Object Title

Sallet / Kettle hat

Sallet / Kettle hat



Object Number



Transferred from the Rotunda Museum of Artillery, Woolwich, 1927. From Rhodes, acquired by Sir J. Lefroy 1867. Replaces in this number a 19th century forgery of a tilting helm transferrred to class XXI.

Physical Description

Probably produced for export to western Europe. The skull is of one piece, deep and round, with a slight medial ridge, and has a slightly more gentle slope at the front than the rear. The sides of the skull are almost vertical, and dip down from the high arched face opening and lower rear. The brim over the face opening is drawn out to a point at the centre, forming a peak. The main edge is outwardly turned.

Around the base of the skull is a row of sixteen lining rivets, which rises up slightly over the front. The rivets are flush outside with large, flat, circular internal heads which retain leather fragments. Above this line, at either side, is a pair of rivets for the attachment of a chin-strap.

There are two large, irregular holes at the apex of the skull, a crack in the edge of the left side beside two smaller holes, one connected to the crack, and another matching, larger hole at the right. These may indicate modification into a coal scuttle or cooking pot, with the insertion of a carrying handle; the helmet's shape makes it quite suitable for either function.

Featured in

Hundred Years War



HelmetDepth200 mm
HelmetDepth290 mm
HelmetHeight270 mm
HelmetWeight2380 g
HelmetWidth180 mm
HelmetWidth215 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

Maker's Mark
Rubbed, gothic capitals AN beneath a cross.
Either side of skull at the base of the brim.


Bibliographic References

Official Catalogue of the Museum of Artillery in the Rotunda, Woolwich, London, 1873 p.139, MA 2279.

Official Catalogue of the Museum of Artillery in the Rotunda, Woolwich, London, 1889, p. 149, no. 16/210.

J. Hewitt, 'Helmets of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Century called Salades', The Archaeological Journal, Vol.XXVI (1869), pp.20-24, fol.1 No.5.

G.F.Laking, A Record of European Armour and Arms, London, 1921, Vol.2, fig.370

C de Cosson, W. Burges, 'Catalogue of the Exhibition of Helmets and Mail' Antiquries Journal XXXVII (1880) p.47 No.21, fig 18.

W J Karcheski Jr and T Richardson, The medieval armour from Rhodes, Leeds, Royal Armouries 2000: no. 1.21


This helmet is of an unusual form, and is probably most closely related to the fifteenth century Spanish capacete type and a Burgundian (?) kettle hat with a spirally fluted skull in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, no. 04.3.228. Another somewhat similar head-piece was on a composite 'Gothic' armour that appeared in the 1911 loan exhibition at the Metropolitan (Dean 1911: no. 3, pl. ii; see also catalogue number 7.23). Such headpieces can be found in period art. See, for example, what appears to be a kettle hat in 'Samson and Delilah,' from the Roman de la Rose by the Master of the Prayer Books, Bruges(?), about 1490-1500, British Library Harley MS 4425 (Kren 1983: 51, fig. 6c); and the series of tapestries housed in the Museo de la colegiata, Iglesia colegiata, Pastrana, Spain, depicting the African campaigns of Alfonso V King of Portugal in 1471, based on cartoons probably by Dierick Bouts, and woven in Northern France or the Netherlands about 1475-80. This remarkable work has yet to be treated with an adequate monographic study, but has appeared in exhibitions and been referred to in several arms and armour publications. See for example, Anon 1983 I: 131, no. 35; Mann 1933: pl. lxxxv; and Casado 1992: 32, 81 and back cover.