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Greaves: HEN.M.14L-1933

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)


Production: Unknown




Pair of greaves and sabatons, for tournament use. Formed of a tubular greave with a detachable rear half, and an integral sabaton of eight lames. The greave is of full-length form, closely shaped to the contours of the calf and ankle. It is formed of a front plate and a slightly shorter rear plate, both of which are medially ridged. The rear plate fits within the front plate and is connected to it by modern pierced, circular studs riveted at the top and bottom of its front edges engaging corresponding holes, which have been later enlarged, in the rear edges of the latter. The studs are secured by modern swivel-hooks attached just behind them. The swivel-hooks pivot on brass-capped, round-headed rivets with circular or octagonal internal washers. Vacant holes, probably representing later modifications, are pierced behind the lower right swivel-hook and below the lower right stud of the right greave. The rear plate of each greave has a concave upper edge and an arched cut-out to accommodate a spur at the centre of its lower edge. Both the upper and lower edges of the rear plate have file-roped inward turns. The upper edge of the front plate of the greave is slightly cusped at either side. A modern turning-pin with a circular or octagonal internal washer is riveted at each cusp. The inner one is single-ended, while the slightly smaller outer one is double-ended. The outer pin of the left greave lacks its internal washer. The inner pin of the right greave has been moved from its original hole to a later hole pierced a short distance to the inside of it. The upper edge of the front plate of the left greave has a long crack just to the outside of its medial ridge. The crack is repaired with a riveted internal patch at its upper edge. The lateral edges of the front plate of each greave are decorated with pairs of scored lines, now much worn. The sabatons, which fit within the arched lower edges of the front plates of the greaves, are each formed of eight medially-ridged lames that overlap inwards towards the fourth which is longer than the rest. The eighth lame constitutes the toe-cap which is of rounded form, narrowing slightly to its front end. The outer ends of the seventh and eighth lames of the right sabaton are broken away just below their articulating-rivets. The lames of each sabaton are connected to one another and the greave at their outer ends by modern brass-capped, round-headed sliding-rivets with circular, square or octagonal internal washers, and at their centres by a modern internal leather secured by pairs of externally-flush rivets. The lower end of the leather of the right sabaton is bifurcated. The leather of the left sabaton is formed in two sections, each terminating at the fourth lame. The leathers of both sabatons are broken between each of the first to fourth lames. Part of the composite armour HEN.M.14A-L-1933.


History note: Mr James Stewart Henderson of 'Abbotsford', Downs Road, St Helen's Park, Hastings, Sussex.

Legal notes

J.S. Henderson Bequest

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1933-03-16) by Henderson, James Stewart


16th Century, Late
Production date: circa AD 1590


The greaves and sabatons are bright with a light overall patination on the former, and a light to medium overall patination on the latter.

Components of the work

Sliding-rivet Caps composed of brass (alloy) ( modern)
Leathers composed of leather
Right Depth 32 cm Height 43.2 cm Weight 1.22 kg Width 11.8 cm
Left Depth 33.1 cm Height 43.6 cm Weight 1.15 kg Width 11.6 cm

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammering : Formed of a tubular greave with a detachable rear half, and an integral sabaton of eight lames; hammered, shaped, riveted, medially-ridged, with incised decoration

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: gothic characters

  • Text: Carl Schurff
  • Location: Left greave, within its front plate
  • Method of creation: Painted in red
  • Type: Name

Inscription present: gothic characters

  • Text: Carll Schurff
  • Location: Right greave, within its front plate
  • Method of creation: Painted in red
  • Type: Name

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.14L-1933
Primary reference Number: 17938
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 14 September 2022 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Greaves" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-17 05:42:38

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{{cite web|url= |title=Greaves |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-06-17 05:42:38|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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