Object Title

Pikeman's armour

Pikeman's armour



Object Number



Tower arsenal.

Physical Description

The armour comprises a broad-brimmed pot, a gorget, breastplate with solid plate tassets and backplate. All elements are decorated with embossed parallel chevrons bordered by double incised lines. The pot retains its original cheekpieces, mounted on modern leathers. The breastplate is joined at either side to the backplate by decorative brass hasps which fit over pierces studs, and at the shoulders by modern leathers with original scales and decorative pierced terminals which fit over swivel hooks with decorative washers at either side of the chest. The tassets are attached by matching hinged hasps whose upper terminals fit over pierced studs on the flange at the waist. On the flange of the backplate and at the right of the flange of the breastplate are pierced studs for the attachment of a sword hanger. The armour retains its original black from the hammer finish.


Dimensions: Cuirass height: 650mm; width: 530mm; depth 400mm. Overall mounted height: 1770mm Weight: 9.3kg (20 lb 8 oz)


Bibliographic References

John Hewitt, Official Catalogue of the Tower Armouries, London, 1859: 16, II.79

Harold, Viscount Dillon, Illustrated Guide to the Armouries, Tower of London, London, 1910: 172, II.94

Claude Blair, European Armour, B.T. Batsford Ltd., London, 1958: 151, 198-9.

C Boisson, 'Le piquer et son armement au XVIIe siecle', Armes Anciennes 13 (11.6) 1959: 141-50, pl. xl.2

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


This is one of a small but distinctive group of very fine English pikemen's armours. These were once attributed to the royal workshops at Greenwich, but it has since been shown that they were made by members of the Armourers Company of London. Their decoration was probably intended to reflect the pattern of the Bargello or 'flame stitch' patterns popular at the same time for interior decoration. In the Horse Armoury the armour can be seen opposite the Line of Kings displayed on a full figure mannequin, holding a pike.