Officers:Master at Arms Regulations

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Downloadable Documents

The following pdf documents are available on the Regia.org website.
Master at Arms Regulations
Master at Arms Regulations
Version 4 - 2015
The Warrior System
The Warrior System
Version 1 - 2005


Version 4.0 - Autumn 2015
The intellectual property of this document is vested in Regia Anglorum. The whole or parts may be reproduced by paid-up members of the Society for onward transmission to other members of Regia Anglorum for use in the context of a set of regulations. Parts of it may be reproduced for the purposes of review or comment without permission, according to the Laws of Copyright.

1. Introduction

Middleton Warrior

The principal concerns of the Master-at-Arms (MaA) are the safe construction and use of Weapons and Wargear. In association with the Authenticity Officer (AO), the MaA is also concerned with the authenticity and quality of kit and equipment presented by members of the society. Further, with the Military Training Officer (MTO), the MaA has a responsibility for the safety of Regia Anglorum’s battlefield presentations.

The decisions of the Master-at-Arms are informed by a number of considerations. Authenticity and safety are pre-eminent; but quality of presentation, clarity of information and the effect of particular items of wargear on ‘gameplay’ on the field of combat also play an influential role.

This document is a guide, for the members of Regia Anglorum, to what is expected of them by the Master-at-Arms in respect of all of the wargear used by them for society combat displays.

This document is an amendment of the ‘Version 3.0 - Spring 2005 Master-at-Arms Regulations’. It should be noted that there are no retrospective references made and that this document, from issue, stands alone as the only one dealing with all MaA rulings and guidelines. Many thanks must go to the previous Master-at-Arms, whose excellent work comprises the bulk of this document and whose subsequent rulings have consistently improved the quality of wargear. Thanks must also go to the Authenticity team whose fantastic handbook has been mercilessly pilfered to update this document.

The document must be seen as neither definitive nor complete as it would be almost impossible to make it so. Neither should it be expected to detail matters of authenticity or provenance, a job for another publication.

Weights and dimensions given within the guidelines section are exactly that, guidelines. It is hoped that adequate scope is given for any user’s physical build or proportions. It is therefore expected that anyone wishing to use items of sizes outside of the given parameters will first contact the MaA.

It should be made clear that, despite any rules, guidelines or implications, it is the MaA, as elected by the High Witan of Regia Anglorum, who shall have the final decision on all matters or disputes arising from this document.

1.1. Definitions

Several words appear frequently throughout this document and they are defined here:

  • MAY means that it is the user’s discretion as to whether a suggestion is followed or not.
  • SHOULD means that there is very little, or no, excuse or reason not to follow that suggestion made. You may be questioned as to why you have not followed it.
  • MUST means that it is an obligatory ruling. No excuses.

2. The Code of Law

Within the Code of Law Ver.7.0, there is a provision that may have a legal implication to all of those who bear arms and/or armour within the society. In the opening section of the Code of Law titled “The Regulations Of Regia Anglorum”;
“Any reference to Weapons, Wargear, Arms or Armour shall specifically refer to the theatrical props that the members of the society may use in the course of the historical re-creations that they undertake whilst about the business of the society”.
The description of the roles of the Master-at-Arms as detailed under Section 2B part VII of “The Regulations Of Regia Anglorum”

King Cnut
ix. The HW shall elect a Master at Arms (MaA)
  1. He shall attend at least half of the Society’s major events in any one year.
  2. He shall be responsible for ensuring the safety in construction and authenticity in outward form of wargear that the Society’s members may employ in military displays at Society events. All members of the Society shall fall under his jurisdiction (within the CoL) whilst they are within the bounds of the military display area. He shall work closely with the AO in this regard, and may amend but not lessen the force of the rulings of the AO in these matters.
  3. He shall instigate and maintain a policy appertaining to the use of weapons. This shall be published and circulated to at least the members of the HW at the Society’s expense. Changes, additions and other modifications shall be circulated from time to time.
  4. He shall instigate, maintain and oversee a formalised system of visual inspection of the members of the Society and their weapons in advance of any military display, aimed at ensuring the safety of members so involved, insofar as that may be reasonable and practical.
  5. He shall liaise with local group leaders and training officers with the aim of ensuring consistent weapon quality and preparedness throughout the Society.
  6. He may arbitrate in disputes that may arise from the use of weapons at events under the aegis of the Society. He shall share this responsibility equally with the MTO
  7. He may appoint deputies, the number of which (including himself) shall not exceed 1.5% of the total membership of the Society, unless agreed otherwise by the HW. He shall co-ordinate their activities, and report back to the HW upon them from time to time.

2.1. Weapons and the Law

MaA Sword.JPG

The Society’s members need to be aware of the status of their ‘weapons’ in the eyes of the Law.

Almost any object can be employed as an offensive weapon. However, officers of the law could mistake our convincing theatrical props for genuine offensive weapons. Consequently members should always ensure that they behave in a sensible and sober fashion in any situation that might find them carrying their weapons in a public place.

Certain knives and swords are defined in law as offensive weapons ‘per se’, i.e. they have no purpose other than to cause harm to the person. Other dangerous objects, such as fishing knives, certain tools and ceremonial swords, have an innate ‘innocent use’ and so are not necessarily offensive weapons. However, one must still have a good reason for carrying such objects in public. For our purposes, it would be wisest if we were to consider re-enactment weapons in a like manner.

Being in the process of performing at a re-enactment event would qualify as good reason. Likewise, travelling to an event would be good reason for having the weapon in your vehicle or about your person – however, it should be, as far from reach as is reasonably possible, secured by being wrapped, bagged or buried under other objects in a vehicle – it must not be ready to draw, ready to hand. Further, it would be wise to have proof about your person that you are a member of Regia Anglorum (your membership document) and some details of the event or practice that you are attending.

Local battle practices would qualify as events and therefore good reason, but local Group Leaders should ensure that the practice site is appropriate, and that permissions have been obtained where necessary.

Note 1: It would be very difficult to argue that any member would have good reason to be wearing weapons in a public house, or any publicly accessible place where alcohol is consumed. Being in possession of replica weapons in such a situation is fraught with potential danger and is strongly advised against except in certain circumstances, such as a banquet or other special occasion pre-arranged with the licensee.
Alcohol, weapons, and the general public do not mix.

