Battalia Volume II 2024


The Second Battle of St Albans, 1461

Penny Tucker


The second battle of St Albans occurred early in the fifteenth-century civil wars. Although not usually regarded as important, it gave the supporters of the Duke of York, who had been defeated and killed six weeks earlier, a vital breathing space. This they used to gather an army with which they were able to rout their enemies. The sources of evidence for the events during and surrounding the battle are, as ever at this period, imperfect, but they do reveal the constraints under which commanders operated then and the opportunities available, sometimes, to some of them. In this case, it will be argued that some recent evidence has been under-used, leading to misinterpretation, not only of the events themselves, but also of the rival commanders’ actions and strategies.


Of Muskets and Bastard Muskets: Use of Lighter Muskets in Civil War England

Simon Marsh


From at least Elizabethan times, there had been a debate in England about the trade-off between heavier and lighter infantry firearms, with the latter being easier to fight with, but the former traditionally having greater range and killing power. Attempts to standardise musket barrel length and bore, in part to make the weapon lighter so it could be used without a rest, occurred from 1630 at the latest. However, following the outbreak of Civil War in 1642, bastard muskets, which fired a lighter ball than the full 12-bore musket and had been in use since Elizabethan times, became increasingly ubiquitous as the conflict progressed. Documentary evidence suggests parliamentarian armies settled on a bastard musket firing a ball of 14-bore size and there are hints of the royalists using shot of 13–15 bore, though the semi–official Elizabethan standard had been 16 bore. Lead shot recovered from metal detecting surveys of the battlefields at Edgehill, Cheriton, Lostwithiel and Langport suggest that whilst full bore muskets dominated the battlefield early in the war, the bastard musket firing shot of 14–16 bore was the infantry weapon of choice by its end. This change appears to have been driven by logistical and cost considerations and has implications for the assessment of archaeology found on Civil War battlefields.


The Battlefields Resource Centre