Spurs - 15th C.

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IDEEDEE
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Spurs - 15th C.

Post by IDEEDEE »

I'm after getting my mitts on some suitable spurs (rowel type) for a 15C living history gig (for costume/display only - not actually riding with them).

There seem to be some very nice items avaliable in the States, but by the time you add the P&P & excise these fall outside my present price range.

I've found a couple of Italian sites that stock 15thC items that look ok and wouldn't break the bank (but which I suspect are something out of the Deepeeka catalogue) and very similar "gothic" items stocked elsewhere; but the images on the sites aren't clear enough to show the quality (e.g .do the rowels actually turn etc.). Allegedly Get Dressed For battle used to carry such items, but their site seems to be somewhat erratic at present and I've got no joy there.

I was wondering if anyone had any experience of obtaining period spurs and/or the products that seem to be around.
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

I'm interested too but don't know if I should-are spurs a sign of knighthood?
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John Waller
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by John Waller »

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:I'm interested too but don't know if I should-are spurs a sign of knighthood?
And a sign that you ride a horse :) .

Some nice repros here http://www.quietpress.com/spurs.html

My limited understanding is that generally they were of iron, possibly tinned, or plated if you were wealthy.

I got a cheap pair of brass rowelled spurs from Two Js.
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by the real lord duvet »

having checked their website although names after famous 14th C warrior harry hotspur they didn't form until 1882.......



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Jason
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by Jason »

The quietpress ones are lovely but soft and bendy metal repros (I have a pair). Great for walking about, but they don't work on a horse at all.

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IDEEDEE
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by IDEEDEE »

Cheers guys.

The quietpress products do look nice, and are nicely priced too; but did they come with the straps, buckles & (I don't know the technical term, so forgive me) sort of strap terminal with a ring to attach the straps to the spur (which seems to be the thing for the period I'm after)?

Hi Marcus. Yeah. I wondered that. Well, the Ellesmere manuscript of the Canterbury Tales seems to show a number of non-knightly classfolk wearing spurs (inc. the Wife of Bath). However, the cook doesn't, neither does the miller. The friar doesn't seem to either (it's diffcult to tell about the other clergy 'cos of their long robes). It looks like common sense generally prevails (also the cook & miller are wearing what look like chunky, working footwear).
Those with spurs all seem to be wearing pretty much the same design too (incl the ladies) - looking a bit like the Churburg spurs (rather than the longer, "gothic" type). There is an interesting varation in colour though: Chaucer himself has brown/black looking spurs with brown straps, the Pardoner, summoner, canon's yeoman, Wife o' B. & shipman - white ones (tinned?) with white straps (?). However, the Knight's are clearly gilded - which I guess is where the status symbol/class element comes in....

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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by John Waller »

IDEEDEE wrote:Cheers guys.

The quietpress products do look nice, and are nicely priced too; but did they come with the straps, buckles & (I don't know the technical term, so forgive me) sort of strap terminal with a ring to attach the straps to the spur (which seems to be the thing for the period I'm after)?...
Looks like they do straps & buckles etc. http://www.quietpress.com/Spurstraps.html
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by guthrie »

IDEEDEE wrote: Those with spurs all seem to be wearing pretty much the same design too (incl the ladies) - looking a bit like the Churburg spurs (rather than the longer, "gothic" type). There is an interesting varation in colour though: Chaucer himself has brown/black looking spurs with brown straps, the Pardoner, summoner, canon's yeoman, Wife o' B. & shipman - white ones (tinned?) with white straps (?). However, the Knight's are clearly gilded - which I guess is where the status symbol/class element comes in....
Aye, they had both tinning, bronzing and guilding at that time. I've read of examples of all of them in spurs, although am less sure about gilding.

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IDEEDEE
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by IDEEDEE »

Cheers John Waller (& DOH!! How did I miss that on the site :$ )

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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by Colin Middleton »

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:I'm interested too but don't know if I should-are spurs a sign of knighthood?
Part of the (13th C) knighting ceremony was that you were fitted with spurs and a sword (and belt). This represented the fact that you were a member of the mounted warrior eliet. However, that doesn't mean that other people didn't wear them. I'd be surprised if only te knights were permitted them, given the number of people who rode horses lots.

