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Frances Perry
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jun, 2007 2:23 pm    Post subject: Archer's Maul         Reply with quote

Hi guys,

Have a question regarding the lesser mentioned Maul (or mallet) of which at least 500 were commissioned by Henry VI (and Queen Margaret) for production in the mid-fifteenth century. It is described as being 'bound with lead' - I have seen it variously interpreted as a large mallett - literally with a large hammer-head and lead at each end, or as a long, think wooden pole with lead spikes in one end - sharpened (think cricket bet with nails in) or like lead balls set into the wood.

Considering the quantity ordered at this time, I would assume it was a useful weapon, and also for hammering stakes into the ground to hold a position - does anyone have a picture, or a more detailed description of one?

Does anyone have any modern replica interpretation pictures I could have a look at?

“In these modern times, many men are wounded for not having weapons or knowledge of their use.”
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Frances Perry
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jun, 2007 2:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One picture I have found:
“In these modern times, many men are wounded for not having weapons or knowledge of their use.”
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David Sutton




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jun, 2007 3:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Frances, from what I can find in a brief search the form of an archer's maul was of a wooden mallet bound with metal at both ends. The image you supplied is of a spiked club which is something quite different to a maul. I don't see how such a club could realistically be used to hammer in a stake and it looks to be way to long and cumbersome for an archer to lug about on the march. Archers, as a rule, travelled light. If the maul had a spike at one end I can see that it could be quite an effective armour piercing weapon.

Another use of the maul, which has occurred to me, might be to strike the flattened end of a ballock dagger, in a hammer and chisel fashion to penetrate the helmet of a disabled man-at-arms. I'm not sure of the plausibility of my last point (I don't know if it has been postulated before, or is a well known theory etc), could a ballock dagger be used in such a fashion? Would the blade stand this?

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Max von Bargen




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jun, 2007 5:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There's been a lot of debate over here about how useful such a maul would actually be as a weapon. Nevertheless, though, I agree with David; I don't think that the picture you posted is one.

You may want to consider these threads for information on its usefulness as a weapon:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=5500
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=8998
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Alex Oster




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jun, 2007 7:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Agreed. The picture above looks more like a wood Tsubo to me. My vote would be for a more utilitarian version of a war hammer.
The pen is mightier than the sword, especially since it can get past security and be stabbed it into a jugular.
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Frances Perry
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jun, 2007 12:46 am    Post subject: Archer's Maul         Reply with quote

Thank you all very much, and I shall have a look at the threads suggested.

I was at Warwick Catle lasy year for the Tussauds Medieval Bankholiday weekend (which was great fun) and a 'longbow expert' was talking briefly about a maul he had - it had spikes on, and I was confused at the time as to how useful this would be to hammer stakes into the ground!!

Perhaps there is a little too much fantasy sprinkled around!

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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jun, 2007 4:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My guess would be something the size of a reinforced croccett club; A pretty sturdy about one meter+-10cm shaft, and a moderate diameter head, with lead plating.
Cheap, avialiable, and just small enough to be carried in the belt.

The weapon in the picture is similar to war clubs shown in 13th century manuscripts.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
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Matt Easton




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jun, 2007 8:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You should see The Great Warbow by Hardy and Strickland on this.
In it is a unique (as far as I know) 16thC woodcut image of an archer with a maul. The maul in question would not be much good for driving a stake into the ground but it is a budget version of a pollaxe, and so would be an excellent weapon. It is basically like a polo stick with a spear point fitted to the end.
Another couple of things to consider
- how often are these mauls refered to being used to drive stakes into the ground? Only once as far as I can remember.
- how often are mauls refered to as the weapons of archers? Well, a few times in a few different sources. But not nearly as much as archers are mentioned using swords and bucklers (for example).

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Harold R.





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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jun, 2007 10:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Could bound with lead mean something like wrapped in lead pipe or wire or something?
Probably cheaper than steel and it would also add weight and it might have been eaier to work too.
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Gary A. Chelette




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jun, 2007 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Sutton wrote:

Another use of the maul, which has occurred to me, might be to strike the flattened end of a ballock dagger, in a hammer and chisel fashion to penetrate the helmet of a disabled man-at-arms. I'm not sure of the plausibility of my last point (I don't know if it has been postulated before, or is a well known theory etc), could a ballock dagger be used in such a fashion? Would the blade stand this?


