Medieval Armour | Shields

Discover the Armour and Shields of the formidable 'Medieval Knight - *The Great Mounted Warrior who fought with honour and chivalry across the lands of Europe and the Middle East during medieval times!

A 'Knight in Shinning Armour' is a striking vision that encapsulates the medieval Period! *c.500 - c.1500 - Learn about Kite Shields *The Great Helm Helmet *Chainmail *Full plate armour *Battle Armour *Tournament Armour and Much More....

Breastplate Armor

Breastplate Armour

Breastplate armour had many advantages for the wearer, protecting vital organs such as the heart on the battlefield Read more about the Breastplate Armor >>

Byzantine Armour

Byzantine Army was highly organised. efficient and was heavily armoured Read more about the Byzantine Armour >>

Carolingian Armour

Body armour was the most highly treasured piece of armour among the Carolingians Read more about the Carolingian Armour >>

Chainmail A to Z List

Chainmail was described as being a "net of armor" in the medieval tale Beowulf. Read more about the Chainmail A to Z List >>

Chainmail Armor

Medieval Chainmail Haubert

Medieval chain mail offered Medieval soldiers Knights excellent protection, chainmail was often made using the 4 to 1 link method. Read more about the Chainmail Armor >>

Coif – Chainmail


Chainmail was typically worn because the medieval knights believed they could take the blunt wound but needed to guard against piercings. Read more about the Coif – Chainmail >>



The Doublet was a piece of clothing that was usually worn under Plate Armour Read more about the Doublet >>

Greenwich Armour

Greenwich armour of the royal armoury at Greenwich was established by Tudor monarch Henry VIII Read more about the Greenwich Armour >>

Hauberk – Chainmail Shirt

Hauberk Shirt Baidana-Rings

The Hauberk was constructed with a huge quantity of metal rings that were intertwined together Read more about the Hauberk – Chainmail Shirt >>

Holy Roman Armour

Holy Roman Soldiers wore Gothic and Maximilian plate armour Read more about the Holy Roman Armour >>

Horse Armour

Armour for a medieval knights horse was very expensive and the most essential part was the chamfron which protected the horses head Read more about the Horse Armour >>

How to Make Chainmail

How to Make Chainmail

The most popular way to make chainmail was using the 4-in-1 ring sequence Read more about the How to Make Chainmail >>

Knight in Shining Armour

Knight in Shining Armour

Learn about the term "Knight in Shining Armour", what does "Knight in Shining Armour" mean and where did this phrase originate from Read more about the Knight in Shining Armour >>

Lamellar Armour

Lamellar Armour

Lamellar Armour is a very distinctive armour that was worn in medieval times Read more about the Lamellar Armour >>

Maximilian Armour

Maximilian armour came to be used at a time when artillery weapons were becoming increasingly popular in European battlefields Read more about the Maximilian Armour >>

Medieval Helmets

Medieal Helmets

The Basinect and the Great Helm were two very popular Helmets designs in medieval times.     Read more about the Medieval Helmets >>

Medieval Shields

Medieval shields  protected and  shielded soldiers in battle Read more about the Medieval Shields >>

Norman Armour 1060 – 1200

Norman Soldiers wore Mail Armour, Helm Helmets and carried Shields that were Kite Shaped Read more about the Norman Armour 1060 – 1200 >>

Plate Armour

Plate Armour Detail

Plate armour was introduced to counter the increasingly advanced weaponry of the medieval period Read more about the Plate Armour >>

Plate Armour A to Z List

Comprehensive list of medieval plate armor parts worn by medieval knights and soldiers Read more about the Plate Armour A to Z List >>

Saxon Armour

Anglo Saxons mainly fought on the ground and used shields and helmets for protection Read more about the Saxon Armour >>

Scale Armour

Scale Armour

Scale armor was a type of metal armor that made use of a large number of small metal plates Read more about the Scale Armour >>


Stirrups were a very important medieval invention that changed the face of medieval warfare and allowed the Cavalry to become powerful Read more about the Stirrups >>


Medieval Surcoat

The main purpose of the Surcoat was to identify a knight on the battlefield... Read more about the Surcoat >>

The Greenwich Armoury

The Greenwich Armoury was established by King Henry VIII who was a militaristic ruler at Greenwich, England in the 15th century Read more about the The Greenwich Armoury >>

Tudor Armour

King Henry VIII was well known for wearing different types of elaborate armour such as Alamin Rivet, Greenwich or Maximilian armour that was imported or made in England Read more about the Tudor Armour >>

The history of medieval armor dates back to the early medieval period from the fall of the Roman Empire in Western Europe around c.500

It is not until the latter part of the high medieval period around c.1200 that the ‘Galant Knight in Shining Armour’ in full plate armor started to evolve.


