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"The Lancaster Army at the Battle of Tewkesbury." Topic

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Paskal Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2019 2:12 a.m. PST

Hello All,

At the Battle of Tewkesbury, it was said that there was a French contingent sent by the King of France (Louis XI)to the Lancaster Army?

Thanks for your help.

MajorB10 Nov 2019 5:25 a.m. PST

Really? Where is that referenced in primary sources?

olicana10 Nov 2019 5:57 a.m. PST

Anthony Goodman (The Wars of The Roses) says the following, though I don't know where he quotes from:

Margaret of Anjou and her son landed at Weymouth, with 'knights, squires and other men of the King of France'.

Probably just a bodyguard on a few ships, rather than a sizeable force, but it seems that royally sanctioned Frenchmen were there.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2019 6:48 a.m. PST

Interesting, but we rarely talk about it.

Margaret of Anjou and her son had how many fench boats and English refugees with them in France?

They landed how many men before joining their allies?

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2019 11:44 p.m. PST

And the allies and mercenaries wore what livery coat if they wore it?

Rabelais11 Nov 2019 2:39 a.m. PST

Neither the "Arrival of Edward IV" nor Polydor Vergil explicitly mention French troops as part of Margaret's initial force. She is at an Abbey when she is met by Somerset and Devonshire's forces, so it would appear that her initial force was small.

There is someone called 'Forey of France' mentioned in the Paston Letters as being among the people executed after the battle.

Probably the number of French troops wasn't large enough to merit a unit in the battle?

olicana11 Nov 2019 2:48 a.m. PST

'…other men…' might not refer to soldiers. In fact, bodies of French troops on English soil might have been counter-productive.

'…other men…', might refer to men of, say, a diplomatic mission, such as lawyers and scribes. If the Lancastrians won the coming conflict, having men on the ground to provide international legitimacy would be politically useful, and the King of France would surely benefit from his supportive stance when treaties and (preferential) trade agreements were to be arranged.

Mercenaries would march under flags provided by the employer. Livery probably wasn't part of the deal as the system of 'livery and maintenance' included political and legal (in its broadest sense) protection for the men who wore it the protection that wearing livery endowed was the 'quasi-feudal' bargain struck in return for military service; mercenaries fought for money alone. The system of livery and maintenance is a complex subject and its broader implications have to be understood; it's not just a matter of wearing a uniform.

Atheling11 Nov 2019 4:58 a.m. PST


And the allies and mercenaries wore what livery coat if they wore it?

This is the key(???)

Just Add Water Painting and Wargaming Blog:
La Journee HYW Warfare- Painting & Wargaming Blog:
Gewalthaufen- Late C15 to Early Renaissance Blog:

MajorB11 Nov 2019 11:24 a.m. PST

And the allies and mercenaries wore what livery coat if they wore it?

Your guess is as good as mine…

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2019 1:34 a.m. PST

Normally should they wear the livery coat of those who hire them or of those they want to help?

MajorB12 Nov 2019 11:19 a.m. PST

Normally should they wear the livery coat of those who hire them or of those they want to help?

Mercenaries would wear whatever their mercenary captain told them to.

Davidjames12 Nov 2019 1:27 p.m. PST

This feels more like 20 questions

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2019 11:59 p.m. PST

It is logical, the livery costs were not free.

Warspite114 Nov 2019 5:59 p.m. PST

Typical French soldiers might wear a colour, say red or blue, with a white cross on it. This is the reverse of the English red St George's cross on a white background.

For inspiration, look at the modern Danish flag (the Dannbrog) which is identical to manuscript illustrations of French troops. White on red is common, white on blue less so. Other colours are possible as it is the white cross which is important, not the background colour.

Note that the white cross would NOT appear on yellow as this breaks a cardinal rule of heraldry.


Paskal Supporting Member of TMP15 Nov 2019 3:13 a.m. PST

But the livery red coat white cross is the French national livery coat, but France is not officially at war with England, so it's odd that French soldiers wear their national livery coat?

Warspite119 Nov 2019 3:54 p.m. PST

I am not suggesting that France was at war with England but if troops from one country serve in another, even as friends, they tend to mark themselves out in some way. It is a way of demonstrating esprit de corps or unit solidarity and identity.

So I would model French with the white cross on red, blue or whatever and Breton troops with the black Kroaz Du on white, etc.


I am planning to model the English Calais garrison which served in England under Sir Andrew Trollope. I plan to uniform them in red crosses, probably on white, as that was the accepted English uniform at that time.

When facts run out one has to use a little common sense and a little imagination! :)


Paskal Supporting Member of TMP19 Nov 2019 11:23 p.m. PST

And why not the cross without livery coat?

Warspite120 Nov 2019 1:55 p.m. PST

Why not?
I am making a suggestion, not stating a fact. The cross could even be painted on armour.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2019 11:41 p.m. PST

This is more plausible in my opinion.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP01 Nov 2020 1:14 a.m. PST

Oh dear !: Damn! Damn ! Damn it! The WOTR "specialist" of this forum hasn't yet told us if at the battle of Tewkesbury, there was a French contingent sent by the King of France (Louis XI) to the army of Lancaster ??

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