A force existed alongside the feudal levees, which was more akin to the militia, insomuch that it was not bound to serve out of England, called the posse comitatus. This consisted of all free men between fifteen and sixty, and though its primary duty was to keep the peace in its own county, it could be called upon to act out of it in case of invasion or rebellion. In 1118 a law was passed practically making this force hold the position which the Fyrd had formerly held. By this law every holder of a knight's fee was to have a coat of mail, helmet, shield and lance. If he held more than one, then the same armoury for each one.
Free laymen, having goods or rent to the value of sixteen marks, were to have the like, while those possessed of only ten marks were to have a haubergeon, iron hat and lance. Burgesses and all freemen were to have a banbais (or padded doublet), iron hat and lance. These arms were not to be taken from the vassal by the lord, by forfeiture, gift, pledge, or any other cause, nor were they to be sold. Should anyone having these arms die, they were to pass to his heir, and if he was not of sufficient age to bear them, they were to be held by his guardian, who was to provide a substitute till the heir was of age to serve himself.