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Royal armour: Leg defences

Slideshow

See the various pieces of armour for the lower body.

  1. Culet

    Culet

    The rump was often protected by an articulated set of plates called a culet. This one forms part of the armour made in the Netherlands about 1616 for Charles I as a Prince of Wales, and later passed to his son the future King Charles II.

    © The Board of Trustees of the Royal Armouries

  2. Sabatons

    Sabatons

    The feet are protected by plate defences called sabatons. This example is from the gilt armour of King Charles I, originally made in the Netherlands for Henry, Prince of Wales, about 1612.

    © The Board of Trustees of the Royal Armouries

  3. Cuisse

    Cuisse

    The lower thighs are protected by defences called cuisses, usually of solid plates. This one forms part of the Dutch armour presented to Henry Prince of Wales in 1607.

    © The Board of Trustees of the Royal Armouries

  4. Poleyn

    Poleyn

    The knees are protected by poleyns, attached to the bottom of the cuisses with narrow plates called articulating lames which give them the flexibility needed. This one forms part of the Dutch armour presented to Henry Prince of Wales in 1607.

    © The Board of Trustees of the Royal Armouries

  5. Codpiece

    Codpiece

    Plate armour for groin defence. Need we say more? It was used when taking part in foot combat however it was not practical nor needed for jousting.

    © The Board of Trustees of the Royal Armouries

  6. Tassets

    Tassets

    For greater flexibility or when fighting on horse back, the upper thighs were protected by overlapping metal plates called tassets.
    It was the overlapping plates that made them flexible thigh defences. The image shows the 'long' version for foot combat, not for fighting on horse back.

    © The Board of Trustees of the Royal Armouries

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