Later (1110) Norman Shield Construction

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I Am Actually A Hero
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Later (1110) Norman Shield Construction

Postby I Am Actually A Hero » Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:42 pm

My Lords, Ladies and Peasant Folk,

I intend to construct a late Norman shield using (as far as possible) authentic components and techniques. In my research I have found an enormous array of Anglo-Saxon/Viking finds, literature, and so on; but pretty much zero for the Norman stuff. In fact there seems to be an almost total "dark age" of knowledge between 1000 and 1300 on shield construction. Sure, there are some bosses (very few) but I am interested in the handles, plank orientation (horizontal I guess) and coverings (if any).

Does anyone know of some actual archaeological research papers/books on this subject?

Ta Muchly.
Sir K

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Medicus Matt
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Re: Later (1110) Norman Shield Construction

Postby Medicus Matt » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:56 pm

Have a read through this thread on MyArmoury. Think you'll find it useful.

"I never said that I was here to help."

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Brother Ranulf
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Re: Later (1110) Norman Shield Construction

Postby Brother Ranulf » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:23 am

You will find no archaeological papers on this in English because there are no finds to write about. The 1110 period you specify in your subject heading is also an era of minimal contemporary documentary evidence in England, since the monasteries were still in chaos after the Conquest and manuscript production suffered as a result; it was only by 1130 that manuscripts began to be produced in large numbers again.

The main (possibly the only) English source for that specific time is Gregory's Moralia in Job, produced perhaps at Rochester cathedral priory in 1111 - the book was certainly in Rochester's library a few years later. This includes images of Cistercian lay brothers, knights and other people in civilian clothing. The shields are almost certainly flat at this time in Anglo-Norman England; none of the shields in the manuscript show any sign of curvature and all are equipped with an iron boss placed about one-third of the distance down the face of the shield. Interesting details shown include two leather enarmes straps for the hand/wrist and the guige strap for the shoulder:


Some shields began to take on a curved profile in about 1120, but the flat type continued in use for a while after that. Bosses began to fall out of use in the 1150s, but again some were still seen towards the end of the century - heraldry (first seen in England in the 1140s) may have been the main factor in this decline in the use of bosses.

Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

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