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The History of England - From the Accession of Henry III. to the Death of Edward III. (1216-1377)
by T.F. Tout
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[1] The sentiment, or its equivalent in Ball's famous distich, was not new; it was employed for mystical purposes in Richard Rolle's

"When Adam delf and Eue span, spir, if thou wil spede, Whare was then the pride of man, that now merres his mede?"

Library of Early English Writers. Richard Rolle of Hampole and his followers, ed. Horstman, i., 73 (1895).

[2] Cal. Papal Registers, Letters, iii., 565.

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

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

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

Monasticism no less than the papacy was of the very essence of the Church of the Middle Ages. Yet the monastic ideal had no longer the force that it had in previous generations, and even the latest embodiments of the religious life had declined from their original popularity. Pope John XXII. himself, in his warfare against William of Ockham and the Spiritual Franciscans who had supported Louis of Bavaria, denied in good round terms the Franciscan doctrine of "evangelical poverty". Ockham was now dead, and with him perished the last of the great cosmopolitan schoolmen, of whose birth indeed England might boast, but who early forsook Oxford for Paris. Conspicuous among the younger academical generation was Richard Fitzralph, Archbishop of Armagh, whose bitter attacks on the fundamental principles underlying the mendicant theory of the regular life are indicative of the changing temper of the age. A distinguished Oxford scholar, a learned and pungent writer, a popular preacher, a reputed saint, and a good friend of the pope, Fitzralph made himself, about 1357, the champion of the secular clergy against the friars by writing a treatise to prove that absolute poverty was neither practised nor commended by the apostles.[1] The indignant mendicants procured the archbishop's citation to Avignon, and it was a striking proof of the ineffectiveness of recent legislation that Edward III. allowed him to plead his cause before the curia. By 1358 the friars gained the day, but their efforts to get Fitzralph's opinions condemned were frustrated by his death in 1360. Fitzralph had the sympathy not only of the seculars, but of the "possessioners," or property-holding monks.

[1] See his De Pauperie Salvatoris, lib. i.-iv., printed by R.L. Poole, as appendix to Wycliffe, De Dominio Divino.

The period of experiments in economic and anti-clerical legislation was also marked by other important new laws, such as the ordinance of the staple of 1354, providing that wool, leather, and other commodities were only to be sold at certain staple towns, a measure soon to be modified by the law of 1362, which settled the staple at Calais; the ordinance of 1357 for the government of Ireland, to which later reference will be made; the statute making English the language of the law courts in 1362, and a drastic act against purveyance in 1365. The statute of treasons of 1352, which laid down seven several offences as alone henceforth to be regarded as treason, also demands attention. Its classification is rude and unsystematic. While the slaying of the king's ministers or judges, and the counterfeiting of the great seal or the king's coin, are joined with the compassing the death of the king or his wife or heir, adherence to the king's enemies, the violation of the queen or the king's eldest daughter, as definite acts of treason, its omission to brand other notable indications of disloyally as traitorous, inspired the judges of later generations to elaborate the doctrine of constructive treason in order to extend in practice the scope of the act. It was, however, an advance for nobles and commons to have set any limitations whatever to the wide power claimed by the courts of defining treason.

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

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

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

The results of the system bore heavily on the Breton peasantry. Each lord of a castle levied systematic blackmail on the neighbouring parishes. These payments, called ransoms, were exacted as a condition of protection. The governor, though severely maltreating those who neglected to pay their ransom, did little to save his dependants from the ravages of the partisans of Charles of Blois. Despite such misdeeds, the war of partisans was brightened by many feats of heroism. The friends of Charles of Blois disregarded the truce and waged war as well as they could. Among them was already conspicuous the son of a nobleman of the neighbourhood of Dinan, the ugly, able, restless Bertrand du Guesclin, whose enterprise and valour won for him a great local reputation. In 1350 Dagworth was slain. The history of the following years is not to be found in the acts of his successor, Sir Walter Bentley, but in the private deeds of daring of the heroes of both sides. Conspicuous among these is the famous Battle of the Thirty, well known from the detailed narrative of Froissart, and the stirring verses of a contemporary French poem. This fight was fought on March 27, 1351, between thirty Breton gentlemen of the Blois faction, drawn from the garrison of Josselin, and a less noble but even more strenuous band of thirty English and other adventurers of the Montfort party, from the garrison of Ploermel, seven miles to the east. Beaumanoir, the commandant at Josselin, had been moved to indignation at the cruel treatment of peasants who had refused to pay ransom by Robert Bembro, the commander of Ploermel. He challenged the tyrant to combat, and thirty heroes of each party fought out their quarrel at a spot marked by the half-way oak, equidistant from the two garrisons. After a long struggle, in which Bembro was slain, victory fell to the men from Josselin. Among the vanquished were Knowles, Calveley, and Crockart. This fight had absolutely no influence on the fortune of the war.

