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The History of England from the Accession of Henry III. to the Death of Edward III. (1216-1377)
The Hundred Years' War From The Treaty Of Calais To The Truce Of Bruges
by Tout, T.F. (M.A.)

It was an easier matter to conclude the treaty of Calais than to carry it out. Troubles followed the release of the French king and the expiration of the year during which the two parties were to yield up the ceded territory and effect the renunciations of their respective claims. John did his best to keep faith in both these matters. He ordered his vassals to submit themselves to their new lord, and appointed commissioners to hand over the lost provinces to the agents of the English king. In July, 1361, Sir John Chandos, Edward's lieutenant in France, received the special mission of taking possession of the new acquisitions in the name of his master. Chandos' reputation as a soldier made him acceptable to the French, and being recognised by the treaty as lord of Saint-Sauveur in the Côtentin, he was interested in maintaining good relations between the two realms. He began his work by taking possession of Poitiers and Poitou, but found that many of the descendants of the greedy lords, who, more than a hundred years before, had played off Henry III against St. Louis, abandoned the rule of John with undisguised reluctance. It was worse with the towns, where national sentiment was stronger. La Rochelle held out for months, and, when its notables at last submitted, they declared: "We will accept the English with our lips but never with our hearts". Much patriotic feeling was manifested in Quercy. The consuls of Cahors made their submission, weeping and groaning. "Alas!" they declared, "how odious it is to lose our natural lord, and to pass over to a master we know not. But it is not we who abandon the King of France. It is he who, against our wishes, hands us over, like orphans, to the hands of the stranger." It was not until two years after the signing of the treaty that Edward entered into possession of the bulk of the lands granted to him. Even then there were districts in Poitou, notably Belleville, which never became English at all. One of the last districts to yield was Rouergue, whose count, John of Armagnac, only made his submission under the compulsion of irresistible necessity.

It was even more difficult to get the English out of the lands which the treaty had assigned to the French. These districts were largely held by companies of mercenaries, little under Edward's control and indisposed to yield up the conquests won by their own hands because their nominal lord had thought fit to make a treaty with the French king. Despite the orders of Edward, the English garrisons in the north and centre of France flatly refused to surrender their strongholds. In Maine, Hugh Calveley took Bertrand du Guesclin prisoner when he sought to receive the submission of his castles, and only released him on payment of a heavy ransom. In Normandy, Du Guesclin had to buy off James Pipe, who dominated all the central district from the fortified abbey of Cormeilles, and to crush John Jowel in a pitched battle near Lisieux. Even when the castles were surrendered, the garrisons joined with each other to establish societies of warriors that now inflicted terrible woes on France. The exploits of these free companies hardly belong to English history, though many of their leaders and a large proportion of the rank and file were Englishmen. Cruel, fierce, and uncouth, they still preserved in all military dealings the strict discipline which had taught the English armies the way to victory. The combination of the order of a settled host with the rapacity of a gang of freebooters made them as irresistible as they were destructive. Though Edward formally repudiated them, it was more than suspected that they were secretly playing his game.

Before long, this guerilla warfare became consolidated into military operations on a large scale. Charles of Navarre once more profited by the disorder of France to bring himself to the front. In 1361 John had availed himself of the death of Philip of Rouvres to treat the duchy of Burgundy as a lapsed fief, and conferred it on his youngest son, Philip the Bold. Charles then claimed to be the heir of Burgundy, and while he personally directed the forces of disorder in the south, his agents united with the English condottieri in Normandy. John Jowel still held tight to his Norman conquests, and was, by Edward's direction, fighting openly for Charles of Navarre. The Captal de Buch, the hero of Poitiers, hurried from Gascony to protect the Navarrese lands from the invasion of Bertrand du Guesclin. On May 16, 1364, the little armies of the Captal and the Breton partisan met at Cocherel on the Eure, where Du Guesclin cleverly won the first important victory gained by the French in the open field during the whole course of the war. The Captal was taken prisoner, and the establishment of Du Guesclin in some of Charles of Navarre's Norman fiefs deprived the intriguer of his opportunities to do mischief in the north. Charles of Navarre's career was not yet over; but henceforth his chief field was his southern kingdom.

The victorious Du Guesclin turned his attention to his native Brittany, where the war of Blois and Montfort still went on, for Joan of Penthièvre insisted so strongly upon her rights that the efforts of Edward and John to end the contest had been without result. In 1362 John de Montfort was at last entrusted with the government of Brittany, and Du Guesclin quitted the service of France for that of Charles of Blois, that the treaty of 1360 might remain unbroken. But as in the early wars, the army of Blois was mainly French, and the host of Montfort was commanded by the Englishman, John Chandos, and largely consisted of English men-at-arms and archers. Calveley, Knowles, and the Breton Oliver de Clisson were among the captains of Duke John's forces.

