Stuart Period Bracer

Back to the early modern period this time. Glenda has hyperextension of the elbows, and needs a little extra protection from string strike. We went looking for an historical precedent and of course, found it. This woodcut is of an archer from Finsbury Field who sports a bracer that nicely covers his left elbow.


The Finsbury Archer. Some references claim this is Charles I

The design is simple, flat piece of 3.2mm leather cut to shape and fastened by tieing with thin oil tanned leather straps. The design is Glenda’s and is both elegant and serviceable, I was responsible for the execution.


Long bracer, based on the Finsbury Archer. The extreme narrowing at the front of this one, when compared with the woodcut is because Glenda has delicate wrists and the bloke in the woodcut don't.

Again, the red dye is based on Ascham’s preference for cordovan. The stamped decoration is inspired by one of the Mary Rose bracers.

I’m rather taken by the Finsbury archer’s shooting glove, the two string fingers of the glove appear to be separate pieces sewn to the rest of the glove, with a seam continuing down the back of the hand. Ascham and Markham both are fairly specific on the nature of the shooting glove. I’ll quote chapter 5 from Markham as the language is more modern:

A shooting glove is a necessary armor or defense for the hand, to preserve it from hurting or galling, so that a man may be able in his fingers to bear the sharpness of the string to the uttermost of his strength, for when a man shoot, the violence and might of his shot lay in the foremost finder, and the ring finger; for the middle finger (which is the longest) like a coward starts back and bear no weight of the string, in a manner at all; therefore, the two other fingers must have thicker leather, and that must have the thickest of all, whereon a man loose most, and for sure loosing, the foremost finger is most apt, because it hold best, and for that purpose, nature has yoked it with the thumb. Leather, if it be next to a mans skin will sweat, wax hard and chafe; therefore, scarlet for the softness, thickness and wholesomeness, is best to line the glove with all; …

This shooting glove, should also have a purse on the back of the hand, where in the archer shall ever carry a fine linen cloth and wax, two necessary things, for any man that use shooting; some men use gloves or the like on the bow hand, for fear of chafing; because they hold so hard. But that error happen (for the most part) when a bow is not round, but a little square, therefore fine tempered wax shall do well in such a case, to lay where a man hold his bow; yet I do not condemn the wearing of a fine thin cut fingered glove on the bow hand.

Rumour has it that there is such a glove in the Museum of London collection, as yet uncatalogued and unpublished. I’m yet to see it.


Markham, G., The Art of Archerie, 1634.

Soar, H., The Crooked Stick, Westholme, 2004.

One thought on “Stuart Period Bracer

  1. Pingback: Was King Charles a Double Armed Man? | The Reverend's Musings

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