Today’s research post is about 14th century armor. In 1300, armor was mostly chain mail: by 1400, it had evolved to be mostly plate armor. How and when various warriors changed the style of their armor would depend upon where they lived and how affluent they were. My Blood Brothers series is set in 1375 so the armor worn by the knights and mercenaries in the story will be mixed.
We can look at the tomb of the Black Prince, which was made ca. 1386 for an idea of what was typical in that era. Edward the Woodstock, or the Black Prince, was the heir to the throne as son of Edward III – he died slightly before his father, though, in 1375 and was never king. (Edward III died in 1376.) An effigy of the Black Prince was cast of him arrayed for war – which had been his own request – and it remains at Canterbury cathedral, along with his gauntlets, shield and jupon. He was considered to be an admirable knight and a flower of chivalry. Although the effigy was created about ten years after his death, it is a precise replica of his armor – to the point that recently, it’s been concluded that an armorer was part of the team who created the effigy. (Here’s an article at the Smithsonian’s site about that.)
Most of the images I found online were copyrighted, so I’ll point you to this article at Atlas Obscura which has some good pictures. Hurry back. 🙂
You can see that Edward is wearing a mail collar (called an aventail) to protect his neck and shoulders, and there’s a glimpse of his mail hauberk beneath his surcoat from the side view. There would be a padded aketon beneath it. He wears a basinet of plate armor – his helm would go over this – and his gloves are reinforced with plate metal that covers the hands and wrists. These are called hour-glass latten gauntlets. Then there are more metal pieces to protect the fingers. (In the actual gloves, you can see the leather base where it survives.) His surcoat is embroidered with his insignia, quartered with the fleur-de-lis of the French crown and the three lions rampant of the Plantagenets. He wears plate armor greaves on his legs, sabatons on his feet and defences on his arms – and he has a moustache. 🙂 So, his armor is mostly plate, worn over the chain mail hauberk and with the addition of a mail aventail. The surcoat, which in the previous century fell to the knees and was called a tabard, is also shorter, falling just to the hip, and more fitted.
There is a British artist named Graham Turner who has doen many illustrations for books about armor. That link takes you to the website for his gallery, but you can also search for images by his name. There are many which show all of the elements of clothing and armor for a specific era.
Here’s one of a Knight and equipment c. 1350 (this site licenses images to users but I’ll just point you to it). It’s included in a wonderful little book called The Medieval Knight by Christopher Gravett. (That’s an Amazon link.) The book has a lot of illustrations done by Graham Turner and they’re wonderful. You can see the developments in 40 years by comparing that image to this one, Knight and equipment c. 1390 – actually, the original prints of both of these images were available at the gallery and are still displayed on that site, along with Knight and equipment c. 1310. That page is right here. Click on the image to see it larger.
This knight (1390) wears a padded jupon over his armor with his insignia on it. You can see all the little ties and buckles which necessitated the services of a squire to fasten all around the back. The aketon and mail hauberk would still be worn underneath. The leg armor is now four pieces: the cuisse on the thigh, the poleyn over the knee, the greave on the shin and the sabaton on the foot. The belt with the scabbard for the sword and dagger is also worn much lower, around the hips. Around this time, armor starts to be modified for jousting, but we’ll talk about those developments next time.
My thinking that in the Silver Wolf’s company, only Amaury would have anything close to this full 1390 kit. He would keep it after leaving Château de Vries – of course! – but wouldn’t wear it all of the time. He’s trying to blend in with the company of mercenaries—at least until he escorts Elizabeth to her wedding and insists that they must “arrive in splendor” as a show of strength. As you might guess, Elizabeth will be a little dazzled by the man she’s previously seen as a huntsman when he appears in his full glory.
Next time, we’ll talk about Amaury’s (former) passion – jousting and tournaments.
Nothing could be further from Amaury de Vries’ expectations than being compelled to join a company of mercenaries in the wilds of Scotland, much less one led by his notorious half-brother. He chafes to return to his former life of privilege and knows a wealthy bride will allow him to regain his stolen legacy. Elizabeth is a prize unexpected—beautiful and an heiress—and when she is abducted by barbarians, Amaury’s path is clear. He may not be the sole contender for the lady’s hand, but he knows himself to be the best one—and he will use whatever means necessary to seal his triumphant claim.
All Elizabeth D’Acron desires is to wed for love, but her inheritance has made her both a pawn and a prize. Caught between warring chieftains, her defiance blossoms—she chooses instead to flee with Amaury and make a marriage of convenience, hoping her trust in the gallant knight is not misplaced. She does not expect the beguiling fire awakened by Amaury’s touch, much less his unexpected conquest of her heart, and she dares to hope that true love has found a way.
But Elizabeth’s legacy is not so readily claimed—when Amaury’s plan is revealed, she is shattered to learn that her chivalrous husband is no different from other men. Recognizing that the true prize is his lady wife, Amaury rejoins the company of mercenaries and leads the battl to ensure Elizabeth’s freedom, whatever the cost to himself. Can these two lovers overcome the wounds of the past to build a future together? Or will the secret behind Elizabeth’s inheritance destroy any such hope forever?
Coming in January 2022!
The Hunter & the Heiress will ba availble in wide distribution for one week after publication, then it will be exclusive to Amazon and enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.
Pre-order available at some portals:
The Hunter & the Heiress will also be available in an audio edition, narrated by Tim Campbell.