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Soldiers, Nobles and Gentlemen

Soldiers, Nobles and Gentlemen: Essays in Honour of Maurice Keen

Peter Coss
Christopher Tyerman
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 408
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt9qdm9c
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  • Book Info
    Soldiers, Nobles and Gentlemen
    Book Description:

    Chivalric culture, soldiers and soldiering, and treason, politics and the court form the main themes of this volume - as is appropriate in a book which honours the distinguished medievalist Maurice Keen. The essays, all by eminent scholars in the field, cover such topics as nobility and mobility in Anglo-Saxon society; chivalry and courtliness; the crusade and chivalric ideas; chivalry and art; devotional literature; piety and chivalry; military strategy; the victualling of castles; Bertrand du Guesclin; soldiers' wives; military communities in fourteenth-century England; military and administrative service among the fifteenth-century gentry; treason, disinvestiture and the disgracing of arms; and treason in Lancastrian Normandy. Overall, they reflect the range of the honoree's interests, the depth of his scholarship, the international flavour of his work, and his unique contribution to historical scholarship. The volume includes appreciations from a former pupil and colleagues, and ends with a bibliography of his work. CONTRIBUTORS: LINNIE RAWLINSON, MARTIN CONWAY, SIMON SKINNER, JAMES CAMPBELL, DAVID CROUCH, CHRISTOPHER TYERMAN, CRAIG TAYLOR, ADRIAN AILES, NIGEL SAUL, JEREMY CATTO, ROWENA ARCHER, CHRISTOPHER ALLMAND, MICHAEL PRESTWICH, MICHAEL JONES, ANNE CURRY, ANDREW AYTON, SIMON PAYLING, PETER COSS, MATTHEW STRICKLAND, JULIET BARKER, MALCOLM VALE, GERALD HARRISS, MARY KEEN

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-761-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Christopher J. Tyerman
  6. Mémoire
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    Linnie Rawlinson

    When one comes to university, especially Oxford, one doesn’t know quite what to expect. You hope to make friends, have adventures and learn about interesting things. if you are lucky – really lucky – you will meet someone who captures your attention, nurtures your mind and makes you a finer person. I was lucky. I was taught by Maurice Keen.

    When I arrived at Balliol in 1993, Maurice was a man surrounded by his own mythology. Tales of his exploits were passed down in hallowed tones from finalists to wide-eyed freshers. From the pot-shots at Trinity to duels at dawn, these outlandish...

  7. The Multiple Maurices
    (pp. xvii-xx)
    Martin Conway and Simon Skinner

    One of the obvious difficulties for the authors of any tribute to Maurice Keen is that of properly integrating the various facets of his professional life. For temperamental reasons – his absurd, proverbial modesty, and an innate sense of discretion – Maurice always felt it appropriate to keep fairly distinct his lives as historian, as tutor, and as colleague. Woe betide therefore the neophyte Fellow (often American, and a scientist) who at lunch in Balliol might innocently enquire of Maurice how his work was going. The answer was invariably polite, brief, and entirely discouraging of further enquiry. Colleagues, in Maurice’s view, could...

  8. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  9. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)
    Peter Coss

    In 1996 Maurice Keen published a collection of his essays that stretched back over thirty years, the first appearing in 1962. In his foreword he wrote the following:

    At the time when I started out as a researcher I was more than once given the impression that chivalry was not, among my elders and betters, regarded as a very serious topic for historical study, and I supposed that I might find myself ploughing a lonely furrow.

    With characteristic humility he neatly sidestepped his own role in making ‘the subject of chivalry what I had not expected it to prove, a...

  10. Part I Nobility and Chivalry

    • Aspects of Nobility and Mobility in Anglo-Saxon Society
      (pp. 17-31)
      James Campbell

      Maybe many of the principal changes in English society until the eighteenth century came before the Conquest. This has been most boldly and interestingly argued by W. G. Runciman. For him a key element is rates of ‘social mobility’ which ‘accelerated steadily’ between the eighth century and the eleventh. He maintains that

      it seems overwhelmingly plausible to suppose that in each generation in the three centuries preceding the Conquest the chance of a male child chosen at random either rising or falling significantly in the course of his adult life in economic and/or social and/or political position was higher than...

