Tuesday, December 30, 2008

TREATISE OF WORSHIP IN ARMS, BY JOHAN HILL

TRAYTESE OF THE POYNTES OF WORSHIP IN ARMES BY JOHAN HYLL,
ARMORER SERGEANT IN THE KINGE’S ARMORY 1434
Bod. Lib., Ashmole. MS. 856, art. 22, pp. 376—~83

[376] Too my leve Lordes here nowe next folowinge is a Traytese compyled by Johan Hyll Armorier Sergeant in the office of Armory wt, Kinges Henry ye 4th and Henry ye 5th of ye poyntes of Worship in Armes and how he shall be diversely Armed & gouverned under supportacion of faveurof alle ye Needes to coverte adde & amenuse where nede is by the high comandement of the Princes that have powair so for to ordeyne & establishe

The first Honneur in Armes is a Gentilman to fight in his Souverain Lords quarell in a bataille of Treason sworne withinne Listes before his souverain Lorde whether he be Appellant or Defendant ye houneur is his that winneth ye feelde.

As for the appellant thus Armed by his owne witte or by his counsaille wch is assigned to him before Conestabie & Marchall ye wch Counsaille is ordeyned & bounden to teche hym alle maner of fightynge & soteltees of Armes that longeth for a battaile sworne

First hym nedeth to have a paire of hosen of corde wtoute vampeys And the saide hosen kutte at ye knees and lyned wtin wt Lynnen cloth byesse as the hose is A payre of shoen of red Lether thynne laced & fretted underneth wt whippecorde & persed, And above withinne Lyned wt Lynnen cloth three fyngers in brede double & byesse from the too an yncle above ye wriste. And so behinde at ye hele from the Soole halfe a quarter of a yearde uppe this is to fasten wele to his Sabatons And the same Sabatons fastened under ye soole of ye fote in 2 places hym nedeth also a petycote of an overbody of a doublett, his petycote wt oute sleves, ye syses of him 3 quarters aboute wt outen coler, And that other part noo ferther thanne [377] ye waste wt streyte sleves and coler and cutaine oylettes in ye sleves for ye vaunt bras and ye Rerebrase

Armed in this wise First behoveth Sabatouns grevis & cloos quysseux wt voydours of plate or of mayle & a cloos breche of mayle wt 5 bokles of stele ye tisseux of fyne lether. And all ye armyng poyntes after they ben knytte & fastened on hym armed that ye poyntes of him be kutte of

And thanne a paire of cloos gussetts strong sclave not drawes and thatye gussets be thre fingers withinne his plates at both assises And thanne a paire of plattes at xx li lib weight his breste & his plats enarmed to wt wyre or wt poyntes.

A pair of Rerebraces shitten withinne the plates before wt twi forlockes and behinde wt thre forlocks. A paire of vaunt bras cloos wt voydours of mayle & fretted. A pair of gloves of avantage wche may be devised. A basnet of avauntage for ye listes whiche is not goode for noon other battailles but man for man save that necessitie hath noo lawe, the basnet locked baver & vysour locked or charnelled also to ye brest & behynde wt two forlockes. And this Gentilman appellent aforesaide whanne he is thus armed & redy to come to ye felde do on hym a cote of armes of sengle tarten ye beter for avauntage in fighting. And his leg harneys covered alle wt reed taritryn the wche ben called tunictes for he coverynge of his leg harneys is doen because his adversarie shal not lightly espye his blode. And therefore also hen his hosen reed for in alle other colours blode wol lightly be seyne, for by the oolde tyme in such a bataile there shulde noo thing have be seyn here save his basnett & his gloves. And thanne tye on hym a payre of besagewes. Also it fitteth the [378] foresaide counsaille to goo to ye kyng the daye before ye bataille & aske his logging nigh ye listes. Also ye foresaide Counsaille must ordeyne hym the masses ye first masse of ye Trinitie ye seconde of ye Holy Goste & ye thirde of owre Ladye or elles of what other sainte or saintes that he hath devocion unto

