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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Archer's bracer or wrist guard; made in fine leather using cuir bouilli technique; decorated with crowned Tudor rose and inscription. The bracer curved, the other side left plain with rivet holes for leather straps; traces of gilding on front raised areas and on inscription and perhaps of pigment.

  • Date

    • 16thC(early)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 12.4 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Content

        ihc helpe
      • Inscription Translation

        Jesus Help
  • Curator's comments

    Made for use with a longbow; the form of the lettering and the design of the Tudor insignia suggest a very late 15th or very early 16th Century dating, to the reign of Henry VII and thus to the end of the period of the use of the longbow. The detailed drawing in Dalton 1922 (see bibliography) show the design and inscription well. Traces of gilding on lettering. A 1634 reference to leather archer's bracers (see Dalton 1922) suggests the use of Spanish leather for them. The very fine leather and workmanship used on this example is an indication of the status of its wearer at the Tudor court, even if only of a liveried bowman. Compare open crown with that on white glass vase with portrait of Henry VII in BM. The use of the inscription IHC for Jesus is unusual on an object of this kind and can be compared with that on Netherlandish and Spanish pottery of the same period. DFT

    Gallery Label: Gallery 46, Case 6, August 2005
    Archer’s wrist guard with the Tudor rose
    Cuir bouilli (boiled leather), gilt
    English, early 16th century
    MLA 1922,1-10,1
    Used to protect the archer’s wrist from being chafed by the bowstring. The prominent badge and the fine workmanship suggest that it was worn by an archer at the court, possibly for hunting.


  • Bibliography

    • Marks & Williamson 2003 no. 64, p. 202 bibliographic details
    • Gaimster & Gilchrist 2003 p. 186 (fig. 6, as example of invocation to Jesus in inscription on an object of this type) bibliographic details
    • Dalton 1922 pp. 208-10 (illustrated with detailed drawing and described) bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G46/dc6/s2/sh2

  • Exhibition history

    1991 1 May-30 Sep, London, National Maritime Museum, Henry VIII at Greenwich

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


COMPASS Title: Archer's bracer


COMPASS Title: Archer's bracer

Image description



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Object reference number: MCT5844

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