H. D. (Henry Duff) Traill.

Social England; a record of the progress of the people in religion, laws, learning, arts, industry, commerce, science, literature and manners, from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 3) online

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" Home, Home ! " to which some of the English replied, with
contumelious cries of "Hang, Hang!" There was a tumult
in the host, which was put down with difficulty; but as the
weather grew worse, discontent so increased that Suffolk was
compelled to disband his troops and let them straggle back
to Calais, though the king had given strict orders against a
retreat, and had commanded the army to keep a forward
position in France. It is small wonder that the duke, after
this, " came not into the king's presence in a long season
because of his great heaviness and displeasure."

Henry AVheii the king himself took the field, discipline seems to


the Field, have fared better. Henry was both feared and respected, and

their pliant loyaltv to him seems to have sufficed to keep the

i/ <J

soldiery from such outbreaks. But we should gather that his
presence was as mischievous in some Avays as it was useful in
others ; for the king was so given to misplaced pomp and osten-
tation that he used to go to Avar Avith a train of impedimenta
Avhich must haA^e been a serious clog and nuisance to the army.
The list of the retinue and baggage that he took over seas in
1513 is astonishing, and compares strangely enough Avith the
modest equipment Avith Avhich his predecessor Henry V. used
to go on campaign. His "house of timber" Avent about Avith
him in fourteen Avaggons, he had a tent of cloth of gold, be-
ides several scores of minor tents and pavilions for his retinue.
The non-combatant part of this folloAving Avas absurdly large
scores of cooks, confectioners, lavenders, butlers, scullions,
and henchmen. His Avardrobe alone Avas calculated to occupy
" a hall of forty-five feet long by fifteen broad." He took Avith
him his Master of the Jewel-house, Avith many strong-boxes














full of jewellery. But perhaps the most astonishing part of
his train was the complete choir of his chapel-royal, to the
number of no less than 115 chaplains and singers. With such
a horde of useless followers, requiring hundreds of waggons

A BATTLE SCENE (MS. Roy. 2 A. xvi.).

and thousands of horses, Henry seems almost to vie with
Xerxes in his absurd and impractical ostentation. The mass
of baggage would have been enough to cumber any host, and
we easily see why his movements were so slow and ineffective.

Henry has left behind him a very complete code of camp
regulations and articles of Avar, dating from 1543. They are



interesting in many ways, and much of their content is very
practical and sensible. One most useful order, that all camp
tilth and carrion is to be buried nightly in trenches outside
the encampment, marks an advance in notions of sanitation
on any previous warlike practice. The rules as to discipline
are very strict a consequence, no doubt, of the numerous
mutinies of his earlier years. The old royal jealousy of feudal
particularism is clearly shown by a rule forbidding the use <f
any private badges or cognisances. Every soldier is to have a
large St. George's Cross on his coat, and no other emblem

uniform Henry also endeavoured to introduce a regular uniform for

duced. ''"' N'hole army, though the practice was not really established
for a century after his death. This regulation clothing
was to consist of a blue coat guarded with red, and a pair of
breeches with the right leg red and the left leg blue, the latter
having a red stripe three inches broad along the outer seam.

Equip The troops are still divided into spears, bows, and bills.

The bulk of the horsemen served in the old knightly equipment,-
now at its very heaviest, for the growing efficiency of firearms
was still inducing the cavalry to pile more and thicker defences
on their persons, till the armour " was more like anvils than
mail plates." Light horsemen, called demi-lances, are also
found ; and towards the end of the reign a few mounted har-
quebusiers were also taken into the service the prototypes of
the dragoons of a later age.

Archery. The infantry was composed, as in the time of the Wars of

the Roses, of bows and bills in about equal numbers. The
archery was still so good, and gave such an excellent account of
itself when opposed to foreign troops furnished with firearms,
that not the least tendency yet appears to drop the bow in
favour of the harquebus. The great English weapon seems
indeed to have been at its best in early Tudor times. The bows
dredged up in LS41 from the wreck of the unlucky M<inj Row
(p. 10(>), which sank off the Isle of Wight in 1545, were as much
as six feet four inches in length, a size which demanded extra-
ordinary skill and strength to manage. BoAvmcn and billmen
alike were armed with breast- and hack-pieces, and wore on
their heads either the older steel skull-caps and salades, or
the more modern morion a tall peaked headpiece with a



(MS. An-. A. '-iiL.)-iC /-.'"

