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John Flower




Location: New Zealand
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PostPosted: Mon 10 Jul, 2006 11:12 pm    Post subject: Details of armour & weaponry for 1250 England         Reply with quote

G'day,


I've bought a few armour & weapon books which are very general in nature. But don't give enough information for collecting/making items for an armoured fighting man from England at around 1250AD +-50 years. He'd be intending to fight on foot The rough concept is that he'd be wearing a padded underjacket, full length mail shirt + mittens . He'd be armed with sword, spear and dagger. Possibly have plate shin guards. I'd like to base the costume on surviving items of the period, followed by artwork and lastly by guesswork.

Can you advise, suggest books that I could purchase or point me towards websites that would help in:-
Choosing authentic rings for the mail eg: ID, gauge, rivet type, cross section
Garment patterns with appropriate fabric & colour suggestions
Keeping everything within 50 years of each other!


Cheers,

John


Books owned:-
The Armourer and his Craft - Charles Ffoulkes
Longbow ASAMH - Robert Hardy
Western Warfare ITAOT Crusades - John France
The Archaeology of Weapons - R. Ewart Oakeshott
Arms & Armour Vesey Norman
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Tue 11 Jul, 2006 4:51 am    Post subject: Re: Details of armour & weaponry for 1250 England         Reply with quote

Ah, the glorious 1250s Happy
For visual sources, your best friends are manuscripts like the Maciowski bible and Life of Edward the Confessor
These are good illustrations of the visual look that you are aiming for.

Armour wise, you want a hip/tight length arming coat, and hauberk. (the mittens are optional, but very period...) You could have a integrated mail coif or a loose one, with the collar under the surcote or hauberk. Both are equally historical.
As for rings gauge/cross section, round rings are more historical, but the replicas available at a decent price (IE, the indian stuff) of round ring mail are generally sub-optimal; The flatened section where the rivet goes through the ring is often to large, making the mail look "edgy", as if made from ringpulls... The flat ring stuff from Fourth Armoury or GDFB looks better.
On the legs you should have thin padded hose, mail chause, and aditional padding on the thigh, reaching down to around the knees. (like the ones the guy in the lower right corner are putting on)
[img] http://www.medievaltymes.com/courtyard/images....gif[/img]
These are padding under the hauberk skirts; Having these as leggings gives better mobility than having long skirts under the hauberk.
Strictly speaking, you do not need mail under these, as they are allready covered by the hauberk; My armour hose has consists of the padding, down to the knees, and mail to cover the shins. (Made from 40x60 "long skirts" from GDFB) You might also have very simple knee protectors. These are known from the written material, but are not very common in the artwork. examples can be seen in edwards the confessor, but only in the Battle of Hastings scene.


Helmetwise, A kettlehat is preferable. A cervilet is also a possibility, but the kettlehat gives better protection. Knights would wear greathelms with cervilets underneath, and thus fight in their cervilets when dismounted.

As for weapons, you want a plain, curiform sword. A type XII is ideal. The dagger could be of a similar pattern; Look for them in the manuscripts.
The design of the spear would depend on wether you are going to carry a shield or not. the onehanded spear has a thin shaft, of about 2-2,5 cm, and be about 2,3 m long. A twohanded spear has a thicker shaft, and can be longer. The spearheads are quite "generic", generally short. Some have wings in the visual sources.
Shield are large heather or transitional kite-heather types. (Later heaters are smaller, as the amount of armour increases, and two handed spears become dominant.) You could also carry a buckler with your twohanded spear, which is more convenient, but less effective.

The civilian clothes consists of;
Tunic, woolen. (Brown, green and red is hip. No bottle greens, or blueish reds. Losse arond the body and upper arms, tight around the lower arm.)
Shirt, linnen, undyed. (Shorter than the tunic, isn't suposed to show. (You want two of these... One for use under armour, adn a clean and dry one...)
Hose, wool. (Brown or red are hip. Black hide is an option...)
Braie, linnen, undyed. (the worlds biggest underpants.)
Shoes.

