Richard

Europe, 1460-1500

As conflicts continued to rage across Europe in the 15th  century, England suffered two bloody wars: the loss of the Hundred Years' War with France and the series of civil conflicts which became commonly known as the Wars of the Roses. 

During this time, England still did not have its own properly established armour industry. Instead, it continued to rely on the armouring powerhouses in German and Italian provinces (like Augsburg and Milan) as well as North European armourers in Flanders and Burgundy. 

Our Richard set is named after one of the key Yorkist protagonists of this period - Richard III. Don't let this put you off if your loyalties are Lancastrian, though - these pieces would have been used by both sides. Armourers didn't care about your politics as long as you were willing to pay.

composed of items from these areas that would have been seen on infantry on both sides of the Wars of the roses. It comprises of breastplate with faulds, three-piece arms, simple spaulders, mitten gauntlets and Franco-Burgundian sallet. 

Price: £1,700

Breastplate

Advances is metalworking technologies including the water wheel-powered hammer saw plate armour becoming more accessible to common infantry. Retained troops would have been issued this armour by nobles. 

Notably, more complex breastplates would have become more available like this one. There are at least 13 extant sister pieces in this style, all from German and Italian exporters. We selected two of them to form the basis of our breastplate. 

It consists of a two-part breast and plackart, faulds and steep, rolled edges. Most of the extant pieces have a central rivet with a floral design on imported from milan. As a nod to this, we have stamped our own in the style of tiny ancient Macedonian shields

Sources:

Stadtmuseum Muenchen 876 [Extant]

Stadtmuseum Muenchen 843 [Extant]

Price: £490

Arm Harness

By the 1450s, three-piece arm harness had dominated the export market for munitions grade kit. The simple construction kept costs down compared to its articulated peers while the larger couter still afforded excellent protection. 

Our design is Anglo-German based on Talhoffer's manuscripts, English effigies and engravings. In the 1450s, German arm harness had small, separate spaulders. As the century progressed, these were lengthened and integrated into the rerebrace in the gothic style. In England, they remained separate as pauldrons were preferred. 

We've removed all fluting and floral finished associated with higher-quality English armour to give a simple but elegant arm harness. Uniquely for off-the-shelf armour of this style, it includes a closed lower cannon and full couter, ideal for billmen. 

Sources:

Ms.Thott.290.2º, Hans Talhoffer, 1459 [Manuscript]

British Museum, engraving, two knights in armour; facing each other etc, c. 1480-90 [Engraving]

Royal Armouries, ADMIN PH A3.368 [Extant]

Three-part arms price: £410 

Spaulders price: £190

Gauntlets

The transition away from hourglass gauntlets with individual fingers towards mitten gauntlets coming higher up the arms was one of the core evolutions in 15th century European armour as mobility was traded for protection. 

Our gauntelts are based on an extant pair from South Germany currently displayed at the Royal Armouries. We have made ours wider to accommodate a closed lower cannon. We have also merged the top two mitten lames for added protection. 

Source:

Royal Armouries, iii.1230 [Extant]

Price: £300

Sallet

The sallet was the most common European helmet of the 15th century. The versatility of the design saw many different versions, from the sweeping, long-tailed German style to the shorter, more rounded Milanese type. 

Our Franco-Burgundian sallet is based on extant pieces including a well-preserved one at the Met Museum. The open-faced skull features a prominent, pointed ridge, simple brown reenforce and shorter tail. The rivets are the same as we used for the breastplate and unique to us.

Source:

Met Museum, 29.150.13 [Extant]

Rough polish: £360

Brassed: £500