Object Title

Great bacinet

Great bacinet



Object Number



Tower Arsenal

Physical Description

Large well shaped skul with medial keel,l flaring over the shoulders and back. Tall visor, the sides tapering to rounded terminals, which show evidence of modification. The front of the visor has a strong medial crease which broadens to a flattened keel to fit over the skull. On the left side are a series of 45 holes, very roughly punched and unevenly spaced. The lower edge is decorated with two incised lines, and on the right is a square hole for a missing spring catch. The bevor is shaped to the neck with an integral gorget over the shoulders and breast. Around the neck and upper, rear and lower edges are rivets for a lining strap. At the lower front corners are large holes for the breastplate bolts and over the shoulders are L-shaped slots for the pauldrons.



HelmetDepth340 mm
HelmetHeight455 mm
HelmetWeight5220 g
HelmetWidth260 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

None visible

Bibliographic References

John Hewitt, Official Catalogue of the Tower Armouries, London, 1859: 27, no. IV.8

Harold, Viscount Dillon, Illustrated Guide to the Armouries, Tower of London, London, 1910: 118, no. IV.8

J.G. Mann, Exhibition of Armour made in the Royal Workshops at Greenwich, H.M. Tower of London, 22 May-29 September, 1951. Cat No.37, Pl, XXXIV (b)

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

G Rimer, T Richardson and J P D Cooper, Henry VIII: Arms and the Man, Leeds, 2009,p.130-131

C. Paggiarino, The Royal Armouries, masterpieces of medieval and renaissance arms and armour, Milan, 2011, volume 1


Known as the 'Blind Bascinet' due to its unpierced sight, the helmet was never completed but received several alterations after its initial manufacture in order to give the appearance of a finished piece (such as the piercing of the breaths). In the Inventories of 1660, 1676 and 1688 this helmet had become ascribed to the ownership of John Gaunt as the 'hearse or long headpiece of John of Gaunt ' valued at £10 in 1688.

See Dupras, N. 2016. The Blind Bascinet: A New Interpretation of Royal Armouries IV. 2. Arms and Armour. Volume 13 pp.14-28