English Crown = Norman Civil War

English Saxon Crown

England’s Anglo-Saxon Crown

1135 Stephen the grandson of William the Conqueror claimed the English throne on the death of Henry and was crowned King of England on the 26th December.  However, Henry’s choice of successor had been his daughter; Matilda.

1136 The Earl of Norfolk, a keen supporter of Matilda led a rebellion against Stephen.  Robert the Earl of Gloucester, an illegitimate son by birth of Henry I, once a supporter of Stephen, switched his allegiance to Matilda in 1138.  David I of Scotland, invades the English lands, showing support for Matilda, and her right to the English throne, but is defeated in battle at Northallerton.

In 1141 Matilda captures Stephen at the “Battle of Lincoln” and she proclaims herself Queen of England.”  What appeared to be a victory was scuppered as Robert the Earl of Gloucester is captured by Stephen’s forces, and Matilda is forced to exchange Stephen for his freedom.

1145 Stephen defeats Matilda at the “Battle of Farringdon.”

1147 Matilda’s son Henry Plantagenet is called to England, and Stephen hopes that his presence would put an end to his mother’s right to the English throne.  In 1148 Matilda is forced to abandon her cause to become Queen of England, and leaves English soil.

1151 Geoffrey of Anjou, husband of Matilda dies, and so their son Henry Plantagenet, becomes the Count of Anjou.  In 1153 Henry the new Count of Anjou, lands his forces in England and gathers support, for war against Stephen.

This Civil War between Stephen and Matilda is resolved under the “Treaty of Westminster.”  Stephen remains King for life, and upon his death, Henry Plantagenet, the Count of Anjou would become King Henry II of England.

1154 King Stephen of England dies, and was buried at Faversham in Kent.

1167 The rightful heir to the English throne according to the wishes of King Henry I, was that his daughter Matilda should have reigned… sadly that never happened, and after years of war between each other Matilda died on the 10th September at Rouen, and buried in the Rouen Cathedral in France.

Wikipedia Image

Battle of Mons Graupius

Roman Navy at war

Roman Naval Ships

The Romans landed in Britain in 43AD, and conquered this land, defeating the uprising led by Boudicca.  Britain was now under Roman rule.  Scotland’s inhabitants new they be at risk, from Roman forces, but had no intention of bowing down to the will of Rome.

In the year 79AD, a Roman fleet surveyed Scotland’s coastline, looking for weak points.  By 83AD, Roman forces had conquered parts of southern Scotland.  Scotland’s Caledonian forces faced an imminent invasion.  The Caledonian went on the attack against Roman forts and legions.  One surprise night attack by the Caledonian’s against the Roman’s nearly wiped out the 9th legion, but was saved by Agricola’s cavalry.

In the summer of 84AD, Agricola advanced into Caledonian territory in the north-east, hoping to force a battle.

Battle of Mons Graupius

Battle of Mons Graupius

“The Battle of Mons Graupius.”

Everything depended on this encounter.  Some 30,000 Caledonian’s faced a Roman army half its size, and they had the advantage of holding higher ground, it looked a foregone conclusion, it should have been a victory to the Caledonian’s.  What the Caledonian’s lacked was organisation and military tactics, as used by the Roman’s.

The Romans were tightly disciplined and relied on a short stabbing sword for combat.  Their front line was made up of Germanic auxiliary troops from Holland and Belgium, with the Roman legionaries following up at the rear.  At one point the Caledonians, using their greater numbers, outflanked the Romans only to meet hidden Roman cavalry suddenly closing on them.

Any hopes of a Caledonian victory soon vanished.  In a merciless bloodbath 10,000 were slaughtered.  Many fought valiantly to the end, others fled into the surrounding woods and hills, burning their houses in fear of Roman reprisals.

The following day… an awful silence reigned; the hills were deserted, houses smoking in the distance…

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Anglo-Scottish Wars

William Wallace - Robert the Bruce

William Wallace and Robert the Bruce – Edinburgh Castle

The Anglo-Scottish Wars were a series of military conflicts which took place between England and Scotland in the latter part of the 13th and early 14th centuries… Scottish Independence Wars.

