Saturday, February 9, 2013

Redshank Captain Pay

The Redshanks took service in Ulster and in other places for the money. Being a Redshank soldier was profitable. Most of the Redshanks came from Argyll, Lennox,  and the Hebrides, but more than a few came from the southwest Borders Lowlands.   In the sixteenth century, during their heyday, the pay was good and grew in the second half of the century as the wars in Ulster between the Irish and the Elizabethan English grew in size and scope.

By 1575 a Redshank consapal (constable or captain) was on the same pay-scale as a Gallóglaigh captain according the Calendar of State Papers concerning Ireland.  The pay-scale during this time was on the increase because demand was greater than the supply.  In 1553 a Gallóglach received the equivalent of 4d (pence) per day, but by 1562 the pay had risen to 8d a day.  The Consapal received considerably higher wages.  This was done via deadpays or the wages of a soldier in a córugud (company) that went to the consapal.  The standard córugud was 100 men on paper, but the actual number of men would be 87 and the pay of the 13 absent men would go to the constable as deadpays.  

The consapal received his pay and 13 addition soldiers' pay which was a substantial wage in the day.  The pay was received in a variety of ways. It could be cattle, or goods, or food, etc., or coin realm. If in coin realm there was considerable difference between pay in Scots coinage, Irish coinage, and English coinage.  Scots money in particular was considerably debased and worth much less than English money. 

The pay of the Redshanks increased throughout the 1500s.  They were in very high demand as the wars against the Elizabethan English escalated and as the century progress so did the pay scale of the mercenary Redshanks. The scale of pay fluctuated considerably, but here is an example of daily wages of soldier in the 1500s:

Captain 8s ($390)   
sub captain 4s ($192)
Leeche (medic) 4s ($192)
sergeant 1s ($48)
soldier 8d ($32) 
For perspective, the yearly income of a country squire at this time was around 100 to 150 pounds.  A Redshank consapal could expect at least 72 pounds for a half year's work, plus would often have other benefits, such as a horse to ride, a pack horse, and arms, supplied to him.  This would put him on par with the gentry of his age.  A particularly well placed and successful Redshank consapal could earn more than this figure and rise to the ranks of an elevated country squire or more.  

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