Post-classical history


The Truce of Malestroit 1343–1345

Philip VI and his ministers had not anticipated the permanence of the English occupation of south and west Brittany, nor the high degree of organization which would be brought to bear on the business of maintaining it. They believed (as Philip once said to the King of Aragon) that once Edward III was prevented from carrying on the fight he would simply go away with all his men, as he had done in 1340, leaving the fate of Brittany to be determined by political manoeuvre. That was a contest in which the French Crown, close at hand and armed with great resources of force and patronage, could hardly fail. It was a grave misjudgement. Another, equally serious, was connected with it. When Philip told the Aragonese King that Edward had conquered nothing of ‘ours’, he seemed to be looking upon the Breton duchy as if it were an island unconnected with his kingdom. In fact, it proved quite impossible to contain the turmoil of the Breton civil war within the confines of the duchy. The French King’s advisers did not appreciate how many Bretons had come into Edward III’s allegiance during his victorious sweep through the duchy even in regions which he did not conquer by force of arms. They did not know how influential some of them were outside Brittany. They were quite ignorant of how costly it would be in political terms to give these men an amnesty for the duration of the truce.

The most significant of the defectors was Olivier de Clisson, a man who certainly belonged as much to France as to Brittany. He was the head of the principal noble house of north-western Poitou. The enormous castles at Clisson and Montaigu, which still stand over the road from Poitiers to Nantes, are visible evidence of his family’s wealth and strength. His income, drawn not only from his Breton barony but from estates throughout western France from the iron mines of southern Normandy to the outskirts of La Rochelle, was estimated at 20,000 l.t. per annum, a very substantial fortune. Olivier de Clisson’s motives for deserting the French royal house are difficult to divine. A man with stronger connections with the court could hardly have been found in Brittany. He had fought with Philip VI in Italy before his accession and received knighthood at his hands when both of them were much younger. He had fought for Philip in Gascony. Indeed, although other members of his family, particularly his younger brother Amaury, were prominent Montfortists, he had fought in the King’s army in Brittany in the winter of 1341–2.1

Nevertheless, in November 1342 when Edward III was outside Vannes, Olivier made a secret alliance with him which seems to have included an acknowledgement of his title to the crown of France. He brought with him into Edward’s allegiance most of his great network of clients, protégés and friends. Substantially the whole baronage of north-western Poitou joined him, including Girard Chabot, lord of Retz, and his kinsman Girard de Machecoul, lord of La Bénaste. These two young men possessed most of the territory south of the Loire and west of Nantes, including a line of castles along the march of France and southern Brittany. They too were men belonging as much to the kingdom as to the duchy. The lord of Retz was a son-in-law of one of Philip’s Marshals. Yet when the earls of Northampton and Warwick launched their exploratory raid on the Nantes region in December 1342 all of these lords and their numerous vassals crossed the Loire and joined forces with them. As far away as La Rochelle the garrison commander, who was a client of Olivier’s, tried to deliver up his town to the English before he was discovered. Olivier de Clisson’s wife, another of the formidable warlike women of this period of the war, conducted an independent campaign of banditry in Poitou and off the coast. The strategic importance of these events was not lost on Edward III. As he pointed out to his son, Poitou joined Brittany with Aquitaine.2

Godfrey of Harcourt was a traitor of smaller substance but with a longer and more destructive future. He was the lord of Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte, a lordship of middling importance in the Cotentin peninsula of southern Normandy, who embarked upon a brief and unsuccessful war against the French Crown at the beginning of 1343.3 It was his own war, not Edward III’s, born of his own rancours and ambitions, in that sense quite different from that of Olivier de Clisson. But it showed how easily the King of England, once he had occupied part of France, could be perceived as an alternative government, a stimulus to rebellion and, after rebellion, to continued obduracy. The immediate reason for Godfrey’s rebellion was characteristically personal: a dispute with Robert Bertrand, lord of Bricquebec, about the marriage of a local heiress. The quarrel had reached such a pitch of venom by 1341 that both men were summoning their retainers to do battle, ‘a thing neither honourable nor proper at a time when we are ourselves at war’, as Philip said in forbidding them to fight each other. In September 1342, when they met at court, swords were drawn in the King’s presence. This offence against the royal dignity resulted in both brawlers being summoned before the Parlement. Godfrey refused to appear. Instead, he began to make warlike preparations in his domains in southern Normandy. During the winter campaign in Brittany spies set to watch the castle of Saint-Sauveur reported the accumulation of weapons and the gathering of allies. Not all of the allies were Godfrey’s retainers and dependants: some of them were influential members of the Norman nobility with their own resentments and ambitions.

Shortly after the truce of Malestroit, too late to combine his movements with those of Edward III, Godfrey of Harcourt gathered his supporters in a forest near Mortain and led them out on a campaign of destruction against the property of the Bishop of Bayeux. The Bishop was Robert Bertrand’s brother. Two of his manors were attacked. One of them was demolished. The government reacted with vigour. The castle of Saint-Sauveur, which was defended in Godfrey’s name by one of his confederates, was besieged and when it was taken was razed to the ground. The rebellion was completely suppressed in the course of March 1343. Godfrey himself fled to Brabant.

The treasons of 1343 were startling signs of the internal divisions of western France and the declining prestige of the Crown there. Philip VI, always sensitive to the threat of betrayal, reacted savagely. In July Olivier de Clisson was unwise enough to attend a tournament in Paris. He cannot possibly have imagined that the King was ignorant of his doings; he must have been relying on the amnesty promised at Malestroit. However, he was arrested and charged with his dealings with Edward III. He admitted them, and on 2August 1343 was executed in Paris. The government went to great lengths to make a spectacle of his death. He was drawn on a hurdle to Les Halles and beheaded in the market place. His head was sent to Nantes to be impaled above the main gate. His wife, who had been summoned to answer for her own offences, absconded and was sentenced in her absence to be banished from the realm. Clisson’s great wealth was confiscated by the King.4

The government’s attitude to the activities of Godfrey of Harcourt was initially rather mild. The incident was treated as a police operation on a large scale but no more sinister conclusions were drawn from it. Godfrey himself was convicted in his absence of lèse-majesté and was banished with the loss of all his property. Most of his followers were quite quickly released from custody and some of them even recovered their lands. However, the affair acquired a more portentous significance in Philip’s mind in the autumn of 1343 and the early part of 1344 as the result of persistent rumours that Godfrey had concerted his rebellion with the English. According to reports he had recognized Edward III as King of France in return for a promise that he would become duke of Normandy in place of Philip’s eldest son. The reports were probably untrue. But they appeared to be confirmed when early in 1344 three Normans who had been confederates of Godfrey’s were captured fighting for the English in Brittany. These men received no mercy. They were condemned by royal warrant in April 1344 and were beheaded at Les Halles as soon as the warrant reached Paris. Their bodies were hung on the gibbet of Montfaucon and their heads taken back to the Cotentin to be displayed in the market place of Saint-Lô.5

The rebels of the Cotentin were not great lords in the mould of Olivier de Clisson, but some of them were men of substance on a provincial scale. The King, it was reported,

was greatly disturbed by the revelation of so much treason about him, the treasons of so many men, so widely spread about the provinces of his kingdom. The duchies of Brittany and Normandy seemed to him to be seething with rebels, led by the very noblemen who had promised to serve him till his dying day. He was shocked and puzzled. He even summoned an assembly of the nobility of the realm to consider what could be done about the evil, and how the rancours dividing his kingdom could be calmed.

Whatever advice this assembly may have given has not been recorded, but the fact that Philip decided to consult a wider body of opinion is sufficiently revealing. Moreover, after the assembly had dispersed he took some cautious steps towards a more open style of government, abandoning for example the use of his secret seal to authenticate acts of state. But Philip’s circle of trusted advisers remained very narrow, a fact which others noticed and resented. Even from his isolated position Philip must have known what people were saying. Ever since the middle of the 1330s power had been unduly concentrated in the hands of a few relatives and officials, the principal of whom were Mile de Noyers, an exceedingly tough old man; the King’s brother-in-law Odo, Duke of Burgundy; Jean de Marigny, Bishop of Beauvais, Philip’s able and long-standing representative in the south-west; and the princes of the blood, the Duke of Bourbon (until his death in February 1342), the King of Navarre and the heir to the throne, John, Duke of Normandy. ‘The King’s secret council’ is a phrase which appears for the first time in 1342, and it is apt. There was also the lame and venomous Queen, who was particularly close to her husband and whose severe views were believed to carry much weight. ‘A vindictive woman, laden with hatred’, Froissart called her. The King’s circle was not popular.6

Two things counted more than anything else against these men in the eyes of the French nobility. The first was their conduct of the war, which was thought to be pusillanimous and discreditable. This was unfair to men who thought carefully and intelligently about strategy and had countered Edward III’s diplomatic offensives with some skill. But their achievements were less evident than the fact that the King had faced his adversary three times across a battlefield and fought no battle. The second grievance was a more complicated matter, the mounting financial difficulties of the aristocracy, originating in the agricultural depression and aggravated by factors which could fairly be laid at the government’s door. Noblemen did not entirely escape taxation even if they fought as well. They suffered more than anyone from the manipulation of the coinage. They paid sales taxes like everyone else. In 1340 they had been assessed in many parts of France to a capital levy of 2 per cent. The war wages earned by French knights, although generous by European standards, would have done no more than cover their out-of-pocket expenses even if they had been paid promptly and in full, which inevitably they were not. Thrift was not an aristocratic virtue in war any more than it was in peace. It may be that Raoul de Brienne, Count of Eu and Constable of France, did not need to spend a fortune on cutting a fine figure at the wedding of Philip’s Chancellor, but given the scale of the war and the office and rank of the man, most of his prodigious expenditure in the 1330s and 1340s was unavoidable: the payment of a great retinue, the maintenance of a huge stable of warhorses, the heavy cost of constant travelling with his entire household, for much of which he was reimbursed very late or not at all. In spite of handsome stipends, gifts and allowances from the Crown his debts swamped his assets and he died bankrupt in 1344. The Count of Eu was an extreme case but his problems were experienced on a smaller scale by almost all the military aristocracy. They sold large parts of their land, which was generally broken up into small parcels or passed to ecclesiastical corporations or lawyers and civil servants whose prosperity seemed undiminished. They mortgaged what was left to secure loans contracted from usurers at ruinous rates of interest well above the legal maximum of 21 per cent. The scale on which the nobility was selling land in the early 1340s was so great that buyers were troubled by the possibility that they might be made to restore their purchases after the peace. The King’s private secretary, who was a busy purchaser of land and knew Philip’s mind if anyone did, took the precaution of obtaining royal letters against the day when ‘the King or his successors may graciously permit the nobles of his realm to recover their heritages and possessions sold to commoners on account of the burden of our wars, paying nothing more than the purchase money they received’.7

These two grievances were intimately connected. The lacklustre performance of French commanders and the defensive instincts of the King deprived the troops of most of the traditional means of making war profitable. Louis of Spain, when he was serving as admiral off the Breton coast in 1342, exacted large sums in protection money from merchant shipping. Somebody (it is not clear who) must have done well by the capture of the earls of Salisbury and Suffolk. The Constable did extremely well out of the spoil of Bourg and Blaye. But these were rare opportunities. The war was fought on French soil which could not be plundered. Apart from Bourg and Blaye, no significant towns were stormed by French troops. Without battles there were few opportunities to take prisoners for ransom.8

Thirty years before, the chronicler Godfrey of Paris had described the disappointment and anger of noblemen who had mortgaged their land to buy warhorses for the Flemish campaign of 1314 and had then been turned back by a shabby peace:

                  Gentils homs deceuz en furent

                  Qui chièrement les chevaux eurent

                  Dont lor terre orent engagé.9

The King of France cannot have forgotten that it was the same combination of economic sacrifice and avoidance of battle which had provoked the nobility of his father’s generation to the most dangerous rebellion of recent times.

In these conditions the patronage of the government assumed growing importance as the means of buying loyalty and bridging the gap between the mounting expenditure of the aristocracy and their shrinking incomes. Philip was sensitive to this. He made generous grants to his friends and followers. The citations which explained them in his charters speak for themselves: to this man a pension to enable him to maintain his noble status; to that one a contribution to his ransom; to the other a gift to help him replace his captured equipment. The Crown, however, did not have the resources to relieve all of them of financial pressures, which its own treasury was experiencing also. Its largesse inevitably seemed capricious to outsiders, the contrast between those who had the King’s ear and those who did not unforgivable. The consequences of this state of affairs were felt far beyond the court. A grant of conquered or confiscated property, a profitable public office, permission to hold a market or charge tolls, a valuable wardship, an exemption from this or that species of taxation or from encroachment on a seigneurial jurisdiction: all these boons could make the difference between prosperity and relative penury. Competition for them was intense, and in the provincial communities of France the hazards of royal favour mattered very much.

