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Nathan F




Location: ireland
Joined: 24 Dec 2008

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PostPosted: Mon 04 May, 2009 9:13 am    Post subject: english man at arms at azincourt         Reply with quote

well i have little experience on this era but i want to assemble a kit that matches this so armour clothes weapons etc.
any help on this will be hugely apericated. i mostly need info on this but anyone who knows any good european traders in this area please tell me thanks to all in advance

for here starts war carrion birds sing, and grey wolves howl
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Joined: 25 Jan 2004

Posts: 409

PostPosted: Mon 04 May, 2009 7:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Nathan F,

What do you mean by man at arms?

The reason I asked is a "man at arms" by the time of Agincourt is a non-knight in a suit of armour. He might be a nobleman who never got knighted, or a wealthy yeoman who is able to afford a harness.

The English side was compiled of archers, billman (who never get any historical press) and dismounted knights & men at arms.

Cheers,

DT

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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Reading list: 5 books

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PostPosted: Mon 04 May, 2009 11:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan,

What social group are you in. the Average man-at-arms likely would be in armour that originates in the last decade or two of the 14th century. Only the top end of the knightly class having had the up to date harness. Or perhaps those who were in the personal retinue of wealthy nobles could as well I suppose.

David,

Is there any real evidence of billmen in large numbers in the English army there? I have gotten to look through the pay records for the English army and while several soldier types appear never seen any billmen. I would more assume billmen to have been a splinter or the men-at-arms class, but perhaps moreso the notorious 'armed man' class that appears at times in the 14th and 15th.

RPM
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Nathan F




Location: ireland
Joined: 24 Dec 2008

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PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2009 2:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

thanks guys sorry im looking to portray a man at arms in service to a lord so an unknighted man or a yeoman suits perfectly really but not a knight Big Grin any help at all on this but no higher levels of society im not that rich
for here starts war carrion birds sing, and grey wolves howl
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
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PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2009 5:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Take a look at one of the Osprey books about this period. One of them may at least give you some general ideas of what kind of kit you want. -

http://kultofathena.com/s_results.asp?search=agincourt
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Hugh Knight




Location: San Bernardino, CA
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Reading list: 34 books

Posts: 739

PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2009 5:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Teague wrote:
What do you mean by man at arms?

The reason I asked is a "man at arms" by the time of Agincourt is a non-knight in a suit of armour. He might be a nobleman who never got knighted, or a wealthy yeoman who is able to afford a harness.

The English side was compiled of archers, billman (who never get any historical press) and dismounted knights & men at arms.


With respect, the term "man at arms" refers to all classes of fully-armed men in full harness. A wealthy non-noble merchant and a duke are both men at arms as long as they're armed and equipped in full harness. The term is a general collective one used to refer to all those who had full harnesses--lords, knights, squires, and wealthy commoners.

For some reason this term has come to mean rag-tag, poorly-equipped commoners who don't fit into any other category of soldier, but that's *not* how it was used. Man of arms = gen d'armes... a man of *arms*, see?

And what evidence do you have for billmen at Agincourt?

Regards,
Hugh
www.schlachtschule.org
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Joined: 25 Jan 2004

Posts: 409

PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2009 9:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
David,

Is there any real evidence of billmen in large numbers in the English army there? I have gotten to look through the pay records for the English army and while several soldier types appear never seen any billmen. I would more assume billmen to have been a splinter or the men-at-arms class, but perhaps moreso the notorious 'armed man' class that appears at times in the 14th and 15th.

RPM


Hugh Knight wrote:
And what evidence do you have for billmen at Agincourt?


Hello Randall & Hugh,

I based my remark off of two things... a eyewitness account of the battle and how the English billmen were pushed back before regaining the line on the 2nd French charge (if I remember it right) and a statement by a British Historian on the fact that the Bill was a mainstay of the English foot soldier ( like the pike was the Scots main weapon) yet nobody ever wrote about them.(except for the onetime billmen cut down the Scottish King James IV at the battle of Flodden Field) Sad thing I can't remember the name of the historic source nor the name of the British Historian.

