The Soldier in Later Medieval England

Using the Poll Tax to identify medieval archers?


Investigating the background of soldiers who fought in the Hundred Years War provides many challenges, including the attempt to find their villages or towns of origin. This study explores the possibility of establishing connections between men named in the medieval soldier database and men with identical names who appear in the Poll Tax records, by using the examples of men named ‘Large.’ A system of cross-referencing from both lists of names has been adopted, using additional network evidence from the spheres of influence of the captains and commanders under whom the men served, to provide further support. It should be noted that letters of protections and letters of attorney, taken in anticipation of absence overseas by men-at-arms, and not on the whole taken by archers, do sometimes identify the locale of soldiers and so can help identify individual men. As for all the others - where did they live, these archers who played such a crucial role in the campaigns? Can we identify the names of their wives and children and perhaps some of their occupations?

Until recently, the origins of the archers have been generally unknown. This was because of the lack of accessible information. For Agincourt, for example, the only material in the public domain was the Agincourt Roll, a late sixteen-/early seventeenth-century transcript of a now lost document of the fifteenth century. This was published in Nicolas’s History of the Battle of Agincourt (1827) and had also found itself onto the internet. But it does not name any individual archer, simply giving numbers in each retinue, and in his pioneering study, Hardy lamented the lack of information about the archers. [2] However, there are a large number of unpublished muster rolls, mainly in The National Archives at Kew, not only for expeditionary forces sent to France between 1369-1453 but also for other theatres of war and for garrisons at home and abroad. There are particularly large numbers of muster rolls surviving also for the English occupation of Normandy between 1417 and 1450, which are held in a variety of English and French repositories.  These muster rolls were used as a system of audit by the Exchequer, who were keen to ensure that money spent on the war effort went to payment of actual serving soldiers.  Such muster rolls were therefore presented to the Exchequer as part of the post-campaign accounting process when the captain presented his account.  All of these names have been put onto a searchable database as part of a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council: It is the names of archers recorded in such a way that will form a basis for the following discussion, alongside names recorded by the legal process of securing letters of protection or appointing an attorney whilst serving overseas.

It might be anticipated that a byname such as ‘Large’ would be evenly distributed throughout England as surnames became established during this period. However, analysis of the Poll Tax records shows that this is not the case. The Poll Taxes were levied in 1377, 1379 and 1381, on householders, wives, dependents and servants, individually. Married and single people were included, and some occupations were recorded, although this was patchy and inconsistent. The tax of 1377 occurred during the last parliament of Edward III, when those of fourteen years of age or more were liable to pay one groat (fourpence [4d.]). For the tax of 1379, the age was raised to sixteen years, with a liability of between fourpence and ten marks (£6 13s. 4d.), payable in two instalments. In 1381, a third Poll Tax was collected in which the age of payment was fifteen and over, with a tax of between one and sixty groats (twenty shillings). Exemptions included paupers, mendicants, some clergy, and others, including tin miners of Devon and Cornwall. Widespread and outspoken opposition led to the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381. The surviving tax lists form part of The National Archive’s E179 series that Carolyn C. Fenwick has transcribed in three volumes, in which names of inhabitants are listed by village, town and county, most of the individuals not appearing in any other public record. [3]

A total of 26 men named Large were recorded in the Poll Tax lists for the whole of England: fourteen of these were in Leicestershire-Warwickshire, four in Norfolk-Lincolnshire and three in Gloucestershire, including Richard Large from Meon Hill mentioned below. The rest were single examples from each of five southern counties, including Richard Large of East Malling, Kent; John Large of Radipole, Dorset, and John Large of Galhampton, Somerset. It would be very unwise to assume that there was a family connection between any of the 26 examples noted here, as has been postulated for some other categories of surname. [4]

Survival of the Poll Tax records was patchy and the lists cannot be regarded as providing a complete census, although they do give a good picture of the population of England liable for taxation towards the end of the fourteenth century, thirty years after the Black Death. The taxes were needed in particular, to fund the huge costs of the war with France.  As far as county distribution is concerned, it is worth noting that the surname Large was still at its most prevalent five hundred years later in 1881, in the counties of Gloucestershire and neighbouring Wiltshire, in western Kent, and also in Cheshire. [5] No examples of anyone named Large were found in the Poll Tax records living north of Leicestershire. This in itself may be relevant to the study reported here.

In an analysis of the databases in in December 2009, a total of 248,982 soldiers were listed by name, from the following individual databases: Muster Roll: 94,962 records, including 11 men named Large; Protection and Attorney database: 25,495 records, including 2 men named Large; and Normandy Garrison database: 128,525 records, including 16 men named Large. From the Muster Roll database, soldiers named Large had the following first names (number of references): Hugh (2), John (6), Richard (1) Simon (1) and William (1). In the Protection database, the 2 men named Large had the following first names: Roger (1) and John (1), and in the Normandy Garrison database, the 16 soldiers named Large had the following first names: William (3), John (6), Perrin (1), Denis (4), Gracean (1) and Gracie (1).

Some of these first names are much less common than others and entering each of them in turn into the individual databases in which they are found, and searching under “First Name” produces the following results. In each case, the first name is followed by the number of examples and (%). Muster Roll: Hugh, 1109 (2.2%), John, 28,502 (57%), Richard, 6685 (13.5%), Simon, 510 (1%), and William, 12,803 (25%).  Protection and Attorney: Roger, 567 (2.2%) and John 8062 (31.6%). Normandy Garrison: 17,834 (13.9%), John (le) 39,876 (31%), Perrin 976 (0.8%), Denis 187 (0.15%), Gracean 1 (<0.001%) and Gracie 9 (<0.001%).

It follows that Simon Large had both rare first and surnames, and there is a single example only of a man named Simon Large in the entire Poll Tax record, 1377-81, broadly consistent with the findings in the soldiers’ database. Similarly, in the Protection and Attorney database, the name Roger is rare, and in the Normandy Garrison database, Perrin, Denis and the “two” names, Gracean and Gracie are also very unusual and are probably two versions of the same name. When combined in each case with the surname Large, the inevitable conclusion is that these are rare names. These observations may be a useful aid in the analysis which follows.

We begin with Simon Large, archer, since only one single example of his name is entered in the database. The confirmation of his role may provide important clues which can then be used in the later cases of other men called Large, where more than one example exists.

1. Simon Large Archer.

The name of Simon Large, appears once in a Muster Roll, as an archer in the retinue of 1377-78, captained by Sir Michael de la Pole, later created 1st earl of Suffolk, on the campaign commanded by Thomas Woodstock (1355-1397), earl of Buckingham and later 1st duke of Gloucester. [6] Woodstock was the youngest son of Edward III (reigned 1327-1377) and his wife, Philippa.

Michael de la Pole (c. 1330-1389) was the oldest son of Sir William de la Pole, a prominent merchant and financier of Kingston upon Hull, and he forged links with Edward, the Black Prince with whom he fought in the campaign of 1359. In 1369, following the death of the Black Prince, de la Pole moved his allegiance to John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, whose approach to aspects of foreign policy by attacking France through its Scottish and Castilian- allies, he was later to espouse. [7] Having been appointed commissioner of the peace for Kingston upon Hull in 1367, [8] and commissioner of array the same year in the East Riding of Yorkshire, [9] he was appointed admiral north of the Thames in 1376, the year before the campaign. [10] De la Pole served at sea with Thomas of Woodstock during the winter of 1377–78, and with Gaunt on the unsuccessful attempt to capture St Malo later in 1378. [11] In 1379, de la Pole took on diplomatic duties, having been appointed an ambassador to negotiate the marriage of the new king, Richard II. His subsequent career culminated in his impeachment as chancellor for directing a policy of peace with France. He was convicted in the Merciless Parliament of February 1388 and having fled to France, possibly in disguise, died in Paris in September 1389. [12]

Only one example of a man named Simon Large has been found in the Poll Tax records of 1377-1381, and the fact that the taxes were levied at the exact time of the naval expedition which included Simon Large, archer, adds to the interest. The Simon Large who paid 4d. Poll Tax in 1379 lived in the ‘villa de’ Groby in the Sparkenhoe hundred of Leicestershire, and was unmarried. [13] Groby, Leicestershire was the seat of the de Ferrers family, the lords ofGroby, and earls of Derby, from William Ferrers (c.1240-1287), who established the Leicestershire branch of the family. His descendent, Henry Ferrers, 4th Baron Ferrers of Groby, held the title between 1356-1388, during the period in question. The family also held estates in Essex, Northamptonshire and Lancashire. Favourable, aristocratic marriages saw the addition of estates in Ireland and in other midland counties including Derbyshire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire, but de Ferrers were less powerful in the midlands than the Beauchamp family. Ralph de Ferrers, third son of William de Ferrers of Groby and Anne le Despenser, was appointed to array 20 men-at-arms and 40 archers in Staffordshire in 1371, and was arrayer in Leicestershire in 1377, so this was a family accustomed to performing royal duties. [14] In 1381, shortly after the Naval Expedition of 1377-78, Martin de Ferrers was appointed ‘Keeper of the Peace’ in Devon and Henry de Ferrers in Leicestershire. [15]

It seems likely that Simon Large joined the army from his home village of Groby, by virtue of the lordship of the estates held by the de Ferrers family and the aristocratic interconnections of the family. The question concerns the validity of the hypothesis and the route of his recruitment into the retinue led by Michael de la Pole, commanded by Buckingham. The Groby family of de Ferrers had connections through marriage with many prominent aristocratic families of the period, including the Despensers, the Verduns, the Beauchamps, the Mortimers, and the Percys. In addition, William de Ferrers of Groby “had to wife, Margaret, daughter of Michael de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, and by her was father of Henry, Lord Ferrers of Groby.” [16]   Furthermore, a protection shows that William intended to serve under Michael de la Pole from 6 October 1377 on Naval duties, [17] the same year and venture in which Simon Large served. This is good evidence in support of the hypothesis that family connection could be called-upon to help provide men to serve in the war with France from the Groby estates.

The Muster Roll database shows another family connection or network in support of the inclusion of Simon Large in the retinue of Sir Michael de la Pole. In the naval expedition of 1377-78, Buckingham commanded 3446 men, in which Sir Ralph de Ferrers led a retinue of 201 troops, of which 95 were archers, 4 were crossbowmen and 104 were men-at-arms. [18] Michael de la Pole himself was captain of 280 men under Buckingham’s command and of these, 140 were men-at-arms and 140 were archers (including Simon Large). [19] However, the proportion of archers to men-at-arms is approximately the same in the retinues of both captains.

All the male names on the Poll Tax list of 1379 for Groby, have been cross-referenced in the Muster Roll and the Protection data bases, with the following results: there were 64 men in total living in Groby in 1379, including Henry, Lord Ferrers, and Simon Large. In addition, Sir Robert Ferrers, baron, man-at-arms, also served in Buckingham’s winter expedition of 1377-78, under the captaincy of de la Pole. Furthermore, he was in the same retinue as Simon Large, archer. [20] Seven more names of men appear both in the Groby Poll Tax lists and in the Muster Roll database, suggesting that they may have enlisted as well. Of these, Thomas Prior, knight (paid 20s. 0d. tax) was man-at-arms under Sir Michael de la Pole and Woodstock in the 1377-1378 naval expedition. [21] John Briggeman was also a resident of Groby that year and his name appears as an archer on exactly the same membrane as does Simon Large, and he also served under de la Pole and Woodstock. The presence of a second member of the de Ferrers family with Simon Large and other members of the Groby manor, adds further support to the contention that Simon Large, archer, came from Groby, Leicestershire.  There are no names of Groby men in the Protection database under either Pole or Woodstock or de Ferrers. This may not be surprising since Pole is identified as captain of only 33 men who have taken out a protection, including Henry de Ferrers. [22]

The evidence suggests, that Simon Large, archer, was the man from Groby whose name also appears in the Poll Tax lists for that year. Groby was a considerably larger community than many of the surrounding villages by virtue of the presence of the de Ferrers family and so it is perhaps not surprising that several names are also included on the soldier’s database, some of whom may have been Groby residents. This shows military service on a number of occasions across the period as a whole. The number in brackets after each name is the number of examples of the name on the database : William Drayton (3), each under Sir John atte Pole and Gaunt in 1378 [23] : Richard Wynfeld (2), one of them an archer under Lord William de Ferrers and Henry V in the expedition to Scotland in 1400 [24] : John Rynger (5), one of them an archer under Sir Gilbert Talbot and Woodstock in the 1377-78 expedition [25] : John Pyke (7), one of them an archer under Lord William de Ferrers and Henry IV in the expedition to Scotland of 1400. [26] John Rede (45), one of them an archer under Sir John Cobham and Woodstock in the 1377-78 expedition. [27] This suggests that Simon Large may have been one of several men from his village who volunteered for service to fight in the war with France during the expedition of 1377-78. However, they were not all in the same retinue, much as was the case for some young men who lived in the same town or village, and who enlisted in The Great War, 1914-18, and other conflicts, but who joined different regiments.  