And that he be watched alle that night hym that he is watched and light in his Chambre alle that night that his counsaille may wite how that he slepeth, And in ye mornyng whanne he goeth to his Masses that his herneys be leyed at ye North end of ye Auter and covered wt a cloth that ye gospell may be redde over it and at ye laste masse for to be blessed wt ye preist and whanne he hath herde his Masses thanne to goo to his dyner. And soo to his Armyng in ye forme aforesaide. And whanne he is armed and alle redy thanne to come to ye feelde in forme to fore rehersed, thanne his counsaille bounden to counsaille hym & to teche hym how he shal gouverne hym of his requests to ye kyng or he come into ye feelde and his entrie into ye felde and his gouvernance in the feelde for ye saide Counsaille hath charge of hym before Constable and Mareschal til that Lesses les aller be cryed. The whiche requestes ben thus that ye saide Appellant sende oon his counsaille to the kyng for to requeste hym that whanne he cometh to ye barrers to have free entrie wt his counsaille Confessour & Armorers wt alle maner of Instruments wt breede & wyne hymnself bringing in in an Instrument that is to saye a cofre or a pair of bouges. Also their fyre cole & belyes and that his chayre wt [379] certaine of his Servants may be brought into ye feelde and sette up there the houre of his comyng that it may cover hym and his counsaille whanne he is comen into ye feelde this forsaide gentilman Appellant comyng to ye Listes whether he wol on horsebak or on fote wt his counsaille Confessour & other Servaunts aforesaide havyng borne be fore hym by his counsaille a spere a long swerde a short swerde & a dagger fastined upon hymself his swerdes fretted and beasagewed afore ye hiltes havyng noo maner of poyntes for and ther be founden that day on hym noo poyntes of wepons thanne foirre, it shall tourne hym to gret reproof. And this gentilman appellant that come to ye barrers at ye Southeest sone, his visier doune And he shal aske entrie where shal mete hym Constable and Mareschal and aske hym what art thou. And he shal saye I am suche a man & telle his name to make goode this day by ye grace of God that I have saide of suche a man and tell hys name bifore my Souain Lord and they shal bidde hym putte up his visier and whanne he hath put up his visier they shal open the barrers and lette hym inne and his counsaille before hym & wt hym his Armorers & his servaunts shal goo streight to his chayer wt his breed his wyne & alle his instruments that longe unto hym save his weppons. And whanne he entreth into the felde that he blesse hym soberly and so twys or he come to before his Souverain Lord And his Counsailles shall do thair obeisaunce before thair souverain Lord twys or they come to the degrees of his scaffolde and he to obeye him wt his heed at both tymes Then whanne they to fore thair souverain Lord they shal knele a downe and he also they shal aryse or he aryse he shal obeye hym at his heed to his souverain Lord and then aryse and whanne he is up on his feete he shal blesse hym and turne hym to his chayre and at the entryng of his chayr [380] soberly tourne hym his visage to his souverain Lord wards and blesse hym and thanne tourne hym againe and soo go into his chayre and there he maye sitte hym downe and take of his gloves and his basnet and so refresh hyrn till the houre of hys Adversarie approche wt breed and wyne or wt any other thing that he hath brought in wt hym. And whanne the Defendaunt his Adversarie cometh in to the feelde that he be redy armed againe or that he come into the feelde standing withoute his chayre taking hede of his Adversaries comyng in and of his countenance that he may take comfort of. And whanne the defendant his Adversarie is come int ye felde and is in his chayre thanne shal the kyng send for his wepons and se him and the Conestable and the Marschal also and if they be leefull they shal be kept in the feelde & kutte the same day by ye comaundement of the kyng and the Conestable and Mareschal in ye kynge’s behalve. And thanne fitteth to the foresaide counsaille to arme hym and to make hym redy against that he be called to his first ooth and whanne he is called to his first oothe thanne fitteth it to alle his counsaille to goo wt hym to his first ooth for to here what the Conestable and Mareschal seyen unto hym and what contenaunce he maketh in his sweryng And whanne he hath sworne they shl ryse up by ye comaundement of the Conestable and Mareschal. And whanne he is on his feete he shal obey hym to his Souverain Lord and blesse hym and thanne turne hym to his chayre his visage to his souveraine Lord wards and in his goinge blesse hymn twys by ye weye or he come to his chayre. And at ye [381] entryng to his chayre soberly tourne hym his visage to his Souverain Lord wards and blesse hym and soo go into his chayre. Thanne fitteth it to his fore saide Counsaille to awayte where the defendaunt shal come to his first ooth and that they be ther as sone as he for to here how he swereth for he must nedes swere that al that ever th appellant hath sworne is false substance and alle, And if he wol not swere that every worde & every sillable of every worde substance and alle is false the Counsaille of ye saide appellant may right wisly aske jugement by lawe of Civile and raison of Armes forafter ye juge is sette there shulde noo plee be made afore hym that daye.

