Category Archives: Warfare

Jacobite Rebellion

Jacobite Rebellion

The Jacobites  were supporters of the exiled royal house of the Stuart. The Jacobites took their name from Jacobus.  James II had been deprived of his throne in 1688.

In 1689 supporters of James II led by Viscount Dundee defeated a Protestant Covenanter army at the Battle of Killiekrankie.

In 1690 William of Orange defeats James II and his Jacobite supporters at the Battle of Boyne in Ireland.

In 1691, William of Orange offers a pardon to all Jacobites in the Scottish highlands who swear an allegiance to him by the end of the year.

In the January of 1692, King William II issues an order of displine against the Highland Scots.  In the February, the MacDonald chief was late in taking his oath to King William, and members of the Campbell clan killed 38 MacDonald’s at Glencoe.

In June of 1701, the Act of Settlement was passed by Parliament, which stated if William III and Princess/Queen Anne died without heirs, succession would pass to Sophia of Hanover, granddaughter of James I, and her heirs.  James II dies, succeeded by his son James III (The Old Pretender).

In 1708 a French naval squadron unsuccessfully attempted to land the Old Pretender on the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh.

With the accession of King George I of England, a Jacobite rebellion started in Braemar on the 6thSeptember 1715 in Scotland.  The Scottish Jacobites were defeated at the Battle of Sheriffmuir on the 13thNovember.  On the 14thNovember English and Scottish Jacobites were defeated near Preston. On the 22ndDecember the Old Pretender lands at Peterhead, joining up with fellow Jacobites at Perth, before returning to France on the 4thFebruary 1716.

In 1743 war broke out between England and France. France was a Catholic country, and had always supported the Stuarts’ claim to the English throne.

King Louis XV informed the fifty-seven year old James Edward Stuart in 1745 that if he was to invade England he would supply him with arms and ammunition. James was not keen on becoming involved in another military campaign. However, his son Charles Stuart was keen to stand in for his father, and so it was, that on 5 July he left France with 700 men.

Once in Scotland, Charles Stuart; Bonnie Prince Charlie, began building up his army. He was especially successful at persuading Catholics living in the Scottish Highlands to join him. In September, Charles was ready to take action. His first move was to capture Holyrood, the ancient palace of Scottish kings. The English army arrived soon afterwards but Charles’ army had an easy victory at the battle of Prestonpans. Charles’ 5,000 man army now marched into England and by December had reached Derby.

Charles had hoped that English Catholics would join his army. This did not happen. In fact, in many of the towns that he marched through, the crowds showed great hostility to Charles’ army. Louis XV had promised Charles that 12,000 French soldiers would invade England in the autumn of 1745. However, Louis XV did not keep his promise. Although Charles still wanted to march on London, his military advisers argued that without the support of the French they were certain to be beaten. Reluctantly, Charles agreed to return to Scotland.

On the 18thFebruary 1746, Jacobite forces capture Inverness.

A government army, led by the Prince William, the Duke of Cumberland, followed Charles back into Scotland. Completely outnumbered, Charles’s army was chased into the Scottish Highlands.

In April 1746, Charles Stuart; Bonnie Prince Charlie decided to turn and fight the English army, and met at Culloden Moor on 16 April. Cumberland’s army destroyed the Jacobites and Charles was forced to flee from the battlefield.

A reward of £30,000 was offered for his capture, but Charles still had many loyal supporters who were willing to hide him, until he could be smuggled back to France.

George II gave the Duke of Cumberland instructions that the Scots had to be punished for supporting Charles. Many of those who had joined Charles’ army were executed and their land was given to those who had remained loyal to George II. Scotsmen were also banned from wearing kilts and playing bagpipes.

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Scotland: Battle of Bannockburn

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On the 24thJune 1314, the “Battle of Bannockburn” became a decisive victory for the Scots, over the English, led by their leader; Robert the Bruce.

The victory overturned England’s domination of Scotland that which was established by Edward I which brought about an Independent Scottish Kingdom.

Edward II launched a campaign, to capture territory seized by Robert the Bruce, lands which had been taken by Edward I.

In 1314, an English army was sent north to relieve the garrison at Stirling, that which was under attack.

Robert the Bruce met a force of 60,000 infantry, 20,000 archers and 1,400 mixed cavalry, with his smaller army.  As one knows, having the larger force is no guarantee of victory.  The Scots positioned themselves with the forest to the left, marsh lands to the right, and to the front, a stream traversed by only one road.

Edward II sent in a frontal cavalry charge which was pushed back, and Scottish cavalry showed how it was done, as they broke through the line of English archers.

The English army was demoralised by these defeats, and further disintegrated as Robert’s Scottish camp followers charged against the English forces.

Edward II leader of the English forces fled the battlefield, as thousands lost their lives that day.

The “Battle of Bannockburn” was the greatest triumph by Scottish forces over the English.  Edward II was compelled to acknowledge Robert the Bruce, as King of Scotland.

Anglo-Scottish Wars

Battle of Culloden

The Anglo-Scottish Wars were a series of military conflicts which took place between England and Scotland in the latter part of the 13thand early 14thcenturies… Scottish Independence Wars.

With the death of King Alexander III of Scotland in 1286, the heir to the Scottish throne was Margaret, aged just four (known as the Maid of Norway).

In 1290, Margaret travelled to her new kingdom, and shortly after arriving on the Orkney Islands, she died leaving a country in crisis, as who would be their next King or Queen.

Thirteen potential rivals for the throne stepped forward.  The Guardians of Scotland, feared a civil war, and called upon King Edward I of England to select a new ruler for them.  On the 17thNovember 1292 John Balliol was named King of Scotland and crowned shortly afterwards at Scone Abbey.  John Balliol, King of Scotland swore homage to King Edward of England on the 26thDecember at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

A Scottish Council of War was convened, consisting of four bishops, four earls and four barons in 1294. This delegation negotiated an alliance with King Philip IV of France.  The Auld Alliance was agreed that outlined set terms, being that the Scots would invade England if England invaded France.  In return Scotland would receive support from France.

An outraged Edward discovered the Franco-Scottish treaty, his response was to invade Scotland and defeat them at the Battle of Dunbar on the 27thApril 1296.  John Balliol was forced to abdicate his position as King; he no longer had control over his citizens.  Edward had the Stone of Destiny moved to London on the 28thAugust.  Parliament was convened at Berwick, where Scottish nobles paid homage to King Edward I of England.

William Wallace killed an English sheriff in 1297 and revolts broke out across Scotland. Wallace’s force defeated the English on the 11thSeptember at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.  In the October Scottish forces raided parts of Northern England.

William Wallace was appointed Guardian of Scotland, in the March of 1298.  In the July Edward invaded Scotland defeating Scottish forces at the Battle of Falkirk.  A defeated William Wallace was forced into hiding.

Further English campaigns took place by Edward in the years 1300 and 1301, which led to a truce between England and Scotland.