    • Chivalry and Courtliness: Colliding Constructs
      (pp. 32-48)
      David Crouch

      As Mark Girouard very effectively demonstrated in hisReturn to Camelot(1981) the meaning of the concept of chivalry is many-layered, much misunderstood, and liable to change from generation to generation of writers. When Maurice Keen published his magnificently comprehensiveChivalry(1984) he was most careful to acknowledge the diverse sources and social aspirations that lay behind the word as scholars use it. However, he was also able to define the concept of chivalry into some sort of working categorisation, which may be encapsulated as ‘a way of life in its own right’, a code or culture that was attached...

    • Court, Crusade and City: The Cultural Milieu of Louis I Duke of Bourbon
      (pp. 49-63)
      Christopher Tyerman

      The career of Louis I duke of Bourbon (c. 1280–1342), last surviving grandson of Louis IX in the male line, was primarily distinguished by his intimate engagement over a generation with plans for a new French crusade. While in recent years it has become customary to use the commitment of such individuals to illustrate the continued vibrancy of crusading, it is instructive to follow Maurice Keen’s lead, when in pursuit of English fourteenth-century crusaders, and turn the lens the other way, back towards the social, cultural and political contexts of crusade policy and noble life in early fourteenth-century France....

    • English Writings on Chivalry and Warfare during the Hundred Years War
      (pp. 64-84)
      Craig Taylor

      In 1415, Thomas Hoccleve called upon the Lollard rebel, Sir John Oldcastle, to abandon heresy and to confine himself to reading suitable for a ‘manly knyght’:

      Clymbe no more in holy writ so hie!

      Rede the storie of Lancelot de lake,

      Or Vegece of the aart of Chiualrie,

      The seege of Troie or Thebes²

      Alongside the Old Testament stories of famous warriors like Joshua and Judas Maccabeus, these chivalric tales were to provide Oldcastle with the appropriate models for knightly behaviour that would, in turn, restore him to the path of heterodoxy.³ Viewed from an English perspective, this choice of...

    • Royal Grants of Arms in England before 1484
      (pp. 85-96)
      Adrian Ailes

      Few serious historians have dared venture deep into the secret garden of heraldry. Maybe the fabulous beasts, strange blazons, family legends, and exotically titled heralds have scared them off. Maurice Keen has displayed no such timidity and he has amply and eloquently demonstrated that the subject has much to tell us about the social values, culture and aspirations of the upper echelons of medieval society. in England the heralds (acting as agents of the crown and under their own seals) only began to grant new arms or confirm existing coats from the late 1430s. indeed, they were not formally incorporated...

    • Chivalry and Art: The Camoys Family and the Wall Paintings in Trotton Church
      (pp. 97-111)
      Nigel Saul

      The language and rituals of chivalry permeated almost every aspect of medieval aristocratic society. They had their most obvious impact in knightly attitudes to war. As much as the attractions of booty, it was the ethos of chivalry and the expectations which it aroused which spurred knights to follow kings and lords on campaigns afar. The influence of chivalry manifested itself in physical form in a fondness for the architecture of war. the fairy-tale castles of romance were reproduced in fairy-tale castles in stone, such as Sir Edward Dallingridge’s Bodiam. The architectural language of turreted battlements was reproduced in castles,...

    • The Prayers of the Bohuns
      (pp. 112-125)
      Jeremy Catto

      On 16 January 1373 when Humphrey, the last Bohun earl of Hereford, died, the inheritance of that ancient earldom must have been among the greatest in England.¹ although no accounts of the Bohun receiver-generals have survived, a valor of the half inherited by Anne, countess of Stafford, in 1412 estimated its income at £ 1,203 a year; as a third of the original estate was at that date still retained for dower, the total income must have amounted to about £ 3,600.² This was not as much as the duke of Lancaster or the earl of Arundel could command in...

