Nursery Rhymes

The Lance

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Description of the Lance
The weapons used during the Middle Ages include the Lance - A long, strong, spear-like weapon, designed for use on horseback. The description of the Lance which provides basic facts and information about the weapon is as follows:

  • Lance - History saw the spear develop into the Medieval Lance used during warfare during the Middle Ages and was also a popular weapon used during jousting tournaments

  • The lance was made of wood, usually ash, with a metal tip made of iron or steel similar to a spear head
  • Knights would paint their lance to match the colors of their livery or coats of arms
  • The weapon measured from 9 to 14 feet in length
  • 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 weapon which was designed to protect the hand and arm
  • During jousts at Tournaments the head of the weapon was fitted with a Coronal instead of the sharp point used for war
  • A blow could apply tremendous force and could apply significant injury to a knight in armor
  • The Medieval horse, called a Destrier was the favored horses of knights in the Middle Ages
  • Knights who used lances were also armed with a dagger and a sword to enable them to battle enemies who had been unhorsed. This lengthy weapon was far too unwieldy to use in close combat
  • Type or group of weapons - Polearm - A group of pole-mounted weapons. Were all variations of poles measuring between 4 and 14 feet long with different 'heads' - spikes, hammers, spears, axe etc

The Middle Ages was an extremely violent era in history featuring battles in both Europe and the Holy Land when the crusades, and the crusaders who fought them, were numerous. Feudal Lords and Knights used such weapons as the Lance in different types of warfare. The quest for power led to invasions of lands and territories which had to be fought for. Siege warfare, waged to win a castle or a walled town or city, was a frequent occurrence during the Middle Ages. Warfare during the Middle Ages, or Medieval era called for a variety of weapon expertise. Knights and men-at-arms ( foot soldiers, or archers ) used different types of weapons. The Lance was predominantly used by a Knight. The weapons used were dictated according to status and position. The weapons, armor and horse of the Knight were extremely expensive - the fighting power of just one knight was worth 10 ordinary soldiers.

Lance Training
Skill in the use of Medieval weapons and understanding the strategy of Medieval Warfare was necessary and a played a vital part in Medieval life. The training required by a Knight to use the Lance was developed over many years. Various training methods were used at the Quintain

Middle Ages Weapons
Middle Ages Index

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