The decisive engagement took place on September 29, 1364, on the plateau, north of Auray, which is still marked by the church of St. Michael, erected as a thank-offering by the victor. It was another Poitiers on a small scale. The Anglo-Breton army held a good defensive position, facing northwards, with its back on the town of Auray. The troops of Charles of Blois and Du Guesclin advanced to attack them with more ardour than discipline or skill. Both sides fought on foot. The French knights had at last learnt to meet the storm of English arrows by strengthening their armour and by protecting themselves by large shields. Thus, as at Poitiers, they had little difficulty in making their way up to the enemy's ranks. But their order was confused, and they thought of nothing but the fierce delights of the mêlée. The Montfort party showed more intelligence, and Chandos, like the captal at Poitiers, fell suddenly upon the flank of one of the enemy's divisions. This settled the fight; Charles of Blois was slain, Du Guesclin taken prisoner, and their army utterly scattered. Auray ended the war of the Breton succession. Even Joan of Penthièvre was at last willing to treat. In 1365 the treaty of Guérande was signed, by which. Montfort was recognised as John IV. of Brittany, and did homage to the French crown. Joan was consoled by remaining in possession of the county of Penthièvre and the viscounty of Limoges. Practically her defeat was an English victory, and Montfort remained in his duchy so long only as English influence prevailed. A second step towards the pacification of the north was made when the troubles in Brittany were ended within a few months of the destruction of the power of Charles the Bad in Normandy.

The free companies lost their chief hunting-grounds; and a further relief came when some of them, like the White Company, found a better market for their swords in Italy. With all their faults, the companies opened out a career to talent such as had seldom been found before. John Hawkwood, the leader of the White Company, was an Essex man of the smaller landed class. He had played but a subordinate figure beside Knowles, Calveley, Pipe, and Jowel; but in Italy he won for himself the name of the greatest strategist of his age. Thus, though at the cost of murder and pillage, the English made themselves talked about all over the western world. "In my youth," wrote Petrarch, "the Britons, whom we call Angles or English, had the reputation of being the most timid of the barbarians. Now they are the most warlike of peoples. They have overturned the ancient military glory of the French by a series of victories so numerous and unexpected that those, who were not long since inferior to the wretched Scots, have so crushed by fire and sword the whole realm that, on a recent journey, I could hardly persuade myself that it was the France that I had seen in former years."1
1 Epistolæ Familiares, iii., Ep. 14, p. 162, ed. Fracassetti.
It was to little purpose that King John laboured to redeem his plighted word and make France what it had been before the war. Though in November, 1361, neither he nor Edward sent commissioners to Bruges, where, according to the treaty of Calais, the charters of renunciation were to be exchanged, John offered in 1362 to carry out his promise. Edward, however, for reasons of his own, made no response to his advances. The result was that the renunciations were never made, and so the essential condition of the original settlement remained unfulfilled. The matter passed almost unnoticed at the time as a mere formality, but in later years Edward's lack of faith brought its own punishment in giving the French king a plausible excuse for still claiming suzerainty over the ceded provinces. Perhaps Edward still cherished the ambition of resuscitating his pretensions to the French crown. He found it as hard to give up a claim as ever his grandfather had done.

John's good faith was conspicuously evinced by the efforts he made to raise the instalments of his ransom. His payments were in arrears: some of the hostages left in free custody by Edward's generosity broke their parole and escaped; and among them was his own son, Louis, Duke of Anjou. The father felt it his duty to step into the place thus left vacant. In 1363 he returned to his English prison, where he died in 1364, surrounded with every courtesy and attention that Edward could lavish upon him. During the last months of his life, England received visits from two other kings, David of Scotland and the Lusignan lord of Cyprus, who still called himself King of Jerusalem, and was wandering through the courts of Europe to stir up interest in the projected crusade.

Charles of Normandy then became Charles V. He was no knight-errant like his father, and his diplomatic gifts, tact, and patience made him much better fitted than John for outwitting his English enemies and for restoring order to France. Slowly but surely he grappled with the companies, and at last an opening was found for their skill in the civil war which broke out in Castile. Peter the Cruel, since 1350 King of Castile, had made himself odious to many of his subjects. At last his bastard brother, Henry of Trastamara, rose in revolt against him. Peter, however, was capable and energetic, and not without support from certain sections of the Castilians. Moreover, he was friendly with Charles of Navarre, and allied with Edward III. On the other hand Henry found powerful backing from the King of Aragon, and made an appeal to the King of France. This gave Charles V. the chance he wanted. He hated Peter, who was reputed to have murdered his own wife, Blanche of Bourbon sister of the Queen of France, and in 1365 he agreed to give Henry assistance. Du Guesclin welded the scattered companies into an army and led them against the Spanish king. The pope fell in with the scheme as an indirect way of realising his crusading ambition. When Henry had become King of Castile, the companies would go on to attack the Moors of Granada. English and French mercenaries flocked gladly together under Du Guesclin's banner. Edward in vain ordered his subjects not to take part in an invasion of the lands of his friend and cousin, Peter of Castile. Though Chandos declined at the last moment to follow Du Guesclin into the peninsula, Sir Hugh Calveley would not desist from the quest of fresh adventure, even at the orders of his lord. Professional and knightly feeling bound Calveley to Du Guesclin more closely than their difference of nationality separated them, so that Calveley took his part in the Castilian campaign with perfect loyally to his ancient enemy. In December, 1365, Du Guesclin and his followers made their way through Roussillon and Aragon into Castile. The spring of 1366 saw Peter a fugitive in Aquitaine, and Henry of Trastamara crowned Henry II. of Castile. Most of the companies then went home, though Du Guesclin and Calveley remained to support the new king's throne.

