Gambesons

Welcome to section “Gambesons”. Here you can see various models of padded under armour, which were worn by medieval knights.


Every model is hand-made according to the medieval patterns and customer’s individual measurements and regards.

Only few simple actions are required to order the wished gambeson, aketon or doublet:


1.       Open the page of needed model;

2.       Choose outer and inner fabric for you padded under armour and its colour;

3.       Choose type of sleeve attachment;

4.       Select your size;

5.       Choose type of fastening;

6.       Add leather fastenings for plate arms, if required;

7.       Choose decoration;

8.       Select quantity of layers of padding, depending on your main armour.

Two-coloured and half-coloured models are available for choosing. If you wish to order such item, please choose first colour in options, and send us the second colour (and layout of colours) to sales@steel-mastery.com


Once you choose all options, add product to cart and make a payment. Then our manager will contact you with measurement request and specification of order’s details.


If you ran into any difficulties with choosing or you did not find required padded jack in this category, we can make it individually for you. Just send us picture with detailed description to sales@steel-mastery.com, so we could quote you and discuss details of order.



Padded vests were in use in Asian countries for a long time. However, European knights saw the true value of padded under armour only in the XII-XIII centuries. Such clothing was called padded jacket, gambeson, aketon or doublet. All these types were rather similar in meaning, but had own characteristics and differences.  For example, aketon could be worn under the main armour, and highly decorated thin gambeson was worn over the body defense. Sometimes it could be combined: sleeveless gambeson was worn over the aketon to reinforce its protective features.


 

eastern_gambeson


General feature of padded under armour was design. There was rather thick jacket, which had vertical or horizontal quilting. Sleeves were puffed or flared a little. Their length could vary: some gambesons did not have sleeves at all.  Cut of body part was straight or a fitted a bit. Gambeson was usually knee-length or had length to the middle of thighs. Bottom edge was plain or decorated with fancy festoons. Buttons, belts with buckles or simple strings served in place of fastenings. Collar of padded jack was short or could be missing at all.


aketon_with_festoon_edge

 

Such variety of models was explained by its functional purposes and depended on the main armour, which warrior was wearing over the padded protection (chainmail, plate or combined armour). The necessity of padded jack was very high: it amortized power of a blow. Besides, weight of main armour was dividing better on the body of knight. It was common, when enemy’s arrow hit the outer shell and stick into the thick gambeson without any harm for warrior.


ordinary_gambeson

 

Poor soldier, such as infantrymen, archers, crossbowmen, were hard up for full-plate body defense. Therefore, they had to be satisfied with padded gambeson or aketon as the only budget-friendly protective clothing. They were adding quantity of layers of padding to increase protective properties of gambeson.


sleeves_gambeson_of_infantryman

 

Many paintings of padded under armour are survived, not only on the ancient frescoes, but also on the pages of old manuscripts. For example, there are stained-glass artworks in the church of St. Magdalene (Judenburg, Austria) or numerous illustrations in “The Morgan Bible” (also known as “Maciejowski Bible”, XIII century). All of them are speaking for wide and common usage of padded clothing in the medieval Europe.

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