Robert Henry.

The history of Great Britain : from the first invasion of it by the Romans under Julius Cæsar. Written on a new plan (Volume 5) online

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{liips, at their own expence, for the prote6lion of the
coafts (44).
DIfcipIIne. Armies that were fo fuddenly raifed, and, after a fhort
fervice, as fuddenly difmiffed, could not be well difci-
plined. Henry V. feems to have been the firft of our
kings who w^as fenfible of the importance of regular
movements and united efforts ; and was at much pains to
teach his troops to march in ftraight lines, at proper dif- .
tances, with a fteady meafured pace, to advance, attack,
halt, and even fall back, at the word of command, with-
out breaking their ranks. This difcipline, imperfe6i: as
it was, gave him great advantages over the French, who
in thofe times virere almoft as tumultuary in adva^icing to
an attack, as in flying from a defeat. To this fuperior
difcipline of his troops that prince was indebted for his
fuccefs in general, and pardcularly for his great vi61ory
at Agincourtj as appears from the account given of tha^
famous batde, and from the contemporary hiftorians, from
whom that account is taken (45).
Archers. Though the men at arms, covered with polillied ar-

mour from head to foot, and mounted on great horfes,
were the moft fplendid and moft expenlive, they were not
the moft ufeful troops. The archers formed the chief
ftrength of the Englilh armies, and were the great inftru-
ments of all their vi6lories in this period. The archers
fometimes gained great vi61ories w^ithout the leaft affift-
ance from the men at arms ; as, particularly, the deci-
live viclory over the Scots at Hamildon, A. D. 1402. In
that bloody battle, the men at arms did not ftrike a ftroke,
but were mere fpe61ators of the valour and viclory of the
archers (46). The earl of Douglas, y;ho coijnmanded

(43) Rym. Feed. torn. t. p. 123. 13S. 146. 2jo.', torn. 5, p. 116,
253. &c. (44) Id. torn. 8. p. iz6; '

(45) See chap. i. p. 51.

(46) Otterbourne, p. zt^6. Walfiiig. p. 365.


Ch. s. S I. THE ARTS. 423

the Scotch army in that a6lion, enraged to fee his men
falling thick around him, by ITiowers of arrows, and
trufting to the goodnefs of his armour (which had been
three years in making), accompanied by aboui eighty
lords, knights, and gentlemen, in complete armour, rufli-
jed forward, and attacked the Enghfh archers, fword in
hand. But he foon had reafon to repent his rafhnefs.
The Englifli arrows were/o 0iarp and ftrong, and dif~
charged with fo much force, that no armour could repel
|;hem. The earl of Douglas, after receiving five wounds,
was made prifoner ; and all his brave companions were
cither killed or taken (47). Philip de Comines acknow-
ledges, what our own writers aiiert, that the Englifli arch-
ers excelled thoie of every other nation: and flv John
Fortefcue fays again and again,— "^^ that the might of the
*^ realme of England ftandyth upon archers (4B)." The
Superior dexterity of their archers gave the Englifli ^
great advantage over their capital enemies, the French
and Scots. The French depended chiefly on their men
at arms, and the Scots on |:heir pikemen; but the ranks
of both were often thinned and thrown into diforder by
flights of arrows before they could reach their enemies.

James I. who had feen and admired th« dexterity of InSco
the Englifli archers, and who was himfelf an excellent
archer, endeavoured to revive the exereife of archeiy
among his own fubje^s^ by whom it had been too much
negle6led (49). With this'view, he ridiculed their awk-
ward manner of handling their bows, in his humorous
poem of Chrift's Kirk on the Green; and procured the
following law to be made in his firft parHament, A. D.
14Z4, immediately after his return to Scotland : ^' That
^'^ all men bulk thame to be archares fra the be 12 years
^' of age, and. that at ilk ten punds worth of land thair
«« be made bow markes, and fpeciallie near paroche
^^ kirks, quhairn upon halie dayis men may cum, and
^' at the leift fchute thryfe about, and have ufage of ar-
** charie; and quhafa ufis not. archarie, the laird of the
f' land fall rais of him a wedderj and giffthe laird raifis

(47) Id. Ibid. . .

