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Richard Wynne





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PostPosted: Thu 22 Feb, 2007 9:58 am    Post subject: Foreign mercenaries in the War of the Roses         Reply with quote

I have read a bit about foreign mercenaries in the War of the Roses, specifically Burgundian gunners...but some other individuals as well...some dutch, french and spanish. Any one have any information on this?

Additionally, what is the likelihood of being able to do a foreign mercenary impression in the current UK war of the roses organisations?
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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Thu 22 Feb, 2007 5:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

At the very end of the Wars of the Roses, German landsknechts were present at the Battle of Stoke.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 22 Feb, 2007 10:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And a large proportion of Henry Tudor's troops in the Battle of Bosworth were French mercenaries provided to him by Louis IX. So if the organization regularly holds Bosworth events, you could certainly sneak in as a Frenchman or a Breton.

(Not to mention that it's not that far since the end of the Hundred Years' War and many of the nobles still certainly had connections in the Continent.)
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Thu 22 Feb, 2007 11:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The gunners would have been a small part out of all the mercinaries involved (200 of 2000 mercs I think at one point). They had men from Ireland pulled in, French pikes, German pikes and halbards. At this point some cannon's were still directed by foreign crews. The english did not need more misslemen usually, they could draw up thousands of longbows fairly quickly. What England was not strong on (and it still took quite a while to become so) were pikemen. The Bill and other poleaxes were a favorite hand to hand weapon. Some people have conjected Henry Tudor won Bosworth due to his foreign pikes... I do not know if I agree but clearly they helped.

I would look into some of the primary accounts. England has a number of writers during this time who you could look into. A book I found that is a good starting point for said sources is The Chronicles of the War of the Roses Edited by Elixebeth Hallam. Some numbers and deeds are clearly inflated in the primary accounts but you will get a good feel of it by reading them.

RPM
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Feb, 2007 12:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The French supplied mercenary forces to both Margaret of Anjou and Henry Tudor, Breton mercs fought at Mortimers Cross while Charles the Bold and his widow supplied the Yorkist with Flemish troops. The Lancastrians hirsed Scots troops in the 1460's and there probably were Scots in Henry Tudor's army as well. Indeed Scots, Bretons and French mercenaries made up the bulk of Henry's army at Bosworth. (Unless you count the Stanley's as part of his army from the start.)

Callign the mecernary band led by Martin Schwarz "landsknechts" might be streching things a bit since the term was barely in use at the time even in Germany.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Feb, 2007 4:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah Daniel's right.... I forgot some groups. I did not remember the scots off the top of my head.... how pathetic.

I agree using the term landsknechts for the german mercs perhaps not terribly accurate.

RPM
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Martin Forrester




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Feb, 2007 4:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As always, sure, as long as you get it right. You get the odd foreigner at events. I wouldn't like to get the very, erm, 'distinctive' landsknechts kit together for 1 show a year, but there are good events on the continent you could go to. If you want any info on Burgundian gunners, look at the Company of Saint George website, they are without doubt the best 15c re-enactment group around.
http://www.companie-of-st-george.ch/index_1.phtml

Oh, lets just pull out our swords and start whacking at each other, that'll solve everything!
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Feb, 2007 8:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
The French supplied mercenary forces to both Margaret of Anjou and Henry Tudor, Breton mercs fought at Mortimers Cross while Charles the Bold and his widow supplied the Yorkist with Flemish troops. The Lancastrians hirsed Scots troops in the 1460's and there probably were Scots in Henry Tudor's army as well. Indeed Scots, Bretons and French mercenaries made up the bulk of Henry's army at Bosworth. (Unless you count the Stanley's as part of his army from the start.)

Callign the mecernary band led by Martin Schwarz "landsknechts" might be streching things a bit since the term was barely in use at the time even in Germany.


Let me add a few more details to what Daniel said, to give some specific instances. According to Philip A. Haigh, in his book The Military Campaigns of the Wars of the Roses, the Lancastrian army of Margaret of Anjou had ill-disciplined Scottish and French mercenaries, as well as northerners and Welshmen, in its ranks during the campaign of late 1460 and early 1461. This covered the period of the Battle of St. Albans. Margaret's Scottish mercenaries, and the borderers in general, known as "moss troopers" (at least in the 17th century), were responsible for widespread plunder and pillage. They also had a tendency to desert in droves when they had their fill of plundering. Apparently, the Croyland Chronicle likened the northerners to pagans or Saracens. The people of London refused entry for Margaret's army after it victory at St. Albans, being in "mykel dread" of them. One source I read suggested that the northerners were like foreigners to the southerners.