    • Piety, Chivalry and Family: The Cartulary and Psalter of Sir Edmund Rede of Boarstall (d. 1489)
      (pp. 126-150)
      Rowena E. Archer

      The interpenetration of Christian and secular values, the religious mentality of knighthood, and the need to see chivalry as a cultural and social phenomenon are among the major themes which Maurice Keen has explored in a life time’s engagement with the military world of the later Middle Ages.¹ He has, moreover, made historians see that noble and gentle soldiers were not merely fighting but thinking, educated men. These last qualities, affected by rising levels of literacy, undoubtedly remained long after great fighting careers had begun perforce to decline, at least in England with the ending of war with France. Yet...

  11. Part II Soldiers and Soldiering

    • A Roman Text on War: The Strategemata of Frontinus in the Middle Ages
      (pp. 153-168)
      Christopher Allmand

      The military literature available to the Middle Ages was dominated by two classical texts, theStrategemataof Frontinus, compiled late in the first century, and theDe re militariof Vegetius, written some time in the late fourth or early fifth century. Of these, the more significant was undoubtedly the work of Vegetius, whose influence developed steadily (and not always in a narrow, military direction) as time progressed. That, however, is no reason for ignoring Frontinus, the importance of whose work Vegetius himself acknowledged in fulsome terms,¹ and which was to bequeath the medieval world a seam ofexemplafrom...

    • The Victualling of Castles
      (pp. 169-182)
      Michael Prestwich

      When Edward I spent the winter of 1294–95 in the crowded confines of Conwy castle, there was a crisis. The wine ran out, all save one small cask, and that was reserved for the king’s own use. Sensibly, Edward ordered that its contents be distributed among his men, a gesture which surely did much for morale.¹ Castles needed much more for defence than keeps, gatehouses and strong walls. Well-equipped garrisons were required, but if they were to be effective, they needed food and drink. ‘Lytel is worth the strengthe of the walles of a castel, how wel that hit...

    • Plates
      (pp. None)
    • Bertrand du Guesclin, the Truce of Bruges and Campaigns in Périgord (1376)
      (pp. 183-197)
      Michael Jones

      In his epicchansonon the life of Bertrand du Guesclin, the PicardtrouvèreCuvelier relates in great detail the French reconquest of Poitou from the English in 1372–73. In this the Constable took a leading part, culminating in his victory at the battle of Chizé in late march 1373. Strangely, Cuvelier then omits all mention of events in the next few years.¹ His long poem (completed by c. 1385) of almost 25,000 lines continues with a short account of the campaign that Louis, duke of Anjou, and Bertrand fought in Guyenne in 1377. Cuvelier then brings his work...

    • Soldiers’ Wives in the Hundred Years War
      (pp. 198-214)
      Anne Curry

      In January 2006 theDaily Telegraphreported the sale in New York of an eighteenth-century gold box, embossed with the arms of the city, which had been presented along with the freedom of the city to Thomas Gage, commander-in chief of the British Army in North America in 1773.¹ At that point, the report continued, Gage was ‘deeply in love with his American wife’ – Margaret Kemble from New Brunswick – who had given him eleven children.² Two years later, Gage was a ‘broken man … estranged from Margaret for ever after she put the land of her birth before her husband...

    • Armies and Military Communities in Fourteenth-Century England
      (pp. 215-239)
      Andrew Ayton

      The armies of late medieval Europe were among the most distinctive institutional, social and cultural phenomena of the age, and yet they are also among the least well understood. Those raised by the fourteenth-century kings of England stand out as prime examples of how these vehicles for collective martial activity so characteristic of their time and so important in themselves, politically as well as militarily, have become disconnected from the mainstream of historical understanding. there are, no doubt, many reasons why modern historians have struggled to get to grips with these armies, but it may well be their very distinctiveness...