(48) Fortefcue on the Difference betweea an abfolute aod limiied Mo-
aa-^chy, p. 88. 90. Philip de Comines, t. i.p. 47.

(49) Scoticr<iH, lib. 16. c. 2.8.

^f not


^* not the faid pane, the king's fhiref or his minifters
** fall rais it to the king (50)." But the untimely death
of that excellent prince prevented theefre6lual execution
of this law.

Fire-arms. It hath been already obferved, that the changes intro-
duced into the art of war by the invention of gunpowder
were very flow (^i)* The martial adventurers of thofe
times were not fond of changing the arms to which they,
had been accuftomed ; and it was difficult to find inftru-
ments to manage and direft an agent fo impetuous as
gunpowder. The inftruments employed to that purpofe,
for almoft two centuries, were called by the general name
of cannon^ though they were of many different kinds,
fliapes, and iizes, diftinguifhed from each other by par-
ticular names, as culverines, Terpentines, bafilifks, fbwlr-
ers, fcorpions, &c (52). All thefe ancient cannons were
made of iron only, without any mixture, till towards the
end of this period, when a mixed and harder metal was
invented, called y^;?^ metal or hronze (53).

Cittnan. The cannons of this period were of very different fizcs,

fome of them exceedingly large, and others vety fmall.
We read of fome cannons that difcharged balls of 500
pounds weight, and required fifty horfes to draw them,
and of others not much heavier than a mufket; and be-
tween thefe two extremes there were many gradations.
Monftrelet mentions a cannon call: by John Mague, a
famous founder, A. D. 1478, that threw a ball of 5001b.
from the Baftile to Charenton ; and Philip de Comines
acquaints us, that there were io,ooo men armed with cui-
verines in the Swifs army at the famous battle of Morat,
A. D. 1470 (54)' Thefe fmail culverines, or hand-can-
non, as they were fometimes called, were-carried fome
of them by one man, and fome of them by two men, and
lired from a reft. They feem to have been firft brought
into Britain by the Flemings who accompanied Ed-
ward IV. in his return to England, A. D. 147 1; for thefe
troops, in number 300, v/ere armed, it is faid, with hand-
guns (55).


(50) Black Aa^, fol. 4.

(5 i) See vol. 4. ch. 5-^1.

(5a) Rym. FcEd. torn \%. p. 140. DaDieJ, Milice Fran^oife, tcna. 1.
p. 3iz. (53) Id. ibtfi. p. 315.

(54) Monlrrelct Cunt.n. p. 69. Coiiunes, lib. $. C. 3.

(55) Leiar.d'e Colletlanea, vol. %. p, £©3,


Ch. 5- §• I- THE ART S. 42^

The Scots had a kind of artlUeiy peculiar to them- ^a^'s o^
felves in this period, called carts ofzuar. They are thus^'*^*
defcribed in an ad of parliament, A. D. 1456 : '' It is
*' thocht fpeidfull, that the king mak requeift to certain
** of the great burrous of the land that are of ony myght,
** to mak carts of weir, and in ilk cart twa gunnis, and
*^ ilk ane to have twa chalmers, with the remanent of the
*^ graith that elTeirs thereto, and an cunnand man to fhute
** thame." By another ad, A. D. 147 1, the prelates and
barons are commanded to provide fuch carts of war againft
their old enemies the E^glilh (56).

Many of the cannon-balls ufed in this period were Balls «f'
made offtone. Henry V. gave a commiflion, A. D. 14 19, ttone.
to John Louth, clerk of the ordnance, and John Bennet,
mafon in Maidftone, to prels a fufiicient number of ma-
fons to make 7000 cannon-balls, in the quarries of
Maidftone-heath (57). Even towards the end of this pe-
riod, fome of the cannon-balls were made offtone, and
others of metal. Edward IV. gave a comniiilion to one
William Temple, A. P. 148 1, to prefs mafons, fmiths,
and plumbers, to make cannon-balls, feme of ftonc,
fome of iron, and fome of lead (58). It is a curious and
wcll-attefted fa61, that the art of difcharging red-hot balls
from cannon was known and pra6lifed early in this pe-
riod. When an Englifh army, commanded by the duke
of Glouceftcr, beiieged Cherburg, A. D. 14 18, the be-
licged (as we are told by a contemporaiy writer of the
the beft credit) difcharged red-hot bails of iron from
their cannon into the Englifh camp, to burn the huts in
which the foldiers were lodged (59).

