Mustering a post

Following on from the previous piece on WW1 army officers I will outline over the next few weeks a few more sources you might consider in your UK military ancestor search, I will just widen the time frame, and try to work logically.

First one to mention and the subject of this piece is:

 “The Soldier in Medieval England” a database formed out of a project headed by Professor Adrian Bell of the Henley Business School and Professor Anne Curry of the University of Southampton to challenge assumptions about the emergence of professional soldiery between 1369 and 1453. The database has grown with input from ‘citizen historians’ like you and I, among others. The datasets used are:

1.Musters Dataset, held in The National Archive a record of the army ‘mustered’ to leave the country between 1369 and 1450, kept and maintained to account for the money spent on overseas campaigns. A captain raised forces for the crown and had a contract specifying size of force, type of troops, length and location of service. The muster was to check if the captains had kept their side of the contract, if troops had not turned up, they had not ‘passed muster’. The database includes English garrisons in Calais, as well as garrisons in Wales, Scotland and England. There are also musters of ‘standing forces’, these would have been troops serving with the lieutenants of Gascony and Ireland.

2.French Garrisons. Data recorded for the soldiers who served in the English garrisons in Northern France, principally Normandy, at the end of the Hundred Years War from the capture of Harfleur by Henry V in 1415 to the fall of Lancastrian Normandy in 1450. Also holding data on garrison reinforcements, armies operating in the field or undertaking particular sieges in France during this period. These soldiers were regularly mustered and review on a monthly to quarterly basis dependent on the nature of service. The Musters occasionally include information on the geographical origins of the soldiers when the English rulers became concerned about the loyalty of local troops after the successes of Joan of Arc.

3.Protections Dataset, the letters of protection and appointments of attorneys granted and recorded on the Treaty (or French) Rolls , Gascon rolls and Scottish Rolls for the years 1369-1453. They are legal instruments that would be taken out by soldiers prior to undertaking military service outside England, in order to protect their interests whilst they were absent. The letter of protection protected an individual from prosecution or legal action whilst serving overseas; by letters of attorney an individual appointed legal representatives to act on his behalf whilst absent. However, both types of letter only indicate an intention to serve, and do not in themselves prove that service was actually given.

4. The ‘Agincourt roll’, was a part of the Musters dataset and now separate, it contains the names of some retinue leaders and men-at-arms (but no archers) who were with Henry V in the battle of Agincourt in 1415. Unlike the documents in the Muster dataset, created for accounting purposes, this list is a result of heraldic and genealogic interest of the Tudor age.

With many thanks to the project: Information on soldiers has been taken from the AHRC-funded ‘The Soldier in Later Medieval England Online Database’, www.medievalsoldier.org [1].

Given all the above what can you discover?

Raise your hand anyone wouldn’t search on their own name you don’t need to be a narcissist!

I searched for John Colclough with first name variations and there I was not.

Take John out…

I found one Colclough.

Thomas Colclough, Rank: Archer, Service: Garrison of Rouen, Captain: John of Lancaster (1389 – 1435) duke of Bedford, Lieutenant / Sub-Captain: Handford, John, Sir (b. 1391) seigneur de Maisons-sur-Seine. Service date: 15 06 1435, Source type: Muster Roll, Reference: BNF, MS. Fr. 25772, no. 954.

With background research opening up who knows where this might lead.

For further reading try:

Was your ancestor on the Agincourt … – Medieval Soldier

English Knights at Agincourt

Exploring a medieval muster roll

Agincourt Carol – Wikipedia

The Battle of Agincourt – The National Archives

My genealogy services at

Genealogy services, family history, house history, DNA

www.genealogy-and-you.com


[1] AHRC. The Soldier in Later Medieval England Online Database. www.medievalsoldier.org : accessed 03March 2021

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