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1415: We few…

Trapped, far from home and outnumbered, the English army squares up to a powerful French host and prepares to do battle on the feast day of Saints Crispin and Crispinan.

Laurence Olivier again as Henry V. Behind him in this promotional shot for the 1944 film are reconstructions of the five banners Henry fought under at Agincourt. From left to right they are: the royal arms of England, the crowns of St Edmund, the cross of St George, the standard representing the Holy Trinity and, tucked down in the corner, the cross and martlets of Edward the Confessor.

“Dieu de batailles! Where have they this mettle?
Is not their climate foggy, raw and dull,
On whom, as in despite, the sun looks pale,
Killing their fruit with frowns? Can sodden water,
A drench for sur-rein’d jades, their barley-broth,
Decoct their cold blood to such valiant heat?
And shall our quick blood, spirited with wine,
Seem frosty?” 

Charles d’Albret, Henry V, Act 3, scene v.

After a tense standoff on the 24th the English passed a miserable night on the field. They were close enough to the French to hear the voices of the enemy drifting towards them on the night air and Henry had ordered them not to light fires to keep their positions secret.

So quiet were the English that at one point the French were worried they’d secretly marched away during the night. The French, famously but like all good stories probably fancifully, spent the night drinking wine, boasting and dicing for who would take which English noblemen prisoner.

It rained that night too. Since ancient times it had been noted that rainstorms often presaged great battles. Four hundred years later British officers who’d fought in Spain would remark that the night before nearly every major engagement was heralded by a thunderstorm. It rained heavily before Waterloo in 1815 too and in both instances, redcoat and archer spent the night lying shivering on the sodden plough that, on the morrow, might be their grave.

The next day the two armies drew up for battle, the archers hammered stakes into the ground to deter the French cavalry while the many flags that bobbed and fluttered over their ranks, provided one of the most colourful aspect of the battle – certainly when compared to the principal antagonists on the English side.

Many (author included) will have first been introduced to the period and the battle through Laurence Olivier’s masterly 1944 version of Shakespeare’s Henry V, in a film for which the term “Glorious Technicolor” might have been invented and still isn’t quite enough to describe the spectacle on display. The day is a blaze of sunshine, everyone is scrupulously clean and the French knights are lowered onto their horses with Heath Robinson-esque systems of winches and pulleys.

The reality though was rather different. The English army was tired, hungry, unshaven, cold and, after a night in a muddy field, indescribably filthy. The armour of the men-at-arms would have been rusting through constant use and exposure to rain, rivulets of water running down their helmets staining their faces with russet streaks.

The debate still flows back and forth as to exactly how outnumbered the English were: 10 to one, four to five? What is not in doubt and should not be forgotten is that they were certainly outnumbered, desperate and extremely miserable. Not only were they soaked from the previous night’s downpour, many men were also still suffering from, at worst, dysentery and, at best, stomach complaints picked up around Harfleur. The archers at least had the luxury of cutting away their britches to allow the effluvia to flow unimpeded down their legs, the knights in full harness had to suffer through it.

If this ragged and bedraggled, semi-naked and shit-stained army didn’t look particularly heroic it probably smelled even worse.

The course of the battle is relatively straightforward but new research is greatly adding to our understanding of it – not unlike the comparatively more recent battle of Waterloo. It was certainly not a simple case of waves of French cavalry breaking on the medieval prototype of the “Thin Red Line”; of valiant but arrogant French knights mown down by the Maxim gun of its day – the longbow – before everyone cried “God, for Harry!” and that was that.

There was a French cavalry charge but the day was effectively decided on foot in a scrum of sheer bloody murder typical of medieval battles.

The professionalism of the English soldiery, particularly the skill of the archers, is often stressed and they were both well-drilled and veterans of campaigns in France and Wales but while the militia levies of the arriere-ban upon which the more feudal French armies still relied were of limited military use, the French knights and other men-at-arms themselves were no less “professional”, as the term was then understood, and as skilled as any in Europe in a stand-up fight. Among them there were veterans of the failed Nicopolis crusade, the various battles of the Hook and Cod Wars and the more recent skirmishes and sieges of the Armagnac-Burgundian civil war.

Were the French overconfident? Probably and rightly so. They had the English trapped, there were many more of them and the longer they waited the more Frenchmen arrived to swell their ranks as the English grew weaker.

