Knights and Knights of the Rose War era: major issues (part of 4)
The knights who fought with each other during the war of the Scarlet Rose and the White Rose had several serious problems related both to their own “knightly deeds” and to the specifics of the conflict. First of all, oddly enough, it was an identification problem. A person who has a position and high status, whether it is a “banner,” a lord or a king, was easily recognized on the field by his banner - a wide square or rectangular flag with the owner’s coat of arms embroidered on it. The seigneur, as well as his servants and warriors, could also wear "surco" with heraldic images or at least his heraldic colors. At first it was a close fit to the body or a free “jupone”, both with and without sleeves, and even later, the “tabar” freely falling from the shoulders with wide sleeves up to the elbow, very similar to those used in This time heralds. The effigies that have reached us show us knights in such “cloaks”, but there are few of them. That is, “white armor” was still more popular at that time, and even the most simple-looking. And since the shields were no longer used either, it was very important that the standard-bearer be as close as possible to his master, and hold no further than the tail of his horse, according to the expression of that time. The most common was the standard - a long flag in the form of a piece of fabric with a sharp end or a split in the form of a dovetail. In the very place of attachment to the pole was in the tradition to represent the cross of St.. George - red straight cross on a white background. But then came the "furs", crosses, boars, eagles, dragons, branched clubs, leopard lions and all other heraldic animals. In general, a pennant could carry much more information than even the same coat of arms. The color of the standard usually corresponded to the two main colors of the emblem of the seigneur, which were then also present on the clothing of his warriors. This tradition is very well represented in the Soviet film “Black Arrow”. Apparently, they had a good consultant there and the director obeyed him.
The chapel of Henry VII in Westminster is the last masterpiece of the English Gothic.
But the red cross could be like that of the Yorks and the Lancaster, and it was not so easy to notice any other details of the design. Therefore, the seigneur could order not to depart more than ten feet from the banner (or take some other, but similar precautionary measure) in order to be able to visually control his people. However, if you had to move from one place to another, then in the heat of battle it often happened that one squad mistakenly attacked its own allies.
Since there were a lot of pennants on spears, important nobles also used their own heralds on the battlefield, who wore “Tabaras” with their coats of arms, and horists with pipes, from which cloth panels hung, again with the family symbols of their masters.
King Henry VI (National Portrait Gallery, London)
Rumble from weapons and armor from a multitude of people who fiercely threw themselves at each other, stood on the battlefield just awful. And the lowered visor in this case limited not only the ability to hear well the orders given, but also to see what was happening. True, the side view was no better than is commonly believed, all the time gliding along the narrow viewing gap was difficult. If the helmet lacked, for example, ventilation holes, the warrior could see his own legs only if he was leaning. Well and, of course, it became very hot inside such a helmet, the body in the armor sweated, and the sweat poured over his face.
If the knight received a wound or fell ill, then he also faced two obstacles on the way to recovery. The first was connected with his position and means, since it was the most important thing that depended on it - whether he would meet with the doctor or not. Secondly, even if he had enough money for a doctor, and he still received medical care, the doctor's skill and the nature of the wound he received solved the very, very much. Kings and major representatives of the nobility were trying to have their own doctors for a salary, and such people accompanied them on campaigns. For example, there is a certain Thomas Morets, who was the royal doctor of Henry V during the invasion of France in 1415. It is interesting that this doctor made an agreement with the king that he undertakes to supply his sovereign with three more archers, and 12 "hommes de son mestier", that is, "people of his service." As a doctor, or doctor, was listed under the royal and a certain William Bradwardine. Together with Morestide, they were accompanied by nine other doctors each, so that the total number of healers in the royal army reached 20 people.
King Henry VII about 1500 g. Copy of the lost original. (London, Society of Antiquaries)
It happened that doctors were hired, just like a soldier, but that pleasure was expensive. So, John Passton was wounded by an arrow lower than his right elbow in the battle of Barnet in 1471, but he escaped with other Yorkists. His brother sent him a doctor who used to treat "leeches" and "healing," and used the wounded man until his wound began to heal. However, John complained to his brother that his recovery had cost him as much as 5 pounds in a fortnight and practically ruined him.
However, the chance to get better at that time depended more on the patient's luck than on the skill of the doctor. Famous doctors studied the art of treatment at a school in Montpellier, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the south of France, but such luminaries of medicine were very limited in their capabilities. Many healers could splice a broken limb or straighten a sprained joint, could even heal a hernia, and could have amputations. But since nobody knew anything about the bacteria, any operation of this kind became deadly for the patient. Neither tools, nor hands often even washed. Open wounds were simply sewn up with a needle and thread, and on top they were smeared with egg yolks, widely regarded as a healing agent. Bleeding was stopped by a very simple, reliable, albeit painful remedy, namely, cauterization with a red-hot iron.