Have you tried your local armourer. I'm sure that White Rose used to sell them.
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by Colin Middleton »

Just out of curiosity, does the fit of the spurs matter? The ankle is one of the more complex parts of the body to fit things round (one of the reasons that properly made greaves are so expensive) and it seems that you should encounter similar issues with the spurs.
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by Friesian »

Colin Middleton wrote:Just out of curiosity, does the fit of the spurs matter? The ankle is one of the more complex parts of the body to fit things round (one of the reasons that properly made greaves are so expensive) and it seems that you should encounter similar issues with the spurs.

Colin , spurs fit below the ankle ...I don't know ,but would assume that the rider would open or squeeze shut the spur to adjust the width slightly if they were 'off the shelf ' , just as you do with modern ones if they don't quite fit (?).......... Having said that they're bloody uncomfertable if to tight .

Original period spurs are quite common finds it appears , judging by the amount offered for sale through various mediums . Don't think you'd get far on certain horses I've known (unless you had the strength of Geoff Capes in your legs & the patience of a saint) without them !

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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by House of De Clifford »

I bought a pair of rowel spurs for 15thC use from 2j's last year, Steve from Bowstock trading made me some fantastic straps and buckles for them and i have to say i love them. (They jingle jangle when you walk)!!!
They where off the shelf and fitting is not an issue as they are held in place by a strap over the top of the foot and one under the foot. They actualy help to keep my boots in place as the straps fit the spurs snugly to the front of the ankle and pull the spur tight against the back of the heel.
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by Colin Middleton »

Thanks for that guys. I've never worn spurs of any kind, so didn't know what effect it would have.
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by Friesian »

House of De Clifford wrote:I bought a pair of rowel spurs for 15thC use from 2j's last year, Steve from Bowstock trading made me some fantastic straps and buckles for them and i have to say i love them. (They jingle jangle when you walk)!!!
They where off the shelf and fitting is not an issue as they are held in place by a strap over the top of the foot and one under the foot. They actualy help to keep my boots in place as the straps fit the spurs snugly to the front of the ankle and pull the spur tight against the back of the heel.
Dave.
What does the horse think of them :sweat: ?

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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by abaddon1974 »

Does anyone with more knowledge than me (that means anyone really) know if spurs were used in the 15th century without the rowel?
Just thinking that except in certain mounted sports rowels are somewhat frowned upon these days.

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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by Jason »

This is an interesting issue. Riding positions and riding style as far as we can tell was very different to the style typically taught today. (The 15th Cnetury jousting treatise mention two forms of riding, so we're in a transitional period as far as styles is concerned at this time.) The leg position of riders was very different from that encouraged today if we are to believe the manuscript illustrations, toes down, legs forward, different saddle too. There are various thoughts about the horribly severe rowel spurs that are illustrated and seen in museums. They might have been for show/fashion like pointy shoes, or they might have simply not cared about cutting the side of their mount up a bit (which would be a surprise as they were expensive creatures and infections could kill a horse), or perhaps they were only rarely or delicately used, possibly the really pointy ones were to be used through the cloth of a caparison thus reducing their severity. I believe western destrier were almost always entire, which makes a difference in how you might approach riding them.

FYI The position of the foot and the position of the spur on the ankle (or heel in Spanish riding) makes a big difference to where it will touch the side of your horse and therefore how it's used.

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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by Jason »

Non-rowel spurs were much in use in earlier periods, and i Imagaine were still used in the 15thC, after all spurs of almost medieval design are in current use today, with the exeption of fitting them to a heeled boot. Some things just work.

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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by Colin Middleton »

What are modern spurs like?

