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Knyghtly Armes Question & Answer

Questions & AnswersFeatured questions submitted to Knightly Armes

A: There are a number of contemporary sources that may be referenced in order to get an accurate idea of the cost of armour during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The chief source of income for nobles and gentry was through the collection of rents and taxes. Every landowner worth his salt had at least one clerk on his payroll, and professional clerks are, obviously, very meticulous record keepers. There are extant documents that detail the amounts of rent collected from various tennants, inventories of individual estates and manors, and salaries of individual servants and retainers. It is from these inventories that we get a glimpse at the value of a suit of armour..

A: In late Medieval Europe, various kinds of armour would have been widely seen and used by all classes of society. By law, every able-bodied freeman in England was expected to be “well and defensibly arrayed” as befitting his status in the event of war. For many, that body armour might only be a padded jack—quilted coat made of between 15 and 30 layers of linen—sewn by his wife or mother. For a few shillings more a man might acquire a crude sallet to protect the head, mitten gauntlets over the hands, and maybe even protective pieces on the arms and/or legs made from boiled leather, or “cuir boulli”.

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