Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Armour of Henry VIII for the field and tilt
As a young man, Henry VIII was outstandingly athletic and excelled in the arts of the tournament. His commanding presence was due in part to his great height (1.9 metres, or 6 feet 2 inches) which set him apart from most of his contemporaries. After a jousting accident in 1536 he grew corpulent, but four years later at the age of 49, the King was reported to have found a new vigour, rising early and spending long hours each day in the saddle.
This armour is a garniture: a single armour with a set of alternate and interchageable pieces which combine to create armours for use in a number of different tournament events. It comprises a close helmet with integral gorget-plates and a fall, gorget, breastplate with skirt and tassets permanently attached, backplate, culet, complete leg harness, asymetrical pauldrons with removable haute-pieces, complete vambraces, grandguard, pasguard and manifer (these last three for the tilt).
Tests undertaken by Dr Alan R. Williams on the lowest lame of the right pauldron, the third lame of the left pauldron and the rear plate of the left greave of the armour show them to have microhardnesses in the ranges 279-308 VHP (average 293 VHP), 172-277 VHP (average 266 VHP) and 250-301 VPH (average 277 VHP) respectively. The left greave, the left pauldron, the grandguard and the pasguard are all formed of medium carbon steels which have not been quenched to harden them, at least not successfully. The metal of the right pauldron includes in its composition some irresolvable carbides. Its increased hardness suggests that an attempt was made to quench it. The skull and uppermost lame of the left vambrace contain microconstituents which are definitely the result of a quenching, if not necessarily a full quench.
Measurements: helmet: height 29.1 cm, width including pivots 24.1 cm, depth with associated visor 31.6 cm, width of gorget-plates 25.4 cm; fall: length 24.6 cm, width 21.9 cm; gorget: height 16.8 cm, width 38.4 cm, ternal diameter of the neck-opening 19.1 cm; front of cuirass: height from shoulder to lower edge of main plate 33 cm, height from centre of neck to lower edge of plate 36.9 cm, height from shoulder to lower edge of waist-lame 39. cm, height from centre of neck to lower edge of waist-lame 44.2 cm, width beneath arm-openings 43.3 cm, width at waist 43.2 cm, height from right shoulder to lower edge of right tasset 6.0 cm, height from left shoulder to lower edge of left tasset 68.3 cm; backplate: height from shoulder to lower edge of plate 33.0 cm, height from centre of neck to lower edge of plate 32.1 cm, height of shoulder to lower edge of waist-flange 39.6 cm, height from neck-opening to lower edge of waist-flange 39.6 cm, width beneath arm-openings 46.1 cm; culet: height 11.1 cm, width 52.1 cm; right pauldron: height 25 cm, width 25.4 cm; left pauldron: height 16.2 cm, width 32.1 cm; right haute-piece: height 16.2 cm, width 32.1 cm; left haute-piece: height 21.3 cm, width 35.6 cm; right vambrace: length 55.3 cm; left vambrace: length 55.6 cm; right cuisse without poleyn: height 3.cm, width: 24.3 cm; left cuisse without poleyn: height 3.9 cm, width 24.6 cm; poleyns: height of each knee-cap 12.4 cm, height of each 15.3 cm; right greave: height 3.5 cm, width 13.5 cm; left greave: height 35.6 cm, width 15.3 cm; right sabaton: height 19.4 cm, length of original part 25.4 cm, width of toe-cap 14.5 cm; left sabaton: height 19.4 cm, length of original part 26.1 cm, width of toe-cap 14.9 cm; grandguard: height 58.6 cm, width 60.5 cm; pasguard: height 39.2 cm, width 3 cm; manifer: length 46.4 cm, width 22.6 cm.
Weights: helmet without associated visor 3.15 kg; helmet with associated visor 4.285 kg; fall 0.539 kg; gorget 5.59 kg; front of cuirass 6.832 kg; backplate 4.252 kg; culet 1.106 kg; right pauldron 1.95 kg; left pauldron 1.914 kg; right haute-piece 0.349 kg; left haute-piece 0.428 kg; right vambrace 2.25 kg; left vambrace 2.693 kg; right cuisse without poleyn 1.12 kg; left cuisse without poleyn 1.114 kg; right poleyn 0.480 kg; left poleyn 0.509; right greave 1.025kg; left greave 0.992 kg; right sabaton with heel-plate; left sabaton with heel-plate 1.219 kg; grandguard 5.698 kg; pasguard 2.381 kg; manifer 1.89 kg.
RCIN 72834.a–g & i–o
Text adapted from the forthcoming publication 'Arms and Armour in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen. Volume I: European Armour'
? Frances Quelblaunche (engraver)
Royal Armouries: Greenwich (place of production)