A Rhondel dagger would be better suited for that. I have come across documentation on such. It was the basis for my group in making our Rhondels. The blade is stiff enough, but it depends on the thickness and quality of the plate armour.
Chain would not pose a problem.

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jun, 2007 10:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary A. Chelette wrote:
A Rhondel dagger would be better suited for that. I have come across documentation on such. It was the basis for my group in making our Rhondels. The blade is stiff enough, but it depends on the thickness and quality of the plate armour.
Chain would not pose a problem.


Gary,
Where did you read about that being done? I have a hard time imagining a scenario where you could swing a two handed maul (think medieval sledge hammer or pick) onto the top rondel of a dagger to any great effect. Who's holding the dagger in place while the maul user swings it? If one person is both holding the dagger and hammering it in, I wouldn't think you'd get the best swings with your maul in one hand. And that says nothing about the victim struggling against the attacker(s). I don't see it as likely during battle.

I could see someone using the maul to stun/knock/out/fracture a skull of someone, then finishing them by sticking said rondel dagger through the occularia of the helm or lifting the visor or helmet and cutting their throat.

Or why not use the maul to just crush the helmet enough to kill the person? No wasting of time for switching from your 2-handed maul to a dagger and back. Happy

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David Sutton




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jun, 2007 3:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matt Easton wrote:
You should see The Great Warbow by Hardy and Strickland on this.
In it is a unique (as far as I know) 16thC woodcut image of an archer with a maul. The maul in question would not be much good for driving a stake into the ground but it is a budget version of a pollaxe, and so would be an excellent weapon. It is basically like a polo stick with a spear point fitted to the end.


I have this book but I'm having trouble finding the image you describe could you give me a page number?

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Steven H




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jun, 2007 7:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary A. Chelette wrote:
[

A Rhondel dagger would be better suited for that. I have come across documentation on such. It was the basis for my group in making our Rhondels. The blade is stiff enough, but it depends on the thickness and quality of the plate armour.
Chain would not pose a problem.


Also, rondel refers to the hilt furniture, not the blade cross-section. Several manuscripts on armoured dagger play show a different style of dagger hilt.

-Steven

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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jun, 2007 10:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:

I have a hard time imagining a scenario where you could swing a two handed maul (think medieval sledge hammer or pick) onto the top rondel of a dagger to any great effect. Who's holding the dagger in place while the maul user swings it? If one person is both holding the dagger and hammering it in, I wouldn't think you'd get the best swings with your maul in one hand. And that says nothing about the victim struggling against the attacker(s). I don't see it as likely during battle.

I could see someone using the maul to stun/knock/out/fracture a skull of someone, then finishing them by sticking said rondel dagger through the occularia of the helm or lifting the visor or helmet and cutting their throat.

Or why not use the maul to just crush the helmet enough to kill the person? No wasting of time for switching from your 2-handed maul to a dagger and back. Happy



If the archer's maul followed the trend of most other hammer style weapons in use, the head wouldn't be particularly large.
it is a basic tradeoff between weight and speed. It would appear that most metal warhammer heads where the size of a large modern day carpentry hammer.
If this was the case, then a wooden maul might have a head 3-4 inches wide, and be quite light enough to be used in one hand, with the grip shortened down appropriately.

I can perfectly well see something like this happen in the tumble of combat, but I wouldn't see it a an prominent tactic.
(say, you have the guy on the back, pull your dagger, and stab him in a handy opening, but fail to penerate propperly)

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jun, 2007 11:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The maul was a long-handled (ie 2-handed) weapon, described by Claude Blair as having a head of lead or iron, shaped like a croquet mallet. That's a larger than average head. You could choke up on it, sure, but it would be like choking up on a sledgehammer. You're not using the weapon in a way that gets you the most powerful blows.

I'd like to see Gary's documentation of the maul being used that way. Until then, I'm going to continue believing that while that scenario is possible, it's not likely. Happy If you stab someone with a dagger and it doesn't penetrate, are you really going to leave the weapon there and then grab your maul with another hand and try to hold the dagger in one hand to guide it while trying to choke up on the haft of the maul to hammer it in?