And if so be that the Defendant swere duly thanne ye Counsaille of the foresaide Appellant shal goo to his chayre agayne and abide ther til they be sent for. And thanne shal they bringe hym to hys second Ooth and here how he swereth and whanne he hath sworne they shal goo wt hym to hys chayre againe in the forme aforesaide. And whanne he is in his chayre the saide Counsaille shal awayte whanne ye Defendaunt cometh to his seconde ooth and here how he swereth and if he swere under any subtil teerme cantel or cavellacion the foresaide Counsaille of th appellant may require the jugement. And if he swere duely thanne shal ye Counsaille of ye foresaide Appellant goo to his chayre againe and abide there til they be sent for.

And thanne shal they brynge hymn to his thirde ooth and assuraunce. And whanne they be sworne and assured the saide appellant wt his Counsaile shal goo againe to his chayre in the fourme afore saide and there make [382] hym redy and fastene upon hym his wepons and so refresche hym til ye Conestahie and Mareschal bid hym come to ye feeld. Thanne shal his Armorers and his Servaunts voyde the Listes wt his chayre and alle his Instruments at ye Comandement of ye Conestable and Mareschal. Thanne fitteth it to the Counsaille of the saide Appellant to ask a place of ye kyng afore hym withinne the barres upon his right hande that ye saide Counsaille of th appellant may come and stande there whanne they be discharged of ye saide Appellant.

The cause is this that suche pyte may be given to ye kyng if God that noon of hem shal dye that daye for he may by his prowaie royal in such a cas take it into his hande the foresaide Counsaille of the Appellant to abyde in the saide place til the kyng have geven his jugement upon him—And thanne ye Conestable and Mareschal shal deliwer the foresaide Appellant by ye Comandement of the kyng to his foresaide Counsaille to govern hymn of his going out of ye feelde as wele as they did of his comyng in his worship to be saved in al that lyeth en hem. And soo to bryng hymn to his Logging agayne to unarme hymn comforte hymn and counsaille hym And some of his Counsaille may goo to the kyng and comon wt hymn and wite of the kyng how he shal be demeaned. This enarmyng here aforesaide is best for a battaille of arreste wt a sworde a dagger an Ax and a pavys til he come to th asseblee his sabatons & his tunycle evoyded And thanne the Auctor Johan Hyll dyed at London in Novembre the xiii th yere of kyng Henry the Sixt so that he accomplished noo mor of ye compylyng of this [383] trayties on whose soulle God have mercy for his endles passion Amen.

This as an informative treatise, but very specialized to the requirements of the judicial duel. The author devotes considerable ingenuity to giving his reader every possible advantage in a life or death fight at a predetermined time with complete support staff on hand. A sleeveless, collarless “petycote… of a doublet” is worn, which would support the legharness without binding the shoulders. Over that is an “other part noo ferther thane ye waste wt streyte sleves and coler and cutain oylettes for ye vaunt bras and ye Rerebrase”. This could support the armharness while allowing relatively free movement. Once the arming points are tied the ends are cut away.

