Medieval Knight Shield

A medieval knight’s shield was one of the most important elements of the life of medieval knights. It came in various shapes and designs which continued to evolve over centuries.

Medieval Shield Designs

Collection of Knight & Infantry Shields

The design of a medieval knight’s shield was made keeping into consideration the status of the knight and the shape of the shield. The Medieval knights often used different kinds of shields compared to the infantry.

Knight Shield Designs

Various styles of a medieval knight’s shield were prevalent during medieval times. This included the shape of the shield as well as the coat of arms of the knight. For instance, during the middle medieval times, round shields made of non-splitting wood were in vogue.

Early Wooden Medieval Knights Shield

These shields often had leather covers for better protection. During the late medieval times, however, several changes took place in the medieval knight shield designs. The Medieval Knights’ shields became smaller and lighter and the heater shield style became popular.

Popular Knights Shields

Medieval Knights Templar Shield

Knights Templar Shield *Knights of Jerusalem Shield


Black Prince Shield

Medieval Soldiers Shields

Norman Kite Shield



Norman Knight Kite Shield

Norman Shield *Kite Shield

Shield Parts

Knight Shield Emblems & Coat of Arms

A medieval knight’s shield had the coat of arms of the knight carved or painted on it. This coat of arms served to identify a particular knight or the order of the knight’s seniority.

Coat of Arms Gérard de Ridefort

Coat of Arms Gérard de Ridefort

The use of the coat of arms on medieval knight shields became common during the 12th century after the Crusades.


Knights Coat of Arms of the Duke of Beaufort

Eventually, the coat of arms began to be used as a flag in addition to its use on the shield. Other than the medieval knights, the coat of arms was also used as a symbol by the clergy and the nobility.

Medieval Nobility Medieval Baron Coat-of Arms Middleton Baron Coat of Arms

Medieval Nobility  Coat of Arms Shield and Flag

Knights Shield Defence

The primary purpose of a medieval knight’s shield was defense. Various kinds of shields were used for defense during medieval times. For instance, the Heater Shield was a large shield that became famous during the 13th century and was triangular in shape.

Heater Shield

Knights Templar Heater Shield

Another important form of medieval knights’ shield was the kite shield which, as the name suggests, resembled a kite in shape. Kite shields were developed to completely protect a knight’s body when mounted.

The Kite Shield is commonly associated with Norman Knights.

Norman Knights

Weaponry, shields, and horses used by medieval Norman knights *Kite Shield

Other than the wars, knights also used the shields for defense purposes during tournaments and duels. Thus a medieval knight shield was something that was indispensable for a medieval knight.

medieval knight ready for jousting tournament

Knights Shield – Attacking Weapon

Other than defense purposes, a medieval knight shield could also be used for attacking purposes. This, however, was true when there was no other attacking weapon.

Thus, for instance, a medieval knight shield could be used when a hand-to-hand battle ensued and the sword was either not available or lost.

Medieval Knights Warfare 1

Shields were also important during attacks because they allowed the armies to proceed while blocking the arrows of the enemy. A classic example is the Pravise Shield which allowed the crossbowman to hide behind it in order to reload his weapon.

Large Pravise Shield

Large Pravise Shield used by Crossbowmen

Medieval Knight Shield Summary

A medieval knight shield came in various sizes and styles. It could be made of wood, iron, or steel in addition to leather for greater protection and firm grip.

knight Shields

Medieval knights used these shields during wars as well as tournaments. The coat of arms of the medieval knight was painted on the shield for his identity.

Other than defense purposes, a medieval knight shield could also be used for attacking purposes in a hand-to-hand fight.

Practice using Buckler Shields

Early Medieval Fighting Practice Using small Buckler Shields