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Comb morion: HEN.M.32-1933

Object information

Awaiting location update






Comb morion, for infantry use, with a blackened finish. Formed in one piece with a rounded crown that curves down at each side and rises to a high, roped medial comb; and an integral brim that is turned down at each side and curves up to a point at the front and rear. The edge of the brim has a file-roped inward turn accompanied by a narrow, recessed border. The comb is decorated with a single incised line at its crest, and a pair of incised lines at its base. The base of the skull was originally encircled by fourteen round-headed lining-rivets with brass, rosette washers. The second from near rivet on the left side is now missing. The two rivets in front of it have been replaced by ones with flat internal heads that retain fragments of the leathers for the attachment of missing cheek-pieces. In the course of replacing these two rivets, their rosette washers have become damaged. The two corresponding rivets on the right side also retain fragments of leathers for the attachment of missing cheek-pieces. These rivets are fitted with square, internal washers. Three of the other surviving rivets are fitted with circular or octagonal internal washers. The two central rivets at the left side retain a fragment of the original linen lining-band. A pair of rivet-holes pierced at the nape, just above the level of the lining-rivets, served to attach a missing plume-holder.
The helmet has suffered slight denting or deformation towards the rear of the crest of its comb, and at the front, rear and left side of its brim.


History note: An undated, illustrated circular, formerly in the possession of Gerald I. Mungcam Esq. (photograph of it held by the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds), shows that this was one of a series of such morions offered for sale by Fenton & Sons, 11 New Oxford Street, London, for a price of £5. 5s. 0d. each. Mr James Stewart Henderson of 'Abbotsford', Downs Road, St Helen's Park, Hastings, Sussex.

Legal notes

J.S. Henderson Bequest

Measurements and weight

Depth: 35.5 cm
Height: 29.2 cm
Weight: 1.58 kg
Width: 24.3 cm

Relative size of this object

24.3 cm29.2 cm35.5 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Acquisition and important dates

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


Late 16th Century
Production date: circa AD 1580


According to tradition, these morions were supposed to have been acquired by W. H. Fenton from a storehouse in Spain, having been deposited there for use by the Spanish Armada in 1588, but never actually used. However, in a letter dated 23 December 1969, Claude Blair informed Ian Eaves that he had been told by Theodore Egli, late armourer to the Tower of London Armouries, and previously armourer to Samuel Fenton, that 'Fenton' (either W.H. or Samuel Fenton) had bought a whole lot of morions in Ireland between the World Wars.

North Italian

The helmet retains the greater part of its original blackened finish. It shows some minor pitting and wear, especially on the right side of the crown.

The morion forms part of a series of such helmets dispersed by Messrs Fenton & Sons of 11 New Oxford Street, London. Other examples of the series are now to be seen in the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds (A. R. Dufty & W. Reid, European Armour in the Tower of London, London, 1968, pl. CII (c).), the Glasgow Museum and Art Gallery, and the collections of Ian Eaves, London, and William Reid, London.

Components of the work

Leathers composed of leather ( fragments)
Lining-band composed of linen (material) ( fragment)
Rosette Washers composed of brass (alloy)

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammered : Formed in one piece with a rounded crown that curves down at each side and rises to a high, roped medial comb; an integral brim that is turned down at each side and curves up at the fron and rear; hammered, shaped, riveted, with incised decoration on a blackened ground

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.32-1933
Primary reference Number: 18284
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 11 January 2023 Last processed: Wednesday 11 January 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Comb morion" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-01-27 02:11:42

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