Household Archers in the WOTR. What did they wear.

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Earl Mortimer
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Household Archers in the WOTR. What did they wear.

Post by Earl Mortimer »

Just been to tewksbury and after i saw the archers go onto the field i was wondering what ID they would have worn to show there lord.

Tabard with lord full coat of arms,
Tabard with lords coat of arms in the form of a badge.
A badge....etc

Which is correct? and if any one has more info on there armour and wepons they would have used i would be most interested to read

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Post by gregory23b »

Look at the billman thread and liveries ones, they all cross over, archers would have worn the same sorts of liveries/bends etc as any other troop type, style and quality (more pricey material and embellishment) is related to rank.

Liveries are provided, sometimes for a campaign, again check out the bill myth thread, the later sections have links to an interesting article or two.

As for arms, well a bow and arrows and some sort of side weapon, ranging from sword to maul to other.

Armour ranges from sallet, jack, mail, brig, splints etc I would add a pavise to that list.
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Post by Lord DeSpencer »

So if a noble mans archers were on the battle field would they have the same full coat of arms on there tabbard?
If so how does the enemy tell from a distance that it isnt the guy with the money.
Has any body got any ideas on what makes the distinction on who can wear a heraldic tabbard and who should not.
Thanks
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Post by Adam R »

Lord DeSpencer wrote:So if a noble mans archers were on the battle field would they have the same full coat of arms on there tabbard?
If so how does the enemy tell from a distance that it isnt the guy with the money.
Has any body got any ideas on what makes the distinction on who can wear a heraldic tabbard and who should not.
Thanks
Only the lord could wear his own arms.

His men would wear his badge / device. IIRC - This was granted separately and would be linked to the coat of arms - the colours might be those of the mantle for example - and the device might be related to the crest or the supporters.
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Post by gregory23b »

And livery is not heraldic, ie it does not follow the rules.
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Post by Colin Middleton »

As an example, Thomas Howard's livery at Bosworth will have been (not using a proper blazon):
Top left/bottom right - 6 white crosses on a red field.
Bottom left/top right - divided into 4 with
Top left/bottom right - white lion rampant on a red field.
Bottom left/top right - 3 golden lions guardant on a red field with a cadency mark.
Over the top of all this a white bar runs from top left to bottom right.
Finally on top a cadency mark to show that his father (John Howard) is still alive and using the above harealdry.

By contrast his livery was:
A white salet on a field of red (right) and white (left).

As you can see the livery is much more simple.


I'd also be very warey about the term 'household archer'. I don't think that it means what most people beleive it means, but that is an argument for a different thread.
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Post by Jim »

In terms of what the kit actually was, most of the illustrations I've seen have had archers in hose and doublet, the doublet being in the lord's colours with a badge, and a simple sallet. There's not much armour going on, I think wearing armour wasn't the norm, although my brain is nudging me and telling me a bit of leg plate and possibly a breastplate might be a fairly common addition. But then if you wore a breastplate, you'd need to wear a bend over it, otherwise your livery's not going to be visible, duh.

But that's just my own recollections, people here with more knowledge will correct me I'm sure. :)
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Post by Lord DeSpencer »

At Tewkes there was a company of archers and one had the full despencer coat of arms on. He looked more like a Knight than an archer so i agree that a livery cote and badge would have more in keeping with his position as an archer.
It would also be nice to see archers with a little more armour on and more involved in the combat rather than a back ground clout shoot.
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Post by gregory23b »

"It would also be nice to see archers with a little more armour on and more involved in the combat rather than a back ground clout shoot."

8)
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Post by Stephen Dobson / Rab »

Lord DeSpencer wrote:It would also be nice to see archers with a little more armour on and more involved in the combat rather than a back ground clout shoot.
Funny you should mention that, a group of us lads have been having that conversation with increasing amounts of focus for next season. 8)

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Post by Allan Harley »

That makes a few more of us then :twisted:

It will be the way forward - loose arrows then close for the kill, or run like bu**ery - can't get any more entertaining.
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Post by guthrie »

What would be nice would be to do a proper arrow storm, using up all the arrows you have in a short period of time, then charging in. Of course it might work best at events like Blore where many of the archers are on one side.

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Post by Adam R »

This sounds really good - when others see the amount of fun being had they'll all want to join in!

I'm off to get my on-line arrow shop ready! ;)
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Post by Dave Key »

Adam R wrote:[His men would wear his badge / device. IIRC - This was granted separately and would be linked to the coat of arms - the colours might be those of the mantle for example - and the device might be related to the crest or the supporters.
It's more the other way around. Originally the Coat of Arms was simply the blazoning on the shield which identified the person to whom they belonged.