The Muster Roll database also shows that Ralph de Ferrers previously led troops in the naval campaign of 1372 under Edward III, and Lord William de Groby subsequently led troops under Buckingham in 1400. In the campaign of 1377-1378, Robert de Ferrers, Baron, was a man-at-arms, so it is clear that several members of the de Ferrers family of Groby, Leicestershire, were intimately connected, in various capacities, with Buckingham’s army. The de Ferrers estates were extensive, extending to other parts of England, including Essex, Northamptonshire and Lancashire. [28] However, the Leicestershire-Groby connection clearly appears the most convincing as the place of origin of Simon Large.

Several other examples of the surname ‘Large’ have survived from the Leicestershire Poll Tax lists, but whose names do not appear in the Muster Roll, and these provide a general context for the families of which Simon Large may have been a member: Robert Large was the ‘Constable’ for the tax collection in Barton in the Beans in 1377. [29] The tax returns for 1379 also show Robert Large, his wife, son Thomas and a servant, Alice, in Barton in the Beans. This village is only 2 miles east of Shackerstone, Leicestershire, suggesting that this older Robert Large and family were members of the family of Thomas Large and his son, Robert Large, who became the Mayor of London 1439-40. [30] The mayor’s ancestral family came from the borderlands of Leicestershire and Warwickshire, in particular, the villages of Shackerstone, Overton, now called Orton-on-the-Hill  (both in Leicestershire) and Aldestre, now called Austrey (Warwickshire), and in his will of 1441, Robert Large left bequests to these three village churches where some of his ancestors were buried. [31]   In the village of Great Glen, 6 miles SE of Leicester, William Large and his wife 4d. tax in 1379 [32] In 1381 he is identified as “swynerd” and his wife is named Alice. [33] Margaret Large, widow, paid 4d. in 1379, in Frolesworth, 10 miles SW of Leicester. [34] William Large, farmer, and his wife, Isabella, paid 4d. in 1381, in Redmile. [35] And in 1381, Henry Large and his wife paid 2s. 0d. in Loddington, 12 miles due East of Leicester. [36] ‘Large’ families also appear in the Leicestershire Lay Subsidy of 1327: Adam le Large of Glenfield, Richard le Large and Henry le Large of Barton in the Beans. Thomas le Large in Sapcote and Robert Large in Broughton Astley and Sutton-in-the-Elms. [37] Further examples of ‘Large’ in this part of Leicestershire were found in Feet of Fines: Robert and Thomas Large in Barton in the Beans, in January 1386, 8 years after the naval expedition involving their namesake, Simon Large of Groby, 8 miles to the east. In 1399, Robert Large and his wife Margaret, appeared in a case as in Barlestone, 3 miles east of Barton in the Beans, and in 1401, John Large appeared in a case concerning property, tenements and land belonging to Sir John Pulteney, [38] (see section on Richard Large of East Malling, Kent for identically-named participants). As was the case for Richard Large, archer, no definite family relationships are proposed for the members of ‘Large’ families near Groby, Leicestershire, although they lived close to each other, but rather to indicate the number and distribution of the families during the fifty years before and the few years after the naval expedition in which Simon Large fought. Families named ‘Large’ had clearly lived in this part of the midlands for many years before 1377 and future research in Manorial Court and other records may shed further light on their possible interrelationships.

During the course of an unpublished study on the distribution of the surname ‘Large’ in medieval England, 1200-1450, excluding the Poll Tax names, more than 150 examples of ‘Large’ were found, and only one of these (in 1289) was called ‘Simon.’ [39] They all lived in midland or southern counties, as was found in the analysis of the Poll Tax lists, with the exception of two men named Large living in York, in 1349 and in 1393. This preliminary work supports the view that the first name ‘Simon’ was relatively unusual at the time Simon Large, archer, lived in Groby. It follows that there may be no need to postulate numerous additional examples of ‘Simon Large’ whose names have not been recorded or discovered so far.

In the light of this, we propose, not only that Simon Large, archer, was the Simon Large of Groby who paid the Poll Tax in 1379, but also that he survived the naval expedition to France in 1377-78. Absence from home fighting in France did not disqualify a man from paying the tax, and so it is impossible to say whether or not he had actually returned to his home to pay the Poll Tax in 1379.

2. Richard Large, Archer

The second example of a soldier named 'Large’ is Richard Large. Three examples of the name appear in the Poll Tax lists, so this is a more complex case than was Simon Large. The Poll Tax gives three possible candidates for Richard Large, archer. There may be others, but their identities have either not been preserved in public records, or they have not yet been discovered. The following section explores the possibility that Richard Large, archer, may have been one of the individuals whose name appears in the Poll Tax records.

(i). Richard Large of East Malling, in the Larkfield hundred of Kent.

This Richard Large was a Constable with two others for the Larkfield hundred during the Poll Tax years of 1377 and 1381. [40] By implication, his likely age at this time makes it unlikely that he would be a serious candidate for the Richard Large, Archer, who fought in the Naval Expedition of 1417, some thirty eight years later, although not absolutely impossible, given that men were enlisted to fight between the ages of 16-60, providing they were fit and well. [41] On the other hand, there are some factors in this part of Kent which merit further consideration. Larkfield hundred was a relatively small area lying to the north and the west of Maidstone, the nearest town. It contained 15 Parishes, including Ditton, Birling, Ryarsh, West Malling and East Malling, the home of Richard Large in 1377-1381. Ditton with Brampton was held during the reigns of Edward I & Edward II by William de Ditton, of the earl of Gloucester. By the reign of Edward III, the manor(s) had passed to Thomas de Aldon. Birling was allotted to Sir William de Clinton in 9 Henry VI (1428). Prior to this, it was held at various times by William, fourth son of Thomas Beachamp, the 11th earl of Warwick (1313-1369) and his wife, Katherine, daughter of Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March. William (1343-1411) married Joan Fitzalan (1372-1435) and inherited the honour of Abergavenny to become 1st Baron Bergavenny. Incidentally, Joan was a daughter of Richard Fitzalan 11th Earl of Arundel and so the older sister of Sir John Darundel (see elsewhere). William Beauchamp, was a knight in the retinue of John of Gaunt, in 1371 and in 1374. The arms of the Beauchamp family appear on the roof of Canterbury Cathedral Cloisters and on a gateway leading to this.  Although evidently connected with both the Gloucester and the Warwick families at other times, neither East Malling, Ditton or Birling appear to have been held of Richard Beauchamp, 13th earl of Warwick (1382-1439), the captain, or of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (1390-1447), the commander of the 1417 expedition which included Richard Large, archer. [42] Families named Large had lived in Kent during the preceding 100 years. In particular, in 1358, John Large, also of Malling and his wife Isobel, executrix of the will of John de Cleyndon of Sutton atte Hoone (modern Sutton, a few miles south west of Deal), was pardoned for outlawry and her failure to appear at the husting court in London, concerning a plea in connection with the will of John de Pulteney, knight. [43] John and Isobel may have been the parents of Richard Large of East Malling, given the date and village. Adam le Large of Sandwich, on the east coast appeared in 1268. [44] Walter and William le Large were accused of assault with others, in 1278, in Lambhurst, 12 miles south of East Malling. [45] Robert le Large and his brother, Simon, were also involved in an assault in 1302 in Ryarsh, 4 miles north west of East Malling, and also in the Larkfield hundred of Kent. [46] In addition, a commission was issued in 1408 to Thomas Erpyngham, the constable of Dover castle and warden of the Cinque Ports, to arrest nine men including a John Large and bring them before the king and council and to seize all goods recently captured at sea in two crayers (small sailing vessels used for coastal trading) from Lescluce in Flanders, and imprison them in Rye, Kent. [47] No one named Large appears in a subsidy of 1334-35. No medieval records survive for East Malling before 1600. [48]

No other family connections with Richard Large of East Malling, Constable, are proposed for these individuals, although the geographic proximity to East Malling with the villages of some of the Larges of a previous generation is interesting.  

(ii). Richard Large of Overton, now called Orton-on-the-Hill, in the Guthlaxton and Sparkenhoe hundred of Leicestershire.

This Richard Large was one of two Constables appointed in 1377 to oversee the Poll Tax collections in his area, so as in the case of his namesake in Kent, he too had a significant local responsibility. [49] He was probably a member of the ancestral family of Robert Large, Mayor of London, 1439-1440 (see above). [50] It is not inconceivable that a man old enough to pay the Poll Tax in 1377-1381, would have been of an age to be fighting in France as an Archer in 1417, when he could still have been less than 60 years old, since men of this age who were fit enough to fight presented themselves for voluntary paid service. However, the likely age of a Constable during the period 1377-1381 may have excluded him from active service by 1417, were he still alive. It follows that despite the other interest in them, that Richard Large of East Malling, Kent and Richard Large of Orton-on-the-Hill, Leicestershire, both suffer from relative drawbacks of age, and so they are probably unlikely to be Richard Large, archer, in 1417.

(iii). Richard Large of Mune now called Meon Hill in the Kiftsgate hundred of Gloucestershire.

Richard Large of Meon Hill and his wife, Isabella, both paid 12d. tax in 1377, and 16d. in 1381. Meon Hill is a prominent, elevated region between the villages of Mickleton and Upper and Lower Quinton, 6 miles north of Chipping Campden, and in the medieval period, it was a sparsely inhabited part of northern Gloucestershire near the border with Warwickshire. It was reserved to the crown until the reign of Elizabeth I. [51] Administrative responsibility was transferred to Warwickshire in 1935. [52] This region of Gloucestershire with its medieval Cotswold villages included several other families named Large recorded in the Lay Subsidy Rolls of 1327: William Large of Lower Slaughter, 10 miles south of Meon Hill, and a second William Large of Ampney, 15 miles further south; William le Large of Meon Hill, the same village in which Richard Large lived 50 years later, suggesting the likelihood of a family connection and a continuity of families in the area; John le Large of Pebworth and Broad Marston, less than 5 miles north of Meon; Margery Large of Lower Slaughter, probably an ancestor of William Large of the same village; Ralph le Large of Barnsley, the neighbouring village to Ampney; a second Ralph le Large of Chedworth, 6 miles north west of Barnsley, and John Large of Hasfield, near Newent, north west of Gloucester, and 25 miles south west of Meon Hill. [53] In addition, a Richard Large of Arlingham, Gloucestershire, a few miles south west of the city of Gloucester, on the banks of the upper Severn estuary, appears in four deeds of lands granted by his daughter and sole heiress, to Walter Bayly, 1395-1401. [54] Arlingham is 35 miles south west of Meon Hill, not so far as to completely rule out a family connection with the Meon Hill man, particularly in view of the relative rarity of the first name (see above). Given the period, however, it is difficult to imagine that Richard Large of Meon Hill, improved his financial and social circumstances to the extent that he was able to resettle, with lands, 20 years later in Arlingham, a few years before he was enlisted to fight in France, unless the property was inherited. Nevertheless, the coincidence of the first name is worthy of comment, as 13.5% of men who are recorded on the soldiers database have the first name, Richard. In 1311 in a previous generation, Thomas de Berkeley, 1st Baron, (1245-1321) granted Thomas Large and his wife, Maude, 20 perches of land at Halmare (now called Halmore, Gloucestershire), beside the road from Severn to Wottone in Homme [55] (now called Wotton-under-Edge), to them and their issue at an annual rent of 3s. 6d. [56] Halmore is about 1 mile from the eastern bank of the River Severn and 5 miles due south of Arlingham. This rental connects a member of the Gloucestershire Large families with the Berkeley family estates, and confirms their presence in the county for several generations before Richard Large of Meon Hill appeared.

