Nursery Rhymes

Jousting Lance

Medieval life and Times

Jousting Weapons and the Jousting Lance
The Jousting tournaments of the Middle Ages were entertainments devised by rich nobles to enable knights to practise their combat skills in mock battles or in single combat using weapons such as the jousting lance. Tourneys provided a training ground for Medieval knights who could attend Jousting tournaments and demonstrate their combat skills with the sword and the jousting lance and delight the ladies with their code of Chivalry.

There were therefore weapons used in jousting tournaments, such as the jousting lance,  which were designed to be less lethal than the weapons used in real combat situations and on the battle field. 

The Jousting Lance
The jousting lance was used as the major weapon in Medieval Tournaments. The jousting lances were tipped with a coronal. This was a crown shaped metal cap consisting of three or more blunted metal prongs. The purpose of the coronal was to allow the lance to catch and hold on to the shield, making it easier to unhorse the opponent, or break a lance on him. A lance rest was protruding arm attached to the breastplate of the jousting armor to take off some of the weight of the lance when jousting.

Jousting Lance - The Jousting Lance used at tournaments
The Jousting Lance used at tournaments were designed to reduce the number of potential injuries to the knights. The purpose of the jousting lance used at tournaments was to unhorse a rider in single combat, such as in the "joust for peace"

  • The vamplate was added to the lance to protect the hand. It first appeared as a small protective disk but grew to a conical shape by the 14th century. The vamplate was seldom used in warfare
  • The lances used at tournaments were not fitted with the metal 'points of war'

The Lance used in combat
The lethal purpose of the lance used on the battlefield was to unhorse a rider or penetrate the armor of an enemy knight

  • The lance was long spear-like weapon, made of wood. The jousting lance was used in the 'couched' position, held close to the body, while mounted on a charging horse
  • The lance was made of wood, usually ash, with a metal tip made of iron or steel. The lance measured from 9 to 14 feet in length and 1.5 inches to 2 inches in diameter
  • The jousting lances were tipped with a coronal. This was a crown shaped metal cap consisting of three or more blunted metal prongs. The purpose of the coronal was to allow the lance to catch and hold on to the shield, making it easier to unhorse the opponent, or break a lance on him.

Medieval Weaponsused on the Battlefield and in combat
The weapons used during the battles fought during the Medieval times of the Middle Ages were as follows:

  • The Lance
  • A Dagger, called a roundel
  • A Sword was attached to the Knights belt
  • The Mace
  • Spikes called Gadlings were attached to the knuckles of gauntlets

There were various types of swords used by the Medieval Knights including the Broadsword, Falchion, Bastardsword, Cutting sword and the Greatsword

Jousting Armor
The Jousting armor used during the Medieval times of the Middle Ages varied according to the financial status of the knight. Jousting armor was extremely expensive, as was the conventional suits of armor, so many knights only owned one suit of Medieval Knight armor which was used for battle and for jousting armor. Jousting Armor was developed specifically for the joust. This type of armor had heavier protection on the side toward the opponent and lighter or no protection on the other side. Another style of Jousting armor had a built-in shield on one side of the waist, just at the point where the lance should strike. Other types of Jousting armor was designed to break apart on impact, leaving the rider in the saddle and reducing the possibility of injury.

Jousting Helmet
A jousting helmet called a 'frog-mouthed helm' was a specific piece of Jousting armor. The helm had an eyeslit at the upper part of the helm, so the knight could lean forward to see, but straightened at the moment of impact so the lip protected his eyes from splinters. This was an extremely useful piece of Jousting Armor as many, often fatal, injuries were sustained by knights - the eye of King Henry was pierced by a sliver that penetrated the brain, from the shattered lance of his opponent. This event is detailed in the section relating to the Medieval Jousting History.

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