Norfolk knight Sir Thomas Erpingham unleashed the English and Welsh longbowmen at Agincourt. Born in the village of Erpingham, near Aylsham, Erpingham was a veteran warrior in his late fifties, and a supporter and mentor to the young King Henry V. By 1415 he was his earl marshal.
Sir Thomas had been a youthful protege of the king’s grandfather, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and a major player in the rise of Henry IV, father of the victor at Agincourt.
Erpingham is immortalised in a few lines from Shakespeare, who envisages a friendly exchange between him and the king on the eve of the battle.
The outnumbered English army utterly defeated their French counterparts, mainly due to the deadly use of Erpingham’s archers. Sir Thomas returned to England after the battle. He financed the building of today’s Erpingham Gate entrance to Norwich Cathedral, where his statue stands to this day.