By the early 16th century hand-held firearms were being used in battles. They were basic, heavy to carry, slow to load, fired only short distances and were largely inaccurate.
Battle of Pavia
This battle was the first battle in which infantry armed with firearms (harquebusiers) were victorious over fully armoured knights. Metal plate armour proved no defence against bullets.
Basket hilted sword. English, about 1540
Dates from 1540 | Object number: IX.4427
The battle of Pavia in 1525 was the first significant victory for infantry with firearms over fully armoured knights on the battlefield.
Dates from 1525 | Object number: I.142
A wooden English buckler from Wrexham of about 1540.
Dates from 1540 | Object number: V.105
Field armour of Sir John Smythe. English, Greenwich, about 1585
Dates from 1585 | Object number: II.84, III.1430, III.1431, VI.51, VI.115, VI.116
The horned helmet was part of a gift from the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I to King Henry VIII of England.
Dates from 1514 | Object number: IV.22
A 16th century armour embossed with lions heads. It is the finest decorated armour in the Royal Armouries collection.
Dates from 1550 | Object number: II.89
Three-quarter field armour of Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton. Probably French, about 1600
Dates from 1600 | Object number: II.360
To read PDF documents you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader.
If you do not currently have it installed you can download Adobe Acrobat Reader here.