Sun Motif The Company of Saint Sebastian Picture: Some Group Members
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Brief notes on history
Group kit and equipment standards
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Company of Saint Sebastian kit and equipment standards (continued)



Quote from the Vorwich Commission of Array

Brief notes on 'Commissions of Array' 5

Included in the provisions of the much earlier Statute of Arms & Assizes (1181), Commissions of Array were the means by which local militias were organised. The Statute required Commissions to be called twice annually in the form of a bi-annual muster, enabling local authorities to conduct surveys of men of fighting age (usually 16yrs-60yrs) and compile inventories of available arms, armour and equipment. Commissions of Array were also called in times of need.

Using Norwich as an example (where evidence exists in the City records of 1355-85 and 1457-61 and references from the Paston Letters), the Commission of Array would be called by the City's Mayor. Council would then appoint up to three Aldermen to oversee the work-on-the-ground of the local Constables (officials working under the Aldermen and Sheriffs) who were responsible for raising the Commission from within local administrative wards ('leets') and constabularies.

The Commission of Array worked on a quota basis - drawing from the total indigenous male population to fill the numbers required - taking into account numbers of soldiers and numbers of archers needed. It should be noted that the lists also included names of single women (usually widows) and those unfit for military service who, although not expected to fight, still needed to provide men as proxies to fight in their place.

A Commission of Array consisted of Companies, each comprising of between 80 and 100 men under the leadership of a Captain. The companies were sub-divided into groups of 20 men led by a Vintner (from the French 'vingt' meaning twenty).

The Commission was funded by a local tax levied on those with sufficient estate to be able to pay and from the contributions of prominent citizens. The poor were generally exempted from having to pay.


Table 1. (below) details a schedule of equipment as detailed by the Commission of Array in Norwich.

Schedule of Commission of Array


Equipment Schedule


Sheaf of Arrows
One Pair Gloves

  Table 1. Based on Commissions of Array of Norwich Group kit standards  


5 Notes are adapted from essay by Paul Robertshaw 'Omni Posse Civiatis: The Norwich Militia in the Fifteenth Century'


As a group, members are encouraged to work towards, at the very least, our basic kit requirement.

Re-enactment is expensive and, aware of this, our only stipulation is that members have access to requisite equipment of the right quality when attending events. (By all means buy and/or manufacture; barter, blag, beg, borrow but never steal). However, please ensure that you follow the group standards guidelines on our pages.

Table 2. (below) indicates the basic equipment requirements for members of our company


Company of Saint Sebastian


Equipment Schedule


Padded Jack

e Sallet with liner
e English Longbow
e Sheaf of Arrows and Arrow Bag
d Harness
d Mail Standard and/or Mail Protection (Shirt)
d Breast Plate
d Pole Weapon
d Sword or Falchion
e Rondel Knife and/or Bollock Dagger
d Buckler
e Livery Coats
e Doublet and/or Pourpoint
e Undergarments (Shirts and Breeches)
e Joined or Single Legged Hose
e Leather Belt
d Pouch (possibly including coins and tenner rosary)
e Boots and/or Shoes
d Pattens
d Guardian Bag
e Hat
U Hood
U Travelling Cloak
d Gloves and Bracer (small)
u Palliace
U Tinder kit
e Eating Kit (bowl, drinking vessel, eating set)

  Table 2. Essential (E); Desirable (D); and Useful (U) kit items that all group members should possess (either bought, borrowed or manufactured) Group kit standards  
Commission of Array
Archery & Archers' Equipment
Armour & Sallets
Padded Jacks & Arming Doublets
Pole Arms & Hand Held Weapons
Doublets & Gowns
Livery Coats
Shirts & Other Linen Garments
Joined & Single Leg Hose
Belts, Pouches & Accessories
Boots & Other Footwear
Hats & Headgear
Miscellaneous Other Items
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This site was designed by WW Forsythe and is Company of Saint Sebastian, 2009. All photographs and other artwork are property of their respective owners, used with permission and credited accordingly.