Warrant for ordnance, 1458

On 1st September 1458 a warrant was issued calling for additional ordnance for the Royal Arsenal and fitting a new gun at Calais.

Threat of invasion

Such warrants were issued when there was a need to strengthen London’s fortifications and the south coast. At the time, there was a perceived threat from France. Following the loss of French and Norman lands, it was feared that there would be French intervention in England.

Defence at a time of political division

Additionally, the warrant called for the transfer of military equipment from Kenilworth to London. The warrant, therefore, reflects the growing schism between the Lancastrian and Yorkist factions within court. London was controlled by the Yorkists, as was Calais. Kenilworth was the seat of power of the Royal Court.

Defence of the realm, or of factions?

In issuing the warrant, the Yorkists responded to the increasingly partisan financial policies emanating from the Coventry regime dominated by Margaret of Anjou and attempting to strengthen their own hand.

This is a clear example of how tensions were growing, and relatively simple matters become ones that serve to widen the divide between the two factions in court.

Storage of ordnance

Having so much royal ordnance outside of London, Calais, or the Cinque ports was quite unprecedented. Along with the increased issuing of the Prince of Wales‘ livery, it was one of the reasons that suspicion of the Queen‘s intentions increased in the Yorkist camp.

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