partook of the sumptuous extravagance of the age. .The alterations made in the armour during the reign of Edward III. were perfected in that of his grandson, and the era of plate may be said to commence from the accession of Richard II. The camail, the gussets of chain at the joints, and the intended edge of the chain apron, are all that remain to be seen of the complete suit of double-ringed mail worn at the commencement of this century. Milan was the grand emporium from whence the most splendid suits were forwarded to the chivalry of Europe. The armour made expressly for Henry, Duke of Hereford, to wear in the famous duel at Coventry, was manufactured at Milan by order of Galeazzo Vis-conti, to whom the duke had written on the subject. The jupon and military girdle introduced in the last reign were still worn; but the loose surcoat or blouse seems to have come again into fashion at the close of this century. It is generally, however, represented as fancifully embroidered, instead of being emblazoned like the jupon. The most characteristic novelty is the vizor, ventaille or baviere (as it was indifferently called), of the bascinet, which, from having been simply convex, has now assumed a shape that will be best understood from the engraving of a specimen in the collection at Goodrich Court. Another is now in the Tower, having been bought for the national collection at the sale of Mr. Brocas's armour, March 22, 1834.
As a most interesting and curious authority, we subjoin the following engraving from an illuminated MS. copy of the * Roman de la Rose' of this date, in the collection of the late Francis Douce, Esq., F.S.A., in which are several figures of females armed with sword, spear, and shield, and wearing the vizored bascinet and camail, most faithfully delineated.
Some of these extraordinary vizors were hooked like the beak of a bird: the bascinet itself was richly ornamented round the edges, and a band or fillet of the most splendid workmanship sometimes encircles it like a diadem. The " bacinet a visiere" was worn only for war. In tournaments the vizor was removed, and the helmet, surmounted by its mantling wreath and crest, placed over the bascinet. Chaucer has the following stirring picture of the preparation for a joust in the Knight's Tale:—
" There mayest thou see devising of harneis So uncouth and so riche and wrought so wéle Of goldsmithry, of 'broudry, and of stele, The sheldes bright, testeres,10 and trappures, > Gold hewin helmes, hawberks, and coat armures, Lordis in paramentes11 on their coursers, Knghtis of retinue and eke esquires Nailing of speres and helmes buckling, Gigging1S of shields, with laniers lacing. As there need is, they were nothing idyl. The foming stedis on the goldin bndyl Gnawing, and fast the armourers also With fyle and hammer, riding to and fro; Yeomen on foot, and commons many a one, With shorte staves thick as they may gone, Pipes, trompes, nakoners, and clariouns, Meet in the battaile blowen bloody sounds."
The terms hauberk and haubergeon, in this reign, occasioned a good deal of confusion, from the circumstance of both the military garments originally so called being superseded by defences of plate, to which the old names are applied. The knight, in the prologue to the i Canterbury Tales,' is said to have worn a gipon (jupon) of fustian, " alle besmotred with his habergeon." Now this appears to mean that the habergeon was worn
10 " Testieres," horse armour for the head.
11 " Paramentes," robes of state.
18 " Gigging," " guiging," that is, arranging the guige or strap of the shield which went round the neck.
Was this article helpful?