The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture.

The Archers of Medieval England and Wales

Igéretemhez híven ime a Gödény Kupán elmaradt előadás anyaga:


The Archers of Medieval England and Wales

For about 200 years between 1330 and 1530 the Archers of England and Wales ranked among the best fighting men in Europe. The question is, how did this come about?

by Richard Wadge

Three factors came together in the early fourteenth century:

Legal
The Norman French kings of England recognised the value the Anglo Saxon tradition of the Fyrd to raise an army from all classes their subjects. So they passed a series Statutes, culminating in The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. the Statute of Winchester in 1285 which required English men to keep arms in their homes, be able to use them, and to bring to ‘Views of Arms’ to demonstrate that they were prepared to do their duty. The statute included all men by requiring that “all others that may (meaning all those who did not have sufficient property to have to use more expensive weapons) shall have bows and arrows”

Tradition
There was a tradition of heavy bow archery in among the Welsh and probably in the North of England as a legacy of the Vikings. Also archery with substantial The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. bows seem to have been practiced in some parts of the country, such as the Weald of Kent since In 1266 “300 of the best archers from the Weald” were arrayed for coastal defence duties, and in the royal forests such as Macclesfield in Cheshire which in 1277 provided Edward I with a bodyguard of 100 archers.

Military Practice
In the early fourteenth century military leaders in England realised that England would never be able to raise sufficient heavy armoured knights to become a powerful European army, and so developed what is often called the English tactical system: dismounted knights and men at arms The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. form the core of the battle line with larger numbers of heavy bow archers forming a skirmish line in front of them, between the ‘battles’ making up the line and on the wings.


1. How were Medieval English Armies Raised?

By the 14th century there were three possible ways the King of England could raise an army:

He could issue Commissions of Array, which was a form of conscription
He could agree Indentures with the great nobles, military captains of all ranks or even individual soldiers. The indenture was a contract which laid down how many men the indenture holder would bring The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. to muster, what weapons they would have and how long they would serve for.
He could summon those who had personal ties directly with the king such as the great nobles and men who held land or offices from the king to come to muster with any companies of soldiers they could raise. This method was very rarely used in this period, and, because it did not need approval by Parliament was viewed as a despotic practice particularly in Richard II’s reign.


a, Commissions of Array

Commissions of Array seem to have developed in Edward I’s reign. The The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. Commissioners of Array were usually local knights appointed in each county when the King needed to raise an army. Their job was to select the most suitable men aged between 16 and 60 for military service to fill a quota specified in their summons. Despite being supervised to some degree by the King’s officials there were no standard procedures laid down for selecting men and no standards of fitness and skill specified.

The commissioners were instructed to:
Choose, test and array a certain number of men
Clothe them
Equip them
(In some instances) mount them
Pay them (to a limited extent)
Send them under a The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. leader to a given place OR hold them in readiness awaiting further instructions.

In the counties the selection process would be managed by allocating a share of the county’s quota to be raised from each hundred. It seems that within the hundreds, the village communities managed the selection. They would do this from volunteers, from an element of family compulsion, perhaps a family would send a younger son, and from hiring men willing to serve. The hirelings might be outsiders, but could easily be members of the local group of landless labourers taking the duty on as The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. a wage earning activity. How ever they were picked, they would be sent to the county muster for the Commissioners to assess. In cities and towns a similar approach would be taken. When London was expected to raise 80 archers in 1345, this was shared out among the 24 city wards, with the ward alderman selecting and equipping the men from his ward.

The involvement of local officials in this very devolved system might have made it more likely that the King would get the troops he needed. In fact arrays only provided the numbers the king asked for on very The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. rare occasions, commonly providing about 70% of what was expected.

Problems with the Array System

However the array system was open to manipulation and corruption from the start. The Arrayers themselves were often corrupt, and local communities would deliberately send unfit men or not equip their men so that they had to be equipped at the Sheriffs’ expense. In 1315 John Botetourt complained that that the men that the Arrayers had recruited for him were “feeble chaps, not properly dressed, and lacking bows and arrows.” This poor performance by the Arrayers may have been influenced by knowledge of the disaster at Bannockburn The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. the year before and popular indifference to Edward II’s military plans.
The Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London were in trouble with Edward III in 1337 for being slow in arraying archers and sending men of poor physique to serve, so that he had to instruct them to select 200 “from among the strongest and healthiest men in the City.”
The Arrayers could also misuse their powers to extort money. In 1341 Edward III when trying to raise forces for both Scottish and Breton expeditions, had to reprimand the arrayers of Kent in the following terms “… yet the electors and The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. arrayers, not considering the danger to the realm, have acted carelessly sending few and feeble archers, and the arrayers and the late sheriff have extorted money for their own use divers sums from the men of the county in the name of wages…”.Copies of this were also sent to the Sheriffs of twenty one other counties, either as a warning or as an early example of ‘name and shame’.
The Black Death made the Arrayers task more difficult by reducing the pool of suitable men by nearly half. This and the increasing development of indentured retinues lead to The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. problems like those of Commissioners of Rutland in the 1350s who claimed that they were unable to fulfil the king’s orders since all the able bodied men had been recruited by local magnates.
The array system continued to be used throughout the sixteenth century to raise troops to guard against or repel invasions of England




