Lawes and Ordinances militarie
Robert Dudley, Earl of
Note: this Renascence
Editions text was transcribed by R.S.
Bear, December 2000, from the 1586 edition.
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L A VV E S
sett downe and established
right excellente ROBERT
Earle of LEYCESTER,
Baron of Denbigh,
Iustice of Oyer and ter-
miner of her Maiesties
forestes, Chaces and par-
kes on this side Trente,
Maister of the Horse to
most Excellente Maiestie One
the Lordes of her
moste honourable priuie coun-
saile, Knight of bothe
noble Orders, of the
Garter and S. Michaell:
her Highnes Lieute-
nant and Captaine
GENERAL of her Maist.
and forces in the
lowe Countries: And Go-
of all the Prouin-
cies and Cities vnited
in the saide
lowe Countries, and
To be obserued by all suche
as shall serue in her Maiest.
Armie vnder him in the saide Countries.
Imprinted at Leyden
by Andries Derschout/the
xxv. of Januarie.
1586. de stilo nouo.
there is not any
Estate, which in peace or warre can be accounted sure, or preserued from
dishonour & ruine, vnlesse it bee supported and borne vp by Iustice
duely administred, and discipline orderly obserued: And for that no man
can be so ignorant as not to knowe that honor, fame and prosperitie doe
duely follow that common Wealth or Nation, wherein good lawes are established,
the Magistrate ministering Iustice is duely regarded, and the peple fearing
to offende, are drawen vnder the rules of Iustice and obedience: And seeing
that martiall discipline aboue al things (proper to men of warre) is by
vs at this time most to be folowed, aswell for the aduanceme[n]t of Gods
glorie, as honourable to gouerne this Armie in good order: And least that
the euill inclined (pleading simplicitie) should couer any wicked facte
by ignorance: Therefore these martiall ordinances and Lawes followinge
are established and published, whereby all good mindes endeuouringe to
attaine honour, may stand armed, and receiue encouragement to perseuere
in well doing, & such as are inclined to lewdenesse, be warned from
committing offences punishable. which being embraced with carefull respect,
and followed with obedie[n]ce, doe promise good order and agreeme[n]t amongst
our selues, with victorie and good eue[n]t against our enemies.
First, Forasmuch as the holy Name of our most mightie
and invincible God, with all reuerence ought to be regarded, and that
is pronounced to suche as blaspheme or abuse the same: it is therefore
ordeined and commanded, that no person whatsoeuer, either in common conference
or communication, or for any cause whatsoeuer, shall blaspheme, or take
his Name in vaine, vpon paine of losse of v.s. to the releefe of the poore
for the first offence: for the seconde, fiue dayes imprisonment: for the
third, losse of his place and wages.
And because the continuall and vnspeakeable fauours of our Almightie God,
by our vnthankfulnesse may be taken from vs, and that no good euent of
any action can be expected, wherein God is not first and principally honored
and serued: It is therefore especially ordeyned and commaunded, that all
persons whatsoeuer, shall vpon general warning giuen either by sound of
Trompet or Drum, repaire to the place appointed, where the Diuine seruice
is to be vsed, there to heare the same read and preached, vnlesse for the
present by sicknesse or other seruice he be impeached, vpon paine to lose
his dayes wages for the first, two dayes wages for the second, and so to
be encreased by the discretion of the Iudge, and for euery such default
in the Souldier, aswell the Captaine as his inferiour officers, to be punished
with like penaltie.
And seeing it well beseemeth all Christians, especially such as professe
the militarie seruice, to passe away the time in matters requisite for
their profession: And because no time can be more vainely spent, then that
which is consumed in vnlawfull games, besides the breeding of much contention
and quarrelles: And for that there be many allowable and commendable exercises
for all sortes of men to vse: Therefore it is streightly commanded, that
no priuate Souldiour or inferiour Officer shal play at Dice and Cardes,
nor any other vnlawfull games, vpon paine of two dayes imprisonment for
the first time, and for after committing the like, to bee further
by the Iudges discretion.