Stirling Castle was captured by English forces in February of 1304, and Scottish nobles were expected to pay homage to Edward.  The rebellion by Scottish forces against the English was all but over, and the final nail in the coffin was the capture of William Wallace on the 5thAugust 1305, betrayed by John de Mentieth, a Scottish knight.

William Wallace was escorted to London on the charge of treason.  He was brought before the authorities charged with treason and atrocities against civilians in war, and crowned with an oak garland, meaning he is the King of the outlaws.

His response was “I could not be a traitor to Edward, for I was never his subject.”  Wallace implied that John Balliol was his King.

On the 23rdAugust 1305 he was removed to the Tower of London having been found guilty of all charges against him, and stripped naked and dragged through the city streets.  He was then hanged, stopping just short of death, drawn and quartered; an English medieval ritual to ensure one could not rise again on Judgement Day.

His head was dipped in tar and placed on a pike on London Bridge.  The remaining four parts of his body were displayed separately in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Stirling and Perth.

William Wallace was seen by the Scottish people as a true martyr of Scotland, and as a symbol of the struggle for independence.  What he had started continued on after his death.

Robert the Bruce and John Comyn, two surviving claimants of the Scottish Throne, quarrelled before the High Altar of Greyfriars Kirk in Dumfries. Ending with the killing of John Comyn and Robert the Bruce, crowned King of Scotland in 1306.

Edward despatched an army to avenge John Comyn’s death and destroy Robert the Bruce.  On the 19thJune English and Scottish forces met at the Battle of Methven Park, and defeated by the English.  Robert the Bruce barely escaping with his life, fled into hiding as an outlaw.

On the 10thMay 1307, Robert the Bruce led Scottish forces against the English at the Battle of Loudon Hill, and were victorious.  On the 7thJuly King Edward I died aged sixty-eight.

Over the next seven years, Robert the Bruce established Scottish rule in north and western parts of Scotland, capturing many English held towns and castles across Scotland.

On the 24thJune 1314, King Edward II forces met the Scots at the Battle of Bannockburn, and suffered heavy losses.

In 1320 Scottish nobles sent the Declaration of Arbroath to Pope John XXII, affirming Scottish Independence from England.

In 1322, Edward II raided Scottish lowlands and in 1323 a truce had been agreed by the two countries; England and Scotland.

King Edward II was deposed and murdered at Berkeley Castle, to be succeeded by his fourteen year old son Edward III.

The year 1328 was a joyous time in Scottish history.  The peace treaty known as the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton was signed, recognising an Independent Scotland with Robert the Bruce as King.  Robert the Bruce had achieved what William Wallace had believed in.

On the 7thJune 1329, Robert the Bruce died and the Scottish crown passed to his four year old son King David II.

On the 12thAugust 1332, Edward Balliol son of John Balliol and disinherited Scottish nobles invaded Scotland, by landing in Fife.  Edward’s army defeated Scottish forces at the Battle of Dupplin Moor and was crowned King of Scotland at Scone on the 24thSeptember.

Scots who were loyal to King David II, attacked Balliol at Annan, and defeated his forces.  Balliol escaped and fled by horse to England, joining up with Edward III.  In the April an English force laid siege to Berwick.

On the 19thJuly 1333, Scottish forces made an attempt to relieve the town of Berwick, but sadly they were defeated at the Battle of Halidon Hill, and subsequently Berwick was captured by the English.  By now much of Scotland was under English occupation.

In 1334, King Philip VI of France offered King David II of Scotland and his court asylum in France. They felt they had no option but to accept the offer, and in the May put foot on French soil.

In 1337 King Edward III of England made a formal claim to the French throne, and he knew it would be rejected, so he will be remembered as the English King who started the Hundred Years War with France.

With Edward’s forces in France, Scotland was free of large English forces, giving Scots the chance to regain their lands.

After many years of fighting in which many of Scotland’s nobles had perished in battle, it was time for King David II to return home and take charge of his kingdom.  True to his ally Philip VI, David led raids into England around 1341, forcing Edward to pull back troops from France to reinforce the borders in the north.

David invaded England, capturing Durham in 1346, before being defeated on the 17thOctober at the Battle of Neville.  The Scots suffered heavy losses and King David was captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London.  Edward Balliol commanded a small force, and charged with reclaiming Scotland.

Edward Balliol relinquished his claim to the Scottish throne in 1356 and died in 1365.

The General Council of Scotland by way of the Treaty of Berwick agreed to pay a ransom of 100,000 marks for King David in 1357. Heavy taxation was imposed on its people, to pay the ransom.

In 1363 David made a pact with London; should he die childless the Scottish throne would pass to King Edward III of England.  This was rejected by the Scottish Parliament, preferring to pay ransom at all costs. On the 22ndFebruary 1371, David died and was succeeded by his cousin Robert II, grandson of Robert the Bruce and first Stuart ruler of Scotland.

Scotland went on to retain its Independence until 1707, when the Treaty of Union created a single kingdom of Great Britain.

King Edward III died on the 21stJune 1377, and the balance of the ransom died with Edward.

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The English Civil War

Queen Elizabeth I
Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth ascended to the English throne on the 17thNovember 1558 and crowned on the 15thJanuary 1559, at Westminster.  She was the last Tudor monarch to sit upon the throne, and upon her death on the 24thMarch 1603, she had died, without an heir.

The English throne passed to her cousin; James VI of Scotland, the son of Mary, Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley.  On the 9thFebruary 1567 Darnley was murdered and in the June Mary was imprisoned at Lochleven Castle.  Mary abdicated her crown, passing it to her son James, who was crowned King James VI of Scotland on the 29thJuly 1567.  In 1568 Mary escaped and fled across the border into England, expecting support from Queen Elizabeth.

NPG 1766,Mary, Queen of Scots,by Unknown artist
Mary Queen of Scots

Mary, became Queen Elizabeth’s prisoner, and on the 25thOctober 1586, was sentenced to death for plotting against Queen Elizabeth’s life, and on the 8thFebruary 1587 died at the hands of her executioner at Fotheringhay Castle.

King James I
King James I

King James VI of Scotland, ascended to the English throne on the 24thJuly 1603, and was crowned King James I of England at Westminster Abbey on the 25thJuly.

England, Scotland and Ireland, had become united, under a single monarch; King James I of England, of the Stuart dynasty.

James believed that Kings took their authority from God, but accepted his actions were subject to the laws of the land.  He was often in dispute with Parliament, over the royal finances, as his predecessors have been, before him.

King James I of England reigned for 22 years and as James VI of Scotland, reigned for 57 years, died on the 27thMarch 1625.

King Charles I
King Charles I

Charles I, son of King James I and Anne of Denmark ascended to the English throne on the 27thMarch 1625.  On the 1stMay 1625 Charles had married Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV of France by proxy in front of Notre Dame in Paris.  On the 13thJune 1625 Charles I of England married Henrietta Maria in Canterbury.  Charles I was crowned King of England on the  2ndFebruary 1626 at Westminster Abbey, without his wife, his Queen at his side.  She being a Roman Catholic would not participate in a Protestant religious ceremony.

