The Tudor Arte of Warre. Volume 2

The Tudor Arte of Warre. Volume 2

The conduct of war in the reign of Elizabeth I 1558-1603

Jonathan Davies

This volume completes the study of Tudor warfare. It provides a detailed description and analysis of the campaigns and battles of Elizabeth's reign together with their political and diplomatic background. It also explains how her armies were raised, equipped, supported and commanded.
Date Published :
May 2023
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
From Retinue to Regiment
Illustration :
c 100 b/w ills & maps, 8-16 color plates
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781804512012
Pages : 456
Dimensions : 9.8 X 7.1 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


This volume completes my survey of Tudor warfare in a period of transition from bow to gun and from retinue to regiment. The reign of Elizabeth I was first touched and then blighted by war, although most of it passed in a form of peace. Unlike her belligerent father she saw war not as the principal purpose of monarchy but as an unfortunate but occasionally necessary means of achieving sound political and strategic ends. She could gain little personally from war as she was excluded from direct participation in it. Nonetheless she did try and often failed to command from afar. Until 1585 she faced the problem of Queen Mary, a Catholic claimant to her throne whose existence threatened internal peace and greatly complicated matters abroad. Elizabeth was fearful of all her near neighbors as they could so easily unsettle her kingdom and its recent religious settlement.

On her accession she tried to take advantage of crises in Scotland and France and for the first time experienced the gap between what her military men would promise and what they could deliver. Determined as she was to maintain domestic peace, the Northern rebellion of 1569 made clear that England’s military preparedness was wholly inadequate. Thus began a long project to make widespread military service managed by the government, especially as after 1585 more and more men were sent for service abroad.

The Anglo-Spanish war was at least in part the consequence of her efforts to avoid this disastrous confrontation. Once committed she intervened either when England was directly threatened or when she was convinced that she could gain a significant strategic advantage. The many expeditions she facilitated were invariably badly managed and rarely achieved their potential. I will address the criticisms that she was inconsistent, mean and interfering and the cause of the many failures that overtook her armies. I am in agreement with Christopher Haigh when he points out that: ‘when [her courtiers] were given military command, when they were sent overseas with the power of the Queen’s commission, they forgot their obedience-they even forgot their orders-and they strutted battlefield and poop as independent leaders.’

I give considerable space to the Nine Years War in Ireland because it was of central importance to Elizabeth and the military establishment. It involved a number of key battles as well as developments in both strategy and tactics that have in the past been overlooked. The recruitment, training, tactics and logistical aspects of Elizabeth’s armies are also discussed in some detail. In her reign almost all the last vestiges of a feudal force were dispensed with, as the army underwent a transformation into a national institution. Her army has been subject to as much criticism as her navy to plaudits. Much of that criticism has been unreasonable and I hope in this volume to produce a balanced assessment of the Elizabethan army and its strengths and weaknesses. I will conclude with an overall survey of the Tudor Arte of Warre and how far it had experienced a ‘military revolution.’

About The Author

Jonathan Davies was a scholar of Sidney Sussex College Cambridge where he read history, before progressing to a career in teaching. He has spent the last forty years mostly teaching medieval and Tudor history as well as leading a medieval/Tudor reenactment group. He has written extensively on a wide range of historical subjects both civilian and military, including a book on the navy in the reign of Henry VIII. He has extensive first-hand experience in the handling of weapons from slings to swords, pikes to trebuchets and bronze cannons to crossbows. His latest project involved the design and casting of an octagonal bronze cannon barrel fitted with a matching field carriage, for his reenactment group. He has written about, conducted workshops and lectured on the understanding of the past through practical experience. He has followed the route of the First Crusade in an ancient ex-ambulance and has most recently completed a Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela on foot. He brings a lifetime of practical and academic experience to the subject, providing new insights into a topic which has often been little regarded.

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