The billmen in this case would have been among the men at arms if armoured and the archers if not.(I know, the official battlefield breakdown is men at arms, archers on the English side)

On the bright side, a friend has a copy of the historic eyewitness account in the mail so I'll find out the name as soon as it's in.

It sucks to grow old and be forgetful.

Big Grin

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."


Last edited by David Teague on Tue 05 May, 2009 10:40 pm; edited 2 times in total
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
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Posts: 409

PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2009 9:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Something fun I just found.

Quote:
A more fundamental questioning of the account of the English archers’ role presented here, and especially in the essays of Curry, Bennett and Hitchin, arises from what is actually meant by contemporary ‘official’ references to ‘archers’. If, as Bennett argues, archers were the ‘elite’ of the English medieval military, how do we explain the growing proportion of them in English armies in the Hundred Years War compared to men-at-arms. Is there not a paradox in the growth of an elite force as proportion in the army and the decline of English military fortunes from the late-1420s? This can be explained, I believe, because of a fundamental error in the authors’ interpretation of the administrative records of the Agincourt campaign. The term archer, as used in the account and muster rolls of the early fifteenth century, merely referred to those soldiers who received 6d a day if on foot and 8d a day if mounted and were to be differentiated socially from the men at arms. It says nothing of their armament or their tactical deployment. The proportion of ‘archers’ who actually used the longbow in battle is not evident in these sources. Other sources, however, suggest that the archers were indeed an elite, forming a decreasing part of English armies during the late middle ages. For instance, in 1449 Sir Walter Strickland recruited 69 archers and 74 billmen with mounts and 71 archers and 76 billmen on foot to serve in Normandy with the earl of Salisbury. In the exchequer records, however, all would have been listed as either archers on foot or archers on horseback. William, lord Hastings’s indenture to take reinforcements to Calais in 1477 further suggests that the description of men in muster rolls owed more to their rates of pay than their tactical role: in it Hastings was allowed to convert men at arms to archers and vice-versa depending upon the available funds. By the sixteenth century those styled as archers in the musters could be armed with bills, pikes, bows or handguns. In the musters taken in York in 1543 of the 108 able men the town assembled to serve in the war against Scotland only eight were noted as ‘tried archers’. The archers of the battle of Agincourt, then, were an elite – the celebrated ‘yeomen archers’ of Hitchin’s essay – but were not necessarily the mainstay of the English army. This book, then, is a tribute not so much to the archers of Agincourt as to the myth of the English bowman and its significance in Tudor and later accounts of English military superiority over other European nations.

David Grummitt
Oxford University

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Wed 06 May, 2009 12:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd be wary of using archer for billman. Very, very wary. The account original accounts I can think of are not usually in English and the only ones I can think of could easily be translated as a Halbard or pole weapon, items that a man-at-arms could be armed man would be equipped with. I do not think unless it is in English it can be relied upon then for evidence of billmen. The other is when it was written. Is it after 1450? This could be the case because near 1450 the billman does begin to appear around then. I think it no accident the earliest evidence Grummett there is from 1449, the dead centre of the century.

I had wondered if that was what you had got it from. This is an old and familiar concept a few have taken and run withbut I do not think it is right, at least not in the first half of the 15th. While Grummett states we do not have equipment that is not altogether/really true. We often have indentures with clear set ideas on equipment required of them. More important to this issue though is that we also have many reports of reviews taking place in Lancastrian Normandy of active troops that prove with little doubt that the huge percent of men who really were archers. Each man is clearly stated in type of soldier and armaments. If anything there are more men-at-arms who are subpar in equipment than archers- perhaps men who could be classified as billmen but I think this is a question more of lack of enforcement than anything. Sounds like He's just trying to find where billmen fit in and in the early 15th I think it is like putting a square peg in a round hole. I think pushing a mid 15th retinue back nearly 40 years is pushing it, as much change it taking place during these years. To me billmen are not with Archers like Grummett and Bennett have been pushing. Their reasoning lacks really looking at the number of lists of reviews that are in Normandy that show equipment.

