Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Somali pirates and the 'golden age' of piracy.

Over the last year or so I have read several assertions that 21st century pirates, such as those who infest the waters off Somalia, are as distinct from historical 'golden age' pirates of the later seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as chalk is from cheese. Modern pirates are 'just thugs in boats', we are told, while 'golden age' pirates 'had codes, rules of honor and even at times worked for the better good. Not just robbed, looted and shot people for no good reason.'

A pirate, by definition, is someone who robs others at sea, and it's difficult to reconcile stealing from others with being a nice guy, but that's exactly what happens in internet forums every day. Thanks to a century or more of family-friendly depictions of pirates, not least that lovable Jack Sparrow, the modern 'pirate' community has lost touch with the reality of historical piracy. In itself that's not a problem; it's part of a larger trend of elevating the plucking underdog to heroic status and it's been going on since well before the 'golden age' of piracy. Medieval outlaws represented a real threat to the lives and livelihoods of honest citizens in medieval Europe, but even in the medieval stories of Robin Hood the hero is, well, a hero. The trouble comes when we try to argue that medieval outlaws were really like the Robin Hood of the legends: history becomes blurred, logic falls down, and instead of Robin Hood being a fun but fictional character we start to think of him as a model for the historical reality. The same thing has happened with gunslingers of the 'wild West', prohibition-era gangsters, and 'golden age' pirates.

Does it matter that modern fantasy is different from historical reality? Probably not.

Should we care? Yes, I think we probably should. History can teach us a huge amount about our own times. Technology changes, fashion changes, but human nature, at its core, changes very little. Tackling the menace of modern day piracy depends to a large extent on understanding the pirates, and if we can learn about modern pirates through studying historical pirates then it's important that we understand the reality of historical piracy and its parallels with modern piracy, rather than dismissing any link between the two because the family-friendly fantasy of historical piracy doesn't match our perception of modern 'thugs in boats'.

So, are modern Somali pirates comparable to historical 'golden age' pirates? Yes, yes they are.

Modern pirates use fast boats to stalk busy shipping routes, particularly around the Gulf of Aden. Once they have a target in sight they use violence or the threat of violence to get aboard and plunder the vessel or hold it to ransom for monetary gain. Usually the target vessels have neither the manpower nor the firepower to offer much resistance, if any.

'Golden age' pirates used fast vessels to stalk busy shipping routes, including the Gulf of Aden. Once they had a target in sight they used violence or the threat of violence to get aboard and plunder the vessel. Usually the target vessels had neither the manpower nor the firepower to offer much resistance, if any.

Piracy has existed since ancient times and on virtually every body of water on the globe at some time or another, but the incidence of piracy has not been uniform - some areas have been more affected than others at different times. The so-called 'golden age' of piracy has been variously defined, but a generally acceptable definition would encompass the years from around 1690-1725 and geographically included the Caribbean, the northern Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic coasts of North America and Africa. A century before then, in the early years of the seventeenth century, the Mediterranean and the Irish Sea suffered explosions of piracy; in the nineteenth century the eastern Mediterranean and the South China Seas were piracy hotspots, the list goes on. The point is that the Somali piracy outbreak of recent years is simply the latest in a very long list of piracy epidemics. For the purposes of this essay, I'll concentrate mostly on the 17/18th century outbreak that is usually referred to as the 'golden age' for the simple reason that it is the outbreak I am most familiar with, having researched it extensively for my masters and doctoral theses.

