The period of the English Civil Wars (1642-49) saw important changes in both arms and armour, as well as the types of soldiers employed in battle. Firearms became more important and armour was used less than before.
The Royal Armouries houses one of the finest collections of arms and armour of the mid-17th century in the world. In addition to the arsenal collection preserved at the Tower of London since the time of its use, the museum acquired the armoury from Littlecote House in 1985; the last major Civil War armoury then remaining in private hands. This collection is important for its groups of buffcoats, baldricks and carbine slings as well as for its muskets, carbines and pistols.
Leather buff coats offered good protection against sword cuts but not pikes or guns. They were however lighter than steel and worn with a bullet-proof breastplate allowed the harquebusier to be more flexible and mobile as a force.
Dates from 1650 | Object number: III.1942
This sword is alleged to have belonged to Oliver Cromwell during the siege of Drogheda in 1649.
Dates from 1650 | Object number: IX.1096
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