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Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
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PostPosted: Tue 28 Sep, 2010 2:57 pm    Post subject: Hand protection at Bannockburn         Reply with quote

Hi, I'm wondering if anyone could help me find out what kind of armour was worn on the hands of Scottish spearmen at the battle of Bannockburn? I've heard many times that Robert the Bruce made laws about how his men were to be armed, and if I remember right everyone was to have a spear, a helm, a gambesson, and some sort of metal hand protection. Does anyone know what from this hand armour would have taken, would it have been mail mittens, or leather gloves with steel plates sowed on, or would it have been something else completely, or perhaps there were many different types.
Éirinn go Brách
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Johann M




Location: London
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Sep, 2010 1:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While leather gloves with metal plates attached to them is possible, maille mittens seems the most plausible interpretation of the required hand protection.

It is also worth noting that the laws that mention requiring them, postdate the battle and therefore may not reflect the standard equipment at the battle. Certainly some was worn, and these laws were an attempt to encourage a greater standard of equipment for future conflicts.
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Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Sep, 2010 2:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply Johann, I was thinking that mail mittens were the most likely candidate, but has anyone ever seen period evidence of mail mittens being used as stand alone armour?
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Sander Marechal




Location: The Netherlands
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Sep, 2010 4:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
has anyone ever seen period evidence of mail mittens being used as stand alone armour?


Take a look at San Gordon's attachment in my maille gauntlets thread. It's a picture from the Codex Manesse that shows one figure wearing a maille coif and gauntlets, but no hauberk.
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Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Likes: 110 pages
Reading list: 18 books

Spotlight topics: 1
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Sep, 2010 9:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Sander this is exactly what I was looking for :-)
Éirinn go Brách
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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Sep, 2010 12:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

mail needs padding to give efficient padding against hard strikes, and propperly padded gloves are harder to make than mittens. Hand protection does not appear to have been prioritzed, as is is pretty much the last body armour to be developed. Most reenactors regard gloves/mitens as safety equipment, and settle for "not out of place" rather than authentic.
"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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