Richard Beauchamp (1382-1439), 13th earl of Warwick, was a captain on Henry V’s expedition to Normandy of 1417, under the command of Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, in which Richard Large fought. [57] The Beauchamp-Warwick family held extensive estates, particularly in the west midland counties of Warwickshire, Worcestershire and neighbouring Gloucestershire. These included the great castles and estates of Warwick and Worcester, together with about fifty estates in the region. The family also held lands further afield in Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Cornwall, Essex, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, the Welsh borders and the Gower, and County Durham. [58] Warwick also inherited Elmley Castle, Worcestershire, from his mother in 1407, only 12-13 miles from Meon Hill. In consequence, the Kiftsgate hundred with Meon Hill was almost completely encircled by Warwick’s estates, particularly considering the additional influences exerted through the acquisition of even more land and property from his marriages, first with Elizabeth de Berkeley in 1397 and second, with Isobel le Despenser, his cousin’s widow, in 1423, although this latter came after the expedition to France of 1417. Amongst their other titles and privileges, the Beauchamps were hereditary sheriffs in both Warwickshire and Worcestershire, and sheriffs were also arrayers of soldiers (those commissioned under Royal authority to recruit troops). Furthermore, his father, Thomas Beauchamp, the 12th Earl of Warwick, had been an arrayer of troops in both Warwickshire and in Worcestershire in 1380, and John de Beauchamp was arrayer in Gloucestershire. [59] John was a member of a cadet branch of the Beauchamp family, becoming Lord of Beauchamp and Baron of Kidderminster in 1387 and Thomas Beauchamp was his feudal lord. [60]  It follows that the whole region came within Warwick’s sphere of influence for recruiting men to fight in the war with France and the family had “unrivalled hegemony over much of the midlands.” [61]

Warwick’s foreign service on behalf of Henry V included his acting as ambassador to the Council of Constance and the German emperor, Sigismund (also king of Hungary and later Holy Roman Emperor) in 1414. His retinue provided part of Henry V’s invasion force of Normandy in 1417 and he then stayed in France with the king until 1421. The expedition of 1417 in which Richard Large, Archer, played a role, was part of the assault on the coast of Normandy and the subsequent advance inland. Warwick and his men laid siege to Caen in August-September 1417, and of Rouen from July 1418-January 1419, where he received the town’s surrender after starving the defenders into submission. Whether Large survived the coastal assault to continue in Warwick’s service into Normandy, is inevitably unrecorded. [62] The Muster Roll database shows that Richard Beauchamp captained 405 troops under the command of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester in the expedition of 1417, the invasion of Normandy. Of these men, 100 were men-at-arms, including the earl himself and three knights. [63]

The Poll Tax records of Mune (now called Meon or Meon Hill), in the Kiftsgate hundred of Gloucestershire (but since 1935, in Warwickshire), for 1381 have been published, [64] and all the male names have been checked in the soldiers’ database. There were 13 men living in the village at the time, including Richard Large, who was registered with his wife, Isabella, both paying 12d. tax. Four of the males were described as “son of” either of a father, or in one case, of a mother. All the inhabitants were described as cult’ terre, that is to say, agricultural labourers. [65]

One other male resident of Meon, John, son of William Hewe and his wife, Sibilla and sister, Marg[aret] may also have been an archer. There are five entries in the Muster Roll for the name “John Hewe” including one who was an archer in the army commanded by Humphrey, duke of Gloucester in the 1417 Expedition to France, and whose name appears in the same roll as Richard Large. [66] John Hewe was an archer in the retinue led by Sir John, 1st Baron, Tiptoft (1375-1443), one of the Captains under Humphrey of Gloucester’s command. Tiptoft was married to Philippa Talbot of Richard’s Castle in neighbouring Herefordshire, and was father of the 1st earl of Worcester, Speaker of the Commons, knight of Huntingdonshire and Somerset, Chief Butler of England and Treasurer of the Household. Tiptoft also distinguished himself as Commissioner of the Peace in 1408 and 1409 in Somerset, in 1409 and 1411 in Huntingdonshire, and in 1410 and 1412 for Cambridgeshire. A few years later he was appointed to the same position in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire, all counties either immediately boarding Gloucestershire, or fairly close to it, all suggesting a powerful and developing interest and influence in the west midland counties. [67] Humphrey of Gloucester was Commissioner of the Peace for Gloucestershire, amongst his other roles and responsibilities. [68] Tiptoft led 132 men under the command of Gloucester in 1417, including 27 men-at-arms, 2 knights and 103 archers, of whom John Hewe was one. This suggests that Richard Large and John Hewe whose names both appear in the Poll Tax for the village of Mune, Gloucestershire in 1381 were the archers whose names are recorded in the same muster roll. They were both in the army commanded by Humphrey of Gloucester, but in two different retinues, as described above. The nearest modern name equivalent to Hewe is Hewer, and in the census of 1881, Wiltshire and neighbouring Gloucestershire were the two counties in which this surname was by far the most prevalent in the whole of England. [69] No men from Meon seem to have taken a protection for intended service.

A brief review of names of men in two other villages in Kiftsgate hundred of Gloucestershire, and also within 1-2 miles of Mune, shows additional items of interest. In Admington (now in Warwickshire), Thomas Heyward lived with his wife, Marg[aret], both paying 12d tax in 1381. This village included 36 men in contrast to the 13 men in neighbouring Mune. Two examples of the name “Thomas Heyward” appear in the Muster Roll database, one an archer under Edmund Mortimer, earl of March in the 1421 expedition to France TNA E101/50/1 m.1 and the other, also under the captaincy of Mortimer, and the command of Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, in the 1417 expedition. [70] It is likely, given the rarity of the name and the evidence of the same captain, that these two examples of Thomas Heyward are of the same individual in the army which included both Richard Large and John Hewe, archers. The name Heyward does not appear in the protection database. In another neighbouring village of Hidcote Bartrim, also 1-2 miles from Mune, Walter Legat and his wife, Agnes, paid 12d. tax in 1381. His name appears only once in the Muster Roll database as an archer under the command of Thomas, Lord Berkeley of Gloucestershire, in the 1404 for the purpose of ‘Keeping the Sea’ With his extensive estates and interests in Gloucestershire, Berkeley both captained and commanded the 1404 activity, which included 224 men; 64 men-at-arms and 160 archers. [71] Further work in the Poll Tax villages of northern Gloucestershire would be useful, but these preliminary examples serve to show the possible outcomes of searches of both classes of record for the same names, in combination with the interests and estates of the aristocratic captains and commanders of campaigns and their likely spheres of influence for recruiting men to fight from the counties of England.

As far as the example of Richard Large of Meon, Gloucestershire is concerned, the evidence suggests that he is likely to be Richard Large, the archer who served in the campaign of 1417, and that his neighbour, John Hewe, son of William and Sibilla Hewe, was an archer in the same army, commanded by Humphrey duke of Gloucester. Two men from a village in which thirteen males were registered for the Poll Tax of 1381 (15%), and a near-neighbour, Thomas Heyward, in an area dominated by the Beauchamp family landed interests, is a substantial proportion to be sent to fight in France, but whether this is representative of the men aged 16-60 years from one community for the country as a whole, remains to be seen.

3. John Large, soldier.        

Having examined the case of a soldier with one village Poll Tax entry, and a second with three, the next section addresses the example of John Large, for whom seven references are included in the soldiers’ database. There are six references to the name John Large in the Muster Roll and one in the Protection Roll. Four of these describe him as an archer and two as a man-at-arms. Two of the references to John Large, archer, occur in the muster roll for the  expedition to France in 1375, in both cases captained by Edward, Lord Despenser and commanded by Edmund Langley, duke of York (1341-1402). [72] These are duplicate entries as the second muster roll  (TNA E101/34/5 m.2d) is a copy of the Muster Roll, submitted by the captains’ executors to the exchequer, probably to pursue payment of wages following his death.

Edmund Langley, earl of Cambridge, was a son of Edward III, as was Thomas of Woodstock, earl of Buckingham, as discussed in the example of Simon Large, archer, both sons serving their father the king as army commanders, as the King himself was unable to campaign in person. The next example of John Large, archer, sees him in 1378, in a Naval Expedition under the captaincy of Sir John Darundell and the command of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster (1340-1399), the third but by this time, the eldest son of Edward III, following the deaths of Lionel, duke of Clarence in 1368, and Edward, the Black Prince in 1376. [73] The references to John Large as man-at-arms both appear in 1387 in a retinue captained by Sir Thomas Mortimer and on the naval expedition commanded by Richard FitzAlan, earl of Arundel. [74] These two references are also duplicates. The second (40/34) appears to be a collection of retinue rolls brought prior to the muster whilst the other (40/33) is the annotated Muster Roll. [75] John Large is also recorded serving as an archer in 1404, ‘Keeping the Sea’, under the captaincy of Sir Reginald de Cobham and the command of Thomas, Lord Berkeley, who was serving as Admiral of the West. [76] John Large has secured a protection for intended service under Sir William Beauchamp, for one year in Calais, dated 15 June 1385,  (discussed later). [77] The duplicate entries in the Muster Roll mean that of the six service records, only four are records of service. Are these entries of the same man, or are they entries of different individuals with the same name? These are more complex issues than those presented in the earlier examples of Simon Large and Richard Large, archers.

The Poll Tax records include four examples of men named John Large:

(i). John Large of Galhampton, in the Catsash hundred of Somerset, now part of Yeovil.

(ii). John Large of Newenham Parva, now called Newnham Paddox, in the Brinkloe hundred of Warwickshire.

(iii). John Large of Ryton’ juxta Bulkynton’ now called Ryton-on-Dunsmore, in the same hundred and county.

(iv). John Large of Rappoll’ now called Radipole, in the Culliford Tree hundred of Dorset, now part of Weymouth.

The following section explores the possibility of a connection between John Large, archer, and one of the men with the name who paid Poll Tax, by discussing the villages which include men of this name, the possibility that other villagers enlisted in the same or a linked retinue, the estates of the captains and commanders of the retinues in which he served, and the aristocratic interrelationships and networks involved.

(i). John Large of Galhampton, Somerset:

His name appears in the 1381 Poll Tax list for Galhampton, when he paid 4d. No wife or family appear with him. [78] The Somerset Lay Subsidy Tax lists 1327-32, include eleven examples of ‘Large’ in villages or towns between three and more than twenty five miles from Galhampton, indicating that this was an area of England where Large families lived during the 50 years before the Poll Taxes were levied. In particular, William le Large, Gilbert le Large and Henry le Large all lived in Bridgewater, 25 miles west of Galhampton in 1304. [79] William’s name also appeared in 1302 as a collector and receiver of custom duties for imports of wine from Aquitaine, for Somerset and Devon. [80] These Bridgewater men are likely to have been from related families, but whether any of the other families named Large were connected in the Somerset of the 1300s, has not been researched.

Forty six names of men on the 1381 Galhampton Poll Tax list were checked on the Muster Roll database. Two names on the Poll Tax list appear in the lists of men who served under Despenser and Langley in the 1375 Expedition to France. John Lylye, man-at-arms, [81] but who paid only 4d. tax in 1379. There are also duplicate entries for John Kyng in the Muster Roll database. [82] In addition, the name of John Smyth appears 19 times in the roll, twice under Despenser and Langley in 1375. [83] However, no obvious link has been found between Galhampton and either Despenser or Langley, on the one hand, or Darundell and Gaunt on the other, which would provide clear evidence to suggest that John Large or the others were from Galhampton. [84]

(ii). John Large of Newnham Paddox, Warwickshire, and

(iii). John Large of Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Warwickshire:

Families named ’Large’ had lived in Warwickshire during the earlier period of the Lay Subsidy Rolls of 1327-32 (see above). In fact, two men named John Large were taxed in 1379 in Ryton, probably father and son. The first was described as a wrigh’or a wright, but the second man of this name, listed immediately afterwards, was not given a trade, and no female named Large appears in the village list. John Large, wrigh’ paid 6d tax, and his namesake, 4d. John Large of Newnham Paddox also paid 4d tax in 1379. [85] Although the captains and commanders of the forces that included John Large, archer, held estates and interests throughout England, no obvious connections with this particular area of Warwickshire, have been found. Furthermore, none of the other 8 men in the village whose names appear in the Poll tax list of 1379 were in either the retinues led by Despenser or Darundell, nor the armies commanded by Langley or Gaunt. The name of William Barewell appears on only two occasions on the Muster Roll, once under Sir William Beauchamp and John of Gaunt in the expedition of 1378, [86]   as archer or crossbowman, and second as an Esquire under Sir Richard de Arundell in 1402-1403. [87]   This was escorting the queen, Joan of Navarre from Brittany to England.

