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Adrian S Petersson




Location: Jämtland, Sweden
Joined: 05 Sep 2009

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat 05 Sep, 2009 8:49 am    Post subject: Cloth body armour         Reply with quote

Hej everyone,
My name is Adrian, and i live in Norrland, Sweden. My interests lie both in the viking period and the mediaeval. I have my own Viking group, Nordlag, here in Jämtland, and we have worked closely with the local museum, Jamtli.
My good friend Martin has founded an archery company, based around the year 1400, and we shall be loosely connected to an existing Templars group, here in Sweden, if i have understood things correctly.
When i was still living in england, i briefly did Wars of the Roses reenactment, and bought a penny coat from a member of the group i was in ( Ye sunne in splendour..hope i spelled that correctly), and i am going to recreate said garment.
i have researched as far as my limited internet knowledge allows. What i am seeking is info on cloth armour, and the cheaper forms of metal armour associated with archers and footsoldiers, including mercenaries. As an archer, i intend to aim for 'basic', i.e a penny coat, and a helmet, and later on, some 'cheaper' style arm and leg protection. Probably a silly question, given the excellent company i find myself in on this forum, but can anyone shed any light on what a mercenary archery would most likely have worn...i hasten to add i will be an 'N.C.O', so to speak?
Oh, and the penny coat was an armless jack, which had medieaval english penny sized plates rivetted to the inside. Sort of a poorer version of a Brigandine. I was told that some soldiers would rivet pennies inside a jack, thus providing some extra protection. Mine had small iron plates to compensate for the lack of mediaeval pennies. Before i go ahead and start cutting, sewing etc., anyone have any info that could help or prevent me from wasting time and resources? Bear in mind i am in Scandinavia... Big Grin

I may not agree with what you are saying, but i will defend to the death your right to say it!
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Chris Kelson





Joined: 19 Feb 2005
Reading list: 26 books

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PostPosted: Sat 05 Sep, 2009 10:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've heard of these types of re-enforced jacks, has anyone got a bit more information and sources on them? It sounds pretty intriguing.

Also, Jack chains (possibly also known as splints?) as depicted on the Saint Ursula Shrine, being small plates of metal attached down the side of a jack's arms, from shoulder to cuff, seem to be quite a popular way of adding a bit more protection without having regular plate arm defenses. They cover what is an area most likely to be hit by slashing type cuts, so actually do add a nice bit of protection despite their rather small size.
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Nathan Beal





Joined: 02 Apr 2006

Posts: 68

PostPosted: Sat 05 Sep, 2009 1:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Cloth body armour         Reply with quote

Adrian S Petersson wrote:
Mine had small iron plates to compensate for the lack of mediaeval pennies. Before i go ahead and start cutting, sewing etc., anyone have any info that could help or prevent me from wasting time and resources? Bear in mind i am in Scandinavia... Big Grin


Hejsan Adrian

I'm not aware of anything like this, in fact if the implication was that the armour was actually made from pennies then I think we can be fairly sure that it's a re-enactorism (a penny in the period was made of silver and a tradesman would earn 2-4 a day, i think it would be fair to assume that enough to make a jerkin made of coins would be a lot more expensive than a brigandine).

In terms of relative costs the Jack (many layers of cloth) would be the entry level body armour of the period. Brigandine were generally cheaper than plate (though with fancy cloth they may well have started to get more expensive).

N.

Beware of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.
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M. Eversberg II




Location: California, Maryland, USA
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Sep, 2009 1:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pennies are 1mm thick pieces of struck silver...I don't see that adding much protection Razz

Name probably comes from somewhere else.

M.

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Nathan Beal





Joined: 02 Apr 2006

Posts: 68

PostPosted: Sat 05 Sep, 2009 1:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Cloth body armour         Reply with quote

e-stutter, apologies
Beware of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.


Last edited by Nathan Beal on Mon 07 Sep, 2009 1:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Sat 05 Sep, 2009 4:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The only example of this type of armour I'm aware of was in Alaska. It consisted of a leather garment with Japanese and Chinese coins sewn on it. Stone's Glossary has a photo. I've never come across any evidence of it ever being used in Europe.
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Chris Kelson





Joined: 19 Feb 2005
Reading list: 26 books

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PostPosted: Sat 05 Sep, 2009 5:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the implication is of "english penny sized plates rivetted to the inside" rather then pennies themselves. If I remember right, pennies were not all that small; so it seems like an sensible sized thing to put in to add armour, perhaps bits of what would otherwise be scrap metal from broken tools and other armours, cut into shape and attached, much like some brigandines were said to be made of old breastplates that were too damaged to be repaired so were cut up into small plates and re-used (though don't take that as a fact, since I lack a proper source to back that up as of this moment).
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Nat Lamb




Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Sep, 2009 7:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You mean Penny-Farthing bycicles didn't actually have pennies and farthings for wheels?
by which I mean, penny sized pieces of metal sounds very plausable, and very very plausable that folks would call such a garment a penny coat (or whatever)
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M. Eversberg II




Location: California, Maryland, USA
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Sep, 2009 8:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am looking at a penny struck c. 1422 right now...it's rather tiny.

Also, penny whistles aren't made of pennies Razz

M.