1 A. ^




curved brim, which came into general use and superseded all
other infantry helmets in the second half of the Tudor period.

The quantity of artillery with the army was continually
increasing in the sixteenth century, though still very moderate
according to modern ideas; a couple of hundred gunners, with
ten or twelve "serpents" or "bombards," being considered a
liberal allowance to an army of 10,000 men. They were com-
manded by a " master of the ordnance," generally a knight in
early Tudor days. But as the artillery grew more important
we find great peers being given the post in the second half of
the century. Down to the time of Henry VIII. a great part
of the royal train of ordnance had been bought abroad, and
only a comparatively small portion made at home. The first
establishment of large public gun-foundries dates from the
years 1520-30, from which time brass camion were regularly
cast in England, and quite superseded the old hooped- iron
ordnance. Peter of Cologne and Peter Baude, Henry's chief
artificers, are said to have invented in 154M the first shells
for use for mortars. Stow describes them as " hollow shot of
cast-iron stuffed with fireworks, fitted with screws of iron to
receive a match to carry fire kindled, that the firework might
be set on fire to break in small pieces the same hollow
shot; whereof the smallest piece hitting any man did kill
or spoil him." This invention was long before its time, like
the occasional breech-loading cannon of the sixteenth cen-
tury which are now and then found in artillery museums.
Probably the uncertainty of explosion in the screwed match
kept the invention from obtaining all the success that ii

Tactics: v\ T e have already mentioned the curious dearth of general

engagements in King Henry's long French and Scottish wars.
Solway Moss and the Battle of the Spurs were mere cavalry
scuffles. Flodden was the only pitched battle of the reign
worth a careful consideration. It is one of the first British fights
in which the time-honoured- arrangement of the three great
" battles " -the vaward, main-battle, and rearward (//. p. 93)-
was abandoned by both parties. James IV., moved (it is to be
supposed) by the numerous French professional soldiers that
accompanied him, had a front composed of five columns of
moderate size, supported by four other columns in reserve



in a second line. To prevent the crowding and hopeless in-
ability to manoeuvre that had always handicapped Scottish
armies in the old English wars, there was a wide interval
left between each column. This arrangement seems to have
led the Scots into a fault the very reverse of their old
mistake, for the separate bodies got out of touch with each
other, and fought isolated engagements on different portions
of Branxton hillside. Huntly's and Home's divisions on
the left never kept their communications with the centre
after the first charge. Bothwell's reserve column on the right
centre of the second line got overlooked in a dip of the
ground, and was not brought up at the right moment to
succour the hard-pressed centre.

The troops of Lord Surrey were arrayed in a smaller num-
ber of divisions than the Scots, being in two great " battles,''
each furnished with two smaller wings. They advanced in
echelon, with the right wing-division of the right-hand
" battle " leading ; but probably this array was caused by the
hindrance of the marsh in front of the left "battle," not by
any deliberate intention. It resulted, however, in the fiurhtinsr

" m O O

beginning on the extreme right, and gradually spread ing-
down the line as each English division got in touch with the
Scottish column in its immediate front.

The details of Flodden have the same general character
as those of the earlier Anglo-Scottish battles. It was essen-
tially an infantry engagement, in which the Scottish pike was
pitted against the English combination of bow and bill. All
the columns in King James's army held their own at first
except the right wing, where the light-armed Highlanders ot
Argyle and Lennox were broken early in the day. But the
spearmen of the centre and left kept the English at bay in
the close fighting by their serried ranks, and only yielded in
the evening to the archery fire, which galled them intoler-
ably in the intervals between the charges of the billmen and
the horse of Surrey's army. Night saved the wreck of the
host, or the final retreat must have ended in annihilation
when the long-tried clumps of pikemen finally gave back
and sought safety in a dangerous retreat towards the Tweed.
For the way back to Scotland lay round the English
right flank, and could not have been gained by a single




fugitive if the daylight had

Before quitting the clays of
Henry VIII. it is necessary to
mention that the reign was
not unfruitful in castle-build-
ing. Henry's forts, however,
were not the great strongholds
of the Middle Ages, but smaller
structures destined almost en-
tirely for coast defence. The
French were so often in com-
mand of the Channel, and
descents on the southern
counties were so numerous,
that the king erected numerous
castles along the coast of Kent,
Sussex, and Hampshire, to serve
as local centres of defence.
They were intended to resist