Hill suggest that the the body armor be closed up with “wire or points”. Wire would be less vulnerable than buckles, but impractical on campaign. Similarly, instead of buckles and hinges, the rerebrace is closed with forelocks, metal wedges driven into holes in the end of bolts. Again, this provides a very secure closure, but requiring the assistance of an armorer to remove. He recommends a “basnet of avauntage”, useful only for single combat, with locked “baver and vysour”, with the helmet also locked to breast and backplate with two forelocks.

Finally, he suggests that the legharness by covered with red fabric “tunictes” to conceal any loss of blood. "Tunictes" might be translated as vestments or jackets. He says that the champion’s swords should be be “fretted and besagewed” before the hilts. He condemns the practice of adding additional points to the weapon by sharpening the ends of the cross of the hilt or adding a point to the pommel, both of which appear in Continental fighting manuals.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this! I'm doing a dissertation on judicial combat and I hadn't seen this treatise yet. Is it published anywhere or did you transcribe it yourself? The text reminds me of a French document from Guyenne, which has a similar list of armour: see here, especially p. 81 and following.

Ariella Elema

Will McLean said...

Ariella:

It was published in

The Armourer and His Craft: From the XIth to the XVIth Century
By Charles Ffoulkes
Published by Courier Dover Publications, 1988
ISBN 0486258513, 9780486258515
256 pages

Thanks for the link.

teacher said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Edward Thigpen said...

Long comment part 1:

I've gone through and translated this passage into Modern English to make it more readable. I thought someone else might find it useful.
-Lord Edmund Griffith


To my leve (liege?) Lords here now: next following is a Treatise compiled by Johan Hyll, Armorer Sgt. in the office of Armory with Kings Henry the 4th and Henry the 5th, of the points of Worship in Arms and how he shall be diversely Armed & governed under support of favor of all the Needs to covert add & amenuse (translation: lessen) where need is by the high commandment of the Princes that have power so for to ordain & establish

The first Honor in Arms is a Gentleman to fight in his Sovereign Lords quarrel in a battle of Treason sworn within Lists before his sovereign Lord whether he be Appellant or Defendant the honor is his that wins the field.

As for the appellant thus Armed by his own wit, or by his council which is assigned to him before Constable & Marshal, the which Council is ordained & bounden to teach him all manner of fighting & subtleties of Arms that long for a battle sworn.

First he needs to have a pair of hosen of cord without vampeys, (?) And the said hosen cut at the knees and lined within with Linen cloth bias as the hose is. A pair of shoes of red Leather thynne (then? thin?) laced & fretted underneath with whipcord & persed, (?) And above within Lined with Linen cloth three fingers in brede (breadth?) double & bias from the to an yncle (?) above the wrist. And so behind at the heel, from the Sole half a quarter of a yearde (yard?) up. this is to fasten well to his Sabatons. And the same Sabatons fastened under the sole of the foot in 2 places. he needs also a petticoat of an overbody of a doublet, his petticoat with out sleeves, the sizes of him 3 quarters about with outen (out?) coler (color?), And that other part no further than the waist with strait sleeves and coler (color?) and cutaine (cut?) eyelets in the sleeves for the vaunt bras and the Rerebrace

Armed in this wise First behooves Sabatons, greaves, & cloos (close?) cuisses with voiders of plate or of mail & a cloos (close?) breche (breach?) of mail with 5 buckles of steel, the tisseux (tissue?) of fine leather. And all the arming points after they ben (has been?) knit & fastened on him armed that the points of him be cut of

And then a pair of cloos (close?) gussets strong sclave (?) not drawes (?) and that the gussets be three fingers within his plates at both assises (?). And then a pair of plates at xx li lib weight his breast & his plats armed too with wire or with points.

