An extract from Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 1
by Ian Heath

23.      BIDOWER, 14th CENTURY

Among Sir Thomas Dagworth’s indenture for service in Brittany in 1346 are included 40 ‘bidowers’ or ‘bayouneys’; these were undoubtedly bidets, ‘bidower’ also appearing in the sources as ‘bidaut’. These sources indicate that they were light-armed Gascon infantry (‘bayouney’ undoubtedly deriving from Bayonne) equipped with spear and buckler, paid at the same rate as English foot-archers (3d per day), their vintenars receiving 6d and their commanders 1s. There were bidowers in the Anglo-Gascon army at Poitiers in 1356.

Guiart (c. 1305) records Navarrese and other Spanish ‘bidaux’ as being armed with 2 darts, a lance and a coutel at the waist, remarking that ‘of other arms they have none.’ The figure depicted here is from a Flemish tapestry of c. 1385 thought to depict a bidaut.

[Based on Julius Caesar and Attendants from the Nine Heroes Tapestries]

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