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Explore the new displays of Arms and Armour in the Victorian Prison.

Dressed to Kill – Arms & Armour

Come face to face with the imposing sight of a full suit of armour. Imagine the clash of steel in combat and sport and be awed by these lethal weapons from times gone by.  Visitors to Lincoln Castle can come face to face with a selection of real arms and armour from Tudor to Victorian times.  Imagine the warriors and soldiers who would have worn and used these arms and armour and got themselves "dressed to kill".

Visitors to the Victorian Prison can see new displays of the County Council's Heritage Service collection of arms and armour.  The objects on display take a thematic look at elements of the collection, and include three suits of 16th Century armour, Horse armour, armour from the English Civil War, bladed weapons and finally a variety of armour.

Three Suits of Armour

These three suits of plate armour, more properly known as 'harnesses', all date to the 16th Century. Full plate armour began to be worn in Europe in the early 15th Century and provided the wearer with impressive protection, though the joints of the armour were recognised weak points.

The three harnesses on display demonstrate some of the variety of form and decoration seen in armour of this period.

Horse Armour

The need to protect a horse in battle as well as its rider has long been recognised. The pieces displayed here are chanfrons, worn on the horse's face from the 16th and 17th Centuries.

The English Civil War

The English Civil War (1642-1651) was one of the most significant events in the nation's history, though it was neither restricted to England nor one single conflict. It saw the execution of Charles I and helped to establish concepts of Parliamentary democracy still to be seen today. The armour and weapons displayed  were common to both sides in the conflict.

Bladed Weapons

Swords have been in existence since the Bronze Age and although many improvements in metalworking have changed the efficiency of weapons, the basic form and concept has remained consistent. On display are a range of European swords and bayonets from the 17th to 19th Centuries.

Protecting the Body

The need to maximise protection in combat while still allowing sufficient movement is an issue as relevant to soldiers today as it was to a Roman legionary or Medieval knight. Advances in technology have constantly introduced new materials and techniques over the centuries. A variety of armour items from the 16th to 17th Century are on display.

The artefacts on display were donated to the City in 1950 by John Hermaine Smith, who built up the collection over many years.  The display can be viewed in the Victorian Prison during normal Lincoln Castle opening hours.