And for that it often happeneth, that by permitting of many vagrant &
idle women in an armie, sundry disorders and horrible abuses are committed:
Therefore it is ordeined that no man shall carrie into the fielde, or deteine
with him in the place of his garrison, any woman whatsoeuer, other then
such as be knowen to be his lawful wife, or such other women to tende the
sicke and to serue for launderers as shall be thought meete by the
Marshall, vpon paine of whipping and banishment.
And insomuch as clemencie amongst men of warre in
some respectes is a singular vertue: It is ordeined that no man in any
part of this seruicethat he shall doe, shall lay violent handes vpon any
woman with childe, or lying in childebed, olde persons, widowes, yong
virgins, or babes, without especiall orders from the Magistrate, vpon
paine of death.
Noe man of what degree so euer he be, shall enforce any wife, widowe,
maide or virgin, and by violence defile anie of them vppon paine of death.
What person soeuer that shall be commonly giuen to
drunkennesse, or riotously behaue himselfe, shall be banished the Armie.
Whosoeuer shall conceale, or in any sort kepe
secrete, Treason, any dangerous conspiracie, or other practise which may
be hurtfull, and may concerne the peril of her Maiesties person and
realme, or of her General, or the estate of this Armie, and shall not with
all diligence reueale the same either vnto the Generall, or some other
Officer of especiall trust, shal incurre the paines of death with
If anie man whatsoeuer shall practice and conspire anie thinge to
the hurte or perill of her Maiesties person, and realme or of her
Generall, or the estate of this Armie, and he therof laufullie
convinced, shall suffer death with torments.
writinge with or
to the Ennemie.
No man shall haue speeche or conference, send
message, deliuer or receiue letters to or from the enemie, or any of his
confederates, either secretly or openly, without manifesting the same
presently vnto the Generall or Marshall, or hauing former authoritie to
soe do, vpon paine of death.
the Camp or the
No man being in this seruice shall departe the Campe
or place of Garrison for any cause whatsoeuer, without the Generals
especiall Pasport, or other head Officer authorized, vpon paine of death.
of the ranke.
No man shall breake out, or leaue the order of his
ranke, being once ordered in the fielde by the Marshall or Sergeant Maior,
without some great occasion first made knowen vnto the saide Officer, vpon
paine of losse either of life or limme, at the discretion of the Generall
or of the Marshall.
No man appointed to watch or warde, shall shun or
depart the place, neither shall sleepe, or neglect his duetie therein,
especially after the watch is set and the woorde giuen, vnlesse he be
orderly relieued, or for some great occasion enforced, with licence of his
Captaine or Officer, vpon paine of death.
Watch worde be-
No man shall bewray the watchworde to the enemie or
to any other, of giue any other worde then is deliuered by the Officer,
vpon paine of death with torment.
Mutynie or vn-
No man shall raise any mutinie, or procure vnlawfull
assemblies vpon priuate, secrete, or hidden purpose, whereby to disturbe
the peace and quiet of the Armie, vpon paine of death.
Noe man shall lift vp his weapon against the
Magistrate, his Captaine or Officer, vpon paine of death.
Campe or Tow-
ne of garrison.
No man shall quarrel, brawle, or make any fray within
the Campe or Towne of garrison, vpon olde malice, or newe ocasion
whatsoeuer, but shall complaine to the Officer, who is to decide the cause
and punish the partie offending, vpon paine of losse of life or limme, at
the discretion of the Generall or Marshall.
by English men.
And whereas sundrie nations are to serue with vs in
these warres, so as through diuerstie of languages occasion of many
controuersies may arise or happen to growe: It is therefore ordeined, that
if any person of English nation shall finde him selfe agrieued with any
wrong profered him by any foreiner, that then without profering further
reue[n]ge hee shall signifie the same vnto his Captaine or other officer,
whereby other may be taken so, as no further quarrel growe thereof, but
that quietnesse in all respects may be preserued, vpon paine of such
punishment as the head officers shall thinke meete, either by losse of
life or limme.
trench/ or streight
No man appointed to the defence of any Breach,
Trench, or Streight, either Captaine of Souldiour, shall willingly leaue
it, or vpon any false or imagined cause or excuse shall absent
himselfe from the place, without sufficient warrant, vpon paine of
led vnder two
No man shall enrolle his name vnder two Captaines,
nor muster in seuerall comanies at one time, or otherwise passe in an
other mans name, or lende armour, weapon, or other furniture vpon the
muster day, whereby to abuse her Maiestie, and weaken the present seruice,
vpon paine of a moneths imprisonment, and banishment.
