Early Form of hand protection: Mail
In the 11th century, knight wore a hauberk (knee-length mail shirt) and a gambeson (aketon, doublet) underneath to protect his arm up to the fore arms, according to the Bayeux Tapestry. The protection to the hand, which was not mentioned in any literature in this period, was exceptionally rare. A knights had to relied mainly on shield and weapon's guard to protect his hands. Some observations suggest he might wore leather or padded cloth gloves for defense as these had existed few centuries in Europe.
In the late 12th century, mail mittens rose to popularity as the sleeves of the hauberk extended from the elbow until it protect the entire hands. All of the fingers are in a single pouch with a separate compartment for the thumb. The padded cloth or leather palm was slitted, allowing the wearer to removed the mitten without removing the hauberk.
Mail offered excellent protection against stab and slash weapon. And because of its flexibility, mail mitten did not hinder fighting capability much.
In late 13th century, mail mittens became an independent piece of armor called mail gauntlets. In the Effigy of William de Valance, mail gauntlets separated from the hauberk. They protected individual finger; and by giving the wearers the full movement of the wrist, they increased precision and control of weapon. The sketch of the 14th century mail mitten in an effigy in Church of Schutz show the similarity of the mail mitten to our modern glove. It also suggests that knight wore a pair of leather gloves underneath or sometime above mail gauntlets.
This section is dedicate to the understanding of armor.