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to us. All that will be here attempted, is to afford a gene- | Castle is by some supposed to be an example*, were, how: ral knowledge of the changes which time and cireum ever, built in several parts of the country, to serve as places stances have wrought in the character and constitution of of safety in time of need, but they are believed to have our armies,—to give a sketch of their rise and progress, been few in number. with such illustrations of their social history, and of the defensive and offensive weapons which have been employed Section II. 1066—1660. NormAN CONQUEST-FEUDAL at various periods, as our space will admit.
SYSTEM-ARMIES OF THE MIDDLE AGES, &c. SECTION I. ANCIENT British AND Saxon ARVIES.
A SWEEPING alteration in the military state of England
succeeded the Conquest in 1066. Within a few years after From the most remote antiquity, the inhabitants of these that event, the new sovereign bestowed nearly all the lands isles appear to have been distinguished for their bravery in the realm amongst his Norman followers, on conditions and hardihood. At the period of the landing of Cæsar, of military service. For this purpose, in 1085, a survey of from whose writings we derive most of our knowledge of the land throughout England was made, after which it was the military system, if such it could be called, of the divided into certain portions+, each producing an annual ancient Britons, it appears that they were unprovided with revenue, (estimated in the reign of Edward the First at 207.) any sort of defensive armour except rude shields; that called a Knight's Fee; every holder of which was bound, their ideas of fortification were contined to strengthening personally, to serve the king, either at home or abroad, at their encampments with earth-works; that they employed his own expense, for forty days in each year, providing war-chariots, armed with scythes; and that their chief himself with a horse and the requisite arms and accoutrearins of offence consisted of javelins, swords, and arrows, ments; at the expiration of that period, he was at liberty which were slight, and unfit to withstand the Romans in to return home, but if his further services were required, close encounters, although in light skirmishes they were he was then paid by the king. What is called the Feudal not unfrequently successful.
System was thus introduced into England, and, calculating Whilst Britain was under Roman dominion, in con the number of knights' fees at 60,000, the king was thus formity with the usual system adopted by that people at all times, enabled to command an immense and effective amongst the various barbarous nations which they brought body of cavalry for active service. under their yoke, they employed the native soldiers in foreign In despite, however, of this extensive force, William lands, and thus the more effectually checked any disposi- does not appear to have thought bimself secure; for he tion to revolt, by withdrawing the military population, and employed large bodies of foreign mercenaries to defend the supplying their places with their own troops. When the important castles and fortifications, and to protect the Romans abandoned Britain, therefore, it was literally desti- frontiers bordering on Wales and Scotland. The erection tute of defenders, and speedily fell into the hands of of strong holds was indeed a distinguishing feature in his foreign enemies, who, as in the case of the Saxons, were military policy. “ In a few years after the conquest," says enabled to secure their conquests with little difficulty. the Saxon chronicle, “ the whole kingdom was covered
The Saxons appear to have assembled considerable with castles, and the poor people worn out with the forced armies at periods of emergency, but it was not until the labour of their erection." reign of Alfred, who found it necessary to keep his troops for The Norman sovereign, however, did not lose sight of a considerable time in the field, that (what may be termed) the system adopted by Alfred. The whole male population a national militia was established. By his laws every free of the realm, between the ages of fifteen and sixty, were man, capable of bearing arms, and not incapacitated by liable to be called upon for military service. This force bodily infirmities, was, in all cases of emergency, com was designated the posse comitatus, or power of the pelled to unite under the banners of his sovereign. At country, and their chief object was to preserve the peace, stated intervals, the people were exercised, under the in- | under the command of the sheriff'; their constitution essenspection of their earls and other officers; and once in every tially differing from that of the feudal troops, as they were year there was a general review of the male population in only liable to be called upon in cases of internal commoeach county. All such as were qualified to bear arms in tion or foreign invasion, and not