As Edward left London in March 1461 for the fateful encounter with the Lancastrian army at Towton on February 17, his personal force contained Burgundian handgunners as well as a contingent of men-at-arms supplied by the Duke of Burgundy. Again, according to Haigh, the men-at-arms fought under the banner of the Dauphin of France.

When Edward IV returned to England after his exile in the Low Countries during Henry VI's Readeption, his force contained between twelve-hundred and fifteen-hundred Burgundian mercenaries, according to Haigh. According to Christopher Gravett, in Tewkesbury 1471, Edward's force of about 1,200 included Flemish handgunners.

I just thought some of these details might be of interest!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Feb, 2007 10:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

RIchard,

Yeah good book. I tend to disagree with Gravett on 1200 handgunners. I will have to read it now as I have never read anything that indicates a force of handgunners that large in any battle of the WOTR's. It seems the likely source he used is refering to all the merc's in the force or perhaps a major Exaggeration (who knows as osprey does not use footnotes- very dangerous). It would almost indicate that only handgunners went of between 1200-1500 men came from burgunday as flanders was under burgundy at this point. Once more the importance of rereading primary sources over secondary regurg. On a second note it seems most sources indicate about 5,000- 6,000 men at Tewksbury under Edward IV. IT would seem hard to understand if over a fifth of them were gunners the get little written on the, whereas the bowmen, another commoner class do. I also doubt that more than 1/5 of his total army was mercinaries in tewksbury as he had had time to reconstruct his armies in england. When he first landed in England again perhaps but at this time it is clear he had burgundian merc (Francis Drake's History of York contains a good figure of them from now lost civic records, and as they stayed in the town it would make sense they knew how many men they had to billet) as he was entering Henry VI's England and was unsure of his loyal followers.

Anthony Goodman has written a great book on soldiers in the WOTR's. I would check that out of any secondary sources.

RPM


Last edited by Randall Moffett on Fri 23 Feb, 2007 10:57 am; edited 2 times in total
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Feb, 2007 10:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Something to look at as well would be the patent and close rolls from Henry VI, Edward IV's reign. The mercinaries likely would show up in it for pay and communications regarding them. I I have some time I will look into it. I do not know if they are standard at local libraries but they tend to be in university libraries that I have gone to in the past.

RPM
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Feb, 2007 11:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
RIchard,

Yeah good book. I tend to disagree with Gravett on 1200 handgunners. It seems the source he used is refering to all the burgundians in the force but the sentence is not punctuated. Once more the importance of rereading primary sources over secondary regurg.

RPM


Hi Randall! Happy

Osprey books are always better when used in conjunction with other sources. If the number of Burgundian mecenaries was 1,200 total, and this number included Burgundian handgunners, then it would match the lower figure stated in Haigh's book. Haigh's book is a pretty good read,but he's very "pro-Warwick". He tends to paint the "Kingmaker" in a more heroic light than other sources.

J. R. Lander's The Wars of the Roses is a good example of a book that utilizes many lengthy excerpts from the period sources. It's not as easy a read as Haigh, but it gives a good fell for the emotions and attitudes of the time. You can't really rely on period numbers, though.

Here's an interesting excerpt from the Croyland Chronicle describing the plundering by the northerners, as found in Lander's book:
Prior of Croyland wrote:

The duke now being thus removed from this world, the northmen, being sensible that the only impediment was now withdrawn, and that there was no one now who would care to resist their inroads, agains swept onwards like a whirlwind from the north, and in impulse of their fury attempted to overrun the whole of England. At this period, too, fancying that every thing tended to insure them fredom from molestation, paupers and beggars flocked forth from those quarters in infinite numbers, just like so many mice rushing forth from their holes, and universally devoted themselves to spoil and rapine, without regard of place or person. For, besides the vast quantities of poroperty which they collected outside, they also irreverently rushed, in their unbridled and frantic rage, into churches and other sanctuaries of God, and most nefariously plundered them of their chalices, books, and vestments, and, unutterable crime! broke open the pixes in which were kept the body of Christ and shook out the sacred elements therefrom. When the priests and other faithful of Christ in any way offered resistance, like so many abandoned wretches as they wetre, they cruelly slaughtered them in the very churches or church yards. Thus did they proceed with impunity, spreading in vast multitudes over a space of thirty miles in breadth, and covering the whole surface of the earth just like so many locusts, made their way almost to the very walls of London; all moveables which they could possibly collect in every quarter being placed on beasts of burden and carried off. With such an avidity for spoil did they press on, that they dug up the precious vessels which, through fear of them, had been concealed in the earth, and with threats of death compelled the people to produce the treasures which they had hidden in remote and obscure spots.


