The Battle of Crécy (26 August 1346), also spelled Cressy, took place in north-east France between a French army commanded by King Philip VI and an English army led by King Edward III. The French attacked the English army while it was traversing northern France during the Hundred Years' War. It resulted in an English victory and heavy loss of life among the French.
The English army had landed in the Cotentin Peninsula on 12 July. It had burnt a path of destruction through some of the richest lands in France to within 2 miles (3.2 km) of Paris, sacking a number of towns on the way. The English then marched north, hoping to link up with an allied Flemish army which had invaded from Flanders. Hearing that the Flemish had turned back, and having temporally outdistanced the pursuing French, Edward had his army prepare a defensive position on a hillside near Crécy-en-Ponthieu. Late on 26 August the French army, which greatly outnumbered the English, attacked.
During a brief archery duel a large force of French mercenary crossbowmen were routed by English longbowmen. The French then launched a number of cavalry charges by their mounted knights. These were disordered by their impromptu nature, by having to force their way through the fleeing crossbowmen, by the muddy ground, by having to charge uphill, and by the pits dug by the English. The attacks were further broken up by the effective fire from the English archers, which caused heavy casualties. The English men-at-arms had dismounted for the battle, and by the time they received the French charges they had lost much of their impetus. Nevertheless, the ensuing hand-to-hand combat was described as "murderous, without pity, cruel, and very horrible". The French charges continued late into the night, all with the same result: fierce fighting followed by a French repulse.
The English promptly laid siege to the port of Calais. The battle crippled the French army's ability to relieve the siege, and the town fell to the English the following year and remained under English rule for over two centuries, until 1558. The battle established the effectiveness of the longbow as the dominant weapon on the Western European battlefield.
|Battle of Crécy|
|Part of the Chevauchée of Edward III in 1346 during the Hundred Years' War|
The Battle of Crécy, from a 15th-century illuminated manuscript of Jean Froissart's Chronicles
|Kingdom of England||Kingdom of France|
|Commanders and leaders|
King Edward III|
Edward, Prince of Wales
Earl of Northampton
King Philip VI +|
Count of Alençon †
Duke of Lorraine †
Count of Blois †
King John the Blind †
Charles of Bohemia +
• 10,000–12,000 men-at-arms
• 2,000–6,000 crossbowmen
• Unknown infantry
|Casualties and losses|
1,542–4,000 men-at-arms killed|
Infantry losses unknown but heavy
Since the Norman Conquest of 1066, English monarchs had held titles and lands within France, the possession of which made them vassals of the kings of France. The status of the English king's French fiefs was a source of conflict between the two monarchies throughout the Middle Ages. Over the centuries, English holdings in France had varied in size, but by 1337 only Gascony in south western France and Ponthieu in northern France were left. Following a series of disagreements between Philip VI of France (r. 1328–1350) and Edward III of England (r. 1327–1377), on 24 May 1337 Philip's Great Council in Paris agreed that the Duchy of Aquitaine, effectively Gascony, should be taken back into Philip's hands on the grounds that Edward was in breach of his obligations as a vassal. This marked the start of the Hundred Years' War, which was to last 116 years.
Edward determined early in 1345 to attack France on three fronts: a small force would sail for Brittany; a slightly larger force would proceed to Gascony under the command of the Henry, Earl of Derby; and the main force would accompany Edward to northern France or Flanders. In early 1345, the French anticipated, correctly, that the English planned to make their main effort in northern France. Thus, they directed what resources they had to there, planning to assemble their main army at Arras on 22 July. South-western France and Brittany were encouraged to rely on their own resources.
Edward's main army sailed on 29 June 1345. It anchored off Sluys in Flanders until 22 July, while Edward attended to diplomatic affairs. When it sailed, probably intending to land in Normandy, it was scattered by a storm and individual ships found their way to various English ports over the following week. After more than five weeks on board ship the men and horses had to be disembarked. There was a further week's delay while the King and his council debated what to do, by which time it proved impossible to take any action with the main English army before winter. Aware of this, Philip despatched reinforcements to Brittany and Gascony. During 1345, Derby led a whirlwind campaign through Gascony at the head of an Anglo-Gascon army. He heavily defeated two large French armies at the battles of Bergerac and Auberoche, captured over 100 French towns and fortifications in Périgord and Agenais and gave the English possessions in Gascony strategic depth.
