Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-8r8mm Total loading time: 0.334 Render date: 2021-12-07T15:24:22.453Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

6 - Besieging Bedford: Military Logistics in 1224

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 September 2017

Emilie M. Amt
Affiliation:
0
John France
Affiliation:
Professor Emeritus, Swansea University
Kelly DeVries
Affiliation:
Kelly DeVries is Professor of History at Loyola College, Baltimore, USA.
Clifford J. Rogers
Affiliation:
Clifford J. Rogers is Professor of History, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.
Get access

Summary

Both logistics and siege warfare are subjects whose significance in medieval military history has generated new and sometimes heated discussion in recent years. Of course sieges have long been studied, and their importance long acknowledged, but there is now an emerging recognition that they were also more typical of medieval warfare than surveys of the subject, with their emphasis on battles, have traditionally suggested. Logistical matters, on the other hand, have come into the spotlight relatively recently, as historians have attempted to examine the practicalities of medieval campaigning and to place the subject in a long-term context. One of the difficulties in studying the supplying of medieval armies, however, is lack of evidence. It is the intent of this article to help fill that gap by looking at the logistics of one particularly well-documented thirteenth-century episode, a crisis which resulted not only in a protracted siege but also in a de facto reordering of military priorities for the English government.

During the summer of 1224, in the midst of preparations to defend the English-held territory of Poitou against invasion by the king of France, an isolated rebellion and hostage situation suddenly required the English government to besiege Bedford Castle in the English midlands. The consequent shift in military concentration was criticized by the pope, among others, though it has sometimes been defended by historians: for while Bedford was taken, Poitou was lost. The events at Bedford are richly documented in narrative, epistolary, and record sources, thus allowing us to observe in unusual detail how this extended and successful siege was conducted. This article will explore the logistical dimensions of the siege of Bedford and then briefly re-examine the question of how well the royal government balanced its military responsibilities in these crucial summer months.

The background to this episode was complex and must be only briefly sketched here. At Christmas 1223, with papal approval, the sixteen-year-old English King Henry III (1216–1272) had assumed fuller royal powers; the decisions of government, however, were still almost entirely in the hands of his advisors, and most of all in the hands of the justiciar, Hubert de Burgh.

Type
Chapter
Information
Journal of Medieval Military History
Volume I
, pp. 101 - 124
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2002

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×