The Historical Association’s Agincourt visit
This weekend, a group of 35 primary school children and teachers from across the UK have travelled to the historic French town of Azincourt (known by the British as Agincourt) with Rayburn Tours, after being selected as the lucky winners of an education competition run by the Historical Association.
Rayburn Tours were delighted to be asked to be part of the travel and logistical arrangements of the trip, which is just one of the many British commemorations for the 600th anniversary of the 1415 Battle of Agincourt.
The school group will be involved in a range of visits and activities to develop their understanding of the 15th century world and will find out how a site can affect the history they learn and the significance attached to historical events.
During the weekend, the pupils will visit a local primary school to take part in lessons and compare what local history is taught in schools, as well as picking up a few French phrases too.
They will also take a guided tour of the Agincourt battlefield to witness the important site, before spending an afternoon taking part in hands-on archery and shield-making workshops at the Medieval Centre in Agincourt. Pupils will then have the chance to bring the battle to life with their own re-enactment.
A visit to this area of northern France would not be complete without visiting the beautiful seaside town of Boulogne-sur-Mer, where the group will take in the medieval sights and embark on a treasure hunt.
What do we know about the Battle of Agincourt?
The Battle of Agincourt is probably best remembered and immortalised through Shakespeare’s play ‘Henry V’. The famous line from the play about a ‘Band of Brothers’ has probably meant that much of the historical knowledge of this fascinating moment in history has been overlooked or mythicized.
The Battle of Agincourt was part of the bloody Hundred Years’ War which played a crucial role in developing relationships between the British Isles and the continent – unfortunately being one of the last peaks in the continuing saga.
As a battle, Agincourt is also interesting because of the manner in which the British were forced into it and the tactics that Henry V and his knights used to achieve victory. The museum at Agincourt helps tell this story from both sides and, as a result of the recent commemorations, there is a new memorial at the site.
See the site itself
Ideal as a close-to-home trip, a visit to Agincourt could easily be part of a tour of medieval history or as the medieval component of a GCSE and A Level study to explore the changing nature of warfare; especially when combined with the sites of Crecy and the more recent Battle of the Somme to cover the First World War, then on to Normandy to cover the Second World War to really get to grips with tactical changes.
The close proximity of the battlefields geographically, if not in time, is indicative of the turbulent history that Northern France has had when it comes to invading armies.
One of the fascinating parts to the Agincourt story that could never have been known by Shakespeare during his retelling of the battle is how the site would become a focus for unity for British and French troops in the future.
In 1915, as the First World War raged across the Western Front, members of the French military escorted their British counterparts on a tour of the Agincourt battlefield and commemorated the fallen together in recognition of their being Allies.
In 2015, that act of unity was replicated again with current serving British military attending the commemorative events for Agincourt in October alongside current French serving military.
It seems fitting, therefore, that children from the UK and France should also enter into dialogue about history and how friendships can be formed for future generations, despite historical conflicts.
If you are interested in a visit to Agincourt with your students to learn about the battle, get in touch with our specialist team who will be happy to help! Please call 01332 347 828 or enquire now.