Tales from the Battlefield

On 19 November 1414 it was announced in parliament that Henry V intended to invade France as the rightful claimant to the French throne. On 23 November 1415 he returned to London in triumph. Read below how we explored week-by-week during this exciting year the preparations, campaign and aftermath.



A few articles to whet your appetite:

23-29 November 1415 – Henry’s Procession into London

By Dan Spencer This is the last blog post on the website, as we have covered the period from November 1414 to November 1415.  Thank you for taking in an interest in the story of Agincourt and be sure to take a look at the other articles on the website. On 23 November 1415, Henry returned to the city of London in triumph with the Corporation of London putting on extravagant displays of pageantry to celebrate the king’s victory. This evidently made a deep impression on contemporaries, with the chronicler...
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16-22 November 1415 – Henry Returns to England

By Dan Spencer Several chronicles tell us that Henry arrived back in England on 16 November at Dover and then made his way towards London. He was no longer accompanied by the army, which had been disbanded at Calais and transported in stages to different ports, such as Sandwich, Dover, Portsmouth and Southampton. Instead he was only accompanied by a relatively small entourage and his most important prisoners, such as Charles, duke of Orléans, the duke of Bourbon, the counts of Eu, Vendóme and Richemont, and Marschal Boucicaut. The Brut...
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9-15 November 1415 – Parliament Continues to Sit, Prisoners from the Surrender of Harfleur

By Dan Spencer At the opening of parliament in the previous week, Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester, had recounted the progress of the army in France and the king’s need for further money to continue the enterprise. This was recognised by the members of parliament who agreed to speed up from 2 February 1416 to 13 December 1415 the collection of taxation granted in the previous year; they also consented to a further grant of a whole tenth and fifteenth which would be collected in November 1416. The inhabitants of...
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2-8 November 1415 – Opening of Parliament

By Dan Spencer At Calais Henry debated whether to continue the campaign. The Latin lives of the 1430s claim that he consulted his men ‘whether, as ought to follow a great victory, he should go on to besiege neighbouring towns and castle’. Ardres was mentioned as a specific target.  French local records reveal fears that Henry would attack Boulogne. But at the end of the day, Henry decided to demobilise his army. Over the course of this and following weeks soldiers from the army were gradually transported back to England...
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26 October – 1 November 1415 – The Aftermath and News of the Battle

By Dan Spencer The English left the battlefield on 26 October and arrived at Calais three days later. The chronicles of Titus Livius and Pseudo-Elmham state that Henry stayed at Guínes Castle (an English held castle a short distance from Calais) on 28 October before making a ceremonial entry into Calais the following day. According to the Burgundian writers Le Févre and Waurin, the king was greeted outside Calais by the inhabitants who escorted him into the town where he was met with cries of ‘Welcome, our sovereign lord’. These...
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25 October 1415 – The Battle of Agincourt

By Dan Spencer It was an early start for the soldiers of both armies on the morning of 25 October, with the men assembling for battle soon after daybreak (around 6:40 AM on that day).  Time was set aside for observing religious practice prior to the battle, with Henry said to have heard three masses whilst still in armour according to the Burgundian chroniclers Waurin and Le Févre. The English were drawn up into three divisions known as battles, with the vanguard commanded by Edward, duke of York, placed on...
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19-24 October – The Final March to Agincourt

By Dan Spencer On 19 October the English army was finally able to cross the River Somme, most likely at Béthencourt and Voyennes to the south of Péronne. According to the author of the Gesta Henrici Quinti, Henry had sent out scouts who discovered two narrow causeways, with other accounts, such as Titus Livius and Pseudo-Elmham, also mentioning information provided by local French prisoners. The French had broken the causeways in an attempt to prevent the English from using them, but the latter were able to cross in single file...
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12-18 October 1415 – The March Across France

By Dan Spencer The march across France continued this week, with the author of the Gesta Henrici Quinti reporting that the army had reached Eu, on the border of Ponthieu, on 12 October. Some chronicle accounts state that the townspeople sallied out from Eu to confront the English, but the pay records of the English army do not mention any casualties at this time. The inhabitants of the town, as at Arques, decided not to offer any prolonged resistance to Henry’s army, however, with terms being agreed on 13 October,...
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5-11 October 1415 – The Departure of the Army from Harfleur

By Dan Spencer According to the author of the Gesta Henrici Quinti, the army left Harfleur on 8 October on its march to Calais, which coincided with the second quarter of service for the army, which started on 6-7 October. Unlike the first part of the expedition, Henry had decided this was not to be a campaign of conquest. The English intended to reach the safety of Calais as soon as physically possible.  As a result, no assaults were launched on settlements during the march since this would have slowed...
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28 September-4 October 1415 – The installation of a garrison at Harfleur and the decision to march the army overland to Calais

By Dan Spencer This week saw the installation of a large garrison into Harfleur and preparations for the army to leave the town for the march across France. Having captured Harfleur, Henry needed to ensure that his new conquest was well-defended from French attempts to retake the town. Its isolated location and the damage caused to its defences by the English guns and other engines during the siege meant that it was necessary to install a large garrison for this purpose. Henry therefore had appointed his uncle, Thomas Beaufort, earl...
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