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An Analysis of the causes of the Wars and the course which they took.

Michael D. Miller

Chapter 20: King Henry V's further campaigns in France 1417-1421

 

King Henry V view of the problems

King Henry V was well aware that one victory, even one as brilliant as Agincourt, was not going to win the whole of France. Conquest meant seizing and holding large tracts of territory, and this in turn meant laying siege to towns,  castles, fortresses and other strongholds with the object of capturing and holding them. It also meant winning the hearts and minds of the conquered population and reconciling them to his rule, and supplementing them with such English settlers who could be induced to start a new life abroad whenever room could be made for them. Siege warfare gave him no particular concern, and he felt, with much justification as it turned out, that he understood the use and capabilities of siege artillery, a virtually new weapon, better than anyone else. So far as the population was concerned, he intended to terrify them with his ferocity in battle and his merciless attitude towards those taken in arms against him, and to woo them with the promise of good, just and fair government and a peace such as they had never known when subjects of the French King. If he was to be highly successful in the military sense, he was less so in persuading people to accept his rule.

There are a number of authorities, but none is more interesting than Thomas Bassin who lived through these terrible times. Thomas was born in 1412 in Caudebec where his father was a prosperous burger. Like many others, he fled with his family before the English advance, and suffered many privations. When a man, he became an official in the English government of France and served under John, Duke of Bedford. In 1442, he became Bishop of Lisieux, and he criticised Somerset's peculations [page ]. Whilst still the Bishop, he was commissioned to write a full account of the damage done by the English in Normandy, and went on to write the histories of the Kings Charles VII and Louis XI. Historians are much indebted to the accounts of this interesting man with his wide breadth of experience.

Landing in France - 1417

Henry had to begin with Normandy, and resolved to start with the Western part of that province. The time was propitious, as The French had their hands full with John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy. He was doing rather too well against them; he had just captured Troyes and was poised to advance on Paris when Henry landed, not at Harfleur as the French believed he would, but at the mouth of the small River Touques between Deauville and Trouville. John gave Henry much anxiety; if he reached Paris, this nominal ally of the English might later be difficult to dislodge. Henry was not to be deflected from his purpose however, which was to capture a line of strongholds in Western Normandy across the axis of any possible French counter-attack. Behind this line, he could then reduce the West of Normandy, and have a secure base from which to advance over the River Seine, first on Rouen and then on Paris itself. This would give the opportunity to force neutrality upon Anjou and other parts further south. This strategy held out great promise,   particularly as he was fairly confident that the French would not face him in battle after Agincourt. In fact, the French thought that he could not succeed, because they regarded such cities as Caen and Falaise as impregnable.

By now, the silly and fatuous youth Louis that Shakespeare presents to us as the Dauphin had died, and his place had been taken by his younger brother Charles. The future King Charles VII appeared little better than his brother, repeating in an even more extreme form all his brother's failings. Yet it was this King who in years to come was to remove every vestige of the English from France and leave them with Calais alone. Unquestionably Charles was served by officers of brilliance, and it was they who achieved these spectacular military successes in spite of the failings of their monarch rather than because of the inspiration which he provided. At the moment however, torn between Burgundy and the English, the French chose to confront Burgundy, and leave Henry to wear himself out trying to storm cities and strongholds they thought he could not hope to capture. From the way the French saw things, this made sound military sense. It was perhaps unknown to them what a degree of expertise the English King possessed in siege warfare and as an artilleryman. This was the factor which they left out of their account, and was to prove nearly fatal to them.

