Tag Archives: France

Execution of the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar

On the 18th March 1314 Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was executed on the orders of King Philip IV. Although he had first been arrested in 1307, and the Order was formally abolished by Pope Clement V three years later, Molay’s execution secured his place as one of the most famous members of the Knights Templar.

Hundred Years' War

The first naval battle with artillery was the first naval engagement of the Hundred Years’ War

The first recorded naval battle featuring artillery took place on 23rd September 1338 in the first naval engagement of the Hundred Years’ War.

How did the longbow help Edward III win the Battle of Crécy in the Hundred Years War?

On the 26th August 1346, one of the most decisive battles in the Hundred Years War was won by the army of the English king Edward III. The Battle of Crécy was fought against the French army of King Philip VI and eventually led to the port of Calais becoming an English enclave for over two centuries.

The Battle of Agincourt in the Hundred Years War – a summary

On the 25th October 1415, the English king Henry V celebrated a major victory in the Hundred Years War when he defeated the numerically superior French army at the Battle of Agincourt. Famous for its use of English and Welsh longbowmen, the battle is also falsely claimed to provide the origin for the so-called ‘two finger salute’, the V sign that is used as an offensive gesture in England.

Battle of the Herrings fought between France and England in the Hundred Years’ War

On the 12th February 1429, the curiously-named Battle of the Herrings was fought between French and English forces near the village of Rouvray in France. One of numerous clashes during the Hundred Years’ War, it ended in English victory. However, Joan of Arc’s prediction of the French defeat is said to have contributed greatly to her securing a visit to the French Dauphin Charles VII.

The Battle of Castillon

An overview of the Battle of Castillon, the last conflict of the Hundred Years’ War

The Battle of Castillon, considered to be the last battle of the Hundred Years’ War, was fought between France and England.

After more than a century of conflict, by the end of 1451 the French under King Charles VII had captured almost all the remaining English possessions in France. Charles’ army had driven the English out of the remaining regions of Guyenne and Gascony but the locals, who had been English subjects for almost three centuries, requested liberation by Henry VI. The English king obliged in October 1452 by sending the military commander John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, who seized the area around Bordeaux with little difficulty.

Frustrated by the loss of the territory, Charles spent the winter preparing a large army for a counter-attack. When the French forces advanced in the summer of 1453 the 6,000 English troops were outnumbered. The French were also supported by the powerful artillery of Jean Bureau who prepared a heavily fortified camp to besiege the English-held city of Castillon on the Dordogne River.

Keen to relieve Castillon, Shrewsbury left Bordeaux in early July and successfully routed a small detachment of French archers a few miles outside the city. Bolstered by this success, and having heard reports that the French in the main camp were retreating, Talbot ordered his troops to continue without waiting for reinforcements.

The French artillery inflicted huge losses on the ill-prepared English army, repeating the devastation as waves of reinforcements arrived. Shrewsbury himself was killed in the battle, and before long the remaining English troops began a desperate retreat to Bordeaux. Castillon surrendered to the French the next day and, although Bordeaux survived a siege until October, the Battle of Castillon was the last military engagement of the Hundred Years’ War.

Perkin Warbeck and his claim to be King Richard IV

On the 7th September the Second Cornish Uprising of 1497 began when Perkin Warbeck landed at Whitesand Bay near Land’s End. The significance of Warbeck is that he soon declared himself King Richard IV as he had convinced his followers that he was Richard, Duke of York, the younger of the two “Princes in the Tower”.

Field of Cloth of Gold

Henry VIII and the Field of Cloth of Gold: short overview

In 1518 the English Cardinal Wolsey had negotiated the Treaty of London, a non-aggression pact that was signed by the twenty major European powers of the time. However, peace held for barely a year before two of the signatories went to war and Wolsey began to arrange meetings between Henry VIII and the other monarchs to salvage the agreement.

Francis I of France was barely three years younger than Henry and, like his English counterpart, was keen to display the grandeur of his court. Consequently both men approached their forthcoming meeting as an opportunity to outshine the other, resulting in a more than two week long festival of riches and entertainment.

The meeting took place between the communes of Ardres in France and Guîne, which at the time was under English rule. Both rulers erected lavish temporary palaces and pavilions due to the castles in the nearby communes being in a poor state of repair. The extensive use of cloth of gold, which was woven with real gold thread and silk, would later give the site of the meeting its name. The extravagance of the two kings knew no bounds, with Henry’s encampment featuring a gilt fountain that ran with wine and claret.

The event also featured such competitions as jousting and wrestling, with Henry being defeated by Francis in the latter. Yet despite the joviality provided by these games and other entertainment including banquets and exotic animals, the meeting ended on 24 June with little political progress. Less than three weeks later Henry signed an alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Francis’ main rival on the continent.

Map of the trenches

Map showing extent of WW1 trench movement, Aug 1914-Nov 1918

This fabulous map comes from the Harvard University Map Collection.

Map of the trenches

Photo comparing daily diets of the ‘haves’ vs ‘have nots’ in France 1789

Photo comparing daily diets of the 'haves' vs 'have nots' in France 1789 from www.aircirculation.org

From www.aircirculation.org