HumanitiesWeb HumanitiesWeb
WelcomeHistoryLiteratureArtMusicPhilosophyResourcesHelp
Sort By Author Sort By Title
pixel

Resources
Sort By Author
Sort By Title

Search

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

& etc
FEEDBACK

(C)1998-2013
All Rights Reserved.

Site last updated
26 June, 2013
The History of England from the Accession of Henry III. to the Death of Edward III. (1216-1377)
From The Black Death To The Treaty Of Calais.
by Tout, T.F. (M.A.)


At the conclusion of the truce of Calais in 1347, Edward III and England were at the height of their military reputation. Perhaps the nation was in even a stronger position than the monarch. Edward had dissipated his resources in winning his successes, but the danger which faced the ruler had but slightly impaired the fortunes of his subjects. The country was in a sufficiently prosperous condition to bear its burdens without much real suffering. The widespread dislike of extraordinary taxation, which so often assumed the form of the familiar cry that the king must live of his own, had taken the shape of unwillingness to accept responsibility for the king's policy and a growing indisposition to meet his demands. But since the rule of Edward began, England enjoyed a prosperity so unbroken that far heavier burdens would hardly have brought about a diminution of the well-being which stood in glaring contrast to the desolation long inflicted by Edward's wars on France. A war waged exclusively on foreign soil did little harm to England, and offered careers whereby many an English adventurer was gaining a place among the landed classes. The simple archers and men-at-arms, who received high wages and good hopes of plunder in the king's foreign service, found in it a congenial and lucrative, if demoralising profession. In England, though wages were low, provisions were cheap and employment constant. The growth of the wool trade, then further stimulated by refugees from the "three towns of Flanders," against which Louis de Male was waging relentless war, was bringing comfort to many, and riches to a few. The maritime greatness of England that found its first results in the battle of Sluys was the fruit of a commercial activity on the sea which enabled English shipmen to deprive the Italians, Netherlanders, and Germans of the overwhelming share they had hitherto enjoyed of our foreign trade. The dark shadows of medieval life were indeed never absent from the picture; but medieval England seldom enjoyed greater wellbeing and tranquillity than during the first eighteen years of the personal rule of Edward III. One sign of the increasing attention paid to suppressing disorder was an act of 1344, which empowered the local conservators of the peace, already an element in the administrative machinery, to hear and determine felonies. A later act made this a part of their regular functions, and gave them the title of justices of the peace, thus setting up a means of maintaining local order so effective that the old machinery of the local courts gradually gave way to it.

A rude ending to this period of prosperity was brought about by the devastations of the pestilence known to modern readers as the Black Death, which since 1347 had decimated the Levant. This was the bubonic plague, almost as familiar in the east of to-day as in the mid-fourteenth century. It was brought along the chief commercial highways which bound the western world to the markets of the east. First introduced into the west at the great ports of the Mediterranean, Venice, Genoa, Marseilles, it spread over France and Italy by the early months of 1348. Avignon was a chief centre of the infection, and, amidst the desolation around him, Clement VI. strove with rare energy to give peace to a distracted world. The regions of western and northern France, which had felt the full force of the war, were among the worst sufferers. Aquitaine, too, was cruelly desolated, and among the victims was Edward III.'s daughter, Joan, who perished at Bordeaux on her way to Castile, as the bride of the prince afterwards infamous as Peter the Cruel. Early in August, 1348, the scourge crossed the channel, making its first appearance in England at Weymouth. Thence it spread northwards and westwards. Bristol was the first great English town to feel its ravages. Though the Gloucestershire men prohibited all intercourse between the infected port and their own villages, the plague was in no wise stayed by their precautions. The disease extended, by way of Gloucester and Oxford, to London, reaching the capital early in November, and continuing its ravages until the following Whitsuntide. When it had almost died out in London, it began, in the spring of 1349, to rage severely in East Anglia,1 while in Lancashire the worst time seems to have been from the autumn of 1349 to the beginning of 1350.2 Scotland was so long exempt that the Scots, proud of their immunity, were wont to swear "by the foul death of England". In 1350 they gathered together an army in Ettrick forest with the object of invading the plague-stricken border shires. But the pestilence fell upon the host assembled for the foray, and all war was stopped while Scotland was devastated from end to end. Ireland began to suffer in August, 1349, the disease being at first confined to the Englishry of the towns, though, after a time, it made its way also to the pure Irish.3
1 A. Jessopp, The Black Death in East Anglia, in The Coming of the Friars and Other Essays(1889). For general details see F. Seebohm, The Black Death, in Fortnightly Review (1865 and 1866); J.E.T. Rogers, England before and after the Black Death, in Fortnightly Review (1866); F.A. Gasquet's Great Pestilence (1893); and C. Creighton, History of Epidemics in Britain, i., 114-207(1891).

2 A.G. Little, The Black Death in Lancashire, in Engl. Hist. Review, v. (1890), 524-30

3 See for Ireland, however, the vivid details in J. Clyn of Kilkenny, Annales Hibevnia: ad annum 1349, ed. R. Butler, Irish Archaological Soc. (1849).
The wild exaggerations of the chroniclers reflect the horror and desolation wrought by the epidemic. There died so many, we are told, that the survivors scarcely sufficed to bury the victims, and not one man in ten remained alive. The more moderate estimate of Froissart sets down the proportion dead of the plague as one in three throughout all Christendom, and some modern inquirers have rashly reckoned the mortality in England as amounting to a half or a third of the population. In truth, complete statistics are necessarily wanting, and if the records of the admissions of the clergy attest that, in certain dioceses, half the livings changed hands during the years of pestilence, it is not permissible to infer from that circumstance that there was a similar rate of mortality from the plague over the whole of the population. The sudden and overwhelming character of the disorder increased the universal terror. One day a man was healthy: within a few hours of the appearance of the fatal swelling, or of the dark livid marks which gave the plague its popular name, he was a corpse. The pestilence seemed to single out the young and robust as its prey, and to spare the aged and sick. The churchyards were soon overflowing, and special plague pits had to be dug where the dead were heaped up by the hundred. Comparatively few magnates died, but the poor, the religious, and the clergy were chief sufferers. The law courts ceased to hold regular sessions. When the people had partially recovered from the first visitations of the plague, others befel them which were scarcely less severe. The years 1362 and 1369 almost rivalled the horrors of 1348 and 1349.

