Object Title

Great bacinet

Great bacinet



Object Number



Purchased at auction, Christie's, 24 April 2001 lot 78, from the R T Gwynn collection. From a private collection in the area of Whitehaven, Cumbria, to J F Affleck of Whitehaven, purchased by Gwynn.

Physical Description

The skull is hazlenut-shaped, originally rising to a low point (now obliterated by a hole) between four short, low ridges. It is shaped to the back of the neck with a straight lower edge. A row of lining rivet holes borders the edge of the arched face opening to ear level then continues round the back of the neck. A large hole at the rear alligned with these was possibly for a rondel. Around the apex are four pairs of small rivet holes, and between these and the visor pivots and four single holes similarly alligned, presumably for the attachment of an orle or crest, or both. A large and a small hole at either side at temple level was for the upper plate of the missing double bevor. At either side above these are attached the terminals of the visor, the missing main plate of which was attached by hinges fitting the half hinges of the terminals. Riveted at the right of the neck is the latten chape of a missing strap that presumably held the bevor in the closed position. At the corner below this is the remains of a stud, which may also have assisted in fastening the bevor. The surface is heavily rust patinated, but bears traces of silvering with which is was completely or partially covered, mainly under the visor hinges.


Dimensions: height 298 mm, width 215 mm, depth 270 mm Weight: 1955 g

Inscriptions and Marks



Places England


This is a unique example of the very late small version of the great basinet that was the immediate precursor of the armet. One helmet of this type is shown on the effigy of John Fitzalan, 6th Earl of Arundel (died 1435) in Arundel parish church (see Laking 1920 I: fig. 276 after Stoddhard and 236). Compare the earlier great basinet series in England, the late 14th-century Aldbrough baisnet (IV.1677), the Warwick Castle basinet, the Norwich Castle basinet (much larger with a longer tail) and the British Museum basinet from Kordofan on the Nile.