The deposed tyrant went to Bordeaux, where since 1363 the Black Prince had been resident as Prince of Aquitaine; for in 1362 Edward had erected his new possessions into a principality and conferred it on his eldest son, in the hope of conciliating the Gascons by some pretence of restoring their independence. At Bordeaux Peter persuaded the prince to restore him to his throne by force. Edward also agreed to support Peter, and sent his third son, John of Gaunt, to march through Brittany and Poitou with a powerful English reinforcement to his brother's resources, while the lord of Aquitaine assembled the whole, strength of his new principality for the expedition. At the bidding of his lord, Calveley cheerfully abandoned Du Guesclin, and thenceforth fought as courageously on the one side as he had previously done on the other. Charles of Navarre professed great desire to help forward the invaders, and his offers of friendship opened up to the prince the easiest way into Spain by way of the pass of Roncesvalles from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Pamplona, the capital of Navarre. In February, 1367, the prince's army made its way in frost and snow through the valleys famous in romance. From Pamplona two roads diverged to Burgos, the ancient Castilian capital. The easier way ran south-westwards through Navarrese territory to the Ebro at Logroño, where beyond the river lay the Castilian frontier. The more difficult route went westwards through rugged mountains and high valleys by way of Salvatierra and Vitoria to a passage over the upper Ebro at Miranda. The Black Prince chose the latter route, and reached Vitoria in safely. Beyond the town King Henry's army held a position so strong that Edward found it impossible to dislodge him.

The winter weather still held the upland valleys in its grip when March was far advanced. Men and horses suffered terribly from cold and hunger, and the prince, seeing that he could not long maintain his position, boldly resolved to transfer himself to the southern route. A flank march over snow-clad sierras brought him to the vale of the Ebro, and, crossing the stream at Logroño, he took up his position a few miles south-west of that town, near the Castilian village of Navarrete. On the prince's change of front King Henry also moved southward, crossing the Ebro a few miles above Logroño, and then advanced to Nájera, a village about six miles west of Navarrete, where he once more blocked the English path. The prince, however, had the advantage of position and could afford to wait until the Castilians attacked. On April 3 Henry advanced over the little river Najarilla against the enemy. The Spanish host fought after a different fashion from that practised by both sides in the French wars. Only Du Guesclin and the small remnant of the companies which still abode in Spain dismounted. The mass of the Castilians remained on their horses. Their cavalry was of two sorts: besides a large number of men-at-arms bestriding armoured steeds, there were swarms of light horsemen, unencumbered by heavy armour and called genitours, from being mounted on the fleet Spanish steeds called jennets. The desperate valour of Du Guesclin and his followers could not prevent utter disaster. Henry fled in panic from the scene; Du Guesclin was again a prisoner, and the Najarilla was reddened by the blood of the thousands of fugitive Spaniards, for, caught as in a trap at the narrow bridge which offered the sole means of retreat, they were massacred without difficulty by the prince's troops. The victors marched on to Burgos, and, Don Henry having fled to France, Peter was restored with little further trouble to the Castilian throne.

The Black Prince remained in Castile all through the summer, waiting for the rewards which Don Peter had promised him. His army melted away through fever and dysentery, and the prince himself contracted the beginnings of a mortal disorder. Thus the crowning victory of his career was the last of his triumphs. Like many other leaders of chivalry, he had not understood the limitations of his resources, and had dissipated on this bootless Spanish campaign means scarcely sufficient to grapple with the spirit of disaffection already undermining his power in Aquitaine. With shattered health and the mere skeleton of his gallant army, he made his way back over the Pyrenees. Henceforth misfortune dogged every step of his career.

