Henry V, King of England and claimant to the throne of France, looked out across the field of Agincourt, the site of a remarkable victory, but there were few scenes of glory that met his eyes. Heaps of the dead and dying, the cream of French chivalry, were piled high. The stench of death permeated the air, rising above the muddy carnage and assaulting the senses. But this was not a victory for Henry's knights but first and foremost for his humble archers, men like Thomas Pokkeswell from Dorset. It was to him and his fellow archers that the glory, if any, truly belonged. For others, though, the rewards were more immediate; those who held captive the greatest of the French nobles could make a fortune - in this respect, one squire from Somerset by the name of William Wolf had just hit the jackpot.
Agincourt would define the reputation of Henry V for the next six centuries, yet controversy was never far away. In the heat of battle, a massacre of French prisoners took place that shocked contemporaries to the core. More recently, historians have questioned whether the numerical disparity was quite as great as the chroniclers of the day suggested. This is the story of one remarkable day that was unparalleled in English history through the eyes of the king, a remarkable archer and a squire.
W. B. Bartlett has worked across the globe in almost twenty countries and has spent time in over fifty. He is the author of many history books for Amberley including titles on the Titanic, Medieval History and Dam Busters. He lives in Bournemouth.