Saturday, June 24, 2006

14th Century English Armor Terminology

Listing from the feet up and the skin out:

Sabatons: Feet
Greeves: Lower Legs
Polayne: Knees
Cuisses, Cuissews (earlier pronunciation) Thighs
Legharness: Complete leg protection
Shirt: Frequently worn as inmost layer, but 15th c. Howe a man shall be armyd recomends lining for doublet instead
Doublet: Closely fitted inner garment to which hose and armor can be laced with points
Aketoun, Acton: Padded garment worn beneath armor or as only defense for body
Hauberk, Bruny: mail shirt
Habergeon: as above, but generally shorter
Jesserawnte, Gesserawnte, Iesserante: Mail shirt lined and covered with fabric
Pauncer: belly protection, may be plate or mail
Plates: Body armor of overlapping plates riveted below or above textile or leather
Gambisoun: Padded garment worn with or as armor. May be made of silk and brightly colored
Jupon, Gypoun, Gypon, Gyppon, Gippon, Iepon, Iopon: Garment that can be worn over armor, or beneath breastplate but over other harness. One variant is worn by the knight in the Ellesmere Chaucer, with points visible on the chest where a breastplate might be laced on over the gypoun
Breastplate: Breast
Cote-armure: Garment worn by men-at-arms over armor or by heralds, frequently if not always embroidered or otherwise decorated with heraldic design.
Gauntlets, Gloves of plate: hands
Bracers: Arms
Couters: Elbows
Vambrace and Rerebrace: Upper and lower arm protection. Dividing point between them may or may not be at elbow.
Pisan: Mail collar
Aventail: Mail cape to bascinet
Urison: Fabric covering for aventail
Bascinet: Bowl shaped or conical helmet
Kettlehat: Kettle or hat-shaped open helmet


Symon Fitzgilbert said...

How about some 14th century foundation garment terminology.

Gambeson, Aketon, Jupon, Purpoint, Arming Doublet?, And what is the name for that baggy sleeved "thing" Sir Walter Von Hoenklingen is wearing on his effigy?


Will McLean said...


I've revised the post to answer some of your questions. I think an Englishman would have called Walter's garment a gypoun. He might have called it something else: I'm not as familiar with the German terminology.

Kevin said...

Can you also post pronunciations for these? I've heard all sorts. Thanks.

Chevalier said...

That garment is a houpelade I think

Will McLean said...


Many modern writers might call the garment Hoenklingen was wearing a houpelande. Unfortunately, while we know there was a garment of that name, we're less sure what it was. The useful thing about the illumination of Chaucer's knight is that the text says he was wearing a gypoun, and the picture shows what a near contemporary thought his clothes looked like.

tammysmith said...

Can you please tell me other names for "hunters" in the 14 century? Primarily the ones who hunted for outlaws.

Thank you so much