Captain Charles Johnson, a pseudonymous but contemporary historian of the 'golden age' of piracy imputed the increase in piracy in the early eighteenth century to two causes; massive unemployment in the maritime sector following the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), and the inability or unwillingness of colonial officials in the Americas effectively to police the waters of the region.[1] Subsequent historians have generally followed Johnson's lead in blaming underemployment as the major cause for men to turn to piracy, and the authorities' inability to police the shipping lanes for piracy's assuming epidemic proportions. The same was true of the outbreak of piracy in the early seventeenth century following the end of the Anglo-Spanish war in 1603. Within three days of the end of the war the mayor of Plymouth wrote, 

...there do daily resort heither such a great number of sailors, mariners and other masterless men, that heretofore have been at sea in men of war, and being now restrained from that course do still remain here and pester our town which is already overcharged with many poor people. And some of them do daily commit such intolerable outrages as they steal and take away boats in the night out of the harbour and rob both English and French.[2]

So, when maritime unemployment rises, especially in an area that is already impoverished, expect piracy. If at the same time there is limited policing of the area by the authorities, expect a massive outbreak of piracy. with that in mind, consider the following testimony by a Somali man from 2010.

You know, pirates are people like us. Before they were people who would catch fish and lobster. But after that, there came many big ships, because there is no government, no coastguard... They wondered, these people, 'what can we do?' Everyone bought a gun! To hunt these ships. They captured one, another one. they got a lot of money, and they never felt they could get so much money before. They got faster boats, and big guns! Then they became a little bit famous...[3]

So the basic operational practices of modern and 'golden age' pirates are the same, the main reasons for their rise are the same, but the similarities do not end there. Most Somali pirates are young men under 35,[4] most 'golden age' pirates were men in their 20s.[5] Most Somali pirates come from a maritime or military background with a few technical specialist,[6] most 'golden age' pirates came from a maritime background, with ex-soldiers and technical specialists like coopers and carpenters making up significant minorities.[7] 

Modern pirates do two things with the money they make from their operations. Firstly, they use some of their cash to buy bigger and better weaponry and other essential supplies. Secondly they spend it on the traditional joys of women, alcohol, and drugs.[8] 'Golden age' pirates tended to steal the weaponry and supplies they needed, but did on occasion use their ill-gotten gains to purchase them: for example, in the 1690s Anglo-American pirates operating in the Indian Ocean made frequent use of Adam Baldridge's trading post on St. Mary's Island, Madagascar, where amongst other things they could purchase supplies such as 'three barrells of cannon powder', beef, lime juice, sugar, tarr, salt, and dried peas.[9] Once their immediate supply needs had been met, pirates of the 'golden age' liked to party in the same way as modern pirates (perhaps without the drugs), once ashore 'their first care was to find out a Tavern,' where they could 'get all Hands drunk' and perhaps 'spend their Money with the Portuguize Negro Women.'[10]

Perhaps one of the most significant similarities between modern and 'golden age' pirates is their willingness to associate themselves with outlaw political groups. Modern Somali pirates have been linked to Al-Shabaab and to Al-Qaeda.[11] Association with Islamist groups gives the pirates a sense of legitimacy that they might otherwise be lacking, and incorporates them into a larger organisation for mutual support and protection. In return, the Islamist groups profit financially from the raiding activities of the pirates and gain an extra paramilitary force. Doubtless, many modern pirates identify with the Islamist movement on a personal level as well. The same might well be said of the 'golden age' pirates' association with the politically-dissident Jacobite movement of the early eighteenth century. My article 'Jacobitism and the "Golden Age" of Piracy, 1715-1725' explores the links between pirates and Jacobites in some depth, but in essence it mirrored the relationship between modern pirates and Islamist groups. The Jacobite movement never actually received any financial input from the pirates, but it was certainly offered by pirates who were prepared to act as a Jacobite fleet in the Caribbean in exchange for legitimacy and support from the Jacobite leadership. Many pirates identified with the Jacobite movement on a personal level.

