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The Financial Cost of War

Expenses associated with Edward I's Welsh campaign of 1282/83

The information below comes from the landmark study by John E. Morris, "The Welsh Wars of Edward I," originally published in 1901. The figures concern the expenses directly associated with the Second Welsh War of 1282/83 against Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. They include two great rolls of payments to the infantry and cavalry as well as the expenses of the king and his headquarters and gross expenses of all the other divisions.

The tables below show that the total cost of the war was over 98,000, an enormous sum for the late 1200s. Keep in mind too that these expenses did not reflect the costs of the First Welsh War of 1276/77 or Madoc's War of 1294/95, nor the total cost of building Edward's "Iron Ring" of castles in north Wales, and the repair of existing castles.

I hope you find this information useful. Hopefully additional facts and figures relating to this topic will be forthcoming. Stay tuned.

 

Payments to Infantry at: Cost
Chester 1282 1,115
With the Earl of Lincoln, 1282 255
Oswestry, May 1282 240
Hope, 1282 941
Montgomery, 1282 & 1283 1,740
Anglesey, 1282 & 1283 3,540
Soldiers in Ships 590
Rhuddlan, 1283 706
Caernarvon & Criccieth, 1283 809
Caernarvon, 1284 120
South & West Wales, 1282 & 1283 3,011
Headquarters army & small details 11,663
Total 24,730

 

Payments to Cavalry at: Cost
Chester 1282 973
Hope, 1282 246
Montgomery, 1282 & 1283 1,721
Anglesey 1282 & 1283 3,761
Rhuddlan, Conway, Caernarvon 162
South & West Wales, 1282 & 1283 1,681
Various Garrisons, 1284 536
Headquarters army 8,606
Total 17,686

 

Other Expenses Cost
Ships from Cinque Ports 1,404
The Gascons 7,618
Mounted Crossbowman, 1283 979
Household at Rhuddlan 2,220
Miscellanea 5,409
Payments to Workmen 9,414
Castle Operations to November 1284 5,795
Total 32,819

 

Castles Cost
Caernarvon, 1285 onwards 6,621
Conway 7,787
Harlech 8,167
Criccieth 332
Bere 259
Total 23,166
Total Expenses, all tables 98,421

 

Below: In this medieval manuscript Edward I (center) is flanked by King Alexander of Scotland (left) and Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd of Wales (right).

 

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Copyright 2009 by Jeffrey L. Thomas