Plate mittens of 14th/15th century
Hi fellow forumites,

I am looking for a pair of plate mittens (14th/15th century, in german "Plattenfäustlinge") for historical longsword fencing in the Liechtenauer tradition. They should be historical correct and safe for me and my sparring partner (so no pointy thingies or sharp edges please). I'd prefer european armorers (as shipping would be cheaper) but I am nevertheless interested in your opinions and hints on other armorer's products as well. I frankly admit, that I am not familiar with plate armor, as I until now did only mid-13th century reenactment. Your shared wisdom will be very appreciated! :)

Best regards,

PS: For a beginning, I've found these on the net: Any suggestions?
It's odd, that no one seems to have any recommendations about plate mittens. Do you all use finger gauntlets?

I've found two other offers of mitten gauntlets (Hentzen). But as I am not familiar with plate in general nor with such gauntlets, I don't know if they will be suitable for historical fencing. :( So no one can give an advice?

Thomas R. wrote:
It's odd, that no one seems to have any recommendations about plate mittens. Do you all use finger gauntlets?

I'd be interested to hear comments on the European gauntlets as well. I'm not sure how much damage your hands take when longsword fencing in the Liechtenauer tradition.

I insist on fighting in anachronistic 15th century plate gauntlets even though my kit is mid-14th century where finger gauntlets would be much more appropriate. Fighting hard contact rattan combat (SCA) really takes a toll on your hands. A friend showed me his quality 2 year old plate gauntlets after practice last night and they are nearly shot!

Any suggestions on plate gauntlets for Thomas and the rest of us?
If you were in the UK I'd say Lancaster Armouries

Not cheap but really good quality finish, historically accurate and hefty steel!
Depends on the type of fighting styles I supose - rattan sticks can, indeed, cause serious damage, like a full contact steel, and the more plates and rivets you have on... well... anything means a greater risk of rivets popping and plates being buckled out of shape. Just bashing the sh*t out of each other on the battlefield doesn't lend itself to highly articulated and multi-plated gauntlets!!!

As said, you may find that fingerless gauntlets don't give you the full range of hand and finger dexterity required for some half-sword and grapping techniques. Fingerless gauntlets are good (I have found anyway) for pole weapons, and single handed sword and buckler work. German style mitten gauntlets (see Mark Vickers below) might be just what you need.

Merc Tailor (US):

Mark Vickers (UK):

Tyrrell Armouries (UK):

Ryall Armouries (UK):

I'm not dead keen on on-line shops which sell the full kit of armour, so I'm not going to list any sites here, but will leave that to others.

Finally, I was wondering whether you are doing this historical fencing at home / at a club, or whether you require authentic gloves... if authenticity itsn't an issue then there are a multitude of different modern gloves to try out and that have been tried by various martial artists. You may find that La Croix gloves are more suitable for your practicing? Have a look at the following forum, and join if you wish, as it is a huge community of martial artists undertaking historical western martial arts:
Schola Gladiatoria

p.s. it also has a huge free on-line catalogue of western martial arts fight manuals and translations / interpretations from 14th to 20th century.

Hope this has been useful to you.
Hello Frances,

thanks for your good advice and the attached links. The gauntlets, I seek, are not meant for normal sparring nor training. We already use lacrosse gloves for that in combination with saber fencing masks, hockey gorgets and escrima armguards and/or thick gambesons. We fight with Albion's steel trainers and Kendo Shinai. Just pure Liechtenauer for the start.

The mittens were meant for public demonstrations of historic fencing techniques. As I stated in earlier postings, that I am new to the 14th and 15th century reenactment (as I was more at home in the 13th until now), I made a mistake, I guess, regarding mitten plate gauntlets. I thought the mittens were used before the finger gauntlets became common and are safer, than the fingered ones. Well, it seems that this is not the case.

My group trains regularly at a castle site and on sunday we get lots of tourists and spectators. We do now and then some show combats and tell the visitors, what we are doing and how we do it. It's always more fun, to do this in period clothing. :) I've got an appropriate kit for I.33 sword & buckler fencing (a mid-13th century sergeant at arms kit) but lack a kit for the period at the end of 14th/beginning of the 15th century. So I am looking now for an authentic german sallet with a half visor and a bevor. I think I'll have to look for fingered gauntlets now aswell, as most of the mittens came a bit later. And were, as you stated, mostly used for pole arms.

Best regards,
On Friday I received these mitten gauntlets that I ordered this summer:

Mine are the exact pair in the images.

I tried them out in terms of dry handling sword and pollaxe and was impressed with how little they affected my movement and ability to use a weapon. Today I'll be trying them out at class during exercises and maybe a little freeplay just to see. I mostly plan to use them for demos.

And the price is ridiculously low.
Hi Craig,

they do look really great. Could you please post a photo of the underside? And tell us, how they felt during the training. I am already tempted to order. The thumb protection looks like it's a bit curved around the thumb. That's good! Haven't seen that on most other repros.

I used the gauntlets today, although we were mostly doing sword and buckler so I mostly only wore one. We didn't do any freeplay, but we were working on some new techniques and I had no problems holding my sword. I'm still very happy with them.

I'll try to remember to take some pictures of them and post them.

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