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Author Topic: Looking for information on late medieval Irish.  (Read 3037 times)

Offline Hildred Castaigne

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Looking for information on late medieval Irish.
« on: February 25, 2013, 06:22:54 AM »
The past few months have been hectic, so I really a fancy a project that I can get motivated about and stick to as a distraction.
It has been really nice seeing people put together retinues for War of the Roses and even nicer to see people putting a personal touch to them.
After seeing Gunslinger's thread on the Hiberno-Normans, I have decided to use one of the major Hiberno-Norman families as inspiration for a retinue (I'm thinking FitzGerald, they were local).
But before I go dive into this, I have a question. It's pretty specific and probably pretty daft, but here goes.
Would the Hiberno-Norman armies in the 1400s have been equipped like English armies or would they have 'gone native'?
Any help is appreciated.

Offline pocoloco

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Re: Looking for information on late medieval Irish.
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 06:50:34 AM »
Bit off-topic (erawise) but if you are in Facebook, search for a group named Claíomh, they are Irish history re-enactors. They seem to focus mostly, or at least recently, on 1500-1600 but might be inspirational for you somehow, at least they have very nice pics from different events with full gear on.

Will keenly follow your findings for this project and your progress with it.

Offline Hildred Castaigne

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Re: Looking for information on late medieval Irish.
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2013, 02:12:44 PM »
Bit off-topic (erawise) but if you are in Facebook, search for a group named Claíomh, they are Irish history re-enactors. They seem to focus mostly, or at least recently, on 1500-1600 but might be inspirational for you somehow, at least they have very nice pics from different events with full gear on.

Will keenly follow your findings for this project and your progress with it.
Thanks very much, pocoloco!
The Claíomh Facebook page was very inspiring indeed.
Seriously impressed!

In among all the photos of Kerns and Galloglaich I found these pictures.


Just referred to as an 'Anglo-Irish soldier' from the 15th century, so I'm going to make the call and use English figures for the Earls' retinues. Seems like an ideal starting point anyway.
I also found this site, for the Kerry county museum.
Gives a nice bit of background to the clan in question, the Fitzgeralds
http://www.kerrymuseum.ie/explore_5.html
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 02:14:52 PM by Hildred Castaigne »

Online Lowtardog

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Re: Looking for information on late medieval Irish.
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2013, 05:41:02 PM »
I am not too up on 1400s however the links below will give a bit of insight

http://www.myarmoury.com/feature_armies_scots.html

http://www.myarmoury.com/feature_armies_irish.html

Offline Arlequín

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Re: Looking for information on late medieval Irish.
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2013, 06:02:46 PM »
I'm far from expert on this, but the 'Dublin Pale' was supposedly very Anglicised back then, so would be pretty much akin to England with regard to dress and troops. I'm gathering that the Anglo-Irish, like the Fitzgeralds and Butlers, would have had 'English' household 'Spears' (men at arms etc) and Archers, along with some Gallóglaigh even, but troops raised from their estates, the Kerne, as well as some of their 'indentured' supporters, would be far more Irish in appearance.

Kerne have been much used and abused in army lists etc and are somewhat more than the javelin-armed skirmishers they are usually depicted as. They were comparable to the typical English non-archer levies of the time (i.e. untrained, largely unprotected and often unarmed). Their reputation was as quite aggressive 'light infantry', rather than shrinking and timid skirmishers though.

This should be a good project... keep us posted!  :)

Offline Hildred Castaigne

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Re: Looking for information on late medieval Irish.
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2013, 12:49:21 PM »
I am not too up on 1400s however the links below will give a bit of insight

http://www.myarmoury.com/feature_armies_irish.html
Thanks for the links!
Even though they focus quite a bit on the 16th century, definitely some really useful information.

