Trained bands

Analytical Index to the Series of Records Known as the Remembrancia 1579-1664. Originally published by EJ Francis, London, 1878.

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, 'Trained bands', in Analytical Index to the Series of Records Known as the Remembrancia 1579-1664, (London, 1878) pp. 530-539. British History Online [accessed 29 May 2024].

. "Trained bands", in Analytical Index to the Series of Records Known as the Remembrancia 1579-1664, (London, 1878) 530-539. British History Online, accessed May 29, 2024,

. "Trained bands", Analytical Index to the Series of Records Known as the Remembrancia 1579-1664, (London, 1878). 530-539. British History Online. Web. 29 May 2024,

Trained Bands.

III. 71. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor. Some use was to be made of some of the City Trained Bands (fn. 1) in the shows and magnificences prepared for the marriage of the Princess Elizabeth, (fn. 2) the King's eldest daughter. They required him to appoint 350 of the best shot of those bands to be ready by the 13th February, for which they should be at no charge, but should have provision of powder and match delivered to them. They requested the Lord Mayor to apply to the Lord Admiral for further directions.
31st January, 1612.

III. 172. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor. Although it had not been usual, upon orders given for general musters of the armed forces of the realm, to make a like address to the City as to the several counties, yet they had thought it desirable on the present occasion to give directions as well to the City for the training and mustering of their forces as to other parts of the Kingdom. They therefore required a general view to be taken of the City forces, and that notice should be taken and enrolment made of such trained numbers as in Her late Majesty's time were put into companies by the name of the Trained Bands; to fill up vacancies since former musters; to remedy all deficiencies in their armour, weapons, and other furniture; and, having completed and furnished such bands, to have them trained and exercised, from time to time, in convenient places, certifying thereon to the Council.
16th September, 1614.

III. 173. Letter from the Earl of Suffolk, Lord Treasurer, to the Lord Mayor. The Officers of the Exchequer and their Servants, by an ancient privilege, which could not be questioned, had been exempted from the service of musters, and were only to attend the Lord Treasurer with their arms and furniture when required. He therefore requested him to discharge all officers and clerks of the Exchequer resident within the City and Liberties from service and attendance at musters.
3rd October, 1614.

IV. 22. Not entered in the book. It is referred to in the Table of Contents as follows:—"Letter from the Lords to the Lord Mayor, in approbation of his course taken in dividing the City, and appointing four Colonels, and the Lord Mayor for the time being to be General."

IV. 71. Extract from Journal of the Court of Common Council, dated 4th May, 14 James 1. (1616), reciting that a Letter from the Lords of the Council, touching the provision of arms, powder, and match within the City, was read, and referred to the Committee for Martial Affairs, to consider and report thereon to the Court of Aldermen.

The Letter of the Lords of the Council is inserted at length. It states that in September, 1614, they had addressed their letters to the Lord Mayor for the mustering, furnishing, and training of the Trained Bands, and had also written similar letters in the following November for provision of such arms as were requisite for the service of the enrolled companies, and of the adjacent counties, which were to be furnished from the City. Since then they had heard nothing from the Lord Mayor, but had been otherwise informed that the City was altogether unprovided with arms, and could not furnish the trained numbers without borrowing one of another, and that there was scarcely sufficient match and powder in the whole City for one day's training. They therefore required, in His Majesty's name,—

1st.—That effectual and real provision should be made of good and serviceable arms for the complete furnishing of the inhabitants of the City and counties adjacent resorting thither to supply themselves for their money, for which purpose a magazine of arms was always to be kept in readiness.

2nd.—That a competent store of powder and match should be at all times ready, the powder to be not less than one hundred lasts; if such quantity could not at first be easily had, directions should be given for the delivery of some reasonable proportion out of His Majesty's store, at usual prices. That an answerable proportion of match should be likewise provided.

And, lastly—That a true and perfect account of the accomplishment of these directions, and of those contained in the two former Letters of the Council, should be forwarded with all convenient expedition.
24th April, 1616.

IV. 138. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Recorder to the Lord Chancellor, (fn. 3) in reply to the foregoing Letter, stating that in the May preceding a Letter had been received from the Lords of the Council concerning the mustering and enrolling of the City Trained Bands, in which the Commission of Lieutenancy for the City was (as it seemed to them) declared by their Lordships to cease, although the Commission itself stated it should continue until it was ordered to cease and determine by six of the Lords of the Council (of whom the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Treasurer, or Lord Privy Seal should be one), under their hands and seals. The Letter being under their hands only, and not under their seals, they were in some doubt upon the matter, and requested his Lordship's explanation thereon.
9th August, 1618.

V. 104. Letter from Mr. Secretary Calvert to the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen, soliciting the appointment of Muster Master (fn. 4) of the City for his kinsman, Captain Mynnes, Knight, Harbinger to His Majesty.
Whitehall, 17th April, 1621.