With the death of King Alexander III of Scotland in 1286, the heir to the Scottish throne was Margaret, aged just four (known as the Maid of Norway).

In 1290, Margaret travelled to her new kingdom, and shortly after arriving on the Orkney Islands, she died leaving a country in crisis, as who would be their next King or Queen.

king edward I

King Edward I

Thirteen potential rivals for the throne stepped forward.  The Guardians of Scotland, feared a civil war, and called upon King Edward I of England to select a new ruler for them.  On the 17th November 1292 John Balliol was named King of Scotland and crowned shortly afterwards at Scone Abbey.  John Balliol, King of Scotland swore homage to King Edward of England on the 26th December at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

A Scottish Council of War was convened, consisting of four bishops, four earls and four barons in 1294.  This delegation negotiated an alliance with King Philip IV of France.  The Auld Alliance was agreed that outlined set terms, being that the Scots would invade England if England invaded France.  In return Scotland would receive support from France.

An outraged Edward discovered the Franco-Scottish treaty, his response was to invade Scotland and defeat them at the Battle of Dunbar on the 27th April 1296.  John Balliol was forced to abdicate his position as King; he no longer had control over his citizens.  Edward had the Stone of Destiny moved to London on the 28th August.  Parliament was convened at Berwick, where Scottish nobles paid homage to King Edward I of England.

William Wallace killed an English sheriff in 1297 and revolts broke out across Scotland.  Wallace’s force defeated the English on the 11th September at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.  In the October Scottish forces raided parts of Northern England.

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William Wallace

William Wallace was appointed Guardian of Scotland, in the March of 1298.  In the July Edward invaded Scotland defeating Scottish forces at the Battle of Falkirk.  A defeated William Wallace was forced into hiding.

Further English campaigns took place by Edward in the years 1300 and 1301, which led to a truce between England and Scotland.

Stirling Castle was captured by English forces in February of 1304, and Scottish nobles were expected to pay homage to Edward.  The rebellion by Scottish forces against the English was all but over, and the final nail in the coffin was the capture of William Wallace on the 5th August 1305, betrayed by John de Mentieth, a Scottish knight.

William Wallace was escorted to London on the charge of treason.  He was brought before the authorities charged with treason and atrocities against civilians in war, and crowned with an oak garland, meaning he is the King of the outlaws.

His response was “I could not be a traitor to Edward, for I was never his subject.”  Wallace implied that John Balliol was his King.

On the 23rd August 1305 he was removed to the Tower of London having been found guilty of all charges against him, and stripped naked and dragged through the city streets.  He was then hanged, stopping just short of death, drawn and quartered; an English medieval ritual to ensure one could not rise again on Judgement Day.

His head was dipped in tar and placed on a pike on London Bridge.  The remaining four parts of his body were displayed separately in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Stirling and Perth.

William Wallace was seen by the Scottish people as a true martyr of Scotland, and as a symbol of the struggle for independence.  What he had started continued on after his death.

Robert the Bruce and John Comyn, two surviving claimants of the Scottish Throne, quarrelled before the High Altar of Greyfriars Kirk in Dumfries. Ending with the killing of John Comyn and Robert the Bruce, crowned King of Scotland in 1306.

Edward despatched an army to avenge John Comyn’s death and destroy Robert the Bruce.  On the 19th June English and Scottish forces met at the Battle of Methven Park, and defeated by the English.  Robert the Bruce barely escaping with his life, fled into hiding as an outlaw.

Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce

On the 10th May 1307, Robert the Bruce led Scottish forces against the English at the Battle of Loudon Hill, and were victorious.  On the 7th July King Edward I died aged sixty-eight.

Over the next seven years, Robert the Bruce established Scottish rule in north and western parts of Scotland, capturing many English held towns and castles across Scotland.

On the 24th June 1314, King Edward II forces met the Scots at the Battle of Bannockburn, and suffered heavy losses.

In 1320 Scottish nobles sent the Declaration of Arbroath to Pope John XXII, affirming Scottish Independence from England.

King Edward II

King Edward II

In 1322, Edward II raided Scottish lowlands and in 1323 a truce had been agreed by the two countries; England and Scotland.

