An armourer was one of the major medieval occupations, one that was highly treasured by the commoners as well as the noblemen. The armourer carried a high prestige because of his ability to create high-quality armour.
Each armour had to be specifically suited to the size and physique of the wearer, so the armourer essentially worked with diligence on every single piece of armour. Most of the time, the armours were commissioned by the rich members of the nobility and cost a huge sum. Although typically a blacksmith, the armourer was usually a sub-category of blacksmiths who excelled in the niche of making armours.
Social Standing of Medieval Armourer
An armourer was in high demand in Europe through most of the medieval period, given the warfare that continued nearly unabated in most parts of Europe. Wars required the extensive production of armours and since an armourer had the unique skill of producing such armours, he could exact a significant amount for his skill.
As a result, most armours during the medieval period were fairly affluent and enjoyed a prestigious standing in medieval society. They had frequent interactions with the members of the nobility, such as the princes and the knights, while producing armours for them. The armourers not only created armour for their customers but also repaired armour that had been damaged and dented during combat.
Medieval Armourers in medieval times – When producing armour, an armourer laboriously worked on it and often according to the specific needs of the person who ordered it
When producing armour, an armourer laboriously worked on it and often according to the specific needs of the person who ordered it. Typically, an armour was produced corresponding to the warfare style and needs of contemporary battlefields. The armourer would also consider the range of contemporary weapons and attempted to produce a piece of armour that could stand them as effectively as possible.
Once an armourer had specified the features he would use in the armour, he would begin working on every inch of the armour, using tools such as a very heavy hammer and rudimentary welding equipment. After a basic design of the armour was completed, the armourer then had the customer wear it and determined if it exactly fitted the wearer. Adjustments were typically made more than once to finalise the armour.
Components Used by Medieval Armourer
A medieval armour relied on a steady supply of a few necessary components. These included raw iron or steel ore which the armourer could modify according to a quality of his liking; a steady supply of wood, a large volume of which was regularly needed for smelting and forging the armour; and a steady supply of running water which had to be used a number of times during the armour-making process.
Armourers typically set up their shop as close as possible to a place where all these raw resources were naturally available or easily accessible. This reduced the cost of armour production and made it possible for quick production of large volumes of armours.
The Armourer and His Team
A medieval armourer typically worked together with a number of other workers who were placed under him. These workers helped the armourer in doing the smaller and easier tasks while the skilled portions of armour production were left to the master armourer. A master armourer also had a number of apprentices who worked under him for many years before they could graduate to the level of armourer themselves.