Edward III and the English aristocracy at the beginning of the Hundred Years War

hundred years warEdward III and the English aristocracy at the beginning of the Hundred Years War

By Andrew Ayton

Harlaxton Medieval Studies: v.7 (1998)

At Ipswich on 17 June 1340, a week before the battle of Sluys, an English knight, William Tallemache, attached his seal to an indenture recording his receipt of an Essex manor in return for life service in peace and war with William de Bohun, earl of Northampton.[2]  Tallemache was a seasoned warrior, a veteran of the War of St Sardos, Scotland and Edward III’s first expedition to Flanders.[3]  He had already served, as an esquire, in Northampton’s comitiva on several occasions, but in the spring of 1339 after months of inactivity in Flanders he seems to have become restless.[4]  In May we find him transferring to the service of Sir John Molyns under whose banner he fought and received the accolade of knighthood during the brief autumn campaign in the Cambrésis.[5]  Perhaps it was this dalliance with the ambitious and unscrupulous Molyns that spurred Northampton into offering Tallemache a secure place in his affinity.[6]  Whatever the earl’s reasons, within days of the indenture being drawn-up and sealed, Northampton and his new retainer were in the thick of it at Sluys, risking, as one of that earl’s letters put it, `vie et membre’ in the king’s war.[7]

Alongside them in that fight on St John’s day, among Northampton’s 135 men-at-arms recorded on the pay roll, was Robert Marny, a knight in his mid-twenties, who had been with the earl in Scotland and at Buironfosse.  He was later to combine a life of genteel crime in Essex with continuing regular participation in the king’s war.[8] That Essexmen, like Marny, were well represented in Northampton’s retinue is easily explained, for their county was one of the Bohun family’s landholding strongholds,[9]and traditional ties based on lordship and shared locality counted for a great deal in recruitment.[10]  The same explanation probably lies behind the service of William de Pembridge, a Herefordshire esquire in his late thirties, who accompanied Northampton to war on several occasions.[11]  But there were others fighting with this earl at Sluys who were from regions far removed from Bohun influence: men like Sir Gerard de Wyderyngton, who, though from the far north of England, responded as often as Marny, Pembridge and Tallemache to the earl’s call to arms.[12]  Of course, not all of Northampton’s affinity were actually involved in the battle of Sluys.  None of the witnessesnamed in Tallemache’s indenture, for example, can be shown to have been at the battle.  Two of them – Sir John Engayne of Dillington and Sir Simon de Drayton – had been soldiers in their younger days;[13] but now they served the earl as attornies rather than sword-bearing retainers.[14]  Indeed, Engayne’s career followed what might be termed the classical model for a middle-aged, former fighting knight with a substantial personal estate.[15]  Having become the earl’s counseller, Engayne served regularly on commissions and in the 1350s was summoned to Parliament, whilst his sons, John and Thomas, continued the family’s martial tradition.[16]

Military service had occupied an important place in these men’s lives.  They had all personally borne arms, prompted in part at least by an awareness that war was the proper public function for men of gentle birth.  For some – those whom we might term `professionals’ – the military life was indeed their raison d’etre.  For others, perhaps the majority, it formed only part of what had, by the second quarter of the fourteenth century, become a more complex genteel lifestyle: a lifestyle in which military and civilian responsibilities, family interests and private passions competed for precedence whilst becoming interwoven.  However brightly the warrior mentalité burned within him, the extent of a gentleman’s experience of war was, therefore, likely to be shaped by his immediate personal circumstances: his commitments, his connections, his `country’.  This can be easily enough seen in the varied careers and backgrounds of the men who served in the earl of Northampton’s comitiva in 1340.  But just how typical of the genteel element in the military community at the start of the Hundred Years War were these men,[17] and how typical of the nobility and gentry at large?  Might not the pressing military requirements of one of Edward III’s foremost captains have stimulated the recruitment of a decidedly atypical group?  In terms of their geographical origins, this does not have the appearance of a randomly selected group of Englishmen.  Knights and esquires from the Bohun power-bases in Essex and the Welsh marches rub shoulders with a sprinkling of seasoned fighters from the traditionally militarised communities of the northernmost counties of England.

Beyond an investigation of those knights and esquires who actually fought lies a larger question.  To what extent were the English aristocracy as a whole, the nobility and gentry, attracted by the prospect of martial service in the fourth decade of the fourteenth century?  Was there, as has been suggested by some historians, a significant change in outlook and behaviour taking place, a process of `demilitarisation’?  Or is it simply a matter of diversification of function, a response to the expanding opportunities offered by, amongst other things, administrative service in the shires, combined with changes in the social composition of the secular landholding community?  For the historian wrestling with this problem, part of the difficulty lies in the interpretation of apparently contradictory signals in the evidence.  On the one hand, the Edwardian period witnessed what Peter Coss has characterised as the `triumph of chivalric knighthood’, involving, for example, a proliferation of heraldic display and knightly effigies in churches.[18]  The early fourteenth-century knight’s sense of identity, of his social status and his family’s honour, had overt martial overtones: `one consequence of the triumph of chivalry’, Coss observes, `was to reinforce the martial implications of knighthood’.[19]  Yet, on the other hand, the aristocracy had a long-established reputation for dragging its feet where overseas military service was concerned.  They `did not give a bean for all of France’, it was said, as was amply shown by Edward I’s Flemish expedition of 1297, when only 200 men-at-arms were provided from outside the king’s household and circle of intimates.[20]

Some historians have argued that by 1337 there had been a shift in attitude, that there was `among the nobility, actual relish at the prospect of fighting’.  The `bonds of comradeship’ which Edward had forged with the aristocracy by his enthusiastic pursuit of chivalric values and by his personal leadership in the Scottish campaigns, and the growing self-esteem of the genteel military community, had moved them to support Edward’s `aggressive designs against France’.[21]  The Parliament which met in March 1337 certainly endorsed the king’s ambitious continental strategy and welcomed the creation of six new earls.[22]  But was there really whole-hearted backing for the war from the military class?  As Edward III contemplated the expedition to Flanders at the start of his continental adventure, how confident can he have been that the aristocracy would indeed back him with their swords?  That there was at least some anxiety over this is suggested by the government’s willingness to pay double the usual rates of pay to all categories of men-at-arms accompanying the king to Flanders in 1338.[23]

Assessment of the extent of the king’s success in securing the active support of the nobility and gentry for his French war rests upon a substantial, if incomplete, corpus of records.  Vadia guerre accounts (pay rolls) have survived for each of the three major royal expeditions up to the truce of Malestroit in January 1343: that is, for the army which landed in Antwerp in July 1338 and eventually fought in the Cambrésis over a year later; the army which in 1340 won the battle of Sluys and then besieged, unsuccessfully, the town of Tournai; and the series of expeditionary forces which served in Brittany in 1342-43.  Two of the pay rolls – those for the first Flanders expedition and the campaign in Brittany – are to found in Wardrobe Books and are well-known to historians.[24]  Altogether less familiar is the vadia guerre account documenting the English army at Sluys and the siege of Tournai.  Indeed, apart from a brief discussion by T. F. Tout and a passing reference by Kenneth Fowler, this important pay roll, buried in the middle of an incomplete royal household `journal’ roll, but filling more than five densely packed membranes, appears to have gone unnoticed.[25]

These three pay rolls enable us to establish with a reasonable degree of accuracy the size and structure of the major royal armies with which Edward III began his French enterprise.  They also allow us to determine, at least in outline, the extent of the aristocracy’s role.  At the start of the French war English royal armies were composed, on the one hand, of retinues recruited by aristocratic captains and, on the other, of shire levies, arrayed – and in some cases led to war – by members of the local gentry.[26] The pay rolls reveal the identities of the captains, from great magnates to relatively humble knights, together with details of their retinues (numbers of men-at-arms and archers; periods of service); and they reveal, if not all the arrayers’ names, then at least the men who led the companies of archers to the ports of embarkation and beyond.[27]  Also to be found in the vadia guerre records are the names of many minor characters, particularly household servants, who accompanied the king to war.[28] Admittedly, as with most vadia guerre records, these three rolls are not free of interpretative problems.[29]  Fluctuations in manpower numbers are heavily summarised and periods of service are not always precisely given;[30] and none of the pay rolls offers complete coverage.  In consequence, precise calculation of the numbers of paid troops in these armies is not possible, but the following figures are probably not too wide of the mark.

Edward III landed in Antwerp in the summer of 1338 with approaching 1,400 men-at-arms,[31] about 2,500 archers and various companies of Welsh infantry whose numbers and precise periods of service are difficult to establish.[32]  The pay roll suggests some movement of personnel during the following months.  Allowing for arrivals and departures, by late September 1339, when the army finally saw action, the numbers of English men-at-arms may have swollen by about a hundred, whilst most of the Welsh infantry had gone.[33]  Not included in these totals are the troops provided by Edward’s continental allies.  Only a few hundred are included on the pay roll, but on paper the network of alliances was intended to yield nearly 7,000 men-at-arms.[34]

The surviving vadia guerre records for the Sluys-Tournai campaign appear to be incomplete with regard to `English’ retinues.  According to the pay roll, the king fought at Sluys on 24 June 1340 with about 1,300 men-at-arms and probably over 1,000 archers, the majority of whom were serving in aristocratic retinues.[35]  About 150 men-at-arms arrived after the battle (though balanced by departures from the army),[36] whilst over 2,000 archers, the great majority of the latter serving on foot in archer companies, joined the army later in the summer.  However, there are several retinues, probably substantial ones, missing from the pay records.  It is likely that Henry de Burghersh, bishop of Lincoln was accompanied by as grand a company as had served with him during the first Flanders expedition, and yet details of his comitiva do not appear on the pay roll.[37]  Also absent from the roll are the earls of Arundel and Huntingdon.  There can be no doubt that they actually fought at Sluys.  In addition to the evidence of enrolled letters of protection,[38] Arundel appeared in Parliament in mid-July to present an eye-witness report on the recent military operations,[39] whilst the English chronicles attest to Huntingdon’s presence (though not Arundel’s) at Sluys, serving as an admiral.[40]  Also omitted from the list of captains in the Sluys-Tournai pay roll is Robert of Artois, who led the unsuccessful attempt to take Saint-Omer in late July.[41]  We can be sure that he arrived with a retinue after Sluys, for there are enrolled protections for 49 men intending to serve with him and in early July shipping was being ordered for his passage.[42]  Allowing for other omissions from the pay roll, both those we know about and those that we strongly suspect,[43] we should perhaps increase the number of men-at-arms at Sluys to 1,500.  There may well have been more in the siege camp outside Tournai: many years later Sir Ralph Ferrars recalled that, at that siege, `chescun liege et gentils avoient ascuns de lour sanc ou affinite’.[44]

The English expeditions to Brittany in 1342-3 involved a series of three expeditions.[45]  Sir Walter Mauny served in the duchy in the spring and early summer with no more than 350 men, including about 130 men-at-arms, the rest being mounted archers.  The earl of Northampton brought a more substantial force in August.  Its size cannot be established precisely, since Robert of Artois and William de Kildesby, who were granted assignments of wool for their retinues, are not included in the vadia guerreaccount.[46]  However, at the time of the battle of Morlaix on 30 September 1342, Northampton probably had about 1,100 troops from England at his disposal (with roughly equal numbers of men-at-arms and mounted archers), plus an indeterminate number of Bretons.  A third expedition, led by the king, arrived in Brittany in late October. Allowing for the early departure of some magnate retinues and the non-arrival, or very short stay, of most of the arrayed archers and infantry, it would seem that by Christmas 1342 Edward may have had with him about 3,600 to 3,700 men, with men-at-arms and mounted archers in just about equal proportions.  The pay roll suggests that, overall, about 1,900 men-at-arms served in Brittany during this campaign.  Allowing for a certain amount of double counting in that total and the omission of perhaps 150 men-at-arms from the pay roll, we may conclude that as many as 2,000 English men-at-arms served, most in all likelihood being drawn from the ranks of the gentry.

