Battle of La Roche Derien, 27 June 1347 (Brittany)

Battle of La Roche Derien, 27 June 1347 (Brittany)


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Battle of La Roche Derien, 27 June 1347 (Brittany)

Battle that saw one of the first French attempts to deal with the new English tactics that had defeated them at Crecy in the previous year. Charles of Blois, the French backed claimant to the duchy of Brittany, was besieging the garrison of La Roche Derien. His troops had dug in, and cleared all the cover from the surrounding area, meaning that the the English archers were at a serious disadvantage against the French crossbowmen in their fortifications. To make things worse, the English relief force, led by Sir Thomas Dagworth, were outnumbered by the French. Dagworth's response was to launch his troops in a night attack, formed as a column. The surprise attack pierced the French lines, and aided by an attack from the garrison, destroyed the French army and captured Charles of Blois. This was a battle won by the English on the attack and without the use of archers, a very rare combination during the Hundred Years War.

Summer 1347

Summer is here and human beings are sending each other to kingdom come. Two pretenders to the Dukedom of Brittany are fighting, and through them, so are England and France. Two wars will be coexisting : the war of succession and the other one, which everybody has heard of.

The famous Hundred Years war starts in 1337 and comes to an end in 1453. Two or three generations will know nothing but this. The Succession one starts in 1341 and ends in 1364. So in 47, those first ten years are but the infancy of this war. For now, the fightings devastate the area between Guingamp, Lannion and Tréguier, for which La Roche-Derrien is the (fortified) centre.

Change of time, after our productions dedicated the second World War, we conjure up the battle of La Roche-Derrien, June 1347, in the three languages already spoken by the belligerents of the time, English, Breton and French. HD listening available on site, usual schedule or on request.

The listening area is inside the church of La Roche-Derrien, facing a stained-glass window dating back to the1920s recalling the defeat of the Franco-Breton coalition and the capture of their leader, Charles de Blois, badly wounded.

Sheltered by the church

The town council chose to recall this moment of local history with a production in native binaural ending a tour of the town in augmented reality. It appeared that binaural sound design would have been too dangerous to use for the whole tour because of the traffic, hence the choice of the church as listening site. And as we like to get things right, the headphones are powered by the Feichter Audio S2 and D8.

What was life like then ? How can bring it to you in ten minutes ? How do we build the illusion in such a historical context ? And as the sound experience is going to bring about History in our present time, what is it going to tell us about ourselves ?

Since our binaural is made with only fresh goods, we simply had to shoot the punch-up 14th century-style and place the listener in the dodgy shelter of the church, as it could well have been the case for the witnesses of the time.

Photo ArtMen, Lionel Baillon

Local resources

The shooting spread over a period of a month on a favourable site in the vicinity. The ideal thing for us would have been to shoot inside the very church where the listening would take place, unfortunately, the church is situated in the town center and surrounded by engines. Heat engines are the plague of sound recording ! Each time, I think to myself that we should record them, those engines, while they still exist. Still, we managed to record in there three times : fist to collect the impulse responses we’d be needing in post-production (some 20 shots fired at 10 PM in the silence of a Sunday evening… many thanks to the residents for their patience !), then for the scene with the horses, and lastly when we recorded the crowd shouting outside the church.

Recording, taking part in a recording session, always has a mirroring effect. The medieval reconstruction company Amzer Goz know how to fight and show it to the public. But the sound performance of the battle, when the scene is only « seen » by the ears, needs adapting. This discovery of the sound aspect always goes with amazed comments. The adaption of what is yet our usual reality through the headphones brings a new awareness of the contribution of hearing to our perception of the world. As if, after removing our headphones, we started to listen.

Continuous hearing from 9 AM to 6 PM in the Saint Catherine church, La Roche-Derrien (22). Free admission.

Written and produced in binaural by Pascal Rueff
Production of L’Agence du Verbe

The ghost : Morgan TOUZÉ
The pastry cook : Cornille
The grand-mother : Marnie O’NEIL, Anne DUEDAL
The boy : Bran PENGLAOU
The combattants : Amzer Gozh
The villagers : Amzer Gozh

Hurdy-gurdy : Nigel EATON
Singing : Morgan TOUZÉ

Breton translation : Gilles PENNEC
English translation : Morgan TOUZÉ
Historical adviser : Anne-Marie LE TENSORER
Assistant editor : Olivier LESIRE

Association Amzer Gozh : Anne-Marie LE TENSORER, aka Cornille Gwen EVANO & Olivier CASSIEN Mélanie DEL FRATE & Jérôme LECLECH, Bran PENGLAOU & Emma DEL FRATE Suzanne, Gwenola & Sylvain MADELAINE (aka Figuline & Fauchevent) Corinne & Pascal CREQUIT Aela QUÉRÉ & Michael BONNET (aka Junior)and the dogs Hasgard & Freyja

Stéphanie & Julien NICOL, compagnie Volti Subitoand the percherons Tango et Arnie Michel LE GARSMEUR and his sheep Gwenola MADELAINE and the hens Fauvette & Poule Rousse

Lycée agricole of Pommerit, Riding school : Elisa BOURGUIGNON on Quorrigan Solène TURUBAN on Triskell Adrien CLEAC’H on Unesco Céline LE GARDIEN on Teelou Gwendoline GILLET on Traviata Matthieu LOGIOU on Viaïpie Céline BIHAN on Orion du Jaudy Véronique COLCANAP on Or & the Riding school team , BTS Pommerit, director Marc JANVIER

Many thanks to : Régis & Mariel HUON DE PENANSTER Corentin HUON DE PENANSTER Bernard LOZAÏC Marcel & Marie-Thérèse CONNAN Denise BOÉTÉ Yann Choubard Brigitte GOURHANT and the city services of Ploubezre Gwenola Coïc Rozenn NICOL
Breton version English versionFrench version


Contents

The dukes had both a historical and ancestral connection to England and were also Earls of Richmond in Yorkshire. Duke Arthur II of Dreux married twice, first to Mary of Limoges (1260–1291), then to Yolande of Dreux, countess of Montfort (1263–1322) and widow of king Alexander III of Scotland. From his first marriage, he had three sons, including his heir John III and Guy, count of Penthièvre (d. 1331). From Yolande, Arthur had another son, John, who became count of Montfort. (See Dukes of Brittany family tree.)

