Was Richard the Lionheart wearing armour ?

by Curtis

I have some questions regarding Richard the Lionheart, and Phillip II. First of all was King Richard wearing armour when he was hit or not? Some sites say he was some say he wasn't, and what kind of tent did he have? Where can I find out what kind of clothing these people wore? Phillip and Richard?


I think we'll never know precisely what happened. All the books I have suggest that Richard was laying siege to the castle of Chalus and that he left his tent to check on the site. As he wasn't planning to fight, he would most likely not have worn mail.

'Armour' - in the sense of articulated plate armour - had not yet been invented.
In battle, knights wore a padded gambeson - a quilted tunic - under a hauberk of chain mail. The hauberk was most often long-sleeved and reached at least to mid-thigh. It was split for riding at the sides and sometimes the back as well. A coif - a close-fitting mail hood - was sometimes part of the hauberk, or could be attached to the collar. Knights would have worn a metal helmet.
Over the hauberk, Richard would have worn a surcoat - two rectangular bits of cloth, connected at the shoulders, often open at the sides. The surcoat would have carried his device - the Lions of England - on both chest and back. The sword belt would have gone over the top.

I've seen images where knights wore chainmail leggings, but I'm not entirely convinced. They would have been extremely heavy and most common soldiers were infantry and just didn't carry that much luggage around with them.

Most likely Richard would have worn chausses - long stockings. They were cross-gartered between ankle and knee. And with that he would have worn boots or shoes.

You can check out the Bayeux Tapestry for representations of clothing and mail during the period. It also gives you an idea what types of colours were used. (all dyes were natural and derived from plants and animals, of course). Some dyes - like scarlet - were rare and very expensive. One of the reasons why kings tend to wear red mantles or capes. If you could afford it, you could have clothes made from silk and trimmed with fur - anything from rabbit to ermine was used. Again, the rarer the more expensive. And - of course - leather in all its forms was used for jerkins, gambesons, vests, hats and shoes. Gloves only came into fashion around 1200 - maybe a little later.

I'm not so up on the tents. But this one on the tentsmiths website seems to be a good representation.

Here are a few books that you might find useful:

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