The War Of The Roses

Страница: 9/12

Appendix 1 Armies

In 1341 Edward III had revolutionized the structure of European armies by instituting in England a system of written indentured contracts between the Crown and prominent military leaders. Under this system the military leaders, or 'captains' and 'lieutenants', contracted with the king to provide an agreed number of men for military service, promising to bring them to a place of assembly by a certain date. The indenture set out precisely how long the men would have to serve, their rate of pay, obligations and privileges. The captains were responsible for paying these men, the king giving securities to repay the money at a later date.

These captains raised their companies by making a series of similar contracts with knights and man-at-arms, again stipulating the terms of service and the types of soldiers they would be expected to contribute. The captains usually sought these 'sub-contractors' amongst their friends, kinsmen, tenants and neighbors.

These companies, composed entirely of volunteers, created in effect a royal standing army; for the men were professional soldiers who, although raised, led and paid by their captains, regarded themselves firstly as English soldiers, owing allegiance to their king and fighting only his enemies.

Inevitably, many of the most powerful captains were of the nobility, for they had the position at court, the wealth, and the connections to raise large contingents. In order to be able to satisfy at once any request by the king for a company, such lords frequently maintained a permanent force, contracting their sub-contractors for life with annuities. These men often held offices (such as chamberlain or steward) in the magnate's household or on his estates, and probably provided in their turn the key contingents in his company.

This system was introduced to deal with the demand for expeditionary forces to invade France during the Hundred Years' War, and the need to maintain permanent royal garrisons in the castles and towns across the channel. But it had the effect of creating large forces commanded by the great barons, and during the course of the Hundred Years' War these magnates became virtually petty kings within their own domains: the great northern families of Percy and Neville, for example, fought each other in the Wars of the Roses as much for supremacy in the North as for who should control the government of all England.

The three greatest landowners of the second half of Henry VI's reign were the Earl of Warwick and the Dukes of Buckingham and York. Humphrey Stafford (died 1460), 1st Duke of Buckingham, had a personal retinue often knights and 27 esquires, many of whom were drawn from the Staffordshire gentry. These men were paid annuities to retain their loyalty (hence 'retainers'), the best-paid in Buckingham's retinue being Sir Edward Grey (died 1457) who was retained for life in 1440 at £40 per annum. Two knights (Sir Richard Vernon and Sir John Constable) received annuities of £20 p.e., but £10 was the customary annuity for a knight, with esquires paid from £10 to £40 marks per annum.

These knights and esquires were the subcontractors, and each would have provided a contingent of archers and men-at-arms. When their contingents were amalgamated, considerable armies could be gathered. For example, in January 1454, 2,000 badges of the Stafford knot were produced for distribution to Buckingham's men; in 1469 the Duke of Norfolk fielded 3,000 men and some cannon; while a great soldier and statesman of the ability and ambition of Warwick would have been able to count on thousands of men scattered over no fewer than 20 shires.

Note the predominance of archers. The contemporary Paston letters give a good idea of the value of the longbowman during the Wars of the Roses. When Sir John Paston was about to depart for Calais, he asked his brother to try to recruit four archers for him: 'Likely men and fair conditioned and good archers and they shall have 4 marks by year and my livery', (i.e. they were to be permanent retainers, on annuities).

These were ordinary archers, as opposed to an elite or 'de maison' archer who would serve permanently in the household troop of a great lord. Warwick considered such men to be worth two ordinary soldiers – even English ones! In 1467 Sir John Howard hired such an archer, offering him £10 a year – the annuity paid to knights – plus two gowns and a house for his wife. As an extra inducement he gave the man 2s. 8d., two doublets worth 10s. and a new gown (a term often applied to the livery coat). When Sir John bought himself a new bow, for which he paid 2s., he bought for this elite archer four bows costing 5s. 11.5d. each, a new case, a shooting glove, bowstrings, and a sheaf of arrows which cost 5s.: at that price they were probably the best target arrows available.

Реферат опубликован: 16/05/2009