John, Duke of Normandy, the son and heir of Philip VI, was placed in charge of all French forces in south-west France. In March 1346 a French army numbering between 15,000 and 20,000, "enormously superior" to any force the Anglo-Gascons could field, including all of the military officers of the royal household, marched on Gascony. They besieged the strategically and logistically important town of Aiguillon, "the key to the Gascon plain", on 1 April. On 2 April the arrière-ban, the formal call to arms for all able-bodied males, was announced for the south of France. French financial, logistical and manpower efforts were focused on this offensive. Derby, now Lancaster,[note 1] sent an urgent appeal for help to Edward. Edward was not only morally obliged to succor his vassal, but contractually required to; his indenture with Lancaster stated that if Lancaster were attacked by overwhelming numbers, then Edward "shall rescue him in one way or another".
Meanwhile Edward was raising a fresh army, and assembled over 700 vessels to transport it – the largest English fleet ever to that date. The French were aware of Edward's efforts, but given the extreme difficulty of disembarking an army other than at a port, and the existence of friendly ports in Brittany and Gascony, the French assumed that Edward would sail for one of the latter; probably Gascony, in order to relieve Aiguillon. To guard against the possibility of an English landing in northern France, Philip relied on his powerful navy. This reliance was misplaced given the difficulty naval forces of the time had in effectively interdicting opposing fleets, and the French were unable to prevent Edward successfully crossing the Channel.
The campaign began on 11 July 1346, when Edward's fleet departed the south of England. It made land the next day at Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, 20 miles (32 km) from Cherbourg. The English army is estimated by modern historians to have been some 15,000 strong and consisted of both English and Welsh soldiers combined with a number of German and Breton mercenaries and allies. It included at least one Norman baron who was unhappy with the rule of Philip VI. The English achieved complete strategic surprise and marched south. Edward's aim was to conduct a chevauchée, a large-scale raid, across French territory to reduce his opponent's morale and wealth. His soldiers razed every town in their path and looted whatever they could from the populace. The towns of Carentan, Saint-Lô and Torteval were destroyed as the army passed, along with many smaller places. The English fleet paralleled the army's route, devastating the country for up to 5 miles (8 km) inland and taking vast amounts of loot; many ships deserted, their crews having filled their holds. They also captured or burnt over 100 ships; 61 of these had been converted into military vessels. Caen, the cultural, political, religious and financial centre of north west Normandy, was stormed on 26 July and subsequently looted for five days. Over 5,000 French soldiers and civilians were killed; among the small number of prisoners was Raoul of Eu, the Constable of France. The English marched out towards the River Seine on 1 August.
The French military position was difficult. Their main army was committed to the intractable siege of Aiguillon in the south west. After his surprise landing in Normandy Edward was devastating some of the richest land in France and flaunting his ability to march at will through France. On 2 August, a small English force supported by a large number of Flemings invaded France from Flanders. French defences were completely inadequate. The treasury was all but empty. On 29 July, Philip proclaimed the arrière-ban for northern France, ordering every able-bodied male to assemble at Rouen, where Philip himself arrived on the 31st. He immediately moved west against Edward with an ill-organised and poorly-equipped army. Five days later he returned to Rouen and broke the bridge over the Seine behind him. On 2 August Philip recalled his main army, under Duke John, from Gascony. After a furious argument, Duke John refused to move until Aiguillon fell and his honour was satisfied. On 7 August, the English reached the Seine, 12 miles (19 km) south of Rouen, and raided up to its suburbs. Philip, under pressure from representatives of the Pope, sent envoys offering peace backed by a marriage alliance; Edward replied that he was not prepared to lose marching time to futile discussion and dismissed them. By 12 August, Edward's army was encamped at Poissy, 20 miles from Paris, having left a 20-mile wide swath of destruction down the left bank of the Seine.
