My Armour weapons and costumes

When it comes to illustrating armour then I find its very useful to have some of the real metal next to you so that reflections and colour can be reproduced in paint. 

Metal reflects light and colour even if its  unpolished, A dull day will make different colours reflect such as greys and yellows whereas on a sunny day the armour will seem blue. Clouds are reflected as are horizon lines and I find trees can give unusual dark horizontal lines across the centre of a part of the armour. 

Costumes in the medieval period could be tight fitting or loose and flowing. Its important to get the fit correct in both cases as the body and limbs may show or a large amount of material may fold and drape causing complex patterns in the design.

First costumes we made.

 Here is a small selection of the armour and costumes I have collected and made that enable me to illustrate those reflected surfaces just a bit more accurately.

14th c Bascinet with mail Aventail. The Visor can be removed by taking out a pin either side of the helmet.

Removing the Visor

Above. At Pembroke castle.

At Stokesay castle 

Over the years I've made a small collection of reproduction armour that has been used to aid my illustrations. Some I have even made myself such as the stud and splint armour, the helm and the great bascinet.
 Myself in my armour that represents a knight from the early 15th century at the time of the battle of Agincourt

My Bascinet and Gauntlets.

Above. Stud and Splint arm protection made from thick hardened leather that is reinforced with metal strips, I made these after acquiring some nice thick leather from a saddler. 

Below. My first piece of armour. I made it quite some time ago and its now starting to get an interesting patina. 

 The helm was often worn over a bascinet such as the one on this Shropshire effigy in Shrewsbury.

Leather covered breastplate with chains that I made. The chains were used
 to fix the sword and helm so that it would not be lost in battle.

The Great Bacinet that I Made.

Great Bascinet made from the early 15th century. The aventail has now been replaced by a gorget. This change was as a direct result of the armour piercing bodkin that was shot by archers.
An Orle. This decoration was once used as padding to keep the helm away from the bascinet.

Supposedly devised by Henry IV to stand for his motto or "word" of Soverayne the collar of S's are now known to date from a much earlier time. A collar can be seen on the effigy of Sir John Swynford, who died in 1371 predating this theory by 28 years. A true theory of the collars origin has yet to be established but during the reign of Henry IV, V and VI the collar was used as a Royal Badge for the house of Lancaster being used with a pendant in the form of a Swan. The collar was synonymous with the house of Lancaster during the Wars of The Roses but was used by the Tudors in the Time of Henry VIII as can be seen in the painting of Lord Chamberlain, Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein thus re establishing its use as a collar of Office.

 Below Breast and back plate without a fauld.
Arm protection

 An early 15th century Cuisse and Poleyn 
 A 15th century Greave and Sabaton
 One of the Sabatons that I made showing the hinged heal plate
My  Sabatons showing the mail leg protection. this was often placed over the spur straps.
 Various daggers left to right, A 14th c Ballock dagger, 15th c Rondal dagger 16th c stiletto. I made the centre dagger and its scabbard. 
 Two war hammers that I made
 A variety of arrowheads including short and long Armour piercing Bodkins, a type 14, a caged Fire arrow, Swallow tail and Crescent shaped hunting arrow.
 13th century Hunting Crossbow that I made, the stock is made from ash the bow yew.
 A 15th century gun that I made. It has a serpentine trigger to hold a glowing match

A heater shield. so named in the 19th century because of its shape which is like an early Iron. The coat of arms belong to my wife and I. 

 My swords.

Below. One of my Gothic gauntlets pointing out a magazine that my book is reviewed in. To see the review go to the top of this page and look on  My Book reviews.


  1. Superbe Blog !! Eric Wylleman (north of France).

  2. You've obviously spent a fortune on armour, so please invest in a decent medieval embroidery frame. I swear if I see one more modern frame used as living history I'm going to scream

    1. Hi Tanya. Please don't scream! The photos are some of the first we took when we began reenacting for English Heritage, (They are over twenty years old now). You will be pleased to hear that the old modern frame was a necessity on the day but was replaced with a period correct frame shortly after. As for the armour. Most of it was made by myself (A case of necessity as the quality of most affordable repro armour in the late 1980's wasn't that good). It actually didn't cost that much in monetary terms but cost a fortune in time, bruised fingers and aching arms.