Since 1363 the constant residence of the Black Prince and his wife, Joan of Kent, in Gascony, had been broken only by his Castilian expedition. It was a wise policy to send the prince to hold a permanent court in Aquitaine, such as the land had never seen since Richard Coeur de Lion. All that affability, magnificence, and chivalry could do to make his domination attractive might be confidently anticipated from so brilliant and high-minded a knight as the prince of Aquitaine. The court of Bordeaux was as brilliant as the court of Windsor. "Never," boasted the Chandos Herald,1 "was such good entertainment as his; for every day at his table he had more than four-score knights and four times as many squires. There was found all nobleness, merriment, freedom, and honour. His subjects loved him, for he did them much good." The sulky magnates of the south-west, such as John of Armagnac and Gaston Phoebus of Foix, found their bitterness tempered by the prince's courtesy, while the boastful knights of Gascony looked forward to a career of honourable service under the descendant of their ancient dukes. Feastings and tournaments were not enough to win all his subjects' hearts; and the Black Prince strove with some energy to show that he was a ruler of men as well as the centre of a court. It is to his credit that he cleared his inheritance from the free companies, so that Poitou and Limousin enjoyed far more prosperity and tranquillity than in the days of French ascendency. Such new taxation as Gascon custom allowed was only levied after grants from the three estates. Great pains were taken to improve the administration, the judicial system, and the coinage. Edward saw that his best policy was to rely upon the people of Gascony, and to look with suspicion on the great lords. But he did not understand how limited was the authority which tradition gave to the dukes of Aquitaine, and he was too stiff, too pedantic, too insular, to get on really cordial terms with his subjects. He never, like Gaston Phoebus or Richard Coeur de Lion, threw himself into the local life, language, and traditions of the country.
1 Le Prince Noir, poème du héraut d'Armes Chandos, pp. 107-108, ed. F. Michel.
The Black Prince's greatest successes were with the towns, and especially with those which had been continuously subject to English rule. The citizens of Bordeaux, who had feared lest Edward's claim to the French crown should involve them in more complete subjection, were appeased by promises that they should in any case remain subject to the English monarchy. Their liberties were increased and their wine trade was fostered, even to the loss of English merchants. The other towns were equally contented. Edward relied upon them as a counterpoise to the feudal lords, and their liberties exempted them from the extraordinary taxes by which he strove to restore the equilibrium of his finances. The half-independent magnates were soon convinced that their chivalrous lord was no friend of aristocratic privilege. Edward, even when using their services in war, carefully excluded them from the administration. They saw with disgust the chief offices monopolised by Englishmen. An English bishop, John Harewell of Bath, was Edward's chancellor and confidential adviser. An English knight, Thomas Felton, was seneschal of Aquitaine and head of the administration. The constableship was assigned to Chandos. The seneschalships of the several provinces were mainly in English hands. With English notions of the rights of the supreme power, the prince paid little attention to the franchises of either lord or prelate. He mortally offended John of Armagnac by requiring a direct oath of fealty from the Bishop of Rodez, who held all his lands of Armagnac as Count of Rouergue. Clerks of lesser degree were outraged by the prince's attempts to hinder students from attending the university of Toulouse.

The Spanish expedition immensely increased the Black Prince's difficulties. He exhausted his finances to equip his army, and both on their coming and going his soldiers cruelly pillaged the country. Edward now dismissed most of his troops and urged them to betake themselves to France. In January, 1368, he obtained from the estates of Aquitaine a new hearth tax of ten sous a hearth for five years. The tax was freely voted and collected from the great majority of the payers without trouble. The towns were mainly exempt from it by reason of their liberties; and the lesser lords were as yet not averse from English rule. But the greater feudatories saw in the new hearth-tax a pretext for revolt. They had no special zeal for the French monarchy, but the house of Valois was weak and far removed from their territories. Their great concern was the preservation of their independence, which seemed more threatened by a resident prince than by a distant overlord at Paris. Even before the imposition of the hearth-tax, the Count of Armagnac entered into a secret treaty with Charles V., who promised to increase his territories and respect his franchises, if he would return to the French allegiance. The lord of Albret married a sister of the French queen and followed Armagnac's lead. A little later the Counts of Périgord and Comminges and other lords associated themselves with this policy. Thus the rule of the Black Prince in Aquitaine, acquiesced in by the mass of the people, was threatened by a feudal revolt. Armagnac appealed to the parliament of Paris against the hearth-tax. Charles V. accepted the appeal on the ground of the non-exchange of the renunciations which should have followed the treaty of Calais. Cited before the parliament in January, 1369, the Black Prince replied that he would go to Paris with helmet on head and with sixty thousand men at his back. His father once more assumed the title of King of France, and war broke out again.

