Pole Weapons (pol-arms)

These are the most basic weapon and include the 'bill', after which the 'bill-block' is named. Many of these weapons are descended from agricultural tools. They will often include a thrusting spike, back spike, hook and cutting edge, such as the 'English bill', 'Halberd' and 'Italian bill'. The 'Glaive' resembles a large knife and can be used to hack and thrust. Spears are also common as are variations on the spear like the 'Partisan'.

A pole weapon is best mounted on an ash or other hardwood shaft and riveted in place. You can buy a blade seperately or ready mounted. A blade can cost as little as £20 - £40, but mounted it can cost £60 or more.

It is currently Woodville policy to limit all pole weapons to 7 feet in length.
Shorter Pole Weapons

There are a number of shorter weapons used in close quarter combat. These were commonly used by men-at-arms and knights. The most famous is the 'Poleaxe', designed to deliver a crushing blow it also has a back spike and thrusting spike. Some use a 'Bardiche', which has a long curved blade behind which the hands can grip.


Swords are common and may be carried by all as a side-arm. Swords vary in size, weight and price. A good standard broadsword can cost around £120. Some carry a falchion, this sword broadens towards the tip and was used as a hacking weapon.


These are a useful side-arm in a tight spot and come in various designs. The most famous are the 'Bollock dagger' (sometimes 'Ballock') and the 'Rondel dagger'. Some daggers are equiped with edged blades for cutting and thrusting, while others have a spike for delivering piercing blows. Spiked versions are never used on the field. Blunted daggers are used in combat display but sharp blades can be bought for use in living history.

Maces and Flails

Maces are generally not used in reenactment because a blow is uncontrollable and can inflict severe damage. They are sometimes used in correographed displays with shields.

Battle Axes

Again, not greatly used (see 'Maces and Flails').


The most common accessory is the Buckler, a small metal shield that covers the fist. It is used to parry light blows. Larger shields were largely obsolete by the 15th century.

Cautionary Note for New Starters

Before buying any weapon make sure that it is safe for reenactment. Some suppliers sell weapons for display only as well as battle-safe weapons. Get as much information as possible from the supplier, read descriptions carefully and ask advice.

Go to the next page for ARCHERY, CROSSBOWS AND GUNNERY

Back to Top