At Agecroft Hall, we have a few sets of armor. In the Long Gallery Leading into the house and in the Gentlemen’s Study, we have armor from the time period. And when we are able to have students visit the museum, they use the armor in Agecroft Hall’s handling collection, which is a reproduction (made with the same materials and using the same methods as in the past)
We tend to think of armor as being a full suit and on a knight on horseback. This full suit, called a panoply, reached its height in the late 15th and early 16th century. But by the time of Henry VII, armor had started to change significantly. By the 17th century, armor that was used in the field loses much of the embellishment of earlier times and becomes much more utilitarian. The armor that had covered the legs and feet was discarded and was replaced by leather boots. This isn't to say that the armor was plain: the adornments and flourishes just moved to the breast plate. Armor was always expensive, and wealthy men would sometimes purchase additional sets for other men in town in case it was necessary. Agecroft’s reproduction armor represents the type of armor that may have been worn by infantry and would have been available at a fraction of the cost of jousting armor.
The armor of this time offers protection mainly for your vital organs. It consists of a breast and backplate, which keeps your heart, lungs, liver, etc. safe. There is also a helmet to protect your head. The armor is made of steel, which is strong enough to provide protection but light enough to move easily.
Proof mark- proofing armor means testing its defensive ability. In the Middle Ages, this referred to the armor’s ability to stand up to swords, arrows and axes. By our time period, it also refers to musket fire and bullets. This *may* be where the term “bulletproof” comes from. The development of firearms eventually made all but the heaviest armor useless. By the early 18th century, mainly only commanders would wear it to signify their rank on the battlefield. Royalty would continue to have their portraits done in armor until the mid 18th century.