Knight on horseback

Castlerock Museum

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Castle

Closed Falling Buffe Burgonet
Category: Helmets


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Helmet 7/17

Copyright Castlerock Museum

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Object ID

HE 04

Object Name

Closed Falling Buffe Burgonet

Dimensions

H-12.875 W-8.0 L-13.25 inches

Early Date

1600

Late Date

1650

Category

Armor

Sub-category

Helmet

Weight

75.0 ounces

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GENERAL DESCRIPTION

The closed burgonet closely resemble a close helmet. A later form of burgonet, it was popular in the 1st half of the 16th century, although some earlier examples are found.The closed burgonet was developed to meet the need of those needing the full facial protection of the earlier close helmet. Like the close helmet, the closed burgonet has a bevor or lower visor and an upper visor pivoted on the sides of the skull. However, the closed burgonet also has an additional and separate burgonet shaped type of peaked brim or "fall" which is also connected to the same pivots as the upper visor and lower visor. In a sense, a closed burgonet is a close helmet with an added brim. In some closed burgonets we find the bevor composed of two or three movable and overlapping parts enabling them to be lowered to open up the lower facial area. This is known as a "falling buffe" and sometimes as a "Hungarian Bevor".

OBJECT DESCRIPTION

This is an example of a fully developed closed burgonet with a falling buffe affording full protection for the head and facial area and down over the front and back neck plates. The Skull is in a rounded hemispherical form made in two pieces and with a high medial comb. The interior of the skull is about 9" high. The skull is made in two pieces which are smoothly overlapped and riveted with 2 rivets at the center front just below the beginning of the roped comb and under the area covered by the movable burgonet brim. The back bottom of the skull is also overlapped and riveted in the same manner just below the bottom edge of the comb and under the plume holder. The balance of the skull is fastened together by the rolled edge of the roped top of the comb. The surface of the skull is smooth and unadorned. A series of armourers small hammer and forming marks are evident along the bottom edge of the comb and just below the roped edge of the comb. Along the bottom edge of the skull is a series of dome headed rivets which secured the inner lining leather band, portions of which remain under and between the inner rivets.

The comb commences just above the top edge of the movable burgonet brim and then rises along the medial line reaching a height of 1 3/4" at the top rear of the helmet and then tapering down and blending into the helmet again just above the plume holder. The top of the comb is roped.

The cheekplates and buffe or lower visor are a single one piece unit which is fastened by a central pivot just above and behind the ear level of the skull. This is fully formed around and over the chin area with a distinct medial front line and extends upward along the front of the cheek area to a point slightly overlapping the upper facial opening of the skull. This lower buffe is held in place by sturdy hooks affixed to both sides of the lower front of the helmet and which enter into an opening on a projecting stud on both sides of the lower back of the buffe. Along the lower edge there are a series of dome shaped rivets which held the inner chin lining band.

Attached to the bevor are two overlapping lames of the type known as a falling buffe and attached by a pivoting rivet at the lower jaw area of the bevor. The lames of the falling buffe are held in place by a rectangular stud affixed to an internal spring plate and extending through a rectangular hole in the bevor. This springed stud is about 1" to the right rear of the medial front of the bevor and about 1/2" above the top front line of the bevor. When extended this catches the lower edge of the lower plate and keeps it in place. Both the lower and upper plates of the two piece falling buffe are pierced with a series of vertical rectangular slots for breathing. The lower visor plate is about 2 1/8" high and has a series of 12 vertical breathing slots which are 13/16" high and 3/16" wide.

The upper plate of the falling buffe is held in place by a pivoting rivet running through the back lower edge of the upper plate and into the back upper edge of the lower plate. This enables the upper plate to be lowered independently of the lower plate. The upper buffe plate overlaps the lower plate. It is about 3 3/4" high at the medial front and tapers to about 2 5/8" high at the rear rivet area. This upper buffe plate also has a series of 12 rectangular breathing slots which are 3/16" wide and progress from 15/16" high at the back to 1 5/16" high at the medial center. Above the breathing slots of the upper plate there is an indented smooth border about 3/4" wide along the upper edge of the upper buffe plate. The upper plate is held in place by the same type of rectangular springed stud as found on the lower plate with this one on the front upper edge of the lower buffe plate. This enables the wearer to drop either the top section to give more vision area or at his option to drop both sections which will then overlap and maximize the lower facial opening. All in all a very usable and practical option which can readily be returned to full protection in the heat of battle. The top of the falling buffe, when fully closed, extends forward in a prow like manner just above the eye level. Vision when fully closed is through the 5/8" wide opening between the lowered burgonet brim and the raised upper buffe. This can be easily increased or decreased by raising or lowering the burgonet brim and the upper buffe plate.

The bottom edge of the helmet is protected by attached neck or gorget plates. The skull area is protected by a outward sloping plate about high extending 3 1/8 inches at the back and tapering slightly at the side to 2 3/4". The lower front buffe is protected by a like outward sloping plate about 2 1/4" wide at the sides and tapering to a point at the medial front line and with a width at that point of 3 and 7/16". The bottom plates of both the skull and lower buffe are decorated with a double line of what appears to be dome headed rivets. However looking at the underside of these gorget plates shows that they are integrally forged as they are formed by indenting the lower side of the plates creating the dome shaped outer protrusions. The lower portions of the neck plates are rolled but not roped. Close examination shows that the lower gorget plate of the skull has been extended about 1" on both front sides where it meets the lower gorget plate of the bevor. This would mean that the gorget plates may have been adapted from another helmet to fit this helmet.

REFERENCES

For a good description and illustrations of the closed burgonet and the falling buffe, see "The Encylopedia of Arms and Weapons", 1979, by Leonid Tarassuk and Claude Blair, at pages 106 through 108. See also page 180 for a description of the "falling buffe."

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Last modified on: March 09, 2006