Letter from Mike.....
Always interested in new tidbits of history, I was provided some additional info on the Spaulder/Pauldron topic. Thought you might be interested as well.
Your friend is correct that "spaulder" is something of an anachronism, but then again, so too is "shield." At any rate, "pauldron" is also likely incorrect, as it is based on a single sixteenth-century work, amid more prevalent variations.
The proper term for what you're looking for in Modern English is "spaudeler," which is what you'll want to look up in OED.
The earliest attestation in English is probably "spawdeler," c. 1450-1509, in Richard Coer de Lion, line 5285
"Spauld" (spaud) as shoulder is possibly attested in English as early as 1305, and certainly by 1313.
"Spanbelere" is a copyist's error for "spaudeler," so don't be confused by it.
"Pauldrons," or more correctly "Pouldrons," is first attested in English in 1439, as "palerns;" 1454: "pollerons;" 1465: "polrondys."
There are various cognates for "spaudeler", including Middle Low German "spoldener" and Middle High German "spaldenier."
(And Bill's research is as follows) ..............
In the OED, a spaulder is a person who spualds, that is to say, spalls flint off nodules and it isn't an anachronism at all. The word "spauldeler" is listed as "obscure, rare, but at least it is English, albeit Old Engish. Espauliere is of course French.
The "New English Dictionary" became the OED. Since the Oxford English Dictionary is so long and tedious, they have always had a "concise" oxford dictionary, which is of course, the one volume reference work beside most Canadian desks. ( What is sometimes a little annoying is when a word is in the "concise" but isn't in the ten volume NED. The word "spaudler" is a case in point and another charming word "spadassin", that is to say, a swordsman.) Fortunately, we have the interwebs, and most of these old books have been scanned into the
The general usage in the Tower of London seems to be "Spaudler" (pronounced spawd-ler) . The NED word, "spauldeler" is pronounced much the same, "spaw-del-er". I have to admit that I have yet to find a reliable reference to "spaulder" as applied to shoulder armour, though the "Random House" dictionary reference makes me think that there is an American usage. Like the word "armor" for "armour". But though you can blame a whole lot of language disruption on Mr. Webster's attempt to streamline the English language, the fact remains, he was silent on the subject.
Coutere is a perfectly good word which has been bastardized into "elbow cop", and it is also properly called "cowter". The reference in Richard Coer De Lion is on line 5285, which also contains the word cowderbras. I like the word "cowderbras". Which of course is another word for "arm armour".
A vambrace was originally just the forearm guard, but of course, it quickly became the term for the whole arm, the "cowterbras". I'll stick to using "vambrace, coutere, and rerebrace" for now.
pages 1098 and 1116