Object Title

Right cuisse

Right cuisse



Object Number



Transferred from the Rotunda Museum of Artillery, Woolwich, 1927. From Rhodes, acquired by Sir J. Lefroy 1867.

Physical Description

Comprising a single main plate, two narrow extension-lames above, and two side plates on the outside.
The main plate is shaped to the thigh and has a full-length medial ridge. Its convex upper edge is asymmetrically curved, reaching an apex just outside of the medial ridge, and increasing its angle of descent steeply to the inner edge of the plate. The upper edge has a bold, angular outward turn.

The two narrow extension-lames articulated to the top of each main plate more or less follow the contours of the latter, narrowing slightly to their outer ends. The upper edge of the top lame has a plain, boxed outward turn, somewhat less bold than that occurring on the main plate. The lames are articulated to each other and the main plate by flat-headed rivets at the inner ends, sliding rivets near the outer ends, and a medial internal leather. The leather and its rivets are lost, and the holes filed with modern replacements.

The main plate is fitted at its outer edge with a side-plate attached by rivets at the top and bottom. The upper edge of the side-plate has a plain angular outward turn. It is fitted with a large flat-headed rivet which engages a long slot in the lower edge of a small upper extension-plate of irregular lozenge shape. The upper edge of this small extension-plate has an angular outward turn and is riveted to the uppermost of the two upper extension-lames of the main plate.

Fitted to each cuisse is a transverse modern leather strap which encircles the back of the thigh. It is bifurcated at its riveted inner end, and fastened by a replacement oval buckle on the left, each riveted to the main plate. There is also a modern leather tab pierced for an arming point riveted to the top of the upper extension lame.

The lower edge of the main plate has a single hole at either side of the medial ridge, of unknown function; they are too far in for the attachment of a poleyn. The inner left lower corner has been broken away from the main plate, and pierced with a hole at a later date. The rivet hole at the upper edge of the main plate, intended for the lower terminal of the leather to the extension lames, has been filled with a modern rivet. Another modern rivet secures the upper end of the lower side piece, and another, with a large flat head, engages the slot of the upper side piece. The rivets on the extension lames, with the exception of a flat rivet with a square internal washer at the inner edge, are modern.

There is an old repair to the extended lobe for the sliding rivet at the upper edge of the lower side-piece, comprising a v-shaped strip of metal to the broken end of the lobe.

The lower extension lame has been broken off at its inner end. The presence of a portion of a punched hole here, and the fact that the current arrangement prevents free movement of the extension lame and pivoting side piece, suggest that the original construction comprised a leather strip, riveted at the now-broken hole and the point where the upper portion of the bifurcated strap now terminates.


Dimensions: Right height: 410 mm; width: 185 mm. Weight: Right (with poleyn III.1136) 1790 g

Inscriptions and Marks

Right cuisse: The Rotunda number MA 2336, surmounted by an indistinct cannon, is stamped at the mid upper right of the main plate. On a white adhesive label fixed to the right inside upper edge of the mainplate is written 60/8 , and above this in red ink, is the number 205 (for 275 ?). in red paint is III.1384 on the extension lame, a mistaken renumbering.The rear edge of the lower side piece, the inner upper edge of the upper side-piece, and the inner lower edge of the top extension lame are marked with a pair of v-shaped nicks.


Bibliographic References

Official Catalogue of the Museum of Artillery in the Rotunda, Woolwich, London, 1873: 140, MA 2336 (right) no.2337 (left, wrongly numbered MA 2339)

Official Catalogue of the Museum of Artillery in the Rotunda, Woolwich, London, 1889: 150, no. 16/275-6.

C ffoulkes, 'Armour from the Rotunda, Woolwich, Transferred to the Armouries of the Tower, 1927' Archaeologia LXXVII 1927: 61-72, fig. 4 (right mounted on III.1134.

A R Dufty and W Reid, European Armour in the Tower of London, 1968, plate VI.

P Tudor-Craig, Richard III, London, National Portrait Gallery, 1973: 77, No 205.

W J Karcheski Jr and T Richardson, The medieval armour from Rhodes, Leeds, Royal Armouries 2000: no. 10.7


The cuisses are almost identical to those of armour B6 in the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie (Boccia 1982: figs 376-9, 394-6). See also those on a composite armour in the Farnham-Burke sale (Christie's 1931: lot 49); the cuisses of A285-6 in the Wallace Collection (Mann 1962: 186; Norman 1986: no. A154; a right cuisse in the Victoria and Albert Museum, no. M535-1927 (Hayward 1965:pl. 4b); those on armour no. 23 at Churburg (Trapp & Mann 1929: 63, pl xxviib); and those of an armour for Maximilian I by Seusenhofer, about 1510, in the Hofjagd- und R³stkammer, Vienna, no. A110 (Thomas & Gamber 1976: 182).