Note 2: The possession of sharp eating knives, or similar, sharp replicas in public could constitute an offence. In England and Wales, ANY knife with a lockable blade of more than three inches in length can be classed as an offensive weapon, and the possession of such an object without good reason is likely to result in arrest. Simply being a re-enactor is not sufficient reason to carry such a blade when not attending an event.

The above relates to the law in England and Wales. Members outside of those countries should ensure that they are familiar with their own national or state legislation. Likewise, members travelling beyond their own borders should explore the relevant legislation in their destination country.

3. MaA Kit Specifications

Prior to all shows a specific dateline and context will be distributed along with members information relating to the show. Details of the kit and equipment that can be used at these shows can be found in Section 7 (Individual Weapons Guidelines) of this document and also in the Authenticity Guide. All wargear is divided into four headings which are:

Encouraged (Very Common)
These are the items that the Authenticity Team wants to encourage Regia Members to display. Items classed as Encouraged have either numerous provenances or come from well researched interpretations. You should aim to have the majority of your kit from this column.

Optional (Less Common)
These items are also well provenanced or researched but it is felt that they were less common in the period than those items classed as Encouraged. You should aim to only have some items of your kit from this column.

Acceptable
Items in this column are either authentic but not in this period, are rare being based on only one or two provenances, are based on dubious or contentious interpretations or are simply allowed to make our lives during events easier. Ideally you should have very little kit from this column. Items in the Allowable column are much more likely to be banned in the future than other items, although this is by no means a certainty. Those further qualified as ‘Restricted’ [R] in the event kit guides are usually culturally specific and certain criteria must be fulfilled before they can be used.

Unacceptable
These items are not allowed to be used by members of Regia during the stated periods at events. Regia Members must not display any item classed as Unacceptable at an event. All modern clothing and equipment is considered Unacceptable by default.

All items of wargear should fit into, and appear in, one of the above lists. If for any reason there is an item of kit that you own that does not appear on the lists, then please contact the MaA so that the lists can be updated as soon as possible.

Should you own an article of wargear that is not listed in the Kit Specification, and believe that it is suitable for use at a specific show, given it’s dateline and context, you must contact the MaA prior to the show, for his approval. It must be stressed that it is down to the individual to ensure that he is only using items from the encouraged, optional or acceptable lists. Any other item must be approved on an individual show basis by the MaA prior to the event.

4. MaA Kit Checks

One of the Master-at-Arms’ responsibilities under the Code of Law is to ensure that a system is in place for checking the condition and suitability of the wargear used for combat displays by the members of the Society. To this end, all combatants must have presented themselves, together with all the wargear that they intend to use, to the MaA or one of his appointed deputies, prior to taking part in any combat display. This must take place on every day of every show.

To assist in completing kit checks and to provide cover for shows that the MaA cannot attend he will appoint a number of national assistants, and a Deputy Master-at- Arms. The Assistant MaAs will carry full authority of the MaA to enforce the current regulations at any show where he is unable to attend, while the Deputy Master-at- Arms carries the full authority and discretion of the Master-at-Arms in his absence. The Deputy and Assistant MaAs will be selected on experience, relevant knowledge, availability and willingness to do the job. Their role is to encourage and promote compliance with the regulations.

Whilst Assistants and Deputies may recommend an action on a piece of disputed wargear the final decision on whether to ban it or not lies with the MaA.

4.1. Disputes

In the event that a dispute over an item occurs, it is recommended both to new members and to Assistant MaAs that the member’s Group Leader, or another experienced group member, should be present to assist the discussion.

Should a dispute occur over an item that is not covered by the regulations, that item must be withdrawn by the member and re-presented to the Master-at-Arms or the Deputy Master-at-Arms in order for a ruling to be made. The item may not be taken on the field until a ruling is provided.

If a member feels he has been unfairly treated by an Assistant MaA he should report this to his Group Leader, who in turn should raise the matter with the Master-at- Arms.

4.2. Master-at-Arms checks at local events

It is the responsibility of the local Group Leader to ensure safety at events under their control. Accordingly, if an Assistant MaA is not available, that Group Leader should ensure that a suitably experienced and competent member of the Society carries out safety checks in accordance with these regulations.

Competence in this instance can be defined as knowledge of the regulations and experience.

5. General Rules for Kit

  1. All individuals taking part in Regia combat displays must present themselves and everything that they intend to use in the display to the MaA (or one of their appointed deputies) before the start of the display. Those who fail to do this are in breach of the Society’s rules. They may be asked to leave the display, and may be liable under the disciplinary sections of the Code of Law.
  2. No article of wargear shall show evidence of modern manufacture (e.g. spinning, machining).
  3. All wargear was a mark of status in the period and should be treated and maintained as such. No article of wargear will be allowed on the field if its overall condition is deemed to be poor.
  4. The MaA reserves the right to ban articles which would not normally fall into their remit on the grounds of safety (e.g. hobs on shoes, or spurs) if in their opinion they constitute a safety hazard.
  5. It must be noted that it is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that, at the time of any check, his kit is in a safe and satisfactory condition for use. For the purpose of the kit check, any kit or equipment that is loaned to an individual is the responsibility of that individual. It is therefore their responsibility to ensure that it complies with all of the Society’s rules.
  6. ‘Datelines’ which have been set for an event apply to ALL activities relating to that event, including training sessions, unless notice is given otherwise.
  7. If a member of the Society attends muster with an article of protective gear that is banned by the Master-at-Arms, then that member of the Society may not take the field of combat. If that member wishes to remove the article and reapply to join the field of combat, they is free to do so. Please note that all members of the Society take part in combat at their own risk.
  8. All wargear should be in proportion to the user. That is to say that the user must be physically capable of wielding or wearing the equipment safely. Also, for example, if the user is very large then they should not select weapons and wargear that have been manufactured to the minimum permitted sizes.

