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Lords and Lordship in the British Isles in the Late Middle Ages$
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Rees Davies and Brendan Smith

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199542918

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199542918.001.0001

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The Lord at War

The Lord at War

(p.116) 4 The Lord at War
Lords and Lordship in the British Isles in the Late Middle Ages

R. R. Davies

Oxford University Press

The early education and pastimes of the nobility prepared them for war, and their understanding of past and present was framed by military considerations. It was common for great lords to serve in numerous campaigns over several decades and to embark on crusade or participate in tournaments in times of peace. In seeking to meet their obligation to raise armies great lords looked first to their own households, retainers, and tenants, but came to act as military entrepreneurs who made use of contracts to recruit beyond these traditional sources of fighters. Assembling, arming, feeding, transporting, and paying large forces taxed the resources and skills of lordship to their limits. Fortunes could be made in war but it could also lead to ruin. Military lordship was particularly important in Wales, northern England, Scotland, and Ireland, and in the latter two countries the billeting of semi-professional mercenaries was normal.

Keywords:   campaigns, crusade, tournaments, retainers, military entrepreneurs, contracts, billeting, mercenaries

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