King Edward II was deposed and murdered at Berkeley Castle, to be succeeded by his fourteen year old son Edward III.

The year 1328 was a joyous time in Scottish history.  The peace treaty known as the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton was signed, recognising an Independent Scotland with Robert the Bruce as King.  Robert the Bruce had achieved what William Wallace had believed in.

On the 7th June 1329, Robert the Bruce died and the Scottish crown passed to his four year old son King David II.

On the 12th August 1332, Edward Balliol son of John Balliol and disinherited Scottish nobles invaded Scotland, by landing in Fife.  Edward’s army defeated Scottish forces at the Battle of Dupplin Moor and was crowned King of Scotland at Scone on the 24th September.

Scots who were loyal to King David II, attacked Balliol at Annan, and defeated his forces.  Balliol escaped and fled by horse to England, joining up with Edward III.  In the April an English force laid siege to Berwick.

On the 19th July 1333, Scottish forces made an attempt to relieve the town of Berwick, but sadly they were defeated at the Battle of Halidon Hill, and subsequently Berwick was captured by the English.  By now much of Scotland was under English occupation.

In 1334, King Philip VI of France offered King David II of Scotland and his court asylum in France.  They felt they had no option but to accept the offer, and in the May put foot on French soil.

King Edward IIIIn 1337 King Edward III of England made a formal claim to the French throne, and he knew it would be rejected, so he will be remembered as the English King who started the Hundred Years War with France.

With Edward’s forces in France, Scotland was free of large English forces, giving Scots the chance to regain their lands.

After many years of fighting in which many of Scotland’s nobles had perished in battle, it was time for King David II to return home and take charge of his kingdom.  True to his ally Philip VI, David led raids into England around 1341, forcing Edward to pull back troops from France to reinforce the borders in the north.

David invaded England, capturing Durham in 1346, before being defeated on the 17th October at the Battle of Neville.  The Scots suffered heavy losses and King David was captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London.  Edward Balliol commanded a small force, and charged with reclaiming Scotland.

Edward Balliol relinquished his claim to the Scottish throne in 1356 and died in 1365.

The General Council of Scotland by way of the Treaty of Berwick agreed to pay a ransom of 100,000 marks for King David in 1357. Heavy taxation was imposed on its people, to pay the ransom.

In 1363 David made a pact with London; should he die childless the Scottish throne would pass to King Edward III of England.  This was rejected by the Scottish Parliament, preferring to pay ransom at all costs.  On the 22nd February 1371, David died and was succeeded by his cousin Robert II, grandson of Robert the Bruce and first Stuart ruler of Scotland.

Scotland went on to retain its Independence until 1707, when the Treaty of Union created a single kingdom of Great Britain.

King Edward III died on the 21st June 1377, and the balance of the ransom died with Edward.

(Image) William Wallace & Robert the Bruce: Pininterest
(Image) King Edward I – II – III: Wikipedia
(Image) Robert the Bruce: Wikipedia
(Image) William Wallace: Wikipedia

One Hundred Years War: Battles

Battle of Calais

The Hundred Years War:  England and France fought each other for the French throne, and English territories from 1337-1453.  The war was not fought continuously but in phases.  It started out well for the English, but by 1453, the tide had turned in favour of France, all English lands except Calais were lost.

The “Battle of Cadsand – (1337),” the first battle of the Hundred Years War, where Edward III raided the island of Cadsand… leading to an English victory.

The “Naval Battle of Sluys – (1340)” saw some two hundred French, Castilian and Genoese sail across the English Channel… for a prolonged invasion of England.

The English had a small fleet, but they had long bowmen situated on platforms at the rear of their ships, and were able to fire off arrows, much quicker than Frances crossbowmen.

The French were driven from their decks by a barrage of arrows, as ships closed in.  Grappling irons secured boats for boarding, as English forces scrambled onto French ships followed by hand-to-hand fighting.

The achieved victory, gave England control of the English Channel.

The “Battle of Auberoche – (1345),” was a battle fought between English and French troops over disputed boundaries… English forces won through.

