Medieval Helmets

Learn about Medieval Helmets Construction, Development and Evolution as Armourers Improved their Designs in the Constant Battle Against the Arms Manufacturers!

Discover Early Spangenhelm Designed Open Medieval Helmets such as the Nasal Helmet, Later Variations of the Closed Flat Topped Crusader Helmet, Knights Tournament and Battle Helmets throughtout the Period

Bascinet Helmet

Bascinet

Bascinet helmet was basically a skull cap that protected the head, later Bascinet design protected the neck Read more about the Bascinet Helmet >>

Crusader Helmet *Great Helm

Crusader Helmet

The crusader helmet was worn by the Crusader Knights such as the Knight Templar and the Teutonic Knights during the Crusades Read more about the Crusader Helmet *Great Helm >>

English Sallet Helmets

The English 'Sallet Helmet' was also called the 'English-Burgundian' Sallet! Read more about the English Sallet Helmets >>

German and Italian Sallet Helmets

Discover the evolution of German and Italian Sallet helmets of the Middle Ages! Read more about the German and Italian Sallet Helmets >>

Medieval Helmets List

Learn about the Helmets worn by medieval Infantry and Knights such as the Great Helm and Bascinet... Read more about the Medieval Helmets List >>

Spangenhelm Helmet *Nasal Helmet

Spangenhelm

The Spangenhelm construction helmet was one of the most popular helmets throughout the medieval period Read more about the Spangenhelm Helmet *Nasal Helmet >>



Medieval-Helmets-Knights-Closed-Helmets

The Helmet was probably the most important part of a warrior’s armour, without it the battlefield was a perilous place, however, soldiers did partake in battle without helmets especially during the early medieval period, using just their shields as their main source of protection.

The most popular helmets during the medieval period were the Spangenhelm open-faced helmet, Bascinet, and Great Helm of which there were many variations.

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The history of the helmet and armour, in general, is one of constant development and improvement, in the constant struggle against the advancements made by weapon makers during this period.

Medieval-Armourer-Medieval-Helmet-Maker

Helmets have been uncovered from Germanic tribes who settled in England during the earliest periods of medieval times and became known as the Anglo Saxons.

Anglo Saxon Helmets

The Coppergate Helmet (also known as the York Helmet) was an 8th Century Anglo-Saxon helmet discovered in York, England.

Anglo-Saxon-Helmet-Pioneer-Helmet

The Sutton Hoo is another Anglo-Saxon helmet that was discovered in the famous Sutton Hoo ship burial Historians believe that it was the helmet of a high-ranking member of society such as an Anglo Saxon Noble or King.

Anglo-Saxon-Helmet-Sutton-Hoo

Anglo Saxons Sutton Hoo Helmet


Spangenhelm Construction *Norman & Viking Helmets

The Spangenhelm was a popular construction method used to make helmets during the early medieval period, commonly separate sections of the helmet were joined together using metal strips that were riveted in place.

Nasal-Helmet-Spangenhelm-Medieval Helmets

These Norman and Viking helmets were conical in shape, designed to lessen the strikes from weapons by encouraging the blow to skim off the head thus reducing its force.

Spangenhelm-Early-Medieval-Helmet

Viking and Norman helmets used the Spangenhelm construction method.

Norman-Knights-Wearing-Norman-Nasal-Medieval-Helmets

Medieval Helmet – History and Development

Norman Nasal Helmet *Knights *Infantry

The Norman nasal helmet had a ‘Nasal Guard’ – also referred to as the Norman Casque!

Norman-Knight-wearing-Nasal-Helmet-Early-Medieval-Helmets

Norman Knight Wearing his Nasal Helmet

The Norman Spangenhelm construction helmet was fairly easy to produce, inexpensive, and popular, however, it did not protect the whole face and these areas were left vulnerable to attack.

Bodkin-Tipped-Arrow

New weaponry advancements such as the metal bodkin tipped arrow head created the demand for a well-rounded type of Helmet that completely protected the head.

Norman-Helmets-Medieval-Helmets

Viking Helmet

Viking warriors are always depicted as wearing horned helmets, however, modern historians now believe that this was an embellishment created by the Catholic Church and that horned helmets were mainly worn for ceremonial purposes, not warfare.

Horned-Viking-Helmet-Viking-Raider-Axe-Longboat-Medieval-Helmets

It is now thought that Vikings wore Spangenhelm construction-type helmets commonly with additional protective eye plates or cheek plates.

Viking-Helmet-with-eye-plate-coif-Medieval-Helmets

Viking Spangenhelm Construction Helmet with Eye Plate

Spangenhelm-type helmets were used for almost seven centuries by soldiers of all ranks.


Crusader Helmets *Knights

As the medieval period progressed helmets with side and full face plates became more common, it seemed a gradual transformation to helmets that fully encased the head such as the crusader helm helmets.

In this period of open-faced and fully encasing medieval helmets, there was often a choice to be made between the total protection of a Great Helm and the lighter more comfortable open-faced helmets with superior breathability and vision. For this and other reasons, later medieval periods saw a mixture of open-faced and fully enclosed helmets being worn.

The introduction of the visor in some ways resolved these issues as the helmet could be worn as both a closed and open helmet.

