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Comb morion: HEN.M.33-1933

Object information

Current Location: In storage






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 single incised lines at its crest and base. The base of the skull is encircled by fourteen round-headed rivets fitted with brass rosette washers externally, and square iron washers internally. The rivets retain a linen lining-band. Two of the rivets at each side retain fragments of the leathers for the attachment of the missing cheek-pieces. A pair of rivet-holes pierced at the nape, just above the level of the lining-rivets, served to attach a missing plume-holder. One of the holes is occupied by the stump of a rivet.
The helmet has suffered denting at the crest of its comb, and has lost the tip of its point at the front end of the 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: 32.7 cm
Height: 27 cm
Weight: 1.91 kg
Width: 24.6 cm

Relative size of this object

24.6 cm27 cm32.7 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, wear and delamination of the metal.

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)

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; and an integral brim that is turned down at each side and curves up to a point at the front and rear; hammered, shaped, riveted, with recessed borders, and incised and file-roped decoration on a blackened ground

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.33-1933
Primary reference Number: 18287
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 25 November 2020 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

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: 2023-02-06 00:29:01

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