English Civil War Breast Plate in superb original condition maker marked with an 'M' to the central front ridge (please see pictures).
Here I am offering a very rare heavy weight breastplate by Nicholas Marshall, who was apprentice to Robert Smith for 7 years and made free on 13th May 1618, recording a mark in the margin of the apprentice records (Guildhall 12079/2). He first appears in the quarterage payments in 1627 (Guildhall 12085: 21). He is recorded in the account of Sir Thomas Jay Kt Master of the Kings Armoury 1st October 1628 to 31st December 1631 (Mr Marshall). In 1631 he was one of the signatories to the Proclamation against the imbellizing of armour (Rymer 1732: 309). On 18th October 1631 he received a part share of payment for a contract for 769 armours 'brought into his Mts stoares ye 3d daie of Novemeber 1628 after ye rate of 19s a peece. Received by us John Ashton Nicholas Marshall and Thomas Stevens of London Armourer' (PRO WO 36/37: 58). In 1637 he sat on a committee of armourers regarding the admission of gun makers into the Company. At the Court of 17th April 1641 he was elected renter Warden, at that of 16th April 1642 he was elected Upper Warden, and at that of 22nd April 1643 he was elected Master of the Company (Guildhall 12071/3: 96v, 133v, 139v, 145). Meanwhile he has apprentices John Rogers of Billingforth, Norfolf, from 1637-45, and John Hill, son of John Hill of Bentley, Yorkshire, 1639-47 (Guildhall 12079: 90v, 96v). At the committee of the Army on 26th June 1645, 'Contracted with Thomas Stevens and Nicholas Marshall for Two hundered Armes backs and brests and potts at 20s p suite', and 'for two hundred head pieces at viis p piece' (Mungeam, 1968: 103). He was still active in the company in 1649, when he was instructed to 'viewe such Armers as marked by the Companies Marke' (Guildhall 12071/3: 179v). He died in 1657 in the parish of St Sepulchre (Will PCC Ruthen 457, PRO 11/269: 381r-382l). Another armourer was working at this time who should also be considered in this context and he is Richard Medley. Medley was apprenticed with Henry Whitmore for 7 years ending on 23rd June 1605. He was sworn and made free by John Nye on the 2nd July 1606, John Pyewell being the Master, Thomas Bate and Richard Gardiner being Wardens (Guildhall 12079/2: 12v).
(The London Armourers of the 17th Century by Thom Richardson, 2004:60-61)
A very rare item by a good maker that has not been restored or over painted or cleaned.