John III strongly disliked the children of his father's second marriage. He spent the first years of his reign attempting to have this marriage annulled and his half-siblings bastardized. When this failed, he tried to ensure that John of Montfort would never inherit the duchy. Since John III was childless, his heir of choice became Joan of Penthièvre, la Boiteuse, daughter of his younger brother Guy. In 1337 she married Charles of Blois, the second son of a powerful French noble house and son of the sister of King Philip VI of France. But in 1340, John III reconciled himself with his half-brother, and made a will that appointed John of Montfort the heir of Brittany. On 30 April 1341, John III died. His last words on the succession, uttered on his deathbed, were, "For God's sake leave me alone and do not trouble my spirit with such things."


The History of England

106 Calais and Neville's Cross

By the end of the march across Normandy in 1346, Edward had accepted that he was not going to be able to hold French territory. But he had a clear objective - Calais. Philip meanwhile now hoped that the Scots would invade an empty, defenceless England and Edward would have to abandon his plans and rush back home.

The Siege of Calais

Calais in 1346 was not a big and important town, not a particularly important trading centre - but it had two key factors that made it significant. It was of course very close to England and it had a massive and well designed fortifications. So off Edward set to Calais.

It was a tough target, completely surrounded by water. On the north die was a harbour, separated from the town by a moat and wall

In the North West was the castle with a circular keep and bailey, defended by an independent system of moats and curtain walls

Outside the town was an expanse of bleak marshland crossed by lots of small rivers and shifting causeways. The ground was too soft for siege engines or mining

Pretty soon, outside Calais sat a new, temporary town of Villeneuve-la-Hardie, or 'Brave new town'. Given that the English army was now 34,000 strong, this was a town bigger than any English town outside London. Edward had prepared for the long game, know that assault was almost certain to fail. But the defences constructed by the besiegers made it almost impossible for the French to shift them, which Philip found to his cost.

The siege took 11 months, and was successful at least in part because of the surge of public support after the victory at Crecy. Eventually, you get Froissart's superb theatre of the surrender. The negotiation between Walter Manny and the French commander, Jean de Vienne Edward's implacable determination to make the town suffer the 6 burghers, bareheaded and wearing halters, the sacrificial lambs to assuage the fierce king's anger and the mercy of Phillipa, throwing herself onto her knees in front of Edward to win his mercy. The message was pretty clear - the King of England decided the fate of French subjects, hate it or loathe it.

 The Battle of Neville's Cross, 17th October 1346

King David of Scotland marched south with a well prepared invasion, heart full of glee to have England, as he thought, at his mercy. Trouble is, he rather messed about - taking time to capture castles on the border that he could have easily left alone. Which gave the English wardens of the Nothern Marches - Henry Percy and Ralph Neville - and the Archbishop of York time to gather an army. The tradition was that all the lands north of the river Trent were to be devoted to beating off the Scots.

William Douglas, the hugely successful Scottish warrior, met the English forces in fog outside Durham. He fell back after a bit of a mauling, and David chose his ground and waited. Both sides faced each other over ground broken by stone walls both waited for the other to attack, since that was the pathway to victory it seemed, after Crecy. Eventually, the English advanced some archers and started tormenting the Scots. David lost his patience and attacked - now over the very ground he'd chosen as perfect for defence. Not good. The scots were defeated and David found and captured under a bridge, and lobbed into the Tower of London. The whole thing was a disaster for the Scots - and England were to have peace for many years.

The Battle of La Roche Derrien, 18th June 1347

In 1346/7, Charles of Blois was able to ride roughshod over Thomas Dagworth and the English in Brittany with a much larger army. Eventually he tipped up at La Roche Derrien - Dagworth's only port in northern Brittany. Charles hoped to lure Dagworth into attacking, with a far smaller army, so that Charles could destroy him.

Dagworth took the bait - with just 700 men to the 5,000 French, he attacked in the middle of the night. He'd noticed that Charles's army was in 4 segments, separated by marsh and wood land, so maybe he could beat each section, helped by a surprise attack.

Charles was not surprised. And so was waiting in full armour when Dagworth and his men crept into camp. And so it was going badly for Dagworth. But then the castle sallied, and suddenly Charles was in trouble, and captured in a windmill. And then yes, Dagworth beat each segment of the French army in turn.

Charles meanwhile went off to join David in the Tower of London, and his cause in Brittany lay in ruins.


Books Lover's Haven


In the eagerly anticipated sequel to The Archer’s Tale in Bernard Cornwell‘s acclaimed Grail Quest series, a young archer sets out to avenge his family’s honor on the battlefields of the Hundred Years’ War and winds up on a quest for the Holy Grail. 1347 is a year of war and unrest. England‘s army is fighting in France, and the Scots are invading from the North. Thomas of Hookton, sent back to England to follow an ancient trail to the Holy Grail, becomes embroiled in the fighting at Durham. Here he meets a new and sinister enemy, a Dominican Inquisitor, who, like all of Europe, is searching for Christendom‘s most holy relic.

