(About) Period-Accurate Leggings, Only Better
The increasingly brutal nature of medieval warfare as it developed from the glorified skirmishes with ritualised elements into the clash of enormously well-resourced rival kingdoms and empires necessitated a rolling arms race in armor and weaponry. By the 12th-century, knights were outfitting themselves in full suits of chainmail, made from metal fabric woven from thousands of interlinked riveted rings. The last piece of this ensemble to become commonplace were mail chausses or chainmail leggings. Our reproduction Premium Chainmail Leggings are a fantastic modernised update of chainmail chausses from the high-point of medieval chainmail armor, for the most discerning live-action roleplayer or re-enactor.
Our Premium Chainmail Leggings are made by renowned Delhi-based re-enactment and LARP costumiers House of Warfare, and their designers have studied historical manuscripts, artistic depictions and the few surviving examples to produce an authentic design with modern wearability. These chausses are suspended from a loop threaded onto your own belt, and they extend from the top of the thigh to the foot, where they are secured at the ankle with a tie. Where many period-accurate reproduction chainmails are made from iron or mild-steel, our Premium range of chainmail are made from 16-gauge aluminum: this is an ultramodern armor material, being only half the weight of steel mail. Aluminum chainmail is also stainless and so does not require the careful oil-coating and maintenance regimes of ferrous chainmail. The only downside is that aluminum is more fragile, and whilst they’re easily robust enough to stand up to roleplay and stage re-enactment use without damage, our Premium Chainmail Leggings are only suitable for display and not for combat. This means they are the perfect choice for live-action roleplayers or stage performers wishing to create an outfit that is all-day wearable and still absolutely authentic in appearance.
Typical High Medieval chainmail chausses were made from reasonably large rings, as the sturdy legs of medieval warriors were capable of absorbing the impact of significant blows – hence House of Warfare have constructed these chainmail leggings from 10mm rings. They use a 4-in-1 configuration in the traditional European style. Every single ring in our Premium Chainmail Leggings is individually hand-riveted and secured with a domed rivet. This means that they have every appearance of the kind of chainmail made at the height of chainmail usage in the 12th– and 13th-centuries CE.
Without a doubt, our Premium Chainmail Leggings will see you through. They are ruggedly constructed, low-maintenance pieces of leg armor that can do sterling service as a platform for mounting plate armor or as a top armor layer in their own right. They are designed to compliment our Premium Chainmail Shirt in design and finish. They’d look equally at home as part of a period-accurate re-enactment impression of a High Medieval knight as they would as part of a fantasy warrior ensemble.
(Curiosity) How to Wear your Chainmail Leggings Like a Liege
Medieval people were terribly inconsiderate. They rarely left clear instructions for people hundreds of years in the future who might want to faithfully recreate their modes of dress, armor and armament – which is plain rude. Often, areas of the historical record slips through the gaps, and chausses appear to be one of those areas – because, of course we’d know how to wear your chainmail leggings, isn’t it obvious? Far from it! Historians, re-enactors and roleplayers have spent (and will doubtless continue to spend) countless hours painstakingly reconstructing and experimenting medieval leg armor.
From Padding to Chainmail
Before the use of mail chausses, the common form of armor were gamboised chausses – thick padded linen leggings that would have been better than nothing, and provided some protection from slashing weaponry. The general consensus is that medieval chainmail gradually became cheaper and more available in the century after 1000 CE, and therefore knights and warriors wore more encompassing outfits of mail: extending their hauberks to the wrist, adding coifs and camails to the head, and, finally, developing mail hosen to protect the legs. It appears that mobility was a paramount concern for medieval soldiers, who had to ensure that their armor didn’t inhibit their movement or become overly exhausting to wear: there is much evidence that footsoldiers who could not afford a horse were reticent to wear armor on their lower legs because of the onerous weight when wearing armor for prolonged periods.
Suspended By Your Braies
There is some debate as to whether the chainmail chausse was worn over the gamboised, but given the preoccupation with mobility, it seems more likely that they were worn merely over comfortable hosen to protect the leg, pointed to suspend them from the braies belt (yes, that’s the belt that holds up your underpants). The King’s Mirror, a fascinating Norse text from 1250 which is an early form of encyclopedia, advises that you should wear “good hose and loose, made of soft linen canvas and well blacked, and take them up to the braies belt but outside them good mail hose”. Fit was also of prime concern – flapping chainmail leggings would quickly sap the wearer’s strength, so ensure your own are thoroughly secured!
- Material: Aluminum
- Finish: Steel-effect
- Ring type: Round, riveted throughout
- Rivet type: Domed
- Configuration: 4-in-1
- Weight: 5 ½ lbs (pair)
Overall Length: 42 Inches
Thigh Circumference: 19 Inches
Calf Circumference: 15 Inches
Fits Belt Sizes: Up to 4 Inch belt