The first cuirass *Latin: coriaceus *The rigid armor plate that covered the entire torso of a warrior as multiple pieces  or a single unit that is the modern vision of the Medieval Knight –  did not appear until around c.1250


Who Made Medieval Armor?

Armorers were a specialist form of a blacksmith that created armor during the medieval period, within this specialized class of smiths’ could also be further specialization such as armorers who only made maille armor *helmets or gauntlets for example.


Armorers were usually individuals or small companies but as the medieval period progressed larger and more sophisticated armorers appeared to meet demand, in particular, Italy and Germany were well respected for the mass-produced armor that was shipped around Europe in large quantities.


Medieval Armourer

Sallet Helmets became popular throughout medieval Europe, especially in Italy (Milan) and Germany (Augsburg and Nuremberg) where the helmets were made by the Great Armor manufacturers of the time.

German Sallet with Visor

Anglo Saxon Armour c.450 – c.1066

Anglo Saxon Chainmail

Historical images depict Anglo-Saxon warriors wearing chainmail and this is confirmed by the findings at an Anglo-Saxon cemetery in Sutton Hoo in Suffolk

A Famous Helmet *The Sutton Hoo believed to belong to an elite Anglo-Saxon Warrior was also discovered.

Anglo Saxon Helmet Sutton Hoo

Anglo Saxons Elites *Sutton Hoo Helmet

Anglo Saxon warriors would have worn chainmail armor in battle *mailcoats *coats of mail but not plate armor. Chainmail armor did help reduce the impact of enemy blows, however it was heavy and restricted movement, so the wearer had some advantages over his opponent but there were also some disadvantages.


Anglo Saxon Helmets

Anglo Saxons warriors were not that well protected in battle as they only wore chainmail this also slowed them down and made them an easier target, and they did not wear helmets in earlier medieval periods, in fact it wasn’t until around the 11th century that the Anglo-Saxon helmet became more commonplace.

Anglo Saxon Warrior Wearing Anglo Saxon Armour

It was the Great Anglo Saxon leader ‘Cnut the Great’ who made a ruling that all soldiers must possess a helmet in 1008 *Anglo- Saxon King ‘Aethelred the Unready’ also ordered helmets to be manufactured for Anglo-Saxon armies.

Anglo Saxon Armour

Anglo Saxon – Chainmail & Helmet

Anglo Saxon Shields

Anglo Saxon shields were made from different types of wood from material that was abundantly available in Britain Ash, oak, maple, alder, willow, and poplar wood were among the most commonly used types of wood in shield construction.

Round Buckler Medieval Shield

The basic design of an Anglo-Saxon shield is comprised of multiple wooden planks packed in a circular shape and held together using some adhesive material.

In some cases, the wooden structure was then covered with an extra layer of leather to reinforce the shield and make it stronger.

Richer Anglo-Saxons of the noble class would occasionally cover the wooden shield structure with a metal like bronze, making it a lot stronger.

Round Shields

Viking Armour c.750 – c.1100

Viking Armour

Like the Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings wore little body armor but used their shields effectively as a strong defense. Vikings wore part or full chain mail shirts *longer chainmail shirts with long sleeves are commonly described as a ‘Hauberk’.

Hauberk Chainmail Shirt

Hauberk Chainmail Shirt *Shorter or Longer

Chainmail was very expensive and difficult to make and most likely worn by elite Vikings or professional Viking armies *Great Heathen Armies! – Historical evidence suggests that undergarments of some kind underneath the chainmail may have also been worn.

Viking Culture Vikings in Medieval Times

Viking Helmets

Surprisingly many historians believe that the horned helmet of the Viking warrior depicted in popular mythology was more likely to have been used in rituals rather than for fighting!

viking horned helmet

Viking Shields

Viking round shields were usually 30 to 36 inches in diameter although the specific size of a shield varied according to the warrior wielding it.

viking shield

Viking Shields as large as 48 inches in diameter were also used. The most common material used in the construction of the round viking shield was linden wood. Other types of wood were also commonly used such as poplar, fir and alder wood.

Viking Shield

Viking Shield

Multiple planks of wood were glued together and cut into a circular shape for the basic structure of a round shield. The rim of the shield was then fitted with additional bindings such as those of iron to reinforce the structure.

Leather and different kinds of fibrous materials were used on the front of the shield to make the shield more durable and prevent enemy blades from cutting too deep.