If the sources which document the size and structure of these armies are far from flawless, the records that reveal the names of men serving in them are perhaps still less satisfactory.  Most of these records focus predominantly on the men-at-arms, the genteel combatants, but even within this constituency of personnel the coverage is not comprehensive.  There is nothing for Edward III’s early French campaigns to compare with the surviving horse inventories from the Scottish expeditions of the later 1330s.[47]  The best documentation of this kind that we have are two fairly substantial restauro equorum accounts from the first Flemish and Breton campaigns: the first lists over 500 horses (and their owners), of which about 330 were appraised mounts associated with English men-at-arms; the second includes 228 appraised warhorses belonging to 226 individuals.[48]  The only surviving muster roll from these early French campaigns lists the 24 men-at-arms serving in Sir John Molyns’s retinue from 24 June to 3 August 1340.[49]

Fortunately, the names of larger numbers of knights and other men-at-arms can be recovered from the lists of enrolled letters of protection on the Chancery rolls.[50] `Protections’ are, admittedly, records of intent, rather than firm evidence of service actually performed, and one or two cases of fraud or last minute changes of mind can be discerned in the lists for these campaigns.[51]  They also include a sprinking of non-combatants, not all of whom are easy to distinguish.  Nevertheless, these lists of protection recipients are essential to the study of genteel military service in the early campaigns of the Hundred Years War.  A total of 778 enrolled protections are dated to the weeks leading up to the king’s departure on 16 July 1338.  About 650 separate individuals secured legal protection for the 1340 campaign and 722 for the Breton expeditions two years later.[52]  It seems, then, that protections were secured by between a third and a half of all serving men-at-arms.  Far fewer genteel combatants are to be found among the men who received charters of pardon in return for spells of military service.[53]  For example, there are about 900 service pardons on the Patent Rolls, dating from the period February 1339 to March 1340;[54] but since the great majority of these men are clearly from the sub-genteel strata of the military community, the archers and infantry, these records are of only marginal interest for the present study.

A scatter of further nominal data can, of course, be found in all sorts of places.  For example, we learn in the fifteenth-century autobiography of John Carrington that his grandfather, Sir William Carrington, had been scalded in the face at the battle of Sluys.[55]  Another unhappy man after that battle was Sir Thomas Latimer.  He had been taken prisoner, but at least received a modest royal contribution towards his ransom.[56]  Nearly fifty years later no fewer than twenty-one men recalled their involvement in the battle of Sluys in their testimony before the Court of Chivalry.[57]  Fascinating though such reminiscences are, they provide no more than icing for the cake.  The bulk of our knowledge comes from the pay records and the lists of men who received protections before a campaign or lost a warhorse during it.  Taken together, the sources mayyield the names of as many as half of the men-at-arms serving in a particular army; but such a nominal roll will not be a random sample, since few of the records contributing to it are wholly without bias towards a particular group within the military community.  Analysis based upon such a reconstructed army roll should make allowance for this in-built bias in the sources.

What do these sources reveal about the extent of the aristocracy’s commitment to the king’s war in the late 1330s?  Mark Ormrod has argued that Edward III’s armies in the Low Countries rested upon a comparatively narrow recruitment base.  Attempting `to do without the massed ranks of the English barons’, the king relied upon his personal friends, a group of whom had recently been raised to comital rank, and the military resources of his household.[58]  There is some truth in this.  No fewer than 60% of the men-at-arms who embarked for Antwerp in July 1338 were connected to the royal household – a massive `household division’ by any standards.[59]  Looked at a different way, all except one of the king’s 62 current household bannerets and knights served in Flanders for all or part of Edward III’s protracted first expedition.[60]  Even Sir Thomas Lucy, a man with pressing responsibilities on the northern border, remained with the king overseas from July 1338 until February 1340.[61]  Using the incomplete pay roll for the battle of Sluys, the household division appears to have contributed a little over 60% (800) of the men-at-arms in the English army;[62] but allowing for the omission of several large, non-household retinues from the pay records, a more likely figure would be in the region of 50% to 55%.  For the Breton campaign of 1342-3 it is still lower, 40%, though here we see a household division of stable numbers (800) set within a larger army.[63]

Such heavy dependence on household manpower was not without military advantages.  Since the majority of Edward III’s household bannerets and knights were veterans from the Scottish wars, he set out on his adventure in France with a well-established team of middle-ranking and junior captains: men who had direct experience of the campaigns which had witnessed a major overhaul of the English fighting machine.  This was a heterogeneous group, embracing such colourful figures as the Hainaulter, Sir Walter Mauny; men of solid baronial stock, like Henry de Ferrars; and professional soldiers of obscure origins, like Sir John Stryvelyn.  Stryvelyn’s career is particularly instructive.  He was a new recruit to the royal household at the start of the French war, an example of the king’s determination to strengthen the household division with reliable, resourceful captains – as Stryvelyn had certainly shown himself to be in Scotland.[64]  After the first Low Countries expedition, he was back on the Scottish border for the summer of 1340, but accompanied the king to Brittany in 1342.[65]  Stryvelyn was clearly an energetic man and utterly dependable, qualities which characterise the household knights as a whole.  Nowhere is this better shown than in the rapid mobilisation of a strike force to relieve Stirling castle in 1341.  Eleven royal household bannerets and knights brought with them over 300 men-at-arms; and they performed the task for a little over £1,000, which can only have been regarded as very good value for money.[66]

That the king’s household knights played a prominent role in Edward III’s Low Countries campaigns should occasion no surprise, for they had traditionally formed the backbone of royal armies.[67]  Indeed, the proportional strength of the military household or `household division’ in Edward III’s armies at the start of the Hundred Years War bears comparison with that which has been noted for the armies raised during the reign of Edward I.[68]  In Edward III’s early French campaigns the dominance of household troops was closely related to the comparative weakness of the comital class and, in particular, to the absence of a militarily-active royal family.  In 1359, the massive retinues of the Prince of Wales and the duke of Lancaster, and the presence of a strong group of earls, largely explains why the household division contributed only a sixth of all men-at-arms in Edward III’s army.[69]

`Household division’ is actually a slightly misleading term.  The leader of a retinue might receive fees and robes from the king, but the men whom he recruited would be drawn from the military community at large.  A household knight, like Sir Nicholas de Langeford, might bring two esquires,[70] but the king’s bannerets’ retinues were usually much more substantial.  At Sluys they ranged in size from 10 to 79 men-at-arms, often with attached contingents of archers.  Some of these men were drawn from specialised regional military communities.  There can be little doubt that the men-at-arms whom Sir John de Stryvelyn recruited for his retinues in 1338 and 1342 included a good many tough border professionals, men like himself.  It is hardly surprising to find that only one of them required a letter of protection.[71]  But, as we have seen, some of the men who took the king’s fees and robes at the start of the French war were scions of baronial families.  As a consequence, the recruitment base of the household division overlapped with the regional lordship networks of magnates.  In this way the king’s banneret Sir Maurice de Berkeley could rely to some extent upon his family’s influence in Gloucestershire and neighbouring counties, an `intricate and far-reaching … web of baronial power’ as Nigel Saul has described it.[72]  It is, for example, not altogether surprising to find a member of the Mautravers family in Sir Maurice’s retinue in 1342.[73]  Meanwhile, Berkeley’s friend and companion in arms, Sir Thomas de Bradeston, very much a rising star of Edward III’s court in the 1330s, built-up his affinity in the same region from scratch, sometimes drawing on the services of men who also campaigned with the Berkeleys.[74]  When we examine the detail of genteel military service, then, the courtier-baron dichotomy becomes blurred.

Edward I’s army in Flanders in 1297 can with justification be described as `essentially the household in arms’,[75] but the hosts shipped to the same region by his grandson just over 40 years later were of more complex composition.  In July 1338 about 25% (340) of the men-at-arms were serving in retinues headed by an earl.[76]  The corresponding percentage figure for June 1340 was probably rather higher: 30%.[77]  With the king in 1338 were the earls of Derby, Northampton, Salisbury and Suffolk.[78]  Arundel, Derby, Gloucester, Huntingdon, Northampton and Warwick were at Sluys;[79] Salisbury and Suffolk had been taken prisoner the previous April in a skirmish near Lille, whilst Oxford joined the army outside Tournai, having earlier been employed in the defence of the Hainault march.

These men can certainly be described as the `king’s friends’: most of them had been raised to comital status by Edward III and they had all fought with him in Scotland.  That Edward relied so heavily on this group at the start of the French war was hardly surprising; indeed, he really had no choice.  On the eve of the March 1337 Parliament the `community of earls’ was in a much depleted state.  Edward III’s warlike younger brother, John of Eltham, earl of Cornwall, had died a few months earlier, as had John de Bohun, earl of Hereford and Essex.  John de Warenne, earl of Surrey had been a vigorous campaigner, but now in his early fifties he was a bit old forchevauchées.  Between them, Cornwall, Hereford and Warenne had provided over 500 men-at-arms for the large-scale Scottish campaign of 1335.[80]  The new earl of Hereford and Essex, Humphrey, appears to have been an invalid,[81] whilst the recently restored earl of Devon was now in his sixties.[82]  The earl of Lancaster was a little younger, but blind, whilst his cousin, the king’s uncle, Thomas of Brotherton, earl of Norfolk, had taken no part in the Scottish wars after Halidon Hill.  He was to die in 1338.[83]  The earls of Angus and Buchan were, as their titles suggest, preoccupied with Scotland.  This left only the earls of Arundel, Oxford and Warwick, vigorous men in their twenties, who had taken an active part in Edward III’s Scottish war,[84] but hardly a weighty enough team of senior lieutenants for an ambitious continental war. Accordingly, in the spring of 1337, they were joined by six new earls, men whom they knew and presumably respected as comrades in arms from the Scottish campaigns.[85]

The honours bestowed in March 1337 had a dual purpose.  They were intended, on the one hand, as reward for talented men, who had played leading roles in the coup of 1330 and had fought loyally in Scotland;[86] and, on the other, as practical preparation for the coming war.  In expanding the community of earls, Edward III acquired a larger group of reliable captains; but it seems that he was also seeking, through the social weight and wealth of these men, to broaden the recruitment base of his armies. Grants of 1,000 marks per annum in land, combined with further royal favours, enabled the new earls of Salisbury, Suffolk and Huntingdon to expand their affinities to levels commensurate with their comital status.[87]  Hugh de Audley’s elevation to the earldom of Gloucester was not accompanied by such a grant: it was an acknowledgement of existing status and wealth.  It was also, doubtless, a gesture intended to encourage a seasoned campaigner of relatively advanced years to continue placing well-established recruiting networks, resting in part on the Clare inheritance, at the king’s disposal.[88]  Given their ages, much more could realistically be expected of the new earls of Derby and Northampton; and by elevating these men, Edward might hope to re-activate and expand Lancaster and Bohun lordship networks for military purposes.  Henry of Grosmont, son and heir of the blind earl of Lancaster, already had sufficient resources to support a major campaigning retinue, but comital rank and an annuity of 1,000 marksper annum, to last until his father’s death, gave him the status and means to build his own distinctive Lancastrian affinity and to play a leading role in the continental war.[89] With the earl of Hereford and Essex also militarily inactive, the elevation of his younger brother, William de Bohun, backed up by £1,000 a year, would enable a vigorous, young captain to re-vitalise a military affinity based on Bohun lordship.[90]  The `serious decline in names, honours and ranks of dignity’, to which the creation patents of 1337 refer,[91] had threatened to restrict the crown’s access to the military potential of the gentry by closing natural avenues of recruitment.  The expansion of the community of earls made the genteel military community more accessible to an ambitious king.

