The Taillandier d'armes and the Astelle Montmirail
The history of metal
At the beginning of the incredible history of metal, the first metal used was copper (around 5000 BC), followed by bronze (around 2000 BC). Probably due to a mistake, it was a mixture of copper and tin (10%) that produced the first hard metal used to make better fighting weapons.
Its use was to become widespread and to change the social life of the time, but also to enable the forging of powerful weapons of war to serve wars of colony and expansion.
The armies possessing this metal, notably the Egyptians, Romans and Celts, became superior to the others and changed the course of history.
It was not until 950 BC that iron ore was finally discovered and its transformation into mild steel once again contributed to many changes in society.
This is why new weapons and forging techniques will appear at the same time. However, as this steel is soft, its characteristics are unfortunately rather poor.
It was not until another 500 years later that the mastery ofsteel became known and blacksmiths (the generic name given today) became more and more numerous. Very quickly, they found protection from powerful Lords or Kings while remaining free craftsmen.
The birth of the Taillanders and the trades of arms
For its protection, the weapons forge is located within the castle walls, but it is also strategic for the manufacture of weapons in case of a siege of the citadel.
A weapons forge consists of many craftsmen from different trades. First of all, the master forger is responsible for the quality of his sword blades. Then there is the Master Blower responsible for the forge's fire, the polisher, the assembler and thegoldsmith for the gilding. In the end, an average of 20 workers are employed in a sword forge to ensure that it runs smoothly.
Three grades are encountered: Apprentice, Fellow and Master.
Over the centuries, this trade, along with the techniques and mastery of steel, evolved into the organisation of corporations and their privileges.
The name Blacksmith evolves.
The word "FORBEOR " was used in the first half of the 13th century to describe the person who polishes and mounts bladed weapons. It became "FORBISSEOR " in the second half of the 13th century and " Fourbisseur " in the 14th century.
The Master Swordsmith has the privilege of making the sword of the Lord or Sovereign, and the forging of this blade is charged with a very special symbolism.
In 1463, the " Taillandiers " became independent through the statutes of their corporation under the name of "Marchants de grands taillants blancs" and experienced a strong development in the 16th century with the confirmation of their statutes by King Charles IX.
However, for economic reasons, the Taillandiers d'armes tended to disappear over time, except for the Taillandiers des Rois et des Princes.
At the same time, note the disappearance of traditions on swords and their symbolism.
Today, three main families still exist:
- The ironmongers and metalworkers, specialised in the manufacture of agricultural or domestic objects (farriery, ploughshares, locks, etc.);
- The Taillandiers, manufacturers of weapons, cutting objects (swords, axes, shovels, spades...);
- Armourers, blacksmiths specialising in armour, helmets, shields and chain mail.
According to tradition, the Taillandier d'armes is appointed in public by his master of arms, as was done in the 16th century.
He is therefore a master craftsman, putting into practice an ancestral know-how dating from the Middle Ages.
A transmission to Astelle Montmirail
There are very few left today, only four in France and six in Europe. One of them is Pascal Turpin, creator of the folding knife "Le Montmirail".
Among the four Taillandiers recognised in France, two are Taillandiers d'armes blanches. Other Taillandiers endure in the Royalties of Europe, such as the Taillandier d'armes of the Crown of England.
Pascal TURPIN is a catholic and possesses the Divine Fire (transmitted in the respect of the traditions by the lighting of the fire of his forge by his Master of apprenticeship, himself holder of the Divine Fire) which allows him to make these handing-over of swords in a church.
Inventor of several models of knives, he is now part of theAstelle Montmirail of which he is the Designer.
In particular, he created the model that is at the origin of this Sarthe cutlery workshop: the Le Montmirail folding knife.
Through this model, which is now available in many versions, Astelle Montmirail is trying to perpetuate this ancestral know-how by modernising it and making it accessible to the general public.
However, no woman tailor This is the first time in history that such an event has been recorded. Within the Astelle Montmirail, Pascal Turpin trains Cassie Châtel to become weaponsmith to change the course of history one day.
In order to learn more about this know-how and our knives, do not hesitate to come and visit us in our new workshop in Montmirail, at 23 rue du Docteur Castaing, 72320 Montmirail.