The Tudor Arte of Warre 1485-1558

The conduct of war from Henry VII to Mary I

Jonathan Davies

This book deals with the diplomacy, campaigns and battles of the period as well as the life of the Tudor soldier his recruitment, weapons, tactics and logistical support.
Date Published :
July 2021
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
From Retinue to Regiment
Illustration :
94 b/w illustrations, 16 pages color plates, 17 b/w maps, numerous tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781913336417
Pages : 442
Dimensions : 9.8 X 7.1 inches
Stock Status : Available


If you peruse a bookshop’s shelves, Tudor history seems to concern itself with Monarchy (mostly wives), religion (for or against the Reformation) with a side order of cookery (pies and pottage). Tudor warfare has either been dismissed as unimportant or criticized for its ‘backwardness’. There have, however, been recent attempts to reevaluate the achievements of the Tudors at war, especially the part played by Henry VIII in the ‘modernization’ of the army, in the context of the continuing military revolution debate.

This book provides a broad and comprehensive survey of the Tudor army, explaining its campaigns and battles in the context of its monarchs and their diplomatic and foreign policy priorities. It also provides a thematic study of key issues, such as recruitment, fortification, equipment, tactics and supply. While much has been written about how far the Tudor military does or does not fit into a perceived pattern of European military development, I argue that it can only be understood if the unique political, social and economic background of England is appreciated. The conclusion drawn is that for all the ‘failings’ identified by historians, it was a system that was not only ‘fit for purpose’ but it could on occasion achieve extraordinary feats, whether those be the Device forts of Henry VIII or the stunning victories at Flodden and Pinkie.

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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