Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

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Phoenix Rising
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Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

Postby Phoenix Rising » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:57 pm

Been looking at either purchasing or making a double wrap sword belt, However, on doing a bit of research, I can't find any real historical evidence for them, and I don't want to do so unless they are an accurate reflection of what was worn / used.

So, is there any historical evidence for them, or are they more of a modern idea that's been incorporated into re-enactment circles?



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Medicus Matt
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Re: Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

Postby Medicus Matt » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:04 am

What's a 'double wrap' sword belt?
Oh, and what period are you aiming at?


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Re: Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

Postby Phoenix Rising » Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:34 pm

The belt is of a type where it basically goes round the body twice - the first is at the waist, then two straps come down from one side across the body to the front and back to attach to the scabbard or frog which is at the opposite hip. The link gives a view of one.

http://www.theknightshop.co.uk/catalog/ ... 4533a9fde3

Period I'm looking at would be pretty broad, from beginning of Hundred Years War to WOTR's.



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Colin Middleton
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Re: Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:12 pm

The short answer is no. I think that belt is a miss-interpretation of a man wearing 2 belts, one to control his clothes and one to support his sword.

There are belts that have straps hanging the sword from the belt, but they just don't look like that. They tend not to go further across than the centre of the body and can have multiple straps on each side.


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Re: Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

Postby Medicus Matt » Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:11 pm

Colin Middleton wrote:The short answer is no. I think that belt is a miss-interpretation of a man wearing 2 belts, one to control his clothes and one to support his sword.
.


This.


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Re: Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

Postby Phoenix Rising » Tue Dec 24, 2013 6:24 pm

Ah, so my initial suspicions over this were founded on good ground then! Ta, much appreciated :)



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Re: Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

Postby Will.S » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:02 pm

I'd be inclined to say they did exist, actually. They're far more comfortable as the hips support the weight of the sword, and while there's no written evidence of them there are plenty of effigies that show two belts used, one angled across the body from a point on the hips and the other (identical in width, size and embossed / studded patterns) joined to the first belt then going straight across around the hips.

Here's a extract taken from Museum Replicas website

"From the early BC Celts to well past the Renaissance, warriors figured out that a double wrap belt was a more comfortable way to carry a sword. But it was in Medieval times that the practice really flourished. When the extra length of belt wraps around a body the second time, both hips then support the weight of the sword"

There's an effigy at Halton Holgate that shows what appears to be a double-wrap sword belt, and if you buy swords from top-end manufacturers like Albion, A&A, Darksword Armoury and so on, double-wrap belts woven through the scabbard are very common. I don't think it's a re-enactorism. It makes far too much sense practically to have been ignored up until now.

This shows how simple the system is
http://www.myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic ... sc&start=0

I may be wrong, but I think it's worth keeping an open mind about something so simple and so sensible?



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Re: Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

Postby Medicus Matt » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:38 pm

" It makes far too much sense practically to have been ignored up until now."


So, like pockets then, or buttons or any number of other really obvious, practical sensible things that perfect sense once somebody has invented them? :wink:

By his own admission, Brian had no historical provenance for that suspension method, choosing instead to design something which enabled a fast draw and for the wearer to sit down comfortably.
As for citing something on the Museum Replicas website as evidence...despite the name of the business, they're not exactly known for the accuracy of their research. They just sell the same old Indian-made Windlass stuff as a dozen other vendors.

I've looked at the Hampton Holgate effigy from a number of angles and there's no sign of the wide sword belt connecting with the narrower waist belt. As far as it's possible to tell, it's just another example of someone wearing two belts.

I think it's worth keeping an open mind about something so simple and so sensible


It's always worth keeping an open mind and there may well be evidence out there that answers the original question positively. However, at this moment, nobody has been able to present any.


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Re: Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

Postby Will.S » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:31 pm

Ah well, fair enough! I totally get your points about pockets and buttons. Hindsight is a wonderful thing...

They're so much more comfortable though!

Do you know where the double-wrap first turned up then? It's hugely common now, amongst historical sword collectors and re-enactors alike, so somewhere it's become accepted, and it's usually the historical fanatics and collectors who disregard any Hollywood-isms and make a serious point about only having historically perfect items.



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Re: Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

Postby Tod » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:53 pm

I've made them but only to customers requests. They are a pain to put on and I found they self adjusted as there is a lot of leather in them. But the customers have been happy - most if not all were collectors rather than re-enactors. The biggest problem I've found with single sword belts is wearing them over padding, but then maybe I've got that wrong.



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Re: Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

Postby Colin Middleton » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:59 pm

I've never seen one worn, unless my understanding of it is quite wrong. And they sound a pain to wear. I can't imagine how they could be more comfortable than a normal sword belt.

I'm guessing that they came about during the poor research done oward the beginning of the 20th century that so ideas like Gothic armour being for women and blood grooves. I imagine it's a misinterpretation of effigies wearing 2 matching belts.

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Re: Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

Postby Will.S » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:28 pm

Odd. I find them quite a lot more comfortable than a single sword belt. The weight is supported really nicely over the hips and you can't tell you're wearing one, unlike a single sword belt which has all the sword's weight dragging on one hip. It also allows the belt carrying the scabbard to lay across your front at an angle, which keeps the pommel away from your hands/elbows when you're walking around yet easily accessible.

I think it makes quite a lot of difference if you're carrying something like a real 3 - 5lb sword as compared to a re-enactment sword. Still, if it ain't historically correct, it ain't historically correct!



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Re: Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

Postby Colin Middleton » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:02 pm

???

Re-enactment swords are normally heavier than real swords. Some of the Medieval ones that I've handled are incredibly light.

How doesn't a normal sword belt support the sword over both hips. If it's hung from the belt at center front and back, it should sit comfortably, without pulling to one side. My 13th sword belt doesn't pull either, but I think that's down to the thickness of it. Both hold the sword at a comfortable angle.

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Re: Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

Postby Will.S » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:11 pm

Perhaps the single-belt types I've tried were made badly? I dunno. All I know for sure is that I much prefer a double-wrap belt having tried both. I make my own scabbards and belt systems and will always go to the trouble of making a double-wrap suspension system. Perhaps I'm crazy. I've not handled any re-enactment swords that are in the 4 or 5lb region but you're right that "proper" swords are generally very light, usually a maximum of 2lb for a single hander. The grete-swords are bloomin' heavy though!

My experience of a single-belt system is that while it's as tight as possible around the waist and hung as you say from center, I can always feel the weight of the sword hanging off one side to the point where it's cumbersome and I just don't get that from a double-wrapped belt. Either way, apparently it's not historical so it doesn't matter! I should have done a bit more research before jumping in to the defense of something just because it "seems" to make more sense.



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Re: Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

Postby Tod » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:41 pm

What is needed are pictures.



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Re: Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

Postby Tod » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:50 pm

I've had a good look though all my books and can't find any pictures that I could say 100% show a double wrap belt. Plenty that don't though.



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Re: Double wrap Sword belts - any evidence?

Postby Will.S » Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:47 pm

It must be a recent idea then. Somebody should have told them though, because made properly a double wrap is very comfortable. But then, so are elastic waistbands...




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