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Evolution of the Mighty Medieval Lance

The legendary Medieval Lance played a crucial role in shaping medieval warfare. This incredible weapon was the preferred weapon of knights and warriors alike. Its intriguing history is rich with tales of jousting tournaments, heroic battles, and feats of strength and valour. Explore the history, its military use, types of Medieval Lance weapons and much more.

What is a Medieval Lance?

It was a long, spear-like solid weapon used largely by knights and other fighters from the fifth through the fifteenth centuries. Its use expanded across Europe and quickly became the weapon of choice for cavalry charges on the battlefield.

The Medieval Lance originated in the late Roman era when cavalrymen used long spears to break through enemy lines. These spears were modified and evolved into the longer and heavier lances used by knights in the early Middle Ages.

What were Medieval Lances made from?

These were manufactured using an array of different materials. Each part of the weapon was made using a different material.

The Medieval Lance’s shaft or handle was often constructed of strong wood, such as ash or oak, which was preferred for its durability and adaptability. The lance’s tip was usually made from iron or steel. It was frequently strengthened with a crossbar known as a vamplate, which protected the wielder’s hand from opponent attacks. The butt spike was constructed of metal and functioned as a counterweight to the lance’s hefty head.

Types of Medieval Lance

Knights and other soldiers used various types of lances during the medieval period. Here are some examples:

1. The Jousting Lance

medieval lance
The Jousting Lance, by is licensed under CC0 1.0

The Jousting Lance was designed especially for jousting tournaments where knights unhorsed their rivals with a single strike. Due to their purpose, Jousting Lances were heavier than other Medieval lances. It also had a blunted point to reduce damage danger.

2. The War Lance

types of medieval lance
The War Lance, by Spencer Wright is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Designed for the battlefield, the War Lance was shorter and lighter to offer more flexibility to the wielder. Its sharp, pointed tip was intended to puncture armour and shatter opposing lines.

The Cavalry Lance

Cavalry forces utilised this lance style while charging into battle on horseback. The cavalry lance was longer and heavier than other types of lances, with a pointed tip.

Earlier Medieval Lance Weapons

Earlier it was a long wooden spear topped with metal that mounted knights regularly employed from the 9th to 12th century. It was meant to be used with both hands and ranged in length from 9 to 14 feet. The Early Medieval Lance’s advantage was its reach and ability to penetrate armour, making it a devastating weapon on horseback. Although, the significant downside was its weight made it almost impossible to wield well, and it was not ideal for close combats.

Later Medieval Lance Weapons

It was evolved during the 13th and 15th centuries into a specialist weapon for jousting tournaments. It was shorter and lighter than the older medieval lance, averaging roughly 11 feet in length, and had a unique point meant to shatter on contact, lowering the potential of fatal harm to the opponent. The mobility and enhanced precision of the Later Medieval Lance made it an advantageous weapon for jousting and horse charges.

Yet, because it was not built for close combat or general-purpose use, it could only be used in these specialised settings.

Medieval Lance Interesting Facts

Here are some interesting facts about the Medieval Lance:

  • The Medieval Lance was crucial in the Hundred Years’ War, which lasted from 1337 to 1453 between England and France. The English knights armed with lances completely annihilated the French cavalry in the Battle of Crecy in 1346, marking a watershed moment in the war.
  • The skill of knights was usually measured by their success with the lance in jousting tournaments. Bertrand de Guesclin, a French knight, was recognised for his great talent with the lance and is reported to have won over 300 jousting matches throughout his career.
  • Medieval lances were so long that they were used to make makeshift bridges by knights during sieges.


The Medieval Lance was a long, spear-like weapon that helped shape medieval combat. Its fascinating past is filled with stories of jousting games, epic wars, and feats of strength and courage. The Medieval Lance was invented in the late Roman Empire to break through enemy lines. In the early Middle Ages, it evolved into the longer and heavier lances used by knights. The weapon’s shaft was tough wood, while the point was iron or steel. Lances used by medieval knights included the Jousting Lance, War Lance, and Cavalry Lance. During sieges, the Medieval Lance was frequently utilised as a temporary bridge.

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