Charles had informed Parliament, that a marriage to a Roman Catholic would not change religious lifestyle of a Protestant England.  Saying that he added to the French treaty of marriage, that he promised to remove all restraints, upon Catholic subjects residing in England.

Charles I had delayed the opening of his first Parliament, until the marriage ceremony had taken place on English soil.

Charles believed, much as his father had before him, it was his divine right as King, to rule without interference from Parliament.

Charles forces through highly unpopular “Ship Money,” tax to raise funds without the consent of Parliament. They replied in 1628 by presenting him with the Petition of Right a declaration of the “Rights and Liberties of the Subject,” which under pressure, he had no choice but to abide by its terms.

In 1629 Charles steps forward and dissolves Parliament, and opted to rule as he believes it is his divine right from 1629 – 1640.

The Short Parliament, met in April of 1640, and the main topic, led to their refusal to grant Charles funds, until grievances between the two sides had been ironed out.  A stale mate existed and Parliament was dissolved once again.

In November of 1640, the Long Parliament was assembled, and an Act was passed, preventing the dissolvement of Parliament without consent of all parties.

Charles and Parliament, could not work with each other, they were at odds with each other.  Charles failure of 4thJanuary 1642, of arresting five parliamentary leaders, believed Parliament had become too Puritanical.

The King and Parliament were on different sides of the fence, and the English Civil War between Royalists and Parliamentarians, was a powder keg waiting to explode.

Charles I, felt he had no choice, and on the 22ndAugust 1642, withdrew from London, and declared war on Parliament, raising his standard at Nottingham.  The English Civil War of 1642-1648 had begun.

In October 1642, the Royalists won a tactical victory over Parliamentary forces at the “Battle of Edgehill.”

In 1643 Henrietta Maria, actively supported her husband, landing at Bridlington, Yorkshire, with a ship laden down with men and arms, to fight the Royalist cause.

In 1643 Royalists defeated Parliamentary forces at the “Battle of Chalgrove Field,” with the taking of Bristol.

On the 16thJune 1645, Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army defeated Royalist forces.

In April of 1646, Charles barely escapes with his life from the “Siege of Oxford,” surrendering at Newark to the Scottish Army.

In January 1647, Scottish forces handed Charles I, over to Parliamentary forces, and in June Cromwell’s forces escorted him to Hampton Court Palace.  In the November he briefly escapes, and is recaptured and held at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight.

In January of 1649, a court of justice is convened by the House of Commons, to hear the case against King Charles I.  For, he has been accused of treason against England; pursuing his own objectives, rather than those of England.

Charles refused to plead, in the belief the court was unlawful, and that the monarch, had absolute authority of his kingdom, granted to him by God.

The court challenged the question of sovereign immunity, stating the King of England, was not a person, but an office to govern by the laws of the land.

On the 26thJanuary 1649, the court had found him guilty, and sentenced him to death.  On Tuesday the 30thJanuary 1649, King Charles I of England was beheaded in front of the Banqueting House in Whitehall, London.

An act of Parliament was passed, on the 30thJanuary 1649, forbidding the automatic succession of the son of Charles I.  On the 7thFebruary, the office of the King had been abolished.

Main Battles of the English Civil War:

Battle of Edgehill: 23rdOctober 1642

The Earl of Essex commanded Parliamentarian forces, their aim to prevent King Charles and his army reaching London.  Parliamentarian and Royalist forces met at Edgehill mid-afternoon of the 23rdOctober.

Both armies faced each other in traditional battle formation; cavalry units and dragoons on the right, and left flanks, infantry to the middle.  The Parliamentarians had two cavalry regiments to the rear.

Prince Rupert led the Royalist army; leading his cavalry unit in a charge, which saw Parliamentarian cavalry and infantry flee the scene.  Royalist infantry forces advanced into battle, inflicting losses and causing panic and confusion to their opposing armies.  By night, the battle was all but over, neith side had won, but each claimed victory over the other.  The Royalists had their chance to capitalise against the Parliamentarian army, and bring the war to a quick end.

Battle of Marston Moor: 2ndJuly 1644

Parliamentarian and Scottish forces attacked York.  Royalist forces and the York garrison met their attackers on Marston Moor.

The battle started late in the day, Royalist cavalry advanced on Parliamentarian infantry causing high losses.  Then a surprise attack to the rear of the Royalists; Oliver Cromwell attacked with his cavalry, defeating the Royalists, and many surrendered.

The Parliamentarians had won the battle of Marston Moor.  York surrendered two weeks later.  The north was now effectively under the control of the Parliamentarians and Scottish forces.  Their decisive victory had almost wiped out the Royalist northern field army.  Oliver Cromwell was seen as an effective commander. His strong leadership and the discipline of his men had played a crucial role in winning the battle.

Battle of Naesby: 14thJune 1645

Sir Thomas Fairfax, commander of the Parliamentarian New Model Army had been ordered to break off his siege of Oxford.  The Royalist Army of King Charles I had taken the Parliamentarian garrison at Leicester. The New Model Army marched north with orders to attack the Royalists.  King Charles marched south to aid Oxford.  At Daventry, King Charles discovered that Fairfax and the New Model Army were closing in on his army.

The Parliamentary forces had taken up position on the ridge, just outside Naseby. The Royalists drew first blood. The Parliamentarian infantry were forced back and some of their cavalry fled.  Prince Rupert and his cavalry units left the field and headed for the Parliamentarian baggage train at Naseby.  Oliver Cromwell, commander of the right flank of cavalry units successfully repelled a Royalist cavalry charge and then sent units to attack behind their lines, as Parliamentarian forces regrouped.  The Royalist infantry was defeated.  Some surrendered, whilst others fled.  Prince Rupert returned to the battlefield but his men refused to fight. The New Model Army had won a decisive victory.

Naseby was the beginning of the end of the first English Civil War.  King Charles had lost his main Royal Army.  As well as the loss of his infantry, horses, field arms, artillery and gunpowder.  These resources of the King lost, and replacements would not be that easy…

Wikipedia Images

England’s Civil War: Timeline

Royalists and Parliament

1603:  On the 24thMarch 1603 Queen Elizabeth I dies without an heir, and the throne passes to her cousin, James VI of Scotland, who takes the title of King James I of England. With the ascension of James, the three separate kingdoms; England, Scotland and Ireland, are now united under a single monarch.

1604:  In August of 1604, James brought an end to a twenty-year war with Spain by way of the “Treaty of London,” Spain’s hope of bringing England under their control was over.

1605:  On the 5thNovember 1605 English Catholic’s, angered by James I failure to relax penal laws, hatched an audacious plan to blow up the King and Parliament in a single action.  The Gunpowder Plot was averted.  The conspirators were apprehended and executed.

1607:  In September of 1607, Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone and Rory O’Donnell, Earl of Tyrconnell was defeated in the Nine Year War.  The victorious English government treated them leniently and they retained their lands and titles, until the appointment of Arthur Chichester the new Lord Deputy. Fearing arrest, they fled Ireland for pastures new with their families, thus marking the end of the power of Ireland’s Gaelic aristocracy.