It is not certain the grail even exists, but no one wants to let it fall into someone else’s hands. And though Thomas may have an advantage in the search — an old notebook left to him by his father seems to offer clues to the whereabouts of the relic — his rivals, inspired by a fanatical religious fervor, have their own ways: the torture chamber of the Inquisition. Barely alive, Thomas is able to escape their clutches, but fate will not let him rest. He is thrust into one of the bloodiest fights of the Hundred Years’ War, the Battle of La Roche-Derrien, and amid the flames, arrows, and butchery of that night, he faces his enemies once again.


My books

Ladies of Magna Carta: Women of Influence in Thirteenth Century England looks into the relationships of the various noble families of the 13th century, and how they were affected by the Barons’ Wars, Magna Carta and its aftermath the bonds that were formed and those that were broken. It is now available from Pen & Sword, Amazon and from Book Depository worldwide.

Also by Sharon Bennett Connolly:

Heroines of the Medieval World tells the stories of some of the most remarkable women from Medieval history, from Eleanor of Aquitaine to Julian of Norwich. Available now from Amberley Publishing and Amazon and Book Depository.

Silk and the Sword: The Women of the Norman Conquest traces the fortunes of the women who had a significant role to play in the momentous events of 1066. Available now from Amazon, Amberley Publishing, Book Depository.

You can be the first to read new articles by clicking the ‘Follow’ button, liking our Facebook page or joining me on Twitter and Instagram.


The History of England

106 Calais and Neville's Cross

By the end of the march across Normandy in 1346, Edward had accepted that he was not going to be able to hold French territory. But he had a clear objective - Calais. Philip meanwhile now hoped that the Scots would invade an empty, defenceless England and Edward would have to abandon his plans and rush back home.

The Siege of Calais

Calais in 1346 was not a big and important town, not a particularly important trading centre - but it had two key factors that made it significant. It was of course very close to England and it had a massive and well designed fortifications. So off Edward set to Calais.

It was a tough target, completely surrounded by water. On the north die was a harbour, separated from the town by a moat and wall

In the North West was the castle with a circular keep and bailey, defended by an independent system of moats and curtain walls

Outside the town was an expanse of bleak marshland crossed by lots of small rivers and shifting causeways. The ground was too soft for siege engines or mining

Pretty soon, outside Calais sat a new, temporary town of Villeneuve-la-Hardie, or 'Brave new town'. Given that the English army was now 34,000 strong, this was a town bigger than any English town outside London. Edward had prepared for the long game, know that assault was almost certain to fail. But the defences constructed by the besiegers made it almost impossible for the French to shift them, which Philip found to his cost.

The siege took 11 months, and was successful at least in part because of the surge of public support after the victory at Crecy. Eventually, you get Froissart's superb theatre of the surrender. The negotiation between Walter Manny and the French commander, Jean de Vienne Edward's implacable determination to make the town suffer the 6 burghers, bareheaded and wearing halters, the sacrificial lambs to assuage the fierce king's anger and the mercy of Phillipa, throwing herself onto her knees in front of Edward to win his mercy. The message was pretty clear - the King of England decided the fate of French subjects, hate it or loathe it.

 The Battle of Neville's Cross, 17th October 1346

King David of Scotland marched south with a well prepared invasion, heart full of glee to have England, as he thought, at his mercy. Trouble is, he rather messed about - taking time to capture castles on the border that he could have easily left alone. Which gave the English wardens of the Nothern Marches - Henry Percy and Ralph Neville - and the Archbishop of York time to gather an army. The tradition was that all the lands north of the river Trent were to be devoted to beating off the Scots.

William Douglas, the hugely successful Scottish warrior, met the English forces in fog outside Durham. He fell back after a bit of a mauling, and David chose his ground and waited. Both sides faced each other over ground broken by stone walls both waited for the other to attack, since that was the pathway to victory it seemed, after Crecy. Eventually, the English advanced some archers and started tormenting the Scots. David lost his patience and attacked - now over the very ground he'd chosen as perfect for defence. Not good. The scots were defeated and David found and captured under a bridge, and lobbed into the Tower of London. The whole thing was a disaster for the Scots - and England were to have peace for many years.

The Battle of La Roche Derrien, 18th June 1347

In 1346/7, Charles of Blois was able to ride roughshod over Thomas Dagworth and the English in Brittany with a much larger army. Eventually he tipped up at La Roche Derrien - Dagworth's only port in northern Brittany. Charles hoped to lure Dagworth into attacking, with a far smaller army, so that Charles could destroy him.

Dagworth took the bait - with just 700 men to the 5,000 French, he attacked in the middle of the night. He'd noticed that Charles's army was in 4 segments, separated by marsh and wood land, so maybe he could beat each section, helped by a surprise attack.

Charles was not surprised. And so was waiting in full armour when Dagworth and his men crept into camp. And so it was going badly for Dagworth. But then the castle sallied, and suddenly Charles was in trouble, and captured in a windmill. And then yes, Dagworth beat each segment of the French army in turn.

Charles meanwhile went off to join David in the Tower of London, and his cause in Brittany lay in ruins.


One month after the disastrous French defeat at Poitiers in September 1356, a large English army besieged Rennes in eastern Brittany. With French King John II held prisoner in England following his capture at the battle, France was under the shaky control of Dauphin Charles, who lacked sufficient funds to assist the pro-French faction in Brittany.

