Great Seal of King Stephen. Drawn from an impression among the Select Seals in the British Museum, and from that appended to Harleian Charter, 43, C. 13. The helmet seems to have had a nasal, but the seals at this part are so imperfect that it cannot be clearly traced. Behind is seen a portion of the lace which fastened the coif or the casque.
Great Seal of King Henry I., circa 1100. From Cotton Charter, ii. 2 (in British Museum). The instrument is a confirmation of the gift of Newton by "Radulfus filius Godrici," and is witnessed by Queen Matilda and others.
The material of the hauberk is represented by that honeycomb-work so often observed in seals of this period, and which appears to be one of the many modes in use to imitate the web of interlinked chain-mail. The leg does not shew any markings as of armour, but these may have disappeared from the softening of the wax, and the prominence of the seal at this part. The helmet is a plain conical cap of steel, without nasal : the spur a simple goad. The lance-flag terminating in three points, is ensigned with a Cross. The shield is of the kite-form, shewing the rivets by which the wood and leather portions of it were held together. The peytrel of the horse has the usual pendent ornaments of the time.
Seal of Alexander I., King of Scotland : 1107-1124. The figure is armed in hauberk with continuous coif, apparently of chain-mail ; worn over a tunic or gambeson, seen at the wrist and skirt. Conical nasal helmet, lance with streamer, kite-shield, and goad-spur, are the other items of the equipment. The leg does not shew any armour, though the softening of the wax may have obliterated markings which originally indicated a defensive provision at this part. The ornaments of the portrait are usual at this period.
Great Seal of King William the Conqueror : from the fine impression appended to a charter preserved at the Hotel Soubise in Paris. The charter is a grant to the Abbey of St. Denis of land at Teynton, in England. The king wears the hauberk of chain-mail over a tunic. The hemispherical helmet is surmounted by a small knob, and has laces to fasten it under the chin. The legs do not appear to have any armour : the spur has disappeared. A lance with streamer and a large kite-shield complete the warrior's equipment. The legend is + Hoc NORMANNORUM WILLELMUM ITOBCE PATRONUM sI(GNO).
Next, round plates of metal, called placates or roundels, were applied to shield the armpits from a thrust; and sometimes they were used also at the elbow to protect the inner side of the joint where, for the convenience of motion, it was destitute of armour. An example of a roundel at the shoulder will be seen in one of the men-at-arms in the woodcut
The other great invention of this period was that of armorial bearings, properly so called. Devices painted upon the shield were common in classical times. They are found ordinarily on the shields in the Bayeux tapestry, and were habitually used by the Norman knights. In the Bayeux tapestry they seem to be fanciful or merely decorative; later they were symbolical or significant. But it was only towards the close of the twelfth century that each knight assumed a fixed device, which was exclusively appropriated to him, by which he was known, and which became hereditary in his family.
Knight of the Fifteenth Century
The cut is a spirited little sketch of a mounted knight. The horse, it may be admitted, is very like those which children draw nowadays, but it has more life in it than most of the drawings of that day; and the way in which the knight sits his horse is much more artistic. The picture shows the equipment of the knight very clearly, and it is specially valuable as an early example of horse trappings, and as an authority for the shape of the saddle, with its high pommel and croupe.
Knight in War-harness, after a Miniature in a Psalter written and illuminated under Louis le Gros
Lancer of the army of the Sultan of Begharmi