maritime descents, not to stand
long sieges and were of mode-
rate size and simple structure,
not like the complicated Ed-
wardian structures . on the
AYelsh and Scottish borders.
They were placed on open
stretches of shore where
landing was easy, and destined
to check and delay it, San-
down Castle, covering the lon^


shelving east shore of the Isle
of Wight, and Camber on the
flats between Winchelsea and
Rye, may serve as examples.
These small castles had a
permanent garrison of a few
gunners, reinforced, when a
descent threatened, by the local
levies of the neighbourhood.












w. LAIRD I'XTIL the beginning of tlic sixteenth century, the l{oyal Navv


The Navy (>t England consisted of very few vessels. These few, I lie
under property of the sovereign, were, in time of peace, occasionally
VIIL let out to the merchants, but more often utilised to police

the narrow seas, or to cany between England and the
Continent personages of distinction. In war time they formed
merely the nucleus of the fighting fleet, the far greater part
of which was composed of the ships furnished, in accordance
with their charters, by the Cinque Ports, and of a still greater
number of vessels hired or "arrested " for the particular purpose
in hand. Under Henry VII., the Royal Navy was augmented :
but not until the reign of Henry VIII. "was it organised as a
standing force, and placed under the charge of a separate
Government department. For this reason, Henry VIIL,
however partial may have been the success of his naval
policy in other respects, may fairly be regarded as the Father
of the British Navy. He settled the constitution of the
service upon a plan from which it lias ever since steadily
developed. He encouraged the planting and preservation of
timber for shipbuilding purposes. He vigorously repressed
piracy and all maritime irregularities. "The laws made in
his time," says Campbell, " for the facilitating and support of
inland navigation, clearly demonstrate that the importance of
large rivers began to be understood and esteemed more than
during the ('ivil Wars, when public welfare gave way to
private interest. The Thames, the Ouse, the Exe, the river
of Southampton, the Severn, etc., were freed from weirs and
other obstructions : on the same principle an Act was passed
for rendering the river of Canterbury deeper, in order to its
becoming navigable. The illegal tolls and other oppressive
duties on the Severn were suppressed, that the great com-
munication by that noble river might be as free as possible.
The making of cables, and other hempen manufactures, which
had been the principal stay of Bridport, in Dorsetshire, was
secured to that place by statute. More than one law was
passed to prevent the harbours in Devonshire and Cornwall
from being injured and choked up by the stream-works of the
tin mines. An Act was also passed in favour of the port of
Scarborough ; and with regard to Dover, the haven being in



a manner spoiled, the king expended between sixty and seventy
thousand pounds out of his own coffers in building a new
pier, and in other necessary works." Some favours he also
granted, out of consideration for their harbour, to the inhabit-
ants of Poole. He founded the Royal Dockyards of Woolwich
and Deptford, and the Corporation of the Trinity House ; and
although, of course, the construction of the great and famous
warship which was named after him went but a little way
towards the creation of an efficient fleet, he deserves credit for
the activity with which he prosecuted the work of coast defence.
To this he paid special attention, while at the same time he was Fortm-
by no means inclined to overrate the importance of it, or to
believe that England's protection could be effectively under-
taken elsewhere than on the sea. He fortified the Isle of
Portland, and built Hurst Castle, the forts at Cowes, Camber
Castle for the defence of Rye and Winchelsea, Southsea Castle,
and other works for the defence of Portsmouth, and the castles
at Walmer, Sandgate, Deal, Sandown, Queenborough, St. Mawes^
Pendennis, and elsewhere along the coasts. His methods may have
been illegal, and even tyrannical ; the results at which he aimed
and which to some extent he achieved, were certainly calculated
to promote the power and enhance the grandeur of the country.