More info on clothes:
http://www.thirteenthcentury.com/index.html
http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/

Over all, you want to look a bit like this dashing fella'... Wink
http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e202/Ellingpolden/DSC_0278.jpg

"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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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 11 Jul, 2006 9:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Maciejowski Bible is a great resource. It's French and was written at the court of St. Louis in ~1250 AD. The Mac. Bible is a great resource for colours used also and shows military and civilian dress. An armoured fighting man of the period likely would not have been a foot soldier, though. Mounted warfare was still the standard. If you were a foot soldier, you would typically be of a lower class and not so well-armoured, speaking in generalities, of course.
Happy

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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Tue 11 Jul, 2006 2:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It should be noted that some of the colours used in the mac where available as inks, but not textile, like the dark blues. Lighter blues where available, though.
"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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George Hill




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PostPosted: Tue 11 Jul, 2006 2:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If it's not too much of a hijack, how much evidence do we have for the use of the greathelm when fighting on foot?
To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Tue 11 Jul, 2006 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are pictures of dismounted knights with greathelms, but then, the greathelm is the only way to tell that someone is a knight.
Mostly these are seige scenes, as far as I remember.
But from my experience, greathelms are not very good for dismounted fighting. The increased protection is offsett by the lack of vision. You literally could have no idea what hit you...
Even walking is awkward, as you can be watching either the horizon, or the ground, through the breathing holes.

"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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Eric Allen




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PostPosted: Tue 11 Jul, 2006 3:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, Elling really summed that up nice!

One thing I'd kind of like to reiterate is that Elling's description would be more for a top-of-the-line soldier, like a dismounted knight or a wealthy man-at-arms or sargent. A less financially well-off soldier would very likely wear less armor--probably the first to go would be the armor for the legs, followed by the length of the sleevs on the hauberk (there are some images in the Macj. bible that I think are supposed to show poorer, less well-equiped soldiers wearing older armor with short sleeved hauberks) and the mail coif (hood). If the soldier couldn't afford mail, wearing only your gambeson as armor would work as well.

Proably the most common weapon for a footsoldier was the spear. If the soldier could afford a second, backup weapon like a sword or a mace, he probably would carry it as well.

In short, it depends on how wealthy a soldier you want to portray
I'd say start with the basics then add to it, only adding what you want
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John Flower




Location: New Zealand
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Jul, 2006 2:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the neat pictures and links. I'm looking for greater detail... like are the mail rings all the same size from head to chest to arm to mitten? Which fabrics were available? Wool, cotton, silk? What is the best material for padding jackets? How closely were the fabrics weaved? The suggestion that the suit be for fighting on foot is purely because I'm not prepared (yet) to maintain a horse. So I'd rather get the best possible kit... which in our times is far cheaper relative to the average wage than that of 750 years ago.

Does anyone have any pointers to pictures of surviving armour from 1250?
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John Flower




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Jul, 2006 2:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry, read helpful note about materials... though knowing threadcount and stitching methods would be great.
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Hisham Gaballa





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PostPosted: Wed 12 Jul, 2006 2:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You can always try Osprey's "English Medieval Knight 1200-1300", like all Osprey books it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, but it is still a fairly reliable guide.

Here's the link:
http://www.myArmoury.com/books/item.php?ASIN=1841761443
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Jul, 2006 6:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In northern europe, wool and linnen are the common alternatives. Cotton was available in the Mediterranean area, but not widely exported, as we know of.

Wool fabrics where of different types, but for reenactment purposes, the colours are the most important.
(Only really nerdy Living history people can see the difference, and then only on close inspection). However, you want fairly thin fabrics, not the "woolen blanket" stuff.
A reasonably wealthy man would have a lined tunic. The lining is usually thin undyed wool, or another "cheap" colour. The hood could aslo be lined.
As you can see from the manuscripts, 13th century hoods are simple designs, with short colars that are spilt in the middle.

13th cent. clothing is quite simple, with little decoration. This makes it a good period to start with, since making a nobleman's kit for the 1260's are a lot simpler than making one for 1160 or 1360. (The 13th seems to have been the "minimalist century" Wink )

Arming jackets are made of 10-20 layers of linnen or cotton canvas, depending on where you are, and how much money you have. For maximum protection, these should have a tight and strong weave.
Cloth armour is also very expensive, historically. Textiles where over all not very cheap before the industrial revolution, and you need a lot of cloth to make a 20 layer gambeson.

