Composite half-armor for a pikeman


Pikemen fought on foot in porcupine formations that helped defend musketeers from attacking cavalry. By the end of the 1600s, soldiers were using early versions of the bayonet on their muskets. Every musketeer was now his own pikeman, and armor largely vanished from the battlefield.


(Also see individual files) Armor of 3 associated pieces: helmet; breastplate with tassets; backplate. The collar is not preserved.

Curator's Comments

While earlier cataloguing has indicated that this armor has the provenance cited here, there is some reason for doubt. Correspondence from Andrade and Offerman both indicate that several "ex-Eglinton" pikemen's armors were available during the period. It should be noted that Andrade's pikeman's armor "no. 4" referred to in the 11 February 1927 letter is not that later sold as no. 16 in his printed catalogue. Except for the now-lost collar, which does not seem to have been passed to Higgins, the description for the latter does fit. Although we lack a copy of the sale catalogue to verify the suggestion, there is a distinct possibility that these armors were a part of the Eglinton sale at Christies' (London) on 25 July 1922. (Walter Karcheski, October 1990) The Massachusetts colonists of the late 1620s brought sixty "cosletts" (presumably pikeman's) and pikes with them. Examples of this armor type are in the collections of the Mass. Historical Society (Boston) and Pilgrim Hall (Plymouth).


M.R. Holmes, "Arms and Armour in Tudor and Stuart London," London Museum Catalogues: no 8 (London: H.M.S.O., 1957), pp. 13, 16, plts. VII and XXI.

Stephen V. Grancsay, "The Art of the Armorer" (Flint, MI: Flint Institute of Arts, 1967), described as catalogue no. 12, but not shown.

Charles H. Ashdown, "British and Foreign Arms and Armour" (London: T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1909), plt. XXIV (middle).

Stephen V. Grancsay, "Catalogue of Armor…" (Worcester: The John Woodman Higgins Armory Museum, 1961), p. 117, ill.

Catalogue and Photographs of a collection of arms and armour in the possesion of Messrs. Cyril Andrade, Ltd." (privately printed, April 1929), cat. no. 16

Rodney H. Brown, "American Polearms, 1526-1865" (New Milford, Ct: N. Flayderman & Co. Inc., 1967), p. 22, plt. 13.

Arthur R. Dufty, "European Armour in the Tower of London" (London: H.M.S.O., 1968), plts. LXIV and LXV.

Harold L. Peterson, "Arms and Armor in Colonial America, 1526-1783" (New York: Bramhall House, 1956), pp. 134-136.

Publication & Exhibit History

Shown as plate 13, p. 22 of Rodney H. Brown, "American Polearms, 1526-1865." See photograph files.


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