A quilted vest made of cotton linen or wool, reinforced with leather and stuffed with cloth or horsehair. The gambeson was put on over the head and worn either under the armor, or as armor itself. Originating in the late 10th century the gambeson remained in use till the 17th century.

The purpose of the gambeson was to support and spread the weight of the hauberk, keep the outer armour away from the body and to absorb and cushion impacts.

Styles changed over time and in the late thirteenth-century a tight fitting padded garment known as the 'jupon' was popular. A 'wambase' was a decorative version of the jupon and was generally worn under the mail. In the time of the Crusades a quilted garment worn under the armour known as an 'aketon' was in use. In the fourteenth-century a quilted garment called 'coat armour' was being worn and in the fifteenth-century a quilted garment known as the 'arming doublet' was introduced.

Return to Main Index