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Jack of plates questions

Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2005 9:16 pm
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.

Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 6:27 pm
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

Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 11:03 am
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

Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:15 pm
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.

Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 12:17 am
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 or thom 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.


Posted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 10:13 pm
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.

Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:26 pm
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.

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 11:09 pm
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