A pair of Rerebraces shitten within the plates before with two forlockes (metal wedges driven into holes in the end of bolts) and behind with three forlocks (metal wedges driven into holes in the end of bolts). A pair of vaunt (?) bras cloos (close?) with voiders of mail & fretted (?). A pair of gloves of advantage which may be devised. A bascinet of advantage for the lists which is not good for none other battles but man for man save that necessity has no law, the bascinet locked bevor & visor locked or channeled also to the breast & behind with two forlockes (metal wedges driven into holes in the end of bolts). And this Gentleman appellant aforesaid when he is thus armed & ready to come to the field do on him a coat of arms of single tartan, the better for advantage in fighting. And his leg harness covered all with red taritryn (tartan?) the wche (which?) ben (has been?) called tunictes (tunics?) for the covering of his leg harness is done because his adversary shall not lightly spy his blood. And therefore also then his hosen reed for in all other colours (colors) blood will lightly be seen, for by the old time in such a battle there should no thing have be seen here save his bascinet & his gloves. And then tie on him a pair of besagews. Also it fits the foresaid council to go to the king the day before the battle & ask his lodging nigh the lists.

Edward Thigpen said...

Long comment part 2:
Also the foresaid Council must ordain him the masses: the first masse of the Trinity, the second of the Holy Ghost, & the third of our Lady, or else of what other saint or saints that he hath devotion unto

And that he be watched all that night him that he is watched and light in his Chamber all that night that his council may wit how that he sleeps, And in the morning when he goes to his Masses that his harness be laid at the North end of the Auter (Alter?) and covered with a cloth, that the gospel may be read over it, and at the last mass for to be blessed with the priest and when he hath herd his Masses then to go to his diner. And so to his Arming in the form aforesaid. And when he is armed and all ready then to come to the field in form to fore (?) rehearsed, then his council bounden (obligated) to council him & to teach him how he shall govern him of his requests to the king or he come into the field and his entry into the field and his governance in the field for the said Council has charged of him before Constable and Marshal until that “Lesses les aller” (Fench: Leave the to go) be cried. The which requests been thus that the said Appellant send on his council to the king for to request him that when he comes to the barriers to have free entry with his council Confessor & Armorers with all manner of Instruments with bred & wine himself bringing in in an Instrument that is to say a cofre (French: large storage chest) or a pair of bouges (?). Also their fire coal & belyes (?) and that his chair with certain of his Servants may be brought into the field and set up there the hour of his coming that it may cover him and his council when he is come into the field this forsaid gentleman Appellant coming to the Lists, whether he will on horseback or on foot, with his council, Confessor & other Servants, aforesaid having born be for him by his council a spear, a long sword, a short sword, & a dagger fastened upon himself his swords fretted (?) and beasagewed (besagew’d?) before the hilts having no manner of pointes for and there be found that day on him no pointes of weapons thane (than?) foirre (four?), it shall turn him to great reproof. And this gentleman appellant that come to the barriers at the Southeast son, his visor down, And he shall ask entry where shall meet him Constable and Marshal and ask him “what art thou”. And he shall say “I am (such a man)” & tell his name to make good this day by the grace of God that I have said of such a man and tell his name before my Souain (?) Lord, and they shall bid him put up his visor and when he has put up his visor they shall open the barriers and let him in and his council before him & with him his Armorers, & his servants shall go straight to his chair with his bread, his wine, & all his instruments that longe (long?) unto him save his weapons. And when he enters into the field, that he bless him soberly and so twys (?), or he come to before his Sovereign Lord, And his Councils shall do their obeisaunce (obedience, especially bowing) before their sovereign Lord twys (?), or they come to the degrees of his scaffold and he to obey him with his heed at both times. Then when they too for their sovereign Lord they shall kneel a down, and he also, they shall arise, or he arise, he shall obey him at his heed to his sovereign Lord, and then arise, and when he is up on his feet he shall bless him and turn him to his chair, and at the entering of his chair soberly turn him his visage to his sovereign Lord, wards and blesse him, and then turn him again and so go into his chair, and there he may sit him down and take of his gloves and his bascinet, and so refresh him till the hour of his Adversary approach, with breed and wine, or with any other thing that he hath brought in with him.

