Kite Shield

The Kite shield was one of the most popular types of medieval shields and the one from which various other types of shields were derived during later medieval times. This shield itself was popular during the early and particularly the middle medieval times from 10th to the beginning of the 13th century.

  • The kite shield is commonly associated with the Normans
  • The kite shield became more popular from the 10th century after the Norman conquest of England
  • The shape of the kite shield is similar to a kite and this is where it gets its name
  • Early kite shields had a tear-drop shape but eventually it became flat topped
  • Kite shields often had the colours of their owners displayed like the Knights Templar white and red cross
Kite Shield

Medieval Kite Shield of the Type used by Norman Knights

Definition of a Kite Shield

The term kite shield, as is evident, was applied to this medieval shield because of its resemblance with kite shape. Initially, it had a reverse tear-drop shape with smooth edges but with the passage of time, it became a flat-topped shield. This was among those medieval shields that were particularly popular among the Normans who brought it with them to England.

How was a Kite Shield used?

The main purpose of a kite shield was the protection of whole flank of a rider during combat. Due to this reason, it sometimes had a gradual curve to fit the contour of human torso. The kite shield was used by the common soldiers as well as riders during the early and middle medieval times.

Norman Knight Kite Shield

Norman Knight Holding a Kite Shield

What Soldiers used Kite Shields?

Since the kite shield was among the most common medieval shields, it was extensively used by common soldiers, both riders and foot soldiers. During the earlier stages, kite shields had no boss but it was introduced later on to make it easier to deflect incoming blows.

Kite Shield Summary

One of the most popular medieval shields during the early and middle medieval times was the kite shield which resembled the shape of a kite. The kite shield was made popular by the Normans who extensively used it from the 10th to the 12th centuries.

  • The Normans brought the kite shield to England when they invaded in 1066
  • The kite shield was designed to protect the flank of a rider during battle
  • A favourite shield of the cavalry the kite shield was also used by the infantry
  • The kite shield boss in the centre help strengthen the shield
  • The kite shield boss did deflect some arrows but was mainly for decoration
  • The kite shield was one of the most popular medieval shields with foot soldiers and cavalry

We hope you enjoyed reading this article on medieval kite shields, medieval kite shields served an important purpose to protect cavalry and infantry in medieval times and was shaped like a kite. If you would like to learn more about other medieval shields such as the Buckler, Targe and Pavise shield which were as equally important innovations as the kite shield please see the links at the bottom of this page.



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