in any case to be marched every family were led to the field, or muster, by the head out of the kingdoni. Reviews or musters of the posse of that family. Ten families formed a tithing, which was comitatus took place at stated intervals, under the direction commanded by a borsholder; and ten tithings made a of the sheriffs, to control whom an otlicer, called a lieutehundred, several of which forined a trithing, whence the nant, was appointer, who, in progress of time, had the sole origin of the Ridings in Yorkshire. One portion of this command of this force, and was, ultimately, (in the reign militia was kept by Alfred in the field, another in various of Henry the Eighth,) invested with the powers of the strong-holds, and the remainder were left to cultivate the present Lords-Lieutenant of Counties, when that title was land; so that, in the language of the historian, Hume, the first brought into use. It is not difficult to trace the origin kingdom at that period * was like one great garrison. of the existing county-militia system in the establishment
The Saxon and Danish forces were chietly composed of of the posse comitatus. infantry, and divided into two classes, the light and heavy In consequence of the inconvenience attendant on the armed. The latter used large oval convex shields, with feudal system, a relaxation soon took place in its severity. spikes projecting from the bosses; their helmets were com Knights', or personal service, was commuted for money, posed of the skins of animals with the hair outwards; but the amount was variable, and settled in every instance and they were provided with heavy swords and javelins. between the individual and the sovereign. A considerable The light infantry wore light swords, battle-axes, and darts. military revenue was thus acquired by the crown, which The Saxons were unacquainted with that formidable was employed in the hire of national stipendiary troops, or weapon, the cross-bow; and it does not appear that they foreign mercenaries, which were kept in permanent service. often used the common bow, except whilst engaged in field- The methods of raising these troops were either by recruitsports. The Saxon cavalry, which was chietly composed ing, or enlisting volunteers, by a mode assimilating to that of the Thanes, or such as kept horses, until the eighth cen practised at the present day, or by means of indenture, (a tury appear to have worn no other defensive armour than practice first adopted by Edward the Third,) by which a helmet; they were provided with spears, and used stir- various individuals, or contractors, engaged to find a certain rups, and spurs with a single point. The general dress of number of men, armed and equipped for the service of the all soldiers was a tunic, which reached to the knees, and crown, for a stated time, at a stipulated remuneration. It was provided with sleeves. Armour does not seem to have was customary, on entering into these agreements, for the been adopted by this people at all till the eighth century, sovereign not only to advance a part of the pay beforehand, and long after that it was only used by their nobles and but to find security for the regular discharge of the reofficers; but it was chiefly composed of hides, or of linen mainder. Henry the Fifth actually pledged all his jewels tunics, thickly padded. At the period of the Norman con for this purpose, and they were not redeemed during his quest, however, we learn from that curious piece of needlework, the Bayeux Tapestry, that the common soldiers
* See Saturday Magasine, Vol. V., p. 45. were many of them armed in a complete coat of mail.
which were registered in the volume called the Domesday
Book, still in existence. In time of battle the Anglo-Saxons seem to have drawn At the commencement of the reign of Stephen, there were 1115 up their troops in one dense mass around their standard, of these fortifications erected in England only. But this policy, placing their foot, with their ponderous battle-axes, in front: however, ultimately, brought with it an evil of great magnitude to But little attention appears then to have been paid to the
the sovereign, and was the means of bringing about the great erection of places of defence. Circular or square towers, within their defences, were enabled to repress the power of, and,
charter of our liberties, the Magna Charta ; for the Barons, secure varying from three to five stories, of which Coningsborough occasionally, to dictate to the throne.
life-time. Edward the Second and Third also resorted to Normans appears to have consisted of two kinds; one of extraordinary expedients in recruiting their armies. Soldiers iron rings or plates, and the other of leather. The defenwere forcibly impressed for particular expeditions, and sive armour, or coat of mail of a knight, or man at arms, charters of pardon were, on such occasions, granted to cri- (also called a hauberk or habergeon,) was composed, says minals, on condition of their joining the troops.
