The Pavise
The 'pavise' shield was a large  shield used by crossbowmen and pikemen, so called due to its origins in the Italian city of Pavia. It was built from wood and took several different forms in terms of design.

At Flodden in 1513 the pikemen on the Scots front rows were well armoured and carried pavise shields. So much much so that the English archers could make little or no impact on them. In spite of this the Scots would discard their pavises when they became bogged down in the soggy ground between the English and Scots lines.

The illustration above by Graham Turner shows a soldier of the Earl of Montrose's retinue at Flodden with a boxed pavise, which has a curved centre section. This allows for a carrying handle and presumably offered some degree of deflection.

There is much more information to be found at:


Pavise #1

On the left is my first attempt. Its a flat construction, planked vertically and horizontally, covered in fabric and painted in the Hamilton arms. A strip of tin sheet nailed across the bottom keeps it off the wet ground, although it never rains when I'm working at castles...

Pavise #2

Another attempt. This time built around a pair of curved formers, which more accurately represents the  original construction method. My carpentry skills won't take me as far as planking in a curve without the formers. Anyway, it's covered in linen and painted once again in my own colours. Quite pleased with the rope handles on the back.

Gear of War

The helmet is a mid 15th C. german sallet, with visor and articulated tail. This helps free movement and deflects blows away from the  neck and shoulders. 

The arrow heads are from left: an armour piercing bodkin, a swallowtail broad head for hunting and horses on the battlefield, and a needle bodkin for penetration of mail.

The small round shield is a buckler, only about ten inches across and used in the hand you're not holding your sword in. It would provide some means of turning away an opponent's blade. 

The sword is double edged and designed for archers, with short blade and short handle. Since archers worked fairly close together I can only assume this is to prevent it getting in the way too much, like the larger hand and a half or two handed sword popular in the 15th C.

The war hammer or horseman's hammer was popular throughout the mid to late medieval period. A hammer on the front for deadening blows, top spike for thrusting and the beak on the back for punching through whatever is in the way.

Below is a billhook, commonly used in the period, particularly by the English, where the fashion in 15th century troop configuration was for 'bows and bills', alongside men at arms. It's the bigger nastier brother of the hedging bill, a farming tool used in hedge laying. The local blacksmiths would no doubt have been able to turn these out relatively quickly. There are many different shapes and styles of bill, but they all follow the same approach; an axe type blade, spear point and back spike. Multiple tactical uses in one weapon. I had this made at

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