b, Indentures

Indentures came to be the main method of raising armies in this period. Normally these were contracts made between the Crown and a military leader, such as a peer, knight or gentleman, wherein it was agreed that the leader would provide a given number of The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. soldiers of specified types as his retinue. Individuals also indented directly with king for just their own service, although this was less usual, and probably unpopular with the royal officials since they had to do the same amount of work for an individual as they would for a captain bringing forty men. The indentures also specified the muster point and date, the maximum period of service (the king could declare the campaign over at an earlier point), the wage rates and the conditions of service, such as the rules for dividing up booty or ransoming prisoners. The retinue The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. was mustered and inspected at an agreed date and place; the men were counted and checked to ensure that they were equipped to the standard specified in the indenture. At this point any variations between the terms of the indenture and the men actually mustered were noted.
The use of indentures became significant in the 1330s, initially being used to raise the cavalry and mounted archers who might be seen as the elite forces in relation to the arrayed men. The indenture system gave the crown much more control over the timetable of the campaign, for instance The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. most indentures for the Agincourt campaign were sealed on 29th April 1415, when the retinue leaders would receive the first quarter’s pay for their retinue. The indenture system used to build up an army was a pyramid structure. The King, or leader of the whole expedition, agrees indentures with a considerable number of others for them to provide specified numbers and types of soldier. Some of the indenture holders would bring large contingents, often built up through a system of sub indentures, while others would bring a few men, or even just themselves. In the Agincourt campaign for example, 320 men indented The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. to serve, some as joint leaders, while others, including 34 archers indented for their own service alone. Anne Curry in her book ‘The Battle of Agincourt; sources and interpretations’ writes that an unusually large number of men (including archers) indented directly with the crown in 1415.
indentures were also used in the fifteenth century to raise forces to campaign against the Welsh and Scots. An example of this use of indentured forces happened in 1402 when Sir John de Poole and Sir William Stanley made a joint indenture to serve Henry Percy, Hotspur, with 24 lances and 48 archers. This appears to The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. have been a temporary arrangement rather than part of tradition of service with the Percys.
From 1330s to the end of the 1350s the great majority of archers in indentured retinues were mounted archers receiving 6d per day, twice the foot archers’ rate. This was because the indentured archers were expected to come to the muster point fully equipped, their arms and horses would either be personal property, or belong to the magnate in whose retinue they served The higher pay rate reflected the greater outlay necessary to pass muster as a mounted archer, a hackney alone would have cost The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. about 20/-. As a result most of the mounted archers in this early period would be yeomen, landholders making up perhaps the top quarter of the peasantry. However once the wage rate for all archers was set at 6d per day in the late fourteenth century the social origin of the archers became more varied.

Throughout the period the retinues were built up through sub indentures. Sometimes the sub retinues came together mainly from the main retinue leader’s estates, neighbours and clients, while other sub retinues seemed to be scratch groups of professional soldiers. An example of the first kind was The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. Sir James Audley’s raised in 1345 at least half of retinue of 80 men came from gentry families and tenantry close to his own lands. An example of a scratch retinue brought together for a particular campaign is the one that Sir John Strother led in 1374 as part of the Earl of March’s expedition. Strother indented to provide 30 men at arms and 30 archers, but it seems that he did not have these men as a standing company. He set about employing them after he had sealed his indenture, and received the first instalment of the pay. Looking at The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. the sub indentures that have survived, each for a man at arms accompanied by an unnamed archer, he seems to have relied on the reservoir of unemployed fighting men that collected around London to do this. The problem with this was that he had no real idea of the reliability of the men he was employing, so he did two things to protect himself from default. Firstly, to ensure that the men were properly mounted and equipped, he put a clause in the sub indenture saying that “ both being well enough arrayed that Sir John would not suffer any The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. loss or reproach at his muster…” Secondly, some of the sub indentures at least included an obligation by a pledge or guarantor, who would be liable to pay between twice and four times as much as Strother had paid the man at arms in the first instalment of his pay if the man at arms did not appear at the muster. Two of these guarantors at least were citizens of London. What is noticeable from these indentures is that the archers were still nameless, despite their military importance. This might be because they were not directly employed The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. by Strother, but were employed by the individual man at arms to provide part of the service that he was indenting for, effectively adding another layer to the employment structure of the retinue.

