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Author Topic: Sir William Marshall's harness  (Read 3381 times)


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Sir William Marshall's harness
« on: 2015-10-22, 03:25:33 »

Do you happen to have any good pictures and or descriptions of how Sir William Marshall's armour, surcoat, and other gear looked during the 1160s - 1180s? I've saw his effigy in Temple Church in London in 2006, but are there any other sources and/or contemporary recreations of how he would have looked during his 20s and 30s? Incidentally, I'm re-reading The Greatest Knight by Thomas Ashbridge - just awesome.

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Re: Sir William Marshall's harness
« Reply #1 on: 2015-10-22, 18:42:04 »
During at least part of that time he would've worn his uncle, Guillaume de Tancarville's arms as he was part of his household until he was belted.  He would later go on to his uncle the Earl of Salisbury's retinue, for a brief time and so would've had his arms on his shield and surcoat.  I don't think that he had the red lion rampant on the green and gold field until 1180 or so?

His entire harness would've been all maille- a full hauberk of riveted links to the knees with an integral coif and mittens most like; perhaps maille chausses as well.  A conical or nasal helm, probably the raised, not the spangen type of the earlier Norse would've been his 'workaday' helm; there's record of him having to have a blacksmith essentially pry a helm off of his head which would suggest an early barrel or pot style helm that was more or less fully enclosed during his tourney days.

I found The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick to be just as awesome, if for a slightly different reason.
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Re: Sir William Marshall's harness
« Reply #2 on: 2015-10-22, 18:47:59 »
EDIT: Ninja'd!

Unfortunately we don't have a lot of surviving specifics. Obviously an existing effigy is a great starting point, but there's a lot of debate out there about how often the effigies depicted what the person used in life, versus what was contemporary to the time of their deaths. The effigy does show mail and a long surcoat, which is appropriate.

But generally speaking, in that time-frame the armor was predominantly mail and nasal helms, with some possible face-plate extensions starting to be used.

We know of a manuscript image depicting Sir William Marshal unhorsing an opponent, but it only shows mail armor and it's not clear if the artist would have known what he actually looked like:

That image dates to around 1233, more than a decade after his death. It's from Chronica Majora, I believe.

Another link about the image: http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/bal52592fre/ms-16-roll-178-sir-william-marshal-unhor-bal52592-fre/
« Last Edit: 2015-10-22, 18:49:55 by Sir Edward »
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