I recall a discussion where it was proposed that the rowel spurs would hurt the horse less than the solid pric spurs as you couldn't bring so much force to bear on them.
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by Friesian »

Jason wrote:Non-rowel spurs were much in use in earlier periods, and i Imagaine were still used in the 15thC, after all spurs of almost medieval design are in current use today, with the exeption of fitting them to a heeled boot. Some things just work.
Would seem a logical conclusion , though one not backed up by archeology . Refering to The Museum of London book of ' The Medieval Horse & Its Equipment ' ,it appears that (judging by the finds) by the late 12th /early 13th century prick spurs were on the way out .There are Rowel spurs in amongst early 13th century finds but no prick spurs in later levels .Interestingly enough though (as you point out ) very little else has changed much , even (contrary to popular re-enactor oppinion) snaffle bits seem to have been quite widely used .

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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by Friesian »

Colin Middleton wrote:What are modern spurs like?

I recall a discussion where it was proposed that the rowel spurs would hurt the horse less than the solid pric spurs as you couldn't bring so much force to bear on them.
Modern spurs come in many guises .In England the most commonly used for every day use is like a very blunt prick spur ,though other styles are availible .In Spain & the USA rowel spurs are still pretty common ,though not as sharp as medieval rowels .
Personally I would rather ride without spurs , but they are sometimes essential to get the best from your horse , when I need to wear spurs I tend to favour the Western style rowel .

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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by Friesian »

Colin Middleton wrote:What are modern spurs like?

I recall a discussion where it was proposed that the rowel spurs would hurt the horse less than the solid pric spurs as you couldn't bring so much force to bear on them.
I had also heard this - not sure whether its fact or theory as a lot has to do with how the rider uses them

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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by House of De Clifford »

AS mentioned, prick spurs up till the 13th C then rowel spurs seem to be far more in use. I must admit, my spurs are not exact copies of 15thC as the arm holding the rowel is not really long enough but they suffice as a stand in, the opinion being that seeing as how i portray Lord Clifford, spurs are a must. (And they jingle jangle when you walk)!! :D
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

Its the jingle jangle that makes me want to get them to. I'm a tart.
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by House of De Clifford »

Well said Marcus,
There should be more jingle jangle (but not in a jimmy saville style) :D
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by Friesian »

House of De Clifford wrote:AS mentioned, prick spurs up till the 13th C then rowel spurs seem to be far more in use. I must admit, my spurs are not exact copies of 15thC as the arm holding the rowel is not really long enough but they suffice as a stand in, the opinion being that seeing as how i portray Lord Clifford, spurs are a must. (And they jingle jangle when you walk)!! :D
Dave.



Not all spurs had extended rowels in the 15th century , again refering to The Museum of London ,lengths vary . Can't personally see the point of actually wearing them though if your not going to ride or at least have a horse in the camp to complete the part - Just my opinion -no offence meant

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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by House of De Clifford »

[quote Not all spurs had extended rowels in the 15th century , again refering to The Museum of London ,lengths vary . Can't personally see the point of actually wearing them though if your not going to ride or at least have a horse in the camp to complete the part - Just my opinion -no offence meant[/quote]

Because they jingle jangle when you walk !!! does there need to be another reason, (kind of makes you feel like a cowboy in tin) wierd huh!
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by Colin Middleton »

Friesian wrote:Can't personally see the point of actually wearing them though if your not going to ride or at least have a horse in the camp to complete the part - Just my opinion -no offence meant
For me, it's because every knights had them, so if I'm a knight, so should I. I don't know if I'll ever WEAR them, but I should at least have them available. It's kind of like adding to the story, it provided a talking point and draws the MOP into your world and makes them think of things that they might otherwise overlook.

Besides my horse is stabled just the other side of that wall (where the modern car park is)... :wink:
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by House of De Clifford »

AND THEY JINGLE JANGLE !!!!!!
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Re: Spurs - 15th C.

Post by narvek »

Btw: Medieaval Design based in Italy offers an iron 15C spurs. They're a bit more pricey than the quiet press ones, but still lovely.
http://www.medievaldesign.com/eng-prodo ... _chiave=13
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