Grose, of ringlets of iron, linked together, like a net, which On the decline ‘of the feudal system, in order to render covered the body; to this was joined a hood, breeches, the defensive force of the kingdom as effective as possible, stockings, and sabatynes, or shoes, all of the same convarious statutes were passed, particularly in the reign of struction. The hands and arms were also defended by Edward the First, relative to arms and armour, which com sleeves of mail. Another sort of armour, (previously pelled all persons, under certain penalties, to provide them- alluded to,) was “composed of small plates of iron, sewed selves with armour of a particular description. These upon quilted linen or leather, through a small hole in the laws remained substantially in force till the reign of James centre of the plate; the edges were laid one over another, the First, when they were abolished; the posse comitatus like the scales of a fish." This armour was calculated to ceasing, about the same period, to be available for military resist the stroke of a sword, or the thrust of a pike, and purposes.
yet was very pliable. By a strap suspended round the The Crusades to the Holy Land, which agitated Europe neck, knights carried a wooden shield, (of a convex or during a great part of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth triangular form,) covered with leather, and bound with centuries, powerfully influenced the constitution of society: brass or iron, having handles on the inner side for brasing In this warfare the church took a prominent part, and it, a term then used, to describe the method of pulling it many distinguished ecclesiastics entered the field of battle over the left arm. Helmets, in the middle ages, were of against the infidels. In the reign of Henry the Second, various forms. “Some were conical or pyramidical, with the most eminent prelate in England equipped 6000 men a small projection to defend the face from a transverse at-arms, 700 of whom were knights, at his own cost. And stroke." Others were cylindrical, covering the whole head, in cases of emergency, reverend prelates have frequently with apertures for sight and breath; some left the face led large levies into battle in this country to stop the in- entirely uncovered. This was the prevailing kind of cursions of the Scots, or quell intestine commotions. Early armour worn in Europe, until the fourteenth century. At in the reign of Edward the Fourth, when an invasion was that period, the hauberk, or coat of mail, began to give expected from France, writs were issued by the king, way to plate armour, which at the commencement of the
commanding the archbishops, bishops, and all ecclesias- fifteenth century, came into universal use, This was comtics, to be furnished with competent arms, and arrayed in posed of plates of iron, which have been described “ to be companies, to conquer, repel, and destroy the enemy, with so constructed, as to act upon the principle of the shell or our other faithful subjects," in case of extremity. The tail of the lobster." Plate-armour was frequently elabosuccess of the English during the crusades, especially rately ornamented, inlaid with gold, and decorated with under Richard the First, who reaped a rich harvest of armorial bearings, &c.; it is supposed to have reached its glory in the Holy Land, raised England to a very high highest degree of perfection, in the reign of Richard the rank as a military power; and her superiority was further Third. Several of our monarchs wore their crowns on the established by the important acquisitions which were after crests of their helmets; at the battle of Agincourt, the wards made in France, and by the conquest of Ireland. crown of Henry the Fifth was partly cut off by a stroke of
The wars of the middle ages were, however, from vari- the Duke of Alençon's sword; and Richard the Third, ous causes, indecisive. During the greater part of the also, wore his crown in the field of Bosworth. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the cavalry was chietly twentieth volume of the Archæologia, Sir S. R. Meyrick composed of knights, or the nobility and gentry of the describes the method adopted in the old time, in putting on country; who also rendered important services at the storm- armour; the knight commenced with his feet,' and proing of fortresses or towns, when they fought on foot. cecded thus :