Livery colours (which changed BTW often year on year ... If I recall Richard had Green & White at his coronation for example which many would describe as "Tudor" ! ) and badges were not originally heraldic and generally relatd to a locale than a person, for example the Ragged Staff of Warwick which stayed with the Warwick lands (and therefore the Earl)even when they (and hence their 'arms') changed.

However, as heralrdy developed it began to extend the arms to become a full coat of arms including helm, crest, mantelling, supporters & motto. Frquently these were derived from the 'standard' livery colours (used in the mantelling and on the crest) and the badges the crest and supporters.

It is this adoption of non-heraldic devices/cognisances/badges into the coat of arms, and as a result the formalisation and hardening of the same, that has coloured later understanding of Livery & Badges making them appear more definitive and personal than in reality they probably were.

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Post by Colin Middleton »

Dave Key wrote:badges were not originally heraldic and generally relatd to a locale than a person, for example the Ragged Staff of Warwick which stayed with the Warwick lands (and therefore the Earl)even when they (and hence their 'arms') changed.
I'd been wondering if that was the case from my investigations into the Howards/Mowbrays situation.

Does anyone have any good sources on livery and badges as it's an area that I'm getting increasingly interested in, but a very hard area to find information on?

Many thanks

BTW Jim, those are probably Jackets or short Coats, rather than Doublets.
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Post by Jim »

Colin Middleton wrote:BTW Jim, those are probably Jackets or short Coats, rather than Doublets.
Yes you're right, doublets weren't really "outerwear" so I guess a short, probably pleated coat would have been worn over it...which looks like a doublet in paintings. Kind of.

But yeah.
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Post by Adam R »

Dave - thanks for that - excellent insight as ever :)
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Post by Ghost »

Colin Middleton wrote:.

Does anyone have any good sources on livery and badges as it's an area that I'm getting increasingly interested in, but a very hard area to find information on?
good place to start is the original Wars of the Roses Osprey Book and "standards, livery colours of wars of roses" by pat McGill and Jon Jones which pulls together a lot of the primary source evidence. Also if you can still get it in print is the facsimile of edward IV muster role of 1475 by francis pierrepont barnard which has contemporary hand drawn versions of badges

college of arms are also very helpful with enquiries
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Post by Ghost »

[quote="Colin Middleton

I'd been wondering if that was the case from my investigations into the Howards/Mowbrays situation.
what have you found out and what are you trying to find out - maybe i can help i have details of john mowbray duke of norfolk, john howard duke of norfolk, thomas howard earl of surrey and edmund howard at flodden
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Post by Lord DeSpencer »

What would be nice is to have to armies set out how they might have been with spear men protecting the archers archers from cavalry .
Instead of roaming the reenactment field as invincable pike blocks.
Have archers loose there arows then engage the enemy when they run out of arrows and even flat shoot a spear block if it gets to close may be even skirmish around the edges. Have swords and spears in mixed groups using tacktical moves instead of playing rugby and charging through lines ignoring everything thrown at them.
If every one that got hit took three steps back we might even see some realism in units being pushed back.
Just my thoughts what do others think
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Post by gregory23b »

"What would be nice is to have to armies set out how they might have been with spear men protecting the archers archers from cavalry ."


were there real cavalry threats? or was it a case of the archery duel being the starting tactic, then wading in? Not many cavalry actions come to mind in WOTR, most troops fought dismounted IIRC.

But agree that we should sort the balance out a bit, hey, Bill Murray has just come in ;-)
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Post by craig1459 »

gregory23b wrote: were there real cavalry threats? or was it a case of the archery duel being the starting tactic, then wading in? Not many cavalry actions come to mind in WOTR, most troops fought dismounted IIRC.
Blore, Ferrybridge and Bosworth are the only ones I can think of with important cavalry action
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Post by Colin Middleton »

Ghost wrote:good place to start is the original Wars of the Roses Osprey Book and "standards, livery colours of wars of roses" by pat McGill and Jon Jones which pulls together a lot of the primary source evidence. Also if you can still get it in print is the facsimile of edward IV muster role of 1475 by francis pierrepont barnard which has contemporary hand drawn versions of badges

college of arms are also very helpful with enquiries
I'm not sure if we're on the same wavelength here Ghost. I'm actually looking at how livery was used and controlled in a general sense, rather than what badges and colours were used by who. None the less, that book might be a good starting point. I'll PM you with a bit more detail.

As to the Howards info, yes please. I fight with the Howards Household, so I'm very interested in anything to do with the Norfolks.