The newly created earls would be expected to serve in France with augmented retinues, exploiting in particular the wealth of military experience accumulated during the Scottish wars.  In part, this was achieved by the acquisition of permanent retainers, such as we see in the agreement between the earl of Northampton and Sir William Tallemache on the eve of the battle of Sluys.[92]  However, only the core of a magnate’s campaigning comitiva would be recruited by this means and the great majority of genteel combatants were not members of bastard feudal affinities.[93]  There was a greater dependance on other sources of manpower: firstly, on those traditional avenues of recruitment that involved less formal ties of lordship and locality; and secondly, on the ad hoc employment of free-lance `professionals’, many of whom were drawn from families on the margins of the gentry.

A third source of manpower consisted of men who were seeking new allegiances, whether permanent or informal, following the death or retirement of their previous captain.  The 85 men-at-arms who served in Scotland under the earl of Cornwall’s banner during the late summer of 1336 represent a good example of such a pool of potential recruits.  The earl died on 13 September.[94]  Thereafter, several of his knights offered their services as independent captains.  The most notable of these was Sir Hugh le Despenser.  In the spring of 1337 he was restored to some of his father’s lands and, as was fitting for the heir to a portion of the Clare inheritance, later served with a retinue that would not have been inappropriate for an earl.[95]  However, the majority of the men-at-arms who had been in Cornwall’s comitiva in 1336 looked to new captains for their future military employment.  The principal beneficiaries were the bishop of Lincoln and Sir John Molyns, the former faced with the task of recruiting a retinue from scratch at the start of the French war, the latter seeking merely to expand his comitiva to a size appropriate to his new-found status.[96]  No more than a handful of the earl of Cornwall’s men served in the Low Countries with the recently created earls.  As far as we can tell, Derby and Salisbury each picked up only one man from this source.[97] Admittedly, neither of these magnates marked the beginning of the French war with an immediate significant expansion in their campaigning retinues.  Indeed, Salisbury served in the Low Countries with fewer men-at-arms than he had had in his comitiva during the previous winter in Scotland;[98] and it was only with the Breton campaign of 1342-3 that Derby’s contingent of knights and esquires showed a sharp increase on the numbers that had served under him in Scotland.[99]  Yet we should not assume from this stability of numbers that these retinues were already stable in composition.  That only 24 of the hundred men-at-arms on Henry of Lancaster’s muster roll in 1336 can be shown to have served with him (now as earl of Derby) in 1338-9 may in part be a result of the incompleteness of our nominal data for the latter expedition; but that nearly two-thirds of the identifiable men-at-arms with him in 1338-9 do not appear on the 1336 muster roll is surely significant.[100]  There was, it seems, at the start of the French war an ample supply of knights and esquires who were not constrained by formal or informal ties of allegiance.  Derby recruited more widely still in 1345.  Having been appointed king’s lieutenant in Aquitaine, he contracted to serve with a personal retinue truly befitting his status, consisting of 250 men-at-arms and 250 archers.[101]  Yet of the 95 bannerets and knights in the earl’s retinue, only fifteen had a permanent connection with the earl that involved a grant of land or annuities.[102]

In contrast to Salisbury and Derby, the earl of Northampton’s campaigning retinue grew substantially immediately after his elevation to an earldom.  From having 56 men-at-arms under his banner in 1336, he served with 89 in 1338-9 and 135 at Sluys in 1340; and having been appointed to an important independent command, in Brittany during the summer of 1342, Northampton accounted for a retinue that included no fewer than 200 men-at-arms.[103]  As had doubtless been intended, Northampton was well placed to draw on existing Bohun recruiting networks.  As we have seen, Essex offered a promising military community from which to draw recruits, with a proportion of the gentry of this county having established connections with the Bohuns.[104]  For example, among the families associated with both Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford (d. 1322) and his son William were the Mandevilles of Black Notley.  Sir Thomas de Mandeville was with Northampton at Sluys and elsewhere,[105] whilst his son, Thomas, continued the tradition of service with the Bohuns.[106]  Data relating to the campaigning retinues of William’s elder brother, John de Bohun, earl of Hereford and Essex (d. 1336), are sparse.[107]  Nevertheless it can be seen that, of the families who are known to have supplied men-at-arms for service with that earl, only three contributed to William de Bohun’s comitiva in 1336; but following his elevation to comital status (and, a few months later, to the office of Constable of England)[108] at least nine others were represented in Northampton’s retinues during the early campaigns of the continental war.[109]

The expanded comital community served Edward III well from the very beginning of the French war.  All of the able-bodied English earls fought in France on at least one occasion during the early campaigns.  With the expeditions to Brittany in 1342-3 the military participation of the earls reached a peak: nine, including Pembroke and the new earl of Devon, played a part in this campaign.  Their retinues contributed nearly 900 men-at-arms, a little under half of all of the genteel combatants enumerated on the pay rolls.[110]  Edward’s injection of new blood into the community of earls had enabled the top stratum of the military community to contribute more manpower to his armies and the heavy dependence on the household division was reduced proportionately.

If some of the earls, notably Arundel and Huntingdon, were directly involved in only one of the early French campaigns (in their case, the battle of Sluys), it cannot be doubted that they supported the king’s war in a variety of other ways.  Arundel had been co-commander, with Salisbury, of the English army besieging Dunbar during the winter and spring of 1338; and when, in mid-June, Salisbury hastened south to join the king, Arundel was left to supervise the defence of the Scottish border.[111]  Similar commitments in the north from July to November 1342 prevented Arundel and Huntingdon from joining the expedition to Brittany, although they would have brought reinforcements to the king had not a truce been concluded in January 1343.[112]  It is possible that Huntingdon (and indeed the king) considered that his talents lay more in the fields of administration and diplomacy than in war.  But it should be recalled he would have led an expedition to Gascony had it not been cancelled in June 1338, that he served as admiral in 1340 and 1341, and that throughout this period he occupied offices with military functions in England.[113]

With both the northern marches and the south coast under threat of attack at the start of the French war, it made good sense to leave a strong group of militarily-experienced magnates in England.  So, along with Arundel and Huntingdon, who on 13 July 1338 were appointed to the regency council,[114] Gloucester, Oxford and Warwick remained in England when the king embarked for Flanders.  Their military and managerial talents were not neglected.  Warwick, for example, was appointed keeper of Southampton in July 1339, in the aftermath of the devastating raid of the previous October, with a garrison which was intended to number 220 men.[115]  Moreover, even the elderly and infirm earls were to be involved in the defence of the realm: they are to be found among the magnates appointed in August 1338 to oversee the array of troops and the keeping of the peace in the various regions of the kingdom.[116]  One of these was the earl of Devon, keeper of the maritime land, who, inspite of his 63 years, led the local levies in resisting a French raid on Plymouth in May 1339.[117]  Another was the earl of Surrey, who (along with Arundel, Huntingdon and Oxford) was given responsibility for a region’s defence during the spring 1339 invasion scare.[118]

If the community of earls undoubtedly pulled their weight in the early years of the French war, what of the role of the untitled nobility, `the massed ranks of the English barons’?  Broadly speaking, the peerage’s pattern of service was similar to that of the earls.  Of the 60 untitled peers who were summoned to the Parliaments of the late 1330s (1337-39), half had either died before the first campaign, were of advanced years or were northern barons with responsibilties on the Scottish border.[119]  Of the remainder, a majority served in the French war in 1338-40.[120]  Some non-combatant peers were represented in France by relatives.[121]  Also to be seen fighting during these years were the leading members of several baronial families which were not currently receiving a parliamentary summons.[122]  Some of the `strenuous’ peers were royal household bannerets – men like Henry de Ferrars and Thomas de Poynings; but they were a minority.  Sir John de Segrave and Sir John de Tibetot brought their own retinues in 1338, whilst others, like Sir Nicholas de Cantilupe, served under greater magnates.[123]  Sir Robert de Morley and Sir John Bardolf were admirals during the early years of the war;[124] indeed, Morley distinguished himself leading the English fleet into action at Sluys.

There were some, apparently able-bodied peers who, whilst not being closely involved in the defence of the north, did not accompany the king to Flanders in 1338-40, but few of them avoided positions of military responsibility in England.  Indeed, the baronial community had already shouldered the burden of coordinating coastal defence before the king embarked for the continent.  Fifteen of the peers who did not join one of the Flemish expeditions (including some old men) had been appointed keepers of the maritime land in June 1337 and March 1338.[125]  In the north during these years the Berwick garrison was headed by a series of men of baronial rank: Sir Anthony de Lucy, Sir Richard Talbot, Sir John de Mowbray and Sir James Audley.  Audley’s term of duty at Berwick, in command of a hundred men, whom he brought north personally from his castle at Heleigh, ran concurrently with the king’s expedition to Brittany.[126]  Audley may well have felt that he had contributed sufficiently to the king’s wars.  But he had missed the Low Countries campaigns and in December 1342 he was ordered to send 20 men-at-arms and 20 archers to Portsmouth for despatch to Brittany.  Twenty-two others, including the earls of Surrey and Hereford and sixteen peers, received similar orders.[127]  If Edward had indeed been prepared to campaign in France `without the massed ranks of English barons’, it was partly because a substantial proportion of them were unfit for overseas service (a problem which was to some extent reduced by the promotion of soldier-bannerets to the peerage in the 1340s);[128] but he certainly ensured that many of those who remained in England had a part to play in the war effort.

It remains only to consider whether the gentry were as heavily involved in the French war as the nobility.  Each of the three royal expeditions considered in this article fielded at least 1,500 men-at-arms, with about a quarter of these men being knights.  As we have seen, the surviving records permit the identification of only a proportion of these men.  On occasion, the utilisation of all available sources reveals the names of about half of the men-at-arms drawing the king’s pay.[129]  Apart from handicapping investigation of the patterns of service within the gentry, the incompleteness of the nominal records prevents us from establishing the numbers of sub-genteel `professionals’ that were serving as men-at-arms.  However, the available evidence suggests that, at this stage of the French war, most men-at-arms were recruited from families of gentle rank.  If we accept that the gentry of fourteenth-century England consisted of about 9,000 to 10,000 families, with perhaps a 1:3 ratio between ‘county’ and ‘parish’ gentry,[130] it would seem that the early campaigns of the French war drew from the lay landholding community a level of military participation which, if not exhaustive, was certainly far in excess of that contributed by the population at large.