This also seems to have been the case in the sub indentures issued by Sir Hugh Hastings in 1380. We know that Sir Hugh campaigned regularly in the 1370s and 80s, but for only one of his campaign, that with Thomas Earl of Buckingham to Brittany do have information about the make up of his retinue. He issued 24 sub indentures, and relied heavily on the men at The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. arms taking up these indentures to recruit the archers he required. His reliance was not misplaced since he had four more archers at muster than he had indented for.

Problems with the Indenture system

The practice of the leaders of indentured retinues of issuing their men with either a livery badge or a uniform came to be symbolic of the basic problem with indentured troops in the later fifteenth century. There always was an inherent danger in the indentured retinue system, namely that the individual fighting men might be more loyal to their employer, especially if the employer was a powerful landed nobleman The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture., than to the crown. This was a problem in France when the Kings made peace, and companies of soldiers, having been made unemployed as a result either fought for themselves or became mercenaries. In England it became a problem as the Hundred Year’s War ended in defeat allowing the indentured men the opportunity to concentrate on their lord’s quarrels rather than their king’s. This is despite indentures containing clauses such as”…to do him service during the same time in peace and war before all other persons, except our sovereign lord king Edward IV…”. An The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. idea of the scale of this threat can be gained from an example from 1485 when Sir William Stanley met Henry Tudor before the battle of Bosworth, he had 3000 retainers with him in red coats wearing hart’s head badges

Uniform and levels of equipment

The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture.

Archers were expected to have the following equipment which would either be provided for them if they were arrayed or be their own (or their employer’s) if indentured


c, A Standing Army
From Henry V’s time The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. to the end of the Hundred Year’s war in 1453 the English armies, particularly in Northern France were often hired in annual indentures, normally renewed year after year. These forces were effectively the first English standing army largely recruited from a well established community of professional soldiers of all types. They were still structured in retinues employed through their captain. However this did not mean that the individual retinues became permanent forces of fixed size. Their presence depended on the willingness of the leader to continue to take up the indenture, some like John Talbot Earl of Shrewsbury agreeing The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. indentures over a 25 year period, albeit not in every year. The size of the retinue depended on the terms of the indenture. While most of the captains would have a number of men at arms and archers they worked with regularly, they may have had to employ others, possibly from a pool of experienced men in England and Normandy, less well known to them personally on occasions when the indenture specified a large number of men. The muster records for this period list thousands of men who took part in the English armies for greater or lesser periods The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture.. The majority are listed by name, although there are a number who are listed by nicknames, concealing their true identity. These men may be criminals or deserters from other companies hiding themselves, or they may show attempts by captains to hide a shortfall in numbers and so ensure that they get paid as much as possible. An early example of this is found in a muster roll for the Earl of Salisbury’s retinue for 1424.
In the years 1418 -22 Henry V made substantial successful efforts to conquer northern France. This began a change in the nature of military service The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. in the English armies, with an increasing proportion of men being committed to garrison service. Between 1418 and 1420 between a quarter and a third of Henry’s men seem to have been part of garrisons. After Henry V’s reign large expeditionary forces into northern France from England became a thing of the past, and the English leaders such as the Duke of Bedford or Earl of Shrewsbury had to rely on the garrisons, a few small field armies based in the major garrisons and relatively small forces of reinforcement from England to hold the increasingly effective French forces at bay The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture.. From the early 1420s onwards, a pool of ex soldiers developed in Normandy, who could be recruited as necessary to reinforce the standing forces. Another development at this time was the increased use of the ‘great indenture’, wherein a military leader, commonly one of the magnates such as Thomas Montague, Earl of Salisbury, contracted with the crown to raise the whole force that was required in a given year. This made matters simpler for the royal administration since they only had to deal with one man for the force’s pay, rather than a group of indenture holders. It The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. was the holder of the ‘great indenture’ that had the problems of ensuring the soldiers got their due pay, and that he had the necessary records to claim his money from the crown. Holders of ‘great indentures were often allowed to substitute fighting men of one sort for another, most commonly archers for the increasingly hard to find men at arms. However, when substitution occurred, it was common for two or three times as many archers to be employed, than the number of men at arms who were being replaced, the Earl of Salisbury’s army of 1428 being a case The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. in point.This is a clear demonstration of a widespread enthusiasm among English and Welsh men to serve as archers in France.
By 1430, military activity had become more static, concentrating on holding garrisoned towns and castles to control the land around. As a result retinues tended to be based in one area for periods of time to fulfil garrison duties and local patrols. The latter included police activities putting down the bands of brigands often made up of deserters from the armies of both sides as well as those dispossessed or impoverished by the persistent warfare of the period The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture.. Some of these brigands seem to have been regarded by the local French population as being resistance fighters against the English invaders. While the activities of these brigands never reached the scale of the lawlessness seen in France in the 1350s and early 1360s, they still threatened the profitability of local trade and the more isolated landholdings. One example these police activities can be found in pay record from December 1425 when Richard Vean and 15 archers received their pay for their service over the previous months getting rid of brigands. While field armies were still hired most The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. years, they would be augmented with contingents from the garrison retinues, when a major leader, such John Talbot needed to put together a force for a more mobile operation. As a result, the English government became concerned that retinues and garrisons might contain too many French men, concerned more with protecting their homes than furthering any large ambitions of the English crown. So, in 1430, the rules for retinues were changed “under these (new rules written into indentures of September of that year) all archers were to be English, Irish, Welsh or Gascon subjects of King Henry”. However by 1434 one eighth of The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. the entire retinue could be French, and we start seeing a very few French archers listed. An example of archers from outside these designated areas serving in a retinue can be found in the records of John Talbot’s retinues between 1439 and 1441, when three Frenchmen, Jean de Mantes, Jean de Meaux and Jean du Mans, served as archers.


