The Ailettes

The ailettes are a typical element of the armour of a knight during the period 1260 till 1350. They are often rectangular in shape en mostly carry the knights blason.


De Ailettes

There is a lot of discussion going on about these ailettes. It is almost generally accepted that they only served a purpose as heraldic display, without having any defensive function. This proposition is made because there is some mention of ailettes made out of parchment in accounts from tounaments.

KA XX f.43v

It is however our firm believe that these ailettes indeed had a defensive function and were made out of strong material. Several miniatures seem to agree with this while they show a structure on the underside that suggests a padded backing. There was probably a difference between ailettes for the tounament and ailettes for warfare. Their purpose was to protect the shoulders and the collarbone.

Our own reconstruction departs from iron plates on a thin wooden base and wrapped in linen. The underside is padded and has eyelets for the strapping on the shoulders by means of leather straps. Experimentation showed that the most comfortable way of wearing them is by fixing them onto the jupon and then lace them on the hauberk with a single knot.

De Ailettes

De Ailettes

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Copyright on text, images and photos by Joris de Sutter, unless noted otherwise.
The miniature comes from "Spiegel Historiael", Jacob van Maerlant, Den Haag KA XX, fol.43 v.
This information is provided by De Liebaart and was last updated on October 14th 2002.