Two sieges

Having landed, Henry sent Lionel, Duke of Clarence forward in the type of dashing cavalry operation in which he excelled to prepare the ground for the storming of Caen, the first objective. Caen was a proud and prosperous city with formidable defences, and also possessed a port which Henry desired to have in his hands as soon as he could. Lionel galloped into the suburbs of Caen almost without opposition. Stopping only to seize the two castles of Bonneville and Auvillier, the King joined him on 18th August 1417 to hear a curious tale from his brother. Whilst sleeping in a garden with his head resting on a stone, Lionel was awakened by a monk who told him that the French garrison was about to demolish the two great Abbeys, the Abbaye aux Hommes and the Abbaye aux Dames, and thus deny their use to the English. These two venerable buildings, founded by William the Conqueror and his Queen Matilda respectively, overlooked the city. Lionel promptly occupied them, and they formed the gun positions for the heavy English siege artillery whilst lighter cannon were mounted on their roofs to add their share. As soon as the guns were ready, a savage bombardment began. Soon breaches were made in the walls, and on 4th September Henry ordered a general assault. The city was stormed in ferocious fighting, and nobody was spared, soldier or civilian, young or old. In a calculated act of ruthlessness, accounts of which reached as far afield as Venice, Henry showed how he was prepared to deal with any opposition to his plans. 16 days later, the citadel surrendered on terms, the garrison being allowed to march out with their arms. In one short month, one of the strongest cities of France had been captured. It was a harbinger of things to come, and it is small wonder that when Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester and John Holland, Earl of Huntingdon struck into western Normandy and south into Maine and the Duchy of Alencon, towns and castles readily surrendered rather than face the same fate as Caen. Even Cherbourg submitted without much effort.

The next on the list was Falaise. It was thought to be as strong as Caen, and it had a strong garrison commanded by the Sieur de Mauny. Yet it suffered in the same way as Caen. The bombardment began in Mid December 1417 and continued despite the bitter winter weather until the town surrendered on 2nd January 1418. This left the citadel perched high on its crag. The English engineers started to undermine it with the object of bringing the citadel crashing down into the valley. Rather than wait for this to happen, the garrison surrendered on 16th February 1418 and marched out with the honours of war. There was only one exception; Edward ap Gruffydd, a Welshman carrying on Owen Glendower's fight, was hanged drawn and quartered as a traitor, and his various parts were sent to decorate the captured cities as a warning to the King's new subjects.

The Burgundians capture Paris - 1418

By the spring 1418, Henry considered his base in Western Normandy to be secure enough to invade the Eastern part of the Province. When he left Caen on 1st June 1418 to besiege Rouen, the political scene was less promising. Three days before, John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy,  had entered Paris to the wild rejoicing of the Parisians. King Charles VI and the Dauphin had managed to escape in time, but the hated tyrant Compte Bernard de Armagnac was lynched by the mob. His body lay in the street for three days, suffering revolting indignities. It was expecting too much that John the Fearless, who was after all a member of the French Royal Family, should meekly surrender the Crown of France to an English invader. It was far more likely that he should abandon his erstwhile English ally, who had by now served his purpose, and think of his own interests only. As a token of what Henry should expect, John the Fearless had seized and fortified Pont de l'Arche against the English. Henry needed this bridge to cross the River Seine, which was unfordable at this point, in order to approach Rouen. Lionel, Duke of Clarence, found the task of taking the bridge one very much after his own heart. Aided by the more cautious but very experienced Sir John Cornwall, he mounted a daring operation where his fast-moving cavalry tactics were fully rewarded by the capture of the bridge intact. The English Army passed safely over, leaving a garrison which cut Rouen off from Paris. John the Fearless was left pondering if, after all, he had been wise in his choice of enemies.

Henry besieges Rouen - 1418

Rouen was invested by the 31st July 1418 and, in a siege which was terrible even by medieval standards, resisted until it was stormed into submission on 19th January 1419. It was strongly garrisoned under Guy de Bouteiller and was supplied with plentiful artillery. The garrison, ever hopeful that John the Fearless would come to its aid, resisted courageously, and only gave in when yet another promise of relief was not kept. From now on, castles and manors, seeing that resistance was hopeless, surrendered one after the other, and by the Spring of 1419 the whole of Normandy was in English hands. Henry now turned his attention to the most pressing need to give his new subjects the good government by which he hoped to reconcile them to his rule.

The Olive branch

Henry tried his utmost. Such Norman nobles as would submit and take the oath of allegiance to him were allowed to keep their lands and dignities. Others preferred not to do so and left. Typical of the latter was the brave Dame de la Roche-Guyon whose husband had been killed at Agincourt. She defended her castle with vigour against Richard Beauchamp,  Earl of Warwick and Guy de Bouteiller, the former Captain of Rouen, who had now taken service with the English. Eventually forced to submit, she was given the choice of taking the oath, or if that was too much, of marrying Guy. In either case, she could keep her castle. She chose to do neither, declaring Guy to be a despicable traitor, and departed with her young children to penury in that part of France which was not in English hands. Her castle, and the lands of others who had left, were given to English nobles who were rewarded with French titles. Even so, Henry was careful to employ as many Norman's as possible in his government, in offices both high and low, and hoped that in time the Norman's would come to see the benefits.