The Regent, the largest of the warships that had descended SW P S of
to him from his father, was, as has already been noticed,
destroyed in action with the French in 1512. The king at
once began the building of the celebrated Henri Grace d
Dieu, or Great Harry, which he caused to be laid down at
Erith, in September of the same year, and which was com-
pleted for sea in 1515. She appears to have been modelled
upon the previous vessel of the same name (Vol. II., p. 670),
but to have been somewhat larger, and much more perfect both
as a sailing and as a fighting machine. There are several
alleged pictures of her. One hung for many years in Canter-
bury Cathedral, and was at length given by the Dean and
Chapter to Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Norris, who died
in 1749. Another is to be found in the great canvas, the
property of the King, Avhich represents the embarkation of
Henry VIII. at Dover on May 31st, 1520, to meet Francis I.
on the Field of the Cloth of Gold. The Great Harry,
with the king on board, is shown, leaving Dover Harbour



with her sails set. Charnock describes the representation thus :
" She has tour masts with two round lops on each mast except
the shortest mizen ; her sails and pendants arc of cloth of
gold damasked. The Royal Standard of England is flying
on each of the four quarters of the forecastle, and the staff of
each standard is surmounted by a fleur-de-lys, or; pendants
are flying on the mastheads; and at each quarter of the deck-
is a standard of St. George's Cross. Her quarters and sides,
as also the tops, are fortified and decorated with heater shields,
or targets, charged differently with the cross of St. George
azure, a fleur-de-lys, or, party per pale argent and vert, a
union rose ; and party per pale argent and vert, a portcullis,
or, alternately and repeatedly. . . . On the front of the
forecastle are depicted party per pale argent and vert, within
a circle of two garters, the arms of France and England


quarterly crowned, the supporters a lion and a dragon, being
the arms and supporters then used by King Henry the
Eighth. The same arms are repeated on the stern. On each
side of the rudder is a port-hole with a brass cannon ; and on
the side of the main-deck are two port-holes with cannon, and
the same number under the forecastle. The figure on the
ship's head seems to be meant to represent a lion, but is
extremely ill-carved. Under her stern is a boat, having at
her head two standards of St. George's Cross, and the same at
her stern." An inventory of her gear and fittings is preserved
in the Pepysian Library at Magdalene 1 College, Cambridge.
Naval From this it appears that of brass guns she had : 4 cannon,
3 demi-cannon, 4 culverins, 2 demi-culverins, 4 sakers, '2
" cannon-perers," and 2 falcons ; and of iron guns, 14 port-
pieces, 4 slings, 2 demi-slings, 8 fowlers, 60 baessys, 2 top-
pieces, 40 hail-shot pieces, and 100 hand-guns complete. The
" cannon " of the period was an 8 in. 60 pr. gun, 8 ft. 6 in.
in length ; the " demi-cannon " was a 6 '4 in. 32 pr., 11 feet in
length; the " culverin " was a 5'2 in. 16 pr., 11 feet in length :
the " demi-culverin " was a 4 in. 9i pr. : the " saker " was a
3 '6 in. 6 pr., 6ft. 11 in. in length; what the " cannon-perer >:
was is not quite certain ; the " falcon " was a 2'5 in. 2 pr..
s t't. 6 in. in length. The iron guns were all of small calibre.

[ l Printed in ArcJi(C<il<>ffia,VI. The "baessys " were apparently "basilisks,"
or 5 in. 15 prs.J





For her gm is the Great 7A< //// curried 2 lasts of ''serpentine"
and lasts of "corn" powder, in barrels, a "Just' weighing
probably about 4,000 Ib. The allowances of shot for the hig
guns were: for the cannon, 100: for the deiiii-eannon, 60;
for the culverins, 120: for the demi-culrerins, 70: for the
sakers, 120; for the cannon-perers, (iO ("of stoen and leade");
and for the falcons, 100. Her complement consisted of 340
soldiers, 301 mariners, and 50 gunners, or TOO in all. An
inventory of her gear in 1521 shows that her main-star was

10 inches in circumfer-
ence, and that she had a
22 in. cable, a 20 in. cable.
and an S in. hawser.
Writing to the king on
lime 4th, 1522, from the
Downs, Sir William Fitz-
william declared that the

PORTION UF Tin; PVJIP OF THE M.uiy i;<>.-; :

('/'""'I T "J l.niillnii.)

i i'! (ji'dce a Diea
sailed as well as, and
rather better than, any
ship in the fleet, and
weathered them all save
the Mai'i/ J\o*e.

