Subsidiary SourcebooksAfricanEastern AsianGlobalIndianJewishIslamicLesbian/GayScienceWomen

Special ResourcesByzantiumMedieval MusicSaints' Lives
Ancient Law
Medieval Law
Film: Ancient
Film: Medieval
Film: Modern

About IHSPIHSP Credits

Medieval Sourcebook:
Statuta Armorum (The Statutes of Arms), c. 1260

[Arkenberg Introduction]

The Statutes of Arms were concerned with checking the excesses of mass tournaments that often ended in the pillage, rape, and slaughter of local villagers and townspeople (See: Noël Denholm-Young, "The Tournament in the Thirteenth-Century," in Studies in Medieval History Presented to Frederick Maurice Powicke, pp. 260-261, 264).

Here begin the Statutes of Arms.

At the request of the Earls and Barons and of the Chivalry of England, it is ordained and by our Lord the King commanded, that from henceforth none be so hardy, whether Earl, Baron, or other Knight, who shall go to the Tournament, to have more than three Esquires in Arms to serve him at the Tournament; and that every Esquire do bear a Cap of the Arms of his Lord, whom he shall serve that day, for Ensign.

And no Knight or Esquire serving at the Tournament, shall bear a sword pointed, or Dagger pointed, or Staff or Mace, but only a broad sword for tourneying. And all that bear Banners shall be armed with Mufflers and Cuishes, and Shoulder-Plates, and a Skull-cap, without more.

And if it happen that any Earl or Baron or other knight, do go against this statute, that such knight, by assent of all the Baronage, shall lose Horse and Harness, and abide in prison at the pleasure of our Lord Sir Edward the King's son, and Sir Edmund his brother, and the Earl of Gloucester, and the Earl of Lincoln. And the Esquire who shall be found offending against the statute here devised, in any point, shall lose Horse and Harness, and be imprisoned three years. And if any man shall cast a knight to the ground, except they who are armed for their Lord's service, the knight shall have his horse, and the offender shall be punished as the Esquires aforesaid.

And no son of a great lord, that is to say, of an Earl or Baron, shall have other armor than mufflers and cuishes, and Shoulder-Plates, and a skull-cap, without more; and shall not bear a dagger or sword pointed, nor mace, but only a broad sword. And if any be found who, in either of these points, shall offend against the statute, he shall lose his horse whereon he is mounted that day, and be imprisoned for one year.

And they who shall come to see the tournament, shall not be armed with any manner of armor, and shall bear no sword, or dagger, or staff, or mace, or stone, upon such forfeiture as in the case of Esquires aforesaid. And no groom or footman shall bear sword, or dagger, or staff, or stone; and if they be found offending, they shall be imprisoned for seven years.

And if any great lord or other keep a table, none shall bring there any Esquire but those who are wont to mess in their Lord's presence. And no King at Arms or Minstrels shall bear secret arms, nor any other besides their swords without points. And the Kings at Arms shall have their mantles without more, etc.



From: A. Luders, ed., The Statutes of the Realm: Printed by Command of His Majesty King George the Third, in Pursuance of an Address of the House of Commons of Great Britain, From Original Records and Authentic Manuscripts, 11 vols., (London: Record Commission, 1810-1828), Vol. I, pp. 230-231

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text may have been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© Paul Halsall, August 1998


The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the History Department of  Fordham University, New York. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and other medieval components of the project, are located at the Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies.The IHSP recognizes the contribution of Fordham University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies in providing web space and server support for the project. The IHSP is a project independent of Fordham University.  Although the IHSP seeks to follow all applicable copyright law, Fordham University is not the institutional owner, and is not liable as the result of any legal action.

© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 20 January 2021 [CV]