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Nick Birmingham




Location: Southampton, England
Joined: 16 May 2012

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed 10 Apr, 2013 3:49 am    Post subject: Late 14th Century English Man-at-Arms - Kit Advice Required.         Reply with quote

Hi guys,

I wonder if I could have your advice please? I have been a warbow archer for the last 12 years ("BigBowBrum") but I have always harboured an interest in the 14th century man-at-arms.

Recently my joints have started to hint that it may be time for a change and with this in mind I have looked in earnest at putting together some typical kit for a middle-ranking English man-at-arms for the latter quarter of the 14th century.

I would therefore be very grateful if you guys could share your considerable knowledge and experience by looking over my kit list below and giving me your opinions please?

Aketon/arming jacket of mid-thigh length over a linen shirt
Over this a riveted flat ring/round rivet hauberk, mid-thigh length.
Over the mail a Coat of plates
Klappvisor bascinet with riveted aventail sewn to a shoulder-length padded coif.
Steel cuisses, poleyns and greaves (front and back). No sabatons.
Gauntlets
Couters
Pauldrons

My main questions are:

1. Would a full hauberk really be worn beneath a coat-of-plates or is this overkill?
2. Would it be authentic to do away with vambraces and rerebraces?
3. I've seen some leg and arm armour consisting of leather reinforced with metal strips and rivets. Is this earlier or simply a cheaper alternative to full steel?
4. Would the leg armour be suspended from a belt worn beneath the aketon, much like my hose, or from the aketon itself? I'm guessing a belt.
5. Would padding be worn under the cuisses and over my hose?
6. Is mid-thigh still the correct length for late 14th century?

I appreciate that my list provides little in the way of detail for each item, but at the moment I just want to make sure I have the outline of the main components. I can then speak with individual armourers to get the exact style of each item correct for my period. I also apologise if any of my questions seem mundane or have been asked before on this site but my knowledge of this subject is currently at an early stage and any help you guys can provide will speed up my research immeasurably.

Many thanks for your time,

Nick

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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Wed 10 Apr, 2013 5:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Nick!

The full hauberk seems to be common with plate and an aketon all the way into the first half of the 15th. Sometime there toward the mid century they swap it out for voiders and a mail skirt.

You can do away with vambraces and rerebraces for full mail sleeves until around the mid part of the 14th. After that it becomes less common. That said the lower the status and wealth of the man-at-arms the more likely this is.

The splinted limb armour is pretty much ok throughout the first and second half of the 14th, longer in places like Germany.

I use a belt but that is hard to prove and still hotly debated for the leg armour.

If you use padded cuisses yes. They seem to stop use mid century as well but I suspect plate cuisses were lined with padding.

Yes. Mid thigh works for mid century for the tunic and such. After this they start creeping up.

Take care!

RPM
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Julian Behle




Location: Germany
Joined: 10 May 2012
Reading list: 22 books

Posts: 35

PostPosted: Wed 10 Apr, 2013 6:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The 14th century, a great choice of period. I don't know how far you are into research for now but take your time. There are plenty of medieval illuminations and effigies arround although they most depict the knightly class. Have a look at reenactment sites. Read some books from the reading lists. There are pretty accurate examples of how a suite of armour may have looked like and often they provide some useful backround knowledge. I came across a mid 14th century harness some days ago but it will show you how armour was some decades before. A haubergeon is worn though a hauberk is all right as Randall stated previously. Just go through the harness section and you will find more examples and other threads will go further into detail.

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...start=1452

These websites are recommendable as well. Plenty of ressource material in there.

http://effigiesandbrasses.com/
http://talbotsfineaccessories.com/armour/effi...lysis.html

These sites provides loads of pictures of maille, plate and weapons.

http://vk.com/albums-11029306
https://plus.google.com/photos/101921286075535061327/albums/5432216164300023137?banner=pwa
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Augusto Boer Bront
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Location: Cividale del Friuli (UD) Italy
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Posts: 259

PostPosted: Wed 10 Apr, 2013 6:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wouldn't really advise to look at other's reenector sites, as too frequently they don't have (yet) a complete correct kit.
I'd suggest you always to look at the original material first, and then to look at the reconstructions.

