Professional Soldiers in the WotR

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
Colin Middleton
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2037
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:31 pm
Location: Sheffield
Contact:

Professional Soldiers in the WotR

Post by Colin Middleton »

Nemeton John and I have been having a debate about 'was there such a thing as a professional soldier under bastard feudalism' and he's suggested that I post it on here to get some other opinions and more importantly evidence one way or the other. It has also, by necessity caused us to look at the way 'soldiers' were recruited and what they did when they weren't fighting.

My understanding is that when a Lord goes to war, the first people he calls upon are his 'Household troops'. I interpret this to mean the servants of his household, whom he has equipped from his arming house. By my reckoning, these will be the backbone of his force, being very loyal to him and as they will be involved in most of the battles that he takes part in, they will be more experienced than those troops raised from the tennantry or by commissions of array. I am of the opinion that all such people are servants (foresters, blacksmiths, etc) first and soldiers only when needed and as such can not be considered professional soldiers. I tend to think of them as a Medieval TA.

The next people to be called up are the Indentured Retainers. These are men that the lord pays an annual sum of money to (occasionally, nothing be favours, but it varies) and as such they have sworn loyalty to him for life (and signed a contract to that effect). They may perform many actions on behalf of their lord, such as educating his children, witnessing his wills, acting as lawyer, etc for him. They would normally be wealthy enough to support themselves and most of them I believe will live within a day's ride of one of their lord's main homes. John has recently pointed out to me that they may not all be knights & men-at-arms as there are records of archers being retained. While I suspect that most, if not all of them will be able to spend time hunting and training at arms, as well as being very well equipped, their primary income is again not from fighting, so while they provide elite troops for the lord, they are again, not professional soldiers in the modern sense.

If the lord needs to bulk out his forces, he has two options. He may call up his tenants, paying them to fight as he would pay them to till his fields or do other services for him. They are likely to have lower moral and loyalty to him than his household and are probably not as well equipped.

His other option is to hire mercenaries. These are the close as we get to professional soldiers. They will either be another lord and his household, or they will be a professional mercenary company who make their living travelling from one battle to the next and robbing people in between.

The key point here from my position is that the lord does not have full time armed men hanging about his estates.

John, do you want to put your position across?
Colin

"May 'Blood, blood, blood' be your motto!"

Image

User avatar
Dave B
Post Knight
Posts: 1737
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:34 pm
Location: Cheshire
Contact:

Post by Dave B »

I take it that by 'bastard feudalism', you mean eddie 1 to WOTR (different historians seem to use the phrase slightly differently).

So what about the calais garrison. I understand that at the end of the WOTR many of the troops returning from france had been over there for years, so surely they would be proffessional soldiers?
Find time in every day to look at your life and say; 'Well, it could be worse'

Kurt's uncle Bob.

User avatar
steve stanley
Post Knight
Posts: 1122
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2005 6:07 pm
Location: Leicester

Post by steve stanley »

Aren't their references to Household archers which would indicate they are primarily soldiers?
Steve
"Give me a tent and a kettle
Snowshoes and axe and gun
Send me up in Grand River
Steering by star and sun".
- Labrador Trapper's Song

User avatar
gregory23b
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2923
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:46 pm
Location: Gyppeswyk, Suffolk

Post by gregory23b »

Not so much as answers more questions: the situation with towns was one of civic obligation, the town or city was commissioned to provide men and arms for service.

Also indentures existed as contracts to raise men, ie the top bod, the king could commission a given lord or lords to raise men for a given set of fees and bounties. Chickun, who posts here might want to email me the indenture that I stupidly lost. It gives an interesting instruction and breakdown of expectations that said noble had to meet, he was most certainly paid, even if after the event.

I keep hearing about 'indentured men', but is this borne of fact or a confusion of the indentures held by nobles excercising a commission? And indenture is a contract, two or more way, do these documents at a lower level actaulyl exist?

