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Pack Saddles

Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:53 am
by Marghec
Hi all,

I have been asked to make a Medieval Pack Saddle.

I have seen and photographed in use a variety of pack saddles as used by 'primitive' cultures around the world, but have only found a few vague sketches of pack saddles from Medieval Europe, and details of these are generally obscured by the load. Most pack saddles revolve around the same simple design, because there is only really one answer to this age old problem, however I intend to collate as many medieval sketches and references as possible prior to designing my 'best guess' pack saddle.

Thus, does anyone know of any illustrations or references, or of anyone who has built one?


John Tremelling

Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 3:21 pm
by Type16
Hi John,
The only illustration I have is the water carrier from the Luttrell Psalter.

Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:03 pm
by Vermin
There a few pictures on the Companie of St George site in their Dragons newsletter ... gon-11.pdf - page 10

Though again it's mostly the load rather than the saddle

Pack Saddles

Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:16 pm
by Marghec
Thanks Vermin.

Andy, I am not familiar with that image and only have odd pages reproduced from the Luttrell Psalter. Is it available in its entirety?

Thanks both,

John T

Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:05 pm
by Theotherone

Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:07 pm
by Type16
Hi John,

the book I have has extract illustrations from the L. Psalter & few full pages. (Medieval Rural Life. Isbn0-7123-4663-5)

I have found this page on the British Library site that might help -- a virtual book!

Perhaps they have other documents that may be of intertest / help ?

Good luck, Andy

Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:48 pm
by lidimy
Ian Harbottle is on here though he doesn't post much.. he's a historical saddler so might have come across this before, might be worth getting in touch with him.

He posted on this thread a while back. ... ht=#134320

Pack Saddles

Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:32 am
by Marghec
Thanks for your various help.

Fascinating site from British Library.

John T

Pack saddles

Posted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 12:16 pm
by Timothy
If it is of any use to you, there are some excellent pictures of unladen pack saddles in East Roman ("Byzantine") mss. I reproduce one in my Osprey Warrior volume *Byzantine Infantryman*


Pack Saddles

Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 8:58 am
by Marghec
Thanks Timothy, all useful.

John T

Pack Saddles

Posted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:11 pm
by Timothy
> Thanks Timothy, all useful.

> John T

That's OK, as I may well pick your brains in return in due course. I have plans to make one myself for next season.


Posted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 6:17 pm
by Fair Lady Aside
There's a manuscript image of a pack horse being attacked by a bear. The tree is shown quite clearly. It's looks to be little more than a blanket over the horse's back with a series of staves attached to it. I don't recall what the activity in the scene was and am currently looking for it. If I find it, I'll post it.

But it is not unlike this pack saddle for a lama.

They seem to have different attachments or styles dependent on the baggage type you're moving.

I've seen others with half "hoops" or what look to be upside down yokes to carry roped bundles and others to carry chests or panniers.

Pack Saddles

Posted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 12:00 pm
by Marghec
Thanks Jenn, I have seen similar saddles used in Vietnam.

John T

Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:55 am
by Fair Lady Aside
I found a few pack saddles from paintings and manuscripts in my image collection. I'll have to post them when I have a chance. I even found the one with the bear. Also found one that shows the 'U'U's.

Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:17 pm
by Fair Lady Aside
Pack Saddles:

Bear attacking pack horse, man putting bags on bear.

Italian Baggage Train: Pannier type (look at the mule rounding the bend and the ones on the top slope carrying chests).

Flemish art

Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:56 pm
by Merlon.

Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:29 pm
by Fair Lady Aside
Very nice. Shows the lacing holes, structure, etc...

I think this one and the one I showed with the bear are 1500s. Might be a tad late. However, I don't think you can get any simpler in design than this type other than the X__X type.

I have one somewhere of Mary from 1426 that shows the forward edge that looks similar.

Pack Saddles

Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:54 pm
by Marghec
Thanks again Merlon and Jenn. Not much changed really, only one answer to the age old problem.

John T