Steel horse armour

The Burgundian bard

Dates from about 1511-14 | Flemish | Object number: VI.6–12

The Burgundian bard, probably by Guillem Margot, presented by Maximilian I to King Henry VIII.

One of a knight’s most valuable possessions was his best horse and because he owned a ‘cheval’, or horse, in French he was called a ‘chevalier’. A horse needed special protection in tournaments and war.

Horse armour, called a bard, was introduced to protect the horse’s head, neck and flanks against blows from lances, swords and, in battle, arrows. Horse armour was first made of textiles or mail. However, from about 1450 steel plate was used.

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The related documents below are free articles from Henry VIII: Arms and the Man.
This major publication Henry VIII: Arms and the Man and can be purchased from The Royal Armouries Shop.

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  • Introduction to Holy Roman Emperor, Maximillian I.

  • Published to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the accession of King Henry VIII to the English throne. This definitive publication illustrates and records over 90 Henrician treasures from the Royal Armouries own collections and from around the world.

  • Our top ten objects in the Tournament gallery.

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Come and learn a new skill at one of the free craft workshops hosted by the Commemorative Quilts and Textiles Group at the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds.

06 June 2015


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The Jennings rifle, the Winchester 73 rifle, the Maxim machine gun, and the Luger pistol all use the same basic toggle mechanism to lock the breech and work in the same way as a knee or elbow joint.

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