The cannon that were ufed in lliips of w^ar in tliis pc- Shlpguas.
riod were few in number, and of a fmall iize. This ap-
pears from the following authentic account of the furni-
ture of the fhip called the Queen's-hall, in which Hen-
ry IV. fent his daughter Philippa, queen of Sweden,
Denmark, and Norway, to her hufband. Henry Somer,
keeper of the private wardrobe in the Tower, delivered
to William Lovency, treafurer to queen Philippa, for
the armament of her flnp— 2 guns— 40 pounds of pow^

(56) Black Afte, James II. iflt 5Z. Jarars III. acl 55.

(57) Rym. Feed. torn. 9. p. 541.

(58) Id. torn. 1%. p. 140.

lS9J Thonias de EJmhana, Vita Hen. V. p. 155.



der for thefe guns — 40 ftone balls — 40 tompions — i mal-
let — z fire-pans— 40 pavifes — 24 bows — and 40 fhefl's of
arrows (60). From the above account, it is probable
that each of thefe guns required only one pound of pow-
der for a charge. But when fliips were fitted out for a
warlike expedition, they were a little better armed.

U.%. " * ' Gunpowder and cannon were not much ufed in fields
of battle for a conliderable time after they were invented.
Though they were fometimes ufed before, Edward IV.
was the firft king of England who depended much on his
field-pieces, or derived any great advantage from them.
In the battle of Stamford, fought by that prince againft a
numerous army of his rebellious fubje61s, commanded
by fir Robert WePis, *^ the king (we are informed by a
"^ contemporary hiflorian) fparkeled his enemies with
" his ordinance, flew many of the commons, and there-
^^ by gained the viclory (61)." The train of field-artil-
lery prepared by Edward, A. D. 148 1, to repel a for-
midable invafion threatened by the Scots, muft have been
confiderable, fince it required a great number of oxen and
horfes to draw it, and confifled of fix or feyen different
Icinds of cannon (62).

Art of at- ]^Q payt of the military art was more fludied, or better

foxtsf^ undeifiood, by the Engliih in this period, efpecially in
the reign of Henry V. than that of attacking ftrong
places. That heroic prince had no opportunity of fight-
ing many battles ;' but he befieged and took many cities,
towns, and cailles, that were ftrongly fortified, bravely
defended, and believed to be impregnable. Thefe lieges
are defcribed at confiderable length by two contemporary
hiHorians; from whofe writings the following very brief
account of the modes of the attack and defence of places
in this period is coilecled (63).

Continued. When Henry V. had invefted a city or town where he
expecled a vigorous renftance, and apprehended an at-
tempt to raife the fiege, he fecured his army from the
befieged bylines of contra vallation, and from the enemy
without, by lines of circumvallation, ftrengthened by
pallifadoes, and fmall t6weis of wood at proper dif-

(60) Rym. FreH. torn S. p. 44'/.

(61) LciarM^'.'. ColIeiSanei, vol. z. p. 502.
^ (6%) Rym. Feed, t-^m iz, p. 140.

(63) See MonareJet, torn. i. Thomas de BImham, fq/pm.


Gh. 5- § I' THE A R T S» 427

tances. In fummer he lodged his men intents, and in
winter in huts, difpofed in regular ftreets. Approaches
were made by trenches ; batteries were conftru6led, and
planted with machines for throwing great ftones, and
with battering cannon to make breaches in the v*^alls.
Under the prote6lion of the artillery, the ditch was filled
up with branches of trees, earth, and ftones. In the
inean time, the miners were employed in making ap-
proaches under ground; and thefe being fometimes met
by counterminers, bloody fkirmifhes were fought between
the befiegers and befieged. In thefe Ikirmillies in the
mines Henry hi mfelf frequently engaged. The beiiegers
and befieged annoyed each other by flights of quarrels
from their crofs-bows, and by large bodies of combufti-
ble materials fet on fire and difcharged from engines. By
thefe means Hemy took every city, town, and caftle in
France, that he beiieged, either in pei-fon or by his gene-
rals, though fome of them were defended, with great
bravery, to the laft extremity.

