When this happens I wonder what the hell their captain is doing letting them on in the field first place!
and the first question the hse would ask in the event of a serious injury would be "who let them do this without adequate safety gear?" then they'd decide whether or not to prosecute.
Now onto jacks.....
What I men is that the impression we get in WOTR re-enactment is only an interpretation and its often an interpretation that was come up with in the mid 1980s by the pioneers of WOTR re-enactment.
True that wotr interpretation is just that – interpretation, as is all re-enactment.
Not true that it is still what was come up with in the 1980s.
The interpretation has been refined and changed over the years in infinite ways, again, as with all re-enactment.
Unlike the ECW or later periods there is so much more room for radically different impetration as the sources are so contradictory that we don’t know what is “Right” or “authentic”.
Woah - stop, stop, stop!!!!
There are tons of contradictory sources for all periods (even the ACW, and that was incredibly recent).
To use your example, of the ECW, we again simply do not know for certain what soldiers wore, or how they wore it.
Yes there are records of clothing issues, but as an example, the records may say cap, if so what kind? they may say montero cap - can you say for sure what one of those was, cos none of the historians / costume historians I've spoken to about it can, despite some trying to work it out for decades. There are several versions worn by re-enactors, but nobody knows for sure whether they are monteros, or whether they are another type of hat wrongly named, or in fact whether they’re pure invention.
The same applies to soldiers coats (we have no real idea what they looked like), and to soldiers breeches (what style - the best we can ascertain is that the silly tie type are probably wrong).
Anyway, back to wotr....
This all means that carrying out any original research is very very difficult. Information for re-enanactors often comes from within the group or someone having a shufty at some osprey books.
I'm not sure why you seem to think that this is different from any other period??
To again fall back on your example of the ECW, it's far more common there than with any of the wotr groups I generally deal with.
Naturally it gets a bit easier the more up to date you get, but that's something you know going in.
Now then back to jacks, and what they were...
True, we don't know for sure if our use of the term jack is correct - we also don't know from what country the word originated, or in what countries it was commonly used - in truth there were probably many terms, and terms that we use to mean a particular item were probably used much more loosely by contemporary writers.
Historians love to pidgeon hole things in a way that people in history didn't. (Cue people in five hundred years arguing about whether a bus and a coach were the same thing, and whether a dress and a frock were the same.)
but if you tie together the following bits, it all kind of starts to make sense:
a french reference to a garment constructed of 25-30 layers of cloth and one of deer hide, which states that "never have been seen half a dozen men killed by stabs or arrow wounds in such jacks
" from the ordinances of louis xi.
an order from the french king to have the french army's brigandines replaced by jacks (forget the exact wording (not to hand, sorry), but does mention the word). From an order of one of the french charleses.
and finally, an english quote from the wotr - "in every shire with jakkes and salades clean misrule doth arise". John hardying.
Linking these together gives a fairly strong argument – the first explains what they are, the second that they were distinct from brigs, and the third, that they were known in britain.
Your quote seems to describe a fairly long garment
How so? "that reach down below the loins" would mean to me 'covers the bxxxxxxs'.
In other words, thigh length, just like the two depicted in the st ursula piccie (thought the knotted on’s slightly shorter).
Surviving 16th century jacks are plated brigandines.
You sure they all are?? Rothwell????
The strange long tubular jack beloved by many WOTR re-enactors seems to appear in almost no sources and must be a re-enactment fashion?
You talking the shapeless knee length ones (i.e. achetons / gambesons, and earlier (though there may be an argument for them being used by the lower classes, I remain unconvinced personally), or the proper ones?
If the former it could just be poor manufacture, or an attempt to be able to cover more than one time period. If the latter, than there’s evidence, so fine.
And I have to point out that arming doublets appear in almost no sources, so are they a re-enactment fashion too?
Likewise (to use your example again
), there are no depictions (afaik) of ECW soldiers, so where's their evidence coming from?? (problematic nature of issue records etc already noted)
I'm not suggesting that things should be made up, or the old "absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence" chestnut, but if there is evidence, just not much of it, does that make the existing evidence somehow less 'evidence-y'?
or should we assume that like many other things, these items that were part of everyday life, made to be used as long as possible, then thrown away, weren't kept by people thinking about how stop historians arguing in a few hundred years, and that as everybody who needed to knew what one was, and what it was used for, etc, that they didn't see the point in drawing / writing it down?
(although all that said, there are actually more depictions of padding than you'd think when you really start to look.)
plus don’t forget that as with everything else in the 15th C, the styles of drawing/painting, and the reasons for doing it, were changing.
the martyrdom of St Ursula shows a sort of short arming doublet (if memory serves me right).
I wouldn't say arming doublet - and your memory's correct if short means thigh length, as a jack should be made. (see pic)
This doesn’t mean one shouldn’t come up with an interpretation but you should prevent your interpretation becoming orthodoxy.
you should also prevent yourself from looking down on interpretations that disagree with yours, and accept that they are as valid as yours.
What is yours, btw, as you haven’t made that clear yet.
I happen to believe that clothing (including padding) has a natural progression – an evolvement. It’s incredibly rare for something to just appear.
I see the sort of garment in the first pic I’ll post in a mo (mid c15, and european), as a natural continuation of the second, (late14th, early 15th, and of which there are many depictions, both of european troops and english.
And though the first of these is european, it is a soldiers garment, and is made form layers. Although layers of linen and tow are more commonly written of in france and england, the cotton padding in this garment was known and used in england, and the large quantity of padding needed in 15th C england could help to explain the bulk shipments of raw cotton that appear in port records (portsmouth or southampton – sorry – memory going...)
I just think that on the whole (with some notable exceptions) the interpretation has got boring and it needn’t be.
quite right, it needn’t be.
There are probably as many interpretations of padding and jacks as there are of everything else.
Personally I like the one in the schilling chronicles of what might be english archers in the service of the burgundians – round bowl helmets and really short jacks with short puffy sleeves, and v high collars.
Or the weird looking diamond quilted-looking versions with quilted pointy hat in sculpture in the v&a (european that last one).
But my main reason for posting here.....
I would love a group to start from scratch, ignore all the later (particularly the recent) interpretation and go back to the original pictorial, archaeological and documentary sources, throw away all the jacks bills and long tailed German sallets and see just what English soldiers of the later Middle Ages looked like.
a couple of things.....
1. so why don’t you start one?
2. fine on going back to the original pictures, but how do you know that those who’ve come up with the stuff impressions you apparently loathe haven’t done that?
3. isn’t the proper way to do that to go and look at sources thinking ‘ let’s see what they looked like’, rather than ‘let’s prove they didn’t look like that’. IE shouldn’t you be completely open minded, and not go in wearing the kind of blinkers you would be if you were trying to disprove something.
4. what if, after throwing away the jacks, sallets and bills, you find that actually, that’s “right”? would you be ingnoring it?
and finally, the biggie,
what would make that interpretation any more valid than any other evidence based interpretation??
All interpretations are valid, provided they’re based on evidence, and good research, whether you personally agree with them or not.
Too many people seem to forget that (and the fact that, especially when it comes to padding, the evidence is just so sketchy that nobody really knows anything for sure, me included, and you included). They also seem to forget that to do otherwise is supremely arrogant.
Roll on the day when that nice journal, ‘military padding explained for future generations’......till then, as I said, no evidence based interpretation is any more valid than any other.
"What a lovely hat! But may I make one teensy suggestion? If it blows off, don't chase it."
RIP Edward the avatar cat.