The-Crusades-Crusader-Knight

Great Helm *Flat Top Crusader Helmet

  1. Large Flat-Topped Helmet
  2. Rectangular Eyes Slits
  3. Breathing Holes improved Lower Visibility
  4. Period – Crusades 1095 – 1291
  5. Worn Underneath – *Padding *Mail Coif *Cerveilliere Helmet

The main disadvantage of this crusader’s flat top helm helmet was its flat top that would take the full force of an enemy blow, however, historians believe that historical evidence concludes that knights probably also wore padding, a chainmail coif, and a secondary helmet underneath called the Cervaillier to counter this problem.

Among a host of helmets used during this time, the early crusader flat-topped helm was the first to replace the Spangenhelm open face helmet designs by fully encasing the head.

Knights Helm Helmet

Sugarloaf Helm Helmet

The design of the flat-headed helm was later improved so that a weapon’s blows would glance at it in a similar way to the earlier conical nasal helmet, this new design was called the ‘Sugarloaf helm’.

This type of Helm was known as the Sugarloaf Helm

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Sugarloaf Helm


Bascinet Helmet

In line with developments with better weapons, a number of medieval helmets were developed during this time which offered better total head protection in comparison to those from earlier medieval periods.

Bascinet-Helmet-Front-Aventail

Open Bascinet is worn with additional Aventail chainmail frontal protection

The Bascinet was a basic open helmet that could be adapted to being a visored helmet. The Open Bascinet was popular with medieval infantry such as archers.

Knights-Bascinet-Helmet-with-Hounskull-Pig-Face

The closed Bascinet with Visor was popular with Knights.

The Bascinet helmet was a very popular and common helmet during the medieval period worn without a visor it was an open-faced helmet, worn with a visor it offered complete protection to the head. Knights and infantry used the bascinet (with and without a visor)

Bascinet Helmet*Popular Helmet from early 1400

Bascinet *Popular Helmet from early 1400

The Bascinet helmet was one of the most popular combat helmets during the medieval period, however it was replaced during the late medieval period (mid 15th century) by another combat helmet called the Sallet, most of Europe moved over to the Sallet from the Bascinet, it was especially popular in Germany where it was commonly manufactured.


Sallet Helmet *1450 +

The Sallet became the helmet of choice towards the end of the medieval period, there were many variations made throughout Europe and each country had its own take on the Sallet design.

German-Sallet-Helmet--Medieval-Helmets

The Sallet was very popular in England, France, and Italy alongside the Armet helmet, as with previous medieval helmets there were various styles and designs in different European countries.

English Sallet

English Sallet

German Sallet

Italian-Archers-Sallet-Helmet

Italian Archers Sallet Helmet


Armet Helmet 1450+

  • Popular Late Medieval Helmet with Knights and Heavy Cavalry
  • Helmet Fully Enclosed the Head
  • Compact and Light easy to transport and wear
  • Common in England, France, Spain, and especially Italy


Tournament Helmets

There were many different types of helmets worn at medieval tournaments by knights including the Bascinet and Great Helm

Variations of the closed helm were very popular with knights during later medieval tournaments.

However, as far as strange-looking tournament helmets go the Frog-Mouth German Helm was a clear winner.

Medieval Fighting Games

An important feature of helmets during this period was the presence of crests on helmets that identified their ancestry and were considered rather fanciful in design.

In some cases, simple feather plumes were used to denote the same. These types of helmets were commonly worn in medieval tournaments.

Infantry soldiers in a tournament melee (free-for-all tournament battles) could wear many types of helmets such as the sallet, bascinet, Spangenhelm, kettle hat and more.

Medieval Fighting Games Melee

In the early medieval period tournaments, the melee was the main sport of the occasion


Who Made Medieval Helmets

A number of materials were used to create medieval helmets, in earlier medieval times, bronze or hardened leather may have been used, in later medieval periods commonly iron and steel were forged by a specialist armour maker specialist ‘smith’ ‘armourer’ or manufacturer.

Medieval Blacksmith at Work

Commonly dedicated armorers who were classed as specialist smiths and craftsmen were responsible for making helmets.

Medieval Armourers in medieval times

Medieval Armourer


Best Medieval Helmet Designs?

Among a number of medieval helmet designs, there were a few that lasted for a number of centuries.

The Spangenhelm is associated with both infantry soldiers and norman knights it was worn throughout the medieval period by both.

The Great Helm was a popular helmet with medieval knights, heavily associated with the crusades, it is also known as the crusader helmet.

Knights Helm Helmet

Great Helm

The Bascinet with or without a visor is considered to be one of the most popular helmets of the medieval period. The bascinet was popular with both knights and infantry soldiers.

Bascinet

Bascinet

The Sallet Helmet was a very popular medieval helmet and took over from the Bascinet

German-Sallet-Medieval-Helmets

The Kettle Hat (Infantry Helmet)

The Kettle Hat was a popular helmet with infantry soldiers, it was very popular during the 13th century. The Kettle Hat had a wide brim that offered protection from downward blows.

As it was an open-faced helmet it offered good breathability and visibility.

Kettle-Hat-Helmet-Medieval-Helmets


The Barbute was also a very popular helmet in Italy with its distinctive T shape Face!