An art was invented on the continent, and introduced Art of
into this ifland, in this period, w^hich, though it cannot printing.
be called necellary, is certainly moft excellent and ufeful.
This was the. art of printing ; which hath contributed fo
much to difpel that darknefs in which the world was in-
volved, and diffufe the light of religion, learning, and
knowledge of all kinds. But though printing hath
thrown much light on every other fubje6l, its own origin
remains in fome obfcurity; and there have been many
difputes about the time when, the place where, and per-
fon by whom, it was invented. Without entering into
thefe difputes (in which Britain is not concerned), it may
be fufficient to fay, that, upon the whole, it feems moft
probable, that Laurentius Cofter, keeper of the cathedral
of Haerlem, conceived the firft idea of printing about
A. D. 1430; and between that time and A. D. 1440,
when he died, printed feveral fmall books in that city,
with wooden types tied together with threads. As this
art was likely to be very profitable, Laurentius kept the
fecret with great care, and wiilied to tranfmit it to his fa-
mily. But this deiign did not fucceed. For about the
time of his death, John Geinsiieich, one of his workmen,
made his cfcape from Haerlem, carrying with him, it is
faid, fome of his mafter's types, and retired to Mentz,*
and there began to print with wooden types, A. D. 144 1,



being encouraged and fupplied with money by John Fuft,
a wealthy citizen. About two years after he fettled at
Mentz, John Geinsfleich, or his aififtant John Guten-
berg, invented metal-types, and fet them in frames;
' which was fo great an improvement, that the city of
Mentz claimed the honour of being the place wher©
printing was invented (64). From Haerlem and Mentz,
this noble art was gradually conveyed to other cities
of Germany, Italy, France, England, and other coun-
tries. , j
In England. AH oui hiftorians and other wiiters, who flourifhed
in or near thofe times, and mention the introdu61ion of
printing into England, unanimoufly, and without hefi-
tation, afcribe that honour to Mr. William Caxton, mer-
cer and citizen of London (65). Attempts have fmce
been made to deprive him of that honour, in favour of
one Corfellis, who, it is pretended, printed here fome ,
years before him. But the flory of Corfellis is in many
particulars improbable ; and there feem ftill to be good
reaion to believe that Mr. Caxton was really the firft
printer of England (66). This modeft, worthy, and
induftrious man hath been already noticed as an induflri-
ous biftovian ; he was( alfo the tranflator of many books
out of French into Englifli ; but he merited moft of his
country by iiitroducing the art of printing. After he had
ierved his apprenticefhip to an eminent mercer in London,
he went into the Low Countries, A. D. 1442, as agent
to the mercers company, and reiided abroad about thirty
years. He was appointed by Edward IV. A. D. 1464,
his ^mbaiiador to negotiate a treaty of commerce with
Philip duke of Burgundy, one of the greateft princes in
Europe ; and when the lady Margaret, king Edward's
fifter, was married to Charles duke of Burgundy, A. D.
14.68, he was greatly favoured and much employed by
that active princeis (67). Though Mr. Caxton was
now about hfty-fix years of age, being a man of great
curiofity and indefatigable induftry, he acquired, *^^at
^' grete charge and difpenfc" (as he fays hiinfelf), fo

(64) See Mecrman, Matta're, Marchand, Palmer, Ames, 8f c. on the
hiflory of printing.

I6c) See Dr. M.'ddlcton's work'-, 4^0. vol. 3, p. 245.

