Crowood Press, The History of Armour 1100-1700
Title:  The History of Armour, 1100-1700
Author: Paul F Walker
Publisher:  Crowood Press
ISBN:  978-1-84797-452-5

A hardback book from The Crowood Press is this work by Paul F Walker, looking at 600 years of development of Armour.  He has lectured on the subject for English Heritage.  He covers the development of personal armour, including the extension of it to the knight's warhorse.

Split into 12 chapters he provides a useful introduction to how armour developed over the 600 years.  No photos to go from as we have had in recent times, so much of his research has involved not only paintings, but the many effigies and tombs that exist in churches all around the UK and those examples of real armour still remain in museums and collections today.  Some of the effigies are several hundred years old and have deteriorated badly with time, but many are still in very good condition.  The skills of the various sculptors, as well as any artistic license they may have used in interpreting the figure they were representing, he has pieced together a wealth of information that throws light on the whole subject of armour during the period as some of them have great attention to detail.

The main chapters then examine each element of protection provided by a suit of armour, covering the Head, the Body, Arms, Gauntlets, Leg and Foot protections before moving on to Weaponry, Shields and armour for the Warhorse.  Each section offer helpful explanation of how features developed and are all well illustrated with some good graphics, along with photos of many effigies to be seen in churches around the country.  Indeed, it may provide you with a bit of extra incentive to stop and take a closer look as at some if you visit some of these sites and go to take a look for yourself.

A bit earlier than my usual period of interest, though most of us will remember the image of the knights of old, and some of the old films we may have watched as children.  Even more modern offerings such as Knights Tale still make for good entertainment.  The artwork used to accompany the text is excellent, and will make a very useful reference for the figure modeller who likes to work on models of Medieval knights and at the same time offer more explanation of why such and such a piece was made in that way.  It helps to understand how the different styles of armour developed over the years, and had to remain light and flexible enough for a person to actually wear and fight in it without it being too heavy and cumbersome to wear without losing the protection it was intended to offer.  Fashion was very much a factor over the years.  The author's research and explanation of how he has used the old effigies to assist him in assembling the information is interesting in itself.  For medieval historians and re-enactors it will be a great benefit in increasing understanding of the subject.

Thanks to The Crowood Press for our example, it is available now.

For full details on this title and others, see the Crowood Press website.