d, Arrayed Troops

In the fourteenth century the issue of clothing was part of the responsibility of the Commissioners of Array had for equipping the men they had selected. Usually they provided a coat and hood or sometimes a piece The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. of cloth for the archer to make his own. This seems to have amounted to a uniform for the county or city’s contingent since the Commissioners were instructed that the men raised “….should be uniformly clothed (de una secta vestitos)”. The most well known example is the Black Prince who ordered the issue of green and white short coats and hats to archers in 1346, and later cloth (usually two ells) for the archer to make his own uniform. This clothing went to the Cheshire archers, and to the men from Flint when they were serving the Prince. In 1345 the The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. archers raised in London were given coats and hoods made in red and white stripes. In 1342 the Earl of Arundel issued red and white cloth to his Welsh troops, and in 1355 the archers of Norwich used the same colours. The provision of uniforms by particular cities or counties for their contingents seems to become much less common as the fourteenth century progressed. They were replaced by plain coats or gambesons displaying the cross of St. George, and probably some would wear the livery badge of the retinue leader by the end of the fourteenth century. However it is clear The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. that both practices were used together for a while. In 1355 the Black Prince declared that everyone in his army campaigning in Languedoc should wear St. George’s cross, but in 1359 he issued an order to his officials in Cheshire that they are to buy sufficient green and white cloth to provide 400 arrayed archers with short coats and hats. No doubt there was a problem in Languedoc, with a mix of Gascon, English and Welsh troops in his army, of recognising friend from foe, since French would be a common language in both the Prince’s and his opponents armies, so a The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. uniform device was very necessary. The largely English and Welsh armies that operated in northern and central France at this time would not have had this problem, although it must be remembered that the English royal family and nobility would tend to be French speaking.
In 1359 there are two sets of orders for the arraying of archers for service in France which are quite specific in the level of equipment that the Arrayers of each county are to provide at the county’s expense. The first order was issued in January to 28 counties south of the Trent The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. to raise just over 2700 archers. The Arrayers were instructed that, having selected the best and strongest archers, they were to issue them with a suit of clothes, a bow, arrows, a knife (cutellis) and other suitable arms. The king started to pay the men when they left the county on their way to him. The second set of orders issued in August of the same year is very unusual because it is for the arraying of 910 mounted archers from 27 counties. The Arrayers were to provide the same level of equipment as in the previous order and ensure that the The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. horses, which the archers seem to be expected to provide themselves, were suitable and properly equipped at the county’s expense. There are a few earlier orders for raising mounted archers through the array system, usually for service in Scotland, like that of December 1355 to the Arrayers of Staffordshire asking them to provide 100 mounted archers.
The final expense that fell upon the towns and counties was the provision of limited wages and supplies for the troops that the Commissioners had selected. By Edward III’s reign the home communities were only expected to pay the troops until they The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. crossed the county boundary, when the King took on the responsibility.
In the later fourteenth century it becomes much less clear if arrayed troops were issued with distinctive uniforms, rather than plain coats or gambesons. Certainly the St. George’s cross has become the normal uniform device for English armies, by 1385 when Richard II’s Ordinances of war specify that “everyone of whatever estate … shall bear a large sign of the arms of St. George before and another behind.” This seems to establish a uniform for the majority of soldiers, including all the archers, although many no doubt also wore The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. the livery badges of their retinue leaders. Although this ordinance says of whatever estate, no doubt the armigerous classes managed to keep their own arms on display while wearing a St. George’s cross.