Edit: but pics like these are piceless =)
https://plus.google.com/photos/101921286075535061327/albums/5432216164300023137/5453097096601924178?banner=pwa

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Pinterest albums to almost all existing XIVth century armour.
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Julian Behle




Location: Germany
Joined: 10 May 2012
Reading list: 22 books

Posts: 35

PostPosted: Wed 10 Apr, 2013 8:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

@ Nick , (@ Augusto)

Indeed, you are so very right about reenactment groups. There are too many examples of an unaware ill will to historically accurate armour reproduction arround. So you can go all wrong with unhistorical pieces at the beginning. Yet after you took an extensive glance at the ressources, you may well be tempted to find new images and there my links come into play. Especially eastern groups provide good examples of what armour can look like if you invest a lot of time and a good deal of money. It takes a lot of time to come across some of their communities if you are from the west. But its worth it. I am always longing for new community photos because they sometimes don't show these typical wisby or wallace collection stuff, while being authentic. They just provide many different perspectives of a piece and bring it to life.
For the relatively new enthusiast, historical ressources should have priority to get a sense for what is rather accurate and what is not. The plenty of image storage does not replace literary research. Getting a feeling for the period may spare you a lot of time and bad investment once you are tempted to take arms. Especially armour is not bought within a month or two but it's the same with quality bows and arrows of course.
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Nick Birmingham




Location: Southampton, England
Joined: 16 May 2012

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr, 2013 1:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall, thank you once again for some invaluable info, and for answering all my questions. If I were to go for a breastplate rather than a coat of plates would this still be OK?

Julian, thank you for the advice and for the terrific link to the Prawdziwa 14stka gallery. I shall enjoy looking through those photos and getting some ideas for colours and how items of kit work together. If only we had 14th century groups like that in England for me to join!

Augusto, I agree entirely. Copying someone else's kit can often lead to copying their mistakes as well and I always try to validate an item with an historical example where possible.

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Zac Evans




Location: London
Joined: 26 Dec 2006

Posts: 151

PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr, 2013 2:50 am    Post subject: Re: Late 14th Century English Man-at-Arms - Kit Advice Requi         Reply with quote

A few extras to Randalls comments:

Nick Birmingham wrote:

Aketon/arming jacket of mid-thigh length over a linen shirt
Pauldrons


I doubt a linen shirt would be worn under armour. Evidence from the 15th century suggests they weren't worn under armour then, and I would suggest that extra padding in the 14th century would mean they were less likely to wear them then. A shirts original purpose is to protect the over garments and make them need washing less often. In battle you sweat so much it goes straight through the shirt, causing no benefit, and your garments will get a lot worse than sweat on them during the battle. One writer suggests you have your arming garments made exclusively out of red fabrics to hide the blood.
You're probably thinking of spaulders when you say pauldrons. Pauldrons as a term is generally used for the larger shoulder defences from the 15th and 16th centuries, whereas 14th century shoulder armour is smaller and closer to the arm.

Quote:


4. Would the leg armour be suspended from a belt worn beneath the aketon, much like my hose, or from the aketon itself? I'm guessing a belt.
5. Would padding be worn under the cuisses and over my hose?



4. I disagree with Randall completely here (except for when he said hotly debated Wink ). Using a belt to hold up your cuisses has no evidence in any period before re-enacting as far as I'm aware (correct me if I'm wrong here), and in my experience causes cut and bruised hips. Pointing them to the arming garment however spreads the load, giving comfort when wearing and is the only thing we have any evidence for. It is also incorrect to suspend your hose from your belt for the most part. I have only seen one image of hose being suspended this way, and that was a rather unflattering image of a half undressed fat drunkard. Normally hose are pointed to a foundation garment, just like the armour.

5. This is possible but mostly unnessesary. More likely with splinted defences, but by the time full plate is worn on the limbs you need very little padding added. I would suggest some blanket tied around the knees though, as these will stop your hose from being cut up by the internal rivets.


I see you are another inhabitant of the fine isle of Britain. I have a reasonable amount of experience with the armourers of this area, so if you want advice on who to talk to let me know. My current armour was made by five different armourers and I've held the work of most of the other main ones.

Hope this helps. All the best.

Zac
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr, 2013 5:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Zac,

Ah but with that there is no evidence for pointing anything of armour until later. Once more we are swapping out guess for guess now. I only think belt as we have evidence of belts as a working solution for other things and the fact that braes seem to use some type of belt but as I said before I still have no idea what was done in period. As well the blanket around the knees info is a full 100 years after the period he is shooting for. Moving forward back is just as dangerous as these things clearly developed and changed over time.

Nick,

As far as breastplates over COPs. If earlier than say 1360 not likely. They come in around 1340 but seem pretty isolated to the upper nobles for the first decade and some. The first time I have seen evidence for breastplates outside this group is the 1360s.

RPM
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Zac Evans




Location: London
Joined: 26 Dec 2006

Posts: 151

PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr, 2013 11:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
Zac,

Ah but with that there is no evidence for pointing anything of armour until later. Once more we are swapping out guess for guess now. I only think belt as we have evidence of belts as a working solution for other things and the fact that braes seem to use some type of belt but as I said before I still have no idea what was done in period. As well the blanket around the knees info is a full 100 years after the period he is shooting for. Moving forward back is just as dangerous as these things clearly developed and changed over time.



