The Office of Ordnance and the Parliamentarian land forces, 1642-1648
2015-11-13T12:26:44Z (GMT) by
An investigation into the means by which the Parliament carried on the War during the years 1642 to 1648 must take into consideration the role of the Office of Ordnance at the Tower of London. A study of the financial and administrative aspects of the Civil Wars would be incomplete without an examination of the ways in which the parties supplied their respective forces with arms, ammunition, clothing and equipment of all kinds. The extent to which they were successful in this sphere has a bearing on other aspects of the conflict. In monetary terms, the resources allocated by Parliament to the procurement of munitions, clothing and equipment for its forces on land appear small in comparison with some other items of military expenditure such as soldiers' pay. Lack of pay had an adverse effect on the strength and effectiveness of an army, and indeed it might have political as well as military repercussions, yet the consequences of a deficiency of munitions could obviously be significant too. The Ordnance Office had since the fifteenth century assumed a central position in the procurement, storage and distribution of munitions to English armies and garrisons, even though it had not acquired a monopoly of those tasks. This fact alone makes it worthwhile to investigate the effect of the outbreak of the Civil Wars upon the personnel and routines of the Office and then the way in which it functioned during the years of conflict that ensued. The Ordnance Office has been the subject of study during the period of its history stretching from the time of its inception to the early eighteenth century, but there has so far been no account of the institution as it was maintained by the Parliament during the Civil War years.