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Cardiff Rose Swordsmen Guild
Costume Guidelines -


These are to provide goals and direction for Guild costuming, and have been designed to give our group a distinctive and authentic appearance. New purchases must be made in accordance with Guild requirements, but older costume elements that don't meet these guidelines may be "grandfathered" if acceptable - so don't panic! Existing costume should gradually change to meet these new standards, depending on the guildmember's rank, finances, and interests.

We portray a late-Elizabethan or Early-Stuart era local militia or Trained Band from the Welsh Border/Cardiff area. Militia members would gather for training at the local "Artillery Garden", where they would practice swordplay, shooting muskets and cannon, and drilling with pikes. Trained Bands would sometimes go on manuevers and practice battles with other militia units.

Pikeman costume is similar to the other Militia Ranks, with a basic sword and low shoes. Being a Pikeman was considered proper for a Gentleman, as it took greater size and strength than Artillery, Shot, or Sword. Minimum equipment consits of a pair of gauntlets and a pike. Improved equipment adds a Gorget for neck protection, a Combed Morion or Cabasset helmet, and possibly a buffcoat and Pikeman's armour. Many Pikemen wear a wool cap as padding under their helmets.

Photos from Valentine, Medieval Reproductions, and Derek Cole Armouries

Pike Drill

Handling one of our Guild's 12' pikes with a metal point takes training and upper body strength, and new Pikemen need to learn the postures and commands for safety as well as show.

Here is Thorne's Basic Pike Drill .
All Militia members, particularly File Leaders and higher in rank, should learn the basics of period drill. Here's the Sealed Knot Society's new military drill manual in pdf.
The Guild of St. George has some excellent reference material online, including Markham's The Soldier's Accidence and their Guild's own Polearm Drill.

Advice on Pikemen from Gervase Markham's Soldier's Accidence 1625:

Also care is to be had what men are put to every kinde of Armes, the strong, tall, and best persons to be Pikes...

Next he shall see that every man be well and sufficiently Armed with good and allowable Armes; That is to say, all his Pikemen shall have good Combe- caps for their heads, well lined with quilted Caps, Curaces for their bodies of nimble and good mould, being high pike proofe; large and well compast Gordgets for their Neckes, Fayre and close joyned Taches, to arme to the mid- thigh, as for the Pouldron or the Vantbrace, they may be spated, because they are but cumbersome. All this Armour is to be rather of Russet, Sanguine, or Blacke colour, then White, or Milld, for it will keepe the longer from rust.

These shall have strong, straight, yet nimble Pikes of Ash-wood, well headed Steele, and armed with plates downward from the head, at least foure foote, and the full size or length of every Pike shall be fifteene foote, beside his head.

These Pikemen shall also have good, sharpe, and broade Swords (of which the Turkie or Bilboe are best) strong Scabbards, chapt with Iron, Girdle, Hangers, or Bautricke of strong Leather...

Recommended Online Merchants

Derek Cole makes Pikeman's armour in the UK,
be sure to get it sized properly & order early.
Valentine Armouries - Canadian armor - expensive & authentic.
Medieval Reproductions - more Canadian armor , also expensive & authentic.
Syke's Suttlery has good supplies and costume
Hatcrafters - an ASTOUNDING selection of hats -
the Charles, Salem, Puritan & Quaker models are recommended
Swordsmiths (UK) carries Armour Class weapons,
both 17th C "Hangers" are PERFECT Pikemen's swords.
Jas. Townsend - US tents, barrels, tall stockings, spectacles & more!
Thorne's page on converting Desert Boots / Hushpuppies to period Latchet Shoes
Bainbridge Bootmakers (UK) makes museum-quality footware,
at museum-level prices - won the lottery lately?

The Cardiff Rose Calendar -- Crew Parties, Faires, Etc.