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The Calais Garrison


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"This is the book on the Calais garrison we have been waiting for". COLIN RICHMOND

For over 200 years, following its capture by Edward III in 1347, the town of Calais was in English hands; after 1453 it remained the last English possession on the continent, a commercial, cultural, diplomatic and military frontier, until its recapture by the French in 1558. This book - the first full-length study so to do - examines the Calais garrison, the largest standing military force available to the English crown. Based on extensive archival research, it covers recruitment and service in the garrison, the problems of pay and logistics, the weaponry and tactics used, and the chivalric and professional ethos among the soldiers. It also investigates the effectiveness of English arms against their European counterparts, through a detailed study of the failed Burgundian siege of 1436 and the successful French siege of 1558. Overall, it reaffirms the importance of Calais to successive medieval and early modern English kings, and challenges the perceived notion that England lagged behind its northwest European rivals in terms of military technology and effectiveness. The Calais garrison is placed in the wider context of the development of European warfare in general during this period.

Dr DAVID GRUMMITT is Lecturer in British History, University of Kent.


[An] excellent and scholarly book which I urge colleagues to buy or borrow. CASEMATE

David Grummit has filled an enormous gap in our understanding of how English armed force was configured. DE RE MILITARI

A meticulous [...] and focused scholarly monograph. [...] It makes some important and original contributions to military history. JOURNAL OF MILITARY HISTORY

An accomplished academic monograph, concentrating on the military garrison. Between accounts of the 1436 siege and that of 1558, he analyses the form and condition of military service, finance and supply, weapons and fortifications. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

[...] interesting and full of information [...]. THE RICARDIAN

The detailed study that [the subject] deserves. SOUTHERN HISTORY


First Published: 21 Aug 2008
13 Digit ISBN: 9781843833987
3 line drawing illustrations
Pages: 234
Size: 23.4 x 15
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Boydell Press
BIC Class: HBLC1

Details updated on 05 Oct 2015


  • 1  Introduction: Calais in Context
  • 2  The Burgundian Siege of 1436
  • 3  The Organisation of the Garrison
  • 4  The Nature of Military Service in the Pale
  • 5  Chivalry and Professionalism in the Calais Garrison
  • 6  Weaponry and Fortifications in Calais
  • 7  Financing and Supplying the Garrison
  • 8  The Fall of Calais in 1558
  • 9  Conclusion: War and Military Service in England 1436-1558