Pikeman, 1660 (Honourable Artillery Company)
Ceremonial dress of a unit of The Honourable Artillery Company (the HAC) today
This order of dress is similar to that worn today on some ceremonial occasions by The Company of Pikemen and Musketeers of the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) in the City of London – the oldest regiment in the army chartered by Henry VIII in 1537. This shows the dress of a pikeman of an infantry regiment at the Restoration (of the monarchy) in 1660. Before 1660 an infantry battalion consisted of pikemen and musketeers in equal numbers, but after the Restoration the pikemen were cut by a third, and soon disappeared altogether as fighting soldiers. After 1660 we hear of no case where the pike was used on active service. The sixteen-foot pike was carried on ceremonial parades for many years after it disappeared as a fighting weapon. The dress shown here was soon modified. The tassets – the pieces of armour covering the thighs – were soon discarded, but the breastplate and pot helmet retained. These are depicted in various prints for some time afterwards. A picture of 1680 shows the Coldstream Guards on parade with pikemen dressed similarly to the musketeers, with no armour at all. The sash, which this pikeman is wearing, was a characteristic feature of his dress.
Sources: Contemporary prints, existing armour in the Royal Armouries Collection; statuette that was once on the staircase at Highgate House, Northamptonshire.
|Dimensions||24 × 37.5 cm|