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Restoration of the Medieval History Center, Agincourt
1415, the Battle of Agincourt and the Hundred Years’ War
In 1415, a battle took place right in the middle of the Hundred Years’ War, pitching English and French archers and cavalry against each other. French troops were attempting to block the way to the army of Henry V, who wanted to get back to England. A genuine massacre ensued that turned out to be France’s worst defeat of the Hundred Years’ War. But for Stéphane Bern (Head of the Mission du Patrimoine heritage taskforce), “Defeat can lead to Victory” – defeat referring to the battle and victory to the Centre’s rebirth.
By renovating this History Centre, Agincourt wanted to keep historical memories alive. As a result of this modernisation, the number of visitors to the site is expected to more than double, mainly thanks to our friends across the Channel, who are very attached to the memory of this battle thanks to Shakespeare’s Henry V.
The heritage site and its location
Agincourt is a rural municipality with a population of 300 located 40 km to the south of Saint-Omer in the department of Pas-de-Calais. The Centre historique médiéval (Medieval History Centre – CHM) was inaugurated in 2001 and extended in 2005. The Centre, whose aims are both scientific and educational, offers the public an opportunity to learn about the late Middle Ages through day-to-day life and war. It is the Hauts-de-France region’s only “interpretive centre” to present the medieval period and address a major event in northern European history. The internationally renowned battle attracts not only history enthusiasts but also lovers of memorial tourism, particularly from the rest of the world. Although the CHM, which became the property of the Sept Vallées group of local councils in 2014, is a major asset to the region, visitor numbers had dwindled over the past few years due to the site’s ageing facilities.
The Medieval History Centre is owned by the Sept Vallées group of local councils and will be the recipient of any forthcoming grant. Once the work has been completed, the Centre hopes to welcome 45,000 visitors, half of them from the United Kingdom. Many French and British school groups are also expected to visit.
Crédit Agricole Nord de France and its corporate foundation: partners of the Agincourt Medieval History Centre
Last month, Brigitte Macron, the minister with responsibility for local authorities) and Stéphane Bern (head of the Mission du Patrimoine heritage taskforce) inaugurated the Agincourt 1415 Centre, supported by Crédit Agricole Nord de France and its corporate foundation. The inauguration was attended by the Prefect and local elected representatives. The Crédit Agricole Pays de France Foundation participated in this large-scale renovation project.
After praising the quality of the renovation, the various speakers all highlighted the importance of history in shaping the future and building a united Europe. Crédit Agricole Nord de France and its corporate foundation were also thanked as the project’s major and only private partner. This commitment to local development is in keeping with the Group’s founding aims and cooperative values. It is also aligned with the Group Project and the Ambitions 2022 Plan, notably as regards contributing to local tourism and helping boost the appeal of local areas.
The Nord de France Regional Bank and the Crédit Agricole Pays de France Foundation awarded grants of €30,000 each.