As Hugh said men-at-arms had clear expectations of equipment for war. The same is true for many classes. I understand the point G and B are getting at. The term archer can be a catch all much like footman was in the 14th. The issue with this is then when you look at their gear and realize there still are masses of archers which makes the point rather limited or even moot.

RPM
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Nathan F




Location: ireland
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PostPosted: Wed 06 May, 2009 8:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

ok guys this post has gone slightly off topic im interested in this discussion but i need to put together a kit first so any help on that dont mean to be rude but just need to keep this on track thank you all
also anyne think the archers may have perhaps been given bills for combat as the bill hook was a common tool many of them would have been familiar with it so it might have been in there cache of weapons on the field just an idea

for here starts war carrion birds sing, and grey wolves howl
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Wed 06 May, 2009 12:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan,

It is possible archers had such weapons but does not seem common in the reviews or accounts. They clearly did pick up pole weapons from the ground at agincourt so perhaps.

Sorry will try to answer the question.

If you were in the place you indicated in the retinue of a lord. You could have full plate arms and legs for limb armour. A more developed COP, perhaps like the Prague St. George wears, or a breastplate. For a helmet you'd likely have a pignose/universal bascinet with aventail-don't foget this need be padded as does the helmet. Your Gauntlets likely would be some form of hourglass gauntlets. You'd have a lightly padded aketon/arming coat of some nature and perhaps a huaberk or habergeon. I'd look at effigies from the 1380s-1390s or so as they'd be soemwhat older but still in service. If you serve a lesser lord your equipment likely will be less recent while a greater more recent.

What you are looking for?

RPM
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Felix R.




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PostPosted: Wed 06 May, 2009 12:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan F wrote:
ok guys this post has gone slightly off topic im interested in this discussion but i need to put together a kit first so any help on that dont mean to be rude but just need to keep this on track thank you all
also anyne think the archers may have perhaps been given bills for combat as the bill hook was a common tool many of them would have been familiar with it so it might have been in there cache of weapons on the field just an idea


Do yourself a favour and do serious research first.
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Hugh Knight




Location: San Bernardino, CA
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Reading list: 34 books

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PostPosted: Wed 06 May, 2009 1:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Felix R. wrote:
Nathan F wrote:
ok guys this post has gone slightly off topic im interested in this discussion but i need to put together a kit first so any help on that dont mean to be rude but just need to keep this on track thank you all
also anyne think the archers may have perhaps been given bills for combat as the bill hook was a common tool many of them would have been familiar with it so it might have been in there cache of weapons on the field just an idea


Do yourself a favour and do serious research first.


Felix is right, your question might need an entire book to answer. As for your harness, here's an effigy showing the equipment a pretty typical man at arms might have at Agincourt:
http://www.warsoftheroses.co.uk/armour_1st_half_15th_century.htm
(Look at the knight on the far left, not the other two).

Here are some others:
http://www.gothiceye.com/popup.asp?Ref=KL11
http://www.gothiceye.com/popup.asp?Ref=KL12

As you can see, a harness of this sort is quite elaborate and comprehensive.

Under it you should be wearing:
Breeches, hosen, a shirt, an arming doublet (with mail voiders pointed to it), and shoes. You would have a dagger, almost certainly a roundel dagger in harness, and a sword. The sword might be either an arming sword or a longsword (think type XVa). Your primary weapon, however, would likely be either a spear or a pollaxe.

Then there's civilian clothing, equipment, etc., etc.

I would *not* call this a typical "first harness", but I would laud anyone trying to make it so *if* he had the resources to really pull it off. Note that these harnesses would be typical of a non-knighted man at arms.