6. Mandatory Rulings for All Weapons

1. All weapon blades, tangs and sockets must be made from steel, iron or in the case of some maces, bronze. They must be rust and burr free and must be of good overall construction and condition.
2. All weapons edges must be no less than 2mm (1/16”) and no more than 5mm (1/5”) in thickness. In cross section, the edge may be rounded or round shouldered but must not be square edged (fig. 1). The edges of a weapon must include its cutting surface and any back edges also. This rule also applies to quillions, guards and pommels.
Fig.1 Blade Profiles
3. All spearheads must end in a 10mm (7/16”) diameter rounded swelling. This may be forged into the blade or welded to the point. Other methods of termination may be considered and will be judged on an individual basis. NOTE : “Spoon-ended” spears must not be used.
4. Any weapon with a bladed part exceeding 200mm (8”) in length must be made entirely of spring steel. (See Appendix: Notes on Spring Steel.) NOTE : The bladed part of a spear does not include the socket as the bladed part of a sword does not include the tang.
5. Any angle made by the edges of a bladed weapon that is 90° or less should be rounded to no less than an 18mm (11/16”) diameter. (i.e. the diameter of a 1999 5 pence piece). Any angle made by the edges of a bladed weapon that is greater than 90° must be rounded over (see fig. 2). This applies to all bladed weapons including spears and flanged maces.
6. Any protruding part of a weapon not covered under part 3) or 5) above must terminate in a rounded end of no less than 10mm for reenactment use.
Fig.2 Accute and Obtuse angles
7. All spear shafts, axe and mace hafts etc. must be made from a white hardwood, preferably ash. Spear shafts, axe and mace hafts must be in a good overall condition and free from splinters and cracks. NOTE : Ramin is an acceptable alternative to ash but oak must be avoided as it is heavy and shatters easily.
8. All spearheads must be securely attached to their shafts.
9. All hafted weapons (axes, maces) must be securely fixed to their hafts.
10. All swords and fighting knives must be carried in a scabbard.
11. All battle standards intended to remain on the field for the duration of the display must fulfil all of the requirements laid down for other weapons.
Master at Arms Special Mention
New Ruling regarding standards
Please note that the below rule is being removed in its entirety. All standards and equipment must be compliant with the MaA regulations. We almost never see non compliant equipment these days anyway and to prevent any accidents it has been decided to entirely prevent the access of non compliant equipment on to the field.

"Standards or items that are non-compliant may be used in processions or entrances to the display, provided:

  • the Master-at-Arms has been made aware of their presence;
  • they are carried by a responsible, non-combatant adult;
  • they are removed from the field and made safe before competitive combat begins, or at another suitable time as agreed with the MaA.
The MaA (or his appointed Deputy or Assistants) reserves the right to refuse permission to bring a standard onto the field if he feels that safety will be compromised. Standards that have not been presented to the Master-at-Arms may be summarily removed from the field."

7. Individual Weapons Guidelines

7.1.a. Seaxes and Double Edged Fighting Knives

Weapon Blade Length Maximum weight
Hadseax 650 - 899 AD 18 - 33cm (7" - 13") 1.36Kg (3lb)
Hadseax 900 - 1079 AD 18 - 25cm (7" - 10") 1.36Kg (3lb)

View Kit Guide

KEY POINTS:

  • No Hadseax blades over 10” after 900AD - THIS RULING COMES INTO PLACE 1/1/2017
For events after 900AD blunt combat hadseax (Scramasax) blade lengths must now be between 7-10” (18-25cm). The evidence from Regia’s core period is that sharp blade lengths vary from between 7-11”. Blunting the point for combat reduces the length by 1”. Longer blades of up to 14” (35.5cm) (sharp) or 13” (33cm) (blunt) of the appropriate blade form are allowed for events before 900AD.
  • Blades may have a narrow fuller in one or both sides.
  • Seaxes may have small ferrules on the hand-grip but must not have a properly developed cross guard or a pommel.
  • Seaxes must not have unworked antler handles or wood with bark still on.
  • All seaxes taken onto the battlefield must be scabbarded.
  • Hadseaxes (850 - 1079AD) should not be parallel-edged (back edge to cutting edge).
  • Double-edged fighting knives (daggers, stilletoes, basilards etc.) Although double edged fighting knives were known throughout Eastern Europe, they were very rare in Northern Europe throughout Regia Anglorum’s stated period of interest until the Very Late (1080 - 1179AD) and Angevin (1180 - 1215AD) periods.
  • Until this document is updated to contain specific information on double edged fighting knives please contact the MaA and AO if you wish to use one and they will be able to guide you on the correct styles to choose.


7.1.b. Langseaxes

Metric Imperial
Blade Length 45.8 - 66cm 18" - 26"
Maximum weight 1.825Kg 4lb

View Kit Guide

KEY POINTS:

  • Blades may have a narrow fuller in one or both sides.
  • Langseaxes may have small ferrules on the hand-grip but must not have a properly developed cross guard or a pommel.
  • Langseaxes must not have unworked antler handles or wood with bark still on.
  • All langseaxes taken onto the battlefield must be scabbarded.
  • Langseaxes should be parallel-edged (back edge to cutting edge).
  • The majority of Langseax finds have been highly decorated indicating a high status weapon...not a poor mans sword.

7.2. Swords

Metric Imperial Comments
Blade length: 56 - 91.5cm 22" - 36"
Maximum weight: 1.825Kg 4lb
Kings and warriors, Hexateuch
NOTES
I) All blades must have a fuller on both sides of not less than 1/3 the total width of the blade. This fuller should not be square shouldered.
II) Blades should taper evenly from crossguard to tip.
III) The handgrip of the sword from crossguard to pommel should not exceed the width of the user’s gloved hand by more than (2.5cm).
IV) Less common patterns of swords (Norwegian single-edged etc.) will be judged on an individual basis and may only be used by Vikings of Warrior status.To have a single edged sword your kit must be mainly Viking in provenance. Just calling yourself a Viking is not sufficient!
V) Sword fittings can be decorated with inlay or punch work however the style of decoration varies depending on the time frame and nationality being portrayed
VI) Viking sword should be suspended on a baldric rather than a sword belt.
VII) The 2mm edge rule also applies to cross guards and pommels
VIII) Swords taken onto the battlefield must be scabbarded. Sword scabbards may be decorated with raised moulding but they may not be painted (although existing painted scabbards are currently allowable). Very simple tooling is also acceptable.
IX) No side sewn or thronged sword scabbards
X) Angevin Knights - Scabbards may be decorated in an appropriate style and may be tanned black. Scabbards from this period often have a seam running down the body side of the blade.