Barewell’s very unusual surname increases the likelihood that he is the man recorded in the Poll Tax list for Ryton. The surname continued to be rare in later centuries as suggested by its absence in an on-line resource derived from the census of 1881, in which a name had to be recorded on at least one hundred occasions to appear. [88] The name John Hunte appears on 43 occasions in the Muster Roll database, but none of the examples match the captains, commanders or the years in which John Large served, and none of the remaining men in Ryton have names which correspond to the year of service and/or captain and commander of John Large. The name John Hunte also appears in the Protection database 6 times, serving under 6 captains between 1369-1397, but with no connection with the captains or commanders of John Large.  However, in view of the single piece of evidence for William Barewell’s army service, John Large of Ryton-on-Dunsmore cannot be categorically excluded as the archer who served in the 1375, 1378 and the 1404 campaigns. On the other hand, the absence of any other of the connections and networks we have sought for his captains and commanders, makes this a somewhat less likely proposition than for John Large of Radipole, who appears in the following profile.

(iv). John Large of Radipole, Dorset:

Database and network evidence suggests that he is quite likely to be John Large, the soldier, in each of the expeditions in 1375, 1378, 1387 and 1404. The captain of the naval expedition of 1378 was Sir John Darundell, under the command of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, leading a retinue of 440 men. [89] It took place three years before the Poll Tax for Radipole of 1381 in which the name of John Large appears, and is therefore the closest by date. It follows that if he were the archer, he survived the campaign and may have returned home. [90]   Parts of the tax returns for the hundred of Culliford Tree of 1379 have also survived, although they do not include Radipole or anyone named Large. [91] Radipole, now part of Weymouth, was in the Culliford Tree hundred of Dorset and in the medieval period it had a harbour. The adjacent harbour of Melcombe Regis was probably the point of entry of the bubonic plague or Black Death, into England in June 1348, [92] estimated to have killed half the population of the country. Despite this, by the date of the Poll Taxes, some 30 years later, a period of just over one generation, some recovery of population would have occurred, and Radipole in 1381 was a village of 33 tax payers; 20 males and 13 females, who in total, contributed 33s 0d tax that year. [93] John Large paid 16d. tax and was unmarried. As in the examples of villages i-iii, above, each of the 20 male names has been checked in the Muster Roll and the Protection Roll. Another Radipole resident, John Smyth, paid 2s 0d. tax, and he was a married man. ‘John Smyth’ was probably as common a name then as it is now in its modern equivalent, and so great care is needed in its interpretation, However, the roll includes 184 examples, nearly all of them archers, some armed, and in four cases, described as Valet. [94] There are also four examples of ‘John Smyth’ who were men-at-arms, one in 1417, two in 1441, and one in which the year is not given. [95] These are probably too late to be the John Smyth noted here. One man named John Smyth served in the retinue of John Darundell, led by John of Gaunt in 1378 as an archer. [96] John Large served in exactly the same retinue with the same captain and commander. [97] This suggests that the two men from the village may have served in the same retinue, and at the same time. Whilst recognising the challenges posed by a common name such as ‘Smyth,’ one further example of a ‘John Smyth’ is also of interest. He served in 1375 in the retinue led by Edward Despenser, and commanded by Edmund Langley, earl of Cambridge. [98] The name John Large features as an archer in the same campaign, led by Despenser and Langley in 1375. [99] From this interesting pair of observations, it is possible that John Large of Radipole, Dorset, was the John Large, archer, in both the campaigns of 1375 and of 1378, since on each occasion, a fellow villager was in exactly the same retinue: the evidence at least bears this interpretation. Furthermore, a John Smyth, archer, is also shown serving in 1372-74 under Despenser and Gaunt. [100] This suggests not only that he served in the campaign of 1375, but also in 1372 and so his period of service began before that of John Large.  We can imagine that he may have influenced John Large to join the fighting force, especially if they knew each other, as would be more than likely given their small village population. Discussions at the local market or taverns are a strong possibility. The database for letters of Protection included no entries for Galhampton men which correspond to the retinue in which John Large served in Calais in 1385.

To extend the search, a review of the names of 42 taxpayers in the village of Osmington, 4 miles east of Radipole suggests that John Taillour may have been a soldier, although his common name also warrants caution. The Muster Roll includes 57 examples of the name, and 4 examples of men with the name were archers in the retinue captained by Despenser, and commanded by Edmund Langley, earl of Cambridge, who led the retinue in 1375 in which John Large served. [101] This suggests that this area of Dorset was a relatively fertile recruiting ground for archers, at least by these aristocrats, and adds further weight to the evidence that John Large served in the retinue of Despenser in 1375 as well as that of Darundell in 1378. The two aristocratic families were strongly inter-connected in any case, and as suggested elsewhere, this may be important in establishing the retinues in which soldiers served. Darundell’s father, Richard 10th earl of Arundel married first Isobel le Despenser in childhood, although the marriage was subsequently annulled. Furthermore, Darundell’s oldest son and heir, John d’Arundel (1364-1390), married Elisabeth le Despenser, becoming 2nd Baron and Lord Arundel in 1379 on the death of his father at sea. Hugh, father of Edward le Despenser, held the hamlet of Knighton, 7 miles north east of Radipole in 1350; providing additional opportunities for recruitment of local men for was service. [102] No names of Osmington men were found in the Protection database for the retinue of Sir William Beauchamp in Calais in 1385 in which John Large served. On the other hand, Beauchamp captained a relatively small troop of about 200 men in Calais, including at the garrison.

Radipole manor and its church were part of the estates of the Abbot and the Benedictine Abbey of Cerne. [103] Thomas Sewale was Abbot of Cerne between 1361-1382, the year of his death, and it was also his responsibility to levy taxes on the local population to finance the war. [104] The abbey itself was expected to contribute funds to this end as well. Of greater significance to this study, however, is the fact that Radipole was held of the king, of two knight’s fees, and East Ringstead and Upton, two hamlets in Osmington were held similarly, of the king in knight’s service. [105] In view of this, it would be no surprise to discover that some of its men enlisted for army service into retinues of his two sons, Edward of Langley, earl of Cambridge in 1375 and by John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster in 1378, from the same village.

There are no known manorial documents for any period for Radipole, and those for the Culliford Tree hundred survive only after 1465. Weymouth and Melcombe Regis borough records do not begin until 1398 and consist of records for only five or six years until the mid-sixteenth century. [106] However, the Lay Subsidies for the nearby village of Langton Herring include men named ‘Large’ in both 1327 and 1332. In 1327, Thomas [le] Large paid 9d., and William [le] Large, 18d. In the 1332 Subsidy, Thomas Large paid 16d., William Large, 2s., and John Large, 16d. So families named ‘Large’ had lived in the immediate vicinity of Radipole twenty years before the Black Death and others were present from the 1370s onwards.

Working on the hypothesis that the evidence so far, at least supports the case that John Large of Radipole, Dorset, was John Large the soldier, the next section examines whether there is any additional network information which may directly connect men paying taxes in this part of Dorset with the captains or commanders of the troops of 1375 and 1378. If this were to be the case, then a more confident proposal about John Large could be offered. Dorset held a key role for the defence of the south coast against enemy attack and provided ports of embarkation of troops to northern France. Troops sailed against the king's enemies of France, [107] from neighbouring Somerset, Devon, Cornwall, and also from Gloucester and Southampton, in addition to Dorset, in 1371 and at other times, including in 1377. [108] Southampton was vulnerable to attack by the French and needed to be defended. In 1377, a commission was given to (Sir) John Darundell as keeper of Southampton, to ensure its defense and to repulse the enemy with whatever troops and equipment required with suitable weapons and arrayed against the king's enemies whenever danger is imminent [109] According to Froissart, Darundell took 200 men-at-arms and 300 archers to guard the harbour. [110] This information is supported by the Issue Rolls which record payments to him as Captain of the town in 1377 amounting to £967 25s 12d in five separate payments. [111]   Perhaps John Large and John Smyth were included, especially as they were local men, but unfortunately Muster Rolls do not survive to verify this speculation. 

This section continues with a consideration of Sir John Darundell, since the circumstantial evidence connecting him with John Large archer, appears to be quite strong. He was the son of Richard FitzAlan, 10th earl of Arundel and younger brother of Richard FitzAlan, 11th earl of Arundel, one of the most powerful and influential of the magnates of the period. Darundell (the name by which he was summoned to Parliament in 1377) married Eleanor, granddaughter of John, Lord Maltravers, baron (c.1290-1364), and as she was the heir of the Maltravers fortunes, he acquired extensive estates in Dorset, very close indeed to Radipole, and extending to the east, as far as Corfe Castle. [112] Eleanor was Baroness Maltravers in her own right. [113] The manor of Chickerell, now part of Weymouth, held of the Maltravers' family was immediately next to Radipole and so the Darundell/Maltravers estates virtually surrounded John Large’s village. [114] Additional estates and lands in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire were also acquired. [115] The Arundel and the Maltravers family of Litchett Maltravers, Dorset, had been associated since at least 1357 in matters of mutual interest, so the marriage between the two families a few years later, increased the influence in Dorset of both Arundel and his younger brother, John Darundell, even more. [116] Darundell and John Maltravers were both commissioners of array for Dorset in 1377, the same year as was Ralph de Ferrers in Leicestershire, as noted in the section on Simon Large, archer, above. [117] Darundell was appointed Marshal of England by Richard II. [118]   For his part, Maltravers senior had been ‘Governor’ of the Channel Islands from 1349. [119] The wealth and power of Richard, earl of Arundel and John Darundell, is also shown by their loan of 5,000 marks to the king in 1377, midway between the campaigns of 1375 and 1378. [120] The new king’s indebtedness is suggested in the grant for life given by Richard II to John Darundell, the king's kinsman of £100 yearly, retained for life, in 1378. [121] It follows that John Darundell was in a position of significant influence and power in the region and so able to attract men from south Dorset, including Radipole, to serve in his retinue on the campaign led by Gaunt, in the mid-late 1370s. In November 1377 Darundell sailed to Brittany with the army of Thomas of Woodstock to assist in the relief of Brest. [122] He returned in 1378, the year in which John Large fought, on this occasion to Cherbourg in Normandy. [123] Darundell won a naval victory over the French off the coast of Cornwall in 1378, but was lost at sea the following year in 1379, when a storm blew his fleet onto quick sands off the Irish coast. [124]