In the Cotentin the Bertrand family had once competed on more or less equal terms with the Harcourts and the Taissons for influence and wealth. By the beginning of the 1340s a respectable but not particularly distinguished career in royal service had enabled Robert Bertrand to eclipse his rivals altogether. They enjoyed incomes in 1343 estimated at 3,000 l.t. per annum apiece, a reasonable sum but certainly not equal to their pretensions. Robert’s income from royal grants alone must have substantially exceeded it. There were generous stipends, valuable markets at Honfleur and Magneville, extremely lucrative privileges in the heavily protected timber forests and, perhaps, an heiress for his second son, all the fruits of royal favour. In addition to the grants which brought him income there was the patronage of his office, the capacity to procure privileges for his friends, and the status derived from his captaincy of the nearby coasts and the lordship of the newly conquered Channel Islands. If Bertrand had not been a Marshal, it is unlikely that his brother would have become bishop of Bayeux, one of the richest sees of Normandy, in 1338. The sudden distortion of the local balance of power was probably the main cause of Godfrey of Harcourt’s rebellion and the reason why the Bertrand family was its principal target. The head of the house of Taisson joined him. Yet Robert Bertrand was very far from being the most favoured of Philip’s servants.10


Normandy also illustrated in an extreme degree the political problems of high taxation which must have mattered even more to Godfrey’s followers than the rise of an upstart Marshal. Like other provinces of France Normandy had enjoyed a tax holiday for several years before the outbreak of the war, which made heavy taxation the more intolerable now. Norman opinion of the next generation regarded Harcourt’s civil war as a rebellion against tax and devaluation. Yet this was a rich agricultural province. It was also an autonomous duchy belonging to the King’s heir, with a strong representative assembly and formidable charters of privilege. Other provinces, particularly those in the north and centre, fared worse.11

The benefit to the Crown was increasingly disappointing. The government’s receipts from taxes touched a peak in 1340 before declining steadily in the face of growing resistance. It was just possible, in 1341 and 1342, to generate a sense of national peril which brought in some money, but as the news of the truce of Malestroit spread through the country the flow almost entirely ceased. The sales tax of four pennies in the pound became difficult and in some places impossible to collect. Philip’s commissioners tried hard to persuade individual magnates to go on paying it in their domains, but only those closest to the royal family agreed. Many of the grants which had been painfully negotiated with the local communities had to be formally cancelled; others were simply not paid. The process of piecemeal negotiation of taxes was proving disastrously inappropriate in wartime conditions. Alternative schemes, less affected by local particularism, could have been imposed only by a stronger government enjoying greater prestige than Philip’s did. It was another unfortunate consequence of the stalemates on the battlefields. Some attempts were made. But they increased the government’s unpopularity out of all proportion to the gain in revenue.12

In August 1343 the Estates-General of the whole kingdom met in Paris to consider what had by then become a grave financial crisis. The proposal which was put to them was politically shrewd. It involved a promise to abandon the policy of devaluations, which was now bringing little benefit to the Crown, and to restore the legendary coinage of St Louis. In return the government was to be permitted to continue levying the sales taxes of 1340 and 1342 notwithstanding that the war had given way to truce, an important concèssion of principle and a departure from past prejudices. The government was also permitted to extend these useful taxes to the south, which had traditionally preferred hearth taxes. All this was agreed subject to the confirmation of each local community. The confirmation was almost everywhere obtained. It was a considerable political achievement.13 Yet the actual results were wretched. The revaluation of the coinage involved a reduction of the nominal value of silver by three-quarters and a very severe deflation. It was carried out all at once in October 1343. Prices fell, but not as far or as fast as they should have done. In spite of the notional appeal of the coinage of St Louis, the revaluations of 1343 proved to be as unpopular as the devaluations of earlier years had been. The government could do nothing right. As for the sales taxes, their effect on the royal finances seems to have been short-lived. The harvest was bad in 1343. Individual tax-payers proved more resistant than their representatives. The revaluation made them feel poor as well as resentful. In 1343 the Crown was once more resorting to a miscellany of sharp financial expedients to raise meagre sums of money.14

Although the financial crisis led to anxious reviews of garrison strengths and naval establishments,15 its impact on the defence of the country was for some time masked by the fact that the same symptoms of exhaustion affected England. Chronic devaluation of the coinage was not, admittedly, a failing of English royal policy, but the overvaluation of the English coinage and the manipulation of the wool trade had been almost as damaging and the burden of taxation relatively greater. England needed time for recovery as much for political as for financial reasons. The Parliamentary wool subsidies voted in 1340 and 1341 continued to be collected until 1342, but there followed a two-year period during which the King avoided asking for any conventional war taxation. This was realism, not largesse. What was available went to pay off those of the King’s debts which it was impolitic to repudiate. The Italian bankers recovered a small proportion of their loans; Pole, because he was indispensable, rather more over the years; for diplomatic reasons the German and Flemish bankers and the more important princes of the Low Countries enjoyed priority and received most of what was due to them in the course of 1344 and 1345. Symbolic moments marked the stages of this long process. The Hanse bankers surrendered control of the customs in June 1343; the Great Crown, pawned for an improvident loan in 1339, returned to England in 1344 and was finally redeemed in the following year. None of this, however, restored the King’s credit to the point where he could contract fresh bank loans; and it left very little over for fresh war-making. The Breton campaign of 1342 had been relatively short and cheap, the first of the rapid spoiling raids in force which were to become a hallmark of English strategy. It had cost less than£40,000, which was excellent value by comparison with the prodigiously costly and unsuccessful campaigns of 1339 and 1340. But even so it was the equivalent of more than a standard Parliamentary subsidy and in the end it had to be found from the English treasury rather than the Breton duchy. No provision had been made for it. Some of the nobility who brought their retinues to the army had been paid by assignments from the wool subsidies. Others were obliged to serve on long-term credit. For the time being, further adventures of this kind were out of the question.16

Exhaustion, therefore, rather than goodwill, preserved a semblance of peace between January 1343 and June 1345, two and a half years in which no major campaign took place. But it was a tense, unstable peace. There were periodic alarms about real or imagined threats of invasion, more often, now, in France than in England. Reports that Edward III’s personal standard had been seen flying from a vessel lying off Calais could still produce panic at the French King’s court and a scramble to find soldiers to guard the coast.17The south-west lapsed into banditry almost as destructive as public war. In Brittany, in spite of the truce, fighting continued between the partisans of Montfort and Blois almost without interruption, warfare on a miniature scale but persistent enough to keep political hatreds alive.


Gascony had problems peculiar to itself. Distance and ignorance, and the absence of any source of objective advice, were serious obstacles in the way of the English government’s efforts to understand them. Ever since the King’s return from the continent at the end of 1340 he had been deluged with petitions from damaged towns, dispossessed landowners, unpaid soldiers and disappointed men with grudges and unfulfilled ambitions. Some of them arrived in England to bend his ear in person. The King’s great tournament at Langley in February 1341, the first after his return, had been crowded out with Gascon noblemen, many of whom had large unpaid arrears of war wages, demands for favours and projects for the renascence of English power in the south-west. Privately Edward’scouncillors found these men very tiresome. Nevertheless, the jaundiced opinions of Gascons at the English court were probably the government’s main source of information and advice about the duchy’s affairs.18

Oliver Ingham was old and ill and increasingly difficult to deal with. He had refused to come to England at the beginning of 1341, when the Council wanted to carry out a general review of the affairs of the duchy. The lord of Albret, who was still Edward’s lieutenant there, came to England a few months later and stayed for more than a year. But he was regarded, quite correctly, as an ambitious self-seeker. The government did not trust him. At a Council meeting devoted to Gascon affairs in December 1341 Bernard-Aiz painted a sombre picture of the state of the duchy and promised to do great things if he was paid enough. But the Council declined to endorse his plans. Their main conclusion was that it was essential to bring Ingham to England as soon as possible.19 Ingham paid a short visit to England in 1342, but at a difficult moment when the Breton crisis was at its height and the King’s attention and resources were engaged on other matters. Some kind of stocktaking evidently did occur. But the results were poor, and whatever resolutions were made had not, in the opinion of the Council, been carried out a year later. The result was that Edward III finally parted company with his long-standing Seneschal. In April 1343 Ingham received an extremely peremptory summons to return to England. He sent the Constable, Niccolo Usomare, in his place with the familiar story: the whole income of the duchy had been assigned to past creditors or spent on wages of war, and the coffers were empty. The Council was incredulous. Weston, the treasurer of the Gascon army, was called from Bordeaux to explain himself. When he arrived, early in July 1343, he brought with him one of Ingham’s clerks, bearing another gloomy report and asking for instructions. On 20 July Ingham was removed from office. He was dead within six months. At Ingham Priory in Norfolk, the remains can still be seen of the stone tomb and effigy of this great but unremembered servant of the English monarchy whose work made possible the more famous deeds of Henry of Lancaster and the Black Prince.20

It was time for Ingham to go, but the reasons for his going suggest that the English government had still not grasped that the problem was insufficiency of resources rather than maladministration. It was a remarkable fact that although the duchy had been attacked by French armies up to 20,000 strong, hardly any English troops had yet served there except for the small number brought by John of Norwich in 1337. The proposed expedition of 1338 had been diverted to the Low Countries. The proposed expedition of 1342 had been diverted to Brittany.

The English government was only marginally more generous with financial assistance to its penurious officials in Bordeaux. Bernard-Aiz of Albret, whose services were indispensable and who may have threatened to withdraw them, presented claims amounting to £21,725 8s. 1d. sterling and 600 écus. He received huge sums in 1341 and 1342: an assignment worth more than £8,000 from the English Parliamentary subsidy and a promise of the rest from the English treasury in due course. The effect of these transactions was that in spite of the parlous state of the English revenues they were used to pay most if not all of the cost of the campaign of 1340 in Gascony, which Bernard-Aiz had financed in the first instance out of his own pocket. This was still regarded in England as anunavoidable exception to the policy of making Gascony sustain its own war effort. But it became less exceptional. In June 1344 another large sum, 100,000 pounds of Bordeaux (£20,000), had to be found to pay arrears of war wages, some of which dated back to 1336. The money was borrowed from an Italian banking firm on the security of the profits of the English mint. In addition to these payments, which were usually the result of one of the periodic crises in the government’s relations with the Gascon nobility, there were more frequent deliveries of smaller sums for special purposes which the King could not bear to see neglected by his agents in Bordeaux: a subsidy for Ingham’s campaign of autumn 1342; another for the defence of Bourg when it became apparent that the Constable of Bordeaux could not afford properly to garrison or victual the place.21

The removal of the Seneschal in July 1343 was followed within a few weeks by the death of the Constable, an opportunity to remake the administration in Bordeaux which was largely wasted. The new Seneschal was Nicholas Beche, a household official of the Prince of Wales. John Walwain, an ancient Exchequer official who had briefly been Treasurer of England under Edward II, became Constable. John Shoreditch, who had been the government’s principal legal and diplomatic adviser on the affairs of Gascony during the 1330s, was called out of retirement to become the senior judge of appeals. None of these men, except possibly the last, was outstanding or knew much about Gascony; none of them had a status or reputation which commanded loyalty; none of them was in the King’s inner confidence. The appointments had a provisional look about them. It may have been intended that the role of royal lieutenant would be resumed by Hugh of Geneva, but even he was no more than an august mercenary.22

Beche was at least astute enough to perceive some of the main administrative problems, although not to make any very significant contribution to solving them. His proposals included a general investigation of grant-holders and the revocation of those grants which had not obviously been earned; the cancellation of all royal letters requiring the payment of privileged debtors in undevalued coin; the suppression of the countless petty frauds by which men boosted their war wages or obtained excessive compensation for property conquered by the French. His most radical suggestion was an ambitious scheme to levy a sales tax in all the major market towns of the duchy at the very high rate of a shilling in the pound, which was three times the rate paid in the towns of northern France. The Council agreed to all of this. Presumably some attempt was made to put it into effect, but if so it failed. Most of the administrative vices which Beche had diagnosed remained as problems for his successors. There is no trace of any systematic re-examination of past grants. The sales tax seems at some stage to have been quietly abandoned.23

Beche entirely failed to restore civil peace to the duchy. Private war, a long-standing privilege of the Gascon nobility, continued to destroy whole regions and to divide and weaken Edward III’s allies. It seems likely that Guilhem-Raymond, lord of Caumont, who had been one of the leading lights of the English campaign of 1340 but defected to the French two years later, did so as a result of becoming involved in a private war with the Albrets. He was never reconciled to Edward III. The English government’scorrespondence with its officials in Gascony during this period is filled with complaints of civil disputes between noblemen and injunctions to reconcile the rivals before one of them deserted to the enemy. In the southern extremity of the Landes and the Bayonnais the last vestiges of central control had disappeared in the early 1340s. Arnaud de Durfort, who had been granted the lordship of Labourde for its better defence against the French and Navarrese, conducted a private feud against the Albret clan here throughout this period, and both groups waged a persistent guerrilla war against the citizens of Bayonne. Edward III initially sent the Chief Justice of the Gascon court of appeals (Shoreditch’s predecessor) to restore order and then attempted to enforce his will by confiscating Labourde. These measures were entirely ineffective. Arnaud reoccupied his lands with ‘slaughter, mayhem and destruction’. The merchants of Bayonne continued to be attacked and plundered on the roads and waterways about the city. Stone towers appeared throughout the area and robbers made their camps around them. In the two years ending September 1343 the ducal revenues of the Bayonnais yielded nothing. On account of the anarchy prevailing there, the clerk recorded in his ledger, it was ‘quasi tota destructa’. It was an extreme but not a unique case. Nicholas Beche went about in these days with an escort of forty men-at-arms, which was twice the number that his predecessor had required. There was no point in blaming him for these difficulties. His job called for greater authority than any mere administrator could possess.24

Beche’s most significant contribution to the well-being of the duchy was to enforce the truce of Malestroit a great deal more effectively than his more bellicose and conspiratorial predecessor had enforced the truce of Esplechin. There was a good deal of semi-official banditry on the march of Gascony in Beche’s time but no campaign was fought there between February 1343 and June 1345. This respite of nearly two and a half years from major war expenditure had become essential to the recovery of the duchy’s administration and must have enabled at least a part of the arrears of war wages to be cleared. No one, however, can have imagined that the truce had long to run or that the war, when it was resumed, could be fought again as the English had fought it before. When the curtain of defensive fortresses was so thin, a policy of static local defence was bound to fail at some point. The walls of Gascon towns and castles needed a programme of repairs extending over longer than the English were likely to be given, at a cost far greater than they could afford. Attack was now the only means of defence, and conquest was the only means of paying for it. The loyalty of the Gascon nobility was being bought by large grants of territory yet to be reconquered from Philip VI. These promises could not be indefinitely postponed. By 1345 a great offensive in the south-west led by the King or someone who could convincingly represent him had become a condition of the duchy’s survival.

