Object Title

Field armour

Field armour

Date

1575

Object Number

II.83

Provenance

Probably transferred from the Palace at Greenwich about 1649

Physical Description

Armet A, skull of one piece with a deep comb, flanged at the neck to turn on the collar. Bordered round the neck with flush lining rivets retaining whole leather lining band, and at the brow with round headed lining rivets. At either end of this run is a small stud for the cheek piece. At the right is a rectangular hole and the base of a spring for the sprung stud which held the visor open. At either side of the comb at the rear are four holes for plumes. A plume holder is attached by modern rivets at the left. At the centre rear is a pierced stud for the wrapper. Each cheek piece is shaped to the chin with a recessed border at the main edge containing replacement round head rivets. The pieces are hinged to the skull and fastened at the front with a stud and swivel hook. The row of original flush lining rivets with leather lining bands continues on each. The right one has a sprung stud which holds the visor closed. The visor has a broad reinforce and two sight, below which is a stepped section pierced with five figure I breaths at either side. A sprung loop at the right operates the stud which holds the bevor closed. The bevor is prow-shaped, pierced with two rows of I shaped breaths at either side, and has a pierced stud at the right for a wrapper. All elements are decorated with recessed bands and scalloped bands, all formerly gilt.


Field gorget H formed of four lames front and rear, hinged at the top left and fastened at the right with a sprung stud at the top and a mushroom headed stud and keyhole slot at the bottom. The lames are articulated by three modern leather front and rear. The lower edge is scalloped, the upper with a thin inward turn forming a flange for the armet to turn on. The lower edges are bordered by the original flush lining rivets retaining fragments of lining band, the upper edged with modern decorative round headed rivets. The lames are decorated with recessed bands and transverse scalloped bands, all retaining much of their original gilding.


Field breastplate I has a medial ridge and a medium peascod. It is fitted with moveable gussets on modern rivets at either arm, and has a scalloped waist lame attached by sliding rivets to the narrow flange at the waist. At either shoulder is a pierced stud for the shoulder straps, and at either side edge a hinged hasp with three holes and a loop at the end for the cord and pin, for attachment to the backplate. The waist lame has three modern leathers at either side for the tassets. The neck edge has a boxed, pain inward turn, the other main edge a plain inward turn with a recessed border. The breastplate is decorated with recessed bands and transverse scalloped bands, all retaining much of their original gilding.


Field backplate K shaped to the shoulders with a flat upper edge and narrow flange at the waist to which is attached by sliding rivets a scalloped waist lame. The main edges have plain inward turns wit recessed borders. At either shoulder is riveted a hinged shoulder strap of steel, fitted with a gilt pierced stud at the centre for the pauldrons, three holes at the end for the stud on the breastplate, and a hole just above these for the pin cord. At either side edge is a pierced stud for the hasp on the breastplate, and, above this, a pierced stud for the plackart. It is decorated with recessed bands and transverse scalloped bands, all retaining most of their original gilding. The edges of the shoulder straps are also gilt. The centre and right of the flange have riveted repairs, and the right shoulder strap is cracked through near the upper hole.


Plackart M has a medial ridge and a medium peascod. The arm and neck edges are cut away, and it has a scalloped waist lame attached by rivets and overlapping the lower edge of the breastplate. At either side is a hole and swivel hook for attachment to the breastplate. Attached at the right arm by four screws is the lance rest, an L-shaped plate with a rectangular lug to which is pivoted the L-section rest, which has a spring inside the L originally connected to a pivoted bar which locked the rest open or closed. It is decorated with recessed bands and transverse scalloped bands, all retaining much of their original gilding.


Right pauldron N formed of five plates overlapping upwards and full width. The main edges have a plain inward turns and recessed borders. The plates were articulated by three wide and two narrow leathers, of which some of the flush rivets for the front one survive. They are now riveted solid at the front and have three modern leathers at the centre and rear. At the centre of the upper plate is a large hole for the stud on the shoulder strap, and an adjacent small hole for a cord and split pin. Modern buff leather straps and buckle are riveted to the lowest lame. The upper lame is embossed for the collarbone towards the front. All elements are decorated with recessed bands and scalloped bands, and retain their original gilding.


