Acknowledgments

Sadly there is not enough space here to thank by name everyone whose kindness and generosity has made this book possible. I must say a special 'thank you' to all my friends in the Company of St George and their guests, for sharing their knowledge and experience over the years, and for posing in all weathers. Thanks also to the members of Wolfbane, the White Company, the Black Prince's Household, the Lincoln Castle Bowmen, to Dominic Delgrange of the Compagnie Lys et Lion, and to Eli Tanner to...

Sumptuary Laws

Sumptuary Law

There were frequent attempts by crown and church to control the richness of dress, to curb extravagance and to keep each class and degree firmly in its place on the hierarchical ladder. Cloth, cut, colour and trimmings were carefully described for each class and forbidden to those below. Sometimes the laws lapsed sometimes they were reinforced. How effective they were is open to debate -probably less and less the further one travelled from the court's influence. The spread of displays of wealth...

Th Century German Soldiers

Man Wearing His Belt Buckle Worn Side

In the 1460s-70s many German and Swiss small cities and towns employed mercenaries or small bands of their own townspeople as security forces. In such troubled times many citizens preferred to pay for substitutes rather than serve themselves. Swordsmen like this soldier, trained in fighting with the hand-and-a-half sword and practised during many inter-city squabbles, ere sought-after professionals. In war he would also carry a halberd. Germany and Switzerland did not then exist as separate...

Th Century Womens Costume

Eastern European Folk Costume

An army had few 'professional' women followers. Most were those who temporarily attached themselves for profit, those young and tough enough to go adventuring with the lads, those married or 'connected' who followed their men - and those less fortunate who clung to the army's outer rim, desperately trying to survive as it cut a swathe through their land, homes and lives. Women lived and worked hard in villages and towns - ran their own homes, spun, wove and sewed their families' clothes, grew...

Th Century Swiss Soldiers

Grandson Castle Switzerland

Above A crossbowman of the contingent from the canton of Uri wears its black and yellow livery. He is the son of a prosperous craftsman, and his father has equipped him generously with a good quality German helmet and breastplate worn over a mail shirt. His bow is a modern type with a flat steel stave although liable to become brittle and break in extremely cold weather it is immensely powerful. Left He spans his bow with a cranequin - an efficient piece of engineering which is faster to...

Opposite Plate 9 Garments worn under armour

Royal Armouries Mail Test

A This illustration from the Bayeux Tapestry is clearly a much simplified symbolic rendering of a corpse being stripped, and should not be taken literally. Only a fool or a religious penitent would wear mail next to his naked skin. B This more realistic image shows a garment worn under a mail shirt which is being pulled off over the head the stance will be familiar to anyone who has worn the real thing. English. Tickhill Psalter, c 1303-1314 C Separate-leg hose are laced with points to a...

Th Century Women on Campaign

Women usually accompanied medieval armies - as sutlers, serving women, wives, laundresses and prostitutes. Sometimes their presence was harshly controlled Henry V of England ordered that anyone who found a whore in camp could take her money, drive her off and break her arm . At other times they were tolerated in considerable numbers, and could be recruited as a general labour force. At the siege of Neuss by the Burgundians in 1475 some 4,000 camp women marched to the sound of trumpets and...

Livery

Paletot Medieval

It is usually suggested that military uniform - mass issue of uniformly coloured clothing to soldiers - began in Europe in the 17th century. We have enough earlier evidence of regular and occasional issues on a large scale to challenge that idea. Where we do find reference to soldiers' clothing it is often in the colours of their employer, lord, captain or country. Entire armies wore national liveries and badges, and some town contingents wore uniform clothing from head to foot. There are...

Jacks and Brigandines

Handgunner 15th Century

Above amp above right A well armed Burgundian foot soldier wearing a padded jack under a breastplate in 'German' style. The secret of the jack's success was its layers of soft linen, held in place with rows of stitching and tailored so as not to restrict movement. There are many references to jacks in 15th century accounts. Burgundian. French and English. Careful reconstructions prove that cunning tailoring and variations in the thickness of the padding make jacks remarkably comfortable and...

The Duke of Burgundys Archer Bodyguard

Duchess York Prince Wales Plume

At this time it was fashionable to have bodyguards of archers, both for protection and display. The Burgundian dukes lavished gifts on their bodyguard archers -not entirely unselfishly. The 40 archiers de corps under their two captains waited ready and mounted to accompany him whenever he moved quarters they surrounded their master wherever he went, day and night, and stood between him and the assassin's knife. They were to practice with their bows whenever possible, and the ducal artillery...