The English were naturally better acquainted with their own problems than with those of Philip VI. It became apparent, however, that the difficulties of the French government in the south-west were even greater. The performance of French armies there in the early 1340s had been most unimpressive in spite of their superiority of numbers. Neither the Count of Valentinois’ campaign of 1341 nor the Bishop of Beauvais’ in 1342. had done more than recapture a few of the places which the English had snatched in breach of the truce. The financial crisis of the French Crown bore particularly heavily on the administration in the south. The sales tax, which was still being fitfully collected in the main towns of the north, did not exist in Languedoc, and the refusal of the southern tax-payers to go on paying hearth taxes in time of truce was absolute. The Bishop of Beauvais, who resumed his functions as the King’s lieutenant about a month after the truce of Malestroit, was faced almost at once with widespread and sometimes violent resistance to his commissioners, which he had no means of suppressing. Between March and May 1343 the Bishop was obliged to cancel the collection of taxes in one district after another. Apart from the taxes agreed by the Estates-General of August 1343, the Crown levied no taxes in the south in the years 1343, 1344 and 1345.25

The symptoms of a crisis of loyalty and a grave breakdown of public order became very noticeable from the end of 1342 as economic distress intensified and demobilized soldiers began to pour across Languedoc. In some cases the source of the disorder was the old phenomenon of private war, but fought on a larger scale and with more venomous persistence. The men who laid waste the Albigeois in 1345 did so with banners unfurled, trumpets blowing and 400 cavalry. In the march of Gascony private war had actually been legalized by the French Crown in time of peace or truce on the basis that these regions had once formed part of the duchy of Aquitaine where custom sanctioned it. The appearance of the first self-governing companies of routiers was a more sinister event: large gangs of armed men, organized like military units with a formal structure of command, emblems and names. The Société de la Folie, so called, terrorized the district of Nîmes for some eighteen months until its leader was taken and hanged in June 1344. Like most of his kind he was a member of the minor nobility of the province, the group which had suffered most from the economic troubles of the period. Incidents like these, and there were many of them, dented the prestige of the Crown and diminished its capacity to demand taxes as well as the capacity of the inhabitants to pay them. Moreover, they encouraged the communities of the south-west to think in terms of local not collective defence. Perhaps there was little choice. Agen obtained letters of privilege in 1341 limiting its military obligations to the provision of 200 sergeants for forty days and then only for the defence of the march of Gascony in time of war. Condom negotiated a very similar arrangement. Both towns lay in regions distressed by brigandage and private war.26

The collapse of civil order gradually merged with the war. It was too easy for rebellious local lords to transform brigandage into politics and to make their private causes the causes of Edward III in the hope of obtaining his support. Edward’s officials had no reason to be selective. In the Agenais this was a problem of long standing. With its rash of seigneurial castles and its continual private wars the province had a tradition of civil violence older than the war and had harboured anglophiles of sentiment or conveniencefor a long time. The appearance of the same conditions in other provinces where the recollection of English administration was fainter was a more recent development with more serious implications for the future course of the war. Périgord was the province most seriously affected, but it was also a grave problem in the Angoumois and Quercy.

18 The march of Gascony, January 1343–May 1345

In Périgord the change of sentiment was very striking. Except in the Dordogne valley the English had not enjoyed much influence there even in the heyday of their administration. In the first campaigns of the Hundred Years War the nobility of Périgord had fought almost to a man in the armies of Philip VI. Within the province, however, quarrels of growing intensity divided the nobility in a way which was bound, sooner or later, to offer an opening to the English King’s agents. The Talleyrands, counts of Périgord, although still the dominant family of the region, were a declining power. The Rudels, lords of Bergerac and principal potentates of the Dordogne valley, had died out in 1334 in a welter of fighting and private war. Their place was being filled by aggressive and covetous rivals from the neighbouring regions of Aquitaine, pre-eminently the lords of Albret and Caumont; and by a host of turbulent petty lords very similar in their outlook and ambitions to the hill-barons of the Agenais. The Count of Périgord, who was a firm ally of France, was a natural focus for their opposition. The rebellion of some of these men in 1340, which had been largely brought about by the machinations of the Albrets, was a watershed in the province’s history, introducing a long period of anarchy and civil war of which the Bordeaux government took full advantage. In August 1340 the English had lodged a garrison at Saint-Astier in the Isle valley which remained there for a year until the place was taken by storm in the autumn of 1341. The ‘rebels and enemies’ who had occupied Montencès in the name of Edward III at the same time, withstood a siege of more than six months in the following year and were not dislodged until 1342. Fresh sores were continually opened. At about the time that the Bishop of Beauvais was demolishing the towers of Montencès, the English planted another garrison at Mussidan, with the assistance of its lord, and began to reconstruct the town’s defences. This place remained in English hands for more than five years. The boundary between banditry and war was never exactly drawn. The French government, however, referred to the provincial capital of Périgueux as a frontier town.27

To all these intruders the documentary records and the local population indiscriminately applied the name ‘English’, a convention followed in this book although almost all of them were in fact Gascons or Béarnais or mercenaries in English pay who came from beyond the Rhône or the Pyrenees. Long terms of garrison service interrupted by guerrilla warfare, armed robbery and cattle-rustling under minor commanders was not a life for the impressed townsmen and minor landowners who traditionally made up the numbers of medieval armies. Instead the fighting fell to volunteers drawn from a growing military underworld of disparaged gentry, refugees and drifters, malcontents and petty criminals. The court records and letters of pardon of the period are filled with the stories of their lives. The tale of Arnaud Foucaud could stand for many of them. He came from the small village of Clion in Saintonge. His family seem to have been rich peasants. He had learned how to fight on horseback and could handle a lance. When Foucaud was about fourteen or fifteen years old he got involved in a village feud and killed one of his antagonists in a fight. This was in 1337, the first year of the war, as the French were overrunning English-occupied Saintonge. When the Seneschal’s officers came to arrest him he fled to the nearest ‘English’ garrison, which was at Montendre, an enclave of the duchy about 15 miles from his home. The commander there, a louche petty nobleman from Béarn, hired him as a soldier. His life at Montendre consisted in keeping watch and periodically pillaging and burning villages. When the castle was captured by the French in July 1338, Foucaud received a safe conduct as part of the terms of capitulation and returned home. In 1340, after two relatively uneventful years, he went to Jonzac, the nearest market town, and met two relatives of the man whom he had killed. There was a fight. Foucaud himself was badly wounded, but both his antagonists were killed. Five weeks after this incident, as he was still nursing his wounds, he was arrested. But he never stood trial. The Seneschal only wanted to be rid of him. So he allowed him to go free on condition that he leave the province for good. Foucaud went to Bordeaux. Here, he took service in the household of Jean Colom, a rich urban knight who employed him as a cavalryman and took him on several expeditions with the army of Oliver Ingham. In June 1341 another soldier in Colom’s pay persuaded him to join a small armed band which was being formed for some private purpose of the La Motte family. This turned out to be the daring capture of Bourg, by far the most brazen of the Bordeaux government’s breaches of the truce of Esplechin. Foucaud fought gallantly in this enterprise and served in the garrison of the town after it had fallen. But his reward was meagre. His wages were unpaid and his share of the spoils amounted to no more than ten livres’ worth of equipment. Moreover, he quarrelled with the garrison commander, who suspected him of being a French sympathizer, and tried to extract a confession by torturing him. By 1342 he was back in Bordeaux hiring out his services as a jobbing trooper. He joined a band of 100 men recruited by the lord of Pommiers to carry out long-range raids in Saintonge, but the pillage of this enterprise was worth only fifty livres to be divided between all of them. He fought with Ingham’s army in the campaign of Saintonge and Angoumois in the autumn of 1342, taking part in the capture of Blanzac, and gaining ten livres in cash as his share of the spoil. At some stage during 1343 he seems to have obtained a pardon from the French royal lieutenant in the south, the Bishop of Beauvais. But by the autumn of 1344 he was back in Bordeaux. According to evidence which he gave under torture (and which he tried to retract) he was next hired in Bordeaux by a Béarnais nobleman to take part with twenty-five others in a raid on a small priory not far from the city. He and six men stood guard outside, while the rest went in, tied up the Prior and his servants and stripped the place of gold and silver, horses and everything of value. But the captain of the troop took most of the spoil for himself. Foucaud’s share was only twenty florins. This incident was his undoing, for it was not covered by his pardon. It is not clear how he fell into French hands. He probably tried to go home. In May 1345 he was taken to Paris and held in the prison of the Châtelet to answer charges of treason, robbery and murder. He was convicted on the 27th and beheaded in Les Halles on the following day. Foucaud was twenty-three years old when he died. Booty was an incidental bonus for men like him, but it was not booty that drew them to warfare and most of them got very little of it. They were drop-outs, desperados.28

Even a small number of these licensed bandits posted as garrison troops in the middle of French-held territory had a catalytic effect in accelerating the breakdown of public order, inciting local men who knew that help was at hand to carry their point from resentment to rebellion. They stole and killed over an extending radius, creating islands of uncultivatable territory and roads too dangerous to pass. No one has described for us what life was like in the neighbourhood of Mussidan after 1342, but it is not hard to imagine. In the spring of 1343 the visitors of the Order of Cluny, touring the provinces of the Order in western France, were able to see very little in the southern parts of Saintonge and Angoumois. Most of the priories there were inaccessible, abandoned or incapable of feeding their occupants. ‘They have enough to eat today,’ the visitors reported about one of these places, ‘but they have no idea whether they will eat tomorrow. The troops and mercenaries stationed hereabouts are eating up the whole wealth of the house.’ This was at Montbrun, 15 miles east of Angoulême and some distance from the march of Gascony. The garrison of Blanzac had reduced everything within marching distance to desert. This had been French-occupied territory for more than half a century, but the reputation of the French Crown here must have been low. Populations numbered by fatalism and impotent in the face of successive disasters became indifferent to the political purposes of either side.29

At Blanzac, as at Mussidan, the Bordeaux government was directly involved. What was striking, and became even more so as the war continued, was that men were willing to challenge the French Crown in Edward III’s name even in provinces which had never even nominally been part of the continental possessions of the English house and were too far from Gascony for there to be any possibility of military assistance. Perhaps they were too optimistic, these barons of a few villages. More probably, like the King of Majorca’s squire and like his many imitators in the later years of the fourteenth century, they sensed the value of Edward’s arms and war-cries as party labels, less a political statement than a common bond with men of like mind. ‘Guyenne! Guyenne!’ the hoodlums cried as they invaded the property of their enemies in furtherance of their private vendettas. It would be interesting to know who were the men of the Toulousain, ‘noblemen and commoners alike’, who spontaneously came to the assistance of Edward’s armies in the autumn of 1339; who were the large body of men of ‘the English party’ who in June 1341 occupied the castle of Belcayre in the heart of the Rouergue 150 miles from Bordeaux; or what lay behind the case of Mende, a small town of the Gévaudan 200 miles from Bordeaux which had to be stormed by French troops in the autumn of the same year. We have only fleeting and incidental references in the fragmentary surviving records of the French provincial administrations to tell us that anything at all happened in places like these.30

