Examples of early armour construction. The lower right section is an example of ring armour.

Ringmail is a term that was used in the Victorian study of history to refer to personal armour constructed as series of metallic rings sewn to a fabric or leather foundation. Though the term is occasionally still used, modern historians prefer the term "ring armour" as being actually correct. Whereas historians of Victorian times used the terms "ring mail" and "ring armour" interchangeably and applied the term "mail" to any form of metallic body armour, modern historians reserve the term "mail" for chain mail and its varieties - specifically an interlinked mesh of metal rings.

Ring armour is closely related to scale armour, but provides less protection and is more flexible. Chain mail is composed entirely of a mesh of interlocked metal rings, and is heavy, 7 to 15 kg for a typical hauberk. In contrast, ring armour is essentially a leather or textile item of clothing (a jacket, or trousers) that has a large number of small metal rings sewn directly into the foundation garment, or alternately, with a small tab of leather sewn over a small part of the top of each ring.

Unlike chain mail, the rings are not physically interlocked with each other, but they are so close and numerous they effectively form a contiguous physical barrier. Ring armour is flexible and the wearer can move easily, since the restrictiveness of the armour is essentially only that of the leather base layer. Although the standard description of ring mail involves a leather backing, there is considerable indication that a different form was used in Carolingian France and Germany (known in French as a broigne maclée) a metal reinforced version of the simple cloth tunic that was the traditional Frankish fighting garb.

In the Renaissance a form of ring armour called an "eyelet doublet" was developed.  It was known as a "Schiessjoppe" in Germany. Ring armour seems to have also been used in Asia but was rare (see External Image).

Some artwork such as the Bayeux Tapestry depicts armour that appears similar to ring armour but most likely was chain mail, given the difficulty of rendering the former in embroidery.[1] The Bayeux Tapestry depicts some of these methods and this has been misinterpreted as different types of armour. It is generally acknowledged today that virtually all the armour on the Bayeux Tapestry is standard chain mail and not "ring mail" or "trellised mail" or "mascled mail" or any other Victorian construction.[2]


  • Philippe Contamine : La Guerre au moyen âge (War in the Middle Ages), Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 1980.
  • According to the Dictionnaire de l'Ancien Français jusqu'au milieu du XIVème siècle, (dictionary of Old French until the mid 1300's), (1980, page 84), a "brugna, broine, ou broigne", was still used in 1180, name derivating from Latin "brugnja" and designates a type of torso armor studded with metal scales or nail heads.
  • Louis Réau's Dictionary of Art and Archaeology (Larousse, 1930) also mentions a brogne or broigne, it being a leather suit studded with metal.
  • Claude Blair, European Armour, London: Batsford. 1958.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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