Whittington Castle Armour Display Launch
2017 is a very important year for Whittington Castle – it is the 10th Anniversary of the
Re-opening of the Castle after the renovation. As such we have a very special year planned at the Castle starting with the launch of the Armour display.
Heritage Lottery Funding has enabled
Whittington Castle Preservation Trust to mount
an exhibition of the 17th Century Armour which
was recovered from the Castle moat in the late
1960’s and which has kindly been donated
by the Lloyd family.
Sarah Thursfield – Trustee of Whittington Castle
took on the project of getting the Armour
on Display for the public to see
and appreciate. She says
The ten pieces of armour on display were found
in the castle moat in about 1970. We don’t
know how long they had been there or who put
them in, but there was ‘Parish Armour’ stored
at the castle in the 1620s: this was for use
when the local men were called out to fight
with their landlord, the nearest the
country had to an army.
By 1600 the fully-armoured knight was a period piece, but cavalry in particular continued to wear some armour.
A breastplate could protect against a pike thrust or sword blow so these pieces may have been worn by fighters in the Civil War of the 1640s. As muskets got more effective, armour became less useful: if a ball got through, the shards of armour made the wound much worse.
These pieces are:
A ‘back and breast’ possibly made around 1600, of a pattern shown worn by a Civil War cavalryman.
A helmet with visor, possibly made 1600-1630.
Three ‘Cuirassier’ breastplates with protection for the upper thighs, of the type shown on a Civil War pikeman (one has what might be shot holes…or possibly testing marks).
A pair of guards for the shoulders and upper arms
A pair of thigh guards
And that’s all we can tell you!
The mystery of the armour in the moat deepened when Sarah and Sue Ellis took the armour to show Antiques Roadshow at Trentham Gardens in 2015.
“The mystery was that some of the armour may be 19th century copies of armour! So what was it doing the in the moat at the same time as the real armour?”
Was it worn at the siege of Oswestry in 1642?
Did Thomas Lloyd have some of it made in the 1830s to display in the restored gatehouse?
How did it end up in the moat?
We all have our own theories about this and all visitors enjoy working out for themselves what really happened!
Whittington Castle display is open Wednesday to Sunday (also bank holiday Mondays) 10-4pm.