The wars of the fourteenth-century English kings with France and Scotland resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of men involved in warfare on land and sea. This book draws upon new research to identify and analyse these soldiers at all social levels in the specific context of the county of Essex. New approaches to the history of the later Middle Ages allow important evidence of military service to be correlated with the rich documentary material stemming from landholding, taxation, administration and other aspects of economic and social life. Significant comparisons can then be made: increased demands for taxation and for shipping from maritime communities, for example, cast light on the impact of war upon the 'Home Front'. The uprising of 1381 is considered as the consequence of the intensive militarisation of the south and south-east coast of England and the consequent cost to taxpayers.In a series of related chapters which add up to a wide-reaching survey, leading researchers explore key aspects of military, social and economic history in fourteenth-century Essex. From the raising of forces to serve the king, through a study of aristocratic lawlessness which may have been linked to violent experiences on the battlefield, to new ways of analysing data to give insights into men recruited as archers and mariners, and a consideration of military aspects of the Peasants' Revolt, this is a rewarding examination of medieval fighting men which affords much new insight into Essex history.
Dr Christopher Thornton is the County Editor of the Essex Victoria County History of Essex, an Associate Fellow of the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, and the Chairman of the Friends of Historic Essex. Dr Jennifer Ward taught and researched medieval history at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Her research interests focus on medieval women and medieval Essex and East Anglia, and her recent publications include Women in Europe 1200-1500 (Routledge, 2nd edn, 2016). Neil Wiffen has an MA in Local and Regional History from the University of Essex and works for the Essex Record Office. He is also the Honorary Editor of the Essex Journal.
ISBN 978-1-909291-88-1, May 2017, 192pp Paperback
“The book overall is a model of a local study set within a national context and should serve as an example for others. It is beautifully produced with high quality illustrations and a striking cover. It also serves to remind us of how much our County Record Offices do to support research activity and public engagement. We owe them many thanks.” Anne Curry, The English Historical Review
“Christopher Thornton and his colleagues make two highly significant wider extrapolations from their research. They reveal that the degree of association that the ordinary soldiers had developed played some part in Essex being at the centre of the Peasants Revolt in 1381; and they also argue that the expertise that Essex mariners began to develop in their international travels at this time later produced the maritime prowess for which England became so formidable in the later Tudor period. These are the formative fruits of detailed and thoughtful historical research.” Trevor James, Historical Association
“The contributions are… all well-written. It reads like a single study, not like a collection of disparate articles. For this, credit is due to the editors and to the organisers of the original conference.” Richard Harris, Essex Journal
“Altogether this assemblage provides an authoritative and often very entertaining account of Essex in the Hundred Years War.” Thom Richardson, Medieval Archaeology
“This volume provides a series of valuable insights into Essex in the fourteenth century, from the influence of war on the maritime economy and, by extension, on the most famous and significant series of events to affect the country in the period, the Peasants' Revolt, a recurring theme. Wisely, the editors have balanced the research focusing on military matters and wider conflict with several excellent accounts providing local context. In so doing they have produced a fine local study which transcends the bounds of Essex. It should provide a model for similar studies elsewhere in England and Wales.” Adam Chapman, The Local Historian
“The whole book displays a fine microcosm of the kingdom as a whole, especially its maritime requirements. The empirical data contained and the archival legwork performed would prove invaluable to any student of the period, especially in such an accessible and well-illustrated manner.” John Barrett, Essex Family Historian
“Offers invaluable case studies, throwing light on the history of Essex, as well as providing the sort of vital details from which the larger, overarching picture can be pieced together” Andy King, Journal of British Studies
“Though primarily a contribution to local historiography, the book as a whole may also be seen as a county-level case study of the role of war for fourteenth-century second-line English counties. It takes into account not only the direct contribution of the county community to the Crown’s military efforts through the dispatch of soldiers, but also what is described as 'home front' activity, such as providing taxation and shipping, as well as the more indirect effects of constant military pressure.” Aleksandr Lobanov, Economic History Review
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