The immediate effects of the calamity were overwhelming. At first the horror of the foul death effaced all other considerations from men's minds. There were not enough priests to absolve the dying, and special indulgences, with full liberty to choose confessors at discretion, were promulgated from Avignon and from many diocesan chanceries. The price of commodities fell for the moment, since there were few, we are told, who cared for riches amidst the general fear of death. The pestilence played such havoc with the labouring population that the beasts wandered untended in the pastures, and rich crops of corn stood rotting in the fields from lack of harvesters to gather them. There was the same lack of clergy as of labourers, and the priest, like the peasant, demanded a higher wage for his services by reason of the scarcity of labour. A mower was not to be had for less than a shilling a day with his food, and a chaplain, formerly glad to receive two marks and his board, demanded ten pounds, or ten marks at the least. Non-residence, neglect of cures, and other evils followed. As Langland wrote:--
  Persones and parisch prestes - playneth to heore bisschops,
  That heore parisch hath ben pore - seththe the pestilence tyme,
  And asketh leue and lycence - at Londun to dwelle,
  To singe ther for simonye - for seluer is swete.1
The lack of clergy was in some measure compensated by the rush of candidates for orders. Some of these new clerks were men who had lost their wives by the plague; many of them were illiterate, or if they knew how to read their mass-book, could not understand it. The close social life of the monasteries proved particularly favourable to the spread of the disease; the number of monks and nuns declined considerably, and, since there was no great desire to embrace the religious profession, many houses remained half empty for generations.
1 Vision of Piers Plowman, i., p. g, ed. Skeat.
No one in the Middle Ages believed in letting economic laws work out their natural results. If anything were amiss, it was the duty of kings and princes to set things right. Accordingly Edward and his council at once strove to remedy the lack of labourers by ordinances that harvesters and other workmen should not demand more wages than they had been in the habit of receiving, while the bishops, following the royal example, ordered chaplains and vicars to be content with their accustomed salaries. As soon as parliament ventured to assemble, the royal orders were embodied in the famous statute of labourers of 1351. This measure has been condemned as an attempt of a capitalist parliament to force poor men to work for their masters at wages far below the market rates. But it was no new thing to fix wages by authority, and the medieval conception was that a just and living wage should be settled by law, rather than left to accident. The statute provided that prices, like wages, should remain as they had been before the pestilence, so that, far from only regarding the interests of the employer, it attempted to maintain the old ratio between the rate of wages and the price of commodities. Moreover it sought to provide for the cultivation of the soil by enacting that the sturdy beggar, who, though able, refused to work, should be forced to put his hand to the plough. Futile as the statute of labourers was, it was not much more ineffective than most laws of the time. Though real efforts were made to carry it out, the chronic weakness of a medieval executive soon recoiled before the hopeless task of enforcing impossible laws on an unwilling population. Class prejudices only showed themselves in the stipulation that, while the employer was forbidden to pay the new rate of wages under pain of heavy fines, the labourers who refused, to work on the old terms were imprisoned and only released upon taking oath to accept their ancient wages. In effect, however, the king's arm was not long enough to reach either class. The labourers, says a chronicler, were so puffed up and quarrelsome that they would not observe the new enactment, and the master's alternative was either to see his crops perish unharvested, or to gratify the greedy desires of the workmen by violating the statute. While labourers could escape punishment through their numbers, the employer was more accessible to the royal officers.

Thus the labourers enjoyed the benefits of the scarcity of labour, while the employers suffered the full inconveniences of the change. Producers were to some extent recompensed by a great rise in prices, more especially in the case of those commodities into whose cost of production labour largely entered. For example the rise in the price of corn and meat was inconsiderable, while clothing, manufactured goods, and luxuries became extraordinarily dear. Of eatables fish rose most in value, because the fishermen had been swept away by the plague. Rents fell heavily. Landlords found that they could only retain their tenants by wholesale remissions. When farmers perished of the plague, it was often impossible to find others to take up their farms. It was even harder for lords, who farmed their own demesne, to provide themselves with the necessary labour. Hired labour could not be obtained except at ruinous rates. It was injudicious to press for the strict performance of villein services, lest the villein should turn recalcitrant and leave his holding. The lord preferred to commute his villein's service into a small payment. On the whole the best solution of the difficulty was for him to abandon the ancient custom of farming his demesne through his bailiffs, and to let out his lands on such rents as he could get to tenant farmers. Thus the feudal method of land tenure, which, since the previous century, had ceased to have much political significance, became economically ineffective, and began to give way to a system more like that which still obtains among us.

Struck by these undoubted results of the pestilence, some modern writers have persuaded themselves that the Black Death is the one great turning-point in the social and economic history of England, and that nearly all which makes modern England what it is, is due to the effects of this pestilence. A wider survey suggests the extreme improbability of a single visitation having such far-reaching consequences. Moreover the Black Death was not an English but a European calamity, and it is strange to imagine that the effects of the plague in England should have been so much deeper than in France or Germany, and so different. In the fourteenth century there was little that was distinctly insular in the conditions of England, as compared with those of the continent. A trouble common to both regions alike could hardly have been the starting-point of such differentiation between them as later ages undoubtedly witnessed. There was a French counterpart to the statute of labourers.

In truth the Black Death was no isolated phenomenon. There were already in the air the seeds of the decay of the ancient order, and those seeds fructified more rapidly in England by reason of the plague.1 It is only because of the impetus which it gave to changes already in progress that the pestilence had in a fashion more lasting results in England than elsewhere. The last thirty years of the reign of Edward were an epoch of social upheaval and unrest contrasting strongly with the uneventful times that had preceded the Black Death. It is not right to regard the period as one of misery or severe distress. The war of classes, which was beginning, sprang not so much from material discomfort of the poor, as from what unsympathetic annalists called their greediness, their pride, and their wantonness. The wage-earner was master of the situation and did not hesitate to make his power felt. While the spread of manufactures, the rise of prices, and the opening out of wider markets still secured the prosperity of the shopkeeper, the merchant, or the artisan of the towns, the whole brunt of the social change fell upon the landed classes, and most heavily upon the ecclesiastics and especially upon the monks. Broken down by the heavy demands of the state, unable to share with the layman in the new avenues to wealth opened up by the expanding resources of the country, the monks saw the chief sources of their prosperity drying up. Their rents were shrinking and it became increasingly difficult to cultivate their lands. They never recovered their ancient welfare, and were already getting out of touch with the national life.
1 See for this W. Cunningham, Growth of English Industry and Commerce, vol. i., p. 330 ff. (ed. 4); T.W. Page, The End of Villainage in England (American Economic Association, 1900); and, above all, P. Vinogradoff in Engl. Hist. Review, xv. (1900), 774-781.
One immediate result of the plague was a renewed activity in founding religious houses. Upon the two plague pits west and east of the city of London, Sir Walter Manny set up his Charterhouse in Smithfield, and Edward III. his foundation for Cistercian nuns between Tower Hill and Aldgate. More characteristic of the times was the foundation of secular colleges, which were established either with mainly ecclesiastical objects or to encourage study at the universities. Both at Oxford and Cambridge there were more colleges set up in the first than in the second half of the fourteenth century; and it is noteworthy that several Cambridge colleges incorporated after the plague were founded with the avowed motive of filling up the gaps in the secular clergy occasioned by it. The riots between the Oxford townsmen and the clerks of the university on St. Scholastica's day, 1354, resulted in the victory of the former because of the recent diminution in the number of the scholars. Yet even as regards the monasteries, it is easy to exaggerate the effects of the plague. Five years after the Black Death, the Cistercians of the Lancashire abbey of Whalley boasted that they had added twenty monks to their convent, and were busy in enlarging their church.1
1 Cal. Papal Registers, Petitions, i., 264. Professor Tait, however, informs me that the monks took a sanguine view of their numbers. After the plague of 1362, we know that they were not much more numerous than in the previous century.
Change was in the air in religion as well as in society. Along with democratic ideas filtering in with the exiles from the great Flemish cities, came a breath of that restless and unquiet spirit which soon awakened the concern of the inquisition in the Netherlands. There brotherhoods, some mystical and quietistic, others enthusiastic and fanatical, were growing in numbers and importance. Some of these bodies, Beguines, Beghards, and what not, were harmless enough, but the whole history of the Middle Ages bears testimony to the readiness with which religious excitement unchastened by discipline or direction, grew into dangerous heresy. The strangest of the new communities, the Flagellants, made its appearance in England immediately after the pestilence. In the autumn of 1349, some six score men crossed over from Holland and marched in procession through the open spaces of London, chanting doleful litanies in their own tongue. They wore nothing save a linen cloth that covered the lower part of their body, and on their heads hats marked with a red cross behind and before. Each of them bore in his right hand a scourge, with which he belaboured the naked back and shoulders of his comrade in the fore rank. Twice a day they repeated this mournful exercise, and even at other times were never seen in public but with cap on head and discipline in hand. Few Englishmen joined the Flagellants, but their appearance is not unworthy of notice as the first concrete evidence of the religious unrest which soon became more widespread. Before long the Yorkshireman, John Wycliffe, was studying arts at the little north-country foundation of the Balliols at Oxford, and John Ball, the Essex priest, was preaching his revolutionary socialism to the villeins. "We are all come," said he, "from one father and one mother, Adam and Eve. How can the gentry show that they are greater lords than we?"1 In 1355 there were heretics in the diocese of York who maintained that it is impossible to merit eternal life by good works, and that original sin does not deserve damnation.2
1 The sentiment, or its equivalent in Ball's famous distich, was not new; it was employed for mystical purposes in Richard Rolle's
      "When Adam delf and Eue span, spir, if thou wil spede,
      Whare was then the pride of man, that now merres his mede?"
Library of Early English Writers. Richard Rolle of Hampole and his followers, ed. Horstman, i., 73 (1895).

