Intercourse through War and Mercenary Service
Military intercourse between English and Low Dutch people falls under three heads. (1) Low Dutch mercenaries served in England or in English armies, and this is especially common in the period between the Norman Conquest and the Hundred Years War. (2) English armies campaigned in the Low Countries, either against the natives or with the natives as their allies. (3) Englishmen served in the armies of the Low Dutch states as mercenaries, especially in the Elizabethan period when they helped the Dutch in their war of independence against Spain.
The army of William the Conqueror was not purely Norman, but included adventurers of many nationalities. Flemings were well represented, for William was married to Matilda of Flanders, and the Count of Flanders lent his son-in-law much assistance. The men of Flanders and Brabant had taken late to horsemanship, and the growth of an indigenous feudal cavalry did not supplant the foot-soldiers as in other lands. As early as 1100 we have record of Netherlandish infantry armed with the pike, which enjoyed a reputation far above that of foot levies of other countries. Oman assumes that the mailed, mercenary infantry armed with the pike, which the Conqueror employed at Hastings, were largely Flemish.
William granted lands to some of these Flemings, others he appointed to military posts. Gherbord became the first Earl of Chester; Gilbert of Ghent was one of the two commissioners at York when the city was taken by the Danes and English in 1069; Walcher of Lorraine, already Bishop of Durham, became Earl of Northumberland, and many of his retainers were Flemings; Dreux de Beveren, a captain of Flemish mercenaries, obtained the grant of Holderness in 1070.
The immigration of soldiers from abroad did not cease with the Conquest. The wars of the next hundred years were waged, to a considerable extent, with the help of Flemish mercenaries.
Among the mercenaries who shared the spoils of Fitzhamon's conquest of Glamorgan was one John the Fleming, while Henry I had mercenaries sent him by Robert of Flanders. It is not till the reign of Stephen, however, that we find them appearing in great force and forming a prominent element in the armies. Stephen, deserted by the greater part of his barons, supplied the place of the feudal levies by great bodies of Flemings and Brabanters under leaders such as William of Ypres and Alan of Dinan. His opponents followed the same policy. Many of these mercenaries were spread up and down the land as garrisons in the numerous castles which were springing up everywhere.
The first task of Henry II was to get rid of these mercenaries. The Flemings gave him little trouble; William of Ypres retired without a struggle, and most of his countrymen went with him. Some were allowed to settle in Pembrokeshire to strengthen the colony there, while Ralph de Diceto states that the Flemings were driven from the castle to the plough, from the camp to the workshop. But Henry, too, was a great employer of mercenaries; he used Flemings against the Welsh in 1165, and there were Brabanters in his force for the defence of Rouen in 1173. The value he placed upon them can be gauged from the terms of his Assize of Arms of 1181, which tries to assimilate the armament of wealthier men liable to service in the fyrd to that of the Brabanter pikemen. Henry usually kept his mercenaries for service in France. The only time that they appeared in force in England was during the feudal rebellion of 1173-4, and then they met a great body of Flemish routiers serving on the other side. Count Philip of Flanders had sent over a column of 400 picked men to Earl Bigod. They were unsuccessful in an attack on Dunwich, but captured Norwich, and at the end of the rebellion the Earl obtained permission to send off his auxiliaries in peace. The 3,000 Flemings who served with the Earl of Leicester were not so fortunate, for while marching from Suffolk to Leicester they were intercepted and beaten. They had roused the country-side by their ravages, and the peasantry gave them no quarter, so that only a few survived. One of their marching songs has come down to us:
England is mine and thine.
Succeeding kings continued to employ mercenaries. Richard I had the assistance of Flemings against France. John used them
against the barons; indeed, it is said in the Scalacronica that he brought in so many Flemings that the land had difficulty in feeding them. In fact, they served in all the troubles of the time; when William the Lion invaded England and took Appleby he had many with him, and there was a large contingent in the Scottish army at the Battle of the Standard. One of the conditions of Magna Charta was that John should dismiss all his mercenaries, but immediately afterwards he engaged a great body of Brabanters under Walter Buc, and of Flemings under Gerard de Sotingham and marched them through the midland counties, where they ate up the land. After the fall of Hubert de Burgh, Henry III again called in Flemish mercenaries, and they remained until Simon de Montfort managed to rid the country of them.
