Fri 16 Oct 2015

Montreuil and Henry V

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Members who attended The Society’s lunch at Montreuil on 5th September were also guests of the local history group – Memoires de Conflits en Montreuillois. Together with French and British residents, the visitors were treated to a fascinating presentation on the battle of Agincourt by Dr Rowena Archer of Oxford University. Society member Terry Hughes shares a little of the presentation below, as well as details for the next talk, which we hope you enjoy reading.

Joanna Goodman
News Editor

Dr Archer's fascinating talk, accompanied by several medieval weapons!

Dr Archer’s fascinating talk, accompanied by several medieval weapons!

Drawing on the wealth of records on both sides of the Channel, Dr Archer gave an account of how the battle was fought six hundred years ago (October 25th 1415) at Azincourt, a short drive from Montreuil.

Perhaps bearing in mind the Franco-British composition of the audience, Dr Archer dispelled some of the myths surrounding a battle that has become such a hallowed part of British history celebrated by Shakespeare’s play and Sir Laurence Olivier’s classic film. She described Henry’s rather hapless campaign before his epic confrontation with the huge French army at Azincourt.

Setting out an array of medieval weapons, Dr Archer told the story of what really happened when the armies faced each other. These weapons illustrated how Henry V used the deadly effect of archery to wreak havoc on the French nobility as they advanced on a narrow front.

Yet, military operations were not Dr Archer’s only theme. The human side of the story was revealed by details in the muster rolls of Henry’s army that recorded the names, skills and origins of the king’s individual soldiers.

More poignant, however, was the record discovered by Dr Archer of the advice written by a French noblewoman to help the young widows of fallen warriors. Dr Archer is carrying out further research on the experience of women in the aftermath of Agincourt.

M Bruno Bethouart, the French Co- President of the Memoires des Conflits en Montreuillois thanked Dr Archer for her excellent presentation and looked forward to welcoming Wine Society visitors to future events. Their British Co-President, Siobhan Stevens, is a resident of Montreuil and welcomes UK members.

The next presentation will be on 11 November. The speaker will be Charles Goodson-Wickes on the experience of his great grandfather, Sir Frank Fox , who was a staff officer at Field Marshal Haig’s GHQ in Montreuil during the First World War.

Terry Hughes
Society Member

Categories : France, Montreuil

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