2 Cal. Papal Registers, Letters, iii., 565.
The Flagellants were denounced as heretics by Clement VI.; the Archbishop of York proceeded against the northern heretics, and in 1366 the Archbishop of Canterbury forbade John Ball's preaching. But there were more insidious, because more measured, enemies of the Church than a handful of fanatics. The English were long convinced that the Avignon popes were playing the game of the French adversary, and Clement VI.'s efforts for peace never had a fair hearing. Since the beginning of the war, the king laid his hand on the alien priories, and, though in his scrupulous regard for clerical rights he had allowed the monks to remain in possession, he diverted the stream of tribute from the French mother houses to his own treasury. Bolder measures against papal provisions were taken in the years which immediately followed the pestilence. Finding remonstrances futile, the parliament of 1351, which passed the statute of labourers, enacted also the first statute of provisors. It recited that the anti-papal statute of Carlisle of 1307 was still law, and that the king had sworn to observe it. It claimed for all electing bodies and patrons the right to elect or to present freely to the benefices in their gift. It declared invalid all appointments brought about by way of papal provision. Provisors who had accepted appointments from Avignon were to be arrested. If convicted, they were to be detained in prison, until they had made their peace with the king, and found surely not to accept provisions in the future, and also not to seek their reinstatement by any process in the Roman curia. Two years later this measure was supplemented by the first statute of præmunire, which enacted that those who brought matters cognisable in the king's courts before foreign courts should be liable to forfeiture and outlawry. Though the papal court is not specially mentioned, it is clear that this measure was aimed against it.

General measures proving insufficient, more specific legislation soon followed. In 1365 a fresh statute of præmunire was drawn up on the initiative of the crown, enacting that all who obtained citations, offices, or benefices from the Roman court should incur the penalties prescribed by the act of 1353. The prelates dissociated themselves from so stringent a law, but did not actively oppose it. When in 1366, Edward requested the guidance of the estates as to how he was to deal with the demand of Urban V. for the arrears of King John's tribute, withheld altogether for more than thirty years, the prelates joined the lay estates in answering that neither John nor any one else could put the realm into subjection without their consent. Even the ancient offering of Peter's pence ceased to be paid for the rest of Edward's reign. If these laws had been strictly carried out, the papal authority in England would have been gravely circumscribed. But medieval laws were too often the mere enunciations of an ideal. The statutes of provisors and præmunire were as little executed as were the statutes of labourers, or as some elaborate sumptuary legislation passed by the parliament of 1363. The catalogue of acts of papal interference in English ecclesiastical and temporal affairs is as long after the passing of these laws as before. Litigants still carried their suits to Avignon: provisions were still issued nominating to English benefices, and Edward himself set the example of disregarding his own laws by asking for the appointment of his ministers to bishoprics by way of papal provision. Papal ascendency was too firmly rooted in the fourteenth century to be eradicated by any enactment. To the average clergyman or theologian of the day the pope was still the "universal ordinary," the one divinely appointed source of ecclesiastical authority, the shepherd to whom the Lord had given the commission to feed His sheep. This theory could only be overcome by revolution; and the parliaments and ministers of Edward III. were in no wise of a revolutionary temper.

The anti-papal laws of the fourteenth century were the acts of the secular not of the ecclesiastical power. They were not simply anti-papal, they were also anti-clerical in their tendency, since to the men of the age an attack on the pope was an attack on the Church. No doubt the English bishop at Edward's court sympathised with his master's dislike of foreign ecclesiastical interference, and the English priest was glad to be relieved from payments to the curia. But the clergyman, whose soul grew indignant against the curialists, still believed that the pope was the divinely appointed autocrat of the Church universal. Being a man, a pope might be a bad pope; but the faithful Christian, though he might lament and protest, could not but obey in the last resort. The papacy was so essentially interwoven with the whole Church of the Middle Ages, that few figments have less historical basis than the notion that there was an anti-papal Anglican Church in the days of the Edwards. However, before another generation had passed away, ecclesiastical protests began.

Monasticism no less than the papacy was of the very essence of the Church of the Middle Ages. Yet the monastic ideal had no longer the force that it had in previous generations, and even the latest embodiments of the religious life had declined from their original popularity. Pope John XXII. himself, in his warfare against William of Ockham and the Spiritual Franciscans who had supported Louis of Bavaria, denied in good round terms the Franciscan doctrine of "evangelical poverty". Ockham was now dead, and with him perished the last of the great cosmopolitan schoolmen, of whose birth indeed England might boast, but who early forsook Oxford for Paris. Conspicuous among the younger academical generation was Richard Fitzralph, Archbishop of Armagh, whose bitter attacks on the fundamental principles underlying the mendicant theory of the regular life are indicative of the changing temper of the age. A distinguished Oxford scholar, a learned and pungent writer, a popular preacher, a reputed saint, and a good friend of the pope, Fitzralph made himself, about 1357, the champion of the secular clergy against the friars by writing a treatise to prove that absolute poverty was neither practised nor commended by the apostles.1 The indignant mendicants procured the archbishop's citation to Avignon, and it was a striking proof of the ineffectiveness of recent legislation that Edward III. allowed him to plead his cause before the curia. By 1358 the friars gained the day, but their efforts to get Fitzralph's opinions condemned were frustrated by his death in 1360. Fitzralph had the sympathy not only of the seculars, but of the "possessioners," or property-holding monks.
1 See his De Pauperie Salvatoris, lib. i.-iv., printed by R.L. Poole, as appendix to Wycliffe, De Dominio Divino.
The period of experiments in economic and anti-clerical legislation was also marked by other important new laws, such as the ordinance of the staple of 1354, providing that wool, leather, and other commodities were only to be sold at certain staple towns, a measure soon to be modified by the law of 1362, which settled the staple at Calais; the ordinance of 1357 for the government of Ireland, to which later reference will be made; the statute making English the language of the law courts in 1362, and a drastic act against purveyance in 1365. The statute of treasons of 1352, which laid down seven several offences as alone henceforth to be regarded as treason, also demands attention. Its classification is rude and unsystematic. While the slaying of the king's ministers or judges, and the counterfeiting of the great seal or the king's coin, are joined with the compassing the death of the king or his wife or heir, adherence to the king's enemies, the violation of the queen or the king's eldest daughter, as definite acts of treason, its omission to brand other notable indications of disloyally as traitorous, inspired the judges of later generations to elaborate the doctrine of constructive treason in order to extend in practice the scope of the act. It was, however, an advance for nobles and commons to have set any limitations whatever to the wide power claimed by the courts of defining treason.