One of the most eminent of our military commanders 1, His sabatyns, or steel shoes ; 2, the greaves, or shin in the middle ages was Edward the Black Prince, the pieces ; 3, the cuisses, or thigh pieces ; 4, the breech of eldest son of King Edward the Third, whose reign was one mail; 5, the tuillettes, or over-lapping pieces under the of the most glorious in English history. There are several waist ; 6, the cuirass, or breast plate ; 7, the covers for the very interesting representations of ihis great prince in arm, or vambraces ; 8, the rere braces, or covering for the existence. The figure in the engraving at page 121 remaining part of the arm to the shoulder ; 9, the gauntlets ; (which is reduced from a larger plate in Hamilton Smith's 10, then the dagger was put on; 11, the short sword; 12, splendid and valuable work on British costume, &c., to the cloak, which was worn over the armour ; 13, the which we have to confess our obligations for the other sub-bacinet; 14, the long sword; 15, the pennoncel, held in jects in this number, as well as for some of the accompany the left hand; 16, the shield." The knight was then ing details), has been taken from the most authentic of armed cap-à-pie. these, the beautiful monumental effigy in copper in the After the introduction of musketry, plate-armour was cathedral of Canterbury. The statue is in plated armour, made of great thickness; its extreme inconvenience, indeed, with a pointed scull-cap and a coronet, a gorget of mail, uselessness, gradually, however, led to its being laid aside. and a surcoat of arms, quartering Old France and Eng “ Armour cap-a-piè began to fall into disrepute," observes land, under a label of three points; the hips encircled by Sir S. R. Meyrick, “ soon after the accession of James the a girdle of lions' heads, richly carved; the shoes peaked, First, and in the latter part of his reign the jambs, or steel and the spurs furnished with large rowels. The prince coverings for the legs, were almost wholly laid aside." was above six feet high, extremely handsome, and well- | Charles the First, is believed to have generally used formed, and wore a quantity of hair on his upper lip. By armour; but, during the Commonwealth, it was reduced to his side are his war-shield and helmet, with ostrich feathers a helmet and cuirass ; the latter was subsequently disused; overshadowing the lion, here represented couchant. In the but, as we shall see, it has, since the peace of 1815, been background are soldiers of the fourteenth century, and a again introduced into our army: view of Rochester Castle. At the close of the glorious Amongst the most interesting MILITARY Customs of victory of Cressy, which was chiefly owing to his bravery the middle ages were what were called the cries of war, and judicious conduct, the Black Prince went to his father which owed their origin to the ancient custom of shouting, (Edward the Third), to receive the eulogium due to his previously to joining in battle. The main objects of these valour, and laid at his feet the triple plume or crest of the cries, were not only to raise the spirits of the soldiers, and King of Bohemia, who had been slain in the battle. Ac to intimidate those on the opposite side*, but to distinguish cording to popular belief, he was consequently invested friends from foes in the heat of battle. The ancient English with the crest, and adopted the motto (Ich dień, German, cry, was “ St. George !" and often, “ St. George and merry I serve) of the fallen monarch ; both which have been England!" The system of cheering in action, which still used by all succeeding Princes of Wales ; many of our prevails in the British navy, is the only relic of this animating antiquaries, however, seem disposed to discredit this tra custom, the revival of which, however, in the army, on chargdition.
ing, has been strongly advocated by several military writers.
Military music was also much cultivated before the inven ARMOUR. ANCIENT MILITARY CUSTOMS, &c.
tion of fire-arms, both to cheer the soldier in battle, and for A history of the changes which have taken place in the purposes of signals, and its use, in a certain degree, still defensive armour is a subject of considerable interest;
* We are told by Froissart," that at the battle of Crecy, 15,000 our notices, however, must necessarily be extremely brief. Genoese archers began to yell in the most frightful manner, to At the period of the Conquest, the armour worn by the I terrify the English.”