Moreover, in considering the gentry’s contribution to the king’s war, we should remember that this was a conflict with many facets.  The armies led by the king in person represented the largest, but by no means the only, overseas military commitment facing the crown, whilst whole regional subsets of the kingdom’s military community – particularly the manpower of the northernmost shires and the maritime land of southern coastal counties – were tied down by defence responsibilities in the early years of the French war.  To consider this point further, let us take as an example the summer of 1339, as the king prepared, after a seemingly interminable delay, to take the field in the Cambrésis.  The numbers of English knights and esquires in Gascony, under the overall command of the seneschal, Sir Oliver de Ingham, were admittedly small, probably only a few dozen men.[131]  The same applies to Jersey, the only part of the Channel Islands not to have been taken by the French in 1338.  It was the responsibility of Walter de Weston, the English sub-warden, but garrisoned at this time mainly by local men.[132]  However, larger numbers of English troops were serving in Scotland and the borders.  Although Cupar and Perth had fallen to the Scots during the summer of 1339,[133] garrisons were successfully, if expensively, maintained at Berwick, Edinburgh, Roxburgh and Stirling.  All told, these fortresses accounted for over 500 men, half of whom were men-at-arms.[134]  Field armies might be more substantial, but periods of service were usually brief.  The force which failed to relieve the beleaguered English garrison at Perth consisted of about 1,300 men, mostly hobelars; they remained in the king’s pay for only three weeks.[135]  The manning of these garrisons and the mobile rapid reaction forces watching the Marches was the responsibility of the military community of the northern shires.  As a consequence, the section of the English gentry within which the fire of the martial instinct burnt most fiercely was prevented from taking an active part in the king’s new war in France.  The shires north of the Trent did not provide arrayed troops for the French war, and during these years at least we find comparatively few northern knights and esquires in the armies in France.[136]  After the siege of Dunbar was abandoned in June 1338 and Salisbury, with the household division, rushed south to embark for the continent, the northern captains – Percy, Neville, Lucy, Mowbray, Clifford, Umfraville and Wake – stayed put, and so, by and large, did the men who had served with them.  Men like Gerard de Wyderyngton, a Northumberland knight whom we glimpsed earlier serving at Sluys with the earl of Northampton, were rare exceptions to this general rule; and when he wished to accompany the earl of Northampton to Brittany in 1342, having already in May contracted with the crown to serve in the north with ten men-at-arms, he was obliged to employ his brother, Roger, as a stand-in.[137]

Shifting our focus to the military community of the southern coastal counties in the summer of 1339, here too considerations of defence and security were prime concerns of the local gentry.  As in the north, a backbone to the defence arrangments was provided by garrisons paid for by the crown.  The most heavily garrisoned area was the Isle of Wight, with a force peaking at over 300 men, including nearly a hundred men-at-arms.[138]  On the mainland there were perhaps 100 men in the garrison at Southampton, 100 at Dover, and smaller numbers at Portchester, Corfe and elsewhere.[139]  There were 20 men-at-arms and 50 archers at the Tower and 10 men-at-arms and 20 achers at Windsor castle.[140]  Such garrisons certainly drew on the manpower resources of the gentry,[141] but for a county knight or esquire, participation in the defence of the realm usually meant involvement in the defence of the maritime land.  About 150 keepers and arrayers of the maritime land were appointed in June 1337 and subsequently renewed, whilst the justices of the peace selected in July 1338, on the eve of the king’s departure for France, had similar responsibilities.[142]  Over and above this supervisory role were the personal defence obligations of the gentry, particularly their contribution as occupiers of the highest income categories in the revised statute of Winchester, promulgated by Edward III on 30 December 1334 and on several further occasions thereafter.  Landholders with £40 per annum of lands or rents were instructed to equip themselves and one other man as mounted men-at-arms; those with £20 had only to equip themselves in this fashion.  For lesser landholders the established equipment requirements of the statute of Winchester continued to apply.[143]  An array list for Norfolk from October 1336[144] and a sprinkling of entries on the Chancery rolls demonstrate that these defence obligations were indeed taken seriously by the Crown.  Understandably, the maritime land attracted most government attention.  Those, like John de Mowbray, who had withdrawn from their estates near the coast (in his case, Bramber, Sussex), were reminded of their responsibilities.[145]  Particularly stinging was the reprimand issued to Bartholomew de Lisle in February 1340 after he had left the Isle of Wight: `it is not becoming for belted knights to eloign themselves from places where deeds of war may take place, but rather to go to those places and stay there for their honour’s sake’.[146]

Given the range of military commitments facing the traditional warrior class in England at the start of the Hundred Years War, commitments involving the defence of the realm as well as the king’s expeditions to France, should we not conclude that war was the prime `public’ activity of the gentry at this time?  Perhaps we should be wary of insisting on too sharp a distinction between military and `civilian’ service.  There were, after all, many men who undertook public service in both the military and civilian spheres during their adult lives: it is commonplace to find knights switching, apparently effortlessly, from the shire court to the battlefield.[147]  Of those two, three or four gentlemen appointed in each county to commissions of array, many would have had prior experience of judging the calibre of fighting men in the field.[148]  Moreover, sheriffs and keepers of the peace, particularly in northern England and in the southern coastal counties, had responsibilities closely connected to the king’s war.  Military service and administrative work in the shires were not, then, wholly separate activities; and yet surely we should draw a distinction between them.  Even if we exclude from consideration all those engaged in the defence of the realm and, further, limit our attention to those who embarked with the king for France in July 1338, then it is clear that there were, at that time, more men of gentle blood taking up arms than there were engaged in shire administration and related activities.  This is a particularly striking conclusion since at the time of Edward III’s passage to Antwerp in 1338 there was a great deal of activity in the shires.  Justices of the peace were appointed on 6 July with defence as well as peace-keeping responsibilities.  Each commission was composed of four or five members of the local gentry.  Above them were seven (later ten) regional commissions of overseers drawn, in the main, from the nobility.[149]  At this time, also, elected representatives were preparing to leave for a session of the great council called for the end of July, while continuing in the background was the routine work of sheriffs and escheators.[150]  But, all told, there were only a little over 300 men engaged in these tasks in July 1338.[151]  Adding those who were responsible for arraying archers in the shires during the spring and early summer of 1338 does not greatly inflate the total, since there were in England scarcely a hundred men engaged in this activity (and about a fifth of them have already been included in the total).[152]  Even to take account of lesser officials – coroners and chief taxers – does not increase the overall total substantially.  To set against this number of office-holders, there were, as we have seen, well in excess of a thousand genteel warriors embarking for France.

Such a level of recruitment, though by no means exceptional, represented a substantial siphoning-off of manpower; but did it result in a shortage of candidates for local administration?  It is not difficult to find examples of conflicting responsibilities.  In late July 1338 Sir John de Chevereston was unable to serve on a commission of oyer and terminer because he had recently left England in the king’s army.  A few weeks later, Sir Ralph de Middelneye, who was involved in the same expedition, was given licence to discharge his duties as escheator by a substitute.  On 25 October 1342, Sir William Fraunk, who had joined the army bound for Brittany, was replaced by John de Hundon as sheriff and escheator of Lincolnshire.[153]  Yet, in truth, the demands of war caused no more than minor disruption: men were replaced without difficulty or were allowed to appoint lieutenants.[154]  Thus, recruitment for the army which left England with the king in mid-July 1338 appears to have had very little effect on the appointment of justices of the peace which took place on the eve of the king’s departure.[155]  The pool of available genteel manpower was large enough to sustain this level of military participation without interfering with the functioning of local administration.  Indeed, it was large enough to include a good many knights and esquires who sought, through lack of ambition, idleness or an overriding concern for their domestic interests, to avoid all forms of public service.[156]  Perhaps it was most usual for older men, particularly from `county gentry’ families, to concentrate on shire administration once they had hung up their swords, whilst their sons continued the tradition of military service.[157]  Thus, whilst Sir Thomas de Goushill was appointed to a peace commission in July 1338, his son, Nicholas, was preparing to leave England with the king’s army.[158]  Two years later, he was at the siege of Tournai.[159]  However, war was far from being an exclusively young man’s pursuit.  It is not unusual to find father and son serving together; and a good many of the younger sons of genteel families became career soldiers, with campaigning lives which ultimately stretched over several decades.[160]  There were certainly more career soldiers than career administrators in the mid-fourteenth-century gentry; and when we look beyond the careerists, there can be no doubt that, of the forms of public service open to men of gentle blood, that which was performed by the largest number, if only occasionally, was campaigning in the king’s armies.

For Edward III at the outset of his continental adventure, much would depend upon the extent to which he could persuade the nobility and gentry to support his war with their swords.  Here was a large pool of potential military manpower, men born into a warrior caste, imbued with the chivalric mentalité and trained in arms and horsemanship from boyhood.  If the majority of knights and esquires were, at most, occasional soldiers, they certainly should not be regarded as amateurs: this was a military reserve from which contract armies could draw a proportion of their personnel for large-scale expeditions of relatively short duration.  But how was the king actually to manage the practical business of recruitment Under Edward III, royal policy took various forms.  As we have seen, in the spring of 1337, faced with a shrunken comital class, Edward began the process of re-building the community of earls, partly with a view to gaining fuller access to the military potential of the gentry.  This policy was already bearing fruit by 1342-3, with 900 men-at-arms, nearly half of those in the king’s army, serving in the retinues of earls.  Other measures, including the restoration of Hugh le Despenser to his father’s estates and the creation of a new generation of fighting bannerets, where necessary their new status supported by annuities (and, in some cases, later reinforced by a personal summons to Parliament), appear to be directed towards the same goal.[161]

The `indirect’ approach to mobilising the gentry for the king’s war, by bolstering the recruiting capacity of captains, was combined with more direct contact with knights and esquires in the shires.  This involved both carrots and sticks, enhancements to the terms of service as well as pressure.  The provision of pay at double the usual rates for men-at-arms serving in the king’s army in both 1338-39 and 1340 was, as suggested earlier, probably a consequence of the crown’s anxiety about the aristocracy’s attitude to the French war.  That anxiety cannot have greatly diminished by 1341, given the protracted nature of the first expedition to Flanders and the anticlimactic, uncomfortable end to the second in the siege camp outside Tournai.  But in view of the Crown’s dire financial predicament by 1340, such generosity with the rates of pay could hardly be sustained, and it was not to be repeated.  Until the introduction in 1345 of regard, a bonus payment for men-at-arms campaigning overseas, the terms of service were decidedly less favourable.  Indeed, the distraints to knighthood of 1341 and 1344 may indicate a change to a different approach to the problem of how to encourage more of the gentry to fight.[162]  However, that the stick had temporarily replaced the carrot in royal recruitment policy in the mid 1340s can best be seen in the short-lived military assessment of landholders on the basis of their landed income.[163]  Unpopular as this experiment undoubtedly was, there can be no doubt that it helped to stimulate the the massive turnout of genteel manpower that can been seen from 1345 to 1347, culminating in perhaps 4,000 English men-at-arms at the height of the siege of Calais.  Such a level of military participation suggests that there had indeed been underexploited military capacity in the gentry at the beginning of the French war.

In the late 1330s Edward III’s efforts to draw on untapped pools of genteel manpower were less systematic.  Perhaps characteristic is the order of 7 November 1338, addressed to 44 individuals, requiring them to appear at Ipswich on 21 December, well equipped and ready for overseas service, on pain of severe consequences for their persons and property.[164]  The list of men summoned reads like a roll-call of colourful gentry criminals; all of the famous names of the 1320s and ’30s are there, including four members of the Folville family, two Coterels and three Gresleys.[165]  It is clear that, as far as the government was concerned, these were men who owed some legitimate service with the sword.  Their nefarious skills could no doubt be put to good use in the king’s army,[166] where, indeed, they would find many other men quite as fierce and wily as themselves.  For every romantic adventurer or virgin soldier in the ranks, there was a battle-scarred veteran from the Scottish wars; and few of the apparently respectable gentlemen whom we have seen in the service of the earl of Northampton and other captains, whether retained or temporarily contracted, were entirely without blemish.  It seems likely, for example, that the William Tallemache with whom this paper began and a man of that name who was pardoned for homicide in 1339 were one and the same.[167]  Sir Robert Marny, another of Northampton’s companions at Sluys whom we glimpsed earlier, later to represent Essex in Parliament and one of the venerable deponents in the Court of Chivalry cases of the 1380s, appears to have embarked upon a more systematic criminal career in his home county only after some years of campaigning experience.

