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  • #115283
    Sane Max
    Participant

    Hiya

    about 10 years ago, I bought and painted a large Wars of the Roses army – 15mm Peter Pig – pretty much on a whim. I had no real plans for it, and no one to play against… as best I can remember, I bought them becuase it was a century that was ‘missing’ from my collection.

    They managed to get a few run outs playing Hail Caesar, and at one point I split the army in half and sold half to a friend.

    So, the friend has been forced to sell up, and I bought them back a while ago, and re-organising them has reminded me that I am missing a fair few of the more ‘fringe’ troop types – Irish Kerns for ‘Not Stoke’, Lighter horsemen – thinking something like Border Reiver types – things missing from the Peter Pig Range really.

    But the Middle ages is really a period I know only a little about, and before I fill these gaps I have some questions, and thought you would be the chaps who could point me in the right direction.

    Kerns – what would the Irish of the period look like? I happen to have a lot of Dark Ages Peter Pigs (bought on a whim….. seeing a trend here) and I was planning on bodging them to use as ‘Goths’ for my upcoming Late Roman / Byzantine army – but actually, Tunic’ed shaggy haired blokes in Germanic/Viking helmets or bareheaded, with simple shields and spears, axes, Javelins etc – would they make acceptable Wars of the Roses Irish?

    Lighter Cavalry – were 15th Century Border Reivers etc much different in appearance from their 16th century descendants, who I know more about? and does anyone do them in 15mm? I know Essex are good for the period, but they would be way too large to match my Peter Pigs I fear.

    The mass of my infantry are billmen and bowmen, and a few different troops would be pleasing to me, but I don’t want people looking at me funny when I field ‘Welsh Spearmen’ who look like something from a completely different era, so all assistance humbly received.

    #115292
    OB
    Participant

    No, they won’t do as Kerns Pat, the clothes are all wrong.  I suggest you have a look at QRF’s Tudor range.  let’s see if I have a couple of pics.

    Tudor Wars

    Roundway Border Horse with axe they also do another pack with spears.  Roundway are always worth a look.

    You can see some of the QRF Tudor Wars Kern here lots more variants on their website.  Some Border Horse there too. Very nice figures all in all. Avoid their Queen Elizabeth’s Irish War range it’s a snare for the unwary-great big Goblins.

    Good luck with it.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #115293
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Afternoon.

    Nice big can of wriggly worms.

    There is going to be a lot of ‘don’t know’ about this as the evidence is not great – so to be fair you can get away with a lot.

    Short answer: go with the Dark Age figures if you want, reivers – use a medieval currour or hobilar.

    Meandering version:

    Figures sold as ‘kern’ are virtually all going to be based on variants of Durer’s and Derricke’s illustrations – 40 and 100 years respectively later than the period you are interested in .

    There are medieval manuscripts that may be talking about (and illustrating) Irish light troops. Monstrelet describes them at Rouen in 1418 but his description could equally well be of Welsh or Scots light foot – one shoe and one stocking only, a weird trope that may be fact or may be a cultural formula for depicting poor Celtic fringe troops generally. The illustrations associated with this period show a light round shield or targe and a short sword/long knife and or light spears/javelins.

    The very distinctive frills and ruffs of the later (16th century) depictions in Durer and Derricke do not appear so I reckon you could easily get away with any generic unarmoured light infantry of the medieval period. (Presumably the transition from generic medieval tunic to the more distinctive type in Durer happened in the late 15th/early 16th century – you probably could use them in late WotR battles but you could equally have a more conservative group!)

    Dark Ages – frankly there will be differences in style of leine and mantle from late medieval but I doubt there was a strict dress code (we aren’t looking at breaking any sumptuary laws here) which would prevent you fielding a 10th Century low life fighter as a 15th century one.

    There are arguments about whether, and if so what type of, shields were used when by Irish light troops.

