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"King Henry V's big scar" Topic

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Warspite103 Feb 2020 10:39 a.m. PST

One of the things that has always irritated me about portrayals on screen of England's King Henry V is that they always miss or forget about his prominant facial scar.

Henry was hit in the face by an arrow at the Battle of Shrewsbury and ended up with the broken arrow lodged deep in the bone of his face. This remained in the wound for several days and was in danger of killing him until an English 'doctor', for want of a better word, come up with a device which resembles one of those posh cork screws, the sort with levers on each side which are pushed down to pull the cork out. He screwed the device into the socket of the arrow and was able to engage it and then pull it out.

More here:

In due course young Prince Hal survived and recovered but this injury would have left him with a prominent scar on one cheek, probably the right cheek as the only portrait we have of him shows his left side of his face, facing to our left. The right side cannot be seen (see portrait in link above). Although this was still an artistic style it is noticeable that Richard II was the first king to be shown 'full face' and full face was the (then) modern style. So I have always suspected that the royal portrait concealed a large scar.

I have always been irritated that the likes of Sir Laurence Olivier and then Kenneth Branagh went for 'movie star' good looks and the same was in a recent BBC production.

So I was a little tickled today. in my local branch of magazine sellers W.H. Smith, to see the latest copy of 'All About History' with its front cover shot of Henry showing a yelling armoured actor complete with sword and crown and a very prominent scar on his right cheek. I did not buy the magazine (far too general for me) but I award them the Warspite 10 out of 10 for finally grasping the nettle and giving us a representative view of what King Henry V would have looked like.

Medieval modellers in the larger figure scales please note.


mjkerner03 Feb 2020 12:07 p.m. PST

An instructive video. Thanks!

coopman03 Feb 2020 2:29 p.m. PST


Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2020 2:31 p.m. PST

This cover?

Warspite104 Feb 2020 4:39 a.m. PST

@Yellow Admiral:
Yes, that is the one, thank you for posting it.

Note the prominent scar on his right cheek.

Personally I think it would have been more prominent but at least the designers did a nod towards Prince Hal's history at the Battle of Shrewsbury.


are useful links.


Old Wolfman04 Feb 2020 9:35 a.m. PST

I read about that in a History Revealed article a few years back. The wound,the article went on to say,was treated with remarkable skill,using wine to rinse the wound,among other things.

Warspite106 Feb 2020 3:09 a.m. PST

@Old Wolfman:
The honey also has a possible antibiotic effect.
The man with the massive healed scar and jaw fractures found in the Towton gravepit…


was the subject of the Blood Red Roses TV documentary. They said that his wound would have been dressed with honey prior to the jaw being held in place with a chin strap stitched to a skull cap. After that, a milk diet for six weeks until the bones knitted.


Bowman06 Feb 2020 3:51 p.m. PST

That does sound like a remarkable feat of surgery, together with some effective post surgical care.

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