Skip to main content

array, commissions of

array, commissions of. This was a means of raising local troops between the fyrd and the feudal levy and the militia of modern times. The commissions instructed individuals, usually gentry or noblemen, to raise troops in their area and were first issued by Edward I. They were a heavy burden, particularly if the cost fell upon the township or locality and Parliament succeeded in obtaining a number of concessions. Edward III promised in 1327 not to employ the men outside their county, save in case of invasion; in 1344 that the crown would pay wages if they were asked to serve outside the kingdom; in 1350 that they would only be issued with the consent of Parliament. A statute of Henry IV in 1402 repeated the limitations, declaring that they ‘shall be firmly holden and kept in all points’. After mid-16th cent. it was more convenient to ask the lords-lieutenant to raise levies and commissions fell into disuse. Charles I in desperation, on the eve of civil war, revived them, issuing the first in May 1642 to some Lancashire gentry. Clarendon thought it had been a mistake to resort to antique procedures, ‘a thing they had not before heard of’, and they were at once declared unlawful by Parliament.

J. A. Cannon

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"array, commissions of." The Oxford Companion to British History. . 20 Feb. 2019 <>.

"array, commissions of." The Oxford Companion to British History. . (February 20, 2019).

"array, commissions of." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved February 20, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.