This might be a useful one for dave Key to cast his weather eye over.
middle english dictionary

Isabela on G23b "...somehow more approachable in real life"

http://medievalcolours.blogspot.com

"I know my place." Alice the Huswyf

User avatar
Alan E
Posts: 327
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 10:18 am
Location: Somewhere in Southern Wales now (unless elsewhere)

Post by Alan E »

Is a man who practices no other 'legitimate' profession (whether trained to one or no), but has served in wars (end of HYW for example), makes a living by begging (and presumably robbing) but is recruited and paid to serve (in an army or to defend a house), a 'professional soldier'? If not, what do people mean by the word 'soldier' (and can it be applied to MA at all)?

Is a farm labourer who begs between labouring jobs a 'professional labourer'? What if he occasionally hires himself out to fight?

Who did the Pastons hire as home defence - passing farmers? (Not sarcastic: Were they passing lfarm labourers?).
'till whispers fill the tower of memory...
The Exiles Company of Medieval Martial Artists: http://the-exiles.org.uk/

Now teaching Fiore's art in Ceredigion (Felinfach) - pm for details

Laffin Jon Terris
Posts: 199
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:32 am
Contact:

Re: Professional Soldiers in the WotR

Post by Laffin Jon Terris »

Colin Middleton wrote: His other option is to hire mercenaries. These are the close as we get to professional soldiers. They will either be another lord and his household, or they will be a professional mercenary company who make their living travelling from one battle to the next and robbing people in between.

The key point here from my position is that the lord does not have full time armed men hanging about his estates.
I always understood mercenaries to be the professional soldiers of the period, after all they go out to fight for direct payment, not out of loyalty or because they have to. I don't think they were necessarily respected for it (although that could be "modern" view of mercenaries!)

I would also think that "another lord and his household" would possibly be quite offended at being called "mercenaries". :lol:
Colin Middleton wrote:
The key point here from my position is that the lord does not have full time armed men hanging about his estates.
I would think this depends on where you are in the country, granted the WOTR was really a small number of official "battles" over 30 odd years (which would make retaining full time soldiers very expensive)

There were also untold minor squabbles during this time between rival lords over land and property- lords getting fed up with the legal system decide to take the law into their own hands. Didn't John Paston start out as a lawyer trying to sort other peoples land arguments? Not to mention the Paston's own problems over Caister castle.

Most of the time though I think a lord may a few "full time" soldiers around for his own protection (again depends exactly on who and where you are) and possibly also as a "status symbol" (ie "look , I must be important to need all these men to protect me- and I must be rich to be able to afford them!")
Knowing is only half the battle.
Image

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 427
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:30 am
Location: Basingstoke, Hants
Contact:

Post by Jim »

My understanding is that a Lord's residence (e.g. castle) would have a garrison of a handful of paid soldiers - a couple of men-at-arms, a couple of archers maybe, but that in extended times of peace these guys would busy themselves with household duties while not training. I would have thought these soldiers would perhaps accompany the Lord on journeys for protection, and might even serve as a form of local police, but that's pure conjecture on my part.

If I were a Lord I'd rather have a handful of soldiers who could patch my castle up than a handful of craftsmen who could swing a sword.
www.cybalism.org - The new view of the Universal Truth

User avatar
Colin Middleton
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2037
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:31 pm
Location: Sheffield
Contact:

Post by Colin Middleton »

Jim, that's pretty much my problem. That was my understanding too untill I started to look into it and the more evidence I see, the less convinced I am by that position. Would a garrison be a handful of soldiers who spend their time training, or would it be men with some training, detatched for a few weeks (40 days?) at a time from their 'day jobs', more like the TA, than 'professional soldiers'.

Hmm, professional soldiers is probably a very bad term. Perhaps we should talk about full time soldiers, i.e. men who's primary (or better still sole) source of income is to engage in military violence on behalf of their lord.

Unfortunately I've got several years research yet to do on this (assuming that I don't find lots of new sources in the mean time).
Colin

"May 'Blood, blood, blood' be your motto!"

Image

User avatar
Colin Middleton
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2037
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:31 pm
Location: Sheffield
Contact:

Re: Professional Soldiers in the WotR

Post by Colin Middleton »

Laffin Jon Terris wrote:I would also think that "another lord and his household" would possibly be quite offended at being called "mercenaries". :lol:
Problably, but isn't that really all that the crusaders were? Alies is probably a better term, but I'm using mercenaries as a catch-all.