7.3. Hand Axes

Metric Imperial Comments
Max head size: 18 x 12.5cm 7” × 5” in either axis
Min head size: 10 x 5cm 4” x 2” in either axis
Max head weight: 0.9 Kg 2 lb
Min haft diameter: 3cm 1¼”
Max haft length: From user’s armpit to fingertips.

View Images of Hand Axe Types by Period
View Hand Axe Kit Guide

  • Axe hafts do not have to be round however whatever shape they are they should still be at least 30mm in one dimension.
  • It is encouraged to use a wooden wedge as opposed to metal wedges when hafting an axe.
  • If an axe is worn around the LHE a leather cover should be placed over the blade edge.
  • Metal axe rings are not allowable, cloth or leather holders may be used instead, or the axe handle can be put through the belt.
  • Axes marked with a red dot on the diagram are found in Scandinavian countries but not in the British Isles. They may be used as Viking specific ethnic kit.
Hand Axes and Broad Axes

7.4. Broad Axes

Metric Imperial Comments
Max head size: 25.5 x 20.5cm 10” × 8” in either axis
Min head size: 15 x 10cm 6” x 4” in either axis
Max head weight: 1.36 Kg 3 lb
Min haft diameter: 4cm 1½”
Max haft length: From the ground to under the users chin

View Images of Broad Axe Types by Period
View Broad Axe Kit Guide

Warrior using a Broad axe, St. Etienne bible c.1109
  • Broadaxes appear to have come into use in this country during the late tenth century. Many were found in the River Thames and have been dated to the Great Army’s attacks on London in the 990s. Broadaxes are therefore restricted to events post 980. They continue to be in use beyond 1066.
  • Note this image from the St. Etienne bible c.1109. In particular, see the use of the back-slung shield by the axeman. * It is encouraged to use a wooden wedge as opposed to metal wedges when hafting an axe.
  • Dane axes can only be used between 980AD and 1016AD by Vikings

7.5. Maces

Metric Imperial Comments
Max head size: 12.5 x 10cm 5” × 4” in either axis
Max head weight: 0.9 Kg 2 lb
Min haft diameter: 3cm 1¼”
Max haft length: From user's armpit to fingertips

View Maces Kit Guide

Maces, while known throughout the Near and Middle East, were undoubtedly rare in Northern Europe throughout Regia’s period of interest. It is possible that a mace or club would only be used as a symbolic weapon held by a commander, or as an unfamiliar weapon for use in certain forms of trial by combat.
Therefore, anyone wishing to use a mace on the field of combat must do so only with the MaA’s permission; see Section 3, MaA Kit Specifications. In general, these items will be restricted to those combatants portraying commanders at Norman period events.

NOTES

i) The dimensions for maces will generally be the same as for hand axes, laid out in Section 7.4. with the exception that the maximum head size will be 5” x 4”. There is currently no minimum head size.
ii) Cast bronze or cast steel maces of any type that may be correct for the dateline or context of a show may be used only after the MaA has been convinced of their safety


Mace (Late Period)
Maces may only be carried by Line Commanders on the battlefield as a badge of office. This must be agreed with the Military Officer at the event. After this period maces are used as just a weapon by [RICH] warriors.


7.6.a. Single handed spears

Metric Imperial Comments
Max head weight: 0.455 Kg 1 lb
Max blade length: 35.5cm 14”
Overall length: 1.83 - 2.13m 6' - 7' including shaft
Max overall weight: 1.36kg 3 lb including shaft
Shaft diameter: 2.5 - 3cm 1" - 1¼"

View Single Handed Spears Kit Guide

7.6.b Two handed spears

Metric Imperial Comments
Max head weight: 0.575 Kg 1¼ lb
Blade length: 20 - 40.5cm 8” - 16"
Max Blade width (1): 10cm 4" up to 12” blade length
Max Blade width (1): 7.5 3” blade length 12” to 16”
Overall length: 1.83 - 2.74m 6' - 9' including shaft
Max overall weight: 1.8kg 4 lb including shaft
Shaft diameter: 2.5 - 4cm 1" - 1½"

View Two Handed Spears Kit Guide

  • 2-handed spear-head blades must be 8” (20cm) or longer on spears longer than 7’ (213cm)
For the first time a minimum blade length is being introduced for two-handed spear heads. Twohanded spear heads must now have a minimum blade length of 8” (20cm) if used on a spear over 7’ (213cm) long.
The intention is to make the use of javelin sized heads unacceptable on spears over 7’ in length. This will result in the use of javelin heads on our single-handed spears and larger standard spear heads on our two-handed spears, in Regia combat
  • More use of single-handed spear and shield
Every warrior should ideally take the field of battle with a shield and a single-handed spear astheir starting weapon.
All new combatants in Regia are encouraged to start with the single-handed spear as their first weapon.
  • Less two-handed spears being used by POOR warriors
Ideally it would be nice to see only high status warriors using two-handed spears as their large spearheads would have been expensive weapons (see the new rule regarding two-handed spear head minimum length of 8” (20cm)).
The use of two-handed spear and shield in combat is only depicted 3 times in Regia’s period of interest (see below) and is always shown being used against non-infantry. (See Fig below)
Aberlemno II

Aberlemno II

St Gallen, Cod. Sang. 863

St Gallen, Cod. Sang. 863

7.7 Agricultural Implements

Two men fighting, Bayeux Tapestry

It is well established that the military forces in action during Regia’s period of interest were not simple peasants armed with pitch forks and shovels. They were well equipped, well trained professional soldiers. As such, at the majority of Regia events, it would not be appropriate for someone to take to the battlefield intending to use agricultural equipment as weapons.
However there are, on rare occasions, circumstances where armed peasants would be appropriate, such as a raid on a village where the people have to rely on whatever they can lay their hands on to defend themselves.
In such a scenario all agricultural “weapons” would have to be checked with both the MaA and the Authenticity Officer first. In some case where the use of such a weapon would be very different from the normal weapons used in Regia combat then additional training with the Military Training Officer may be required.
For the most part agricultural implements should follow the same guidelines as their most similar Regia weapon in this document. For example, a woodsman's axe should fall into the same guidelines as combat axes and bill hooks and sickles should follow the same guidelines as seaxes and knives.
If you are planning on making a weaponised agricultural implement it us highly recommended that you contact the MaA and the AO before investing time and money.