One of the arguments used to dissociate modern pirates from 'golden age' pirates is that 'golden age' pirates sometimes acted for the protection of vulnerable settlements, they 'worked for the better good' as the quotation at the beginning of this essay would have it. In fact, it is almost impossible to find an example of 'golden age' pirates doing that, but if we look outside the 'golden age' a few examples might be found, of which the most notable and certainly the best known is Jean Lafitte's Baratarian pirates assisting in the defence of New Orleans during the War of 1812. However, it should not be assumed that modern pirates are incapable of such activities. Two of the issues on the Somalian coast which led to the outbreak of piracy there are the dumping of toxic waste by Western companies and over-fishing by non-Somalian fishermen, both of which contributed extensively to the underemployment in the maritime sector mentioned above. The UN estimated that at its height $300 million worth of seafood was stolen from the Somalian coast each year.[12] Somali pirates claim to be working to combat both of those problems, and according to a poll conducted in the region some 70% of locals 'strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence of the country's territorial waters.' Pirate Sugule Ali said, 'We don't consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider those who illegally fish and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas.'[13] In fact, the pirates don't like to be called pirates, they prefer names like the National Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia (pirates of the 'golden age', on the other hand, were generally quite content to be called 'pirates'). For what it's worth, the pirates' efforts to protect their coastline have met with some success: local fishermen are reporting record catches, a direct result of the regulation of industrial fishing in the area.

Make no mistake, modern pirates are reprehensible in their actions, their use of violence, and the terror they inflict on their victims. But so were the pirates of the so-called 'golden age'.

1. Charles Johnson, A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates (Mineola, 1999), pp.3-4
2. E.T. Fox, Scattergoods and Swaggering Rascals (Okehampton, 2015) p. 8
3. From The Trouble With Pirates documentary
4. Why Pirates Fight Each Other; Somali Pirates Living the High Life
5. Marcus Rediker, Villains of All Nations (London, 2004), p. 49
6. Somali Pirates Living the High Life
7. Rediker, Villains of All Nations, p.46
8. Somali Pirates Living the High Life
9. E.T. Fox, Pirates in Their Own Words (Okehampton, 2014) pp. 347, 362
10. American Weekly Mercury, 17/3/1720; Daily Post, 24/11/1720; Boston News-Letter, 22/8/1720
11. Shabaab-Somali Pirate Links Growing
12. How Somalia's Fishermen Became Pirates
13. You Are Being Lied To About Piracy

The 'Other' Golden Age of Piracy

When we think of piracy there is a tendency to think of men in tricorn hats with flintlock pistols and long frock coats. An image, in fact, which is not historically accurate anyway, but which places the pirate of our imagination firmly in the so-called 'golden age' of piracy, c. 1690-1730. The age when men with such familiar names as Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, and Bartholomew Roberts plied the oceans has become the quintessential period for the study of pirates.

A great deal has been written on pirates of this 'golden age', and their society has been explored in some depth, from Marcus Rediker's Villains of All Nations to our own Ed Fox's doctoral thesis. By comparison, pirates of the sixteenth and earlier seventeenth centuries have received less attention from academic and popular historians. And yet, some of the robbers who plied the seas in the Tudor and early Stuart period were larger than life characters whose stories exceed those of better-known pirates for excitement and interest.

The most famous pirate of the period was undoubtedly John Ward, who deserted from the Royal Navy and stole a ship from Portsmouth harbour. After a brief period raiding in the English Channel he sailed for the Mediterranean where he 'turned Turk, converted to Islam, and entered the service of the Dey of Tunis. After a spectacular series of cruises in the Mediterranean, Ward settled in Tunis where he became a figure of note, much addicted to the bottle, and where he eventually died, probably of the plague. Apocryphally, Ward and his contemporary Simon Dansekar, are said to have taught the Barbary pirates of North Africa European ship-building techniques which enabled them to expand their operations into the Atlantic Ocean and English Channel, opening the way for a series of raids committed against land targets in England and Ireland.

Perhaps the most interesting pirate of the era, though, was Ward's former naval captain, Thomas Salkeld.

Thomas Salkeld (or Sackell, Sockwell, etc) began his sea-going career as a privateer in the service of Good Queen Bess, but like so many others found himself unemployed. He was briefly granted command of a Royal Naval vessel under James I, but with so few ships in service and so many experienced men seeking work, competition for posts was fierce and Salkeld was soon unemployed again. Following the loss of his naval command, Salkeld developed a hatred of James I and bore his grudge to extremes. Basing himself at Plymouth, he raided shipping in the English Channel and Bristol Channel until in March 1609 he pulled off his greatest coup with the capture of Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel. Salkeld declared himself King Thomas of Lundy, swearing defiance to Stuart England and declaring his wish to have James' heart on the point of his sword. Prisoners taken from captured ships were offered a stark choice, commit treason against England by recognising Salkeld's sovereignty, or be hanged. Those who submitted had their heads shaved, were forced into a state of slavery, and put to work building a modern fortification to supplement the island's medieval castle.


