Abbey to open Henry V’s Chantry Chapel
The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, will lead special tours of Henry V's Chantry Chapel to mark the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt.
The chapel, which is above the medieval king's tomb at the east end of the Abbey, will be open on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt – Saturday 24th October. The chapel has never before been officially opened for public tours. Places will be limited and allocated by online ballot, which will open on Tuesday 22nd September on the Abbey website.
Henry V's chantry chapel, within the Shrine of Edward the Confessor, is one of the smallest and most intimate of the Abbey's many chapels. It was built on the orders of Henry V so that prayers could be said in perpetuity for his soul. A pair of stone turrets flanking the tomb conceals the entrance to the chapel which is via narrow spiral staircases of uneven steps, worn down through centuries of use. Beautifully simple and measuring just seven metres by three metres, the chapel is occasionally used for services but not open to the public because of its size and access problems.
However, the Abbey has decided to open up the chapel to mark the Agincourt anniversary with special tours taking place on Saturday 24th October at 10.00 am, Noon and 1.00 pm. There will be six places on each tour (three winners with one guest). The public ballot runs from Tuesday 22nd September at 10.00 am until Tuesday 29th September at midnight.
Westminster Abbey will also mark the Battle of Agincourt with a Special Service of Commemoration on Thursday 29th October in partnership with Agincourt600, the charity supporting the anniversary.
Beyond Agincourt: The Funerary Achievements of Henry V, a one-day conference will be held on Wednesday 28th October for Henry V enthusiasts, students and academics, bringing together experts from the fields of armour, architecture and conservation to uncover the significance of Henry V's funerary achievements – the king's shield, saddle, sword and helm – which were carried at his funeral at Westminster Abbey and remain in the Abbey's Collection today.