In the border country closest to Bordeaux, where the war damaged was greatest, and the castles, freebooters and ex-soldiers thickest on the ground, the French Crown was peculiarly dependent upon the uncertain loyalties and mobile self-interest of the inhabitants. There had been plenty of support here in the 1330s when a swift French victory had seemed likely and surrender was the way of peace. Perceptions were different now, in the 1340s, that the French appeared to have lost their opportunities. What French royal government meant in wartime was described in the catalogue of grievances presented to the Crown by the Estates of Languedoc in 1346: a stream of special commissioners and sergeants charging non-nobles found to be in possession of fiefs; assessing villages for the repair of roads and bridges; enforcing long-forgotten debts; making unrealistic demands for military service; rejecting the men proffered for reasons frivolous or groundless and then levying fines instead. Very similar complaints had been made in the time of Philip the Fair. None of it was new. But it was new to the conquered regions of the march severed from the English duchy since 1324. In two years of French rule between 1339 and 1341 Bourg had had to support a French garrison which was never less than 100 strong and sometimes as large as 500. The suburbs and outlying villages had been so completely plundered that the abbey of St Vincent and many of the citizens of the town had been reduced to indigence. This was presumably why the canons let in La Motte’s band in 1341 and why the citizens rose spontaneously in their support. When Sainte-Bazeille defected to the English later in the same year the townsmen assessed the damage which they had suffered under French occupation at 24,000 l.t. After the first campaigns of the 1330s the English never, even at the most parlous moments of their fortunes, lacked friends in the French-held towns of the march ready to open the gates at night or sound the alarm in the wrong direction.31

These men may well have been right in supposing that life would be more agreeable as an English frontier town. Edward III’s claim to be King of France is unlikely to have excited much emotional sympathy but his government had perforce ruled with a lighter hand than the Bishop of Beauvais’, and its servants belonged to a gentler administrative tradition. Edward III’s officials were very conscious of their need of friends. Moreover the French government was more obviously foreign. The sergeants, officials and immigrants who followed every French advance received grants from the French royal lieutenants at the expense of denizens whose loyalty was more doubtful. Even at a relatively humble level the French Crown’s representatives in the south-west included a remarkably high proportion of immigrants from other provinces of the south as well as northerners, Provençals and Savoyards. By comparison the local administration of the dukes of Aquitaine had traditionally been a Gascon affair. Arnaud Foucaud told his interrogators in the cells of the Châtelet prison that the King of France would suffer for the arrogance of his officials in the south. Edward III had only to send a man of his own blood to represent him in Gascony for the castles and towns of the march to throw open their gates to him. Foucaud was executed only a few weeks before his prophecy was vindicated.32

In March 1343 Philip VI granted to his son John, Duke of Normandy, all the territory which had been conquered from the English in the southwest since 1322, the latest of a succession of grants by which Philip had ceded income and status to build up this frail, unconfident twenty-four-year old. John now added ‘Lord of the Conquests’ to his official titles. Philip VI, who never entirely released his son from the leading reins, reserved to himself the administration of most of these territories, including the ‘conquests’, which continued to be governed by the Bishop of Beauvais and other officials of the Crown as before. But the Prince’s appointment was not a purely symbolic gesture. Philip could see that his government was in difficulty in the south-west even if he did not appreciate the full extent of the difficulty. He was as much in need as Edward III was of a viceroy who could embody the Crown more completely than any holder of official letters patent of appointment. But John lacked judgement as well as experience and his lack of independent authority must have been plain for all to see. Moreover he did not reside in the south-west as Derby was to do for much of the late 1340s and the Black Prince during the 1350s and 1360s. In September 1344 he paid a brief visit to Agen in the course of a three-month tour of the southern provinces of France, and received the oaths of allegiance of his new subjects in the great hall of the Dominicans. After the ceremony the Duke, who had been very ill in the course of his tour, removed himself hastily to the shrine of Rocamadour. It was the last that the march provinces saw of him until the catastrophic events of 1345.33


In Brittany the signature of the truce made little difference. The chroniclers are almost entirely silent about the brutal, unglamorous fighting there in which few men and no great ones were engaged. Small bands of garrison troops, rarely more than a few dozen strong, laid ambushes for each other on minor roads or fell suddenly on merchant convoys of carts and pack-animals; coastal villages were attacked without warning from the sea by men who disappeared within hours with their plunder or were caught and butchered with unexampled savagery by local men; inland villages were burned by the troops of both sides for want of protection money; farmhouses attacked at dawn to seize some local nobleman in his nightshirt and hold him for his ransom. The administrative correspondence of the period only occasionally casts a flash of light on disconnected incidents like these. The main line of events is, however, clear. The English held on to their coastal strongholds like winkles on rocks. Charles of Blois’ partisans never succeeded in dislodging them and were rarely strong enough to try. They did, however, succeed in destroying the Montfortist party by a well-judged mixture of force and political pressure until the moment came when the English could no longer maintain the pretence of being supporters of the ducal government: they became more and more obviously a force of occupation.

The main problem of the Montfortists was the absence of any Breton leader to serve as a focus for their loyalty. For more than six months after the truce of Malestroit John de Montfort remained, in spite of the French King’s promises, a prisoner in the Louvre, a breach of faith about which Edward III protested loudly. But when eventually he was released, on 1 September 1343, the event did nothing for his cause. The French government exacted stringent terms. John was made to promise that he would not go back to Brittany but would live peacefully on his estates in France and would attend at court at once whenever he was summoned. He also had to find sureties for his good behaviour, including a bond put up by his cousin for the enormous sum of 60,000 l.p. These terms were scrupulously observed until 1345. The fact that John was free but declined to help the Bretons who were fighting in his name was far more demoralizing than his imprisonment had ever been.34 There was no one else. The Countess remained in England, her insanity a well-kept secret and her absence inexplicable. Their children were too young even for use as symbols. The political leadership of the Montfortists remained in the hands of a small number of Breton noblemen who had been the closest counsellors of John and his wife in the summer of 1341: Geoffrey de Malestroit and his kinsman Tanneguy du Châtel, and Amaury de Clisson. Some of these men were tied to the cause only by the fear of what would happen to them if they fell into Philip VI’s hands.

Even with more effective leadership it would have been difficult to maintain the loyalty and morale of the Montfortists. A sizeable minority of them owned land in the rich areas of eastern Brittany occupied by Charles of Blois, which they could not recover without either violating the truce or submitting to him. In the event they did first the one and then the other. In the autumn of 1343 there was a succession of violent incidents in southeastern Brittany. The most important of them was a rising in Vannes by a well-organized group of partisans within the town. The place was in the custody of the papacy and it was virtually undefended. The papal governor and his small garrison were seized and expelled. It was a golden prize. The nearby city of Rédon was brought over to the English side at about the same time, probably by the same methods. Very shortly afterwards a small force of Bretons attempted to build on their success by capturing Charles of Blois himself. They ambushed him on the road from Nantes to Angers. But Charles moved about in these days with a bodyguard of eighty men, and the attackers were beaten off with heavy losses. The French government was outraged. They delivered a furious protest to the Pope as the creator and guardian of the truce. Twelve prisoners captured in the attack on Charles of Blois were brought to Paris to be executed with the usual theatrical display. The victims included Geoffrey de Malestroit and his son, two of the most courageous of John de Montfort’s partisans.35

Neither the English government nor its commanders on the spot appear to have been consulted in advance about these enterprises, and although Edward III congratulated those responsible he may not have been wholly delighted. The English garrisons in Brittany were at low strength. The coffers were empty. Communications between England and Brittany in December were difficult. A French counter-attack at that moment would have been irresistible. A few days before Christmas, Amaury de Clisson arrived in alarm in England to plead for reinforcements and supplies. The English King saw him at Westminster and issued orders at once, but compliance was a different matter. The time allowed was absurdly short. The Admiral of the west was told to have twenty-four ships atSouthampton and Dartmouth within a fortnight. Gavin Corder and two other knights were sent to find a force of some 250 men to fill them. His men were not ready before the middle of March 1344 and there were only 190 of them. Corder’s small army and some shiploads of victuals were the only assistance which reached Brittany from England. Preparations were put in hand for a much larger expedition to follow in the summer, but the possibility of paying for it seemed remote.36

If Edward III was afraid of a French counter-attack on the scale of the operations of 1341 and 1342 his fears were unfounded. Like Philip VI he over-estimated his enemy’s resources. Philip, moreover, was genuinely anxious to preserve the truce, at least in the north, and took very seriously the Pope’s long-standing plans to call a peace conference at Avignon. The French government’s public position was that it would not support Charles of Blois in time of truce with either money or troops. Indeed Philip offered at one point to write ‘harsh and threatening letters’ to still the warlike activities of his nephew.37

If Philip wrote them, Charles certainly did not comply. The truce bound only the King of France and his ‘adherents’. Charles of Blois constantly denied being an ‘adherent’: he said that he was fighting his own war and not Philip’s. Perhaps he was right. He made competent use of what he had. Early in March 1344 he marched through most of the length of Montfortist Brittany and laid siege to Quimper. Quimper was the main town of the Cornouaille region of south-western Brittany. Its importance lay in its position across the main lines of communication overland from Brest to Vannes. But its walls were weak, and probably in poor condition. The English fared badly. Edward’s lieutenant in the duchy, John Hardeshull, was captured in a skirmish outside the walls together with several of his principal Breton officers. The English archers suffered heavy casualties. In spite of the ferocity of the defence, Quimper was assaulted from the river on 1 May 1344 and captured. In the massacre which followed it was estimated that 1,400 townsmen died. As for the prisoners, the English ones were held for ransom but the Bretons and Normans were taken to Paris and tried for treason. They did not deny that they had given their allegiance to John de Montfort and Edward III. They claimed the benefit of the truce. But John de Montfort disavowed them and they were executed. Philip’s special venom was reserved for Henry de Malestroit, a former officer of his own household. He had deserted in 1342 and then reappeared as the English King’s lieutenant in Vannes. Henry could not be executed because he was in holy orders. But he was sentenced to life imprisonment by an ecclesiastical court at a public ceremony in front of Notre-Dame cathedral, and arrangements were made for him to be lynched by a mob immediately afterwards.38

The English government was not entirely passive in the face of these losses, but there was nothing that it could do quickly. A general requisition of all ships of over 30 tons’ burden was ordered on 25 March 1344. Plans were laid to embark an army from Plymouth at Whitsun under the King’s personal command. But the money to pay for this army did not exist. The nobility and the bishops met at Westminster in April 1344 but could do nothing without Parliament. Parliament could not be assembled before June. Although the Parliament which met then was sympathetic and very generous, its subsidies were voted too late to finance a campaign in that year. The first instalment was not payable until November 1344. The days were over when the English government could call on the resources of the German and Italian banking communities to anticipate its taxes. The result was that the King’s orders were a dead letter. The harassing stream of instructions, reminders and threats which habitually issued from Edward’s Chancery on the eve of a great expedition petered out uncertainly in August 1344, and the plans were formally cancelled in early October.39

By then the English King’s plans had become irrelevant. During the summer of 1344 the leaderless and decimated English forces in Brittany fell apart, dividing into small roving bands which passed through the duchy looting, burning and exacting protection money, making themselves even more hated than the soldiers of Charles of Blois. The leaderless Montfortists submitted to Charles of Blois in large numbers, making the best terms they could. Charles, for all his paucity of men, was able to mop up many of the smaller places of southern Brittany with comparative ease. In September 1344, the surviving core of the Montfortist party in Brittany made a final plea for help from England. They sent a distinguished Breton nobleman and two Dominican friars to find Edward on the marches of Wales and explain to him that their cause was all but ruined. From the wreckage of his expeditionary army Edward was able to assemble a force of just 250 men. Amaury de Clisson, who had spent the whole of the spring and summer at the English court waiting for an expedition which never materialized, was put in command of them. These men arrived in Vannes in October 1344 and were probably responsible for preserving that town as an English outpost. But by this time there was nothing else to be done. In November Tanneguy du Châtel, one of the three lieutenants of the King of England in Brittany and the only Breton among them, submitted to Charles of Blois in return for a royal pardon. He was followed by most of the leading Bretons of the west, including almost all the heroes of 1341 and 1342 who had not been killed in battle or executed in Paris. Finally, at the end of December 1344, within a few weeks of his landing in the duchy at the head of a force of English troops, Amaury de Clisson himself made his peace with the French. Deprived of substantially all their political support in the duchy the English retreated to the few strong walled towns by the sea which they could defend with their limited manpower: Brest, Hennebont, Vannes and a few other places. They knew the limits of their strength, as Charles of Blois did of his.40

John de Monfort had watched these events from the distance of the Ile de France and had not stirred. If he hoped to earn his passage back to royal favour he was to be disappointed. Once his party had disintegrated the Crown set about completing the business of dispossessing him. In January 1345 the viscounty of Limoges, which had not been dealt with by the edict of Conflans in 1341, was awarded to Charles of Blois by the Parlement. At about the same time John appears to have been placed under some form of house imprisonment. On 25 March 1345 he escaped and fled to England. He was no more than a figurehead now, without friends, money or political resources: another Edward Balliol. Philip VI forfeited the bonds that had been lodged for his good behaviour and procured his convictions for treason.41


The diplomatic conference which was the ostensible reason for the truce opened in the autumn of 1344, sixteen months late, in the papal palace at Avignon. The delay had been almost entirely due to English obstruction, a succession of procedural devices which revealed the English King’s view of the negotiations as eloquently as any rude rejection could have done. He appointed no ambassadors until May 1343. He then appointed a most distinguished embassy under the nominal leadership of the Earl of Derby but declined to send any but its most junior members, with the result that the Duke of Bourbon, the Dauphin of Vienne and ‘other prelates and personages of high authority’ found themselves in August 1343 sitting opposite a Chancery clerk. Then, when Edward III was prevailed upon to send out a nobleman of royal blood with whom the princes of the French delegation could be expected to negotiate, he lighted upon John Grey of Ruthin, an obscure baron distantly related to the royal house who reached the papal city in September 1343 but whose instructions did not extend beyond pressing his master’s claim to the crown of France. Grey sent home for further instructions, and when none came by the end of the year he withdrew.42

It seemed likely at first that the same thing would happen in 1344. The opening of the conference was put off until March 1344, then June. Neither date was effective. On the first occasion there were only two English emissaries, both of low rank, who announced that their master was outraged by the French King’s violations of the truce and was reconsidering his position. The second occasion was even more absurd.43 The English government had announced to the Pope on 12 May 1344 that their delegation would be ready at Avignon in June. When the time came the Earl of Derby duly appeared but only, he said, in his private capacity and for ‘devotional reasons’. The dukes of Normandy and Burgendy and the Chancellor of France, Guillaume Flote, who were there in their public capacities, had to listen as lesser English functionaries explained that they were without instructions. After a while, the two dukes left. Flote stayed until early August when he too left.