It was a hopeless cause. The land was ravaged by the war, and too many bitter memories remained to be forgotten in a hurry. The pride and arrogance of the English officials and settlers towards a conquered people was much resented,  even if men were later to speak highly of the fair and just administration of John, Duke of Bedford, when he was Regent of France after Henry's death. The Norman's were after all Frenchmen, and disliked being colonised, or even patronised which was the best they could hope for under English rule.

The woods were the haunt of the dispossessed, and many lived by banditry. They were joined by deserters from the English army, whose robbery (and worse) soon became a byword. The English garrisons behaved badly, in spite of all that the King and his officers could do to keep them in order. They had joined the army in the hope of plunder, and plunder they intended to have. The English very rapidly learnt that conquest is one thing,   generally the easier part, whereas holding the conquered land was quite another matter. In short, conquest carries within itself the seeds of its own ultimate destruction. It did for the English.

Diplomacy

After the fall of Rouen, King Henry V felt so strong that diplomacy was called for. It would certainly be expected at home, and it was possible that he could get all that he wanted without further fighting and destruction. Besides, his nominal ally, John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, had only recently shown that he was unreliable and it was necessary to remind him where his true interests lay. Throughout the campaign, Henry had supervised English diplomacy from his camp, as did the Duke of Marlborough in a later century. Building on the prestige he had won at Agincourt, he even sent embassies to the Teutonic Knights, to Sweden, to the Emperor Sigismund, to Venice, to The Holy See, and to Spain. England was now a player in the international scene, and her envoys were always well received. He was no stranger to the diplomatic game, and well understood that as much might be obtained by diplomatic means as by fighting. The original Dauphin, Louis, whom we see as a shallow and foolish youth in Shakespeare's play, had died shortly after Agincourt, and he had been succeeded by his brother Charles, who was thought to be even worse than was Louis. The Dauphinists, which was now the name of the Armagnac party, were, not surprisingly, cold to his advances. In Burgundy he was disappointed. In a series of meetings, John the Fearless made it clear that he was not prepared to help Henry to gain the French crown. He had only entered into an alliance to use the English as a counterweight to his Armagnac enemies. By now the English were so powerful that they were as big a menace to him as were the Armagnacs themselves. At the last of these meetings at Meulan in June 1419, Henry met the Princess Catharine for the first time. This celibate and battle-hardened soldier fell head over heels in love, and determined that Catharine and Catharine alone should be his Queen.

Disappointed in his diplomatic efforts, Henry immediately went onto the offensive. The English began raiding deeply into French-held territory. Sir John Fastolph led one of the most successful raids and returned laden with booty. On 31st July 1419, John Holland, Earl of Huntingdon surprised and captured Pointoise. This was a particularly daring operation brought to a successful conclusion in spite of a strong garrison commanded by a distinguished soldier, the Marshal d'Lisle Adam. [The original captor of Paris and later a firm English friend] A huge arsenal of weapons of every sort fell into English hands, and the English now occupied a substantial fortress a mere twelve miles from Paris itself. John the Fearless now came out openly with suggestions of an alliance with the Dauphinists, and tried to impress upon them what a disaster the loss of Pontoise was. In a series of meetings, he seems to have had some difficulty in getting them to understand the gravity of the crisis.

Murder of John-the-Fearless, Duke of Burgundy 1419

The Dauphinists now committed an act of supreme folly. On 10th September 1419, they met John the Fearless by arrangement on the bridge of Montereau. The Dauphin Charles himself was present, but nobody knows whether what followed had his approval. Duke John was courteously received by the person who he acknowledged to be his Lord, and, the preliminaries over, he prepared himself to discuss the business in hand, namely how were the English to be expelled from France by their joint efforts. At this point he was set upon and brutally murdered by the Dauphin's entourage. This senseless and horrible act shocked all France, and it was later said, with some truth, that the English had entered France through the hole in the Duke of Burgundy's skull. His son and successor to the Dukedom, the flamboyant Philip the Good, may have disliked the idea of an alliance with Henry, but he now had enough proof of the perfidy of the Dauphinists to know how old scores would be settled if the Dauphinists ever got the chance. Henry could now represent himself as the one hope of peace to the sorely tried French people, particularly as castles, fortresses, cities and towns were falling like ninepins to the English - Gisors on 23 September 1419, St Germain shortly afterwards, Chateau Gaillard, the strongest fortress in France, and even Rheims itself where the Kings of France were crowned. A military treaty between England and Burgundy was signed at Christmas 1419, and this lead on to the Treaty of Troyes 1420 which secured for Henry what he wanted most of all, the Crown of France and with it the hand of the Princess Catharine.