Left pauldron O formed of five plates overlapping upwards and full width. The main edges have a plain inward turns and recessed borders, retaining some possibly original rivets for a restraining leather. The plates are articulated by three wide and two narrow modern leathers. At the centre of the upper plate is a large hole for the stud on the shoulder strap, and an adjacent small hole for a cord and split pin. Modern buff leather straps and buckle are riveted to the lowest lame. The upper lame is embossed for the collarbone towards the front. The middle plate has three studs for the attachment of the haut piece, which, secured by swivel hooks at the front and rear, forms a large flanged defence. All elements are decorated with recessed bands and scalloped bands, and retain their original gilding.


Right vambrace P; the upper cannon has a turner with three plates above, articulated by sliding rivets at the rear, modern leathers at the front and centre. At the upper edge is a modern leather tab for points. It is joined to the couter by a single articulating lame. The couter has a detachable wing, fastened by a stud and swivel hook at front and rear. The lower cannon also has a single articulating lame, and is formed of two plates hinged at the outside and fastened with a swivel hook and pierced stud at the inside. The inner plate has an additional articulated plate at the cuff, and two more at the elbow join, above which the upper cannon has a single articulated lame. The main edges have plain inward turns with recessed borders, the subsidiary edges are plain. The lower edge of the turner is scalloped. All parts are decorated with recessed bands with three pairs of double incised lines, and transverse bands of recessed scallops, all retaining some or all of their original gilding.


Left vambrace Q; the upper cannon has a turner with three plates above, articulated by sliding rivets at the rear, modern leathers at the front and centre. At the upper edge is a modern leather tab for points. It is joined to the couter by a single articulating lame. The couter has a detachable wing, fastened by a stud and swivel hook at front and rear. The lower cannon also has a single articulating lame, and is formed of two plates hinged at the outside and fastened with a swivel hook and pierced stud at the inside. The inner plate has an additional articulated plate at the cuff, and two more at the elbow join, above which the upper cannon has a single articulated lame. The main edges have plain inward turns with recessed borders, the subsidiary edges are plain. The lower edge of the turner is scalloped. All parts are decorated with recessed bands with three pairs of double incised lines, and transverse bands of recessed scallops, all retaining some or all of their original gilding.


Right gauntlet R; the cuff has a pointed outer plate hinged to an inner plate fastened with a pierced stud and formerly a swivel hook, the small hole for which is adjacent. The main edges have a plain inward turns, and are bordered by modern round headed lining rivets. Two full width inner cuff plates are riveted to this, and a further narrow plate for the inside of the thumb to them by a modern leather. There are four metacarpal lames riveted at either side with a modern leather at the centre, a knuckle plate with a plain embossed rib, a finger plate with scalloped edge below that, and finger scales on modern leathers (9, 8, 7 and 6, the terminal plate of the second smallest missing.


Left gauntlet S; the cuff has a pointed outer plate hinged to an inner plate fastened with a pierced stud and formerly a swivel hook, the small hole for which is adjacent. The main edges have a plain inward turns, and are bordered by original flush d lining rivets with fragments of lining band. Two full width inner cuff plates are riveted to this, and a further narrow plate for the inside of the thumb to them by a modern leather. There are four metacarpal lames riveted at either side with a modern leather at the centre, a knuckle plate with a plain embossed rib, a finger plate with scalloped edge below that. The thumb and finger scales are all modern replacements.


Right tasset T made in two sections, an upper short tasset of three lames, and a lower extension of four lames. The lower edge of the upper section is scalloped. The sections are joined by a stud and keyhole slot at the outside, and a turning pin at the inside. The lames are articulated by sliding rivets at the outside, and modern leathers at the centre and inside. The main edges have plain inward turns with recessed borders containing rivets, mainly decorative round heads, but flush rivets visible only on the inside retain fragments of leather lining bands. All parts are decorated with recessed bands with three pairs of double incised lines, and transverse bands of recessed scallops, all retaining some or all of their original gilding. The top lame is fitted with three modern gilt buckles matching those on the pauldrons.