No man shall embezill or deminish any of his Armour,
weapon and furniture, which is appointed him by his Captaine, vnlesse he
can prooue that he lost the same in seruice. And that no man shall take in
pawne any Souldiours weapons or furniture, vpon paine to the Souldiour of
losse of hys place, and to the other that shall take it in pawne, the
losse of the double value.
Playing awaie of
No man shall play away, engage, or lende away his
furniture, but shall alwayes keepe his Armour and weapon cleane and
seruiceable, vpon paine of being discharged.
Pilfering of his
No man shall deceitfully take away his companions
prouision, victuals, or furniture, vpon paine of imprisonment.
tion of victuals
No person traueyling, lodging, or abiding in any the
Townes or Contreis of her Maiesties friendes or Allies, shall in any wise
exact or take by force from the people either victual or other their goods
whatsoeuer, without present payment, or other sufficient order to the iust
satisfaction of the partie, upon paine of death.
No man shall forestall any victuals brought for the
Campe or place of garrison, but suffer the same peaceably to come into the
Market place, there to be rated and priced by the Marshall or his officer,
before he buy the same, vpon paine of death.
Robbing or spoi-
linge of vitler or
No man shall robbe or spoyle any Shop or Tent, or any
victualler or Marcha[n]t comming for reliefe of the Campe or garrison, but
in all good sort shall entertaine and defend them, vpon paine of
dayes for takinge
| 27 No Souldiour
commaunded at any time to take victuals
for certaine dayes, shall exceede the same dayes, or spe[n]d the same
other wise then according to the proportions and time allowed him, vpon
paine of imprisonment, or other such punishme[n]t as the lawfull officers
None to be spoi-
led beinge of the
No man shall distresse or spoyle any person standing
on her Maisties partie, or beinge vnder the Generals protection, vpon
paine of death.
No man shall disobey or transgresse any Proclamation
made by Drumme or Trumpet, set foorth by the Generall, vppon such paine as
he shall set foorth.
No man shall resist the Prouost or his other officer
in apprehending of any malefactour, but if neede require, shall ayde and
assist therein, or otherwise if by suche occasion any escape be made, it
is ordeined that euery person by whose defaulte the escape was committed,
shall suffer like punishment that the parties so escaped should haue
any there lod-
No man shall molest or trouble any person being vnder
his owne regiment, or the leading of any other, once placed by the
Marshall, forrier, or Herbinger in the Campe or Towne, but quietly to
permit and suffer euery one to enioye his seuerall roome or lodging,
vnlesse it be by mutuall consent and agreement, neither shall any man
lodge out of his Captaines quarter without licence, vppon paine of
No man shall ouerthrowe or destroye any water Milles
or water workes without speciall commaundement of the General, or other
heade Officer vppon paine of death.
No ma[n] contrarie to order shall set on fire or
burne any house, milne, or corne, nor at dislodging or remoouing shall
set the Campe on fire, without speciall commaundement from the General or
other head Officer present, vpon paine of death.
Silence in watch
warde or Am-
No man shall make anie owterie or noise in any
watch, warde, Ambushe, or anie other place where silence is requisite and
necessarie, vppon paine of losse of life or lymme, at the generals discretion.
No man without great occasion shall make any Alarme,
but if any chance to arise, then shall euery man presently repaire in all
haste vnto his appointed place, vnlesse some true excusable cause doe
hinder him, vpon paine of death.
No man shall harbour or receiue into his lodging any
person being a stranger, or of our owne nation not being enrolled in her
Maiesties paye, but shall presently acquaint the Generall or Marshall
with his name, countrey, the time of his comming, and busines, vpon paine
of imprisonment, and losse of his place and wages.