Derby’s visit was not, however, a complete waste of time, for he had a number of lengthy and apparently productive private discussions with the Pope. In the course of these Clement offered both inducements and threats to bring the English to the conference table. Exactly what he said has not been recorded, but it was sufficiently compelling to persuade the English King’s Council in July 1344 that it was necessary to go through the motions of participating in the conference. A new embassy was appointed at the beginning of August and its members left at once. The senior member and spokesman was William Bateman, an exceedingly intelligent and effective lawyer who had passed most of his career in the papal service at Avignon and had recently become bishop of Norwich. He deserves to be remembered as the founder of Trinity Hall, Cambridge. In reality, the most important of the English ambassadors was not Bateman but the King’s private secretary John Offord, the only one of them who was privy to Edward’s inner counsels. With then went Offord’s younger brother Andrew (a Chancery clerk), the conspiratorial Nicolino Fieschi, and a knight called Hugh Neville. The Pope regarded it as an inadequate team for the occasion, which it was. The French King’s representation was much more impressive. The Bishop of Clermont acted as their nominal president and spokesman. There were also Louis of Spain and Louis of Poitiers, Count of Valentinois, two of Philip’s principal generals; Simon Bucy, First President of the Parlement, a man closely associated with the French King’s persecution of traitors; and another powerful permanent official, Pierre de Cugnières, President of the Chambre des Comptes.44

Distrust of the papacy was the main reason for the English government’s behaviour. The terms of the truce of Malestroit provided for the Pope to act ‘as mutual friend not as judge’. But as Philip VI remarked soon after these words were written, the Pope was ‘my own friend, you know’. Edward III’s complaints about French breaches of the truce may have smacked of hypocrisy given his own flagrant breaches; even so it was galling for the English to find that on such difficult matters as Philip VI’s right to hold John de Montfort in prison until he had found sureties for his good behaviour, or the summary execution of Edward’s allies who fell into French hands, or Charles of Blois’ refusal to be bound by the truce, Clement was generally content to accept the official French explanation however disingenuous. The English believed that the Pope could be relied upon to protect French interests in any matter that was fundamental to them. The College of Cardinals, which in the fourteenth century served as a permanent council of the Pope’s advisers, had a large majority of Frenchmen and was overwhelmingly favourable to Philip VI. The result of this imbalance could be seen not only in a predisposition to regard Edward III as an aggressive outsider with absurd pretensions, but in some revealing decisions of principle. Clement never, for example, gave the dispensation which was necessary to enable Edward III’s heir to marry the daughter of the Duke of Brabant. The dispensation was necessary because the betrothed were within the prohibited degrees of affinity, as almost all the ruling houses of Europe were at a time when it was unlawful for persons to marry who had a common ancestor within seven generations. It would ordinarily have been a formality, but the marriage mattered too much politically and the Pope had given private assurances to the French court that he would not allow it.45

For their part the English, in whom hostility to the papacy was an old tradition, grew progressively more offensive in the expression of it. It was very widely believed in England that fees and taxes charged by Clement VI on the English clergy went to swell the war treasury of Philip VI and that the Pope’s power of appointing to vacant ecclesiastical benefices in England was being used to provide a comfortable income for anglophobe functionaries and cardinals in Avignon. In May 1343 the Commons in Parliament had petitioned for a complete prohibition on the importation of certain papal letters to England. Edward III took up their cause in letters to the Pope so blunt that the agent who delivered them fled from Avignon immediately after the audience. This man’s fears were not absurd. Had not Nicolino Fieschi been captured and assaulted by French roughs in Avignon only four years earlier? The reports of other English diplomatic agents leave little doubt that the papal city with its unruly mobs and crowded streets, its militantly clerical atmosphere, packs of hangers-on attached to the enormous households of the French cardinals and the looming shape of Philip VI’s great fortress at Villeneuve was a profoundly uneasy place for a Englishman to be in the 1340s. Clement VI himself was a smoothdiplomat, but it was not easy for him to present himself as an impartial arbiter to a government which he was denouncing as the worst oppressor of the Church since the days of Thomas Becket.46

The proceedings47 opened on 22 October 1344 with the pleasantries that were customary on such occasions: a ‘most pleasing’ speech from the Pope, who had lost none of his rhetorical powers; another, gracious and conciliatory, from Bishop Bateman, who assured Clement that King Edward had always wanted a just and durable peace and that he and his fellow ambassadors were ‘simple men and lovers of concord’ who would be found entirely open in their dealings. As for the French, the Pope said that he had spoken privately to them and was satisfied that they had come with the genuine intention of agreeing a treaty and the fullest powers for the purpose. None of this meant very much. Both sides had come with confidential instructions which doomed the conference to failure before it began. The French ambassadors were empowered to make limited concessions of territory on the margins of Gascony, including the provinces conquered in the war of Saint-Sardos, but only if they had to and then on the strict understanding that the duchy was to be held as a fief of the French Crown. The Pope was shown their instructions on this point and confirmed for himself that they were absolute. Not surprisingly they were equally absolute on the subject of Edward III’s claim to the throne of France. Philip’s representatives were not even to discuss it.

Unfortunately, it was the only subject which Bateman’s team were empowered to discuss, apart from the English King’s complaints about breaches of the truce. They were not allowed to make any concessions at all. They did not even have the limited freedom of manoeuvre that their adversaries had. This was not because Edward regarded his claim to the throne as the only thing worth discussing, or because he was uninterested in territorial concessions in Gascony. It was because he did not want to make peace at all at a stage when he had so few cards in his hand and so many plans for getting more. Apart from the ports of western and southern Brittany, which were not directly ruled by Philip VI anyway, Edward’s claim to the throne was really only a bargaining counter, and as his ambassadors admitted in a moment of candour it was a difficult one to use. Edward, they pointed out, had proclaimed himself to be at war with Philip VI for the possession of the whole kingdom of France and had publicly assumed the arms of France. There could surely be no question of his entering into negotiations which overtly contemplated the possibility of acknowledging Philip as his sovereign in Gascony. It would be tantamount to acknowledging that he ‘had set out to recover a kingdom which was not his, and launched himself upon an unjust war’. This was the abiding problem of the English at every stage of the Hundred Years War. Except occasionally in the mood of hubris generated by their greatest victories the English kings were realistic enough to regard their claim to be kings of France as something to be surrendered as part of a satisfactory settlement. But authority was conferred by God, not men. They could not bargain about such a surrender without conceding the mundaneness of the claim, destroying much of its value and undermining the many alliances that they had made which were based on it. Almost a century later the English were confronting the same difficulty and described it in language very similar to Bateman’s. If the King were to trade his claim for territory, wrote one of Henry VI’s ablest servants, ‘it might be said, noised and deemed in all Christian lands that not [Henry] the King nor his noble progenitors had nor have no right in the Crown of France, and that all their wars and conquest hath been but usurpation and tyranny’.48

The Pope’s method of mediation was to keep the two delegations as much as possible apart. Except on one or two occasions when for some special reason it was necessary to address both delegations together, he bargained with each side on its own while the other waited its turn in a nearby room. The object was to persuade each of them to confide to the Pope ‘as if under the seal of the confessional’ the irreducible minimum which it must have in order to make peace. He had no idea how limited Bateman’s discretion was, and when the Bishop protested that he had come to discuss nothing but the throne of France he assumed that this was only an opening position. ‘Holy Father,’ the Englishmen said, ‘the only proposals which we can discuss are those which have some prospect of being found acceptable to our lord the King, who has, as you know, put forward as his own claim the crown of France.’ After four frustrating sessions with the English delegation, during which the Pope had made no progress and had found it increasingly difficult to suppress his exasperation, Clement withdrew from the conference, leaving the negotiations to be carried on by a commission of two cardinals.

They fared no better than the Pope had, and their patience was thinner. It seemed to them, the cardinals began, that since the war had its whole origin in the duchy of Aquitaine there was much to be said for starting from the point where things had gone wrong, in 1325. The English were persuaded to talk about Gascony, but not to treat the truce of 1325 as their starting point and certainly not to deal with the duchy in isolation. Their starting point was their master’s claim to the whole of France. At this, the cardinals became irritable. In that case, they asked, why had Edward III done homage to Philip VI and sworn to observe that very truce? The English answered that he had done it without prejudice to his hereditary rights. They declined absolutely to negotiate about the duchy quaduchy since their case was that it was a province of Edward III’s kingdom. What would the English say, the cardinals inquired, to a proposal which restored the duchy to its extent on the eve of the war of Saint-Sardos? It was the first glimpse of what the papacy had in mind as an acceptable compromise. The English returned to their well-worn theme. They would consider no proposal which involved treating Gascony as part of a duchy subordinate to Philip VI. They might, however (and here came the first glimpse of what they believed Edward would accept), consider settling the territorial dispute in Gascony on the basis that it would be treated as ‘allod’, free of any feudal subordination to the French Crown and in effect severed from the kingdom. The cardinals agreed that while the feudal bond subsisted no peace was likely to survive very long. They cited the interesting analogy of Scotland. But they had obviously raised this question with the French delegation already, and been rebuffed. They said that they could see no prospect of Philip VI agreeing to the dismemberment of his kingdom, and thought that the Gascons would probably object also. If the two kings agreed to it, the English responded, the Gascons would like it well enough.

At this point the cardinals produced three proposals of their own (or perhaps they were the Pope’s) all of which were designed to sever the feudal bond in Gascony by removing the English monarch from France altogether in exchange for compensation of various more or less unrealistic kinds. The first proposal may have been the one which Clement had suggested in confidence to the Earl of Derby in June. Edward, it was suggested, should renounce Gascony in exchange for the grant of all the lands of the Hospitallers in England together with possessions of the foreign priories there. The English said they thought that Edward would find this a very inadequate return for so much effort and sacrifice and that it would dishonour him personally. ‘What would you say,’ the cardinals asked, producing their next proposal, ‘if the King of France were willing to bring pressure to bear on the King of Scotland to surrender his kingdom to your King, receiving instead compensation on the continent?’ The ambassadors did not think that that would be acceptable. Scotland belonged as of right to Edward III anyway. In that case, the cardinals said, how would Edward III react to the offer of a very large sum of money? The English replied that their master was not a shopkeeper, and considered the crown of France to be beyond price. The English were invited to return three days later on 7 November with a more considered answer, but when they did so the answer was the same.

On 8 November 1344, a fortnight after the conference had opened, the cardinals produced another proposal. Perhaps, they said, Edward might consider acknowledging Gascony to be a fief of France but devolving it upon one of his sons. The feudal bond would survive but at one remove from the King himself. It was the last constructive suggestion which they made. The English rejected it.

