Dr Ayton has transformed understanding of Edward III's armies - compulsory reading for anyone interested in the Hundred Years War. WAR IN HISTORY [Michael Prestwich]
The mounted, armoured knight is one of the most potent symbols of medieval civilisation; indeed, for much of the middle ages the armoured warhorse was what defined a man as a member of the military class. However, despite the status of the knightly warrior in medieval society, the military service of the later medieval English aristocracy remains an unaccountably neglected subject, and the warhorse itself has never attracted a major study based upon archival sources. This book seeks to open up new fields of research: it focuses on the horse inventories, documents which offer detailed lists of men-at-arms and their appraised warhorses, the valuation of which is a measure of its owner's social and military status. Dr Ayton is primarily concerned with the inventories and related records for Edward III's reign, a period which witnessed significant changes in the organisation of the English fighting machine. Thedocuments produced during this period of `military revolution' cast valuable light on the character and attitudes of the aristocratic military community at a time when its traditional role was in the course of re-evaluation.
Dr ANDREW AYTON is senior lecturer in history at the University of Hull.