Billmen - myth?

Moderator: Moderators

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

Post by Dave Key »

Fox wrote:To suggest that a morris pike is short makes a nonsence of Silver's descriptions of perfect length in Paradoxes of Defence. Perhaps marospikes are something else again.

With regards to the word morris, I was of the understanding that it had two meanings, Morrish from the Middle English moreys , and moorland from the Middle English mor or morr.

I found some reference to it when I was orignally looking at Paradoxes of Defence. I'll have to go away and find it again.

Thanks, yep that'll teach me not to look back a bit further ... I'll go with the reference from Silver as putting it in the 'long' category.

Looking at the inventory of materials for the 1475 Expedition the "Morispikes" are cheap (6d each) only "stakes for the field" were cheaper at 4d each. So the placement with the darts and other spears is more likely related to their 'basic' nature ... or just coincidental.

In the items stored in Calais in 1481 "marospkies" appear as both "of ashe hedyd" and "made of ffyr unheded" ... so maybe a pike is not a long stretch ... long bit of wood with a pointy bit on the end :-)

I'd certainly lump morispikes and marospikes etc into the "inconsistent spelling" whether by the scribe[s] &/or transcriber[s] than distinctly different items. It's not like I don't spend half my life looking at the quality of my typing & spelling!!!
Also happened to notice the following from a vistiation of Cheshire and Lancashire for the Duchy of Lancaster in August-September 1476 ...

"Item it is ordeigned that noo man shall bere within the towne eny glayve, bille, or launce spere upon payne of forfaitur' of xxs for every tyme

Item it is ordeigned that the smythes dwelling within the towne shall make from hensforth neither bill nor gleyve, wherunto thay bee sworne upon a boke

Item it is ordeigned that noo man shall bere ner use any bille called a hegge bille exceding the lengthe of a yerde and a half blade and all' upon payne of the aforesaid"

Thought the reference to the hegge bill might be or interest.

User avatar
Posts: 121
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:25 pm
Location: Rochdale

Post by StaffordCleggy »

So it would appear - from this item at least - that there was a clear definition (at least within the author's mind) between a 'bill' as a weapon & a 'hegge bill' as a tool?
"You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."
- Anne Lamott

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

Post by gregory23b »

" Item it is ordeigned that noo man shall bere ner use any bille called a hegge bille exceding the lengthe of a yerde and a half blade and all' upon payne of the aforesaid" "

yes, to limit the production of weapons of warre, if it is a hedging bill then why would it need to be 6 feet long? it is smart enough to cover both use and dodgy naming to disguise the true nature.
middle english dictionary

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

"I know my place." Alice the Huswyf

Man from Coventry
Posts: 105
Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 2:55 pm

Post by Man from Coventry »

Mr 23b beat me to it. Clearly this entry from the visitation is to prevent the unauthorised manufacture of weapons.

It seems to imply that a "Hegge Bill" is not a weapon of war, but could be used as one, and was sufficiently similar that the name could be used as way of evading the prohibition on manufacturing other (War) bills, hence the restriction to a less warlike length.
A good sword, a trusty hand, a merry heart and true.

Post Reply