Heinrich, Earl of Richmond, in his youth. Unknown French artist. (Calvet Museum)
Since the arrows could pierce the body very deeply, the infection almost always fell into the wound. True, the percentage of dangerous hits with a jagged tip dropped at this time because the soldiers were wearing armor. But even the seemingly unserious injury caused a strong suppuration, as the arrows often stuck archers into the ground to be always at hand, and therefore deadly mud remained on their tips, which fell into wounds with scraps of dirty clothes. Wounds in the abdomen were usually always fatal, since any incision in the intestines caused their contents to leak into the abdominal sinuses, resulting in peritonitis in the wounded, followed by inevitable death. But ... the skeletons found at the Battle of Taughton in 1461, tell us about the truly amazing ability of the people of that time to survive after the most terrible wounds. On the bones found in the burials, they found marks from the weapon that had previously passed through muscle tissue. One of the warriors received a blow to the jaw of such strength that the blade came out from the other side of the mouth. He also has traces of wounds on the skull, and, nevertheless, he survived after them, and though disfigured, he still took part in the battle at Tauton. That is, I knew that from this happens and still got into a fight! And indeed this is where this experienced soldier found his death. Although knights usually wore better armor than rank-and-file soldiers, they also got it. And participation in the battle for them ended like this: robbed and half naked, they remained lying in the open air until death came to them or their rescuers appeared. Usually these were monks from the nearest monastery, but again neither donkeys, nor carts were enough for everyone, so sometimes many hours passed before the wounded finally received help.
One of the memorable signs on the Bosworth field.
As for the human remains found under Tauton, just like the remains in the Battle of Visby, they belong mainly to the soldiers who served in the infantry. The characteristic position of the bones of the left hand suggests that these were arrows from a long Welsh bow. The death found these archers during the flight, when they ran, holding a bow in hand. Some people have several wounds at once, especially on the head, which means that they were obviously finished off. And it also tells us that the victims did not have helmets, and maybe threw them or lost during the flight. Then the dead were piled into common mass graves. But, of course, knights and people with position had every chance to avoid such a sad fate. For example, after the battle of Azenkur, the Duke of York body was boiled (!), And the bones were sent to England for burial. Other seniors could be found by their military servants or heralds, who bypassed the battlefields and recorded the dead (of course, those whom they could identify by their coat of arms). This allowed the winner to understand exactly what success he achieved with his victory. Then the corpse of the murdered was taken to members of his family, and they took the body to a home cemetery - usually to the family crypt, where the deceased took a place next to his ancestors. In other cases, they were buried on the spot of their death or near it, usually at the local church or abbey.
Sir Ralph Werney memorial plaque (brass), 1547 in Oldbury, Hertfordshire. There is a free “tabar” on the figure, worn over the armor, and so many years have passed since the end of the “War of Roses”! By the way, he is also wearing a chain mail skirt ... from which native grandfather did he inherit this armor?
The era of the Scarlet and White Rose wars was also characterized by the fact that “for the whites” and “for the red ones” were divided according to the principle of supporting the claimants to the throne and the people themselves, often even without wishing it, and even with complete indifference. Therefore, treason was in these conditions almost a natural matter, only punishment for it was always the same as a deliberate act. For example, after the battle of Wakefield in 1460, Mr. Richard Neville, Earl Salisbury, was captured and executed the very next day. While the knights fought in France, where the enemy treated them as people of honor, this did not happen. But in England, the reproach of those killed has become very popular. Thus, the body of Warwick "Kingmaker", who was killed in a collision under Barnet in 1471, was specially brought to London and put up for public viewing before being taken to Bisham Abbey for burial among other members of his family. Richard III lay naked for two days, not counting the piece of cloth covering him, in St. Mary’s Church in Newark in Leicester, and then he was buried in a simple grave in the monastery of the “gray brothers” nearby. The head of the Earl of Salisbury, as well as the Duke of York and his younger son, Earl Rutland, who died at Wakefield, were planted on the stakes sticking out on the walls of York, and decorated the duke’s head with a paper crown.
By the way, the tradition to stick heads on poles and put them in this form on the London Bridge or at the other gates of the city should have been a warning to other rebels who saw the fate of even the most eminent gentlemen. However, it also happened that some of the prisoners were able to get dry with water. So, Sir Richard Tanstall, already planted in the Tower, convinced Edward IV that he would be more useful to live than dead, and then even entered into mercy with him. The children of those convicted of treason were not usually executed along with their fathers, although the land could be placed at the disposal of the crown as long as they were considered ready to take possession of them.
A plaque (brass) by Humphrey Stanley from Westminster Abbey, 1505. On it he is depicted in typical “white armor” of the era of the “War of the Roses”.
But along with the rigidity of this time, we sometimes find the most unexpected examples of the manifestation of humanism and compassion. Chapels were built on the battlefields, allowing people to mourn their dead and pray for them, and the world collected money for them. Richard III made a solid contribution to Queens College in Cambridge so that the local priests could pray for his soldiers who fell near Barnet and Tewkesbury.
Nevertheless, during the wars of the Scarlet and White Roses, along with many knights, the 30 noble lords found their end. And those who survived in the battles, were able to avoid death only by the intercession of their families, and not by personal qualities. The Yorks, for example, were in fact very gracious and, in need of the support of the nobility, shed their blood not at all as willingly as their subsequent opponents wrote about it ...
- Knights and Knights of the Rose War era (part 3)
Knights and Knights of the Rose War era (part 2)
Knights and Knights of the Rose War era (part 1)
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