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Erasmus Kyrkenar (c. 1495-1567)

Armour garniture of Henry VIII for the field and tilt probably about 1540

RCIN 72834

Lantern Lobby, Windsor Castle

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An armour garniture consisting of a close helmet with integral gorget-plates and a fall (and originally also a falling buff), a gorget, a breastplate with skirt and tassets permanently attached, a backplate, a culet, complete legharness, asymmetrical pauldrons with removable haute-pieces, complete vambraces (the left one both for field and tilt), a grandguard, a pasguard and a manifer (the last three for the tilt).

To allow for the King's increasing girth, the backplate of the armour has been extended by 5.1 cm at either side by the addition of plain plate secured with rivets.  Cylindrical studs under the arms designed to receive the hasp projecting from the breastplate have also been adjusted twice: by about 2.2 cm on the first occasion, and a further 3.2 cm on the second.

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, internal diameter of the neck-opening 19.1 cm; Front of Cuirass: height from shoulder to lower edge of main plate 33.7 cm, height from centre of neck to lower edge of plate 36.9 cm, height from shoulder to lower edge of waist-lame 39.7 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 67.0 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 25.7 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 37.7 cm, width 24.3 cm; Left Cuisse without Poleyn: height 37.9 cm, width 24.6 cm; Polyens: height of each knee-cap 12.4 cm, height of each 15.3 cm; Right Greave: height 37.5 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 38.8 cm; Manifer: length 46.4 cm, width 22.6 cm.

Weights: Helmet without associated visor: 3.175 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: 1.975 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: 1.191 kg; Left Sabaton with Heel-Plate: 1.219 kg; Grandguard: 5.698 kg; Pasguard: 2.381 kg; Manifer: 1.89 kg.

Tests undertaken by Dr Alan R. Williams on the lowest lame of the right pauldron, the third lame of the left pauldron, the left vambrace and the rear plate of the left greave of the armour show them to have microhardnesses in the ranges 279–308 VPH (average 293 VPH), 223–292 (average 266 VPH), 172–277 VPH (average 249 VPH) and 250–301 VPH (average 277 VPH) respectively. The left greave, the left pauldron, the grandguard and the pasguard are all formed of medium carbon steels that 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.

Text adapted from Arms and Armour in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen: European Armour, London, 2016