G32b, I have an indenture in one of my books that I'm trying to convert into something I can read (not easy as it's got blurred in the photo). The quote under it reads "Indentire 'betwixt the right highe and mighty prince Richard duc of Glouestre and John Sothyll. John is 'retained w[ith] the sayd duc ... So that he shalbe redy at all tymes when he shalbe requyred to awayte and attend uppon him as well in tyme of pease as of werre, w[ith] out any delay sufficiently horsed, harnessed and accompanyed'. (Nottingham City Archives)". It does seem to be about one man comming to fight for another. (Or does in tyme of pease mean other service?)

I didn't know about the Calais garrison serving for years at a time, yes they would be 'professionals', but they are very much an exception to the norm.
Colin

"May 'Blood, blood, blood' be your motto!"

Image

User avatar
Allan Harley
Posts: 324
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2006 9:28 pm
Location: Plotting world dominoes
Contact:

Post by Allan Harley »

This is probably the closest you are going to get to a "professional soldier"
Many thanks to Ian "Ghost" Brandt for the info:

Trollope, Sir Andrew (d. 1461), soldier, was probably related to the Trollope family of Thornley, co. Durham, some of whom were dyers. From at least the late 1420s he served as a mounted man-at-arms at Tombelaine under Thomas Burgh and at Fresnay-le-Vicomte under Sir John Fastolf, being in the latter's company at the rescue of Caen in 1433. In February 1440 he served under Matthew Gough in the raid that John Beaufort, earl of Somerset, conducted into Picardy, mustering in the following month in the earl's personal retinue. By 1442 he was lieutenant at Fresnay under Sir Richard Woodville, and held the same post in 1449 under Osbert Mundeford, surrendering the fortress to the French in March 1450. Although the date of his marriage to Elizabeth, sister of Mundeford, is not known, the link with the latter, who became treasurer-general of the duchy of Normandy in September 1448, and with the Beaufort family assisted his rise to prominence (he had been awarded a life grant of the barony of La Ferté Macé in May 1447) and ensured the continuation of his military employment.

By 1455 Trollope was master porter of Calais and was involved in quasi-piratical sorties from the town. Continuing his service there under Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, he was chosen to lead the latter's detachment to England to assist Richard, duke of York, but his links with the Beauforts and his loyalty to the crown persuaded him to defect to the royal camp before the engagement at Ludford Bridge (12 October 1459). This plunged the Yorkists into disarray, not least because Trollope disclosed the intended plan of action, and prompted their early withdrawal from the field. Trollope then accompanied Henry Beaufort, duke of Somerset, in an abortive attempt to seize Calais. His persuasion and reputation were enough to win over the troops at Guînes, and he was entrusted with its defence, being appointed bailiff on 24 March 1460, although subsequent reverses for Somerset at Newham Bridge on 23 April and the interception of Mundeford's reinforcements at Sandwich in June forced the surrender of the fortress.

Trollope gained further kudos in the Lancastrian victory at Wakefield on 31 December 1460, when, according to Waurin, he had, by subterfuge, enticed the Yorkists from their stronghold at Sandal. He was also prominent in the Lancastrian victory at St Albans (17 February 1461): wounded in the foot by a calletrappe, he was the first of those to be dubbed by Prince Edward after the battle. When Edward IV seized London and the throne in the following month, Trollope was among those excepted from the general pardon, having a price put on his head. He met his end at the battle of Towton (29 March 1461), sharing command of the Lancastrian vanguard with the earl of Northumberland.

So in short, based on this, "professional" soldiers would be few and far between but would act as a resource for Nobles (Combined drill sergeant, tactician, quartermaster etc..) Those skills you must learn by experience
Away from the battle all are soldiers.

User avatar
gregory23b
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2923
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:46 pm
Location: Gyppeswyk, Suffolk

Post by gregory23b »

Colin, any idea what the rank was of the said indentee? Do you know of any similar? There was a minor aristo Sothyll family in Yorkshire in the 15thc, my question is more along the lines of indentures possibly for ranked people, if this Sothyll chap was contracted to be Dick's man, then he alone would not be enough, does it or would include Sotthyll's men in tunr, as part fo Sothyll's household?

