Battle of hastings recruiting Essay

This essay has a total of 1357 words and 7 pages.

battle of hastings recruiting

October 14th of the year 1066 two armies faced each other near the town of Hastings.
10,000 Norman troops under the command of William of Normandy faced 8,000 Anglo-Saxon
soldiers led by Harold the current king of England.

Geoffrey Parker, Cambridge Illustrated History of Warfare (Cambridge: 1995), pp. 82-3.
Harold's 8,000 men consisted of Housecarls, the local Fyrd, and local village volunteers.

David Howarth, 1066: The Year of the Conquest (New York: 1977),pp.170-1 The two armies
clashed on that day and history tells us the outcome. But what forces go into creating an
army of these sizes? The three main Anglo-Saxon troop types will be defined and the forces
that created them will be examined below.

Three troop types would fight for the Anglo-Saxons the Housecarls, the Fyrd, and local
peasantry. The Housecarls were professional soldiers under the service of the King and the
Earls of the Kingdom. Harold used the Housecarls of the King and his Housecarls of his
Earldom of Wessex. He also used the Housecarls of his two brothers. The Fyrd was a
volunteer citizen army provided by the Thanes of the kingdom. The local peasants fought to
protect their homes.

David Howarth, 1066: The Year of the Conquest (New York: 1977), pp. 80-1. There were two
divisions of fyrd in the 11th century one consisting of a local peasant force and the
other a select levy force.

C. Warren Hollister, Anglo-Saxon Military Institutions: On the Eve of the Norman Conquest (Oxford: 1962), p. 26.
The local peasant Fyrd that fought at Hastings came from Sussex.
C. Warren Hollister, Anglo-Saxon Military Institutions: On the Eve of the Norman Conquest
(Oxford: 1962), p.30. All freemen of the area were obligated to provide protection for the
local area. This obligation was connected with financial and agricultural obligations.

C. Warren Hollister, Anglo-Saxon Military Institutions: On the Eve of the Norman Conquest
(Oxford: 1962), pp. 35-6. The peasant fighting force is a Germanic tradition in origin.
Based upon a freeman's duty to defend the lands of the king, however the peasant force is
a limited army. The king is required to pay the troops if needed for them to leave the
area. The peasants have the right to return to there homes at the end of the day. However,
they must provide their own equipment.

C. Warren Hollister, Anglo-Saxon Military Institutions: On the Eve of the Norman Conquest
(Oxford: 1962), pp. 27-8. The primary function of the peasant Fyrd was to provide defense
against enemies attack from the sea, such as the events at Hastings.

C. Warren Hollister, Anglo-Saxon Military Institutions: On the Eve of the Norman Conquest
(Oxford: 1962), p 31. It provided this defense by bolstering the ranks of the select levy
force.

C. Warren Hollister, Anglo-Saxon Military Institutions: On the Eve of the Norman Conquest (Oxford: 1962), p.42.
The select levy force is also Germanic in origin.
C. Warren Hollister, Anglo-Saxon Military Institutions: On the Eve of the Norman Conquest
(Oxford: 1962), p. 42. The levy of troops was required by law, with the earliest records
coming from the 8th century. Failure to provide military service resulted in a fine of 120
shillings.

C. Warren Hollister, Anglo-Saxon Military Institutions: On the Eve of the Norman Conquest
(Oxford: 1962), p. 59. One man is recruited for each five hides of land. The same person
was chosen every time the select levy was called into service. He was paid four shillings
from each hide for two months of service.

C. Warren Hollister, Anglo-Saxon Military Institutions: On the Eve of the Norman Conquest
(Oxford: 1962), pp. 38-9. In the traditional definition the hide is a measure of land
based on an amount of land that could support a peasant family. According to Abels the
hide is a unit of taxation, which told the lord how much economic and military resources a
unit of his land could provide.

Richard Abels, Lordship and Military Obligation in Anglo Saxon England (Berkeley: 1988),
pp. 100-1. The man chosen for the fyrd duty was usually a thegn, or a member of the upper
peasantry, or even a common peasant.
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