Contract captain

In the mid-14c, the feudal system of summoning by writ knights to fight for the king was disappearing fairly rapidly. In its place, two systems of recruiting fighters were emerging: hiring by contract and volunteers. Contract captains, who were knights, were charged by the king to recruit set numbers of men, for set periods of time; the contract for fighting being with the captain, not the king. The standard period of contract was for 40 days, the quarantine. The daily rates of pay, during Edward Ill's reign (1327-77), for various ranks were as follows: an earl, 6s 8d; banneret, 4s; knight, 2s; man-at-arms, 1s; mounted archer, 6d, unmounted, 3d. The recruiting captain of volunteers usually found his men in the prisons. In usual circumstances, as many as 10 per cent of an army were ex-prisoners, released on condition of serving in the army. There were also *mercenaries recruited in Flanders and elsewhere. -

Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases. .

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