Armour and costumes – Feature Friday

September 04 2020 | Castle History

Credit Oliver Dixon Photography


The theme for this week’s #FeatureFridays with Historic Houses is armour and costumes.

Hever Castle has two suits of armour on display in the Castle.

The suit of the armour in the Entrance Hall is one of the first things visitors see as they come into the Castle.

It is 15th century, made of steel and was previously at Rothley Temple near Leicester.

The second suit of armour is on display in the Council Chamber which is also home of swords and instruments of torture.

The suit of armour is French and of late 16th century style.

By the 15th century mail had given way to plate armour. The finest armour was made in Italy and later in Germany with both countries exporting to Europe and beyond.

While it looks heavy a full plate armour could be as light as only 20kgs if well made of tempered steel. The weight was so well spread over the body that a fit man could run or jump into his saddle. It is possible for a fit and trained man in armour to run after and catch an unarmoured archer as witnessed in re-enactment combat.

The Knights of Royal England don their armour and costumes to compete in jousting tournaments every summer at Hever Castle.

Spectators are treated to thrilling displays of action, stunts, falls and fights as the brave knights compete for points to find the season’s champion knight.

Points are awarded in competitions including riding against the quintain, riding to spear enemy heads from the ground and lancing the smallest of rings, all followed by foot combat with weapons of their choice. The highlight of the competition is the duel on horseback between two knights riding against each other on their beautiful Spanish horses at full tilt armed only with a 4-metre lance and a shield. Maximum points are scored for unseating their opponent in this dramatic finale.

Sir Jasper has been the champion of 2020, 2019 and 2018.

Staff at Hever Castle regularly dress up as Anne Boleyn or King Henry VIII to greet visitors who visit and dresses from the film Anne of the Thousand Days were on display in the Castle as part of the Hever Castle on Stage and Screen exhibition.

If you enjoyed this item on armour and costumes, then why not discover the previous #FeatureFridays news items:
Musical instruments
Secret passageways
American Connections
Priest Holes