Bearing a mounted knight’s armour and extra weaponry was the responsibility of this foot soldier who must remain close to his Lord in battle – swords could be shattered or fall, spears break, helmets get knocked off, a mace or axe be needed.
Laden with the responsibility and sheer physical weight of his charge he still had to defend himself in the heat of battle, marking him as someone of extraordinary courage and loyalty.
This is the armour-bearer of Sir Henry Percy, of Northumberland.
In an earlier phase of the Scottish Wars of Independence, Percy was at Edward I's side in 1296 at the sacking of Berwick on Tweed. It was there on 30th March that Henry Percy was knighted by the King. Percy worked closely with Sir Robert Clifford from Westmorland, in the pursuit of William Wallace only to find Wallace and Murray waiting for them north of the River Forth near Stirling Castle.
The ensuing Battle of Stirling Bridge was a disaster for the English army, which Percy and his fellow commanders could only watch helplessly from the castle. All of 17 years later, King Edward II prepared with great reluctance for a campaign in Scotland, culminating in his total defeat at Bannockburn. While there is some question over whether or not Percy fought at Bannockburn, his friend and comrade Robert Clifford was killed in the battle. Only a few months later, Henry Percy died, aged 41, of unknown causes.