e, Indentured Troops

The indenture holder had the responsibility for ensuring that his men were equipped to the correct level. This was checked up on by the officials administering the muster both at the start of the indenture term, and at the subsequent musters approving payment of the later pay instalments to the retinue leader. Two examples from companies serving in English administered Normandy in the The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. fifteenth century give us an idea of the equipment the mainly professional archers of the time had. One from St. Lo in 1429 listed the archers as having “arcq (bows), trousse (a sheaf of arrows), palletocq (probably cloaks) swords, daggers and sufficiently mounted.” Another from Pont d’Ouve in late 1431 lists the archers as having swords, blouquiers (bucklers), pallotes (cloaks), cappelines (helmets that protected the neck – probably another word for a sallet), ars (bows) trousse de flesches (sheaves of arrows) and sufficiently mounted”. The differences in these muster records, particularly the lack of mention of helmets and bucklers in the The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. St. Lo record make it seem either that the officials were inconsistent in their recording, or that having a bow, a sheaf of arrows, a sword and a horse were the minimum equipment in official eyes for a serving archer. In general the evidence is that the officials were fairly precise and recorded what they saw, so the latter alternative seems more likely, and that the Pont d’Ouve company was a particularly well equipped one. A particular precise sub indenture of 1440 itemise the archers’ equipment. In it Sir James Ormand indented with James Strickland for service in France. Strickland The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. was to serve as a man at arms “…with 6 archers in his company all on horsebak and wele chosen men….” “…and all the seid archers specially to have good Jakks of defence, salades, swerdes and sheves of xl arwes atte lest…” (This would be relatively expensive for Strickland to provide, so we might assume that he and his archers were a band of professionals, each with their own equipment).


2, Why did men become Military Archers?


There are two parts to the answer:
How widespread was the ownership of bows and skills in their use?
Did men have The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. any choice?

a, The Ownership of Bows and the Development of Archery Skills

The patchy survival of evidence and a general lack of interest in recording the doings of the ordinary people in medieval England makes it difficult to estimate how wide spread archery skills were in the country and how rapidly they developed. The Norman kings and magnates soon came to use Welsh archers exploiting their existing military archery skills. However it seems that men of the English shires had not developed similar skills to any large extent until perhaps the thirteenth century. Particular occupational groups such as foresters and The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. parkers who relied on archery skills as part of their day to day work were the clear exceptions. Archery skills had certainly developed in the northern counties since there is a writ of 1244 summoning infantry from these areas which specified that they be arrayed with bows and arrows.
More evidence of the early development of archery skills in the North of England comes from York in 1298 when Robert of Werdale, described as an archer, was admitted to the Register of the Freemen of the city. By becoming a Freeman, probably by paying a fee, Robert was able to pursue his The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. trade in the City. The question is, what trade did he pursue? Since he was a professional archer, he may have been in York taking employment as a paid substitute at times of array, if so it is perhaps surprising that he registered as a Freeman. Alternatively, he may have been working as a professional archer involved in teaching and training the citizens in archery for both peace and war, which could well have necessitated him becoming a Freeman. However this is all speculation, the only certainty is the presence of a professional archer in York at this date The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture..
Some insight into the spread of military archery skills among the English male population at large can be gained from the records of the Views of Arms. One from Reading in 1311 recorded at least 276 men, but only 41 had bows and arrows (barely 15%), the majority had just axes and knives. Another at Bridport in 1319 recorded about 180 men none of whom had bows. In the 1330s the low proportions of bowmen recorded in both Norfolk and Middlesex were nearly as low. But archery skills seem to have been more prevalent in the northern counties. Although the number of men in England The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. practicing archery in the 1330s and 1340s seems to have varied widely from place to place, Edward III was able to raise at least 5000 archers through the array system and have another c.2800 mounted archers through indentures in 1346 for his army in northern France, have at least 1000 archers serving in Aquitaine and still leave enough archers in England for them to make a battle winning contribution at the Battle of Neville’s Cross.
However, after a century of regular warfare, we get a very different picture from a muster recorded in 1457 at Bridport.. 197 men and 4 women responsed to The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. the summons, a similar number to that recorded in 1319. in 1457 58% of them (including the two women) brought bows and other equipment included 34% with swords, 10%) with glaives (probably what we would call a bill now) or pollaxes, 37% with salets and 33% with jacks. This is a remarkable difference from the view of arms of 1319 noted above when 180 men were recorded, but none with bows. Overall 20% of the men brought a full set of equipment for an archer (another 10% are recorded as having it but didn’t bring it all to the muster) like that listed earlier in Strickland’s indenture

b, How much choice The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. did men have?

