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"Pavises" Topic


21 Posts

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1,366 hits since 1 Jan 2016
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Sundance01 Jan 2016 10:58 a.m. PST

Specifically in the WotR – would they have been plain wood or painted in liveries and/or heraldry? Or a combination?

MajorB01 Jan 2016 11:19 a.m. PST

The simple answer is that we really don't know. Pavises were probably more common in Europe than England, used by handgunners and crossbows.I have Burgundian handgunners with pavises and I have painted the Burgundian livery on them. Otherwise no pavises in my WOTR armies.

Sundance01 Jan 2016 11:31 a.m. PST

Ah, ok. I got them for my crossbowmen, who are presumably Burgundian as well.

MajorB01 Jan 2016 12:03 p.m. PST

Ah, ok. I got them for my crossbowmen, who are presumably Burgundian as well.

Well, they are more likely to be foreign mercenaries than anything else. However, there is very little, if any, evidence for the use of crossbows on the battlefield in the WOTR.

Griefbringer01 Jan 2016 12:53 p.m. PST

I would say that for 15th century, the more colourful the better.

Having colourful painted pavises would help to show ones status, as well as impress potential employers and other folks.

GurKhan01 Jan 2016 1:27 p.m. PST

Some 14th-century English evidence just as a parallel:

Until recently it was thought that pavises were scarcely used in medieval England, but the evidence of the Tower inventories, as well as other sources, suggests that they were in fact used extensively. In 133844 Fleet's issues of shields included sixty pavises, the earliest record of this type of shield in England. Though Robert Mildenhall inherited no pavises from Fleet in 1344, he received in 13513 from John of Cologne, the king's armourer, 1,040 pavises painted white with an inescutcheon of the king's arms surrounded by a garter in blue, and 100 large pavises of burnished silver gilt, with the king's arms in the centre of each under a garter, and one pavise with the king's arms quarterly from Sir Thomas Rokeby. A second group of these pavises which never came to the Tower but was issued directly to the fleet is described in Cologne's account, 1,358 pavises of board, covered in bronze, painted blue with an escutcheon of the arms of St George in the centre of each pavise,' issued to William Clewer, clerk of the king's ships.

(From Thom Richardson's thesis on the Tower inventories)

This suggests the possibility of pavises with the Royal arms or St George's cross something similar might still be done in the C15th. If anything, continental evidence suggests that 15th-century pavises might be more elaborately painted than 14th-century ones.

The English garrison of Calais bought pavises for crossbowmen link but I haven't seen anything on how they were painted.

MajorB01 Jan 2016 2:46 p.m. PST

Some 14th-century English evidence just as a parallel:

Pavises in the 14th century, I do not dispute. But by the 15th century there was little if any use for them on the battlefield.

The English garrison of Calais bought pavises for crossbowmen

Quite right. The one place you would find crossbows in the 15th century would be in the garrisons of castles and fortified towns such as Calais. As far as I can tell from the available sources, crossbows were not used on the battlefield in the WOTR. (Although admittedly, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.)

Winston Smith01 Jan 2016 4:19 p.m. PST

NOT heraldry. A rule too often violated by wargaming painters is that a coat of arms can be only be used by one person. That is why there is livery.

GurKhan01 Jan 2016 4:28 p.m. PST

There are good descriptions of mercenary handgunners being defended by the famous nail-studded pavises at Second St Albans, of course:

Alle so they hadde pavysse bore as a dore i-made with a staffe foldynge uppe and downe to sette the pavys where the lykyd, and loupys with schyttyng wyndowys to schute owte at, they stondyng by hynde [t]e pavys, and the pavys as fulle of iijd nayle aftyr ordyr as they myght stonde. And whenn hyr schotte was spende and done they caste the pavysse by-fore hem, thenn there myght noo man come unto them ovyr the pavysse for the naylys that stode up-ryghte, but yf he wolde myschyffe hym sylfe.

There must be at least a possibility that some other mercenary contingents with handgun existed, and may have used pavises – but this is the only reference to pavises in the field that I know of.

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2016 4:06 a.m. PST

There is mention of pavises being brought to a muster in 1457. Only two out of about 100 who were armed brought them but it seems that more were wanted and orders were issued to provide them. (Goodman, p.144)
Whether these were to be carried by missile men or others (as seems to have become common further east for a while, particularly to protect men behind) is another matter.