I'm far from expert on this, but the 'Dublin Pale' was supposedly very Anglicised back then, so would be pretty much akin to England with regard to dress and troops. I'm gathering that the Anglo-Irish, like the Fitzgeralds and Butlers, would have had 'English' household 'Spears' (men at arms etc) and Archers, along with some Gallóglaigh even, but troops raised from their estates, the Kerne, as well as some of their 'indentured' supporters, would be far more Irish in appearance.
Thank you very much, Arlequin. I have already enjoyed the articles on your blog about the War of the Roses.
But that observation about the mix of English and Irish troops makes a lot of sense.
Seen as the FitzGeralds and Butlers were outside the Pale the native Irish were bound to be part of their strength.
In that case, I am going to start with the household spears. They can be the backbone of my retinue!

Quote
Kerne have been much used and abused in army lists etc and are somewhat more than the javelin-armed skirmishers they are usually depicted as. They were comparable to the typical English non-archer levies of the time (i.e. untrained, largely unprotected and often unarmed). Their reputation was as quite aggressive 'light infantry', rather than shrinking and timid skirmishers though.

This should be a good project... keep us posted!  :)
That is certainly interesting to hear about the kerns and some information that I am pleased about.
Between your information and the links Lowtardag posted I am coming to understand how formidable the kerns could be.
As tricky as they are to manage, I have always have enjoyed playing those sorts of forces!

And I will be sure to post updates as this progresses.
My English infantry are in the post, so there is a start!

Online Lowtardog

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Re: Looking for information on late medieval Irish.
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2013, 12:58:01 PM »
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 12:59:43 PM by Lowtardog »

Offline Arlequín

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Re: Looking for information on late medieval Irish.
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2013, 05:35:43 PM »
Thank you very much, Arlequin. I have already enjoyed the articles on your blog about the War of the Roses.
But that observation about the mix of English and Irish troops makes a lot of sense.

Thank you too! I'm always pleased when someone says they found them useful/enjoyable. Don't right-off LTG's Armoury article on the 16th Century Irish completely though... continuity and all that.

Seen as the FitzGeralds and Butlers were outside the Pale the native Irish were bound to be part of their strength.
In that case, I am going to start with the household spears. They can be the backbone of my retinue!

You'll probably find that the native Irish 'retainers' had semi-English style Spears, backed by Irish light horse where you'd expect to find mounted archers in a more Anglicised style retinue. Their retinues as a whole should be quite a mix though, but the core would I think be almost identical to the English, if only to not provoke derision when they ventured into 'civilised' areas like the Pale.
;)  

That is certainly interesting to hear about the kerns and some information that I am pleased about.
Between your information and the links Lowtardag posted I am coming to understand how formidable the kerns could be.
As tricky as they are to manage, I have always have enjoyed playing those sorts of forces!

If they were as rubbish as most rules paint them, why would they bother transporting them over to fight in England? They could as easily find 'make-numbers' men in quantity here. I would suspect that they took the best equipped/more experienced/more belligerent of the men at their disposal. These might well still have been at a major disadvantage against massed archery, still being somewhat lighter equipped than the typical English levy.

Their biggest problem was their style of fighting, which rarely involved stand up battles and as was apparently explained to Edward Bruce in 1318;

For our manner is of this land,
to follow and fight, and fight and flee,
and not to stand in plain melee,
until the other side discomforted be.


I forgot to mention that the Irish version of the English 'household' or 'professional' troops were the Bonnaght, or 'Coign and Livery' men, who were maintained by a tax on tenants. They'd vary between 'Gallowglas' looking-types and English-looking types, and all points in-between.    

*Edit*

This might be helpful... apparently the Kern were far from 'levied tenantry', I haven't read it, but it was recommended to me;

C. A. Empey and K. Simms, 'The Ordinances of the White Earl and the Problem of Coign in the late Middle Ages', Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Section C,75,8 (1975), esp. pp. 162-78.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 05:49:38 PM by Arlequín »

Offline Paul

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Re: Looking for information on late medieval Irish.
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2013, 06:49:29 PM »
Not sure wether it´s the same lot as the face book group, Claíomh  but there´s a blog of the same name
http://claiomh.blogspot.de/
I knew the truck didn´t want to hit me...it had dodge written on the front

Paul´s Bods Blog
Federation of Bodstonia

Offline Hildred Castaigne

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Re: Looking for information on late medieval Irish.
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2013, 11:13:00 PM »
Heres another little link whihc is a nice background

http://warfare.uphero.com/Irish/Irish.htm

http://livinghistory.ie/downloads/slua/Slua2-2.pdf
Even more excellent links!
Thanks very much, Lowtardog.
Those illustrations are especially good.

