Tag: Chivalry

Battle of Agincourt – Friday 25th October 1415 – The End of Chivalry


On Friday 25th October 1415 Henry V and the English defeated the French at the Battle of Agincourt against all odds. They were outnumbered and with the French sensing victory they celebrated the predicted slaughter of the English the night before.


Two months both prior to that date the English had set sail from Southampton to France with 11,000 men including 8,000 archers in a fleet of 1,500 ships. They arrived in Chef-de-Caux near Harfleur where they battled to take the town. The French resistance was greater than expected and the English lost a great number of men. Eventually the English gained victory, and from there, made their way northwards 100 miles to Calais. By now, the English were short of food and, the conditions led to dysentery and illness that took more lives depleting the English army to half its size.

The French blocked Henry’s route at Agincourt and waited to bring the English to battle. The battlefield was narrow and heavy rain made the terrain thick with mud. The two armies stood off and waited for the other to attack. The English mocked the French, and before the order to attack was given, the French broke ranks and charged forward. This worked perfectly in favour of the English, with the mud and longbows they were able to kill thousands of the French before they made it to the English lines. The professionally trained archers could shoot six arrows a minute and injure the enemy at 600 yards and kill at 300 yards. With the hail of arrows coming down on the French, panic set in and in the narrow area of the battlefield, they ended up crushing and disabling themselves from the number of advancing French from the rear, leaving them stuck in the mud.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The English seemingly had victory in their sights when news arrived of a French attack coming from the rear. Henry, now had a problem, due to the French outnumbering the English they had taken more prisoners than they could control. The fear the prisoners may fight back, Henry gave the order to have them killed in cold blood, perhaps bringing an end to chivalric ideology

The victory at the Battle of Agincourt goes down as one of the greatest English victories with loss of only 600 men compared to the French that was in the region of 6,000.

In 1420 Henry was accepted as heir to the throne of France; however he died two years later from dysentery during the siege of Meaux.