Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds ANNE CURRY: Hello, Christophe. This model has been here since the Centre Historique opened in 2001, I think. How was it made?
Skip to 0 minutes and 17 seconds CHRISTOPHE GILLIOT: It was made with different interpretation of the battle by Federico Canaccini which is an Italian historian, which is specialised of the 14th, 15th century.
Skip to 0 minutes and 29 seconds ANNE CURRY: You’re not so sure about it you tell me as a representation of the battle?
Skip to 0 minutes and 33 seconds CHRISTOPHE GILLIOT: No, because this representation is just an interpretation.
Skip to 0 minutes and 37 seconds ANNE CURRY: Of course, one problem is it doesn’t represent my work on the English army. That is one difficulty, but I think, it seems to me, to show the basic elements. We have three main battles as they are called, of English men-at-arms with the king in the centre, the Duke of York on the right in the vanguard, and Thomas, Lord Camoys in the left battle, the rear guard there. I suppose, we’ve got a problem that the centre battle is put forward when probably it was the vanguard on the right that would’ve been further forward there. And the other difficulty, it seems to me, but this is a perennial difficulty is where the archers stood.
Skip to 1 minute and 16 seconds There’s been quite a debate as to whether they were between the battles of men-at-arms or entirely on the flanks. We have quite a lots on the flanks here.
Skip to 1 minute and 26 seconds CHRISTOPHE GILLIOT: Yes, too much.
Skip to 1 minute and 27 seconds ANNE CURRY: Too many, perhaps, too many one behind the other with the stakes in front of them there and also the group representing the 200 that Henry sent around into the meadow at Tramecourt to goad the French on to attack. Yes, I guess I would be putting the archers more in a horseshoe shape almost further up so that they’re shooting from the flank as well here. But it’s also difficult in a model, it strikes me, to show different phases of the battle. Which phase do you think this is meant to represent?
Skip to 2 minutes and 2 seconds CHRISTOPHE GILLIOT: In my opinion, it’s representing the phase wherever French cavalry attacked just before the charge of the infantry on foot. But same thing, I have a doubt was this first line divided in four parts like this? We don’t know. We don’t know.
Skip to 2 minutes and 21 seconds ANNE CURRY: I think the cavalry charge is well displayed, but presumably, also, they would’ve been attacking the archers on the flanks as well, trying to override them and knock them out of the battle here. Maybe also there’s a difficulty, we hear of the French not having enough cavalry, the cavalry being reluctant to engage in this.
Skip to 2 minutes and 45 seconds CHRISTOPHE GILLIOT: Of course, charging in a very muddy place like the Agincourt battlefield was dangerous and probably the discovery men which were very experienced, said men, decides not attacking on horse. And that’s why most of them were on foot.
Skip to 2 minutes and 59 seconds ANNE CURRY: Were on foot. And also, most of the horses were not protected with armour in any way. Maybe around their heads, but not on their flanks, so they are very vulnerable. And so they have no effect against the archers, which means the archers are there to cause damage to the main advance of the French on foot. I think it’s difficult to show the impact of the arrow storm against the advancing French foot. You can’t really show it in the model easily, but they would have crowded in on each other with the effect of the arrow storm. They would have fallen over, others piling on top of them.
Skip to 3 minutes and 33 seconds And in my opinion, it’s arguable that quite a lot never got to grips with the English on this side, that they suffocated rather than dying from injuries at the battle itself. It’s also difficult to show the terrain, isn’t it? Here we have a big dip on either side. Do you think that this is accurate?
Skip to 3 minutes and 52 seconds CHRISTOPHE GILLIOT: No, this is not accurate. It is a sure interpretation of a man who made the model. The battlefield looks like that, in fact. And probably, this place it was normally trees.
Skip to 4 minutes and 5 seconds ANNE CURRY: It’s trees, more heavily wooded and also flatter.
Skip to 4 minutes and 9 seconds CHRISTOPHE GILLIOT: Yes, flatter.
Skip to 4 minutes and 10 seconds ANNE CURRY: Maybe it falls away rather too quickly there. The other thing that is a problem is knowing what the other French formations were about the second division and the rear guard here. And following one of the Chronicle accounts, we have the rear guard all on horse, which I think is unlikely unless they’re ready to flee. Because we also know from accounts that when the later divisions saw what was happening at the front, they actually just left the field. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter how many French were at the battle because not all of them engaged anyway in the conflict. Have they shown the crossbowmen and others then from the towns?
Skip to 4 minutes and 48 seconds CHRISTOPHE GILLIOT: We have, yes, we are here a few crossbowmen we can identify wore coat of arms of Saint-Omer, Amiens, which were, in fact, two very important cities in the north of France in the early 15th century. We know that they sent 50 crossbowmen and longbowmen too.