The main French problem, which was increasingly becoming clear, was with the lack of any recognised commander and with it effective battlefield command and control. Nominally under the command of the experienced commander-in-chief of the army Constable Charles d’Albret and his lieutenant, Marshal Jean le Maingre known as ‘Boucicaut’, the arrival of so many mighty dukes who had their own ideas about how best to fight the battle led to a compromised command system, and subsequent confusion and dithering as a result.

Knowing the sick and staving English grew weaker by the hour, d’Albret and Boucicaut were apparently happy to wait and perhaps even force the English into capitulation without having to fight a battle at all. On the other hand, the more hot headed nobles were all for wiping the contemptible little army from the face of the Earth without further ado. How hard could it be?

Finally, although Agincourt had gone some way to making the ‘Armagnac’ and ‘Burgundian’-supporting lords and nobles put aside their factional differences to counter the English invasion for the good of the kingdom, old hatreds died hard.

The bulk of the French commanders at Agincourt were ‘Armagnacs’. Confusingly they should perhaps have been more properly called ‘Orléanists’ because they rallied around Charles Duke of Orléans. Charles’ father, Louis, had been one of France’s most powerful and pre-eminent lords and had been engaged in a power struggle with his first cousin, John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy until John had Louis assassinated in 1407. At this point Bernard Count of Armagnac had taken the young Charles (then only 13) under his wing, marrying the young scion to his daughter, Bonne. Although Charles was something of a figurehead for the anti-Burgundian faction in France, the depredations of his new father-in-law’s Gascon soldiers around Paris a few years earlier had led to the Parisians branding them all ‘Armagnacs’.

These divisions were not the chief reason the French lost, as there were comparatively few ‘Burgundian’ knights in their ranks that day, but the French were certainly not the ‘band of brothers’ posterity has made the English out to be; with Henry’s army, at the very least, united in desperation. Although the Armagnacs and Burgundians both pointed accusing fingers at each other after the battle as they sought to blame each other for the disaster, the fact is even lords of the same political persuasion found themselves at loggerheads as to how best to combat the enemy before them.

As the nobles bickered about what to do next the battle began with a less-than-action-packed resumption of the stand-off of the day before. For several hours the two armies stood in silence facing each other across the muddy field until Henry decided to take the initiative. Knowing, as d’Albret did, that fear and starvation would destroy his army more effectively than any battle, he gave the order to “advance banners”[1]. Every man knelt down and kissed the ground beneath him, the archers uprooted their stakes and the army plodded to within bowshot of the French. At a sign from Sir Thomas Erpingham, the archers loosed off a volley.

The move caught their opponents off guard, the French cavalry are thought to have been exercising their warhorses in the cold of the morning and Henry’s archers were firmly entrenched behind their stakes once more by the time the horsemen managed to regroup and launch a half-hearted, badly-coordinated attack that was not pressed home with much vigour. A well-aimed volley of arrows would have sent a number of horses tumbling to the ground shrieking in pain and fright, throwing their riders, while others bolted. The few mounted men-at-arms who made it to the English lines were swiftly dispatched while the rest fell back and played no further part in the battle.

As the cavalry reeled the French men-at-arms had begun their advance in two massed divisions one behind the other; the first led by Constable d’Albret and the Duke of Orléans, the second by the Dukes of Alençon and Bar.

Contrary to Olivier’s film, a knight in full harness[2] did not need help getting onto his horse or even moving around. The weight was evenly distributed, they were used to wearing it and they were very fit. A man in armour was capable of doing minor gymnastics and a former French constable[3] was renowned for feats such as vaulting onto his horse and climbing the underside of ladders when fully armed.

A reconstruction of the attack of the first French division at Agincourt, from a diorama of the battle commissioned by the Royal Armouries for its new exhibition at the Tower of London. The picture gives a good impression of the compactness of the French ranks and why so many were unable to use their weapons or even move at all in the press around them. Photo courtesy of Perry Miniatures.

However, the French host was now faced with a gruelling slog through a quagmire in order to get to grips with the English. Fit they may have been but as each armoured foot plunged into the grasping Somme clay – up to their knees in places it is claimed – it required ever greater effort to break the terrible suction, sapping their strength and proving treacherous footing. The second division advancing in the steps of the first probably had a tougher time of it due to the badly churned up ground but both will have had to contend with riderless and panicked horses plunging into their ranks, knocking men down and causing chaos.

And through it all they had to cope with the unrelenting hail of arrows for the agonisingly slow minutes it took to cross the 200 or so yards between them and the English.

