HENRY V. 1413 - 1422
Born 1389. - Married, Catherine, daughter of Charles VI. of France, by whom he had one son. Began to reign, 1413. Reigned nearly 10 years. - Died 1422.
He succeeded to a more united dominion than his father; feuds in England were at least quiescent and Wales was mostly in obedience to the crown.
His great enterprise against France was suggested partly by a desire to keep occupied the turbulent nobility and the turbulent lower classes, whose attempted revolt, instigated by the Lollard party, he nipped in the bud in 1414; partly to revenge the persistent hostility of the French to his dynasty; partly to secure the command of the Channel; pertly because England was vitally interested in supporting Burgundy, the ruler of Flanders, our great market against the French;
but chiefly, no doubt to establish his dynasty by means of brilliant success abroad. Wider schemes of pacifying France, healing the Papal schism, and heading a crusade against the Turks were entertained by him, but the second only was accomplished partly by his aid.
Though he laid aside the title of king for that of heir and regent of France after the treaty of Troyes, he really ruled more of France than any English king since Henry II.
Henry was a fine athlete, a soldier and a leader whose comradely spirit and charm set men's hearts aglow. He was a strict churchman of almost monkish piety. His character was a blend of naked strength and simplicity and by no means free from fault. He could be narrow-minded and self-opinionated and he was often spiteful or savage, to any who presumed to cross him. He became a model king: courteous, earnest, just, wise and temperate.
Insurrection of the Lollards, under Lord Cobham suppressed, 1413. Henry lays claim to the crown of France, 1414. The French defeated at Harfluers and Agincourt; and a conspiracy of the nobles suppressed, 1415. Henry re-invades France, enters into a treaty with the French king at Troyes, and marries his daughter, Princess Catherine, 1417 - 20.
Henry V., King of England, born at Monmouth in 1388. On succeeding his father, Henry IV., in 1413, he showed a wisdom in marked contrast to a somewhat reckless youth. He restored their estates to the Percies, and liberated the Earl of March, but in other respects based his internal administration upon that of his father. The persecution of the Lollards is the chief blot upon the early part of his reign. The struggle in France between the factions of the Dukes of Orleans and Burgundy afforded Henry a tempting opportunity for reviving the claims of his predecessors to the French crown .He accordingly landed near Harfleur in August, 1415, and though its capture cost him more than half his army he decided to return to England by way of Calais.
A BID FOR THE FRENCH THRONE
The stirring story of his reign might almost be summed up in one word - France. There were, of course, less noteworthy episodes. Henry continued the persecution of the Lollards because he abhorred their heresies and because, unhappily, the movement had become tainted with politics and sedition. Also, he had a jarring reminder that the crown his father had usurped for the House of Lancaster was a little wobbly on his head; for he was called upon to crush a plot for setting it on the true heir by descent, Edmund of March. But France was the main tune that England danced to. Henry early resolved to resume the Hundred Years War and to revive the preposterous claim of his great-grandfather, Edward Ill, to the French throne. He had complete faith in the righteousness of his cause, for he seems to have been a man who could sincerely convince himself of anything he wanted to believe. And he was shrewd enough to foresee that a successful war would strengthen his position at home.
The Battle Of Agincourt
At this time France, under its mad king, Charles VI, was two desperately warring factions: the Armagnacs and the Burgundians. To Henry it seemed a field ripe for his harvesting and, in the August of 1415, he crossed the Channel to gather in the crop. He secured a base in Harfleur, at the mouth of the Seine; but it took him till the end of September and by then his army was much reduced with sickness and the campaigning season was getting short. Henry, therefore, decided to ship his troops home. But not from Harfleur. He meant to march boldly across enemy country to Calais and embark thence. It was like a toreador trailing his cloak to bring on the bull. And, sure enough, on the eve of St. Crispin, a large French army endeavored to intercept him at the plain of Agincourt .
The French host was at least three times the size of the English; but its leaders, mostly Armagnacs, were divided and their suicidal battle tactics showed that they had not yet got by heart the painful lessons of Crecy and Poitiers. For, to begin with at all events, it was the same tale over again: their heavy cavalry could not withstand the murderous fire of the English longbowmen. Afterwards the battle was just a massacre the French were completely routed (October, 1415). The French men-at-arms, dismounted but weighed down with their armour, got hopelessly bogged in the newly ploughed and rain-sodden field and the lightly equipped English, Henry in the thick of them, hewed them down by the thousand. Small wonder that, on Henry's return in triumph to England, the church steeples rocked with the pealing of the victory bells.
A year later the French were defeated at sea by the Duke of Bedford. In 1417 the liberal grants of the Commons enabled Henry once more to invade Normandy with 25,000 men.
