The sabatons or sollerets

20th. August 2005

The slender, pointed sabatons were seen from the fourteenth to the latter part of the fifteenth century. These were formed by step articulation, where successive lames overlap each other from ankle to toe. In this armour each lame will lie over it's predecessor moving from ankle towards the toe. Many depictions of these forms of sabatons can be seen in effigies above tombs in churches and cathedrals throughout the United Kingdom and Europe - a fine example being the gilt bronze effigy of Edward the Black Prince ( d. 1376 ) in Canterbury Cathedral.

Effigy of Edward the Black Prince in Canterbury Cathedral

Here I will show the construction of the sabaton right from the design stage, through the making of the pattern to the finished piece. The first step was to fold overlapping sections of card to represent the individual lames. Initially these have simple straight edges with no detailing ( Fig. 57 ). A line has been drawn along the sections to ensure the points for the scalloping line up with each other.

Fig. 57

Next the detailing of the scalloping is cut out and Fig. 58 shows the patterns for the lames together with the template over which they were draped to ensure a straight upper line from instep to toe ( the section of template to the left of the image will be cut to form the top lame ).

Fig. 58

Fig. 59 shows the completed pattern. The lower border has been modified to lower the height of the instep and a line intersects the points of the scalloping at the sides to ensure the rivet holes lie along a straight line parallel to the lower border. Also the top lame has been divided making a total of seven lames from instep to toe.

Fig. 59

The sections are cut out of the steel and the rivet holes marked and drilled. Fig. 60 shows the individual lames cut, shaped and drilled -

Fig. 60

- and in Fig. 61 initial articulation with 'pop' rivets has been carried out.

Fig. 61

Once articulation is right and any adjustments to the edges that prove necessary have been carried out, the blind rivets are quickly drilled out and the sections polished prior to final assembly. Fig. 62 shows the finished sections of the sabaton being riveted together -

Fig. 62

- and Fig. 63 shows the completed piece with strapwork in place.

Fig. 63

That now completes the plate armour that forms the defense for the torso and lower limbs and on the next page work starts on the shoulder defense - the epaulières and spaulders.

Back to the start of this project.