The “Siege of Calais – (1346)“, tells of English forces capture of Calais, turning the area into their operations base.

The “Battle of Crecy – (1346)” was fought in northern France; an overwhelming defeat for the French, with a far larger army than the English forces.  Genoese mercenary crossbow men and French knights, proved no match for the English longbow men.

The “Battle of Saint – Pol – de – Leon (1346),” an English commander named Dagworth, withdrew his men, taking cover at a nearby hill, where they dug trenches and waited for the French.  He was not disappointed as General Blois and his infantry assaulted their position, and they were cut down by English forces, leading to an English victory.

The “Battle of La Roche – Derrien (1347),” England’s forces fell into a trap set by Duke Charles, luring Dagworth into a night battle.  The French overwhelmed them, Dagworth was forced to surrender.  Charles let his guard down, and English backup forces led to his defeat.

The “Battle of Saintes (1351),” where French forces attempted to capture the town, but English forces arrived, and were victorious.

The “Battle of Ardres (1351).”  French forces led by Lord Beaujieu, surrounded English forces under the command of John of Beauchamp as they withdrew from Saint-Omer, leading to a French victory.

The “Battle of Mauron (1352),” tells of an English captain, Breton captain and Franco Breton forces, meeting at Brambily, where the French were defeated… leading to an Anglo-Breton victory.

The “Battle of Poitiers (1356)” saw Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III of England, defeat the French army near Poitiers.  Yet again, the English longbowmen played a decisive part in the battle.  King John II (Jean II) of France was captured and taken to England, where he remained until 1360, promising to pay a ransom for his release.

During the French King’s captivity in England, Charles attempted to be crowned King of France, but the attempt failed.

A peace treaty was drafted in 1360, which coincided with John’s release, by 1369 the treaty broke down wand was resumed.

At the “Battle of Auray (1364),” English troops commanded by John Chandos lay siege to the town of Auray.  French forces lose and the town surrenders.  The French military leader; Bertrand du Guesclin is captured and held for ransom.

At the “Battle of Navarrette (1367),” fought between Anglo-Gascon and Franco-Castilian forces.  English forces were led by Edward, against Henry of Trastamara.  Henry’s half-brother assisted Edward in his defeat.

At the “Battle of Montiel (1369)” Peter had the support of Edward and England, Henry and France.  Peter lost the battle, as Edward withdrew his support, and Henry was victorious for France.

At the “Battle of Chiset (1373),” French forces attacked the town of Chiset.  The English called for help, but the battle was over before they arrived, and the French were the victors.

At the “Siege of Harfleur (1415)” King Henry V of England landed on French soil with 10,000 men.  The siege lasted about a month, and Henry’s forces were victorious, but at a price, his number had been severely reduced.  Next stop for Henry was Calais, but French forces intercepted him at Agincourt.

The “Battle of Agincourt (1415)”.  English forces under the command of King Henry V, defeated a superior French army, and his skilled longbowmen, won the battle for their King and England.

The “Siege of Rouen (1418-1419)” English forces reached Rouen in the July of 1418, and came face to face with the French commanded by Blanchard and LeBouteillen.  English forces found it impossible to breach city walls, and opted to starve out their enemy.  On the 20th January 1419, the French surrendered.

The “Battle of Bauge (1421)” French and Scottish forces joined up, attacking the English in Normandy.  Thomas, the Duke of Clarence’s force of cavalry and infantry, were not working with each other, as they attacked allied forces, which brought down their army and victory went to the Franco-Scots force.

On the 31st August 1422, King Henry V of England died at Vincennes in France, and two months later King Charles VI of France also died.

The “Battle of Cravant (1423).”  Following a standoff, Scottish archers began firing at the enemy.  Then under the protection of the longbows chose to cross the river.  The French withdrew their forces, as the Scottish forces fought on, only to be cut down.  This would lead to a victory for the English and Burgundian army.

The “Battle of Verneuil (1423).”  Some 15,000 French and Scottish troops attacked a 9,000 strong English force in Normandy.  As the French and Scottish forces charged, English longbowmen cut them down in their tracks.

