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Mid - late C15 archer, kit improvements.

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:29 pm
by Tod
I did my first Fed event at Blore Heath last week end and thought it was b***y brilliant. Although I've done a few events (I usually do 18th century) in the last couple of years Blore was my first opportunity to try out all my gear together and see how it actually works.
Problems I've found.
My breast plate is too long, when I bend down to pick any thing up the top hits me in the neck as my thigh touches the bottom - when my leg is bent and I'm leaning forward. I'm going to have to check contemporary pictures and get mine adjusted to stop this.
As I was the only archer that didn't leg it during the first skirmish and although my sword has some hand protection I got hit on the fingers (that doesn't happen in the 18th century!). How can I protect my hands and still use my bow? I have gauntlets from Lancaster’s but there is no way I can get them on fast enough if I hang them from my belt and I wouldn't be able to shoot my bow. I've thought about sewing mail or steel plates to my gloves but I don't think that is contemporary (?).
How should I hang my buckler. I looped it over my sword with a leather thong but every time I leant down to pick up arrows it fell off. Maybe they never picked any thing up :lol:

I’ve still got some work to do including making a belt for my legs to hang from and a better way of carrying arrows to and from the battlefield.

Ideas and suggestions are very welcome.

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:42 pm
by Allan Harley
HI Tod

Glad you enjoyed it and stood and fought as an archer
1: You are right you need to get your breatplate resized and cut to fit whilst bending - or get a brigandine
2: Hand protection - occupational hazard of the swordsman to be hit on the hands, I would hook gauntlets to your belt and you need to allow time to switch from bow to sword and buckler - our ranges are much shorter than during the WOTR so you have less time to get ready. You can draw with a fingered gaunlet if you want just slower.
3: Tie the buckler to the sword with a medieval bow, or wedge over the sword but again regular to fall off.
4: Arrows - blunts are more difficult than sharps to transport - only thing I can think off is a basket or your own personal arrow carrier

I'm interested in these things as well so all cogent ideas gratefully accepted as I would like to see more combat archers on the field

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:26 pm
by behanner
Your breast plate is too long.
The waist of your breastplate should be at your natural waist which is about where you belly button is. It should either end there or transition into a fauld, which will move kinda down away from the body and should be made such that it will fold in if you bend over a whole lot.

For hand protection you have a couple of options. You can try something like the Vikings use which is basically heavy leather glued on to the back of a glove.
Secondly you could go with a 15th century gauntlet that has fingertips instead of a mitten the whole way. ... G_0112.jpg ... D-407.html

Thirdly you could go with an older style gauntlet typically refered to as an hourglass gauntlet and slightly older then that is the Visby gauntlet. Both of these are very popular among some SCAers in the US. You see hourglass style on English brasses well into the 15th century. ... ntlet_cad/

Lastly you could try something along this crazy rout. ... hp?t=63142

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:56 pm
by Lady Willows Retinue
My OH was also among you as an archer at weekend. He does not carry a sword, as that would then escalate into needing more armour as he would then be a viable target. As he did many years in full armour when younger, but now has back problems, he prefers to minimalise & just wear the padded jack. However, as he has an arrow magnet in the codlings we also invested in a buckler at Blore (just in time as he then got another 2 direct hits).
We also came up against the quandry of how to hang it (with the proviso that it hang at the front to protect the important bits). We knocked up a leather loop for the belt, with a strip hanging down, with 2 toggles (emergency leather ones as I had forgotten to bring any). We then put a leather loop around the handle, with a strip coming off with 2 holes for the toggles. That gave him a relatively quick release to take it off the belt for skirmish use when needed, but allowed it to hang in the important place.

Probably not " aufentic", but need is the mother of invention & it did the trick.

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:24 pm
by Phil the Grips
The easiest way to carry a buckler is a simple Highwayman's Hitch to the belt, with a thong from the handle.

It will give a very secure attachment to a belt that can be very easily undone with a simple tug to free the buckler, if you dont want it in "quick release" mode then tuck the loose end through the last loop and turn it into a Falconer's Knot.

