2-8 March 1415: Gunners, Sailors and Soldiers in Wales


By Dan Spencer

This week saw payments made to gunners, sailors and to soldiers stationed in Wales.

All of these show how Henry and his council were thinking ahead to the proposed campaign to France.

On 2 March 1415 a number of payments were made to gunners working on the king’s artillery. These were mostly men from the continent, such as Master William Gerardson , who had played an active role since the beginning of the year, when he had received payments for the forging of guns. This day he received an additional £28 for making certain guns for the king, as well as a further £25 14s for working with other gunners on other pieces of artillery. For more information on the artillery used in the expedition click here. This artillery indicates that henry anticipated a campaign of sieges.

Gunners were also retained on the king’s service today, including Longi DeDeryk (mostly likely of Dutch or German origin) who received £3 6s 8d, and Hans Joye, a gunner stationed at Calais, who was given £10 for his wages.

These gunners, along with others, indented to serve on the Agincourt campaign on 29 April, for more information click here. Additional equipment was also acquired for the expedition, with John Endon, Treasurer of War, receiving £5 13s 4d for purchases of iron and John Regalt £1 for gunpowder.

Attention was also paid to the defence of the realm in anticipation of a campaign overseas. The wages of soldiers in Wales and the north of England were also paid on 2 March. Thomas Strange, Hugh Sey and John Wele, each received £80 to pay for the men-at-arms and archers stationed in Wales. The decision to maintain garrisons in the principality had been decided in the council meeting of the previous month, to prevent any further outbreaks of rebellion: Own Glyndwr still eluded capture.

Robert Umfraville, Keeper of Roxburgh Castle (a key border fortress on the east marches of Scotland) was also allocated £266 13s 4d for the wages of soldiers and £20 for repairs for the castle.

Meanwhile in Salisbury, the citizens were shown a letter from the king requesting a loan for the expedition, which had been presented to them by Edward, Duke of York, and Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, for more information on Salisbury click here.

Henry V had also decided to found a number of monasteries, which were the last to be founded before the Reformation. The third of March saw the drawing up of the foundation charter of a new monastery for the Brigettine order, to be called Syon in the parish of Isleworth. Henry V chose this religious order due to the suggestion of Henry, Lord Fitz-Hugh, Chamberlain of the Household, and who later fought at the battle of Agincourt. The Brigettine order itself came from Sweden, with its first monastery having been founded in the fourteenth century in Vadstena.

At the request of the king’s sister, Philippa (wife of Eric of Pomerania king of Norway, Denmark and Sweden), four nuns and two monks were to travel from Sweden to the new monastery. The intended number of the new community was to be 85, made up of 60 nuns and 25 men (to tally with the 13 apostles, including St Paul, and 72 disciples).

This information came from The National Archives, E403/619 m. 15, 16; Anne Curry, Agincourt: A New History (Stroud: Tempus, 2005); James Hamilton Wylie, The Reign of Henry The Fifth, Vol. I. 1413-1415 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1914), pp. 220-2; George James Aungier, The History and Antiquities of Syon Monastery, the Parish of Isleworth and the Chapel of Hounslow; Compiled from Public Records, Ancient Manuscripts, Ecclesiastical and Other Authentic Documents. (London, 1840), pp. 25, 31.

Image of medieval guns in the Cluny Museum, taken from Wikipedia under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License, author PHGCOM