Help dating a tomb slab
This time i need the help of our great myArmoury community.

Some of you may know that i am a little involved in a museums project at Lütjenburg, Germany.
There you can visit a reconstructed motte (

Just this year the little chapel got finished. Part of this chapel is a tomb slab on display on one of the walls (see below).
When the museum (or better said future museum) got it, it was mentioned that it was from the 15th century.
But the sword and overall apparance made me doubt that date.
While we are in touch with several big museums i also want your opinion.
I am by no means a specialist when it comes to armour, so any help in this area is highly appreciated.

But please keep in mind that this is a serious museum project, so if you are just guessing, please say so. Apart from that everyone is welcome to offer his views.

The slab was found in the crypta of the church of Giekau (
The Crypta is in total disarray these days, the Tombs are open, animals playing with the bones...
So the slab can't be placed to a name. Part of the crypta is even filled up with rubble, so the slab might even be from there.

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Last edited by Arne Focke on Thu 15 Oct, 2009 3:09 am; edited 1 time in total
The details are all wrong for a 15th Century grave, the fashion shown is very much from the later half of the 16th Century.
The man is wearing a high 'Spanish' collar which was highly popular in the 1560's to 1580's and the lingered on in some form until the 1610's.
Compare with this 1577 porttrait of Martin Frobisher
[ Linked Image ]

The fully developed complex hilt of his sword and the form and shape of the close helmet at his feet also points to the later half of the 1500's

I suspect that the best way to date the slab would be to find a historians who specialises in 16th Century clothing, he or she would be familiar with the various small changes in fashion which often is the best way to date a clothing item.

Thanks for your thoughts.
Mine were going in the same direction by the sword alone, but my knowledge about armour and clothing is limited.

But don't worry we are also contacting some professional specialists as well.
I have to agree with Daniel, it looks very much like late 16th century, but some details are odd. It could even be from the first half of teh century but the sword bugs me a bit. But it's definately not 15th century.
Take a look in Laking's A record of European armour and arms through seven centuries, there might eb more info there. I haven't had the time to read all the books but there's a lot of pictures of originals there.
I'm going to agree that that is absolutely not 15th C.

as to when it is, I would put it at between 1550 and 1650, with my most likely dating to 1575 +/- 5-10 years maximum

points of identification:
moustache points, and pointed beard, fashionable at that period, not 15th C.
figure-of eight ruff: came into fashion from the late 1550's, replacing the pickadil collar. that the ruff is extremely tight ridged in the carving, and relatively large, indicates that it is more likely to be later, approximately 1570's and onward.
armour, large pauldron (depicted as a single-peice though possibly very tightly articulated), develops from the smaller articulated spaulders worn in 15th and early 16th c harness to cover the breast and eliminate voiders.
Armour, elbow cops lacking large side tabs.
bulbous lamed tassets, extending to midway down the thigh. A harness of the 15th C would have had a set of fauld lames on the body, and single-peice tassets over poleyns. The design of these tassets, however, is bulbous, indicating that they are to accommodate a trunk-hose fashionable from the 1560's onward
Narrow shoes. As this is german, late 15th and early 16th C would most likely depict the fashionable "bear-paw" style shoes, which are much wider witha splayed toe. this instead depicts a far narrower foot profile, more appropriate to the 1570's.
Open-visored close armet is a distinctively 16th century helmet in form.
Sword is potentially as early at 1530, but with what appears to be at least two complex hilt bars, I would say more likely 1560's or later.

here is an effigy from circa 1581 (although itself possibly made in 1594, however, on the lady's death) of dutch origin, which shows similar fashion and armour styles.

another from 1590, of czech origin.

and finally, here is a photograph of an effigy slab of dutch origin from the very late15th C. for contrast.

which clearly shows the clean-shaven look, a complete lack of any ruff at the collar, the flared elbow cop, the fauld, solid plate tassets, and wider splayed toes.

(please note the images are not my photography.)

I do not have qualifications in history, I am a mere reenactor and amateur historian with a good few years of study of fashion,arms and armour under my belt, so I dont make any claims for absolute accuracy.
I can't find an example of articulated tassets before 1520 in my humble library. It's a lovely effigy.
Thanks for all your replies.

I'll be posting more information about this piece as they come in from other sources. :)
Sir-Another point dating it to middle 1500"s is the brayette,attached to the armour so as to cover the testicles instead of a maille skirt. The best images are the photos of Henry VIII's jousting armour from the tower of London Museum.

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