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Chuck Russell




Location: WV
Joined: 17 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Sun 06 Sep, 2009 6:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

are you refereing to a Jack of plates? Isnt that a 16th or later item?
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Adrian S Petersson




Location: Jämtland, Sweden
Joined: 05 Sep 2009

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun 06 Sep, 2009 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hehe..excellent...
If we think more broadly, and in (careful and sensible) terms of 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence', it is possible to assume that a soldier may well have taken what was at hand for protection. I have a vague memory of a friend of mine hearing about wood being used as armour! I think it's more of a reenactorism to assume that people wore lots and lots of shiny armour, or just a jack, or nothing at all (by way of protection). I am of the opinion that a little more imagination is called for. It seems feasible to me to bolster up a jack with small plates. I think people tend to set too many limits on the possibilities. We are, after all, talking about humans, even ones without CAD/CAM and computers to help them along,but with all the same survival traits we carry today.
I like the idea of the name 'penny coat' being a sort of nickname, and it would be, remember a speculative reconstruction, and anyway how many things are missing from the archeological record? Things that existed but we will never know anything about? Another reenactorism; to assume that if it hasn't been heard of or read about, or seen in a painting etc., it didn't exist. Like i said a careful and sensible, reasonable application of 'abscence of evidence is not evidence of absence'.
The jack sounds like a good 'entry level' choice too. I have seen the pattern available on Armour Archive, which certainly looks the part...

I may not agree with what you are saying, but i will defend to the death your right to say it!
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William Knight




Location: Mid atlantic, US
Joined: 02 Oct 2005

Posts: 133

PostPosted: Sun 06 Sep, 2009 9:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adrian S Petersson wrote:
Hehe..excellent...
If we think more broadly, and in (careful and sensible) terms of 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence', it is possible to assume that a soldier may well have taken what was at hand for protection. I have a vague memory of a friend of mine hearing about wood being used as armour! I think it's more of a reenactorism to assume that people wore lots and lots of shiny armour, or just a jack, or nothing at all (by way of protection). I am of the opinion that a little more imagination is called for. It seems feasible to me to bolster up a jack with small plates. I think people tend to set too many limits on the possibilities. We are, after all, talking about humans, even ones without CAD/CAM and computers to help them along,but with all the same survival traits we carry today.
I like the idea of the name 'penny coat' being a sort of nickname, and it would be, remember a speculative reconstruction, and anyway how many things are missing from the archeological record? Things that existed but we will never know anything about? Another reenactorism; to assume that if it hasn't been heard of or read about, or seen in a painting etc., it didn't exist. Like i said a careful and sensible, reasonable application of 'abscence of evidence is not evidence of absence'.
The jack sounds like a good 'entry level' choice too. I have seen the pattern available on Armour Archive, which certainly looks the part...


The problem is, is that it's not that there are no archaeological finds of jacks of plates in a 15th century context, it's that there are no clear references to them in documents of the time, no clear pictures of them (surviving examples look a bit different from ordinary jacks) etc. The question is, should plausibility lead living historians to make speculative reconstructions on the basis that something is not entirely unlikely, or should our responsibility as educators require us to stick to recreations that we can be sure are appropriate for our period, at least as much as possible. That is to say, documented equipment, practices etc.

-Wilhelm
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Adrian S Petersson




Location: Jämtland, Sweden
Joined: 05 Sep 2009

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun 06 Sep, 2009 10:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

yeah, you see i repeated myself about being careful, sensible and reasonable in speculating. And as for 'our responsiblity as educators'...well, should we stick to that which we already 'know'?...like vikings having horns on their helmets, and using axes with 2 heads, or romans wearing leather armour, or knights having to be hoisted onto their horses with cranes before battle? Or should we try to get our beloved public to understand that there are other possibilities than the accepted ideals, and things they learned in old school books or saw in films?
I agree with you in part, though. We cannot go too far, and therein lies the problem. It is an all-too-human trait to see things in black and white, and I personally think there is too much store set by the archeological record, helpful though it is (god bless archeologists! Big Grin ). In the stampede toward the Living History Exhibition, we tend to forget, as i said, that there are things that archeology, art, manuscripts, etc. cannot possibly see. Well, i respect your opinion, most helpful and illuminating, but i am, in my careful, reasonable, and sensible way, far too inclined to ask "what else was there? What else could there have been?" All within the bounds of my understanding of the past, of course Wink

I may not agree with what you are saying, but i will defend to the death your right to say it!
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Chuck Russell




Location: WV
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PostPosted: Sun 06 Sep, 2009 2:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

we can read about jacks being issued to soldiers. and they specifically state how they must be made and with what. example under 25 layers had to have mail. sometimes a stag skin could be put inbetween the layers. etc. I believe the Jack of plates had small horn or metal or even mail sandwiched inbetween the layers but like I said I "think" this was a 16th century thing.
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Martin Wallgren




Location: Bjästa, Sweden
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

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PostPosted: Sun 06 Sep, 2009 11:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Visby Harness. Go for that man, it is in our timeframe and there is very nice finds.

//M

Swordsman, Archer and Dad
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Kopiko Ten





Joined: 08 Sep 2009

Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue 08 Sep, 2009 6:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe the Jack of plates had small horn or metal or even mail sandwiched inbetween the layers
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Romulus Stoica




Location: Hunedoara, Transylvania, Romania
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Sep, 2009 4:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The armor with a "sandwich" structure of mail between 2 (or more) layers of padded cloth it's called "kazaghand" and it is an oriental (turkish or persian) type of armor. I don't know for sure if it was used in Europe also, but it is possible, since turkish armor types had a strong influence on russian, polish, hungarian, walachian, bulgarian and even italian (venetian especially) types of armour.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Sep, 2009 3:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes it was used in Europe. It was initially called a jazerant and later a gestron. Some texts call it a "jack stuffed with mail". Calling it a "jack of plates" would not be productive.
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