Partial respite from war did not diminish the martial ardour of the king and his nobles. The period of the Black Death was precisely the time when Edward completed a plan which he had begun by the erection of his Round Table at Windsor in 1344. By 1348 he instituted a chapel at Windsor, dedicated to St. George, served by a secular chapter, and closely connected with a foundation for the support of poor knights. Within a year this foundation also included the famous Order of the Garter, the type and model of all later orders of chivalry. On St. George's day the king celebrated the new institution by special solemnities. The most famous of his companions-at-arms were associated with him as founders and first knights. Clad in russet coats sprinkled with blue garters, a blue garter on the right leg, and a mantle of blue ornamented with little shields bearing the arms of St. George, the Knights of the Garter heard mass sung by the Archbishop of Canterbury in St. George's chapel, and then feasted solemnly in their common hall. Ten years later the glorification of the king's birthplace was completed by the erection of new quarters for the king, more sumptuous and splendid than were elsewhere to be seen. The fame of the Knights of the Garter excited the emulation of King John of France, who set up a Round Table which grew in 1351 into the knightly Order of the Star.

The rival brethren of the Garter and the Star found plenty of opportunities of demonstrating their prowess. Though between 1347 and 1355 there was, so far as forms went, an almost continuous armistice for the space of eight years, its effect was not so much to stop fighting as to limit its scale. In reality the years of nominal truce were a period of harassing warfare in Brittany, the Calais march, Gascony, and the narrow seas, which even the ravages of the Black Death did not stop.

In Brittany affairs were in a wretched condition. The nominal duke, John, was a child brought up in England under the guardianship of Edward III. Edward was not in a position to spend either men or money upon Brittany. As an easy way of discharging his obligations to his ward, he handed over the duchy to Sir Thomas Dagworth, the governor, who maintained the war from local resources and had a free hand as regards his choice of agents and measures. In return for power to appropriate to his own purposes the revenues of the duchy, Dagworth undertook the custody of the fortresses, the payment of the troops, the expenses of the administration, and the conduct of the war. In short, Brittany was leased out to him as a speculation, like a farm left derelict of husbandmen after the Black Death. Dagworth sublet to the highest bidders the lordships, fortresses, and towns of Brittany. He established at various centres of his influence a military adventurer, whose chief business was to make war support war and, moreover, bring in a good profit. The consequences were disastrous. Dagworth's captains were for the most part Englishmen, men of character, energy, and resources, but utterly without scruples and with no other ambition than to raise a good revenue and maintain themselves in authority. The most famous of them were members of gentle but obscure houses, whose poverty debarred them from the ordinary avenues to fame and fortune, and whose vigour and ability made good use of their exceptional positions. Two Cheshire kinsmen, Hugh Calveley and Robert Knowles, thus won, each for himself, a place in history. Some of the adventurers were of obscurer origin, some were foreigners, German, French, or Netherlandish, and some few Breton gentlemen of Montfort's faction. Of these Crockart, the German, and Raoul de Caours, the Breton, were the most famous.

The results of the system bore heavily on the Breton peasantry. Each lord of a castle levied systematic blackmail on the neighbouring parishes. These payments, called ransoms, were exacted as a condition of protection. The governor, though severely maltreating those who neglected to pay their ransom, did little to save his dependants from the ravages of the partisans of Charles of Blois. Despite such misdeeds, the war of partisans was brightened by many feats of heroism. The friends of Charles of Blois disregarded the truce and waged war as well as they could. Among them was already conspicuous the son of a

nobleman of the neighbourhood of Dinan, the ugly, able, restless Bertrand du Guesclin, whose enterprise and valour won for him a great local reputation. In 1350 Dagworth was slain. The history of the following years is not to be found in the acts of his successor, Sir Walter Bentley, but in the private deeds of daring of the heroes of both sides. Conspicuous among these is the famous Battle of the Thirty, well known from the detailed narrative of Froissart, and the stirring verses of a contemporary French poem. This fight was fought on March 27, 1351, between thirty Breton gentlemen of the Blois faction, drawn from the garrison of Josselin, and a less noble but even more strenuous band of thirty English and other adventurers of the Montfort party, from the garrison of Ploermel, seven miles to the east. Beaumanoir, the commandant at Josselin, had been moved to indignation at the cruel treatment of peasants who had refused to pay ransom by Robert Bembro, the commander of Ploermel. He challenged the tyrant to combat, and thirty heroes of each party fought out their quarrel at a spot marked by the half-way oak, equidistant from the two garrisons. After a long struggle, in which Bembro was slain, victory fell to the men from Josselin. Among the vanquished were Knowles, Calveley, and Crockart. This fight had absolutely no influence on the fortune of the war.

In 1352 the French strove to carry on the Breton war on a grander scale, and a large army, commanded by Guy of Nesle, marshal of France, was sent to reinforce the partisans of Charles of Blois. They met Bentley at Mauron, a few miles north of Ploermel, where one of the most interesting battles of the war was fought Taught by the lesson of Crecy, Nesle had already, in obscure fights in Poitou, ordered the French knights and men-at-arms to fight on foot.1 He here adopted the same plan for the first time in a battle of importance, but, after a severe struggle, Bentley won the day. In 1353 Edward III. made a treaty with his captive, Charles of Blois. In return for a huge ransom Charles was to obtain his liberty, be recognised as Duke of Brittany, marry one of Edward's daughters, and promise to remain neutral in the Anglo-French struggle. The treaty involved too great a dislocation of policy to be carried out. Charles, after visiting Brittany, renounced the compact and returned to his London prison. Thus the weary war of partisans still went on, and thenceforth the fortunes of Charles depended less upon negotiations than on the growing successes of Bertrand du Guesclin.
1 See my paper on Some Neglected Fights between Crecy and Poitiers in Engl. Hist. Review, vol. xxi., Oct., 1905.
During these years Calais was the centre of much fighting. Eager to win back the town, the French bribed an Italian mercenary, then in Edward's service, to admit them into the castle. The plot was discovered, and Edward and the Prince of Wales crossed over in disguise to help in frustrating the French assault. The French were enticed into Calais and taken as in a trap. Edward then sallied out of the town, and rashly engaged in personal encounter with a more numerous enemy. He was unexpectedly successful, and made wonderful display of his prowess as a knight. In revenge, the English devastated the neighbouring country by raids like that led by the Duke of Lancaster in 1351, which spread desolation from Thérouanne to Etaples. Of more enduring importance were the gradual extensions of the English pale by the piecemeal conquest of the fortresses of the neighbourhood. The chief step in this direction was the capture of Guînes in 1352. An archer named John Dancaster, who escaped from French custody in Guînes, led his comrades to the assault of the town by a way which he learnt during his imprisonment. The attack succeeded, and Dancaster, to avoid involving his master in a formal breach of the truce, professed to hold the town on his own account and to be willing to sell it to the highest bidder. Of course the highest bidder was Edward III. himself, and thus Guînes became the southern outpost of the Calais march.