I only ask because 'indentured soldier' is used a lot in reenactor circles and I think people may have the wrong end of the stick in general terms.

Time of pease, as in ready whether the nation is at war or in peace time, his contract is to be ready all the time, which kind of leads back to the first question.

Do you have the book reference perchance?
middle english dictionary

Isabela on G23b "...somehow more approachable in real life"

http://medievalcolours.blogspot.com

"I know my place." Alice the Huswyf

User avatar
TimB
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2005 11:00 am
Location: Suffolk, United Kingdom

Post by TimB »

Alan E wrote:Who did the Pastons hire as home defence - passing farmers? (Not sarcastic: Were they passing lfarm labourers?).
I will try and get BGA or Falk to come to this thread and answer that question; their group is based on the documentation from the Paston letters about those me: William Penny's Company (which I may have just mis-spelled). As I understand it, those men were rather professional mercenaries, but BGA would be able to give a much better answer.

User avatar
Big Gay Al
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 4:54 pm
Location: Norwich, Norfolk
Contact:

Post by Big Gay Al »

TimB wrote:
Alan E wrote:Who did the Pastons hire as home defence - passing farmers? (Not sarcastic: Were they passing lfarm labourers?).
I will try and get BGA or Falk to come to this thread and answer that question; their group is based on the documentation from the Paston letters about those me: William Penny's Company (which I may have just mis-spelled). As I understand it, those men were rather professional mercenaries, but BGA would be able to give a much better answer.
Thanks Tim.

Yes, we founded William Penny's Company based on the professional Soldiers mentioned in the Paston Letters, namely: Peryn Sale, Robert Jack(y)son, John Chapman and Will Penn(Y). They were hired by John Paston II.
'Sad and well advised men”, he wrote to John Paston III, “saving one of them which is bald and called William Penn, which is as good a man as goes on the earth, saving a little he will, as I understand, be a little cupshotten'
They were also noted as being skilled in the use of Gun, crossbow and bills, as well as in the building of 'ramparts and earthworks'. We believe that two or more of the company were ex-Calais garrison, I can't remember which.
Overiding fact rmains, though: They new an awful lot about warfare, and weren't noted as being retained - they were hired for the defense of Caister Castle, and only quit on the Orders of Paston.

Check out..
http://www.medieval-siege-society.co.uk ... fault.aspx


Always happy to help..
Cheer the Beer. All Hail the Ale! Entwine with the wine....and..err.....Don't curse the Bratwurst??

Mark
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:28 am
Location: Melton Mowbray

Post by Mark »

gregory23b wrote:Colin, any idea what the rank was of the said indentee? Do you know of any similar? There was a minor aristo Sothyll family in Yorkshire in the 15thc, my question is more along the lines of indentures possibly for ranked people, if this Sothyll chap was contracted to be Dick's man, then he alone would not be enough, does it or would include Sotthyll's men in tunr, as part fo Sothyll's household?

I only ask because 'indentured soldier' is used a lot in reenactor circles and I think people may have the wrong end of the stick in general terms.

Time of pease, as in ready whether the nation is at war or in peace time, his contract is to be ready all the time, which kind of leads back to the first question.

Do you have the book reference perchance?
Below is the first paragraph from the 1475 Indenture between Richard Duke of Gloucester and Edmund Paston.


INDENTURE FOR MILITARY SERVICE 1475, 04, 07
This endenture made the vij daye of Aprile the xvth yere of the reigne of Kyng Edward the iiij, betwixt the right high and mighty prince Rychard, Duc of Gloucestre, Constable and Admirall of Englond, on the on partie, and Edmond Paston, squyer, on that othyr partie, wyttenessith that the sayd Edmond ys reteyned and withholden with the sayd Duc to do him seruice of werre with the Kyng oure souuerayn lord now in his viage ouir the see for an hol yere at his spere, weell and sufficyently horsed, armed, and arrayed as it apperteyneth to a man of armes, and thre archers, well and sufficiently horsed, herneised, habilled, and arrayed as it apperteyneth to archers, takyng for hym-self xviij d. a daye and for euery archer vj d. by the daye..........