The relative positions of France and England were different from what they had been nine years before. Edward III. was sinking into an unhonoured old age, and the Prince of Aquitaine suffered from dropsy, and was incapable of taking the field. Of their former comrades some, like Walter Manny, were dead, and others too old for much more fighting. On the other side was Charles V., who had tamed Navarre and the feudal lords, had cleared the realm of the companies, had put down faction and disorder, and had made himself the head of a strong national party, resolved to effect the expulsion of the foreigner. His chief military counsellors were Du Guesclin, and Du Guesclin's old adversary in the Breton wars, Oliver de Clisson, now the zealous servant of the king. A wonderful outburst of French patriotism facilitated the reconquest of the lands that had passed to English rule nine years before. Even the tradition of military superiority availed little against commanders who were learning by their defeats how to meet their once invincible enemies.

There was a like modification in the foreign alliances of the two kingdoms. Dynastic changes in the Netherlands had robbed Edward of supporters who, though costly and ineffective, had been imposing in outward appearance. Even after the dissolution of the alliances of the early years of the war, the temporising policy of Louis de Male at least neutralised the influence of Flanders. During the peace both Edward and Charles did their best to win the goodwill of the Flemish count. Louis' relation to the two rivals was the more important since his only child was a daughter named Margaret. In 1356, this lady, to Edward's great disgust, was promised in marriage to Philip de Rouvre, Duke and Count of Burgundy, and Count of Artois. The death of Philip in 1361 saved Edward from the danger of a great state with one arm in the Burgundies and the other in Flanders and Artois; and the irritation of Louis de Male at Charles V.'s grant of the Burgundian duchy to his youngest son, Philip the Bold, gave the English king a new chance of winning his favour. At last, in 1364, Edward concluded a treaty with Flanders according to his dearest wishes. Edmund of Langley, Earl of Cambridge, his youngest son, was betrothed to the widowed Margaret, with Ponthieu, Guînes, and Calais as their appanage. Great as were Edward's sacrifices, they were worth making if a permanent union could be established between England and Flanders, equally threatening to France and to the lords of the Netherlands. Charles persuaded Urban V. to refuse the necessary dispensations for the marriage. Edward and Louis, irritated at the success of this countermove, waited patiently and renewed their alliance.

No sooner was his understanding with Armagnac completed than Charles strove to secure the support of northern as well as of southern feudalism against Edward. He offered his brother, Philip of Burgundy, to Margaret, along with the restoration of the districts of French Flanders, which he still held. In June, 1369, the marriage took place. Edmund of Cambridge lost his last chance of the great heiress, and Charles V. bought off the enmity of the Count of Flanders at the price of that union of Burgundy and Flanders which, in the next century, was to make the descendants of Philip and Margaret the most formidable opponents of the French monarchy. For the moment, however, Charles gained little. Flemish ships, indeed, fought against the English at sea, notably in Bourgneuf Bay in 1371, but next year Louis made peace with them. Despite his daughter's marriage, the Count of Flanders still showed that his sympathies were with England. The other princes of the Netherlands were much more decidedly on the French side than the Count of Flanders. Margaret of Hainault, Queen Philippa's sister, had, after the death of her husband the Emperor Louis of Bavaria, in 1347 fought with her son William for the possession of her three counties of Hainault, Holland, and Zealand, to which Philippa also had pretensions, naturally upheld by her husband. William obtained such advantages over his mother that Margaret was obliged to invoke the assistance of her brother-in-law. Eager to regain his influence in the Netherlands, Edward willingly agreed to be arbiter between Margaret and her son, and at his suggestion the disputed lands were divided between them. William was married to Maud of Lancaster, Duke Henry's elder daughter, and thus secured to the English alliance. On Margaret's death William inherited all the three counties: but Maud died, and William became insane, whereupon his brother and heir invoked the support of the Emperor Charles IV., and was duly established in his fiefs. The claims of Philippa were ignored, and the Lancaster marriage with the lord of Holland, like the projected union of Edmund with the heiress of Flanders, failed to fulfil Edward's hopes.

Meanwhile Edward had to face the constant hostility of the emperor. Wenceslaus of Luxemburg, brother of Charles IV., had married the daughter and heiress of John III of Brabant, with the result of solidly establishing the house of Luxemburg in the strongest of the duchies of the Low Countries. With the Luxemburger as with the Bavarian, Edward's relations were unfriendly. Two only of the Low German lords, the dukes of Gelderland and Jülich, were willing to take his pay. Early in the war they were assailed by the Luxemburgers, and the contest occupied all their energies. Thus Edward re-entered the struggle against France with no help save that of his own subjects. Urban V. died at Avignon in 1370, and his successor, Gregory XI., was as little friendly to English claims in France as his predecessors had been. Pope, emperor, and the Netherlandish princes, were all either French or neutral. And in 1369 Peter of Castile lost his throne, and soon afterwards perished at his brother's hands. Henry of Trastamara, henceforth King of Castile, became the firm ally of the French, who had already the support of Aragon. Even Charles the Bad thought it prudent to declare for France.

