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Author Topic: Livery colours during the Hundred Years War  (Read 2794 times)

Offline Mark

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Livery colours during the Hundred Years War
« on: October 13, 2017, 10:25:33 AM »
Hi all, long time lurked, first time poster here!

I have just begun a project with the Perry Agincourt to Orleans plastics, with a view to building enough to eventually do some of the bigger battles, but starting with enough to the smaller actions using Impetus. I have settled on Cravant as a good starting point.

My question to the assembled wisdom of the forum is whether there is a good accessible list of livery colours for this period. I have found lists for the wars of the roses, but nothing for the 1415-1430 period.

I am most interested in the big names of the period, for the English, French, Scots and Burgundians. Any advice or knowledge appreciated!

Offline Dez

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Re: Livery colours during the Hundred Years War
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2017, 11:46:56 AM »
Great article! Only in Russian, but translating is not a problem. Names and colors  ;)

Offline westwaller

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Re: Livery colours during the Hundred Years War
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2017, 03:15:39 PM »
The Perry English Agincourt box set has some information about the English included in a leaflet in the box. I think its the same info that can be found in Ian Heaths (Wargames Research Group) book on the medieval armies of the period.

Offline janner

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Re: Livery colours during the Hundred Years War
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2017, 06:23:58 AM »
Ah, another can of worms! :D

There is little surviving evidence of specific livery colours for this campaign, most sources refer to livery badges, and what exists is often contradictory. So beware of long and definitive lists as they are based on the two principle colours of the leader's heraldry.

Offline Arlequín

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Re: Livery colours during the Hundred Years War
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2017, 08:42:01 AM »
Yes lists of livery are always suspect and are often 'best guesses' or projected backwards; the three-colour Percy livery given is more appropriate to very late 15th - early 16th Century fashions for example.

Not to mention that livery colours could be changed on a whim, only the badges seem to have remained static.

I am also wondering about possible 'national liveries' at various times, beyond just the famous white/bleached linen. The nobles associated with France in the 1440s all apparently have blue/white, those with the Scots Border have red/black, as do Buckingham's men later and Talbot's men in France in the 1450s.

John Howard, Duke of Norfolk, in the 1470s appears to have had one livery for his household servants (blue), another for his household men (red & tawny) and was seemingly clothing those men raised for Richard III in 1485, under commission of array, in another (red).

Offline Mark

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Re: Livery colours during the Hundred Years War
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2017, 01:54:47 PM »
Thanks all for the input so far. Dez - interesting article and Google works very well on it, which was a pleasant surprise!

Arlequin and Janner, thanks. I know livery colours are a source of much disagreement but I asked the question seeing as there are "wargames accepted" livery colours for the wars of the roses just a few years later I thought it odd that I couldn't find anything for the later HYW!

My project is using the Perry plastic boxes, so only four livery coats per box. The first box get white and blue as the seemingly most common colours. Most get a small st George's cross on their chest as a badge (like the examples on the Perry website).

With the issues in mind, any guesses on the livery of Thomas Montagu, 4th Earl of Salisbury, Sir John Fastolph or Lord Willoughby?

Offline Arlequín

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Re: Livery colours during the Hundred Years War
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2017, 11:51:57 AM »
I confess that what I know relates to the Wars of the Roses and not the HYW, which while very close in time, are quite different propositions as far as liveries go. From what I can gather, the need to display 'national signs' clearly overrode other considerations, but most leaders were also vain types who wanted to display their power too.

Early WotR sources (and the article Dez offered) mention 'bends', which were a shoulder sash and magnates like Buckingham ordered these in the thousands. These were presumably worn over 'national livery' or armour/jacks displaying the St. George's cross, as secondary identification. The other method would be to supply coloured hoods to your men; Archers from Cheshire and Flintshire wore green and white c.1400. Having coloured hoods over the white 'national' livery, or bare jacks/akhetons etc, would certainly do the job to my mind.

I would probably opt for any of the common colours of the medieval era for liveries and whatever you opt for is likely to be 'historical' for someone. 'Madder-Red', 'Woad-Blue', 'Wool-White' are cheap to produce, with greens and subdued yellows bringing up the rear price-wise. Black also features (thanks to black sheep). If you had cash to burn then stronger hues of these colours are options, as does a sort of a bluey-purple and a crimson (as opposed to an 'Imperial Purple), produced by over-dying.

Black-Red, Red, Red-White, Red-Blue, Blue, Blue-White etc. are all common combinations in the WotR and I don't see why they would be any less common earlier; barring some attached meaning to the colours that we are not aware of. Some colours were associated with saints and in France blue was the colour of St. Denis and red was the colour of St. Michael (iirc), so these appear a lot in illustrations and went very well with the white cross of France.     


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