Richardson, The medieval inventories of the Tower armouries 1320–1410
pp.53-54William, the youngest son of Fulk Pembridge, in his will of 1325 received, ‘2 mail shirts, 1 helm, 1 bacinet, 1 aventail, 1 collar, 1 palet, 1 pair of spaudlers, 1 pair of gauntlets of plate, cuisses and greaves’ though his eldest son received ‘un peire de ces meilours plates’ together with a host of other harness. (144)
(144) M. Prestwich, Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages: the English Experience (New Haven and London, 1996), 26–7. ‘deux haberiouns, un healme, un bacinet, un aventail e un colret, un palet, un peire de espaudlers, un peire de gans de plate, quisseux e greves’.
p.55Much more detail can be found in Fleet’s own account. In the receipt of the armoury of Edward II we find a relatively small collection of plate armour, from the great indenture from the chamber clerk William of Langley and a series of other indentures:
42 kettle hats,
p.57Terence of Middelburg supplied:
p.61In total the armoury under John Fleet issued:
123 kettle hats,
pp.66-67The identity of the palets at this time is unclear. They seem from the context and later usage to be head defences of some form, but how they differ from bacinets is as yet unclear. It is conceivable that they are the simple skull-caps known as cervellières, worn over or perhaps even under the mail coifs that were worn beneath the great helms, and some were issued for wear with kettle hats.172 It may be that the usage of the term changed as the century progressed, as they became a more numerous form of head defence, much cheaper than the bacinet, in the later accounts.
p.68Robert Mildenhall received from John Fleet in 1344:...
63 helms, 55 of them for war, one painted with the old arms of England,
38 kettle hats, one of hardened leather for the tournament, one of iron with a border of silver,
embossed with gilded animals, and 36 of iron,
43 bacinets, one with a visor,
10 pairs of plate gauntlets of which two decorated with orichalcum,
1 palet of iron,.....
..... lxiij galeis quarum lv pro guerra et j galea de veteribus armis Anglie depicta, xxxviij capella quorum j corboill’ pro torniamento, j de ferro deaurato cum bordura de argento allevato cum bestiis deauratis et xxxvj de ferro, xliij bacinettis quorum j cum visera, x paribus cirotecarum de platis quarum ij garnitis de auricalco, j paletto ferri......
p.70A small number of knights including Sir Giles Beauchamp were given kettle hats with pallets, an unusual combination showing such defences were worn together.
p.76Most bacinets in 1369 were 20s. without aventails, though the cheapest, allowing 3s. 4d. for an aventail would have been 13s. 11d., while the most expensive palets were 10s. and the majority 3s. 4d.
p.80The substantial purchases of armour recorded in the account of John Sleaford of 1369 included....
200 bacinets without mail aventails for 20s., 362 bacinets with aventails at 30s., and four lots of twenty-four bacinets with aventails were purchased for 24s., 22s., 19s. 11d. and 17s. 3d. Sixty-seven palets were bought for 10s. and 140 more for 3s. 4d. .....
p.183One set of harness for the king released to the chamber in 1374 comprised two bacinets, two helms, three pallets, one aventail of steel mail, three pairs of leg harness, two pairs of vambraces and rerebraces and one pair of mail paunces and sleeves.
p.218....while the three jacks that were issued were sent to the chamber along with bows, arrows and palets, presumably for issue to archers.
p.219Adhuc recepta de quisseux, poleinis, tubialis et etiam de bulgis, coifettis, espaularis, cotis punctis cum loricis, lanceis, crinalis et coffris et morsis de cupro et palettis pro torniamento
p.238iij palett’ pro torniamento
p.243, 9 May 1382ij coifett’ pro torniamento
iiij palett’ pro torniamento
Additionally we have a couple of entries from other inventories.dcclxxviij bacinett’
1397 Duke of Gloucester viewtopic.php?f=4&t=180283&hilit=pallet
1423 Archbishop of York viewtopic.php?f=4&t=180232&hilit=palletItm j pallet de Lumbardy ove j viser p's xx.s.
Item, 1 pallet of Lombardy, with 1 visor. valued 20s.
Itm ij basnets pr joustes de guerre ove peses de healmes p's xl.s
Item, 2 bascinets for the joust-of-war, with fitted(?) helms. valued 40s.
Of course, I'm always curious about the etymology.Et de xiij. s. iiij d. receptis pro uno palet closs' cum j. umberelle, cum j. bono bordoure de mayle.
13s. 4d. - a close skullcap(?) with 1 "shade", with 1 good edging of mail.
The modern (non-bed) pallet and palette seems to be derived from the Latin word pala, a shovel.
In Italian, a paletto is a picket, post, or sharpened stake.pallet (n.1)
"mattress," late 14c., from Anglo-French paillete "straw, bundle of straw," Old French paillet "chaff, bundle of straw," from paille "straw" (12c.), from Latin palea "chaff," perhaps cognate with Sanskrit palavah, Old Church Slavonic pleva, Russian peleva, Lithuanian pelus.
"flat wooden blade" used as a tool by potters, etc., early 15c., from Middle French palette, diminutive of pale "spade, shovel" (see palette). Meaning "large portable tray" used with a forklift for moving loads is from 1921.
Here's an iron-edged medieval shovel (inverted) for comparison. One peculiarly English variant of helmet I've been noticing is a bascinet with a central comb, like this example from the Queen Mary Psalter, BL Royal 2 B VII, fo.41r., but I don't know if that minor difference is enough to distinguish a palet from a bascinet, nor if that form continues as late as 1400. The palet seems to be cheap (the same cost as an aventail), so it's likely small. It can have a visor or mantle, or a special tournament version. The mail edging isn't considered the same as an aventail, and might be smaller. The meaning of the word might change over a century of use. Are there any non-English references? Any other thoughts on why it might be called a palet, palett', etc.?