V. 126. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen to the Lords of the Council, intimating that, having taken into consideration the long disuse of arms in the City of London, and being desirous that both men and furniture should be always in readiness for His Majesty's service, they proposed, subject to the approval of the Council, to appoint the 11th of April for a general training of the City's Bands.

An English Merchant had brought a ship into the Port of London with a cargo of wheat from foreign parts, who alleged that he was bound by his charter party to deliver it in Spain, and that he only came into the Port to furnish his ship with ordnance for the voyage. They had, however, refused to allow the corn to be carried away, because they found a present want of it in the City, and the unseasonableness of the winter threatened a future scarcity.
31st March, 1621.

V. 132. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen. They had already signified their approval of the mustering and training of the Trained Bands on the 11th April, but as Finsbury Field was somewhat out of the way, they had thought good, in order that the Foreign Ambassadors then at His Majesty's Court might take notice of the troops, that all the companies should march through Fleet Street and the Strand into St. James's Fields, and be there mustered and trained.
7th April, 1622.

VI. 136. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor. His Majesty, foreseeing the necessity in these hostile and dangerous times of having the Trained Bands within the kingdom kept in a state of warlike preparation, and being informed that they were generally ill-provided and furnished,—that not only were the defects great in those that showed their horses and arms, but that many borrowed horses and arms to show as their own,—and many presumed not to find them at all,—had determined to take a view and muster in person of the horse of very many shires, for which purpose the Lord Mayor was to give directions to all the horse companies within his lieutenancy to repair to the King's presence on Hounslow Heath by nine o'clock in the morning on the 21st April next, with their captains and officers, and to take care that the several bands were supplied with full numbers, and that the men, arms, and horses were fit for service. In the mean time His Majesty required the several troops to be trained and exercised frequently together, and the men to be directed two or three times a week, at their own dwellings, to ride their horses armed, and thus accustom themselves to the use of their weapons. As to recusants, every one of them should find such horse and arms as they were charged with, and the Lord Mayor or his deputy should appoint the men to serve for them. If any man should appear at the general muster with a borrowed horse or arms, or in other unfitting manner, His Majesty would proceed against him as a contemner of his commands and a betrayer of his honour and the safety of his kingdom. If any persons made default, the Lord Mayor should send them, in safe custody, before the Council. Lastly, as the apparent and imminent danger from foreign enemies on many sides awakened His Majesty's care, to advise of all preventions and remedies that could be thought convenient his pleasure was that the Lord Mayor, or one or two of his deputies, should attend the Court, on the 7th of May ensuing, to receive directions from the Council, and that he or they should bring with them the perfect state of all the military forces, both horse and foot, within his lieutenancy.
Whitehall, 10th January, 1627.

VI. 141. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen. The Sheriffs had complained to them of the insolencies and disorders committed daily upon inhabitants of the City by mariners and other loose persons. A sufficient number of the Trained Bands should be armed and in readiness to disperse any such tumultuous assemblies, and in the event of resistance to assail and disperse them in hostile manner as rebels. Further, strong and sufficient watches should be kept both day and night at the gates and other usual places in the City, for the prevention of tumults and disorders.
Whitehall, 16th February, 1627.

VI. 148. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor. Whereas by their Letter of the 10th January they had signified the King's pleasure for a general muster of the City Horse at the rendezvous appointed, by their Letters of the 21st ult. and 30th March last, they had signified his pleasure for deferring such muster until the 11th June next, but as His Majesty now thought fit to respite the meeting until further orders, they desired the Lord Mayor to take steps accordingly. The King expected a due and exact account of the performance of all the other directions contained in their Letter of the 10th January last.
Whitehall, 25th May, 1628.

VI. 149. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor. The present state of Christendom was such as to require all things to be in readiness for defence, and because the times required more than ordinary care, they the more earnestly recommended the mustering and training both of horse and foot within the City, the defects of which had induced the King to determine to take a personal inspection of many of them, but which he had forborne on account of the cost it would have entailed. The King now expected the more care in the musters, and the remedying of defects therein. They would not repeat their former directions, especially those of the 10th July, 1626, but briefly refer to them, and request him to take care and give directions accordingly, and especially to send a speedy and exact account of the state of the City to the Council, who were required to render an account of all the counties by the 10th September next.
Last of May, 1628.

VI. 177. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor. They had already, by the King's command, written to all the counties of the Kingdom, to cause a muster and exact view to be taken of all the trained forces, both horse and foot. They were also commanded to call upon him for a like mustering and training of the foot companies of the City, in which His Majesty expected greater diligence and care than had been of late used. They required an exact certificate to be returned before the 1st of October.
Whitehall, last of May, 1629.

