Peel Agincourt Diary: 26 October

Early in the morning King Henry led his prisoners on a penitential walk across the battlefield, where great numbers of the nobility who had been killed for their lord, the king of France, still lay, stripped naked as the day they were born. Those of his men who followed the king still found living among the dead. Any who could identify themselves as being of noble both were taken prisoner. All others, including those too severely wounded to travel, were put to death.

When the time came to march, the king had the army set to traveling formation with three battles and each man in all his armor. He rescinded the order for the gentlemen to wear their cote armors, even though we know now that it was not all of France that stood against us on the field at Azincourt. There are lords whose hosts may yet seek us out to our discomfort.

May God keep us safe, and the Blessed Virgin and St. George watch over us.

Peel Agincourt Diary: 25 October (entry 3)

Without the usual trumpets, the king set the army in order by riding hither and thither to draw the men together and deploy them to their places. All are afoot and the king is to dismount when the the time for battle nears. All horses and those too old or sick to fight have been sent behind with the baggage. Asingle gentleman with a company of ten men-at-arms and twenty archers guard them.

The men-at-arms stand in a single line of battle, as they must needs stretch across the field between the woods and hedges of Trammecourt, on the one hand, and those of Maisoncelle on the other. King Henry has set his vanguard as a wing on the right and his rearguard on the left. Archers stand in wedges between the battles and more on each flank of the army that there should be archers on each side of the men-at-arms where they gather near to their banners. I think there may be five archers for every man-at-arms now. The archers are driving in their stakes in where they stand in the places they have been allotted.

King Henry, as expected, commands the center and with him are the great banners that were first unfurled when his flagship sailed from Southampton. Sir John Cornewaille and Sir Gilbert Umfraville no longer command the vanward battle, for that honor now fails to Edward, duke of York. With the duke in the van, command of the rearward battle is now with Thomas, Lord Camoys. Now the king rides up and down along the line, encouraging and exhorting all. Wherever he stops and speaks a great cry arises when he finishes.

Across the sodden field the French as gathering. Compared with our men they are a multitude hardly to be counted. The number of the them is really terrifying. Their vanguard, all afoot like our men, is a forest of spears and the great number of helmets gleaming between them chills my soul. The heralds report the banners of Constable d’Albret, Marshal Boucicaut, the dukes of Orléans and Bourbon, the counts of Eu and Richemond, and the sire de Dampierre are to the fore.

Mounted men-at-arms are forming on either side of the vanguard. Are these the rumored chosen men on their heavily armored horses who are given the task of dispersing our archers?

Further back are the banners of other great French lords including the dukes of Alençon and Bar and the counts of Nevers, Marle, Vaudémont, Blammont, Salm, Grandpré, and Roussy that must mark the French main battle. They are so far back that many think the French vanguard alone holds more men than the whole of our army.

Peel Agincourt Diary: 14 July (notes on the king’s company)

[Here we present selections from the digression concerning the king’s retinue and hirings.]

John Waterson, master of the king’s horse, brings sixty grooms, a surveyor and clerk of the stable, a clerk and twelve yeomen purveyors of oats, twelve smiths, nine saddlers and two men who are said to be the king’s guides at night. Some 233 horses are in the master’s care. [By the end of the campaign only 98 would remain. – ed.]

Twelve armorers led by one Albryght mayl maker have been given the care of the weapons and armor of the king’s household. Also Nicolas Brampton, a helmet maker, is in the king’s direct employ as well as six bow-makers and six fletchers.

John Conyn is the king’s sergeant of tents and pavilions and he has four painters and twenty-eight servants under him.

William Balne and his two under-clerks have command of the king’s kitchens and thus of three yeomen and a clerk of the king’s poultry, eight yeomen and a clerk of his bakehouse, three clerks of his spicery, a clerk of his table-linen, a clerk of his hall, a clerk and fifteen laborers for the scullery, and 156 yeomen and servants not directly assigned to any department. Further, the king takes his own carpenters and laborers of the hall and three pages of his chamber, who are known to act as messengers. His clerks of then marshalcy and of the wardrobe, two almoners, and the cofferer [treasurer -ed.] of the royal household will accompany him.

Our king Henry is a pious man and clearly has no intention of setting such aside on his expedition. Master Jean de Bordiu [a Gascon doctor of law and former chancellor of Acquitaine – ed.] and Master Edmund Lacy, dean of the king’s chapel, will accompany him as well as three clerks, fifteen chaplains [including the anonymous author of Gesta Henrici Quinti, an informative account of the campaign -ed.] and fourteen monks, these last having the vestments and altars in their care.

Our king is also fond of music and he takes eighteen minstrels with him. At least three are trumpeters and three pipers and one a fiddler though I know not what the others might play.  I expect there will be at least one nakerer [drummer -ed.] and several who play such things as the wooden instruments called shawms and crumhorns. As is natural at court some of these monsters may not be musicians at albeit tale-tellers, acrobats, dancers, or even fools. They are to be paid as men-at-arms [12 pence a day -ed.] so I must suppose that they are very good at their arts. music. I expect I will come to learn of their worth of the musicians at the least for I am told that such often play to accompany a marching army.