It is tempting to explain such behaviour in terms of the corrupting influence of war.  What is clear is that, for men of action, honourable service in war and heavy-handed law-breaking in England were not incompatible activities.  On occasion, military service and crime might be indirectly related.  Sir John de Norwich’s career serves as an example of this.  Norwich is perhaps most notable for the fabrication of a family pedigree extending back to the Conquest, but he was also an energetic captain with a career which began during Edward II’s Scottish wars.[168]  After distinguished service in Gascony early in the French war, he was accused in February 1340 of unlawful seizure of a Ghent merchant’s ship near Great Yarmouth.[169]  He may well have been driven to this act of piracy by financial desperation, or merely by exasperation with the government.  For months he had been seeking payment for his lengthy spell of service in Gascony.[170]  His fall from grace was short-lived, however, for he was probably at Sluys and was certainly among those summoned to the great council of April 1342.[171]

Men of daring and enterprise, who, like Sir John de Norwich, had been schooled in the practice of war in the demanding training ground of Scotland and the borders, were of great value to Edward III at the beginning of his continental adventure.  Indeed, that Norwich had selected carefully from the pool of available veterans when recruiting his retinue for service in Gascony in 1337 is suggested by the inclusion of such men as William de Thweyt, a young esquire drawn from the minor gentry of Norfolk, who had fought at Halidon Hill and on several subsequent occasions in Scotland.  Thweyt’s career is unusually well documented, illuminated as it is by his testimony before the Court of Chivalry in 1386.[172]  The patchy sources for rank and file military service in the 1320s and 1330s, combined with the difficulties of nominal record linkage, leave us with no more than glimpses of the military experience of most of Norwich’s men,[173] but what evidence we have is certainly suggestive.  Several of Norwich’s knights had participated in the War of St Sardos, while as many as a dozen of his men can be identified as veterans of the Scottish wars.  The actual total must have been higher than this.  If, as we have seen, the late 1330s and early 1340s witnessed various initiatives by the government to unlock the latent military potential of the gentry, then Edward III must also have been aware at the very outset of the French war that he already had a pool of seasoned campaigners at his disposal.  This was an ambitious, resourceful and, in many cases, unscrupulous community of warriors, into whose midst new recruits, whether younger sons looking for a martial career or their more domestically committed elders seeking no more than an honourable taste of campaigning, would be quickly assimilated.  These, then, were the men who in the autumn of 1339 were responsible for breaking the `thread of silk’ which, according to the cardinals, surrounded France.[174]



End Notes

[1]. Unless otherwise stated all manuscript records cited in the footnotes are to be found at the Public Record Office, London.  I am grateful to Dr Richard Gorski for reading and commenting on an earlier draft of this article.

[2]. DL25/32; printed in M. Jones and S. Walker, (eds), `Private Indentures for Life Service in Peace and War, 1278-1476′, Camden Miscellany XXXIII, Camden Society, Fifth Series, III (London, 1994), no. 38, pp. 71-2, where the date is given as 20 June, but the Handbook of Dates suggests otherwise.  Cf. G. A. Holmes, The Estates of the Higher Nobility in Fourteenth-Century England (Cambridge, 1957), p. 69.

[3]. E101/17/2, m. 4; C71/13, m. 20; Calendar of Patent Rolls [hereafter, CPR], 1338-40, p. 386.

[4]. Esquire under Northampton: C81/1734, m. 40; C81/1735, m. 15; C81/1750, m. 12; CPR, 1334-8, pp. 530; Treaty Rolls, 1337-9, nos 291, 385, 653.

[5]. Letter of protection dated 8 May 1339: C76/14, m. 13.  Four of Molyns’s men were knighted during October 1339: M. Lyon, B. Lyon, H. S. Lucas & J. de Sturler (eds),The Wardrobe Book of William de Norwell, 12 July 1338 to 27 May 1340 (Brussells, 1983) [hereafter, Norwell], p. 332.

[6]. See Holmes, Estates, pp. 69-70 for a discussion of the scanty evidence concerning Northampton’s retaining.

[7]. Tallemache’s protection, dated 21 June 1340 (C76/15, m. 20); Northampton’s letter, requesting protections (C81/1734, no. 60).  Thereafter, Tallemache served loyally under Northampton’s banner: e.g., in Brittany in 1342-3 (C76/17, m. 36) and 1345 (T. Rymer (ed.), Foedera, Conventiones, Litterae etc., revised edn, 4 vols in 7 parts (London, 1816-69) [hereafter, Foedera], III, i, pp. 38-9), and on the Reims campaign in 1359-60 (C76/38, m. 17; C76/40, m. 10).

[8]. For Marny’s military career, see (i) his Court of Chivalry depositions, both dating from 1386: C47/6/1, no. 27N. H. Nicolas (ed.), The Scrope and Grosvenor Controversy, 2 vols (London, 1832), I, pp. 170-1; and (ii) his letters of protection: Treaty Rolls, 1337-9, nos 291, 733 (Low Countries, 1338-9); C76/15, m. 20 (1340); C76/17, m. 36 (1342-3); C76/34, mm. 5, 16, 18 (1356); C76/37, m. 3 & C76/38, m. 16 (1359-60).  Marny was associated with John, Lord Fitzwalter’s Essex gang: J. C. Ward,The Essex Gentry and the County Community in the Fourteenth Century, Essex Record Office, 1991, p. 23; J. S. Roskell, L. Clark & C. Rawcliffe (eds), The History of Parliament: the House of Commons, 1386-1421, 4 vols, (Stroud, 1992), III, pp. 690-3.

[9]. On the Bohun estates, see Holmes, Estates, pp. 19-25; Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem [hereafter, CIPM], X, no. 639.

[10]. See, for example, P. Morgan, War and Society in Medieval Cheshire, 1277-1403 (Manchester, 1987), ch. 2.

[11]. C47/6/1, no. 7.  He was still serving under Northampton in 1359-60: C76/38, m. 17; other service is suggested by C81/1734, m. 40; C81/1735, m. 21; C81/1750, m. 12.

[12]. Wyderyington: E101/19/36, m. 5; C71/16, m. 10 (Scotland, 1336); Treaty Rolls, 1337-9, nos 291, 317, 693 (Low Countries, 1338-9); C81/1734, m. 24, C76/15, m. 5 (1340); C76/17, m. 36 (1342-3); Foedera, III, i, pp. 38-9 (1345); G. Wrottesley (ed.), Crecy and Calais (London, 1898), p. 89 (1346); C76/38, m. 17 (1359-60).

[13]. Engayne had served with Bohun in Scotland in 1336: E101/19/36, m. 5.  Drayton had been a member of the bishop of Ely’s retinue in 1327: E101/18/6.

[14]. Treaty Rolls, 1337-9, nos 288, 373, 707; C76/15, m. 19; C81/1735, m. 14; Holmes, Estates, pp. 123-4.

[15]. G. E. Cokayne (ed.), The Complete Peerage, revised edn, 12 vols in 13 parts (London, 1910-57) [hereafter, GEC], V, pp. 75-7; CIPM, X, no. 433 (died 16 February 1358, aged 55).

[16]. Report from the Lords’ Committees … for all Matters Touching the Dignity of a Peer, 5 vols (London, 1820-29) [hereafter, RDP], IV, pp. 605, 608, 612, 615, 618.  Sir John Engayne le fitz is included in a fiat warrant, possibly for the Sluys campaign: C81/1734, m. 24.  Sir Thomas Engayne served with Northampton in France in 1359-60: C76/38, m. 17.  See also GEC, V, pp. 77-8.

[17]. `Military community’ may be defined as `those [in local society] with military experience’: Morgan, War and Society, p. 1.  Whilst this is a socially diverse group, embracing both the greatest magnates and the poorest of arrayed infantrymen, this paper focuses on the `aristocracy’, a term which I take to embrace both the nobility and gentry.

[18]. P. Coss, The Knight in Medieval England, 1000-1400 (Stroud, 1993), chs 4 & 5.

[19]. Ibid., p. 100.

[20]. N. B. Lewis, `The English Forces in Flanders, August-November 1297′, Studies in Medieval History Presented to F. M. Powicke, ed. R. W. Hunt, W. A. Pantin & R. W. Southern (Oxford, 1948), pp. 314-16.

[21]. J. Sumption, The Hundred Years War: Trial by Battle (London, 1990), pp. 180-3.  For a very different view, see W. M. Ormrod, The Reign of Edward III (New Haven & London, 1990), pp. 12-13, 100.

[22]. E. B. Fryde, `Parliament and the French war, 1336-40′, Essays in Medieval History Presented to Bertie Wilkinson, ed. T. A. Sandquist & M. R. Powicke (Toronto, 1969), pp. 250-69; G. L. Harriss, King, Parliament and Public Finance in Medieval England to 1369 (Oxford, 1975), pp. 233-4.

[23]. A. Ayton, Knights and Warhorses: Military Service and the English Aristocracy under Edward III (Woodbridge, 1994), p. 109.

[24]. E36/203, published in extenso as The Wardrobe Book of William de Norwell; see pp. 325-62 for the pay roll (cf. E101/21/21 and E101/21/31: pay rolls for county-based companies of archers for the period prior to their arrival in the Low Countries). E36/204, the account book of William de Edington’s period as Keeper of the Wardrobe, 1341-4; the pay roll for the Breton expeditions occupies fols 105v-10v.  For summary analysis, see A. Prince, `The Strength of English Armies in the Reign of Edward III’, EHR, 46 (1931), pp. 360-3; and, for the armies taken to Brittany in 1342-3, see A. Ayton, Knights and Warhorses, appendix 2.

[25]. E101/389/8; the pay roll occupies mm. 11-16.  See T. F. Tout, Chapters in the Administrative History of Medieval England, 6 vols (Manchester, 1920-33), IV, pp. 106-7; K. Fowler, The King’s Lieutenant: Henry of Grosmont, First Duke of Lancaster, 1310-61 (London, 1969), p. 34 n. 17 (p. 258).  Albert Prince’s omission of this pay roll from his pioneering 1931 article in the English Historical Review appears to have strongly influenced subsequent researchers: e.g. Sumption, Hundred Years War, pp. 338-9.

[26]. For the principal developments in the recruitment and organisation of English armies during this period, see A. Ayton, `English Armies in the Fourteenth Century’,Arms, Armies and Fortifications in the Hundred Years War, ed. A. Curry & M. Hughes (Woodbridge, 1994), pp. 21-38.  A. Prince, `The Army and Navy’, The English Government at Work, 1327-1336, ed. J. F. Willard & W. A. Morris (Cambridge, Mass., 1940), I, pp. 332-93 remains valuable for the period immediately prior to the Hundred Years War.

[27]. The commissions of array, together with full lists of arrayers arranged by counties, are to be found on the Chancery rolls.  Few muster rolls for shire levies have survived, but for this period see E101/21/29 (Shropshire, 1338 and 1339); E101/23/8 (Lincolnshire, 1342).

[28]. For example, 255 individuals are listed on the pay roll for the Breton campaign: Ayton, Knights and Warhorses, pp. 182-3.

[29]. On this subject, see Ayton, Knights and Warhorses, pp. 144-55.