In Aquitaine and Languedoc there was no thought of repose. In 1349 Lancaster led a foray to the gates of Toulouse, which wrought immense damage but led to no permanent results. There was incessant border warfare. The Anglo-Gascon forces spread beyond the limits of Edward's duchy and captured outposts in Poitou, Périgord, Quercy, and the Agenais. In retaliation, the Count of Armagnac, a strong upholder of the French cause, did what mischief he could in those parts of Gascony adjacent to his own territories. On the whole the result of these struggles was a considerable extension of the English power.

The most famous episode of these years was a naval battle fought off Winchelsea on August 29, 1350, against a strong fleet of Spanish privateers commanded by Charles of La Cerda. The Spaniards having plundered English wine ships, Edward summoned a fleet to meet them, and himself went on board, along with the Prince of Wales, Lancaster, and many of his chief nobles. The fight that ensued was remarkable not more for the reckless valour of the king and his nobles than for the dexterity of the English tactics. The great busses of Spain towered above the little English vessels, like castles over cottages. Yet the English did not hesitate to grapple their adversaries' craft and swarm up their sides on to the decks. Edward captured one of the chief of the Spanish ships, though his own vessel, the Cog Thomas, was so severely damaged that it had to be hastily abandoned for its prize. The glory of the victory of the "Spaniards on the sea" kept up the fame first won at Sluys.

In these years of truce first appeared the worst scourge of the war, bands of mercenary soldiers, fighting on their own account and recklessly devastating the regions which they chose to visit. The cry for peace rose higher than ever. Innocent VI., who succeeded Clement VI. in 1352, took up with great energy the papal policy of mediation. Thanks to his legates' good offices, preliminary articles of peace were actually agreed upon on April 6, 1354, at Guînes. By them Edward agreed to renounce his claim to the French throne if he were granted full sovereignly over Guienne, Ponthieu, Artois, and Guînes. When the chamberlain, Burghersh, laid before parliament, which was then sitting, the prospect of peace, "the commons with one accord replied that, whatever course the king and the magnates should take as regards the said treaty, was agreeable to them. On this reply the chamberlain said to the commons: 'Then you wish to agree to a perpetual treaty of peace, if one can be had?' And the said commons answered unanimously, 'Yea, yea'."1 Vexatious delays, however, supervened, and at last the negotiations broke down hopelessly. The French refused to surrender their over-lordship over the ceded provinces, and the Easter parliament of 1355 agreed with the king that war must be renewed. Two years of war were to follow more fierce than even the struggles which had culminated in Crecy, La Roche, and Calais.
1 Rot. Pad., ii., 262.
Two expeditions were organised to invade France in the summer of 1355, one for Aquitaine under the Prince of Wales,1 and the other for Normandy under Lancaster. Westerly winds long prevented their despatch. It was not until September that the Prince of Wales reached Bordeaux. The change of wind, which bore the prince to Gascony, enabled the host, collected by the King and Lancaster on the Thames, to make its way to Normandy. But the special reason which brought the English thither was already gone. The expedition was planned to co-operate with the King of Navarre. Charles, surnamed the Bad, traced on his father's side his descent to that son of Philip the Bold who obtained the county of Evreux in upper Normandy for his appanage. From his mother, the daughter of Louis X., he derived his kingdom of Navarre and a claim on the French monarchy of the same type as that of Edward III. Cunning, plausible, unscrupulous, and violent, Charles had quarrelled fiercely with King John, whose daughter he had married. His vast estates in Normandy made him a valuable ally to Edward, and he had suggested joint action in that duchy against the French. Unluckily, while the west winds kept the English fleet beyond the Straits of Dover, John made terms with his son-in-law. Lancaster was compensated for his disappointment by the governorship of Brittany. The army equipped for the Norman expedition was diverted to Calais, whence in November, Edward and Lancaster led a purposeless foray in the direction of Hesdin, which hastily ended on the arrival of the news that the Scots had surprised the town of Berwick, and were threatening its castle. Thereupon Edward hastened back home. He had to keep the Scots quiet, before he could attack the French.
1 For the Black Prince's career in Aquitaine, see Moisant, Le Prince Noir en Aquitaine (1894)
When the Black Prince reached Bordeaux, he received a warm welcome from the Gascons, and at once set out at the head of an army, partly English and partly Gascon, on a foray into the enemy's territory. He made his way from Bazas to the upper Adour through the county of Armagnac, whose lord had incurred his wrath by his devotion to the house of Valois and his invasions of the Gascon duchy. Thence he worked eastwards, avoiding the greater towns, and plundering and devastating wherever he could. The Count of Armagnac, the French commander in the south, watched his progress from Toulouse, and prudently avoided any open encounter. The prince approached within a few miles of the capital of Languedoc, but found an easier prey in the rich towns and fertile plains in the valley of the Aude. He captured the "town" of Carcassonne, though he failed to reduce the fortress-crowned height of the "city". At Narbonne also he took the "town" and left the "city". His progress spread terror throughout the south, and the clerks of the university of Montpellier and the papal curia at Avignon trembled lest he should continue his raid in their direction. But November came, and Edward found it prudent to retire, choosing on his westward journey a route parallel to that which he had previously adopted. He had achieved his real purpose in desolating the region from which the French had derived the chief resources for their attacks on Gascony. The raiders boasted that Carcassonne was larger than York, Limoux not less great than Carcassonne, and Narbonne nearly as populous as London. Over this fair region, where wine and oil were more abundant than water, the black band of desolation, which had already marked so many of the fairest provinces of France, was cruelly extended.

The prince kept his Christmas at Bordeaux. Even during the winter his troops remained active. Most of the Agenais was conquered by January, 1356, while in February the capture of Périgueux opened up the way of invasion northwards. Meanwhile the prince mustered his forces for a vigorous summer campaign. While the towns on the Isle and the Lot were yielding to his son, Edward III. was avenging the capture of Berwick by a winter campaign in the Lothians. Before the end of January, 1356, Berwick was once more in his hands. Thence he passed to Roxburgh, where Edward Balliol surrendered to him all his rights over the Scottish throne. Thenceforth styling himself no longer overlord but King of Scotland, Edward mercilessly harried his new subjects. But storms dispersed the English victualling ships, and Edward's men could not live in winter on the country that they had made a wilderness. In a few weeks they were back over the border, though their raid was long remembered in Scottish tradition as the Burnt Candlemas.

