The Royal Armouries in Leeds were on my list to see for a long time. I jumped at the opportunity to see the Royal Armouries Museum when we had to go to Leeds earlier this month. I thought that a couple of hours will be enough to see the whole museum. I was so wrong. It’s huge and it’s interesting and I need to go back to see more.
One of the staircases in the museum is decorated with breast plates and swords and it looks beautiful.
This close helmet dates from 1495. It would have protected the head and neck, it has holes for hearing and breathing. The helmet was bolted into the body armour. It was made for Maximilan I by Lorenz Helmschmid, the Emperor’s court armourer at Augsburg.
The amount of details the armours had is incredible. They look like a piece of art, even though they were made for jousting and they would have been used in combat. There were so many armours decorated so beautifully that it was hard for me to pick a favourite.
I loved this armour with moustache, it’s fun, but it also shows amazing craftsmanship. It’s German, from 1525.
These were body armours for children. Boys, as young as 3 or 4 would have started to wear heavy armours, for parades.
This helmet is the symbol of the Royal Armouries Leeds because it was associated with Henry VIII and also because it looks strange and beautiful at the same time. It depicts the fool, a character established in folklore by early 16th century. The horns were fitted during Henry VIII’s lifetime.
One of the beautiful Gauntlets on display at the museum. The individual fingers had a lot of plates for easy movement. It’s decorated with gold, embossed foliage and it has reinforced knuckle plates. It looks stunning and it was practical too.
It’s Italian and it might be from 1540.
There are so many armours to look at, beautifully decorated. There are armours for horses and those are very interesting too.
War elephants were used from 1000 and until the 19th century.
Japanese armour from 1600s, a gift received by James I and VI in 1613.
The last thing I’m going to talk about is this Vampire Killing Kit. There are more than 100 of these sets, made in the 19h century. Maybe they were made as a way to “cash in” on the popularity of Dracula in 1897.
To make your own Vampire Killing Kit, you need: hardwood box, Belgian percussion pocket pistol from 1850s, 4 wooden stakes with mallet, crucifix, bottled garlic, holy water and holy earth, Book of common prayer, rosary beads. Of course, a kit wouldn’t be complete without a handwritten verse from St. Luke’s gospel 19:27 “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.”
The museum is huge, there are sword fights and events with jousting. I would recommend visiting the museum and it’s also free! Royal Armouries Leeds is at the Leeds Dock.