On the matter of decoration, virtually every pavise I've seen in artwork is shown as being painted and usually with some kind of design. There are fairly plain French pavises carried by spearmen and I'm not sure if the Orsha paintings show a design which has become faded. Otherwise, pavises tend to show some form of design, from the very complicated designs such as David and Goliath through to simple crosses.
Heraldry does get used in various places. Much of the time it is city heraldry rather than individual. There does seem to be a lot of use of ducal heraldry e.g. in Bavarian and Austria. German use of heraldry was always somewhat different with arms being carried by all members of the family without difference but this is used almost as a national (well, sub-national) symbol. We've also seen GurKhan's example of the Royal arms being used on pavises in the 14th century.
I think, though, that within England by the WoTR the use of badges was more strongly established so I'd expect to see those being used.

MajorB02 Jan 2016 4:53 a.m. PST

There are good descriptions of mercenary handgunners being defended by the famous nail-studded pavises at Second St Albans, of course:

Good quote, GurKhan. From Gregory's Chronicle, yes?

Griefbringer02 Jan 2016 10:10 a.m. PST

Interesting extract, though I must admit that reading that kind of 15th century English makes my head hurt. I hope it is easier to understand for native speakers than us Johnny Foreigner types.

As for fielding a company of generic mercenary crossbowmen touring the Europe in 15th century, I would probably paint the shields in some bright but generic two-colour scheme without any specific devices (for example red and blue makes for a quite striking combination). This would then allow for using the figures in multiple locales, whether in the employ of an Italian city state, German prince or some contender for the throne of England.

Alternatively, you could glue the pavises to different bases than the crossbowmen – I have done this with the plastic pavises from the Perry European Mercenaries kit. If you have enough pavises this would then allow for fielding the same unit with a choice of several alternative pavises, or possibly none. With 28 mm models this is at least pretty easy to do, not sure how practical it gets with the smaller figures.

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2016 2:04 p.m. PST

An escutcheon with the cross of St George would be suitable for all sorts of places while not feeling quite as generic as a two colour scheme.

MajorB02 Jan 2016 2:31 p.m. PST

An escutcheon with the cross of St George would be suitable for all sorts of places

While perhaps more appropriate to the HYW than the WOTR?

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2016 4:16 p.m. PST

The cross of St George was used by both sides on standards, so not impossible for pavises.

Otherwise, the carriers could be one of the Flemish companies of St George or some other continentals.

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2016 4:08 a.m. PST

While I have the link handy, these are the (14th century) French pavisiers with plain pavises
link

Griefbringer03 Jan 2016 5:38 a.m. PST

Combination of red cross on white background was common flag in some areas of Italy, and possibly also in northern Germany.

MajorB03 Jan 2016 5:49 a.m. PST

While I have the link handy, these are the (14th century) French pavisiers with plain pavises

Interesting. Which bit do you think is the pavise in that picture?

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2016 8:39 a.m. PST

The rather large shiels. These fit Froissart's various descriptions of men "a lances et a pavais".

MajorB03 Jan 2016 9:31 a.m. PST

The rather large shiels. These fit Froissart's various descriptions of men "a lances et a pavais".

The rather large shields painted red, orange and some dark colour? They do not look either big enough or the right shape for pavises?

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2016 12:45 p.m. PST

But they do seem to be what Froissart calls pavises. There are some later editions of Froissart where the artists show similar things. I think the name applies to function rather than a pure form – a shield which is large enough to provide protection without being moved much or at all.
Pavise shape is quite variable – simple flat rectangles in 13th and 14th century Italy, the almost adarga style worn on the back of the crossbowman the siege of Duras, rounded top etc. As for size, we get the so called hand pavises which are obviously only intended to cover part of one man (and get their name through shape more than function), through these which seem to give pretty comprehensive coverage against missile fire up to those intended to cover several men at once. These are as big as the pavise on the crossbowman's back. They are unlikely to be of a type to stand by themselves but the original Italian pavises do not seem to have been used that way either.
As an aside, I've seen plenty of pics from 13th century to 16th century of pavises used in battle (rather than siege) where they are wielded by spearmen but precious few with only a crossbowman and no spearman or other bearer. Even the one carrying the pavise on his back, who is mentioned in just about every book, is at a siege not a field battle.

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