Henry of Grosmont, Duke of Lancaster, arrived before the dilapidated circuit of walls around the second most important town in Brittany with 1,500 men. After his initial attempt to storm the town failed, Lancaster resorted to tunneling under the walls. The morale of Lancaster’s army was high, and the duke’s men sensed imminent victory.

Fortunately for the dauphin, one of the captains of local irregulars operating in eastern Brittany was Bertrand du Guesclin, the son of a minor noble from the region who had recently been knighted for his valor. Guesclin ruled his company of brigands with an iron fist. He told them what to do and they did it. And the Breton captain was always in the thick of the action.

Quite to his surprise, Lancaster soon experienced one small setback after another. Du Guesclin’s band fell on his supply trains, ambushed his forage parties, and overran his outposts. Lancaster aborted his siege after nine months. To save face, he demanded a ransom from the town. When he received it, he withdrew in July 1357.

Du Guesclin was indisputably one of France’s great heroes of the Hundred Years War. During his service for the French crown from the early 1340s until his death in 1380, du Guesclin used Fabian tactics to counter English aggression in central and western France. While serving as Constable of France, he helped roll back the English conquests gained through the Treaty of Bretigny signed in May 1360. The treaty greatly extended Edward III’s holdings in southwestern France. In addition to Guyenne and Gascony, the English took control of the provinces of Poitou, Saintonge, Perigord, Limousin, and other smaller areas. Significantly, the English king was no longer a vassal of the French king, and therefore did not have to pay homage to him.

Du Guesclin, born around 1320, was the eldest son of Robert du Guesclin, Lord of Broons, a town 50 kilometers northwest of Rennes. As a young man, he eagerly served as a squire in tournaments and got his first taste of battle on sieges and raids against English forces operating in his native region. When Duke John III of Brittany died in April 1341 without a male heir, his half brother, John Montfort IV, who had an estate in western Brittany at Guerande, claimed the right to rule the duchy. Charles of Blois, a nephew of French King Philip VI, disputed the claim, asserting that his wife, Jeanne de Penthievre, who was a niece of John Montfort III, should inherit the duchy under Salic law. The conflict became known as the War of the Breton Succession.

The statue of Bertrand Du Guesclin in Dinan.

King Edward III of England backed Montfort, and French King Philip VI supported Blois. Squire du Guesclin served in a unit of Blois’ army. English forces led by William de Bohun, Earl of Northampton, defeated Blois at the Battle of Morlaix fought September 30, 1342. The French captured Montfort later that year. He was released during a truce in 1343 after which he journeyed to England. He returned to Brittany at the head of an army in 1345 but fell ill and died at Hennebont on September 26, 1345. His claim transferred to his six-year old son, John Montfort V, whose mother, Jeanne de Penthievre, pressed the claim on his behalf until he came of age.

Both Edward III and Philip VI considered Brittany a sideshow to operations in other theaters, and therefore the Breton Civil War was prosecuted by independent captains who financed their operations through plunder and ransoms. Du Guesclin, who was familiar with the roads and trails of eastern Brittany, was captain of a band of irregular troops that operated from the forest of Paimpont, a short distance west of Rennes. Du Guesclin’s band conducted hit-and-run attacks during the 1340s on Montfortian towns and castles in the region.

Blois had been fighting for his claim in Brittany since the outbreak of the civil war with little luck. On June 19, 1347, he was captured by English forces during the bungled siege of La Roche-Derrien on the north coast. King Edward III held Blois captive for nine years.

The English retained the upper hand in Brittany in the early 1350s. During that time the French suffered another serious defeat when Sir Walter Bentley crushed Marshal Guy de Nesle’s army at the Battle of Mauron on August 14, 1352. De Nesle fell during the battle.

Bertrand Du Guesclin entreats an English garrison to surrender during the Hundred Years’ War in a period illustration.

The heavy attrition among top French commanders in Brittany presented an opportunity for du Guesclin, who was a rising star in the Breton theater. When du Guesclin captured Cheshire knight Sir Hugh Calveley in a clever ambush on the road from Becherel to Montmuran on April 10, 1354, French Marshal Arnoul d’Audrehem knighted him for his achievement.

Du Guesclin’s exploits caught the eye of Dauphin Charles, who would eventually become King Charles V. Following the capture of his father King John II at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356, Charles served as regent for his father, who was held captive in England. Charles was delighted that du Guesclin had foiled Lancaster’s siege of Rennes. As a reward, Charles gave the French captain an annual pension of 200 livres for the rest of his life.

The dauphin subsequently appointed the Breton knight to the post of royal captain of Franco-Breton forces based at Pontorson, a stronghold on the Breton March. Du Guesclin’s job was to counter the periodic offensives of renowned English captains such as Bentley, Calveley, and Sir Robert Knolles. Using Brittany as a base of operations, the English captains conducted regular raids into Anjou, Maine, and Normandy.

Du Guesclin was the only French captain who was equal in skill and cunning to his English counterparts. Throughout his time as Royal Captain of Pontorson, he proved himself to be an able administrator, logistician, and recruiter.

The downside for du Guesclin was that he had to be everywhere at once and expose himself to capture. The English and French captains were always hard pressed for money. In addition to pillaging, captains of companies also sought to capture their counterparts as a means of raising funds. When the bands of Knolles and du Guesclin clashed at Evran just south of Dinan, Knolles’ soldiers captured du Guesclin. The following year, the English again captured du Guesclin. This time it was Calveley’s men who nabbed the Royal Captain of Pontorson. In that instance, du Guesclin applied for a loan from Duke Philip of Orleans to buy his freedom from the English. Two years later, in 1362, du Guesclin participated in a major offensive in northern Brittany with Charles of Blois, who having obtained his freedom the previous decade from the English renewed his claim to the Duchy of Brittany in earnest.