In 1352 the French strove to carry on the Breton war on a grander scale, and a large army, commanded by Guy of Nesle, marshal of France, was sent to reinforce the partisans of Charles of Blois. They met Bentley at Mauron, a few miles north of Ploermel, where one of the most interesting battles of the war was fought Taught by the lesson of Crecy, Nesle had already, in obscure fights in Poitou, ordered the French knights and men-at-arms to fight on foot.[1] He here adopted the same plan for the first time in a battle of importance, but, after a severe struggle, Bentley won the day. In 1353 Edward III. made a treaty with his captive, Charles of Blois. In return for a huge ransom Charles was to obtain his liberty, be recognised as Duke of Brittany, marry one of Edward's daughters, and promise to remain neutral in the Anglo-French struggle. The treaty involved too great a dislocation of policy to be carried out. Charles, after visiting Brittany, renounced the compact and returned to his London prison. Thus the weary war of partisans still went on, and thenceforth the fortunes of Charles depended less upon negotiations than on the growing successes of Bertrand du Guesclin.

[1] See my paper on Some Neglected Fights between Crecy and Poitiers in Engl. Hist. Review, vol. xxi., Oct., 1905.

During these years Calais was the centre of much fighting. Eager to win back the town, the French bribed an Italian mercenary, then in Edward's service, to admit them into the castle. The plot was discovered, and Edward and the Prince of Wales crossed over in disguise to help in frustrating the French assault. The French were enticed into Calais and taken as in a trap. Edward then sallied out of the town, and rashly engaged in personal encounter with a more numerous enemy. He was unexpectedly successful, and made wonderful display of his prowess as a knight. In revenge, the English devastated the neighbouring country by raids like that led by the Duke of Lancaster in 1351, which spread desolation from Therouanne to Etaples. Of more enduring importance were the gradual extensions of the English pale by the piecemeal conquest of the fortresses of the neighbourhood. The chief step in this direction was the capture of Guines in 1352. An archer named John Dancaster, who escaped from French custody in Guines, led his comrades to the assault of the town by a way which he learnt during his imprisonment. The attack succeeded, and Dancaster, to avoid involving his master in a formal breach of the truce, professed to hold the town on his own account and to be willing to sell it to the highest bidder. Of course the highest bidder was Edward III. himself, and thus Guines became the southern outpost of the Calais march.

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

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

In these years of truce first appeared the worst scourge of the war, bands of mercenary soldiers, fighting on their own account and recklessly devastating the regions which they chose to visit. The cry for peace rose higher than ever. Innocent VI., who succeeded Clement VI. in 1352, took up with great energy the papal policy of mediation. Thanks to his legates' good offices, preliminary articles of peace were actually agreed upon on April 6, 1354, at Guines. By them Edward agreed to renounce his claim to the French throne if he were granted full sovereignly over Guienne, Ponthieu, Artois, and Guines. When the chamberlain, Burghersh, laid before parliament, which was then sitting, the prospect of peace, "the commons with one accord replied that, whatever course the king and the magnates should take as regards the said treaty, was agreeable to them. On this reply the chamberlain said to the commons: 'Then you wish to agree to a perpetual treaty of peace, if one can be had?' And the said commons answered unanimously, 'Yea, yea'."[1] Vexatious delays, however, supervened, and at last the negotiations broke down hopelessly. The French refused to surrender their over-lordship over the ceded provinces, and the Easter parliament of 1355 agreed with the king that war must be renewed. Two years of war were to follow more fierce than even the struggles which had culminated in Crecy, La Roche, and Calais.