    Beards and/or moustaches common in 1450 Irish – so figures with facial hair – good.

    Reivers, 15th century – no pistols and no distinctive morion helmets – much more a generic medieval light horse look – currours, hobilars. Light horse can be a bit of a misnomer – unarmoured horses but ‘prickers’ could be quite heavily protected with mail and or jacks. Main armament: light lance, bow.

    Welsh spearmen – see earlier discussion with Paskal on this site – I suspect they were pretty much like any contemporary light spear, possibly from a few decades earlier, although they were mostly semi professionals who had fought in France and weren’t wild romantic Celtic warriors , but if you want one bare foot, round shield, hairy Celts I am sure you will find supporters (and detractors!).

    If you want ‘different’ – try some European mercenary types – mostly handgunners but also Burgundian heavy cavalry (possibly) and later, Flemish pike.

    (And apologies for the different interpretation to OB – also, I quite like the QRF Elizabeth’s Irish Wars range of goblins – but definitely not right for medieval kern.)

    #115294
    Sane Max
    Participant

    Thanks Both…. Can of Worms duly opened.

    The urge to go with what I have is hard to resist…. especially since they get a game about once every two years. I am glad to have had two answers, one of which supports my urge and the other I can dismiss as obvious malicious nonsense 🙂 (kidding OB, just kidding!).

    one shoe and one stocking only, a weird trope that may be fact or may be a cultural formula for depicting poor Celtic fringe troops generally.

    I remember reading something where it was suggested there was an actual reason for that – that shoes were effectively flat leather underneath, with all the grip on wet grass of an oily eel. One foot was shod for grip on surfaces where it WOULD help, one bare for where it would not. Howver I remember as a kid running wild in the country barefoot slithering down grassy dewy slopes while picking mushrooms though, so I wonder, i really do.My feet back then had quickly assumed the texture pretty much of leather anyway, as we went barefoot everywhere. What help would it actually be?

    Edit…. My father claims that when he and his brother were a lad, they only owned one pair of shoes between them, and so went to school on alternate days, and hopped to church on sunday. He’s not Irish though so maybe that’s just a coincidence…

    (He also claims that the Otley Chevin should be pronounced ‘Kevin’ that High Heels make you taller even when you are sat down, and that Blind People are just pretending, for a laugh and a free dog, so his evidence should be treated with caution.)

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by Sane Max.
    #115299
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Is he a historian? He sounds as if he would do very well in a history faculty.

    I know the one bare foot for a better grip story – but I remain to be convinced. Where does it come from? Illustrations show bowmen and spearmen with only one shoe but I don’t think there is a contemporary explanation. Welsh (and Irish, and Scots) are often described as barefoot rogues in medieval reports by English and French scribblers – sometimes it seems much as medieval scribes use 1,000 to mean ‘a lot’ and 10,000 to mean ‘chuffing heck!’. It may not be factual but it conveys the idea.

    I need a reenactment group to split themselves 33/33/33 and all to go and live in mid Wales for a year, one lot with one shoe, another lot with two shoes and the last set with none. Then we can see who has all their toes and no gangrene at the end of the experiment. It will prove nothing but will be fun to tabulate the results.

    I look forward to hearing of the expoits of the Viking/Goth proto Kern in action.

    #115300
    Sane Max
    Participant

    Sign me up for your living history experiment, it sounds like more laughs than a bag full of Weasels. You might want to make it 25/25/25/25 – one quarter with one shoe on the left foot, one with one shoe on the right – so no one can suggest your methodology overlooked the fundamental difference between the two podal extremities, thus invalidating the whole experiment.

    I am going the whole ‘the hell with it’ hog and mixing in a few bill, archers and other things I already have painted and unbased to give a hopefully more 15th century vibe to the units (Sorry OB, i can hear you spitting feathers from here) which will leave me enough of the fellas to make half a dozen units of Late Roman Foederati in case my Early Byzantines fancy being all ‘Western Roman’ (Sorry OB, so Sorry Lol, I am not doing it on purpose)

    Pat

    #115302
    OB
    Participant

    Nothing wrong with going with the convenient Pat it’s often a comfort.

