Roles of the Sea in Medieval England

Roles of the Sea in Medieval England

Edited by Richard Gorski


Boydell Press



A fresh assessment of seaborne activity around England in the later middle ages, offering a fresh perspective on its rich maritime heritage.
England's relationship with the sea in the later Middle Ages has been unjustly neglected, a gap which this volume seeks to fill. The physical fact of the kingdom's insularity made the seas around England fundamentally important to its development within the British Isles and in relation to mainland Europe. At times they acted as barriers; but they also, and more often, served as highways of exchange, transport and communication, and it is this aspect which the essays collected here emphasise. Mindful that the exploitation of the sea required specialist technology and personnel, and that England's maritime frontiers raised serious issues of jurisdiction, security, and international diplomacy, the chapters explore several key roles performed by the sea during the period c.1200-c.1500. Foremost among them is war: the infrastructure, logistics, politics, and personnel of English seaborne expeditions are assessed, most notably for the period of the Hundred Years War. What emerges from this is a demonstration of the sophisticated, but not infallible, methods of raising and using ships, men and material for war in a period before England possessed a permanent navy. The second major facet of England's relationship with the sea was the generation of wealth: this is addressed in its own right and as an intrinsic aspect of warfare and piracy.

Richard Gorski is Philip Nicholas Memorial Lecturer in Maritime History at the University of Hull.

Contributors: Richard Gorski, Richard W. Unger, Susan Rose, Craig Lambert, David Simpkin, Tony K. Moore, Marcus Pitcaithly, Tim Bowly, Ian Friel


March 2012
2 line illustrations
204 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843837015
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037010, HIS015000
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Table of Contents

Roles of the Sea: Views from the Shore - Richard Gorski
Changes in Ship Design and Construction: England in the European Mould - Richard W. Unger
The Value of the Cinque Ports to the Crown 1200-1500 - Susan Rose
The Contribution of the Cinque Ports to the Wars of Edward II and Edward III: New Methodologies and Estimates - Craig Lambert
Keeping the Seas: England's Admirals, 1369-1389 - David Simpkin
The Cost-Benefit Analysis of a Fourteenth-Century Naval Campaign: Margate/Cadzand, 1387 - Tony K. Moore
Piracy and Anglo-Hanseatic Relations, 1385-1420 - Marcus Pitcaithly
'Herring of Sligo and Salmon of Bann': Bristol's Maritime Trade with Ireland in the Fifteenth Century - Tim Bowly
How much did the Sea matter in Medieval England (c.1200-c.1500)? - Ian Friel


A most welcome publication (and) a pleasure to read. It is well structured and the chapters are thought provoking and stimulating. HISTORY, July 2013

A superb group of studies. JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES

A fascinating volume which will be of great use to a wide range of scholars. SOUTHERN HISTORY

Deserves to be on the shelves of anyone with an interest in early naval history, the origins of European trade, the building of empires and exploration, the histories of navigation and cartography, and the origins of seaborne and oceanic migration. NORTHERN MARINER

A wide-ranging volume, packed with interest for the general reader as well as the specialist. THE RICARDIAN

A sophisticated portrayal of a complex and very dynamic time. (...) The book offers something to all students of maritime history. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MARITIME HISTORY

A wide-ranging assessment of England's increasing reliance on ships and shipping throughout the period. MEDIEVAL WARFARE

An important resource. PIRATES & PRIVATEERS

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