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Battle of Agincourt 600th Anniversary 2015

Agincourt 600

Agincourt Archers The Battle Of Agincourt

The Battle of Agincourt was a battle in the Hundred Years War. It was an English victory. The battle occurred on Friday 25 October 1415.

Henry V of England invaded France. English kings claimed they were heirs to the French throne. In practice the English kings were generally prepared to renounce this claim if the French would acknowledge their claim on Aquitaine and other French lands (the terms of the Treaty of Bretigny).

Henry was negotiating with France about giving up his claim to the throne in return for some concessions by the French. Negotiations broke down when France counter-offered with fewer concessions the English claiming that the French had mocked their claims and ridiculed Henry himself.

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Video: The battle of Agincourt..The bloodiest battle of the medieval age. (72 minutes)

On 19 April 1415, Henry asked the great council to sanction war with France, and they did. They fought until 8 October. The campaign season was coming to an end, and the English army had suffered many casualties through disease. Henry decided to move most of his army (roughly 7,000) to the port of Calais, the English stronghold in northern France, where they could re-equip over the winter.

Henry V

After Henry V marched to the north, the French moved to blockade them along the River Somme. They were successful for a time, forcing Henry to move south, away from Calais, to find a ford. The English finally crossed the Somme south of PĂ©ronne, at BĂ©thencourt and Voyennes and resumed marching north. Without the river protection, the French were hesitant to force a battle. They shadowed Henry's army while calling a semonce des nobles, calling on local nobles to join the army. By October 24 both armies faced each other for battle, but the French declined, hoping for the arrival of more troops. The next day the French initiated negotiations as a delaying tactic, but Henry ordered his army to advance and to start a battle that, given the state of his army, he would have preferred to avoid. The English had very little food, had marched 260 miles in two-and-a-half weeks, were suffering from sickness such as dysentery, and faced much larger numbers of well equipped French men at arms. However, Henry needed to get to the safety of Calais, and knew if he waited, the French would get more reinforcements.

The battle was fought in the narrow strip of open land formed between the woods of Tramecourt and Agincourt (close to the modern village of Azincourt). The French army was positioned by d'Albret at the northern exit so as to bar the way to Calais. The night of 24 October was spent by the two armies on open ground.

The Battle of Agincourt

Early on the 25th, Henry deployed his army (approximately 900 men-at-arms and 5,000 longbowmen, the latter commanded by Thomas Erpingham) across a 750 yard part of the defile. (It has been argued that fresh men were brought in after the siege of Harfleur; however, other historians argue that this is wrong, and that although 9,200 English left Harfleur, after a 250 mile march and more sickness had set in, they were down to roughly 5,900 by the time of the battle.)

The French suffered a catastrophic defeat, not just in terms of the sheer numbers killed, but also because of the number of high-ranking nobles lost. It took several years more campaigning, but Henry was eventually able to fulfill all his objectives. He was recognised by the French in the Treaty of Troyes (1420) as the regent and heir to the French throne. This was cemented by his marriage to Catherine of Valois, the daughter of King Charles VI.



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