[30]. Norwell’s account does, however, record the creation of new knights, many of them dubbed on 23 October at Buironfosse.

[31]. The pay roll does not give precise manpower numbers for Sir Geoffrey le Scrope’s retinue, which served `per convencionem indentatam secum factam per regem et consilium suum’: Norwell, p. 331.  However, two witnesses in the Court of Chivalry armorial case between Richard, Lord Scrope and Sir Robert Grosvenor mentioned Sir Geoffrey le Scrope’s retinue in 1338-9.  One stated that he had served with 40 men-at-arms, the other that he had 10 knights in his company: Scrope and Grosvenor Controversy, I, pp. 105, 152.

[32]. 445 of the archers, forming a `free company’ of volunteers from various parts of England, actually arrived in mid-August (Norwell, p. 360).  The Welsh are impossible to document precisely; there were over one thousand of them at various times: cf. Prince, `Strength of English Armies’, p. 361.

[33]. E.g., Sir William de la Pole, with 35 men-at-arms, was paid from 16 August; he had 200 archers from 1 March 1339: Norwell, pp. 335, 358.  Sir Hugh le Despenser appears to have arrived too late to be included in the pay records: Calendar of Close Rolls [hereafter, CCR], 1339-41, p. 290.

[34]. Sumption, Hundred Years War, p. 199.

[35]. The pay roll shows that 900 archers were certainly at Sluys.  For a further 750 the precise period of service is uncertain, though it is likely that a proportion of these men were at the battle.

[36]. The late arrivals included the earl of Oxford’s men, who, having been stationed on the Hainault march, joined the earl of Northampton’s retinue on 10 July: Norwell, pp. 326-7; E101/389/8, m. 11.  Oxford was due to leave England with the earl of Warwick towards the end of March (CCR, 1339-41, p. 370; C76/15, mm. 25-6), but Warwick appears to have been at the battle of Sluys: the vadia guerre record for his retinue makes no mention of service on the Hainault march and begins a new pay period on 24 June, the day of Sluys.  William de Sutton, a deponent in the Lovel vs. Morley armorial dispute before the Court of Chivalry in 1386-7, testified that he had been at Sluys with Warwick: C47/6/1, no. 5.  The pay roll suggests that Sir Geoffrey le Scrope’s retinue joined the army on 31 July (E101/389/8, m. 11), although only three days earlier an order had been issued for six ships to carry him and his retinue from Orwell (C76/15, m. 9).  Many retinues show evidence of withdrawals; by far the largest, the departure of 67 men-at-arms on 22 July, affected the earl of Derby’s company (E101/389/8, m. 11).

[37]. Burghersh’s retinue in 1338-9 at its peak fielded over one hundred knights and esquires: Norwell, pp. 325-6.  Sixty-five men have enrolled protections or attorneys, mostly dated 6 June, for service with the bishop in 1340: C76/15, mm. 21-3, 25.  Having had a lucky escape during the siege of Tournai, the bishop died in Ghent on 2 December 1340: Sumption, Hundred Years War, pp. 352, 362.

[38]. Enrolled protections for Arundel and 21 of his men, and Huntingdon with 9 of his: C76/15, mm. 18-20, 22-24.

[39]. RP, II, p. 118.  For Arundel’s service at Sluys, see also CCR, 1339-41, pp. 493-4.  According to Geoffrey le Baker, Arundel, Huntingdon and Gloucester returned to England after Sluys: E. M. Thompson (ed.), Chronicon Galfridi le Baker de Swynebroke (1303-56) (Oxford, 1889), p. 70.  Gloucester’s pay roll entry shows that he was absent from the siege of Tournai from 16 July until 25 August: E101/389/8, m. 11.  Huntingdon had been appointed to the regency council a month before Sluys: CPR, 1338-40, p. 528.

[40]. E.g. E. M. Thompson (ed.), Adam Murimuth, Continuatio Chronicarum, Rolls Series (London, 1889), pp. 106-7.  Both earls had been appointed admirals on 20 February 1340: C76/15, m. 32.

[41]. Sumption, Hundred Years War, pp. 339-43.

[42]. Protections and attorneys: C76/15, mm. 20, 22, 24.  Passage: C76/15, m. 17; cf. m. 7; E. Déprez, Les préliminaires de la guerre de cent ans (Paris, 1902), p. 323 n. 8. One of Artois’ lieutenants, the Yorkshireman Sir Thomas Ughtred, brought a company (protections, dated 21 June: C76/15, m. 19) and took part in the battle of Saint-Omer on 26 July; yet Ughtred’s only appearance on the pay roll is as the unpaid leader of a small company of archers who were receiving the king’s pay from 10 July (E101/389/8, m. 14).

[43]. 24 men-at-arms and 24 archers, serving from 24 June until 3 August, are enumerated in a separate pay account for Sir John de Molyns’s retinue: E101/22/35.  Sir Hugh le Despenser secured protections for himself and 25 men, yet he is missing from the pay roll; and similar evidence exists for Sir Robert Morley: C76/15, mm. 8, 18, 20-24.

[44]. Scrope and Grosvenor controversy, I, p. 156.

[45]. For details and documentary references, see Ayton, Knights and Warhorses, pp. 181-5 and appendix 2.

[46]. Ibid., pp. 260-1.

[47]. E.g. the force of 500 men-at-arms serving in Scotland under Henry of Lancaster from May 1336: E101/19/36; Ayton, Knights and Warhorses, pp. 170-7 and appendix 1.

[48]. Norwell, pp. 309-25; E36/204, fols 86v-88r; Ayton, Knights and Warhorses, pp. 180-4 and appendix 2.  The list of horses lost during the Sluys-Tournai campaign is short and composed mainly of unappraised 40s. horses: E101/389/8, mm. 8-9.

[49]. E101/22/35; the 24 archers in Molyns’s retinue are not named.

[50]. On letters of protection and related records as sources for genteel military service, see Ayton, Knights and Warhorses, pp. 157-63.

[51]. Robert, Lord Lisle was at the centre of what appears to be a case of fraud.  In the spring of 1339, inspite of his 51 years (and having been deemed unfit for military service in December 1336), Lisle obtained protections for himself and a number of men who were to serve with him in the king’s army.  Following the death of his wife, Lisle was excused from joining the army and, shortly after, entered the Franciscan order.  However, the king subsequently learned that Lisle’s protection had been obtained in order avoid a court case with the earl of Lancaster.  C76/14, m. 14; CPR, 1334-8, p. 339; CCR, 1339-41, p. 360; GEC, VIII, pp. 71-3.  John Maddicott has argued that in the late 1330s protections might be used to avoid the attentions of purveyors: The English Peasantry and the Demands of the Crown, 1294-1341, Past and Present Supplement, no. 1, 1975, pp. 21-2.

[52]. 1338: Treaty Rolls, 1337-9.  1340: C76/15.   1342-3: C76/17; C76/18; C61/54.  Note also the suspension of assizes of novel disseisin; for Sluys-Tournai, see CCR, 1339-41, pp. 486-7.

[53]. One such is Sir Hugh de Wrottesley: CPR, 1338-40, p. 194.  On service pardons, see Ayton, Knights and Warhorses, pp. 163-6, which provides full documenatary references.

[54]. There are five large blocks of entries: CPR, 1338-40, pp. 217-36, 337-44, 419-23, 436-440, 454-7.

[55]. Morgan, War and Society, p. 154.

[56]. E101/389/8, m. 2.  Several chronicles state that Latimer was killed in the battle.

[57]. Fourteen in the Lovel vs. Morley case (C47/6/1, nos 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 13, 17, 19, 20, 27, 59, 92, 106); 7 in the Scrope vs. Grosvenor case (Scrope and Grosvenor Controversy, I, pp. 77, 125, 142-6, 198, 240-2).

[58]. Ormrod, Reign of Edward III, p. 100; and, more generally, pp. 12-13, 107-8.

[59]. About 850 men-at-arms, including Geoffrey le Scrope’s retinue and miscellaneous individuals attached to the household.  If we limit our attention to the retinues led by bannerets and knights (including clerks carrying those ranks), we have about 600 men in the household division, which represented 57% of the retinue strength of the army, there being about 450 men-at-arms serving in retinues headed by captains of knightly rank or above who were not attached to the household.  Fees and robes: Norwell, pp. 301-9.

[60]. 17 bannerets and 45 knights; one of the latter, Sir John de Sapy, was absent from the army.  During the campaign, 5 of the king’s household men were elevated to the rank of banneret, whilst 18 became knights.  On 11 October 1339 Sir Thomas de Poynings, a household banneret, died of wounds sustained in the attack on Honnecourt.  His son, Michael, having been knighted, took over command of his father’s retinue on the following day: Norwell, p. 330; H. Maxwell (ed.), Scalacronica (Glasgow, 1907), p. 107; CPR, 1338-40, p. 395.

[61]. Norwell, pp. 301, 339-40.  On Lucy, see GEC, VIII, p. 252; for his his family’s defence responsibilities, see C. M. Fraser (ed.), Northern Petitions, Surtees Society, CXCIV (1981), no. 111; E159/122, m. 56.  He was on paid service in Scotland and the marches during the winter of 1341-2 and the following summer-autumn (E36/204, fols 102r, 103v, 104v, 105r).

[62]. Fees and robes: E101/389/8, mm. 9-10, 26-27.

[63]. This takes the three expeditions to constitute a single army and makes allowance for some omissions from the pay roll; but focusing on the army brought by the king in late October, the household division contributed 45% of the army’s men-at-arms: E36/204, fols 89r-92r.

[64]. Stryvelyn was keeper of Edinburgh castle in 1335-8: B.L., Cotton MS, Nero C.VIII, fol. 249; E101/388/5, m. 17.  See also GEC, XII, part 1, 407-8.

[65]. Norwell, p. 339; E101/389/8, m. 13; E36/204, fols 102 (Scotland, winter 1341-2); 106v (Brittany, 1342-3).

[66]. E101/389/8, m. 26: 330 men-at-arms, plus a small, unspecified number with Sir John Darcy junior.  The captains, who included Sir John de Stryvelyn, undertook the task for a fixed sum, calculated at rate of £30 per 10 men-at-arms.  Cf. E. A. Bond (ed.), Chronicon monasterii de Melsa, 3 vols, Rolls Series (London, 1866-68), III, p. 49;CPR, 1340-43, p. 382.

[67]. J. O. Prestwich, `The Military Household of the Norman Kings’, EHR, 96 (1981), pp. 1-35; S. D. Church, `The Knights of the Household of King John: a Question of Numbers’, Thirteenth-Century England IV, ed. P. R. Coss & S. D. Lloyd (Woodbridge, 1992), pp. 151-65.

[68]. M. Prestwich, War, Politics and Finance under Edward I (London, 1972), pp. 50-7; idem, `English Armies in the Early Stages of the Hundred Years War: a Scheme of 1341′, BIHR, 56 (1983), p. 109.

[69]. Ayton, `English Armies’, p. 25.  After 1360 the `long-established system of household knights’ broke down, to be replaced by a smaller number of higher status, more versatile chamber knights: C. Given-Wilson, `The King and the Gentry in Fourteenth-Century England’, TRHS, Fifth Series, 37 (1987), pp. 90-2.

[70]. Norwell, p. 341; E101/389/8, m. 12.

[71]. Walter de Heslerton, an East Riding man (C76/17, m. 27); see Ayton, Knights and Warhorses, p. 192 and n. 286.  In 1338 Stryvelyn obtained protection for himself only.

[72]. N. Saul, Knights and Esquires: the Gloucestershire Gentry in the Fourteenth Century (Oxford, 1981), pp. 69-75.