8. Armour Guidelines

8.1 General Guidelines for Armour

This portion of the MaA regulations will cover the construction and safety of all protective equipment used on the battle field. All armour must be constructed in such a way as to afford genuine physical protection for the wearer. Armour may be constructed from:

  • Ferrous metal plates;
  • Ferrous rings;
  • Leather;
  • Padded textile;
  • Other materials, such as non-ferrous metals, horn, rawhide or wood.

All ferrous metal must be rust and burr free.

8.2 Mail Shirts and Metal Armour

Short Mail shirt: Early 800-980AD
(Leiden 1 “Maccabees” PER F17 c.900-950AD)
1. Mail shirts must extend in length to cover the user’s crotch or below, and the sleeves should cover the elbow when the arm is held straight out. (amended to allow mail shirts that come to just below the belt but do not necessarily cover the groin for events before 980AD)
2. Mail shirts longer than this minimum may be split at the sides, the front and back, or just the back. Mail shirts split front and back for riding should be split no higher than the crotch at front and the base of the spine at back. These modifications are period and ethnicity dependent.
3. NOTES on the construction of mail:
I) Mail must be constructed from steel or iron rings.
II) A mail shirt must not have open armpits.
III) The wire used for the rings should be a minimum of 1.2mm (18 SWG) square or in diameter, and a maximum of 2.2mm (13 SWG) square or in diameter.
IV) The most authentic mail shirts in Regia’s period are made from 6-8mm (internal diameter) however links up to 10mm (internal diameter) are allowable.
MaA Mail Links.JPG
V) Rings may be butted closed. However, it is suggested that mail should be constructed of alternate rows of riveted and forge welded or solid rings.
VI) Mail should be constructed so that every link goes into two other links in the row above and two in the row below, unless for the purpose of shaping the garment (see diagram )
VII) Mail shirts may be vandyked (have triangular extensions) at leg and shoulder (or just leg) as long as the highest split does not exceed the minimum length restriction.
VIII) Mail shirts may be decorated with no more than two rows of bronze rings at their edges.
IX) Any mail armour that is constructed from Galvanised or zinc coated steel rings should have the zinc layer removed, at least partially (if some is removed, eventually the zinc will be stripped off in the course of use).
Master at Arms Special Mention
Important Note:
Over the years the quality of riveted mail has improved considerably however, with regards to safety, the most important consideration is the riveting. Poor quality riveted mail can result in a garment with sharp edges and protuberances that may be considered unsafe for the battlefield. In such a case, the armour will be banned from the field.
4. Angevin Knights
Those portraying knights will be expected to have a full complement of late 12th century or early 13th century kit, including a sword and soft kit. Mixing and matching earlier period items will not be acceptable for a knight. Mail coifs may be acceptable if concealed by a surcoat and other conical helm patterns are also acceptable.
5. Scale and lamellar
These forms of armour, whilst known, were undoubtedly rare in Northern Europe throughout Regia’s period of interest. These items may however be used at some shows given the show’s dateline and contexts but because of their scarcity they will be judged solely on their individual merit.

8.3 Leather, Cloth and Padded Armour

Simple sleeveless leather Jack

Simple sleeveless leather Jack

Tunic style with diamond quilting

Tunic style with diamond quilting

Tunic style with tubed quilting

Tunic style with tubed quilting

Gambesons only ever worn under chain mail
These may be made from cloth or leather and may be padded or not. Any design is acceptable as long as it is not seen protruding from under the mail shirt. Gambesons may however be sewn to the mail shirt being attached by a leather strip around the mail shirts edge. Unlike on visible jacks metal buckles may be used but they must never be shown to the public. Only gambesons that match the criteria for those worn as visible armour are allowed to be displayed in armouries or as items for ‘dressing the knight’.

Gambesons or jacks worn as visible armour
Padded cloth gambesons can be worn for a limited time only on the understanding that the member is in the process of procuring a mail shirt within 12 months. Leather jacks, padded or not may be worn as visible body armour. They may be made in the style of either a waistcoat or as a short sleeved, skirted tunic. Metal buckles and fittings must not be used, Leather toggles or ties may be used to close the garment instead. Only authentic styles of leather may be used for leather jacks, no chrome or suede. Either diamond or tubed padding styles are permissible. Leather gambesons and jacks must not be dyed black.

Possible warrior coat
(Stone carving, Grötlingbo Parish, Gotland)

Ethnic Specific Cloth Armour
Viking Warrior Coats
793 - 979 Viking warriors with Viking style weapons and jewellery may wear a ‘Warrior Style’ wrap around jacket. These must be made of wool and lined. Ideally it should have a faced or tablet woven edge. They should fold over and be pinned on the wearer’s right hip.

Angevin Surcoat
1180 - 1215 Angevin knights may wear an optional surcoat. Ideally they should be of one plain colour and must not have a design that matches the shield. Note that ‘quartered’ designs should not be used and ‘half’ designs are rare although both are considered Acceptable.


8.4. Limb Armour

Arms and Legs Mail arm and leg protection may be worn subject to a show’s dateline and context. This will be detailed in the kit specs. for each show. Leather arm or leg protection, for example greaves or vambraces, should not be seen but may be worn under tunics and trousers.


Encouraged simple leather glove

An acceptable simple leather covered glove

An acceptable simple leather covered glove

Less over engineered combat gloves

Less over engineered combat gloves

Unacceptable mail glove

Unacceptable mail glove

Leather Gloves It is recommended that combatants wear sturdy gloves or mittens, which may be reinforced with leather. Modern welding or gardening gloves must be thoroughly disguised to hide their origins. Leather gloves must not extend more than 5cm (2”) up the arm from the wrist and must be in natural shades of brown or grey. No modern piping or elastic should be visible. They should not be made of suede and must be in natural shades of brown or grey. Do not use green, red or black welding gloves.

Less over engineered leather combat gloves We have no pictorial or archaeological evidence for leather gloves from our period. This said it is generally accepted that protective gloves may have been worn. As always, where evidence is lacking, Regia always insists on encouraging the simplest and least obvious of designs. Gloves should be of a simple construction and those consisting of complicated overlapping leather panels should be avoided.

