Research by our leading historians has enabled the online publication of 250,000 medieval soldier service records. The records paint a vivid picture of the soldiers' careers and offer a unique insight into the ranks of England's first professional army.
The database contains the service records of soldiers who saw active duty in the latter phases of the Hundred Years War (1369-1453), including those based in English garrisons in France. Freely available online, it is an invaluable resource for genealogists and people interested in social, political and military history.
Southampton's Professor of Medieval History and Dean of Humanities, Anne Curry, worked with colleagues at the University of Reading on the project. They analysed historic sources such as muster rolls in the National Archives at Kew, The British Library as well as the Bibliothèque Nationale and Archives Nationales in Paris.
The study built a picture of career progression and class mobility through what researchers believe are the origins of England's first fully paid and professional army, creating complex profiles of individual soldiers.
The researchers also uncovered a wealth of detail about the soldiers' careers and lives. They identified where individual soldiers fought and for how long, who advanced in rank from archer to man-at-arms as a result of military success, who was off sick, who was knighted and which parts of England they came from..
Volunteers played a large part in helping to build the soldiers' individual profiles. One volunteer, David Judd, was also able to prove a personal connection to the project. David says: "It was absolutely fascinating to learn more about the detail of my medieval ancestors who must have lived through very troubled times."
The work is part of the Soldier in Late Medieval England project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.