At extreme ranges it is unlikely an arrow, even from a longbow, could penetrate the best plate armour but on the initial stages of their march the arrow storm would have forced the French to close their visors which in turn restricted their vision and breathing. The force of the impact of perhaps 50,000 to 75,000 arrows hitting their massed ranks in under a minute would have buffeted them around violently and made an awful noise.

Perhaps hungover if they really had stayed up drinking the night before, they would have very quickly become overheated, dehydrated and increasingly exhausted, as they struggled through the mire, stepping over the odd unfortunate whose weaker armour or unwise decision to look skyward at the dark banks of arrows above them had rendered him a casualty. It would have been a ghastly, infuriating and deeply dispiriting ordeal.

Worse though was to come.

The topography of the battlefield itself now worked against the French. Sloping gently inward makes it a natural funnel and thick woods and hedges on either side prevented any outflanking manoeuvres on the part of the French, forcing them to advance head-on into the English volleys.

In an historical parallel, the Newfoundland Regiment advancing into the storm of German bullets on the Somme just over 500 years later are said to have, “instinctively tucked their chins into an advanced shoulder as they had so often done when fighting their way home against a blizzard”. So the French knights would no doubt have reacted that grey day in 1415 and even if they were less vulnerable than those doomed Canadians, the arrows flying at them from all sides would have made those on the flanks in particular press inward as they sought to make themselves less exposed and seek mutual protection in numbers.

In addition, they would also have been angling for the banners bobbing above the English line which showed where the most important nobles were stationed – and where the best ransoms were to be won. Henry, the choicest ransom or even scalp of all, fought beneath five banners in the centre of the English line: the royal arms of England, the cross of St George, the standard representing the Holy Trinity, the crowns of St Edmund and the cross and martlets of Edward the Confessor. The standards of the Dukes of York and Gloucester and the notable lords Erpingham, Camoys and Cornwall would have been equally juicy targets for Frenchmen looking for wealthy prisoners. Coupled with the shepherding effect of the lie of the land and the arrows, the French were being massed together, which would have given impetus to their charge when it hit the English line but ultimately doomed many of them to a terrible fate.

It is a testament to their physical conditioning and bravery that having slogged through the arrows and mud the shock of their impact with the English line apparently forced it to recoil over six feet. No doubt keen to get to grips with their tormentors after the atrocious trial they’d just undergone, these were nonetheless tired men.

Soon after their collision, the second French division arrived and began to push those in front of them forward like a rugby maul. The aim was no doubt to create a rolling momentum which would punch through the English line and allow them to sweep through and around the English positions. In practice all it succeeded in doing was pressing too many already-exhausted men together in a vice.

So tightly packed together were they that the majority of the French weren’t able to even use their weapons. Unable to advance because of the unmoving English men-at-arms and the growing mound of French dead to their front[4], the press soon turned murderously on itself.

As the Gesta Henrici chronicle related: “For when some of them, killed when battle was joined, fall at the front, so great was the undisciplined violence and pressure of the mass of men behind that the living fell on top of the dead, and others falling on top of the living were killed as well…”

It’s probable men died standing up, crushed or suffocated in the throng, while as the chronicler says, any living man who slipped and fell in the press also risked being trampled or having more men, dead and wounded, fall on top of him so that he might suffocate, while those who fell forward would have had their faces pressed into the mud and blood and so drowned there.

The situation was exacerbated by the lighter armed archers who as well as now shooting point blank at the French, nimbly leaped in among the flailing men at arms, pitching them onto their backs where it was a simple case of flipping open the visor to butcher the unfortunate with their daggers and mallets. The English knew that the only way out of the trap was to kill and go on killing with no time for the niceties of taking prisoners until the French could take it no more.

Medieval battlefields were savage and murderous places at the best of times but in this instance the terrifying truth is that perhaps the majority of the French casualties at Agincourt were caused by their own countrymen around them not by the English.

As Richard Holmes described it, Agincourt was, “more of a Hillsborough-type disaster than a battle”[5]. The chief reason the French lost is because there were simply too many of them in too small a space.

A further attack, or threat of attack or possibly the raid on the English baggage train, the most debated part of the battle and which is still little understood, nonetheless led to the infamous killing of many French prisoners and the third and final French division, seeing the destruction of those before them, quit the field.

The grubby reality may fall short of later chivalric and romantic tradition but it was a victory nonetheless and, to the English, a miraculous one at that – it is not beyond the realms of possibility that afterwards they did as Shakespeare’s Henry commanded:

“Do we all holy rites;
Let there be sung ‘Non nobis’ and ‘Te Deum’.
The dead with charity enclosed in clay,
And then to Calais; and to England then:
Where ne’er from France arrived more happy men.”