Mail Gloves Less integral mailed mittens before 1180AD Although the use of integral mailed mittens is allowable after 1080AD they did not really become popular until Regia’s Angevin period, after 1180AD.

No separate mail covered gloves Gloves with attached mail are considered unacceptable for all periods from 1st January 2015. Mailed gauntlets do not appear until the C12th. These items are wrong on two counts. First we have no clear evidence of gloves and hence must strive to keep them simple in design. Secondly they are often worn by Regia members portraying poor characters who could never have afforded such an item, even if they had existed, as mail was expensive.

8.5 Head Protection

There are many types of helmet available through Regia’s stated period of interest and many of these types are dateline and/or ethnic specific.

NOTES

  1. Spun helmet domes are strongly discouraged and must be disguised or treated to hide all evidence of spinning.
  2. All edges of metal helmet fittings must be rounded off, with particular care being paid to any attached nasal or face guards.
  3. Helmets may be made of ferrous metal or a ferrous frame with panels made from a suitable organic material, such as hardened leather or horn. If organic materials are used, the helmet should be constructed so as to afford real protection to the user.
  4. Mail hoods (coifs) should be worn only in conjunction with a helmet.
  5. Mail coifs and aventails applied to helmets may be decorated with no more than two rows of bronze rings at the edges.
  6. Padded head protection should be worn only in conjunction with a mail coif and/or helmet.
  7. Helmets are often closely inspected by members of the public. Therefore any modern or synthetic padding added to the inside of a helmet must be suitably disguised.
  8. Angevin - Knights may wear a full faced Helm, This must only be worn when accompanied by a full sleeved hooded mail shirt (or coif & surcoat), kite shield & the correct period sword.
  9. Great Polish Helm [V] (Mid & Late) - This style of helmet is eastern (Russian) in origin and unlikely to have been found in England. Only warriors portraying Swedish Vikings can use one. You must also be wearing at least 2 other items of eastern Viking provenance.
AD 793-899

AD 793-899

AD 1042-1079

AD 1042-1079

Restricted helmets from Eastern Europe

Restricted helmets from Eastern Europe


8.6 Shield Guidelines

Shield Fronts

Shield Fronts

Shield Backs

Shield Backs

General Notes

  1. All shield boards must be constructed from exterior grade plywood of a minimum of 9mm (3/8”) thickness. Other methods of construction (planking, etc.) will be examined on an individual basis. Shield boards of 8mm may be used if the shield is faced with stout hide of at least 2mm in thickness.
  2. All exposed plywood edges must be disguised. Please pay attention to the cut-out behind the boss of a centre-grip shield.
  3. All shields must be edged with leather or rawhide. Nails used to attach the edging must be flush with the surface. Stitching edging to shields is highly recommended. The edging must always be in a good overall state of repair. Metal edging must not be used on combat shields.
Make the MaA happy Special Mention
More shields with sewn on shield rims
Although we cannot categorically say that shield rims were not nailed on it is more likely that they were sewn on with stitches about 3-4cm apart. The thread used can be leather thong, string (or linen thread), or sinew.
  1. All shield board fronts must be covered in cloth, leather or rawhide. This prevents splinters from impacts to the front of shields causing a hazard to other combatants. Shield backs may be similarly covered.
  2. All uncovered plywood surfaces must be scored in the direction of the grain so as to give the impression of planking.
  3. All shield boards must be in good general condition, and free of holes and splinters.
  4. Washers used in the construction of a shield should be distressed, or otherwise disguised, so as to hide any evidence of modern manufacture. Washerless clench nails can be used only after the approval of the MAA or one of his deputies. Clenching seems to be the most common way of securing a boss to a shield, but can be tricky and cause safety concerns.
  5. All bosses must be made from steel or forged iron and must be free of rust and burrs. If they are of spun construction, they must be disguised to hide any evidence of spinning marks. They must be attached to the shield board with a minimum of four rivets, with the use of five being encouraged.
  6. Shield bosses must have a diameter between 76mm (3”) and 178mm (7”), excluding the flange. They should be of hemispherical, conical or mammoform section, and may be “shouldered”.
  7. MaA Bosses.JPG

  8. Any shield may have metal strapping or re-enforcement added to the back of its board. Such bracing should show no evidence of modern manufacture and should be perpendicular to the planking of the shield. Additional metal strapping or metal plate decoration on the front face of the board must be avoided.
  9. As a general note, shield types other than those detailed above (such as oval, Slavic, Pictish, Byzantine, etc.), may be given consideration for certain datelines and contexts. However, since the vast majority of our events are set within the British Isles and within a given period, there would be very few, if any occasions when such items may be needed. If you have an interest in equipment from another period or geographical area, the MaA will be happy to discuss with you the possible uses of your equipment in a Regia context.
short grip

short grip

long grip

long grip

metal spider grip

metal spider grip

metal grip

metal grip

braced shield

braced shield

8.6.1 Round Shields

A Note on Size. As noted earlier all wargear should be in proportion to the user. This is particularly true of round shields. It is therefore highly unlikely that any member would need a round shield of the maximum size allowed. A combatant of average size (5’10”/1.8m) and build is well served by a shield of 31” (0.8m) diameter.

More large sized shields The meagre archaeological evidence would imply that shields were usually quite large in Regia’s core period with shields of 80-100cm (32-39”) being common. To this end it is encouraged for any new shields to reach at least 5cm (2”) past the users elbow when gripped. This will hopefully encourage more 79cm to 89cm (31” - 35”) shields. Round shields may be smaller than 20” (0.5m) in diameter subject to dateline and the user’s ethnic background (See 8.6 note 12)

NOTES i) A boss must be placed at the centre of the board covering the hand-grip. ii) The hand-grip must have the appearance of having been attached, as a separate component, to the shield board. iii) A round shield’s board may be flat or lenticular in shape. A lenticular shield must be constructed in such a way as to be structurally sound and capable of withstanding heavy blows. Round shields curved in a single plane are considered completely unacceptable from January 1st 2006. iv) ii.) Lenticular shields should have a maximum diameter to depth ratio of 1:6. Thus, if you put a 36” (90cm) diameter lenticular shield flat on the ground, with the boss facing upwards, the hand-grip should be no more than 6” (15cm) off the ground. A 30” (75cm) shield’s hand-grip should be no more than 5” (13cm) off the ground etc.