Oggie (Buckinghams Retinue)

User avatar
gregory23b
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2923
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:46 pm
Location: Gyppeswyk, Suffolk

Post by gregory23b »

Thanks Mark, that was what I was getting at, you get Edmund Paston, minor nobility, classed as Man at Arms, who, as part of his contract as a MAA has to provide men, those men are not necessarily indentured to Edmund Paston are they??

This one for the French campaign? is it in one of the Paston letters books? if so which one? Be nice to see the whole text.

That is two types of indenture, one for full time pease and war and the other for a specified time of campaign, where Paston has responsibility to raise and support men, if my understanding is correct, Paston gets his cost reminbursed at campaign's end or in some cases gets some up front, I gather that it was not always the same.

Once again, thanks.
middle english dictionary

Isabela on G23b "...somehow more approachable in real life"

http://medievalcolours.blogspot.com

"I know my place." Alice the Huswyf

Mark
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:28 am
Location: Melton Mowbray

Post by Mark »

G23b, No problem at all.
Oggie.(Buckinghams Retinue)

Heres the rest of the indenture carrying on from where it left off...

of the whiche wages the sayd Edmond hath reseyued for the first quarter of the sayd hol yere the daye of the sealing of these presentes, at whiche day the sayd Duc hath yeven knowleche to the sayd Edmond that he shal make moustres of hymself and hys sayd retenue at Portesdown in Hampshire the xxiiijty day of May next commyng or the same daye at any othyr plase vpon resounable warnyng. At that day and tyme the sayd Edmond byndeth hym by thise presentes to appere in hys propyr personne with his sayd retenue. And if it happen the sayd Edmond, aftyr the reseyte of his sayd fyrst paiement, to dicesse or be in suche sykenesse or disease that he may nat be able to come to the sayd moustresse in hys propyr personne, that thanne he shal fynd an able man in his sted with hys sayd retenue to performe his sayd seruise accordyng to the tenure of this endenture, or ellys to repaye to the sayd Duc that money by hym reseyued for hym and hys sayd retenue for the sayd quartere. And for the seconde quartere of the sayd yere the sayd Edmond shalbe payed by the sayd Duc of the wage of hym and of yche of his sayd retenue at the makyng of the mostres of hym and the same his retenue afore such comissioners as shal be deputed ther by the Kyng oure souuerayn lord, at wiche tyme shal begynne the terme of the sayd hole yere and nat affore. And aftyr the sayd moustresse and payement, with Goddes grase, to go to shyp at suche tyme as the Kyng and the sayd Duc shal comaunde theim. And for the othyr half of the sayd yere the sayd Edmond shalbe payed by the sayd Duc for hym-self and hys said retenue on the yondyr syd on the see, monethly in Englyshe money or in money there rennyng to the valu of Englysshe money, so all-waye that the same wages be payed with-in x days aftyr the end of eueryche of the sayd monethes or ell the sayd Edmond to be quited and discharged ayenst the Kyng and the sayd Duc of eny covenaunt specifeyd in these endenture, the same endenture nat withstandyng. And the sayd Edmond shal dvely and truely obeye al the Kynges proclamaciouns and ordinaunces and fulfylle the comaundment of the sayd Duc to his power, and shal make wacche and warde of hym-self and his sayd retenue frome tyme to tyme, whene and as ofte duryng the tyme aboue sayd as he ther-to shall dvly be warned and required by the sayd Duc or hys comiser. And in cas that any moustresse to be mad be-yond the see by the sayd Edmond of hys sayd retenue lakketh any of his nombre of the same othyrwyse than by dethe or sikenesse proued, thane the sayd wages of theim that so shal fayle shalbe rebated vp-on the payement to be made to the sayd Edmond frome tyme to tyme as the cas shall require. Also the sayd Duc shal haue the iijde parte of wynnynges of werre aswell of the sayd Edmond as the iijde of iijdz where-of iche of hys retenue shalbe answeryng vnto hym of there wynnynges of werre duryng the tyme aboue said, be yt prysoners,
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-638-