VII. 143. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor —upon information from abroad of the great preparations both by sea and land of the neighbouring Princes and States—requiring him to cause an exact view and muster to be taken of the arms and trained forces of the City, and to see that their arms were complete, and all the soldiers and officers able to perform their duties; that they were well affected in religion, and took the oath of allegiance; that the Trained Bands were ready to assemble at an hour's warning, and that all able men untrained between sixteen and sixty were enrolled. The Lord Mayor should also endeavour to increase the Trained Bands, and see them completely furnished and exercised, and require the best sort of men to provide themselves with arms for their own use. He should likewise take order that as many of the untrained men as possible might be furnished and exercised, and reduced into bands; that the arms of recusants which had been sequestrated should be repaired and kept fit for use at the cost of the owners; and that no recusants should be exempt from showing at every muster the arms chargeable upon them, but that the persons to wear their arms should be chosen by his Deputy Lieutenants, at the charge of the said recusants; and that after every muster the arms should be delivered back and kept in sequestration as before; that the several proportions of ammunition should be put in magazine for use on all occasions; that a Provost Marshal should be appointed for the apprehending and punishment of vagabonds and idle persons not in any lawful vocation; and that an exact account of the state of the forces should be sent to the Council by the 10th June next.
30th April, 1635.

VII. 153. Letter from the King to the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen. The office of Muster Master was of such necessary use, that there was no county in the realm which had not some person of understanding and experience in military affairs to exercise that place, and be present at the mustering of the Trained Bands, and see that their arms were serviceable and in readiness. He understood there was no such office in the City of London, and he therefore recommended Captain John Fisher to be forthwith chosen thereto, to enjoy the place during his life, with such fees, profits, &c., for the execution thereof as should be fitting for a person of his quality.
Windsor, 13th September, 11 Charles I., 1635.

VII. 164. Petition of the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen to the King, reciting His Majesty's recommendation of Captain Fisher as Muster Master of the City. The Petitioners had ever been entrusted with the care and ordering of what appertained to the arms of the City, and the Aldermen, Deputy, and Common Council of each Ward, accompanied by the Captain of each Band, had performed the duty of Muster Master. They therefore prayed that they might continue this privilege.
Dated in margin 12th November, 1635.

VII. 172. Similar in effect to No. 164.

VII. 173. Letter from Mr. Secretary Windebank to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen. The King was no way satisfied with the reasons given for their refusal to appoint Captain Fisher, and therefore required them forthwith to proceed to the election of a Muster Master of the City of London, and again recommended Captain Fisher for the office.
Whitehall, 10th March, 1635.

VII. 175. Petition from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen to the Lords of the Council, reciting their former Petition concerning Captain Fisher, and the further Letter of Secretary Windebank thereon, and expressing the readiness and alacrity they had ever shown to yield obedience to the King's commands. As the office of Muster Master was better performed in the City than in any county in England, and could not well be performed by any one man, the setting of an officer over them would impair their authority; and as it would be a new burden on the Citizens, it would be a discouragement to them, if not a cause for their withdrawing themselves from the practice of arms. They therefore prayed the Council to be mediators to the King, that the City might enjoy their ancient privilege.
In margin dated 18th March, 1635.

VIII. 29. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen, requiring a general muster and inspection of all the City Trained Bands to be called in Finsbury Field; that the said Bands should be made complete and all deficiencies supplied, and a perfect certificate sent to the Council.
21st February, 1620.

VIII. 94. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor, referring to former directions for the exercising of the Trained Bands, and requiring them to be called together as often as convenient upon holidays or otherwise when commonly they spent their time in drinking and unlawful exercises; and to see that every man performed his service in person, and with his own arms, which should be com plete and serviceable, according to the modern fashion; and to certify the same before the last of October.
30th April, 1632.

VIII. 152. Same as No. 143, Vol. VII.
30th April, 1635.

VIII. 162. Same as No. 143, Vol. VII.
30th April, 1635.

VIII. 210. Letter from the King to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen upon the petition of Captain John Fisher, complaining that, notwithstanding the King's grant to him under the Great Seal of the office of Muster Master of the City, no allowance had been settled upon him; and requiring them to order him the same allowance as other Muster Masters in counties—viz., 12d. for every foot, and 2s. for every horse, commencing from the date of his grant, and to pay the arrears due to him.
20th October, 1638.

VIII. 213. Further Order in Council with respect to the payment of Captain John Fisher, directing the Lord Mayor and Aldermen without further delay to provide that he should be paid for the time he had held office, viz., two years past, at the rate of 6d. per poll per annum for every soldier in the Trained Bands, that being the rate allowed to the Muster Master of the county of Kent; and to see that the Captains of the several companies of Trained Bands collected the money of every soldier, and paid the same yearly to the said Muster Master.
26th August, 1639.

VIII. 220. Warrant from the King for levying 3,000 men from the Trained Bands to serve against the Scots; with provisions for the allowing of deputies at the expense of those impressed for such service.
18th February, 1638.

