- A shield-defence, a wall of shields held defensively by a row of soldiers. Such a defensive formation of man and shield was used by the English against Norman cavalry at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. This particular attack is shown in the *Bayeux Tapestry, when the Normans were stopped and beaten back. Shields locked together above soldiers' heads gave protection when approaching the walls of a castle under siege. [< OldEngl. scyld = shield + burh = a walled defence]
Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases. Christopher Coredon with Ann Williams.