The manner of harness, weapons and armour

Item, as to the manner of harness and weapons and how every man should be armed and weaponed, it is statute and ordained that all the lieges of our sovereign lord have weapons and harness as follows: in the first, that every noble man, such as an earl, lord, knight and baron, and every great landed man having £100 of yearly rent, be armed in white harness,2 light or heavy as they please, and weaponed appropriately to his honour, and that all others of lower rent and degree in the lowlands have jerkin of plate, halecret3 or brigandine,4 gorget5 or pisane,6 with splints,7 paunces of mail,8 with gloves of plate or mail, and that all others of our sovereign lord's lieges, unlanded gentlemen and yeomen, have jerkins of plate, halecrets, splints, sallet9 or steel bonnet with pisane or gorget, and every man with sword, and that no manner of weapons be admitted in wappenschawings but spears, pikes strong and long of six ells of length, light axes, halberds, handbows and arrows, crossbows, culverins, two-handed swords, and every man to be armed as is said under the pain of £5 to be taken from every landed man, 50s from every gentleman and 20s from every yeoman as often as they be found faulty in the aforesaid matter. And because it is understood that these weapons and harness may not be completely gotten at the first wappenschawing, that is to say on the morning after Palm Sunday next to come [10 April 1541], therefore, it is dispensed by the king's grace that they make their showings and musters with such harness and weapons as they have, or may conveniently obtain, for the said day.

  1. NAS, PA2/8, III, f.38v-39r.
  2. i.e., plate armour as opposed to mail.
  3. 'A species of corslet, of beaten iron, composed of two pieces for the front and the back' [OED].
  4. 'Body armour composed of iron rings or small thin iron plates, sewed upon canvas, linen, or leather, and covered over with similar materials' [OED].
  5. 'A piece of armour for the throat' [OED].
  6. 'A mail collar forming part of a cape extending over the shoulders and upper part of the breast; such a cape itself' [OED].
  7. 'Overlapping metal of which certain portions of medieval armour were sometimes composed' [OED], in this case probably used for protecting the limbs.
  8. 'A piece of armour made from plate or mail protecting the lower part of the body, especially the abdomen' [OED].
  9. 'A light globular headpiece, either with or without a vizor, and without a crest, the lower part curving outwards behind' [OED].