Date of Award

Spring 2022

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

David S Bachrach

Second Advisor

Cynthia Van Zandt

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Mellyn


Historians of the period of the Wars of the Roses have long debated about the power of the English Crown relative to that of the nobility in fifteenth-century England. These historians have often based their arguments on outdated notions of “bastard feudalism” and supported them using biased narrative sources. This study draws upon the patent rolls and close rolls produced by theroyal government to examine the different aspects of English military organization during the period from 1452 to 1477.The evidence contained within these sources demonstrates that military mobilization relied on the enduring authority of the Crown and its central administration. Expeditionary forces relied on the Crown’s ability to provide funding, transportation, victuals, ordnance, and specialists. Mobilization for coastal defense and other domestic service was based on the Crown’s authority to raise local forces via commissions of array. The maintenance and administration of garrisons required royal officers and constant funding. Whenever possible, the Crown funded military forces by granting access to local sources of revenue which ithad the authority to manipulate. In short, the Crown commanded the manpower and resources which made English military forces function.