Having studied medieval engraving, metalwork, leather and woodwork for 17 years, quietly spoken Phil Hatton, 45, is now one of the leading proponents in the field.
Some of his pieces beggar belief. Take, for example, his largest commissions – a pair of nine-foot-long, 14th- century cannon, cast by hand in bronze with hand-tooled fleur de lys and artillery badges.
‘It took four men to lift the cannon into their seatings,’ explained 45-year-old Phil, originally from Leeds.
‘They are a reproduction of the main guns found in a 14th-century galleon.
‘The cradles were hand-carved using a mallet and gouger.’
According to Phil they are now magnificently displayed in a client’s garden back at home in Leeds.
Another extraordinary piece of craftsmanship is Phil’s authentic chain mail tunic with 4,000 individually forged links with a matching hand helmet with intricate gold and brass detailing.
‘I feel an affinity with the traditional ways of life,’ said Phil.
‘I learned the old black arts from a local smithy who has since died. He taught me the earliest method for fusing two pieces of cold bar together, by heating them up until red hot and then braying them with a hammer. It’s amazingly simple technology that works’