maandag 15 februari 2016

"De Goedwillighen" Antwerp crossbowmen

According to tradition, in 1181, Henry I of Brabant (taking over from his father, Godfrey III of Louvain, since 1172, but only becoming Duke in 1190) granted the crossbowmen of "de Oude Voetboog" a guildsign as well as a special marking, a crossbow with the initials DGW; De Goedwillighen (the Goodwilling).
The guild must of course be older than this 12th Century anecdote, for it would be doubtful that Duke would grant such honors to a new unproven organisation. But this is the oldest known source.

A Burgundian cross in the colors of Antwerp,
the Antwerp coat-of-arms,
the cross of saint George,
and the same with the initials of
'Antwerp' and 'de Goedwillighen'

But only in 1306 Antwerp officially recognizes the guild, "de Oude Voetboog" (the Old Footbow), maybe then it was just known as de "de Voetboog" until in 1385 another guild, called "de Jonge Voetboog" (the Young Footbow) was founded.

Later it would become known as the Antwerp Guild of Saint George. I assume that Saint George became the patron saint of crossbowmen in Brabant and Flanders since every crossbow guild was named after him, from Ypres to Antwerp,  and wore his crest (red cross on a white field).

According to Floris Prims, a priest who compiled the history of Antwerp between 1927 and 1948, Antwerp and Charles the Bold made an agreement, on May 22 1472, for a fixed number of troops to be supplied for the ducal army.

"30 Hommes-d'armes et 30 crennequiniers who are bound and charged with service, each to be horsed and equipped as is necessary."

Further in the text the hommes d'armes are referred to as lances. And maybe these sixty men had additional men with them so it could double or even triple the number of people needed to be sent on campaign.

The first of these campaigns was began just one month later, against France in the Neslé area, and ended in early November. In June 1473 the men from Antwerp marched with the ducal army towards Guelders and captured Nijmegen. In 1474 Antwerp sent their troops for the eleven month siege of Neuss.

These campaigns brought many financial troubles to the city of Antwerp and the rest of the Low Countries; so by 1476 the Staten-Generaal der Nederlanden (a council of the Low Countries) refused to aid the Duke militarily and finacially, they seemed to know a lost cause when they saw one.

"Quit being such a baby!"
In 1469 there came an ordonnance banning liveries, for it promoted factionalism.
"Too many people claimed protection of the person whose livery they wore, coming and going as they please, armed with armor, swords, javelins, glaives, guns, brandereels (a lead ball on a string), axes and other forbidden sticks or weapons. Too many of these are people of low social standing and workers..."
So recognized guilds and brotherhoods needed a registration of all their members; weapons and the bearing of them  became strictly regularised; and only the "archers of our country" will be able to were a livery and weapons as well as the officers of the Duke and his vassals, within the boundaries of their office.
Also noblemen were only allowed to give liveries to the members of their household.

"I can't stand the sight of blood..."
However I chose to give every man a red vest to give the appearance of uniformity as would have been the likely case of a guild. Red is one of the colors of Saint george as well as the city of Antwerp so it isn't that far of a stretch.

Next up are some Men-at-Arms on foot.