1609:  James I created a settlement program to secure Ulter for the crown, by encouraging Protestants from England and Scotland to re-locate.

1611:  By the end of the 16thcentury, several different English Bibles were in circulation.  In 1604 the King James Bible was commissioned and published in 1611.

1613:  On the 14thFebruary 1613, Princess Elizabeth, daughter of James I and Anne of Denmark married Frederick V, Elector of the Rhine Palatinate.  Frederick was elected King of Bohemia in 1619, but driven out of the country by Catholic forces.

It was through Elizabeth’s descendants, that the “House of Hanover” inherited the English throne.

1616:  William Shakespeare, English poet and playwright, died on the 23rds April 1616.

1619:  Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, not to work as slaves, but indentured servants.  During the 17thcentury this changed, as more and more became slaves.  Slavery became part of the economy of the British Colonies in North America.

1620:  The Pilgrim Fathers sailed to America aboard the Mayflower, in August of 1620, fleeing England and religious persecution, landing at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts.  Often portrayed as founders of modern America, but in reality one Captain John Smith, founded the first British Colony at Jamestown in North America.

1625:  King James I dies on the 27thMarch 1625, and is succeeded by his son Charles I.

Captain John Powell lands in Barbados and claims the island as a British Caribbean colony on the 14thMay 1625.  In 1427 English settlers developed the island for the growing of sugar using indentured slaves and later slaves captured in West Africa.

1627:  King Charles I assisted French Protestants of La Rochelle who were being besieged by Catholic forces in October of 1627.  English forces were defeated, and the Duke of Buckingham who commanded the English Army was forced to evacuate, the nearby island of Rhe.

King Charles creates unrest, as he pushes through a tax to raise funds for war, without parliamentary consent.  Parliament replies on the 26thMay 1627 by issuing a Petition of Rights, that he needs their permission to levy taxes on his subjects.  Also he cannot impose martial law on civilians or imprison them without due process.

1628:  George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham was stabbed to death by John Felton, a discontented former soldier, on the 23rdAugust 1628.

1629:  In January of 1629, the House of Commons delegates voice their opposition, in having goods confiscated, for failure to pay tonnage and poundage, believing it to be a breach of the Petition of Right Act.

Charles I was disillusioned with parliament, and further outraged by their actions, when on the 2ndMarch they held the Speaker of the House down in his chair, passing three resolutions on the King’s financial and religious policies. Charles took matters into his own hands, and on the 10thMarch dissolved the assembly, imprisoning eight parliamentary leaders, and chose to rule without a parliament, it became known as “Personal Rule.”

1633:  In 1633 Charles I appoints William Laud as Archbishop of Canterbury.  Laud visits each and every diocese to enforce conformity in services across the land.  Some regarded this, as moving closer to Roman Catholicism.

1635:  In 1635, King Charles issues a writ, aimed at collecting “Ship Money” tax, under the pretext of fighting off piracy.  He took this tax a step further, by imposing it inland, one’s goods could be seized for non-payment of tax.

1637:  Charles I ordered the introduction of a new prayer book in Scotland on the 23rdJuly 1637, in a bid to secure a greater degree of religious conformity across his three kingdoms… angry crowds protested in Edinburgh.

1638:  In 1638, Charles I attempted to force the “Book of Common Prayer” upon Scotland, and the Presbyterians opposed it.

Determined not to accept the new prayer book which Charles I was trying to impose on them, the Scots had drawn up a “National Covenant” which bound its signatories to resist all religious innovations.  Scottish gentleman began signing the document in Grey Friars Church in Edinburgh, on the 28thFebruary 1638.  The General Assembly of the Kirk declared episcopacy (Bishops) abolished and Charles prepared to send troops into Scotland to restore order.

1639:  In the summer of 1639, Charles puts together an English force, and the Bishop’s Wars with Scotland began in earnest.

1640:  King Charles summoned the Short Parliament in 1640 bringing an end to eleven years as solo ruler, after only three weeks it was dissolved on the 5thMay, when he was refused funds for his war with Scotland.

Having advanced deep into England, the Scottish army found the army of Charles I waiting for them on the southern bank of the River Tyne at Newburn.  Charging across the river under cover of artillery fire, the Scots swiftly put the English infantry to flight, and Charles was forced into agreeing a humiliating truce.

On the 3rdNovember, King Charles, close to bankruptcy summons the Long Parliament, another of his request for funds.  At this time Parliament declares his “Ship Tax” illegal, and on the 11thNovember they impeach the Earl of Stafford and Archbishop Laud on the 18thDecember.

1641:  On the 16thFebruary, the Triennial Act is passed, which states by law that Parliament has to sit at least once every three years.

A reluctant King Charles is forced into agreeing to the new Act of Attainder on the 5thMay against the Earl of Stafford, who was executed on the 12thMay.

On the 5thJuly Parliament dissolves: Courts of High Commission, Star Chamber, Council for Wales and suppression of powers of the Privy Council.  Then on the 1stSeptember the House of Commons passes a bill, which saw the destruction of altar rails, crucifixes etc as introduced by Archbishop Laud.

1642:  On the 4thJanuary 1642, Charles feared that his opponents in Parliament were intent upon seizing political control, but were prepared to go a step further and impeach his Catholic wife; Henrietta Maria.  Charles had to act first, and so he marched into the House of Commons, intent on arresting five members of parliament, but they had been warned and escaped and Charles left empty handed.

On the 10thJanuary, King Charles and the Royal family leave London and set up court in York.

In March Parliament announces they would be acting independent of the English King, in matter relating to the defence of the realm.

On the 1stJune Parliament issues nineteen propositions, requiring the King to relinquish military control and the right to appoint ministers.  On the 18thJune Charles rejected the request.

On the 22ndAugust King Charles raised his standard at Nottingham, and so the English Civil War between Parliament and the King had begun.

Although Parliament had initially managed to gain control of major parts of southern England, there were pockets of resistance.  In the October some 10,000 Cornishmen rose up in arms for Charles I and drove parliament’s local supporters across the River Tamar.

Royalists won a tactical victory over Parliamentary forces at the “Battle of Edgehill” led by Oliver Cromwell.

1643:  Royalists won another victory over Parliamentary forces at the “Battle of Chalgrove Field” and went on to capture Bristol.

In the spring Oliver Cromwell is promoted to Colonel of Horse, and on the 2ndJuly Oliver Cromwell’s forces achieve victory over the Royalists at “Marston Moor,” and later in the year Cromwell is promoted to Lieutenant General and Governor of Ely.

Charles I ordered James Butler, Marquis of Ormond to arrange a ceasefire with Catholic confederates in Ireland, so that the English Protestant soldiers fighting there could be shipped home to serve against the Parliamentarians.

Parliamentarian forces negotiated a treaty with the Scots, where they would send mighty Scottish forces across the border to northern parts of England to face Royalist forces. In return they would keep Scottish Protestantism.