One night, under cover of darkness, a Bridgwater man named George Escott gathered a number of Salkeld's other slaves and, armed only with a dagger, led a surprise attack against 'King Thomas' and the pirates housed in the castle. A few of the pirates were killed and the rest, including Salkeld, fled the island. Eventually they found safety with another noted pirate, Peter Easton, but before long Salkeld and Easton quarrelled and Easton threw Salkeld into the Irish Sea. Top that, Hollywood hacks!

Exciting as such stories are, the real interest of the Tudor and Jacobean pirates from the social historian's point of view is that several of the supposedly progressive ideas and practices associated with pirates of the so-called 'golden age' of piracy were in evidence a century earlier. Like later pirates, Stuart pirates sometimes elected their captains and officers, men received shares of the plunder rather than a fixed wage, and crews self-regulated their behaviour by the creation and imposition of a set of rules or 'articles'. None of these things is surprising: they were practical solutions to the problem of managing a crew of outlaws when recourse to a higher authority was impossible, and they were all based on common practice in other, more legitimate, pursuits such as privateering. However, reference to such practices by pirates a century before the 'golden age' casts serious doubt on the 'progressive' nature of Blackbeard and his contemporaries.

Scattergoods and Swaggering Rascals, Documents Relating to English Piracy of the Tudor and Jacobean Period is now available from Fox Historical Publications. Click on the link below.

  Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.Scattergoods and Swaggering Rascals, Documents Relating to English Piracy of the Tudor and Jacobean period.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Archery in the English Civil War.

Yes, I said it, archery in the English Civil War.

Archer from Gervase Markham's 
Art of Archerie
As a weapon of war, the bow began to fall from popularity in the sixteenth century, so much so that Henry VIII had to introduce several statutes enforcing archery practice in order to maintain a force of archers. In Elizabeth's reign the bow became less and less prominent until, in 1589, the Privy Council restructured the trained bands and removed archers from their strength. The bow died hard though, and continued to be used, particularly in rural and provincial regions, well into the seventeenth century. At Repton in Derbyshire, mustered militia men had 'a cote and bowe and a shiffe of arowes and a quiver' in James I's reign. [Cox, p. 160] As late as 1628, Sir Philip Carteret wrote that Jersey had 3,000 able men for its defence, of whom, 300 were armed with muskets and pikes, 'the rest having bows, bills, and [un]armed.' [CSPD, 1625-49 Addenda, 26/01/28] And in 1638 the Earl of Arundel at Carlisle requested that 'some quantity of bows with offensive arrows should be poured into our bordering shires of Cumberland, Northumberland, and Westmorland (already used to archery).' [CSPD, 1637-38, 03/08/1638]

The seventeenth century also saw a number of schemes to revive the bow, the best-known of which is probably William Neade's project of 1625, the 'double-armed man'. Neade's idea was that by arming pikemen with a bow in addition to their pike, they would no longer be relegated to standing around getting shot at for most of a battle, waiting in case they were needed against cavalry. With a bow they would have an offensive capability in addition to their defensive role.

