London regulations from 1322 order this to be "olde
lynnen or new cotton". The bascinet is a simple round or conical
helmet and "gluffis of plate" is the Scots term for gauntlets. It is
of note that a similar English arming act demands almost exactly the
same equipment for foot soldiers in the king's army.
Dr David Caldwell, curator of medieval armour at
the Royal Museum of Scotland, has highlighted the significance of
the terms of the act as they "indicate precisely the minimum
requirements of soldiers of that time".
John Barbour, in his poem The Brus (circa
1375-1377), describes an English knight as clad in "armys gud & fyne".
University of Glasgow professor Archie Duncan, in his version of the
poem, mentions the unlikelihood of knights having plate armour at
this time as the "mail hauberk was still universal". The hauberk and
its short-sleeved diminutive - the habergeon - would continue in
use, but it is clear that additions to this protection were being
acquired by those who could afford them.
Edward I, the "hammer of the Scots", must have been
wearing something more substantial than just mail when a crossbow
bolt stuck in his armour at the siege of Stirling in 1303. It may
well have been a "pair of plates", a kind of flack jacket made up
from many pieces of metal. This is evidenced by the increasing
number of seals and tomb effigies that display chains attached to
the torso to which weapons can be attached.
An English knight, writing in captivity at
Edinburgh Castle, recounted how an enemy of the king "struck the
said Bruce with a sword in the chest, but he, being in armour, was