Prizes of the London Masters of Defense

My research paper on The London Masters of Defense
My list of LMOD Prizes
A sample of text from Sloan MSS. 2530, courtesy of William Wilson.

Weapon Master's Prizes Provost Prizes Scholar Prizes
Form Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Long Sword 19 25% 25 28% 30 37%
Back Sword 17 22% 18 20% 12 15%
Rapier and Dagger 8 11% 0 00% 0 00%
Sword and Buckler 7 09% 18 20% 21 26%
Sword and Dagger 6 08% 5 06% 0 00%
Staff 5 07% 10 11% 8 10%
Dagger 3 04% 0 00% 0 00%
Two Handed Sword 2 03% 3 03% 7 08%
Bastard Sword 3 04% 0 00% 0 00%
Agreement 4 05% 7 08% 3 03%
Order of the King 1 01% 1 01% 0 00%
Unknown 0 00% 1 01% 1 01%
Total 76 99% 88 98% 82 100%

A quick analysis of the above numbers:

1. Yes, I am aware that the King's Order is not really a weapons form
2. Long sword is obviously the most popular of all of the forms used, followed by back sword and sword and buckler. Note that Rapier and Dagger is used only in Master's prizes, and even then only 11% of them.
3. The Master's prizes definitely saw more variety, all 8 of the weapons listed were used in three or more prizes. Provosts used 6 of 8, and Scholars used 5.
4. The extra forms used in the higher level prizes must have been seen as more difficult and/or flashy, to be so limited.

Weapons used in Challenges

Weapon Number
Long Sword 4
Back Sword 5
Sword & Buckler 2
Sword & Dagger 1
Two Sword 1
Two Handed Sword 1
Rapier 1
Rapier & Target 1
Rapier & Cloak 1
Rapier and Dagger 3
Dagger 1
Staff 3
Axe 2
Pike 2
Unknown 5

A quick analysis of the challenges


1. The variety of weapons used in challenges (14) almost double the number used in prizes (8). Forms used here, but not in prizes: Rapier, Rapier & Target, Rapier & Cloak, Two Sword, Axe, Pike
2. The numbers here are kind of low, so statistical analysis is rough. It would appear however, that Rapier & Dagger is the most prevalent of the Rapier forms.
3. These tables don't show it, but the dates on the challenges show Rapiers being used much earlier in England than other sources give credit for. A challenge played before Edward VI (1547-1553) shows Rapier & Dagger, but the first dated use of Rapier in a Prize is 1578, which would be 25-31 years after.
Any observations? Agree? Disagree?




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    Last modified on 29 May 1998 (updated for change to iceweasel.org)