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An extract from Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 1
by Ian Heath


From the Holkham Picture Bible, this figure is representative of infantrymen during the reign of Edward II. The battle-scene he comes from depicts a number of similarly-equipped men wearing vertically quilted long-sleeved aketons, leather gauntlets (sometimes plate-strengthened), mail or quilt coifs, and loose-fitting tunics. The shield carried here is a buckler, these usually being about 10-12" in diameter. The source from which figures 41-44 are taken generally depicts such bucklers as if they are made of iron. Other sources indicate they were more usually of wood and leather with an iron boss.

It should be noted that a number of commissions of array in Edward II’s reign required troops to be considerably better equipped even than the figure depicted here, aketon, hauberk or plate-armour, bascinet and iron gauntlets all being amongst the arms listed. These unorthodox and unpopular commissions were short-lived, however, being abandoned at the beginning of Edward III’s reign.

[Based on the English infantry in Battle, Holkham Picture Bible Book, British Library MS Add. 47660, folio 40, 1326-27]

Next: 15. ENGLISH ARCHER c.1398, in Armies of the Middle Ages, volume 1 by Ian Heath