[1] Rot. Pad., ii., 262.

Two expeditions were organised to invade France in the summer of 1355, one for Aquitaine under the Prince of Wales,[1] and the other for Normandy under Lancaster. Westerly winds long prevented their despatch. It was not until September that the Prince of Wales reached Bordeaux. The change of wind, which bore the prince to Gascony, enabled the host, collected by the King and Lancaster on the Thames, to make its way to Normandy. But the special reason which brought the English thither was already gone. The expedition was planned to co-operate with the King of Navarre. Charles, surnamed the Bad, traced on his father's side his descent to that son of Philip the Bold who obtained the county of Evreux in upper Normandy for his appanage. From his mother, the daughter of Louis X., he derived his kingdom of Navarre and a claim on the French monarchy of the same type as that of Edward III. Cunning, plausible, unscrupulous, and violent, Charles had quarrelled fiercely with King John, whose daughter he had married. His vast estates in Normandy made him a valuable ally to Edward, and he had suggested joint action in that duchy against the French. Unluckily, while the west winds kept the English fleet beyond the Straits of Dover, John made terms with his son-in-law. Lancaster was compensated for his disappointment by the governorship of Brittany. The army equipped for the Norman expedition was diverted to Calais, whence in November, Edward and Lancaster led a purposeless foray in the direction of Hesdin, which hastily ended on the arrival of the news that the Scots had surprised the town of Berwick, and were threatening its castle. Thereupon Edward hastened back home. He had to keep the Scots quiet, before he could attack the French.

[1] For the Black Prince's career in Aquitaine, see Moisant, Le Prince Noir en Aquitaine (1894)

When the Black Prince reached Bordeaux, he received a warm welcome from the Gascons, and at once set out at the head of an army, partly English and partly Gascon, on a foray into the enemy's territory. He made his way from Bazas to the upper Adour through the county of Armagnac, whose lord had incurred his wrath by his devotion to the house of Valois and his invasions of the Gascon duchy. Thence he worked eastwards, avoiding the greater towns, and plundering and devastating wherever he could. The Count of Armagnac, the French commander in the south, watched his progress from Toulouse, and prudently avoided any open encounter. The prince approached within a few miles of the capital of Languedoc, but found an easier prey in the rich towns and fertile plains in the valley of the Aude. He captured the "town" of Carcassonne, though he failed to reduce the fortress-crowned height of the "city". At Narbonne also he took the "town" and left the "city". His progress spread terror throughout the south, and the clerks of the university of Montpellier and the papal curia at Avignon trembled lest he should continue his raid in their direction. But November came, and Edward found it prudent to retire, choosing on his westward journey a route parallel to that which he had previously adopted. He had achieved his real purpose in desolating the region from which the French had derived the chief resources for their attacks on Gascony. The raiders boasted that Carcassonne was larger than York, Limoux not less great than Carcassonne, and Narbonne nearly as populous as London. Over this fair region, where wine and oil were more abundant than water, the black band of desolation, which had already marked so many of the fairest provinces of France, was cruelly extended.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[1] Eulogium Hist., iii., 225.

As after Crecy, the victors were too weak to continue the campaign. Next day they began their slow march back to their base. On October 2 Edward reached Libourne, and a few days later conducted the captive king into the Gascon capital. They were soon followed by the Cardinal Talleyrand on whose insistence the prince agreed to resume negotiations. On March 23, 1357, a truce to last until 1359 was arranged at Bordeaux. On May 24 the prince led the vanquished king through the streets of London.

