It is 600 years since King Henry Vâ€™s army assembled on the southern coast of England to set sail for the French coast in pursuit of their sovereignâ€™s claim to the French crown. The military expedition to France in 1415 opened a new phase in Anglo-French hostilities that had persisted sporadically for nearly a century; a symptom of a rivalry between the two kingdoms that was much older.
Henry had much to prove, not only to his French enemies but also to his English and Welsh subjects as his kingdom had been plagued by rebellion and conspiracy making his position tenuous.
He could however rely on a sophisticated system for raising his army that had been developed under his predecessors. Raising an army in late medieval England was no mean feat and through the paper trail of various administrative records held by The National Archives we will see below how Henryâ€™s soldiers were recruited and paid.