Treaty Of Troyes
By January, 1419, Normandy was his. And then an astonishing stroke of luck befell him. Duke Philip of Burgundy's feud with the Armagnacs had reached such a pitch of blind fury that he was ready to promise the English invader anything in return for aid in crushing his rivals. The assassination of the Duke of Burgundy, which induced his son and successor to join Henry, greatly added to his power, and the alliance was soon followed by the famous Treaty of Troyes (May 21, 1420), by which Henry engaged to marry the Princess Catharine, and to leave Charles VI. in possession of the crown; on condition that it should go to Henry and his heirs at his decease. It was sealed by Charles and his queen, Isabella, who hated her son, the Dauphin, heir to the throne and leader of the Armagnacs; and it provided that Henry should be Regent of France till Charles death and afterwards King, and that he should marry Charles's daughter Catherine.
Thus did Henry achieve the seemingly impossible and establish his claim to the crown of France. But the treaty was, in effect, only a compact with a French faction. Its execution depended largely on that faction's continued support. Meantime, most of the southern half of France and parts of the north were still in the Dauphin's hands.
He returned in triumph to England, but on the defeat of his brother, the Duke of Clarence, in Normandy by the Earl of Buchan, he again set out for France, in 1421 on another campaign, drove back the army of the dauphin, and entered Paris. A son was at this time born to him, and all his great projects seemed about to be realized, when an illness contracted whilst sharing the hardships of a winter siege laid him low, and he died of fever at Vincennes in August, 1422, at the age of thirty-four, and in the tenth year of his reign. He was succeeded by his son Henry VI.
In 1415 Henry took Harfleur, in Normandy, and marching to Calais purposely provoked the French to a pitched battle at Agincourt, October 25th, 1415, which resulted in a great victory and terrible slaughter of the French nobility. In 1416 the French attempted to retake Harfleur, but were defeated by sea and land. In August 1417 Henry invaded Normandy for the second time, and began a systematic conquest. A week before his arrival a Genoese fleet, which was blockading Harfleur, was beaten. In 1417 Caen and Bayeux fell. In 1418 the whole of the Cotentin, Cherbourg, and other strong places, were taken, and Rouen besieged; early in 1419 Rouen surrendered, and Picardy and places in Maine and the Isle of France were conquered. In 1421 the Scottish auxiliaries of the French defeated and killed Henry's brother Thomas, Duke of Clarence, at Beauge, in Anjou; but in the same year Henry captured Dreux, in 1422 Meaux, and forced the Dauphin to abandon the siege of the Burgundian town of Cosne on the Loire.
Archbishop - Thomas Fits-Alan, d. 1414; Henry Chichele, translated from St. Davids,
Chancellors, - Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, afterwards Cardinal, 1413 - 1417; Thomas Longley, Bishop of Durham, 1417 - 22.
Thomas Fits-Alan, Earl of Arundel, was made Treasurer in 1413, when his uncle was removed from the chancellorship, so as not to break entirely with the powerful Arundell interest .
Sir William Gascoigne, Chief Justice of the king's bench since 1401, was removed in 1413.
ACTS AND DOCUMENTS
In 1413, by 1 Henry V. c. 1, it was enacted that knights, citizens, and burgesses,
chosen to represent shires, cities, and boroughs, should be resident in the said shires, cities, and boroughs.
Printed in the Statutes.
In 1414, on the petition of the Commons, the Alien Priories in England were finally suppressed, and their revenues taken into the king's hands. (Rolls of Parliament, iv. 22;Rymer's Foedera, ix., 280, 281, &c.)
The property of the Alien Priories, that is, Priories in England attached to foreign monasteries, had been confiscated at times since Edward the First's reign: they were looked upon as a source of profit to foreigners and of injury to England, especially in time of war. They were 110 in number, and their revenues were employed partly in the public service, partly in the new foundations, partly in grants to private persons.
In 1416 the Duke of Burgundy undertook to do homage to the king of England, and to aid him in gaining his rights in France. (Rymer's Foedera, ix. 394.)
Burgundy before this had some secret understanding with Henry, who in his father's reign had consistently upheld the Burgundian alliance, but even after 1416 the duke intrigued also with the Dauphin and the Queen. He was murdered by the Dauphin's attendants in 1419, and his son immediately made a close alliance with England.
In 1420 the Treaty of Troyes arranged that Henry should marry the French king's daughter Catherine, and he acknowledged as Regent of France during the life of the imbecile Charles VI., and king after his death. Coins, however, struck at Rouen after the negotiation had begun, but before it was concluded, still bear the legend Henricus, Rex Francorum. (Rymer's Foedera, ix. 895.)