At each stage of the war the French took the initiative. The appeal of the southern nobles was the beginning of a national movement which, before March, 1369, was supported by more than 900 towns, castles, and fortified places in Edward's allegiance. In April the French invaded Ponthieu and were welcomed as deliverers at Abbeville and the other towns of the county. John of Gaunt led an army during the summer from Calais southwards. He marched through Ponthieu, crossed the Somme at Blanchetaque, and ravaged the country up to the Seine. Then he retired exhausted, having gained no real advantage by this mere foray. Charles announced that, as Edward had supported the free companies, he fell under the excommunication threatened by the pope against the abettors of these pests of society, and that the vassals of the English crown were therefore relieved from allegiance to him. Soon afterwards he declared that Edward had forfeited all his possessions in France.

Quercy and Rouergue, which had submitted last, were the first districts of Aquitaine to revolt. Cahors declared for France as soon as the Black Prince was cited to Paris. By the end of 1369 all Quercy had acknowledged Charles V., and John of Armagnac ruled Rouergue as his vassal. It was the same in the Garonne valley, where towns which had no quarrel with English rule, were swept away by the strong tide of national feeling that surged round their walls. A systematic attack was made upon the English power in Aquitaine. Charles V. fitted out new armies in which the townsmen and the country-folk fought side by side with the nobility. Two of his brothers, John, Duke of Berri, and Louis, Duke of Anjou, prepared to assail the intruders, Berri in the central uplands, Anjou in the Garonne valley. It was not enough to recover what was lost. Aggression must be met by aggression, and the Duke of Burgundy, Charles' third brother, equipped a fleet in Norman ports, either to invade England or at least to cut off the Black Prince from his base. Portsmouth was burnt, before England had made any effort to defend her shores.

The English were strangely inactive. The Black Prince lay sick at Cognac, and of his subordinates Chandos, now seneschal of Poitou, alone showed vigour. Chandos, finding the lords of Poitou much more loyal to the English connexion than those of the south, was able to take the aggressive by invading Anjou. He was, however, soon recalled to protect Poitou, and on January 1, 1370, was mortally wounded at the bridge of Lussac. James Audley had already died of disease in another Poitevin town. While England was losing her best soldiers, Du Guesclin began a fresh series of raids in the Garonne valley. Soon the banner of the lilies waved within a few leagues of Bordeaux, and ancient towns of the English obedience, like Bazas and Bergerac, fell into the enemy's hands. With the capture of Périgueux, the Limousin was isolated from Gascon succour. In August the Duke of Berri appeared before the walls of the cité, or episcopal quarter, of Limoges, and the bishop promptly handed it over to him.

Disasters at last stirred up the English to action. In 1370 John of Gaunt was sent with one army to Gascony and Sir Robert Knowles with another to Calais. The Black Prince, though unable to ride, was eager to command. It was arranged that while Lancaster led one force from Bordeaux to Limoges, Edward should accompany another that marched from Cognac towards the same destination. To resist this combination Du Guesclin strove to combine the separate armies of the Dukes of Anjou and Berri. However, he failed to prevent the junction of Lancaster and Edward, and their advance to Limoges. On September 19, the anniversary of Poitiers, the city of Limoges opened its gates after a five days' siege. The English took a terrible revenge. Not a house in the cité was spared, and the cathedral rose over a mass of ruins. The whole population was put to the sword, the Black Prince in his litter watching grimly the execution of his orders. A few gentlemen alone were saved for the sake of their ransoms. Among them was the brother of Pope Gregory XI., who not unnaturally became a warm friend of the patriotic party. The sack of Limoges was the last exploit of the Black Prince. Early in 1371, he returned to England, partly because of his state of health, and partly because he had no money to pay his soldiers. It is not unlikely that he was already on bad terms with John of Gaunt, who had necessarily taken the chief share in the campaign and was nominated his successor. Too late, efforts were made to conciliate the Gascons; in 1370 a supreme court was set up at Saintes to save the necessity of appeals to London which had become as onerous as the ancient frequency of resort to the parliament of Paris; and the hearth-tax, the ostensible cause of the rising, was formally renounced.

Sir Robert Knowles's expedition of 1370 was as futile as that of Lancaster. He advanced from Calais into the heart of northern France. Taught by long experience the danger of joining battle, the French allowed him to wander where he would, plundering and ravaging the country. Roughly following the line of march of Edward III. in 1360, the English advanced through Artois and Vermandois to Laon and Reims, and thence southwards through Champagne. Then striking northwards from the Burgundian border, they appeared, at the end of September, before the southern suburbs of Paris. To dissipate the alarm felt at the presence of the English, Du Guesclin was summoned from the south and made constable of France. Before his arrival Knowles had moved on westwards 'towards the Beauce, intending to reach his own estates in Brittany for winter quarters. But his young captains got out of control. Led by a Gloucestershire knight, Sir John Minsterworth, "ready in hand but deceitful and perverse in mind," a considerable section of the troops refused to follow the old "tomb-robber" to Brittany, and determined to spend the winter where they were, under Minsterworth's leadership. Knowles would not give place to his subordinate, and made his way to Brittany with the part of his army which was still faithful to him. No sooner was he well started than Du Guesclin, after a march of ninety miles in three days, fell upon his rearguard at Pontvallain in southern Maine and overwhelmed it on December 4, 1370. Knowles managed to reach Brittany with the bulk of his forces, and Minsterworth, the real cause of the disaster, ventured to go to England and denounce his leader as a traitor. He was forced to flee to France, where he openly joined the enemy. Seven years later he was captured and executed.