8.6.2 Shield Designs

A selection of basic shield designs which can be provenanced by manuscript pictures or archaeological finds are illustrated overleaf as a guide for members to base their own shield designs on. Shields may be painted in up to four colours using these patterns, although one or two colours seem to be the most common. Remember all black shields are reserved for under 18’s on the battlefield. Authentic period paint colours include red, orange, yellow, brown, black, white and grey. More rarely grey-blues, pale greens and other colours were also used, it is best to avoid rich blues or greens as these are rare or very rich colours. Leather fronted shields are not allowed to be tanned black Less blue paint In Regia’s period the only viable way of achieving quantities of blue paint was by using woad. Even so the process of refining it to make the paint would have been expensive. Where blue paint is used for shield designs it is recommended that it be applied in moderation and that shades should be no darker or bluer than that of ‘Pebble Drift 1’ from Dulux. More freshly painted shields Shields of the time would not have been covered in ball bearing marks. They would have been new and then hacked to pieces. To this end all active combat shields should be repainted at least once a year to remove combat marks. Shields painted in artistic styles (All Periods) Any design that is not a simple geometric one must follow a recognisable period art style. Only full warriors with 3 hits may use an artistic shield design. As large obvious items shields painted in an artistic style can only be used at events where the art style is in period. Shields painted in 4 or more colours (All Periods) Most shields seem to be painted in only one or two colours. The use of 3 painted colours is acceptable but only warriors with 3 hits and of aristocratic appearance can use 4 or more colours. Even so the use of more than 3 colours is not encouraged. Shields painted with heraldry [RICH][K] (Angevin Period) This period is the start of simple Heraldic designs. Only warriors portraying RICH Knights may have a simple period correct heraldic design on their shield.

8.6.3 Long (Kite) Shields

NOTES
i) A boss must be placed at between 1/4 and 1/3 of the total length from the top of the shield.
ii) A long shield must be curved in the vertical plane. No flat kite shields.
iii) A long shield may be equipped with a variety of strapping arrangements for use and may have a rigid hand-grip attached. The board may have sections of padding attached to the rear face.
iv) Kite shields can be made to reach between the user’s knee and ankle depending on preference.
v) Larger long shields will be allowed subject to the user’s physical build and proportions only after consultation with the MaA Please be aware that these shields must only be used by the approved user and must not be lent to an unapproved user.
vi) Kite shields must be bossed if used prior to 1180AD. After this bosses on kite shields are optional. Although some bossless kite shields are depicted prior to this date, the AO and MAA decided that all kite shields must have a boss. This was necessary as no workable or fair solution could be found to limit the number of bossless kite shields in the society.
vii) Poached egg style shields are not allowed.

8.6.4 Long Shield Designs

9. Warriors

The Warrior System
To advance through the warrior system combatants must gain and improve their kit. At each level of advancement the member is expected to have:

Level 1 – Levy – 1 Hit
A battle field safe in spear (preferably single handed but 2 handed is acceptable) and shield, these items may be borrowed.

Level 2 - Militia – 2 Hits
A full pass pass in spear (single or 2 handed).
They must own their own spear and shield.
They must have at least one authentic name.

Level 3 - Warrior – 3 Hits
A full pass in a short arm and a battle field safe in another short arm.
A helmet and mail shirt, which must be worn on the battlefield to have the 3rd hit point.
Ideally they should take to the battlefield with a spear as their primary weapon.
They must own their own war gear and it must be in a good state of repair and of good craftsmanship.
It must also be of matching ethnicity and time period. They must have an authentic name for each ethnic character they represent.

Becoming a Warrior
Members seeking to advance to Warrior level must ask the Master at Arms and an MaA Deputy, who at the same time will examine their kit. Opportunities for this will normally be after the battle practice and after the afternoon battle. Advice will be given and if both deputies agree then the members book will be stamped.

Warriors and Authenticity Checks
Just like warriors only have two hits when they remove their armour, they also forfeit their third hit if they take the field wearing any item of kit that is currently being phased out and is therefore classed as unacceptable. Hopefully this will be pointed out during the day at one of the authenticity checks or Master at Arms checks and the member given time to either remove the item or modify it, but the Event Kit Guides usually make this clear and can be consulted before attending an event.

For more information regarding the Warrior System refer to ‘The Warrior System’, Spring 2005, document from the Regia website.

10. Battlefield Authentic

This section explains the thoughts behind and the aim of two new terms being introduced, Battlefield Authentic and Armoury Authentic. The end goal being a more authentic and educational Armoury display, without limiting what weapons and armour members can use during training and battle displays.

Battlefield Authentic

Battlefield Authentic refers to the level of authenticity expected to be achieved by members while taking part in Regia military displays at events. This is an attempt to allow as many people as possible on the field, especially in the extended periods, without them having to buy new expensive equipment for each dateline. By keeping the rules for Battlefield Authentic equipment more relaxed it is hoped this will increase the number of combatants on the field and make sure everybody can enjoy their hobby.

Armour and weapons are considered battlefield authentic if they are:

  • Look reasonably authentic to the given dateline, while in use on the battlefield, at a range of about 10m.
  • They are generally in the ‘Allowable’ column in the ‘Authenticity Kit Guide’, for the show dateline, and comply with the current MaA regulations.


Items that are Battlefield Authentic but not Armoury Authentic should:

  • Not be displayed on the armoury
  • Be known by the wearer to be 'wrong' so it can be explained by them in case they are asked by a member of the public.


Some examples of battlefield authentic items:

  • Swords suspended from sword belts in early period shows, and swords on baldrics at later datelines.
  • Gloves.


This is no excuse to mix kit from various periods. All of a warrior’s kit should be consistent within itself. The higher ranking a person you are displaying, the more correct your equipment should be.

