A Spaniard's Perspective
From Friar Antonio Agapida’s “Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada”:
This cavalier was from the island of England and brought with him a train of his vassals, men who had been hardened in certain civil wars, which had raged in their country. They were a comely race but far too fair and fresh [for the appearance] of warriors. They were huge feeders also and deep carousers and could not accommodate themselves to the sober diet of our troops, but fain eat and drink after the manner of their own country. They were often noisy and unruly, also, in their wassail, and their quarter of the camp was prone to be a scene of loud revel and sudden brawl.
They were withal of great pride, yet it was not like our Spanish pride…their pride was silent and contumelious. Though from a remote and somewhat barbarous island, they yet believed themselves the most perfect men on earth… With all this, it must be said of them that they were marvellous good men in the field, dextrous archers and powerful with the battleaxe. In their great pride and self will, they always sought to press in their advantage and take the post of danger… They did not rush forward fiercely, or make a brilliant onset, like the Moorish or Spanish troops but went into the fight deliberately, and persisted obstinately and were slow to find out they were beaten.
He was followed by a body of his yeomen armed in a like manner and by a band of archers with bows made of the tough English yew tree. The Earl turned to his troops and addressed them bluntly according to the manner of his country.
“Remember my merry men all” he said, “the eyes of strangers are upon you. You are in a foreign land, fighting for the glory of God and the honour of Merry Old England!” A loud shout was the reply. The earl waved his battle axe over his head. “St George for England!” he cried. They soon made their way into the midst of the enemy but when engaged in the hottest fight they made no shouts or outcries. They pressed steadily forward dealing blows right and left, hewing down Moors, and cutting their way with their battle axes like woodmen in a forest, while the archers, pressing into the opening they made, plied their bows vigorously and spread death on every side.