SOLDIERS AND CANNON OF THE FOURTEENTH AND FIFTEENTH CENTURIES. 1375–1425. continues.' Trumpets of different kinds were greatly used Castle, in a strong cage of lattice-work, strengthened with in our ancient armies. The origin of this instrument is, iron. In modern times, the customary mode of liberating indeed, of very high antiquity, and frequent allusions are prisoners of war, is by exchange between the belligerents. to be found relative to its use, among the Israelites, in the Military punishments, in the old time, appear to have Holy Scriptures. It was also used by the Romans, and been severe. There were three kinds of capital punishment, other nations of antiquity. The "ear-piercing fife, and beheading, hanging, and drowning ; but the latter seems spirit-stirring drum," with horns of various kinds, were only to have been used in the reign of Richard the First. also used by our ancestors; nor must we forget
the þag The punishments laid down in the “Charter," addressed pipe, the warlike music of the Highlanders. The fife is by this monarch to “all his men going by sea and land to said to have been invented in Switzerland, and to be of a Jerusalem," are exceedingly curious; amongst them are the later date than the drum.
following: The use of standards, flags, and ensigns, may be traced • He who kills a man on shipboard, shall be bound to the to remote antiquity; they not only served to distinguish dead man and thrown into the sea. If a man be killed on the forces of different countries, but served as rallying shore, the slayer shall be bound to the dead body and points in the hour of danger or confusion. Several kinds buried with it. Any one convicted of having drawn his of ensigns were formerly used in this country; some were knife to stick another, or who shall have drawn blood from too bulky to be carried by a single individual, and were him, to lose his hand. if he should only have struck with fixed in the ground; others were attached to different corps the palm of his hand, without drawing blood, he shall be or regiments, as at the present period. It was considered thrice ducked in the sea. Any one who shall reproach, a post of high honour to carry a banner in time of action. abuse, or curse his companion, shall for every time he is
Standards were, therefore, large flags fixed on the sum- convicted thereof, give him as many ounces of silver." mits of towers, or elevated places, and they originally considerable jealousy then existed between the soldiers derived their name from being stationary; though the and seamen. Loss of limb, and two cruel punishments term is now applied to the colours used in cavalry regi- called the picket, and riding the wooden-horse, were also ments. The ancient standards, (many of which were anciently used. fixed on lances,) had various names, as banners, guidons, Corporal punishment was formerly of rare occurrence in pennons, pencils, and banderolls, or camp-colours.
the English armies; but this, probably, partly arose from The ransom of prisoners of war, remarks Grose, “was the private soldiers having in most cases some property; one of the principal sources of emolument of military men they were therefore punished by forfeitures or fines. Imin ancient days, and like the prize-money of the present prisonment was frequently resorted to; and officers were time; Sir Walter Manny, in the reign of Edward the subject to be reprimanded, suspended, or cashiered. DeserThird, is said to have gained 80001. by prisoners of war, in tion, by the 18th of Henry the Sixth, was declared a one campaign." The ransom generally demanded was felony. Blasphemy subjected the offender, whether officer one year's rent of the prisoner's estate; one third of this or private, to the severe penalty of having the tongue bored went to the commander of the army, and one ninth to the with a red hot iron; the punishment of profane swearing, king. Soldiers without property, generally paid one half and neglect of divine worship, was discretional, but someof their year's pay. There have been instances where so times comparatively heavy, large a sum as 10,000 marks has been paid for a ransom. Flying from colours, and flying with any other aim, have One third of all plunder during war belonged to the sove- always been considered offences of the highest magnitude, reign. Prisoners were very rigidly treated in the middle and punishable with death. Making inroads“ into the ages; and even no exception seems to have been made in country adjacent the camp," says Samuel, “ without authofavour of ladies of rank, -a striking proof of the barbarity rity of the king or his lieutenant, or setting fire to houses of the manners of the times; of which we have an instance, or buildings, was a capital offence, by ordinance of Henry in the case of the Countess of Buchan, who in the reign the Fifth. Drunkenness is not set forth as a substantive of Edward the First, (1306,) was imprisoned in Berwick military crime, in any of our ancient ordinances, but
whenever any substantive crime was found to be combined | minations of the troops, in the reign of Henry the with drunkenness, it was punished with additional rigour. Seventh, which was materially increased in the reign of In the reign of Elizabeth, it was ordered, that “ drunk. Queen Mary; for, at the siege of St. Quintin's in 1557, ards should be imprisoned, and fed on bread and water, so the captain-general was paid 51. is. 2d. per day, the lieulong as the qualities of the offence should deserve." 'tenant-general 31. 68. 8d., the serjeant-major, (the major
Theft was formerly a capital military crime. The ordi- of the present period), 15s., the surgeon is. 6d., and the nances of the Earl of Northumberland, in the reign of private soldier 8d. In the reign of Elizabeth, the Earl of Charles the First, render it treason, for a soldier “to speak Essex, the “ Lord Lieutenant-General" in Ireland, received irreverently against the king's majesty or authority, to 101. a day, and horsemen, (“ a troop then consisted of one have or keep intelligence with the enemy, or to deliver up captaine, one lieutenant, one cornet, and fifty private any place of strength, magazine, victuals, &c*.".