A new phase in this military intercourse opens with the reign of Edward I. It is no longer so much a question of Low Dutch mercenaries in England as of English troops serving in Low Dutch territory. The Flemings' first experience of English soldiery was most unfortunate; when Edward I visited Bruges in 1297 his men aroused such hostile feeling that they had to move on to Ghent, and there they got quite out of hand, looted freely, and in 1298 actually plundered Damme. They just escaped a general massacre, and in order to raise money to compensate these outrages Edward granted Flemish merchants permission to manufacture spurious coin for circulation in England.
In the troubles between Edward II and his Queen, Isabella raised mercenaries in the Low Countries, and William of Holland lent her a fleet of 140 herring-busses to transport them from Dordrecht to England. Their leader was John de Beaumont, who later brought over 500 men-at-arms to serve against Bruce; Froissart speaks of violent affrays between these men and the English archers.
The relations between England and the Low Countries were peculiarly close in the first period of the Hundred Years War, when for seven years there was constant bickering in Flanders between the English and French. The first clash came in 1337, when the English, under the Earl of Derby, forced their way ashore at Cadzand Haven, their archers completely beating the Flemish crossbowmen. Through the many alliances with Low
Country princes the English armies were swelled to enormous proportions. There were huge contingents of Flemish and Brabanter foot at the sieges of Cambrai and Tournay.
Even after the first period of the war military intercourse was frequent enough. When in 1348 the Count of Flanders invaded his own land with French help, his rebellious subjects were aided in their resistance by an English force. In 1359 Lancaster had many Low Country mercenaries in his army before St. Omer. Many of Edward III's well-known captains, who contracted with him to bring a free company into the field, were Low Dutch, e.g. Sir Walter Manny and Wolfhard of Ghistelles. The Black Prince used them too; companies under Daniel Pasele and Denis of Morbeke fought at Poitiers.
In 1382 there was proclaimed in England an infamous crusade against Flanders, just because the Flemings held allegiance to a Clementine Count. It was headed by Bishop Despenser of Norwich. Every servant and apprentice who could give his master the slip took the Cross, for free passage was provided for every one. Ultimately the French came to the aid of the Count and the English were beaten out of Flanders. In 1390 the Earl of Derby made a famous crusading expedition to the Baltic to assist the Teutonic Knights against the heathen Letts. He landed at Danzig with 50 lances and 60 archers, and was present at the storming of Vilna.
There was a strong English contingent of many knights and squires and over 200 archers under the Lords Cornwall and Colville in the expedition which the Count of Ostrevant, son of the Duke of Holland, made against the Frisians.
Very few Low Country mercenaries were hired for the Wars of the Roses. Lambert Simnel had 2,000 ‘Almaines’ under Martin Swart, and there were a few with Perkin Warbeck. On the other hand, English contingents took part in several Low Country wars. The Duke of Gloucester sent 1,000 men to help his wife, Jacqueline of Holland, against the Duke of Burgundy. Sir John Paston tells us that there were 3,000 English present at the siege of Neuss by Charles the Bold. Henry VIII sent 1,500 archers to help Margaret of Savoy, the Regent of Flanders, against the Duke of Guelders.
The period of closest military intercourse was the reigns
of Elizabeth and James I, when England was the ally of the Netherlands in their struggle for independence against Spain. Throughout this time English contingents were serving in the Netherlands, as troops supplied by Elizabeth, as mercenaries in the employ of the States, and as volunteers serving for religion or glory.
Elizabeth was cold or vacillating in her support of the Dutch. However, in 1578 she so far answered the appeals of the States as to send them, after long delays, 4,000 Scottish troops. Sir Peter Norris became Field-Marshal of the States in 1580, defeated the army of Don John near Ghent, and surprised Malines. When his army, English included, mutinied, the trouble was quelled by the aid of Sir Francis Vere.
After the fall of Antwerp in 1585 the States begged for further help. Elizabeth was slow to respond, but the City of London and private people fitted out contingents, and these went to Holland and Zeeland under Norris. Later in the year Elizabeth sent aid under the hard terms of the pledge of Flushing, Rammekens, and Briel. Leicester was appointed Governor, and English troops under Thomas Cecil and Philip Sidney garrisoned Flushing and Briel. Leicester went over with 8,000 men and the flower of England's nobility. He was not reinforced from England owing to the overhanging threat of the Armada, but he succeeded in taking Doesburg, and laid siege to Zutfen, where Sir Philip Sidney was killed. When Leicester returned to England, Norris took over the command of the English troops. Men of the lower classes were now regularly pressed and drafted for service in the Low Countries. In 1600, when a number of tried troops were recalled and sent to Ireland, the numbers were made good by pressing in London and Essex, and in the two years following large drafts of pressed men were raised by London and other towns.