But if Agincourt was an English triumph it is equally important to see what a tragedy it was for the French and when flipped in this way the story is equally if not slightly more compelling. It is hard not to feel sympathy for the French knights and the simply appalling ordeal they went through, one they bore stoically and extremely courageously.

Agincourt is one of those battles where the “flower” of chivalry is deemed to have died[6]. Many non-noble soldiers lost their lives there too, a fact becoming increasingly evident as historians crunch the numbers and reexamine the chronicles, but the butcher’s bill did fall unusually heavily on the nobility – a testament to their willingness to lead from the front.

Constable d’Albret; admiral Jacques de Châtillon; the master of the crossbowmen David de Rambures; the Dukes of Alençon, Brabant[7] and Bar; the counts of Nevers, Vaudémont, Marle, Roucy, Grandpré, Blâmont and Luxembourg and the Archbishop of Sens are among the usual French casualties quoted in the “royal fellowship of death” but the full extent of French casualties, already put at 6,000 to 8,000, will probably never be known. After the chroniclers of the time had run through hundreds of famous names many simply gave up and pitifully noted “and many more too numerous to relate”.

The most heart-rending reading is the litany of family members killed together, brothers and fathers and sons. The Duke of Burgundy’s two younger brothers Anthony of Brabant and Philip of Nevers were both killed, Philip’s second child, John, was born on the very same day his father died; de Rambures fell with three of his sons; Guy de Nesles with his son Raoulquin; Jean de Craon and his brother Anthoine; Jean de Croÿ and two of his sons; Antoine de Chartres and his two brothers; Robert de Wavrin killed with his son; Jean de Beuil and his brothers and the bearer of the sacred oriflamme itself, Guillaume de Martel and his two sons. The list goes on, at its most awful extent whole lineages of the great French families of Picardy, Normandy and Champagne were wiped out and the scale and impact of the losses is comparable, even better understood, when one considers the terrible slaughter of the ‘Pals’ Battalions from London, Liverpool, Manchester and Accrington on the Somme 500 years later.

What is more, the Dukes of Orléans and Bourbon, Marshal Boucicaut and the counts of Eu and Vendôme were among those captured. Plucked from the heaps of dead, young Orléans (he was only 20) and Arthur de Richemont, the brother of the Duke of Brittany, himself only 22, were found so covered in blood their coats of arms were barely recognisable. They were also lucky to have been spared the ghastly death met by so many of their compatriots in the lethal crush.

On the English side by contrast, the Duke of York and Earl of Suffolk were the only major losses along with the Flemish knight Jan van Brederode and Welsh knight Dafydd (or Davy) Gam who is also reputed to have saved Henry’s life during the battle and is often credited with killing the Duke of Alençon though this is unlikely.

Despite the victory, Henry chose not to hang around. He was still concerned there might still be another French army waiting in the wings and only once in Calais would they be truly safe. The dead were not, “with charity enclosed in clay” but rather stripped naked and left. Even at this stage the odd prisoner was discovered among the grisly mounds but those too wounded to move were put out of their misery.

Despite Henry’s prudence the French were shattered and the English army was allowed to limp away, arriving, one may imagine, relieved into Calais on the 28 and 29 October. There they found the governor, Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, in anticipation of their arrival, had stockpiled fresh supplies including beer in “abundant quantities”.

The stocks did not last long however and on 2 November an order was sent to Falkenham in Suffolk for more food and ale. Naturally the more enterprising (and unscrupulous) traders of Calais were quick to raise the prices of their wares and many veterans of the battle were forced to sell their hard-won booty at a fraction of its value simply to buy a drink and a scrap to eat.

Most of the army would stay in Calais for the winter and then drift home the following spring, their indenture at an end. But not Henry. He stayed in Calais until 16 November whereupon he set sail for London with his most valuable prisoners, desperate to make it back to England before the end of the year to consolidate his victory.

And London was ready for him and what followed was a medieval pageant worthy of “Glorious Technicolor”.


“Ne’er arrived more happy men”:

News of the victory was received with great acclamation in England and on 2 November, as the order for beer was arriving in Suffolk, parliament convened and granted the king access to new tithes as well as the subsidy for life on linen, leathers and skins and a tax on “certain wines[8]” to provide him with further funds to pursue his campaigns to recover his “just rights and inheritances” in France.

