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Title James II lobster tail helmet
Nationality British
Period c 1680-88

This is the last model of the 17th century. The skull is of two-piece construction, but without the conventional iron crest found on Civil War models. This is the type that would have been worn at the Battle of the Boyne by both sides. In Europe, these helmets continued to be worn in combat against the Turks until 1720 or so.

There is a small JR mark under a crown, punched just below the right-hand visor hinge, together with GL (a maker's mark?) punched at the back of the skull.

The skull measures 22cm in length and has both its original ear defences. These have been carefully releathered with stout buff leather hinges. There are two one-inch splits at the top of the skull, together with two small holes (for suspension from a ceiling?). Although the condition shows a fair bit of wear and tear, including some opening of the iron fold at the peak, the helmet is generally in excellent condition for its age, the cleaning and restoration having been done in the 1950s at the Tower of London. The interior has been sprayed with an oil-based black paint to inhibit rust.

These James II period helmets are extremely scarce, having only been made for the short period of time between his coronation in 1680 and the Glorious Revolution of 1688 when he had to flee after Parliament had summoned William of Orange to replace him. For comparison with an English-made Civil War variety, see the example on my site map (in the archive).

If you want to comment on this item—re quality, age, etc—please email me.

[Militaria : Armour : British : 17th Century]


Thanks very much for the bayonet. I am very happy, I think your photos of your items are great because nothing is hidden and you can clearly see them. (Unlike some other dealers.) Everything was as you describe, I will be keeping a eye on your site for any further bayonets for my collection.

S W, UK, 10.01.2013

The day the blunderbuss arrives I could not stop looking and feeling the gun for at least one hour. My wife told me that I was sick........ I am very happy, it is a piece of craftsmanship! Well made! I have 5 blunderbusses but all iron barrel, also from England but this one is gorgeous with the Brass Barrel.

Please keep me informed when you have any other type of blunderbuss. Thanks my friend!

M R, USA, 04.08.2011