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Author Topic: Looking for Rhys ap Thomas banners and badges  (Read 1948 times)

Offline Cubs

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Re: Looking for Rhys ap Thomas banners and badges
« Reply #45 on: September 12, 2018, 08:34:13 PM »
Some fuzzy ground seems to lurk about exactly what he did and what sort of position he held before his knighthood, since he lacked a title. From what I've read he was a wealthy landowner and one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, lords in South Wales (Wales at that time being just the western regions of today, the modern Welsh counties nearer the border being 'The Marches' back then). Being a native Welshman he was barred from high office, but his family had a long history of being major players in Wales, putting him on a par with perhaps a middle rank nobleman in England.

He was ostensibly serving the various absentee Earls appointed in London who came and went fairly quickly, but practically speaking he had control of a bunch of castles and troops as well as being the lord of several parishes, castles and manors in his own right. Certainly Henry and Jasper Tudor went to great pains to persuade him to join their side and the high office (not just the knighthood) he received afterwards suggests his value to their cause. Numbers-wise, it appears he contributed maybe 1/4 to 1/3-ish of the troops for Bosworth, although presumably most of them fought under Oxford's command. I'm not thinking lots of fully armoured knights and such, more a small core of the chunky lads, plus half-armoured billmen, archers (of course, compulsory with Welsh troops) and a smattering of lighter armed guys on horseback. I'll mull over what you say about the different types of mounted guys to consider and play around with them as the whimsy takes me.
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Offline Arlequín

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Re: Looking for Rhys ap Thomas banners and badges
« Reply #46 on: September 13, 2018, 12:22:14 AM »
There was a bit of a power vacuum in Wales after Buckingham's attempted rising and Richard III lopping off Thomas Vaughan's head prior to that; a lot of disaffected Edwardian Yorkists looking for a leader.

Rhys may well have been the man who spoke for the exiles and around whom 'the resistance' coalesced. Just because he led them, doesn't mean he retained them. Perhaps he was someone not associated with either Lancaster or York, who both sides were prepared to follow.

If he was, as you say, the representative of absentee landlords et al, then certainly he would have had the authority to lead their men, or act on their behalf too. I might tentatively say he raised and marched a third of Tudor's Army to Bosworth, rather than he contributed them, which implies he 'owned' them in some way. They probably all fought under his command too; Oxford had extensive supporters of his own, and probably the French contingent as well.

Bosworth did launch Rhys into the spotlight of history and I believe managing the raising of all those men, probably combined with effective leadership in the battle itself, secured his place in times to come. Cometh the hour, cometh the man!

The Welsh squirearchy (uchelwyr) were both numerous and relatively poor in the main, so I would expect 'demilances' over 'men at arms' for the most part. From what I can gather the Welsh were actually quite archer- poor; where English retinues in 1492 were almost wholly archers, with a token presence of bills, Sir Walter Herbert had bills and bows in equal proportion, and a lot of them.

At Edgecote in 1469 Sir William Herbert is said to have had no archers and his row with Oxford the day before deprived him of firepower. I suspect that should read 'he did not have that many' in truth, but there is the hint that archers weren't numerous in Central and South Wales. As far back as the HYW, Welsh contingents were famously of spearmen. In England archers were middle class and upper-lower class, so if the same holds true for Wales, the relative scarcity of men of those sectors of society would limit the numbers of archers to others.

Everything I've said aside though, we don't really know troop ratios, other than specific retinues at a single point in time. Some indentures are quite vague, or offer the contracted the option to swap the numbers about to match the men actually raised, rather than what was contracted for. In that light putting your force together as it pleases you should produce a realistic contingent, whatever numbers of each you opt for.

Offline levied troop

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Re: Looking for Rhys ap Thomas banners and badges
« Reply #47 on: September 14, 2018, 07:50:07 AM »
I love how, on LAF, a relatively straightforward query leads into some really interesting and informed discussion on the subject - many thanks for this gents.

As to the  “Welsh were actually quite archer- poor; where English retinues in 1492 were almost wholly archers”. I wonder if money is the answer.  If you’re poor but culturally brought up to handle a bow in Wales, can you make your (relative) fortune by trotting into England and increasing your wages at the hands of wealthier English lords.  And perhaps there’s still a cachet in being  a Welsh archer, even if by this stage there may be no practical difference in skills with their English counterparts?
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Offline Cubs

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Re: Looking for Rhys ap Thomas banners and badges
« Reply #48 on: September 14, 2018, 08:56:55 AM »
The Cheshire archers were certainly famed for their prowess. Perhaps, as now, it was a border region where the north Walians came looking for work.