Mid - late cent archers kitb

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:03 pm
by glyndwr 50
As everyone has said ,a leather thong around the bucklers handle is a goog idea ,I find that if you put the sword blade through the leather thong first then put your sword in the scabbard .When you pull the sword out the buckler come free no problem.What I find a problem is the longbow .What to do with it to save it getting damaged . you can,t just put it on the ground in case someone treads or falls on it ,Its a real pain .In a real battle siduatiion I would imagine an archer would probably throw it as its no good at close quarter fighting , and staying alive would be more important than worring about my bow being damaged.

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:30 pm
by Tod
How did I miss not putting the sword through the leather loop rather than putting the loop over the sword, it must be an age thing.
Thanks for the advice regarding the breast plate length, it is too long but I'm sure it can be shortened (metal off rather than metal on).
I think I might go for the fingered gauntlets, I'll have to try before I buy. I don't want to bodge some thing up, although if its made of leather I can make it. I'd rather have some thing that is right or as close as I can.
I'm going to get a wicker lined arrow basket made, it makes sense to me to have so that I can stick it in the ground with the arrows upwards. Obviously with blunts there is no way to stick our arrows in the ground.

Now I'll have to get a horse to carry the mawl/mallet, stake, bow, and arrows to the battlefield. :wink:

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:31 pm
by Grymm
As you are used to having a basket which sorta serves as a gauntlet attached to the sword, how about a Falchiony cleavery thing with a knuckle bow?

This one has 2 bows at 90° to each other, not sure on date or accuracy.

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:36 pm
by steve stanley
They are very nice 'tho........
Steve(who is far too old to do anything that involves hitting each other.....)

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:21 am
by Tod
Steve you're not much older than me..........
My sword is like a falchion with a shell guard, I think it was made by MacAllens. The only bit that isn't covered is my ring and little finger and guess what :lol: I like the second one but that'll have to come out of next years budget.

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:46 am
by Marcus Woodhouse
My daughter has leather gauntlets that have an additional layer of leather sown across the back of the hand and fingers, it does slow down her ROF but not so much that she cannot keep up with the choreographed twanging matches.
I nab them when ever she isn't using them to wear under my half gauntlets or mittens.

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:43 am
by Clarenceboy
Just to add my 2 pence worth.

For the buckler I'd go for a belt hook (, plenty of them found about the place and in various museum books, tie a loop to your buckler handle and then hook it on. No one can then question the authentisity and its easy to get to when ever you want.

With the finger protection, it depends on how authentic you want to go, never seen a picture of an archer wearing any hand protection but I know from experience that knuckle whacks can smart so why not a compromise, bare fingers for the shooting and a leather glove tucked into your belt, quicker than a gauntlet to get on and your other hand is already covered with a buckler anyway.

Brest plate wise, I think you would be easier selling the one you have and buying one that fits rather then trying to shorten it. Go for one with a shorter body piece that has the articulated faulds or tassets, plenty of protection and loads of movement too and never the worry of chinning yourself!

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:04 am
by Tod
My breast plate was made to order by A Plaisance, munition quality, blue/black with hammered finish. I won't be selling it. I think they will be able to modify it. It has articulated faulds at the bottom which are too low so need moving up.
I'll contact them and see if they can sort it out, they are very good at what they do.

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:44 pm
by Benedict
"For hand protection you have a couple of options. You can try something like the Vikings use which is basically heavy leather glued on to the back of a glove."

The Vikings requires at least 2mm protection in combat gloves. I've seen various different types, including padded sports (hockey?) gloves disguised in leather, but more common are decent leather pruning gloves either with leather strips sewn on each finger and/or padding inside the glove. Gloves tend to be the first thing you make, and there's a definite incentive to get decent protection!

If you can find it, try looking for a proper old-style mousemat, one of those about 5-7mm thick (not these ultra thin new things). It's dense foam and is excellent to cut up and sew/glue into the fingers of a glove (plus two strips on the thumb as it's more exposed when holding a sword). Leather on the outside is also handy, but I've found that it isn't enough on its own.

Not being an archer I don't know how much this kind of protection would slow you down. At a guess, if you got reasonably thin leather gloves, you might be able to pad them internally without losing too much dexterity. I'm sure you can experiement with different gloves in a gardening/hardware shop without getting too many funny looks :-)

I hope this helps,


Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:41 am
by John Waller
Clarenceboy wrote:never seen a picture of an archer wearing any hand protection

You have not looked very hard then. Loads of late period pictures show archers in full plate including gauntlets and earlier period with mail gloves.

