The local dimensions of defence : the standing army and militia in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, 1649-1660
Thesis: The local dimensions of defence: the standing army and militia in Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex 1649-1660. Par t l: Interregnum governments faced numerous threats to their security and military power: internally from Royalist conspiracies and political dissidence, and externally from the danger of a combined Royalist and foreign invasion. The Eastern Counties were of strategic importance to Interregnum governments because of their proximity to London and the Continent, and because of their considerable economic resources. Interregnum governments were able to maintain their control over the region, and draw upon its resources for defence through the region's local and central administrative structures. Part II: The first arm of the Interregnum system of defence was the standing army. This consisted first of the units of horse and foot stationed in the region. The horse were used primarily to respond quickly to internal threats. The foot were stationed in the region primarily to await embarkation for foreign service. The coast was protected by a series of fortifieti garrisons, the governors of which played a key role in coordinating the defence and security of the region. A uniform assessment was levied which provided a sound basis for the pay and supply of the standing forces. Part Ill: The standing army was complemented by the militia. Like the standing forces, the traditional county and borough forces were reorganized and put on a sound basis after the Civil War. The new organization provided the framework for local defence up to and after the Restoration. Within this framework, Interregnum gover nments experimented with various select militias, but with only limited success. Both the 'general' and 'select' militias were administered in the localities by a group of trusted appointees, who worked closely with the garrison governors, and later with the Major-Generals of 1655 and 1659 to coordinate the regions' defence and security. The financial structure of the militia was based on a uniform and statutorily defined scale of rates. Conclusion: Together the standing army and militia formed part of a single system comprised of three mutually dependent elements: the deployment of men and materials , the maintenance of security, and the raising of funds. The system was put on an efficient basis during the Interregnum and embodied the ideal of publicly uniform administration which characterized Interregnum government as a whole.