Left tasset U made in two sections, an short upper tasset of three lames, and a lower extension of four lames. The lower edge of the upper section is scalloped. The sections are joined by a stud and keyhole slot at the outside, and a turning pin at the inside. The lames are articulated by sliding rivets at the outside, and modern leathers at the centre and inside. The main edges have plain inward turns with recessed borders containing rivets, mainly decorative round heads, but flush rivets visible only on the inside retain fragments of leather lining bands. All parts are decorated with recessed bands with three pairs of double incised lines, and transverse bands of recessed scallops, all retaining some or all of their original gilding. The top lame is fitted with three modern gilt buckles matching those on the pauldrons.


Right cuisse and poleyn V; short cuisse, formed of a single gutter-shaped plate. The upper edge has a boxed, plain inward turn and a recessed border. It is connected by two articulating lames to a poleyn shaped to the knee with a heart-shaped wing at the outside. Below this are two articulating lames, the lower one pierced with a hole at the inner and keyhole slot at the outer for attachment of the greave. The lames are articulated by rivets at the outside and by a modern medial leather. A the top is a tab of modern leather for points. It is decorated with recessed bands with three pairs of double incised lines, and transverse bands of recessed scallops, all retaining some or all of their original gilding. Around the knee is a modern leather strap with a gilt modern buckle matching the others on the armour.


Left cuisse and poleyn W; short cuisse, formed of a single gutter-shaped plate. The upper edge has a boxed, plain inward turn and a recessed border. It is connected by two articulating lames to a poleyn shaped to the knee with a heart-shaped wing at the outside. Below this are two articulating lames, the lower one pierced with a hole at the inner and keyhole slot at the outer for attachment of the greave. The lames are articulated by rivets at the outside and by a modern medial leather. At the top is a tab of modern leather for points. It is decorated with recessed bands with three pairs of double incised lines, and transverse bands of recessed scallops, all retaining some or all of their original gilding. Around the knee is a modern leather strap with a gilt modern buckle matching the others on the armour.


Right greave X formed of front and rear plates hinged at the outside, fastened by sprung studs at the top and bottom on the inside. The lower edges and upper rear edge have plain inward turns and recessed borders. The front plate has a medial ridge, and is fitted at the top with a stud and turning pin for attachment to the poleyn. It is decorated with recessed bands with three pairs of double incised lines, and transverse bands of recessed scallops, all retaining some or all of their original gilding.


Left greave Y formed of front and rear plates hinged at the outside, fastened by sprung studs at the top and bottom on the inside. The lower edges and upper rear edge have plain inward turns and recessed borders. The front plate has a medial ridge, and is fitted at the top with a stud and turning pin for attachment to the poleyn. It is decorated with recessed bands with three pairs of double incised lines, and transverse bands of recessed scallops, all retaining some or all of their original gilding. At the outer top of the rear plate is a working life riveted repair. Both studs are repositioned outside the edge on modern riveted plates, with two holes inboard of these for the missing swivel hooks.


Right toe cap Z shaped to the end of the shoe, the lower edge half rounded, the rear edge with a thin plain outward turn, both bordered by close set holes for mail. Decorated with a medial recessed band and transverse recessed scallops, no gilding survives on this piece. The lower edge is slightly damaged.


Left toe cap AA shaped to the end of the shoe, the lower edge half rounded, the rear edge with a thin plain outward turn, both bordered by close set holes for mail. Decorated with a medial recessed band and transverse recessed scallops, no gilding survives on this piece. The lower edge is slightly damaged.


Left mail fragment AB of riveted mail, shaped to the foot with modern leather bands around the ankles matching those shown on the Jacob Album illustration of the armour. The links are formed of flat section wire with strong grooves, and pronounced rivets, link diameter about 7 mm.


Mail fragment AC formed of mail of riveted construction, shaped to the foot with modern leather bands around the ankles matching those shown on the Jacob Album illustration of the armour. The links are formed of round section wire with strong grooves, and pronounced rivets. This one is currently mounted inside out on the right foot.


Collar of wrapper (G) is formed of three lames front and rear, the upper ones embossed for the rotating rim of the armet, and shaped at the front for the chin. The lames are fastened together by a mushroom headed stud and keyhole slot at either side of the lower lames. At the top is a pierced stud at either side of the rear lame, and two holes at either side of the front, but these do not fit, and a section of the rear lame is cut away. The lames are articulated by three possibly original leathers front and rear, the lower ends of some divided. The lower edges have plain inward turns, bordered by round headed brass capped lining rivets, retaining traces of gilding. The plates are decorated with recessed vertical bands and transverse scalloped bands, retaining traces of gilding.