Before 1363 custom and duty seems to have been viewed as being sufficient motivation for men to practice archery. But in that year the following proclamation was made by all the Sheriffs of England:
“That every able bodied man on feast days when he has leisure shall in his sports use bows and arrows, pellets or bolts, and shall learn and practice the art of shooting, forbidding all and singular on pain of imprisonment to attend or meddle with hurling of stones, loggats or quoits, handball, football, club ball. cambuc, ***** fighting or other vain games of The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. no value; as the people of this realm noble and simple, used heretofore to practice the said art in their sports, whence by God’s help came forth honour to the kingdom and advantage to the king in his actions of war, and now the said art is almost wholly disused, and the people indulge in the games aforesaid and other dishonest and unthrifty games, whereby the realm is like to be kept without archers.”
This proclamation was reiterated in 1388, but this time with an additional emphasis on the wage earning part of the English population insisting that …”labourers The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. and servants shall have bow and arrows and use the same on Sundays and Holydays and leave all playing at tennis or football and other games called coits, dice, casting of stones and other such importunate games…” Sheriffs, Mayors, Bailiffs and Constables were to have powers of arrest to enforce this.
Orders of this type were then repeated in 1410, 1477, 1503-4 (also forbad the use of crossbows because the practice is reducing the level of longbow archery skills), 1511-12 and 1541-2.
All these statutes show a concern about the Englishman’s interest in developing his archery skills. But it is difficult to The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. view them as a sustained effort by the kings of England to maintain a pool of practiced archers, since the statutes were issued at irregular intervals. Sometimes, such as Edward III’s reign, the issue of such a statute is particularly surprising given the English military successes of the preceding years, and the encouragement these must have given men thinking of a military career. At times it is easy to suspect that there was a ‘killjoy’ element in these statutes, and a concern with keeping the lower orders of society usefully employed.

d, Volunteers or Conscripts?

Large groups The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. of Englishmen may have willing enough to do their military duty for their king and country, but there was clearly still some concern that the obligation to provide military service at the king’s will had become oppressive. Edward III had been able to expand this obligation, most notably in 1344 because he was able to provide profitable military successes in return. But by 1352 the Parliamentary Commons had successfully petitioned the king to the effect that no one should be obliged to undertake service without the consent of parliament.
Desertion can be used as a measure of willingness to serve, but The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. not all deserters can be seen as unwilling conscripts. The cases of desertion outlined below make it clear that some deserters never really had any intention to serve; they were only interested in making what they could out of the recruitment system by deserting as soon as they received their first instalment of pay. Desertion rates were also influenced by where the men were expected to serve; it was easier to desert if you were going to serve in Wales or Scotland than if you were serving abroad. Also the popular opinion of the campaign or the king was important. After The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. Bannockburn Edward II’s poor reputation made desertion a real problem in both his1322 campaign against Scotland and in 1325 when he tried to levy forces for service in Gascony.
Desertion included leaving service before they were formally released, which could mean the men lost some pay. This problem certainly affected the Black Prince’s forces in Gascony. In March 1356 The Prince issued writs to the Lieutenant Justice and Chamberlain of Chester naming 43 archers who had returned without licence (although five of the names were noted as having licences) These men were to have their goods distrained The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. until they returned to Gascony, a humane sanction compared with later penalties for desertion. Others were plain deserters: after the Poitiers campaign, 14 Cheshire archers were indicted for taking cloth and wages from the Black Prince (approximately 4% of the Cheshire archers due wages). These fourteen included one real rogue who managed to desert twice in the same year!
A variation on this is fraud. There is an example from 1355 when some archers being arrayed for service against the Scots bribed the bailiffs of the West Derby wapentake and managed to join up twice. As a result they took a first instalment of wages The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. both for service with the king and for service in Duke of Lancaster’s retinue, (they seem to have lived on his estates). Clearly they believed they were on to a good thing, because they then refused to attend the muster at Newcastle in either company. Another form of this was complete avoidance of service as seems to have happened in London in 1338 when the Mayor and Aldermen asked the king how they should deal with men, who told the arrayers they were leaving the city in a magnate’s retinue, but later returned to the city The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. without a leave of absence. Clearly the Mayor and Aldermen felt that some men were trying to avoid military service by exploiting the lack of local coordination between the two methods of raising armie

