Culture: Plantagenet English
Setting: Welsh, Scottish wars, Britain 1255-1328
Context (Event Photos, Period Sources)
* Rothero 1989 p20
"During the second half of the 13th century helmets went through a period of experimentation, eventually arriving at two distinct styles: the chapelle-de-fer or 'war hat', and the 'great helm'. The cylindrical 'great helm' covered the whole head, sometimes curving under the chin to protect the throat. The slits for the eyes were strengthened by bars of steel and the lower section was pierced by patterns of small holes to provide ventilation.
"... Helmets ... changed around this period [the beginning of the 14th century]: the heavy, uncomfortable great helm began to be replaced by the smaller, close-fitting bascinet. This sometimes boasted a movable visor, though at this date they were often poorly hinged."
* Rothero 1989 p20
"Throughout the 13th century the wealthy mounted knights still relied on mail as their main form of body defence, though other forms, such as coats of metal plates or various padded garments, were also in use. The mail hauberk, now improved over that shown in the Bayeaux Tapestry, had tight-fitting sleeves and mittens of mail. Over his head the knight wore a separate coif of mail, often laced at the side or rear to hold it in position. The sword was slung in a convenient position across his body from a complicated waist belt. Over the mail went a surcoat; and a large shield hung from the shoulder, bearing the coat of arms.
"... [B]y the beginning of the 14th century plate was being added all over the body. ..."
* Oakeshott 1960 p210
"Type XIV is very different, tending to be quite short, with a broad, flat tapering blade fullered in its upper half. Its cross is generally long, slender and curved, its pommel of 'wheel' form but very flat and wide. There are not very many remaining specimens, but in its period -- from about 1280-1320 -- there are perhaps more sculptured and pictoral examples than of any other type. I know of no actual sword which can give a dating point by the circumstances of its finding or by arms or associations, so it can only be dated by representations of it. To begin with, perhaps eight out of ten English military effigies of c.1290-1330 have swords of this type .... Then again, nearly all the effigies of Alsace and Lorraine and the Rhineland dating between 1300 and 1330 have this kind of sword. ...
"Though one or two of these swords have been found in Germany (both in the ground and in sculptured figures) it is a style more generally Italian, and judging by the numerous representations of it in sculpture and manuscript pictures it was popular in France and England."
* Norman & Pottinger 1979 p65
"The knightly shield was now usually smaller and shaped like the bottom of an electric iron and was sometimes slightly curved round the user's body to give greater protection."
* Edge & Paddock 1988 p83
"By the 1270s the shield had assumed the shape known today as the 'heater', because of its resemblance to the base of a clothes iron. It was in general of moderate size and very slightly curved to the body. It was made of thin wood, usually with an applied layer of canvas, over which was laid a layer of leather. The leather was either painted or decorated with applied moulded leather to represent the knight's coat of arms."
* Oakeshott 1999 p78-79
"The earlier form of the knightly shield is aptly described as 'kite shaped,' but the later smaller ones still tend to be called after objects no longer recognizable -- for instance, 'heater' shaped. I have never come across a heater shaped like a shield, and I don't expect many readers have either. It is far better to say that the shield of the thirteenth century was shield shaped: the word itself has come to be used as an adjective denoting the shape. A thing to remember about the difference between real shields of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and modern trophy shields or blazerbadges is that the upper edge of the earlier ones never had two concave dips coming to a point in the middle."