Wrapper (D) formed as a single plate, shaped to the bevor with a keel-shaped prow. At the right is an embossed bulge to accommodate the press stud on the armet, and at the right front holes for the stud holding the wrapper in position, and the stud holding the visor closed. It is decorated with recess vertical bands and transverse scalloped bands, all retaining their gilding.


The light burgonet (C), of field weight, has a one-piece skull with a tall comb forged in one with the peak. At the nape of the neck is a narrow flange to which a nape lame is attached by rivets at either side, and originally by a central leather. Attached by a hinge at either side is a cheekpiece, formed of a main plate shaped to the neck and attached by the original leather to a small extension plate at ether side. The main edges have plain inward turns, bordered by original round headed lining rivets retaining fragments of the original lining band. Round the neck and brow complete original lining bands of leather survive. The surface is decorated with recessed vertical bands and transverse scallops, all retaining much of their original gilding. On either cheekpiece is a pierced stud and a rectangular stud for attachment of the falling buffe, II.83 F.


The light falling buffe (F, for the burgonet I.83 C) is made of a main plate, shaped to the chin and rising up at either side, above which are riveted two plates, pierced at either side with I-shaped breaths, fastened in place with sprung studs, and below it two gorget plates, now riveted at either side but originally articulated by three leathers. At either side of the main plate is a hinged hasp for attachments to the burgonet, pierced with one hole for the stud and another for a cord and pin. The main edges have plain inward turns, the lower edge with a recessed border containing original round headed lining rivets retaining fragments of leather lining band. Fragments of another lining band are retained on the main plate, just above the angle for the chin. The plates are decorated with recessed vertical bands and transverse scallops, all retaining much of their original gilding.


The siege burgonet B has a one-piece skull with a tall comb. The peak is made separately and joined by a row of rivets, all modern replacements. Attached by a hinge at either side is a cheekpiece, formed of a mainplate shaped to the neck and attached by a modern leather to a small extension plate at ether side. The main edges have plain inward turns, bordered by modern round headed rivets. Round the neck is another row of modern rivets where the lining rivets were. The surface is decorated with engraved vertical bands and transverse scallops, all retaining much of their original gilding, with a gilt rosette on each cheekpiece. On either cheekpiece is a pierced stud and a rectangular stud for attachment of the falling buffe, II.83 E. At the left of the skull is a gilt plume holder.


The siege gorget (AD) is formed of four lames front and rear, hinged at the top left, fastened solid by a rivet at the bottom left, probably for a stud originally, and fastened at the right with a sprung stud at the top and a mushroom headed stud and keyhole slot at the bottom. The lames are articulated by three modern leathers front and rear. The lower edge is scalloped, the upper with a boxed inward turn. The upper edge is bordered by the original flush lining rivets retaining fragments of lining band of leather. The lames are decorated with engraved vertical bands and transverse scalloped bands, all retaining much of their original gilding.


The siege breastplate (J) has a medial ridge and a medium peascod. It is fitted with moveable gussets on modern rivets at either arm, and has a scalloped waist lame attached by sliding rivets to the narrow flange at the waist. At either shoulder is a pierced stud for the shoulder straps, and at either side edge a hinged hasp with three holes and a loop at the end for the cord and pin, for attachment to the backplate. Just above the hasp at either side is a rivet hole, for the missing stud for the attachment of the plackart. At either shoulder and gusset are attached the split end of a modern leather shoulder strap and buckle, which were designed to relieve the weight of the steel shoulder straps. The waist lame has three modern leathers at either side for the tassets. The neck edge has a boxed, plain inward turn, the waist lame edge plain inward turns with a recessed border. The breastplate is decorated with engraved bands and transverse scalloped bands, all retaining traces of their original gilding.


