The Museum's European Arms and Armour collection includes several important collections bequeathed by private collectors. The largest individual collection is that of Robert Lyons Scott (1871-1939), who was chairman of the Scott Shipbuilding and Engineering Company in Greenock.

Scott was a keen hunter, angler and amateur fencer, and was fascinated with miltary science. After the First World War he was the only British collector who could afford to compete against American millionaire collectors. An example of this was the Gothic Milanese field armour he purchased in 1938 from William Randolph Hearst, the American newspaper magnate.

Scott's collection of over 800 items is wide-ranging, and includes armour, swords and daggers, crossbows and firearms.

He also collected Scottish weapons, incuding claymores (large two-handed swords), dirks (daggers) and targes (round shields with a long spike in the centre).

Pair of Holster Pistols

Pair of
Holster Pistols



English Greenwich Armour for Man and Horse

Greenwich Armour for Man and Horse

English, c1550-1558

This is the most impressive item in the Scott collection. It is a field armour which belonged to William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1501?-1570). It was used in battle against the French at St. Quentin in 1557.

This armour was made at the Greenwich Armoury, which was founded by Henry VIII to make high-quality armour for royalty and nobility.

This is the only surviving example of this type of armour.

The Museum's second-largest individual collection was bequeathed by Charles Edward Whitelaw (1869-1939). He was an architect who was interested in history, archaeology, and in particular Scottish weapons. He became an authority on Scottish weapons, publishing many important papers and arranging the Arms and Weapons section of the 1911 Historical Exhibition in Glasgow.

The Museum purchased a collection of 115 firearms from Alexander E. Martin in 1956. Martin's family business made guns and fishing tackle in Glasgow, and Martin himself was a prominent international shot.

A collection of 205 European edged weapons was purchased from Charles C.S. Parsons of Greenock in 1911.

Scottish Weapons

Scottish Weapons

including basket-hilted
broadswords, dirks and targes.




Battlefield Armour 1550-1600

Battlefield Armour 1550-1600

Left: North Italian half-armour c1560

Right: South German (Nuremberg) half-armour c1580






Click on the images to see enlarged versions:

South German three-quarter field armour
Scottish broadsword with basket hilt
English Pikeman's armour