40 facts about Wales’s involvement in the Battle

  1. Most indentures were sealed on 29 April 1415 but the ones for the Welsh contingents were not sealed until 26 June.
  2. The Brecknock contingent comprised 10 men-at-arms, 13 mounted archers and 146 foot archers. The smallest group came from Glyn Tawe. The largest group were from the office of the Bailiff Itinerant (the collector of fines and taxes), possibly some of them were in debt to the lordship.
  3. The Captain of the contingent was Watkyn Lloyt.
  4. The contingent had a Chaplin in their ranks called William Walderbess. Usually ordained priests were not allowed to fight with edged weapons, they used a mace, club or hammer instead.
  5. Some of the archers were identified by their nickname e.g. Llywelyn Coch (Llywelyn the Red) who probably had red hair.
  6. Most of the contingent had Welsh names but some had names of Anglo- Norman, Anglo- Saxon, French or Flemish origin.
  7. Their paid service started on 6 July 1415, men-at-arms were paid 12 pence per day, archers 6 pence.
  8. When passing through Warminster en-route to the Solent some Welsh soldiers were alleged to have taken goods without paying.
  9.  John Merbury who was Chamberlin of South Wales, Steward of the Lordship of Brecknock and the official who made the indenture, started his career as an archer.
  10. Merbury was offered a knighthood but declined the honour.
  11. Merbury and his wife are buried in the parish church at Weobly in Herefordshire.
  12. The Lordship of Brecknock was one of the richest of the Marcher lordships in Wales and Brecon was one of the four most important towns.
  13. The Lordship was part of the Duchy of Lancaster, as Henry V was also Duke of Lancaster it meant that the Brecknock contingent were the King’s own men.
  14. Dafydd ap Llywelyn, also known by his nickname Gam was a long time servant of Henry IV and Henry V. He may, at times, have been employed as a ‘secret agent’.
  15. Gam was a descendant of Bleddyn ap Maenrych, the last native ruler of Brycheiniog.
  16. Gam attempted to assassinate Owain Glyndwr.
  17. Gam may have commanded part of the Royal force that defeated Owain Glyndwr’s army at the battle of Pwll Melyn, near Usk. In the battle Glyndwr’s son was captured.
  18. Gam indentured separately with three archers.
  19. Gam was possibly the inspiration for Shakespere’s Captain Fluellen.
  20. Dafydd ap Llywelyn’s descendants took the nickname Gam as their surname, this subsequently became
  21. Games a prominent Breconshire family.
  22. Roger Vaughan of Bredwardine may have been one of Gam’s archers, he was his son-in-law.
  23. Roger Vaughan’s youngest son, also named Roger, probably served as a page. He would have been only 12 or 13 years old. He survived the campaign and eventually became Sir Roger Vaughan of Tretower.
  24. A stained glass window in Brecon Cathedral commemorates Roger Vaughan.
  25. A tomb effigy in Bredwardine church is said to be that of Roger Vaughan.
  26.  Watkyn Lloyt was Roger Vaughan of Bredwardine’s son-in-law.
  27.  Watkyn Lloyt is recorded as being invalided home from Harfleur.
  28. Watkyn Lloyt had a property called Tir Marchog near Trecastle, it’s now called Ynys Marchog (Water-meadow of the Knight).
  29. Most of the Brecknock contingent would never have seen the sea before sailing for France.
  30. The contingents from Carmarthen and Cardigan had in their ranks, men who had fought for Owain Glyndwr. By joining the King’s army they avoided having to pay a fine or face imprisonment.
  31. Welsh archers often fought barefoot.
  32. Putting a blob of beeswax on the tip of arrowheads improved their armour piercing capabilities.
  33. Henry V was born in a room in the gatehouse of Monmouth Castle.
  34. Gwladus was Dafydd Gam’s daughter and widow of Sir Roger Vaughan of Bredwardine. She then married William ap Thomas of Raglan and together they found the Herbert dynasty, Earls of Pembroke.
  35.  The tomb of William and Gwladus is in St. Mary’s Church, Abergavenny.
  36. Henry ap William Gwyn of Carmarthen, one of Glyndwr’s veterans, was killed at Agincourt, fighting for the French.
  37. David Gam was probably born at Castell Eynion Sais near Pen Pont, Brecon.
  38. Gam’s property at Pytin Ddu near Brecon was burned to the ground by Owain Glyndwr.
  39.  Gam’s original Arms were,  Argent a lion rampant Sable, armed and langued Gules. Later the descendants of his son Morgan adopted the family name to Games and used the heraldry of Bleddyn ap Maenrych, Quartered with that of Einion Sais, Quarterly, 1 and 4, Sable, a chevron between three spear heads Argent embruled Gules: 2 and 3 Agent a chevron Gules between 3 cocks Gules.
  40. In Brecon Cathedral there is a stone reputed to have been used to sharpen arrow heads.

Source: Bryan Davies