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Pollaxe – too good to use?

The Pollaxe was an extremely effective weapon which led to the creation of all-enclosing tournament armour.

Foot combat armour of Henry VIII

Its spikes could find their way through the smallest of gaps and its hammer could bash metal out of shape.

Pollaxe Axe headPollaxes were used at the Field of Cloth of Gold, perhaps because it was considered too dangerous.

An old painting of two knights fighting in armour with Pole Axes

Credit: British Library MS Harley 4375, f. 171 v ‘Valerius Maximus’

All-enclosing armours were designed for Foot Combat like this – with pollaxes and no barriers. At the Field of Cloth of Gold a barrier was used for extra safety.

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