troopers,") were each paid ls. 3d. per day. In 1659 a It does not appear, that any regular uniform was formerly lieutenant-general was paid 11., a colonel 129., a horseused in our armies ; indeed, their constitution, and the use soldier 23. 3d., and a foot-soldier 9d. In that year the of armour, rendered this, in some degree, impossible; there whole cost of maintaining the army amounted to was, however, in this way, a uniformity in the clothing of | 638,0931. 145. 8d. During the last century, until 1795, the the troops, by the introduction of a red cross on 'the jacket, pay of a private foot-soldier was 6d. daily ; in that year it which was white, in the reign of Richard the First; but was augmented 24d, and, subsequently, increased to 1s., green and blue jackets were also subsequently used. besides allowances.
In the wars of the Roses, our troops wore badges ; that of The military rank of marshal, or mareschal, dates the Earl of Warwick, a silver hear and ragged staff, is well as far back as the Conquest, and then ranked next to known. The French, to distinguish their forces from the that of Constable of England. The title of general English, used a white cross on a dark ground. In the cannot be traced further back than the reign of Henry reign of Elizabeth, the cavalry wore red cloaks. The the Eighth; the major-general was then designated Highland (Scotch) dress, is comparatively quite modern. the “sergeant-major-general." There was also an officer The pay of the military at various periods, does not, from
of very high rank, called the provost-marshal, in our obvious reasons, afford any illustration of the alteration ancient armies. The rank of colonel is believed first to which has taken place in the value of money. In the reign have been conferred by Henry the Eighth; those of of Henry the Second, a knight received 35. a day, besides captain and lieutenant, according to their modern acceptaan allowance for the cost of his horses and esquires; but it tion, do not seem to have been introduced until the reign seems, subsequently, to have been reduced to 2s. a day. ) of Henry the Seventh. In the reign of Edward the First, (1300,) the daily pay of The infantry, probably from the Conquest to the reign a banneret was 45.; of a knight 25.; of an esquire 12d.; of Henry the Eighth, was divided into bodies of 1000, and of a constable ls. The latter" appellation was given, 100, and 20 men, corresponding, in some measure, to the in this reign, to officers of infantry, as well as cavalryt.
regiments, &c. of modern times. In 1557 the infantry Knights, esquires, and constables, were obliged to have was still divided into companies of 100 men, each comcovered or barded horses. A vintner of cross-bow men, manded by a captain, a lieutenant, and an ensign, and then received 6d. a day; a private cross-bow man 4d.; an provided with a serjeant, a harbinger (probably similar to archer 2d.; a master engineer 9d.; a common engineer 6d ; | our corporal), and a drummer. and a miner 2d. The commander or constable of a castle, Military Surgeons seem, in the middle ages, to have (unless he ranked as a banneret,) received a knight's pay, 25.
been held in very little repute; and, in consequence of the a day.
low state of surgical science, even long subsequent to the Edward the Third, more than once paid his army in reign of Henry the Eighth, the loss of life in time of war wool. An augmentation took place in military pay, was very great. In the list of troops at the siege of Calais, partly in consequence of an alteration in the deno in the reign of Edward the Third, only one surgeon is
mentioned. When severely wounded, soldiers were gene* The only capital punishments in the British army have long been rally presented with sufficient money to enable them to confined to shooting or hanging; and whipping, the only coporal
return home, which, in some measure, accounts for the punishment now used, is inflicted generally by the drummers of the regiment with what is called a “cat o' nine tails.".
