Taking the war to Scotland and France : the supply and transportation of English armies by sea, 1320-60
Lambert, Craig L. (Craig Lee)
Thesis or dissertation
- © 2009 Craig L (Craig Lee) Lambert. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
This thesis will examine the maritime resources available to Edward II and Edward III. As the majority of the ships utilised by the kings of this period were requisitioned merchant vessels, the inner process of this operation of raising a fleet needs to be studied more closely. In addition, because the supply system that the land based troops relied on was largely conducted at sea, an assessment needs to be made of the nature and effectiveness of the maritime contribution to logistical support. Perhaps, therefore, the main focus of the thesis is to assess quantitatively the contribution made by maritime communities to the supply and transportation of troops during the period 1320-1360.
In order fully to assess and understand the contribution made to the wars of Edward II and Edward III by England's merchant marine this thesis will focus on four areas that the ports were most heavily involved with. The first part of the study will focus on the procedural and administrative capabilities of the crown during this period, paying particular attention to the sources that allow the historian to examine such areas. Following on from this, will be an analysis of how the English government requisitioned sufficient numbers of ships to serve in both supply and transport fleets, bringing to light new theories which highlight the complexity of the system utilised by the Edwardian kings. The second section of the thesis will examine the role that ships played in the supply of armies and garrisons within both Scotland and France, as well as their military participation in the expeditions of the period. The English royal campaigns in Scotland between 1322 and 1360 will be investigated. Each campaign will be analysed individually and an assessment of the contribution of the maritime communities will be discussed in relation to the type and amount of victuals transported and the number of ports, ships and mariners involved.46 The period from 1346-60 will be dealt with separately because after Neville's Cross - apart from the Burnt Candlemas - this period was free from major royal invasions, though the supply of the many English garrisons had to be continued. The military naval contribution to the king's wars of the period, specifically in Scotland, will also be assessed because this helps us to understand just how burdensome the demands of the crown on the merchant marine were in this period; and also allows us to discover the overall involvement of individual ships and their crews in the wars of the two Edward's. Failure to examine this dimension of the maritime communities' participation in the wars would leave an incomplete picture as to their involvement.
The third area of examination that this thesis will concentrate on is the composition of the many transport fleets of the period. The aim is to discover how many ports, ships and mariners were involved in each royal transport fleet of the period, the geographical spread of the ports contributing ships to the fleets, and how many land based men and horses they were required to transport. In addition the composition of what can be termed 'micro fleets' will be assessed. These are the many small fleets of ships, which transported the king's lieutenants and his diplomatic embassies to France. The fourth and final section of the present research will focus on several issues that have been raised throughout the previous chapters. Of importance are the problems relating to an absence of payrolls for several major royal transport fleets of the period, an increasing tendency for the crown to partly privatise large sections of the supply and transportation systems from 1337, and the effects the Black Death had on the availability of shipping. Furthermore, it will be shown that by examining the maritime participation, alongside the land based operations, in campaigns such as the siege of Calais in 1347 new interpretations can be put forward as to the scale, scope and timing of such expeditions, which have usually been ignored due to the lack of source material from a land army point of view. Moreover, the careers of several masters and mariners, assessing their involvement in the supply and transport fleets, will be put forward with the aim of showing that the masters of the ships were an integral part of the Edwardian military machine, with a collective expertise that was vital to the English war effort. By focusing on such issues this research will be able to form a greater understanding of the size and distribution of the merchant marine of this period. This will be undertaken by comparing all of the individual ships and masters who participated in each separate campaign. It should be possible to locate and record every individual ship involved in campaigns during this period. Each campaign will be compared to the next to see how many unique ships and masters can be seen. This will allow an estimate to be put forward as to the number of individual ships in use from 1320-1360.
- Department of History, The University of Hull
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