Larger battles awaited du Guesclin. Charles of Navarre, a French-born noble with a strong claim to the Duchy of Burgundy, declared war on the crown when King John gave the duchy to his fourth son, Philip. Navarre, who had extensive property in Normandy through his family, ordered his top commander, Jean III de Grailly, Captal de Buch, to attack the royal army. De Buch assembled an army of 5,000 men from Gascony, Brittany, and Burgundy. Du Guesclin and Count Jean of Auxerre gathered their forces at Evreux and then marched to Cocherel on the River Eure.

The fighting between the English and the French spilled over into Castile in the 1360s. Both sides sought an alliance with the naval power, and du Guesclin ultimately won the struggle at the Battle of Montiel in March 1369.

The two armies faced off on May 14, 1364, but each wanted to fight a defensive battle, and therefore neither side attacked. After a two-day stalemate, du Guesclin slowly began withdrawing his forces to the east bank of the Eure. De Buch, believing he could strike a hard blow on the remainder, sent a portion of his forces to outflank the rebels, but du Guesclin successfully checked the flankers. Du Guesclin then ordered his men to strike the rebels in the flank. Unlike de Buch, the Franco-Burgundian army was successful. The Navaresse army panicked and tried to retreat. During the heavy fighting, du Guesclin killed Bascon de Mareuil, a famous Gascon captain. Through his decisive victory over the Navaresse army at Cocherel, du Guesclin proved to the dauphin that he was not simply a superb guerrilla commander but also a skilled field commander who could lead a large army to victory.

Another battle that year drew Brittany closer into the sphere of England. While both kings withdrew direct support from the protracted civil war, John Montfort V consolidated his hold on the west coast by besieging Auray. Du Guesclin helped Blois raise a 3,000-man army to relieve Auray. Fortunately for Montfort, three experienced English captains—Calveley, Chandos, and Knolles—recruited additional forces from Gascony to support Montfort. When the two armies met at Auray, Blois tried a last-minute negotiation with Montfort. This was distasteful to the professional captains on both sides. “I will restore the duchy to you, clear of all these wretches,” said du Guesclin. Although the English had only 2,000 men, some of the Breton troops under Blois refused to fight. This evened the odds.

The English deployed in their classic formation of dismounted men-at-arms in the center with archers on the flanks. Chandos, who assumed overall command, led a reserve stationed behind the center. The French were arrayed in a column of three divisions. Du Guesclin ordered his men-at-arms to advance dismounted. In addition, they were to stay in a tight formation and hold their shields over their heads to protect themselves from arrows. Despite the innovative tactic of holding their shields aloft, the French attack failed to break the English line. The English counterattacked and destroyed Blois’ division. Included among the dead was Blois. Du Guesclin was captured for the third time. Chandos set his ransom at 20,000 pounds.

The kings of France and England also became embroiled in the Castilian Civil War in the late 1360s. Each wanted the Kingdom of Castile as a key ally so that they could have the assistance of its large fleet of galleys. The English backed Peter the Cruel for the throne of Castile while the French backed his half brother, Henry Trastamara. After the French drove Peter from the throne, Prince Edward of Wales, who was known as the Black Prince, led a large army into Castile to restore him to the throne.

Du Guesclin marched to Castile to assist Henry’s royalists. The two sides clashed at the Battle of Najera, fought April 3, 1367. The Black Prince conducted a wide flank march against the Franco-Castilian position. As the English host approached, a large group of Castilians fled in panic. Du Guesclin counterattacked in a vain effort to disrupt the rebel army, but the Black Prince’s flanks overlapped his division and engulfed it. Always in the thick of the fighting, du Guesclin was captured for the fourth time. Although the English won at Najera, du Guesclin returned with 600 veteran troops nearly two years later and defeated Peter’s royal army at the Battle of Montiel on March 14, 1369.

Once Castile was secured as an ally by force of arms, Charles V recalled du Guesclin to France. The French king was dissatisfied with the performance of Constable of France Moreau de Fiennes. The position of constable ordinarily was held for life, but Charles V broke with tradition and dismissed de Fiennes. Although the position traditionally went to a person of royal blood, Charles V nevertheless offered it to du Guesclin.

The humble Breton initially rejected the offer on the grounds that he was of low birth but the French king insisted, and du Guesclin accepted the offer. On October 2, 1370, du Guesclin became the top military commander in France.

With added resources and greater authority, du Guesclin launched a winter campaign against his English adversaries in northwest France. When he learned that Knolles and his chief subordinate, Sir Thomas Grandison, had disagreed over where their respective forces should spend the winter of 1370, du Guesclin took advantage of the situation to strike them one at a time.

Knolles had advised Grandison to accompany him to Brittany, where he planned to camp for the winter. But Grandison refused to give up his conquests in Maine, so Knolles took his troops to Brittany and left Grandison to his own devices. Moving rapidly, du Guesclin smashed Grandison in the Battle of Pontvallain on December 4.

Du Guesclin was relentless in his pursuit of the broken English companies. While du Guesclin made preparations to send his prisoners to Paris, his subordinates chased the remnants of Grandison’s corps as it fled south. When the English tried to make a stand at the Abbey of Vaas, the French overran their position again. Some of the English escaped and fled south into Poitou.