VIII. 221. Order in Council for the reformation of defects and abuses in the Trained Bands, requiring the Lord Mayor to set some mark upon the arms of each company, or take some other means to prevent the abuses occasioned by the borrowing of arms one of another; and to see that such householders as were fit to serve with their own arms should be required to do it, and that such as were thought fit to be dispensed with found substitues; and to confer with Captain Fisher thereon, and give him all assistance and encouragement in the execution of his office.
13th February, 1638.

VIII. 222. Letter from the King to the Lord Mayor, concerning the continued neglect of his commands for payment of Captain John Fisher, requiring conformity to the former Orders, and intimating that further delay would be interpreted as a contempt of the Royal authority, and some coercive means would be used.
1st November, 1639.

IX. 35. Letter from Mr. Secretary Nicholas to the Lord Mayor and Common Council. The officers of the Trained Bands of the City had been put to great expense and charges in providing themselves with trophies and other necessaries, not only for the defence of the King's person and for the safety of the City, but also in suppressing the late insurections, which expenses ought to be borne at the public charge, and recommending the Common Council to take some speedy means for reimbursing the same by a general tax to be levied upon the whole City.
18th November, 1661.


  • 1. By an Act of Parliament, 27 Henry II., 1181, called "An Assize of Arms," confirmed and enlarged by 13 Edward I., 1285, every man, according to his estate and degree, was obliged to provide a determinate quantity of such-arms and armour as were then in use. Constables were provided to see that their arms were correct, and proper persons, at stated periods, were appointed to muster and train them. Every Freeman that had in chattels or rent to the value of sixteen marks was to have a coat of mail (loricam), a helmet (cassidem), a shield, and a lance; and so in proportion to his wealth. Another Assize of Arms was passed 36 Henry III., 1252, and in 1285 the Statute of Winchester. These made some alterations in the qualification and in the weapon. By 27 Edward I., 1298, armed horses were ordered to be provided. The Statute of 4 and 5 Philip and Mary, c. 3, 1537, changed the weapons for those of more modern construction. It also provided that all persons having an estate valued at 1,000l. or more should, after the 1st of May, 1558, keep six horses and ten light horses, with furniture, &c. By the 33 Henry VIII. c. 5, Commissioners were appointed to see that the inhabitants of cities and boroughs were properly provided with arms, &c. Thus cities, according to their wealth or position, were obliged to have ready so many trained men. In 1335 the City of London provided twenty-five men in arms and 500 archers for the war against Frazce. In 1360, 1,400 to serve in France. Henry VIII. called upon the City to supply him with 1,500 men in July, 1545. The French threatening the Isle of Wight, on the 4th of August, 1545, the citizens sent 1,000 soldiers to Dover. In 1557 Queen Mary caused a levy to be made of 1,000 horsemen, 4,000 footmen, and 2,000 pioneers, to assist Philip of Spain against the King of France. In 1558 another was made to protect Calais; and in 1560 another to assist the Queen's troops against the French, who were besieging Leith, in Scotland. In 1562 a large number were sent to serve at Havre de Grace. Orders were received from the Council in 1578 to keep 2,000 men in readiness. The Lord Mayor, in 1580, issued a precept assessing the Companies for providing and furnishing 1,000 men. The Stationers' Company had to provide 20 men, 13 shot, and 7 pike. The cost of their provision, furnishing, and training was 20l. 10s. 4d.; and for powder and other charges, 11l. 3s. In 1585 4,000 men, with armour, ensigns, drums, fifes, and other furniture for the wars, the greater part being shot, mustered at Mile End, April 14th, and were reviewed by Queen Elizabeth, May 18th. In 1596 the City twice raised, in less than twelve hours, 1,000 men, completely armed, for the relief of the French, besieged by the Spaniards, in Calais. In 1589 1,000 men were provided, fully equipped, to assist in placing Henry of Navarre on the French throne. In 1600 500 men for service in Ireland. In 1624 2,000 for the Low Countries. In 1638–40 5,200 men, in all, for service against the Scots.
  • 2. Born at the palace of Falkland, Scotland, August 19th, 1596; married Frederick V., Count Palatine, February 14th, 1613; crowned Queen of Bohemia, November 7th, 1619, three days after the coronation of her husband. She followed him in his misfortunes after the Battle of Prague, 1620. At the restoration of her nephew, King Charles II., she came to England, and resided with Lord Craven, at his house in Drury Lane. Died at Leicester House, February 13th, 1662; buried in Westminster Abbey.
  • 3. Sir Francis Bacon.
  • 4. The office of Muster Master was regulated by the Act of Parliament 4 and 5 Phil. and Mary, c. iii., ent tled "An Act for taking Musters," 1557–8. Each county was assessed at a certain rate for the payment of a Muster Master, 1629.