Minsterworth was not the only traitor. In the earlier part of the war, there had fought on the English side a grand-nephew of the last independent Prince of Wales, Sir Owen ap Thomas ap Rhodri,1 whose grandfather, Rhodri or Roderick, the youngest brother of the princes Llewelyn and David, had after the ruin of his house lived obscurely as a small Cheshire and Gloucestershire landlord. In 1365 Owen was in France, engaged, no doubt, in one of the free companies, and on his father's death he returned to defend his inheritance from the claims of the Charltons of Powys. Having succeeded in this, he returned to France, and nothing more is heard of him until after the renewal of the war. In 1370 he appeared as a strenuous partisan of the French. Mindful of his ancestry he posed as the lawful Prince of Wales, and established communications with his countrymen, both in France and in Wales. Anxious to stir up discord in Edward's realm, the French king gladly upheld his claims. A gallant knight and an impulsive, energetic partisan, Sir Owen of Wales soon won a place of his own in the history of his time. In Gwynedd he was celebrated as Owain Lawgoch, Owen of the Red Hand. Conspiracies in his favour were ruthlessly stamped out, and a halo of legend and poetry soon encircled his name. In France Charles entrusted him and another Welshman, named John Wynn, with the equipment of a fleet at Rouen with which the champion was to descend on the principality and excite arising. Bad weather caused the complete destruction of the expedition of the Welsh pretender. Two years later, however, another fleet was fitted out on his behalf, and in June, 1372, Owen took possession of Guernsey.
1 The place of Owen of Wales in history was for the first time clearly shown by Mr. Edward Owen in Y Cymmrodor, 1899-1900, pp. 1-105.
At that time the fortune of war was strongly in favour of France, though the initial successes of Charles V. were damped by the doubtful results of the petty struggles which filled the year 1371. During that year Du Guesclin, the soul of the French attack, ejected the English from many places in Normandy and Poitou. On the other hand, the English won the hard fought battle over a Flemish fleet in Bourgneuf Bay, which has already been mentioned. They also showed some power of recovery in Aquitaine, where their recapture of Figeac in upper Quercy gave them a base for renewing their attacks on Rouergue. On the whole then, the year left matters much as they had been.

The occupation of Guernsey by Owen of Wales was the beginning of a new series of French victories. Up to that time the northern coastlands of Aquitaine, lower Poitou, Saintonge, and Angoumois had remained almost entirely under their English lords. In the hope of resisting attack, the English projected the invasion of France both from Calais and from Guienne. To carry out the latter plan John Hastings, Earl of Pembroke, was despatched with a fleet and army from England, with a commission to succeed John of Gaunt as the king's lieutenant in Aquitaine. The Franco-Spanish alliance then began to bear its fruits. Henry of Trastamara equipped a strong Spanish fleet to meet the invaders in the Bay of Biscay. On June 23, 1372, the two fleets fought an action off La Rochelle. The light Spanish galleys out-manoeuvred the heavy English ships, laden deep in the water with stores and filled with troops and horses. The Spaniards set on fire some of the English transports, which became unmanageable owing to the fright of the horses embarked upon them. The English fought valiantly, and night fell before the battle was decided. Next day, the Spaniards attacked again, and won a complete victory. The English fleet was destroyed, and Pembroke was taken a prisoner to Santander.

