The purpose of this study is to examine the military schemes of defense that were employed in the town of Southampton during the late medieval period, 1300–1500. In many ways this is the most basic and vital of the varied roles Southampton had as a military entity. If the town was incapable of protecting its own possessions and dependencies, it would be unable to fulfill its other military roles. Moreover, if the town was unable to defend the area it was expected to, that would represent a major vulnerability in the region and ultimately the kingdom. If, on the other hand, the townsmen of Southampton were able to fulfill this responsibility of self-protection, that would not only maintain their day-to-day activities but would also give the kingdom an important defense.
The protection of Southampton was actually a multi-tiered system of various parties and individuals. The townspeople of Southampton managed their own defense in two primary methods. First they created various plans to organize themselves for conflict, second they participated in the gathering and control of information. The town also fitted into a wider defense structure in the kingdom with various groups and individuals supporting it in this endeavor. This organization was at one point the basis of English defense though many questions remain unanswered. How did these defensive schemes develop in Southampton? Were these schemes created in response to or in preparation for dangers posed to the town?