prayes, or othyr goodes or catalles what-soeuer thei be. And the sayd Edmond , or he or thay that shal so take suche prisoners or prayes, shal shewe vnto the said Duc with-in vj dayes aftire the so takyng aswell the names of the sayd prisoners as theire estate, degré, or condicioun, and the quantité and valu of the said gettynges bi estimacion, vpon paynne of forfacture of the sayd prysoners and wynnynges aboue sayd. Also the sayd Edmond shal haue almaner prysoners to hys propre vse that shal happe to be takyn by him or by ony of his sayd retenue duryng the tyme aboue sayd, except the iijde of iijdz aboue sayd, the Kynge oure souuerayn lordes aduersary, and all kynges and kynges sonnes, his aduersariers of Fraunce, and also all lieuetenauntz and chifteyns hauyng the sayd aduersariers powere, whiche shalbe and abyd prisoners to our sayd souuerayn lord, for the whyche he shal make resounable aggrement with the takers of theym, except also all othyre kynges, kynges sonnes, prynces, dukes, erles, and chyef capitaynes nat hauyng the sayd aduersariers power, whiche shalbe and abyde prisoners to the said Duc, for the whiche he shal make resounable aggrement with the takers of theim. And if it happen the sayd Duc with-in te sayd yere to dicesse, then the sayd Edmond and hys sayd retenue shal serue out the yere aboue sayd vndyr suche a capitaigne as the Kynge shal assyne and appoynt to haue the rule of hym and hys sayd retenue; and if the sayd Duc be takyn, hurt, or diseased with-in the sayd tyme so that he shal nat be able to do the Kynge seruise of werre, then the sayd Edmond and his retenue duryng the tyme of hys enprisounment, hurt, or disease shal serue oute the same tyme vndir his lyeuetenaunt or comyser. And that all these covenauntz aboue sayd by the sayd Edmond wele and truly to be obserued and kepte the same Edmond byndeth hym-self, his heires and executours to the sayd Duc in the somme of c li. sterlynges by these presentes. In wittenesse where-of the parties aboue sayd to thise present endentures enterchaungeably haue put to theire seales the day and yer aboue sayd. R. Gloucestre

User avatar
gregory23b
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2923
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:46 pm
Location: Gyppeswyk, Suffolk

Post by gregory23b »

coolio, from the online Paston letters I take it? which might mean PRO has a copy, otherwise a godo job on typing.

Interesting bit about Edmund having to sort out a substitute in case he is ill, the indenture is for a 'body' headed by the indentee (Edmund P).

He gets paid 1/4rly, which is normal wage practice even in peace time in normal jobs.

Am very tempted to produce an indenture along the same lines.

Nice one Mark, remind me to thank you in person when we meet, I will be at TORM, all three days, floppy red and prints.

Jorge
middle english dictionary

Isabela on G23b "...somehow more approachable in real life"

http://medievalcolours.blogspot.com

"I know my place." Alice the Huswyf

Mark
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:28 am
Location: Melton Mowbray

Post by Mark »

Nice one Mark, remind me to thank you in person when we meet, I will be at TORM, all three days, floppy red and prints.

Jorge

My pleasure Jorge,
I shall make myself known at the TORM.
All the best,
Mark.

User avatar
Colin Middleton
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2037
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:31 pm
Location: Sheffield
Contact:

Post by Colin Middleton »

gregory23b wrote:Colin, any idea what the rank was of the said indentee? Do you know of any similar? There was a minor aristo Sothyll family in Yorkshire in the 15thc, my question is more along the lines of indentures possibly for ranked people, if this Sothyll chap was contracted to be Dick's man, then he alone would not be enough, does it or would include Sotthyll's men in tunr, as part fo Sothyll's household?

I only ask because 'indentured soldier' is used a lot in reenactor circles and I think people may have the wrong end of the stick in general terms.

Time of pease, as in ready whether the nation is at war or in peace time, his contract is to be ready all the time, which kind of leads back to the first question.

