Jack of plates questions

Making, Pictures, Queries, Resources

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2005 8:58 pm
Location: Maryland, USA

Jack of plates questions

Post by KarenM »

Hello, I'm new here. I post as Flittie on the Armour Archive and posted as Karen Mac on the old Arador forums.

I'm primarily interested in Scotland and England of the 16th and early 17th centuries. I play in a U.S. LARP-type fantasy and semihistorical boffer game called Dagorhir. I base my fantasy character on the Scottish Border Reivers of the 16th century. I've become interested in trying to make a modified version of a jack of plates. I'm trying to find as much information as possible on these jacks. I do have the Osprey book on the Border Reivers, and I have had e-mail contact with Sean Barbour of the Borderers reenactment group.

My questions are as follows:

How many layers of fabric were typically used? How many on top of the plates and how many beneath? What thickness/weight of linen was used, in ounces?

What was the approximate size of each plate? How thick was the metal: 16, 18, or 20 gauge? How big was the hole in each plate?

Were the plates laced through all the backing layers of cloth? Were all the knots tied off on the inside, or were any of them tied off on the outside of the jack?

I'd be happy to hear from anyone who has made a reconstruction of a jack, since I understand that most people won't know the specifications of the jacks that are in the museums.

Thank you in advance for your help.

User avatar
Post Centurion
Posts: 903
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 12:10 pm
Location: Nottingham

Post by Skevmeister »

Karen are you referring to wsiby or brigaidne as ina cot of plates or as in Jack chains that fasten to the arms of the padded jack
ad augusta per angusta

No Hamster's, Moderators, Animals, or Re-Enactors were harmed in the making of this post.

Skev keeping it real since '86

Apathy Ain't A Policy

Post Knight
Posts: 1677
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 7:45 am
Location: Pontefract

Post by Nigel »

Neither its a 16th century Jack

Looks like a sleeveless doublet peascod and all

Iam going through my stuff but dont have that detail

Griff may
But remember there is no such thing as uniform
There’s a country in Europe where they treat their ex soldiers with pride no waits for medical treatment after injuries received during service, no amensia from the government. Cant for the life of me recall where it is but I know exactly where it is not.

User avatar
steve stanley
Post Knight
Posts: 1122
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2005 6:07 pm
Location: Leicester

Post by steve stanley »

Just been 'thro the bookshelves as I thought I had a sketch of some individual plates..but must have seen it somewhere else...As I recall,they are square with corners cut off at an angle(to allow stitching?) with a small hole in the centre..same reason?..varying size,but no more than about 1 1/2" a side.......outer side of covering was normally canvas.
"Give me a tent and a kettle
Snowshoes and axe and gun
Send me up in Grand River
Steering by star and sun".
- Labrador Trapper's Song

User avatar
Posts: 130
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 1:27 pm
Location: Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Post by nathan »

Hi Karen (nice to see that not everyone form Arador has dissapeared)

I'm afriad it's not my period of interest (though it probably should be due to family ties), i can only reccomend conversing with:

* the most excellent Mr Teague (who can still be found on the AA)
* or you may wish to direct your query to the Royal Armouries (either karen kwatts@armouries.org.uk or thom trichardson@armouries.org.uk) will be able to help you as they have several of these items in thier care.

From what i recall last time i saw one they do not seem to be heavily padded but are (unlike the earlier brigandine) lined and faced (fabric both sides of the plates) with probably a little padding underneath. They follow the fashion of the period with the rather pronounced & shaped lower abdomen (and so suit the more rotund male figure, again unlike brigandine).

I'm probbly heading up there again in the next few weeks, so if a few photos would be any help PM me.

Beware of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.

User avatar
Post Centurion
Posts: 594
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:18 pm
Location: The Chilterns

Post by Grymm »

Try contacting the Tudor Group, Mark Goodman has reconstructed one of these jacks and so he would be the man to talk too.
Futuaris nisi irrisus ridebis.

User avatar
Post Centurion
Posts: 759
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 9:46 pm
Location: Defending Devon from French invasion

Post by Foxe »

I made a jack of plates a few years ago. I don't have the notes on originals I took handy, but when I was doing research I remember being struck by how thin they were - there's minimal padding. Mine has a canvas outer layer stitched through the plates to a thick woollen layer of padding. It's then lined with a heavy linen. The plates are about 1 1/2 inch square and the holes and trimmed corners are indeed for sewing through. If made properly a jack of plates weighs about 3 times as much as a cuirass and has almost no extra movement. I fought in mine once then ditched it for my back and breast, I just use it for living history now.
...and further this Informant saith not.


'Don't be fooled by his general air of living in a skip'


Posts: 72
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 9:34 pm
Location: Leeds

Post by agesofelegance »

I manually examined the one in edinburgh and one at the RA and was able to see construction. The plates are shown In claude blair's book and are basicly squares with holes at each corner. we used about 1200 I think
The layers were different in both cases with a layer of wool in between each layer of linen I'll dig the notes out for you.
I'm supposed to have written an article about it but I'll get round to it eventually. If you go to the tudor page on my web site and look closely you can see the stitch technique

Post Reply