Description - The Pell consisted of a wooden post which was planted firmly in the ground. The origin of the pell was a simple tree trunk. The Medieval knight would practise striking his sword against the pell target
The Origins and History of the Pell
Training devices, similar to the pell were used by Romans. The word 'pell' or 'pel' derives from the Latin words palos meaning 'stake'. From this Latin origin the English word 'pale' was derived meaning a stake or a pointed stick. From this the word 'palisade' was derived meaning a fence made of wooden stakes, used in early English Castle building. Another spin-off from Pell Training is Pell Mell.
Knights used wooden swords or batons during pell training - these were often double the weight of the actual weapon ensuring that Medieval knights built up their upper body and arm strength.
Pell Training - Swords used in Pell Training
There were many different types of Medieval swords. The Baton was the name given to the wooden swords which were used in Tournaments or training and were made of wood or whalebone. A Rebated sword is one that has had its point and edge blunted for training or tournament
Facts and Information about Pell Training
Read the following facts and interesting information about pell training:
- Behourd was the old name of the training ground for young knights and squires
- The behourd was also used as a friendly tournament to be held at special occasions such as weddings, knight ceremonies and coronations
- Pell training also included practice related to striking with a shield
- Pell training allowed knights to practice various vicious strokes and manoeuvres such as thrusting, cutting, and slicing without imposing an injury on his opponent
- Hilt and shield strikes were also practiced
- Pell Training also included spear throwing
- Other Medieval weapons of the Middle Ages were also practised during pell training - battle axes, hammers etc - in fact any form of short arm weapon
- Effective training at the Pell required knights and other men-at-arms to take the practice extremely seriously. The Pell was attacked as if it were a real opponent. Pell training demanded hours of practice to increase skills, strength and agility
- Rigorous and regular training at the Pell resulted in precision, focus, and force
- The training post at the Pell measured about 6 feet in height and the diameter of the post was between 6 - 12 inches
- The pell was originally a plain post but as time went by the pell was embellished to resemble the figure of the enemy - especially popular during the era of the crusades when the pell figure resembled an infidel or Saracen
Pell Training was predominantly used by a Knight but other soldiers would also practise at the pell. Knights also had to practise additional weapon training - use of the lance was practised at the Quintain.
Pell Training - Scoring system
Training Combats using batons or wooden swords were settled by either a set number of counted blows, or until one or both combatants had been “satisfied” i.e. had enough. A Medieval scoring system Certain blows or manoeuvres using batons or wooden swords were allocated set numbers of points as follows:
- Thrusts to the body, shoulder and face counted as three points
- An immobilization or disarm was counted as three points
- Thrusts to the rest of the body or wrists counted for one point
- Strikes made with the use of the pommel or quillons also counted for one point
The quillons was the name given to the crossbar on the hilt of a sword. The pommel was part of the hilt which acted as a counterweight to the blade. Knights practised their skills with the lance at the Quintain.