1644:  The northern forces of King Charles were besieged at York by Parliamentarians and Scots fighting alongside each other.  Royalist support came to bear in the shape of the King’s nephew; Prince Rupert. Triumph by Royalist forces turned in favour of Parliamentarians at the “Battle of Marston Moor,” and northern England was lost to the King.

1645:  In the February, Cromwell gets what he has called for: The New Model Army, created by Parliament, made up of fully trained soldiers, with General Fairfax as Command-in-Chief and Oliver Cromwell as Lieutenant General, in charge of cavalry.

On the 14thJune, Cromwell’s New Model Army proves its worth, crushing Royalist forces at the “Battle of Naseby.”

1646:  In April of 1646, King Charles barely escapes with his life from the “Siege of Oxfird,” surrendering at Newark to Scottish forces.

1647:  King Charles prisoner of the Scots, was handed over to Parliamentary forces in northern England, on the 30 January for the sum of £400,000.

Whilst King Charles is held prisoner at Holmby House, he plots his restoration and return to King and ruler of England.  In the June he is moved to Hampton Court Palace, and then Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight.

Charles makes an agreement with Scotland to attack England, leading to the second English Civil War.

1648:  King Charles turns down Parliament’s proposals for peace.  Cromwell steps in, and leads the New Model Army, crushing Royalist forces in Wales, and putting a stop to the Scottish invasion of England.  So it was, the Second English War ended on the 28thAugust.

In the December, the New Model Army enraged by Parliament’s opposition to their political ideas, moved in and removed parliamentary members they considered untrustworthy.  Some 180 members were removed and 40 were arrested; the result the “Rump” Parliament of 160 members.

1649:  In January of 1649, a court of justice had been convened by the House of Commons, to hear the case against King Charles I.  For, he had been accused of treason against England; pursuing his own objectives, rather than those of England.

Charles, refused to plead, in the belief the court was unlawful, and that the monarch, had absolute authority of his kingdom, granted to him by God.

The court challenged the question of sovereign immunity, stating the King of England, was not a person, but an office to govern by the laws of the land.

On the 26thJanuary 1649, the court had found him guilty, and sentenced him to death.  On the 30thJanuary 1649 King Charles I of England was beheaded in front of the Banqueting House in Whitehall, London.

An act of Parliament was passed, on the 30thJanuary 1649, forbidding the automatic succession of the son of Charles I.  On the 7thFebruary, the office of the King had been abolished.

On the 9thFebruary 1649, King Charles I was buried in Henry VIII’s vault, in St.George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

On the 18thMay, an Act was passed, which declared that England was a Commonwealth, governed by a council, appointed by Parliament.

The Scottish and Irish, proclaimed they would assist Charles II, claim his rightful place, as King of England.

Determined to subdue Irish rebellion, parliament ordered Oliver Cromwell to lead an expeditionary force across the Irish Sea.  After landing at Dublin, Cromwell moved on to Drogheda where he massacred the 3,000 strong garrisoned army and defenders of the town.

1650:  Then in July of 1650, Cromwell’s army crushed loyal Scottish supporters of Charles II.  Defeating Dunbar and entering Edinburgh as the victor.

1651:  Desperate to recover his father’s throne, the heir of Charles I struck a bargain with the Scots, and was crowned King Charles II of Scotland at Scone Castle.

On the 3rdSeptember, Scottish forces led by Charles II, come face to face with Cromwell’s forces at the “Battle of Worcester.”  Charles II had no choice, but flee into exile in Holland.

1653:  Oliver Cromwell, a successful leader in the English Civil War, became one of England’s most powerful men. On the 20thApril angered that Parliament are stopping many reforms, marches into Parliament and dissolves it.

On the 16thDecember, a reluctant Oliver Cromwell, becomes Lord Protector of England’s Commonwealth.  He wore a purple robe, lined in velvet and carried a golden sceptre at the ceremony. Similarities to a coronation were there, but the oath changed to “Save the Lord Protector.” In the eyes of the people, Cromwell was now King of England, in all but name.

1657:  Supporters of Cromwell put forward that he should appoint himself as, King Cromwell, but he rejected the offer.

1658:  On the 3rdSeptember Oliver Cromwell dies at Whitehall and is buried at Westminster Abbey.

1659:  Richard Cromwell (Lord Protector) son of Oliver Cromwel resigned in the May.

1660:  Parliament and the Monarchy were restored under King Charles II.

1661:  On the 30thJanuary, twelve years to the day, of King Charles I execution.  The bodies of Oliver Cromwell (Lord Protector), John Bradshaw (President, at trial of Charles I) and Henry Ireton (Cromwell’s son-in-law and General in the English Civil War), were removed from Westminster Abbey.

They were hung from Tyburn gallows in chains, and beheaded at sunset.  Their bodies tossed into common graves, and heads placed on spikes at Westminster Hall from 1661-1685.

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Hundred Years War Summary

Hundred Years War
The Hundred Years War

The drawn out conflict between England and France, became known as the “Hundred Years War,” even though it lasted for more than a hundred years (1337-1453).

By the early 13thcentury, England had lost Normandy, Anjou, Maine and Poitou, to the French, but held on to the lands of Gascony which supplied England with its wine.

During the early part of the Hundred Years War, England first witnessed an increase in French lands, then lost them all except for Calais.

At the height of the war, English lands in France included Western France from Brittany to the south-west corner.  Along with Ponthieu and Calais in the north.

The war started when Edward III attempted to seize the French throne, based on the claim that it belonged to him by right of ascension, based on him being a descendant through his mother.

King Philip VI of France, retaliated by attempting to take back English gains.

In 1346, Edward III invaded Normandy defeating the French at the “Battle of Crecy.”  In 1347, the English captured Calais.

In 1355, Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III, attacked Bordeaux and Carcassonne.  In 1356 King John II met the Black Prince on the battlefield at the “Battle of Poitiers.”  On the 19thSeptember 1356 King John II of France along with his son, was captured at Poitiers and remained a prisoner until November of 1361.

The “Treaty of Bretigny” in 1360, saw France recognise Edward as ruler of Aquitaine.  England received Calais and three million crowns ransom for King John II.  Included in the treaty, was a provision for a nine year peace treaty.

In 1369, the treaty of Bretigny collapsed and King Charles V of France, claimed lands which Edward and England had sovereignty.

In 1415 Henry V invaded and captured Harfleur, and had victory over the French at Agincourt, followed by Rouen in 1419.

Henry VI became King of France and England in 1431.

In 1444 Henry VI married Margaret of Anjou, at which time a peace treaty was signed.

Joan of Arc, A French patriot and martyr came to their assistance… putting life and belief into French troops.

The “Hundred Years War” became a victory for the French.  Calais remained in English hands until the reign of Mary Tudor.

The Hundred Years War was brought to an end in 1453, and England was shocked by the loss of its overseas empire.

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The Hundred Years War (1337-1453)

100 Years War3

Hundred Years War: (1337-1350)

Matilda, born of Norman blood, the daughter of King Henry I and Edith of Scotland, married Geoffrey Plantagenet, the Count of Anjou, and gave birth to a son; Henry.

