'The Muster'd men for Buckingham are gone, under the swan, the armes of that old towne'
Michael Drayton, The Bataille of Agincourt, 1627
A group of 20 men depart Buckingham, their home town, to support King Edward III in his war with the French; a conflict that would last for 116 bitter and bloody years.
These Buckingham men lived ordinary lives within the town. They were not Dukes, Lords, nor Men-At-Arms, but common townsfolk. They were commoners who had learned to survive decades of food shortage, plague and day after day of hard labour.
The men all shared a very particular skill - mastery of the Longbow.
When armed with a bow and a quiver of arrows, these 'ordinary' men would transform into a devastating machine of war.
Research by Trustees of the Old Gaol names each of these twenty men. Names probably unspoken for centuries until today.
Our 2019 summer exhibition Buckingham 1369 explored the town as it wrestled with decades of decline and neglect and considered the lives of the 20 bowmen who marched south in August.
The naming of the twenty bowmen of August 1369 creates the oldest Roll of Honour for the town of Buckingham. Scores more would have fought in the Hundred Years War both before and after 1369; hence there is much more work to historical work complete.