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Adam M.M.





Joined: 02 Aug 2014

Posts: 54

PostPosted: Fri 06 Feb, 2015 4:40 am    Post subject: Required soldier equipment         Reply with quote

Does anyone know where I can find information about the required equipment for soldiers of different income levels and such? I'm particularly interested in the 15th century but anything from the Middle Ages and early Renaissance would be fine. I've been googling around after this but the only thing with concrete information I've found is the Statute of Winchester.
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Pieter B.





Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Reading list: 10 books

Posts: 574

PostPosted: Fri 06 Feb, 2015 10:24 am    Post subject: Re: Required soldier equipment         Reply with quote

Adam M.M. wrote:
Does anyone know where I can find information about the required equipment for soldiers of different income levels and such? I'm particularly interested in the 15th century but anything from the Middle Ages and early Renaissance would be fine. I've been googling around after this but the only thing with concrete information I've found is the Statute of Winchester.


This question has been asked many times and every time the first reply is the same.

Could you at least narrow it down to a country and a time period of 50 years or less.

Without the above two specifics it's impossible to answer the question really.
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Fri 06 Feb, 2015 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter has been pretty generous there. What you have to do, after narrowing it down a bit, is research it and the sources are out there to find pretty easily.

Statute of Winchester is great but even that covers the mid 13th to the mid 19th cent, if you take it at its full extent. But as an officially defined set of military items to have its about it. But of of course its interpreted many different ways over many different centuries due to changes in military technology.

But basically you need something to protect your head, something for your body and something to do damage to others. After that, its up to the individual and more importantly the official interpreting it.

Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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Adam M.M.





Joined: 02 Aug 2014

Posts: 54

PostPosted: Fri 06 Feb, 2015 11:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

England in the latter half of the 15th century is what I'm most interested in. I do want to research it myself but I don't know where to start, are there any books/essays/etc. you could recommend?
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Pieter B.





Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Reading list: 10 books

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PostPosted: Fri 06 Feb, 2015 12:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adam M.M. wrote:
England in the latter half of the 15th century is what I'm most interested in. I do want to research it myself but I don't know where to start, are there any books/essays/etc. you could recommend?


Well the major military event of the latter half of the 15th century in England was the War of the Roses as you probably know.

Starting off your search with Wikipedia is sort of okay and at the bottom there is usually a list of references and bibliography. From there on it's really a question of whether you want to dive into books covering the war of the roses or primary sources and articles written on specific aspects (such as armor) of the war.

If you want a reasonable impression based on research by others than osprey publishing has a few books on the general subject of the war and specific battles. However these books are (or were) aimed at wargamers and not academics. The older ones were published decades ago and are surely outdated or based on recently corrected translations.

Now to give a quick and dirty answer (which some more knowledgeable folks might disagree with) to your question: The basic equipment of a soldier of that period would consists of a helmet (usually a sallet or variation of this) and a padded gambeson for chest and (upper)arm protection. Add a weapon to this like a longbow or a billhook and you got a pretty decent impression of a rank and file soldier. From here on you'd just see more protective pieces being added according to the wealth of the soldier. So one soldier might just wear the above mentioned while another billmen might wear a sallet, mail gorget, brigandine with mail arm protection and gauntlets.
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Kyle Glover





Joined: 12 Dec 2013

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2015 2:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jacks, sallets and bows seem to be the standard equipment for the late 15th century soldier.

There's a good description of both soldiers and their equipment and the requirements for various citizens to own weapons in the Coventry Leet Book.

The troops Coventry raises to help the king at St Albans are "properly equipped with bows and arrows and outfitted with jacks and sallets" with red and green strips of cloth as identification for the common soldiers and a "garment" of red, green, violet and brown/grey fabric for the captain.

It also describes how various town officials, such as the mayor and bailiffs must own multiple jacks or mail shirts, sallets, sheafs of arrows, bows and other weapons. The common men of the city who are able to afford them must have one of each




Description of the soldiers is on page 282 and the weapons requirements on page 244 at this link
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Sat 07 Feb, 2015 3:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

compare the mid 15th cent info with the mid 16th and you get a different story.

1542 Billericay Commission of Array John, Robert and Thomas Smith - 'A harness between them'.

Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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