The Double-Armed Man
 The fantastical nature of Neade's invention appears, at first glance, to be something of a novelty, hardly a practical proposition. And yet, we know it worked. Neade himself made it work, and he persuaded the Artillery Company in London to put it into practice. In March 1628 the Council of War ordered a formal trial of Neade's device [CSPD, 1628-29, item. 55], and 300 members of the Artillery Company turned out in St. James's Park to demonstrate it before Charles I. [CSPD, 1637, item. 148] Charles himself had a go, and was impressed enough to commission Neade and his son to instruct the county militias in its use. [CSPD, 1633-34, item. 52] Charles and his Council of War were not the only ones impressed by Neade's invention: William Bariffe wrote of it,

In all these firings, the pikes never come to charge, but stand in a square battell, in danger of the enemies shot: themselves neither being able to offend the enemy, nor to defend themselves. And yet if by frequent practise, they were inured to the use of the longbow, fastened to their pikes, I make no question but that, when they should become expert in the use of the Bow and Pike, they would not onely be a terrour to their enemies, by the continuall showers of Arrows which they would send amongst them; but also that they would be a great meanes to rout their enemies, & utterly to breake their order. [Bariffe, p. 310]

Ward, in his Animadversions of Warre, and Kellie, in Pallas Armata, were also advocates of the double-armed man [Ward, p. 301; Kellie, p. 107]. But Neade and his double-armed man were part of a much larger revival of the bow in the first half of the seventeenth century. In 1631 and again in 1637 Charles reissued the statute of 33. Henry VIII requiring all men between the ages of 16 and 60 to own and practice with the bow. [CSPD 1637, item. 78; CSPD, 1629-31, 30/01/1631].

The most significant attempt to reinstate the bow came in 1627 when Charles' favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, raised a force to attack the Isle de Rhe in support of the French Huguenots at La Rochelle. Orders were sent to the counties for the levying of men, and it was instructed that 24% of them were to be archers. In some counties, the order for archers arrived after the county's contingent had already set off for the embarkation point, and in other counties not enough archers could be found to fill the quota: nevertheless, bows and arrows were ordered from the Tower, and archers were reported assembling at Portsmouth. [CSPD, 1627-28, item. 37]. How many archers made it to France is unclear, but French sources reported arrows being shot into the fort of St. Martin de Rhe. [Annales, p. 444]

So, in the years prior to the civil war there were plenty of bows around, and not a few archers. 300 men trained with pike and bow in London and, given William Neade's commission, it is reasonable to suppose that at least some men trained with them in the provinces. Several hundred archers at least were assembled for the Isle de Rhe expedition, and by recently-enacted law every man from 16-60 had to own and practice with the bow. The law was certainly observed in the breach, but to assume that the entire country ignored it would be folly. But does that mean that bows were used in the field during the English Civil War? No, it doesn't, not by itself, but it does mean that we should examine the evidence a little further before dismissing them.

In the weeks leading up to the beginning of open conflict Charles issued Commissions of Array, ordering and authorising his supporters to raise troops in their locales for his service, and they included provision for archers. The Commission sent to the Marquis of Hertford, for example, to raise troops in the West Country and Wales instructed that he was to raise an army consisting of 'Horsemen, Archers and Footmen of all kindes of degrees meet and apt for the Wars.' [Copy of the Commission, p.5] I've chosen that example particularly because in Hereford, one of the counties covered by Hertford's commission, there was raised in 1642 a company of archers. [Willis-Bund, p. 21]

At the same time, confusingly, a company armed with pikes and bows was raised in Hertford for the defence of the town. On hearing that the town was threatened by a Royalist force, the Earl of Bedford sent a party of cavalry under Captain Ankle to augment the defences. Ankle's troop arrived outside the town and were met by piquets posted there by the defenders but on giving the watchword were admitted to the town where they were met by 'the second watch, being a company of pikes with bowes and arrowes.' [Dacres, p. 3]

Yet a third company of archers was raised on behalf of Parliament in Shropshire. Parliamentarian troops stationed at Bridgnorth were expecting the arrival of the Earl of Essex when instead a Royalist force under Prince Maurice arrived. Cavalry were sent out, but a large force of Royalist musketeers under Lord Strange took up position outside the town and saw the horsemen off. Afraid that the Royalists were about to ford the river and enter the town, the defenders 'with ... Bowes and Arrowes sent to them which did so gaule them, being unarm[our]ed men (only offensive Armes) that with their utmost speed they did retreat.' [Norcroft, p. 6]

In the early months of the war, then, formations of archers were assembled, and in at least one case used in action, in the defence of towns. Archers may have been a common feature of sieges on both sides of the walls throughout the war. At Gloucester in 1643 bows were used to shoot messages into and out of the beleaguered city, and messages were shot into Basing House by arrow by the Parliamentarian besiegers in 1644. [Gaunt, p. 115; Basing Castle, p. 11]. At Lyme Regis the Royalist shot fire arrows into the town and set alight buildings, and arrows were still being used for sending messages as late as the 1648 sieges of Colchester and Pembroke.