After a six-day journey from Dover Henry’s triumph through the capital on 23 November was fêted as befitted a conquering hero – a conqueror bankrolled by the city’s guilds no less and who must have been glad their investment had come good.

Melchizadek greeting the victorious Abraham with bread and wine. Painted by Netherlands artist Dieric Bouts, who was born in around 1415.

As their allegorical guide the city’s aldermen drew on the biblical tale of Abraham’s reception by Melchizedek King of Salem, who greeted the prophet with bread and wine following his defeat of the “Four Kings”[9] – the biblical reference, as we have seen, Henry likely took for himself when demanding tribute from Arques and Eu etc.

As such, choirs of virgins sang the psalms “as to another David coming from the slaughter of Goliath,”[10] while the buildings and bridges of London were festooned with flags and coats of arms and effigies, bread was free for all and wine quite literally flowed from the conduits.

But once the celebrations and requiem masses were done, Henry quickly settled down to the important business of ransoming his captives. The gold to be squeezed from noblemen such as Charles of Orléans and John of Bourbon would go towards waging a new campaign in their homeland.

Medieval ransom was a complex and often laborious business and interested readers are directed to other more in-depth works that examine its intricacies. Needless to say however, while Henry was keen to wring as much money as possible out of his captives he was rather less keen to allow such powerful and capable commanders to run back to France too quickly to raise and lead fresh armies against him on his next campaign.

Marshal Boucicaut, 49 at the time of the battle, would die in captivity in Yorkshire in 1421, while Charles of Orléans would spend 25 years as a prisoner in England. His captivity – like that of the others – was not overly restrictive and he would travel from estate to estate as the “guest” of various noblemen. He would have occasionally met his fellow captives and they were allowed to receive money and goods from France. John of Bourbon sent for his falcons so he could go hunting while Charles sent for wine – up to 600 pipes (300 tuns or 75,600 gallons worth) according to one source[11] – from his vineyards in the Loire and Champagne perhaps?

His custody was not without tragedy. His wife, Bonne of Armagnac, would die in his absence and even many Englishmen felt the length of his captivity unduly harsh. He returned home a fluent English speaker and with a large catalogue of poems, largely rondeaus and ballades in English and French, including the rather lovely, “Is she not passing fair?”. Considered one of the finest medieval poets of the courtly tradition, he died a, for the time, rather grand old man in France at the age of 70 in 1466. He married Marie of Cleves upon his release from captivity in 1440 and had three children with her, their son becoming Louis XII of France in 1498.

An example of the hoops which Henry made some of his captives jump through before they could obtain their freedom and how not just money was sometimes accepted as payment is that of Raoul de Gaucourt and Jean d’Estourville, who had led the defence of Harfleur.

Incredible as it might seem to us, once Harfleur fell and the two knights became prisoners they was released on parole and ordered to present themselves to the king at Calais on 11 November. Despite being weak from dysentery contracted during the siege, they and several other captives duly hauled themselves from their sick beds in order to fulfill their word of honour.

Unlike Charles of Orléans who idled in his gilded cage, de Gaucourt and d’Estourville were set a sort of Herculean cum-Sisyphean series of tasks by Henry.

He suggested they would be best employed, to begin with, in helping secure the release of numerous English prisoners then in French hands and added they might also track down one of Henry’s crowns and other jewels that had been lost during the battle when the French had attacked the English baggage train, “which would be a great thing for us to recover.” Oh, and might they also take an order for 200 casks of ‘Beaune’[12] wine while they were about it?

De Gaucourt was paroled on 3 April 1416 and set off for France where he secured the release of the majority of the prisoners. He then found Henry’s crown, coronation orb and a golden cross containing a fragment of the “true cross” and the seals of the King’s chancery but many of the other jewels were too widely dispersed. He ordered the wine and went back to England. Henry though was not entirely satisfied. So de Gaucourt hired a ship, hopped back to France, secured the ransom of the remaining prisoners, gave them new clothes and shipped them all back to London and put them up in the Tower at his own expense, arriving back at about the same time as the wine and jewels he’d found on his previous trip. The whole experience left him out of pocket to the tune of 13,000 crowns.

In the end he would spend 10 years in English captivity, Henry recognising he was too formidable an opponent to be let go too easily. He was right, once back in France Raoul became a companion of Joan of Arc with whom he raised the siege of Orléans. He died an extremely old man for his times aged 80 or 90 having seen the English completely expelled from both Guyenne and Normandy.



