Hundred Years' War: Edwardian Phase
The first phase of the Hundred Years' War between France and England lasted from 1337 to 1360. It is sometimes referred to as the Edwardian War because it was initiated by King Edward III of England, who claimed the French throne in defiance of King Philip VI of France. The dynastic conflict was caused by disputes over the French feudal sovereignty over Aquitaine and the English claims over the French royal title. The Kingdom of England and its allies dominated this phase of the war.
Table of Contents / Timeline
Edward had inherited the duchy of Aquitaine, and as Duke of Aquitaine he was a vassal to Philip VI of France. Edward initially accepted the succession of Philip, but the relationship between the two kings soured when Philip allied with Edward's enemy, King David II of Scotland. Edward in turn provided refuge to Robert III of Artois, a French fugitive. When Edward refused to obey Philip's demands for the expulsion of Robert from England, Philip confiscated the duchy of Aquitaine. This precipitated war, and soon, in 1340, Edward declared himself king of France. Edward III and his son Edward the Black Prince, led their armies on a largely successful campaign across France with notable victories at Auberoche (1345), Crécy (1346), Calais (1347) and La Roche-Derrien (1347). Hostilities were paused in the mid-1350s for the deprivations of the Black Death. Then war continued, and the English were victorious at the Battle of Poitiers (1356) where the French king, John II, was captured and held for ransom. The Truce of Bordeaux was signed in 1357 and was followed by two treaties in London in 1358 and 1359.
Battle of CadzandCadzand, Netherlands
Battle of ArnemuidenArnemuiden, Netherlands
Siege of CambraiCambrai, France
Battle of SluysSluis, Netherlands
Siege of TournaiTournai, Belgium
Battle of Saint-OmerSaint-Omer, France
War of the Breton SuccessionBrittany, France
Battle of ChamptoceauxChamptoceaux, France
The Battle of Champtoceaux, often called the Battle of l'Humeau, was the opening action of the 23-eventYear-long War of the Breton Succession. By the end of September 1341, Charles of Blois had 5,000 French soldiers, 2,000 Genoese mercenaries, and an unknown but large number of Breton soldiers in his army. Charles laid siege to the fortified castle which guarded the Loire Valley at Champtoceaux. John of Montfort could only scrape together a handful of men from Nantes to join his forces to relief the siege. Eventually John conceded defeat at Champtoceaux and rode as fast as he could for Nantes. A series of sallies by the Montfortists followed in the coming days; the French army responded and began its assaults on outlying forts held by John's forces. John was forced to surrender by the irate city council on 2 November, and he was imprisoned in the Louvre in Paris.
Sieges of VannesVannes, France
Battle of BrestBrest, France
The ships to transport the English army had finally gathered in Portsmouth in early August and the Earl of Northampton left port with just 1,350 men in 260 small coastal transports, some conscripted from as far away as Yarmouth for this duty. Just three days after leaving Portsmouth, Northampton's force arrived off Brest. The English fleet closed on the Genoese in the entrance to the Penfeld River where they were anchored in a vertical line. The Genoese panicked, three of the fourteen galleys fled from the crowd of diminutive opponents which were struggling to board the larger Genoese ships and reached the safety of the Elorn River estuary from where they could escape into the open sea. The remaining eleven were surrounded and drove ashore battling their opponents, where the crews abandoned them to the boarders and fired them as they left, at a stroke destroying French naval supremacy in Breton waters. Believing that the ships carried a prodigious English force of trained warriors, Charles broke the siege and made for Northern Brittany with the remaining Genoese whilst a substantial part of his army made up of Castilian and Genoese mercenary infantry retreated to Bourgneuf and took their ships back to Spain.
Battle of MorlaixMorlaix, France
Gascon campaign of 1345Gascony, France
Battle of BergeracBergerac, France
Battle of AuberocheDordogne,
Battle of St Pol de LéonSaint-Pol-de-Léon, France
Edward III invades NormandyCotentin Peninsula, France
Battle of CaenCaen, France
Battle of BlanchetaqueBlanchetaque
Battle of CrécyCrécy-en-Ponthieu, France
Capture of CalaisCalais, France
Scotland invades northern EnglandNeville's Cross, Durham UK
Battle of La Roche-DerrienLa Roche-Derrien, France
Approximately 4,000–5,000 French, Breton and Genoese mercenaries (the largest field army ever assembled by Charles of Blois) laid siege to the town of La Roche-Derrien in the hope of luring Sir Thomas Dagworth, the commander of the only standing English field army in Brittany at the time, into an open pitched battle. When Dagworth's relief army, less than one-fourth the size of the French force, arrived at La Roche-Derrien they attacked the eastern (main) encampment and fell into the trap laid by Charles. Dagworth's main force was assailed with crossbow bolts from front and rear and after a short time Dagworth himself was forced to surrender. Charles, thinking he had won the battle and that Brittany was effectively his, lowered his guard. However a sortie from the town, composed mainly of townsfolk armed with axes and farming implements, came from behind Charles's lines. The archers and men-at-arms who remained from the initial assault now rallied with the town's garrison to cut down Charles' forces. Charles was forced to surrender and was taken for ransom.
