[MR] Wikipedia: Henry V's Arrow Wound
Garth Groff and Sally Sanford
mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Tue Apr 9 01:51:30 PDT 2019
Noble Friends, Especially Fellow Archers,
On this date in 1413, Henry of Monmouth was crowned King of England as
Henry V at Westminster Abbey. He was one of the most important and
memorable kings of England, thanks to his famous victory over the French at
Agincourt, and also thanks to Shakespeare (who probably invented the "Band
of Brothers" speech).
What I want to comment on today is Henry's wound. In 1403 at the age of
just 16 young Henry of Monmouth (as Prince of Wales) commanded the left
flank of his father's (Henry IV) army at the Battle of Shrewsbury. The
battle was to suppress a rebellion by another Henry, Henry Percy aka Henry
Hotspur (are you confused?). During the fight, Henry of Monmouth took an
arrow to the face. The shaft was removed (points were usually held on only
with a blob of wax, and the shaft can't have broken off or removal later
would have been impossible). The arrow point remained embedded in the
Prince's skull. According to accounts, Henry of Monmouth did not leave the
field, but continued to direct his forces. It was during a cavalry change
against the left flank that Henry Hotspur was killed, also by an arrow to
the face after lifting his visor.
Henry of Monmouth, as the heir apparent, was given the best treatment
possible. His wound was packed with honey (known even at that time to be a
powerful antiseptic). John Bradmore, who was both a surgeon and a skilled
blacksmith, built a tool something like a modern shoe stretcher which by
turning a screw would expand slightly. On the second try, the doctor got
the tool into the arrow point's socket, and after turning the screw caught
the point and was able to full it free (probably without anesthesia!).
Henry recovered from his wound, though he was left with a scar on his left
cheek. Several famous actors who have played Henry V in film and
television, including Kenneth Branagh, have ignored this scar. Tsk, tsk.
More about Bradmore and the Prince's near-fatal wound is at
The modern English archery historian and blacksmith Sir Hector Cole
recreated the Bradmore extractor for an historical television documentary.
His summary of the work is found at
Hector Cole makes amazingly accurate medieval arrow heads and other cool
stuff. His own web site is well worth exploring:
Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge 🦆
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