The Soldier in Medieval England

 

Researched, complied & edited by Rodney G. Dalton

 

Extracted from: http://www.medievalsoldier.org

 

Employing one of the most efficient weapons of the Middle Ages, the Medieval Archers were for centuries that corps of an army capable to decide the outcome of the battle.  The right deployment in the field, combined with the rapid "fire" capability could ensure the victory even when their army was in numeric inferiority.  Crcy, Poitiers, and Agincourt (Azincourt) are classical examples.

 


Foot Archers-13th Century

 

The role the Medieval Archers could play in battle was quickly understood, and as early as the years following the Norman Conquest, the practice of archery was much encouraged and the Medieval Archers were granted special privileges.  Among the enactments of Henry I of England, it was provided that if anyone practicing with arrows or with darts should by accident slay another, it was not to be visited against him as a crime.

 

From 1066 until the end of the 12th Century, the longbow was of the most simple construction. It appears frequently in the Bayeux tapestry. The arrows were usually barbed.

 

During the 13th Century, besides the mounted men-at-arms or heavy cavalry, there were light troops formed by the mounted archers and crossbow-men. The Medieval Archers were becoming every day of more importance in the field. And, if the bow was an efficient arm in battle, it was still more so in sieges, and the defense of strongholds and mountain-passes.

 

There was a clear difference between the Continent and England as far as the Medieval Archers are concerned.  While the longbow was preferred in England, the crossbow-man was an essential component of a Continental army during all this period. The crossbow-men were either mounted or on foot. One of the popular type of crossbow arrows was the four-sided or pyramidal head.

 

Among the Medieval Archers, the English archer is the most prominent character. In the 14th Century, he was equally efficient in siege and in the field. The defender of town or castle could not peep beyond the parapet, but an English arrow could nail his cap to his head. In the field, provided the archers were, by marsh, wood, or mountain, secured from a flank attack, they would bid defiance to any number of mounted men-at-arms. The foot-archers were in far greater proportion then the mounted ones. The bows were of two kinds: painted and plain (white).

 

On the continent, the missile weapon employed to oppose the English longbow was still the arbalest (crossbow). The troops who used it were chiefly Genoese and Spanish infantry mercenaries. Mounted crossbow-men were also engaged, but in much smaller numbers.  How inefficient the crossbow was when opposed to the English archery appears in every page of the histories of the 14th Century. The element of success was simply the more rapid fire of the English archers using the longbow.

 

Although the 15th Century saw the first hand-gunners, the Medieval Archers were still in favor.  The crossbow-men continue to have an important place in the Continental armies of the day. There were also important changes in organizing the Medieval Archers.  Learning from the lessons of Crcy and Agincourt, Charles VII of France instituted the French-Archers, equipped partly with the longbow and partly with the crossbow.

 

Below are some English soldiers with the name of Dalton:

Name

Rank

Captain

Commander

Year

Nature of Activity

William Dalton

Archer Eure

Ralph

Sir Percy, Henry, earl of Northumberland

1383 - 1385

 

Not specified (Scottish Marches)

John Dalton

Man-at-arms

Windsor, William de

Windsor, William de 

1371-1372

Standing force Ireland.

Thomas Dalton

Man-at-arms   Windsor

William de Windsor

William de

1371-1372

Standing force Ireland.

Robert Dalton

Hobel

 

 

1383-1386?

Not known

Robert Dalton

Archer

Arundel, Richard Fitz Alan, earl of Arundel

Richard Fitz Alan, earl of Arundel

1387

Exped Naval.

William Dalton

Archer

Percy, Thomas, Sir

Percy, Thomas, Sir

1385

Exped Naval

John Dalton Thomas

Archer

Nottingham, Thomas de Mowbray, earl of Nottingham

Mowbray, earl of Nottingham, de

1389-1390

Standing force Scotland (East March)

Peter Dalton

Archer

Nottingham, Thomas de Mowbray, earl of 

Nottingham, Thomas de Mowbray, earl of Nottingham 

1389-1390

Standing force Scotland (East March)

Solomon Dalton

Archer

Nottingham, Thomas de Mowbray, earl of

Nottingham, Thomas de Mowbray, earl of

1389-1390

Standing force Scotland (East March)

Richard Dalton

Archer

Nottingham, Thomas de Mowbray, earl of

Nottingham, Thomas de Mowbray, earl of

1389-1390

Standing force Scotland (East March)

Robert Dalton

Archer 

Braham, John, Sir

Scrope, Stephen le, Sir 

1395-1397 

Standing force Ireland

Robert Dalton

Archer

Hake, Andrew, Sir

Arundel, Richard Fitz Alan, earl of

1388

Exped Naval

John Dalton

Archer 

Haddley, John

 

1400

Exped Scotland

Thomas Dalton

Yeoman / Valettus Archer

Botreaux, William,

Lord Henry V

1415

Exped France

John Dalton

Archer

Godard, Henry

Henry V

1415

Exped France

Robert Dalton

Yeoman / Valettus / Archer  

Carrewe, Thomas, Sir

Devon, Hugh de Courtenay, earl of

1420

Keeping of the Sea

Thomas de Dalton

Archer

Ashton, William   Bedford

John, Duke of

1420

Exped France

Robert de Dalton

Archer

 

Scrope, John Lord, of Masham

1421

Exped France

John  Dalton

Archer

Fitz Hugh, Henry, Lord Gloucester

Humphrey, Duke of 

1417

Exped France

William Dalton

Archer

Fitz Hugh, Henry, Lord Gloucester,

Humphrey, Duke of

1417

Exped France

John de Dalton

Man-at-arms  

Clifford, John Lord

Gloucester, Humphrey, Duke of

1417

Exped France

John Dalton

Archer

Neville, John, Sir

Gloucester, Humphrey, Duke of

1417

Exped France

John Dalton

Archer

Leyhun, Thomas Gloucester

Humphrey, Duke of

1417

Exped France

Richard Dalton

Archer

Leyhun, Thomas Gloucester,

Humphrey, Duke of

1417

Exped France

Robert Dalton

Archer 

Umfraville, Gilbert, Sir Gloucester,

Humphrey, Duke of

1417

Exped France

William Dalton

Archer

Northumberland, Henry Percy, Earl of

Gloucester, Humphrey, Duke of

1417

Exped France

Thomas Dalton

Man-at-arms 

Chamberlain, William, Sir

temp. Henry V or Henry VI

 

Standing force, France

William Dalton

Archer

Huntingdon, John

Holand, Earl of

1439

Standing force, Acquitaine

Edmund Dalton

Archer

Holand, John, Sir

Huntingdon, John Holand, Earl of

1439

Standing force, Acquitaine

John Dalton

Man-at-arms

Gray, Ralph, Sir

York, Richard, Duke of

1441

Exped France

Thomas of Dalton

Man-at-arms

Beaufort, John, Duke of Somerset

Beaufort, John, Duke of Somerset

1443

Exped France

John Dalton 

Archer

Beaufort, John, Duke of Somerset

Beaufort, John, Duke of Somerset

1443

Exped France

John Dalton

Man-at-arms

Cusak, Thomas, Sir

Beaufort, John, Duke of Somerset

1443

Exped France