Skip to 5 minutes and 9 seconds ANNE CURRY: Yes, the French did use longbows.
Skip to 5 minutes and 11 seconds CHRISTOPHE GILLIOT: Because we got longbow men in the French army too. And finally, have a look at the castle. The castle, which was not a castle. In fact, it was a tower. The lords of Agincourt were not rich enough to have a big castle like that. It was just a fortified tower, which is typical, in fact, of the houses, of the poor knights, of enough of France, in fact.
Skip to 5 minutes and 41 seconds ANNE CURRY: So that was put on because everyone loves a castle on a model there. But it is interesting, back to the crossbowmen and longbowmen that they seemed to have played no role in the battle. I think that’s because they’re so severely outnumbered by the English longbowmen that the French think they will have no effect. That’s why they’re put to the rear there and just seemed to have had no effect and play no role in the battle. There were some guns also from the town’s collection. I know from your research, you’ve found that out.
Skip to 6 minutes and 11 seconds CHRISTOPHE GILLIOT: Exactly. A minimum eight cannons were present on the Agincourt battlefield. Seven from Amiens, one from Saint-Omer. They were shooting lead bullets. But they were not very efficient because I think there was a record which says that they only killed one man called Roger Hunt who was an archer.
Skip to 6 minutes and 32 seconds ANNE CURRY: There is, indeed, in the post campaign financial records and lists, there is a record of somebody killed by a gun. Yes, which is interesting.
Skip to 6 minutes and 42 seconds CHRISTOPHE GILLIOT: It maybe the use of cannons at Agincourt was a problem because of the weather. We know that it was raining, so the black powder and the rain are not very good.
Skip to 6 minutes and 50 seconds ANNE CURRY: No, raining the night before. It also strikes me as interesting that the English must have been on firmer ground. They are the smaller army, so they adopt a defensive position. They put in their stakes even though Henry has to move it forward once in order to get the French to attack. But the French must have been coming across softer ground and suffering from the fact that the soil is very muddy indeed. Yes, you can still see this today. Been raining the night before. It’s also been suggested that the French exercised their horses. Anybody who goes down a pathway that’s a bridle path knows just how churned up it can become with horses there.
Skip to 7 minutes and 32 seconds CHRISTOPHE GILLIOT: We know that the night before the battle, some servants were sent into the village of Agincourt and Tramecourt to take some straw to make the floor stronger–
Skip to 7 minutes and 43 seconds ANNE CURRY: To try to make it firmer.
Skip to 7 minutes and 45 seconds CHRISTOPHE GILLIOT: –because overnight they walk their horses behind the first line and before the first line. So that’s why they sent the straw.
Skip to 7 minutes and 53 seconds ANNE CURRY: But even with those preparations, it was still very soft ground and therefore, the men-at-arms coming forward on foot who then fell over because of the arrow storm would’ve found it very difficult. In fact, I think some historians have commented that they drowned, they drowned in the mud because it would have been extremely difficult to get up and also suffocating effectively with their faces into the mud here. One problem also, I think, in the English side is everyone at that point following the military ordinances would’ve been wearing the cross of St. George rather than predominantly their own heraldic badges. Although maybe the lords had heraldic badges somehow as well as the cross of St. George.
Skip to 8 minutes and 36 seconds It’s possible that the French had a white cross. I think there is an order that went out in August for all the French to wear–
Skip to 8 minutes and 44 seconds CHRISTOPHE GILLIOT: The white cross.
Skip to 8 minutes and 45 seconds ANNE CURRY: –the white cross.
Skip to 8 minutes and 46 seconds CHRISTOPHE GILLIOT: But two different white crosses, a Christian white cross and the Burgundian white cross.
Skip to 8 minutes and 51 seconds ANNE CURRY: The diagonal cross. But do you think this is the–
Skip to 8 minutes and 54 seconds CHRISTOPHE GILLIOT: The Christian.
Skip to 8 minutes and 55 seconds ANNE CURRY: –Christian square. Rather like the cross of St. George but white on a darker coloured background.
Skip to 9 minutes and 0 seconds CHRISTOPHE GILLIOT: Because the French and the Burgundians made peace a few months before Agincourt.
How historians have visualised the battle
This video features Anne and Christophe Gilliot, Director of the Centre Historique d’Azincourt, France.
They discuss one of the museum’s exhibits, a model of the battle created 15 years ago. They discuss its creation and its historical accuracy in the light of recent research.
In a later step, you will be able to hear about the Royal Armouries’ creation of a new Agincourt model for the 600th anniversary of the battle in 2015 and you can compare how recent research has shaped the creation of a new diorama.
What are your thoughts after watching this video?
© University of Southampton 2015