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English as the language of government

1419

English: language of government

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  • Intro

    After the Norman Conquest of 1066, it took more than three centuries for English to oust French as the language of government. The parliament of 1362 was opened with a speech in English by the chancellor and then, in the early 15th century, Henry V became the first king since Anglo-Saxon times to use English in his written instructions.

     

     

    In this letter

     

    Henry V issued several letters during his second campaign in France. They all break with tradition by using English. This one, addressed to his regent, discusses the situation in the north of England and gives instructions on the Duc d’Orléans imprisoned at Pontefract Castle. Historians believe this is in the King’s handwriting.

     

    Shelfmark: Cotton MS Vespasian F.iii, f.8.

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