It is easy to presume that the men serving in the indentured retinues did so because they had chosen to be soldiers, and so that all them should be regarded as willing volunteers. But, looking at the retinues of the major magnates this is less clear cut since a good number of the men in their military retinues were also members of their households with peacetime roles other The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. than being fighting men. The question here is; were they primarily employed as archers with household jobs as sinecures or in various rolls in the household with the expectation of military service? In the army of 1415 there are several cases where archers can be identified as having a peace time role as a servant in their retinue leader’s household. One example is the retinue of John Mowbray, the Earl Marshall. Given his status as Earl Marshall, it is easy to believe that the military role was more important, and that the household duties were a device to allow The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. Mowbray to retain professional archers without unsettling the king by making it obvious he had a substantial peacetime military following.
In 1439 the muster rolls for the Earl of Huntingdon’s expedition, the sagittarii comitis (archers of the earl) included Robert of Bows, Thomas of Hall, Laurence of Bakehouse, William of Buttery and John of Stable. In this case the description of these men as ‘archers of the Earl’ again suggests that archery may have been their prime duty, and household duties were secondary, to keep them out of mischief in peace time. From about 1340 onwards, men must The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. have known that, if they worked in their lord’s household, they would be expected to fight for him, if physically able and militarily competent. No doubt a lord would encourage military practice, and make equipment available to his men. Tenancy also brought obligations Willingness in this cir*****stance is difficult to estimate, since an individual would feel peer pressure from his neighbours, as well as pressure to serve his landlord.
In the fifteenth century there were a substantial number of ordinary men who seemed to be willing to serve as archers. In 1415 when Henry V was raising his army The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. for what we now know as the Agincourt campaign, a number of magnates brought in retinues that contained noticeably more archers than they had indented for. Thomas Mowbray, Earl Marshall, Earl of Nottingham and Norfolk signed an indenture to provide a retinue made up of himself, 4 knights, 45 men at arms and 150 archers. He actually delivered himself, 2 knights and 32 esquires; these men in turn brought with them 12 men at arms and 133 archers. He also had 38 archers serving as individuals, a state of affairs found elsewhere in this army, since the crown had also issued indentures directly to individual archers. This over The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. recruitment is remarkable, and seems to demonstrate the attractiveness of serving in France since Henry hadn’t established his glittering military reputation at this time, despite his valour at Shrewsbury and dogged campaigning in Wales.
After Agincourt it is much easier to understand the enthusiasm for military service which lead the ordinary men to come forward to serve as archers, as happened in 1418 when Henry V was raising an army to invade France. From a limited number of cases where it is possible to compare the indentures with the muster rolls showing the men who actually served it The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. can be seen that 10 out the 18 companies contained more men than specified in the indenture, while only three contained less. But it is the number of extra men that is significant, 161 archers and only 5 men at arms. However, at the end of the Hundred Years’ War even a renowned commander like John Talbot could have trouble raising forces. In 1452 it seems that the veterans of Normandy where reluctant to serve in Gascony. This practice of both the king and the magnates of relying on men who have a personal obligation to them for military support becomes very The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. apparent at times during the Wars of the Roses. In 1460 for example after Edward of March had won the battle of Mortimer’s Cross, his reputation soared so that “… the larger part of the army which had followed him to London was comprised of Yorkist servants and retainers, who had come at their own expense.”

d, Career Soldiers.