^odj lU. ibid. {67) Rjm, F«d. ton*. 11. p. 591,


Ch. 5- § I- T H E A R T S. 429

complete a knowledge of the new and admired art of
printing, that he actually printed, A. D. 147 ij, at Co-
logn, a book which he had tranflated out of the French
1 nto E ngliiTi, called The Recule of the Hijiories ofTroye ( 6 B ) .
Having prefented a copy of this book to his patronefs,
the duchefs of Burgundy, for which he was well re-
warded, and difpofed of as many copies as ht could on /
the continent, he came over to England, A. D. 1472,
bringing with him the remaining copies, as fpecimens of
his fkill in the art (69). Encouraged by Thomas Mil-
ling, abbot of Weftminfter, and others, he fet up a print-
ing-prefs, A. D. 1473, moll probably in the almoniy
of Weftminfter-abbey, where it is certain he wrought a
few years after ; and from that prefs he produced, in
March A. D. 1474, a fmall book tranilated by himfelf
out of French, called The Game at Chefs, which is the
firft book we know with certainty w^as printed in Eng~
land (70). From this time to his death, A» D, 149 1, he
applied with fo much ardour to tranflating and printing,
that though he was an old man, he publiilied about fifty
books, fome of them large volumes, and many of them
tranflated by himfelf (71). How^ produ6live is incelTant
labour, and how worthy are fuch men as Caxton of a
place in the hiftory of their country ?

Though Mr. Caxton was the firft, he was not the only Pinters,
printer in England in this period. Theodore Rood,
John Lettow, William Machelina, and Wynkyn de
Worde, foreigners, and Thomas Hunt, an Englifhman,
printed in London both before and after the death of Mr.
Caxton ; by whom, it is probable, the foreigners were
brought into England, and employed as his afriftants(72).
A fchoolmafter of St. Alban's, whole name is not pre-
ferved, fet up a prefs at that place ; arid feveral books
were printed at Oxford between A. D. 1478 and
1485 (73)» In the colophon of one of the books

(68) Ames, p. 1 — 5. (^9) Middleton, p. 149.

(70) MiddJeton, p. 2.49. Ames, p. 5.

(71) Id. ibid. See Biographia Britannica, in Caxton.

(72) Ames, p. 76 — no, Middleton, 0.240.
in) IcJ- P- 135» M3«




printed there in the laft of thefe years^ are the following
verfes :

Cclatos, Veneti, nobis tranfmittere libros
Cedite, nos aliis vendimus, O Veneti I

which feem to indicate, that the Englifli printers were not
only able to anfwcr the demand for books at home, but
even exported fome of their works (74).
la Scotknd. No book hath yet been difcovered printed in Scotland
in this period. But it is highly probably that the iirft
productions of the Scottifh pre6 perifhed in the almoft
total deftru6lion of the cathedral and monaftic libraries
at the Reformation. The Scots had great intercourfe
with the Low Countries, where that art was much prac-
tifed. James III. was exceedingly fond of the arts, and
of artifts, and no lefs fond of books ; and tlierefore
could not but wifh to introduce this admired art into his
dominions. I have now before me a large, beautiful,
and fplendid book, which belonged to that prince, as
appears from the following infcription, in the hand-
writing of thofe times^ on the blank leaf fronting the
title-page : — IJie liber pert inet Excellerdijjlmo et Invi^iJJi-
mo Principl Jacobo Tertio, Dei gratia, Scotorum Regi 11-
luftrijfimo. A little below is the king's fubfcription,
yacobus "Tertius i^. in a veiy ftrong and beautiful hand-
It is a voluminous fyftem offchoiaftic moral philofophy,
called Speculum Moralitatis (the Min'or of Morality),
compofed by the famous Dr. Vincentius, conlifting of
278 leaves in large folio, of very thick and white paper,
without fignatures, catchwords, P^ges, or folios, beau -
tifully printed in two columns, and in fome places finely
illuminated. At the end is this colophon : Viticentii Spe-
culi Moralitatis liber fecundus, in quo de quatuor twvijjimis
differ it ur, finit feliciter * * *, without printer's name,
place, or date. But from the form of the letter, the.
great number of abbreviations, the want of fignatures,
catchwords, and folios, and fome other marks, it ap-
pears to have been printed about A. D. 1470, moft pro-
bably at Venice. This is indeed no proof that printing

(74) Middlcton, p. i^<3>


Gh. 5'§2. T II E A R T g. , 431

was Introduced into Scotland in this period ; but it is a
proof that James III. was at the pains and expence of
procuring the moft fplendid and voluminous pioduilions
®f the preis from foreign countxies^

g E C T I O H IL

Bifiory of the fine and pkafing Arts of Sculptufe, Paintings
Poetry, and MuftCy in Bfitam,fr^m A. D. I400 U A. D.