While I see your point about not backwards engineering, both assertions are back-engineered. One from between 50 and 100 years, (in between the period discussed and the arming document) and one from 500 years later (the idea of attaching to a belt). Whats more I and many of my friends have working experience of both methods, and find the arming garment considerably easier and more hip friendly than the belt method. I have literally left the battlefield with bleeding hips thanks to belt suspensions, but can wear my leg armour without any problem for a whole day wearing my arming clothes.

As for the blanket around the knees this once again comes from the 15th century manuscript (1450-80). Yes, there is not much evidence for this in late 14th century, but the suggestion that padding could be worn underneath plat eis just as much guesswork. Looking at the effigies and paintings, if there is padding underneath the plate armour, it will be very thin or they would have had very thin legs.

When it comes to choosing between two guesses we need to think about which guess is most likely, not which one was arrived at first. For the affixing of leg armour, I would suggest that the arming cote wins out on both closeness to period of real evidence and ease of use and comfort during practical tests.

All the best, typed with respect and in the interest of a hearty discussion.

Zac
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr, 2013 1:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Zac,

Nope. The belt idea comes from period artwork with braes using leather belts to hold up chausses. I as well have worn lots of armour, even some period pieces. I have made belts that have had good results. I have used points as well. The issue I have is there is no evidence for decades to points from when plate armour shows up. I use points for some places on my 1340s harness but will not go all onto points until there is more evidence as long as I can do it otherwise. I am fine with either as we have no idea but do not see either as better than the other and feel I can find period art of braes with belts mid century but nothing for points.

And for leg armour we know that they were using padded cuisses into the 1350s so hardly a stretch to get from A to B there.

'When it comes to choosing between two guesses we need to think about which guess is most likely, not which one was arrived at first'

This is dangerous.... that assumes your experience, knowledge, limitations and behavior are the same as medieval people. More likely to you is not the same as more likely to them.

I think one should go where the evidence is as work out from there but the earlier tech should take the first place over later, and in this case much later technologies... The less evidence the more guessing is needed.

RPM
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Nick Birmingham




Location: Southampton, England
Joined: 16 May 2012

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr, 2013 1:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Zac,

Excellent information mate. Thank you so much for adding to the discussion:

1. I had my doubts as to whether a shirt would be needed for the reasons you describe. As my shirt is part of the soft kit I would get changed into after the demo/battle I had thought that ending up with a soaking wet shirt would not be desirable, especially if I then wanted to put a dry cotte over the top, so your post has convinced me not to both with it. Cheers.

2. Ah spaulders it is then. I wasn't sure of the correct terminology and had to refer to an online guide to find a name. The guide I chose did show a much later and much heavier harness so my mistake.

3. Now your help here is priceless mate. I currently suspend my hose via a belt that runs through a hem in the braes but it is an arrangement that I have never been happy with. Over the course of a long weekend's living history my braes feel like they are constantly being pulled down, the belt cuts into my hips and the whole look just feels wrong. I could never see how medieval man could find this comfortable and it is such a relief to take the belt off at the end of the weekend. Now I see that they didn't use that system at all and I can imagine that suspending armoured legs off the same belt would be many times worse.

However, I'm confused. I can't see how I could suspend them from an aketon as the garment would be too long, coming down way past the hips where the hose and leg armour would need to be pointed to. Are you saying that some form of figure-hugging linen garment was worn beneath the aketon, simply for the purpose of providing pointing holes for the hose and legs? Perhaps a thin armless vest?

Thank you the offer of providing details of UK armourers, and yes I would be very grateful to hear of any. This is probably the info I am in need of most right now. I have a fairly good idea of what I want and how I want it to look, but so far it looks like the Eastern European, and in particular Polish armourers seem to provide the best 14th century kit as all the UK guys I hear of tend to specialise more towards the Wars of the Roses.

Randall, so if I were to base my kit around 1360 to 1380 then a breastplate would be deemed correct?

Thanks for your time guys. I've learnt so much already. Can't thank you enough.

Nick

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Augusto Boer Bront
Industry Professional



Location: Cividale del Friuli (UD) Italy
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Posts: 259

PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr, 2013 1:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yep, the breastplate would be correct.
Remember however to be sure to wear a full sleeve hauberk under it, not like 99% of the reenactors in the album posted before (don't take me wrong, they have kits way better than mine, but I'm somewhat always annoyed by the "lazy" and more practical way of wearing haubergeons or dont' wear upper mail at all and pointing arm harnesses directly to the arming garment).

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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
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Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr, 2013 3:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nick,

As far as hose/chausses until the late 14th or early 15th there is no other historic way to attack hose/chausses I know of. That said if you can go over the issues you are having with the braes I suspect we can help figure out how to fix them.