By that time du Guesclin had again taken control of the pursuit. The French constable chased the remnants of Grandison’s corps to the stronghold of Bressuire. The English rode hard for the safety of the fortress only to have the garrison shut the gates before they could get into the town for fear that the French, who were hard on their heels, would be able to fight their way through the open gate. This left the English with no place to rally, and du Guesclin’s men cut them to pieces beneath the town walls. Meanwhile, the constable’s right-hand man, Olivier de Clisson, attacked Knolles’ position in eastern Brittany. When the winter 1370 campaign was over, du Guesclin had smashed Knolles’ 4,000-man army.

During the next several years the French systematically drove the English from Poitou, which had been ceded to the English in the Treaty of Bretigny. Initially, at least, John of Gaunt, who had been elevated to Duke of Lancaster in 1362, fielded forces against du Guesclin and his dukes. By late 1372, the English held less than a half dozen strongholds in southern Poitou. But it would be three more years before the English were driven completely from Poitou. The last English-held Poitevin fortress, Gencay, fell to the French in February 1375.

Du Guesclin simultaneously put pressure on English forces in Brittany. In April 1373, he blocked a large English army that had landed at Saint-Malo from moving inland. This forced the English to sail for the friendly port of Brest. By that time, John Montfort V had repudiated his ties to the French crown and openly declared his support for England. In response, Charles V ordered du Guesclin to drive the English out of Brittany once and for all. But the Brittany campaign was interrupted by Lancaster’s Great Chevauchee.

Bertrand du Guesclin’s effigy at Saint-Denis Basilica in Paris, where he is buried.

Lancaster landed at Calais in August 1373 and began a 900-kilometer march across France to Bordeaux with 6,000 men. Although du Guesclin wished to engage him, Charles V and the French dukes advised him to shadow the raiders and avoid a set-piece battle that might result in heavy casualties. Lancaster reached Bordeaux in December, but his army was crippled by attrition and disease. He returned to England in April 1374.

Charles V’s offensive against the English resumed in earnest in 1376 when du Guesclin drove the French out of Perigord. The following year du Guesclin and Duke Louis of Anjou invaded Aquitaine. They marched against the formidable English fortress of Bergerac on the River Dordogne.

Working in concert with du Guesclin’s northern column was a southern French column commanded by Jean de Bueil, who led his men north from Languedoc with siege equipment needed to reduce the strong fortress. When Sir Thomas Felton, England’s Seneschal of Aquitaine, learned that de Bueil was planning to unite with du Guesclin, he marched to intercept him. Anjou sent reinforcements to de Bueil, which joined him before the inevitable clash with Felton’s army. Felton planned to ambush de Bueil at Eymet.

The French learned of the ambush through informants. When de Bueil’s 800 men-at-arms arrived at Eymet, they found Felton’s 700 men-at-arms dismounted and drawn up for battle. The French attacked. The September 1 battle was even until a group of mounted French pages arrived in the French rear. The pages were bringing forward the horses in case they were needed to advance or withdraw, but the English mistook the pages for reinforcements and tried to break off from the fight. The French quickly gained the upper hand, and Felton lost three quarters of his troops in the disaster.

When the men in the garrison at Bergerac learned of Felton’s defeat, they fled west to Bordeaux. Two days later du Guesclin’s army was on the outskirts of Bordeaux. The French captured outlying castles and towns during the next month, but du Guesclin quit the siege in October because he lacked the supplies necessary for a long siege. Still, the French liberated 130 castles and towns in Aquitaine during the 1367-1377 campaign.

Charles V dispatched du Guesclin to the Auvergne region in 1380 to deal with unruly companies of unemployed soldiers who were pillaging towns and villages. Shortly afterwards, the 60-year-old French constable caught a fever and died on July 13, 1380. Modeling his burial after that of the French kings, his body was divided for burial not in three ways, but in four. His entrails were buried in Puy, his flesh at Montferrand, his heart in Dinan in his native Brittany, and his skeleton in the tomb of St. Denis outside Paris where Charles V was interred two months later.

In the years following his death, the French regularly celebrated the constable’s achievements. They had every right to be proud of the Breton who devoted his life to erasing the English gains derived from the Treaty of Bretigny.


In 1346, an English army led by King Edward III would engage a much larger French force led by King Philip VI at the Battle of Crecy. While we’d like to say that de Clisson was directly involved in the battle, her role was less active than it normally would have been. She used her fleet of ships to ferry supplies to the starving English army.

In 1359, de Clisson died of unknown causes in Hennebont, Brittany. She was 58 or 59 years old, an astonishing age for anyone in the Middle Ages. Keep in mind that she would also have outlived the worst of the Black Death, making her survival to nearly 60 a downright miracle!


3 Battle Of Bouvines

King John tried to recover his lost lands nearly a decade later when he joined Pope Innocent III&rsquos effort to build an international coalition against France. Leaders in Germany, the Low Countries, and England all united in their efforts to reverse the French conquests of Normandy and in modern-day Belgium and the Netherlands.

Initially, the plan was for John to land in western France and raise soldiers in Gascony and Aquitaine while the rest of the coalition approached Paris from the north. However, the English campaign was ended by the battle at La Roche-aux-Moines, leaving King Philip free to engage the northern army.

The English joined the German army in Flanders, making the army 9,000 strong in total. Philip&rsquos army numbered just 7,000, but he could rely on a large amount of heavy cavalry. The battle raged for some time, but the coalition&rsquos flanks collapsed one after the other under the weight of continuous cavalry charges. The commanders of both flanks, William Longespee and Ferrand of Flanders, were captured over the course of the battle, causing their soldiers to flee.