Lancaster and Leicester kings of arms as well as the kings of arms for Ireland and Guyenne [Acquitaine – ed.]  have been summoned to go with the king on his adventure. Richard Bruges, Lancaster king of arms, is reported to be sick and unable to travel. It is expected that another Richard, the Hereford marshal of arms. Such noble men are but the greatest of the many heralds that will go with us.

The king takes his personal physician, Master Nicolas Colnet, and his personal surgeon, Thomas Morstede, as well as twenty-three surgeons. Another surgeon of note attending upon this adventure is John Bradmore, who healed our king from a grievous arrow wound to the face that he received while valiantly fighting at the battle of Shrewsbury some twelve years past. I have heard it said that he will receive the same wages as Master Colnet. He clearly remains in favor with the king for he has asked to take twelve men of his profession and of his own choosing as well as three archers and the king has granted this request along with another to take one cart and two horses to carry all the things necessary for his office. William Bradwardyn, another r esteem surgeon will go as well, accompanied by nine of his fellow surgeons.

The king has retained twenty-one master gunners, many foreigners, and at the rate of 20 pence a day. They are well paid indeed. Each has two servants of guns whose wages are similarly high. The king’s own gunner, Gerard Sprunk, has only 10 pounds from which he must also pay four archers. The has king also retained a further five gunners at the same rates as a man-at-arms. [12 pence a day -ed.] They, too, have servants of the guns to the number of two each.

The king has commanded that the mayor and municipal magistrates of Bordeaux send two of their best engines with a suitable and capable master and carpenter to operate them. Belfries are to be loaded onto the ships as well. For all these engines and the maintenance of the carts and wagons, the king has retained 124 carpenters, twenty-five cordwainers, six wheelwrights and 120 laborers.

Peel Agincourt Diary: 14 July (retinue notes)

[Here we present selections from the digression concerning other retinues which differ to a larger or smaller degree from the typical retinues consisting of men-at-arms and archers and, of course, their servants and supporters.]

John Merbury, the king’s chamberlain of south Wales, brings 500 archers but only twenty men-at-arms. It is a little scandalous that three of those men-at-arms were rebels who took part in the  the recent difficulties in Wales. I am told they have made their peace with king Henry and I hope our Good Lord has guided the king in his decision to trust these men again.

Jehan de Seintpee, a native of Aquitaine, brings eighty crossbowmen and twenty mounted crossbowmen.

Sir John Greyndor brings nine men-at-arms and thirty archers. He also brings a company of 120 Welsh miners that includes six masters of that craft. They are to receive 6 pence a day, save for the masters who shall receive twice that.


Peel Agincourt Diary: 14 July

This morning Sir Geoffrey’s indented retinue stood to muster before the king’s men. The men stood in the agreed numbers, arrayed as they were agreed to be. All is well as my lord has received the king’s next advance on the agreed upon payment.

Sir Geoffrey’s ten men-at-arms and twenty archers are small in number compared to those of the young John Mowbray, who goes forth to war for the first time in his new estate as earl marshall. He is to serve with  four other knights, forty-five other men-at-arms and 150 archers. He did not match the agreed upon numbers for he had fifty-five men-at-arms in this day’s muster review only two of them were knights and he lacked three archers.I have it from his clerks were as vexed as I in finding the funds to cover the costs of his men for the two weeks between when the muster was to take place and when it actually did. I know he has purchased bows, arrows, bow-strings and crossbows as well as special chests for them to be packed in. Further, he has ordered waxed cloths to cover those chests to protect them from damage by water. Having learned of these things, Sir Geoffrey now wants similar well protected chests for the arms and supplies he has purchased. Even with the new funds from the king, I fear the costs for much of this will need to be borne by the estates, and I thank God every day that my lord is satisfied that his men-at-arms equip themselves even though he has ordered certain new pieces of armor for himself and not a full new harness as the earl marshall has done. I thank God as well that he is not as extravagant as the new earl marshal who has spent more the seventy pounds on new armor.

As with Sir Geoffrey’s, the earl’s large retinue is built of smaller groups. The largest of these is that of Perceval Lynlay, an esquire who brings newly as man men as my lord, to whit five men-at-arms and fifteen archers. The earl’s two knights and five other squires bring numerous men of their own, but thirty other esquires have indented individually and each of these brings but one or two archers. As many as forty of the earl’s archers are also indented as individuals. The earl also brings others including two heralds, three minstrels and a trumpeter. Most of these last are to be paid at military rates but Thomas Trumpet is in the earl’s regular employ at ten pounds per annum.

[Here the entry begins a lengthy digression concerning the earl marshals preparations and those of some other retinues.]