The Swordsman’s Shirt – A Swashbuckler’s Delight
This beautifully reproduced, Late Medieval/Renaissance-inspired swordsman’s shirt has a versatile iconic look – equally at home under a doublet for evening wear or rolled up and tied for fencing practice. The lace-up neck with folded collar, billowing sleeves, and brass fixtures are an indication that this is a garment made with functionality and durability in mind. Cotton laces thread through brass eyelets, allowing the wearer to cinch the sleeves above the elbows when required. The high-quality is cotton cut generously to allow total freedom of movement, ideal for fencing practice, working the fields, or relaxing with a mug of ale. The swordsman’s shirt is available in two colours and supports a huge range of fantasy roleplaying ideas.
Historical Fencing Schools –
As ripe as they are for use in RPGs, fantasy novels, and video games, the fighting schools of the middle ages, and the fechtbuch (German – “combat manuals”) they produced, were historical fact. The earliest surviving text is dated at around 1300AD, known as the Walpurgis manuscript. The document may have been written by a cleric named Liutger and illustrates with images and text a series of offensive and defensive techniques using sword and buckler. This 64 page, vellum treatise on sword fighting is first referenced in history in 1579 by Henricus a Gunterrodt who’d acquired it from a friend who had looted the item while on campaign in the 1520s.
Development Of Knightly Fighting
The move away from the Roman spatha and towards what’s referred to as an arming sword roughly coincides with the emergence of the first written treatise on European swordsmanship. It’s safe to assume that these texts were produced by the masters of schools operating at the time. Sadly, there’s little remaining evidence for these institutions and we can, for the most part, only speculate as to their operation. But the emergence of HEMA in the 20th century has led to a renewed interest in the documents produced by this era of martial arts. Some of these early books feature images of master and cadet (or monk and trainee) practising their forms using (presumably) blunted or wooden swords and wearing loose, billowing shirts.
Like we’ve alluded to before, the general cut of a Medieval shirt like this didn’t vary a great deal – at times even between the genders. This allowed for a huge range of people, engaged in a variety of trades and activities to wear essentially the same kind of item. There are several ways in which this Swordsman’s Shirt is different. Whilst it does drop lower than the typical shirt of the modern era, the Swordsman’s Shirt doesn’t drop halfway to the knees as many period shirts would have. The thigh-length shirt typical in the Medieval Period was cut long to help conserve core body heat. This shirt is long enough that it can be worn with a belt over the top if desired. But duelling and fencing are strenuous activities and the longer hem is unnecessary and cumbersome.
The Swordsman’s Shirt also features lace-up cuffs on the sleeves for total freedom of movement and eliminating the possibility of your sleeves getting in the way of your technique. The fold-over, lace-up collar of the Swordsman’s Shirt is also a touch intended to show that the wearer had wealth and flair enough to ask the tailor to add these touches. Its availability in a stark black and a clean natural white, both of which would both require a great deal of processing, hints at this being a garment befitting a renowned swordsman.
The Swordsman’s Shirt In Popular Culture
TV and Cinema have produced some unlikely and iconic swordmasters and many of them are depicted as wearing something very similar to this shirt. Amongst our favourites is Serio Forel, dancing master to Arya Stark. His resemblance to the late, great Diego Maradonna, his brief but well-rounded character exposition, and his final stand, protecting Arya’s flight by defeating many heavily-armed and armored opponents with a wooden sword before falling made him a minor fan favourite.
Inigo Montoya from the 1987 children’s classic, The Princess Bride, is perhaps the best example of the Swordsman’s Shirt in cinema. He’s the archetype of the swashbuckling rogue with a heart of gold. The film’s portrayal of his respect for his opponent’s skill (sparing them when they’ve shown courage), his ability to fight in a simple garment like the Swordsman’s Shirt against larger, heavily armored opponents had audiences rooting for him before his morally grey character was revealed to be good.
Material: 100% cotton, brass eyelets and cotton drawstrings
Colours: Available in black and natural white
- Children’s Sworsman’s Shirt is suitable for kids aged 6-10 (Chest-34inches, Sleeve-19inches, Length-21inches)
- Adult S (Chest-45in)
- Adult S/M (Chest-50in)
- Adult L/XL (Chest-62)
- Adult XXL/XXXL (Chest-78-in)