F the frequent wars in Which the people of Britaih were War nn^
engaged in this period were unfriendly to die neceffary, ^J_'^^'^^y*
they could not be favourable to the fine and pkafing 2j.js^"
arts ; and if any of thefe flourifhed, it mufl have been
owing to fome accidental circumflances. For the mufes
and the graces naturally fly from fccnes of tumult and
devaflation, and delight in the calm and fecurity of
national profperity and peace. A very brief account,
therefore, of thefe arts, in this place> wdll be fuffi-

We have good reafon to believe, that fculptors and sculpture

ftatuaries were more employed, and better rewarded for

their works, in this than in any former period, which

mufl have contributed to the improvement of their art.

The followers of Wickliife condemned the woifhip of

images in the flrongefl terms ; and feveral of them fub-

mitted to fuffer the mofl painful death, rather than to

acknowledge the lawfulnefs of that worfliip (i). This

alarmed the clergy, and made them redouble their efforts

to infpire the minds of the people w^ith a fuperftitious

veneration for images. With this view, they not only

propagated many floi'ies of miracles wTought by images,

1 but they increafed the number of them, and grudged uq

J expence to procure fuch as, by the excellence of their

! workmanfhip, the beauty of their appearance, and the

(0 F«x, i>. 47^, 477.



richnefs of their drefs, were likely to excite the admi-
ration, and inflame the devotion, of the mukitude to-
wards them (2,). Thefe efFoits were not unfuccelsful.
There was no time in which the worfhip of images more
prevailed, than in the age immediately before the reform-
ation ; nor was there any thing which the people of Eng-
land then relinquifhed with greater reluci:ance, than the
images in their churches. Thefe, however, were at
length completely removed and deftroyed ; which puts
It out of our power to judge by infpe<9:ion of the degree
of excellence to which fcutpture had arrived in this pe-
riod. A few ftatues flill remain in niches, on the out-
fide of fome of our cathedralsy^-^rticularly on the weft
end of the cathedral of Wells ; and though thefe outfide
ftatutes were probably not the works of the beft artifts,
they aiford no unfavourable fpecimen of this art inthofe
times (3).
Ssajuc«, The tafte of adorning fepulchral monuments with fta*

tuesj and figures in baifo and alto relievo^ prevailed as
much, both in Britain and on the continent, in this as
in any period ; and this tafte procured much employment
to the fculptor and ftatuary. Many of thefe monuments
with their ftatues, were defaced or ruined wkh the con-
ventual churches in which they were placed ; but thofc
on the monuments in other churches efcaped much bet-
ter than the images which had been obje6ls of adoration ;
and great numbers of them are kill remaining (4). If
we had proper drawings and deicriptions of thefe monu-
ments> v/ith their ftatues and other ornaments, they
would not appear inferior to thofe of France, of which
very elegant drawings and defcriptions have been pub-
lifhed(5). For we know with certainty that Englifh
aitifts were employed in ere6\ing monuments for fome of
the greateft princes on the continent. Thomas Colyn,
Thomas Holewell, and Thomas Poppehow, made the
alabafter tomb of John IV. duke of Britanny, in Lon-
don, carried it over, and ereded it in the cathedral of

(z) Id. p. 489, &c.

(3) BiownWillcs Metr. Abb. vol. z. p. 375. War ton ou Spencer,
Tol. i. p. 197.

(4) Stiut^ vol. 3. p. 184.

(5) See MontfaucoB, MoQumcni Francois, torn. 3.


Ch.5. §2* THE ARTS. 433

Nantes, A. D. 1408 (6). We know alfo, that the great
Englifh barons of thofe times expended much money on

Online LibraryRobert HenryThe history of Great Britain : from the first invasion of it by the Romans under Julius Cæsar. Written on a new plan (Volume 5) → online text (page 41 of 49)