It may just be dodgy art and not representative of actual practice but the pictures exist. Just trawl through any coffee table medieval book.

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:19 am
by Marcus Woodhouse
I agree, I cannot work out how some of them managed to use a bow at times given the layers of armour and amount of harness worn, but the pictures are there even if all they are is a lot of pictures. You actually need to look quite hard to find relatively poorly armed and armoured archers.

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:18 pm
by mike
I've noticed the draw of archers at events is not much like that used by war bow archers. War bowmen don't draw like they do simply to get into the bow, it also means the string misses the armour or jack or whatever else they may be wearing.
Front foot pointing forward, bum sticking out, draw to the ear

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:26 pm
by Trading-Dragon
You CAN use a bow with gauntlets. Even with mittens, depending on style. But fingered gauntlets are definitely easier to shoot with. I find the main problem is not the drawing but the arrows snagging on the gauntlet holding the bow. My shots are all over the place...!

Try Lancaster's Armourie's fingered gauntlets, the ones with a short cuff. You see lots of them on the field and i'm sure you can borrow a pair from somewhere for a test shoot.
Mind, it does take a lot of practice and patience though...and it does take some of the fun out of the shooting, makes it more awkward and more tiring.

I think having some of Lancaster's Mitten gauntlets on a belt hook might be worth trying. The old style with the one-piece thumb plate you could just slip on in a hurry, though i don't think he still makes them.

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:29 pm
by paul bennett
Protect your sword hand with your buckler - thats what it is there for.

Posted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:35 am
by Langley
Have had some experience with a falchion. Had a ting with Allan at Tewkesbury (on the old site by the Abbey) when I was fairly new. Thank heavens he had read the script which called for him to loose. As it was I ended up wiht him "dead" at my feet but not before he had nicked my knuckle despite the handguard on the falchion. Still - fun to watch the faces of teh MOPS who saw me standing there with blood running down the blade and dripping on the ground. (It didn't hurt until I looked to see what they were all gasping and pointing at). I also had Meles catch me on the exact same spot on one knuckle on the Saturday and again on the Sunday of one event. I can only re-iterate his response to hopping around muttering Anglo-Saxon words. "Sore knuckles are God's way of telling you to practice your guard more". Bare hands and falchions are not the way to go. I now have a set of Lancaster's gantlets. Be sure to get the right size for your finger length. Do NOT get any which are slightly shorter than your fingers. Soon after the first time you get hit on the gauntlets you will find that your fingers have been adjusted to fit.

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:09 pm
by Colin Middleton
I'll second Langley's comments about the finger length. I'm ordering new gaultlets this winter for that same reason.

I'd be tempted to have an archery glove made (you normally use something to protect your drawing fingers don't you?). Over the top of that (on your right hand), you can wear a gauntlet composed of a solid plate for the back of the hand, then the 'scale fingers' that Behanner pointed to. That should give good protection without compromising your mobility. You don't need more than the glove on your left hand as you're buckler will protect it. Ask Martin and Duncan for tips when you go to get your breastplate altered.

That and learn to use the buckler more.

Best of luck.

Posted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:18 pm
by Tod
I made my archers glove (three fingered) never again and I do leatherwork every day. I think I'm going to have to go for the scale fingers on my gauntlets. The ones I have at the moment are like mittens. So that will offer protection I can't afford (literally) to loose the use of my hands for even a few days).
Being used to using a targe and baket hilt the method of sword and buckler is obvioulsy different and different groups (periods) have different rules.
I'll post up on the general section to find out if any one runs weapons training for sword and buckler, I bet they will be hundreds of miles away.

I was looking at the BH video and noticed that in the Sunday battle there is a bloke in a red tabbard (from 3.53 onwards he has his visor up on his sallet) with what looks like a sort of basket on his sword and he has a buckler, it could be his gauntlets. Does any one of any sword of that period that offers more hand protection than a falchion, I can't find any in any of my books.

Posted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 5:09 pm
by Phil the Grips
I can't think of any complex hilt C15th swords- they don't come in til a bit later and on the continent at that- even then it's finger rings and stuff not baskets.

