A bedraggled and weary English army of over 9,000 menÂ made itsÂ way across the river Ternoise, Picardy, Northern France on 24Â October 1415. TheyÂ had been marching for three weeks since leavingÂ town of Harfleur, and were in aÂ desperate bid to reach English-controlled Calais before French forces succeeded in preventing them.
As English and Welsh soldiers climbedÂ theÂ hill beyond the river, towards the town of MaisoncellesÂ (about 45-50 miles south of Calais), they beheld a terrifying sight. The French army, numbering perhaps between 15,000 and 20,000 men, had outmanoeuvred Henryâ€™s forces. They blockedÂ the route northward only a few miles away, between the villages of Tramecourt and Azincourt.
An unnamed chaplain who rodeÂ with the army describedÂ Henryâ€™s reaction whenÂ one of his captains, Sir Walter Hungerford, lamented that they didn’t haveÂ a further 10,000 archers to help their cause against such a mighty French army:
‘That is a foolish way to talk because by God in Heaven upon whose grace I have relied and in whom is my firm hope of victory, even if I could I would not have one man more than I doâ€¦do you not believe that the Almighty, with these humble few, is able to overcome the opposing arrogance of the French who boast of their great number?’ 1
Henry began to deployÂ his forces, although the battle would not be fought until the following day:Â 25 October, the Feast of St Crispin and St Crispinian. Continue reading »
- 1.Â â€˜Gesta Henrici Quintiâ€™, p.79, cited in Ian Mortimer, 1415: Henry Vâ€™s Year of Glory (London, 2009), p.424 ^