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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 31 May, 2011 10:18 am    Post subject: Did Scots pikemen use shields?         Reply with quote

The title pretty much sums it up, I'm looking for literal or pictoral referrences to shields used by lowland Scottish pike formations.
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Tue 31 May, 2011 10:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Check out the "Renaissance armies" in the "Features" section here at myArmoury. Some mention is made of the use of shields by Scots pikemen.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 31 May, 2011 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Scott, yes I've read that feature article but unfortunately it doesn't cite any referrences so I can't be certain how accurate it is.
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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 3:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Try the sources on the Battle of Flodden in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Flodden . They include an archaeological record that likely will show remnants of shields in the debris of the formations from different regions of Scotland.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jun, 2011 6:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.thesonsofscotland.co.uk/thebattleofpinkie1547.htm

This article about the battle of Pinkie Cleugh (1547), has some quotes from William Patten, an eyewitness to the battle. He goes into some detail about the equipment of the lowland pikemen, including shields. He seems to contradicts himself by calling these shields both targets and bucklers, but he says that everyone was equipped alike, so I don't think that both types were used. What I think is that these two words may have been used interchangably at that time, but he describes them as worn on the left arm while holding the pike with both hands so I think that target is probably the better term. In Osprey's Scottish Renaissance Armies 1513 - 1550, the author, Jonathan Cooper, has another quote from Patten, describing these shields as

"they were new boards' ends cut off being about a foot in breadth and a half yard in lenght; having on the inside handles made very cunningly of two cord lenghts"

This seems to match the 15th century act of parliament which states that men who cannot shoot a bow should be armed with a targe of leather or of boards with two hands on the back.

It strikes me as though the equipmet of pikemen was mostly homemade. The above shield is obviously fairly crude and could have been made by pretty much anyone, arms and legs were protected by brass chains sewn to doublet sleeves and hoes, neck were simply protected by scarfs, and jacks, although a little more tricky could probably also be made at home. The only thing a man would need to buy would be his iron skullcap, which any local blacksmith could easily bang out.

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Sat 18 Oct, 2014 4:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While researching another topic I came across this thread

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?p=289390#289390

There's a link in here to William Patten's full account of the battle of Pinkie Cleugh.  After reading this, I no longer believe that the target made of boards, was the same as the buckler used by the pikemen.   So I was wrong when I said that Patten used the terms buckler and target interchangeably.  When he describes the pikemens equipment, he mentions jacks, skull caps, pikes, swords, daggers, and bucklers.  He doesn't feel the need to go into any great detail about this equipment, so we can assume that it was faily standard stuff.  Yet he does go into a lot of detail about the targets, because they were unusual items.

Both online and in books I've seen Patten's targets interpreted as faily small, probably going on these dimensions  "new boards' ends cut off being about a foot in breadth and a half yard in length".  However I think these dimensions are not meant to be the whole target, but rather of each board which made up the target.  I now believe that these targets were large shields similar to a pavise.  All I have to support claim this is that Patten mentions the Scots unsuccessfully using these targets as protection against shot.  This also makes sense when we consider the 15th century legislation which state that a man who could not use a bow, should equip himself with an axe and a targe (which matches Patten's description), to resist the shot of the English.  This man sounds like he might have been a pavisier/sapper used to carry a large shield, and construct field fortifications.

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Sat 18 Oct, 2014 5:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are a few earlier references to Scottish pikemen using shields

14th century
http://warfare.fik4.com/WRG/Middle_Ages_1-25-...-14thC.htm

12th century
http://warfare.uphero.com/Medieval2/Feudal-49-Scots_Spearman.htm

We also know that the Picts used two handed spears, along with shields hung from their necks, as shown in at least one stone carving.  All this could point to a long continuous use of shields by Scottish pikemen.

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Jason O C





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PostPosted: Sun 19 Oct, 2014 5:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Stephen.  The page you linked about 14th century Scottish foot soldiers is interesting.  It mentions English chroniclers, who state that the Scots at Bannockburn used shields.  Yet there is no mention of shields in Robert de Brus' 1318 legislation.

"each layman of the kingdom having £10 in goods should have for his body in defence of the kingdom a sufficient haqueton, a basinet, and mailed gloves with a lance and sword. And anyone who shall not have a haqueton and a bacinet should have a good habergeon or a good iron [coat of mail] for his body, a cap of iron and mailed gloves"

This seems strange to me.  Do you happen to know what English chronicler(s) this page is referring to?

Jason
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Sun 19 Oct, 2014 7:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Burgkmair woodcut in Der Weisskunig from c. 1515 shows English halberdiers, billmen, and spearmen with rondache or targets. The Burgkmair woodcut in the British Library of Flodden shows bucklers hanging from the swords, but also on the English side, and among billmen.

http://digital.wlb-stuttgart.de/digitale-samm...age%5D=412



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WLB Cod.hist.fol.271 fo203v-shields.jpg
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Burgkmair Flodden.jpg
Burgkmair Flodden

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2014 2:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason.  The only reference I've been able to find online, comes from John of Trokelowe, in his Vita Edwardi Secundi. 

"They were all on foot; picked men they were, enthusiastic, armed with keen axes, and other weapons, and with their shields closely locked in front of them, they formed an impenetrable phalanx"

Mart.  I've never seen those woodcuts before.  Thanks for sharing.

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Jason O C





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PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2014 1:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting. So we have a source which states that Scottish infantry at Bannockburn used shields, and a statute listing requiered equipment, which makes no mention them. The statute was written about 4 years after Bannockburn, so perhaps shields were dropped sometime between 1314 and 1318?