    We also have some visual evidence from 1514 re Irish clothing and some earlier literary evidence too.  I’ll not bother to list it.

    Anyhow, there are two burning questions I want to ask of Guy.  Do you own any of the aforesaid QRF Goblins and would you like to buy lots more?

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #115304
    Patrice
    Participant

    No sure about the bare foot controversy…

    Till the 19th century and even early 20th century in some places (in Europe, not to mention other continents) many children ran barefoot in the countryside and were used to it.

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #115308
    Sane Max
    Participant

    No sure about the bare foot controversy…

    Till the 19th century and even early 20th century in some places (in Europe, not to mention other continents) many children ran barefoot in the countryside and were used to it.

    Ahem, even the late 20th century where I was from, Patrice.

    Pat

    #115310
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    OB – I do have some of the aforementioned goblinny type things.

    As for more – I hadn’t planned on a lot more but I suppose I may be open to temptation -what are we talking about?

    (And I’m always happy to be proved wildly incorrect – what is the 1514 evidence? Don’t worry I won’t tell Pat in case it upsets him!)

     

    #115311
    Sane Max
    Participant

    Nothing upsets me, go for it 🙂

    #115333
    Steve Johnson
    Participant

    When I lived in Nigeria, I played in a football match during the rainy season. The ground was so wet, due to a recent thunderstorm, that I played in goal barefoot as I simply got more grip that way. By the end of the match I was a tad filthy and my toes hurt!

    #115338
    OB
    Participant

    Guy, I bought loads of them (both armies) years ago and since then they have lived in a big envelope lurking in silent reproach at my neglect.  I think I painted a few of them and then gave up.  Let me have a look for them and see if they are still in one piece if they are you can have the lot for a fiver plus postage.  Should that be of interest I’d be delighted if someone got some pleasure out of them.

    No Pat, you must go your own way on this one and good luck with it.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #115385
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I suspect I have no willpower at that price!

    Yes please if you can find them.

    Thanks

    Can I pm you here?

    Guy.

    #115460
    OB
    Participant

    I have no idea.  I’m not sure if either of us has that facility.  I’ll still look them out and report back.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #115463
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Thanks OB.

     

    #117256
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Er, any sign of ’em OB? Or have they disappeared into your equivalent of my Bermuda Triangle of an attic?

    No worries if they have.

    Just wondered.

    Guy

    #122166
    Graham Minshaw
    Participant

    If i am not mistaken Mr Peter Pig is planning on adding all the missing weird/hairy/celtic troop types to his otherwise fairly complete WOR list in the near future. Hopefully he will include the incomparable Northern infantry and light horse and some mounted bowmen to that release.

    #122213
    OB
    Participant

    Sorry for the late reply Guy, I got distracted.  They are beginning to turn up but the motherlode is still evading me.  It will turn up.  I think we are both on LAF so drop me a line there and I’ll keep you posted.

    Meantime here are some of the stragglers.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #122268
    Thorsten Frank
    Participant

    May I ask an additional but not directly (wargagmes) related question on this topic? The Border Reivers are relatively new theme for me (because I´m always interested in “raiding” style warfare) and the whole thing has become personal in a way for me lately.
    Is there a book out there that covers the forming and early (until the beginning of the 16th century) of the various border “clans”? I currently only own the Osprey title and this one covers the time period too little for me.

    "In strange grammar this one writes" - Master Yoda

    #122321
    OB
    Participant

    George MacDonald Frasers The Border Reivers is probably as good as you can get on the topic.  The actual forming of the Border families is an interesting question and I’ve yet to find anything that deals with it in depth.  The King of Scots considered them to be Clan people and referred to them as such often pairing them together with the Highland Clans although their genesis would have been different.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #122330
    Thorsten Frank
    Participant

    Thank you for the answer, OB. I will take a look at this book.

