Object Title

Great bacinet

Great bacinet



Object Number



Tower Arsenal

Physical Description

Tall skull with a low comb. Visor has a central medial ridge, embossed for sights but not pierced; 45 holes in the left side only for vision and ventilation. Bevor pivoted on either side, extends over chest with two large holes at the front for attaching to breastplate. Known since the 17th century as he 'hearse or long head of John of Gaunt'


Dimensions: height 455 mm (18.0 in), width 260 mm (11.0 in), depth 340 mm (13.4 in) Weight: 5220 g (11 lb 8 oz)

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


In the Inventories of 1660, 1676 and 1688 this helmet is ascribed to the ownership of John Gaunt, the 'hearse or long headpiece of John of Gaunt ' valued at £10 in 1688.