Another breach between Charles of Navarre and his father-in-law again opened to the English the way to Normandy. John lost patience at Charles's renewed intrigues, and in April arrested him and his friends at Rouen. Thereupon his brother, Philip of Navarre, rose in revolt. With him were many of the Norman lords, including Geoffrey of Harcourt, lord of Saint-Sauveur. The English were once more invited to Normandy, and on June 18 Lancaster landed at La Hougue with the double mission of aiding the Norman rebels and establishing John of Montfort, then arrived at man's estate, in his Breton duchy. It was the first English invasion of northern France during the war, in which they had, as in Brittany, the co-operation of a strong party in the land. The Navarre and Harcourt influence at once secured them the Côtentin. Meanwhile, however, the French were besieging the fortresses of the county of Evreux. With the object of relieving this pressure, Lancaster, immediately after his landing, marched into the heart of Normandy, and soon reached Verneuil. It looked for the moment as if he were destined to emulate the exploits of Edward II. in 1346. But he abruptly turned back, leaving the county of Evreux to fall into French hands. The permanent result of his intervention was to reduce Normandy to a state of anarchy nearly as complete as that of Brittany. In the autumn Lancaster at last made his way to the land of which he had had nominal charge since the previous year. He left Philip of Navarre as commander in Normandy, and the war was supported from local resources. The Côtentin being in friendly hands, Lancaster attacked the strongholds of the Blois party, which had hitherto been exempt from the war. In October he laid siege to Rennes and was detained before its walls until July, 1357, when he agreed to desist from the attack in return for a huge ransom. Lancaster then established young Montfort as duke. At the same time Charles of Blois, released from his long imprisonment, once more reappeared in his wife's inheritance, though, as his ransom was still but partly paid, his scrupulous honour compelled him to abstain from personal intervention in the war. Thus Brittany got back both her dukes.

The northern operations in 1356 sink into insignificance when compared with the exploits of the Black Prince in the south. After the capture of Périgueux, there had been some idea of the prince making a northward movement and joining hands with Lancaster on the Loire. When Lancaster retired from Verneuil, however, the Black Prince was still in the valley of the Dordogne. Even when all was ready, attacks on the Gascon duchy compelled him to divert a large portion of his army for the defence of his own frontiers. Not until August 9 was he able to advance from Périgueux to Brantôme into hostile territory. It was a month too late to co-operate with Lancaster, and the 7,000 men, who followed his banners, were in equipment rather prepared for a raid than for a systematic conquest.

Edward's outward march was in a generally northerly direction. Leaving Limoges on his right, he crossed the Vienne lower down the stream, and thence he led his troops over the Creuse at Argenton and over the Indre at Châteauroux. When he traversed the Cher at Vierzon, his followers rejoiced that they had at last got out of the limits of the ancient duchy of Guienne and were invading the actual kingdom of France. On penetrating beyond the Cher into the melancholy flats of the Sologne, the prince encountered the first serious resistance. He then turned abruptly to the west, and chased the enemy into the strong castle of Romorantin, which he captured on September 3. There he heard that John of France, who had gathered together a huge force, was holding the passages over the Loire. Edward marched to meet the enemy, and on September 7 reached the neighbourhood of Tours, where he tarried in his camp for three days. But the few bridges were destroyed or strongly guarded, and the men-at-arms found it quite impossible to make their way over the broad and swift Loire. Moreover the news came that John had crossed the river near Blois, and was hurrying southwards. Thereupon the Black Prince turned in the same direction, seeing in this southward march his best chance of getting to close quarters. The French host was enormously the superior in numbers, but after Morlaix, Mauron, and Crecy, mere numerical disparity weighed but lightly on an English commander.

For some days the armies marched in the same direction in parallel lines, neither knowing very clearly the exact position of the other. On September 14 Edward reached Châtelherault on the Vienne. His troops were weary and war-worn, and his transport inordinately swollen by spoils. He rested two days at Châtelherault, but was again on the move on hearing that the enemy was at Chauvigny, situated some twenty miles higher up the Vienne. Edward at once started in pursuit, only to find that the French had retired before him to Poitiers, eighteen miles due west of Chauvigny. Careless of his convoy, he hurried across country in the hope of catching the elusive enemy, but was only in time to fight a rear-guard skirmish at a manor named La Chaboterie, on the road from Chauvigny to Poitiers, on September, 17. That night the English lay in a wood hard by the scene of action, suffering terribly from want of water. Next day, Sunday, September 18, Edward pursued the French as near as he could to Poitiers, halting in battle array within a league of the town. A further check on his impatience now ensued. Innocent VI.'s legate, the Cardinal Talleyrand, brother of the Count of Périgord, who was with the French army, crossed to the rival host with an offer of mediation. Edward received the cardinal courteously and spent most of the day in negotiations. But the French showed no eagerness to bring matters to a conclusion, and as every hour reinforcements poured into the enemy's camp the scanty patience of the English was exhausted. They declared that the legate's talk about saving the effusion of Christian blood was only a blind to gain time, so that the French might overwhelm them. Edward broke off the negotiations, and, retiring to a position more remote from the enemy, passed the night quietly. Early next morning the cardinal again sought to treat, but this time his offers were rejected. On his withdrawal, the French attack began.

The topographical details of the battle of Poitiers of September 19, 1356, cannot be determined with certainty. We only know that the place of the encounter was called Maupertuis, which is generally identified with a farm now called La Cardinerie, some six miles south-east of Poitiers, and a little distance to the north of the Benedictine abbey of Nouaille. The abbey formed the southern limit of the field. On the west the place of combat was skirted by the little river Miausson, which winds its way through marshes in a deep-cut valley, girt by wooded hills. The French left their horses at Poitiers, having resolved, perhaps on the advice of a Scottish knight, Sir William Douglas, to fight on foot, after the English and Scottish fashion, and as they had already fought at Mauron and elsewhere. As at Mauron, a small band of cavalry was retained, both for the preliminary skirmishing which then usually heralded a battle, and in the hope of riding down some of the archers. But the French did not fully understand the English tactics, and took no care to combine men-at-arms with archers or crossbowmen, though these were less important against an army weak in archers and largely consisting of Gascons. Of the four "battles" the first, under the Marshals Audrehem and Clermont, included the little cavalry contingent; the second was under Charles, Duke of Normandy, a youth of nineteen; the third under the Duke of Orleans, the king's brother; and the rear was commanded by the king.

The English army spent the night before the battle beyond the Miausson, but in the morning the prince, fearing an ambuscade behind the hill of Nouaillé on the east bank, abandoned his original position and crossed the stream in order to occupy it. He divided his forces into three "battles," led respectively by himself, Warwick, and William Montague, since 1343 by his father's death Earl of Salisbury. Though he found no enemy there, he remained with his "battle" on the hill, because it commanded the slopes to the north over on which the French were now advancing. His remote position threw the brunt of the fighting upon the divisions of Warwick and Salisbury. They were stationed side by side in advance of him on ground lower than that held by him, but higher than that of the enemy, and beset with bushes and vineyards which sloped down on the left towards the marshes of the Miausson. Some distance in front of their position, a long hedge and ditch divided the upland, on which the "battles" of Warwick and Salisbury were stationed, from the fields in which the French were arrayed. At its upper end, remote from the Miausson, where Salisbury's command lay, the hedge was broken by a gap through which a farmer's track connected the fields on each side of it. The first fighting began when the English sent a small force of horsemen through the gap to engage with the French cavalry beyond. While Audrehem, on the French right, suspended his attack to watch the result, Clermont made his way straight for the gap, hoping to take Salisbury's division, on the upper or right-hand station, in flank. Before he reached the gap, however, he found the hedge and the approaches to the cart-road held in force by the English archers. Meanwhile the mail-clad men and horses of Audrehem's cavalry had approached dangerously near the left of the English line, where Warwick was stationed. Their complete armour made riders and steeds alike impervious to the English arrows, until the prince, seeing from his hill how things were proceeding, ordered some archers to station themselves on the marshy ground near the Miausson, in advance of the left flank of the English army. From this position they shot at the unprotected parts of the French horses, and drove the little band of cavalry from the field. By that time Clermon's attack on the gap had been defeated, and so both sections of the first French division retired.