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Post by Ghost »

craig1459 wrote:
gregory23b wrote: Blore, Ferrybridge and Bosworth are the only ones I can think of with important cavalry action
Somerset cavalry (having abandoned his footmen for speed in Exeter ) routed York's van at Worksop in Dec 1460 and the use of cavalry particularly with regard the ambush is also recorded at Wakefield shortly afterwards. Chroniclers record the use of cavalry at StAlbans 2 (in the flanking action) and towton and in particular Somersets initial charge was supposedly mounted but this may be a cross reference to the subsequent seperate Lancatrian (somerset men at arms ?) ambush party in Castle Wood. Hexham was a yorkist cavalry charge against a camped force but this is likley to have been an oppurtunistic engagement and finally we have edwards IV 200 spears used against so effectively against Somerset flank at Tewkesbury

so i would say the use of horse albeit on a small scale and not as a main tactic may have been quite common as a "battle turner"
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Post by Lord DeSpencer »

Do we somtimes think of battles as one form of action rather than each differnt unit/weapon as a piece in the game.
What i mean is using cavelry when the enemy rout or have undefended archers or men at arms with short arms. Using archers against unsupported spear units stood behind units of spear and sword.
I think a battle would have been a lot more changable and tactics used more than we see on the reenactment field.
What do you all recon :wink:
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Post by gregory23b »

"Using archers against unsupported spear units stood behind units of spear and sword. "

That is assuming they were used like that, if they are the majority troop type then they are not necessarily in support roles, check out the billmen thread.

If you are saying there were synchronised blocks of sword then I would ask for any form of evidence for that, a sword being accepted as a side arm or in the case of some specialist troops, eg Landschknecht zweihander weilders, and they are foreign, then....

The thing to iron out is our perception of battles, so rather than from a reenactment standpointm, come from an actual one and see which bits we can try to represent.


"I think a battle would have been a lot more changable and tactics used more than we see on the reenactment field"


Of course, mainly that problem occurs due to:

current accepted composition, ie many pole arms and very ferw archers

some degree of safety factors, although that should not get in the way of an interesting and engaging battle.

accepted ways of doing our battles, complacency to some degree.
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Post by Lord DeSpencer »

I completely agree with what you are saying.
Iam just throwing some thoughts in to the mix.
It would be nice to get enough people on the field to try out differnt scenarios and see what would have worked from a realistic point of view.
At the EMA training weekend a sword unit with just one spear man desimated a pole unit. Every one stepeped out when hit and the pole unit soon folded.
It would be fun to do it on a larger scale with archers as well. :)
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Post by gregory23b »

"Iam just throwing some thoughts in to the mix. "

yep I know, I am being conversational, as much as it can be on this medium. :D
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Post by Dave Key »

Ghost wrote:
craig1459 wrote:
Somerset cavalry (having abandoned his footmen for speed in Exeter ) routed York's van at Worksop in Dec 1460 and the use of cavalry particularly with regard the ambush is also recorded at Wakefield shortly afterwards. Chroniclers record the use of cavalry at StAlbans 2 (in the flanking action) and towton and in particular Somersets initial charge was supposedly mounted but this may be a cross reference to the subsequent seperate Lancatrian (somerset men at arms ?) ambush party in Castle Wood. Hexham was a yorkist cavalry charge against a camped force but this is likley to have been an oppurtunistic engagement and finally we have edwards IV 200 spears used against so effectively against Somerset flank at Tewkesbury

so i would say the use of horse albeit on a small scale and not as a main tactic may have been quite common as a "battle turner"
Can I play Devil's Advocate here and ask whether the Chronicles actually say that cavalry, as in mounted fighting, was used or whether this is presumed because of the soldiers having horses.

Since it was common practice, even stipulated in Ordinances of War, that soldiers dismount to fight ... having a horse did not mean that they were actually mounted charges etc.

Soooo ... what do the sources actually say?

Cheers
Dave

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Post by Dave Key »

Ghost wrote:
craig1459 wrote:
Somerset cavalry (having abandoned his footmen for speed in Exeter ) routed York's van at Worksop in Dec 1460 and the use of cavalry particularly with regard the ambush is also recorded at Wakefield shortly afterwards. Chroniclers record the use of cavalry at StAlbans 2 (in the flanking action) and towton and in particular Somersets initial charge was supposedly mounted but this may be a cross reference to the subsequent seperate Lancatrian (somerset men at arms ?) ambush party in Castle Wood. Hexham was a yorkist cavalry charge against a camped force but this is likley to have been an oppurtunistic engagement and finally we have edwards IV 200 spears used against so effectively against Somerset flank at Tewkesbury

so i would say the use of horse albeit on a small scale and not as a main tactic may have been quite common as a "battle turner"
Can I play Devil's Advocate here and ask whether the Chronicles actually say that cavalry, as in mounted fighting, was used or whether this is presumed because of the soldiers having horses.

Since it was common practice, even stipulated in Ordinances of War, that soldiers dismount to fight ... having a horse did not mean that they were actually mounted charges etc.

Soooo ... what do the sources actually say?

Cheers
Dave

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