    • War and Peace: Military and Administrative Service amongst the English Gentry in the Reign of Henry VI
      (pp. 240-258)
      Simon Payling

      This paper is an exercise in collective prosopography, examining the theme of military and local administrative service through the careers of twenty-six men who had, in common, careers as soldiers in France after the death of Henry V and at least one election to parliament.² the aim of the enquiry is two-fold. The first relates to military service alone. What, beyond mere personal inclination, prompted these men either to continue campaigning abroad after their initial experiences in the great campaigns of Henry V, or to embark on military careers as the fortunes of the English in France began to decline?³...

  12. Part III Treason, Politics and the Court

    • Law and Political Culture in Thirteenth-Century England: The Treason Trial of 1225
      (pp. 261-278)
      Peter Coss

      In 1242 William de Marisco and his associates were famously executed for plotting to murder King Henry III. The chronicle of Matthew Paris illustrates William being drawn by horses to the gibbet for execution.¹ He and his companions were not the first, however, to have been tried for planning to murder Henry. In 1225 three knights were accused of doing just that. Few historians have noted this case, and those who have done so have dismissed it lightly, primarily because the accuser was not believed and the three knights were acquitted. The indications, however, are that the regime actually took...

    • ‘All Brought to Nought and Thy State Undone’: Treason, Disinvestiture and the Disgracing of Arms under Edward II
      (pp. 279-304)
      Matthew Strickland

      On 23 March 1323, Sir Andrew Harclay, earl of Carlisle, was arraigned before a commission of royal justices, charged with treasonous negotiations with Robert Bruce, the king’s enemy.¹ He was not given a hearing, but was condemned by the king’s record, with the judges merely pronouncing the sentence already decreed by the king.² only the year before, Edward II had showered honours upon Harclay as a reward for his defeat and capture of Thomas, earl of Lancaster, at Boroughbridge, and with his own hand had belted Harclay with the sword of the earldom of Carlisle. Now, the king’s anger at...

    • The Foe Within: Treason in Lancastrian Normandy
      (pp. 305-320)
      Juliet Barker

      ‘Shirburgh is goon, and we have not now a foote of londe in Normandie’, James Gresham wrote to John Paston on 17 august 1450.¹ Cherbourg occupies a special place in the history of the lancastrian occupation of Normandy. it was not only the last stronghold to fall to the French but also, almost exactly thirty-two years earlier, it had been the last in western Normandy to fall to the English. Standing on the northernmost tip of the Cotentin peninsula, the castle enjoyed quadruple concentric defences: a curtain wall with a range of towers; a large moat; a second set of...

    • Richard Duke of York and the Royal Household
      (pp. 321-334)
      Gerald Harriss

      As Protector from April 1454 to January 1455, and from November 1455 to February 1456, the duke of York faced three major challenges to his authority: from baronial disorders in the north and the west country; from the mutinous garrison at Calais; and from his own enemies in the court. Each of these incorporated antagonisms derived from his personal feud with the duke of Somerset, and presented considerable obstacles to his capacity to govern for the common good and with the support of the peers. in considering the last of these, his policy towards the court and the royal household,...

    • From the Court of Richard II to the Court of Prempeh I: The Problem of the ‘Asante’ Ewers
      (pp. 335-354)
      Malcolm Vale

      The role of the fortuitous, the contingent, the unpremeditated, and the unforeseen in history has always caused significant problems for historians.¹ Cherished theories of linear progression, development and evolution, for instance, are often confounded by them. The chance encounter, the quirk of fortune, the sudden change in the weather, the unexpected discovery – all tend to qualify, if not to undermine, deterministic or evolutionary theses of historical causation and development. Similarly, the study of symbols, symbolism and symbolic communication forms one of the more treacherous areas of both historical and anthropological research. How can we ever know exactly what was typified,...

  13. Bibliography of the Writings of Maurice Keen
    (pp. 355-358)
    Mary Keen
  14. Index
    (pp. 359-372)
  15. Tabula Gratulatoria
    (pp. 373-374)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 375-375)