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"HYW English shields" Topic

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JAGrindon18 Mar 2016 11:38 a.m. PST

I'm painting my first ever HYW English contingent using the 1/72 scale plastic Accurate Men at Arms sets. Until now I have been primarily a Napoleonics painter. I have found the answer to most of my queries/concerns from the internet except one. Some of the figures are carrying a small kite shaped shield. I wondered if these were decorated individually or by "unit" and where to find examples. I thought maybe the men at arms would carry the colours or designs of their "commanding officer" but then thought maybe my regimented Napoleonic mind was getting in the way. Advice welcome.

Pattus Magnus18 Mar 2016 12:05 p.m. PST

I'm no expert on the period, but I'm pretty sure that they did not use any standardized shield designs during the HYW – virtually all individual arms on the shields. Later, during the War of the Roses relatively standard uniforms for retinues were used. By that time shields were much less common, though.

My understanidng is that during the HYW the English did use St George's cross as a national badge for battlefield identification – not usually on the shields, but sewn onto their tunics.

Also, at one point Welsh archers were issued with green fabric for their tunics – apparently at the king's order so that he could identify them at a distance to aid discipline.

I'm sure others on TMP will help fill in details!

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Mar 2016 1:11 p.m. PST

What can be certain of is quite limited as there are few descriptions and less illustrations that are contemporary and specific to battles during the HYW.

From a wide variety of sources that may, or may not, be accurate and representative people have inferred a great deal.

It is certainly possible that some groups of men raised by the same lord or serving under a captain may have had some uniformity in clothing and/or shield design. In theory at least, only those entitled to bear arms (i.e. heraldic arms) should display them on their shields BUT it seems that there is some evidence that the close guard of some lords did so even earlier than the HYW.

Personally I think neither of the above was commonplace – but I couldn't prove it.

For men at arms like those in the set you name each would probably have their own coat of arms on their shield and possibly also on the Jupon too.

GurKhan18 Mar 2016 3:49 p.m. PST

A little evidence for shields with the cross or the royal arms at TMP link

JAGrindon20 Mar 2016 12:25 p.m. PST

Thanks guys, I've gone with the St George Cross

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