Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Barker on Agincourt

I marked the anniversary last weekend of the battle of Agincourt by reading right through Juliet Barker's Agincourt


Image: Amazon

In my post some months ago on Prof. Anne Curry's book on the battle I described Juliet Barker's book as being more popular. That it perhaps is, but not in any slighting sense. It does perhaps set the battle and the society that existed at the time in a way that is perhaps a little more approachable to the non-specialist reader.

Although I would have some quibbles about points Juliet Barker makes, especially on church matters, her book is splendid - very readable and full of details, one that self-consciously looks at individuals and how they prepared for the campaign, such as the Earl Marshal equipping himself with armour, but not always from the same supplier, and it is a gripping read, which touches on those emotions Agincourt still evokes in the English, a point to which I referred in a recent post.

For anyone wanting to know about the battle or the wider campaign, or the military society of the time this is, perhaps, the book to read. When first published it was the fourth best selling history book of the year ( which also tells you something about the continuing fascination with the battle) and richly deserved its success.

It is quite a page turner, gives one plenty to think about - such as firing off ten arrows inside a minute to be able to qualify as an archer - and catches the sheer emotion of the success against the odds of King Henry V and his men in 1415.

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