Edward Thigpen said...

Long comment part 3:
And when the Defendant his Adversary cometh in to the field, that he be ready armed again, or that he come into the field standing without his chair, taking heed of his Adversaries coming in, and of his countenance that he may take comfort of. And when the defendant, his Adversary, is come int (into?) the field, and is in his chair, then shall the king send for his weapons, and see him and the Constable and the Marshal also, and if they be leefull (?) they shall be kept in the field & kutte (?) the same day by the commandment of the king, and the Constable and Marshal in the king’s behalf. And then fit to the foresaid council to arm him and to make him ready against that he be called to his first oath. and when he is called to his first oath then fit it to all his council to go with him to his first oath, for to hear what the Constable and Marshal say unto him, and what contenaunce (modern countenance=appearance, especially of the face) he makes in his swearing, And when he hath sworn they shall rise up by the commandment of the Constable and Marshal. And when he is on his feet he shall obey him to his Sovereign Lord and blesse him and then turn him to his chair, his visage to his sovereign Lord, wards and in his going bless him twice by the way, or he come to his chair. And at the entering to his chair, soberly turn him his visage to his Sovereign Lord, wards and blesse him and so go into his chair. Then fit it to his fore said Council to await where the defendant shall come to his first oath, and that they be there as soon as he, for to hear how he swears for he must nedes (?) swear that all that ever the appellant hath sworn is false substance and all, And if he will not swear that every word, & every syllable of every word substance and all is false, the Council of the said appellant may right wisely ask judgment by law of Civil and reason of Arms, for after the judge is set there should no plea be made before him that day.

And if so be that the Defendant swear duly then the Council of the foresaid Appellant shall go to his chair again and abide there until they be sent for. And then shall they bring him to his second Oath and here how he swears, and when he hath sworn they shall go with him to his chair again in the form aforesaid. And when he is in his chair the said Council shall await when the Defendant comes to his second oath, and here how he swears and if he swear under any subtle term cantel (broken), or cavellacion (petty criticism) the foresaid Council of the appellant may require the judgment. And if he swear duly than shall the Council of the foresaid Appellant go to his chair again and abide there until they be sent for.

And then shall they bring him to his third oath and assurance. And when they be sworn and assured, the said appellant with his Council shall go again to his chair in the form afore said, and there make him ready and fasten upon him his weapons and so refresh him until the Constable and Marshal bid him come to the field. Then shall his Armorers and his Servants void the Lists with his chair and all his Instruments at the Commandment of the Constable and Marshal. Then fit it to the Council of the said Appellant to ask a place of the king before him within the barres (bars, barrier) upon his right hand that the said Council of the appellant may come and stand there when they be discharged of the said Appellant.

Edward Thigpen said...

Long comment part 4:
The cause is this: that such pity may be given to the king, if God that none of him shall die that day, for he may, by his prowaie (?) royal, in such a case take it into his hand the foresaid Council of the Appellant to abide in the said place until the king have given his judgment upon him—And then the Constable and Marshal shall deliver the foresaid Appellant, by the Commandment of the king, to his foresaid Council to govern him of his going out of the field, as well as they did of his coming in, his worship to be saved in all that lies in him. And so to bring him to his Logging again, to unarm him, comfort him, and council him. And some of his Council may go to the king and comon (commune?) with him, and wit of the king how he shall be demeaned. This enarmyng (?) here aforesaid is best for a battle of arreste (arrest?) with a sword, a dagger, an Ax, and a pavise until he come to th (?) asseblee (assemble?) his sabatons & his tunycle (tunic?) evoyded (voided?). And then the Auctor (vendor, author) Johan Hyll died at London in November the xiii th year of king Henry the Sixth, so that he accomplished no more of the compiling of this treatise, on whose soul God have mercy for his endless passion Amen.