The sessions degenerated into sterile exchanges about the merits of the English King’s claim to the French throne. ‘The war broke out over Gascony’, the cardinals said, ‘long before your master ever mentioned his claim to the crown of France’; and they produced some recent letters of Edward III dated 1344 ‘in the fifth year of our reign of France’. The English said, ‘May it please your lordships, it is true that the war began long before our lord the King assumed the title of King of France, but it began on account of the King’s right to be called King of France, which right existed before the war began.’ There followed a short historical excursus concerning the claims made on the young Edward’s behalf by his mother in 1328. The cardinals then said, ‘Did your King not do homage to the King of France for Aquitaine and Ponthieu? And did he not subsequently promise by letters patent under his great seal that his homage should be treated as liege homage, there being not a word in these letters of any pretended right to the crown of France?’ It was a difficult question, which the English evaded: ‘That is one of the arguments of the French, and when it suits his Holiness the Pope to hear us on the point, we shall answer it.’ The cardinals agreed, for different reasons: ‘Our lord the Pope also considers it preferable to leave that issue out of the negotiations, and in any event the French ambassadors will not agree to make their master’s sovereignty a matter for debate at these meetings. They will no more broach that issue than a poison chalice.’

Two days later, on 10 November 1344, the English returned to confirm that they would not consider accepting compensation for the loss of Gascony outside France. The cardinals for their part reported that they could not prevail on the French to agree that the duchy of Aquitaine should be severed from the kingdom and held free of feudal obligations. In that case, the English replied, the conference had evidently reached an impasse. Unless the French position shifted, they could not see themselves usefully employed in Avignon any longer and thought that Edward would probably recall them.

The English ambassadors were profoundly embarrassed by the obdurate position which they were compelled to adopt. Long before the formal business of the conference had begun, while the Englishmen were waiting for the French delegation to arrive, Offord had concluded that a valuable opportunity might be missed unless Edward III could be persuaded to take the conference more seriously. Clement had skilfully lulled their suspicions, according them long, friendly audiences, entertaining them at his dinner table and professing to sympathize with some of their grievances. During the sessions of the conference he even hinted that he thought their master’s claim to the French throne was ‘not wholly without factual or legal foundation’. In their inner counsels, he said, the French government thought so too. Offord wanted the King to abandon his plans to send troops to Britanny during the winter, and hoped that he would enlarge his ambassadors’ powers. ‘It seems to me, my lord,’ he wrote, ‘that the Holy Father is at last taking your interests to heart.’ As the proceedings continued the English ambassadors’ reports to their government became increasingly insistent. They reminded Edward of their earlier advice. ‘We are amazed’, they said, ‘that nothing has yet reached us here.’

Edward had in fact received Offord’s request for further instructions and had considered it at length with John Stratford and a handful of close advisers. But he had reached no decision. He told Offord that he would do nothing without calling a full meeting of his Council. Fresh agents would then be sent with up-to-date news of his position. The full Council did not meet until late in October. They resolved to send yet further embassies to Avignon: the first, rather low-grade embassy would leave at once with the news that Edward had renounced all his plans to invade Britanny for the winter, and bringing full powers to discuss the enforcement of the truce. Another more impressive embassy, including the earls of Derby and Northampton, would appear at Avignon after Christmas with powers as yet undefined and, no doubt, dependent in practice on the advice of Bateman and Offord.49

They, however, were growing daily more pessimistic and more concerned for their own safety. News was reaching Avignon of fresh outrages in England against the privileges of the papacy in the matter of provision to English benefices. They included copies of a writ of prohibition addressed in the most disrespectful terms to one of the cardinals, as well as broadsheets against the Pope which had apparently been nailed to the doors of St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. The Pope was planning to send two legates to England with an armoury of spiritual powers. Voices had been raised in the College of Cardinals to suggest that, if any harm befell them, reprisals could be visited against Edward’s agents in Avignon. The French, on the other hand, stood in high favour. On 15 November 1344 the English had to sit among the banqueters to celebrate the investiture by the Pope of one of the French ambassadors, Louis of Spain, with the nominal dignity of Prince of the Canary Islands.

On 20 and 21 November 1344 the English were received in audience by the Pope. He tried to persuade them that all was not lost. Perhaps Edward III might appoint some prince of the royal blood to represent him at further sessions of the conference. Philip would then be obliged to increase the stature of his own ambassadors, and that might be the occasion for giving them fresh instructions. Neither Bateman nor Offord thought much of this proposal. They wanted to be recalled. Money was running short. The Bardi office in Avignon was declining to pay the expenses of their couriers without personal guarantees. The atmosphere in the city was intensely hostile. ‘I stand in grave peril here,’ Bateman wrote home to the King, ‘without accomplishing anything at all for your purposes.’

Hugh Neville left Avignon in the last week of November 1344 and reached England just after Christmas. Bishop Bateman followed shortly after him. Fieschi departed for Italy on other diplomatic business. The Pope would not release John Offord. He remained in the papal city so that Clement could pretend that his conference was still in being. None of the Englishmen believed that anything would come of the projected embassy of Derby and Northampton. In February 1345, after a good deal of havering, it was cancelled. When this news was announced in Avignon in March, Offord abruptly left the city without leave and fled as fast as he could for England.50


Resolving the dispute was by now much more than a diplomatic problem. Although the war had lasted only eight years, less than the war of Edward I and Philip the Fair, which had had similar origins, it had more completely antagonized the two nations than any previous crisis of their affairs. The chivalry of England and France retained some shared values which may even have intensified among those on both sides who found in war a pleasure and a challenge. But this was not the view of the mass of the population. The scale of the effort required, and the variety of people affected, not only by the operations themselves, which were sporadic, but by the tremendous financial and bureaucratic preliminaries, were of a different order now than in any previous war, and were growing year by year. Both governments did what they could to feed the suspicions of their subjects with propaganda, and to distance them from the enemy.

The first symptoms had been the sequestration of the assets of enemy aliens. At the outset of the war, the English government had taken into the King’s hands the possession of all Frenchmen, with a few favoured exceptions: the Gascons, the Bretons and after 1338 the Flemings. The main victims were French monasteries, particularly the great Burgundian abbey of Cluny and the Benedictine houses of Normandy, which had been large landowners in England ever since the time of the Norman kings. A few of them, such as the abbey of Saint-Pierre de Dives in southern Normandy, were so heavily dependent on their English revenues that they were ruined by Edward III’s confiscations well before his armies engulfed them. In the case of ecclesiastical land the English government stopped short of outright confiscation. They simply administered the property, taking the income for themselves and making a minimal provision for the living expenses of the occupants if there were any. The relatively small number of French nobleman who held estates in England and Ireland were at first dealt with in the same way. But in their case the government progressed from sequestration to confiscation quite quickly. The Constable of France, Raoul, Count of Eu, may initially have hoped to recover his enormous estates in Ireland when the crisis had blown over, and he continued to maintain agents there who co-operated with the English King’s custodian. But by the early 1340s Edward was granting out his lands to others. By January 1343 the Count had written them off and received compensation from the French treasury. The severance of ancient connections with England among some influential French noblemen and ecclesiastics was a misfortune in the long term. The Count of Eu and the present Pope (when he had been abbot of Fécamp) were only two of the Frenchmen whose possessions in England had offered occasions for less formal and more sympathetic contacts with Edward III’s court than any diplomatic exchange.51

The French government seems to have been more cautious in its sanctions against English landowers in France, although the evidence is so fragmentary that it is difficult to be sure. The cathedral priory of Canterbury, one of the few English churches which possessed assets there, was able to resume possession of them in 1344, during a time of truce. Some other ecclesiastics were not so lucky. The property in France of the more prominent laymen residing in England was confiscated and granted by the French Crown to others. Very few people were affected. The main victims of the French government’s measures against aliens were expatriate Englishmen living in France, who were surprisingly numerous. Some of them had been there for many years. They were in a difficult position, belonging fully to neither one country nor the other. In 1338 they were required to declare their assets on oath and to submit to a one-off tax of one-third of their capital value net of debts. The response of many of them was to apply to be naturalized as Frenchmen.52

Trading with the enemy became illegal in both countries, although the law was not consistently enforced in either. The seepage of enemy goods around the frontiers continued. Notions of economic warfare were primitive. The governments of both countries were much more interested in preventing exports to their enemy than imports from them, the reverse of modern economic prejudice. Moreover, in neither country were the motives of the government exclusively strategic. Concern about shortages at home, particularly of foodstuffs, was at least as important; and in England the control of trade was designed more to raise money than to injure the French. The effect, however, was the same: the loosening of old connections between Englishmen and Frenchmen, the severance of the few remaining ties of interdependence. At the outset of the war the French government pursued a comprehensive prohibition of all commercial dealings with the subjects of Edward III whether in Gascony or England, and the penalties of treason were prescribed for breach of it. Not only the importation but even the use of English wool was forbidden unless a special licence was obtained.53 The English began with a more selective approach. Their embargo on wool exports, which brought Flanders to its knees between 1336 and 1338, was among the more ruthlessly enforced and politically successful trade wars of the middle ages. But after 1338, when its objects had been achieved, the government relaxed its efforts. English wool had to be sold in order to raise money for the Crown and, the market being weak, it was impossible to be too choosy about who was buying it. It was freely bought in Calais at the height of the campaigns of 1339 and 1340. In the course of the 1340s economic warfare became a more consistent feature of English policy even in time of truce. In 1343 a most comprehensive scheme of export controls was instituted for a mixture of reasons: protectionism, financial manipulation and foreign policy all contributed. The scheme drew on practices which had been devised but only intermittently employed during the previous six years. The export of grain was permitted only at certain ports and only to specified destinations, excluding France. The shipmasters were made to swear an oath before the mayor or bailiff of the port of shipment that they would carry the cargoes only to the permitted destinations. A bond was required as security for the exporter’s good behaviour, which was released (in theory) only upon the production of a landing certificate from the authorities at the port of discharge. Very similar rules were applied to the export of wool, hides and pelts. These were England’s principal exports. Periodically, however, other goods were added to the list of controlled exports, usually because they were thought to be of use as war materials. Ships, timber and horses were controlled at various times. It is unlikely that these measures achieved very much.54

Oddly enough, there was very little official interference with the freedom of movement of individuals. In both countries a somewhat haphazard distinction was made between aliens temporarily present in the realm, such as merchants, seamen and other travellers, and aliens with some fixed place of abode. Those in the former category were almost invariably arrested when they were found, in France as early as September 1336, in England rather later. Resident aliens on the other hand were by and large left alone, except where they were conceived to be a direct threat to the security of the realm. Philip VI’s government did not at first repeat Charles IV’s order of 1326 to arrest all Englishmen resident in France. But it did, in August 1338, order a search to be made of their homes and it confiscated their weapons. The French government also from time to time incarcerated Englishmen who were found living in frontier areas. Two Englishmen, for example, who were found operating a brewery at Compiègne in 1340 were locked up in the town belfry during the siege of Tournai. The French government’s fears were by no means absurd. Englishmen living in France did occasionally act as spies and guides. The man who guided Edward III across the marshes of the Somme in August 1346 and enabled him to avoid being trapped was a local resident who appears to have hailed from Yorkshire.55 The English policy was very similar to the French. During the first few years of the war Frenchmen were forbidden to reside on or go near the coasts. Men of French origin were the victims of periodic moods of panic about espionage and fifth columnists. During Edward III’s invasion of Brittany in 1342, suspected French spies and couriers were detained and searched at the ports and any document found on them sent to London to be scrutinized. A substantial number of suspicious persons, most of whom were probably entirely innocent, was incarcerated in Newgate prison.56 But there was no consistency of policy and no general internment of aliens in either realm. It seems surprising to find a young Englishman living au pair with a family in Amiens in the early 1340s in order to improve his command of French. Anomalies of this kind were quite common in England. A Picard could live quietly at Salisbury between 1341 and 1345 learning English, and another from Amiens who arrived in 1340 could still be found plying his trade there five years later.57

On both sides of the Channel the year 1345 was a time of intensifying hostility against enemy aliens. After the English government repudiated the truce of Malestroit all French merchants recently come into the realm were presumed to be agents of the enemy and in September 1345 orders were given for their arrest. The French government went further, ordering the arrest and imprisonment of every Englishman living in France and the confiscation of his property. When Charles IV had done this at the time of the war of Saint-Sardos he had been much criticized. But in 1345 the government was almost certainly acting under the pressure of public opinion. In the Paris area men did not wait for the King’s authority. Englishmen were spontaneously attacked and imprisoned wihout any legal warrant as soon as the news of the fighting arrived.58