Thank you too! I'm always pleased when someone says they found them useful/enjoyable. Don't right-off LTG's Armoury article on the 16th Century Irish completely though... continuity and all that.
 
They were very informative and really helped me get my head around the period.

And not to worry, I hadn't written those articles off.
I can really see now how little the tactics and equipment had evolved.

Quote
If they were as rubbish as most rules paint them, why would they bother transporting them over to fight in England? They could as easily find 'make-numbers' men in quantity here. I would suspect that they took the best equipped/more experienced/more belligerent of the men at their disposal. These might well still have been at a major disadvantage against massed archery, still being somewhat lighter equipped than the typical English levy.
You make a good point there. Why, indeed?
I heard that Lambert Simnel's force had kerns.
Are you aware of them turning up elsewhere during the War of the Roses?
It's also surprising to hear how often fought on the continent.

I wonder if the Perry twins are open to a suggestion...  lol

Quote
Their biggest problem was their style of fighting, which rarely involved stand up battles and as was apparently explained to Edward Bruce in 1318;

For our manner is of this land,
to follow and fight, and fight and flee,
and not to stand in plain melee,
until the other side discomforted be.

This was a battle fought in my home county.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Glenmalure
It really illustrates what The Bruce was told.
Baron Grey was lured into those hills and bled white.

Quote
*Edit*

This might be helpful... apparently the Kern were far from 'levied tenantry', I haven't read it, but it was recommended to me;

C. A. Empey and K. Simms, 'The Ordinances of the White Earl and the Problem of Coign in the late Middle Ages', Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Section C,75,8 (1975), esp. pp. 162-78.
Thanks for pointing out that article!
It sounds like it could be of great use.
And as soon as I have some quiet time I will have a read.

Offline Arlequín

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Re: Looking for information on late medieval Irish.
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2013, 10:23:10 AM »
I heard that Lambert Simnel's force had kerns.
Are you aware of them turning up elsewhere during the War of the Roses?

Mortimer's Cross springs immediately to mind, but pretty much anywhere James Butler, Earl of Ormond and Wiltshire shows up. That and Stoke Field, would have had appreciable contingents and again, won't likely have been a horde of rabble, but a mix of Anglo and Irish (as opposed to Anglo-Irish) armoured retainers with 'bonnachts' where you'd usually expect to see 'archers' in comparable English forces.

I doubt such a force would be completely archer-less and I'm sure Butler and some of his retainers had them in their retinues, but the rank and file would be the Kern/Bonnacht types, or 'naked Irish' (i.e. 'without harness' - metal armour, but jacks and similar items is a different matter).

Offline Hildred Castaigne

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Re: Looking for information on late medieval Irish.
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2013, 09:19:03 PM »
After all the help you gentlemen have given me an update is certainly in order!

It has been a very busy few months, but now I have some time to get some work done.
However, there has been a bit of a change of plan!

Rather than just putting together a retinue I am going to make a game out of this.
I am going to stick with an Irish theme and do Edward Bruce's campaign in Ireland.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Bruce_Wars_1315-1318

A while ago I got some of the Late Crusaders from Crusader Miniatures and this is a great excuse to use them.
Over the past few days I have been basing some knights and men-at-arms.
I am also looking up the Norman families' coats of arms to get some idea for colour schemes.

Offline commissarmoody

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Re: Looking for information on late medieval Irish.
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2013, 09:35:28 PM »
Very interesting keep us posted
"Peace" is that brief, glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading.

- Anonymous

 

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