Philip again sent orders to Duke John of Normandy insisting that he abandon the siege of Aiguillon and march his army north. On 20 August, after over five months, the French abandoned the siege and marched away in considerable haste and disorder. On 16 August, Edward burnt down Poissy and marched north. The French had carried out a scorched earth policy, carrying away all stores of food and so forcing the English to spread out over a wide area to forage, which greatly slowed them. Bands of French peasants attacked some of the smaller groups of foragers. Philip reached the River Somme a day's march ahead of Edward. He based himself at Amiens and sent large detachments to hold every bridge and ford across the Seine between Amiens and the sea. The English were now trapped in an area which had been stripped of food. The French moved out of Amiens and advanced westwards, towards the English. They were now willing to give battle, knowing that they would have the advantage of being able to stand on the defensive while the English were forced to try and fight their way past them.
Edward was determined to break the French blockade of the Somme and probed at several points, vainly attacking Hangest and Pont-Remy before moving west along the river. English supplies were running out and the army was ragged, starving and beginning to suffer from a drop in morale. On the evening of 24 August the English were encamped north of Acheux while the French were 6 miles (10 km) away at Abbeville. During the night the English marched on a tidal ford named Blanchetaque. The far bank was defended by a force of 3,500 French. English longbowmen and mounted men-at-arms waded into the tidal river and after a short, sharp fight routed the French. The main French army had followed the English, and their scouts captured some stragglers and several wageons, but Edward had broken free of immediate pursuit. Such was the French confidence that Edward would not ford the Somme that the area beyond had not been denuded, allowing Edward's army to plunder it and resupply.
Meanwhile, the Flemings, having been rebuffed by the French at Estaires, besieged Bethune on 14 August. After several setbacks they fell out among themselves, burnt their siege equipment and gave up their expedition on 24 August. Edward received the news that he would not be reinforced by the Flemings shortly after crossing the Somme and decided to engage Philip's army with the force he had. Having temporarily shaken off the French pursuit, he used the respite to prepare a defensive position at Crécy-en-Ponthieu. The French returned to Abbeville, crossed the Somme at the bridge there, and doggedly set off after the English again.
The English army mainly comprised English and Welsh soldiers, along with some allied Breton and Flemish troops and a few German mercenaries. The exact size and composition of the English force is not known. Contemporary estimates vary widely; for example Froissart's third version of his Chronicles more than doubles his estimate in the first. Modern historians have variously estimated its size as from 7,000 to 15,000. Andrew Ayton suggests a figure of around 14,000: 2,500 men-at-arms, 5,000 longbowmen, 3,000 hobelars (light cavalry and mounted archers) and 3,500 spearmen. Clifford Rogers suggests 15,000: 2,500 men-at-arms, 7,000 longbowmen, 3,250 hobelars and 2,300 spearmen. Jonathon Sumption, going by the carrying capacity of its original transport fleet, believes the force was around 7,000 to 10,000.
The longbow used by the English and Welsh archers was unique to them; it took up to 10 years to master and could discharge up to six arrows per minute well over 300 metres (980 ft).[note 2] Computer analysis by Warsaw University of Technology in 2017 demonstrated that heavy bodkin point arrows could penetrate typical plate armour of the time at 225 metres (738 ft). However, the depth of penetration would be slight at that range; predicted penetration increased as the range closed or against armour of less than the best quality available at the time.[note 3] Contemporary sources speak of arrows frequently piercing armour. Archers carried one quiver of 24 arrows as standard. During the morning of the battle they were each issued with an additional two quivers, for a total of 72 arrows per man. This was only sufficient for perhaps fifteen minutes shooting at the maximum rate, although as the battle wore on the rate of fire would slow. Regular resupply of ammunition would be required from the wagons to the rear; the archers would also venture forward during pauses in the fighting to retrieve arrows. The modern historian Robert Hardy suggests that half a million arrows may have been fired during the battle.
The English army was also equipped with several types of gunpowder weapons, in unknown numbers: small guns firing lead balls; ribauldequins firing either metal arrows or grapeshot; and bombards, an early form of cannon firing metal balls 3.2–3.6 inches (80–90 mm) in diameter. Contemporary accounts and modern historians differ as to what types of these weapons and how many were present at Crécy, but a number of iron balls compatible with the bombard ammunition have since been retrieved from the site of the battle.
