Tudor armour

Once Tudor times arrived in England, battle armour had changed a great deal. There were a number of different influences to these developments, and by the time that Henry VIII had arrived on the throne, armour was used more as a symbol of power at knightly tournaments rather than as protection in battle.

Henry VIII was known for wearing armour regularly as a symbol of his power. He regularly ordered elaborately designed armour and ensured that the royal army also wore the best quality armour when compared with others. This was to set them apart from the rest of the nobility, who did not have the wealth required to fund such extravagance.

Among the types of armour commissioned by Henry VIII include the Maximilian armour used by the Holy Roman Empire, the Greenwich armour and the Almain Rivet. Examples of these can be seen in a number of museums around the country, including the Tower of London. Some of these have survived in excellent condition, along with decorative armour worn by horses at tournaments.

Henry wore the Almain Rivet when he was at Calais and this was also influenced by the armours used in the Holy Roman Empire. It had a certain amount of flexibility due to the way in which it was constructed, so for those wearing it, moving around was much easier than it had been with old-style armour.

English knights had started to use plate armour by this time, but there were considerably fewer battles to take part in, so it was seen mainly at tournaments. This is when decorating the armour became a trend. Everyone wanted everyone else to know how wealthy and powerful they were.