Commission of array
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A commission of array was a commission given by English royalty to officers or gentry in a given territory to muster and array the inhabitants and to see them in a condition for war, or to put soldiers of a country in a condition for military service. The term arrayers is used in some ancient English statutes, for an officer who had a commission of array.
Commissions of array developed from the ancient obligation of all free men to defend their tribal lands. Commissioners were usually experienced soldiers, appointed by the crown to array able bodied men from each shire. By the time of the Wars of the Roses, conscript levies were less important than troops raised by indenture.
Although obsolete by the 17th century, the system was revived by Charles I in 1642 (in opposition to the 1641 Militia Ordinance that gave Parliament control of raising troops) in order to muster a Royalist army at the onset of the English Civil War.
- 1828 Webster's Dictionary
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chambers, Ephraim, ed. (1728). "Arrayers". Cyclopaedia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences 1 (first ed.). James and John Knapton, et al. p. 342.
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