The exact size of the French army is even less certain, as the financial records from the Crécy campaign are lost. However there is a consensus that it was substantially larger than the English. Contemporary chroniclers all note it as being extremely large for the period. The two who provide totals estimate its size as 72,000 or 120,000. The numbers of mounted men-at-arms are given variously as 12,000 or 20,000. An Italian chronicler claimed 100,000 knights (men-at-arms), 12,000 infantry and 5,000 crossbowmen. Contemporary chroniclers estimated the number of crossbowmen as 2,000–20,000.
These numbers have been described as unrealistic and exaggerated by historians, going by the extant war treasury records for 1340, six years before the battle. Clifford Rogers estimates "the French host was at least twice as large as the [English], and perhaps as much as three times". Ayton suggests around 12,000 mounted men-at-arms as the core of the French army; several thousand mercenary crossbowmen, hired from Genoa; and a "large, though indeterminate, number of common infantry". Sumption concurs, giving 6,000 for the number of Italian crossbowmen. Schnerb questions this figure, however, based on the estimates of 2,000 available crossbowmen in all of France in 1340. That Genoa on its own could have put several thousand mercenary crossbowmen at the disposal of the French monarch is described by Schnerb as "doubtful". The number of common infantrymen, militia and levies of variable levels of equipment and training, is not known with any certainty, except that on their own they outnumbered the English army.
Since Philip came to the throne, French armies had included an increasing proportion of crossbowmen. They were professional soldiers and in battle were protected from missiles by pavises – very large shields with their own bearers, behind each of which three crossbowmen could shelter. A trained crossbowman could shoot his weapon approximately twice a minute.
Edward deployed his army in a carefully selected position, facing south east on a sloping hillside at Crécy-en-Ponthieu. The left flank was anchored against Wadicourt, while the right was protected by Crécy itself and the River Maye beyond. This made it difficult for the French to outflank them. The position had a ready line of retreat in the event that the English were defeated or put under intolerable pressure. While waiting for the French to catch up with them the English dug pits in front of their positions, intended to disorder attacking cavalry, and set up several primitive gunpower weapons. Edward wished to provoke the French into a mounted charge uphill against his solid infantry formations of dismounted men-at-arms, backed by Welsh spearmen and flanked by archers. The army had been in position since dawn, and so was rested and well-fed, giving them an advantage over the French, who did not rest before the battle. Having decisively defeated a large French detachment two days before, morale was high.
The English army was deployed in three divisions, or "battles", with two forward and one in reserve. Edward's son, Edward, the Prince of Wales, aided by the Earl of Warwick, commanded the largest of the frontline battles. The other was led by the Earls of Northampton and Suffolk and positioned to the left of the Prince of Wales. The King commanded the reserve battle. Each division was composed of men-at-arms in the centre, all on foot, with ranks of spearmen immediately behind them, and with longbowmen on each flank. Many of the longbowmen were concealed in small woods, or by lying down in ripe wheat. The baggage train was positioned to the rear of the whole army, where it was circled and fortified, to serve as a park for the horses, a defence against any possible attack from the rear and a rallying point in the event of defeat.
Around noon on 26 August the French van, advancing north from Abbeville, came in sight of the English. The crossbowmen, under Antonio Doria and Carlo Grimaldi, formed the French vanguard. Following was a large battle of men-at-arms led by Charles of Alençon, Philip's brother, accompanied by the blind King John of Bohemia. The next battle was led by Rudolph of Lorraine and Louis of Blois, while Philip commanded the rearguard. As news filtered back that the English had turned to fight, the French contingents sped up, jostling with each other to reach the front of the column. The Italians stayed in the van, while the mounted men-at-arms left their accompanying infantry and wagons behind. Discipline was lost; the French were hampered by the absence of their Constable, who was normally responsible for marshalling and leading their army, but who had been captured at Caen. Once it halted, men, especially infantry, were continually joining Philip's battle as they marched north west from Abbeville.
After reconnoitreing the English position, a council of war was held where the senior French officials, who were completely confident of victory, advised an attack, but not until the next day. In the event the French attacked later the same afternoon; it is unclear from the contemporary sources whether this was a deliberate choice by Philip, or because too many of the large number of French knights kept pressing forward and the battle commenced against Philip's wishes. Philip's plan was to use the long-range missiles of his crossbowmen to soften up the English infantry and disorder, and possibly dishearten, their formations, so as to allow the accompanying mounted men-at-arms to break into their ranks and rout them. Modern historians have generally considered this to have been a practical approach, and one with proven success against other armies.
