12th Century Research

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12th Century Research

Postby SpudUk » Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:05 pm

Hell Folks,

I'm looking to do some research into the armies and soldiers of the 12th century, particularly those of the de Bohun family from their involved in the Anarchy to their signing of the Magna Carta. Can anyone recommend any good books?

This period is of interest to me in terms of re-enactment (not sure if there is any groups that do this) but I'd generally like to learn more.

Many thanks

Chris Auckland

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Brother Ranulf
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Re: 12th Century Research

Postby Brother Ranulf » Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:28 am

I am not aware of any books in English specifically looking at individual families and their military contingents in the period you are interested in. The de Bohuns are mentioned in passing in many general books about the Domesday survey, the 12th century, the period of the Anarchy and the Baron's Wars; there is an interesting web page giving a translation from part of a French book entitled "Les Seigneurs de Bohon" here:
http://mahan.wonkwang.ac.kr/link/med/so ... bohon.html
(I can not vouch for the accuracy of the translation as I have not seen the French original).

The name de Bohun is not written consistently in primary source material, as is usually the case when dealing with Anglo-Norman French. Documents mention Hunfridus de Bohum, Domesday Book 1086; Winfrisdus de Bowhun, 1120-3; William de Boun, 1119; Matildis de Bohun, reign of Henry II; John de Bown, 1275; Reginald Boon, 1279. All originally derive from Bohon in the La Manche region. These are all the same name and all are pronounced exactly the same.

Surprisingly, Robert Bartlett's very detailed study "England under the Norman and Angevin Kings" only mentions Humphrey de Bohun very briefly as constable under Henry II (pages 55 and 257), in connection with the rebellion of 1173 -1174 and the Battle of Fornham:

". . .Royalist troops had mustered at Bury St Edmunds under the command of Richard de Lucy, the chief justiciar, Humphrey de Bohun, the constable, and the earls of Cornwall, Gloucester and Arundel. Among them were 300 knights of the king serving for wages, as well as Roger Bigod, son of the rebel earl of Norfolk. The royalists marched out under the banner of St Edmund . . ."

Clearly you can gain nothing from this about the troops of the de Bohun contingent - such details were not normally recorded in period documents at that time. All we can say is that Humphrey de Bohun was one of the leaders of the royalist army. The Battle of Fornham (17 October 1173) has hardly been given the attention it deserves in literature and many people today have never heard of it.

Incidentally, I can guarantee that NOBODY signed Magna Carta, despite what you might have been told. THere were more than 50 originals of that document and not one of them was signed - all carried John's Great Seal. There are today only four surviving originals and not one of them carries any signatures. The final line of text reads: Data per manum nostram in prato quod vocatur Ronimed. inter Windlesoram et Stanes, quinto decimo die junii, anno regni nostri decimo septimo. (Given by my hand in the meadow that is called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day of June in the seventeenth year of our reign.)

Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

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Re: 12th Century Research

Postby SpudUk » Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:42 pm

Hi Ranulf,

Thanks for that succinct reply.

When I referred to their "signing" of Magna Carta I was using the accepted but inaccurate perception that the baron's signed it, which I am aware they didn't. Henry de Bohun, son of Humphrey de Bohun, was one of the clause 61 barons.

Whilst I'm not hoping to find specifics about the de Bohn family, general information about the military in the 12th century would be most helpful. No Osprey books on the period?


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Brendan C
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Re: 12th Century Research

Postby Brendan C » Thu Sep 25, 2014 8:04 pm

Hi Chris

SpudUk wrote:general information about the military in the 12th century would be most helpful. No Osprey books on the period?

There are a number of Osprey books covering the period, but I would only use them as a starting point; a lot of their information is somewhat open to interpretation

Would suggest you take a look at books such as:

'Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era 1050 - 1350' by David Nicolle, along with 'The Rule of the Templars' by J.M Upton-Ward
('The Rule' is specifically a translation of the laws governing the Knights Templar, but does give a very indepth and exact rundown of the equipment carried by both Knights and serjeants, which would have been recognisable to any one in military service in the 12th century).

Hope this helps

Brendan C

That's not a new dawn, that's some Norman bastard burning down your village

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