    "In strange grammar this one writes" - Master Yoda

    #122333
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    The Memoirs of Robert Carey/Cary Earl of Monmouth c1560-1639 are one of Fraser’s best sources and although as he says, difficult to get hold of in the original, thanks to the Internet and the fact they are way out of copyright, they are now available for free:

    Robert Cary Memoirs

    Carey was a warden of the Marches in the 1590s and gives a feel for his experience of the region in the heyday of the border families and their entrepreneurial approach to wealth creation and redistribution in a transnational situation (The Farrishes from Dumfries were only small fry your honour and seem only to have rustled a few sheep and not cattle, hardly ever, oh no, not us your Lordship, nothing to see here.)

     

    OB – thanks, I had forgotten your kind offer! Those are definitely the chaps, keep digging!

    #122364
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    George MacDonald Frasers The Border Reivers is probably as good as you can get on the topic.

     

    The full title is ‘The Steel Bonnets. The Story of Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers”. It’s an exhausting read IMO 🙂

     

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #122402
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I think Fraser was going for exhaustive but I think I’m with you on exhausting.

    The problem I find with Reivers books is that ‘serious’ approaches are really socio-economic or anthropological histories and that is quite difficult to turn into a light read or a wargame scenario.

    On the other hand the popular approach suffers from romanticism and/or an episodic story that leaps about all over the border and is hard to work into a coherent theme beyond ‘Ooh! They were ‘orrible/brave weren’t they?!’ Many popular accounts concentrate on the end of the Borderers reign – the late 16th early 17th centuries but their medieval genesis probably deserves more work. I still haven’t decided whether they were any use as formed troops in armies – you sometimes get praise heaped on the other side’s border horse for their ferocity but commanders often seem to have regarded their own border horse as a mixed blessing and because of cross border family connections nobody knew whether to trust them in an Anglo-Scots battle. A bit like cossacks – a bloody nuisance – but to whom?

    Add to that an urge by many 19th century/early 20th century authors to make it almost exclusively an England v Scotland thing rather than about Mafia families nicking stuff and kidnapping people and it can get confusing.

    Talking of which – having been inspired to drag Fraser off the shelf yesterday and follow a few references I see that Robert Borland’s ‘Border Raids and Reivers’ is now free on Kindle.

    #122404
    Thorsten Frank
    Participant

    A bit like cossacks – a bloody nuisance – but to whom? Add to that an urge by many 19th century/early 20th century authors to make it almost exclusively an England v Scotland thing rather than about Mafia families nicking stuff and kidnapping people and it can get confusing. Talking of which – having been inspired to drag Fraser off the shelf yesterday and follow a few references I see that Robert Borland’s ‘Border Raids and Reivers’ is now free on Kindle.

    This! First, it´s the similarity to the cossacks that got my attention and the. obvious, criminal type of actions. In fact I was a bit surprised by the numbers of raided cattle in the MAA title. I didn´t even imagine such dimensions before.
    But I didn´t want to spam a WotR thread with Reiver content in the first place. Thank you for all the answers!

    "In strange grammar this one writes" - Master Yoda

    #122429
    OB
    Participant

    It would be remiss of me not to mention Robert Arden’s splendid play Armstrong’s Last Good Goodnight and GM Fraser’s excellent novella The Candlemas Road.

    Of course I’m from Border stock too on my Mother’s side-3,000 Lances.  So I might be biased.

    I’ll keep looking Guy, I’ve already turned up some Matchlock Irish who can join the throng as they’re the same size and style.

    The whole Borderers thing makes more sense if we see them as Clan families striving for local dominance in a locality bookended by two much more powerful entities England and Scotland who found it expedient now and then to give them free rein. Once the Union of Crowns took place they were finished.

     

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

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