14th-15th century lance heads
I am struggling to find good information on 14th-15th century English/Scots sharp lance heads.

Please can anyone help with some references to medieval lance head forms, preferably from extant (datable) examples/the archeological record?

I am having an attack of heraldic megalomania and am considering making a lance to mount a Banner: Something similar to below, hopefully without the drastic heartburn remedies.

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Last edited by Jonathan Fletcher on Fri 20 Feb, 2015 10:52 am; edited 1 time in total
14th-15th century lance heads
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I am not sure where to find information on 14th-15th century English/Scots lance heads.
So you're considering mounting a banner to a lance, Jonathan? That's a good idea.
If you can get yourself a copy of the Salisbury 'Drainage' collection book there is in there what purports to be a late medieval lance head. Its a big collection of late 19th cent finds when the city drains were being re-dug.

That one is however pretty similar to the early 19th cent British pig sticker military lance head however.

Sadly I'm just off to some events but I do also have a head made by Hector Cole that was based on an extant example. Just cant recall which. I can take a pic next week.

Either would be suitable for a late medieval impression though.....
Not much info forthcoming then?

Without wanting to monologue, but to aid anyone's future search here on myArmoury, I will add my own thoughts...

Perhaps there isn't much info on surviving sharp lance heads because:

1. It is hard to differentiate a surviving lance point from a spearhead?
(i.e. 'Spearheads' are over represented in the archeological record when some are, in fact, lance points)

or, I am missing the point and

2. They were one and the same in the 14th-15th centuries?

In support of the latter, Strickland & Hardy in Warbow suggest the French men-at-arms were ordered to cut down their lances for use on foot before Poitiers, whilst Juliet Barker in Agincourt reports the same happened before Agincourt.

The only example in David Nicolle's Arms & Armour of the Crusading Era 1050-1350 is the 12th century Fornham spear, housed in the Moyse's Hall Museum, Bury St. Edmunds and shown below; but this being a lance point is conjecture.

Will have to fall back on the art then...

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Last edited by Jonathan Fletcher on Sat 21 Feb, 2015 6:38 am; edited 1 time in total
Well lets start on that question. In the medieval period the term for lance and spear are often interchangeable.

Now that said there are lots of designs for spearheads from the late medieval period. Some clearly are more lightweight, some are hefty. But I think it might be that many spears had heads similar to what we'd call lances. Most images show a fairly substantial head at least.

My expectation is that lance points would be akin to a bodkin arrowhead: Short with a diamond 'blade' profile as shown in the illustration above from the Peterborough Psalter, and with a stout diamond section. Yet, I also see leaf shaped lance points represented in art; but am perhaps wrongly assuming that these are of a flatter section, which might be more prone to breaking on impact, when in fact they were were equally stout/beefy. I am sure my expectations are coloured by later lance points and a lack of experience of their use.

Interested to know whether there are any extant examples, that can be clearly attributed as lance points, to help with a reconstruction. Under Scots law, I am entitled to a (meagre) 70cm x 85cm personal banner. It would be good to mount it on a decent reconstructed lance.

Last edited by Jonathan Fletcher on Sat 21 Feb, 2015 11:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
A quick perusal of English miniatures from 1350-1450 on manuscriptminiatures.com seems to show a diamond shape, often with a pronounced medial ridge continuing from the socket, to be the norm. Some have elongated tips.
Now here's something interesting...


Looks pretty stout. Perhaps Craig can offer up some references for surviving examples?
I think Mart is right. All the ones I am seeing in art are diamonds with longer points.

Looking again I probably agree but I thought I'd see some leaf shaped lance heads somewhere:

1. Lives of the Two Offas (p.18 in Christopher Gravett's English Medieval Knight 1200-1300), this mounting a banner and different from the the two lances without banners.

2. Also, Sir Geoffrey Luttrell in the Luttrell Psalter (p.21 of English Medieval Knight 1300-1400), but to be honest the copy of the image is so poor that looking again I couldn't say what shape this is with confidence!

3. David Nicolle in Arms & Armour of the Crusading Era 1050-1350 suggests the leaf shaped head from the Archeological Institute, Nitra, Slovakia (Fig.792) is a lance head - and very similar to A&A's lance head it is too. Possibly also a head in Trencin museum, Sloviakia (Fig. 817c) and one from the Danubian museum, Komarno, Slovakia (Fig.876d) - though his attribution of the last two as lance points seems less certain.

I'll see if Craig at A&A can help with any reference to their reproduction.
Depends. If you want something that is possible for a time period or common for it.
there is a large assemblage of lance heads for joust a plaisance and a outrance in the royal armouries in Madrid. Some are also for war. If I can find the pics....
Hector Cole lance head, copied from a 15th cent original somewhere...

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I address lance heads in my PhD thesis - it's in French (and devoid of copyrighted illustrations - just copy/paste the image ref in any search engine and you'll find the illustration easily), but you'll find it here :



Mark, thanks for the info and the photograph, look forward to seeing the Madrid heads.

Fab, it is very kind of you to post your PhD thesis like this; the photographs of lance heads in Part 3 chapter II are excellent. It's going to take a bit of time on google translate but I can see it will be worth it! I suspect, as few if any English/Scots examples, I will have to reproduce one of the continental examples and this information will be invaluable.

Thank you, Fabrice!!

What was the constuction of winged one, on p. 418.? It seems like two pieces (or one had been flatforged and bend and) were welded together.

Edit: ok, I got it!!!
English lances of the later 15th c., from the Beauchamp Pageant. Diamond profile is prominent.
If you can manage a file or grinder, it would be rather easy to reshape this inexpensive head, and the size seems about right for the equestrian examples shown below: http://www.museumreplicas.com/p-2458-javelin-head.aspx

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