King Henry V Bishop’s Waltham and Agincourt

King Henry V was in Bishop’s Waltham Palace the night before he sailed for Agincourt

King Henry V woke on the morning of the 10th August 1415 deep in the Hampshire countryside in the Bishop’s of Winchester Palace at Bishop’s Waltham. The early morning would have been filled with the sounds of horses snuffling and chocking their feet on the flint lined pathways and the sounds of bakery and brewers raking over the previous nights coals, letting the shards of fire dance upwards onto the new kindling.

Did he feel fear that morning? A supreme military man but did he feel any trepidation about taking his English army across the water to confront the enemy in France?

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King Henry had spent considerable time in Hampshire before his departure for Agincourt. He drew many of his archers from Hampshire’s finest longbow men. He stayed in palaces that had for hundreds years stood as protectors of English law and order, Wolvesley Palace in Winchester and at Bishop’s Waltham. Henry had also marshaled his troops in outlying villages such as Michelmersh and Kings Somborne where butts were placed firmly in the ground for the archers to practice their skills. Hampshire stood primed, much as it had in the run up to D-Day, ready to lay an assault on the beaches of France.

How do we know King Henry V was at Bishop’s Waltham?

Thanks to the skills, hard work and patience of the royal historiographer, Thomas Rymer, who transcribed  a collection of “all the leagues, treaties, alliances, capitulations, and confederacies, which have at any time been made between the Crown of England and any other kingdoms, princes and states,”

Between 1704 – 1735 Rymer produced sixteen volumes of ‘Fœdera’  and in Volume 9, we find details of documents signed by the King including the location. Sometimes documents were signed  per procurationem and therefore placing the King in a locality might be erroneous. In the case of Bishop’s Waltham, it is said the King was at ‘Waltham’ on the 10th August 1415. Bishop’s Waltham is only about ten miles north of Southampton, ten from Winchester and a dozen from Portsmouth, so perfectly positioned. The Bishop’s Palace complex, was large enough and comfortable enough to accommodate all the King’s needs.

Discover other places in Hampshire with an Agincourt connection. Take an Agincourt trip around Hampshire and discover why Hampshire has the rose as its symbol.