[73]. Sir John Mautravers junior: C76/17, m. 26.

[74]. Saul, Knights and Esquires, pp. 76-7.  Bradeston was also in receipt of Lady Elizabeth de Burgh’s livery: E101/92/23.

[75]. Lewis, `The English Forces in Flanders’, p. 314 n. 3.

[76]. This increases to 30% if we include in the comital total the 75 men-at-arms who accompanied Henry de Burghersh, bishop of Lincoln.

[77]. The pay records show 373 men-at-arms in the retinues of earls, but the incompleteness of the pay roll data necessitates a calculation based in part on estimates of retinue sizes.

[78]. Laurence de Hastings, who was with the king’s army and under twenty years of age, became earl of Pembroke on 13 October 1339: GEC, X, 388-91.

[79]. The pay roll suggests that Derby, Gloucester, Northampton and Warwick were at Sluys; Arundel and Huntingdon, together with the bishop of Lincoln, were also there. Sumption’s assertion that Northampton was involved in the defence of Valenciennes in late May (Hundred Years War, p. 314) would seem to be incorrect, for he was in England during the weeks leading up to Sluys (E101/389/8, m. 7; DL25/32).

[80]. R. Nicholson, Edward III and the Scots, 1327-1335 (Oxford, 1965), p. 248.

[81]. Holmes, Estates, pp. 20-21.  In 1336 the earl sent men-at-arms, including members of his household, to join the king’s army in Scotland: Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland [hereafter, CDRS], ed. G. G. Simpson & J. D. Galbraith (Edinburgh, 1986), V, no. 763.

[82]. GEC, III, pp. 466-7.  His son, Hugh, received his first summons to Parliament in April 1337 and succeeded his father as earl of Devon at the very end of 1340.

[83]. Norfolk had apparently intended to serve in Scotland during the autumn of 1337, since there are protections on the Scottish roll (C71/17, mm. 11, 14), but he does not figure as a captain on the pay rolls.

[84]. Nicholson, Edward III and the Scots, p. 128 and appendices 3-4; Ayton, Knights and Warhorses, appendix 1; N. B. Lewis, `The Recruitment and Organisation of a Contract Army, May to November 1337′, BIHR, 37 (1964), 1-19; CDRS, V, no. 767.

[85]. On the new earls, see C. Given-Wilson, The English Nobility in the Late Middle Ages (London, 1987), pp. 35-40.

[86]. Salisbury, Huntingdon, Suffolk and Northampton had been involved in the Nottingham castle coup.  For the military experience of the new earls, see n. 84 and Fowler,The King’s Lieutenant, pp. 30-3.

[87]. Salisbury and Huntingdon were in their mid-thirties in 1337; Suffolk was a few years older.  On Salisbury, see GEC, XI, pp. 385-8; Holmes, Estates, pp. 26-8.  He became Earl Marshal in September 1338, following the death of the earl of Norfolk (CPR, 1338-40, p. 190).  On Suffolk, see GEC, XII, part 1, pp. 429-32; and Huntingdon,GEC, VI, pp. 648-50.

[88]. For Gloucester’s career, see GEC, V, pp. 715-19.  The oldest of the new earls of 1337 (he was probably in his forties), Hugh de Audley was the second husband of Margaret, the second of three sisters, coheiresses of Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester (d. 1314).  For their portion of the inheritance, see Holmes, Estates, pp. 36-7. Although Gloucester died in 1347, his lands passed, through his daughter’s marriage, into the hands of Ralph de Stafford, an energetic captain who was raised to an earldom in 1351.

[89]. Derby was about 27 in 1337.  On Derby’s affinity, note that there was `little continuity from his father’s lifetime’ and rather more from his grandfather’s: Fowler, The King’s Lieutenant, pp. 185-6.

[90]. Northampton was about 25 in 1337.  For his career, see GEC, IX, pp. 664-7; Holmes, Estates, pp. 22-3.  Note also Given-Wilson, English Nobility, p. 38.

[91]. RDP, V, pp. 27-32.

[92]. Cf. the earl of Gloucester’s agreement with Sir Robert Bourchier, by which the latter acquired an annual rent of £100; he abandoned it when he became Chancellor in 1340: Holmes, Estates, p. 79; CPR, 1340-43, p. 75.  Bourchier served with the earl in Scotland in 1337-8: E101/35/3, m. 1.

[93]. For recent comment, see G. Harriss, `Political Society and the Growth of Government in Late Medieval England’, P&P, no. 138 (February 1993), pp. 53-5; and M. Hicks, Bastard Feudalism (London, 1995), pp. 70-6.

[94]. B.L., Cotton MS, Nero C.VIII, fol. 240 (vadia guerre account); E101/19/36, m. 1 (incomplete horse inventory); C71/16 (protections).  John of Eltham, earl of Cornwall had served with 100 men-at-arms during the Roxburgh campaign (winter 1334-5) and 135 during the summer campaign of 1335: Nicholson, Edward III and the Scots, pp. 246, 248.

[95]. CPR, 1334-8, pp. 461-2.  A few months later Sir Hugh acquired further land following his mother’s death: CIPM, VIII, no. 132.  He served with 72 men-at-arms and 26 archers in 1342-3: E36/204, fols 106r, 108v.

[96]. At least 10 of Cornwall’s men served in the bishop of Lincoln’s retinue in 1338-9 (Norwell, p. 309; Treaty Rolls, 1337-9; C76/14); cf. the bishop’s retinue for the diplomatic mission to the Low Countries, winter 1337-8: E101/311/31.  The bishop had probably benefitted from the fact that his brother, Sir Bartholomew de Burghersh, had served with John of Eltham in 1336 (B.L., Cotton MS, Nero C.VIII, fol. 240).  Four of Cornwall’s esquires served under Molyns in 1338-9: Norwell, pp. 314-15, 332, 357;Treaty Rolls, 1337-9; C76/14; see also, Ayton, Knights and Warhorses, pp. 237-9.

[97]. Philip le Despenser and Mathew Bomsted: Norwell, pp. 311-12.

[98]. Salisbury had about 140 men-at-arms in his retinue from December 1337 until mid-June 1338 (E101/20/25, m. 3), but only 121 at Buironfosse in October 1339 (Norwell, p. 328).

[99]. Scotland, 1336: 100 men-at-arms.  Low Countries, 1338-9: 93.  Sluys: 115.  Brittany: 182.  Fowler, The King’s Lieutenant, p. 229; E101/389/8, m. 11.

[100]. E101/15/12; Treaty Rolls, 1337-9; C76/14; Norwell, pp. 312-13.

[101]. E101/25/9; Fowler, The King’s Lieutenant, appendix 1.  The size of Derby’s comitiva continued to grow after his inheritance of the earldom of Lancaster in 1345, by which he became perhaps the richest man in the kingdom after the king.

[102]. Fowler, The King’s Lieutenant, p. 183.

[103]. B.L., Cotton MS, Nero C.VIII, fol. 241; Norwell, p. 327; E101/389/8, m. 11; E36/204, fol. 106.  The same process of expansion can be seen with the earl of Pembroke: three men-at-arms in 1338-9; 64 in 1342-3; 80 in Aquitaine in 1345 (Norwell, pp. 331-2; E36/204, fol. 106; E101/68/3, no. 60.

[104]. For the Essex gentry with Northampton during the Crécy-Calais campaign, see Ward, Essex Gentry, p. 18.

[105]. Holmes, Estates, p. 73; C47/6/1, no. 2; C76/15, m. 19; Foedera, III, i, pp. 38-9 (1345); Ward, Essex Gentry, pp. 19, 22-3.

[106]. C47/6/1, no. 47; Holmes, Estates, pp. 56, 70 n. 9, 75, 80.

[107]. Letters of protection for retinues serving in 1327 and 1335: C71/11, m. 5; C71/15, m. 32.

[108]. CPR, 1338-40, p. 95.

[109]. In 1336: Barinton, Botiller, Bourchier; after 1337: Favelore, Fitz Simon, Fitz Walter, Gernoun, Lancaster, Legh, Mounteneye, Sutton, Wauton.

[110]. 893 out of approximately 2,000 men-at-arms (45%): see Ayton, Knights and Warhorses, appendix 2, table A, pp. 263-4.  A major royal expedition planned for 1341, but not realised, had envisaged a total of 2,590 men-at-arms, of whom no fewer than 1,130 were to be supplied by ten earls (44%): Prestwich, `English Armies’, pp. 109, 111-12.

[111]. Prince, `Strength of English Armies’, pp. 358-60; D. Macpherson et al. (ed.), Rotuli Scotiae, 2 vols (London, 1814), I, pp. 524-5; CDRS, III, no. 1267.

[112]. E36/204, fols 104v-105r; Sumption, Hundred Years War, p. 406.

[113]. GEC, VI, pp. 648-50.  Gascony: Sumption, Hundred Years War, pp. 234-7.  Admiral: E. B. Fryde, et al.Handbook of British Chronology, 3rd edn (London, 1986), pp. 137-8.

[114]. CPR, 1338-40, p. 112.

[115]. C. Platt, Medieval Southampton (London, 1973), p. 115; Déprez, Préliminaires, p. 250 n. 8.  During his few weeks in this post, Warwick reported critically on the state of Southampton’s defences: SC1/41, no. 171.  Jean le Bel has the earl serving with Edward III in the autumn of 1339 (J. Viard & E. Déprez (eds), Chronique de Jean le Bel, 2 vols (Paris, 1904-5), I, pp. 154-5), but this finds no support in the pay records.  He was summoned to all Parliaments and great councils during this period and certainly attended the Michaelmas 1339 Parliament (RP, II, p. 103).

[116]. CPR, 1338-40, pp. 141-2.

[117]. Murimuth, Continuatio Chronicarum, pp. 89-90.  The earl had been one of two keepers of the maritime land of Devon since June 1337: C61/49, m. 26; C61/50, m. 11.

[118]. Sumption, Hundred Years War, p. 262.

[119]. RDP, IV; GEC.

[120]. Lords Bardolf, Beauchamp of Somerset, Burgherssh, Cantilupe, Despenser, Deyncourt, Faucomberge, Ferrars, Grey of Codnore, Kerdeston, Monthermer, Morley, Neville of Essex, Poynings, Ros of Watton, Segrave, Stafford, Tibetot, Wylughby.

[121]. Lords Berkeley, Charleton, Lucy, Ros of Hamlake and Zouche of Harringworth.

[122]. Roger le Strange of Knokyn; Thomas de Swynnerton; Alan la Zouche of Mortimer (GEC, XII, part 1, pp. 352-4, 585-8; XII, part 2, pp. 960-1).

[123]. Norwell, pp. 312, 331, 333-4, 357; Treaty Rolls, 1337-9, no. 346.  Cantilupe had served under Henry of Grosmont in 1336: E101/15/12.

[124]. C76/14, mm. 3d, 18.

[125]. Lords Basset of Drayton, Berkeley, Charleton, Chaundos, Columbars, Deyncourt, Fitz Hugh, Fitz Payn, Grandison, Haryngton, Husee, Lisle, Sutton, Welles and Wylyngton: C61/49, mm. 11, 26.  See also, A. Verduyn, `The Selection and Appointment of Justices of the Peace in 1338′, Historical Research, 68 (1995), pp. 8-9.

[126]. E101/23/24.

[127]. Foedera, II, ii, p. 1216.  In all, 506 men-at-arms and 606 archers were to be mustered at Portsmouth on 1 March 1343.  Audley and 11 others received similar orders in late January 1343: C76/18, m. 16.