But locally raised formations of archers defending their towns, or what might be only one or two archers present at sieges, are not the same as formations of archers active in the field armies, though no less important. In September, 1643, the Parliamentarian newspaper Mercurius Civicus reported the news from Oxford that the Royalists

have set up a new Magazine without Norgate, onely for Bowes and Arrowes, which they intend to make much use of against our horse which they heare (though to their great griefe) doe make much increase: and that all the Bowyers, Fletchers, and Arrow head makers that they can possibly get they imploy and set on worke there for that purpose. Also, that the King hath two regiments of Bowes and Arrowes. It is therefore necessary, that no Arrow-heads be suffered to goe from London towards Newbery, or into any other parts where the Cavaliers may by any means come to achieve or surprise them. And it were to be wished, that the like provision were made by the Parliament here to get Bowes and Arrowes (at least some for their Pikemen) it being not unknowne what victories have been formerly atchieved in France and other parts by our English Bow-men. Besides the flying of the Arrowes are farre more terrible to the horse then bullets, and doe much more turmoyle and vex them if they enter. [Mercurius Civicus, p. 106]

That the king had two regiments of archers is unlikely, but that fact that it was printed in 1643 indicates that it was not considered unlikely at the time, and the fact that the movement of arrowheads was to be restricted suggests that there was at that time a supply worth restricting. The most intriguing thing perhaps about this article is that bows and arrows were proposed for pikemen in Parliament's army, suggesting that the double-armed man was still considered a possibility in 1643, and may have been what was meant by the ambiguous reference to the 'company of pikes with bowes and arrowes' at Hertford the previous year.

Most importantly of all, the rallying cry of Mercurius Civicus for a Parliamentarian force of archers was heard in the highest circles. Thomas Taylor served as a lieutenant under Colonel Fiennes at the siege of Bristol, and was called as a witness by Fiennes to appear at his trial for surrendering the city too early. When he first gave his deposition he was a lieutenant, but by the time of the trial itself he had been promoted to Captain. [Prynne, pp. 37-39, 67] As well as his promotion, Taylor was also given his own command:

Whereas, by Virtue of a Commission under my Hand and Seal, dated First Day of Nov. 1643, directed to Mr Thomas Taylor, Citizen of London, he the said Thomas is authorized to raise a Company of Archers, for the service in Hand, and to set the same on Foot, by and through the free Bounties of the well-affected People, in and about the City of London, and Parts adjacent, as by the Teneur of the said Commission appears... [Rushworth, p. 370]

Highlander c. 1630
German print.
It has been said that the last use of the bow in a battle in Britain occurred at Tippermuir on 1 September 1644 when Montrose's Royalist highlanders defeated an army of Scottish covenanters commanded by the Earl of Wemyss. The highlanders were still well-known for their use of the bow at this time, and at Tippermuir the 'Atholl and Banzenoch men had swordes, bowes, and fyrelockes.' [Ruthven, p. 78] In the Bishops' Wars of 1639-40 bow-armed highlanders had played their part, and from that conflict comes a wonderful description of the kind of men who fought at Tippermuir:

They were all or the most part of them well timbred men, tall and active, apparrelled in blew woollen wascotts and blew bonnets. A pair of bases of plad, and stockings of the same, and a paire of pumpes on their feete: a mantle of plad cast over the left shoulder , and under the right arme, a pocquett before their knapsack, and a pair of durgs on either side of the pocquet. They are left to their owne election for the weapons; some carry onely a sword and targe, others musquetts, and the greater part bow and arrowes, with a quiver to hould about 6 shafts, made of the maine of a goat or colt, with the hair hanging on, and fastened by some belt or such like, soe as it appears allmost a taile to them. [Aston, p. 28]