"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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John Flower




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Jul, 2006 11:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Charles Ffoulkes suggests that "banded" mail might be stiffening in an area by threading leather (or other cord) through the links. Is there any evidence that this was done? What about evidence for the use of patterns other than 4-1? Is there any merit in the use of 6-1, 8-1 and other combinations?

Talking about nerdy Living History people's attention to detail.... of which I may become! I'm thinking that for now I'd prefer an iron substitute if it had the same weight, and colour of an authentic piece, and take advantage of less rust.. Can a stainless steel have the same appearance?

What are the pros and cons about integrated vs seperate coif?

One purpose of padded armour (under mail) is to absorb/distribute the force of a blow. How likely is a competent fighter to receive a heavy blow? Is it worthwhile having arming jackets of different thicknesses to be worn for different temperatures? How easy is it to march and fight with mail leggings?

Would a soldier be likely to carry spears for throwing? I'm aware that the Saxons and Vikings threw spears but haven't read anything yet.

Regards,

John
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Jul, 2006 11:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John Flower wrote:
Charles Ffoulkes suggests that "banded" mail might be stiffening in an area by threading leather (or other cord) through the links. Is there any evidence that this was done? What about evidence for the use of patterns other than 4-1? Is there any merit in the use of 6-1, 8-1 and other combinations?

This is discussed in great detail on many topics on this forum. I'm on my way out else I'd give links.. but the search tool will shed a lot of light into this for you.

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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Thu 13 Jul, 2006 5:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In short, 4:1 is the way to go. The other weaves are unknown form medevial europe, or so obscure that it would not be representative. I'm not avare of any confirmed sources for "banded mail"; some of the drawings look that way, but since mail is a bitch to draw, there are lots of different "convenient" ways to do it; Some of them have horisontal lines, with lots of small half circles in between.
Back in the victorian times, there seems to have been a sport to "identify" different kinds of armour, based on the different drawings. Thus, a jungle of different kinds of "mail" appeared;
A enlighting article by Dan Howard:
http://www.arador.com/articles/chainmail.html

Stainless steel is either shiny, or galvanized grey. It does not look like "real" steel, and as far as I've gathered, there is no convenient way of making it look that way, either.
Rust isn't that big a problem with riveted mail. Rub the mail against itself, and it goes away. Butted mail is to thick and not solid enough to do this with the same efficiency.
As for coifs, the advantage of a loose coif is that you can take it of, and they are more readily available. The pros of the integrated coif is that there is less hassle putting it on (I guess, I never tried a integrated hood hauberk)

The arming coat also helps distribute weight. It does not need to be very thick, unless you are going to do full contact sparring. Say, about 10 layers of cloth. The result becomes quite tight and hot, but, like beduin robes, it also keeps heat out. Air openings under the arms are a definite plus. But it is quite posible to wear armour in hot weather.
I've spent weekends fighting in mail legings, and overall, it works ok. You need to adjust them propperly, though. Make sure you have a broad belt to attach them to, and that there is nothing underneath this that could become a problem; the belt and staps for the hose and braies, for instance. You also need to lace them tightly to the shins. Otherwise, they become "flappy", and tiring to wear.
Over all, you notice they're there, but they're not to bad.

As for throwing spears, I know for a fact that Norwegian troops carried them in the 1260s. Also, a regular one handed spear lends itself quite well to throwing. The kings mirror, a norwegian text from 1250, specifically tells you not to throw your last spear, unless you have two, because "A spear is worth two swords in the formation".
However, norwegian warfare features more shields and less armour than continental warfare. A warrior with a twohanded spear would probably not carry additional throwing spears. A shield and spear fightet could, griping the extra spears with his shield hand.

"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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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 13 Jul, 2006 6:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Banded mail was a popular theory in the late 19th and early 20th century. Carvers of effigies and brasses sometimes simplified depicting mail by alternating rows of "C" shapes:

(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((
))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((
)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

This gave rise to theories of banded mail, where rings or washers had a thing passed through their center. Most scholars of the 20th century and today think that banded mail didn't exist. There's no physical historical evidence for it.

Happy

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