Object Title

Harquebusier's pot

Harquebusier's pot



Object Number



Purchased from Andrew Lumley 1 May 2003. From an English private collection

Physical Description

The pot has a broad, dipping peak, attached by square copper alloy pivots at either side, a two-piece skull joined in a low comb and by rivets at the front and rear, and a neckguard comprising two articulating lames and a large terminal plate, flanged towards the front and pointed at the rear. At either side of the skull is an original copper alloy hinge for the missing cheekpieces, with fretted terminals in the form of fleurs-de-lys. The main edges of the peak and tail have plain inward turns with recessed borders containing close-set holes for sewing in a lining, and decorative copper alloy rivets. The recessed borders are expanded to divide the skull into four raised panels, and to form raised circular medallions on the peak and tail, each containing a low-embossed sun in splendour, with alternate straight and wavy rays. At the rear of the left cheekpiece hinge is a tubular iron plume holder, pierced with six holes, and attached to the skull by a copper alloy rivet in a single lug. The flange at the front of the skull, which supports the peak, is damaged along most of its edge, and the upper articulating lame of the tail is damaged at its left end. A few of the lining holes at the front left of the peak are broken together. The exterior is patinated and polished bright. The inside of the flange at the front of the skull retains traces of a layer of very thin leather which may have formed part of the lining.


Dimensions: height 185 mm, length 415 mm, width 248 mm Weight: 1150 g

Inscriptions and Marks



Places England

Bibliographic References

T Richardson, An early harquebusier's pot', Arms & Armour 1.1, 2004: 33-8


Formerly Deposit No B 0307.1. The most closely parallel pot is in a private collection, formely converted into a church helmet with the addition of a pikeman's gorget and connecting plates, photos on inventory file. Next most similar is York castle Museum no. T.188, decorated with embossed scales and with a cross crosslets in rivets on the tail. Of exactly the same form is 'Cromwell's helmet' in the Warwick Castle collection. This has a spray of embossed lobes at either side of the top of the skull, and has more elaborately fretted hinges for the cheekpieces (TR2000.029). A similar pot without the embossed decoration but with recessed parallel bands is in the RA collection, IV.159. Another similar is in the collection of the Armourers and Braziers Company, London. Fragments of the tail and peak of another are in an English private collection (formerly H R Robinson collection). Broadly comparable embossed decoration is found on a large series of early English pikemen's pots, such as II.112, II.114, II.269, II.287, IV.271, IV.272, IV.384, IV.391, IV.406, IV.1016, IV.1032, IV.1044, IV.1064, IV.1285, IV.1286, IV.1291, IV.1296, and AL.21 2, but no other example with embossed suns is known. The London guild and makers marks found on a few of these pots makes clear the London origin of the whole group.