Parish Armour

The story of the parish armour belonging to Carbrooke.

Carbrooke, Norfolk is a small agricultural village. It has a surprising and fascinating history, with influences through the centuries from around the world.

The aim of this website is to bring together this information. If you have any comments, information, anecdotes or photographs to share, please contact us

Armour Case

There had been rumours of pieces from a suit of armour in Carbrooke for decades, with some residents claiming to have seen it. In more recent years, it appeared to have been lost. However during the 2018 Heritage Festival in the church, whilst looking for something else, a member of the PCC found what she recognised as the missing armour. We were delighted to have rediscovered it.

It was sent to Norwich Museum, and the Royal Armourer, as it was of such interest. It had been presumed to have been Medieval given Carbrookes links with Knights Hospitallers, but instead it was dated to the mid-late 1600s by Norwich Museum, which was very enthusiastic about such a rare find. The armour has been professionally conserved for the village by the museum at a cost of almost £2500.00

Carbrooke has 13 pieces from a suit of Parish Armour dating from the English Civil War period (1642-1651).

What is Parish Armour?

Every village in England was required to send young men to fight in the Civil War, as Pikemen. These conscripts, clad only in leather jerkins, were ‘cannon fodder’ in the battles and had to fight mounted cavalry, who were armed with swords and other lethal weapons – and wore armour.

Those villages which could afford it thus purchased a suit of armour for their soldier, usually made by the local blacksmith. Hence the concept of “Parish Armour”; it remained the property of the parish.

Mike Botting, volunteered to make and donate a cabinet in which to display the armour; and to obtain sponsorship from local people and businesses to defray the cost of conservation. He also donated the model ‘Knight’ for display purposes.

Should you wish to make a donation towards the restoration of unique local artefact, please contact us Donations of £200 will be acknowledged by a plaque on the cabinet itself, while smaller donations will be listed on a board adjacent to it.

Please make cheques payable to Carbrooke Heritage Group, or you can make BACS transfers to Carbrooke Heritage Group’s account at Lloyds Bank, sort code 30-92-88, account number 01300405. Please write “Parish Armour” on the back of your cheque, or in the “reference” box in your bank transfer. Any amount which you can afford would be greatly appreciated.

The Armour is on permanent display in the church, and can be viewed whenever the church is open, or by arrangement.


Page last Updated 16.08.20