Thursday, 2 September 2010
Common to a number of Low Countries cities were the guilds of crossbowmen - the Guild of Saint George. They were separate from the trade guilds and are shown in the Leugemeete fresco. There is still a Guild of St George in Ghent which has a nice bit of background.
As mentioned in this link as well as various other places such as Verbruggen, de Vigne and de Liebaart, the crossbowmen were accompanied by 'boys' who carried the pavises at a ratio of two crossbowmen to one pavise. The current draft of the DBMM Book 4 list covering the Low Countries actually suggests basing them in this way after a couple of us mentioned it on the DBMMlist. I suspect that this ratio may have been common in Europe at the time in the period following the adoption of the pavise. David Nicolle's essay on the Genoese at Crecy suggests that the pavises left behind would have been carried by pavise bearers rather than on the back of the crossbowmen as often portrayed following a late 14th century picture. I don't know of any evidence that the Low Countries bearers had any form of spear - certainly at the various battles where the Fleemish crossbowmen are mentioned they withdraw rather than facing hand to hand combat, suggesting a lack of defensive weaponry.
The crossbowmen are mostly Donnington with some Touller figures, including the flag bearers. another factor which influenced my choice of basing was that I had exactly the right number of crossbowmen unpainted to do it this way, as long as I used the standard bearers.
The pavises show a mixture of arms, including those of Bruges, Ypres and Ghent. The others are those of Guilds of St.George from various cities as well as those of Guilds of St. Sebastian. This was thoeretically a guild of archers although the fresco showed them with the same mix of weapons as other guildsmen. However I used a bit of licence and included some of their shields as I had the details and liked them.
To finish off my pictures of Low Countries figures, here are some knights. First of all mounted:
The general is marked with a flag and represent Jan de Renesse, a nobleman from Holland who led the forces at Kortrijk - possibly he was experienced. For the other knights I used a variety of arms from the Gelre armorial and Rietstaap as well as a book of seals of 13th century Low Countries knights. I wasn't too careful about whether they had fought for or against the French though - time was pressing and the details were sketchy; sometimes I had names but no details of arms. The arms of the burghers or patrician class were even harder to come by for the 14th century. A few are mentioned such as de Conninck's and, for a later period, van Artevelde's but I couldn't be sure of many others. The regulations have survived which show the expectations of these 'nouveaux riches' as far as equipment goes - the two richest classes were to have armoured horses as well as the rest of the men-at-arms' panoply.
Some of the Donnington knights come with a bird crest - I adapted some of these by cutting or adding Green Stuff so a few have the crest shown in the Gelre Armorial. Wearing crests in battle was becoming rarer as the 14th century progressed but I kept a few as traditionalists or show-offs.
The figures come with smaller shields than this but I got some of the slightly larger ones - partly as it made painting easier.