Medieaval Pike Length
I was just reading that in 1471 that the Scottish parliament passed an act forbidding the sale or importation of pikes of less than 6 ells (18.5 feet/.5.6 metres) in length. Are there any records of longer pikes being used in the late Medieval/early modern period?
I do know that in 16th/17th Century Colonial America, the 'full pikes' were usually between 14-16 feet in length. They also went far to define a 'half pike', being defined by Connecticut as being 10 feet in length.
Pikes were the most popular pole arm, but eventually they abandoned it because the way the Indians fought made Pike defensive tactics useless.
Not exactly medieval but early 16th century;

"...but by the mid 16th century the Spanish full-pike had to be around 27 Castillian palms long(5.5 meters), and never less than 25 palms(5 meters). This gave the full pike a weight of nearly 8lb(3.5kg)."

The Spanish Tercios 1536-1704, Ignacio J.N. LĄpez, page 34.
For those looking for it. It does not use pike but spear. Whether that changes the meaning is up for debate.

Item, it is thocht expedient that na merchandis brynge speris in this realme out of ony uthir cuntre bot gif thai susten sex elne and of a clyft, na at na bowar within the realme mak ony speris bot gif thai conten the said lyntht, [and] quha that dois in the contrare that the speris be eschetit and the persones punyst at the kingis wil. Alsua that ilk yeman that cam nocht deil witht the bow that he haf a gud ax and a targe of leddyr to resist the schot of Ingland, quhilk is na cost bot the valew of a hide. And that ilk schiref, stewart, bailye and uthir officiare mak wapynschawing within the bondis of thar office eftir the tenor of the act of parliament, swa that in defawt of the said wapinschawyne our soverane lordis leigis be nocht destitut of harnes quhen thai haf neid, and at the futbal and golf be abusit in tym cummynge, and the buttis maid up and schot usit eftir the tenor of the act of parlyament.

Item, it is thought expedient that no merchants bring spears into this realm from any other country unless they reach six ells and are of a [single] cleft, nor that any bow-maker within the realm make any spears unless they are of the said length, and if anyone disobeys this the spears shall be confiscated and the persons punished at the king's will. Also that each yeoman who cannot handle a bow should have a good axe and a targe of leather to resist the shot of England, which is of no cost but the value of a hide. And that each sheriff, steward, bailie and other officer hold a wappenschaw within the bounds of their office according to the tenor of the act of parliament, so that in default of the said wappenschaw our sovereign lord's lieges will not be bereft of harness when it is needed, and that football and golf be discontinued in the future, and butts made up and shot used according to the tenor of the act of parliament.
It is listed as 1471/5/6

It is an interesting account. Some things to consider. The Scot inch is not the same as a modern inch. I do not know off the top of my head if it is larger or smaller. I suspect smaller but if it were I'd bet that it would still be pretty close to what you are saying. Good find indeed.

It is funny. I have read this entire roll and think I even noted this down back in 2006 but must have forgotten it.


that would bring it pretty close to what the scot roll is saying as well.

I've been doing some more digging and in Bosworth 1485: A Battlefield Rediscovered by by Glenn Foard and Anne Curry I came across the following

"We know that in May 1483 the 'receiver of artillery' of Maximilian of Hapsburg placed an order with a weapon maker of Malines for 1,200 pikes to be delivered to the king of England. These were to be 'about 22 feet [6.7m] in length, all steel tipped. In France in 1480 pikes of 22 feet were common: 5,500 were purchased by Louis XI in late 1480"

This is about the first specific evidence I've come across for pikes longer than 20' in the medieval period. Unfortunately as the source is from google books online I'm unable to check the chapter references for more information. As usual the page that you need happens to be the one missing from the online preview!

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