginning of the 14th century, the helmets followed a globular basinet design, along with an attached aventail of mail. However, the great helm remained in use for the most part of the first half of the 14th century. Later the skull component became so tapered that it formed a truncated cone and the side and front of the helm were extended downwards to almost rest on the shoulders and chest of the wearer. This evolution in the design facilitated the deflection of a downward thrust of a sword or battle axe. In the early half of the century, helms were often provided with pivoted visors.

In the beginning of the century, a knight still wore a surcoat or flowing gown over his armour.

Figure 5 Armouring of the 14th Century

This may have proved to be a hindrance while fighting on foot. Often, illustrations depicted the surcoat tucked up into the belt. Later, the front of the gown was shortened to expose the bottom of the coat of plates. By mid 14th century, it had risen to knee level both at the front and the back. The illustration above left depicts an earlier version of the surcoat.

A garment known as coat of plates was also worn. In the illustration above, it is depicted just below the surcoat and jupon. Often they had heraldric devices affixed to the surcoat or jupon in order to display their identification on the battle field and tournaments.

Figure 5 Armouring of the 14th Century

15th Century Arms and Armour (to approximately 1499 AD)

Figure 6 below illustrates armour made for Archduke Maximilian (later, the Emperor

Maximilian I) created by Lorenz Helschmied of Augsburg, c1480. The beginning of the 15th century witnessed the development and exportation of an "international" style of armour. The production of armour was centred in two geographical regions, northern Italy, (centred in Milan) and Germany. The most important armour production centres in Germany were Augsburg, Landshut, Nuremburg and later, Innsbruck. As the century progressed, both countries developed a distinct style of armour. The kettle and basinet proved to be the most popular with the German knights during the early part of the 15th century. Another common form of helmet was the "sallet" which probably derived from the 14th century basinet. The illustration on the left depicts a sallet style helmet.

To complete the defenses, gauntlets were worn. Until about the mid century, the typical hour-glass form of the 14th century were worn. A new form of gauntlets appeared around this time, which resembled a mitten. This mitten gauntlet was constructed with a one-piece main plate which was shaped to the base of the thumb and had a slight bend along the knuckles. Later, the Germans produced a fluted style with ribs, and with finger lames. Occasionally, gauntlets had separate fingers, and cuffs so long that they reached the elbow.

The Italian armours were more rounded in design, as opposed to the "fluted" Gothic lines favoured by the Germans. The Italian armour gave their armour a more utilitarian and robust appearance. This was accentuated by increased armour integrated into the body armour on the left side. Body defenses were first influenced by the Italians until approximately 1420. There was little distinction between the German armour from the rest of Europe. Later, a new

Figure 6 Armouring of the 15 Century breast plate appeared known today as the "kastenbrust". It had a boxy appearance, whereby the top of the breastplate sloped outwards and downwards from the chest, angling sharply to the waist to form a deep undercut.

Figure 6 Armouring of the 15 Century

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