No wonder London refused them entry! I think the northerners could almost be seen as foreign mercenaries, they were certainly "foreign" to the more "civilized" south.

From the same book, there are accounts of the aftermath of Wakefield and Mortimer's cross in letters written by an Italian eye-witness, G. Gigli. Gigli states some interesting things about the nationalities fighting for the Yorkists, although his information might not be completely reliable (he is apparently unaware of the Duke of York's death at Wakefield):
G. Gigli wrote:

But less than an hour later al the people ran to arms and reports circulated that York, with 60,000 Irish and March wirh 40,000 Welsh had hastened to the neighbourhood and would guard their place for them; and they said that the mayor must give them the keys of the gates.


Margaret had Scottish help during the war in the north after Towton. Pierre de Breze, the Grand Seneschal of Normandy, lead a small force of men to England.

Here's an excerpt from one of the London Chronicles that mentions the Scots:
London chronicle wrote:

And upon the 12th day in Christmas the Scots came to rescue the castle of Alnwick, but it was yolden to the king ere they came. And about the same season the castles of Bamborough and Dunstable were yolden to the king also. And the Duke of Somerset and Sir Ralph Percy submitted them to the king's grace, whom the king admitted to his grace. And about Shrovetide the king came southward.


And again from Gregory's Chronicle of late 1463-early 1464:
Gregory's Chronicle wrote:

And within three or four months after the false knight and traitor, Sir Ralph Grey, by false treason took the said Sir John Astley prisoner, and delivered him to Queen Margaret, and then delivered the castle to Lord Hungerford and unto the French men accompanied with him; and by this mean he put the king our sovereign lord out of possession. And then after that come King Harry that was, and the queen to the King of Scots, Sir Perys de Brasylle, with four score thousand Scots, and laid siege unto the castle of Norham, and lay there eighteen days. And then my Lord of Warwickl and his brother the Lord Montagu put them in devoir to rescue the said castle of Norham, and so they did, and put both King Harry and the King of Scots to flight.


I hope this was of interest!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Feb, 2007 12:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard,

I did like Haigh's book as well. I though it was very well done. I have read excepts from J. R. Lander's The Wars of the Roses for an article I wrote of warfare in the second half of the 15th. I sadly ran out of time and it was one of the last books so sadly I skimmed it more than read it. Since it has been brought to mind again that must mean I should read it. I tend to feel bad for Neville. Edward IV clearly broke trust with him as he did others and being as powerful as he was it was destined for a bad outcome for someone. It seems usurping a throne does that to people (Henry IV).

Yep period numbers are usually on the incredible side.

One thing to consider is that even today in England there is a north south divide..... not medieval divide but clewrly still exists. The northerners in England were like the lowlanders (often very similar) harsh, at times brutal and tough, just the terrain I guess.

Nice sources as well. I like the Croyland one. What a commentary.

I will dig up some info regarding this post.

RPM
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Feb, 2007 12:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
One thing to consider is that even today in England there is a north south divide..... not medieval divide but clewrly still exists. The northerners in England were like the lowlanders (often very similar) harsh, at times brutal and tough, just the terrain I guess.


I wonder, do any re-enactment groups take the "north-south" divide into consideration? It seems to me that you could take on the personna of a "wild northerner" and be a bit different than the "standard" 15th century warrior. It would almost be like a "foreigner".

It may be an option, anyway.

Yeah, Edward broke his trust with Warwick, but Warwick was far too full of himself. He wanted Edward to be a puppet, but Edward was far too stubborn for that. It seems to me that they were both at fault for the falliing out that led to Henry's Readeption, and eventually Warwick's death at Barnet.

I guess that's what happens when you get two arrogant and powerful men wanting to rule the same country! Happy

Stay safe!

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Richard Wynne





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PostPosted: Sat 24 Feb, 2007 2:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the input. I am currently reading Anthony Goodman, and he makes some interesting points. I am more interested in the individuals than the companies in general. Its easy enough to find basic information about large foreign companies but what about the rare individuals that find themselves in unusual circumstances?

To paraphrase him in his book "The War of the Roses, a Soldiers' Experience":

Page 114
Richard III seems to have been maintaining a foreign company under the spanish capitain salacar.

Rodigue de Lalaing, Pedro and Fulano de Guevara...captains under Warbeck , Kent 1495, Lalaing later turns up in Scotland with sixty germans serving James IV

page 91

John Paston in the defence of Caister Castle in 1469 had in his service 'Ducheman' Matthew, Raulyn Mundynet (born in France), William Peny and John Lofe (both from Calais)



The individuals interest me particularly because I am am a foreigner in the UK. I am a rather rare thing, American working for the Crown and I find a certain affinity for other individuals who in the past have been in similar situations.