The news of Pembroke's defeat encouraged the French to attempt the conquest of Poitou. Du Guesclin invaded the county from the north in co-operation with the Spaniards at sea, Owen of Wales abandoned the siege of Cornet castle, in Guernsey, which still held out against him, and hurried to join the Spaniards. At Santander he met the captive Pembroke, and bitterly reproached the marcher earl with the part his house had taken in driving the Welsh from their lands. In August Owen and the Spaniards were lying off La Rochelle. Sir Thomas Percy, seneschal of Poitou, and the Captal de Buch were with a considerable force at Soubise, near the mouth of the Charente. Owen ascended the river and fell unexpectedly on the English at night. The English were utterly defeated and both leaders were taken prisoners, Thomas Percy, the future ally of Owen Glendower, being captured by one of Sir Owen's Welsh followers. Meanwhile, Du Guesclin, after receiving the surrender of Poitiers on August 7, pressed forward to the coast and was soon in touch with Owen and the Spaniards. On the same September day Angoulême and La Rochelle opened their gates to the French. In the course of the same month all the other towns of the district declared for the winning side. The nobles of Poitou were still to some extent English in sympathy, and a considerable band of them and their followers took refuge in Thouars. On December 1 this last stronghold of Poitevin feudalism surrendered. The tidings of disaster roused the old English king to his final martial effort. A fleet was raised and sailed from Sandwich, having on board the king, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Lancaster, and many other magnates. Contrary winds kept the vessels near the English coast, and the vast sums lavished on the equipment of the expedition were wasted. In despair the Black Prince surrendered to his father his principality of Aquitaine. When the king begged the commons for a further war subsidy, he was told that the navy had been ruined by his harsh impressment of seamen, and his refusal to give them pay when detained in port waiting for orders. When the command of the sea passed to the French and their Spanish allies, all hope of retaining Aquitaine was lost.

The final stages in the ruin of the English power in France need not detain us long. Despite his successes, Du Guesclin persevered in his policy of wearing down the English by delays and by avoiding pitched battles. He turned his attention to Brittany, where Duke John, in difficulties with his subjects, had invoked the aid of an English army. Thereupon the Breton barons called the French king to take possession of the duchy, whose lord was betraying it to the foreigner. The old party struggle was at an end: Celtic Brittany joined hands with French Brittany. Before the end of 1373, Duke John was a fugitive, and only a few castles with English garrisons upheld his cause. Of these Brest was the most important, and despite the Spaniards and Owen of Wales, the English were still strong enough at sea to retain possession of the place.

In July, 1373, John of Gaunt marched out of Calais with one of the strongest armies with which an English invader had ever entered France. Pursuing a general south-easterly direction, the English pitilessly devastated Artois, Picardy, and Champagne. Du Guesclin hastened back from Brittany to command the army engaged in watching Lancaster. He still continued his defensive tactics, but gave the enemy little rest. Lancaster was no match for so able a general as the Breton constable. At the end of September he moved from Troyes to Sens, and thence pushed into Burgundy. Then he turned westwards through the Nivernais and the Bourbonnais, and led his army through the uplands of Auvergne. By the end of the year he had traversed the Limousin, and made his way to Bordeaux. Half his army had perished of hunger, cold, and in petty warfare. The horses had suffered worse than the men, and the baggage train was almost destroyed. Without fighting a battle Du Guesclin had put the enemy out of action. Experience now showed how useless were the prolonged plundering raids which ten years before had filled all France with terror.

Even in Gascony Lancaster could not hold his own. After declining battle with the Duke of Anjou, he returned to England, leaving Sir Thomas Felton as seneschal. The enemy had penetrated to the very heart of the old English district. La Réole opened its gates to them; Saint-Sever, the seat of the Gascon high court, followed its example, By 1374 the English duchy was reduced to the coast lands around Bayonne and Bordeaux. That year the French laid siege to Chandos's castle of Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte. The siege was as long and as elaborately organised as the great siege of Calais. A ring of bastilles was erected round the doomed town, and cannon discharged huge balls of stone against its ramparts. After nearly a year's siege the garrison agreed to surrender on condition of a heavy payment. With the fall of the old home of the Harcourts the English power in Normandy perished. There was still, it is true, the influence of Charles of Navarre; but that desperate intriguer had compromised himself so much with both parties that no confidence could be placed in him.

The misfortunes of the English inclined them to listen to proposals of peace. Though the papacy was more frankly on the French side than ever, it had not lost its ancient solicitude to put an end to the war. With that object Gregory XI, though eager to return to Rome, tarried in the Rhone valley. Two of his legates appeared in Champagne at the time of John of Gaunt's abortive expedition. From that moment offers of peace were constantly pressed on both sides. Lancaster was at Calais, and Anjou was not far off at Saint-Omer, when definite proposals were exchanged. Before long it was found more convenient that the envoys should meet face to face, and for this reason the two dukes accepted the hospitality of Louis de Male, and held personal interviews at Bruges. More than once the negotiations broke down altogether. At no time was there much hope of a permanent peace. The English insisted on the terms of 1360, and the French demanded the cession of Calais and the release of the unpaid ransom of King John. However, on June 27, 1375, a truce for a year was signed at Bruges, which was further extended until June, 1377, just long enough to allow the old king to end his days in peace. France had once more to wrestle with the companies set free by the truce, so that England could still enjoy possession of Calais, Bordeaux, Bayonne, Brest, and the other scanty remnants of the cessions of the treaty of Calais. Satisfied at putting an end to the war, Gregory XI betook himself to Rome. Thus the truce outlasted the Babylonish captivity of the papacy as well as the life of Edward III.


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