[128]. J. E. Powell and K. Wallis, The House of Lords in the Middle Ages (London, 1968), pp. 349-51, 355-6.

[129]. See, for example, Ayton, Knights and Warhorses, pp. 181-5.

[130]. Chris Given-Wilson’s estimate (English Nobility, pp. 69-83), based on extrapolation from county-level studies of the gentry and the 1436 income tax records, should be regarded as a maximum figure since his `parish’ gentry group is composed of all those within the £5 to £20 per annum income range, including `the poorer esquires, the gentlemen, the lawyers and merchants who had invested in land and acquired “country seats”, and some of the richer yeomen’.  It is also questionable whether, without the support of a noble patron, a family with an income at the bottom end of the `parish’ gentry income range could easily have provided a fully equipped man-at-arms.  It may be significant that the government’s schedules of military assessment consistently assumed a higher level of income.  For example, the statute of Winchester, as revised during the 1330s, regarded a £20 landholder as a potential man-at-arms, with a £15 income capable of supporting a hobelar: Foedera, II, ii, pp. 900-901; M. Powicke, Military Obligation in Medieval England (Oxford, 1962), pp. 191-2.  In the mid 1340s it was felt that an income of £10 should support a hobelar, whilst a man-at-arms was to be provided by a £25 per annum landholder: CPR, 1343-45, p. 495.

[131]. On the precarious military situation in Gascony in 1339, see Sumption, Hundred Years War, pp. 255-60, 272-3, 275.

[132]. The garrison, nominally commanded by Sir Thomas de Ferrars, had a peak stength of 272 during 1339: M. H. Marett Godfray (ed.), `Documents relatifs aux attaques sur les îles de la Manche, 1338-1345′, La sociéte Jersiaise pour l’étude de l’histoire, Bulletin, 3 (1877), pp. 22-39; J. H. Le Patourel, The Medieval Administration of the Channel Islands (London, 1937), pp. 62-3, 71-4, 127.

[133]. Sumption, Hundred Years War, p. 276.

[134]Sir Richard Talbot’s garrison at Berwick consisted of 138 fighting men, including 65 men-at-arms: E101/22/9 (cf. CCR, 1339-41, p. 201).  Sir Thomas de Rokeby had 138 men at Edinburgh castle and 113 at Stirling castle, half of whom were men-at-arms: E101/22/20.  The size of the Roxburgh castle garrison in 1339 cannot be ascertained, but in June 1340 Sir William Felton had there 128 men, including 78 men-at-arms: E101/22/40.  There were also garrisons on the English side of the border: e.g. Carlisle (CCR, 1339-41, p. 29); Cockermouth castle, during the summer of 1338, had 12 men-at-arms and 10 hobelars (E101/20/41).

[135]. CCR, 1339-41, p. 208; SC1/42, nos 94 and 94A.

[136]. Ayton, Knights and Warhorses, pp. 246-7 and references there.  At the southern edge of the northern military community, Yorkshire contributed knightly personnel to campaigns in both Scotland and France: men from the Percy family’s oldest landholding heartlands were regular fighters with their lord in the north, whilst others found themselves pulled in two directions.  One such was Sir Thomas Ughtred: a veteran of Dupplin Moor and, probably, Halidon Hill, he was keeper of Perth until its fall in August 1339 and leader of the English troops involved in Robert of Artois’s unsuccessful Saint-Omer campaign during the summer of 1340 (GEC, XII, part 2, pp. 158-61). Judging from the names of those of his men who secured protections in 1340, he was accompanied by a crowd of East Yorkshiremen (C76/15, m. 19).  Ughtred was back in Scotland during the winter of 1341-2 (E36/204, fol. 104).

[137]. Indenture: CDRS, III, no. 1389.  In a letter dated 13 October [1342], the earl of Arundel informed the Chancellor that Roger, with 10 men-at-arms, was serving `en le noun le dit Mons. Gerard bien et covenablement arraie’ (SC1/39, no. 153).  The pay roll shows that, during the late summer and autumn of 1342, Roger was serving literallyin his brother’s name: E36/204, fol. 104v.

[138]. E101/21/32.

[139]. Southampton: Platt, Medieval Southampton, pp. 114-15.  Dover: E101/22/15 & 16.  Corfe and Portchester castles: CCR, 1339-41, pp. 56, 65, 411.  Pevensey and Hastings castles: CPR, 1338-40, pp. 236-7, 271.  Winchester and Old Sarum: CCR, 1339-41, pp. 7, 64.

[140]. Tower (Sir Nicholas de la Beche): CCR, 1337-9, p. 446; CCR, 1339-41, p. 313.  Windsor castle (Thomas de Foxle): E101/21/22; CCR, 1339-41, p. 143.

[141]. E.g., John Lovel, a Norfolk man, serving at Dover castle in 1339: CCR, 1339-41, p. 219.

[142]. C61/49, m. 26; C61/50, m. 11; CPR, 1338-40, pp. 134-42; Verduyn, `The Selection and Appointment of Justices of the Peace in 1338′.

[143]. Foedera, II, ii, p. 900; CPR, 1334-8, pp. 137-9; CCR, 1333-7, pp. 469-70, 516, 647-8.  See also Powicke, Military Obligation, pp. 190-1.

[144]. E101/19/37.

[145]. CCR, 1337-9, p. 540.

[146]. CCR, 1339-41, p. 444.

[147]. E.g. Saul, Knights and Esquires, pp. 55-6.

[148]. Commissions of array for English shires could involve the appointment of a hundred or more individuals; see, for example: Treaty Rolls, 1337-9, nos 123-4 (February 1338); 494-6 (April 1338); C76/17, mm. 10d-11d (December 1342).

[149]. CPR, 1338-40, pp. 134-42; Verduyn, `The Selection and Appointment of Justices of the Peace in 1338′.

[150]. Return of the Name of Every Member of the Lower House of the Parliaments of England, Scotland and Ireland, 1213-1874, 3 vols (London, 1878), I, pp. 121-3; List of Sheriffs for England and Wales, to 1831, PRO, Lists and Indexes, IX, (London, 1898); List of Escheators for England and Wales, List and Index Society, LXXII (London, 1972).

[151]. 311 in all.  Some men occupied more than one office: 24 men combined the duties of peace commissioners and knights of the shire; John Golafre was simultaneously under-sheriff, justice and parliamentary representative for Worcestershire.  I gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Mr Richard Gorski in gathering these data.

[152]. Treaty Rolls, 1337-9, nos 494-509.

[153]. CPR, 1338-40, pp. 129, 147; CPR, 1340-3, p. 556; Calendar of Fine Rolls [hereafter, CFR], 1337-47, pp. 303-4.

[154]. See also Saul, Knights and Esquires, pp. 52-9; cf. p. 158.

[155]. Comparison of a list of those who secured protections, thereby registering their intention to serve with the king, with the list of men nominated to be keepers of the peace by the knights summoned to meetings in April 1338, but not appointed to be justices in early July, reveals that only a handful of the nominees would have been prevented from becoming justices because of their intended military service.  Whatever the reason for the crown’s disregard of 60% of the nominees, it does not seem to have been because they were planning to go overseas.  The protections are listed on the Treaty Roll; for lists of nominees and appointees, and illuminating analysis, see Verduyn, `The Selection and Appointment of Justices of the Peace in 1338′.

[156]. Saul, Knights and Esquires, pp. 44-5.

[157]. Ibid., pp. 56-8.

[158]. CPR, 1338-40, p. 135; Norwell, p. 311.

[159]. C47/6/1, no. 29.  For Nicholas’s career, see Ayton, Knights and Warhorses, p. 236.

[160]. For examples, see A. Ayton, `Knights, Esquires and Military Service: the Evidence of the Armorial Cases before the Court of Chivalry’, The Medieval Military Revolution, ed. A. Ayton & J. L. Price (London, 1995), pp. 81-104.

[161]. Five household knights raised their banners during the first major expedition to France: Maurice de Berkeley, Thomas de Bradeston, Robert de Ferrars, John de Montgomery, Robert de Ufford junior.  Bradeston was granted an annuity of 500 marks (CPR, 1338-40, p. 395) and summoned to parliament.  See Powell & Wallis, House of Lords, pp. 349-51, 355-6.

[162]. The distraints may well have been as much aimed at bolstering the community of knights for shire administration (cf. Saul, Knights and Esquires, pp. 37-47); but greater recruiting demands on the native population of England would have been one consequence of the collapse of Edward III’s strategy of continental alliances.

[163]. For details, see A. Ayton, `The English Army and the Normandy Campaign of 1346′, England and Normandy in the Middle Ages, ed. D. Bates & A. Curry (London, 1995), pp. 254-8 and references there.

[164]. Treaty Rolls, 1337-9, nos 890-1.  For brief comment on this document, see E. L. G. Stones, `The Folvilles of Ashby-Folville, Leicestershire and their Associates in Crime, 1326-1347′, TRHS, Fifth Series, 7 (1957), p. 129.

[165]. On the gentry gangs, see J. Bellamy, Crime and Public Order in the Later Middle Ages (London, 1973), ch. 3; on the Gresleys of Staffordshire, see M. Prestwich, The Three Edwards. War and State in England, 1272-1377 (London, 1980), pp. 231-2.

[166]. Another member of the Gresley family, Ralph, was probably already with the army (Treaty Rolls, 1337-9, no. 365); he served in the Scottish Marches during the summer of 1340 (E101/612/2).

[167]. CPR, 1338-40, p. 386; CPR, 1340-3, p. 188.

[168]. K.B. McFarlane, The Nobility of Later Medieval England (Oxford, 1973), pp. 165-6; for Norwich’s career, see GEC, IX, pp. 763-5.

[169]. CCR, 1339-41, pp. 367, 382.

[170]. Norwich’s accounting period began on 19 July 1337 and lasted for 558 days, but payment was very slow in coming: E101/166/11, m. 19; CCR, 1337-9, pp. 318, 323. He was owed over £1,500 in early April 1339 and orders were still being issued to pay him in the autumn: CCR, 1339-41, pp. 40, 198, 321.  In June 1339 Norwich was preparing to leave England with a retinue (Ships: CCR, 1339-41, pp. 141, 156 and SC1/39, no. 103; protections: C76/14, mm. 3, 7) and may well have joined the king in the Low Countries.  On 11 November of the same year he was granted, for good service, an annuity of 50 marks (CPR, 1338-40, pp. 397, 452).

[171]. In the Lovel vs. Morley Court of Chivalry case in 1386-7, William de Thweyt stated that he had fought at Sluys with Sir John de Norwich: C47/6/1, no. 92.  On the council of 1342, see Powell and Wallis, House of Lords, pp. 348-9.

[172]. C47/6/1, no. 92; A. Ayton, `William de Thweyt, Esquire: Deputy Constable of Corfe Castle in the 1340s’, Notes and Queries for Somerset and Dorset, 32 (1989), pp. 731-8.

[173]. Ten knights and 19 esquires have enrolled protections for service with Norwich in 1337: C61/49, m. 17.  The schedule of names which Norwich submitted to Chancery for the issue of protections includes 2 knights and 10 esquires who do not figure among those with enrolled protections (C81/1750, no. 33).

[174]. Chronicon Galfridi le Baker de Swynebroke, pp. 64-5

This article was first published in Harlaxton Medieval Studies volume 7:  Armies, chivalry and warfare in medieval Britain and France : proceedings of the 1995 Harlaxton Symposium. We thank Andrew Ayton for his giving us permission to republish this item.

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