Armoury Authentic

Armoury Authentic refers to the standard of authenticity expected to be found on an LHE armoury display during a Regia event. The primary goal of an armoury display is to educate about the correct appearance, nature and use of the arms and armour of the dateline portrayed. This level is higher than that of Battlefield Authentic, mostly because the weapons used for combat have to be denatured to be safe. We have got the correct equipment within the society which should be highlighted and used to educate away from the battlefield. We realise that it is early days, but it would be nice to see good quality, authentic equipment being made and purchased specifically for its use on a quality armoury display.
Armoury Authentic arms and armour are:

  • In the Encouraged or Optional columns of the AO kit guides.
  • Period specific weapons and armour including helmets.
  • Correct scabbard styles and suspension method for swords and knives.
  • Riveted mail, of the correct period style.
  • Can be Semi-sharp or sharp, but good examples of blunt weapons should also be available to allow the public to handle them.
  • Blunt weapons should still be of a more authentic shape, weight and size than those used on the battlefield.
  • Correctly sized, and if possible correctly constructed equipment (i.e. large, planked, leather covered shields).
  • Run by a person knowledgeable in the equipment and its use in the period, as well as being able to highlight the difference between what would have been used then and what we use today in our military displays.

Appendix 1: Some Notes on Spring Steel

Without a large and expensive laboratory, it is almost impossible to determine or categorise the exact grades of steel that have been used in the construction of a weapon.
We allow some weapons to be made from mild steel. This is fairly easy to spot as, generally, it dents and burrs readily and will bend and stay set to that bend. Other weapons we insist are made from “spring steel”. EN42, EN45, case hardening and other terms abound, and very few people have any idea what they are or what they mean. It is easy to accept the reply “oh it’s spring”, when we ask a manufacturer what he has made a weapon from.

Addition for 2015:
Many European sword smiths use 51 CrV4 steel, this is an acceptable equivalent to EN45 spring steel.

What is needed is a test of whether a weapon is suitable for re-enactment purposes, and the approved method for testing a suspect item will be as follows:
Bending Test
When a bending load is applied, a blade should take up the load progressively without yield or set. The deflection of the blade should be proportional to the varying load applied to it (a slight variation on Hooke’s Law). When the load is released, the blade should spring quickly back to its original state, exhibiting no evidence of deformation.

Notch Hardness (Strike) Test
The Strike Test

When the edge of a blade is struck with reasonable force by the edge of another blade of known and approved properties, the edge of the struck blade should not show excessive burring or chipping. On inspection of any notch produced in the struck blade, the depth of the notch should not exceed more than half of the width of the notch (see fig below).
These tests will not normally be carried out at regular kit checks but are provided merely as a guide. Obviously, they may be carried out by the MaA or one of his appointed deputies on any weapon believed to be of suspicious construction.

NOTE
Pattern welded or leaf welded blades may be considered to be a “composite spring” steel and although these blades will all be judged on their own merit, the above tests may be applied to determine their suitability for reenactment use.

Appendix 2: How To Fit a Spear Head

By Stuart Makin
I have put this guide together in order to show one way of fitting a spear head to a spear shaft. In Regia we talk about fitting spear heads as though it is a simple enough task, however if someone has never done it before it may be quite a daunting prospect. Hopefully this step by step guide will help to instruct and reassure people as they fit their own spear heads.
It is not a compulsory method enforced by Regia Anglorum nor is it the only acceptable way to fit a spear head, it is merely the way I choose to do so. I have tried to replicate the process using tools most people will have easy access to. I have also tried to make the process as simple as possible however I have had to make the assumption that anyone embarking on fitting their own spear head will have some grasp of how to use the tools involved.


Tools Required
  • Spoke shave or draw knife
  • Ball peen hammer
  • Lump hammer
  • Vice
  • Hacksaw
  • Drill
  • Drill bit (0.5mm bigger than rivet)
  • 2 part epoxy glue
  • Marker pen
Materials Required
  • Spear head
  • Spear shaft
  • Rivet (100mm long nail)


1. Mark the length of the spear socket on one end of the spear shaft (Fig 1). Also mark the centre of the end of the shaft with a cross (Fig 2).
2. Fix the shaft in the vice. Take the draw knife and cut from the marked ring to the end of the shaft using the cross as a centre guide (Fig 3).
3. Repeat on the three remaining sides (Fig 4).
4. Shave the corners off the spike until it is completely round. Try the spear head to see if it fits well, if it does not, twist the head and any high points that need to be shaved off will be scuffed by the inside of the socket.
5. You may find that your spear socket is too wide to fit onto your spear shaft (Fig 5).
6. Fix the lump hammer in the vice, we will use this as an anvil (Fig 6).
7. Using light blows with the ball peen hammer squash the socket until it fits the spear shaft snugly NOTE: if your spear is made from spring steel you will probably not be able to do this. When hammering like this always make sure that you hammer straight down to stop the spear head from kipping off. If you need to hammer a different side turn the spear head (Fig 7).
8. Fix the shaft into the vice.
9. Drill through the rivet hole in the spear socket. If the drill bit does not pass perfectly through the hole on the other side turn the spear over in the vice and drill through the other side, this usually causes the holes to line up (Fig 8). Your rivet should fit snugly in the rivet hole in the spear socket. The hole in this spear is 5mm diameter and the rivet is a 100mm nail which has a diameter of 4.5mm. The hole you drill should be 0.5mm bigger than the rivet you are using to ensure it fits as tightly as possible.
10. Put the rivet through the rivet hole and mark the bit sticking out with the marker pen (Fig 9 & 10).
11. Place the rivet in the vice and, using the hacksaw, cut it down along the outside of the pen mark (Fig 10 & 11). There are formulas for working out the proper length of metal needed for a rivet head, however I have always found that the width of a marker pen tip is sufficient metal for riveting a spear (Fig 12).
12. Take the spear head off the shaft. Remember which way it went on to make sure your holes all line up.
13. Mix some of your favourite 2 part epoxy resin and paste it all over the shaved part of the shaft (Fig 13). The epoxy strengthens the join and helps prevent the spear head from rattling as the wood dries out.
14. Replace the spear head and put the rivet through the rivet hole (Fig 14).
15. Put the lump hammer in the vice.
16. Place the rivet head onto the lump hammer. Using light blows with the ball peen hammer squash the rivet down until it mushrooms over and covers the rivet hole (Fig 15 & 16).


Here ends the lesson
Written by Stuart Makin


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