Statuta Armorum (The Statutes of Arms), c. 1260
The Statutes of Arms were concerned with checking the excesses of mass tournaments
that often ended in the pillage, rape, and slaughter of local villagers and townspeople
(See: Noël Denholm-Young, "The Tournament in the Thirteenth-Century," in
Studies in Medieval History Presented to Frederick Maurice Powicke, pp. 260-261, 264).
Here begin the Statutes of Arms.
At the request of the Earls and Barons and of the Chivalry of England, it is ordained
and by our Lord the King commanded, that from henceforth none be so hardy, whether Earl,
Baron, or other Knight, who shall go to the Tournament, to have more than three Esquires
in Arms to serve him at the Tournament; and that every Esquire do bear a Cap of the Arms
of his Lord, whom he shall serve that day, for Ensign.
And no Knight or Esquire serving at the Tournament, shall bear a sword pointed, or
Dagger pointed, or Staff or Mace, but only a broad sword for tourneying. And all that bear
Banners shall be armed with Mufflers and Cuishes, and Shoulder-Plates, and a Skull-cap,
And if it happen that any Earl or Baron or other knight, do go against this statute,
that such knight, by assent of all the Baronage, shall lose Horse and Harness, and abide
in prison at the pleasure of our Lord Sir Edward the King's son, and Sir Edmund his
brother, and the Earl of Gloucester, and the Earl of Lincoln. And the Esquire who shall be
found offending against the statute here devised, in any point, shall lose Horse and
Harness, and be imprisoned three years. And if any man shall cast a knight to the ground,
except they who are armed for their Lord's service, the knight shall have his horse, and
the offender shall be punished as the Esquires aforesaid.
And no son of a great lord, that is to say, of an Earl or Baron, shall have other armor
than mufflers and cuishes, and Shoulder-Plates, and a skull-cap, without more; and shall
not bear a dagger or sword pointed, nor mace, but only a broad sword. And if any be found
who, in either of these points, shall offend against the statute, he shall lose his horse
whereon he is mounted that day, and be imprisoned for one year.
And they who shall come to see the tournament, shall not be armed with any manner of
armor, and shall bear no sword, or dagger, or staff, or mace, or stone, upon such
forfeiture as in the case of Esquires aforesaid. And no groom or footman shall bear sword,
or dagger, or staff, or stone; and if they be found offending, they shall be imprisoned
for seven years.
And if any great lord or other keep a table, none shall bring there any Esquire but
those who are wont to mess in their Lord's presence. And no King at Arms or Minstrels
shall bear secret arms, nor any other besides their swords without points. And the Kings
at Arms shall have their mantles without more, etc.
From: A. Luders, ed., The Statutes of the Realm: Printed by Command of His Majesty
King George the Third, in Pursuance of an Address of the House of Commons of Great
Britain, From Original Records and Authentic Manuscripts, 11 vols., (London: Record
Commission, 1810-1828), Vol. I, pp. 230-231
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text may have been modernized
by Prof. Arkenberg.
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© Paul Halsall, August 1998