Royal Armouries

Warwick Shaffron

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Warwick Shaffron

Warwick Shaffron

  • Warwick Shaffron

    Warwick Shaffron

  • Warwick Shaffron

    Warwick Shaffron

  • Warwick Shaffron

    Warwick Shaffron

  • Warwick Shaffron, Probably English, about 1400, VI. 446

    Warwick Shaffron, Probably English, about 1400, VI. 446

Date: 1400 | Object number: VI.446

Warwick Shaffron

Description

This shaffron (head defence for a horse) is the earliest surviving piece of medieval European horse armour, dating from around 1400. It is very large and was designed to encompass the whole of the horse’s head. Its huge size does not mean it was for an enormous horse Рinside there is evidence of rivets that would have held a thick quilted lining.

It was worn to protect a horse’s head against injury. In a charge, the horses’s head was the first part of the animal into combat and therefore it was vulnerable to injury. Despite it being considered unchivalrous for a knight to harm the horse of an opponent during battle, warhorses were still susceptible to injury, particularly from archers’ arrows.

This shaffron is known as the Warwick Shaffron because it was preserved at Warwick Castle from at least the 17th century. It was one of a number of objects that are believed to have belonged to Guy of Warwick.

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