Maurice of Nassau had a remarkable military genius, and the recognition of this made his camp a military school whither the young English nobles came to learn to be professional soldiers. The wonderful army he got together consisted of rough elements, often the very sweepings of society, English, French, Walloon, German, and Dutch. In 1599, in face of Mendoza's threat to Holland, troops were levied in Scotland.
In 1616 the three garrison towns held in pledge by the English were redeemed by the States, and their garrisons passed over
into the Dutch service. For Prince Frederick Henry's operations in 1629 against the Spaniards new English and Scottish battalions were recruited. James I was at first favourable to Spain, and it was not till 1624 that he was persuaded to break with her. English mercenaries and gentlemen, however, continued to serve the Dutch: thus Wriothesley and Southampton died at Rosendaal while in charge of English troops. James at last sent 600 men. In 1632 the Earl of Oxford was killed before Maastricht. In 1642, while preparations were on foot for the Civil War in England, some of the English and Scottish officers who were serving under Goring in the Low Countries were recalled. Great discontent was now being felt in Holland at the great number of mercenary troops kept by Frederick Henry, and so universal was the wish for economy that in 1650 he sacrificed the foreign troops so dear to him. Thirty-two English and three Scottish companies, with twelve companies of cavalry, were designated for discharge.
In 1657 a detachment of 6,000 Ironsides joined the French in an attack on Flanders. The English took part in the storming of Mardyke and the Battle of the Dunes. The Flemish town of Dunkirk remained in English hands until Charles II sold it.
After the breaking of the alliance with France, Charles II and William of Orange came to an agreement by which England was now on the side of the Dutch. The Earl of Ossory went to Holland in 1678 to take command of English troops. Charles had now six English and Scottish regiments in the service of the United Provinces, and these occupied Ostend and Bruges. These six regiments were sent by William to help in the suppression of Monmouth's rebellion; they encamped on Blackheath, but as their services were not required they were sent back to Holland. They returned to England with William on his accession, and he was also accompanied by some of his best Dutch troops and by regiments which Bentinck had hired from some of the princes of north Germany. Some of these foreign troops were used in the campaign in Ireland, under the Dutchman Ginkell and the Huguenot exile Schomberg.
After William's accession, the English and Dutch were closely united against the French, and English troops were at once sent
to join his armies in the Netherlands. In 1692 William himself crossed over with a large body of English. The Peace of Ryswick in 1697 put an end to operations on the Continent.
There is no doubt that, in the meantime, William employed Dutch troops in England for garrison purposes; Zuylestein's regiment was retained in the north of England, and was at Durham in 1691. In 1698, however, William was forced by Parliament to send his Dutch troops out of the country; his partiality for the Dutch had made him very unpopular, and matters came to a head when he preferred his young favourite the Earl of Albemarle to be first Commander of the Guards over the Duke of Ormonde's head.
For ten years after William's death, English and Dutch soldiers fought together in Flanders in the War of the Spanish Succession. Marlborough was appointed leader of the united armies of England and the States. Since the end of the 16th century, the Scottish brigade had been in the Dutch service, and had been recruited mainly in Scotland and commanded by Scottish officers. In her great need for men far the war in America, England in 1775 requested the republic to lend this brigade, but the request was refused.
A large number of terms for arms and armour was borrowed. The single term of defensive armour which appears in ME. is Splint (13 . ., Coer de L., 1374), a plate of overlapping metal of which certain portions of medieval armour were sometimes composed; (c. 1325), a long strip or splint of wood; ad. M.Du. splinte (Du. splint) or MLG. splinte, splente (LG. splinte, splente, or splint, also borrowed into Da., Sw., and Norw. as splint), a metal plate or pin.
This is perhaps the best place to insert the single term of jousting or the tournament. Reyne (c. 1440), plur., the lists; perhaps ad. M.Du. reen, reyn, shooting-range.
