Nursery Rhymes

Pell Training

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Description of Pell Training
The weapons practise during the Middle Ages included Pell Training specifically used for sword training. The description of Pell Training provides basic facts and information about the device as follows:

  • The Pell - used as a target weapon when practising with the sword

  • Description - The Pell consisted of a wooden post which was planted firmly in the ground
  • The origins of the pell was a simple tree trunk
  • The knight would practise striking his sword against the pell target
  • Knights used wooden swords during pell training - these were often double the weight of the actual weapon ensuring that Medieval knights built up their upper body and arm strength
  • The Baton - Batons, were the names of the swords which were used in Tournaments or training and were made of whalebone
  • A Rebated sword is one that has had its point and edge blunted for training or tournament
  • Behourd was the old name of the training ground for young knights and squires
  • The behourd was also used as a friendly tournament to be held at special occasions such as weddings, knight ceremonies and coronations
  • Pell training also included practise related to striking with a shield
  • Pell training allowed knights to practise various vicious strokes and manoeuvres such as thrusting, cutting, and slicing without imposing an injury on his opponent
  • Hilt and shield strikes were also practised
  • Pell Training also included spear throwing
  • Other Medieval weapons of the Middle Ages were also practised during pell training - battle axes, hammers etc - in fact any form of short arm weapon
  • Effective Pell training required knights and other men-at-arms to take the practise extremely seriously. The Pell was attacked as if it were a real opponent. Pell training demanded hours of practise to increase skills, strength and agility
  • Rigorous and regular Pell training resulted in precision, focus, and force
  • The pell training post measured about 6 feet in height and the diameter of the post was between 6 - 12 inches
  • The pell was originally a plain post but as time went by the pell was embellished to resemble the figure of the enemy - especially popular during the era of the crusades when the pell figure resembled an infidel or Saracen

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 were expected to be expert in the use of medieval weapons - pell training was essential. The quest for power led to invasions of lands and territories which had to be fought for. Warfare during the Middle Ages, or Medieval era called for a variety of weapon expertise. Knights and men-at-arms, or foot soldiers, used a variety of different weapons. Pell Training was predominantly used by a Knight but other soldiers would also practise at the pell. Knights also had to practise additional weapon training - use of the lance was practised at the Quintain

Pell Training - Scoring system
Training Combats using batons were settled by either a set number of counted blows, or until one or both combatants had been “satisfied” i.e. had enough. A Medieval scoring system Certain blows or manoeuvres using batons were allocated set numbers of points. 

  • Thrusts to the body, shoulder and face counted as three points
  • An immobilization or disarm was counted as three points
  • Thrusts to the rest of the body or wrists counted for one point
  • Strikes made with the use of the pommel or quillons also counted for one point

N.B. The quillons was the crossbar on the hilt of a sword. The pommel was part of the hilt which acted as a counterweight to the blade.

The Origins and History of Pell Training
Training devices, similar to the pell were used by Romans. The word 'pell' or 'pel' derives from the Latin words palos meaning 'stake'. From this Latin origin the English word 'pale' was derived  meaning a stake or a pointed stick. From this the word 'palisade' was derived meaning a fence made of wooden stakes, used in early English Castle building. Another spin-off from Pell Training is Pell Mell.

Middle Ages Weapons
Middle Ages Index

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