The Treaty of Troyes - 1420

The key to understanding the considerable advocacy of Queen Isabeau of France in favour of the Treaty of Troyes and the part she played in disinheriting her son lies in an event some three years before. By now, Queen Isabeau had born her husband 12 children, but her sexual appetite was in no way diminished by the experience. She was notoriously promiscuous, and lived in a style of luxury which bordered on the degenerate. In 1417, when King Charles VI was recovering from one of his recurrent fits of madness, Compte Bertrand de Armagnac whispered in his ear that his Queen was sleeping with the young Sieur Louis de Boisbourdon. Enraged, Charles had Boisbourdon arrested, tortured, mutilated, sown in a sack and thrown into the River Seine. He confined his wife in Tours to consider her sins at leisure under a suitably penitential regime. She cried piteously for help, and John the Fearless led 800 men-at-arms to rescue this damsel in distress, however implausible she may have seemed in this role. He carried her off to his castle, presumably taking with him her considerable menagerie of rare and exotic beasts which accompanied her everywhere. The Dauphin Charles took the opportunity to plunder his mother's treasury, taking most of the choicest pieces. Previously inclined towards the Dauphinists, this experience turned her firmly against them, and in particular against her son. She is supposed to have declared that the Dauphin Charles was a Bastard, a not unlikely possibility, but however the story started, it was a piece of propaganda seized on by the English with glee.

In March 1420 at Troyes, accompanied by a considerable gathering of his own Lords and the new Duke of Burgundy, Henry knelt dutifully before his Lord, the King of France, whose poor jumbled wits could not at first grasp who he was. When understanding eventually dawned, Charles said"Oh its you, so glad to see you.greet the ladies", an injunction with which Henry politely complied. The Treaty provided that Charles should remain King of France as long as he lived, and that Henry and his successors were to be his heirs. The Dauphin Charles was to be disinherited. Henry should act as Regent whenever the King was incapacitated. The lands ruled over by the so called 'Dauphin of Vienne' were to be brought back into France. Suitable provision, whatever that might be, was to be made for Queen Isabeau. Last, but by no means least, Henry was to receive Princess Catherine's hand. Almost immediately afterwards, they were married with great pomp and rejoicing.

King Henry V's and Catherine of Valois's married life

The honeymoon lasted but two days before the stern demands of military duty called Henry away. Sens quickly fell, to be followed by Montereau, the scene of the murder of Duke John, on 1st July 1420. Melun was invested in July 1420, but this proved to be a harder nut to crack, and it did not surrender until 18th November 1420. At the end of 1420,  Henry made a ceremonial entry into Paris with King Charles VI and Philip the Good, the new Duke of Burgundy. The Parisians, thinking peace had come at last, went wild with joy. They could clap their hands and shout their cheers, but in the long term, they had little cause to rejoice. There was runaway inflation, and soon many, unable to buy food, began to starve.

There was just one untoward event which sent shivers of terror down the spine of Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March. His relative, Sir Roger Mortimer, was arrested on suspicion of treason and sent to the Tower in the Spring of 1421. This could only have meant suspicion of plotting to put Edmund on the Throne, a development which Edmund was not looking for. King Henry V however was too impressed by Edmund's loyal and efficient services in France to ascribe any danger to himself from his direction. Sir Roger escaped from the Tower in 1422 and was recaptured. In 1424 he escaped again. He was recaptured once more, and was hanged drawn and quartered on the grounds that it was treason to escape. Even had he been allowed to live there would have been little point to his escaping again; Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, died in 1425. 