Tailpiece Recreating Medieval Costume

Seams Historic

Re-enactment is the hobby lor many thousands of people. It gives pleasure to participants and public alike, and - at its best - it can open the public's mind and heart to their past. First and foremost it should be enjoyable. If done in front of a paying public, it should entertain. If it claims to 'educate' then it should try to tell the truth. If it claims 'accuracy' then it should be judged on how well it lives up to that claim - and it is not easy. No one can or would want to accurately...

Masters of Artillery

Horn And Sinew Composite Crossbow

Above amp right In hot weather and for hard labour the doublet might be thrown back and left hanging behind, still fastened at the waist by the bottom front buttons and still supporting the laced-on hose, which were not made high enough at the waist to be self-supporting until the end of the 15th century. The sleeves are sometimes shown tied together at the front. Sleeveless 'doublets', cut like a modern waistcoat, did not appear until the very end of the century. The only written mention of...

Swiss and German Infantry el5001525

Landsknecht Leather Clothing

The origins of the slashed clothing so popular among Swiss and German Landsknecht mercenaries at the beginning of the 16th century are obscure. The usual folktale is that Swiss soldiers slashed tight-fitting clothing captured during their victories over the Burgundians in 1476, so that they could wear it with less strain. This is clearly implausible. Clothing had been looted for generations most 15th century hose and many doublets were tight-fitting, hut went unslashed. There is no evidence...

Ganibesons Jacks and Brigandines

Examples Lettering

Jack, pourpoint, heuk, brigandine, haubergeon, gambeson, hacketon and arming coal were terms used freely by medieval writers to decribe a range of garments, mostly defensive. Different words are sometimes used in the same document to describe the same thing at other times the same words refer to different things, whose distinctions were obviously clear to the writer -though not to us. Today we generally refer to padded fabric defences as jacks - although we also read of 'jakkes stufyd lined...

Headgear and Footwear

Worn Over Footwear

Opposite top Many kinds of hats were worn by soldiers all the different felt and woollen types based on narrow or shallow cone shapes, with or without the edge partly or fully turned up stocking caps rolled tubes of cloth hoods rolled into hats and broad-brimmed straw hats in summer. There was no specifically military headgear consideration was that it had to be put somewhere when a helmet was worn, either inside the helmet or packed away. Photos left, David Lazenby, Middel-aldercentret right,...

Contents

First published in 2000 by The Crowood Press Ltd Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 2HR The Crowood Press Ltd 2000 Photographs as individually credited All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publishers. liritish Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for...

Bright and Shining

Transitional Plate And Mail Armour

Light rain, damp air, even the wearer's perspiration - and by evening bright iron armour has a red bloom of rust. If it takes a grip the armour will cease to function properly. Armour was valuable, and its appearance a matter of prestige there are many references to its being cleaned - with pumice and olive oil - and polished to a glorious shine. The author has twice been privileged to see the original surface of plate armour, in tiny sections hidden under other parts and so protected for...

Body Defences cl250 to c360

13century Soldier Picture

During the 13th century defensive armour began increasingly to include plates of horn, whalebone, leather and iron. There are frequent references to 'curie' and 'paires de cuiraces' from the French cuire, leather , and to 'pairs of plates'. Exposed parts - knee, shin, elbow and forearm - were protected with padded defences and strapped-on plates but body armour was usually invisible beneath the mail shirt or cloth surcoat. We have little evidence for the form of these usually hidden...

Th Century Handgunner

Early Xivth Century Knight

Below This sturdy handgunner serves Edward Ihe Black Prince of Wales during his French wars in the third quarter of the 14th century. Far down the ladder of liveried retainers, he has been given a long gown of unbleached wool, and a 'handgonne' of the simplest type on a pole stock. In 1326 the council of Florence appointed two officials to oversee Ihe manufacture of cannon and projectiles which had. no doubt, been present on the battlefield for some years before. The first illustration dates...

Opposite Plate 5 Underwear and Basic Civilian Costume

Metal Cod Piece

To understand how costume works we must know what was worn under it, and the social customs connected with wearing it. The basic undergarments of civilian and soldier alike were the same until the first issue of military underwear in the 19th century. They consisted of underpants braies , stockings chausses and a shirt Latin camisia, Norman chemise, Anglo-Saxon smock . At first braies were an important garment, almost like trousers, tucked into stockinglike hose. By the 14th century the hose...

9th Century Germany

Crusader Spangenhelm With Face Plate

Historians differ in their reckoning, but for the purposes of this book the period we call 'medieval' is taken to run from 1000 AD until 1500. After a necessarily brief introduction to post-Norman Conquest subjects we try in these pages to reconstruct the appearance of the ordinary European soldiers during the last 300 years of that period, and again briefly that of the women who followed them to war. We look at the everyday dress of the warrior classes rather than high fashion, at the common...