No man shall talke or haue conuersation with any
Trumpetter or Drummer of the enemies, or other sent in message, but such
as bee appointed by the Generall, vpon paine of death.
No man shal attendt vpon the carriages, but such as
are appointed to that charge, neither linger, or loyter behinde with them
to ride or ease themselues, vnlesse it be such as by sickenesse, hurtes,
or other infirmities knowe[n] to the officers, to be permitted so, vpon
paine of impriso[nment], & losse of wages.
No man shall attempt to goe a forraging, without the
officer appointed for that purpose deliuer them a sufficient guarde for
their defence, vpon paine of death.
Euery Souldier shall present such prisoners as are
taken, to their Captaine immediately at their returne to the Campe, and
none shall either kill them, or license them to depart, without
commaundement or leaue from the Generall, or other head Officer thereunto
appointed, vpon paine of being disarmed, and banished the Campe.
Obedience of the
Souldier to his
Captaine/ or his
Euery Souldier at all times in seruice shalbe
obedient and faithfull, as well to Their Captaines as other inferiour
Officers, & not to refuse direction of any, vnder whom they are
appointed to serue, vpon paine of imprisonment, and losse of a moneths
wages. And whensoeuer anie Captaine of anie bande shall vppon vrgent
causes appointe in his absence anie other whome he shall thinke good to
supplie and execute his roome of captaineship, euery man ought to followe
and obey the saide deputie with not lesse care and diligence, then they
woulde the Captaine him self vppon the same paine.
Euery man shall support and defende his owne Ensigne
both night and day, and shall resort vnto the same vpon the first
warning, and depart vntill it be brought into safetie, vpon paine of death.
Drum/ Fif[e]/ or
Trumpet to be
Euery souldier shal diligently obserue and learne
the sound of Drums, Fifes, and Trumpets, to the end he may knowe howe to
answere the same in his seruice.
No man shall slaughter or kill any beast of what
nature soeuer within the Campe or Garrison, but in such places as are
appointed for that purpose, nor shall suffer the garbage to remine
vnburied, neither shall any man trouble or defile the waters adioyning,
but in the lower part of the streame some good distance from the Campe,
vpon paine of imprisonment.
No man shall ease himselfe or defile the Campe or
Towne of Garrison, saue in such places as is appointed for that purpose,
vpon paine of imprisonment, and such further punishment, as shall be
thought meete by the chiefe Officers.
If any man doe take a prisoner or bootie, he shall
immediately after hee is returned vnto the Campe or Towne of Garrison,
make his Captaine or Gouernour acquainted therewith, and the Captaine
shall declare the same vnto the Marshall, who euery eight dayes shall
make certificate thereof vnto the Generall, vpon paine of imprisonment,
and further punishment as the Generall shall set downe.
Crie/ att the put-
tinge vp of any
In Marching by the fieldes, no man at the putting vp
of any Hare, or any other beast shal make any shout or crie, whereby to
disquiet or stay the rest of the bands, but to vse all quietnesse and
silence in their march, vpon paine of imprisonment.
Place of charge/
geuen to the Ene-
No man shall giue vp or deliuer vnto the enemies any
place left to his charge or keeping, vpon paine of death.
Flyinge/ to the Ene-
If any man flie to the enemies, or be taken vpon his
departure towards them, he shall suffer death.
Passage by ordy-
That no person whatsoeuer shall passe by any other
way either in Towne or Campe, but at the ordinarie gates and passages,
vpon paine of death.
That all heraults of Armes shall doe there
messagies, and make proclamacion at such times and places and in such
order without addicion, dymynucion or alteracion, acccordinge vnto there
direction and commission from the generall, vppon paine to be inflicted
at the generals discretion, accordinge to the qualitie of there faulte.
Enter[tayn]inge of a
No Captaine, Officer, or other
person, shal receiue or entertaine any other mans Souldiour or seruant,
without consent of his former Captaine or Mayster, neither shall entice
an other mans Souldiour from him, vpon paine of losse of a Monethes
wages, and to restore the partie to his former Captaine or Maister.