The following are the names of striking weapons. Hanger (1481-90), a kind of short sword, originally hung from the belt; O.E.D. says that it is apparently the same word as hanger from hang, vb., though possibly not of English origin, and compares e.mod.Du. hangher, ‘stootdeghen’, rapier. Slaughmess (a. 1548, once), a large knife used as a weapon, a dagger; ad. older Flem. sclachmes, from slach (slag), blow, stroke, and mes, knife. A similar formation is Slaughsword (a. 1548), a large two-handed sword; ad. older Flem. sclachsweerd (Du. slagzwaard) or G.
schlachtschwert. Sable (1617), sabre; probably ad. Du. or e.mod.G. sabel, (later G. säbel); sabre is the unexplained French alteration of sabel.
There is one term for a part of the crossbow, which may have been introduced by the Brabanter mercenary crossbowmen, though it does not appear until the end of the 15th century and is then found in the Nav. Acc. Hen. VII. Gaffle (1497), a steel lever for bending the crossbow; probably ad. Du. gaffel, fork; in Du. the word also has the sense of a rest for a musket.
Terms for hand fire-arms are: Hackbush, Hagbush (1484), an early form of fire-arm; from M.Flem. haec-, haegbusse, hakebus, but perhaps immediately from the rare OF. forms borrowed from Flem., haquebusche (1475) and harquebusche (1478); the corresponding MLG. forms are hake-, hakelbusse, from haken, hake, hook, and bühse, busse, bus, gun, fire-arm, literally hook-gun, so called from the hook, originally attached to a point of support. The derivatives, Hack-, Hagbushier, Hagbusser (1524), are by the addition of the suffixes -ier or -er. Variants are Hackbut, Hagbut (1541-2), an early kind of portable fire-arm; ad. 15th-and 16th-century F. haquebut, -bute, ad. M.Du. hakebus or MLG. hakebusse; later in the 16th century this F. form passed, under the influence of It. archibuso, through the intermediate harquebute, to harquebuse, arquebuse. The derivatives, Hackbutter, Hagbutter (1544-8), are by the addition of the suffix -er. Hackbuteer, -ier (c. 1610) are ad. 16th-century F. hacquebutier. Hake (1548), a short fire-arm used in the 16th century; apparently an abbreviation of haquebut, hagbut, originally in half-hake or demi-hake, i.e. half-hackbut, applied to a fire-arm of shorter length than the hackbut; it would appear that for this the simple hake, haque was soon substituted. Half-hake (1538) and Demi-hake (1541) are earlier.
Bus (1549), harquebus; ad. e.mod.Du. bus, gun, in Kilian busse. Another form is Bowse (1556), ad. Du. buis (M.Du. busse, LG. büsse). Blunderbuss (1654), a short gun with a large bore, is the Du. donderbus, with the same meaning, but perverted in form after blunder, perhaps with some allusion to its blind or random firing; it may be a playful perversion of the Du. word; compare blunderhead, an alteration of the earlier dunderhead, a blundering, muddleheaded fellow.
There are two terms for the fire apparatus by means of
which the old firelocks were discharged. Lunt (1550, from Sc.), a slow-match, also a torch; ad. Du. lont, a match. Linstock (1575), a staff about 3 feet long, having a pointed foot to stick in the ground or deck, and a forked head to hold the lighted match; in the 16th century lint-, linestocke, ad. (with assimilation to lint and line), Du. lontstok, from lont, match, and stok, stick.
There are two names for cannon. Slang (1521), a species of cannon, a serpentine or culverin; ad. M.Du. or MLG. slange (Du. slang, G. schlange), serpent, cannon. Cartow (1650), a kind of cannon, also called a quarter cannon, which threw a ball of a quarter of a hundredweight; apparently ad. 16th-century Flem. kartouwe (G. cartaun, It. courtaun), a quarter cannon, carthoun, 25-pounder, as compared with the largest siege-gun, a 100-pounder.
