Terry English is a British armourer, mainly designing and making arms and armour, as well as props, for film and television productions.[1][2] His work is held in museums such as the UK's Royal Armouries, and in private collections.[2]

Early life and career

English was born in the East End of London, and moved to Romford, Essex, when he was five.[2] His father was a tailor and suit cutter. English began his career in 1962, employed by theatrical costumers L & H Nathans of Drury Lane, Covent Garden, London, working on props and metal parts of costumes. Many of the costumes that were hired out came back damaged, and under the tutelage of professionally-trained swordmaker Arthur West, English learned to repair them, and later to make new armour costumes and metal props.[2] In the early 70s he set up his own company making theatrical armour and arms, including animal armour, such as for horses. The first film he made armour for through his own company was Mary, Queen of Scots (1971).

The armour worn by Lancelot in the 1981 film Excalibur is on display at the Royal Armouries in London, as is a copy he made of one of Henry VIII's suits of armour. In the 1980s English also made armour for the Education Department at the Royal Armouries.[3]

English appeared in the 'making of' documentaries, The Making of Excalibur: Myth into Movie (1981), directed by Neil Jordan,[4][5] and Behind the Sword in the Stone (2013).[6][7] He had cameo roles in some of the movies for which he provided armour.[1]

English works out of his workshop at his home near Hayle in Cornwall. When working on a movie, English will pack up his workshop and ship it to the filming location, so that he can undertake on-site costume making, fitting and repairs.[2]

In 2014 an episode of the television show Shed and Buried with Henry Cole was devoted to English and his collection of vintage vehicles as well as his film memorabilia.[8]

In June 2017 Adam Savage spent eight days with English at his workshop in Cornwall, making a recreation of King Arthur's armour suit from Excalibur. This was filmed and released in the Tested.com series as Adam Savage's Armor Build in October 2017.[9]

English is listed by the UK's Heritage Crafts Association as one of the few craftspeople currently practising the art of armour- and helmet-making.[10] A 2019 profile in Country Life described English as 'widely acknowledged as the best armourer in the world'.[2]

Museum displays and exhibitions

Selected films with armour and/or props designed and made by English


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Cornish armour appears in Clash of the Titans". BBC. 1 April 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lovell, Kate (2 January 2019). "Full metal jacket". Country Life. London. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Armour in popular culture". royalarmouries.org. Royal Armouries. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  4. ^ "The Making of Excalibur (1981)". bfi.org. British Film Institute. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  5. ^ "MAKING OF EXCALIBUR: MYTH INTO MOVIE, THE". tcd.ie. Trinity College Dublin Irish Film Database. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  6. ^ "Behind the Sword in the Stone". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
  7. ^ Fogarty, Mary (5 January 2014). "There's magic in the air even still". The Independent. Dublin. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  8. ^ "Shed and Buried: Season 2 2x04 A Right Royal Profit?". trakt.tv. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  9. ^ Mick Joest (5 October 2017). "3 Big Reasons Mythbusters Fans Should Watch Adam Savage's New Show Armor Build". cinemablend.com. Cinemablend. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  10. ^ "The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts. Currently viable crafts: Armour and helmet making". heritagecrafts.org.uk. Heritage Crafts Association. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  11. ^ "Armour - Lancelot's Hero Armour (1981)". Royal Armouries Museum. Royal Armouries. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  12. ^ Christopher Laverty (17 August 2010). "20th Century Fox at The London Film Museum: Costumes Galore". clothesonfilm.com. Clothes On Film. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  13. ^ a b Russell, Ben (1 August 2016). "Props and costumes from blockbuster movies currently on display at Forge Mill Needle Museum". Worcester News. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  14. ^ "Monster exhibition at Royal Cornwall Museum". Falmouth Packet. 7 March 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  15. ^ "The aliens are landing at the Royal Cornwall Museum". Angarrack Life. 28 February 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  16. ^ Bell, John (20–27 December 1984). "Gentle men of steel". New Scientist. 104 (1435–1436): 56–57. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  17. ^ McCarthy, Todd (26 June 1995). "First Knight". Variety. Los Angeles. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  18. ^ "Batman & Robin: About The Production". Film Scouts. Film Scouts LLC. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  19. ^ "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence : Production Notes". cinema.com. Cinema.com. Retrieved 27 October 2020.