Offline vexillia

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Re: Looking for Rhys ap Thomas banners and badges
« Reply #49 on: September 14, 2018, 09:34:58 AM »
Rhys Ap Thomas's heraldic flag is available from Freezywater on sheet WRF 023 in both 15 & 25 mm.

Catalogue; http://vexillia.com/freezywater/pdf/FreezywaterWOTRCatalogue.pdf
15 mm: http://vexillia.com/freezywater/shop15_flags.html
25 mm: http://vexillia.com/freezywater/shop25_flags.html
Martin Stephenson
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Offline Arlequín

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Re: Looking for Rhys ap Thomas banners and badges
« Reply #50 on: September 14, 2018, 11:34:58 AM »
Cheshire archers were from Cheshire, with a long tradition of resisting the Welsh. We can still shoot them in Chester if they hang about.

 ;)

Oddly many men who would have been men at arms elsewhere, served as mounted archers. Some big county names like Massey and Brereton featuring among them. Sir William Stanley's retinue in 1492 was wholly composed of mounted archers, albeit most likely very well furnished ones.

I get the impression that few Welshmen knew how to use the longbow by the 15th Century. The county sheriff and parish constable system that was needed to enforce archery laws in England didn't exist there. Where were the communal butts to be established in a land of farmsteads and few towns? Marcher lords didn't encourage their Welsh subjects acquiring 'mad skills' either. Glendower's revolt was in 'living memory' too, even in 1485 there were men who had fathers and grandfathers who had lived through it.

The most telling argument is that few of the population earned the £2 pa that required them to own a bow. I know few Welshmen that would go to unnecessary expense to own something an Englishman suggested he should have, let alone something he didn't need.

I'm not saying there were no Welsh archers, but there were not many of them. I don't actually think that the percentages in England were that much better, there were just many more English.  :)

Offline Cubs

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Re: Looking for Rhys ap Thomas banners and badges
« Reply #51 on: September 14, 2018, 01:07:08 PM »
Cheshire archers were from Cheshire, with a long tradition of resisting the Welsh. We can still shoot them in Chester if they hang about.

Oh no you don't, that badger's an urban myth!

It was part of Chester's town statutes, but was superceded by UK law. It is persistent though and keeps getting quoted as an archaic law that has never been repealed, but it doesn't need to be because local laws cannot overrule national law.

Offline Matakakea

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Re: Looking for Rhys ap Thomas banners and badges
« Reply #52 on: September 14, 2018, 04:05:35 PM »
Quote
Quote from: Arlequín on Today at 11:34:58 AM

Cheshire archers were from Cheshire, with a long tradition of resisting the Welsh. We can still shoot them in Chester if they hang about.




Oh no you don't, that badger's an urban myth!

It was part of Chester's town statutes, but was superceded by UK law. It is persistent though and keeps getting quoted as an archaic law that has never been repealed, but it doesn't need to be because local laws cannot overrule national law.

I heard of this law while visiting Chester some years ago. Apparently it was 'Formally' repealed in 2000.
I'm not a mercenary. Killing's more of a hobby for me.

Offline Arlequín

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Re: Looking for Rhys ap Thomas banners and badges
« Reply #53 on: September 14, 2018, 10:59:12 PM »
Actually it would have been 1830, when the County's palatine status was finally totally reduced. Prior to that local laws trumped national ones, but they were steadily eroded from the Mid 16th Century onwards, when the County was first represented in Parliament.

There was a reason for the winking smilie though guys.  :)

Offline Cubs

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Re: Looking for Rhys ap Thomas banners and badges
« Reply #54 on: September 14, 2018, 11:17:02 PM »
Just make sure you've got a good alibi for when Tom Jones finally turns up his toes, that's all I'm saying.

Offline Arlequín

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Re: Looking for Rhys ap Thomas banners and badges
« Reply #55 on: September 14, 2018, 11:29:47 PM »
We love Sir Tom, we are afflicted with Cerys Matthews a lot though.  :)