Some names for soldiers' accoutrements and equipment were borrowed. Brabantic (1591), a garment worn by soldiers in the 16th century; probably from the name Brabant; Bense points out that the Sp. brabante, a sort of linen, has the same origin. Knapsack (1603), a bag or case of stout canvas or leather, worn by soldiers strapped to the back; ad. LG. knapsack (Du. knapzak, G. knappsack), first recorded in the 16th century; the first element is generally taken to be LG. and Du. knappen, knap, vb. ‘to bite’, G. knapp, eating food. Snapsack (1633), a knapsack; common from about 1650 to 1700; ad. LG. snappsack, from snappen, snap. Holster (1663), a leather case for a pistol; it is possibly from Du. holster in the same sense, although the Du. word is not recorded until 1678, that is, later than the English word; OE. had heolster, hiding-place, concealment, and there are corresponding forms in Scand., Icel. hulstr, case, sheath, Sw. hölster, Da. hylster, sheath, holster.
Fanikin (1539) occurs once only as the name of a small flag or banner; ad. M.Du. vaneken (Flem. vaenken, in Kilian), diminutive of vane, now vaan, flag, compare Eng. fane.
There are a few terms connected with the drums of the troops. Drumslade, Dromslade (1527), a drum, or some form of drum; (1527), a drummer; apparently a corruption of Du. or LG. trommelslag (G. trommelschlag), drum-beat, though it is not apparent how this name of the action became applied to the instrument. Drumslager (1586), a drummer; apparently like the above a corruption of Du. trommelslager, or perhaps ad. G. drummeschläger, an earlier variant of trommelschläger. Snare
1688), in the sense of one of the strings of gut or rawhide which are stretched across the lower head of a side-drum; it is probably from one of the Low Dutch forms, Du. snaar, M.Du. snare, snaer, LG. snare, snar, MLG. snare, snar, string.
One term of siege appears from the ME. period. Slap (1375, from Sc.), a breach, opening, or gap in a wall; ad. M.Du. or MLG. slop (Du. and LG. slop, LG. slup), opening, gap, narrow passage; the change of o to a before p is normal in Sc., cf. drap for drop.
Most of the terms of fortification, however, appear in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Low Country wars of that period were often little more than the assault of strong places, and the science of fortification and siege was much cultivated and highly developed. English soldiers serving in the Low Countries must of necessity have become acquainted with these (technical) terms.
Blockhouse (1512), according to O.E.D. the sense was not originally a house composed of blocks of wood, but one which obstructs or blocks a passage; the Eng. word appears earlier than either the Du. or Flem. blockhuys, blockhuus (1599 in Kilian) or G. blockhaus (1557), yet it is probably of Du. or G. origin; the M.Du. blockhuus is thought to have passed into LG. and thence into HG.; Sewel renders Du. blockhuys by ‘blockhouse, sconce, wooden fort’.
Wagonborough (1548), a defensive enclosure or barricade, formed of baggage-wagons placed close together; ad. Du. or G. wagenburg. Sconce (1571), a small fort or earthwork, a protective screen or shelter; ad. Du. schans, with assimilation of form to the Eng. nouns, meaning lantern and head respectively; in the 16th century it had in Du. the senses brushwood, bundles of sticks, screen of brushwood for soldiers, earthworks made with gabions. Of later borrowing is the compound Lopesconce (1624), an entrenchment; ad. Du. lopeschans, from loopen, to run, and schans. Slot (1578), a castle; ad. Du. or LG. slot, castle. Bint, Binte (1629), O.E.D. says that the meaning and derivation of this word are doubtful, but compares Du. bindte, joint, cross-beam; Bense has thrown light on this word, referring it to a passage quoted in Ndl. Wdb., relating to a siege, in which bint means a kind of sheltering roof made of sandbags; the passages quoted by O.E.D. refer to the building of a
sconce, and bint is undoubtedly the Du. bint, M.Du. bint, bindt, a bundle.
Graff (1637), a trench serving as a fortification, a dry or wet ditch, a foss or moat, rarely, a canal (in Holland); probably ad. Du. graf. Graft (1641), a ditch, moat, also (in Holland) a street on either side of a canal; ad. Du. graft (M.Du. and Du. gracht, from graven, to dig). Slaught-boom (1637), a beam used as a barrier; ad. Du. or LG. slagboom (which also gave Da. and Sw. slagbom), from slagen, to strike, and boom, tree, beam. Stacket (1637, from Sc.), a palisade; ad. Du. staket, of F. origin. Skite gate (1677), an opening or loophole in a wall for a cannon or other piece of artillery; ad. Du. schietgat, from schieten, to shoot, and gat, hole. Berm (1729), a narrow space or ledge; esp. in fortifications, a space of ground, from 3 to 8 feet wide, sometimes left between the ditch and the base of the parapet; according to O.E.D. ad. F. berme, ad. Du. or G. berme; the M.Du. forms were barm, baerm, barem, Du. berm and barm, but berm and berme are very common in Flanders, so there is no reason why not directly from Dutch.
