Plate Armour A to Z List

Medieval plate armor got its name from the sheets or plates of metal that were used to make up the armor. The first type of plate armor was breastplate armor. Early armor used materials with sheets of metal sewn into it.

Full plate armor didn’t emerge as a “full suit” of armor worn by the typical knight until around the 14th century. By the 1400s full plate, armored knights were commonplace. Plate armor was the main protection of the medieval knight.

Full Suit of Plate Armour

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

Late medieval Armour was made from excellent quality steel due to improved production techniques. Late medieval armor had a shine to it and was actually called “white armor”.

Knights Armor Parts

Parts of a knight’s armor


Plate Armour A to Z List

Backplate *Back Plate Armour

Metal Plate in either 1, 2, or 3 pieces that protected the back – Found in early and late medieval times


Bard – Horse Plate Armour

The term is used for plate armor but is mainly used to describe horse armor. The Bard protected the breast and flanks area. The one-piece covering for a horse was called “trappers”. Early materials used were quilted cloth and leather. In the 12th century, Iron was also used. By the 13th-century Cuir bouilli was used, and the full metal plate was used later. A “Chanfron” was the name for armor that covered the head of a horse.

German Horse Armour

German Horse Armor *Chamfron Covers Head


Besagew *Rondel Shoulder Armour

Round Disc type plates that were worn on the shoulders area, had a decorative purpose and strengthened weak spots in armor and covered gaps. Besagew parts were fastened with straps around the elbow and front of the shoulder. Besagews were worn by knights.

Besagew-Rondel

Besagew Rondel


Bevor *Gorget *Chin and Neck Plate Armour

Plate armor for the neck and chin, also known as a gorget, was popular around the 13th century and used by knights as plate armor, later bevors could have padding underneath for comfort and could go so low as to protect parts of the chest.


Breastplate *Chest Plate Armour

Important plate armor to protect the chest. Early breastplates were made of bronze or leather. From around the 13th-century coats of the plate were fitted to leather. from around the 14th-century, full plate armor was introduced. Plate armor could be a single piece or several pieces joined together.

Maximilian Armour

Chest Plate Armor Maximillian

Sometimes lower-level troops such as the Swiss infantry wore the breastplate with a helmet as good protection, and it was not as costly or restrictive as full plate armor.

Pikemen in a Pike Formation


Brigandine *Body Armour

Leather, linen, or similar piece of body armor that had metal plates or rings incorporated into the design and could be worn alone or with plate armor parts.

The Brigandine was flexible armor. worn on the body by infantry such as archers. Also worn by nobles. The Origins of this armor stem from 14th century Italy and from Brigantine’s early forms found in Russia. This armor was more commonly worn and popular around the 15th century.

Brigandine also known as Jack armor


Chausses *Leg Mail *Plate Armour

Leg amour was popularised during the later medieval periods and was worn by the typical medieval knight. Leg armor was worn with full-body plate armor. Mail type Chausses were worn in earlier medieval times and metal plate Chausses later, both the Muslims and Christians wore Chausses in medieval Spain.

Medieval Longbowmen *See highlighted area


Cuirass *Upper Body Plate Armour

The Cuirass covered all of the upper body, usually in two sections. The front and back plate of armor was worn. The back and front plates were held together with laces, buckles, or similar. The Cuirass could be made from hardened leather as was common in ancient times or metal plates which were common in later medieval times. The Cuirass was often worn under a surcoat or over a Hauberk.

Medieval Italy Plate Armor


Cuisses Upper leg Armour *Leather *Scale *Metal Plate

Cuisses armor protected the upper leg and was made from different materials such as leather, overlapping scales, or plate, it is probable that leather was more common in ancient and early medieval times. Metal plate Cuisses were popular in the 14th Century. In the 15th Century overlapping lames or scales advanced the Cuisses by making them more flexible. The people who made Cuisses were called Kissers.


Espaliers *Spaulders *Shoulder Plate Armour

Espaliers could be a single plate or several overlapping plates that protected the shoulders, whalebone was sometimes used instead of the plate for tournament use. Espaliers types were called Spaulders in England. Espaliers were popular around the 13th and 14th Centuries in medieval times.


Gauntlets *Wrist Hand Armour *Leather Plate Fabric

A Gaunlet was an armored glove that could be made from leather, plate, and fabric, they were most commonly leather or fabric with an overlay of plates. Gauntlets were quite sophisticated pieces of armor and tiny pieces of plate were needed for the hands and fingers respectively.

Medieval Clothing Gauntlets

Hand and Wrist Armour *Gauntlets


Greaves *Lower Leg Plate Armour

Greaves known as Jambs were plate armor for the lower leg that has some similarity to shin pads worn by modern-day footballers. Medieval Knights wore Greaves around the 13th Century, although they did not get the name until the 14th century.

Greaves could be designed in one or two pieces to protect the back and front of the lower legs and were tied or buckled together. Greaves could also be designed to fit over the instep or ankles of a medieval knight.


Lance Rest

The lance rest was a hook-like attachment added to the breastplate of medieval knights’ armor. The lance rest made it easier for medieval knights to hold a lance, the lance had increased in weight due to changes in it’s design as the medieval period progressed and had become harder to hold for medieval knights. The lance rest was first introduced around the 13th Century and became more common in the 15th century.


Pauldron *Rerebrace *Shoulder Plate Armour

The Pauldron protected the shoulders of the medieval knight, it was made up of overlapping lames which provided greater flexibility. The Name “Pauldron” has French origins and it was around in the 14th century as a separate piece of armor, gaining popularity in the 15th century.

Pauldron-and-Rembrace

Pauldron and Rerebrace *Shoulder Armour


Poleyns *Knee Plate Armour

Poleyns were metal armor parts that protected the knees usually made from iron, historians debate whether early Poleyns existed that were made from leather, cuir-bouilli, or even Iron. Poleyns are shown in 13th-century illustrations. In the 13th century, large Poleyns were popular. In the 14th century, smaller Poleyns rose in popularity.


Sabatons *Foot Plate Armour

Sabatons offered protection for the medieval knight’s feet and were introduced around the 14th century. Some Sabatons such as the 15th century German designs were pointed which made them very distinctive. Medieval late Flemish shoes were also described as being Sabatons.


Spurs

Spurs were made from metal and were a spike or wheel. The prick spur or single spike spur was used commonly in the middle ages. The Spur which was attached to the heels of medieval cavalry soldiers was used to “spur on the horse” to get it moving faster. The Rowel Spur was popular in the 13th and 14th centuries.


Tassets *Body Plate Armour

Tassets could also be called Taces. Historians describe them as being like a “lobster tail”. Also described as a “skirt of armor”. Popular in the 15th century.


Vambrace *Forearm Plate Armour

The Vambrace offered protection to the Forearm of a medieval knight. Also worn by archers for wrist protection. First appeared in the 14th century, but also has been depicted in illustrations from the 9th century. Vambrace plates were strapped into position. The Germans designed Vambraces with flutes in many fancy designs.

Medieval Armourers in medieval times

Once an armorer had specified the features he would use in the armor, he would begin working on every inch of the armor, using tools such as a very heavy hammer and rudimentary welding equipment.