King Henry II married Eleanor of Aquitaine, and jointly they owned the French territories of Anjou and Aquitaine.  Henry ruled more land in France, than the French King himself, and he wanted it back.

A weak King, had been England’s downfall, when King John (1199-1216), lost most of England’s French territories.  Future King’s desired to take back what was theirs, culminating in the declaration of war in 1337, “The Hundred Years War.”

1348 was a bad year for Europe, as Black Death struck, and millions of lives were lost.

By 1431, England had conquered most of France, in the Hundred Years War, using the “Long Bow.”

England was dealt a deadly blow, when Joan of Arc, led French troops into battle, putting into them, the belief that France could push these invader’s from their lands.

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Henry Burghersh, the then Bishop of Lincoln and Councillor to the King of England, was commissioned by King Edward III of England to deliver a document into the hands of; Philip of Valois, the King of France.

Edward claimed that he was the rightful King of France, by way of his mother, Isabella a French Princess and grandson of a French Monarch.

Charles IV of France died leaving no male heirs, and France did not want an English King as their ruler, as such Philip of Valois, distant nephew to the French monarch was appointed.

Edward further announced, it was his intention not to pay homage to the King of France for England’s territories in France.  Edward’s challenge – refusing to pay homage, was by far, more audacious, threatening the feudal system, a centuries old system.

14thcentury Plantagenet King of England, descendants of French princes, held territories in France, descended from William the Duke of Normandy, of Viking decent had won the English crown, by right of conquest at the “Battle of Hastings” in 1066.

Edward became King of England in 1327. And Philip became King of France in 1328.  In accordance with France’s feudal customs, Edward III of England paid homage to King Philip of France, at Amiens Cathedral in 1329, for his fiefs, the French territories, under English control.

The English King faced a dilemma, for he held the title’s; Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Ponthieu, and as such was a member of the French aristocracy.  As such it was his duty, to defend the interests of France.  However, the issue at hand, Edward as King of England, could not be seen to allow France, to dictate his foreign policies.

France wanted to control sea traffic along its coastline, which led Philip of France to create links with Scotland, England’s hostile neighbour.

England and Scotland had been at war since the 1290’s, and in 1314 Robert the Bruce King of the Scots, had won a humiliating defeat against Edward II at the “Battle of Bannockburn.”

In 1328, Edward III sealed a treaty with the Scots, but he couldn’t resist any chance he had to poke his nose into Scotland’s affairs, after the death of Robert the Bruce in 1329. He removed David II, son of Robert the Bruce, and placed his own puppet King on the Scottish throne, one who was loyal to Edward.

Philip stepped forward offering a safe haven to the exiled King of Scotland.

Edward would have felt uneasy by an alliance of France and Scotland, but that was nothing compared to the large fleet of French ships gathering in the harbours of Normandy. There was only one explanation, King Philip of France was preparing for an attack on England, with the support from the Scots in the north.

In 1337, King Philip VI declares to Edward, that he is confiscating English territories in South-West France, citing England’s failure in its feudal obligations.

An enraged Edward responded, claiming that Philip VI had no right to confiscate his legitimate inheritance in France… those lands belonged to England.  The French throne should have been mine by right of inheritance, but I accepted the French Assembly to appoint you… but no longer.  “I declare war on France!”  I want what is mine.

In the year 1337, the first battle of the “Hundred Years War” took place at Cadsand, where English forces raided the island, leading to an English victory.

On the 26thJanuary 1340, Edward III entered the Flemish City of Ghent, and called upon the townspeople, to recognize him, not only as King of England, but also as King of France.

Edward took the battle to the French: The Naval Battle of Sluys in 1340, saw some two-hundred French, Castilian and Genoese ships, sail across the English Channel… the start of an invasion of England.

On the 23rdJune, Edward anchored at Blankenberghe, north of Bruges, where veteran soldiers; Robert Crawley and John Crabbe were put ashore to reconnoitre the French Fleet.  The two knights rode to Sluys with a French escort.  Upon their return they advised Edward, it be risky, as the French Fleet was located within the harbour.

Edward chose to ignore the advice from his knights…

On the 24thJune 1340, King Edward attacked the French Fleet; made up of French, Castilian and Genoese ships inn Sluys harbour.  Their ships had been bunched together, in three squadrons, and each squadron was chained together.

The English Fleet bore down on the French early in the day, with the advantages of having the wind, tide and sun behind them.  English archers sent hails of arrows from their advantage points; end castles or raised platforms located at the rear of ships, or on the masts.

English ships rammed French vessels, attaching hooks and grappling irons, as men clambered across, to deliver death and destruction at close quarters.

The French were trapped, their ships chained together proved to be their undoing.  Some 18,000 French and Genoese were killed, either by arrows, or cut down in hand to hand combat or drowned.

Both French commanders lost their lives.  Hugues Quieret was killed as his ship was boarded and Nicolas Behuchet was hanged from the mast of his ship.

Most of the French Fleet had been destroyed or captured, removing danger to English merchant ships in the English Channel.

On the 11thJuly 1346, King Edward III of England landed at St.Vaast on the northern coast of France.  His army consisted of 16,000 knights, men-at-arms, archers and infantry.  Their target was Normandy.

On the beaches of France, he knighted his 16 year-old son, Edward the Prince of Wales, who became known as the Black Prince.

At the same time a second English force, landed at Bordeaux on the coast of south-west France.  Their target was to invade Aquitaine.

Edward’s forces marched south to Caen, capital of Normandy, taking Raoul, Count of Eu, prisoner, he being the Constable of France and a prized prisoner at that.

They marched forth to the Seine, finding bridges destroyed, slowing up their advancement into France. They marched up the Seine, until they found a bridge which was crossable.  The bridge at Poissy, was easily repaired, and English forces crossed.

At the same time, news reached Edward, that King Philip VI of France, was amassing an enormous army, to stop English invaders.

Edward’s forces crossed the Seine, and marched north to the sea, approaching perilously close to Paris and Philips forces.  As they marched north King Philip followed closely in their tracks.  At low tide, they crossed the mouth of the river, evading pursuing forces.  Edward’s escaping forces encamped in the Foret de Crecy on the north bank of the Somme.

On the 26thAugust 1346, the English forces took position between the villages of Crecy and Wadicourt.

Edward III took the central position, with his son Edward, the Prince of Wales commanding the right flank of forces, along with the Earl of Oxford, Earl of Warwick and Sir John Chandos.  The left flank of forces was commanded by the Earl of Northampton.

Each division of forces, had its spearmen to the rear, knights and men-at-arms in the centre and archers to the front.

Philip’s army came north from Abbeyville arriving mid-day on the 26that Crecy – Wadicourt. French knights advised their King to encamp for the night, and attack on the 27th… Philip agreed.

Many of his army leaders were not waiting, and Philip conceded and so the attack was made that very day, on the afternoon of the 26th.

The role of the Constable of France was to command the Kingdom’s feudal army in battle.  They had been thwarted, for the English had taken him prisoner.  Crecy lost its authority and experience in battle, the King’s army lacked direction.

