The wounding of a young Henry V at the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403 has only recently begun to be taken seriously as a major trauma. This essay considers the differences between narratives of the battle in Lancastrian texts and the firsthand account of how John Bradmore removed the arrowhead embedded in Henry’s cheek. It is likely that Henry’s face would have been marked by a scar. Henry V’s battlefield scar would have been read in light of Henry IV’s own scarred face, which was affected by a disease his contemporaries thought to be leprosy. Henry IV’s disfiguration was seen as God’s negative judgment of his reign, making it necessary for Henry V’s supporters to represent his face as unblemished. The severity of Henry V’s wound and the presence of a scar should inform modern scholarship on his reign and his representation by fifteenth-century writers.
The Disappearing Scar of Henry V:Triage, Trauma, and the Treatment of Henry’s Wounding at the Battle of Shrewsbury
Timothy D. Arner; The Disappearing Scar of Henry V:Triage, Trauma, and the Treatment of Henry’s Wounding at the Battle of Shrewsbury. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1 May 2019; 49 (2): 347–376. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10829636-7506558
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