Sunday, 5 April 2015

The Amour of Sir Richard Vernon.

During the early stages in the research for my book The History of Armour 1100-1700, I wrote individual essays on each effigy and the armour they displayed. To this work I added my Photographs and Illustrations. This work was done during 2006-9 

Here is the essay on Sir Richard Vernon. The armour date should read 1440's not 1420's. Vernons effigy armour is 1440's in style with very distinctive pauldrons being very different to the 1420's smaller spaulders. 

My error lay in the difficulty in pinpointing dates of armour from effigies as they could be made pre or post mortem.

The great bascinet period lay between the 1420's and 1450's. the helmet itself is discussed in an earlier post but the armour has some distinctive changes especially in the protection of the shoulders.
Early  armour had similar spaulders to the previous Jupon and aventail period 

 See Link for more on Bascinets

The plates that protected the shoulder soon developed so that they connected to the gorget via articulated plates. The armpit was protected by a plate known as the besagew. This plate could be round but it is often depicted as a rectangular shape.

During the 1430's a change occurred in the  way the shoulder was protected. A series of larger plates were added to the shoulder which developed into the Pauldron. In most English brasses this defence is shown as asymmetrical with the left shoulder being more heavily defended but some are simple in design.  

The brass of Thomas Salle 1422 St Mary's Church, Stevington, Bedfordshire, England 
depicts  two simple plates that cover the shoulder and could be the earliest representation of the 
larger shoulder defences.   There is however some record that the larger pauldrons that were in used in conjunction with the great bascinet can first be seen on the brass of Richard Delemere, c 1435. 
This brass shows two distinctive plates attached to the pauldrons beneath.

By the 1440's most (although not all) brasses and effigies depicted the shoulders being protected by a series of plates that ran from front to back around the shoulder. These plates narrowed at the front and were joined via articulating rivets that enabled the arm to be raised. Above these were secondary protection in the form of larger reinforcing plates that were usually fitted via a stud.

Sir Richards pauldrons have no reinforcing plates but rely on a single top plate followed by narrow articulation lames that terminate in a single larger plate which wraps around the upper arm and armpit, this deign is similar to the one depicted on the effigy of Sir Humphrey Stafford which dates from 1450.  

Great Bascinet made by myself in the 1990's

See Sir Thomas cheddar's brass here

The great bascinet period is a hard one to pinpoint as there is so little actual armour in existence from the earlier dates and I believe no full Harnesses are in existence that pre date the 1450's. This means that all data is from existing individual parts of armour. Such examples are rare but a good piece of silver work from the period that can only be dated post 1425 and pre 1450 is the sculpture of St George in the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. This has become invaluable as an example of this style of armour as it could not have been made later than 1450.

 There is however some record that the larger pauldrons were in used in conjunction with the great bascinet as seen on the brass of Richard Delemere, c 1435. 

To see my book go to