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

In January, 1358, preliminaries of peace were also arranged with the captive King of France, and sent to Paris and Avignon for ratification. Innocent VI. was overjoyed at his success, and Frenchmen were willing to make any sacrifices to bring back their monarch, for immediately after Poitiers a storm of disorder burst over France. The states general met a few weeks after the battle, and the regent, Charles of Normandy, was helpless in their hands. This was the time of the power of Stephen Marcel, provost of the merchants of Paris, and of Robert Lecoq, Bishop of Laon. But the movement in Paris was neither in the direction of parliamentary government nor of democracy, and few men have less right to be regarded as popular heroes than Marcel and Lecoq. The estates were manipulated in the interests of aristocratic intrigue, and, behind the ostensible leaders, was the sinister influence of Charles of Navarre, who availed himself of the desolation of France to play his own game. For a time he was the darling of the Paris mob. Innocent VI. was deceived by his protestations of zeal for peace. As grandson of Louis X. he aspired to the French throne, and was anxious to prevent John's return. Edward had no good-will for a possible rival, but it was his interest to keep up the anarchy, and he had no scruple in backing up Charles. There was talk of Edward becoming King of France and holding the maritime provinces, while Charles as his vassal should be lord of Paris and the interior districts. English mercenaries, who had lost their occupation with the truce, enlisted themselves in the service of Navarre. Robert Knowles, James Pipe, and other ancient captains of Edward fought for their own hand in Normandy, and built up colossal fortunes out of the spoils of the country. Some of these hirelings appeared in Paris, where the citizens welcomed allies of the Navarrese, even when they were foreign adventurers. However, Charles went so far that a strong reaction deprived him of all power. He was able to prevent the ratification of the preliminaries of 1358. But in that year the death of Marcel was followed by the return of the regent to Paris, the expulsion of the foreign mercenaries, the collapse of the estates, and the restoration of the capital to the national cause. The short-lived horrors wreaked by the revolted peasantry were followed by the more enduring atrocities of the nobles who suppressed them. Military adventurers pillaged France from end to end, but the worst troubles ended when Charles of Navarre lost his pre-eminence.[1]

[1] An admirable account of the state of France between 1356 and 1358 is in Denifie, La Desolation des Eglises en France pendant la Guerre de Cent Ans, ii., 134-316 (1899).

When the truce of Bordeaux was on the verge of expiration, the French king negotiated a second treaty by which he bought off the threatened renewal of war. This was the treaty of London, March 24, 1359, by which John yielded up to Edward in full sovereignty the ancient empire of Henry II. Normandy, the suzerainty of Brittany, Anjou, and Maine, Aquitaine within its ancient limits, Calais and Ponthieu with the surrounding districts, were the territorial concessions in return for which Edward renounced his claim to the French throne. The vast ransom of 4,000,000 golden crowns was to be paid for John's redemption; the chief princes of the blood were to be hostages for him, and in case of failure to observe the terms of the treaty he was to return to his captivity. The only provision in any sense favourable to France was that by which Edward promised to aid John against the King of Navarre.

The treaty of London excited the liveliest anger in France. "We had rather," declared the assembled estates, "endure the great mischief that has afflicted us so long, than suffer the noble realm of France thus to be diminished and defrauded."[1] Spurred up by these patriotic manifestations, the regent rejected the treaty, and prepared as best he could for the storm of Edward's wrath which soon burst upon his country. Anxious to unite forces against the national enemy, he made peace with Charles of Navarre, who, abandoned by Edward, was delighted to be restored to his estates.

[1] Froissart, v., 180, ed. Luce.

Edward concentrated all his efforts on a new invasion of France. In November, 1359, he marched out of Calais with all his forces. His four sons attended him, and there was a great muster of earls and experienced warriors. Among the less known members of the host was the young Londoner, Geoffrey Chaucer, a page in Lionel of Antwerp's household. In three columns, each following a separate route, the English made their way from Calais towards the south-east. The French avoided a pitched battle, but hung on the skirts of the army and slew, or captured, stragglers and foragers. Chaucer was among those thus taken prisoner. Edward's ambition was to take Reims, and have himself crowned there as King of France. On December 4 he arrived at the gates of the city, and besieged it for six weeks. Then on January 11, 1360, the King despaired of success, abandoned the siege, and marched southwards through Champagne towards Burgundy. Despite the check at Reims, he was still so formidable that in March Duke Philip of Burgundy concluded with him the shameful treaty of Guillon, by which he purchased exemption from invasion by an enormous ransom and a promise of neutrality.

