(About) “Cry ‘God for Harry, England and Saint George!’”
Few Kings of England have achieved such startling martial success in such short a period – in only five years, Henry went from an outcast heir frozen out of the corridors of power, to being poised to unite the thrones of England and France in one cross-Channel empire. His trusty sword, which legend says hung over his tomb down the centuries, is the only fitting symbol for this man.
The Blade of Agincourt
Our Henry V Sword is a meticulous reproduction of the sword that was placed above Henry’s tomb in Westminster Abbey, hand-made by the expert artisans at Darksword Armory. The original is a finely balanced fifteenth-century arming sword which was re-discovered in a chest in the triforium of the Abbey in 1869. Frustratingly, there is a strong argument that the sword actually dates from after Henry V’s death – it is more likely associated with Henry VII’s reign, being added by the victor of the Battle of Bosworth to Henry V’s tomb in honour of his predecessor. Henry V’s myth may have already been well in the making!
The blade of our Henry V Sword is a faithful replication of the original: the Oakeshott Type XVIII blade is forged in a diamond cross-section, then painstakingly hollow-ground. The final result is a light, agile blade with a characteristic ridge running the length of the blade that had unparalleled thrusting power to punch through the plate armor that was emerging in the age of Henry V. It uses extremely resilient 5160 spring steel in its functional blade.
A Heritage Hilt
Our Henry V Sword’s hilt is a beautiful faithful reproduction of the iconic Westminster Abbey burial sword. The crossguard has a simple, elegant downward sweep with knobbed terminals, just like the original. The grip is wrapped with comfortable natural leather. Finishing the blade is a large wheel pommel to give the blade extra balance. The original ‘sword of Henry V’ had a red cross painted within the wheel as a funereal respect; our blade is plain and unadorned as it would have been on the battlefield. This sword is a fully functional battle-ready sword. This means it has a safe full-tang construction, riveted to the pommel, and can be used for light combat against other swords of similar hardness without damage (Beware however that damage can result from using it against less hard swords!). The Henry V Sword also comes with a reinforced natural leather scabbard with a steel chape, as well as a leather full sword belt.
Overall, it is a fantastic option for any high- and late-medieval enthusiast. Its iconic shape would bring flair to a medieval Knight or Man-at-Arms re-enactment, a roleplay of a fantasy sword noble, and it would make a fantastic display piece.
(History) “I Think The King Is But A Man” – The Real Henry V
Thanks in no small part to the rip-roaring, highly sympathetic treatment that his life was given by Shakespeare in 1599 (and by Kenneth Branagh in 1989), Henry V retains a warm place in the canon of British monarch as One Of The Good Ones. Young Henry of Monmouth cut his teeth defending his father’s throne against the twin-rebellion of Welsh King Owain Glyndŵr and the Northumbrian Percy family. He faced down ‘Harry Hotspur’ Percy at the Battle of Shrewsbury at the tender age of 17 – Henry walked away with his life, whilst Hotspur did not. Many contemporary writers tried to depict him as a riotous tearaway youth, and it appears there was political friction between he and his father Henry IV, but if there was a grain of truth to that, he appears to have become a serious and effective ruler with his father’s death and his accession to the throne in 1413.
Having dealt with the Glyndŵr rebellion, Henry V was now free to pursue the ancestral claim that the Plantagenets had on the throne of an increasingly unstable France. Taking Harfleur by siege the following year, he (arguably unwisely) immediately led his exhausted army on towards Calais. They were intercepted by an enormous French army at Agincourt. This battle was not another Crécy; it was not won by the longbow, which could no longer penetrate improving plate armor. Instead, it was a grim, muddy bloodbath, where the French nobles found themselves stuck fast in cloying mud and surrounded by a starving, exhausted mob of lads-on-tour. A little less grand than Shakespeare presented it. Henry’s campaigns forced peace with France, with his acknowledgement as successor to French King Charles IV and his marriage to the King’s daughter Catherine of Valois. But at the height of his powers and unity of the thrones within arm’s reach, Henry V suddenly died in 1422 at the age of only 35, leaving an infant son to be governed by a powerful Privy Council.
How different might European history have been if he had lived but a few years more and bequeathed the thrones of England and France to his son?
- Total length: 39 inches
- Blade length: 32 inches
- Blade width: 2 inches
- Blade material: 5160 carbon steel
- Blade hardness:Edge: 60 HRC; core : 4850 HRC
- Guard and pommel material: Mild steel
- Grip material: Leather
- Weight: 2 lbs