The development of Indentured retinues lead to the professionalizing of military service at all levels While knights had always been professional fighting men, the specification of periods of service and wages in the indentures put their service on to a different basis The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture.. For men at arms and archers the mixed retinue as it developed in 1330s and 1340s provided the opportunity for them to become professional soldiers. The Royal Household provides evidence of archers becoming professional soldiers. Records for 1334-5 mention twenty men serving as archers in the Household, three of these, John Chester, Nicholas Holford and John Pulford, are still serving ten years later, and one of them, John Pulford, is recorded as an archer of the king’s household in the Crecy campaign.. William Warde and Richard Whet who served inn the Crecy army might also have been professional archers since The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. they served on behalf of landholders who wished to avoid carrying out their military assessment in person.
Another aspect of professionalism is found in the deliberate recruitment of men for whom archery skills were an integral part of their job, such as foresters and parkers, as opposed to those who developed their skills to become professional military archers. It is likely that these would serve in retinues rather than county levies, since they were already servants of a larger scale landholder, often a member of the royal family since the largest forests were the property of the King or the The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. Earl of Chester (usually the oldest son of the monarch). So in 1346 just after Crecy we have record of the Black Prince instructing Robert, Parker of Berkhamsted, John de Cestre, Parker of Byfleet and Ranlyn, Parker of Watlington to “…choose in those parts six good companion archers, the best he can find, and come with them with all speed to Dover…” All the evidence for this campaign is that these skilled archers were relatively rare in the army, but from a military point of view would provide a useful number of ‘sharp shooters’.
We can see The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. examples of groups of archers who show both loyalty to their employer, or his cause, and professionalism in service. Not surprisingly examples can be found from among the famous, or in contemporary eyes, infamous, Cheshire archers of Richard II’s personal retinue. John Winnington, who was a relative of one of the knights involved in the revolt against Henry IV, became one of Richard’s archers in 1397, and he showed his loyalty to his master’s cause by joining Hotspur’s army in 1403 and fighting at Shrewsbury. Another example, this time of a man who probably did not have Winnington The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture.’s social status, was William of Edgesley. He joined Richard II’s retinue of archers in 1398. He was probably hit harder than Winnington by the unemployment that followed Richard’s deposition in 1400 since his inquisition post mortem shows him to be landless but owning 2 cows and an acre of oats. He also joined the rebellion in 1403 and fell at battle of Shrewsbury in Hotspur’s army.
However some of Richard II’s Cheshire archers were either less loyal to a lost cause or forgiven and allowed to prove their loyalty to the new king by following their profession. A muster The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. of Cheshire archers serving the king in France two decades after Richard’s death (Richard II died 1400) still lists about twenty four members of his retinue on active service. The youngest age that anyone would have been indentured into Richard II’s retinue would have been 16, and no doubt most were older having had some experience, so we can be certain that the average age of this group in 1420 was above 36.

The campaigns of Henry V begin the period when the trend towards the majority of archers being professionals became more pronounced. Muster rolls from Cheshire demonstrate this with many The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. of the names in the 1417 roll appearing in the 1419 – 20 rolls. We also see signs of families committing themselves to service as archers, in the 1417 Cheshire roll there are five men with the same surname (Roneworth) in the list of those serving from the Macclesfield hundred.. The forces of the English crown in Normandy from about 1420 onwards effectively became a standing army with indentures specifying a year’s service and men being paid for the whole year.
By 1436 there were thirty eight separate garrisons and at least nine personal retinues serving in France. These were all serving on annual The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. indentures and by this time the bulk of the standing army was made up of soldiers who had made their career in the ranks or even settled in the duchy.
With the final defeat of the long English endeavours in France in 1453, a generation of professional soldiers needed employment. The dynastic struggles that we now call the Wars of the Roses both provided employment for the soldiers and were stimulated by the availability of numbers of idle and experienced fighting men.
Some of these career soldiers may have been found in the Towton war grave, albeit not all The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. seem to have been archers. Nine of them have “…well healed cranial trauma that most likely resulted from previous battles or armed conflict.” The average age of this group is 34, including two of the oldest individuals .
It is possible to outline the career of one these professional soldiers by studying one of the skeletons found in the Towton war grave. Towton 16 as he is now known is famous because of the facial reconstruction made fro the Granada television programme. He was born between 1410 and 1415 since he was estimated to be aged between 46 -50 at the time of his death The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture.. The skeleton is that of man about 5ft. 9in tall and well built and shows developments that are now recognised as arising from using the English warbow, and probable signs of a lot of horse riding. So he probably served as a mounted archer for a number of years, most likely in France in the 1430s and 1440s. At some time probably around 1451-3 he was seriously wounded in the face since the skeleton has a large well healed blade wound to the jaw. It has been estimated that this wound was received eight to ten years before death. He clearly had The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. access to competent medical care, which may suggest that in the case of more professional companies, the captains tried to ensure that they had trustworthy surgeons available for their men, or maybe that he had risen to be a company captain himself. Given all his probable experience, it is likely that he was the captain of a company, maybe as part of one of the larger retinues present at Towton in 1461.

Conclusion

The English and Welsh archer were battle winners for two centuries, but no other nation managed to raise companies of archers to rival them. The French, Scottish and Burgundian The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture. armies of the fifteenth century all included longbow archers, often in large numbers (there were at least 4000 Scottish archers fighting for France in the early 1420s). None of these archers managed to defeat the English archers in the battles of the 1420s.

4, Why?

It is possible that English and Welsh archer used heavier bows or a longer draw so their arrows had more force.
It is certain that for much of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the English and Welsh archers had great confidence in their own skills, and were often lead by men who valued them The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture..


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Документ The king expected that the troops were properly equipped when they attended muster, whether they had been raised by array or indenture.