Armour Making in Ashby-de-la-Zouch

The tradition of making armour for battle goes back thousands of years. Strapping leather together to make a strong material resistant to bronze sword blows was probably the first type of armour that was ever created. The leather was replaced by chain mail and then this was superseded by full suits of armour made from steel and iron, so heavy that their wearers couldn’t regain their feet if they fell of their horse.

All these forms of armour are celebrated at the Armour Making Contest at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, which is held on the Sunday nearest to August 22nd, the day that the nearby Battle of Bosworth took place in 1485.

There are many different categories to enter. The most popular is the chain mail contest where rings of metal are joined together to form a strong protective barrier against sword thrusts and arrows. There is a children’s version of the contest where kids link safety pins together in playful imitation of the real thing. A knitting contest also takes place with the aim of producing a half-length chain mail coat made from wool within three hours.

Extract from 40 Humourous British Traditions

Published by Julian Worker

Julian was born in Leicester, attended school in Yorkshire, and university in Liverpool. He has been to 94 countries and territories and intends to make the 100 when travel is easier. He writes travel books, murder / mysteries and absurd fiction. His sense of humour is distilled from The Marx Brothers, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and Midsomer Murders. His latest book is about a Buddhist cat who tries to help his squirrel friend fly further from a children's slide.

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