The “Battle of St.James (1426).”  The battle took place at Avranches, between French and English troops on the border of Normandy and Brittany.  English forces overwhelmed the French, leading to an English victory.

The “Battle of Jargeau (1429).”  Joan of Arc and Duke John controlled French forces against the English.  The French assault started on the 11th June and on the 12th June, Joan called upon the English to surrender.  Even though the English suffered heavy losses, they battled on, refusing to give in, and were victorious over the French.

The “Battle of Beaugency (1429).”  French forces were losing control of the river crossings, one by one.  French determination won through, as English commanders were captured and longbowmen killed.

The “Siege of Orleans (1429),” will be most remembered when Joan of Arc, a 17 year old peasant girl, stepped forward claiming divine guidance.  Her actions marked a turning point for French forces, she would lead the troops to victory over the English.

In the year 1429, French became more victorious in battle against the English.  Joan of Arc put fire in the bellies of French troops, and she would lead them into battle.

The “Battle of Patay (1429).”  This victory is credited to Joan of Arc, even though the battle was won, before France’s main force arrived on the scene.

The “Siege of Compiegne (1430).”  Captain Louis led an artillery bombardment at Choisy.  As the French forces were victorious, Joan of Arc was captured, put on trial by the English and burnt at the stake as a witch in 1431, in Rouen.

At the “Battle of Gerbevoy (1435).”  French forces were commanded by La Hire and Jean Poton de Xaintrailles, who were victorious over English forces.  La Hire was promoted to Captain General of Normandy in 1438, and died in 1443 at Montauban.

The “Battle of Formingny (1450).”  King Charles VII of France, goes on the attack, pushing back a force of 5,000 English troops, into the town of Formingny.  French artillery open fire on the town, and only 1,000 English survived the bombardment.  Formingny marked an end to fighting in the northern territories of France.

The “Battle of Castillon (1453),” saw a victorious French army defeat English forces and marked an end to the Hundred Years War.  This battle was more about the use of cannons to achieve victory.

King Edward III of England had plunged the country into war against the French: “The Hundred Years War.”  Edward died in 1377 and so the reign of King Richard II began.  In 1396 Richard married Isabella of France, daughter of King Charles VI.

Richard and Isabella’s marriage, led to a twenty-eight truce in hostilities between the two countries.  It didn’t take long for the truce to be broken, and war to break out again.

The English failed to achieve victory in the Hundred Years War, even though they had achieved many victories.  After the Battle of Agincourt, the war changed direction, away from the English to the French.

England lost the war, all their territories except Calais, which was later captured in 1558.

Wikipedia Image

Medieval Warfare: The Longbow

The Medieval Longbow

The Medieval Longbow

The longbow dominated medieval warfare and came on the scene around 1280, when Edward I invaded Wales, yet the longbow has been around since pre-neolithic times.

The longbow measured six feet in length, and made from the yew tree.  In times of yew shortages, ash, elm or wych elm were also used.

The arrow was a straight shaft, measuring three feet in length, with a sharp point at one end.  Arrows were made out of ash, oak or birch.

Long Bodkin arrows were used for piercing mail armour.
Short Bodkin arrows were used for piercing armour plate.
Swallowtail arrows were used to bring down horses.

Description of the Longbow:

  • The Welsh were the first people in Britain to have and use the longbow.
  • Every medieval longbow was made to measure.
  • The length of the longbow therefore ranged from six to seven feet in length.
  • The majority of longbows were made from yew, but ash, hazel and elm were also used.
  • The bow stave was shaped into a D-section from a half cross section of a tree or branch.
  • The wood of the longbow was protected with a rub of “wax, resin and fine tallow.”
  • A skilled longbowman could release 10-12 arrows per minute.
  • The longbow could pierce the armour of a knight at ranges of more than 250 yards.
  • The string of the longbow was made from hemp as it was the strongest and least elastic fibre available. The string was then soaked in glue as some protection against moisture.
  • The weapon was particularly effective against opponents wearing plate armour.

The medieval knight had no protection against the arrows of the longbow.  They were responsible for many victories over the French, during the Hundred Years War.

