Faversham Hundred Records  

Faversham Hundred Records - Volume 3 (ISBN 978-0-9530998-1-8)

Faversham Tudor and Stuart Muster Rolls

By Patricia Hyde and Duncan Harrington


The book is approx. 170mm x 250mm in size, is sewn and hardbacked. There are 36 introductory pages including a glossary, and 215 pages of lists and indexes, with 6 black & white illustrations. (ISBN 0-9530998-1-4) Only 150 numbered and signed copies are being printed for sale. The volume is offered at a price of £25.00 plus £4.00 postage and packing in the UK and £4.80 surface mail overseas.
The most unusual feature of these muster rolls is that they concern both soldiers and seamen, particularly in the years leading up to the Armada in 1588. The records in this volume cover the period dating from the proclamation ‘Enforcing the statutes for maintaining horse and armor’, otherwise known as the 1558 Arms Act, to the Restoration.
Service in the militia had been part of the duties of an Anglo Saxon freeman. The militia was a citizen army, like the Home Guard, which was liable to be called out on a temporary basis in an emergency. The men assembled from time to time for an inspection at a muster, when their details were written on rolls, some of which have survived and are the subject of our study. The militia was traditionally county based, divided into the ancient hundreds and parishes or tithings. No one was required to muster except in the city, town or village where he had his principal residence, irrespective of where he owned or occupied land, or earned his living. Faversham was outside this system because it was a corporate town and a member of the Cinque Ports as a limb of Dover, but similar arrangements prevailed.
Around this time, as well as being concerned with the militia, the town was starting to get its ship, the Hazard, ready for service for the Cinque Ports. The muster regulations were tightened up in about 1585 at the serious threat of danger. As elsewhere, Faversham muster rolls changed. As well as the lists street by street for the general or rear band we have another roll of ‘the names of the men selectyd bande wythein the towne and libertye of Faversham selectyd chosen and sworne’ by a group of gentlemen at a general muster on 27 September 1585. Able men were at last being chosen. We then have a virtual copy of the select roll and, finally, an incomplete roll for the general roll. All this effort surely indicates how much trouble that was being taken.
These muster rolls can with care be constructively used by local and family historians. There are hundreds of names that can the more easily be identified at Faversham because the lists are set out street by street.

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