Scots Common Army Pikemen – Did they have shields?

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Bill Hupp
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Scots Common Army Pikemen – Did they have shields?

Post by Bill Hupp » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:23 pm

We are working away on the Thistle & Rose figures and are now onto the Scots. We have 6 poses of Schiltron Pike figures both with and without shields (and an additional 3 poses kneeling.) In looking through the available art work from the Osprey’s for Bannockburn, Otterburn, etc. and in looking at some other lines like the Claymore Casting Scot Pikemen dated 1388, it appears that from say 1290 on that the pikemen did not have shields. I have a lovely 54mm figure by Del Prato, which also does not have a shield.

I hate to make decisions based on my inspection of artwork vs. real history, but the only thing I can find in this early Scots research period is the requirements for the common army pikemen equipment and it does not include a shield.

Opinions, guesses and historical references welcome.

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Re: Scots Common Army Pikemen – Did they have shields?

Post by Deuce » Wed Mar 10, 2021 1:46 am

Bow fire spelled their doom, so no shields may be right.
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Re: Scots Common Army Pikemen – Did they have shields?

Post by FanatiChris » Wed Mar 10, 2021 2:58 am

I’d assume that if any had shields, they’d be mostly small buckler-sized targes that could be hung on the belt or round targets hung over the back, and taken in hand if forced to resort to edged weapons. Robert the Bruce’s ordinance doesn’t mention shields as a requirement, even for those with money or land. Most sources seem to say no shields, although there are a few that do based on historical accounts and post-battle gear collection. Another source I read suggest that there were knife men” mixed in with the spear men to provide close in support if any attackers got past the leveled spear points. Here is a related discussion: http://myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.23240.html

May be worth noting that Scotsman Steve Shaw, sculptor of the Feudal Castings range, put small targe-like shields at the waist of his feudal Scots pikemen and larger round targets on his Flodden-period Scots pikemen.
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Re: Scots Common Army Pikemen – Did they have shields?

Post by FanatiChris » Sun Mar 28, 2021 2:38 pm

Interesting video on using small shields with two handed weapons by Matt Easton of Scholagladiatoria.
https://youtu.be/zr_aFXmVmwA

Shad of Shadversity also has one with Norman style shield and great sword, with shield slung over back. Very awkward but doable and shield is in great position if you overswing and miss your target.
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Re: Scots Common Army Pikemen – Did they have shields?

Post by David Kuijt » Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:21 pm

FanatiChris wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 2:38 pm
Shad of Shadversity also has one with Norman style shield and great sword, with shield slung over back. Very awkward but doable and shield is in great position if you overswing and miss your target.
Shad ought to spend his time doing other things, I think. I spent 25 years doing full-contact medieval martial arts, and I can tell you that technique is (a) ineffective in one-on-one combat and (b) would never be useful in group combat. I fought a bunch of tournament bouts with someone trying to use that method in the 80s and kicked his ass six ways to Sunday. And anyone who swings horizontally with sufficient force to spin himself backwards to his foe is going to be very short-lived on the battlefield -- single combat isn't baseball.

... and as a student of military history I'm compelled to point out that greatswords (two handed swords) were not in use at the same time as Norman style shields. They miss overlapping by three centuries. In fact true two-handed swords start appearing about the same time that advances in plate armor make shields disappear from use.
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Re: Scots Common Army Pikemen – Did they have shields?

Post by Bill Hupp » Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:08 am

Well, I didn't really expect an answer 4 years after the question.

Thanks Chris. Interestingly, we were acquiring the Feudal Castings figure range at Thistle and Rose just after this post. Would you have by any chance the contact information for the sculptor? I don't have much information on these figures.

I think I answered my question back then. If I remember correctly without looking it up, I did get the reference noted to the legislation Robert de Brus' 1318 legislation. "each layman of the kingdom having £10 in goods should have for his body in defence of the kingdom a sufficient haqueton, a basinet, and mailed gloves with a lance and sword. And anyone who shall not have a haqueton and a bacinet should have a good habergeon or a good iron [coat of mail] for his body, a cap of iron and mailed gloves"

As I recall the judgement of the best published historian I consulted, Chris Brown, was that this was the best evidence there was and he thought that shields would likely not have been used.
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Re: Scots Common Army Pikemen – Did they have shields?

Post by Brian Caskey » Thu Apr 29, 2021 12:58 pm

The Scots figures in the Old Feudal Range are not nearly as nice as the Scots figures in the Thistle & Rose line of figs - that is of course in my humble (Chicago style) Opinion
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