Contracts -soldiers

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Tod
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Contracts -soldiers

Postby Tod » Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:23 pm

Following on from the professional soldeirs thread.

If an archer was in an army fighting in the WOTR or just before. Would he have a contract (indenture) with some one?
Would it be written and would he have a copy?

Lets say that I was a leatherworker, bottle maker or shoemaker (you can see where this going).
I live in a town or village and practice archery.
Would I offer or would I be told, or would I contract and therefor recieve some sort of payment if I were to join an army?
Being a tradesman and maybe being part of a guild I would not be dead poor, so I would think could afford my own bow, jack, sword,dagger etc etc.

Would any of the above be total rubbish or am I going along the right lines.

I've alot to read over the winter but appreciate any help, and by the way I don't mind being lectured to, if you get my drift.



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Postby narvek » Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:52 pm

I think it was a captain of company who signed the contrats and was given money to spread between soldiers. So you would not have to sign anything anywhere.

All MHO.


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Postby gregory23b » Wed Oct 24, 2007 6:30 pm

Tod, that is covered by Dave Key's resume, in that in soem cases some individuals were indentured, but the actual contract of being ready to serve was implicit in being a man in England, ie by law. Contracts (indentures) exist for leaders to raise men etc.

Have a quick flick back over the thread when you get a chance.


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Postby Type16 » Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:11 pm

Hi Tod,
talk with G23b. He might have some info.

I got a very nice 'pass' to let me go home on leave from him.


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Postby Tod » Thu Oct 25, 2007 8:29 am

gregory23b wrote:Tod, that is covered by Dave Key's resume, in that in soem cases some individuals were indentured, but the actual contract of being ready to serve was implicit in being a man in England, ie by law. Contracts (indentures) exist for leaders to raise men etc.

Have a quick flick back over the thread when you get a chance.


I need to read slower :oops: and perhaps not whilst at work :lol:

Thanks.



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Postby gregory23b » Thu Oct 25, 2007 11:45 am

T16, that pass is specific to a campaign and not the same thing, interesting though it is, Dave Key is yer man for that contract pro soldier stuff.

s'alright Tod, there was a lot there.


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Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Oct 25, 2007 1:40 pm

My understanding (from that long and fascinating discussion) is that you would probably not have a written contract. You may have had a witnessed verbal contract. That seems to be the way that most things were done in the 15thC.


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Postby gregory23b » Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:22 pm

Normal men were expected to serve, by statute, obviating the need for a written contract, they may be part of a more encompassing contract for the person raising them - as in the examples posted there, but not necessrily indentured themselves.


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Postby StaffordCleggy » Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:50 pm

My understanding (limited as it is) was that your common man was obligated to serve his King through the ancient 'fyrd' system of Anglo-Saxon times, a system that continued in a rough form down throughout the centuries. Originally a 'soldier' would not be paid for his obligated service until he left the boundaries of his county - his 'Country' as the old term has it, then he would expect to be paid accordingly.
However, his local Lord/Crown Official would raise the troops in the King's name & would be contracted to bring a certain number of men of each type to a muster point at a given time, he would be the man with the signed contract. Just because the commons were obligated to serve their King & were raised by a Royal Commission doesn't mean they would automatically end up with the Royal Army though.


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Postby Dave Key » Fri Oct 26, 2007 11:44 am

Tod,

Based on your initial comments that you were thinking along the lines of someone who was a guild member then really you are looking at Civic military obligation which is a distinct type in it's own right.

Generally speaking civic obligations were derived through the town council,which acted as a de facto 'Lord' to the inhabitant of the town. Thye King would send a letter to the town 'requesting' a number of soldiers, this number would (just like that or a nobleman) be negotiated and agreed based on their relative wealth/ability to pay.

The Town Council, generally the 24, would then set their own allocation or soldiers from within the town. Under normal circumstances this was based on the individual Wards within the town with the Aldermen and Constables being responsible for their wards allocation of men.

Within these wards the ability to pay was usually primarily based on the value of their property (just as landed wealth was for the nobility) and then, again as per the nobility outside the towns, where an individual was required to provide several soldiers the tenants living in the owners tenaments would be obliged to serve.

There are actually quite a few of these lists surviving for the larger towns, showing a structured breakdown of civic responsibility based directly on wealth. Each ward led by it's leading official but with others listed alongside their obligation (generally financial). Coventry took this a step further with detailed requirements on Civic officers, past and present, on what equipment they had to provide. Southampton listed each tenament stating how much of the city wall it had responsibility to defend (although probably not literally more 'obliged to provide for').

London was somewhat different. In the above, the emphasis was on organisation by Ward, a physical division of the town. In London the Guild themselves appear to have been responsible for the provision of set numbers of their guild members. The Mercers accounts show these obligations for the City Watch very clearly.


Having said that, you could be in the position of tenant in York, and undoubtably elsewhere too, where the tenant's landlord was placing an obligation on the tenant as a Lord as well as the town placing it's obligations. In York this clash between town and lord resulted in a compromise but the potential was always there.


So, would you have an indenture? Probably not. As a tenant in the town you'd be called upon by the civic oficer for your ward detailing what you would be expected to muster with, or how much you would be obliged to contribute. This would be written into the towns records,. You would be listed, but not as a personal indenture.


Cheers
Dave



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Postby Colin Middleton » Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:11 pm

Dave, what do you mean by 'City Watch'?


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Postby gregory23b » Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:08 pm

A woman of Southampton was fined for not turning up for her stint on watch, mid 15thc.


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Postby Tod » Sun Oct 28, 2007 7:51 pm

Dave,
that is excellent and a real help. Do you think as a shoemaker or leatheworker I woould supply my own kit ie jack, bow, side arm?



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Postby Dave Key » Mon Oct 29, 2007 10:26 am

Tod,

Whether you would have your own Jack, Salet etc. would very much depend upon how successful a shoemaker or leatherworker.

Unfortunately there is no real detail of exactly what 'earnings threshold' would equate to what piece of equipment, and it would vary from place to place and by time/incident. It really comes into that horribly glib statement that occurs throughout Indentures ... to paraphrase .... arrayed as apporpriate to their station.

The Bridport muster roll probably comes closest to giving this level of detail on a person-by-person basis. Here there are a mismash of pieces of equipment and armour. Unfortunately this roll doesn't give detail on exactly who each person was or what their social standing was. This is possible to reconstruct from other records (at least partially) but to date this has not been done, so we're left with rough averages and guessing.

Other Towns do have lists where everyone has a Jack and Salet ... but this may not be personal and may be simply a simplification to indicate expectation / assessment.

Coventry obviously expected to have to provide at least a fair number of their required soldiers (whether Watch or Archers for war) with all of their military equipment.

Since towns seem to have provided mainly bodies of archers unless you are trying to portray a Civic officer or a Captain then you can really 'pay your money, and take your choice'. Personally, if you are aiming to be an archer then start with bow and arrows, then Salet and Jack and finally side arm (lead mauls were referenced and occur in lists more frequenty than swords).

Sorry I can't give you more precise detail, unfortunately I don't believe it exists from the researched documentation (at least not yet as there is the potential to do more work)

Cheers
Dave


Colin ... will try and give detail on the City Watch later



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Postby Tod » Mon Oct 29, 2007 11:22 am

Thanks again Dave that is really very helpful.



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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Mon Oct 29, 2007 12:03 pm

Coventry had no trouble in sending 50 men to fight for Warwick at barnet and then send 50 men to fight for Edward IV at tewks, had to do some serious grovelling and shovel plenty of lucre to him to keep their status and charter afterwards though.


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