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Some 20 pieces of armour were recently identified by Thom Richardson, Keeper of Armour and Oriental Weapons at the Royal Armouries, Leeds.Mr Richardson considered that they are part of a Parish Armoury for the use of a cuirassier or pikeman. Parish Armouries were set up during the time of the Armada so that weapons and armour would be available for the local men of a Parish to form a defensive force. The pieces, from at least 4 different complete sets, date from the period 1570/80 to about 1620/30. Unfortunately the BRLSI records do not give any clues when or where this armour came from or who donated it.
The pieces consist of Tassets, separate plates of armour worn like a skirt for the protection of the upper legs; Vambraces, tubular" or "gutter" defences for the forearm; Pauldrons, which cover the shoulder area, and part of a Morion, a helmet of characteristic shape and often worn by foot soldiers such as pikemen.
Much of the armour is articulated, the separate pieces held together by rivets that allow each of the pieces to move independently of each other. Leather straps help to join the separate elements of the armour together.
Over the next few months the accumulation of 50 years of dirt and grime will be clean away the so that the armour is left in a stable condition. It is hoped to eventually make the pieces available for study on the BRLSI Website.
Catalogue no: EUR593