Then the French began to encircle the German center, who had been holding their ground, and drove them back. The allied army was all but defeated. But Reginald of Boulogne made a defiant last stand with around 700 pikemen, who held out for hours before being defeated by a mass charge. [8]

This brave stand may have saved the coalition army from hundreds more casualties. Night was beginning to fall by the time they were defeated, and the French decided not to pursue.

Following their utter failure, King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta and was ultimately overthrown. The German emperor, Otto, was deposed and replaced the following year.


Community Reviews

He could hear the hoofbeats now and he thought of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, the dreadful quartet of riders whose appearance would presage the end of time and the last great stuggle between heaven and hell. War would appear on a horse the color of blood, famine would be on a black stallion, pestilence would ravage the world on a white mount, while death would ride the pale horse.

The search for the holy grail continues with Thomas Hookton, a character I instantly con He could hear the hoofbeats now and he thought of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, the dreadful quartet of riders whose appearance would presage the end of time and the last great stuggle between heaven and hell. War would appear on a horse the color of blood, famine would be on a black stallion, pestilence would ravage the world on a white mount, while death would ride the pale horse.

The search for the holy grail continues with Thomas Hookton, a character I instantly connected with as he struggles to survive as an archer in some of the bloodiest battles I've ever read. I couldn't help but cheer him on as he searched for the relic and vengeance for those he loves.

Cornwell has definitely done his research and I love the tie in between real battles and the fictional characters he makes come alive.

Well. what can I say here? It took me forever (not literally of course) to get around to this book. It&aposs one I kept moving other books "in front of" so to speak (please forgive the poor grammar).

Thomas is still somewhat undecided here. well actually he&aposs not. He simply wants to lead archers in battle but he&aposs been charged with finding the Holy Grail (sadly he doesn&apost really believe the Grail is real and he does believe that his father was a bit. well. cracked[?]) So accordingly he makes some Well. what can I say here? It took me forever (not literally of course) to get around to this book. It's one I kept moving other books "in front of" so to speak (please forgive the poor grammar).

Thomas is still somewhat undecided here. well actually he's not. He simply wants to lead archers in battle but he's been charged with finding the Holy Grail (sadly he doesn't really believe the Grail is real and he does believe that his father was a bit. well. cracked[?]) So accordingly he makes some very, shall we say, poor decisions? These of course lead us into the rest of the story and giive us another reliably readable adventure from Mr. Cornwell.

Oh, and now I have to make a spot on my reading list for the next one. . more

The second volume in the Grail Series, this story was not nearly as interesting or exciting as the first book in the series, "The Archer".

It opens with the 1346 battle of Neville&aposs Cross in Northern England, which is peripheral to the main plot of Thomas of Hockton&aposs search for the grail which is supposedly under the control of his family and has been hidden by his dead father. It ends with the 1347 battle of La Roche-Derrien in Brittany between the forces of Charles of Blois and the English occ The second volume in the Grail Series, this story was not nearly as interesting or exciting as the first book in the series, "The Archer".

It opens with the 1346 battle of Neville's Cross in Northern England, which is peripheral to the main plot of Thomas of Hockton's search for the grail which is supposedly under the control of his family and has been hidden by his dead father. It ends with the 1347 battle of La Roche-Derrien in Brittany between the forces of Charles of Blois and the English occupiers.

In between Thomas struggles with his doubts that the Grail even exists and travels around England and Northwestern France while working off his guilt at not being able to save his two early travel companions from being murdered.

As usual, Cornwell's battle descriptions are as good as any in historical fiction. His description of this Middle Ages' environment is also excellent. I was particularly impressed with his analysis of the power and influence of the Catholic Church in those days.

The story does tend to drag, though, through the middle of the book. Nevertheless, I will continue with the third book in the series, "The Heretic". I also recommend this offering. It's just not as compelling as some of his other books. . more

This is book two of Cornwell&aposs Grail Quest series also called The Archer&aposs Tale series. They follow Thomas of Hookton as he travels around somehow managing to entangle himself in every single major battle England fought during the early part of the Hundred Years War. The early part of this book was very familiar to me but the last third or so was not. I am guessing that my first time through I DNF&aposd this book right about the point Thomas got caught up by the (SPOILERS).

I feel like a broken reco This is book two of Cornwell's Grail Quest series also called The Archer's Tale series. They follow Thomas of Hookton as he travels around somehow managing to entangle himself in every single major battle England fought during the early part of the Hundred Years War. The early part of this book was very familiar to me but the last third or so was not. I am guessing that my first time through I DNF'd this book right about the point Thomas got caught up by the (SPOILERS).

I feel like a broken record when it comes to my reviews of Bernard Cornwell's books because there are two things that stand out no matter what he is writing or when his historical fiction is to take place. 1) BC does an amazing job of recreating the battles and other major historical events he is depicting. He also does so in a way that truly draws the reader in through the character and plot development. 2) BC hates the church and his personal bias is like a toxic flood seeping into his otherwise pristine writing. In this work especially BC throws away historical fact and plays up the popular myth of what the inquisition was really like. Rather than continue a long rant here, I would encourage the interested reader to do a quick fact check for yourself. This article by the National Review might be a good place to start. . more

A lot better book than Archer&aposs tail! It began quite interesting and then came the boring part. Luckily, very quickly it became very intense and unpredictable. The book has finished quite interesting luring us to read the next one in the series.