In addition during living history events I like to talk to the public. When I was in the Sealed Knot the public always wanted to query my accent, easily enough explained by discussing early colonial america. I will not have that luxury at medieval events. I can not do anything remotely like an english or welsh accent of any description and my irish accent is rather comical. I can do a passing spanish accent...to non-spaniards anyway.

Additionally, I think the foreign participation in Medieval England whilst not of the same volume as todays multiculturalism is vastly under rated. For their to be riots against foreigns in London, as in 1381 and 1517 means there had to be enough foreigns to give offence rather than be just exotic curiousities.


In addition, from my own experiences in the military I have found units operating in foreign lands often end up with recruits from the area they operate.

Sir Edward Wydeville for example leading an English company in the Spanish campaign against the Muslim kingdom of Grenada. It does not seem unreasonable to think that perhaps some of the spanish had endeared themselves to the company and may have been used as replacements for men lost in battle.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Feb, 2007 6:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard,

Glad you like Goodman's book as well. He has written others that are good as well.

Most of the foreigners in England seem to be merchants or shipmen. Mercinaries tend to be limited to cannoners and pikes in the second half of the 15th but of course you get numbers of the odd men at arms and such, especially when at home support might by limited. It seems they did not have production of firearms there until the next century with Henry VII or Henry VIII which perhaps is one reason they had to import cannoneers etc. as well. Many of the antiforeigner riots are caused by the fact the wealthy merchants from outside england were competition. The foreign merchants also were given many rights by the king wich made him rich but not his countrymen as he charged them customs at different rates and gave primamry rights to certain groups. If course there were others but soldiers would have been a small minority of them. If you'd like to read up on some of the riots the Southampton Record Series has a book on italian merchants 1200-1700 I think that is pretty comprehensive.

What group do you participate with now? I am also an american living in the U.K. but not working for the crown. I am at Southampton University.

RPM
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Feb, 2007 6:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some past history of mercinaries in England would be something that perhaps influences the ones in the War of the roses.

After the conquest you get an influx of foreigners who had come to stay. For the next hundred plus year men from france and flanders are common in England. These men get used often by the kings for their power struggles. Henry II uses them and Richard and John. John though gets caught at it and signs the Magna Carta. In this letter he states the king will basically not hire foreign mercinaries to bring to england. Funny as many that John used were Gascons, essencially owned by the king of england. Mercinaries never completely stop entering the country but as other examples a king needs be careful when breaking the law or going against parliment (Edward III learns this the hard way, his father learned it even harder).
Edward III had a good number of men of Hainult. One reason was his entry to England was likely going to be a fight and Edward was married to the counts daughter. Some continue on as the queens knight's it seems. The Welsh and Irish are nominally in English overlordship.
The WOTR's is different though as major ties to the continent by marraige and politics (Burgundy-England-France) exist very string after the 100 years war. The mercenaries seem to usually be more of the core or landing party of the side they support as in Edward IV's return or Henry VII landing. When unsure who is to meet you with swords or smiles a few hundred soldeirs can help. In an even larger army every little bit helps. The larger the force the better.
Most civil wars have foreign help (interference). U.S. Civil War recieved help from a number of countries. The Burgundy-England -France triangle is likely the most important one in this era though.

RPM
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Richard Wynne





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PostPosted: Mon 26 Feb, 2007 1:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have not settled on a group yet. Wanted to get a better idea of what I want to do before I settle on a group.

It is hard to explain living outside one's nation of birth to someone who has not experienced it. I have been in the UK for seven years now and its just as challenging as it was the day I moved here. I really feel a connection with other professional men who made their living in the country of their choice rather than the one of their birth.
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Martin Forrester




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PostPosted: Mon 26 Feb, 2007 9:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard Fay wrote:

I wonder, do any re-enactment groups take the "north-south" divide into consideration? It seems to me that you could take on the personna of a "wild northerner" and be a bit different than the "standard" 15th century warrior. It would almost be like a "foreigner".

It may be an option, anyway



A nice idea but it would be almost impossible to do well. Do we have any idea what regional accents were like then? You would need a doctorate in medieval english to have half a chance, throwing in the odd 'sithee' and 'tha' knows' would be worse than not bothering.

Oh, lets just pull out our swords and start whacking at each other, that'll solve everything!
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Richard Wynne





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PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2007 4:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As soon as I speak to a member of the public my broad American accent just spoils the whole thing...at least thats been my experience in the past. I can do a passing italo-spanish accent, and am interested in medieval italy right now so looking at that angle.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2007 10:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have had no problems really.most ask if we are from n. ireland???

RPM
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