Edward next turned towards Paris. The news that the French had effected a successful descent on Winchelsea and behaved with extreme brutality to the inhabitants, infuriated the English troopers, who perpetrated a hundredfold worse deeds in the suburbs of the French capital. It seemed as if the war was about to end with the siege and capture of Paris. The regent, unable to meet the English in the field, fell back in despair on negotiation. Innocent VI. again offered his good services. John sent from his English prison full powers to his son to make what terms he would, and on April 3, which was Good Friday, ambassadors from each power met under papal intervention at Longjumeau; but Edward still insisted on the terms of the treaty of London, for which the French were not yet prepared. On April 7 Edward began the siege of Paris by an attack on the southern suburbs, but was so little successful that he withdrew five days later. A terrible tempest destroyed his provision train and devastated his army. These disasters made Edward anxious for peace, and the negotiations, after two interruptions, were successfully renewed at Chartres, and facilitated by the signature of a truce for a year. The work of a definitive treaty was pushed forward, and on May 8, preliminaries of peace were signed between the prince of Wales and Charles of France at the neighbouring hamlet of Bretigni, whither the peacemakers had transferred their sittings. There were still formalities to accomplish which took up many months. King John was escorted in July by the Prince of Wales to Calais, and in October he was joined by Edward III., who had returned to England about the time that the negotiations at Bretigni were over. The peace took its final form at Calais in October 24, 1360. Next day John was released, and ratified the convention as a free man on French soil. This permanent treaty is more properly styled the treaty of Calais than the treaty of Bretigni; but the alterations between the two were only significant in one particular respect. At Calais the English agreed to omit a clause inserted at Bretigni by which Edward renounced his claims to the French throne, and John his claims over the allegiance of the inhabitants of the ceded districts. As the Calais treaty of October alone had the force of law, it was a real triumph of French diplomacy to have suppressed so vital a feature in the definitive document.[1] Even with this alleviation the terms were sufficiently humiliating to France. Edward and his heirs were to receive in perpetuity, "and in the manner in which the kings of France had held them," an ample territory both in southern and northern France. All Aquitaine was henceforth to be English, including Poitou, Saintonge, Perigord, Angoumois, Limousin, Quercy, Rouergue, Agenais, and Bigorre. The greatest feudatories of these districts, the friendly Count of Foix as well as the hostile Count of Armagnac, and the Breton pretender to the viscounty of Limoges, were to do homage to Edward for all their lands within these bounds. Nor was this all. The county of Ponthieu, including Montreuil-sur-mer, was restored to its English lords, and added to the pale of Calais, which was to include the whole county of Guines, made up two considerable northern dominions for Edward. With these cessions were included all adjacent islands, and all islands held by the English king at that time, so that the Channel islands were by implication recognised as English.

[1] On the importance of this, see the paper of MM. Petit-Dutaillis and P. Collier, La Diplomatie francaise et le Traite de Bretigny in Le Moyen Age, 2e serie, tome i. (1897), pp. 1-35.

The ransom of John was fixed at 3,000,000 gold crowns, that is ~500,000 sterling. The vastness of this sum can be realised by remembering that the ordinary revenue of the English crown in time of peace did not much exceed L60,000, while the addition to that of a sum of L150,000 involved an effort which only a popular war could dispose Englishmen to make. Of this ransom 600,000 crowns were to be paid at once, and the rest in annual instalments of 400,000 crowns until the whole payment was effected. During this period the prisoners from Poitiers, several of the king's near relatives, a long list of the noblest names in France, and citizens of some of its wealthiest cities, were to remain as hostages in Edward's hands. As to the Breton succession, Edward and John engaged to do their best to effect a peaceful settlement. If they failed in attaining this, the rival claimants were to fight it out among themselves, England and France remaining neutral. Whichever of the two became duke was to do homage to the King of France, and John of Montfort was, in any case, to be restored to his county of Montfort. A similar care for Edward's friends was shown in the article which preserved for Philip of Navarre his hereditary domains in Normandy. Forfeitures and outlawries were to be pardoned, and the rights of private persons to be respected. Nevertheless Calais was to remain at Edward's entire disposal, and the burgesses, dispossessed by him, were not to be reinstated. The French renounced their alliance with the Scots, and the English theirs with the Flemings. Time was allowed to carry out these complicated stipulations, and, by way of compensating Edward for the significant omission which has been mentioned, elaborate provisions were made for the mutual execution at a later date of charters of renunciation, by which Edward abandoned his claim to the French throne and John the over-lordship of the districts yielded to Edward. These were to be exchanged at Bruges about a year later.