Doinge any En-
No Captaine shall sende foorth any men to doe any
enterprise, without knowledge of the Generall, or chiefe officer
appointed thereunto, vpon paine of losse of his place.
Watch and ward
by priuate Cap-
All priuate Captaines, being no head Officers, shal
watch and warde with their Ensignes, vnlesse it be by speciall leaue,
vpon paine of the losse of a monethes paye, and for the second time,
losse of his place.
med or solde.
No Captaine shall sell or raunsome his prisoner
without license of the Generall, and shall not suffer them to depart
without making the high Marshall priuie to the same, vpon paine of losse
of his prisoner, and imprisonment.
gressing to be
taken by any
Any Captaine finding any Souldier of what band or
company so euer, which hath transgressed any of these Lawes and
Ordinances, may take him and bring him vnto the Marshall to be punished.
before he be re-
That no Captaine shall receiue or enroll any person
vnto his paye vnder him, but that he cause the sayde Souldier to
receiue the othe, vpon paine to the Captaine for not obseruinge the same,
of losse of a moneths paye.
Captaine not to
license any soul-
dier to departe
Noe inferior Captaine shall for corruption, or any
other cause license any of his souldiers to departe the Campe, or
Garrison without speciall license of the Generall, or other hedde
Officer, vppon paine of losse of his monethes paie, and expulsion out of
If any Captaine hereafter receauinge his souldiers
paie, doe not paie the same vnto them within 8. daies after, and beinge
demaunded, Then vppon complainte made, and the Captaine therof convicted,
he shall lose hys monethes paie, and be deprived of his office, banished
the Campe, and disabled from thensforth to serue in this Armie.
Captaines and Officers shall frequent & resorte
vnto the Souldiers lodgings to see in what state there Armour and
Munitions be in, And to geue greate charge that there furniture be
alwaies in a redines, there corslets with all peeces belonginge to the
same, and there Caliuers to be made cleane and oyled, to haue match and
powder drie, and Stringes for there Bowes, there bylls and halberts to be
kepte cleane and sharpe, vppon paines and punishment arbitrarie,
accordinge to the qualitie of there negligence.
all other Offen-
All other offences and Actes that may tende to
disorder, not comprised within these Articles, shalbe subiect to such
maner of punishment, as the Lieutenant Generall shall inflict vpon them,
as if it had bene specially expressed and set downe.
| 62 And to the intente that no man
maie pretende and alleage any iuste cause of ignorance of the afore
recited lawes and Ordinanceis, or anie of them, the said lord Generall
bothe ordaine, That all chief Officers, and Captianes of this Armie shall
cause the same to be red and published with in there Bande euerie
xx. daies, to all those whitch be vnder there charge respectiuelie
accordinge to there quarters, especiallie in all those placeis where they
shall lie in Garrison, as well horsemen, as footemen, and to cause the
same to be kepte and oberued inviolablie asmuch as in them lieth in euery
branche & article of the same, accordinge, to the tenor, forme and
The forme of the Othe
Whiche all Officers, Captaines, Soul-
diers, and all other seruinge in this
Armie shall take and
I, A.B. doe sweare and promise to doe
all loyall, true and
faithfull seruice vnto the Quene of England her most excellente
Maiestie, and vnto the Prouinces and Cities vnited in these
Countries, and there associats vnder the charge and obeidence of the
right excellente the Earle of L E Y C E S T E
R, Gouernour generall of the saide Prouinces and
Cities, & there associats, and of her Maiesties armie and
forces within the same. And all laufull and due obedience vnto the saide
Gouernour, and to any other superior, that shall haue charge vnder him
for gouerment in this Armie. And farther I do promise to endeuour my self
to fulfill and kepe all suche laufull Ordinances as his Excellencie hath
or shall sette forth and establishe for the better ordering of this
Armie, as muche as concerne me, so longe as I shall serue in the same
vnder him. So helpe me God, by Iesus Christe.