The Black Death (also known as the Pestilence, the Great Mortality or the Plague) was a bubonic plague pandemic occurring in Afro-Eurasia from 1346 to 1353. It is the most fatal pandemic recorded in human history, causing the death of 75–200 million people in Eurasia and North Africa, peaking in Europe from 1347 to 1351.
Plague was reportedly first introduced to Europe via Genoese traders from their port city of Kaffa in the Crimea in 1347. As the disease took hold, Genoese traders fled across the Black Sea to Constantinople, where the disease first arrived in Europe in summer 1347. Carried by twelve Genoese galleys, plague arrived by ship in Sicily in October 1347. From Italy, the disease spread northwest across Europe, striking France, Spain (the epidemic began to wreak havoc first on the Crown of Aragon in the spring of 1348), Portugal and England by June 1348, then spread east and north through Germany, Scotland and Scandinavia from 1348 to 1350. In the next few years one-third of the French population would die, including Queen Joan.
Battle of WinchelseaWinchelsea. UK
Combat of the ThirtyGuillac, France
Battle of ArdresArdres, France
Siege of GuinesGuînes, France
Battle of MauronMauron, France
Battle of MontmuranLes Iffs, France
Battle of PoitiersPoitiers, France
Jacquerie Peasant RevoltMello, Oise, France
Siege of RheimsRheims, France
Black MondayChartres, France
On Easter Monday 13 April Edward's army arrived at the gates of Chartres. The French defenders again refused battle, instead sheltering behind their fortifications, and a siege ensued. That night, the English army made camp outside Chartres in an open plain. A sudden storm materialized and lightning struck, killing several people. The temperature fell dramatically and huge hailstones along with freezing rain, began pelting the soldiers, scattering the horses. In a half-hour, the incitement and intense cold killed nearly 1,000 Englishmen and up to 6,000 horses. Among the injured English leaders was Sir Guy de Beauchamp II, the eldest son of Thomas de Beauchamp, the 11th Earl of Warwick; he would die of his injuries two weeks after. Edward was convinced the phenomenon was a sign from God against his endeavors. During the climax of the storm he is said to have dismounted from his horse and kneeled in the direction of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres. He recited a vow of peace and was convinced to negotiate with the French.
Epilogue: Treaty of BrétignyBrétigny, France
- Edward III obtained, besides Guyenne and Gascony, Poitou, Saintonge and Aunis, Agenais, Périgord, Limousin, Quercy, Bigorre, the countship of Gauré, Angoumois, Rouergue, Montreuil-sur-Mer, Ponthieu, Calais, Sangatte, Ham and the countship of Guînes. The king of England was to hold these free and clear, without doing homage for them.
- Furthermore, the treaty established that title to 'all the islands that the King of England now holds' would no longer be under the suzerainty of the King of France.
- King Edward gave up the duchy of Touraine, the countships of Anjou and Maine, the suzerainty of Brittany and of Flanders.
- The treaty did not lead to lasting peace, but procured nine years' respite from the Hundred Years' War.
- He also renounced all claims to the French throne.
- John II had to pay three million écus for his ransom, and would be released after he paid one million.
- Allmand, Christopher (1988). The Hundred Years War: England and France at War, c.1300-c.1450. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-31923-2.
- Curry, Anne; Hughes, Michael, eds. (1999). Arms, Armies and Fortifications in the Hundred Years War. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press. ISBN 978-0-85115-755-9.
- Froissart, Jean (1895). Macaulay, George Campbell (ed.). The Chronicles of Froissart. Translated by Bourchier, John; Lord Berners. London: Macmillan and Son. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- Hunt, Edwin S; Murray, James (1990). A History of Business in Medieval Europe, 1200–1550. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-49923-1.
- Neillands, Robin (1990). The Hundred Years War. Revised edition. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-26131-9.
- Seward, Desmond, The Hundred Years War. The English in France 1337–1453, Penguin Books, 1999, ISBN 978-0-14-028361-7
- Sumption, Jonathan (1991). The Hundred Years War I: Trial by Battle. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-1655-4.
- Sumption, Jonathan (2001). The Hundred Years War II: Trial by Fire. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-1801-5.
- Wagner, John A (2006). Encyclopedia of the Hundred Years War. Westport CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-32736-0.
Get our monthly newsletter sent to your inbox, no spam.
- Notifications on new HistoryMaps
- Find out which HistoryMaps are updated
- Find out which HistoryMaps are coming out next