Viking Shields

The most common size of Viking Shield was around 30 – 36 inches in diameter

Norman Armour  c.1060 – c.1200

Norman mounted warriors wore a chainmail shirt that fell to their knees. The mail shirt, called a ‘hauberk’, was quite effective on the battlefield, especially when complemented with other types of armor.

Norman Knights

The image shows the weaponry, shields, and horses used by medieval Norman knights

Norman Helm Helmet

A vital part of a Norman warrior’s battlefield armor was the steel helm that he wore on his head. The Norman helm was conical in shape. It could be one of the two types in terms of its manufacture.

Anglo Saxon Armour

Anglo Saxon Armour

One type of Norman helm comprised of one-piece construction which was harder and more expensive but also proved to be far sturdier on the battlefield.

Norman Knight Kite Shield

Norman Knight Holding a Kite Shield

Norman Shield

The shield provided Norman warriors with a good defense when wielding a weapon with the other hand. The shape of the Norman shields was typically like a kite.

This shape replaced the round-shaped shield which was common among the Norman towards the end of the 10th century. The kite-shaped shield was made from wood and often covered with leather which, in turn, was painted in different patterns.

Kite Shield

Medieval Kite Shield of the Type used by Norman Knights

Knights Armour

Tournament Armour

bigstock Woman And Knights 8337984

medieval knight ready for jousting tournament

medieval tournament melee battle

Knights Shield

Medieval Knights History

Medieval Knight Shield

medieval knights armour shields

Heater Shield

Knights Templar Heater Shield

Medieval Armour Parts – Chain Mail – Plate Armour


The most practical form of medieval armor used in the early medieval ages was chain-mail armor which consisted of small metal rings linked together in a pattern to form a mesh.

Close Detail of Medieval Hauberk Shirt

The image shows the close-up detail of the interlocking rings of the Hauberk

When mail armor first appeared it was expensive and very time-consuming to make *for this reason after a battle dead soldiers could be looted for their mail armor.

During the start of the medieval period soldiers usually did not have much head protection as they usually only wore a Mail Coif and a Hauberk. The Coif and the Hauberk were made from this chain-mail and the interlocking loops of metal were woven into some type of suitable fabric. 

Coif chainmail for the head and neck

The coif was a specific type of chainmail armor that was used in medieval warfare to protect the head and necks of knights

Medieval Knights Armour

Knights Armor Parts

The image that details different parts of a knight’s armor

Medieval Armour Parts

  • Helmet (Sallet) *protected Head
  • Stop Rib *protected Shoulder
  • Breast Plate *Protected Chest
  • Lance Rest *Secured Lance
  • Gorget – would protect the neck
  • Cuirass – protected the breast area
  • Plackart – designed to add more armor to the front Faulds – protected the waist and hips
  • Cowter – protected elbows
  • Spaulders and Pauldrons – protected shoulders and everything in that area
  • Vambraces – used to protect the arms
  • Gauntlets – protected the hands
  • Poleyn – protected knees – later attached to the Chausses and Tasset to protect the upper leg area
  • Greaves – protected the lower area of the leg
  • Cuisse – protected the sides of the legs
  • Sabaton – covered the foot.

Helmet (Sallet) Protected Knights Head

knight helmets Middle ages

Parts that did not have plates protecting them were usually covered by mail called Gousset and an additional padded cloth called Doublet or Double doublet was worn under a harness.

Medieval Clothing Gauntlets

Medieval Knights Clothing – Armour for the hands called Gauntlets

Full Plate Medieval Armor

It is believed that the first forms of plate armor were developed in the Middle East which were then adopted by other countries in the medieval world.

Cataphract Medieval Soldier on horseback

Cataphract Medieval Soldiers were part of the cavalry and were covered in plate armor similar to medieval knights.

In the later parts of the medieval period armor became more sophisticated and was designed to protect every part of the body. Items that were introduced and made the most impact were full plate armor and helmets in different shapes and sizes.

Full Suit of Plate Armour

A full suit of knights plate armor, advanced armor for a knight.

During the 14th century, new forms of weapons were being developed *high powered crossbows which were able to penetrate early chain-mail armor and armorers had to create better plate armor that covered the entire body*

Arm and Shoulder Plate Armour

Detailed image of a German knights shoulder and arm plate armor

Learn More about Medieval Armor with the Great Resources!

Learn More about Chainmail at Wikipedia

Learn More about Plate Armor at Wikipedia

Learn More about Armor Parts at Wikipedia