The siege backplate (L) is shaped to the shoulders with a flat upper edge and narrow flange at the waist to which is attached by sliding rivets a scalloped waist lame. The main edges have plain inward turns with recessed borders. At either shoulder is riveted a hinged shoulder strap of steel, fitted with a gilt pierced stud at the centre for the pauldrons, three holes at the end for the stud on the breastplate, and a filled hole just above these for the pin cord. At either side is riveted the split end of a modern leather shoulder strap and buckle, which were designed to relieve the weight of the steel shoulder straps. At either side edge is a pierced stud for the hasp on the breastplate. It is decorated with engraved vertical bands and transverse scalloped bands, all retaining traces of their original gilding.


Right siege tasset (AE) made in two sections, an upper short tasset of three lames, and a lower extension of four lames. The sections are joined by a stud and keyhole slot at the outside, and a turning pin at the inside. The lower edge of the upper section is scalloped. The lames are articulated by sliding rivets at the outside, and modern leathers at the centre and inside. The main edges have plain inward turns bordered by decorative rivets or vacant rivet holes. All parts are decorated with engraved vertical bands with three pairs of double incised lines, and transverse bands of recessed scallops, all retaining some or all of their original gilding. The top lame is fitted with three modern gilt buckles matching those on the pauldrons.


Left siege tasset (AF) made in two sections, an upper short tasset of three lames, and a lower extension of four lames. The sections are joined by a stud and keyhole slot at the outside, and a turning pin at the inside. The lower edge of the upper section is scalloped. The lames are articulated by sliding rivets at the outside, and modern leathers at the centre and inside. The main edges have plain inward turns bordered by decorative rivets or vacant rivet holes. All parts are decorated with engraved vertical bands with three pairs of double incised lines, and transverse bands of recessed scallops, all retaining some or all of their original gilding. The top lame is fitted with three modern gilt buckles matching those on the pauldrons.

Dimensions

Dimensions: height as mounted 1875 mm (6 ft 2 in) Weight: whole field armour 38.631 kg (85 lb 1 oz); siege harness with arm and leg harness 59.136 kg (130 lb 4 oz)

Bibliographic References

J.G. Mann, Exhibition of Armour made in the Royal Workshops at Greenwich, H.M. Tower of London, 22 May-29 September, 1951, p.17 pl.XV burgonet.

A.R. Dufty and W. Reid, European Armour in the Tower of London, 1968, plate XLI, XLII extra burgonet and cuirass, XLIII extra pieces.

C. Paggiarino, The Royal Armouries, masterpieces of medieval and renaissance arms and armour, Milan, 2011 volume 2

Notes

Worcester was in early life principal esquire to King Henry VIII, and attended the coronations of Edward VI, queen Mary and Elizabeth I. He fought with his father the 2nd earl in France in 1544 and 1546, carrying Henry VIII's helmet and lance at Calais. He was knighted by Edward VI at his coronation, and married in 1549 to Christian, daughter of Lord North. He was a supporter of Lady Jane Grey as well as queen Mary in 1553, and served in the army in France under the earl of Pembroke in 1557. He attended parliament, but as a Catholic he was given no offices under Elizabeth, though he was created a Knight of the Garter in 1570. In 1573 he attended the christening of the daughter of Charles IX in Paris on queen Elizabeth's behalf, and in 1586 was one of the commissioners at Fotheringay for the trial of Mary queen of Scots. As late as 1588 he was still raising cavalry, six lances and 26 light horse, for the English army. His residence was Raglan Castle in Wales, which he substantially modernised.The armour is an unique field garniture made in the Royal workshop at Greenwich. It is also the heaviest known armour in the world (if all its heaviest elements are assembled together). The armour comprises a complete field armour with a series of extra pieces, a wrapper for the armet of the field armour, a set of saddle steels (now lost) and half shaffron for his horse, and an alternative heavy gorget and cuirass together with a burgonet and buffe for wear on the battlefield, The portraits, including one dated 1569 at Badminton House, Gloucestershire, show that the armour was originally purple with recessed bands of gilt scallops. This armour is a good example of the products of the Almain Armoury at Greenwich under John Kelte the Master Workman there from 1567-76. It appears in the Jacob Album in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the page of extra pieces in the Album are signed by Jacob Halder 'Thes peces wer made by me Jacobe'. At the Tower it was displayed in the earliest Line of Kings as the armour of Henry VIII, and on the reorganisation of the Line in 1688, as that of Edward I. Text from Richardson Arms and armour of the Tudor court (forthcoming in 2009).