Further circumstantial and network evidence from land and manor ownership in the area around Radipole, Dorset, also supports the theory that John Large, man-at-arms, in 1387, who served in the retinue of Sir Thomas Mortimer under the command of Richard FitzAlan, earl of Arundel [125] was the same man who had fought a few years earlier as an archer under Despenser and Darundell. In addition to the lands held by the Arundel family in this part of Dorset, the Mortimer family (Earls of March) held a number of estates and lands at Weymouth next to Radipole, at Broadway (now part of Weymouth), at Buckland Ripers, 2 miles north, at Frome Vauchurch, about 12 miles north of Radipole (and which later came into the possession of the Maltravers dynasty), Whitchurch Canonicorum, nearly 20 miles north west of Radipole, in the Culliford Tree hundred of Dorset, and in the Liberty of Wyke Regis and Ellwell, one mile west of Weymouth and so very close indeed to Radipole. [126] This evidence shows that the Arundel and the Mortimer families between them held considerable parts of this area of Dorset. In consequence, Thomas Mortimer would have been in a position to enlist men for war service in the vicinity of Radipole-Weymouth-Osmington in his own right, in addition to his family connections with the other magnates in the area. Furthermore, if Large the archer, had distinguished himself in the campaigns of 1375 and 1378, then after the death of his captain John Darundell, it is not inconceivable that he and others opted to join the command of the senior and more powerful brother, Richard, earl of Arundel, who outlived his younger brother by nearly twenty years until his execution in 1397. Incidentally, his second wife was Philippa, daughter of Edmund Mortimer, earl of March, showing yet another family network connection of potential significance to the war effort and those magnates most involved. [127] During the late 1370s he commanded troops in battle, including the unsuccessful Harfleur and St Malo campaigns of 1378. [128] It is also worth noting that Thomas Mortimer was a captain of one of Richard of Arundel’s retinues in the 1387 naval expedition, so the family interrelationships were very extensive. [129]

The remaining example of ‘John Large’ in the Muster Roll database occurs in 1404, ‘Keeping the Sea’ under Sir Reginald de Cobham and Thomas, Lord Berkeley. [130] At first sight, this may be more difficult to connect with John Large of Radipole, archer, partly because of the interval since the campaign of 1387. However, in the adjacent village of Broadway, now, like Radipole, part of Weymouth, the name of Richard Mason appears as a resident in the Poll Tax lists of 1381, when he paid 2s. 0d. [131] Three examples of his name appear in the Muster Roll, twice as an archer. One of these is on exactly the same membrane on which John Large was entered, also with Cobham as captain and Berkeley as commander, in “Keeping the Sea” in 1404. [132] This could be a significant finding if it connects Large and Mason as residents in adjacent villages in the campaign of 1404 in the same retinue under Berkeley’s command. Broadway had 79 tax-payers in 1381: 49 of them male, contributing 79s.0d. tax. Richard Mason was married with a son named John who paid 12d tax in his own right. Thirty-one examples of his name appear in the database, none of them in a retinue which included his father or John Large of Radipole. However, it is possible, given his likely age that he was recruited to fight in one of the later campaigns under a different captain and commander. In addition, John Hayward paid 6d. tax in Broadway in 1381. Sixteen examples of this name appear in the database, including two examples of archers under Despenser and Edmund Langley, earl of Cambridge in the Expedition to France of 1375. [133] This was the campaign which included John Large, archer, in the same year and in the same retinue, and on the same membrane. [134] Of the other men of Broadway, the name John Frie appears in the Muster Roll on only three occasions. Twice he occurs as a man-at-arms under Sir William de Windsor in 1374 and 1375-76 in the Standing Force in Ireland. [135] This may or may not be John Frie of Broadway who paid 12d. tax in 1381. However, the third example of the name appears under Thomas, earl of Arundel and Henry V for the Expedition to France of 1415, to Harfleur and Agincourt. [136] Thomas was the only surviving son of Richard FitzAlan, 11th earl of Arundel and nephew of John Darundell and he became the 12th earl of Arundel, falling in the battle for Harfleur in 1415. John Hamond, son of William Hamond may have a similar claim to recognition. Twenty-three examples of this name appear in the Muster Roll, in two as man-at-arms under Thomas of Arundel and Henry V in the 1415 expedition to France noted immediately above, the same membrane which included John Frie of the same village. [137] On the other hand, Hamond paid only 12d. tax in 1381, and whether this is consistent with his serving as a man-at-arms, without additional evidence in support, is unclear. None of the other Broadway names appear in these campaigns, although a few appear in the database for other engagements. However, there is no independent evidence that they were connected with “our” names described here. As mentioned above, it seems clear from these additional examples that this group of villages, then discrete, but now part of Weymouth, saw several of their men-folk recruited to fight in the war with France between 1375 and 1415, including at Harfleur and Agincourt.

The family connections between the Berkeley, Mortimer, Maltravers, Arundel and the Cobham families, and the circumstantial and network evidence they provide, may have been used to share troops for battle. Thus, Berkeley, senior, was Roger Mortimer’s son-in-law, and he shared the responsibility for the custody of Edward II with his brother-in-law, Sir John Maltravers, from 3 April 1327, when the king was taken from Kenilworth to Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire, where he was murdered. The family owned extensive estates in Gloucestershire, where in later years, Sir John Darundell acquired land and property on his marriage with Eleanor Maltravers (see above). Thomas, Lord Berkeley (1348-1404/5), son of Berkeley, senior, commanded the retinue led by Reginald de Cobham, 2nd Lord Cobham of Sterborough, in ‘Keeping the Sea’ in 1404, when John Large fought. Berkeley had served as a knight during the great chevauchée of John of Gaunt, in the retinue of Thomas de Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, so he was an experienced campaigner. Cobham married Eleanor, the widow of John Darundell (drowned 1379), and it is possible that Darundells’ former soldiers continued their period of service under Cobham and his commander, Berkeley. Darundell was appointed arrayer of troops in Dorset and Cobham in Surrey in 1377. [138] Edward le Despenser held the same office in Gloucestershire in 1375. [139] These men were major players during this period and they were clearly closely associated in several domains of their lives.

The proposed change of rank and status from archer to man-at-arms (and vice versa), illustrated by John Large may be less unusual than previously believed. Other examples have been discovered since the Soldier Project was launched, notably that of Robert de Fishlake, the development of whose military career has also been traced in part, because of his unusual surname. [140] Examining the database for men with another unusual surname -Large- provides another example of the value of this approach for tracing the service of an individual soldier through a sequence of campaigns. It is also intriguing to realise that Fishlake served as an archer under Sir John Darundell in the campaign of 1378-79, the same expedition in which John Large fought in the same capacity. It follows that the case of John Large may represent another illustration of social and military mobility during the later stages of the Hundred Years War, and further examples are to be anticipated.

A further example of a soldier named John Large appears in the Protection and Attorney database. By December 2009, this held 25,495 names of soldiers who were intended for service, taken from the Treaty (or French), Gascon and Scottish Rolls for the years 1369-1453. This additional example of the name John Large is included here, since he may possibly be the individual who served in previous years.

John Large served under Sir William Beauchamp at the Calais Garrison, for one year from 15 June 1385. [141] His status or rank was not recorded, and although he is most likely to have been an archer, this must remain speculative. In contrast, men-at-arms have been recorded by both name and rank in the Protection database.

Could this John Large be the man from Radipole, Dorset who had served in 1375 under Edward Despenser & Edmund Langley, in 1378 under John Darundell & John of Gaunt, and who probably then served under Thomas Mortimer, & Richard Fitzalan in 1387, and later under Reginald Cobham & Thomas Berkeley in 1404? The period between June 1385 and June 1386 in which he was intended for service in the Calais Garrison falls between the expeditions of 1378 and 1387, and so he would have been available for service in Calais, and he would doubtless have been keen to earn additional wages to supplement his meagre earnings in Dorset. The evidence from the Poll Tax records shows that he paid tax from his home village in 1381, although his activities and whereabouts between 1381 and 1385 are unrecorded, even if he had returned home briefly following the Darundell expedition of 1378. Using the method of establishing connections between the captains and commanders of the retinues in which the soldiers named Large served, their spheres of influence, the most plausible village of origin, and the possible enlistment of neighbours, the following account for John Large of the Calais Garrison, is proposed. In this account, it appears that the captain’s network connections are the most relevant in establishing the link between John Large in Calais and his namesakes who fought earlier.

Large’s captain in the Calais Garrison of 1385, Sir William Beauchamp (c.1343-1411) was the fourth son of Thomas de Beauchamp (1313-1369), 11th earl of Warwick and Katherine, daughter of Roger de Mortimer (1287-1330), 1st earl of March. He became the 1st Baron Bergavenny, marrying Lady Joan FitzAlan, daughter of Richard FitzAlan (1346-1397), the 11th earl of Arundel (the appellant) and Elizabeth de Bohun. In consequence, he was extremely well connected, not only through his own family, but also by marriage into one of the leading aristocratic families of the period. The combination of influence, power and prestige held by the Beauchamp/Warwick and the FitzAlan/Arundel families taken together, was enormous and probably unsurpassed at this time. [143] Beauchamp’s military career included the Castilian campaign of 1367 commanded by Edward, the Black Prince. In 1370 he fought in Gascony and in 1373 he was on Gaunt's chevauchée in France. Before the Calais Garrison command, he went to Portugal with Edmund of Langley, earl of Cambridge in 1381–82. John of Gaunt had rewarded him for his services in 1373, and in 1375 he was awarded a life annuity of 100 marks by Edward III. He was made a knight in 1367 and KG in 1375, the year of the Calais garrison appointment. [144] His lands included estates in the west midlands, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, East Anglia, Somerset, and briefly, in Pembroke. The marriage of his sister to John, Lord Beauchamp of Hatch, Somerset brought with it manors and lands in both Somerset and Dorset, close to Radipole. The latter included interests in Broadway, Winterborne Farringdon (formerly Winterborne Beauchamp), and Upwey, which have been noted earlier, and also Frome Whitfield. [145] This manor has the added interest that having been held during the reign of Edward I, it passed to Maltravers of Litchet and then to the earls of Arundel, thereby establishing additional connections between the relevant aristocratic families and John Large the archer. The retinues in which John Large of Radipole fought had brought him into the service of captains and commanders who were not only well known to William Beauchamp, but to whom he was closely related by marriage. These included in particular, John Darundell, Richard FitzAlan of Arundel and John of Gaunt. On the other hand, a relationship between a soldier and a commander is more difficult to imagine than between a soldier and his captain. In the light of this it is proposed that Large was recruited to the Calais Garrison of 1385-86 as a result of one or more of these connections. His subsequent inclusion in the retinues of Sir Thomas Mortimer (closely related through Beauchamp’s mother’s family) and Richard of Arundel (Beauchamp’s father-in-law) in 1387 may have followed a similar process in addition to the considerations of land ownership in the Radipole area of Dorest.

Beauchamp’s responsibilities to the Calais Garrison lasted from 1384-89, during which time, according to the database, he commanded a total of 165 men. The numbers of soldiers gaining a protection in his detachment between 1385-86 when John Large was scheduled for service included 17 men-at-arms and 37 soldiers whose rank and status were not recorded. [146] Considering the small contingent presenting for service for the twelve months from June 1385, there may have been periods of overlap in the duties by those proceeding and those following these dates. [147] John Large was one of only 4 soldiers whose names were recorded on 15th June 1385, amongst 10 records of 8 men enlisted for various duties that day. These were John Bacun, Nicholas Parys, Stephen Quyntyn and John Whitman, all Attorneys destined for overseas duties, [148] Sir John de Bouchier (Burghchier), man-at-arms, for six month’s Protection duty in Ghent, [149] Richard Cole for one year’s Protection duty in Ireland – roll unspecified, [150] and Robert (surname unrecorded) for six month’s Protection duty in Scotland under the captaincy of Reginald Hokere. [151] Beauchamp’s Calais Garrison included an attorney to look after his affairs: Nicholas Seneschall, listed for duties in February 1387. [152] Two others served with him at other times, John de Salesbury in April 1387 (Naval super mare) [153] and William (de) Wynel several years earlier, in an unspecified overseas expedition in May 1381. [154] John Large was the only soldier whose name was recorded on this roll on that day and who was intended for service in the Calais Garrison. In view of this, it is not surprising to find no other name on the protections from the Radipole district of Dorset serving with him in the garrison. On the other hand, the protections do not give numbers of soldiers, only those taking protections and so no firm conclusions should be drawn from this source alone, since the Calais garrison was larger than these figures suggest.  

