A small Band of Brothers.
.

The Chainmail Longbowmen.

 

The Spirit of Agincourt.


The Spirit of Azincourt.   King Henry V . "We are but warriors for the working day".

The Battle of Agincourt . 25th October 1415.  " That Mound of Blood and Pity."

Sir Thomas Erpingham K.G. 1355 -1428. Commander of Archers.
At 57 , one of the oldest at the battle. Recorded as riding across the front of the army to 
his duties.When he was satisfied the archers were in position , he threw his marshal`s baton
into the air , and shouted , "Nestroque" ( Now strike ) , dismounted and fought alongside
the King.
Edward of Norwich K.G. Duke of York.  1375 - 25th October 1415.
Commanded the right flank. Slain by head wounds.
Thomas de Camoys K.G. Lord Camoys. 1351 - 1421.
Led the rearguard.

The start of the Battle.              


On the morning of the battle , Henry had his army , well organised across 750 yards on the
south side of the field. The archers were placed through the middle and on both flanks
facing inward. Henry , with a sick hungry army , wanted this battle to start as soon as possible. To the north , the French were relishing the moment , supremely confident of the
outcome of the fight. Knights dismounted , took food and drink , and generally wandered and socialised with friends. Taunting the English.
On each French flank , were mounted nobles , knights and men-at-arms. On the left 1,600
and on the right , about 800. Forward in the centre , princes and many of noble birth , 
between 6,000 and 9,000. Behind them , 4,000 - 6,000 crossbowmen . Also placed in a 
dismounted "battle" , 6,000 - 9,000 men-at arms and servants. At the rear a third battle of
mounted French cavalry. Constable d` Albret was having trouble controlling the nobility 
who wanted to get on with the fight , as the English were at a disadvantage.
Henry ordered his army to advance to within 250 yards of the French lines , which took
about ten minutes. On arrival , he deployed his archers to the flanks . They were ordered
to drive their  wooden stakes in to the ground as protective palings. Henry gave order to
his archers to shoot their first arrows of the battle. This didn`t cause too much damage ,
but it did outrage and surprise the French , and the control that Constable d` Albret tried
to keep was completely lost. The French cavalry charged the archers , and were hit by volleys of "Bodkin" armour piercing arrows . This was the start of the havoc  , the archers
brought upon the disorganised French , who on retreat , crashed in to their advancing men 
at-arms , or had their horses shot from under them and were stuck in the thick mud.

The Battle of Azincourt has been well chronicalled and some great books , go in to the
detail of the battle. My knowledge , is too limited to hold your interest.......had I the room
to write it.









Henry had the French prisoners gathered together and put under guard to be moved to the rear. As this was happening, the Counts of Marle and Fauquemberghes rallied 600 French men-at-arms and counterattacked. This ended as disastrously for the French with both Counts being killed.

It was about the same time that Henry received reports that Ysambart, Lord of Azincourt had attacked the English camp and the baggage train. The token English guard that Henry had left to protect the camp had quickly been overcome and put to the sword.

This gave Henry a conundrum as he was faced with a very real threat from the Frenchmen he held captive as well as the third ‘battle’ still assembled ready for battle. The captives numbered more than the entire English Army and all were still in armour. The battlefield was littered with discarded weapons and they could easily overcome the token guard that Henry could afford to guard them. This combined with the panic that threatened to engulf the English Army as a result of the attack to their rear resulted in Henry ordering the killing of the prisoners.

The English nobles and men-at-arms refused, they had received their surrender on the field of battle and killing an equal after their surrender was considered dishonourable. Perhaps more importantly they stood to lose the ransom from the prisoners that would make many of them rich. The task of despatching the prisoners was given to 200 archers who were tough, professional soldiers considered to be outside the bounds of chivalry and whom the French would have despatched without flinching an eye had they themselves been captured.

It is not known how many of the French were killed after the Battle of Agincourt, but observers say it was far more than were killed during the battle. Contemporary estimates put the total French losses at between 4,000 and 11,000 while more modern estimates range between 7,000 and 10,000. Many contemporary reports describe the piles of French dead as being "as high as a man". This is undoubtedly an over exaggeration, but perhaps befitting of the destruction of the French forces that occurred on St Crispin’s Day 1415.





Why did the French not deploy their own longbowmen? Because to shoot a longbow demanded great strength (they were at least three times as powerful as a modern competition bow) and considerable skill. It took years for a man to develop the muscles and technique, and for reasons that have never been understood, such men emerged in Britain, but not on the Continent.


Bernard Cornwell .


                                

       The English arrows, which fell so heavily that no one durst uncover or look up.




  

"In peace, there's nothing so becomes a man, as modest stillness and humility; But when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger"...   King  Henry V .

Henry was born in 1386 or 1387, the son of the future Henry IV. He was created prince of Wales at his father's coronation in 1399. He showed his military abilities as a teenager, taking part in the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403. He then spent the next five years fighting against Owen Glendower's rebellion in Wales. He was also keen to have a role in government, leading to disagreements with his father.

Henry became king in 1413. In 1415, he successfully crushed a conspiracy to put Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, on the throne. Shortly afterwards he sailed for France, which was to be the focus of his attentions for the rest of his reign. Henry was determined to regain the lands in France held by his ancestors and laid claim to the French throne. He captured the port of Harfleur and on 25 October 1415 defeated the French at the Battle of Agincourt.

Between 1417 and 1419 Henry followed up this success with the conquest of Normandy. Rouen surrendered in January 1419 and his successes forced the French to agree to the Treaty of Troyes in May 1420. Henry was recognised as heir to the French throne and married Catherine, the daughter of the French king. In February 1421, Henry returned to England for the first time in three and half years, and he and Catherine went on a royal progress round the country. In June, he returned to France and died suddenly, probably of dysentery, on 31 August 1422. His nine-month-old son succeeded him.


He was returned to England and a great procession accompanied the cortege from Dover to St Paul's Cathedral in London. The coffin, on which lay his effigy, was then brought to the Abbey on 7 November 1422 for burial. At his magnificent funeral four horses drew the chariot into the Nave as far as the choir screen. Henry had directed that a chantry chapel should be raised over his body, at the eastern end of the Confessor's chapel.

His tomb was completed in about 1431. The inscription around the ledge of the tomb platform can be translated:

"Henry V, hammer of the Gauls, lies here. Henry was put in the urn 1422. Virtue conquers all. The fair Catherine finally joined her husband 1437. Flee idleness".

The effigy head, sceptre and other regalia were all of silver, with silver gilt plates covering the figure of the king. However, all the silver was stolen in 1546 and the effigy was just a plain block of oak for many centuries. In 1971 a new head, hands and a crown for the effigy were modelled in polyester resin by Louisa Bolt, the features following a contemporary description of the king and the earliest portrait of him. The tomb lies beneath the arch of the chantry, which is carved with figures of kings and saints. Above him is the Altar of the Annunciation, where prayers were said for the soul of the king. On the bridges spanning the ambulatories are sculptures depicting Henry at his coronation and riding into battle on his horse.

The saddle, helm and shield, which were part of his funeral 'achievements', were for many centuries displayed on the wooden beam above the chantry, but were restored and removed to the Abbey Museum in 1972. This saddle is the earliest surviving example of a new light-weight type, originally covered with blue velvet. The lime wood shield has only a small section of crimson velvet remaining on the inner side. The domed helm, about sixteen inches high, is a tilting helm so would not have been worn in battle. A 15th century sword, found in the Abbey triforium in 1869, is thought to be part of this funeral armour.


                   Sir John Codrington .

         Standard Bearer to King Henry V .