Do you have the book reference perchance?
He was an esquire. The photo of the document can be found on page 62 of "The Medieval Soldier in the Wars of the Roses" by Andrew W. Boardman. I'm trying to convert it into something readable atthe moment, but it's hard going.

Don't forget that there are indentures with common folk, presumaly yeomen. The Osprey Wars Of The Roses book lists a retainer paid by Lord Howard to one of his archers. You see several similar ones, but they never list a title for the archer.

On the subject of indentures, I agree. When I started re-enacting, I got the impression that the household was held togeather by documents of indenture between the 'soldier' and his lord. Now I'm staring to see the indenture as a legal document of service bewteen two powerful men, one of whom commits to service under the other (military or otherwise), the household being held togeather by contracts of employment.
Colin

"May 'Blood, blood, blood' be your motto!"

Image

User avatar
gregory23b
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2923
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:46 pm
Location: Gyppeswyk, Suffolk

Post by gregory23b »

"He was an esquire"

Which means he was from the nobility, a normal working person would not:

have the ability to leave his labours to be a Duke's body guard/servant of the body, which seems to be the gist of the contract.

have the expectation to provide - note edmund Paston is contracted to not just provide himself for the campaign but three archers (each kitted out according to his social level), I suspect that Sothyll has similar conditions.

Nor be of the right sort of servant, ie of the right class

Howard's archer was called Daniel? I recall, mentioned in Military Illustrated of years gone by, but if memory serves this was notable, ie a single man as a pet star shot, pension, house and livery and all.


If you can find the document reference for Sothyll's indenture (if given in the book) it may be held somewhere accessible, hopefully.

Fair play for starting a very interesting thread Colin.
middle english dictionary

Isabela on G23b "...somehow more approachable in real life"

http://medievalcolours.blogspot.com

"I know my place." Alice the Huswyf

User avatar
Colin Middleton
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2037
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:31 pm
Location: Sheffield
Contact:

Post by Colin Middleton »

It's in the Nottingham City Archives. I don't know how accessable that will be.

Sothyll does have to bring men, though their number doesn't seem to be specified.

Esquire, like Knights and 'meer gentlemen' are from the gentry, not the nobility. Theoretically a wealthy Yeoman (common man) might be able leave his duties as easily as a gentleman, but I agree that I expect most indentures to be concearned with the gentry.

I think you're right about Daniel. However, I have a feeling that there are similar example of other men in the Howard papers, though I'm not certain quite how similar they are. There could be all kinds of arrangements.
Colin

"May 'Blood, blood, blood' be your motto!"

Image

User avatar
Alan E
Posts: 327
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 10:18 am
Location: Somewhere in Southern Wales now (unless elsewhere)

Post by Alan E »

One thing about having "the ability to leave his labours to be " whatever else, as Christopher Dyer notes (OpCit :) ), after the Black Death the ability of the labourer to move from job to job increased significantly. Laws were passed to try (unsuccessfully) to make people take jobs by the year when offered - it was often more profitable for them to take piece or day work, absorbing the periods of unemployment for a higher daily rate. This also meant that there was time to 'do something else' should the labourer choose to do so.
'till whispers fill the tower of memory...
The Exiles Company of Medieval Martial Artists: http://the-exiles.org.uk/

Now teaching Fiore's art in Ceredigion (Felinfach) - pm for details

User avatar
Allan Harley
Posts: 324
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2006 9:28 pm
Location: Plotting world dominoes
Contact:

Post by Allan Harley »

Nice research Oggy - bin looking for a good indenture for ages to get a feel of what was required, great help, thanks
Away from the battle all are soldiers.

Mark
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:28 am
Location: Melton Mowbray

Post by Mark »

My pleasure Allan,I enjoy the detective work :wink:
Hope you and Jane are OK and look forward to seeing you soon.
Oggie.

Dave Key
Posts: 40
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 6:27 pm

Post by Dave Key »

gregory23b wrote:I keep hearing about 'indentured men', but is this borne of fact or a confusion of the indentures held by nobles excercising a commission? And indenture is a contract, two or more way, do these documents at a lower level actaulyl exist?