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



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE HUNDRED YEARS' WAR FROM THE TREATY OF CALAIS TO THE TRUCE OF BRUGES.

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

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

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

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

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

The free companies lost their chief hunting-grounds; and a further relief came when some of them, like the White Company, found a better market for their swords in Italy. With all their faults, the companies opened out a career to talent such as had seldom been found before. John Hawkwood, the leader of the White Company, was an Essex man of the smaller landed class. He had played but a subordinate figure beside Knowles, Calveley, Pipe, and Jowel; but in Italy he won for himself the name of the greatest strategist of his age. Thus, though at the cost of murder and pillage, the English made themselves talked about all over the western world. "In my youth," wrote Petrarch, "the Britons, whom we call Angles or English, had the reputation of being the most timid of the barbarians. Now they are the most warlike of peoples. They have overturned the ancient military glory of the French by a series of victories so numerous and unexpected that those, who were not long since inferior to the wretched Scots, have so crushed by fire and sword the whole realm that, on a recent journey, I could hardly persuade myself that it was the France that I had seen in former years."[1]

[1] Epistolae Familiares, iii., Ep. 14, p. 162, ed. Fracassetti.

It was to little purpose that King John laboured to redeem his plighted word and make France what it had been before the war. Though in November, 1361, neither he nor Edward sent commissioners to Bruges, where, according to the treaty of Calais, the charters of renunciation were to be exchanged, John offered in 1362 to carry out his promise. Edward, however, for reasons of his own, made no response to his advances. The result was that the renunciations were never made, and so the essential condition of the original settlement remained unfulfilled. The matter passed almost unnoticed at the time as a mere formality, but in later years Edward's lack of faith brought its own punishment in giving the French king a plausible excuse for still claiming suzerainty over the ceded provinces. Perhaps Edward still cherished the ambition of resuscitating his pretensions to the French crown. He found it as hard to give up a claim as ever his grandfather had done.

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

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

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

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

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

Since 1363 the constant residence of the Black Prince and his wife, Joan of Kent, in Gascony, had been broken only by his Castilian expedition. It was a wise policy to send the prince to hold a permanent court in Aquitaine, such as the land had never seen since Richard Coeur de Lion. All that affability, magnificence, and chivalry could do to make his domination attractive might be confidently anticipated from so brilliant and high-minded a knight as the prince of Aquitaine. The court of Bordeaux was as brilliant as the court of Windsor. "Never," boasted the Chandos Herald,[1] "was such good entertainment as his; for every day at his table he had more than four-score knights and four times as many squires. There was found all nobleness, merriment, freedom, and honour. His subjects loved him, for he did them much good." The sulky magnates of the south-west, such as John of Armagnac and Gaston Phoebus of Foix, found their bitterness tempered by the prince's courtesy, while the boastful knights of Gascony looked forward to a career of honourable service under the descendant of their ancient dukes. Feastings and tournaments were not enough to win all his subjects' hearts; and the Black Prince strove with some energy to show that he was a ruler of men as well as the centre of a court. It is to his credit that he cleared his inheritance from the free companies, so that Poitou and Limousin enjoyed far more prosperity and tranquillity than in the days of French ascendency. Such new taxation as Gascon custom allowed was only levied after grants from the three estates. Great pains were taken to improve the administration, the judicial system, and the coinage. Edward saw that his best policy was to rely upon the people of Gascony, and to look with suspicion on the great lords. But he did not understand how limited was the authority which tradition gave to the dukes of Aquitaine, and he was too stiff, too pedantic, too insular, to get on really cordial terms with his subjects. He never, like Gaston Phoebus or Richard Coeur de Lion, threw himself into the local life, language, and traditions of the country.