Despite the extraordinary outcome of Agincourt the effect was ephemeral in the long run; the coming of Joan of Arc, along with revitalised and reorganised French armies meant the days of the English in France were numbered, although in 1415 this seemed an impossible outcome.

Henry continued to campaign successfully and married Charles VI’s daughter, Catherine of Valois in 1420, with the further concession that he, Henry, and his heirs would succeed to the throne of France on Charles VI’s death and not the dauphin (also Charles). Who knows the weft of history if this had come to pass but in August 1422 Henry died of dysentery while on yet another campaign. He left behind a child king and a regency led by his brother John, the Duke of Bedford. When Charles VI himself died in October of that year, his son Charles, unsurprisingly, chose to ignore the English claims that the young Henry VI was rightful heir to the throne and was crowned as Charles VII.

To return to the immediate aftermath of the battle. In France the Armagnac-Burgundian civil war ground on. The murder-assassination of John the Fearless in 1419, at the probable instigation of the future Charles VII, led to the creation of the Anglo-Burgundian alliance which extended the war for a few more bloody decades. Together the Anglo-Burgundian armies emerged victorious from a number of battles including the great but now often forgotten victory of Verneuil – the “second Agincourt” as it is sometimes known.

Despite the best efforts of John of Bedford, the French under Joan of Arc and captains such as Etienne de Vignolles also known as “La Hire” (who sported bunches of grapes on his coat of arms) gradually regained the country for Charles VII. Although the Burgundians captured Joan and handed her over to the English in 1430, by 1435 with Bedford dead and the English diplomatic effort in disarray, the Burgundians switched sides once again following the Treaty of Arras, which also ended the Armagnac-Burgundian conflict.

The English war effort was further mishandled by the rising William de la Pole the Duke of Suffolk, who was rather too busy (according to his enemies) enriching himself than worrying about the state of the nation and the course of the war. After the disastrous battle of Formigny in 1450 which led to the fall of Normandy he was exiled, and as he sailed to the Low Countries his enemies caught up with him at sea and hacked his head off with a rusty sword.

Henry VI of England meanwhile proved as mad as his maternal grandfather had been and this weakness, coupled with the competing interests of over mighty subjects in the rival houses of York and Lancaster would plunge England into its own vicious civil conflict between the nobility soon after the fall of the last English territory in France.

After Normandy, Gascony fell in 1451 but, at the instigation of the Jurade, Bordeaux was briefly recaptured in 1452 by the ageing earl of Shrewsbury, Sir John Talbot. It was the last hurrah of English rule in France. In July 1453, 300 years of almost uninterrupted English rule in Bordeaux and the Hundred Years War effectively came to an end at the Battle of Castillon – in 1455 the Wars of the Roses would begin.

Footnotes to the text can be found on the following page.

[1] He is sometimes quoted as saying the very colloquial, ‘Felas, let’s go,” or, “Fellas, let’s go,” and sometimes, “Let’s go, fellows.”

[2] A more correct term than the usual ‘suit’ of armour so often referred to.

[3] Bertrand de Guesclin (1320-1380), the famous Breton constable whose victory over Charles II of Navarre at the Battle of Cocherel in 1364 secured the accession of the Valois dukes to the inheritance of Burgundy.

[4] As tall as a man, one chronicler claimed though two to three feet high at most is more likely.

[5] Holmes, Richard (1996). “War Walks”, BBC

[6] The other would be Flodden in 1513 where James IV of Scotland and the flower of Scottish chivalry withered in the face of English arrows and billhooks.

[7] Brabant and Nevers were the younger brothers of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy. Brabant arrived late to the field and improperly armed and armoured. Too valuable to be killed out of hand it is thought he was killed by accident as he was not wearing his livery. Both had defied the wishes of their older brother in order to fight at the battle.

[8] Alas, we know not which.

[9] Amphrael of Babylonia, Arioch of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer of Elam and Tidal of Goiim. Genesis 14:17.

[10] Harris, Nicholas (1832). “History of the Battle of Agincourt, and of the expedition of Henry V into France in 1415”, Johnson & Co

[11] Orléans, Charles and Arn, Mary-Jo (1994) “Charles of Orléans’s English book of love: a critical edition”, Medieval & Renaissance texts and Studies, Binghampton, New York, p15.

[12] Once again, the use of “casks” is frustrating as it gives little idea of quantity. We might assume the reference was to butts/pipes.

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