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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Help identifying / dating what I think is a lance Reply to topic
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Sam Morrow




Location: Texas US
Joined: 27 Apr 2018

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat 30 Jun, 2018 12:47 pm    Post subject: Help identifying / dating what I think is a lance         Reply with quote

Found this item at an estate sale in Texas USA. 9' long, iron tip, weighs about 2 lbs the vamplate which is usually metal is leather but the leather is petrified.


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Peter Lyon
Industry Professional



Location: New Zealand
Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Reading list: 39 books

Posts: 229

PostPosted: Sat 30 Jun, 2018 2:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This looks like a ringing lance. Taking rings of various sizes with a lance was a popular sport in the 19th century, and is possibly still the national sport of one of the States, Maryland I think. The idea was to gallop along a line, using a light lance with a super fine tip (sound familiar?) and take rings of varying sizes hanging from a piece of light twine or the like, right down to about 1/4" if I remember right. It would obviously be great training for cavalry, especially in the Southern States which put a great emphasis on their cavalry, but the sport was open to all, men and women, and probably children.

I have a nice little book called "The Ring Tournament in the United States" by Esther J Crooks and Ruth W Crooks, published in 1936 (it doesn't look to have ever been republished) that covers it all very well. There are a few photos of riders holding lances which look just like what you have there. If you want to research it more, copies are available on Abebooks etc at reasonable prices:

https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&cm_sp=SearchF-_-home-_-Results&an=crooks&tn=the+ring+tournament+in+the+United+States&kn=&isbn=

If you google search (and ignore all the WWF etc) you will find pictures of the modern sport too.

It is definitely not a military lance either, the leather piece is too flimsy to give real protection to the hand or provide a stop if you hit something hard, but perfect to protect from a ring whacking your hand (and I know from experience that hurts, and leaves a bruise). The condition of the leather suggests to me it could date to the final popularity of ring lancing pre-WW2, but could also be 19th century.

Still hammering away
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Ralph Grinly





Joined: 19 Jan 2011

Posts: 322

PostPosted: Sat 30 Jun, 2018 2:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure just what it is, but I'm pretty sure it's not a lance in the weapon's sense. Maybe agricultural ? Something used to poke ventillation holes in haystacks so they don't heat up too much and start burning ?
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Ralph Grinly





Joined: 19 Jan 2011

Posts: 322

PostPosted: Sat 30 Jun, 2018 2:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure just what it is, but I'm pretty sure it's not a lance in the weapon's sense. Maybe agricultural ? Something used to poke ventillation holes in haystacks so they don't heat up too much and start burning ?
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Dan Howard




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

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,197

PostPosted: Sat 30 Jun, 2018 4:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks like a ringing lance to me too. Decades old, not centuries. The guard is to stop the rings from sliding too far up the shaft. The only oddity is the location of the guard. Usually they are located past the half-way point towards the tip; they aren't so far back.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Ben Joy




Location: Missouri
Joined: 21 May 2010
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Posts: 114

PostPosted: Sat 30 Jun, 2018 8:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Definite ringing lance. As Peter Lyon states (and being Maryland born I can confirm it), Jousting is the state sport of Maryland . . . particularly "Ring Tournaments". I'd agree that the lance isn't that old. Jousting didn't even become the state sport in Maryland until 1962 (that I had to look up to confirm, couldn't recall it off the top of my head), and was the first state to declare a state sport. It was kind of a big deal in elementary school . . . I think it was 2nd grade . . . when we were learning about our home state. That was a long time ago.

The leather isn't too uncommon for a guard on a ringing lance, because they're all homemade. Also, as stated by Dan, all it needs to do is stop some of the bigger rings from hitting your hand. Plenty don't even have guards. The requirements aren't too strict. Plenty actually just use a long slender metal spike on the end for getting the rings (since they can go down to 1/4") and the shaft itself acts as a sort of guard.

It's been a while since I've even lived in the state, let alone given it any thought. Anyway, it took a few moments to find the official website on it. You can get a lot more information here:

http://marylandjousting.com/

"Men take only their needs into consideration, never their abilities." -Napoleon Bonaparte
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Sam Morrow




Location: Texas US
Joined: 27 Apr 2018

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat 30 Jun, 2018 10:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you everyone!!!
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,306

PostPosted: Sun 01 Jul, 2018 6:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Years ago I did a medieval demo with some fight routines at a Maryland jousting tournament, with Markland, the group I was with at the time. It was WEIRD, to our eyes, but fascinating. We were the only people in medieval clothing there, all the participants and spectators were in cowboy boots and hats, etc. I remember one little girl on a pony who practically stopped as she reached way up to skewer each ring, but she did get them. Experienced adults took the course (3 rings, I believe) at a full gallop, and it was amazing to see how steady their lance points were at that speed. Rock solid, not a twitch. When they were skewering quarter-inch rings that we couldn't even see, we looked down at our mailshirts in horror...

I think we all twitched a little more at reenactments after that, if there was anyone on horseback!

Matthew
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