Object Title

Field armour

Field armour



Object Number



Purchased from Malta 1826. The leg harness added from the Beriah Botfield collection at Norton Hall, purchased with the aid of the National Art Collections Fund. Placed on loan at Bamburgh Castle 7 January 1976. Hewitt 1859 no. ii.62

Physical Description

Comprising a close helmet, gorget, breastplate, backplate, tassets, pauldrons, vambraces, gauntlets, cuisses, poleyns and greaves. The close helmet has a one piece skull with a high comb and a rosette of nine holes at either side. At the rear is a set of three gorget plates, and round the base of the skull a row of flush lining rivets. At ached by nuts and bolts are the visor and upper and lower bevors. The visor has a deep brow reinforce and double sight. The upper bevor has a rosette of nine breaths at the right and a pierced stud and swivel hook fastening. The lower bevor fastens to the skull by a pierced stud and swivel hook at the right, and has three gorget plates. The gorget comprises a main plate and two lames above front and rear, riveted and hinged at the left and fastened at the right by a sprung stud and a stud and keyhole slot. The breastplate has a low neck, a medial ridge and a peascod. At the arms are gussets. At the waist is an associated fauld lame with six modern leathers for the tassets. The backplate has a low neck and a narrow flange. It is fitted with modern buckles at the shoulders and modern waist straps at the waist. The tassets are of eleven lames joined by rivets on the outside and modern leathers at the centre and inside. The upper lames seem to be associated as they were wider, and have been clipped then etched to match. The pauldrons are similar but not a pair. Each has a large central plate with two lames above and five below. The buckles are modern. The vambraces comprise upper cannons with turners and one lame above, bracelet couters with one lames above and below, and lower cannons. The gauntlets are not a pair. The right gauntlet, which matches the rest of the armour least, has a rounded flaring cuff, an overlapped wrist lame, four metacarpal lames, a knuckle plate with a central ridge and scallops for the fingers, an associated thumb defence decorated with an etched band of chain down the centre and four modern scales. There are four sets of old but releathered finger scales. The left gauntlet has a flaring cuff, five metacarpal lames, a modern thumb defence with four scales, a knuckle plate and four sets for modern finger scales. All elements have main edges with roped inward turns and recessed borders. All the plates are etched, with traces of gilding on the band at the rear of the helmet, with bands of grotesques on a stipple ground with narrow guilloche (and engrailed) borders. The decoration on the breastplate includes a figure of St Catherine holding a spiked wheel, and the arms of Enriquez de Luna of castle, in chief two castles above a lion rampant, impaled with bendy of six. On the backplate a classical hero with a spear is pounced on by lions. The left pauldron has Hercules wrestling with Antaeus and at the rear Hercules and the Nemean lion, both within a strapwork medallion, and Mars and castor and Pollux in the centres of the adorsed volutes. The right pauldron has Justitia at the rear and one of the Magi riding a camel at the front, similarly in (different) strapwork medallions. The etched bands of the associated right gauntlet are bordered by double plain bands and a band of close-set waves.


Dimensions: helmet height 315 mm, width 225 mm, depth 320 mm; gorget height 225 mm, width 305 mm, depth 260 mm; breastplate height 440 mm, width 350 mm; backplate height 340 mm, width 360 mm; right tasset height 220 mm, width 300 mm; left tasset height 205 mm, width 308 mm; right vambrace length 645 mm, left vambrace length 640 mm; right gauntlet length 295 mm, cuff diameter 140 mm; left gauntlet length 330 mm, cuff diameter 135 mm Weight: helmet 4100g, gorget 810 g, breastplate 2055 g, backplate 1150 g, right tasset 860 g, left tasset 915 g, right vambrace 2030 g, left vambrace 2020 g, right gauntlet 416 g, right gauntlet 408 g

Inscriptions and Marks



Places Italy

Bibliographic References

John Hewitt, Official Catalogue of the Tower Armouries, London, 1859: no. ii.62 (1870 no. ii.60)

Harold, Viscount Dillon, Illustrated Guide to the Armouries, Tower of London, London, 1910: 152, no. ii.68


A finger scale from the right gauntlet is III.4402.