In summary, the evidence presented here suggests that John Large of Radipole not only served as a soldier in the campaigns of 1375 and 1378 but that he survived to pay tax in 1381. In consequence there is no reason why he should not also have served in 1385 in Calais, and in 1387 and in 1404, when he would still have been of an age to do so. It goes almost without saying that the presence of two or more soldiers named ‘John Large’ who were serving at the same time, but in different retinues and locations, would completely invalidate this hypothesis. No such evidence has been found. However, the possibility that two men named John Large who were father and son should also be considered, since this might help to explain the change in career status with time. Ascribing each of the examples of John Large, archer and man-at-arms to one man, or to a father and son with the same name, and who fought in the war with France between 1375-1404, using a combination of evidence derived from the soldier’s database, Poll Tax records, the landed interests of his captains and their family network connections, together with the discovery of men enlisting from neighbouring villages to the same retinues, is only possible if all the different components are in place together. Had there been no landed interests of the captains in the area, and few or no family networks, we do not believe it would be possible to suggest that John Large, soldier, came from Radipole. It follows that names of men found in the Muster Roll could not be attributed to men from neighbouring villages, either.  The thesis is also consistent with the principle of Ockham’s razor (pluralitas sine necessitate non est ponenda, sometimes written as entia non sunt multiplicanda praetor necessitatem). This concept seems particularly appropriate for this study since William of Ockham (c.1287-1347), the original proponent, must have died shortly before the year when John Large, soldier, would have been born. [155]

4. Roger Large, Soldier

The final example of a soldier named ‘Large’ is that of Roger Large, for whom there is a single reference in the Protection and Attorney database, in which 25,495 names have been gathered from the Treaty, Gascon and Scottish Rolls for the period 1369-1453. [156] “Roger” appears as a first name on 567 occasions in this database (2.2%). In contrast, the name “John” occurs 8062 times (31.6%), “Richard” 1773 times (6.95%), and “Simon” is the least common with 176 examples (0.7%). The name Roger Large is therefore very unusual and as noted in the other soldier profiles, this may be of assistance in tracing his likely origins. His status and rank do not appear in the database and it is not easy to establish precisely what they were. He was probably an archer, although the Protection database names 4494 men-at-arms (17.6%), but only 25 archers. It is likely, but unproven, that many of the remaining names whose status and rank were not recorded, were archers. The name Roger Large does not appear in either the Muster Roll or in the Garrison databases, although for purposes of completion, the Muster Roll has been searched for examples of men living in the two areas of England under scrutiny. The Garrison database has been excluded since it records activity after 1415, a date too late for our purposes, as will be shown later. Two examples of the name Roger Large were included in the Poll Tax records, and one of these may be the soldier, although the analysis shows that despite the two possibilities only, this is probably the most complex of all the examples of soldiers named Large,

(i). Roger Large of Re(e)dham in the Walsham Hundred of Norfolk,

He was one of the two men named as taxatores for his village, and he paid 4d. Poll Tax in 1379. He was a married man. However, in 1373, Roger’s wife, Christiana, left a will (administration). [157] This implies that the wife recorded in the Poll Tax of 1379 must have been a second or subsequent bride. His servant, Johannes at[t]e Ook also paid 4d. tax that year. [158] The name of Roger [le] Large also appears in the Patent Rolls in 1340 and 1341 in Norfolk, and given the rarity of the name, these men are likely to have been either the same individual, or perhaps a father and son with the same name. [159] He was probably a man of status, since a family leaving a will or an administration was unusual during the fourteenth century. Furthermore, he was appointed one of the taxatores for the village tax collection.

(ii). The second Roger Large lived in the Aswardhurn Wapentake of Lincolnshire Kesteven, village unspecified.

He paid 4d. Poll Tax in 1379 and was unmarried. [160] The Aswardhurn Wapentake was a relatively small area of west-central Lincolnshire containing twenty parishes between and around Grantham and Old Sleaford, the ancient capital of Kesteven, close to the present-day town of Sleaford. [161] The village of Culverthorpe in the Aswardhurn Wapentake is about 5 miles north east of Grantham and several of the other villages within about 10 miles.

Roger Large served under Edmund of Langley (1341-1402), earl of Cambridge, later the first duke of York, who, amongst other campaigns, raised a retinue to fight under the command of his older brother, Edward, Prince of Wales (the Black Prince, 1330-1376), in Acquitaine, for one year in 1369. Edmund was the fifth son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault, and he acquired lands, estates and manors in Yorkshire, Tynedale, Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire, Wiltshire, Stamford, Grantham & Kesteven in Lincolnshire and in western Norfolk. [162] It is worth noting that Langley held no manors or estates in or near Reedham in the Walsham Hundred in the east of Norfolk. His other responsibilities included Governor and Constable of Dover Castle and Warden of the Cinque Ports, [163] and keeper of the Bailiwick of the Forest of Rutland and Leighfield. [164] However, all the acquisitions and appointments in Wiltshire, Norfolk, Kent and Rutland occurred after the 1369 campaign. There were no lands, estates or manors in his county of birth, Hertfordshire. [165] Whereas Langley was commissioner of the Peace for Kent and Wiltshire in 1377-1380, it was his older brother, John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster who held this role for Hertfordshire and for Kesteven Lincolnshire and elsewhere. These appointments were also well after the date of the 1369 campaign. [166]

All sixty-nine names of men on the Poll Tax lists for Reedham, together with 63 in Ranworth, 28 in Tunstall and 18 in nearby Wickington, all in the Walsham Hundred of Norfolk for 1379 (total 178), have been cross-referenced in both the Protection and in the Muster Roll databases. The same procedure was carried-out for 37 men in the Aswardhurn Wapentake of Lincolnshire, 37 from Heckington, 11 from Swarby and 8 from Aunsby for 1379, together with an additional 22 names from Aswardhurn Wapentake 1381 (total 115).  These figures represent the entire male populations of the villages who can be identified in the lists, with the following results: 60 male residents paid tax in 1379 in Reedham, including Roger Large. Of the 178 names of men who lived in and around Reedham, no one else served with Roger Large in the garrison in Aquitaine. However, the name John Doget appears on 3 occasions in the Protection database, serving under Langley on in France from November 1374. [167] This is five years after the year in which Roger Large served. John Doget also appears on a single occasion in the Muster Roll database as a man-at-arms under Sir William de Windsor and Thomas Woodstock, earl of Buckingham, Langley’s brother, in the 1380-1381 Expedition to France. [168] This unusual name in two rolls in separate years points to the same individual, even though neither of them was in the retinue of Roger Large. A single entry of the name Richard Cone appears in the Muster Roll, as archer under Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford and Edward III, in Keeping the Sea in 1370, the year after Roger Large served in Acquitaine. [169] Another single entry name is William Scharp (also spelt Sharp) who appears in the Muster Roll under Sir John Braham and Sir Stephen le Scrope as archer in 1395-1397 in the Standing Force in Ireland. [170] A further name with a single entry is Robert, son of Thomas Nicol, who appears in the Muster Roll as man-at-arms in 1400 in the Expedition to Scotland. [171] These men whose names appear on only one occasion in the roll, may have from Reedham, although they did not serve in the same retinue or under the captain at the time as did Roger Large.

From nearby Wickhampton, John Abbot served under Langley in 1381 on Protection duties in Castile, and this is the only example of the name in the database, twelve years after the year of service of Roger Large. [172] John Godefrey also served under Langley in 1374 on Protection duties “overseas”, and his is also the only example of the name in the database. [173] However, the database shows that he came from Chedestane (Chediston, Suffolk), not Norfolk, so great care is needed in interpretation of results of this type. Richard Stephenes’ name appears on a single occasion in the Muster Roll, as archer under Sir Waryn de Lisle in the 1369 garrison at Portsmouth, a different garrison, date and captain. [174] Similar comments apply to Richard Bysshop, a single entry name in the Muster roll for the Expedition to France of 1417, as archer under John Arundel, Lord Maltravers and Humphrey of Gloucester. [175] The village of Ranworth in the Walsham Hundred may also have seen some of its men fighting in the war. John Waryn, a married man paying 4d. tax in 1379, and this name appears on 27 occasions in the Muster Roll. Of possible relevance is a man of this name who served as man-at-arms under Edmund of Langley, earl of Cambridge in the1375 Expedition to France. [176] Other men from Ranworth with single entries in the Muster Roll who served under Langley include Thomas Grym, man-at-arms in the Standing Force in England in 1399. [177] He may also have served in the Standing Force in Scotland of 1389-1390 under the earl of Nottingham. [178] A Thomas Grym also served as an archer in the garrison at Camarthen/Newcastle Emlyn in 1404. [179] The name of John Salkyn appears once in the Muster Roll, as archer under Langley in the 1399 Standing Force in England. [180] This is the same detail as for Thomas Grym, man-at-arms, suggesting the possibility of a common origin. These 9 examples of men from in and around Reedham are sufficient to demonstrate that this part of Norfolk appears to have been a fertile district for recruitment to retinues led by Edmund of Langley, although none of these was to Acquitaine in 1369 with Roger Large. In fact of the 9 men, only 3 served in France.

The Poll Tax lists of 1379 for the Aswardhurn Wapentake of Lincolnshire do not identify the individual villages. Of the male residents of the district, 37 names, including Roger Large, were cross-referenced in both the Protection and the Muster Roll databases, together with a further 8 men from Aunsby (1379), 11 from Swarby (1381), 37 from Heckington (1381), and 1 from Culverthorpe (1381), all within the Aswardhurn administrative district. Of these 94 men there was no example of anyone else who served under Langley in Acquitaine. These names were supplemented by a further 22 men living in the Aswardhurn Wapentake in 1381, including the village of Howell, 5 miles east of Sleaford (total 116). None of these was included in the 1379 tax lists. From the additional 22 men, the name William Coke was recorded in the Muster Roll on 188 occasions, and once in the Protection Roll databases. Of these, one man with the name served as a Yeoman Valettus archer under Michael de la Pole and Edmund of Langley, duke of York in the Standing Force of 1399. [181] William Coke’s entry in the Protection Roll may be of greater significance, serving under John, duke of Brittany, on protection duties for 1 year from 30 June 1373, in France, TNA C76/56 m.12. This may be the same individual serving many years earlier than the 1399 campaign, since the duke of Brittany shared the captaincy of several campaigns with Edmund of Langley. Coke may also have participated in other campaigns during the intervening years, including under the command of John of Gaunt, Langley’s older brother (by one year), in 1378, [182] and under the command of Richard Fitz Alan, earl of Arundel in 1387. [183]

In a linked study of men from Stamford who served under Langley, the 1399 Standing Force included 3 men in the same retinue who were all Yeoman Valettus archers: John Wright, [184] John Barker, [185] and John Sherman, [186] together with Richard Taillour, archer. [187] This trio of Yeoman Valettus archers from Stamford is of great interest. In addition, John Ady served under Michael de la Pole on Protection duties from June 1385 in Scotland. [188] His entry includes Stamford as his place of origin. And Simon Nodde served under Langley on Protection duties from May 1381. [189] The roll includes Spalding, Lincolnshire as his place of origin. In view of the numbers of men involved, it seems quite likely that the attractions of paid army service were discussed and gossiped among friends and acquaintances at the market or in local taverns, as might have occurred at any period in history, with the result that a group of men from the district offered themselves for service, several of them in the same retinue, with the same captain and commander, in the same year, and sphere of operations, and the clerks entered their names on the same or on adjacent membranes. The Protection Roll database includes 477 men under the captaincy of Edmund of Langley, with 92 soldiers serving the garrison in Acquitaine, and the remainder in Castile, Brittany, France (overseas), Portugal, Scotland and Naval (super mare). In addition, as Earl of Cambridge, Langley also commanded a tiny contingent of 7 men captained by Sir John Minsterworth and Sir John Surrey in Naval protection duties mostly in 1372, [190] and in one case, in 1381. [191] Eighty-five entries (17.8%) under Langley’s captaincy include the county of origin of the individual soldier. Nine of these are from Lincolnshire and only one from Norfolk, consistent with his known landed interests, although the entry for Roger Large does not include his place of origin. [192] In 1369, 63 men were recruited for one year to serve under Langley in Acquitaine, including Roger Large, but given the small numbers of soldiers involved, it is not surprising that no other examples of a man offering for military service from eastern Norfolk or from north-central Lincolnshire, has been found for this year, in Acquitaine. Thirty-five soldiers’ names were recorded on 28 February 1369, including Roger Large, so this was an important date, both for the soldiers themselves and for the clerks who were completing the inventory of names. [193] Others were recorded on 22 February (1), and between 3-22 March (11). The names of the remaining 17 men recruited for one year in 1369 were recorded between 12 February-14 April 1369. [194] The connections and landed interests of Large’s captain Edmund of Langley are also consistent with an origin in Lincolnshire. Indeed they are central to it, since without the focus of his interests in this part of Lincolnshire, there would be nothing to connect the men of the area with the names in the Muster or the Protection Rolls.