Jason
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2014 2:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason. The same statute that you quoted from also says that a man who only possessed a cow was required to own either a spear or a bow and 24 arrows. It makes no mention of what arms men who owned more than £10 were meant to be equipped with. Perhaps these men had shields, and they formed the front rank of the schiltron.
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Jason O C





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PostPosted: Sun 26 Oct, 2014 5:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry for getting back to this so late, I've been crazy busy lately. Good point Stephen. I don't think that this statute makes any mention of what equipment the more wealthy Scotsmen were required to own. IIRC many of the statutes list the equipment requirements of archers, and pikemen, but all they say about men at arms is something like, they should be equipped as befits their station. This could mean that they were expected to be armed to the same degree (including shields) as men at arms from other European countries. We know that the Scottish nobility fought in the front ranks of pike formations at Flodden, but what part did men like this play at Bannockburn, did they fight as cavalry, or were they on foot?

Jason
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Oct, 2014 4:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason. Well Robert the Bruce personally commanded one of the schiltrons at Bannockburn, so I always assumed this to mean that he, and the other nobles, fought on foot. I suppose he might have commanded from horseback. I've never really thought about it. Could anyone else weigh in on this? Also I've heard that the front ranks of pikemen at Flodden used pavises, but I'm trying to track down a source.
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Jun, 2017 8:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Jason. Well Robert the Bruce personally commanded one of the schiltrons at Bannockburn, so I always assumed this to mean that he, and the other nobles, fought on foot. I suppose he might have commanded from horseback. I've never really thought about it. Could anyone else weigh in on this? Also I've heard that the front ranks of pikemen at Flodden used pavises, but I'm trying to track down a source.


Scottish men-at-arms formed the front-lines of many formations. I remember Outterburn, for example; in such battle one famous knight was in the vanguard and pierced an english officer during the start of the fighting. The reason why they fought in the vanguard? I find this:

"The Scots infantry that attempted to emulate the Swiss in 1513 were sketchily trained, had little real experience of battle and could not have the same confidence in their drills and tactics as the Swiss. This meant that the Scots adopted the same solution which the French and landsknechts had used of placing their captains, or noblemen in the front ranks. In fact, Scottish noblemen had considered the front ranks as their proper place in a formation since at least the battle of Bannockburn. Scottish armies were led from the front to give encouragement and steadiness to the more hesitant feudal levies."

Source: http://www.forensicfashion.com/1513ScottishLaird.html

The page quotes a book but it don't gives to many details about it. If someone know a book made by "Barr" in that subject, that could lead to proper study in the subject.
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Jun, 2017 11:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You can find Patten's report on Pinkie in Armour in Texts https://bookandsword.com/armour-in-texts/#start_modern
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Henry O.





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PostPosted: Thu 29 Jun, 2017 9:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On the subject of shields with pikes, William Garrard in "The arte of vvarre Beeing the onely rare booke of myllitarie profession" mentions light shields are sometimes carried by those who can't afford breastplates.

Quote:
. . . where some doe vse to place the light armed pikes, who amongst some nations for want of brest plates of Iron, vse tand lether, paper, platecoates, iackets, &c. For a gorget, thicke folded kerchefes a∣bout their neck, a scull of Iron for a head péece, and a Uenetian or lether Shéeld and Target at their backes, to vse with their short Swordes at the close of a battaile, and in a throng.


Garrard rather likes the idea of shields in general and suggests that it would be handy if English pikemen and even harquebusiers wore light shields on their backs.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Jun, 2017 1:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing that bit of information Henry, much appreciated.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Aug, 2017 5:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks to Benjamin H. Abbott for sharing this document which quotes many accounts of the battle of Flodden. Two quotes are of particular interest to this topic.

"The said Scots were so surely harnessed with complete harness, German jacks, rivets, splents, pavises, and other habilments, that shot of arrows in regard did them no harm"

and

"The said Scots were so plainly determined to abide battle and not to flee, that they put from them their horses and also put off their boots and shoes, and fought in the stockings of their hoses every man for the most part with a keen and sharp spear of 5 yards length, and a target before him. And when their spears failed and were spent, then they fought with great and sharp swords"

So it seems that the Scottish soldiers at Flodden did use some form of shield along with their pikes. Given how well armoured the Scots supposedly were at this battle, I'm confused as to why they needed shields at all?

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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Aug, 2017 4:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Thanks to Benjamin H. Abbott for sharing this document which quotes many accounts of the battle of Flodden. Two quotes are of particular interest to this topic.

"The said Scots were so surely harnessed with complete harness, German jacks, rivets, splents, pavises, and other habilments, that shot of arrows in regard did them no harm"

and

"The said Scots were so plainly determined to abide battle and not to flee, that they put from them their horses and also put off their boots and shoes, and fought in the stockings of their hoses every man for the most part with a keen and sharp spear of 5 yards length, and a target before him. And when their spears failed and were spent, then they fought with great and sharp swords"

So it seems that the Scottish soldiers at Flodden did use some form of shield along with their pikes. Given how well armoured the Scots supposedly were at this battle, I'm confused as to why they needed shields at all?


My guess: most those who were shield-armed wasn't as well armoured as for those unshielded. Some were armed with complete harness (elite) and non-elite with jacks and almain rivet (munition grade armor brought by the French). I also have mentioned that pavises can be both a mantlet as a personal shield. I don't know any contemporary reference for pavises by 1510's, although some might know any. The bulk of scottish equipment was provided by the french (including the very long pikes). Perhaps the jacks weren't longbow proof; that might start a whole longbow vs armor discussion, but I'm refering to the blunt force delived by the arrows instead of their piercing power.

Stephen, I remember you mentioned that pikemen abandoned shields somewhere before late 15th century. But it seen it went back by Flodden.

Also, soldiery in some places had the strange habit of keeping great shields even if they were heavily armoured, but I can only think of Poland's pavisiers and noblemen from Serbia. Both were clad in full plate harness.
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