Regards,
Hugh
www.schlachtschule.org
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Nathan F




Location: ireland
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PostPosted: Thu 07 May, 2009 11:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

first off i am reseaching this at the moment but have little time due to work but i wanted knowledegable peoples opinions well my ideas for a kit was a pig nosed bascinet with aventail, padded jack and breastplate and hour glass gauntlets but its the arms and legs im not sure on they for me are the tricky parts
for here starts war carrion birds sing, and grey wolves howl
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Zac Evans




Location: London
Joined: 26 Dec 2006

Posts: 151

PostPosted: Thu 07 May, 2009 3:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan F wrote:
first off i am reseaching this at the moment but have little time due to work but i wanted knowledegable peoples opinions well my ideas for a kit was a pig nosed bascinet with aventail, padded jack and breastplate and hour glass gauntlets but its the arms and legs im not sure on they for me are the tricky parts


You're really looking at a maille shirt at this point still, on top of a gambeson (thinner than a jack but similar idea), and under the plate. Then articulated arms and legs, with fully enclosed greaves. You could probably get away with a houndskull, but if I'm correct then by Azincourt you're looking more at great bascinets. If you don't want to go that route then a chapel de faire is another option available that would be quite appropriate as they seem to feature heavily in images involving sieges which is what your English Man at Arms went to France to do.

If I were doing it with unlimited budget I would probably go for something like this:

Plate Sabatons*
Fully Enclosed Greaves
Plate Poleyns and Cuisses
Gambeson (well tailored, quite thin)
Rivetted Maille Shirt (short sleeved)
Cuirass (Breast, Fauld*, Back*)
Articulated Vambraces
Spaulders*
Later period Hourglass gauntlets (fingered)
Great Bascinet*
Maille coif with Chapel de Fer

The items that are asterisked are what I would leave off if I didn't have the money or time. Without them you would still have a good example of Azincourt kit, but slightly less armoured than the cream of the crop.

Then you need a Polearm, a Sword and a Dagger.
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Hugh Knight




Location: San Bernardino, CA
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PostPosted: Thu 07 May, 2009 3:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Zac Evans wrote:
Nathan F wrote:
first off i am reseaching this at the moment but have little time due to work but i wanted knowledegable peoples opinions well my ideas for a kit was a pig nosed bascinet with aventail, padded jack and breastplate and hour glass gauntlets but its the arms and legs im not sure on they for me are the tricky parts


You're really looking at a maille shirt at this point still, on top of a gambeson (thinner than a jack but similar idea), and under the plate. Then articulated arms and legs, with fully enclosed greaves. You could probably get away with a houndskull, but if I'm correct then by Azincourt you're looking more at great bascinets. If you don't want to go that route then a chapel de faire is another option available that would be quite appropriate as they seem to feature heavily in images involving sieges which is what your English Man at Arms went to France to do.

If I were doing it with unlimited budget I would probably go for something like this:

Plate Sabatons*
Fully Enclosed Greaves
Plate Poleyns and Cuisses
Gambeson (well tailored, quite thin)
Rivetted Maille Shirt (short sleeved)
Cuirass (Breast, Fauld*, Back*)
Articulated Vambraces
Spaulders*
Later period Hourglass gauntlets (fingered)
Great Bascinet*
Maille coif with Chapel de Fer

The items that are asterisked are what I would leave off if I didn't have the money or time. Without them you would still have a good example of Azincourt kit, but slightly less armoured than the cream of the crop.

Then you need a Polearm, a Sword and a Dagger.


Hello,

Certainly the sabatons could be left off, you see that quite a bit. You could not, however, leave off the fauld or backplate of the breastplate, nor could you go without either spaudlers (note the spelling) or pauldrons (only the Italians were doing that at this time). While kettle hats were being worn in this period it is extremely unlikely a man at arms would have worn one at Agincourt; they were usually reserved for duties like light foraging or sieges. Also, a mail haubergeon is not impossible but it is not as likely as mail voiders by this point.

