Post-classical history

Picture Section

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Portrait of Henry V, painted on wood c. 1520. Although this is a later image, it is probably a copy of a lost original. All the other portraits of the king are based on it.

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Henry’s father, Henry IV. The relationship between these two deeply religious, fiercely proud men was often difficult – due as much to their similarities as their differences.

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Henry V’s stepmother, Queen Joan. In the year 1415 Henry showed her great respect. Later he accused her of being a witch and confiscated her income.

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Thomas, duke of Clarence. Henry’s brother – just one year younger – was a ruthless and reckless warrior, and Henry’s greatest rival.

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John, duke of Bedford. The third of the four brothers. An intelligent, pious and capable man. Henry entrusted the keepership of the realm to him in 1415.

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Humphrey, duke of Gloucester. The fourth and youngest brother, and arguably the most cultured. He fell to the ground at Agincourt, whereupon Henry stepped over him to protect him.

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Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester and chancellor of England. Henry’s uncle and one of his most trusted confidants.

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Henry Chichele, archbishop of Canterbury. He shared Henry’s zeal for the reform of the Church and, in particular, the extirpation of Lollardy.

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Ralph Neville, earl of Westmorland, and his wives. Henry depended on him for the security of the north. The effigy on the right represents Joan Beaufort, Henry’s aunt.

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Thomas Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, and his wife Beatrice. One of Henry’s closest friends, he became treasurer on Henry’s accession. He contracted dysentery at the siege of Harfleur and died shortly after returning to England.

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Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick. Another of Henry’s closest friends, a diplomat and a military commander. He led the English embassy to the council of Constance.

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London in 1483. Charles, duke of Orléans, is shown writing poetry in the Tower of London during his long captivity there (1415–1410). London Bridge and Old St Paul’s can be seen in the background.

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Westminster Hall. A place for great feasts and royal bureaucracy. A marble throne used to be on the daïs at the far end.

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Westminster Palace. In the seventeenth century the chapel royal was used by parliament. However, the skyline was largely unchanged from 1415.

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The Holy Roman Emperor, Sigismund, king of Hungary. Without his leadership the council of Constance would not have met, let alone been successful.

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The Cathedral of Constance in 1819. Here the plenary sessions of the council of Constance were held. Here too Jan Hus was defrocked prior to his execution on 6 July.

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The rue Vieille du Temple, Paris, where John the Fearless murdered the duke of Orléans on 23 November 1407. The rue des Blancs-Manteaux, along which the murderers fled, is by the no-entry sign on the far left; the rue des Rosiers is by the no-entry sign on the near right.

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La tour Jean sans Peur, Paris. John the Fearless built himself a bed chamber and bathroom high above the ground, supported on massive stone columns, so he would be safe from assassination at night.

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John the Fearless, duke of Burgundy. His achievements were few and his acts enormously divisive; but almost everything he did was surprising.

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Charles VI, king of France. He reigned for more than forty years but suffered from a mental illness, allowing ambitious members of the royal family to vie with each other for power.

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The keep of the Château de Vincennes, near Paris. A royal residence, largely rebuilt by Charles V. On 31 August 1422 Henry V died in a house at the foot of the great tower.

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The duke of Berry, Charles VI’s uncle. One of the wisest of the French royal dukes, he presided over the peace negotiations in Paris in 1415, even though he was seventy-four – unusually old for the middle ages.

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View from the top of the keep of Portchester Castle, Hampshire, showing the harbour where the king’s fleet gathered. Henry was at the castle from 29 July until he embarked for France on 7 August.

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Harfleur. The River Lézarde used to run both through and around the town, where there was a fortified naval base. St Martin’s Church was badly damaged in the siege that began on 17 August.

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On the march from Harfleur to Calais, Henry had to pass several defensible towns and castles, such as this one, at Arques (now Arques-la-Bataille).

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Thomas, Lord Camoys, who commanded the English left wing at Agincourt, and his wife, Elizabeth Mortimer. She was the aunt of the earl of March and the widow of Henry ‘Hotspur’ Percy.

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Sir Thomas Erpingham. A veteran commander at Agincourt, Erpingham gave the dramatic signal for the English army to advance.

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Michael de la Pole, earl of Suffolk, who died at the siege of Harfleur. Like other important casualties, his body was boiled and his clean bones sent back to England for burial.

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The battlefield of Agincourt. This is the view towards Maisoncelle from the road a little way south of the supposed site of the French mass grave. The English would have drawn up across the horizon, near the trees in the distance.

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The view from the left-hand side of the English position in front of Maisoncelle, looking north towards the position of the French army. The cross marking the site of the supposed French mass grave is in the small clump of trees in the centre.

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Calais, from a drawing of 1535–50. Henry’s numerous preparations for provisioning the town in early 1415 suggest that the embarkation of the army here was planned from the outset.

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This letter from Henry, concerning the duke of Orléans and the security of the north of England, is widely believed to be in the king’s own hand.

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