Object Title

Right sleeve of jack of plate

Right sleeve of jack of plate



Object Number

III.1885 A


Purchased on 6 June 1985. They were purchased together with the jack, II.1884. The seller had acquired the jack and its plate sleeves from the English dealer Mr. Geoffrey P. Jenkinson, who had, in turn, acquired them from the private collection of Mr. Sidney Pavier, Curator of the Harris Art Gallery, Preston, Lancashire, in 1957.

Physical Description

The sleeves are of fairly voluminous form, bent slightly at the elbows and tapering towards the wrists. They consist of two layers of course canvas having longitudinal lines of iron plates sewn between them with crossbow twine. The sleeve is made of four panels sewn together. The largest extends the entire length of the arm and approximately three quarters of the way around it, covering the whole of the outside and the front half of the inside of the arm. Two further panels, joined at the elbow, cover the remaining, rear portion of the inside arm. A triangular gusset is set into the main panel, at the outside of the elbow. The inside of the top edge of each sleeve is cut into a shallow, concave curve, to accommodate the armpit. The back of each cuff is split for 3 in. to ease insertion of the hand. The split would originally have been closed by means of lace passing through the eyelet, sewn around with stitches, on each side of the split. The outer part of the upper edge of each sleeve is pierced with three pairs of eyelets, again sewn around with stitches, to allow the sleeve to be laced to the wearer's doublet. Both the upper and lower edges of each sleeve are reinforced with beading of even more coarse canvas than the main fabric. The outside of the arm The outside of each arm is protected by five columns of plates, overlapping each other for half the length and running the full extent of the sleeve. Except at the elbows, the plates are of oblong form, with cropped corners and drilled through their centres for the stitches which retain them. The plates vary in size from about 1.55 in. to 2.15 in. long and about 0.5 in. to 0.8 in. wide. Each column is separated from it's neighbour by a gap of between 0.5 in. to 1.5 in. According to it's situation within the sleeve. The plates at the elbows are more-or-less square in shape, with sides varying in length from about0.75 in. to 1.0 in. They too have cropped corners and are drilled through their centres for the stitches. They merely touch each other, without overlapping. Four plates of this kind occur in the rearmost column, diminishing to one line the second from the front column. Only two short columns of the overlapping, oblong type of plate protect the inside of each forearm. They are situated towards the front of the sleeve and are spaced about 1.2 in. apart. Each plate is secured by four stitches forming a cross centring on the hole through each plate. The intersections of the stitches are decorated with tufts of green silk. Both sleeves lack several plates and fragments of their covering fabric.


Dimensions: Overall length -A : 635 mm (25 in.); B: 660 mm (26 in.) circumference at the top : A&B: 495 mm ( 19.5 in.) circumference at wrist: A&B: 216 mm (8.5 in.) Weight: Weight -A: 1 lb 0 oz, B: 0 lb 11.5 oz

Inscriptions and Marks



Places England

Bibliographic References

Ian Eaves, 'On the Remains of a Jack of Plate Excavated from Beeston Castle in Cheshire', The Journal of The Arms and Armour Society, vol.XIII, no.2, September 1989, pp.81-154, p.88.


The jack and plate sleeves probably form part of a group of such pieces that had been in the collection of the Farington sisters at Worden Hall , Lancashire., in the 19th century. They are mentioned in a contemporary, but undated, inventory of the collection in the possession of Mr. John Forrester at Maudsley Hall, Lancashire: ' 3 Brigandine jackets (for Bowmen. Sleeve of d.o (in frame) (Eliz h). One of these jacks, together with it's plate sleeves, possibly those now belonging to the Armouries, was lent to the Exhibition of Helmets and Mail, held in the rooms of the Royal Archaeological Society of Great Britain and Ireland from the 3rd to 16th June 1880. These pieces were described in detail in the catalogue of the exhibition published by A. F. de Cosson & W. Burges, 'Catalogue of the exhibition of Ancient Helmets and Example of Mail.' The Archaeological Journal, vol. XXXVII, 1881, p.591; fig. 220. The Farington collection was dispersed by auction in 1948. A considerable number of its objects were purchased by the former manager of the Worden Hall estate, Mr. John Forrester, from whom they passed to his son of the same name, now living at Maudsley Hall, Lancashire, and these presumably included the two jacks and pair of sleeves now in the care of the North Western Museum and Art Gallery Service at Blackburn, Lancashire, which were obtained from Rufford Old Hall. These pieces so closely resemble the jack and sleeves now belonging to the Armouries as to suggest that they once formed a group. The Farington collection was drawn from all parts of the world, and there is consequently no reason to suppose that the jacks and their sleeves had originally formed a part of the indigenous armoury of the Faringtons at Worden Hall, which has been confiscated from the family by the Parliamentary sequestrators on 2nd September 1643. The plate sleeves in the Armouries, and those at Blackburn, are the only examples of their kind known to survive. Those at Blackburn are not a matching pair. The right sleeve is of exactly the same design as the pair of sleeves now belonging to the Armouries, but the left sleeve differs from them in having one long column of plates on the inside of the arm, rather than two short columns occurring in the latter. Plate sleeves seem often to have been worn with jacks of plate in England and Scotland from the middle to the end of the 16th century. Certain troops raised in Scotland in 1552 were ordered to wear 'a jack of platt, steilbonnet, splent slevis, or mailye or plait' while a second order, issued a month later, specified a 'jack, steilbonet, .splentis, and slevis of plait or mailye'. (registers of the Privy Council of Scotland, vol. I, 1545-69, pp.130-1). In 1578-9 the Scotsman Thomas complained that he had been attacked by his brother and robbed of his 'jak, plait slevis' and other things (ibid., vol. III, 1578-83, p.107). Giovanni Michiel, reporting to the Venetian state in 1557, observed that the English wore jacks, shirts of mail or thick quilted canvas doublets with no defences for their arms other than 'plates of mail put lengthways'. (Calendar of State Papers Venetian, vol. VI, 1556-7, p.1048). The accounts of the Armouries office for 1560 refer to the expenses relating to fourteen pairs of sleeves made of old gorgets (Public Record Office, London, Pipe Office Declared Accounts 2962, f.7). The will of George Trafford, 1575, mentions 'a jacke a sallet a peare of splentes a gorget and a pear of slyves of metal' (G.J. Piccope, Lancashire and Cheshire Wills Inventories, part 2, Chetham Society, vol. LI, 1860, p.159), while that of Thomas Hondley, 1588, mentions 'a jack, plait sleeves, gauntlett, steel cap' (J.C. Hodgson, Wills and Inventories...of the Northern Counties Pt. 3, surtees society, vol. CXII, 1906 pp.145-6). Similarly, the inventory of William Carey, 1593, mentions 'A jack and sleeves of plate' (J. Raine, Wills and Inventories.of the Northern Counties pt. 2, Surtees Society, vol. XXXVIII, 1860, pp.231-2) while that of Thomas Fischer, c. 1590, refers to a 'coat of plait' and two 'pare of plate sleeves (Hodgson, op. Cit., p. 153).