Then came the stronger "battle" of the eldest son of the French king. The fight grew more fierce, and for a long time the issue remained doubtful. The English archers exhausted their arrows to little purpose, and the dismounted French men-at-arms, offering a less sure mark than the horsemen, forced their way to the English ranks and fought a desperate hand-to-hand conflict with them. At last the Duke of Normandy's followers were driven back. Thereupon a panic seized the division commanded by the Duke of Orleans, which fled from the field without measuring swords with the enemy. The victors themselves were in a desperate plight. Many were wounded, and all were weary, especially the men-at-arms encased in heavy plate mail. The flight of Orleans gave them a short respite: but they soon had to face the assault of the rear battle of the enemy, gallantly led by the king. "No battle," we are told, "ever lasted so long. In former fights men knew, by the time that the fourth or the sixth arrow had been discharged, on which side victory was to be. But here a single archer shot with coolness a hundred arrows, and still neither side gave way."1 At last the bowmen had only the arrows they snatched from the bodies of the dead and dying, and when these were exhausted, they were reduced to throwing stones at their foes, or to struggle in the mêlée, with sword and buckler, side by side with the men-at-arms. But the Black Prince from his hill had watched the course of the encounter, and at the right moment, when his friends were almost worn out, marched down, and made the fight more even. Before joining himself in the engagement, Edward had ordered the Captal de Buch, the best of his Gascons, to lead a little band, under cover of the hill, round the French position and attack the enemy in the rear. At first the Anglo-Gascon army was discouraged, thinking that the captal had fled, but they still fought on. Suddenly the captal and his men assaulted the French rear. This settled the hard fought day. Surrounded on every side, the French perished in their ranks or surrendered in despair. King John was taken prisoner, fighting desperately to the last, and with him was captured his youngest son Philip, the future Duke of Burgundy, a boy of twelve, whose epithet of "the Bold" was earned by his precocious valour in the struggle. Before nightfall the English host had sole possession of the field, and the best fought, best directed, and most important of the battles of the war ended in the complete triumph of the invaders.
1 Eulogium Hist., iii., 225.
As after Crecy, the victors were too weak to continue the campaign. Next day they began their slow march back to their base. On October 2 Edward reached Libourne, and a few days later conducted the captive king into the Gascon capital. They were soon followed by the Cardinal Talleyrand on whose insistence the prince agreed to resume negotiations. On March 23, 1357, a truce to last until 1359 was arranged at Bordeaux. On May 24 the prince led the vanquished king through the streets of London.

The English, weary of the burden of war, strove to use their advantages to procure a stable peace. Though Charles of Blois was released, he was muzzled for the future, and when John joined his ally David Bruce in the Tower, it was the obvious game of Edward to exact terms from his prisoners. David's spirit was broken, and he was glad to accept a treaty sealed in October, 1357, at Berwick, by which he was released for a ransom of 100,000 marks, to be paid by ten yearly instalments. The task was harder for a poor country like Scotland than the redemption of Richard I. had been for England. On hostages being given, David was released, and Edward, without relinquishing his own pretensions to be King of Scots, took no steps to enforce his claim. The event showed that Edward knew his man. The instalments of ransom could not be regularly paid, and David never became free from his obligations. Nothing save the tenacity of the Scottish nobles prevented him from accepting Edward's proposals to write off the arrears of his ransom in return for his accepting either the English king himself or his son, Lionel of Antwerp, as heir of Scotland. This attitude brought David into conflict with his natural heir, Robert, the Steward of Scotland, the son of his sister Margaret. The tension between uncle and nephew forced the Scots king to remain on friendly terms with Edward. For the rest of the reign, Scottish history was occupied by aristocratic feuds, by financial expedients for raising the king's ransom, by the gradual development of the practice of entrusting the powers of parliament to those committees of the estates subsequently famous as the lords of the articles, by David's matrimonial troubles after Joan's death, and by his unpopular visits to the court of his neighbour. Warfare between the realms there was none, save for the chronic border feuds. When David died in 1371, the Steward of Scotland land mounted the throne as Robert II. This first of the Stewart kings went back to the policy of the French alliance, but was too weak to inflict serious mischief on England.

In January, 1358, preliminaries of peace were also arranged with the captive King of France, and sent to Paris and Avignon for ratification. Innocent VI. was overjoyed at his success, and Frenchmen were willing to make any sacrifices to bring back their monarch, for immediately after Poitiers a storm of disorder burst over France. The states general met a few weeks after the battle, and the regent, Charles of Normandy, was helpless in their hands. This was the time of the power of Stephen Marcel, provost of the merchants of Paris, and of Robert Lecoq, Bishop of Laon. But the movement in Paris was neither in the direction of parliamentary government nor of democracy, and few men have less right to be regarded as popular heroes than Marcel and Lecoq. The estates were manipulated in the interests of aristocratic intrigue, and, behind the ostensible leaders, was the sinister influence of Charles of Navarre, who availed himself of the desolation of France to play his own game. For a time he was the darling of the Paris mob. Innocent VI. was deceived by his protestations of zeal for peace. As grandson of Louis X. he aspired to the French throne, and was anxious to prevent John's return. Edward had no good-will for a possible rival, but it was his interest to keep up the anarchy, and he had no scruple in backing up Charles. There was talk of Edward becoming King of France and holding the maritime provinces, while Charles as his vassal should be lord of Paris and the interior districts. English mercenaries, who had lost their occupation with the truce, enlisted themselves in the service of Navarre. Robert Knowles, James Pipe, and other ancient captains of Edward fought for their own hand in Normandy, and built up colossal fortunes out of the spoils of the country. Some of these hirelings appeared in Paris, where the citizens welcomed allies of the Navarrese, even when they were foreign adventurers. However, Charles went so far that a strong reaction deprived him of all power. He was able to prevent the ratification of the preliminaries of 1358. But in that year the death of Marcel was followed by the return of the regent to Paris, the expulsion of the foreign mercenaries, the collapse of the estates, and the restoration of the capital to the national cause. The short-lived horrors wreaked by the revolted peasantry were followed by the more enduring atrocities of the nobles who suppressed them. Military adventurers pillaged France from end to end, but the worst troubles ended when Charles of Navarre lost his pre-eminence.1
1 An admirable account of the state of France between 1356 and 1358 is in Denifie, La Desolation des Églises en France pendant la Guerre de Cent Ans, ii., 134-316 (1899).
When the truce of Bordeaux was on the verge of expiration, the French king negotiated a second treaty by which he bought off the threatened renewal of war. This was the treaty of London, March 24, 1359, by which John yielded up to Edward in full sovereignty the ancient empire of Henry II. Normandy, the suzerainty of Brittany, Anjou, and Maine, Aquitaine within its ancient limits, Calais and Ponthieu with the surrounding districts, were the territorial concessions in return for which Edward renounced his claim to the French throne. The vast ransom of 4,000,000 golden crowns was to be paid for John's redemption; the chief princes of the blood were to be hostages for him, and in case of failure to observe the terms of the treaty he was to return to his captivity. The only provision in any sense favourable to France was that by which Edward promised to aid John against the King of Navarre.

