Six hundred years ago today, on the morning of the 25th of October 1415, a small band of English archers, commanded by Henry V, won a great military victory in France in the Hundred Years War. It was known as the Battle of Agincourt, and it remains the greatest military victory for archery.
The era was notable for English armies, containing ranks of longbowmen, specialists, able to hold off approaching armies at hundreds of yards. The effectiveness of massed longbows had been tested at the Battle of Crécy almost a hundred years earlier, but Agincourt, where the sky was “dark with arrows”, incapacitating a much larger French army remains one of our greatest victories. It was a brutal, grimly violent encounter, but without the longbows, there would have been a massacre. Soon afterwards, gunpowder would spread across the world, and the longbow, the world’s first mass-produced weapon, would leave the armouries of England.
Today, Hertford Company of Archers, celebrated the English victory by holding a Clout shoot. Over 40 of their members, many in Medieval dress, met at 10am to shoot their longbows and similar unsighted bows, at a flag 80 yards from their shooting line.
The archery club had a special commemorative badge made which all members will be given to mark the occasion.