Helmet Decoration

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IagotheHungry
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Joined: Thu Jun 10, 2010 12:46 pm

Helmet Decoration

Post by IagotheHungry »

Sorry to stick loads of questions up, I make no excuses, I'm thick! Thanks for answering so many of these so quickly and in such volume though :)

Did men wear flowers, feathers, ribbon or any other sundry items as deoration on their helmets or uniforms during the English Civil War?

Thank you guys!
"Do you dress like that all the time?" "Of course, except in the shower." "...They didn't have showers back then, did they?"

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Merlon.
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Re: Helmet Decoration

Post by Merlon. »

In the early war soldiers were given small bunches of worsted ribbon to sew onto their doublets to show which regiment they belong to..
At other times field signs, required people to were specific leaves in their hats or to leave their shirt hanging out.
Some degree of personal decoration might be possible subject to budget and status

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CFury
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Re: Helmet Decoration

Post by CFury »

I have seen several helmets worn by officers with holders for plumes of feathers etc on the back, even on pots which were owned by the likes of Cromwell, Fairfax et al. Presumably this was as much for identification as fashion. The story of the feathers that appear on the coat of arms for the Prince of Wales comes from the battle of Crecy, I believe, where the kings eldest son (later to become Edward III) fought off an attack by a French noble (John Of Bohemia) and took the feathers from his helmet, his heraldic symbol and even his family motto (Ich Dien, or I serve). I may have misremembered this probably apocryphal tale, but I am sure that some other forum members know it far better than me. As far as the seventeenth century is concerned, there is plenty of evidence in paintings from Europe (see the Night Watch by Van Dyck) of the wearing of items such as feathers in headgear, and there's no reason to believe this was not also the fashion in the United Kingdom. I'm sure I'm heading for an almighty smackdown from the forum regulars, but thats my input on the subject! :D

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Merlon.
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Re: Helmet Decoration

Post by Merlon. »

Like I said previously
Merlon. wrote: Some degree of personal decoration might be possible subject to budget and status
If you can afford the feathers - Ostrich feathers at this time cost around 40 shillling each.
Or have a legitimate reason for having feathers off a game bird. Related to a game keeper or kitchen staff inm a large house.
Being a soldier did not give you immunity for prosecution. Various death sentences were carried out in the Civil war for stealing poultry, livestock and indeed bed linen.
If you raided a high status establishment, you did run the risk of a complaint and subsequent court martial whose punishments were alway more draconian than the court civil.

IagotheHungry
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Re: Helmet Decoration

Post by IagotheHungry »

So they probably did stick a 'feather in your cap' if it was warranted, like if you bagged a bird for the company scran? That makes sense, and I've seen a picture...somewhere...of a man with flowers in his hat band.

A lot of SK helmets have little holders at the back, and I assumed they were for plumage. I've only seen a couple of pikemen with plumes, and they were described as 'gentlemen'.
"Do you dress like that all the time?" "Of course, except in the shower." "...They didn't have showers back then, did they?"

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