See these examples. Starts on a different topic but ends up about braes and how to make/use them-
http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB3/viewto...s#p2406445

to later these. great pictures on it and evidence-
http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB3/viewto...s#p2401682
http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB3/viewto...ilit=braes

The mail is sadly lacking often. That said if you are going to go largely with mail over the arms and little plate that'd work fine. Less common to see no/little plate on the arms by 1360. I'd take a look here for the time frame you are looking at.

http://effigiesandbrasses.com/

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/

You could be an armed man as well. Not expected to ride a horse and often of less full harness from what I can tell.

RPM
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr, 2013 8:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nick Birmingham wrote:
However, I'm confused. I can't see how I could suspend them from an aketon as the garment would be too long, coming down way past the hips where the hose and leg armour would need to be pointed to.


've seen points affixed to the waistline/doublet of the doublet/pourpoint--so they hang down from the waist underneath the garment itself. I don't know if this is strictly hisotrical, though, since I saw it on a modern reproduction.
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Nick Birmingham




Location: Southampton, England
Joined: 16 May 2012

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri 04 Apr, 2014 8:57 am    Post subject: Update         Reply with quote

Well a year has now passed since my initial post and my harness is now almost complete. I'm looking forward to posting photos in a month or so to see what you guys think.

My knowledge has also come along in leaps and bounds but I would be grateful for your thoughts on the length of mail sleeves worn under armour around 1370.

I have recently bought a flat ring, wedge riveted hauberk from Mark at Cap-a-Pie and I have been advised by others to cut the sleeves to the elbow so the mail sits under the spalders but stops at the couters.

However, when I look at effigies from around that time they show mail going under the spalders AND under the elbow couters, at least as far down as the start of the vambraces. It's obviously impossible to know from these effigies alone whether it also went under the vambraces on the forearm but my guess is that it did. Would this be the case?

As the arms of most hauberks (mine included) are not tapered I'm guessing (I haven't tried yet) that it may not be comfortable to strap my vambrace over the top of my hauberk sleeves as there is probably too much mail to accommodate it all under the armour.

Secondly, and probably I'm answering my own question here, but normally I would point the armour directly to my aketon/gambeson but as the mail will sit between the armour and the padded garment I'm guessing I just point directly to the mail instead, and not through both the aketon AND the mail. Is there any evidence of this?

Many thanks for your help.

Nick

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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Apr, 2014 9:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I tend to point to the garment underneath nick, thus through the mail. mail slops around a bit so i find you can end up with your harness being a bit out of place at the wrong moment.
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Quinn W.




Location: Bellingham, WA
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Posts: 197

PostPosted: Fri 04 Apr, 2014 11:30 am    Post subject: Re: Late 14th Century English Man-at-Arms - Kit Advice Requi         Reply with quote

Zac Evans wrote:
I doubt a linen shirt would be worn under armour. Evidence from the 15th century suggests they weren't worn under armour then, and I would suggest that extra padding in the 14th century would mean they were less likely to wear them then. A shirts original purpose is to protect the over garments and make them need washing less often. In battle you sweat so much it goes straight through the shirt, causing no benefit, and your garments will get a lot worse than sweat on them during the battle. One writer suggests you have your arming garments made exclusively out of red fabrics to hide the blood.

I know this was brought up quite a while ago, but this is new information to me - although it does make sense. Would anyone mind getting a bit more specific with the sources mentioned? I have included the linen shirt as part of kitting up when I give demos to the public so while I don't like making mistakes for myself it would be even worse if I found I had been spreading misinformation!

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Nick Birmingham




Location: Southampton, England
Joined: 16 May 2012

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PostPosted: Fri 04 Apr, 2014 12:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark, thanks for the advice. That all makes perfect sense.
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Apr, 2014 5:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nick,

As far as the mail it can go either over the vambraces or assumedly under (we can see mail disappearing under the vambraces at the elbow). Some people clearly did not wear much as far as shoulder armour during the 14th, Italy for example seems rather to rely on mail more than plate for much of the time. That said Thom Richardson's new PhD Thesis is clear bit of mail used likely in place of or with hauberks and haubergeons indicate a pretty wide amount of variation with mail.

If making the mail go over you'll need to have them straight or taper out. Under likely pretty well fit over the arming coat or aketon.

As far as pointing to the aketon. Yep by that point of the 14th seems the way to go. As well the legs could be put on that way with historic precedence as well by the later 14th so on all accounts you are good. I have attached plate to mail without using the aketon or arming garment in the past and know many people who have done this. Seeing how we do have limited info on how all things were pointed on cannot say it was or was not done but it works but as Mark said it may pull in one place.

Quinn,

The late 15th example is the Hastings MS. But I think it would be dangerous to assume that there was no change between earlier periods to the 1470s or later when this was wrote. Armour had changed immensely. But it may well could have. I myself am not convinced the Hastings account is as definitive as many do. It is just one source and one persons view on how a man should be armed. That said it is by far the clearest interpretation for that time.

RPM
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