This might be a useful one for dave Key to cast his weather eye over.
Jorge,

I'll do what i can ... just skimmed over the topic so apologies if I repeat things already said ...

With regard to Indentures, there are actually quite a few of them knocking around. The Edmund Paston one with Richard is probably one of the best known for the 1475 expedition to France but there are actually a whole load of these lying around the Public Records office. I do have a few but they can be a tough read (without the blurring that the Nottingham indenture already mentioned has ... my copy is naff too and the Records office there were (unusually in my experience) rather unhelpful ... maybe just an off day ;-(

Probably the most interesting in many wys is that for Walter Strickland as both halfs of his indenture survive.

Anyway, Edmund's Indenture ... this is a short term contract for military service. Standard deal. You agree to turn up at a designated spot with an agreed number of men (of types specfied ... Edmund's is unusual for 1475 as it has the 'ideal' of 3:1 archers to men-at-arms). When you made the Indenture you got paid one quarter of the agreed sum (standard fee decided by your role and rank) another quarter was paid on making yourself available at the muster point and then paid monthly.

Were these professional soldiers ? Unlikely in the majority of cases. Even in Normandy there was an increasing trend towards using Normans rather than English to garrison the castles as the 100yrs war drew to a close and the Calais garrison was never massive.

As the Pastons letter indicates a few specialist soldiers do appear, in Southampton they had a town gunner and an assistant paid for by the city. But were the majority of a body of troops professionals in a War of the Roses army professional it's unlikely.

Even indentured soldiers for military service like the 14775 campaign were more likely to be people who were available and competent rather than professional. Although the Household accounts for Sir John Howard suggest that the soldiers going with him to war were NOT primarily from his immediate household that doesn't mean they were all professionals ... just men for hire. They MAY have been but again it's not clear enough to be sure.

The Howard's accounts also bring us back to the other type of Indenture. A lifetime association between a lord and another. These men were available to serve in time of peace and war at their lords side, to ride with him. But this doesn't necessarily mean an exclusive military role. They were fulfilling ordinary jobs, often on land granted to them as part of their Indenture, with the payment being their service.

Men would have the expectation, and understanding, that they would be eligible for military service, and would be expected to have the necessary equipment at short notice. They would be expect to have to train, but that wouldn't make them professionals.


Consider how Phillipe de Comynes described the English (I'll try and find the quote) but in essence when they arrived in France they were unskilled in the ways of war ... not a particularly glowing description and certainly not a disciplined professional force. But they had the background skils and as Comynes noted they learned fast.


Sorry it's a bit rushed ... got to dash ... hope it makes sense & helps.

Cheers
Dave

Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

"They are not the same men as were known in my fathers time."
OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

Dave Key
Posts: 40
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 6:27 pm

Post by Dave Key »

thanks Marcus :D

Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

(I suspect it sounds more impressive in French).
OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

User avatar
gregory23b
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2923
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:46 pm
Location: Gyppeswyk, Suffolk

Post by gregory23b »

zey are not ze men of my fazzer's time.

like that
middle english dictionary

Isabela on G23b "...somehow more approachable in real life"

http://medievalcolours.blogspot.com

"I know my place." Alice the Huswyf

Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

I have been following this with some interest. My understanding is that the men serving John paston at Caister were mercenaries in that they were serving out a short term contract to a man they had no alleigence to. This though may be no different then those who were indentured to serve king or lord. The only professional soldiers existed in the companies of France, burgundy and the Italian states. These mercenary companies were freed from being part time soldiers because they recieved wages in peacetime and at war which meant they could concentrate upon purely military training. Everyone else, be they kings or commons were really "interested amatures". They might have had military training in the lists, at the butts or in quarterstaff bouts at the local fayre, they might even (in rare cases) have actual military experience, but they're main purpose was managing estates, attending court, making and trading, growing crops and so on. Most of the past times, even those like football were rough and had a Military Side to them, but that wouldn't make them soldiers any more than playing paintball or attending a judo class once a week does. Then again, like any good RSM the Duke of Burgundy prefered men who had the build and potential skills to become a good soldier over a big headed ex-spec forces type who "knows it all and can't be arsed".
OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

Post Reply