Early Seventeenth Century Military Units
What follows is information comparing three different types of military units from the cavalier era (two English and one Dutch).. I hope the information may prove useful for any who seek a more period alternative to the standard SCA household.The notes focus on the company as a unit.
A word on a company from Geoffrey Parker:
. . . Colonel Francis Verdugo had reconquered much of Freisland and Groningen for Spain [c. 1590] with the aid of an impoverished skeleton army which was forced to live largely off the country. Sometimes his companies were reduced to a strength of ten (although, according to Verdugo's memoirs, they were nevertheless deployed in traditional order: two musketeers as an advance guard, three pikemen and the captain in the centre, and three women and a secretary in the rear).
So who says a company has to be at full strength to be period?
Honourable Artillery Company ( Society of the Artillery Garden)
Authority: Guild chartered by the Crown.
Total Complement: 250 members of the guild.
Company Captain: Elected by the membership of the individual companies. (Captain-General of the whole society appointed by the King.)
Lieutenant: Elected by the membership of the individual companies.
Ensign: Elected by the membership of the individual companies.
Sergeant: Elected by the membership of the individual companies.
Corporal: Elected by the membership of the individual companies.
Soldiers: Pikemen & musketeers - volunteers from the middle and higher classes of citizens.
Governing documents: Rules and Ordnances - written by the company and approved by the King.
Meeting Site: Artillery Garden - a place called Finsbury Field in the suburbs with a target range and armoury.
The Company of Frans Banning Cocq (The Night Watch) by Rembrandt
Amsterdam Kloveniers: (Militia)
Authority: Guild/Militia organisation regulated by the city council.
Total Complement: 20 companies of 120 men each plus captain and lieutenant.
Company Captain: Appointed for a fixed term by the city council.
Lieutenant: Appointed for a fixed term by the city council.
Ensign: Elected - required to be young,handsome and unmarried.
Sergeant: Two sergeants were elected (one for two corporalships).
Corporal: Each corporal was elected and in charge of one corporalship of roughly 30 men.
Soldiers: rondassiers: - sword and shield men, piekeniers: - pikemen, and kloveniers :- musketeers. All were conscripted from the "better" citizenry. Common tradesmen were used for the city fire brigade.
Governing documents: Regulations were set forth by the regents or governors within the framework of the United provinces government.
Meeting Site: Doelen (guildhall) served as headquarters, mess hall and armoury.
Earl of Essex's Regiment (Parliaments Army)
Authority: Raised by the Earl of Essex under authority of Parliament.
Total Complement: 10 companies of 100 - 200 men plus officers (theoretically) depending on the officer serving as "captain".
Company Captain: Appointed by the Earl of Essex (as Colonel).
Lieutenant: Appointed by the Captain with a commission signed by the General commanding the army.
Ensign: Appointed by the Captain with a commission signed by the General commanding the army.
Sergeant: Appointed by the Captain.
Corporal: Three corporals appointed by the captain. (Sometimes in charge of a "squadron" of men.)
Soldiers: Pikemen & musketeers - mostly impressed men.
Governing documents: Articles of Warre published by the earl of Essex as General of the Armie.
Meeting Site: N/A (field army).
- Soldiers of the English Civil War (1): Infantry, Keith Roberts with colour plates by Angus McBride, London, Osprey Publishing Ltd, Elite Series #25, 1989.
- The Honourable Artillery Company, 1537-1947, G.Goold Walker, DSO, MC, FSA, FRHistS, Aldershot, Gale and Polden Limited, 1954.
- Rembrandt's Nightwatch: The history of a painting, Willem Hijmans, Luitsen Kuiper and Annemarie Velsheijn, A.W. Sijthoff - Alphen aan den Rijn.
- The Military Revolution, Geoffrey Parker, Cambridge University Press, 1988.