The French army was divided into four divisions:

Division One was commanded by Antonio Doria and Carlo Grimaldi.

Division Two was commanded by Duke D’Alencon with blind King John of Bohemia.

Division Three was commanded by D’Alencon’s, King of the Romans and former King of Majorca.

Division Four was commanded by the Duke of Lorraine and the Count of Blois.  With King Philip and his forces bringing up the rear guard.

The battle began, late in the afternoon.  Suddenly without warning, the heavens opened, and it poured with rain.  English archers removed their bow strings, putting them in their jackets to keep them dry.  The French crossbowmen did not have that option.

With rain stopped, French crossbowmen fired their arrows, only to discover they fell short of their mark; the rain had loosened their strings, and they were no longer taut. English forces stepped forth, drawing their bowstrings to their ears, as they released their arrows they crossed the skyline and reached their desired target.

The barrage of arrows, inflicted many casualties, forcing retreat by crossbowmen who were trampled down by French knights.  French knights and men-at-arms were subjected to a relentless storm of arrows, wave after wave.

The battle continued late into the night, and King Philip abandoned the carnage, riding to the Castle of La Boyes, to seek safety from the English onslaught.

The King of France had left his post, his forces fled the battlefield.  Come the next day, Welsh and Irish spearmen walked among the dead and dying, murdering and pillaging the wounded…

The French army was 80,000 in size and lost some 30,000 men to an English army of 16,000 men, who reported minimal losses.

After the battle, Edward the Prince of Wales the Black Prince, adopted the emblem of the King of Bohemia, three white feathers and his motto “Ich Dien” (I serve). Still the emblem of the Prince of Wales.

In 1347 Calais surrendered to Edward’s forces.  It was the first battle of the Hundred Years War, which saw the use of artillery.

In the early part of the 14thcentury, Earth underwent a period of extreme cold weather, as temperature plummeted.  What was to come, led to millions of death’s across Europe; “The Black Death Plague.”

There was no control against this disease as it spread from village to village, town to town, and country to country, as thousands died, day by day.  The disease was known to travel by sea and land, with no available solution to stop it, in its tracks.

  • By the winter of 1347 it had reached Italy, and reports were coming in, it was running rampant through the streets of Rome and Florence.
  • January 1348 the plague had reached Marseilles, for the dead were lying where they died; in houses and on the streets.
  • It travelled along the Rhine, and reached Germany in 1348 and the Low Countries.
  • By the middle of 1348, this disease had struck Paris, Bordeax, Lyon and London.

The Hundred Years War was suspended in 1348, due to high mortality rates amongst the military, caused by the plague, yet it was reconvened once the plague had passed.

The Black Death plague became one of the worst pandemics in human history, killing an estimated two hundred million people between 1347-1350.

Hundred Years War: (1350-1399)

In 1355, after a pause in hostilities due to Black Death sweeping across Europe, the war was on again. Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III, landed at Bordeaux in Western France, and marched his forces through Southern France to Carcassonne.  His failure in capturing the walled city, led to the withdrawal of his forces, and back track to Bordeaux.

King John II of France, successor of Philip VI led an army against English forces, commanded by the Duke of Lancaster, who was forced to withdraw to coastal areas.  From their King John attacked the Black Prince, whose army advanced north-east towards Loire, pillaging the countryside as they went.

In September of 1356, King John reached Loire, just as the Black Prince, was turning towards Bordeaux. On the 18thSeptember, both forces met at the “Battle of Poitiers.”

Cardinal Talleyrand de Perigord, tried to broker a settlement between these two armies, but it proved impossible.  The Black Prince offered return of his booty, and a seven year truce, an offer rejected by King John who wanted nothing less, than out right surrender.

The English army, an experienced force of archer’s and men-at-arms, were commanded by Sir John Chandos, Sir James Audley and Captal de Buche.  The Black Prince positioned his force among hedges and orchards.  Front line archer’s took up positions behind hedges.

The Scottish Commander; Sir William Douglas, advised King John, his forces should attack on foot. For horses became vulnerable to the English archer’s.  King John took the advice.

The French forces, mounted their charge on Monday 19thSeptember 1356, with 300 German forces, under the command of Baron Clermont and Baron Audrehem.  The attack proved to be a disaster, some knights were shot by English archer’s whilst others were dragged from their horses, killed or became prisoners.

Three divisions of French infantry advanced upon English forces, led by Dauphin Charles, Duc D’Orleans and King John.

The first French division under the command of Dauphin Charles was pushed back by the English.  Black Prince’s soldiers, Gascon men-at-arms, English and Welsh archers engaged the enemy.

As the second division advanced, confusion reigned as the Duc D’Orleans force, mingled with division one, the result, both retreated.

The third division, commanded by King John, along with divisions one and two, advanced against the English, a formidable force of knights and men-at-arms.

The French army came within sight of the English, beyond a hedgerow.  English and Welsh archers dropped their bows, joining English knights and men-at-arms, brandishing daggers and hammers.  The result; French army scattered, many slaughtered as they ran.

King John II of France, was captured by the English, along with his 14 year old son; Philip on the 19thSeptember 1356 at the “Battle of Poitiers,” and remained a prisoner until November 1361.

The “Treaty of Bretigny” in 1360 saw the French recognize Edward as ruler of Aquitaine.  England also received Calais and a ransom of three million crowns for the captured King John.  The treaty also called for a nine year peace treaty.

In 1364 King John II of France died, and was succeeded by Charles V.

In 1369, Edward’s wife Philippa died, and the ageing King, fell under the influence of his mistress; Dame Alice Perrers.

In 1369, the peace treaty of Bretigny, which had been drawn up in 1360, calling for a nine year truce, collapsed.  For English and French, backed opposite sides in an internal dispute for the throne of Castile.

In 1370, Edward the Black Prince, massacred the people of Limoges, and in turn lost his credibility as a noble warrior.

The tide was turning away from the English to the French.  For it was in 1370, du Guesclin defeated an English army at Pontvallain, and in 1372 a Castilian and French fleet destroyed an English fleet off La Rochelle.

Charles pushed home the French moments of glory, by re-capturing much of the land granted to Edward, in the treaty of Bretigny in 1360.

By 1375, John of Gaunt had lost half of his army to disease and famine, along with large parts of Aquitaine in the process.

In 1376, Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III died.

The Good Parliament of 1376 resisted the supply of money, for the continued Hundred Years War in France. That same year Parliament called for the removal of Edward’s mistress; Alice Perrers, who was draining the royal coffers, to the tune of £2,000 a year.

King Edward became incapacitated by a stroke, and lost his life on the 21stJune 1377.  Edward’s life had been spent striving against his foe, in an attempt to regain the lands of France, once English territories.  His grand illusions shattered.  English territories lost, with the exception of Calais, and a coastal strip between Bordeaux and Bayonne.

Richard II, son of the Black Prince and grandson of Edward III, aged eleven became the next King of England.  John of Gaunt, brother of the late Black Prince was appointed his Regent till he came of age to rule his kingdom.