In 1369 Langley held the manors of both Grantham, a relatively short distance of several of the villages of the Aswardhurn Wapentake, and Stamford, Lincolnshire, and this points to the county as a plausible origin of Roger Large, soldier in 1369. This may be the most crucial component in the discussion, since we propose that there would be a natural tendency to recruit men from such an area, as was noted for other soldiers named Large elsewhere in England.  This is despite the possibility of men from eastern Norfolk serving under Langley in subsequent years. If this were the case, how they were recruited into his service in the absence of landed interests in the area, is unclear.

In summary, these findings make it difficult to know beyond reasonable doubt, whether Roger Large came from Reedham, Norfolk, or from the Aswardhurn Wapentake of Lincolnshire, since the results can be interpreted in either way. If the hypothesis we are testing of using unusual soldier names and the connections or networks of their captains to discover villages of origin is correct, then Roger Large is more likely to have come from Lincolnshire than from Norfolk. However, the case of Roger Large is more complex than some of the other soldiers named Large. In the light of this, the hypothesis we have proposed needs to be tested on a much bigger scale, in particular, using the known landed interests of other military captains and their networks in other areas of England. Roger Large undoubtedly served for one year in the garrison in Acquitaine under Edmund of Langley from February 1369. His name does not appear in any other campaign, although he must have survived his military duties in France since he paid tax ten years later, whatever his village of origin, assuming he is one of the two examples recorded in the surviving Poll Tax lists. It may be that he died soon after 1379, but this also remains conjecture. His name does not appear in the Poll Tax lists of 1381, although the lists and records for his area of Lincolnshire are incomplete.

It has been suggested that the French clerks recording the musters in Lancastrian Normandy may have entered some of the surnames of men called ‘Large’ as [le] Grand. Thus, in the Garrison database, there are 4 men named [le] Grand, serving between 1430-36: Colin, [195] John, [196] William, [197] and Hemeri. [198] Furthermore, the Garrison database includes 38 men named [le] Gros.  There is also an entry of an archer named John Magnus, serving at the siege of La Ferte-Bernard in 1426. [199] Some of these men may have been English soldiers fighting in France, but the fact that 16 examples of the surname ‘Large’ appear in the Garrison database as well, suggests that a more detailed piece of research would be required to disentangle the nationalities of the Grands, the Gros’s and the Magnus, and this is outside the scope of this study. In any case, there are subtle differences in the meanings of the three ‘French’ surnames and demonstrating equivalence between any of them and the English name, ‘Large, might be difficult. [200]

Concluding comments.

The evidence presented suggests that it may be possible to link the names of some of the men in the soldiers’ database with identical names in the Poll Tax records, 1377-1381. This is more likely to be successful for campaigns which were fought reasonably close to the dates of the Poll Taxes, for obvious reasons. In this respect, there is little point in attempting the work for soldiers who fought after say, 1425, since they would probably have been too old to be still fighting. In the light of this, no suggestions have been made in the case of William Large, archer, who fought under Richard, duke of York, in an expedition to France in 1441. [201] There are six examples of a man named William Large in the Poll Tax lists, but none of them is likely to be the archer. Hugh Large fought as an armed archer in the retinue of Sir Alan de Buxhill, in 1370-1371 at the Garrison of St Sauveur, Normandy. [202] He has not been considered either, since no one of that name (Hugh or Hugo) appears in the Poll Tax records for the whole of England, and there were no examples of Hugh or Hugo Large in the unpublished study on the distribution of the surname ‘Large’ in medieval England, 1200-1450, referred to above. The most likely explanation for the absence of his name from the Poll Tax lists is either that he was killed in action between 1370-71 and so failed to return to his home to be registered for taxation in 1379, or that the tax list for his village or town, has not survived. Either is possible.

In combination with these paired searches of names from the soldiers’ database and the Poll Tax lists, we suggest that plausible network connections with the likely candidate villages should to be explored to decide whether the aristocratic captain or commander had a significant interest in the area. This is well illustrated in the example of Simon Large of Groby, where the connection with the aristocratic family is the most persuasive. The cases of Richard and John Large also illustrate the considerable interconnections of the leading families of the day, and the importance of these networks to the confirmation of the candidate soldier and village. These networks have also been developed to include other men from the same or nearby villages, serving in the same retinues. Inevitably, common surnames of many archers present major challenges not so evident in the case of the name ‘Large,’ and great care would be required with them. Some additional support may be found using geographical mapping of surname distributions, as in the case of Hewe of Gloucestershire.

More extensive research exploring the hypothesis presented here will be required to show whether this preliminary work is reliable and reproducible. If it is, then the origins and occupations of more archers who fought in the Hundred Years War and the names of members of their families may emerge from relative obscurity, in which case the programme will become, in effect, “The Archers - an everyday story of medieval country folk.”

David M Large 

May 2010.

[1] I am very grateful to Dr Adrian Bell for his invaluable encouragement, suggestions and helpful comments throughout the course of this study.  I am also grateful to Adam Chapman, Anne Curry and  David Simpkin for helpful suggestions.

[2] See Anne Curry, ‘Was your Ancestor on the Agincourt Campaign with Henry V?’, Guidance Notes, Medieval Soldier website (/Agincourt.php, accessed 29/5/10). Robert Hardy, Longbow. A social and military history (Cambridge, 1976), p. 76.

[3] C. C. Fenwick, The Poll Tax Records of 1377, 1379 and 1381. Records of Social and Economic History, New Series. (Published for the British Academy by Oxford University Press, 1999-2004).

[4] B. Sykes, and C. Iven, Surnames and the Y Chromosome (American Journal of Human Genetics. 2000), 66, pp. 1417-1419; K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, Personal Communication, 29 January 2008; D. M. Large, The Life and Family of Robert Large, Mercer. Mayor of London 1439-40. First Employer of William Caxton (Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, 2008), p. 61.


[6] Information on soldiers has been taken from the AHRC-funded 'The Soldier in Later Medieval England Online Database', (, accessed 21/5/10). TNA E101/37/10 m.2.

[7] J. S. Roskell, The Impeachment of Michael de la Pole, earl of Suffolk in 1386: in the  context of Richard II. (Manchester University Press, 1984), p. 107.

[8] Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1364-1367, vol. 13, p. 434.

[9] CPR, 1364-1367 vol. 13, p. 431. 

[10] Anthony Tuck, Pole, Michael de la, first earl of Suffolk (c.1330–1389), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press.  2004-9).

[11] Anthony Tuck, ibid.

[12] Anthony Tuck, ibid.

[13] C. C. Fenwick, ibid. Part 1, Bedfordshire to Leicestershire, p. 579. 

[14] CPR, 1370-1374. vol. 15, p. 102: CPR. 1374-1377, vol. 16, p. 499.

[15] CPR, 1381-1385, vol. 2, pp. 83-86.

[16] Thomas Collins, Peerage of England. volume II of the Supplement to the Four Volumes of 1750. 

[17] TNA, C76/61 m.24

[18] TNA, E101/36/26 m. 1, 2, 3 & 4.

[19] TNA, E101/37/10 m.1 & 2.

[20] TNA, E101/37/10 m.1.

[21] His name appears on the membrane at TNA E101/37/10 m.1, the membrane immediately before that on which the name of Simon Large was entered, TNA E101/37/10 m.2.

[22] C76/61 m.19 & 24

[23] TNA, E101/36/39 m.3; TNA E101/36/34 m.1; TNA E101/36/38 m.1.

[24] TNA, E101/41/1 m.57.

[25] TNA, E101/36/25 m.1d.

[26] TNA, E101/41/1 m.57. His entry in the roll is on the same membrane as that of Richard Wynfeld

[27] but on a different roll at TNA E101/36/29 m.2

[28] Eric Acheson, Ferrers family (per. c.1240-1445). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. ( Oxford University Press 2004-10. online edn, Jan 2008 [].

[29] C. C.  Fenwick, ibid. vol. 1, p. 513.

[30] D. M. Large, ibid. p. 58. Will of Robert Large, TNA, PCC. 16 Rous (PROB 11/1, ff. 121v-122v).

[31] D. M.  Large, ibid.  pp. 33,  57-59.

[32] C. C. Fenwick, ibid. vol. 1, p.  520. 

[33] C. C. Fenwick, ibid. vol. 1, p. 611. 

[34] C. C. Fenwick, ibid. vol. 1, p. 567.

[35] C. C. Fenwick, ibid. vol. 1,  p. 599. 

[36] C. C. Fenwick, ibid. vol. 1, p. 631. 

[37] Leicestershire Lay Subsidy Roll of 1327. In “Associated Architectural Societies’ Reports and Papers.” vol. 19, pp. 271, 272, 283 and 300. 

[38] C. A. Phillips, “Some notes on Medieval English Genealogy., (with images of original documents). 

[39] CPR, 1281-1292, vol. 2, p. 326.

[40] C. C. Fenwick, ibid. Part 2, Lincolnshire to Westmorland, p. 402. 

[41] CPR, 1377-1381, vol. 1, p. 166.

[42] Edward Hasted, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 4 (1798).  pp. 474-488. URL: 

[43] CPR, 1358-1361, vol. 11, p. 104.

[44] CPR, 1266-1272, vol. 6, p. 188. 

[45] CPR, 1272-1281, vol. 1, p. 291. 

[46] CPR, 1301-1307, vol. 4, p. 82.

[47] CPR, 1405-1408, vol. 3, p. 420. 

[48] Kent Archaeological Society Record Series (1964). Mark H A Ballard, Archivist, Kent CRO. Personal Communication, 17 November 2009. 

[49] C. C. Fenwick, ibid. Part 1, Bedfordshire to Leicestershire, p. 510. 

[50] G.F. Farnham, The Leicestershire Manorial Researches of George Farnham FSA. A Review of G. F. Farnham. Leicestershire Medieval Village Notes. (Reprinted from the Transactions of the Leicester Archaeological Society, Edgar Backus, Leicester, 1930);  C. C. Fenwick, ibid. Part 1, p. 510;  D. M.  Large, ibid. pp. 57-58.

[51] Thomas Rudge, The History of the County of Gloucester: brought down to the year 1802. book link, pp. 11-13.

[52] G.M.D. Booth, Archivist, Warwickshire CRO. Personal Communication, 11 November 2009.

[53] Peter Franklin, The Taxpayers of Medieval Gloucestershire, An Analysis of the 1327 Lay Subsidy Roll with a New Edition of its Text, (Alan Sutton, 1993).

[54] Gloucester Record Office: D18/360-363. 

[55] 'Houses of Benedictine monks: The Abbey of St Peter at Gloucester', A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 2 (1907), pp. 53-61. URL:  Reginald de Homme, Abbot of St Peter’s Abbey, Gloucester founded a college in Oxford in 1283 for Benedictine monks from Gloucester, originally called Gloucester Hall.

[56] Berkeley Castle Estate Documents, BCM/A/1/2/2, 1 April 4 Edward II, [1311]. Thomas de Berkeley (1245-1321), married Joan de Ferrers, daughter of William de Ferrers of Groby, 5th earl of Derby, and was succeeded by his son, Maurice de Berkeley, 2nd Baron Berkeley (1271 –1326). His son, also named Thomas de Berkeley (1296-1361) was custodian with others, of  Edward II at Berkeley Castle, where the ex-king was murdered in October 1327.

[57] TNA E101/51/2 m.12

[58] Sebastian Barfield, The Beauchamp Earls of Warwick 1298-1369. MPhil Thesis, University of Birmingham, 1997. on-line edition. reference link

[59] CPR, 1377-1381, vol. 1, pp. 470-474. 

[60] Linda Clark, John Beauchamp, first Baron Beauchamp of Kidderminster (d. 1388). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. (Oxford University Press, 2004-9).