This one surprised me actually. I was postponing reading it because I didn&apost want to deal with a lot of boring descriptions and prolonged battles. This time it was quite the opposite, battles were the best parts, a lot of things happend in short time, m A lot better book than Archer's tail! It began quite interesting and then came the boring part. Luckily, very quickly it became very intense and unpredictable. The book has finished quite interesting luring us to read the next one in the series.

This one surprised me actually. I was postponing reading it because I didn't want to deal with a lot of boring descriptions and prolonged battles. This time it was quite the opposite, battles were the best parts, a lot of things happend in short time, mystery was there. But still, there were a number of boring parts. I get that so much description belong here because of the genre but I feel it is unnecessary.

Can't wait to finish this trilogy and I hope that it will be the best one yet. . more

Bernard Cornwell, OBE was born in London, England on 23 February 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother was English, a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, WAAF. He was adopted at six weeks old and brought up in Thundersley, Essex by the Wiggins family, who were members of the Peculiar People. That is a strict sect who were pacifists, banned frivolity of all kinds and even medicine. So, he grew up in a household that forbade alcohol, cigarettes, dances, television, conventi Bernard Cornwell, OBE was born in London, England on 23 February 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother was English, a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, WAAF. He was adopted at six weeks old and brought up in Thundersley, Essex by the Wiggins family, who were members of the Peculiar People. That is a strict sect who were pacifists, banned frivolity of all kinds and even medicine. So, he grew up in a household that forbade alcohol, cigarettes, dances, television, conventional medicine and toy guns. Unsurprisingly, he developed a fascination for military adventure. Cornwell was sent to Monkton Combe School which is an independent boarding and day school of the British public school tradition, near Bath, Somerset, England and as a teenager he devoured the Hornblower novels by CS Forrester. After he left the Wiggins family, he changed his name to his mother’s maiden name, Cornwell. He tried to enlist three times but poor eyesight put paid to this dream and he went to the University of London to read theology. On graduating, he became a teacher, then joined BBC.

He is an English author of historical novels. He is best known for his novels about Napoleonic rifleman Richard Sharpe which were adapted into a series of Sharpe television films. He started to write after his life changed in 1979, when he fell in love with an American. His wife could not live in the UK so he gave up his job and moved to the USA. He could not get a green card, so he began to write novels. The result was his first book about that 19th century hero, Richard Sharpe, Sharpe’s Eagle. Today Bernard Cornwell has 20 Sharpe adventures behind him, plus a series about the American Civil War, the Starbuck novels an enormously successful trilogy about King Arthur, The Warlord Chronicles the Hundred Years War set, Grail Quest series and his current series about King Alfred. The author has now taken American citizenship and owns houses in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Florida, USA and two boats. Every year he takes two months off from his writing and spends most of his time on his 24 foot Cornish crabber, Royalist.

Vagabond is the first book by Bernard Cornwell that I had read. I was on holiday, had read the books that I had taken with me, so I borrowed this book from my husband. He has read many Bernard Cornwell books and enjoys them immensely. I was quite excited to read a book by a new author. The Grail Quest is a trilogy of books set in the 14th Century. Vagabond is the second book in the series. It starts in 1346 with the Battle of Neville’s Cross in Northern England. While King Edward III fights in France, England lies exposed to the threat of invasion. The battle is peripheral to the main plot of the hero, Thomas of Hockton’s, search for the grail which is supposedly under the control of his family and has been hidden by his dead father. Thomas, is a protagonist drawn quite pithily. He is an archer and hero of Crécy, finds himself back in the north just as the Scots invade on behalf of their French allies. Thomas is determined to pursue his personal quest: to discover whether a relic he is searching for is the Holy Grail. It is the archers whose skills will be called upon, and who will become the true heroes of the battle.

Thomas struggles with his doubts that the Grail even exists and travels around England and Northwestern France while working off his guilt at not being able to save his two early travel companions from being murdered. Cornwell’s battle descriptions are as good as any in historical fiction. His description of this Middle Ages’ environment is also excellent. I was particularly impressed with his analysis of the power and influence of the Catholic Church in those days. The sheer verve of Cornwell’s storytelling here is irresistible. The reader is plunged into a distant age: bloody, colourful and dangerous. However, I found that the story did tend to drag a bit through the middle of the book.

Still, I really did enjoy this book. I recommend it and I will read more by this author. . more

Bernard Cornwell is one of my favorite authors so please don&apost expect any kind of unbiased review here, I loved this book just like I love all his books. (According to GR I have read 22 of his books which puts him in 2nd place behind Stephen King.I don&apost think anyone will ever catch King. )

This is the 2nd installment of the Grail Quest series and it takes place in France around 1350. Thomas of Hookton is an English archer and he&aposs on a quest for, you guessed it, the Holy **Actual rating 4.5**

Bernard Cornwell is one of my favorite authors so please don't expect any kind of unbiased review here, I loved this book just like I love all his books. (According to GR I have read 22 of his books which puts him in 2nd place behind Stephen King.I don't think anyone will ever catch King. )

This is the 2nd installment of the Grail Quest series and it takes place in France around 1350. Thomas of Hookton is an English archer and he's on a quest for, you guessed it, the Holy Grail. Lots of great bloody warfare and religious mysteries ass well as an interesting back-story in this book. Evil enemies (and allies), castle sieges, love gained and love lost (butchered). Great stuff!

I really enjoyed all the info about the English archers of the day and how it made them such a superior fighting force. The siege weapons were fun to read about as well.


Watch the video: Des Beaux Villages Français. La Roche-Derrien Côtes dArmor