the War of Scottish Independence, many technological advances in warfare
were necessary in order to win the war. During the thirteenth century,
many different types of armor were made to make it stronger so it
could withstand more blows by the enemy and provide protection from
the most recent warfare inventions. Some of these advances included
the invention of chain mail, and metallic plates started being put
into the armor for maximum protection. In reality, kilts did not come
to use until the 1600's, so a soldier had to wear other clothing before
kilts were invented. There were nine major layers put onto a warrior
during the thirteenth century to give him this defensive advantage
against the enemy. This included the following
This was the most basic protection for a warrior. It was a sheet
(usually white) that came down to the knees. It covered the whole
groin area and was tied up at the waist. It was used by all men
at the time and served as underwear.
This layer was worn directly above the braies. It is a layer made
of wool starting at the thighs and descending down to the ankles,
fully covering them. Some hose came down to the feet serving as
what would today be socks. The hose looked like tights, panties
and was tied up at the waste to keep it from falling, so it did
not provide protection to the groin.
The chausses look exactly like hose and protect the same areas except
they provide a lot better protection. Chausses are made of chain
mail, and like just like the hose, are tied up at he waist to prevent
falling. The only place which the chausses cover that the hose does
not, is that the chausses go down to the feet, totally covering
them and providing their first and only protecting layer. However,
there are leather soles at the bottom of the feet for comfort from
pain of the chain mail. To provide room for the knees, a very tight
rope was tied two inches below them to provide a small bulge in
the knee area. This made the knees more flexible and the legs more
maneuverable for attack.
The cuisses were the last layer of protection to the lower body.
The cuisses were like a sandwich of two layers of linen, stuffed
with horsehair, feathers, hay etc. This layer was very hot when
put on although it only covered the thighs and the knee. Cuisses
started at the pelvic area and went down to just below the knees,
and stayed up with the support of a belt tied around the waist that
also supported the chausses. Cuisses were put directly over the
chausses, and there were holes at the knees to allow more mobility.
Some metallic plates called poleyns are filled into the holes on
The first layer of the upper body was a simple white shirt made
out of linen. The shirt was equipped with full-length sleeves and
was worn as an undershirt. It sometimes had a hood attached to it
to give the head its first basic protection.
This was a coat of chain mail that had no sleeves. It was usually
put under the Gambeson and directly over the shirt. It resembled
a hauberk, but was not as big and not as heavy.
The Acton was much the same as a gambeson, and served the same purpose,
it was a coat stuffed with cotton. Later, a new use was found for
the acton and it was stuffed with metal plates instead of cotton.
Its prime purpose was to prevent the chain mail from entering into
Gambesons were shirts stuffed with wool. It has sleeves and sometimes
ends up in the form of mittens. Some gambesons ended up at the wrists,
while some were sleeveless. The gambeson is worn above the shirt,
in place of the Acton. They were usually worn in layers to give
even more protection to the upper body, although this made the wearer
The hauberk is the final major layer of protection worn by a knight
in the 13th century. It is a coat of chain mail worn on top of the
gambeson. It also usually came with mittens and a hood. The mittens
were made of linen, since ones made of metal links had not been
invented yet. It was made of interconnecting round metal links and
was put on top of the Gambeson or Acton to minimize the potential
damage to the abdominal area of the body.
Coat of Plates:
Above the hauberk a later version of an Acton was worn, this time
the acton was stuffed with metal plates, and was worn sleeveless.
After this layer was worn a vest with a knights coat of arms inscribed
onto it. A helmet and shield were put onto a knight for final protection
before going into battle. The helmet entirely covered the head and
face and little vertical slits were carved into it to give the wearer
The full weight
of all this armor is about 33 kg, or around 70 lbs!
This is general
clothing worn in the thirteenth century by most knights. Scottish,
knights, however, wore some of these with other types of clothing.
Some knights wore earlier forms of kilts, called leines. The earliest
description of a kilt comes from the late sixteenth century, so
it is not a very old style of clothing.
For more information
visit the following site: http://www.bumply.com/Medieval/Kit/kit.htm