[1] Le Prince Noir, poeme du heraut d'Armes Chandos, pp. 107-108, ed. F. Michel.

The Black Prince's greatest successes were with the towns, and especially with those which had been continuously subject to English rule. The citizens of Bordeaux, who had feared lest Edward's claim to the French crown should involve them in more complete subjection, were appeased by promises that they should in any case remain subject to the English monarchy. Their liberties were increased and their wine trade was fostered, even to the loss of English merchants. The other towns were equally contented. Edward relied upon them as a counterpoise to the feudal lords, and their liberties exempted them from the extraordinary taxes by which he strove to restore the equilibrium of his finances. The half-independent magnates were soon convinced that their chivalrous lord was no friend of aristocratic privilege. Edward, even when using their services in war, carefully excluded them from the administration. They saw with disgust the chief offices monopolised by Englishmen. An English bishop, John Harewell of Bath, was Edward's chancellor and confidential adviser. An English knight, Thomas Felton, was seneschal of Aquitaine and head of the administration. The constableship was assigned to Chandos. The seneschalships of the several provinces were mainly in English hands. With English notions of the rights of the supreme power, the prince paid little attention to the franchises of either lord or prelate. He mortally offended John of Armagnac by requiring a direct oath of fealty from the Bishop of Rodez, who held all his lands of Armagnac as Count of Rouergue. Clerks of lesser degree were outraged by the prince's attempts to hinder students from attending the university of Toulouse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minsterworth was not the only traitor. In the earlier part of the war, there had fought on the English side a grand-nephew of the last independent Prince of Wales, Sir Owen ap Thomas ap Rhodri,[1] whose grandfather, Rhodri or Roderick, the youngest brother of the princes Llewelyn and David, had after the ruin of his house lived obscurely as a small Cheshire and Gloucestershire landlord. In 1365 Owen was in France, engaged, no doubt, in one of the free companies, and on his father's death he returned to defend his inheritance from the claims of the Charltons of Powys. Having succeeded in this, he returned to France, and nothing more is heard of him until after the renewal of the war. In 1370 he appeared as a strenuous partisan of the French. Mindful of his ancestry he posed as the lawful Prince of Wales, and established communications with his countrymen, both in France and in Wales. Anxious to stir up discord in Edward's realm, the French king gladly upheld his claims. A gallant knight and an impulsive, energetic partisan, Sir Owen of Wales soon won a place of his own in the history of his time. In Gwynedd he was celebrated as Owain Lawgoch, Owen of the Red Hand. Conspiracies in his favour were ruthlessly stamped out, and a halo of legend and poetry soon encircled his name. In France Charles entrusted him and another Welshman, named John Wynn, with the equipment of a fleet at Rouen with which the champion was to descend on the principality and excite arising. Bad weather caused the complete destruction of the expedition of the Welsh pretender. Two years later, however, another fleet was fitted out on his behalf, and in June, 1372, Owen took possession of Guernsey.

[1] The place of Owen of Wales in history was for the first time clearly shown by Mr. Edward Owen in Y Cymmrodor, 1899-1900, pp. 1-105.

At that time the fortune of war was strongly in favour of France, though the initial successes of Charles V. were damped by the doubtful results of the petty struggles which filled the year 1371. During that year Du Guesclin, the soul of the French attack, ejected the English from many places in Normandy and Poitou. On the other hand, the English won the hard fought battle over a Flemish fleet in Bourgneuf Bay, which has already been mentioned. They also showed some power of recovery in Aquitaine, where their recapture of Figeac in upper Quercy gave them a base for renewing their attacks on Rouergue. On the whole then, the year left matters much as they had been.

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

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

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

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