Yeoman archer

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Bronzeadin
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Yeoman archer

Postby Bronzeadin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:53 am

Hello again guys,
I'm sorry to ask what I'm sure will be a stupid question, but I'm looking to reenact a yeoman archer, someone with a bit more kit.
What kind of kit should I be looking at? I have reasonable quality 15th century soft kit etc. I just thought I'd ask for some advice. Crowd survey is what my brother in law in advertising calls it!
Removing the part about the levied men as I'm more interested in what an archer who hasn't been handed a bow and half dozen arrows would have had and why.
Thanks in advance.
Last edited by Bronzeadin on Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Colin Middleton
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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby Colin Middleton » Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:02 pm

Why is a yeoman archer not levied? I thought that the levy system was a way to raise fighting men from an area and should have raised men of any status below knight. Yeoman however was a social status indicating freedom and moderate wealth. Can anyone. Correct me?
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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:18 pm

Yeoman is just a freed peasant, which in 15th century England was pretty much a given.
As a social distinction its hard to define, it doesn't have the same connotations as it did in earlier or later centuries. (Though it was still worth the while of the Pastons to forge documents that made them yeomen).
As you were expected to furnish as much of your own harness and war apparel as possible (and that you social standing took this into account) I can sort of understand where you are both coming from.


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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby Colin Middleton » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:51 pm

Sorry Bronzeadin. I was being a bit harsh with you there. People keep confusing military jobs with social status' or methods of recruitment with military 'ranks' and it's become something of a pet peeve for me.
We do understand what you're aiming for. I'm just being picky.

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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby Bronzeadin » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:13 pm

No worries mate, it's something that winds me up to and was a poor choice of trying to get my question across.
I was interested in what an archer may use/wear. I've seen images of archers in plate etc, but then it's not something I've seen at many events.
Thanks again, and apologies for the poorly worded topic.



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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:03 pm

:)
Generally archers don't wear plate at events because it's expensive and they don't expect to get hit. Historically you see figures like the archer guard in full harness but they are Scots (so from a different culture) and could well be gentlemen too. What little evidence I've seen suggests that archers were more lightly armoured. However I'm not convinced that the wealthier archers wouldn't have invested in some protection.
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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:57 am

The Scots Guard d' Archeir were the Royal bodyguards of the French kings. English archers also formed a Gard de Corps for the Dukes of Burgundy. As you can expect they were equipped and paid as befitted a royal bodyguard. Archers of the Burgundy ordiannces were also expected to have a significant amount of plate harness, though I suspect that with the rapid turnover and number of defeats Charles Valois suffered expectations may have been higher than reality allowed.
Too many re-enactors see archery as being a cheap option and this should not be the case. Certainly within the group I belong to there is more demand now that archers should look like they could join in with the hand to hand fighting (with a level of kit to do this) even if they do not chose to take part in any fisticuffs.
Your equipment should match the "level" of your soft kit. IE, if you are dressed like a shepherd in ill fitting clothes and hose rolled down to your ankles then, in my opinion, it looks ridiculous if you then come out of your tent as King Arthur for the battles. As social standing was linked to how you looked and acted, dressing like a peasant should see you being treated like one, dressing as a gentleman means that you equip yourself for war as befits a gentleman.


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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby Fox » Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:09 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:Your equipment should match the "level" of your soft kit. IE, if you are dressed like a shepherd in ill fitting clothes and hose rolled down to your ankles then, in my opinion, it looks ridiculous if you then come out of your tent as King Arthur for the battles.


You could just be portraying different people; I've been known to be both the Lord and the Lord's man in the same day (in both soft kit and fighting kit).



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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby Colin Middleton » Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:57 pm

To prove myself wrong I'm flicking through a book and here are pictures of archers. Several wear brigandines or plackarts. I can clearly see the following combinations worn:
Mail shirt, brigandine and plackart
Mail shirt, brigandine and plate arms
Mail shirt(with fishtail), brigandine, polyens and brigandine vambraces, he even has a gold coloured sallet on!

Also of note is that every one of them with a sidearm shown wears an arming sword rather than a 'falchion'.

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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby Langley » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:29 pm

Doesn't one of the muster rolls have a minimum standard defined? Jack, Helmet, knife, sword, and oddly enough, gauntlets. (Why oddly? Tricky to shoot a bow with gauntlets on but it would imply that they would come in useful in skirmishing as mentioned above). Oh yes - a bow of your own and arrows (24 was it?). I do think that archers were indeed used as light skirmishing troops and would have wanted some protection to join in any rout and thus achieve opportunities for advancement and enrichment (AKA looting and taking prisoners). This latter point being about the only way to come out ahead even if on the winning side I can't se any archer standing back and saying "My bit is done, I'll let those men at arms nick the lot"... Personally I have added jack chains, a maille skirt, legs and arms and a placquet (leaves your shoulders much more manoeuvrable for drawing the bow). Yes, I would explain some of this as having come from richer chaps who don't need them any more and there are records of people upgrading in this way in illustrations I have seen (I could possibly dig them out but have read an awful lot off documents since I started this so wouldn't be a quick process. My son borrowed 5 volumes from my library that he had not been able to source from the University Library when doing his History Masters).



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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby ASK » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:28 pm

A good friend, has pointed out that within the records of the guild of Pewters (within the 15th C), it is stated that they supplied several FULLY HARNESSED liveried archers to the city of London...... don't underestimate what kit a professional solider/archer could have...


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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby Langley » Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:20 pm

Oh, forgot to say. My research agrees with Colin's in that I have seen mainly arming swords rather than falchions in archer illustrations. Anyone know where the re-enactor fashion for falchions came from? I now carry an arming sword when being an archer.



