The Cultural Legacy of the Battle of Agincourt, 1415-2015
The Battle of Agincourt has come to mean much more than simply a battle fought in northern France on 25 October 1415 between the English and French. Over the centuries it has stimulated literary, artistic and musical outputs. It has also been used as a symbol of British identity as well as of family ancestral pride, even in cases where participation in the battle is dubious. There are claims of objects associated with the battle, as well as problematic early excavations. Major wars have stimulated new interest, especially the Napoleonic wars and the First World War. This day conference explores these themes and others to explain why Agincourt has generated such a legacy in antiquarian traditions as well as in the popular psyche.
This full-day conference was organised by Fellow Anne Curry.
9.00-10.00: Registration (with tea and coffee)
10.00-10.10: Welcome (by Gen Secretary or President), followed by Introduction by the Conference Chair, Dr Sinclair Rogers, Chair of the Agincourt 600 Committee
10.10-11.00: Agincourt 1415-2015: the Cultural Legacy of a Battle, by Professor Anne Curry (University of Southampton, and Academic Co-Chair of Agincourt 600).
This opening lecture ranges across the many ways in which the battle of Agincourt has been remembered in Britain over the six centuries since it was fought. Of particular interest are the many myths and legends which have arisen. Special attention will be given to why, from the late sixteenth century onwards, families have been keen to claim the presence of an ancestor at the battle.
11.10-12.00: Lt Col John Woodford and Excavations at Azincourt: 1818 to the Present, by Dr Tim Sutherland (University of York).
The battle of Agincourt has inspired a great deal of historical research over the centuries since it was fought. The archaeological potential of the battlefield, on the other hand, has attracted far less attention. This can be summed up via two general investigations; those undertaken by Lt Col John Woodford in 1818 and the archaeological surveys and excavations carried out by Sutherland since 2002. So much of what we think we know about the battlefield has been influenced by Woodford's notes, maps and illustrations that it is important to attempt to archaeological confirm or refute this information. Current research investigates the context in which he worked and attempts to make sense of his legacy.
12.10-13.00: The 500th Anniversary Commemorations at Azincourt in 1915 and the First World War, by Mr Christophe Gilliot (Director of the Centre Historique Medievale, Azincourt).
On 22 October 1915 the third battalion of Chasseurs à Pied left the French lines to recuperate at the Château de Tramecourt. Their commander planned a special ceremony in honour of the 500th anniversary of the battle on 25 October, to which British troops were invited. This event will be reconstructed, as will also other ways in which Azincourt and its vicinity featured in the First World War, including royal visits by George V in 1917 and 1918.
13.10-14.10: Lunch (provided)
14:10-15.00: Literature and History in 18th-19th Century Britain: Robert Southey, Agincourt and the Hundred Years War, by Dr Ian Packer (University of Lincoln).
By the late eighteenth century the exploits of Henry V and English forces in France in the Hundred Years War were well established as exemplars of heroism in English prose and verse. But there were dissenting voices - most notably Robert Southey (1774-1843), the Poet Laureate 1813-43. This paper explores Southey's deeply conflicted and changing attitude to the Hundred Years War and how his writings on the conflict both reflected and helped to shape public debate about warfare, national identity and history in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.'
15.10-16.00: Armour and 1415: The Evidence of Church Monuments, by Dr Toby Capwell (Wallace Collection).
Part of the legacy of Agincourt is that it is often remembered as a victory of English archery over French armour. Yet the English army contained large numbers of fully-armoured men equipped in almost precisely the same way as the French. The misunderstanding of English armour in the age of Henry V has probably been compounded by the fact that very little of it actually survives. But other key sources of evidence provide us with a wealth of information about English armour at the time. Chief among these are the extant funerary monuments incorporating carved alabaster effigies in high relief. They provide a unique glimpse of the realities of warfare in the early fifteenth century, both beautiful and terrible.
16.15-17.00: The Musical Legacy of Agincourt, by Professor David Owen Norris (University of Southampton).
Professor Norris gives modern premieres of a variety of musical responses to Agincourt, and presents its famous Carol as more than a mere badge of national musical identity. With musical examples both recorded and live: Rendall, Stanford, Noble, Leigh, and new discoveries about Vaughan Williams. With the Carice Singers, directed by George Parris.
17:00-19.00: Reception with wine and nibbles
Guests will be able to enjoy refrehsments while celebrating the release of Anne Curry's newest book: Agincourt: Great Battles Series.