A single term of the practice of warfare appears in the ME. period. Reise (c. 1386, Chaucer), to go on a military expedition, to make inroads, to travel; ad. M.Du., MLG., or MHG. reisen, reysen, in the same sense. The sb. is later: Reise (1390, in the non-Eng. context of E. Derby's Exped., c. 1440), ad. M.Du., MLG., or MHG. reise, a military expedition, raid, also in OF. from Germanic as reise.
In the modern period appear the following terms of general military operations. Waylay (1513), to lie in wait for, with evil or hostile intent, to seize or attack on the way; from way, sb., and lay, vb., but after MLG., M.Du., wegelâgen, from wegelage, besetting of ways. Forlorn hope (1579), in early use, a picked body of men detached to the front to begin the attack; (1539), the men composing such a body, hence reckless bravoes; ad. Du. verloren hoop (in Kilian, 1598), literally, lost troop. Onslaught (1625), onset, attack, esp. a vigorous or destructive one; the word appears first early in the 17th century, when it also has the forms anslaight, anslacht, and is termed by Phillips ‘Dutch’; the nearest Du. word aanslag, striking at, attempt, does not yield quite the requisite form, while the ME. words slaht, slaught, sleight, slaughter appear to have become obsolete about 1400; it probably represents the Du. aanslag or G.
anschlag, modified after Eng. words of action such as draught. Scamper (1687), to run away, decamp, bolt; very common in this sense from 1687 to 1700; at first probably military slang, from obs. Du. schampen, which Hexham (1660) glosses ‘to escape or flie, to be gone’, and which is OF. escamper, to decamp.
There are a few specific terms for the conduct of a siege. Leaguer (1577), a military camp, esp. one engaged on a siege; (1598), a siege; ad. Du. leger, camp. Leaguerer (1635) was the term applied to a (Dutch) trooper; this gives us an indication of the principal occupation of a trooper in the Low Country wars. The vb. Beleaguer (1589), to besiege; ad. Du. belegeren; the first instance of the word, in Nashe, is in a transferred sense, so the word was borrowed probably some time before 1589. Outlope (1603), a run-out, sally, excursion; apparently ad. Du. uitloop (in Kilian uutloop), a run-out, excursion. Slight (1640-4), in the sense, to level with the ground, to raze a fortification; ad. Du. slechten, LG. slichten or G. schlichten, to level.
It is perhaps best to include words dealing with plunder and plundering among the terms of the operations of war; at any rate that side of warfare was more developed and legitimate in the periods under question than it is with the armies of to-day. Booty (1474), plunder; it is hard to say whether directly from MLG. bute, buite, where it was already used in the required sense (e.mod.Du. buyt, buet), or indirectly through the F. butin; butin from F. is used side by side with boty, booty, during the 16th century, but on the whole the contact between the two forms appears to be slight; Caxton used both forms before any one else, in his Chesse, a translation from the French, but this does not signify much, as Caxton was bilingual, English and Flemish. Boot, sb. (1593), booty; O.E.D. says that it is apparently an application of boot, ‘good, advantage, profit, use’, influenced by the already existing booty. It was especially used in the phrase, ‘to make boot’, and Du. had the identical phrase, buit maken, and, as Bense suggests, this was perhaps the origin of the English phrase, which was later confused with the phrase, ‘to make boot of’, ‘to make profit of, gain by’. The vb. was much earlier (1494), and was used in the sense to share as booty; it was probably directly ad. MLG. buten or M.Du. buten, buyten, in the same sense. Boot-hale (1598), to plunder; probably formed from the Du. comb. buithaler. Booting (1600-51), booty, plunder; the taking
of booty, plundering; from boot and -ing, though some of its examples are undoubtedly a confusion of the F. butin with the Eng. vbl. sb.