The French army moved forward late in the afternoon, unfurling their sacred battle banner, the oriflamme, indicating that no prisoners would be taken. As they advanced, a sudden rainstorm broke over the field. The English archers de-strung their bows to avoid the strings becoming slackened; the Genoese with their crossbows did not need to take precautions, as their bowstrings were made of leather. The Genoese engaged the English longbowmen in an archery duel. The longbowmen outranged their opponents and had a rate of fire more than three times greater. The crossbowmen were also without their protective pavises, which were still with the French baggage. In addition the mud impeded their ability to reload, which required them to press the stirrups of their weapons into the ground, and thus slowed their rate of fire. The Italians were rapidly defeated and fled; aware of their vulnerability without their pavises, they may have made only a token effort. Modern historians disagree as to how many casualties they suffered, but as some contemporary sources suggest that they may have failed to get off any shots at all and the most recent specialist study of this duel concludes that they hastily shot perhaps two volleys, then withdrew before any real exchange with the English could develop, they were probably light.
The knights and nobles following in Alençon's division, hampered by the routed mercenaries, hacked at them as they retreated. By most contemporary accounts the crossbowmen were considered cowards at best and more likely traitors, and a large number were killed by the French. The clash of the retreating Genoese and the advancing French cavalry threw the leading battle into disarray. The longbowmen continued to discharge their bows into the massed troops. The discharge of the English bombards may have added to the confusion, though it is doubtful that they inflicted any significant casualties.
Alençon's battle then launched a cavalry charge. This was disordered by its impromptu nature, by having to force its way through the fleeing Italians, by the muddy ground, by having to charge uphill, and by the pits dug by the English. The attack was further broken up by the heavy and effective shooting from the English archers, which caused many casualties. It is estimated that in the final minute before the French charge came into contact with the English men-at-arms 16,000 arrows were loosed at it. The armoured French riders were only vulnerable to these in the event of an unlucky hit or at close range, but their horses were completely unarmoured and were killed or wounded in large numbers. Disabled horses fell, spilling their riders and causing following ranks to swerve to avoid them and fall into even further disorder. Wounded horses fled across the hillside in panic. By the time the tight formation of English men-at-arms and spearmen received the French charge it had lost much of its impetus.
A contemporary described the hand-to-hand combat which ensued as "murderous, without pity, cruel, and very horrible". Men-at-arms who lost their footing, or who were thrown from wounded horses, were trampled underfoot, crushed by falling horses and bodies and suffocated in the mud. After the battle, many French bodies were recovered with no marks on them. Alençon was among those killed. The French attack was beaten off. English infantry moved forward to knife the French wounded, loot the bodies and recover arrows. Some sources state that Edward had given orders that, contrary to custom, no prisoners be taken; outnumbered as he was he did not want to lose fighting men to escorting and guarding captives. In any event, there is no record of any prisoners being taken until the next day.
Fresh forces of French cavalry moved into position at the foot of the hill and repeated Alençon's charge. They had the same disadvantages as Alençon's force, with the addition that the ground they were advancing over was littered with dead and wounded horses and men. Nevertheless they charged home, albeit in such a disordered state that they were again unable to break into the English formation. A prolonged mêlée resulted, with a report that at one point the Prince of Wales was beaten to his knees. The English ranks were thinned, but those in the rear stepped forward to fill the gaps. The French were again repulsed. They came again. The number of separate French charges is disputed, but they continued late into the night, with the French nobility stubbornly refusing to yield. All had the same result: fierce fighting followed by a French retreat. There was no lack of courage on either side. Famously, blind King John of Bohemia tied his horse's bridle to those of his attendants and galloped into the twilight; all were dragged from their horses and killed.
