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Old 26th January 2021, 08:25 AM   #10
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 38

I posted the question yesterday on another forum and got this comprehensive answer. I think this brings some clarity.

These are pike-heads with bodkin points, rather than leaf-shaped points. The bodkin style is less common than points with leaf-shaped blades, but not by any means rare. I'm not aware that there's any evidence to suggest that bodkin points were considered especially well suited to piercing armor. Perhaps they were more durable, but mostly I think they were simply a different style than leaf-shaped blades. They may have been easier to make, but the ornamental work on the points that you show suggests that any potentially greater ease of manufacture is unlikely to have been a significant factor in choosing one style or the other. The spheres between the blades and the sockets suggest, as your other informant indicated, that these are sixteenth-century examples. There's some evidence that this ornamented style may have been most popular early in the century, before 1530, at least in England, but it appears to have persisted throughout the century, particularly in Italy.

You can see bodkin-point pike-heads and pike-heads with beads and decorated sockets like those you show, on the British Royal Armouries' Web site. If you prefer, you can also go to their collections search page and look for other examples. My search was for "pike" in the 16th century (the first entered in the dialogue box, and the second chosen in the date filter).

I found two photos with other examples like yours, combining bodkin points with the spherical ornaments in the Royal Armouries' collection:

Object Number: VII.767
Object Number: VII.137

(I'm not sure that the object numbers in these cases refer to the points showing both bodkin blades and beads. In fact, in the first case I'm sure that the object number is for the other pike.)

Edited to add: Here's an ornamented bodkin point from the seventeenth century:
Object Number: VII.2952

This is just a quick answer without extensive research. You may well be able to find more.

I hope this proves helpful.


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