Plunder (1632), to rob of goods or valuables; ad. G. plündern, LG. plünder(e)n, or early Du. and Du. plunderen (in Kilian plondern), to pillage, sack, from obs. Du. plunder, plonder, household stuff; O.E.D. states that this word was borrowed at the time of the Thirty Years War, and became familiar in our Civil Wars through Rupert's men. Branskate (1721), to put (a place) to ransom, or subject to a payment in order to avoid pillage or destruction; ad. Du. brandschatten (G. brandschatzen), from brand, burning, and schat, treasure, originally tribute.
A number of words were borrowed dealing with supply and the military department of the train. In ME. appears Provand (c. 1341), food, provisions, esp. for an army; probably from Low Dutch, MLG., and e.mod.Du. provande (Kilian, Plantin), apparently ad. F. provende; in Caxton (1481), the word is immediately from Flem., but some of the earlier examples may be directly from French: Provant (c. 1450), of the same meaning, is apparently ad. MLG. provant, the later form of provande. The comb. Provant-master (1607) does not appear until the 17th century; it is from provant and master, probably after the e.mod.Du. provandmeester or the G. proviantmeister, the officer in charge of the commissariat.
Wagon, Waggon (1523, Berners's Froissart), ad. Du. wagen, e.mod.Du. waghen, in Du. always the most general term for a wheeled vehicle; it was adopted into Eng. in this wide sense (1542), but appears to have come in first in the specific military application, learnt in the continental wars, for the heavy vehicles of the train; the word has an earlier appearance in Eng., in the First Eng. Bk. Amer. (c. 1511), in the transferred sense of the constellation, Charles's Wain, but this work was translated into Eng. by a Fleming and contains many Flemish words, so the quotation does not prove the existence of the word in Eng. at the date of the book. A little later is Wagoner, Waggoner (1544), the driver of a wagon; ad. Du. wagenaar, waghenaar, as the early Eng. spelling wagenaar proves.
The activities of the camp-follower are responsible for the group: Sutler (1590), one who follows an army or lives in a garrison town and sells provisions to the soldiers; ad. e.mod.Du. soeteler (Du. zoetelaar), a small vendor, petty tradesman, victual-
ler, soldier's servant, drudge, from soetelen, to befoul, perform mean duties, follow a mean trade. Sutlery (1606), from sutler and -y; compare e.mod.Du. soetelerije, ‘vile opus, sordidum artificium’ (Kilian). Suttle (1648, Hexham), to carry on the business of a sutler; ad. e.mod.Du. soetelen, or a back formation from sutler.
There is a group of names for the cavalry soldier. Rutter (1506), a cavalry soldier, esp. a German one, of the kind employed in the wars of the 16th and 17th centuries; ad. M.Du. rutter, variant of ruter, ruyter (Du. ruiter), ad. OF. routier, routeur. The diminutive, Rutterkin (1526), has the sense a swaggering gallant or bully; from rutter and -kin. Swartrutter (1557), one of the class of irregular troopers, with black dress and armour and blackened faces, who infested the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries; ad. e.mod.Du. swartrutter (in Kilian swerte ruyters, plur.), from swart, black, and rutter. Variants of rutter are Ruiter (1579) and Roiter (1583), both ad. Du. ruiter, ruyter. Ridder (1694), rider; ad. obs. F. ridde, riddre, rider, ad. Flem. rijder, ridder, knight.
The next two words represent the extremes in the scale of soldiery. Snaphaunce, Snaphance (1538), an armed marauder or robber; also (1588) an early form of flintlock used in muskets and pistols; of Low Dutch origin, representing Du. and Flem. snaphaan (in Kilian snaphaen, MLG. snaphân, LG. snapphân, G, schnapphahn), from snappen, to snap, and haan, cock; the sense is probably ‘one who snaps the cock of his flintlock at you’; the final -s sound of the Eng. word may be due to confusion with the personal name Hans. Life-guard (1648), a bodyguard of soldiers, now plur.; from life and guard, but probably suggested by Du. lijfgarde, in which, however, the first element has the sense ‘body’.