Why not move the dagger to someplace else and stab again? I'd think that would be much, much more likely. I'd think that would be a quicker and easier way to dispatch a struggling man.

You can't use both the maul and dagger effectively at the same time if the maul is a two-handed weapon, which is the most common description I've seen. If you have your dagger out its sheath, then your maul wouldn't be very useful. So why have both in hand at the same time to begin with? Happy

Both Blair and Harold Peterson state the rondel dagger was a weapon of the knightly class (the words "essentially" and "mainly" are used when they state this), not the commoner most likely to be a foot solider during the era of the maul. Mauls were "mainly" or "essentially" weapons of the non-knightly class according to everything I've read. So while it's possible a soldier might have both weapons, it's not that likely. Of course, a common man could have owned a simple crude rondel dagger ( a few survive) or picked a nice one up off the field, and a knight could have picked up a maul off the field if he had lost everything else but his dagger, though I'd think he might pick up another sword or something else before he'd take up a maul.

I just don't see it as likely. Anything is possible, but I really doubt this was common or likely.

As an aside, there is no set blade shape or form for rondel or ballock daggers. Many different lengths survive, single-edged, double-edged, triangle and square blades and many different cross-sections and amounts of taper in each type. Some would be better suited for heavy thrusting than others. Some ballock daggers might have enough or a pommel cap to be hammered on, and a stiff enough blade for something of this nature but again I see the likelihood of this technique as very very low. Happy

Happy

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Danny Grigg





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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jun, 2007 6:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Check out the picture of a maul from the following:

Grose, Francis: “The Antiquities of England and Wales” (1783)
http://www.fromoldbooks.org/Grose-Antiquities...of-armour/

"No. 3. A Leaden Mallet, used by the archers, mentioned in the military part of the preface."

Also it shows a pic of a Black Bill and armour.

Not sure how accurate this pic of a maul is, any comments?


Also check out this as well:

http://medieval.mrugala.net/Armes/Images/Plombee.jpg
http://medieval.mrugala.net/Armes/Glossaire%20des%20armes.htm

Danny
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sun 24 Apr, 2011 9:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Sutton wrote:
I have this book but I'm having trouble finding the image you describe could you give me a page number?


The only sixteenth-century woodcut of an archer I see is on page 145, but he carries sword and buckler with no maul.

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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Sun 24 Apr, 2011 12:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A maul is a large sledge hammer type of object with a 36" or so handle. The head is usually reinforced with iron or steel bands at either end of the head to prevent splitting. As a blunt force weapon for taking done (out out for that matter), a fallen opponent, breaking the leg or a horse, driving in a sharpened stake for protection or any number of things, it would be strictly utiltarian in nature. While it's not terribly romantic to visualize an archer caring around a reinforced,large sized croquet mallet, I think practicality wins out. In fact, today, in Appalachia, when splitting wood with a steel wedge a homemade version of the medieval maul is still used to drive the wedge as it will not peen out the head of the wedge as would a traditional steel sledge hammer. It is still called a maul and one with a larger head is called a commander. Interesting how things survive!
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Jean-Carle Hudon




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PostPosted: Sun 24 Apr, 2011 2:46 pm    Post subject: maul & spikes         Reply with quote

Danny's post shows a ''plommée'', which is a maul ( second to last link). The accompanying text states:
''Plommée, maillet de plomb garni ou non de pointes''.
maillet=maul
pointes=spikes.
So the picture posted by Frances isn't far off the mark as regards the spikes, but is lacking the proper maul head. It's as if the maul withered away, leaving just the spiked staff. Less utilitarian, but easier to manage as a weapon.

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Tom King




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PostPosted: Sun 24 Apr, 2011 4:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I personally agree with Matt's idea of a mass produced poleaxe type of weapon, similar to a carpenters axe. My "archers maul" is Windlass's 14th century archers axe. Small squared off hammer head with a 4in axe head. Having an archer carry a full sized maul would make little sense, but a simplified war hammer pattern would make sense as a tool and economy weapon. Hand-gunners and crossbowmen from the 15th century used that style of weapon.
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