The Fighting Essex Soldier
Recruitment, war and society in the fourteenth century
Editor: Christopher Thornton, Jennifer Ward , Neil Wiffen
“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.”
About the book
“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
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.
ISBN: 978-1-909291-88-1 Format: Paperback, 192pp Published: May 2017
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