The Armour from Exeter Castle

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The Armour from Exeter Castle

To defend the city in the event of attack, Exeter kept a large stock of armour in Rougemont Castle. This was last used in the Civil War; it lay in store until c. 1800, when Colonel Simcoe (of Ontario fame) took it away to Somerset. When our museum began building up our collections of local history in the 1870s we were able to bring back to the city some sixty or so pieces, nearly all of which are in the museum today. They provide valuable information about the equipment which was worn by Exeter soldiers in warfare. The collection consists mainly of 'munition' quality armour of iron, for use by the common soldier, with a few pieces for cavalry. Most are quite closely datable; many were bought during two great panics in Exeter's history: the threat of the Spanish Armada 1588 and the Civil War in the 1640s. The illustration shows a selection of the types of armour in the collection; helmets, breastplates and backplates, pauldrons (shoulder-pieces), gorgets (neck-pieces), and tassets (skirts protecting the upper legs).

Acknowledgments: © 2015 Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter City Council

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