Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Ordinances of Richard II

Will McLean on his "Commonplace Blog" has sussed out the rules that governed his knights. He had them made up, and read to his troops as part of his Scottish campaign. Francis Grose (1801) had translated it into the vernacular, and hats off to Will McLean for finding it!

It funny, there are only XXVI simple and concise rules. Things like
that every one shall well and duly perform his watch in the army, and with the number of men at arms and archers as is assigned him, and that he shall remain the full limited term, unless by the order or permission of him before whom the watch is made, on pain of having his head cut off."

Compare to the modern military's full shelf full of Queen's Regulations and Orders, none of which mention the head cutty offy part. And I note, that like the modern QRO's, Richards "KRO's" have almost every thing to do with how to get on in day to day life, and nearly nothing about how to conduct a campaign. It is also interesting to note the harsh penalties compared to modern times...clearly the people that King Richard were using to consolidate his hold on the kingdom needed to be kept on a very tight leash. Or maybe like his dad, he was just being a Dick....
(sorry, could not resist it!)

The illustration at the top is a very rare glimpse of the inside of a brigantine armour. This one dates to rather later than Richard II, but from all I have read and studied, there would have been very few differences. Most armour during the time would have been chain mail of course, but this was the "transition" period. Big pieces of armour, because they are welded up from small marble sized bits, scraps and one pound trade bars would have broken too easily.

ip-location map zoom


Dr. Deb said...

How did they every fight well in that? I imagine there were bruises even before they took to war.

STAG said...

Well, this armour would have been really comfy. You see, under that they would have had a stuffed shirt called an "aketon" (the word is derived from an arabic word which means "stuffed with cotton") My armour is a "noble weight", to quote Mark Twain, and far from being a drag on the frame, it actually feels comfortable, cozy and safe. And heavy.
You don't often see the armour from the inside like this.