Page 1 of 1

Gambesons - reality or reenactorism

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:23 pm
by Høvding
Just wondering if anyone knows of any archaeological evidence for gambesons, and if so what was the construction method i.e. layers of woolen materiel between linen or heavy canvass stuffed with fleece and stitched accordingly?

Or is it all just speculation and reenactorisms to use a gambeson with mail.

I ask because past experience has shown mail only to stop a cut and not the force it hits with, and I now consider making a gambeson, but do not want to infringe authenticity.

Any help is greatly apprieciated :)

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:47 pm
by Malvoisin
Here we go again! :D

Check this link Hovding:
http://livinghistory.co.uk/forums/viewt ... =gamberson

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:07 pm
by Nigel
suffice to say there is plenty

but some folks refuse to see it almsot as if the Late Romans stopped using them until they were rediscovered in the 12th century.

Its one of the few things where I would honestly say the protection value is worth more than upsettign an AO

Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 6:17 pm
by Tuppence
there's little archeological evidence - probably indicating that the materials rotted easily eg linens / flaxes.

there's quite a bit of other evidence, and in my opinion those who suggest that gambesons (or whatever you want to term a padded garment) weren't used is frankly a bit thick

Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:35 pm
by Mark Sanderson
Back in the Dark Ages of re-enactment (about 20 years ago) I used to wear chainmail straight over my costume (none of which could be considered authentic - the rings of the mail were 1" diameter). I would come off the field of combat covered in ring shaped bruises where I had been hit. Even though the blows were pulled I still looked like I had done battle with a giant squid!

Then, about 18 years ago, I discovered research and had a mail shirt made with 8mm dia' rings and a padded jacket, variously called a jack, aketon or gambeson, to wear under the mail.

Result: No more bruises.

I have never fought with just the gambeson as mine was a rather bulky affair which was held in place by the weight of the mail shirt.

However, I have seen combatants wearing padded jackets, that were tailored to fit, These were usually pole arms men or axe men. None of them used, or even wore, a sword. Armour, plate or mail, was a sign of status and rank so it made sense for these characters not to bear a sword without armour.

A well stufed padded jacket would, most likely, protect the wearer from cuts and stabs from all but the sharpest and pointiest weapons. However, there must have been a lot of busy fingers repairing and re-stuffing the garments after a battle, unless a bloodied, torn and tattered jacket was just thrown away when deemed beyond repair.

Anyone else had any thoughts about this?

Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:22 pm
by m300572
I too fought in a mail shirt over a wool tunic about 20 years ago - having a huge shield (Iron Age or Roman Auxiliary) to lurk behind prevented too many direct hits but we all got a few bruises - the unarmoured possibly more that the mailed. If I was doing it now I would probably have a bit more padding (well, I HAVE a bit more padding as the lorica is for a twelve stone digger rather than a fourteen and a half stone desk wallah :lol: ) underneath it.

Re: Gambesons - reality or reenactorism

Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 1:27 pm
by nathan
Høvding wrote:Just wondering if anyone knows of any archaeological evidence for gambesons, and if so what was the construction method i.e. layers of woolen materiel between linen or heavy canvass stuffed with fleece and stitched accordingly?
No archaeological evidence i am aware of and scant literary references between 'roman' and (significantly) post conquest.

http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB2/ ... hp?t=52881
http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB2/ ... hp?t=70826

... both cover this in some detail, and highlight the lack of evidence.

The question i would ask is when are you aiming for?

The early model (i.e. roman) would have been made from thick felt (we have such a description) and presumably not layered or faced (since it isn't mentioned). This is specifically worn under armor to protect teh wearer from chafing.

The later model (i.e. the sort of thing henry is going on about in 1181) is clearly depicted in sources like the Mispronounski bible (the Pierpoint-Morgan Bible to give it it's correct name) and given that we are seeing tubed stitches this must be either layers (as we know from description that some/all later jacks are constructed) or possibly stuffed tubes between 2 layers of cloth (this i personally doubt as it's less effective against cutting blows and these things are stand-alone armour).

HTH
N.

Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:49 pm
by Nigel
SMEAGOL

WHERES THE EVIDENCE

Posted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:35 pm
by Høvding
Thanks a lot folks, you have all been of great help, i look forward to starting the construction of the Gambeson.

Posted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:59 pm
by WorkMonkey
despite the lack of evidence? :wink:

Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:14 pm
by burton_kane
well the one i made from the info given on the other thread turn out ok

and it give good protection from hits and just general wearing of the maile

Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:49 am
by Medicus Matt
burton_kane wrote:well the one i made from the info given on the other thread turn out ok

and it give good protection from hits and just general wearing of the maile
Ahhh, but that's a thoracomachus, not a gambeson. :wink:

Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:24 am
by Hobbitstomper
Nigel wrote:SMEAGOL

WHERES THE EVIDENCE
Evidence? No evidence here, move along, nothing to see, except that big pile of stuff in Viking sagas that I dug up.

Well it is April fools day so the following might be taken with a pinch of salt. Nor am I a Viking scholar so it all could be wrong. Don’t care. Some of the sources are pulled off the net, some from the book “Seven Viking Romances”.

----------
Gone!
----------

Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:35 am
by m300572
Literary rather than archaeological Hobbitstomper - interesting on the Irish one though - most archaeologists would probably take the 24 shirts of waxed cotton (and do they actually mean cotton or is this an "easy" translation of a word that is untranslateable) as hyperbole (like a lot of the descriptions in the Irish sagas which describe things that must be impossible). A multiple layered garment (gambeson?) could however fit the description.

Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:48 pm
by Hobbitstomper
"Literary rather than archaeological Hobbitstomper"

Fine, I'll delete it then.

Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 2:14 pm
by m300572
:lol:

Don't do that, its interesting, even for an archaeologist!!! Makes a change from looking at mud!

Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 4:27 pm
by BrendanGrif
like a lot of the descriptions in the Irish sagas which describe things that must be impossible
well, now if you had 7 fingers and gouts of flame coming out the side of your head you would be able to wear 24 shirts of waxed iron - never mind cotton!

Brendan
PS> If you can point to the specific cotton reference I can try and dig up an alternate translation

Re: Gambesons - reality or reenactorism

Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:20 am
by Quinch
Høvding wrote:Just wondering if anyone knows of any archaeological evidence for gambesons, and if so what was the construction method i.e. layers of woolen materiel between linen or heavy canvass stuffed with fleece and stitched accordingly?

Or is it all just speculation and reenactorisms to use a gambeson with mail.

I ask because past experience has shown mail only to stop a cut and not the force it hits with, and I now consider making a gambeson, but do not want to infringe authenticity.

Any help is greatly apprieciated :)
You are joking, or just trolling...

Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 10:12 pm
by Høvding
5 months on, you finally left billy goat gruff?

Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:33 pm
by Quinch
m300572 wrote:Literary rather than archaeological Hobbitstomper - interesting on the Irish one though - most archaeologists would probably take the 24 shirts of waxed cotton (and do they actually mean cotton or is this an "easy" translation of a word that is untranslateable) as hyperbole (like a lot of the descriptions in the Irish sagas which describe things that must be impossible). A multiple layered garment (gambeson?) could however fit the description.
If you can get hold of Richard Southcoombe or Ian J they had some stuff about on from 1090 that was made of 12 layers of linen that had been soaked in wine and salt to stiffen it.