The following are the names of officers and petty officers of military ranks. With one exception
they are compounds, having as their second element master. Rote-master (1523), one in command of a company of gunners; ad. Du. rotmeester (G. rottmeister), from rot,
a file of soldiers, and meester. Gill-master (1598, Barret, Theor. Warres), the title of a military officer; perhaps ad. Du. gildemeester, guildmaster, i.e. head of one of the ‘guilds’ or companies of bowmen, gunners, &c. Quartermaster (1600), an officer, ranking as lieutenant, who provides quarters for the soldiers; this military sense of ‘quartermaster’ is apparently
the original meaning of F. quartier-maître, Du. kwartiermeester, G. quartiermeister, and may have been adopted from any one of those languages. Matross (1639), a soldier next below the rank of gunner in a train of artillery, who acted as a kind of assistant or mate; ad. Du. matroos, sailor (whence G. matrose, Da., Sw. matros), apparently a corruption of F. matelot, sailor; in the U.S. the term was synonymous with a private of artillery. Rittmaster (1648), the captain of a troop of horse; ad. G. rittmeister or Du. ritmeester, from ritt, riding, and meister.
Terms dealing with such matters as pay, leave, and guard duties are not numerous enough to admit of separate classification, and are included here in a section on miscellaneous terms of military life.
Gelt (a. 1529), money, often, in early use, with reference to the pay of a (German) army; now only dialectal (Whitby, Mid-Yks.); in the phrase ‘Bare gelt’, ready money, there is translation of the Du. baar geld, or the G. bares geld, and in ‘Passage gelt’ of the G. fahrgeld.
Cashier (1580), in the obsolete military sense, to disband troops; (1599), to dismiss from a position of command; ad. Flem. or Du. casseren, in the same sense; Kilian has kasseren de kriegslieden, ‘exauctorare milites’, to disband troops, and kasseren een testament, ‘rescindere testamentum’, to rescind a will; French verbs adopted in Du. and G. frequently retain the infinitive endings -er and -ir as part of the stem, and when adopted from Du. into Eng. this takes the form of -ier, -eer; cashier probably dates to the campaign in the Netherlands in 1578-80.
Furlough (1625), leave of absence, esp. for a soldier; in the 17th century also vorloffe, fore loofe, ad. Du. verlof, apparently formed in imitation of G. verlaub, from ver-, for-, and root laub-; the Eng. word having from the beginning been stressed on the first syllable seems to show the influence of the synonymous Du. oorlof.
Rot (1635, Barriffe, Mil. Discipl.), a file of soldiers; ad. Du. rot or G. rotte, ad. OF. rotte, route, rout. The Sc. substitution of a for o is found in Rat (1646).
Tattoo (1644), a signal made by drum or bugle in the evening for soldiers to repair to quarters; a military entertainment; in the 17th century, tap-too, ad. Du. tap-toe, in the same sense, from tap, the tap (of a cask), and toe, for doe toe, ‘shut’. The
tattoo was thus the signal for closing the taps of the public-houses. Sw. tapto and Sp. tatu are apparently also from Du.; compare G. zapfenstreich, LG. tappenslag, Da. tappenstreg, with the first element the same, and the second element meaning stroke, blow, beat; although Du. taptoe was in military use in our sense in the 17th century, this was probably not its original use, as tap toe, for doe den tap toe, ‘turn off the tap’, was apparently in colloquial use for ‘shut up’, cease.
Roster (1727, H. Bland, Mil. Discipl.) in the military sense of a list or plan exhibiting the order of rotation of turns of duty of officers, men, or bodies of troops; ad. Du. rooster, table, list, a transferred sense of rooster, gridiron, from roosten, to roast, in allusion to the parallel lines drawn on the paper.
Overslaugh (1768, Simes, Mil. Dict.), to pass over, omit, skip; in military use, to pass over an ordinary turn of duty for a duty that takes precedence; ad. Du. overslaan, to pass over, omit, from over, and slaan, to strike. The sb. Overslaugh (1772) is later; ad. Du. overslag, from overslaan, or from the Eng. vb.
Oman, 358, 366-8, 374-5, 397; Ram.F.E. ii
. 392; Ram.A.E. 35, 165, 177-81, 451, 456; Gr. 113-14, 130, 158-9; A.I. 21, 24-9; I.C. i
. 186, 544-6, 646.
Ram.D.C. 456-8; Ram.G.L. 200-6, 278; Oman, 582, 595-8, 622; Bense, A.D.R. 87, 90-2.
. 128, 207-14, 223-5, 248, 252, 277, 374; iv
. 46, 57, 173; Ch. Eliz. ii
. 438, 465, 481-3; v. 5, 158; Gr. 633, 663-5, 684-5, 693-4, 702.