Friday, November 27, 2009

Question from Alex - Army recruitment and feudal lands


I'm confused about the how recruitment for the army worked in tudor times and what was the main military unit?

Was the fuedal system still broadly in place? And how was land delegated, could one take land by force?

I know thats a lot of questions but any help would be appreciated.

1 comment:

kb said...

You might want to take a look at Paul Hammer's "Elizabeth's Wars" which addresses your questions in a much more thorough way.

The Tudor era was one of transition (as all era's are) medieval to early-modern. As such, methods and institutions were in flux. Feudalism still influenced much of England.

The thing to remember is that there was no standing army or navy. Gathering military strength was done on an as needed basis. Titled noblemen owed military service to the crown in exchange for their position. They in turn were responsible for raising, and in many cases paying, troops. During Elizabeth's reign, military affairs were organized by county under the designated nobleman.

As a side note, Anne Warwick, Countess of Warwick raised a military force, funding it privately, to send to the Netherlands to serve under her brother-in-law, Robert Dudley earl of Leicester. So this was not an exclusively male activity.

Taking land was a risky business as the legal system was developing rapidly and several suits were presented to the privy council and the various courts against individuals who had tried to take land or estates.

In theory, all land belonged to the monarch and taking it without permission could easily have been seen as treasonous.

Even the nobility held their land through the grace of the monarch. This then circles back to your earlier question - the nobility owed the crown military service in return for holding and managing land. More or less.

See the Hammer book for more. Perhaps others will suggest additional books.