The gorget or mentonnière

28th. December 2005

During the fourteenth century a new type of helmet made it's appearance. Called in England the sallad or sallet the word appears to have two derivations each being applied to a different form of helmet. The first is the Italian 'celata' which initially came low down around the sides of the face and neck, leaving only the eyes, nose and mouth exposed. During the fifteenth century this came to curve outwards at the nape of the neck. The second is the German 'schallern' meaning shell or bowl, which was a helmet and visor in one piece with a slit for the eyes and a projecting tail. Both of these were called by the French 'salade', from which came the English sallad.

Showing clockwise from top left - early celata, later celata, sallad with mentonnière, schallern.

The sallad rested entirely on the head and was not affixed in any way to the body armour. Sometimes the sallad was in one piece, as in this armour, and in other examples it has a separate visor. Protection for the lower face and neck was provided by the mentonnière, sometimes also known as the bavier, which was used habitually with the sallad. It consisted of a plate fastened to the upper part of the breast-plate with a moulded section covering the lower part of the face to the lips or nose. In use the visor of the sallad fell outside the mentonnière thus covering the entire face.

The first piece to make is the upper section that is moulded to fit around the chin. Fig. 106 shows the flat steel cut out -

Fig. 106

- and in the next two images, Figs. 107 & 108, the hammer-work to shape the piece is complete.

Fig. 107Fig. 108

The plate that will lie over the top of the breastplate is cut out and finished ( Fig. 109 ) -

Fig. 109

- and the two sections are riveted together ( Fig. 110 ).

Fig. 110

The final image on this page, Fig. 111, shows the mentonnière in place atop the breast plate together with the sallad.

Fig. 111

On the next page I will be making the final pieces of this armour - the palettes.

Back to the start of this Project.