The History of the Medieval Lance
The History of the Medieval Lance evolved over the era. The forerunner of the Medieval Lance was the spear. The spear was a favoured weapon of the Normans as can be seen from scenes from the Bayeux tapestry depicting the 1066 Battle of Hastings. The spear was carried by Normans who fought on horseback. At this point of Medieval history the English did not have a cavalry. Their skills in horsemanship and this type of warfare developed after the Norman invasion. And history saw the spear develop into the Medieval Lance. Tournaments were introduced from France to England in the 12th Century and the lance was strongly featured in these Medieval games.
Description of the Medieval Lance
The lance enabled the knight to take advantage of his superior position on horseback, keeping his distance from his enemy whilst striking a fatal blow. The Medieval lance was made of wood, usually ash, with a metal tip made of iron or steel. The Medieval lance measured from 9 to 14 feet in length. As the use of the Medieval lance grew in popularity armour was designed to facilitate the use of the lance. A lance rest was developed in the form of a projection on the side of a suit of armor where the lance was supported to help the Knight in combat. Later a piece of armor called a vamplate which was a round of iron on the shaft of the lance which was designed to protect the hand and arm. During jousts at Tournaments the head of a lance was fitted with a Coronal instead of the sharp point used for war.
Training to use the Medieval Lance
Skill in using Medieval weapons, including the lance, were necessary for every Medieval Knight. A Knight was trained first as a Page from the age of 7 to 14 and then as Squire from the age of 14 to 21. A Knight was therefore usually the age of 21 before would make a formal entry into Knighthood. It was the duty of a Knight to learn how to fight, become accomplished at using weapons such as the lance, and so serve their Lord according to the Code of Chivalry. Almost 14 years of training enabled the knight in the skills of horsemanship and to use the lance with considerable strength and skill.
Training - The Quintain
Skill in using Medieval weapons was dependent on weapon practise. The Quintain was used for training in the use of the Medieval Lance. A Page would start to acquire the skills required of a Knight by practising the skills of tilting a lance against the quintain. At first a target was erected and the Page would mount a wooden 'horse' on wheels holding a lance. The wooden horse would be pulled along by two other pages towards the target and the page would aim the lance. A quintain enabled target practise with a lance. This idea was 'borrowed' from the Romans. As the apprentice Knights acquired the skills of horsemanship they would practise against a shield and dummy which were suspended from a swinging pole. The shield was hit by a charging squire and his objective was to avoid the rotating arms and not get knocked from the saddle.
Training to use the Medieval Lance - The Ring
Another form of lance practise was called "running at the ring." The objective of this lance training were to develop accuracy in hitting the target. This consisted of attempting to spear a small target, such as a ring or whilst riding at a fast canter or gallop.
Facts and information about the history of the Medieval lance and how Knights were trained to use this weapon! The weapons used by the Medieval Knights - Swords - Broadsword, Falchion, Bastardsword, Cutting sword and the Greatsword. The weapons used by the armed men and archers included the Crossbow, The Longbow, The Battle Axe, The Poleaxe and Pikes