The treaty of London excited the liveliest anger in France. "We had rather," declared the assembled estates, "endure the great mischief that has afflicted us so long, than suffer the noble realm of France thus to be diminished and defrauded."1 Spurred up by these patriotic manifestations, the regent rejected the treaty, and prepared as best he could for the storm of Edward's wrath which soon burst upon his country. Anxious to unite forces against the national enemy, he made peace with Charles of Navarre, who, abandoned by Edward, was delighted to be restored to his estates.
1 Froissart, v., 180, ed. Luce.
Edward concentrated all his efforts on a new invasion of France. In November, 1359, he marched out of Calais with all his forces. His four sons attended him, and there was a great muster of earls and experienced warriors. Among the less known members of the host was the young Londoner, Geoffrey Chaucer, a page in Lionel of Antwerp's household. In three columns, each following a separate route, the English made their way from Calais towards the south-east. The French avoided a pitched battle, but hung on the skirts of the army and slew, or captured, stragglers and foragers. Chaucer was among those thus taken prisoner. Edward's ambition was to take Reims, and have himself crowned there as King of France. On December 4 he arrived at the gates of the city, and besieged it for six weeks. Then on January 11, 1360, the King despaired of success, abandoned the siege, and marched southwards through Champagne towards Burgundy. Despite the check at Reims, he was still so formidable that in March Duke Philip of Burgundy concluded with him the shameful treaty of Guillon, by which he purchased exemption from invasion by an enormous ransom and a promise of neutrality.

Edward next turned towards Paris. The news that the French had effected a successful descent on Winchelsea and behaved with extreme brutality to the inhabitants, infuriated the English troopers, who perpetrated a hundredfold worse deeds in the suburbs of the French capital. It seemed as if the war was about to end with the siege and capture of Paris. The regent, unable to meet the English in the field, fell back in despair on negotiation. Innocent VI. again offered his good services. John sent from his English prison full powers to his son to make what terms he would, and on April 3, which was Good Friday, ambassadors from each power met under papal intervention at Longjumeau; but Edward still insisted on the terms of the treaty of London, for which the French were not yet prepared. On April 7 Edward began the siege of Paris by an attack on the southern suburbs, but was so little successful that he withdrew five days later. A terrible tempest destroyed his provision train and devastated his army. These disasters made Edward anxious for peace, and the negotiations, after two interruptions, were successfully renewed at Chartres, and facilitated by the signature of a truce for a year. The work of a definitive treaty was pushed forward, and on May 8, preliminaries of peace were signed between the prince of Wales and Charles of France at the neighbouring hamlet of Brétigni, whither the peacemakers had transferred their sittings. There were still formalities to accomplish which took up many months. King John was escorted in July by the Prince of Wales to Calais, and in October he was joined by Edward III., who had returned to England about the time that the negotiations at Brétigni were over. The peace took its final form at Calais in October 24, 1360. Next day John was released, and ratified the convention as a free man on French soil. This permanent treaty is more properly styled the treaty of Calais than the treaty of Brétigni; but the alterations between the two were only significant in one particular respect. At Calais the English agreed to omit a clause inserted at Brétigni by which Edward renounced his claims to the French throne, and John his claims over the allegiance of the inhabitants of the ceded districts. As the Calais treaty of October alone had the force of law, it was a real triumph of French diplomacy to have suppressed so vital a feature in the definitive document.1 Even with this alleviation the terms were sufficiently humiliating to France. Edward and his heirs were to receive in perpetuity, "and in the manner in which the kings of France had held them," an ample territory both in southern and northern France. All Aquitaine was henceforth to be English, including Poitou, Saintonge, Périgord, Angoumois, Limousin, Quercy, Rouergue, Agenais, and Bigorre. The greatest feudatories of these districts, the friendly Count of Foix as well as the hostile Count of Armagnac, and the Breton pretender to the viscounty of Limoges, were to do homage to Edward for all their lands within these bounds. Nor was this all. The county of Ponthieu, including Montreuil-sur-mer, was restored to its English lords, and added to the pale of Calais, which was to include the whole county of Guînes, made up two considerable northern dominions for Edward. With these cessions were included all adjacent islands, and all islands held by the English king at that time, so that the Channel islands were by implication recognised as English.
1 On the importance of this, see the paper of MM. Petit-Dutaillis and P. Collier, La Diplomatie française et le Traité de Brétigny in Le Moyen Age, 2e serie, tome i. (1897), pp. 1-35.
The ransom of John was fixed at 3,000,000 gold crowns, that is ~500,000 sterling. The vastness of this sum can be realised by remembering that the ordinary revenue of the English crown in time of peace did not much exceed £60,000, while the addition to that of a sum of £150,000 involved an effort which only a popular war could dispose Englishmen to make. Of this ransom 600,000 crowns were to be paid at once, and the rest in annual instalments of 400,000 crowns until the whole payment was effected. During this period the prisoners from Poitiers, several of the king's near relatives, a long list of the noblest names in France, and citizens of some of its wealthiest cities, were to remain as hostages in Edward's hands. As to the Breton succession, Edward and John engaged to do their best to effect a peaceful settlement. If they failed in attaining this, the rival claimants were to fight it out among themselves, England and France remaining neutral. Whichever of the two became duke was to do homage to the King of France, and John of Montfort was, in any case, to be restored to his county of Montfort. A similar care for Edward's friends was shown in the article which preserved for Philip of Navarre his hereditary domains in Normandy. Forfeitures and outlawries were to be pardoned, and the rights of private persons to be respected. Nevertheless Calais was to remain at Edward's entire disposal, and the burgesses, dispossessed by him, were not to be reinstated. The French renounced their alliance with the Scots, and the English theirs with the Flemings. Time was allowed to carry out these complicated stipulations, and, by way of compensating Edward for the significant omission which has been mentioned, elaborate provisions were made for the mutual execution at a later date of charters of renunciation, by which Edward abandoned his claim to the French throne and John the over-lordship of the districts yielded to Edward. These were to be exchanged at Bruges about a year later.

England rejoiced at the conclusion of so brilliant a peace, and laid no stress on the subtle change in the conditions which made the treaty far less definitive in reality than in appearance. In France the faithful flocked to the churches to give thanks for deliverance from the long anarchy. The perfect courtesy and good feeling which the two kings had shown to each other gilded the concluding ceremonies with a ray of chivalry. John was released almost at once, and allowed to retain with him in France some of the hostages, including his valiant son Philip, the companion of his captivity. John made Edward's peace with Louis of Flanders, and Edward persuaded John to pardon Charles and Philip of Navarre. At last the two weary nations looked forward to a long period of repose.

Personae

Terms Defined

Referenced Works