[61] Christine Carpenter, Richard Beauchamp, thirteenth earl of Warwick (1382-1439), magnate. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. (Oxford University Press, 2004-9).

[62] ibid.   

[63] TNA, E101/51/2 m.12 & m. 13.

[64] C. C. Fenwick, ibid. volume 1, p. 278.

[65] It is worth noting that the name of Richard Large, archer, is entered under Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick and the command of Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, TNA E101/51/2 m.13 on the Muster Roll.

[66] TNA, E101/51/2 m.39

[67] CPR, 1408-1413, vol. 4, p. 479, 481, 484-5; CPR, 1416-1422, vol. 2, p. 449-463.

[68] CPR, 1416-1422, vol. 2, p. 452. The whole of Humphrey of Gloucester’s command appears at TNA E101/51/2 and Tiptoft’s retinue at TNA E101/51/2 m.39.


[70] TNA, E101/51/2 m. 7

[71] names which are included on TNA, E101/43/32 m.1

[72] TNA, E101/34/3 m.2d (2 refs).

[73] TNA, E101/36/39 m.7d

[74] TNA, E101/40/33 m.10, and 35 m.21

[75] Adrian R. Bell, War and the Soldier in the Fourteenth Century (Boydell, 2004), p. 53.

[76] TNA, E101/43/32 m.5

[77] TNA, C76/69 m.14

[78] C. C. Fenwick, ibid. part 2, pp. 564-565.

[79] CPR, 1301-1307, vol. 4, p. 285

[80] CPR, 1301-1307, vol. 4, p. 77. 

[81] TNA, E101/34/3 m.3 (duplicate entries)

[82] TNA, E101/34/m.2d, and also at TNA E101/34/5 m.5d

[83] TNA, E101/34/m.2d & /5 m.3d

[84] Catsash Hundred, Somerset. The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1865). Transcribed by Colin Hinson, copyright 1973.

[85] C. C. Fenwick, ibid. Part 3, pp. 648, 653.

[86] TNA, E101/36/39 m.2

[87] TNA, E101/43/19 m.1


[89] TNA, E101/36/39 m.7d, 8d, 9d, 10d, 11d and 12d.

[90] C. C. Fenwick, ibid, part 1, pp. 167-168.

[91] C. C. Fenwick, ibid, part 3, p. 154

[92] Ole J. Benedictow, The Black Death 1346-1353: The Complete History. (The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2004). Chapter 15, The British Isles. Book link

[93] C. C. Fenwick, ibid. part 1, pp. 167-168.  

[94] This term had become established as an equivalent of the English term Yeoman and after 1400 was being used on muster rolls to mean archer.  Thank you to Andy King for advice on this. TNA, E101/42/16 m.32 (1401); TNA E101/45/1 m.10 (1415); TNA E101/51/2 m.23 (1417) and TNA E101/49/36 m.2 (1420).

[95]   TNA, E101/51/2 m.6 (1417); TNA E101/53/33 m.7 (1441); TNA E101/53/33 m.1 (1441) and TNA E101/51/3 m.1 (?).

[96] TNA, E101/36/39 m.8d.

[97] TNA, E101/36/39 m.7d.

[98] TNA, E101/34/5 m.3d.

[99] TNA, E101/34/5 m.2d.

[100] TNA, E101/32/26 m.1d.

[101] TNA, E101/34/5 m.3d; TNA E101/34/3 m.3d; TNA E101/34/5 m.3d, and E101/34/3 m.2d.

[102] John Hutchins, The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset. Volume II, eds. W. Shipp and J. W. Hodson. 1861-74. (Reprinted 1973. EP Publishing Limited, Wakefield, Yorkshire).  p. 498.

[103] Houses of Benedictine monks: The abbey of Cerne, A History of the County of Dorset: Volume 2 (1908), pp. 53-58, British History On-line; 

[104] Sarum Epis. Reg. Wyville, ii (Inst.), fol. 294, quoted in reference 11.

[105] John Hutchins, ibid. pp. 478, 506 & 508. NB. Upton, 1 mile from Osmington was held of the king by 38 Henry VIII. Previous ownership unrecorded, but by inference, it was held as was Osmington of the king during the late 1300s.

[106] M. Forest, Archivist. Dorset CRO. Personal Communication, 14 November 2009.

[107] CPR, 1370-1374, vol. 15, p. 88.

[108] CPR, 1370-1374, vol. 15, p. 88; CPR, 1350-1354, vol. 9, p. 323; CPR, 1377-1381, vol. 1, p. 14.

[109] CPR, 1377-1381, vol. 1, p. 4. 

[110] J. Froissart, and G. Brereton, “Chronicles.”  (Penguin Classics, 1978), p. 195.

[111] TNA, E403/463, ms. 1, 3, 6, 8.  Thanks to the Soldier team for this information.

[112] CPR, 1377-1381, vol. 1, p. 362.

[113] Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage, 107th Edition. (Distributed by Burke’s Peerage & Gentry (UK) Ltd. Stokesby, North Yorkshire, UK. 2003). pp. 2914-2915.

[114] John Hutchins, The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset. Volume II, eds. W. Shipp and J. W. Hodson. 1861-74. (Reprinted 1973. EP Publishing Limited, Wakefield, Yorkshire).  p. 493.

[115] CPR, 1354-1358, vol. 10, p. 595; Caroline Shenton, Maltravers, John, first Lord Maltravers (c. 1290-1364), baron. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, eds. H. C. G. Matthew and B. Harrison, (Oxford University Press, 2004-2010).vol. 36, pp. 372-373.

[116] CPR, 1354-1358, vol. 10, p. 595.

[117] CPR, 1374-1377, vol. 16, pp. 496-499.

[118] CPR, 1377-1381, vol.1. p. 315.

[119] CPR, 1348-1350, vol. 8, p. 299.

[120] CPR, 1374-1377, vol. 16, p. 441.

[121] CPR, 1377-1381, vol. 1, p. 177.

[122] Richard Barber, Arundel, Sir John (c. 1348-1379). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, September 2004).

[123] ibid.

[124] ibid; Antonia Gransden, Historical Writing in England, c. 1307 to the early sixteenth century. Chapter 5, Thomas Walsingham, (pp. 118-157), pp. 153-154.  (Routledge, London, 2000). Book link

[125] TNA E101/40/33 m5; /34 m21

[126] John Hutchins, ibid. pp. 428, 486, 491, 651, 262, 850.     

[127] C. Given-Wilson, Fitzalan, Richard (III), fourth earl of Arundel and ninth earl of Surrey (1346-1397). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, Sept 2004). 

[128] ibid.

[129] TNA, E101/40/33 m.10.

[130] TNA, E101/43/32 m.5.

[131] C. C. Fenwick, ibid, part 1, p. 168.

[132] TNA, E101/43/32 m.5.

[133] TNA, E101/34/5 m.1d, and TNA E101/34/5 m.2d.

[134] TNA, E101/34/5 m.2d.

[135] TNA, E101/33/35 m.2, and TNA E101/33/38 m.1ii.

[136] TNA, E101/47/1 m.3.

[137] TNA, E101/47/1 m.1 and TNA E101/47/1 m.3d.

[138] CPR, 1374-1377, vol. 16, p. 499.

[139] CPR, 1374-1377, vol. 16, p. 219.

[140] D. Simpkin, Robert de Fishlake. The Soldier in Medieval England: Soldier Profiles. 2010.

[141] TNA, C76/69 m.14.

[143] C. Given-Wilson, The English Nobility in the late Middle Ages: the Fourteenth Century Political Community. (Routledge, 1996), p. 184, also quoting W. M. Ormerod, Edward III’s Government of England, c. 1346-1356. Unpublished D. Phil Thesis. University of Oxford (1984). Uses lists of witnesses from the great charter rolls, 1348-56, to indicate those magnates most active at court.

[144] Christine Carpenter, William Beauchamp (V), first Baron Bergavenny. (c. 1343-1411). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. (Oxford University Press. September 2004).

[145] John Hutchins, ibid, pp. 486, 519-521, 410.

[146] Soldier’s Garrison database.

[147] TNA, C76/69 – TNA C76/74.

[148] TNA, C76/69 m.1; TNA C76/69 m.1; TNA C76/69 m1; TNA C76/69 m.1, and TNA C76/69 m.1.

[149] TNA, C76/69 m.2.

[150] Soldier’s Protection database.

[151] TNA, C71/64 m.6.

[152] TNA, C76/71 m.10.

[153] TNA, C76/62 m.13.

[154] TNA, C76/65 m.4.

[155] W. J. Courtenay, William Ockham (Occam), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, 2004).

[156] TNA, 61/82 m.7.

[157] Norfolk Record Office, NCC Admon. 1374, Christiana Large, wife of Roger. 58 Heydon (MF/RO 218/5). 

[158] C. C. Fenwick, ibid. p. 174, 175.

[159] CPR, 1340-1343, vol. 5, p. 99. Order for his arrest with others for an alleged felony; CPR, 1340-1343, vol. 5, p. 109. Arrest with others for alleged murder and other felonies.

[160] C. C. Fenwick, ibid. Part 2, p. 29.

[161] Thomas Allen, The History of the County of Lincoln, from the Earliest Period to the Present Time. (London: J. Saunders, 1833-34), p. 271.

[162] F. Blomefield, An essay towards the Topographical History of the County of Norfolk. 1805. British History On-line. Castle Rising near King’s Lynn, the manor of Hadeston Bainard, Launditch and South Greenhoe hundred, and the manors of Beeston and Mileham, acquired from Richard, earl of Arundel, attained, Volume 2, pp. 406-409. South Greenhoe and Launditch hundreds, Volume 5, pp. 1-3.  Volume 9, pp. 42-59. Volume 10, pp. 15-25; Tuck, Anthony, ‘Edmund , first duke of York (1341–1402)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, Sept 2004); online edition, Jan 2008

[163] Edward Hasted, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent. British History On line: Volume 9. pp. 475-548.; CPR. 1377-1381, vol. 1, p. 7.

[164] William Page, The Victoria History of the County of Rutland. (A. Constable and Co. Ltd. 1869-1934).  vol. 2, pp. 16,

[165] Hertfordshire County Record Office, personal communication, 2 January 2010.

[166] CPR, 1374-1377, vol. 16, p. 491 & 490; CPR, 1377-1381, vol. 1, p. 514.

[167] TNA, C76/52 m.12.

[168] TNA, E101/39/7 No.1 m.1.

[169] TNA, E101/32/20 m.3d.

[170] TNA E101/41/39 m.1ii.

[171] TNA, E101/42/16 m.34d.

[172] TNA, C76/65 m.13.

[173] TNA, C76/57 m.12.

[174] TNA, E199/1/35 m.7d.

[175] TNA, E101/51/2 m.36.

[176] TNA, E101/35/2 m.1 & 8.

[177] TNA, E101/42/12 m.5d.

[178] TNA, E101/41/17 m.3.

[179] TNA, E101/43/29 m.4.

[180] TNA, E101/42/12 m.5d.

[181] TNA, E101/42/12 m.10.

[182] TNA, E101/36/39 m.6.

[183] TNA, E101/40/33 m.7.

[184] TNA, E101/42/12/m.10.

[185] TNA, E101/42/12 m.10d.

[186] TNA, E101/42.12 m.10d.

[187] TNA, E101/42/12 m.5d .

[188] TNA, C76/64 m.4.

[189] TNA, C76/65 m.10.

[190] TNA, C76/55 m.19.

[191] TNA, C76/65 m.5.

[192] TNA, 61/82 m.7

[193] TNA, 61/82 m.7.

[194] TNA, 61/82 m.5 (3 names), TNA 61/82 m.6 (4 names), TNA 61/82 m.11 (1 name), and TNA 61/82 m. 12 (9 names).

[195] TNA, AN_K_64_1_8.

[196] TNA, BL_AddCh_532.

[197] TNA, BN_msfr_25770_1684.

[198] TNA, BN_msfr_25773_1162.

[199] TNA, BL_AddCh_94.

[200] Thanks to Adam Chapman for suggesting this line of enquiry.

[201] TNA, E101/53/33 m.4.

[202] TNA, E101/31/18 m3, and TNA E101/30/38 m3.