The Brecon Archers
The Welsh archers at Agincourt have become the stuff of legend, but what do we really know about those who came from the lordship of Brecon and the contribution they made to the battle of Agincourt?
We know from the muster rolls for June 26th 1415 that 14 mounted archers and 146 foot archers came from Brecon and other Lancaster lordships. The muster rolls list names, many of which record nicknames such as “ Ddu” for black hair , “Tew” for stout or “Sais” for someone who spoke English well.
Some of the archers have English sounding names. Examples include:
- John Pyper
- Dafydd Coke
- John Wynter
- David Tournor
- Geoffrey Baret
Others record their ancestry back through four generations. One example is Ieuan ap Morgan ap Dafydd ap Meuric. Why there should be a need to expand the family history to this degree is not clear. Perhaps his great grandfather was still alive.
An archer was paid 6d a day whether mounted or not.
We know little about the archers of Brecon. We can guess about personal characteristics from their names, as has been said above.
How many of these archers reached France is unknown. Some may have stayed to form part of the garrison to guard against a resurgence of rebellion in the King’s absence. Many may well have fallen ill at Harfleur and been sent home before the march which led to Agincourt. We know that Ieuan ap Morgan ap Dafydd ap Meuric were on the sick lists and so was Ieuan ap Llywelyn ab Ieuan.
Only Dafydd ap Llewelyn, (known as Dafydd Gam) can we say with some certainty was at Agincourt. His is the only Welsh name recorded by contemporary chroniclers.
The story of the others remains to be uncovered.
Chapman, A (2011). “The King’s Welshmen: Welsh Involvement in the Expeditionary Army of 1415’ in Journal of Medieval Military History IX, ed. Anne Curry and Adrian Bell.