Hoisting of Knights

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Hoisting of Knights

Postby Simon Atford » Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:25 pm

From the "Mythconceptions" column in the latest (Feb 08.) edition of Fortean Times:

You've seen the scene in the films where the mediaeval knight in armour has to be hoisted aboard his horse with a crane. Can't be true, surely: if the armour was that heavy, how would the knight fight? And wouldn't he have sqaushed his poor horse flat?


I think we can say pretty conclusively that it is a total myth (unless anyone knows different of course) but where and how did the idea come about?

Was it Hollywood, the Victorians or somebody else :?:



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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:11 pm

I read that it was due to the re-inforced atom bomb proof armour that was worn during jousts of the 16th century. You didn't need to move just sit and point. However as its not something that really interests me that too may be a myth I've just picked up, so don't swear it as gospel.


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Postby Brother Ranulf » Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:30 pm

What if . . . a man in his later years was so obese before he put on any clothing or armour that he was unable to mount a horse without mechanical help - not thinking of any particular kings called Henry VIII, but if the cap fits ....


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Postby latheaxe » Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:34 pm

If my missis' was put on a horse she would have to be hoisted on lol... :lol: :shock: :lol: (ERRRRR,Dont' tell her i said that)



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Postby Zachos » Sat Jan 19, 2008 12:23 am

I believe it was used to poke fun at knights "he needs a crane to get into his saddle lol japes" kind of thing. There was a lot of rivalry happening between knights, and I believe they often had competitions to see who could do the most impressive vault into the saddle while in full harness.

Its also a case that people assumed the later "bulletproof" harnesses were typical of everything that went before, and so any jibes about knights being winched places were taken as norm rather than exceptional.


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Postby Phil the Grips » Sat Jan 19, 2008 2:28 am

Vaulting was considered a basic essential skill for young men- anyone trying to mount a horse in armour will soon find out why...


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Postby Laffin Jon Terris » Sat Jan 19, 2008 10:52 am

I believe the first actual recorded example of someone in harness being winched onto a horse appears in Olivier's version of Henry V.

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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sat Jan 19, 2008 11:16 am

Which is wrong as in Henry V the King muses that he wishes it was as easy to win Katherines heart as it is to jump on a vault onto his horse along the "if only that was enough to impress her" lines. (We've all been there mate).


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Postby Simon Atford » Sat Jan 19, 2008 8:51 pm

Brother Ranulf wrote:What if . . . a man in his later years was so obese before he put on any clothing or armour that he was unable to mount a horse without mechanical help - not thinking of any particular kings called Henry VIII, but if the cap fits ....


I must admit that Bluff King Hal did spring to mind when I was musing on this topic. Is there any evidence that some kind of mechanical aid was used to get him into the saddle in his later years :?:
Last edited by Simon Atford on Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Hoisting of Knights

Postby guthrie » Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:42 am

Simon Atford wrote:From the "Mythconceptions" column in the latest (Feb 08) edition of Fortean Times:

You've seen the scene in the films where the mediaeval knight in armour has to be hoisted aboard his horse with a crane.



To which my question is, what films? Admittedly I am not a film buff, but I've never come across such a scene.



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Postby Eve » Sun Jan 20, 2008 12:33 pm

Laurence Oliviers version of Henry V, French Knights being winched onto their horses just before battle.



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Postby Simon Atford » Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:40 pm

And by the magic of YouTube here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jXFnQUU7yg

It occurs about 3 minutes in, just after the Crispian's Day speech.



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Postby Handbag » Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:26 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

so very brave and dignified!!!! :lol: :lol:



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Postby Laffin Jon Terris » Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:28 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:Which is wrong as in Henry V the King muses that he wishes it was as easy to win Katherines heart as it is to jump on a vault onto his horse along the "if only that was enough to impress her" lines. (We've all been there mate).


Isn't that the point though Marcus, we know its wrong but Standard Director Excuse number one clearly states:

"We're not making a documentary lovvie, this is entertainment!"

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Postby guthrie » Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:54 pm

Eve wrote:Laurence Oliviers version of Henry V, French Knights being winched onto their horses just before battle.

THats it? That is all it takes to set off generations of stupid questions and assumptions?

OK, if we can all win the lottery we can get a proper scriptwriter to write a good story which will include lots of incidents harpooning every single misconception such as the winch one.
I'd do it, but I have other stories to write first.



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Postby Phil the Grips » Sun Jan 20, 2008 9:04 pm

A huge number of medieval myths appear in Mark Twain's " A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court", dated 1889, that have since been perpetuated as fact, along with T.H. White's "Once and Future King".


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Re: Hoisting of Knights

Postby Lindsay » Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:08 am

I'm pretty sure it appears in Sword of the Valiant as well.

guthrie wrote:
To which my question is, what films? Admittedly I am not a film buff, but I've never come across such a scene.


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Postby Eve » Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:19 am

I never said that Henry V is the only film that shows it, it's just one of the more famous examples which most people will have seen.



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Knniggetts and heavy armour/cranes/shire horses

Postby jelayemprins » Tue Jan 22, 2008 10:03 am

Mornin'

Fuel for the fire here. What with the upcoming anniversary of H8 accession next year etc. Tudor is derigeur at the mo.

A good friend in the world of professional display is having a 1500 garniture made - the helmet alone weighs in at 21 pounds.The whole harness now weighing in at over 100 lbs. PLease weigh your own sallet here.....

