Object Title

Elements of a field armour

Elements of a field armour



Object Number



The original gorget, cuirass and vambraces were exchanged with the corresponding elements of two Maximillian armours in the collection of Dr Richard Williams, sold at Sotheby's, 18 June 1974, Lot 70 (illustrated) (breastplate) and 15 October 1974, lot 87 (illustrated). The sabatons were associated at about the same time according to a MS note in the previous inventory entry. For the original configuration see Negative No. A3/3028 (centre). Formerly II.31 (-1895); II.40 (1895-1916), at which time it had a helmet. The armour was composed from pieces in the old Tower Collection

Physical Description

Each probably restored mitten gauntlet has a short, slightly flaring cuff made in two pieces joined in two rivets at the front and rear. The main edge has a roped inward turn, the roping done with double chisel lines, with a recessed border. There is a small bugle on the outside for the ulna process. There are five narrow metacarpal lames articulated by rivets at either side, overlapping upwards. The first of these is deeper than the others, and has a thumb defence attached by a plain iron hinge. This is formed of a kite shaped plate embossed with medial and transverse ridges, with a modern leather and three scales. The last metacarpal lame has a knuckle plate deeply embossed with a roped ridge matching the cuff plate, and this has the first of five phalange lames, the last deeper with a roped main edge with a recessed border containing five lining rivets. The gauntlets are decorated by three bands of two shallow flutes, bordered by a ridge within incised lines. Each cuisse has a main plate with an extension plate above. These were originally articulated by a sliding rivet in a lobe on the inside and a rivet on the outside, but the left now has a leather on the inside and the right upper plate is modern. The upper edge of the extension plate has a roped inward turn with a recessed border containing six lining rivets, retaining a modern leather arming tab. The other edges are plain, with modern straps and buckles. Each cuisse is decorated with eleven shallow flutes, the upper plates plain. The left cuisse is a contemporarily converted right cuisse. It has two riveted repairs to the mainplate, one at the lower right terminal and a restored outer part of the lower poleyn lame. The right has a restored upper plate and lower poleyn lame. The poleyns are not a pair; the left belongs, the right a working life association. Each has a main plate with an articulating lame above and below and a deeper lower lame. The main plates are rounded with convex upper and lower edges, and an oval wing with a medial pucker. At the centre of each is a modern leather strap and buckle, the inner strap bifurcated and attached to the articulating lames. The main plates are decorated with nine flutes on the left and eleven on the right. The right lower lame is a modern restoration. The greaves are modern, articulated by pin catches on the inside and hinges on the outside. The sabatons have rounded toes, and each is of nine lames overlapping upwards. The lames are articulated by rivets in lobes at either side. They are decorated with a spray of six flutes. The third lame of the right sabaton is restored.


Dimensions: right gauntlet length: 265 mm; left gauntlet length: 266 mm; right cuisse height: 466 mm, right cuisse width: 185 mm; left cuisse height: 440 mm, left cuisse width: 183 mm; right greave length: 484 mm, left greave length: 482 mm Weight: left gauntlet 1 lb 2 oz, right 1 lb 2 oz, left cuisse 2 lb 8 oz, right 2 lb 9 oz, left greave 3 lb 12 oz, right 3 lb 14 oz

Inscriptions and Marks

The right poleyn has six stamped cresent marks at the junction of the wing. The left has two punched dots on the inside of each lame and on the upper plate of the cuisse, with single, V-shaped nicks on the inner edges of the poleyn.


Places Germany

Bibliographic References

John Hewitt, Official Catalogue of the Tower Armouries, London, 1859, No.2.31.

Charles ffoulkes, Inventory and Survey of the Armouries of the Tower of London, Vol.1, London, 1916, p.110-1 (gorget only illustrated).


The armour was displayed since 1974 with IV.531, III.1911-13, III.1363, III.1316-17, VI.65, VI.207, VI.351 and VI.410, both at the Tower in the Renaissance gallery, and at Leeds.