King Henry V's final days

The time had now come for King Henry V to show his bride to his English subjects and to arrange for her coronation. Together, they left Paris on 27th December 1420 and rode to Rouen, where Henry paused to make some arrangements for the Government of his newly captured territories and to entrust them to the hands of Lionel, Duke of Clarence. As the next brother and the current heir to the Throne, this was right and proper, and it seems that Clarence had now won his elder brother's respect and trust by his outstanding services in France. The King crossed to England and on 21st February 1421, he entered London to scenes of rejoicing as unrestrained as those which had greeted him after Agincourt. John, Duke of Bedford, had ruled well during Henry's absence. There was peace in the land, the Welsh were quiet, the Lollards had been quiescent, and the Scots had tried only one raid, the Foul Raid, which had been easily repulsed. They had learnt their lesson for the time being and were giving no more trouble. In a ceremony of great splendour, Catharine was crowned Queen of England two days later.

Yet all was not well with the public mood. Everybody, Nobles, Lords, Bishops and Commons, Clergy and Laity, were heartily sick of the everlasting war which kept their King away for such long periods. They were even more fed up with the expense, and Parliament granted taxes ever more grudgingly. A General Loan was attempted in 1419. Four years earlier, it would have been massively oversubscribed. Now it produced a derisory sum. The expenses of the Agincourt campaign had not been paid off. The wages of the Calais garrison were in arrears to the amount of 28, 710, and in 1423 it was to mutiny. Massive sums were owed to private individuals. The Earl of Northumberland was owed 7, 000 for the defence of the Northern border country. At the time of his death King Henry V owed his uncle, Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, the huge sum of 35, 630, although Henry probably felt less compunction about this; the Bishop was notoriously acquisitive, and pumping some of his ill-gotten gains into the War Chest could have been regarded as just and fair. Some writers have estimated that the annual deficit was no less than 30, 000 which may have been about right; their estimate of the private debts however at 20, 000 must be a substantial under-estimate. The credit of the Crown was not what it was. In 1415, the City had been happy to advance 6, 000. Now the most it would lend, and grudgingly at that, was 2, 000.

As ever undismayed by money matters however gloomy the news, Henry decided to go off on a fund raising tour of his Kingdom. Ostensibly it was to introduce Queen Catharine to her new subjects, but its ulterior motive was to extract loans from his people. In the wake of the Royal couple, there came the officials with their hands out. It met with considerable success, and altogether 9, 000 was raised. Whilst Henry was at Lincoln during the Spring of 1421, the news of the disaster of the Battle of Bauge reached him. Lionel, Duke of Clarence, had in the impulsive way of a dashing cavalry commander ridden on ahead of his army and, disregarding the advice of his junior officers, had led 150 men-at-arms in a charge against the French army of 5, 000 men. The result was predictable. Lionel, together with Sir Gilbert Umphraville, Sir John Grey and Lord Roos, had been killed, whilst the Earls of Huntingdon and Somerset, Lord Fitzwalter and Sir Edmund Beaufort had been taken prisoner. In one action, Henry had lost some of his best commanders. A contemporary writer put the English defeat thus:-

"...by cause they wolde nott take with hem archers, but thought to have doo with the ffrenshmen them selff wythoute hem. And yet whan he was slayne the archers came and rescued the body of the Duke...god have mercy a pon his soule, he was a valyant man."

Things would have been even worse had not Thomas Montacute,  Earl of Salisbury, with great skill,  managed to extricate the main body of the English army from the trap into which the rashness of Clarence had led it. This gave rise to much rejoicing in the Dauphinist camp. The English were not invincible after all. The Dauphin now tried his hand at further military operations. Salisbury managed to frustrate most of them, but could not prevent the Dauphinists capturing Montmirail and virtually cutting off Paris behind a screen of skirmishers. The Dauphinists also managed to cause considerable trouble in the Burgundian lands. Picardy in particular was in a state of considerable unrest. The time had come for the master-hand to return and restore order. In May 1421, Henry prepared to return to France.

In May 1421, Henry made one last attempt to persuade Parliament to be more generous with a grant of taxes. It met with a stony response. The Treaty of Troyes had indicated that King Henry V was to rule over two kingdoms, and one should not be required to pay for the other. Henry, as an astute politician, was too wise to try to force the issue, and accepted the position. France would have to pay more, and if France was too devastated at present to pay its fair share, time and peace would eventually ensure that it did.

