Whose horse once wore this item of chest harness….?

from the Metz Apocalypse (13th century)

In 2011/2012 a hoard of medieval artefacts was discovered down a well at the remains of castle of Caherduggan, near Doneraile, Co Cork.

It included a complete peytrel/peytral/poitrel for a horse, which names derive from pectoral. Peytrels were worn around the horse’s chest, and although I’d never heard the name before, I recognised what it was from the image above.

I found the illustration at the top of this page in the Heraldry Society article here. It deals with horse armour in great detail.

But I wander from the discovery at Caherduggan. In a well? Why would such a costly possession be thrown down there? No one would part willingly with such an item. Unless he wished to be anonymous? To make an escape? Whatever the reason, the peytrel is now in safe modern hands.

from http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=313722

It is the only complete peytrel ever found in Ireland or Britain, although numerous individual medieval horse pendants have been discovered before.

Now, as far as I know, it still remains for the owner of the badge to be identified. I suppose it was originally enamelled in heraldic colours, but they have long gone and only the metal is left. The heraldic creature has been identified as a lion, but to my uneducated eye the design looks like a cross between a lion and a deer, but I’m probably hopelessly wrong. Any ideas?

From http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=313722


  1. Yes, that tail has the sort of “brush” at the end, like a lion’s. It’s the clearest thing about him. I think it’s just the head that’s a bit off but I do believe it is intended to be a lion. So – royal connections in Caherduggan?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, that tail has the sort of “brush” at the end, like a lion’s
    And thickening in the middle of the tail. The decoration of a lion? Or this is chimera with snake=tail

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Co. Cork, where it was found is an interesting indicator Viscountessw, it was one of those Anglo-Norman enclaves that became strongly Yorkist (well into the Tudor miasma) but they were a problem for the Tudors because they were also one of the families that went ‘native’ quite quickly, (and before the Tudor scourge) becoming ‘more Irish than the Irish’ – the Barry clan came from their Welsh holdings over to Cork and settled there as well – that is where I would start hunting for this poitrel’s owner, among the various clans in and around Cork, btw, they all intermarried

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: