Object Title





Object Number



Tower arsenal.

Physical Description

The backplate is shaped to the shoulders with a low neck and a narrow flange at the waist to which is riveted a culet of two lames. The main edges have plain inward turns. At the left side is half a hinge, riveted to the outside, for fastening it to its breastplate III.72; this is a replacement, and evidence of rivet holes shows the original was smaller and fitted inside. They were fastened at the right with a strap and buckle, later replaced with a turning pin and keyhole slot. At either shoulder is a rivet for a shoulder strap.



BackplateHeight394 mm
BackplateWeight1750 g
BackplateWidth362 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

Maker's mark
A crowned W mark.
Centre of neck

Bibliographic References

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

G Rimer, T Richardson and J P D Cooper, Henry VIII: arms and the man, Leeds, 2009, p.223


The breastplate III.72 is the pair to this. This cuirass was probably wrought either by Pieter Wambais, a Flemish armourer who worked for Emperor Maximilian I, or Jehan Watt, armourer to Philip the Handsome. The cuirass is very similar to that of Henry VIII's silvered and engraved armour (II.5). Previously it has been suggested the crowned W mark may have belonged to Jacob 'Copyn' de Watte, who was in Henry VIII's employ from 1511 and in 1516 made for the king 'iiij complete harness for the Kinges Grace of diverse faccones' (Cripps-Day, Fragmenta Armamentaria I.3, pp. 11-12, note 1).