Sixteenth century recessed armour: evaluating links with the Spanish Armada

Bellwood, David R., Bellwood, Orpha, Bellwood, Hannah R., and Bellwood, Oliver R. (2024) Sixteenth century recessed armour: evaluating links with the Spanish Armada. Arms and Armour. (In Press)

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Several black and white Italian cabassets, and associated armours, are described. All share an unusual, recessed construction and typically bear an etched family crest on the front. The cabassets also have (1) a predominantly Spanish distribution, (2) a high frequency of damage, including tears (that may reflect exposure to ballistic projectiles), (3) a high frequency of paired holes in the brim (for conversion into make-shift buckets?), and (4) distinctive copper-alloy plume-holders. We critically evaluate the stylistic, historical, geographic, ballistic and archaeological evidence that may link these recessed cabassets with the 1588 Spanish Armada. Furthermore, the distinctive family crest on the cabassets, and one breastplate, may provide specific links with a Spanish infantry company commanded by Captain Fernando de Ayala on the Armada’s flag galleass, the San Lorenzo. In combination, these independent lines of evidence suggest that the recessed cabassets were used by troops on the Spanish Armada.

Item ID: 82409
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1749-6268
Keywords: Black and white armour, Elizabeth I, Fernando de Ayala, Philip II Spain, projectile damage, shipwreck, Spanish Armada
Copyright Information: 2023 The Trustees of the Royal Armouries
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2024 04:42
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4301 Archaeology > 430108 Maritime archaeology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280113 Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology @ 100%
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