Battle of Hastings tableau showing two figures, one with shield, one drawing a bow.

Early Medieval Gallery

The centrepiece of this gallery is a life-size tableau showing the arms and armour of the time of the Battle of Hastings 1066. There are two associated films on monitors in small cine-areas beside the tableau: ‘Early War’ and ‘Mail and Plate armour’

Objects on display include pieces of early equestrian equipment, spurs and stirrups, mail and a shield illustrating the history and development of the armoured soldier from early to late middle ages.

A 15th century mail shirt probably originating from Germany. The size of the shirt suggests that it was made for someone around 6 feet in height (182 cm) and with a chest size of about 40-42 inches (102-106 cm).

At the front of the neck opening is an inscribed link, a butted brass link with the letters V and A separated by three crowns.

Next to the mail shirt is a 15th century Austrian pavise. It is constructed of wood faced on both sides with canvas. The outer face which has a covering of gesso is painted with the arms of Enns which covers the entire surface save for a narrow border, vert a gess argent, in chief a demilion of the same, the base gules.