Effigies of Temple Church, London, England

13th century

p74 Knight - Noble Warrior of England 1200-1600 by Christopher Gravett.
The late 13th-century effigy of a knight in the Temple Church, London, sometimes attributed to Gilbert Marshal. A strapped cuirass is just visible in the gap in the surcoat under the armpit. Note the shields and bars decorating the guige. (Author's collection)

p46, The description by Guillaume le Breton also mentions a plate of worked iron worn under the aketon, presumably over the heart. No illustration of such a defence is known. However, by mid-century, glimpses of additional body defences begin to appear. An effigy at Pershore Abbey in Worcestershire and another in the Temple Church, London, show that some form of breast and backplates are buckled over the mail but under the surcoat. It is not known whether iron, steel or cuir bouilli is intended. Examples of some form of leather body armour, the cuirie, with or without additional metal pieces, appear to be worn by infantrymen in several 13th-century manuscripts, laced at about two points down the side.



p71, Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader States by David Nicolle
172 Effigy, London, mid/late 13th century
(Temple Church, London, England also a cast in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

This effigy is said to represent Gilbert Marshal. Its most interesting feature is the method of supporting the scabbard by cords running from the sword-belt which, unusually, runs outside the scabbard itself. Such a system has something in common with Andalusian and Spanish sword-belts. It can also be seen as a transitional, perhaps experimental, stage between the earlier system with its complicated straps and laces and the simpler 14th-century system of rings attached to either side of the scabbard.
See also Detail of infantryman wearing a cuirie. Folio 27 verso, The Morgan Crusader Bible of Louis IX or Maciejowski Bible
Brocardus de Charpignie, a Flemish knight (wearing a cuirie), Larnaca, Cyprus, 1270AD
Death of Gilbert, Earl Marshal, 1241, in Chronica Majora by Matthew Paris





p63, Knight - Noble Warrior of England 1200-1600 by Christopher Gravett.
Effigies of c.1250-60 in the Temple Church, London.
The right figure wears a tight arming cap over his mail with a rolled pad to support a helm. Another figure of the second quarter of the century has a 'balaclava-like' form also covering the neck. (Author's collection)



p69, Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader States by David Nicolle.
163A-C Unidentified effigy, London, early 13th century
(ex-Temple Church, London, England, now destroyed)

The tragic destruction of several of the monumental effigies in London's Temple Church during the Second World War was a serious blow to the study of arms and armour. Yet surviving drawings and photographs indicate a number of interesting features. Most of the early effigies are dressed in the same kind of armour, consisting of mail hauberks with coifs and mittens, some padded gambesons being indicated by raised and squared shoulders. They also have flat-topped kite-shaped shields of the large early kind. Much of this armour might even suggest a date at the very end of the 12th century. It is, however, the headgear of these figures that makes them so special. All seem to be versions of substantially padded arming caps. Two are clearly to support flat-topped great helms (A and C). The third (B) may have had the same function. It lacks the padded squab around the crown but does include an apparent padded neck extending down as far as the surcoat.


See also the Effigy of Geoffrey de Mandeville?, 1st Earl of Essex, in Temple Church, London, England



Other 13th Century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers