6-12 April 1415: A Letter to the King of France and Preparations for War

Kings House Salisbury Museum

By Dan Spencer

This week saw a letter sent to the king of France, the victualing of Calais and an assembly of the citizens in Salisbury.

Negotiations with France were ongoing at this period, with Henry keen to receive envoys from France. Henry’s desire to be seen as waging a just war in defence of his rights meant that he could not launch an invasion whilst the French were still willing to negotiate. However any delay in receiving the embassy would have a negative impact on his preparations for the expedition to France. On 7 April, he wrote a letter to Charles VI, in which he asked for the names of the French envoys, as he had heard nothing from him previously.

Attention was also paid for supplying the garrison of the Pale of Calais with materials this week.   On 10 April a commission given to an Adam Chaunceller to take ships, sailors and carts to transport timber, stones, limes and other items to the territory. It is likely that these materials were used for construction work on the defences and houses of Calais and its surrounding fortifications. The settlement was dependent upon imports from England, particularly from Kent, as it was an enclave which had often been attacked by the French.  For more information on Calais click here.

Meanwhile in the city of Salisbury, an assembly of citizens met the following day to appoint Walter Shirle (a prominent citizen) to travel to meet the king to ask for sureties for repayment of the loan that they had been requested to give earlier the same year. The same day, commissions were given to arrest ships of 20 tons or above in ports between Bristol and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, to assemble at London, Sandwich, Winchelsea and Southampton by 8 May at the latest.

This information came from James Hamilton Wylie, The Reign of Henry The Fifth, Vol. I. 1413-1415 (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1914), pp. 452, 454-5; Anne Curry, Agincourt: A New History (Stroud: Tempus, 2005), p. 50; Calendar of the Patent Rolls, 1413-1416, p. 342.

Image is of The King’s House in Salisbury Close, taken from Wikipedia, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, author SalisburyMuseum1