A lot of US-ian groups use finger bucklers- commonly seen in C15th German full armoured pics they are small (4" max) bucklers on a stout loop used to augment hand protection and can easily be slipped on and off and worn over other gloves etc to give a decent bit of hand protection, but not necessarily finger protection.

I used to have a pair for the lovley Clay Lewis made gloves I had and sold to Mr Quayle. Unfortunately I can't find any pics , modern or otherwise, easily.

Another tip is to shove cotton wool balls into the tips of your gloves- it cuts down dings to the finger tips and also cuts down fingers getting squashed between lumps of metal. Daftly simple but it works against minor annoyances.

However, as Paul points out, the buckler is the main way to protect the hand for hundreds of years.

Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:52 am
by wulfenganck
I'm doing quite a bit of sword & buckler training, using most of the times only thick leather gloves for protection of the right hand.
When you're already using a falchion type of weapon with a buckler and still get hit on the hands "on a regular basis", you should definitely work on your fencing itself instead of protection.
There are different fighting styles, a very prominent - although quite hard to reconstruct from the original source - is the method shown in the fencing manuscript I.33 from the Royal Armouries (in Leeds, I think).
The HEMA school "Boarth's tooth" run by Dave Rawlings have been doing a lot of reconstructional work with that manuscript. They also published 2 DVDs about their work with sword & buckler - I'd highly recommend those. It's not the style I prefer, but a good advice for sword & buckler training.

I don't know if you have any martial arts training, therefore no offense intended, but one thing I've recognised with a lot of reenactment fighting is that the fighters stand still and don't move around.
That's okay in a bill block, but totally wrong on one-in-one combat.
You neither stand still like a rock, nor simply move forward and backwards like sports fencing. Actually you get to a more circular movement in freeplay, as you definitely should step with each strike and stab, but in a more diagonal way, thus passing your opponent. Its all about outmanouvering th other guy, pass his defense and find an alternative angle of attack where he's open.....
Try out some HEMA training (there are enough good groups in the UK) and you'll be surprised....actually your opponent will be surprised.....

Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:02 am
by Marcus Woodhouse
Or just run away full stop.
I was issued a browning to "back up" the Jimpy I was lugging about. I knew for a fact that if ever the ragheads had got so close I was using a pistol I should have "made a tactical withdrawal". :lol:

Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:43 am
by Man from Coventry
I shoot on the field using a thin leather glove on my shooting hand, thin leather glove and padded mitten on my bowhand.

My buckler hangs my sword via a small rope loop (I tried leather but it either snapped or was too stiff to do tight Knots and came undone, and having a buckler drop on your foot is not pleasant). The other padded mitten goes over the pommel of the sword. I've wired the mitten opening (using soft coathanger wire) which holds it open and makes it quicker to put on.

Whilst the thin leather glove does make grasping the arrow and setting it on the string a little more awkward, you do have some protection in the event that you get struck on the hand. The padded mitten gives excellent protection to the hand.

Re: Mid - late C15 archer, kit improvements.

Posted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:48 pm
by Wobbly Paul
To revive an older thread - a couple or four years back the MSS were trying to promote the idea of fighting archers. I usually wore leather gloves for archery, a buckler with the sword blade threaded through the handle and into the scabbard and a Lancasters plate mitten gauntlet hooked over the sword hilt. Did occasionally drop the mitten when bending, but when fighting approached drop the bow (or pass it to someone not fighting), put on mitten, draw sword and grab buckler (which should be enough to protect the "off" hand) Took about as long to do as to read.
PS - I'm going back to this, as a rest from MAA fighting and to spare me aging parts. One thing I will invest in is a set of jack chains, as a strike to the elbow causes inordinate pain for the size of body part.

Re: Mid - late C15 archer, kit improvements.

Posted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:25 pm
by thekingmaker
hi tod

this is my 1st time on here and i would like to help anyone if i can

i had the same prob with carrying blunts so i made my own bow bag just for them i used a pice of round leather and cut out holes in it just a bit bigger then the blunt. a bit like the round leather that they sell on ebay and on line shops. as i found this helps keep the arrows apart just enouth so the fletchings dont get dam. i then went on to make the bag around this in a tube shape so you can tie it at the bottom and at the top this way if any do get stuck in the leather you can slowly pull them out the bottom. i have not had to do this myself just yet but there is always a first time and its better to safe than sorry.

hope this helps