The Archers Medieval Shields
- The Pavise
On the battlefield the English Medieval
crossbowman was particularly vulnerable when he was reloading his
crossbow. Crossbowmen therefore protected themselves with a tall shield
which was known as a pavise. The crossbowman would duck behind the
pavise to re-load his crossbow during a battle.
Description of the Pavise
The pavise was a a large
convex shield, measuring 4 to 5 ft. high and broad enough to cover the
entire body. A pavise shield would be carried slung on the
back of the crossbowman. These shields were then propped up in
front of them, in a permanent position, before the Medieval battle
commenced. The pavise shields of the crossbowman could also be used as
defensive screen formed by linking pavise shields together. Such a
defensive screen was known as a 'Pavisade'. These shields were also
known as Wall Shields.
The Medieval times of the Middle Ages was strongly
religious. English Crossbowman would have fought in crusades, as well as
battles in England. Many Pavise shields were therefore painted with
religious scenes. The crossbow archers hoped that the enemy would
believe that they were committing a sacrilegious act if the Holy images
on the shields were damaged.