A few questions regarding Reenactment headwear

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Daniel CR
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:32 pm

A few questions regarding Reenactment headwear

Post by Daniel CR »

I want to preface this post by saying that I'm entirely new to this site and I might make a bunch of mistakes. I don't know if I'm stupid or something, but I couldn't find a list of rules, so please tell me if I'm breaking any rules or norms.

Anyways, I'm a student in a school grade that roughly corresponds to Year 10/11, and I have to create some form of product as a kind of "Final Project" and write a report on the project, the report then being counted for a rather large portion of my grade. I chose to make a set of headgear from the mid-1200's, including a padded coif, mail coif and greathelm. The original idea was for the "goal" of the project to be some form of lesson I could teach in some way, but after I realised that it's very hard to create criteria for success for "Educational output", I changed the goal to be about creating a helmet (& co.) for reenactment purposes. I was wondering if anyone reading this would be able to answer a few questions for me regarding their preferences in headwear.

1. Would you prefer to have a fully made set of medieval headwear, or should it just look like it? (i.e. Should the helmet be padded or should the padding be separate as it was for the most part historically?)

2. If you were in a reenactment and had to wear a greathelm, would you want it to be as close as possible to a real helmet or just look like a real one? (I.e. thicker steel for helmet)

3. Is the difference between Butted and Riveted chainmail important (to you) in reenactments?

4. Do you have any other things you tend to look at when buying/making/etc. Armour worn to protect the head which isn’t covered in the other questions?

5. Would you be ok with me using you as a source in my research paper?

Thank you in advance,

Graham S Cooley
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:52 am

Re: A few questions regarding Reenactment headwear

Post by Graham S Cooley »

Hi Daniel,

The answers to your questiosn depend very much on what type of group/society your talking to and also the individual. My personal experience is not with the 1200's but reenactors are simialr through many periods.

What is the aim of the group? If this is personal enjoyment such as live role playing then authenticity is often low in importance. However, if they do close up livign history in front of the public then gettign it as accurate as possible will be of high importance. Personally I think it is always worth trying to get things as accurate as possible as this adds to my personal satisfaction.

Safety? We all need to get up and go to work on a Monday morning. So while authenticity is important we should be willing to compromise for safety. For example most reenactors will use blunt swords and weapons. In the case of armour we shoudl be seeking to get it correct. everyone will expect you to have robust armour. if you turn up in somethign that looks great but is actually painted cardboard your likely to get hurt at the first impact.

Cost? Having said we should try ot be as accurate as possible the cost is important. Throughout tiem peasants have been poor and as such have limited belongings. However, anyone enjoying a hobby doesn't want to be a peasant dressed in rags and no kit. Whats the fun in that? However , few of us can afford thousands of pounds on kit. The original knights had huge areas of land and lots of serfs, tenants etc to finance their equipment. Most of us have a job which after we have paid the bills we hopefully have a few pounds to buy some kit. Thus if it is possibel to have a sample of rivetted chain mail you can show the public and then save considerably on cost by havign soemthign less authentic to use then thsi is a compromise most people will make.

Comfort? While it is nice to be authentic we are modern people and like a certain amoutn of comfort. I am willing to use toilet roll rather than a few leaves or a damp cloth. Likewise if something is not comfortable and I can add a little extra padding, change the fill material or do somethign else that makes it a little more comfortable then I will. Equally I am convinced that anyoen aroudn several hundred years ago woudl have done the same, they were just limited in what was available at the time.

Hope this helps and you welcoem to quote me if it helps yoru project.


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