Object Title

Jousting helm

Jousting helm



Object Number



Transferred from the Rotunda Museum of Artillery, Woolwich, 1927. From the Brocas collection. Purchaased at the Brocas sale for £6, the purchaser presented to the Richmond museum, and when the collection was broken up it passed into the hands of Mr.Harrod, secretary of the Norfolk Archaelogical Society. From him it passed to Mr.Bayfield, of Norwich, and was stated to have been used as a model for part of the decoration of the 'Norwich' gates at Sandringham. In 1864 it was purchased by General Lefroy for the Rotunda. -( Country Life, C. Foulkes, 'The rotunda museum, Woolwich, and the Armouries of the tower of London.)

Physical Description

Composed of three plates, front, back and skull, fastened together by large, brass-capped rivets. The back and skull plates are pierced with pairs of holes for the laces of the lining cap. The front and rear plates spread outwards over the back and chest, and have iron charnels for securing the helm in position. The front charnel is a strong, hinged plate pierced with twelve oblong holes in pairs, arranged to fit over staples on the breastplate. The rear charnel is a large, rectangular buckle with three bars of descending thickness through which the strap from the backplate was passed.



HelmDepth415 mm
HelmHeight605 mm
HelmWeight10.215 kg
HelmWidth300 mm
Face plateThickness6 mm

Inscriptions and Marks


Bibliographic References

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

Dorling Kindersley, Weapon. A visual history of arms & armour, Dorling Kindersley Ltd, London, 2006, p. 88

G Rimer, T Richardson and J P D Cooper, Henry VIII: Arms and the Man, Leeds, 2009,p.128-129

C. Paggiarino, The Royal Armouries, masterpieces of medieval and renaissance arms and armour, Milan, 2011, volume 1


An exceptionally fine example of a frog-mouthed jousting helm of the German form for the Joust of Peace (Gestech). The flanged base is designed to spread the weight of the helm across the shoulders, whilst the charnel is designed to attach the helm to the breastplate. Until the mid-14th century, helmets used for jousts seem to have been the same as those worn on the battlefield. However, from this date specialised types begin to emerge. Unlike earlier war helms, the lower edge of the sight was designed to protrude forward of the upper edge to protect against a lance slipping into the sights. In addition, the central divide of the sights was removed resulting in a single sight or ocularium. During the 15th century the protruding lip became more extreme resulting in a prow-like form to the face plate. By the middle of the century, the iconic frog-mouthed helm had emerged.