In 1380, King Charles V of France died.  With French forces running out of steam, as the war dragged on, year after year, it was no wonder French warriors lost interest…

King Richard II of England and King Charles VI of France both suffered at the hands of scheming relatives, who ruled on their behalf.  Neither kingdom wanted to see the battle flag raised again.

In 1396 King Richard II of England married Isabella of France, daughter of King Charles VI. This, one would have to say, was one of those political marriages.  The terms of the marriage led to a twenty-eight year truce.  The two monarchs; Richard II and Charles VI were unable to broker a peace treaty.

Hundred Years War: (1399-1453)

Rivalry was escalating between the dukes of Burgundy and Orleans for governmental control, and it was heading for an internal battle within France, by two of its powerful houses.

In 1407, Louis duc d’Orleans, brother to King Charles VI of France was assassinated by the Duke of Burgundy, which led to civil war between Burgundian partisans of the Duke of Burgundy and Armagnac partisans of the Duke of Orleans.

In 1413, the Armagnacs gained control of Paris, and expelled from the city, those loyal to the Burgundians.

Feuding factions were tearing apart the French realm, to the backdrop of the Hundred Years War. Sooner or later, England would seize the opportunity and attack France.

King Henry IV died in 1413, to be succeeded by his son Henry of Monmouth, King Henry V of England. From the start of his reign, he was determined to attack France.

He demanded of France, that Aquitaine should be returned to English control, and the long forgotten arrears of King John’s ransom be paid.  He kept up his demands, until negotiations reached a stale mate, as France was unwilling to comply with his demands.  As the negotiations had been taking place, he had been equipping an army to do battle.

On the 11thAugust 1415, Henry’s fleet slipped slowly into the English Channel, heading southwards from the Hampshire coast.  On the 14thAugust, the fleet dropped anchor at Chef de Caux, on the north shore of the Seine estuary, a few miles from Honfleur.  He laid siege to the Norman port of Harfleur, who surrendered on the 22ndSeptember.

Henry’s forces left Harfleur on the 8thOctober and marched to Calais.  Henry sent word, ordering the Governor of the town; Sir William Bardolph to take his forces to the crossing across the Somme and hold it. At the crossing, Bardolph and his army was nowhere to be seen, instead French troops were waiting.

Henry marched south-east along the river’s left bank, and the French blocked any attempt to cross.

On the 24thOctober, as the English army passed through Frevent, some 30 miles from Calais and safety, his scouts reported, the French had amassed a large army and blocked the road ahead.

Henry knew there was only one action that could be taken, in reply to this information.

On the 25thOctober 1415, the “Battle of Agincourt” took place, as English forces took up position in three divisions; commanded by Lord Camoys on the right, the Duke of York in the centre and Sir Thomas Erpingham on the left.

The Constable of France, led the French line, with the second line led by the Dukes of Bar and d’Alencon with the Counts of Merle and Falconberg bringing up the rear.

Henry’s forces made the first move as banners advanced to the sound of trumpets.  As arrow range was reached, archers prepared, and on the King’s order a barrage of arrows, flew across the skyline, killing hundreds of French troops.

The battle raged, along the English line, archers abandoned their bows and joined knights and men-at-arms in hand to hand combat against the French.  In less than two hours, the battle was an English victory… and remnants of the French army vacated the battlefield.

The English army consisted of 5,000 knights, men-at-arms and archers.  The French army consisted of some 30,000 knights, men-at-arms and crossbowmen, of which 8,000 are believed to have died.

The Battle of Agincourt wiped out three French dukes, the Constable of France, nine Counts, and ninety Lords and close to 5,000 knights.  In response England’s losses were few; Edward, the Duke of York and 500 knights, men-at-arms and archers.

In 1417, Henry started a new campaign against France, the conquest of previously controlled English lands in France.  In January 1419, Rouen the Norman capital fell, which opened the way to Paris.

On the 10thSeptember 1419, Duke John of Burgundy was assassinated in revenge for the murder of Louis duc d’Orleans, as the Burgundian faction joined forces with the English.

King Henry V of England, contracted fever at Meaux and died on the 31stAugust 1422, and was succeeded by his son; Henry VI.  Henry V’s brother, Duke John of Bedford, became Regent to the ten month old King.

King Charles VI of France died on the 21stOctober 1422, and the dauphin Charles, claimed the throne of France as King Charles VII.  Yet he didn’t have the backing of the people of France, and was only acknowledged as King by the people of Southern France.

The Duke of Bedford acting as King’s Regent, expanded English lands in France, as Maine came under English control.

The final phase of the Hundred Years War began with the birth of a French peasant girl, back in 1412: Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc).  In 1425 she claimed she heard voices from God; her mission in life was to save France by expelling their enemies… the English!

King Henry V of England claimed his right to the French throne and following their rejection, invaded France in August 1415 and went on to defeat Armagnac’s army at the “Battle of Agincourt” on the 25thOctober 1415.

Henry V conquered much of northern France in 1417, gaining support from Duke Philip III of Burgundy, for he agreed Henry V had a legal claim to the French throne.

In 1428 Joan of Arc met with Duke Charles after many rejections at his palace in Chinon.  She promised him, if he gave her an army she would turn round the war in his favour, and she would see him take his rightful place and crowned King of France at Reims.  There was much opposition to such an idea from loyal supporters of Charles, but he gave her a chance … one wonders what he saw in her.

In March of 1429, Joan of Arc led her army against the English as they were attacking Orlean’s. She was dressed in white armour upon a white horse carrying a banner with the picture of “Our Saviour” holding the world with two angels at the sides on a white background covered with gold fleurs-de-lis.

Joan was to lead several assaults against the Anglo-Burgundian forces expelling them from their fortress, and forcing their retreat across the Loire River.  As her victories mounted, so did her fame, spread across France.

Joan kept her promise as Duke Charles was crowned King Charles VII of France in July 1429 at Reims.

After Joan’s capture in 1430 at the Battle of Compiegne, and burnt at the stake on charges of heresy. Philip, the Duke of Burgundy renounced his English alliance at the Congress at Arras.  He accepted Charles VII as the true King of France, dealing a mortal blow to the English.

In 1444, King Henry VI of England married the French princess Margaret of Anjou, in an arranged marriage, part of an agreement towards peace.

In 1449, English warriors laid siege and looted Fougeres in Brittany.  In reply Charles VII, felt he was no longer bound by the terms of the peace treaty.

French forces captured Normandy and Gascony from the English during 1449-1451.  In 1452, a pro-English faction in Bordeaux called upon the English for assistance.  John Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury re-took Bordeaux.  On the 17thJuly 1453, John Talbot’s English force, proved no match against the French troops at Castillon, where they were defeated and Talbot died on the battlefield.

The final straw came on the 19thOctober 1453, when Bordeaux fell to the French. England still had control of Calais, and it remained so up until 1558.  Up until the 1stJanuary 1801, the title King of France was claimed by the English.

Effectively the “Hundred Years War” came to an end in 1453, and England was shocked by the loss of its overseas empire…

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