The 13th century “English Archery Law,” stated that English men would become experts in the use of the bow and arrow.

In 1252, the “Assize of Arms” passed a law, that every man aged between 15 and 60, had to equip themselves with a bow and arrows.

King Edward III created the “archery Law” of 1363 which commanded the practice of archery on Sundays and holidays.

King Henry I proclaimed that an archer would be absolved of murder, if he killed a man during archery practice.

(Image) Medieval Longbow: realmofhistory

Hundred Years War (3/3)

Hundred Years War

Hundred Years War

Rivalry was escalating between the dukes of Burgundy and Orleans for governmental control, and it was heading for an internal battle within France, by two of its powerful houses.

In 1407, Louis duc d’Orleans, brother to King Charles VI of France was assassinated by the Duke of Burgundy, which led to civil war between Burgundian partisans of the Duke of Burgundy and Armagnac partisans of the Duke of Orleans.

In 1413, the Armagnacs gained control of Paris, and expelled from the city, those loyal to the Burgundians.

Feuding factions were tearing apart the French realm, to the backdrop of the Hundred Years War.  Sooner or later, England would seize the opportunity and attack France.

King Henry IV died in 1413, to be succeeded by his son Henry of Monmouth, King Henry V of England.  From the start of his reign, he was determined to attack France.

He demanded of France, that Aquitaine should be returned to English control, and the long forgotten arrears of King John’s ransom be paid.  He kept up his demands, until negotiations reached a stale mate, as France was unwilling to comply with his demands.  As the negotiations had been taking place, he had been equipping an army to do battle.

On the 11th August 1415, Henry’s fleet slipped slowly into the English Channel, heading southwards from the Hampshire coast.  On the 14th August, the fleet dropped anchor at Chef de Caux, on the north shore of the Seine estuary, a few miles from Honfleur.  He laid siege to the Norman port of Harfleur, who surrendered on the 22nd September.

Henry’s forces left Harfleur on the 8th October and marched to Calais.  Henry sent word, ordering the Governor of the town; Sir William Bardolph to take his forces to the crossing across the Somme and hold it.  At the crossing, Bardolph and his army was nowhere to be seen, instead French troops were waiting.

Henry marched south-east along the river’s left bank, and the French blocked any attempt to cross.

On the 24th October, as the English army passed through Frevent, some 30 miles from Calais and safety, his scouts reported, the French had amassed a large army and blocked the road ahead.

Henry knew there was only one action that could be taken, in reply to this information.

Battle of Agincourt

Battle of Agincourt

On the 25th October 1415, the “Battle of Agincourt” took place, as English forces took up position in three divisions; commanded by Lord Camoys on the right, the Duke of York in the centre and Sir Thomas Erpingham on the left.

The Constable of France, led the French line, with the second line led by the Dukes of Bar and d’Alencon with the Counts of Merle and Falconberg bringing up the rear.

Henry’s forces made the first move as banners advanced to the sound of trumpets.  As arrow range was reached, archers prepared, and on the King’s order a barrage of arrows, flew across the skyline, killing hundreds of French troops.

The battle raged, along the English line, archers abandoned their bows and joined knights and men-at-arms in hand to hand combat against the French.  In less than two hours, the battle was an English victory… and remnants of the French army vacated the battlefield.

The English army consisted of 5,000 knights, men-at-arms and archers.  The French army consisted of some 30,000 knights, men-at-arms and crossbowmen, of which 8,000 are believed to have died.

The Battle of Agincourt wiped out three French dukes, the Constable of France, nine Counts, and ninety Lords and close to 5,000 knights.  In response England’s losses were few; Edward, the Duke of York and 500 knights, men-at-arms and archers.

In 1417, Henry started a new campaign against France, the conquest of previously controlled English lands in France.  In January 1419, Rouen the Norman capital fell, which opened the way to Paris.

On the 10th September 1419, Duke John of Burgundy was assassinated in revenge for the murder of Louis duc d’Orleans, as the Burgundian faction joined forces with the English.

King Henry V of England, contracted fever at Meaux and died on the 31st August 1422, and was succeeded by his son; Henry VI.  Henry V’s brother, Duke John of Bedford, became Regent to the ten month old King.