However, on the same day that Montrose and Wemyss were battling it out at Tippermuir, the Earl of Essex was losing the last day of the Battle of Lostwithiel against the king in Cornwall. Whether Thomas Taylor's company of archers took part in that last day's fighting is unknown, but there can be little doubt that having been raised by Essex the previous November they then went on to join his army for the West Country campaign of 1644. Possibly, however, they were knocked out of the fighting in mid-August, for around 14 August Royalist troops plundered Lanhydrock House, the home of Parliamentarian Colonel Lord Robartes, and 'in the howse was found many bowes and divers quivers of arrowes'. [Symonds, pp. 54-55]

There is no evidence of Taylor's company of archers after August 1644, and it is likely that if they survived the march out of Cornwall after the defeat at Lostwithiel they were probably incorporated into another regiment and re-equipped, or disbanded. Taylor himself continued in Parliament's service and ended his military career in 1647 when he was one of the three men who presented the Leveller tract An Agreement of the People to the army. [Brailsford, p. 311] The use of the bow did not entirely die out with Taylor's company, however, and if the Parliamentarians were still using bows at the sieges of Pembroke and Colchester, the Royalists still had archers in the field in 1647 when James Winstone, a Parliamentarian soldier, 'was wounded in ye righte hande by an arowe' at a skirmish in Hathersage, Derbyshire. [Cox, p. 160] Hathersage is the legendary burial place of Little John, so it seems fitting to lay this article to rest there too.

E.T. Fox

E.T. Fox's book, Seventeenth-Century Military Archery, containing complete transcripts of William Neade's The Double-Armed Man (1625), the anonymous A New Invention of Shooting Fire-shafts in Long-Bows (1628), and Gervase Markham's The Art of Archerie (1634) is available from Fox Historical Publications.

(With thanks to S.F. Jones of Tyger's Head Books for pointing out a couple of references)


Annales de Chimie et de Physique, vol. 3 (Paris, 1841)
Calendar of State Papers, Domestic.
A Copy of the Commission of Array Granted From His Majesty to the Marquesse of Hertford (London, 1642)
A Description of the Siege of Basing Castle (Oxford, 1644)

Aston, John. Diary in Six North Country Diaries (London, 1910)
Bariffe, William. Military Discipline: or, the Yong Artillery Man (London, 1635)
Brailsford, Henry Noel. The Levellers and the English Revolution (Stanford, 1961)
Cox, J. Charles. Three Centuries of Derbyshire Annals (London, 1890)
Dacres, Sir Thomas. A Perfect Diurnall of the Proceedings in Hartford-shire, From the 15. of August to the 29. (London, 1642)
Gaunt, Peter. English Civil War, a Military History (London, 2014)
[Jones, S.F. ed.] Mercurius Civicus, London's Intelligencer, vol. 1 (reprint, 2013)
Kellie, Sir Thomas. Pallas Armata (Edinburgh, 1627)
Markham, Gervase. The Art of Archerie (London, 1634)
Neade, William. The Double-Armed Man (London, 1625)
Norcroft, John.  Exceeding Joyfull Newes From his Excelence the Earle of Essex (London, 1642)
Prynne, William. A True and Full Relation of the Prosecution, Arraignment, Tryall, and Condemnation of Nathaniel Fiennes (London, 1644)
Rushworth, John. Historical Collections of Private Passages of State, vol. 5 (London, 1721)
Ruthven, Patrick Gordon of.  A Short Abridgement of Britane's Distemper (Aberdeen, 1844)
Symonds, Richard. Diary of the Marches of the Royal Army During the Great Civil War (London, 1859)
Ward, Robert. Animadversions of Warre (London, 1639)
Willis Bund, J.W.  The Civil War in Worcestershire, 1642-1646; and the Scotch Invasion of 1651 (London, 1905)