The whole 16th century joust derived from the Gestech of late 15th century Germany with the heavy frogmouthed helm bolted onto the breastplate.

Not only heavy but imovable as well. Now in large tournaments, such as those staged by Henry 8 which cost millions by todays standards, some sort of lifting device for the over- sized Henry in 1540 might well have been needed. However I can't find any evidence for cranes.

The Gestech developed by Maximilian I who had great passion for tournaments. The lighter-armoured joust, the Rennen was developed to show off different skill at arms - with the exploding sallet brow reinforce shields,and breastplates too.

Knights will be riding shires next I expect.


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Postby Laffin Jon Terris » Tue Jan 22, 2008 10:29 am

My understanding -based on nothing but my own assumption I must add-
was that the harnesses were designed to have all the re-enforcement pieces bolted and screwed on to them as the wearer sat on his horse.

After all, why should I blunder around in kit that is incredibly heavy and limits my movement when I could sit there and have it bolted on to me?

Not to mention being hoisted ungracefully into the air like some giant fish while people point and comment about my weight?

Jousting aside, the general idea of hoisting knights onto horses can't be acceptable, it just goes along with the ideas that armour and swords were ridiculously heavy and no-one could move whilst wearing or holding such items.

Either that or medieval gravity was far stronger than modern gravity.
(They don't make stuff like they used to any more mutter mutter)

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Postby Chris, yclept John Barber » Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:33 pm

Laffin Jon Terris wrote:My understanding -based on nothing but my own assumption I must add- was that the harnesses were designed to have all the re-enforcement pieces bolted and screwed on to them as the wearer sat on his horse.




But could you lift a 20lb helm or a 35lb (I'm guessing here!) bulletproof breastplate high enough to bolt it onto an already-mounted knight?

That theory would require a kind of drydock / starting-gate arrangement, where you lead the saddled horse in at one end, the knight and squires climb steps to reach stirrup-height platforms from which they can respectively mount the horse, and work on bolting the armour into place. You'd need one platform either side of the horse so that one squire could hold the armour in place while the other tightens the nuts. There would be swing-doors at each end to stop the nag wandering off when it got bored with these antics...

Now that's a film scene I'd like to see, and then wait for the MOPs to ask if it ever happened! :D


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Postby Phil the Grips » Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:03 pm

It needn't be a full gate assembly- a well trained horse stands eaily enough, especially if held on a halter of some sort, and a couple of movable mounting blocks be sufficient to do the job.


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Postby Laffin Jon Terris » Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:35 pm

Chris, yclept John Barber wrote:That theory would require a kind of drydock / starting-gate arrangement, where you lead the saddled horse in at one end, the knight and squires climb steps to reach stirrup-height platforms from which they can respectively mount the horse, and work on bolting the armour into place. You'd need one platform either side of the horse so that one squire could hold the armour in place while the other tightens the nuts. There would be swing-doors at each end to stop the nag wandering off when it got bored with these antics...

Now that's a film scene I'd like to see, and then wait for the MOPs to ask if it ever happened! :D


As opposed to requiring a crane capable of lifting an entirely harnessed knight onto his horse, (which must for true comic effect be obliviously munching grass and unaware of the knight dangling precariously above him).

It doesn't really have to be a monstrous dry dock though does it? I figured more like a fenced pen with sides that the squires can climb on to help fix plates etc into place , kind of like the ones the Americans use for Bronco riding maybe?

Or simply a bigger version of the kind of mounting block that is occasionally found at stately homes?

A darn sight simpler than building a crane and a lot more dignified for the knight (more work for the squires I'll grant you, but who cares about them?!)


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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:46 pm

Nah keep the hoist...to me, to you, to me, yo you, to me, to you...


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Postby Grymm » Wed Jan 23, 2008 8:39 pm

Possibly it comes from around the time of the Eglington Tournament in 1839 where port swilling gout ridden victorian gentlemen unused to wearing the mismatched harness that was 3-5 hundred years old and made for someone else attempted to get on shire horses...............or hollywood made it all up.


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Postby BrendanGrif » Wed Jan 23, 2008 11:29 pm

I have a mental picture of something not that far from a formula one pit stop.... though I cant imagine a sub 10 second time to feed a horse and change its shoes...

Brendan



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Postby Phil the Grips » Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:13 am

Jousting is directly analogous to Formula 1 so your image is not too far from the mark :)


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Postby Zachos » Thu Jan 24, 2008 8:56 am

BrendanGrif wrote:I have a mental picture of something not that far from a formula one pit stop.... though I cant imagine a sub 10 second time to feed a horse and change its shoes...

Brendan


Think more of just changing the whole horse. They would choose the horse based on what they needed from that particular pass, in about the same way one might choose a different golf club for different shots.

That definatly happened in war, so I would imagine the joust would be similar.


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Postby Chris T » Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:17 pm

Its not from the Eglington Tournament: although ruined by the weather (never happens now with our superior planning and weather forecasting :wink: ) the knights were mostly young and fit, and had spent a considerable amount of time training. (again no parrellels should be drawn!)



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Postby Hraefn » Tue Feb 19, 2008 12:27 am

Any word of them being hoisted on at this Eglington do (There were other tourneys organised in the late 18th and early 19thCs weren't there or did I make it all up?) if not there's a fair chance that the idea is post 1839.


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