Original British 17th Century English Civil War Harquebusier Cavalry Half Armor Set With Sword - Circa 1640
Original Items: Only One Set Available. Now this is a fantastic armor grouping! This armor dates back to the 17th during the The English Civil War (1642–1651). The war was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of England's governance and issues of religious freedom.
The harquebusier would usually be armed with a wheellock, snaphaunce or doglock flintlock carbine hung from a swivel attached to a baldric, pistols in saddle holsters, and a stout, straight-bladed sword. The 'dog' of the doglock was a type of safety-catch used to prevent the unintentional firing of the carbine when on horseback. Records also indicate that some harquebusiers were also armed with a horseman's poleaxe or pick, which were hafted weapons with axe or hammer heads and armor-piercing spikes.
The typical harquebusier would have an iron cuirass with a breast and backplate, and an open-faced helmet such as a lobster-tailed pot; the fashion-conscious could replace the helmet with a broad-brimmed felt hat, often worn over a concealed iron skullcap or secrete. In England, in 1629, a harquebusier's armor cost one pound and six shillings, that of a cuirassier four pounds and ten shillings. A more wealthy harquebusier may have worn a buff coat (the finest quality buff coats were often more expensive than an iron cuirass) under his armor and a metal gauntlet to protect his bridle hand and forearm. Also worn were tall, cuff-topped riding boots; these reached the thigh and were often also of buff leather. Munition-quality (mass-produced) armor at this time was usually of iron, sometimes containing small amounts of phosphorus; this addition gave a minimal increase in hardness. Officers and other wealthy men would have had access to steel armor, which was carefully heat-treated to harden it.
This is the classic armor set used by Cromwell's "ROUNDHEADS" so named for the shape of the helmet. This is what is included:
Helmet: Forged iron Lobster Tail helmet with articulated neck guard, ventilated suspended ear covers and frontal peak to which is attached the classic English THREE BAR rigid face guard, similar style helmets equipped with a single sliding Nose Guard are of Continental origin during this same period and later. The earpieces are unfortunately missing.
Cuirass: The iron cuirass set consists of a very heavy front chest plate complete with "bullet dent" proof mark, required by the Government Inspectors at the time, and comes with its iron back plate of slightly lighter construction with leather over the shoulder straps covered in iron plates. The back plate is equipped with a buff leather waist belt complete with brass buckle that anchors the set in place when worn by the trooper. The design of the front and rear plates actually meets under the arms, providing all around protection. Thus another name was coined for Cromwell's Troopers, "The IRONSIDES" in addition to "The ROUNDHEADS". The leather that appears on this armor is of much later replacement pieces. The original leather would have long since disintegrated. Replacement leather pieces and the rivets that hold them on were added to give these lovely items a more complete appearance.
Sword: The sword appears to date back to the Civil War, just as the armor. The blade bears markings on both sides and are, ME FECIT SOLINGEN. The sword itself is a Cavalry Officer’s Basket Hilted Backsword. A backsword is a type of sword characterized by having a single-edged blade and a hilt with a single-handed grip. The sword is in good condition for its age, but there are issues to report. The handle wire wrap is loose with big sections missing and there are various knicks and pit marks throughout the whole piece. Surprisingly the edge is still quite sharp! The blade measures 32” with a total length of 37 ½”.
This is a wonderful opportunity to add a beautiful and historic set of English Armor and sword to your 17th Century collections. Comes more than ready for display!
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