1-7 June 1415: Artificers for the War with France


By Dan Spencer

This week saw further efforts to prepare for the expedition to France, with large numbers of artificers hired for the king’s ordnance.

The first of these was given on 4 June, when Nicholas Mynot, fletcher, was appointed to take twelve workers for the construction of arrows, together with timber, bolts, feathers, silk, wax and other necessary items. As three quarters of the army being raised for the expedition were archers, it is clear to see why large quantities of arrows were required by the king.

Two days later further commissions were issued for the recruitment of artificers to work on the king’s ordnance. Simon Lewys and John Benet were ordered to find 100 masons, Thomas Mathewe and William Gille, 120 carpenters and turners, William Merssh and Nicholas Shokyngton, 40 smiths, and John Southmede, 60 carters, along with their carts and horse collars. These men were to be recruited from London, Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Essex, Hertford, Buckingham and Middlesex, and were to arrive at the city on 17 June, at the latest, ready for service overseas, along with their tools.

These professionals were necessary to carry out a variety of tasks on campaign, including the carving of gunstones as ammunition for guns, the repair of weapons, the construction of siege equipment and the transportation of equipment over land.

An unusually personal element to the king’s life can also be detected this week with an annual grant of £20 given to Joan Waryn, his former wet nurse on 5 June, from the king’s manor of Isleworth.

This information came from the Calendar of the Patent Rolls 1413-16, pp. 329, 346

Image of a blacksmith taken from Wikipedia and is in the Public Domain