Replicating 17th Century Cavalry (Cavalier) Spurs

Finally completed my 17th Century-esque spurs!

17th Century replica spurs

I’ve been looking into spurs for a few years now, but I haven’t been able to find 17th Century accurate spurs anywhere. Not even UK-based English Civil War reenacting shops have them. I did find some nice 15th Century spurs from Raymond’s Quiet Press while at Pennsic this year, so I picked those up and some sweet 1/2″ buckles that match pretty well.

Fifteenth Century spurs are different than 17th Century spurs in a few ways.

17thC-Spurs-Sketch
Sketches from “European Weapons & Warefare: 1618-1648”

The main on being that 17th C spurs have two holes at the end of each arm, one for a strap to cross the front of the boot and the other to go under the heel of the boot. This 15th C spur just has the one hole.  The arms of the spurs are also different in shape, too. The 15th C version is very swooping; the 17th C is a bit more straight on, similar to modern Western rowel spurs.

Seventeenth Century spurs also had bigger spur leathers. Spur leathers are the big bow/butterfly looking thing at the front of my boot. No, they’re not armor. They actually serve a purpose; they hold the spurs in the place. In earlier periods (and even American wild west), the spur leathers are just strips of leather that went in the front of the boot and not these big pieces of leather. I’m not 100% sure why the spur leathers got so big during this era, but my guess is because a) bows were super manly and in fashion during this time and b) bigger is better during 17th C. That’s just my educated guess, however.

Here are a few extant examples of 17th Century spurs. I have more pics of period spurs and boots in my Pinterest folder.

17th-Century-gold-rowel-spurs 1630-rowel-spursiron-17thC-Spurs

Despite the differences in the actual spur design, it’s close enough to pass as 17th C with some modification. Both used rowel spurs, which was one of my major concerns. The lack of a second arm hole for the under strap meant I had to fudge things a little. To accomplish that, I created a loop in the leather (as seen in my collage image at the top).

And since this is an SCA blog I know the question of “Can you wear these if you’re not a knight?” question will pop up. The answer is yes. I can. Spurs aren’t reserved regalia (lots of people just think they are); the East also doesn’t have sumptuary laws. I made sure to do my homework and asked several Peers of the East about it. So I’m good. I expect someone may give me the shifty eyes, but c’est la vie. It’s also perfectly within my persona to wear these.

Pretty happy with the overall look and design. I’ll be wearing them at EK Coronation this weekend, jingling everywhere as I go. These will only be worn for costuming purposes and not while riding any horses or while fighting. With my luck, I’d spur myself while retreating or someone else.

I’m still going to keep an eye out for more period-accurate 17th C spurs, but these will suffice just fine until then.

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