“Thank you for giving such a
fascinating and enjoyable talk last week. Your knowledge of your
subject and your enthusiasm were infectious”.
Cummings, Brampton Discussion Group
Like most people who have tried to
build a collection of genuine armour from scratch, and found it
almost impossible, we are forced to look to the reproduction market.
The replicas I had bought in the past were ok at a glance, but
there was always something about them that was obviously wrong,
such as helmets that had circular not oval bowls, meaning that
I was only able to display them from the side, some of them even
had visible welds and articulation that just didn’t work, meaning they
would never warrant close inspection, I felt I could do a lot better.
I had worked as a lighting consultant and period
lighting restorer for many years. The consultancy side of this
business took me all over Europe working for the large fashion
and cosmetic houses, and the restoration side was thankfully much
closer to heart and home. Much of this work was within the surrounding
three counties, working for both The National Trust and private
Being a restorer meant that I already had a workshop with
forge, full of metalworking and blacksmith tools, some of which
are over three hundred years old, all of which had taken decades
to find. With the genuine pieces I already had in my collection,
and the genuine pieces I could at least lay my hands on, I knew
exactly how high the standard was. Fortunately, my consultancy
had already taught me to obsess about the details, as these clients
were certainly the most difficult to please professionals I have
ever worked with. This, I relished, as I have always felt that
working to an exceptionally high standard should be the norm.
In the beginning I started making armour for myself, reproducing
all of the pieces I have missed at auctions over the years, starting
out with English civil war Pikeman’s pots graduating to French
Before I would start cutting out the steel for a full size armour,
to save steel and time, I would first perfect the pattern by crafting
a fully articulated steel miniature.
It was one of these miniatures that would change everything. I
had been begging a collector for years to let me have a look at
his magnificent private collection, I had taken one of my miniatures
with me as I wanted to check its scale against one particular full
size period armour he had, as I was sure that I had made the legs
However, no sooner had I took my miniature out of my bag, I was
commissioned to make another, only in a different style. No sooner
had I delivered this, I was asked to make a study in miniature
of another armour which was part of somebody else’s collection, then I was asked
to make a pair of matching boy prince armours in an Austrian style
for beside a hall fireplace, then I had to re-leather a lovely pair
of Prussian Pauldrons, and it went on and on. As the year went by
I was having so much fun, I hadn’t even noticed, my passion
had seamlessly become my business.
Reproducing and restoring armour, has now thankfully completely
overtaken my lighting consultancy. I still get involved with the
odd period lighting restoration project from time to time and many
other ‘interesting’ old
metal objects besides, and sometimes the two go nicely hand in hand,
especially when the armour I supply is for decoration. But aside
from that, my usual working day is spent reproducing and restoring
plate armour for decorators, dealers and collectors.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or requests at all,
whether it be for full size armour for wear or display, a study in miniature,
a single helmet, or all the kings men, I welcome any challenge or restoration.
Just click on my contact page, and I will do the rest.
Click here for my contact page
Thank you for your interest, I look forward to our talking in the
“I had the pleasure of stopping by The Imperial War Museum
before I returned to Canada to examine your suit of Polish cavalry
armour, and I must say, it was stunning. The detail that you put
into it and the quality of the dishing were exceptional. I hope
one day to be able to wield such skill”.
Jozef Winter, Master Blacksmith
“Thank you for giving such a fascinating and enjoyable talk
last week. Your knowledge of your subject and your enthusiasm were
Derek Cummings, Brampton Discussion Group
“Nigel Carren is one of the finest armourers working in
the UK. Creating authentic armour and miniatures. If you’re
interested in history and armour check out his site”.
“I found working with Nigel very rewarding.
In explaining to readers the problems fighting men faced on an
English Civil War battlefield I had to find a non-technical, highly
practical but also an entertaining approach. The logistics underlying
the opposing armies’ operations were intimately linked with
arms manufacture, and the design of helmets and armour was governed
by the real requirements of active service. The professionalism,
knowledge and enthusiasm Nigel brought to clarifying the problems
and demonstrating the solutions led to picture and caption sequences
that are as interesting as they are informative. I am in his debt.”
Martin F. Marix Evans , Military Historian & Author Chairman
of the Naseby Battlefield Project
“Your work is top quality design, craftsmanship and attention
Bob Souter, Private collector
Anything at all can be recreated, it’s all quite simply
down to time, and therefore ultimately your budget. All I need
are a few clues re; period, style and finish and whether the piece
is for wear or display, and I will happily do the rest, and trawl
through my extensive library and provide images of exactly what
it is I think you are aiming for, and as the famous quote by King
Maximillian I to his armourer (below) clearly illustrates, I am
at your disposal.
“Arm me according to my own wishes, for it is I not you
who will take part in the tournament!”
King Maximillian I to court armourer Conrad
My method statement is best illustrated by a quote by the greatest
writer on the subject:
“For the study of ancient armour to be successfully pursued,
it is of primary importance that a careful examination be made
of every existing specimen within our reach… Every rivet-hole
and rivet in a piece must be studied, and its use and object thought
Charles Ffoulkes 190