In both countries the measures taken against nationals of the other encouraged the persecuting instinct which war brings out in most societies. Jean Tête-Noir, one of Philip VI’s household servants, had been born in England of an English mother and a French father and had spent almost all his life in France. But he was repeatedly pressed for payment of the tax on enemy aliens, and eventually had to apply for formal letters of exemption. He must have felt rather like Peter Hughes, a Frenchman settled in Cirencester for more than twenty years with an English wife and children, who was obliged in the first few weeks of the war to apply for royal letters recognizing him as a denizen. English officials had the utmost difficulty with Bretons and Flemings, who although Frenchmen were exempted from the government’s sanctions; with francophone Savoyards, who were subjects of the Empire but many of whom fought in French armies; with francophone Gascons and Channel Islanders, who were subjects of Edward III; with francophone Englishmen, who were more numerous than they realized; with the French-born wives and widows of Englishmen; with Burgundians from the duchy of Burgundy who were Frenchmen and Burgundians from the county of Burgundy who were Frenchmen inpractice but not in law. How were they to classify William of Cusance, who came from the county of Burgundy but had valuable properties in Paris and had been one of the principal financial officials of the English royal household for more than thirty years? For a short time at the beginning of the war this man found himself treated as an enemy alien in both countries. Men had to declare their loyalties. In a country whose connections with the language and civilization of France were as ancient and as intimate as England’s, this meant for many people severing themselves from their own past. The French had fewer difficulties. Englishmen were more readily identifiable by their language (even when speaking French). Englishness was not built into the fabric of any French past. Even the French, however, had to learn to recognize Scots, many of whom had settled in France over the years or arrived there more recently in the service of David II. William Scot, a tailor of Noyon born at Berwick on Tweed, cannot have enjoyed his nickname ‘the Englishman’. It cost him his liberty for a short time in 1326 and caused him to be harassed by tax collectors and officials after 1337. But he was more fortunate than the four Scots living near Amiens who were killed by a group of soldiers. Their assailants protested in their defence that they thought that their victims were English. When they explained their mistake they were pardoned.59

Feelings like these explain the ready audience which propagandists found for their lies and exaggerations in both countries. The French government and its semi-official chroniclers lost no opportunity of associating Edward III with Robert of Artois, the bogeyman of French official mythology, or of blackening him with tales like the much repeated but fictitious story that he raped the Countess of Salisbury while her husband was a prisoner of war. Edward III for his part accused the French King of trying to stamp out the English language, just as Edward I had done forty years earlier. Men’s fears and hatreds were inflamed by official rumours, such as the bizarre story circulating in 1346 that Philip VI had filled his Italian galleys with Turks to inflict untold horrors on the coastal villages of England. The truth was usually just as effective. The atrocities of the Calais seamen were given the widest possible publicity. Captured documents revealing Philip VI’s plans to invade England were read out in public places and laid before Parliament. The Franciscan and Augustinian friars, the greatest public preachers of their day, were commended to ‘fire the hearts of our faithful subjects’ with the justice of the King’s cause and to trumpet his victories when they occurred. The francophobia already latent in the English mind was sedulously encouraged and intensified. Some contemporary English writers, like the poet Lawrence Minot and the Oxfordshire clerk and chronicler Geoffrey Baker, brought their hatred of Philip VI and his subjects to a pitch of ferocity which makes parts of their work unreadable.60

Translating grudges and xenophobia into support for the King’s wars and the heavy fiscal burdens that went with them was an exercise in which Edward III succeeded better than his rival. It must have come as a shock to him, after his return from the continent in November 1340, to discover how close his realm had come to rebellion on account of the crushing taxation of the past four years. The burden was certainly lightened during the 1340s. There were fewer Parliamentary subsidies. Purveyance was milder. A determined effort was made to prevent abuses by minor officials and to punish those reponsible. Military service was the only burden which significantly increased, and there is no doubt that it was unpopular. Arrayers and sometimes even the men whom they had arrayed were liable to be abused and physically attacked.61 But military service was a burden which was too occasional and fell too capriciously to provoke general discontent. Even the great army of 1347, the largest Edward ever raised, represented a very small proportion of England’s adult males. For the man whose lot was drawn in the village assembly and who had no one else to sow his seed or harvest his crop, service in the army might be a personal disaster. For the generality of men it cannot have made much difference. Some probably relished the chance of wages and plunder.

It was in the maritime communities of the south and east coasts that the war took its worst toll on the livelihoods of men. Coastguard service required the deployment of much larger numbers than ever fought in the King’s continental armies, and at intervals which were less easily predicted. In Hampshire, the worst-affected county, there must have been many villages like Eling, whose men were so often called away to guard the coast at sowing and harvesting time that cultivation had been abandoned in large areas of the parish by the early 1340s. In the ports and harbours, the interruption of trade with France and the manipulation of wool exports inflicted great hardship. War service at sea was more persistently required and more onerous to perform than any other kind of military service. The extreme case was Great Yarmouth, whose ships, because of their number and their size, had contributed more to Edward’s wars than any other port. They served against the Scots or the French in every year (except one) from 1333 to 1347. At the beginning of this period the town had possessed, in addition to its important fleet of fishing vessels, no less than ninety ‘great ships’ capable of carrying between 100 and 300 tons. At the end of it there were only twenty-four. The rest had been captured, destroyed by the enemy, wrecked, or put out of service by wear and damage. The trading profits of Great Yarmouth’s shipowners had fallen so far that lost vessels could not be replaced and damaged ones were rotting on the beaches for want of money to repair them. Essential harbour works were not being carried out, and the siltation of the harbour mouth was forcing larger vessels to discharge their cargoes into lighters in the roads. The town, which was surrounded by worthless land, had no other livelihood. Not long afterwards, six substantial businessmen of the town were reported to have lost almost all their fortunes and several hundred seamen were unemployed. The troubles of Great Yarmouth differed only in degree from those of other ports of southern and eastern England. There must have been plenty of men who agreed with the rowdies of Chichester who attacked the Bishop’s servants in the streets and tore up the letters which they carried calling for prayers for the King’s wars.62

After the ports, it was probably in Wales that the burden of the war had been felt most intensely. The Welsh had made a disproportionate contribution to the war effort, supplying very large contingents of spearmen and archers to the army throughout the 1330s and 1340s in addition to meeting the heavy cost of royal purveyances and Parliamentary subsidies. In May 1343 Edward III had made his eldest son Prince of Wales and invested him with all the lands and rights of the Crown there, including the coasts and mountains of the west.63 The young Prince played an increasingly important role in his father’s wars from the mid-1340s onward, and as his military activities became more strenuous the demands made on the Welsh intensified. Welshmen belonged to a society in which violence was never far below the surface of daily life, even two generations after the Edwardian conquest had brought an end to the ancient pattern of border warfare. Their units in Edward III’s armies, recruited in the western hills and coastlands and at the gates of castles the length of the old border, had a roughness and esprit de corps peculiar to themselves. English-speaking migrants living in Wales were rigorously excluded from their ranks. They were among the first soldiers on either side to wear full uniform: the green and white of the Black Prince’s men from the north, the red and white of the Earl of Arundel’s men from Chirkland, and the men of the southern lordships in their own distinctive colours. They marched with their local leaders, every hundred men behind their own standard, following the army on foot and encountering extremes of exhaustion over long marching days unknown to most of the English infantry, who were mounted. Alone among the units recruited for English armies of this period, they brought their own chaplains and physicians with them, as well their own interpreters and criers.64 So much solidarity was easily turned against their English masters, and signs of overt resistance were appearing by 1345. In January and February there was a number of particularly serious outbreaksof violence against English officials in Wales. The Prince of Wales’s attorney in North Wales was murdered while travelling about his duties and the sheriff cut down in his court room. In some districts the roads became impassable. Much of the unrest arose from grievances older and deeper than anything connected with the war. But the pressures of continual recruitment and the tightfistedness and dishonesty of those charged with paying wages were at least partly responsible. In the following weeks there was to be an embarrassing succession of disorders and mutinies among Welshmen assembled to join Edward’s armies, some of whom refused to march or would do so only on their own terms.65

Higher up the social scale, however, there was now widespread acceptance of the war by Englishmen as inevitable and just, and for a growing number, glamorous. Almost all of the nobility of military age volunteered to take part in offensive campaigns, even in places like Scotland and Brittany where there was little prospect of profit. Henry of Lancaster, Earl of Derby, for example, had had a difficult and frustrating war, including a spell in a debtors’ prison at Mechelen, but he was still professing his ‘love of the soldier’s life’. There were very many like him, even if the nearest they came to a soldier’s life was a tournament. Edward III’s tournaments were packed with participants and onlookers. The Dunstable tournament of 1342, which was interrupted by the arrival of the ambassadors of Brittany with the news of the fall of Nantes, was attended by ‘all the noble youth of England’. The ‘beautiful’ tournament held at Smithfield market in London at mid-summer 1343 was followed by imitations throughout the country. In January 1344 the traditional participants in these chivalrous extravagances were joined by much of the citizenry of London and a ‘measureless crowd’ of others at Windsor Castle for a week of jousting and eating, the occasion when Edward III announced his plan to found a new Round Table after King Arthur’s model with 300 knights. The King had his own reasons for promoting these showy events. He wanted to ‘trumpet the reputation of the soldiers, to celebrate the profession of arms and to strengthen the Crown by gathering together a vast number of experienced warriors’.66

There is plenty of evidence that he succeeded. The King’s relations with the aristocracy were close, in marked contrast with the situation in France. The nobility were indispensible, the leaders of his campaigns, in large measure his financiers, the only group which might have conducted a sustained and coherent opposition to his policies. But the events of 1297 were not repeated in the 1330s and 1340s. Edward scrupulously observed the forms of Parliamentary consultation. Support for the government was carefully rehearsed. Councils of the nobility met on occasions when a summons of Parliament was not appropriate and an increasing number of magnates were called to them. The bruising constitutional quarrels of 1341 which had followed Edward’s return from the siege of Tournai and had almost lost Edward control of his own government had been appeased. The unity of purpose which had been seen at the outset of the war appeared to be returning.

In April 1343, shortly after the truce of Malestroit had been sealed, Parliament had given the King an undertaking that if he could not obtain an honourable peace they would ‘aid him in his cause with all their strength’. For the time being Edward had done with attempts to monopolize the wool trade, which had proved unpopular and unremunerative. Instead he freed the trade and charged duties. Parliament was persuaded to vote him a ‘maltolt’ or supplementary duty on exports of wool of £2 per sack (on top of the ‘ancient custom’ of 6s. 8d.) for the next three and a half years. This surprising degree of support for the resumption of the fighting was due in part to their appreciation of the great cost and danger of an armed truce which left the political initiative to the enemy. A successful campaign soon might in the long run be cheaper. It seemed to the next Parliament, meeting rather more than a year later in June 1344, that:

the end of this present war and an honourable treaty of peace will never be had without bringing powerful forces to bear on the enemy. Wherefore let the King so soon as he is ready pass over the sea to take what God may bestow upon him and to press on with his enterprise until he has brought it to an end, all messages and protests of the Pope notwithstanding.

They granted a subsidy for each of the next two years, the second year’s grant being conditional on the King leading his army abroad in person. The clergy, meeting in convocation at St Paul’s at the same time, voted a tenth of their income for three years. For the first time in several years Edward’s finances were equal to the strain of a major campaign.67

He had resolved well before the breakdown of the conferences at Avignon that he would repudiate the truce of Malestroit in the summer of 1345, a year before its time. His strategic position on the continent, in Gascony, Brittany and Flanders, had been so weakened that he could not have delayed the decision any longer even if his respect for agreements had been greater than it was. The first detailed plans for a renewed invasion of France were prepared in February 1345 just as it was becoming clear in Avignon that the peace conference had failed. The original proposal was to send two armies to the continent early in the summer. The King himself intended to lead one of them to an unspecified (and possibly undecided) destination in northern France. The men and ships assigned to this army were expected to be ready for embarkation on a date which, after several postponements, was finally fixed for 5 June 1345. A somewhat smaller army was destined to leave for Gascony under the command of the Earl of Derby, Henry of Lancaster.68

It was impossible to keep planning on this scale secret, and perhaps not even desirable to do so. The news of Edward’s doings encouraged every malcontent in France who hoped to build a political position on the humiliation of the French state. John de Montfort reached England on 1 April. Godfrey of Harcourt, whose exile in Brabant was becoming progressively more uncomfortable as the Duke of Brabant moved closer to Philip VI, arrived in England about six weeks after him in May, bringing several of his Norman cronies. Edward’s agents were busy on the continent trying to suborn other French noblemen.

Edward had, as usual, extravagant hopes about the help which men like these could bring to him, and the exiles sedulously nourished his optimism. On 20 May 1345 there was a small ceremony in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s palace at Lambeth in which John de Montfort acknowledged Edward III as King of France and did liege homage to him for the duchy of Brittany. Godfrey of Harcourt performed a similar act of homage a little later. Both men were pressed into Edward’s service at once and troops were found for them to fight with. In the course of April and May 1345 a third army was carved out of the resources assigned to Edward’s own expeditionary force. The Earl of Northampton was reappointed as Edward III’s lieutenant in Brittany. About 500 men were placed at his disposal, plus a small additional force under the command of Sir Thomas Ferrers which was destined for the reoccupation of the Channel Islands. It was agreed that John de Montfort would accompany the Earl of Northampton back to his duchy. Godfrey of Harcourt would accompany Ferrers: the Channel Islands were a good base from which to resume contact with real or imagined friends in the Cotentin.69

On 14 and 15 June 1345 Edward formally renounced the truces, ‘compelled by necessity’, he told the English, ‘for the defence of our English kingdom and for the recovery of our lawful rights’. At the same he issued for the attention of the Pope and his continental allies a verbose denunciation of Philip’s aggressions which Clement VI was to describe with some justification as an act of undiluted hypocrisy. The first of Edward’s continental armies had in fact already left. Northampton and Ferrers sailed from Portsmouth in the first few days of June. The Earl of Derby’s fleet had been ready since the end of May and needed only a favourable wind. The King’s own army was ready in the last week of June.70


1 Moranvillé, ‘Rapports’, 388; AN JJ75/135, 141, JJ76/338; AP 132850, no. 4176.

2 Avesbury, G. Edwardi, 140; Confessions, 151–2, 153–4; Chronographia, ii, 205–6. On Retz and Machecoul: A. Guillotin de Corson, ‘Les grandes seigneuries de Haute Bretagne’, Bull. Soc. Arch. Nantes, xxxvii, 201, 208–9; Touchard, 10–13. La Rochelle: AN X2a/5, fols 4vo, 7. Wife: Chron. Norm., 61; AN X2a/4, fols 107vo, 113vo.

