I have often been asked just what kind of armour the Border Reivers wore, and apart from the upper echelons of society the answer must always be the same…..Whatever they could get their hands on!
“Scottish” armour near enough does not exist. Some was made in the 15th and 16th centuries, mostly by French armourers in Royal employment, but none appears to survive, and of the rest…. well, if it does exist, then it has as yet to be positively identified.
And so the “Reivers” made do with their “jacks,” and whatever other pieces of English or continental armour (mainly “German”) that they could beg, borrow, or more likely…… steal.
But this below is as near as I have ever seen to the battered and adapted armour which must have been in use in this area in the late 16th Century,
This is Christie Armstrong’s breastplate
I have never seen another like it. It has more sword cuts, and lance damage than any other, and the riveted reinforce at the neck is almost unique. It has been added to stop sword cuts upwards to the neck, and to prevent a lance glancing upwards from the surfaces of the breastplate.
This is detail of just some of the damage, we tried to count the blows, and the types of weapon, but eventually we just had to give up!
And this is a side view, just to illustrate the profile. I will return to the subject of the development of the breastplate in future postings.