Henry V of England

King of England from 1413 to 1422

Henry V (16 September 1386 – 31 August 1422), also called Henry of Monmouth, was King of England from 1413 until his death in 1422. Despite his relatively short reign, Henry's outstanding military successes in the Hundred Years' War against France made England one of the strongest military powers in Europe. Immortalised in Shakespeare's Henry V, Henry is known and celebrated as one of the greatest warrior kings of medieval England.

Quotes edit

  • Thou speakest as a fool, for by the God of Heaven in whose grace I trust and in whom is my firm hope of victory, I would not have one more than I have, even if I could... Dost thou not believe that the Almighty can through this humble little band overcome the pride of these Frenchmen, who boast of their numbers and their strength?
    • Answer to Walter Hungerford, who lamented on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt that in addition to the small band which he had there could have had ten thousand of the better archers of England, as recorded in Gesta Henrici Quinti, quoted in English Historical Documents 1327–1485, ed. A. R. Myers (1969), p. 206

Disputed edit

Quotes about Henry V edit

  • Owre Kynge went forth to Normandy
    With grace and myght of chyvalry
    Ther God for hym wrought mervelusly;
    Wherefore Englonde may call and cry:
    Deo gratias!
    Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria!
  • He applied his mind with all devotion to encompass what could promote the honour of God, the extension of the Church, the deliverance of his country and the peace and tranquillity of kingdoms.
  • [O]ur older men [do not] remember any prince ever having commanded his people on the march with more effort, bravery or consideration, or having, with his own hand, performed greater feats of strength in the field. Nor, indeed, is evidence to be found in the chronicles or annals that any king of England ever achieved so much in so short a time and returned home with so glorious a triumph.
  • The simple record of Henry V's achievement is sufficient to establish him as a great king... His ambitions in France were inspired by a new vision and new methods [and], given the years, energy and luck he might have reshaped the development of both nations just, as in brief space, he had restored the fortunes of England.
    • G. L. Harriss, 'Conclusion', Henry V: The Practice of Kingship, ed. G. L. Harriss (1985), pp. 201-210
  • Take him all round and he was, I think, the greatest man that ever ruled England.
  • [Henry V was] very wise and capable in everything he undertook and he had an iron will. When he ruled France, he made greater conquests than any before him for many years past. He was so feared by his nobles and captains that there was no one, however close or dear to him, who was not afraid to go against his orders.
  • Henry the fift, I wish you not forget,
    At Agent Court, thinke what a field he fought:
    When all the powre of Fraunce him round beset,
    Ten thousand men, them to subjection brought.
    Though night before, they Bonfires great did make,
    And made their boastes, what prisoners they would take.
    • John Phillips, A Commemoration of the Life and Death of Sir Christopher Hatton, knight, Lord Chancellor of England (1591), p. 7
  • If we set aside the charges of sacrificing the welfare of his country to an unjustifiable war of aggression, and of being a religious persecutor, Henry V stands before us as one of the greatest and purest characters in English history, a figure not unworthy to be placed by the side of Edward I. No sovereign who ever reigned has won from contemporary writers such a singular unison of praises. He was religious, pure in life, temperate, liberal, careful and yet splendid, merciful, truthful, and honourable; 'discreet in word, provident in counsel, prudent in judgment, modest in look, magnanimous in act;' a brilliant soldier, a sound diplomatist, an able organiser and consolidator of all forces at his command; the restorer of the English navy, the founder of our military, international and maritime law. A true Englishman, with all the greatnesses and none of the glaring faults of his Plantagenet ancestors, he stands forth as the typical medieval hero. At the same time he is a laborious man of business, a self-denying and hardy warrior, a cultivated scholar, and a most devout and charitable Christian.
    • William Stubbs, The Constitutional History of England in Its Origin and Development, Vol. III (1878), p. 75
  • Henry V was by far the greatest king in Christendom, and he deserved the estimation in which he was held, both for the grandeur and sincerity of his character and for the greatness of the position which, not without many favouring circumstances on which he could not have counted, he had won. It was very much owing to his influence that the great schism was closed at Constance; it was the representative of the English church who nominated pope Martin V, the creator of the modern papacy: and although the result was one which ran counter to the immemorial policy of kings and parliaments, of Church and State, the mischief of the consequences cannot be held to derogate from the greatness of the achievement. It is not too much to suppose that Henry, striking when the opportunity came and continuing the task which he had undertaken without interruption, might have accomplished the subjugation and pacification of France, and realised the ambition of his life, the dream of his father and of his Lancastrian ancestors, by staying the progress of the Ottomans and recovering the sepulchre of Christ. This was not to be; and he had already done more than on ordinary calculations could have been imagined, compassed more than it was in England's power alone to hold fast or to complete. England was nearly exhausted; it could only have been at the head of consolidated France and united Europe that he could have led the Crusade. In him then the dying energies of medieval life kindle for a short moment into flame; England rejoices in the light all the more because of the gloom that precedes and follows: and the efforts made by England, parliament, church, and nation, during the period, are not less remarkable than those made by the king.
    • William Stubbs, The Constitutional History of England in Its Origin and Development, Vol. III (1878), p. 93
  • King Henry left no one like him among Christian kings or princes. His death, not only by his subjects in England and France but in the whole of Christendom, was deservedly mourned. He was pious in soul, taciturn and discreet in his speech, far-seeing in counsel, prudent in judgement, modest in appearance, magnanimous in his actions, firm in business, persistent in pilgrimages and generous in alms, devoted to God and supportive and respectful of the prelates and ministers of the church. War-like, distinguished and fortunate, he had won victories in all his military engagements. He was generous in constructing buildings and founding monasteries, munificent in his gifts, and above all pursued and attacked enemies of the faith and the church. Thinking of his memorable deeds, people felt awe at his sudden and terrible death [and] mourned inexpressibly.

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