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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby Colin Middleton » Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:01 pm

I thought that it came from Osprey's The English Archer, but I'm not sure where the author got it from. Colin


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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby ASK » Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:31 pm

Looks most likely to be a straight bladed Falchion worn by the two archers illustrated by Jean Froissart's 15th-century illuminated manuscript of Crecy, although could do with a better image to be certain...
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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby ASK » Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:42 pm

Not English but, The Martyrdom of St. Ursula, by Hans Memling.... archer wearing Falchion.... a couple of sources from a short search, although certainly appears to be more arming swords than falchions...


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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby Colin Middleton » Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:57 pm

ASK wrote:Looks most likely to be a straight bladed Falchion worn by the two archers illustrated by Jean Froissart's 15th-century illuminated manuscript of Crecy, although could do with a better image to be certain...

I' have called those arming swords myself, but it's all a bit arbitrary anyway.

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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby ASK » Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:39 pm

could be..... I am reading into the shape of the hand guard appearing to suggest it is handed to have a front edge and a rear edge... so some interpretation is definitely present in that particular image as the hand guard is not particularly clear in either case...


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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby gregory23b » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:06 am

Harness/harnessed does not just mean plate, but dressed for war, it could just as easily be jacks.


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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby Adam R » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:52 pm

gregory23b wrote:Harness/harnessed does not just mean plate, but dressed for war, it could just as easily be jacks.


ASK wrote:A good friend, has pointed out that within the records of the guild of Pewters (within the 15th C), it is stated that they supplied several FULLY HARNESSED liveried archers to the city of London...... don't underestimate what kit a professional solider/archer could have...


I wonder if that's a direct quote, if so, what does "Fully" denote? Head to toe? Plate?


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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby ASK » Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:42 pm

I will ask for a direct quote from the 'big books' see what he comes back with, It was conveyed to me as head to toe...

however I guess it does not necessarily mean the full harness was used all at one time... I expect a professional solider would be able to use a bow or a polearm etc...


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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby ASK » Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:46 pm

gregory23b wrote:Harness/harnessed does not just mean plate, but dressed for war, it could just as easily be jacks.


I did not know that, interesting, have you a source that illustrates this? for some reason I had always excluded padded defenses from being harnessed... :crazy:

still there are images of archers wearing full plate...


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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:05 am

Jorge is right. A man harnessed for war could just as easily be wearing a jack.


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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby Adam R » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:24 pm

In fact, looking at gregory23b's MED, I could make a strong argument for harnessed just meaning liveried. Search the word 'harneis' and meaning 1 is armour (unspecified type) and meaning 3 is "Personal apparel, clothes, livery; wering ~"

Discuss...


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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby ASK » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:28 pm

interesting, and I see what you mean Adam, and Jorge.....
However, does not change there are quite a few sources which illustrate archers wearing full plate armour/brigs

Jean Froissart's chronicle (battle of Poitiers) & Scottish bodyguard to Charles VII of France to mention two pictorial sources, although neither are English in origin of course...

Still waiting for Ed to look at the big books (maybe you can pester him too Jorge), to see what it mentions regarding the 6 fully harnessed archers... even though in the dialogue I had with him he certainly suggested plate...and referred to liveried and harnessed... but would be nice to get a quote...


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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby Adam R » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:11 am

Quite so - and from the point of view of the OP I would say anything from nothing to half plate would be fine - either end of that scale would need some sort of justification though, and suitably rich soft kit in the case of the latter. Free tennantry having bought or aquired full plate seems a bit of a stretch to me. But I'm not going on any particular piece of primary data for that.


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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby Bronzeadin » Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:02 pm

Thanks for all the time and information guys. You guys are a gold mine of information! This topic and the one about archers sidearms shows that there is a lot more to it than giving someone a bow and half dozen arrows and calling them an archer.
Was there much evidence of archers in full plate legs? I've seen a couple of images but would that relate to mounted archers? What leg protection could be used?
Cheers again for your time guys. I appreciate it.



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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby ASK » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:03 pm

Certainly in the minority, there are loads of images of brigs and mail down to the elbow, in multiple sources...
Plate arms and legs, there are images but by far in the minority...you have to hunt for them and for some of them you have to question artist licence (such as this early 15th C one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Schla ... ncourt.jpg)...that is why it would be good to get a reference in written form... Beauchamp Pageant ,as I recall, does not have any archers with Plate legs...


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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby gregory23b » Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:36 pm

Look up MED, Paston Letters for references to the use of harness. harness can also mean the metal detail on things as knives.

the point is that you can't simply exchange the word 'harness' to mean plate armour.

pictures are also misleading, they are not always faithful representations, the 15thc Froissarts are somewhat more imaginative than other illustrations of the era, look up the Schilling Chronicles to compare.


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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby ASK » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:50 am

ok, I get the harness thing, although I have not seen the documents (the Pewter's guild docs that is) therefore I have little defense, I can only state the context the statement was delivered to me..

but......

why dismiss Froissart and the Charles VII illustration as fantasy?


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Re: Yeoman archer

Postby gregory23b » Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:40 pm

I didn't dismiss them as fantasy, I said to compare them to other contemporary sources to get an idea of how 'realism' is portrayed in MSS, the Froissarts are of a style that is a bit odd, look at Jean Fouquet or the Rene de Anjou works and then you get a different standard of illustration and even then realism and reality are not the primary motivators.

Most medieval images are not documentary, nor should they be seen as such, they merely illustrate a story and the illustrators vary in their adherence to what we would understand as realism, you have to take a broad view and do some comparisons.


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