Also, the term "gambeson" should be reserved for a full-body, heavily quited garment worn *over* a great hauberk in the 12th and 13th centuries (the garment worn *under* the mail was called an "aketon"). The garment worn under armor at this point was barely padded at all (if it had any padding whatsoever) and is usually referred to as an "arming doublet."

You mentioned cuisses, but remember that many English sources show their cuisses wrap completely around the thigh by this point. Also, it's quite possible that a poor man would have a high-point visor with a hounskull visor and aventail rather than a great bascinet, and some effigies suggest globose-breasted coats of plates (of the sort shown with the red velvet covering at the Met, but bear in mind the gross mistakes made in assembling that piece) rather than a full breast and back.

This is an *extremely* challenging harness to assemble with any degree of versimilitude. A much better period for a first harness would be a Poitiers or Crecy harness--not because such harnesses require any less accuracy, but because some of the parts lie more within the capabilities of a larger number of craftsmen to make. The vast majority of armorers are simply *not* up to making a full Agincourt harness that is even remotely correct and which will allow you to move well in it (the hardest part).

Here's a link to an armorer who has a decent harness in his catalog which could still have been worn by a poor man at arms at Agincourt (even though he dates the harness as 1375):
http://www.medievalrepro.com/Armour.htm
(Page down to the "Full Armor, so-called Hounskull")
And if his prices are still correct on the listing, that's an excellent price for the kit, too.

I don't know if you're in the USA or not, but some other US armorers that could handle a harness like this include Robert MacPherson (obviously, although he's doing less armor now) and Jeff Hedgecock, but both of them will probably cost significantly more than the one above. Be aware of anyone charging a lot less: Chances are they'll tell you they're making an accurate harness but it will actually be severely flawed both in terms of historical accuracy and in the movement it affords.

Regards,
Hugh
www.schlachtschule.org
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Nathan F




Location: ireland
Joined: 24 Dec 2008

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Posts: 141

PostPosted: Fri 08 May, 2009 6:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

thank you all for the excellent help now i am going to slowly build this kit together and see how it goes and im sure i will learn a huge amount along the way.
so does anyone want to get back to this issue of billmen?

for here starts war carrion birds sing, and grey wolves howl
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Fri 08 May, 2009 9:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan,

If artwork, effigies and text is a good indicator great bascinets would be primarily in the hands of well of lords and knights. This perhaps could flow down to men in their retinues but I'd assume only the really wealthy nobles could fully equip everyone in the most up-to-date armour. Most the knights, being of lesser incomes, would be in the standard pignose from the last century. You do see a growing number of effigies, especially of well to do knights, in great bascinets from around 1410 onwards.

Really Hugh has said it all. I did want to add some though. As Hugh said you could see the final development of the COP on the field, perhaps in very large numbers among men-at-arms. As most knights, the lesser men-at-arms even less, could not afford a new harness every year so had them for years, maybe decades of use. Several accounts of Agincourt state the French were very well armoured including full hauberks and a padded garment under their full plate harness. In reality we have no solid idea of when the shift to gussets and voiders takes off so that is a hard one. I tend to think closer to mid 15th as we have a great deal of texts indicating hauberks or haubergeons worn with aketon/gambesons under for the first half of the 15th. I also tend to think of arming garments as being at least minimally padded throughout the fifteenth century but this remains an open debate. In the end the key is to remember a stand alone padded/textile armour is not the same as something you wear under a plate harness. If you do go with a full plate harness you will need a well made textile armour. If padded, it need have much less padding in the arms than the chest, and generally less than earlier transitional aketons or stand alone armour.

To clarify Hugh’s use of gambeson and aketon is for clarity. As is the case with medieval texts they are often muddled and interchange the words. It has become aketon-under, gambeson-over for simplicity to help everyone remain on the same page. If you read through historic text you may find it under several names but with no real definitive use except as a padded garment.


Good luck with your research. Take a look at Gothic Eye.
http://www.gothiceye.com/index.asp

The Effigy of Sir Miles Stapleton who died in 1418 is a good example of what would I assume be more common for the average knight.


RPM



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