paucity of medical attendants. + This denomination was abolished towards the close of the reign It would lead us too much into detail, here to describe of Edward the Second.
the methods adopted in the middle ages in constructing
fortifications ; but it may be remarked, that very imperfect | 1664, we learn that bowmen were used by the Marquis of ideas seem then to have existed of the benefits arising from Montrose in Scotland. The use, however, of archery for that kind of mutual defence, which “ constitutes the very | so long a period after the introduction of fire-arms, is not essence of our system of modern fortification. The chief de- to be wondered at, when we remember the cumbrous nature pendence of our ancestors seems to have been in the height of the latter until the commencement of the last century, and thickness of their walls, and the breadth of the surrounding ditches; and where it was impossible to com
ARMS. mand the latter, machicolations, or openings in the parapet,
| DURING the middle ages, the English foot-soldiers appear and in front of the embrasures, were constructed, for the
to have been armed with spears, swords, slings, and darts, purposes of pouring down melted lead, stones, and other missiles on the assailants. The, donjon, or keep-tower,
as well as with bows and arrows. The weapons used by which always served as a refuge at the last extremity,
the cavalry were lances, swords, and daggers. Before the generally formed one of the most important features of the
introduction of cannon, they brought into the field, or used ancient castle.
in sieges, various warlike machines, which projected darts
and stones to a considerable distance. ARCHERY.
The discovery of gunpowder,-a discovery which gra
dually effected a total change in military tactics, and in The brilliant successes of the English armies in the middle the constitution of armies, - was the event which most ages were many of them chietly, it not entirely, owing to the powerfully influenced warfare in the middle ages. It is use of the long bow-an instrument entirely of Norman very remarkable that so little is known relative to the oriintroduction. There seems good reason to believe that ginal invention of this powerful agent. The popular story both the arbalest, or cross-bow, and the long-bow, were relates, that about the commencement of the fourteenth cenused by the Norman invaders under William the Conqueror. tury, Bartholdus Schwartz, a Franciscan monk, and student
The use of the English long-bow arrived at the highest in “ alchemy" at Cologne, in the course of his pursuits, mixed perfection in the reign of Edward the Third, and notwith salt petre, sulphur, and charcoal in a mortar, and partly standing the discovery of gunpowder, continued, for a covered it with a stone, when by some accident, it took fire, long period subsequently, to be highly and successfully and blew the stone with great force to a considerable discultivated in this country. Cressy, Poictiers, Agincourt, tance. But the honour of the invention must be ascribed to indeed most of the great victories gained over the French, our countryman, Friar Bacon, whose works were written at mainly resulted from the unrivalled skill of the English Oxford in the latter half of the thirteenth century, at least bowmen; nor were they less successful on their own soil. eighty years before the supposed invention of Schwartz, in Truly was it said by Sir John Fortescue, “ That the which he particularly describes the composition of gunmight of the realme of Englande standyth ypon her | powder. The projectile power of this destructive agent archers ;" indeed all our old writers are agreed upon the was soon rendered available for military purposes. Edvast superiority of the English bowinen over those of other ward the Third is said to have used cannon, or rather bomnations. The Scots, at that period, chictly depended upon bards (as they were then called), so early as 1327, in a their pikemen, and the French on their men-at-arms. campaign against the Scots; and in 1346 they materially
By an ordinance made in the reign of Edward the contributed to his success in the memorable battle of Fourth, every Englishman or Irishman dwelling in Eng Cressy. land, was required to have a bow of his own height The ordnance used at that period somewhat resembled “ either of yew, wych-hazel, ash or auburne, or any mortars, and formed, from their comparative lightness, exother reasonable tree, according to their power.” Mounds cellent substitutes for the ponderous battering-machines of earth were at the same period ordered to be made in which had formerly been used in assaulting fortified places, every parish, and the inhabitants were enjoined to prac at a period when roads were unknown throughout Europe. tise archery under certain penalties. The pay of archers These pieces, which were short, and of a large calibre, un that reign was six pence a day, which, considering the were made with bars, and sometimes thin sheets of iron, relative value of money, strongly proves the high estima-strengthened with hoops of the same metal welded together. tion in which this force was held. Subsequently to this, 1 The engraving at page 124 affords a good idea of the early the cross-bow seems to have been much introduced, and cannon. The bombard, or mortar, in the middle, is of a several statutes were passed in the reign of Henry the very early date. The other cannon, which is of a date Eighth against its use.