3 Grandes Chron., ix, 236–7; Lescot, Chron., 60, *23o; *Delisle, 87–8, 95–106, 109–12; AP 132850, nos 4871–2; Actes Normands, 288; BN Fr.n.a. 7413, fol. 468; other references below.

4 Confessions, 151–2, 153–4; Grandes Chron., ix, 242.

5 Chronographia, ii, 202–3, 208; Grandes Chron., ix, 247–8; Confessions, 154–5.

6 Grandes Chron., ix, 248. Seal: Bautier, 328. Council: Cazelles (1), 120–4. Queen: Froissart, Chron., iii, 249.

7 Henneman, 152, 223; Doc. Par., ii, 27; Cazelles (1), 394–8.

8 Daumet (2), 41 (Louis); *Chron. Norm., 220 (Eu).

9 Geoffroy de Paris, Chron. Métrique, ed. A. Diverres (1956), 208.

10 JT, nos 5399, 5650, 5942; Cart, de … Bricquebec, ed C. Breard (1908), 289–95; AN JJ66/837, J211/24. Taissons: Moranvillé, ‘Rapports’, 388.

11 Coville (1), 43–54, 58; Bois, 198–9, 218–20; Chron. Quatre Valois, 8–9.

12 AN P2291, pp. 599, 791, 793; Henneman, 167–9; Cazelles (1), 163.

13 *HGL, x, 933; Coville (1), 58; Cazelles (1), 165–6; Henneman, 171–6.

14 Ordonnances, ii, 191; Grandes Chron., ix, 245; BN Fr. 2598, fol. 53. Sales taxes: Henneman, 177–9.

15 AN P2291, pp. 585–8.

16 Hansa: E. Fryde (3), 2–3. Crown: CCR 1343–6, 292, 373–4; Ancient Calendars and Inventories of the Exchequer, ed. F. Palgrave, i (1836), 156. Breton campaign: Tout (1), iv, 111; PRO E403/327, 328, 331, 332, passim.

17 BN PO 1675 (de Laye, 4); LC, no. 165.

18 Baker, Chron., 73; RF, ii, 1222.

19 RF, ii, 1145, 1183; PRO C49/7/15; Murimuth, Chron., 121–2.

20 1342: PRO E403/326, mm. 15, 16, 17, 29, C61/54, m. 5; RF, ii 1204. 1343: RF, ii, 1222, 1229; PRO E101/167/3, mm. 8, 10; CCR 1343–6, 128; GEC, vii, 60.

21 Albret: CPR 1340–3, 255, 263; PRO E101/507/22. June 1344; CCR 1343–6, 389. Special grants: CCR 1341–3, 455, 562–3; CCR 1343–6, 128; PRO C61/54, m. 23.

22 RF, ii, 1229, 1236; PRO E403/331, m. 6 (Hugh).

23 PRO SC8/293/14603, 14613, C61/55, mm. 8, 7; RF, ii, 1235.

24 Caumont: AN JJ74/750; AHG, iv, 108–9. Bayonnais: RF, ii, 1149, 1180, iii, 23; CCR 1341–3, 548–9; PRO C61/53, m. 12, C61/56, m. 7d, E101/167/3, m. 1. Escort: RF, iii, 8.

25 Henneman, 167–77; HGL, ix, 546n.

26 Private war: AN JJ78/45 (Albigeois); Ordonnances, ii, 61–3. Routiers: *Ménard, ii, 126–8; HGL, ix, 546n. Agen, Condom: ‘Chartes d’Agen’, 113; Ordonnances, iii, 234–6.

27 St-Astier: BN Fr.n.a. 9237, pp. 752, 759. Montencès: Inventaire AC Périgueux, 78–9; Maj. Chron. Lemovicensis, Rec. Hist. Fr., xxi, 788; AN JJ75/346. Mussidan: PRO C61/54, m. 29. Périgueux: AN JJ74/257.

28 Confessions, 164–72.

29 AHP, iv, 413–24, esp. 422, 424.

30 ‘Guyenne!’: AN X2a/5, fols 204vo–205. Toulousain: RF, ii, 1101; Johnson, ‘An Act’. Belcayre: Inventaire AD Aveyron (Ser. G), 189. Mende: BN Fr.n.a. 9237, p. 759.

31 *HGL, x, 988–97. Bourg: BN Fr.n.a. 9237, pp. 678–97; PRO C61/54, mm. 23, 21, 16. Ste-Bazeille: PRO C61/54, m. 22d.

32 Confessions, 170.

33 ‘Chartes d’Agen’, 139–45; Viard (3), 362n; Cazelles (1), 195–6; HGL, ix, 563–4, 566–7, 571–3.

34 RF, ii, 1224; Murimuth, Chron., 148; Jean du Tillet, Recueil des guerres et des traitez (1618), 235; Grandes Chron., ix, 243; AN JJ76/248 (sureties).

35 Vannes: RF, ii, 1242, iii, 54; Clément VI, L. Cl. (France), no. 2726 (col. 219). Redon: RF, ii, 1242 (it had been in French hands in Jan. 1343: ‘Itin. Phiilipe VI’, 551). Ambush: Chronographia, ii, 206–7; Istore de Flandre, ii, 10; Chron. Norm., 61; Grandes Chron., ix, 245–7; BN Clairambault 68/41 (place).

36 RF, ii, 1242, iii, 1; PRO C76/19, mm. 23, 22, E403/331, mm. 29, 30, 36, E101/24/10.

37 *KOF, xviii, 204–5.

38 RF, iii, 54; Knighton, Chron., ii, 29; Chronographia, ii, 208–9; Mon. procès de canonisation; Morice, Preuves, i, 7–8; Chron. Norm., 62; BN Fr. 2598, fols 53, 53vo; Confessions, 154–5, 156.

39 RF, iii, 11, 15, 16, 17; PRO C76/19, mm. 16, 5, SC1/56/8; Murimuth, Chron., 158, 159–60.

40 PRO C76/19, mm. 15, 2d, E403/332, mm. 24, 25. Vannes: PRO E403/332, mm. 25, 27; *KOF, xviii, 238. Submissions. AN JJ75/148–61, 235–6.

41 Morice, Preuves, i, 1442–7, 1452, 1457; BN Fr. 2598, fol. 53vo; Murimuth, Chron., 164, 243; AN JJ68/219, JJ75/421, 471, JJ76/248, 260, JJ77/4.

42 Murimuth, Chron., 136–8, 143, 148–9; RF, iii, 54; PRO E101/312/3,7.

43 Clément VI, L. Cl. (France), nos 593–4, 743.

44 Derby embassy: PRO C70/20, m. 2; Clément VI, L. Cl. (France), nos 864, 899, 1155–8; RF, iii, 54; Grandes Chron., ix, 248–9; JT, no. 165; Murimuth, Chron., 158–9. Bateman embassy: RF, iii, 18–19; Clément VI, L. Cl. (France), no. 1039. French: *KOF, xviii, 226.

45 Miret y Sans, ‘Lettres closes’, 68. Bias: Clément VI, L. Cl. (France), no. 743; *KOF, xviii, 203; RF, iii, 54. Marriage: RF, ii, 1140, iii, 32, 35; Clément VI, L. Cl. (France), nos 1308, 1327, 1701; cf. similar assurances by Benedict XII in 1339, Benedict XII, Reg. (France), no. 624.

46 Murimuth, Chron., 138–40, 142–3, 149, 175, 229–30; RP, ii, 141, 143–5, 162; RF, ii, 1232, 1233–4; *KOF, xviii, 204, 206–7, 229–33.

47 Conference, diary of proceedings: *KOF, xviii, 202–72.

48 J. Stevenson, Letters and Papers Illustrative of the Wars of the English in France during the Reign of Henry VI, ii (1864), 577.

49 Murimuth, Chron., 159–60; *KOF, xviii, 229, 230; PRO C70/20, m. 2; RF, iii, 25.

50 RF, iii, 32; Clément VI, L. Cl. (France), nos 1574, 1590, 1591; Murimuth, Chron., 163.

51 Knighton, Chron., ii, 2–3; RF, ii, 982; CFR 1337–47, 26, 27, 28–36, 37–8, 144, 175–7, 191, 206, 207, 222, 235; on the change of policy, ibid., 254, 258, 259, 261, 267, 268, 269, 271–5; CCR 1343–6, 48–9. Cf. Actes Normands, 344–5 (Dives); AN JJ74/74 (Eu).

52 Confiscations: Lit. Cant., ii, 271; CIM,, ii, no. 1763; AN JJ68/46, JJ72/7, 296; AP 1328–50, no. 5504. Expatriates: Chron. anon. Par., 175; Arch. St.-Quentin, ii, 122; Doc. Par., ii, 107.

53 AP 1328–50, nos 2653, 4192, 4671; AN X2a/4, fols 119vo, 121; AN JJ72/285, JJ74/122, 454, JJ78/252; A. Thierry, Recueil des monuments inédits du l’histoire de tiers état, i (1850), 475.

54 CCR 1343–6, 82, 207, 267–8, 410–1, 428–9; CPR 1345–8, 30, 97. Calais: Inventaire AD P.-de-Calais, ii, 26, 29. Ships: RF, ii, 1138; PRO C76/18, m. 13; CPR 13435, 92. Timber: RF, ii, 1223. Horses: RF, iii, 30.

55 Bautier, ‘Inventaires’, no. 202; Chron. anon. Par., 176; Arch. St.-Quentin, ii, 122. Somme: Chron. mon. Melsa, iii, 57.

56 RF, ii, 1061, 1190, 1213; CCR 1339–41, 458; CCR 1343–6, 158; RP, ii, 161(27).

57 Doc. Amiens, i, 441–3; CIM, ii, no. 1990.

58 AN X1a 31, fols 155–6; AN JJ78/60, 67.

59 France: Doc. Par., ii, 106–7; AN JJ68/353, JJ74/577, JJ78/85, 149. England: CCR 1337–9, 94, 167, 169; CCR 1343–6, 511; CPR 1334–8, 488; RF, ii, 989; CPR 1340–3, 312; CIM, ii, no. 1763; ‘Ancient Petitions’ … ayant trait aux Iles de la Manche, 66. Cusance: CCR 1337–9, 165; CFR 1345–8, 89; Doc. Par., ii, 34–5.

60 Salisbury: Gransden. Language: RP, ii, 147; RF, iii, 67, 72. Turks: RBP, i, 5. Invasion plans: Murimuth, Chron., 211–12; RP, ii, 158. Preaching: RF, iii, 72, 81.

61 CPR 1343–5, 293–4, 513; CPR 1345–8, 112–13.

62 Eling: Nonarum inquisitiones in curia scaccarii (1807), 126. Yarmouth: CPR 1345–8, 213, 397; CIM, iii, no. 14. Chichester: CPR 1340–3, 587.

63 RDP, v, 43–4.

64 Davies, 80–4; Evans, 46–70, 75–7, *102–5; Willard and Morris, i, 342–3; RBP, i, 13, 14–15, 49–50, 55–6, 68, 80; RF, ii, 1216–17; Cal. A. C. Wales, no. XLII: 118.

65 Cal. A. C. Wales, nos LIV: 53, 102.

66 Lancaster: RF, iii, 5. Tournaments: ibid.; Murimuth, Chron., 123, 146, 155–6, 231–2.; J. Vale, 172–4.

67 CCR 1343–6, 190, 217; RP, ii, 136–8, 140, 147–8; Murimuth, Chron., 156.

68 PRO C76/20, mm. 35, 32, 31, 30, 29, 27, 23, 22, 21,13.

69 Montfort: Murimuth, Chron., 243. Harcourt: PRO C76/20, m. 16; RF, iii, 44. Others: RF, iii, 35, 44. Third army: RF, iii, 36, 37, 38–9, 42; PRO E101/25/6, m. 1 (Harcourt).

70 RF, iii, 44, 45, 53–5; Murimuth, Chron., 165–8. Armies: RF, iii, 44, 50; PRO E101/25/6, m. 1, E101/25/7, E101/25/9, mm. 4, 5; Murimuth, Chron., 164, 168, 169–70.

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