Upon the Mar i/ R<>*<-,
a ship of only 600 tons
burthen, she was, no doubt, an improvement as much in general
design as in mere size and power of armament. The unfortunate
Mart/ Rose, whose lower-deck ports were but sixteen inches out
of the water, capsized while going out to engage the French fleet
at Spithead in 1545, and sank with her captain and 400 men.
On the same day, the king himself had dined on board. Many
of her guns, some of which are very fine, were long afterwards
recovered and are still preserved. Among them are an eight-
sided-brass " culverin bastard" of 4v> in. calibre, and S ft. G in. in
length, and a brass " cannon- royal," the largest gun of that day,
of 8'54 in. calibre. It would have carried a 66 Ib. spherical shot,
and that is said to have required a charge of 30 Ib. of powder.

The naval pay of Henry's time was still low. A vice-admiral
received 10s. a day, but a captain generally but Is. lid. Soldiers,
mariners, and gunners received 5s. a month and 5s. lor, or in the



shape of, victualling allowances. Master gunners were paid 20s.,
and quarter gunners 15s. 3d. a month. The men, as in earlier
periods, occasionally had gratuities or rewards over and above
their pay. In 1514, two clerks to the admiral received 8d. a
day each.

In action, tactics began to be practised. Each side strove Tactics,
to get the weather gauge, and there was some attempt at
manoeuvring 1 in regular formation : but the issue seems to have


been usually decided more by means of bows and arrows, axes,
pikes, lime-pots, stink-pots, and hand-to-hand fighting, than by
aim-lire : and there is reason to believe that the number of



(Tower of London.)

rounds got rid of during an engagement was always compara-
tively small. The practice of saluting with guns seems to have
been first adopted by the Navy in this reign.

Commenting upon the increased size of ships, Father Daniel size of
says : " One observation will alone suffice to show that the
largest men-of-war of former days were not to be compared
for bulk with those of the present time. The proof is that our
fleets were once fitted out in harbours, where now vessels of
middling size have not water to ride. Harrleur was one of the
most considerable of these ports ; but now sheep feed where
formerly whole fleets rode at anchor, the sea having withdrawn
itself the distance of a league ; and it is very visible how
shallow the water was at that time." Too much has been
made of this somewhat illogical remark, and naval historians
have, perhaps, unduly minimised the size of the ante-Tudor
ships, forgetful of the fact that the recession of the sea has
in many places, and notably at some of the Cinque Ports,

The Ad-

Growth of




been obviously caused by deposits <>f sand and shingle,
so that the former depth of water cannot be accurately esti-
mated. But there is no doubt that under the early Tudors
enormous improvements were effected, as regards both size
and seaworthiness; and that from the time of Henry VIII.
must be dated our tirst possession of a Navy " tit to go any-
where and do anything."

Henry established the Navy Office, and appointed certain
officers, known as tlie Principal Officers of the Navy, to manage
the civil branches of the service under the Lord High Admiral.
These seem to have held their meetings upon Tower Hill :
but precise regulations for their guidance were not laid down
until the reign of Edward VI.

A striking incident of the early part of Henry's sovereignty,
and one which not only shows the naval importance of the
country, but must have had effect in stimulating the maritime
pride of the people, was the appointment of Thomas, Earl of
Surrey, as commander-in-chief of the allied fleets of England
and of the Roman Empire. The Emperor Charles V., in his
commission to Surrey, dated June 8th, 1522, granted to the
English Lord High Admiral " the same authority, lull and
plenary power over our Royal Navy, the captains, soldiers,
and seamen thereof . . . both in promoting the officers,
in conferring the honour of knighthood on persons of merit,
in punishing malefactors, in giving out fitting orders, in trying
and judging all causes, and in executing and appointing
all and everything under his command ... as the said
admiral hath in the king his master's fleet."

Sea-borne trade greatly increased and prospered. According
to Hakluyt, the trade to the Levant especially rose into
importance. "In the years 1511, 1512, etc., till the year 15o4,
several tall ships of London, with certain other ships of South-
ampton and Bristol, had an ordinary and usual trade to Sicily,
Candia, (Jhio, and sometimes to Cyprus, as also to Tripoli and
Beirut, in Syria. The commodities which they carried thither
were fine kerseys of divers colours, coarse kerseys, white western
dozens, cottons, certain cloths called statutes, and others called

Online LibraryH. D. (Henry Duff) TraillSocial England; a record of the progress of the people in religion, laws, learning, arts, industry, commerce, science, literature and manners, from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 3) → online text (page 14 of 68)