King Charles VI of France died on the 21st October 1422, and the dauphin Charles, claimed the throne of France as King Charles VII.  Yet he didn’t have the backing of the people of France, and was only acknowledged as King by the people of Southern France.

The Duke of Bedford acting as King’s Regent, expanded English lands in France, as Maine came under English control.

The final phase of the Hundred Years War began with the birth of a French peasant girl, back in 1412: Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc).  In 1425 she claimed she heard voices from God; her mission in life was to save France by expelling their enemies… the English!

King Henry V of England claimed his right to the French throne and following their rejection, invaded France in August 1415 and went on to defeat Armagnac’s army at the “Battle of Agincourt” on the 25th October 1415.

Henry V conquered much of northern France in 1417, gaining support from Duke Philip III of Burgundy, for he agreed Henry V had a legal claim to the French throne.

In 1428 Joan of Arc met with Duke Charles after many rejections at his palace in Chinon.  She promised him, if he gave her an army she would turn round the war in his favour, and she would see him take his rightful place and crowned King of France at Reims.  There was much opposition to such an idea from loyal supporters of Charles, but he gave her a chance … one wonders what he saw in her.

In March of 1429, Joan of Arc led her army against the English as they were attacking Orlean’s.  She was dressed in white armour upon a white horse carrying a banner with the picture of “Our Saviour” holding the world with two angels at the sides on a white background covered with gold fleurs-de-lis.

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

Joan was to lead several assaults against the Anglo-Burgundian forces expelling them from their fortress, and forcing their retreat across the Loire River.  As her victories mounted, so did her fame, spread across France.

Joan kept her promise as Duke Charles was crowned King Charles VII of France in July 1429 at Reims.

After Joan’s capture in 1430 at the Battle of Compiegne, and burnt at the stake on charges of heresy.  Philip, the Duke of Burgundy renounced his English alliance at the Congress at Arras.  He accepted Charles VII as the true King of France, dealing a mortal blow to the English.

In 1444, King Henry VI of England married the French princess Margaret of Anjou, in an arranged marriage, part of an agreement towards peace.

In 1449, English warriors laid siege and looted Fougeres in Brittany.  In reply Charles VII, felt he was no longer bound by the terms of the peace treaty.

French forces captured Normandy and Gascony from the English during 1449-1451.  In 1452, a pro-English faction in Bordeaux called upon the English for assistance.  John Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury re-took Bordeaux.  On the 17th July 1453, John Talbot’s English force, proved no match against the French troops at Castillon, where they were defeated and Talbot died on the battlefield.

The final straw came on the 19th October 1453, when Bordeaux fell to the French.  England still had control of Calais, and it remained so up until 1558.  Up until the 1st January 1801, the title King of France was claimed by the English.

Effectively the “Hundred Years War” came to an end in 1453, and England was shocked by the loss of its overseas empire…

Wikipedia Images

Hundred Years War (2/3)

Edward the Black Prince

Edward the Black Prince

In 1355, after a pause in hostilities due to Black Death sweeping across Europe, the war was on again.  Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III, landed at Bordeaux in Western France, and marched his forces through Southern France to Carcassonne.  His failure in capturing the walled city, led to the withdrawal of his forces, and back track to Bordeaux.

King John II of France, successor of Philip VI led an army against English forces, commanded by the Duke of Lancaster, who was forced to withdraw to coastal areas.  From their King John attacked the Black Prince, whose army advanced north-east towards Loire, pillaging the countryside as they went.

In September of 1356, King John reached Loire, just as the Black Prince, was turning towards Bordeaux.  On the 18th September, both forces met at the “Battle of Poitiers.”

Battle of Poiters

Battle of Poitiers

Cardinal Talleyrand de Perigord, tried to broker a settlement between these two armies, but it proved impossible.  The Black Prince offered return of his booty, and a seven year truce, an offer rejected by King John who wanted nothing less, than out right surrender.

The English army, an experienced force of archer’s and men-at-arms, were commanded by Sir John Chandos, Sir James Audley and Captal de Buche.  The Black Prince positioned his force among hedges and orchards.  Front line archer’s took up positions behind hedges.