posterior to the reign of Henry the Fourth, is of iron, and The engraving at page 128 affords an idea of the military lies in a trough or bed, resting on a moveable pivot fixed in costume of English archers during the latter part of the a strong upright, erected on a square timber frame. The fifteenth century. Yew was the best material for the bow. apparatus used for both guns proves that the powder must “The arrows were of different weights and sizes; the lighter have been very feeble. The bullets were either of lead or sort for long ranges, about two feet three inches, while the stone, some of which were from 200 to 500 lbs. in weight. heavy were a cloth-yard in length. The heads had various Near the muzzle of one of the guns stands a broad shieldshapes, among which the broad arrow extended in widih to bearer, or paviser, the denomination of a substitute soldier, nearly four inches at the extremity of the wings. Of these whose duty it was to bear a large shield before the gunners, twenty-four in a sheaf were put in the quiver, and in action, archers, and cross-bow men, who approached the wails of a about twelve in the girdle. They were trimmed with three castle thus protected. The group on the right consists of goose-quill feathers each, and when the archers shot in a gunner, an archer, and another cross-bowman. A smaller volleys, the quantity of arrows in the air and falling was description of ordnance began to be used at the latter end so great that Froissart, with a poetical turn of expression, of the fourteenth century, called hand-cannon; some were compares it to the driving of snow. Besides these missiles, so light as to admit being carried by two men, and disfireworks, and arrows headed with pbials filled with com- charged from a rest on the ground. This may be conbustible matter, were often shot from bows. The farthest sidered the first approach towards light fire-arms. It was range of arrows was estimated at about eleven score yards. not until 1521 that any attempt was made in this country The archers, in order of battle, generally carried besides to cast pieces of ordnance. the bow, axe, and target, a stake pointed at both ends. The engraving at page 125 represents the nature of the They formed in open ranks, in files eight deep. When on artillery which was used during the chief part of the fifthe point of engaging, they advanced a few paces beyond teenth century. From these specimens it will be seen that the intended line, and fixed their stakes, inclined towards the cannon at that period were less heavy and bulky the enemy, in the ground. They then stepped backwards, than those of an earlier date. The gun in the foreground and from behind this kind of chevaux-de-frize, dealt forth of the plate is fixed on the swivel principle, being sustheir destructive arrows, and when the enemy were thrown pended between the branches of an immense fork of iron; into confusion, they sallied, and with small battle-axes and its elevation or depression was effected by means of a large swords, completed the defeat. Their reputation rose so iron bar in the form of a scythe, standing in a vertical (uphigh that, beveral foreign princes, in the fifteenth century, right) position. The whole apparatus is fixed on an iron deemed their armies most materially reinforced if they plate fastened on a massive bed of oak. The other piece could obtain 200 or 300 English archers in their service. of ordnance in the distance is of a lighter kind, and may
The exact period when the bow was disused in the be considered a kind of field-piece. The warlike machine British ariny is uncertain. We find records of its use in the centre of the plate affords a very interesting illusin 1627; in 1643 the Earl of Essex endeavoured to raise a tration of the mode of attacking fortifications in the old company of archers; and from a pamphlet published in time. The wooden tower was moved on small rollers, and