In June 1421, Henry marched out of Calais to meet with Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. He sent most of his troops off with Burgundy to raise the siege of Chartres, whist Henry himself went to visit his uncle Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, who was Governor of Paris. There had been much unrest in Paris and this had centred around the Marshal d'Isle Adam, the former garrison commander of Pontoise. The Marshal had previously insulted Henry by appearing before him in a rough old cloak. When asked the reason, the Marshal had stood and looked Henry straight in the eye; he did not kneel and lower his eyes. On being reproved for this breach of etiquette, the Marshal had answered that this was the way they did things in France, and every officer had the right to look his superior straight in the eye, and if they did things differently in England, he saw no reason to change. After Henry's departure for England, Exeter, probably on Henry's orders, had flung the Marshal into prison in the Bastille, which served as the English Head-Quarters. The mob had tried to rescue him and had been driven off by the archers of the garrison. Things had since quietened down, but the situation was still tense. In addition the people were hungry, and supplies were not getting through to the City.

The key to peace in Paris was to make sure that the people had full bellies, and this meant settling accounts with the Dauphinists. The siege of Chartres had been raised and Henry went off to join Burgundy. James, the young King of Scotland, although a prisoner of the English, was not languishing unemployed in an English prison; he was gaining military experience fighting with Henry's armies in France, and by all accounts he was enjoying himself hugely. He joined Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, in the siege of Dreux. After a five week siege, the town surrendered on 21st August 1421. The usual string of minor castles also surrendered. Henry struck south to Beaugency to try to bring the Dauphinists to battle. They eluded him, although Beaugency fell. It was followed by Nemour, Villeneuve-le-Roy and Rougemont in September 1421. All these assaults were accomplished at a speed and ferocity which terrified the French, and were all the more remarkable because dysentery had appeared in Henry's army and the troops were suffering greatly from sickness. Nothing however could stop Henry, although he judged that his force was too weak to attempt the siege of Orleans. Instead, he invested Meaux on 6th October 1421. After a gallant defence, it too fell on 10th May 1422.

Queen Catharine, having given birth to the infant son who was to become King Henry VI, came over to join her husband and they enjoyed a few months of married life together at Vincennes. Although Henry did not yet realise it, the siege of Meaux was his last battle. By now he was in the grip of the sickness which was to kill him. Again we do not know what it was. It may have been a duodenal ulcer, or it could have been the dysentery which had so plagued his soldiers. He must have been worn out by his exertions, and his debilitated frame had no reserve to throw off any sickness. In the final months of his life, he allowed himself the rest which normally was foreign to his nature whilst, characteristically, he refused to acknowledge that there was anything wrong with him. The call to arms came soon enough; the Dauphinists were threatening Cosne and Burgundy was requesting help. With his usual joy at the prospect of any fighting, Henry set off to help his ally. It was useless, because in a very short while he could not even ride his horse. He was brought back to Vincennes and the bed on which he was to die. Medieval Kings died in public in order that there should be no question of their deaths, and Henry was attended by his two surviving brothers and his great Captains, although curiously Queen Catharine was not present.

[This may have been due to the convention, which occurred again when King Edward IV lay dying in 1483, that English Queens were not present at their husbands' deaths]

Henry knew he was dying, and made the most careful preparations for the future. John, Duke of Bedford, was to be Governor of Normandy and was to be the principal guardian of the infant King, assisted by Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, and Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. Pending the infants coming of age, he was to offer the Regency of France to Philip the Good, and was only to assume this office if Philip should decline it. Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, was to be Lord Protector of England during the infancy of the young Prince, but, with an eye to Humphrey's known defects of character, he was to be subordinate to his elder brother John. The Alliance with Burgundy was to be maintained, and the War was to continue until a satisfactory peace could be made. As things were, this could only have meant when all its original objectives were achieved, namely the Conquest of the whole of France. Even at this dreadful hour, Henry's obsession remained.

In the afternoon of 20th August 1422, King Henry V died in Friar Netters arms. He was still a few weeks short of his 35th birthday. A few weeks later, the poor mad King Charles VI of France also breathed his last. Apart from the Dauphin Charles, who had been disinherited and was lurking in the southern part of the country, to all intents and purposes helpless, the only claimant to the Thrones of England and France was a babe in arms just a few months old. He was to be crowned King Henry VI.

Copyright Michael D. Miller 2003