The Scottish Commander; Sir William Douglas, advised King John, his forces should attack on foot.  For horses became vulnerable to the English archer’s.  King John took the advice.

The French forces, mounted their charge on Monday 19th September 1356, with 300 German forces, under the command of Baron Clermont and Baron Audrehem.  The attack proved to be a disaster, some knights were shot by English archer’s whilst others were dragged from their horses, killed or became prisoners.

Three divisions of French infantry advanced upon English forces, led by Dauphin Charles, Duc D’Orleans and King John.

The first French division under the command of Dauphin Charles was pushed back by the English.  Black Prince’s soldiers, Gascon men-at-arms, English and Welsh archers engaged the enemy.

As the second division advanced, confusion reigned as the Duc D’Orleans force, mingled with division one, the result, both retreated.

The third division, commanded by King John, along with divisions one and two, advanced against the English, a formidable force of knights and men-at-arms.

The French army came within sight of the English, beyond a hedgerow.  English and Welsh archers dropped their bows, joining English knights and men-at-arms, brandishing daggers and hammers.  The result; French army scattered, many slaughtered as they ran.

King John II of France, was captured by the English, along with his 14 year old son; Philip on the 19th September 1356 at the “Battle of Poitiers,” and remained a prisoner until November 1361.

The “Treaty of Bretigny” in 1360 saw the French recognize Edward as ruler of Aquitaine.  England also received Calais and a ransom of three million crowns for the captured King John.  The treaty also called for a nine year peace treaty.

In 1364 King John II of France died, and was succeeded by Charles V.

In 1369, Edward’s wife Philippa died, and the ageing King, fell under the influence of his mistress; Dame Alice Perrers.

In 1369, the peace treaty of Bretigny, which had been drawn up in 1360, calling for a nine year truce, collapsed.  For English and French, backed opposite sides in an internal dispute for the throne of Castile.

In 1370, Edward the Black Prince, massacred the people of Limoges, and in turn lost his credibility as a noble warrior.

The tide was turning away from the English to the French.  For it was in 1370, du Guesclin defeated an English army at Pontvallain, and in 1372 a Castilian and French fleet destroyed an English fleet off La Rochelle.

Charles pushed home the French moments of glory, by re-capturing much of the land granted to Edward, in the treaty of Bretigny in 1360.

John of Gaunt

John of Gaunt

By 1375, John of Gaunt had lost half of his army to disease and famine, along with large parts of Aquitaine in the process.

In 1376, Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III died.

The Good Parliament of 1376 resisted the supply of money, for the continued Hundred Years War in France.  That same year Parliament called for the removal of Edward’s mistress; Alice Perrers, who was draining the royal coffers, to the tune of £2,000 a year.

King Edward became incapacitated by a stroke, and lost his life on the 21st June 1377.   Edward’s life had been spent striving against his foe, in an attempt to regain the lands of France, once English territories.  His grand illusions shattered.  English territories lost, with the exception of Calais, and a coastal strip between Bordeaux and Bayonne.

King Richard II

King Richard II

Richard II, son of the Black Prince and grandson of Edward III, aged eleven became the next King of England.  John of Gaunt, brother of the late Black Prince was appointed his Regent till he came of age to rule his kingdom.

In 1380, King Charles V of France died.  With French forces running out of steam, as the war dragged on, year after year, it was no wonder French warriors lost interest…

King Richard II of England and King Charles VI of France both suffered at the hands of scheming relatives, who ruled on their behalf.  Neither kingdom wanted to see the battle flag raised again.

In 1396 King Richard II of England married Isabella of France, daughter of King Charles VI.  This, one would have to say, was one of those political marriages.  The terms of the marriage led to a twenty-eight year truce.  The two monarchs; Richard II and Charles VI were unable to broker a peace treaty.

King Henry IV

Henry Bolingbroke – King Henry IV of England

In 1399, Richard II was deposed by Henry Bolingbroke, John of Gaunt’s son, who claimed the English throne, as King Henry IV of England.  He will be remembered as the King who started the Lancasterian dynasty.

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