Philip himself was caught up in the fighting, had two horses killed from underneath him, and received an arrow in the jaw. The bearer of the oriflamme was a particular target for the English archers; he was seen to fall but survived, albeit abandoning the sacred banner to be captured. Finally, Philip abandoned the field of battle, although it is unclear as to why. It was nearly midnight and the battle petered out, with the majority of the French army melting away from the battlefield. The English slept where they had fought. The next morning substantial French forces were still arriving on the battlefield, to be charged by the English men-at-arms, now mounted, routed and pursued for miles. Their losses alone were reported as several thousand. Meanwhile, a number of wounded or stunned Frenchmen were pulled from the heaps of dead men and dying horses and taken prisoner.
The losses in the battle were highly asymmetrical. All contemporary sources agree that English casualties were very low. Three give specific figures for the number of English men-at-arms killed: 3; 30; and 300. No contemporary source estimates the number of non-notable English dead. While some consider the English casualty figures given to be improbably low, Rogers argues that they are consistent with reports of casualties on the winning side in other medieval battles. To date, only two Englishmen killed at the battle have been identified: the squire Robert Brente and the newly anointed knight Aymer Rokesley. Two English knights were also taken prisoner, although it is unclear at what stage in the battle this happened.
Similarly, all contemporary sources consider the French casualties to have been very high. According to a count made by the English heralds after the battle, the bodies of 1,542 French knights were found; Jonathan Sumption assumes another few hundred men-at-arms were killed in the pursuit which followed. Sumption describes the total French losses as "catastrophic". Ayton estimates that at least 2,000 French men-at-arms were killed, noting that over 2,200 heraldic coats were taken from the field of battle as war booty by the English. An estimate by the chronicler Geoffrey the Baker, deemed credible by modern historians, states that 4,000 French knights were killed. Among the known knightly dead were a king, nine princes, ten counts, a duke, an archbishop and a bishop. According to Ayton, the heavy losses of the French can also be attributed to the chivalric ideals held by knights of the time; nobles would have preferred to die in battle, or be captured and held for ransom, rather than dishonourably flee the field.
No reliable figures exist for losses among the common French soldiery, although they were also considered to have been heavy. Jean le Bel estimated 15,000–16,000. Froissart writes that the French army suffered a total of 30,000 killed or captured. The modern historian Alfred Burne estimates 10,000 infantry, as "a pure guess", for a total of 12,000 French dead.
Edward ended the campaign by laying siege to Calais, which fell after twelve months; the Battle of Crécy having crippled the French army's ability to relieve the town. This secured an English entrepôt into northern France which was held for two hundred years. The battle established the effectiveness of the longbow as the dominant weapon on the Western European battlefield. Modern historian Joseph Dahmus includes the Battle of Crécy in his Seven decisive battles of the Middle Ages.
Neillands, Robin (2001). The Hundred Years War. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0415261319.
Barding (also spelled bard or barb) is body armour for war horses. The practice of armoring horses was first extensively developed in antiquity in the eastern kingdoms of Parthia and Pahlava, and after the conquests of Alexander the Great it made its way into European military practices via the Seleucid Empire and later Byzantine Empire. Though its historical roots lie in antiquity in the regions of what was once the Persian Empire, barded horses have become a symbol of the late European Middle Ages chivalry and the era of knights.
During the Late Middle Ages as armour protection for knights became more effective, their mounts became targets. This vulnerability was exploited by the Scots at the Battle of Bannockburn in the 14th century, when horses were killed by the infantry, and for the English at the Battle of Crécy in the same century where longbowmen shot horses and the then dismounted French knights were killed by heavy infantry. Barding developed as a response to such events.
Examples of armour for horses could be found as far back as classical antiquity. Cataphracts, with scale armour for both rider and horse, are believed by many historians to have influenced the later European knights, via contact with the Byzantine Empire.Surviving period examples of barding are rare; however, complete sets are on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Wallace Collection in London, the Royal Armouries in Leeds, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Horse armour could be made in whole or in part of cuir bouilli (hardened leather), but surviving examples of this are especially rare.Battle cry
A battle cry is a yell or chant taken up in battle, usually by members of the same combatant group.
Battle cries are not necessarily articulate (e.g. "Eliaaaa!", "Alala"..), although they often aim to invoke patriotic or religious sentiment. Their purpose is a combination of arousing aggression and esprit de corps on one's own side and causing intimidation on the hostile side. Battle cries are a universal form of display behaviour (i.e., threat display) aiming at competitive advantage, ideally by overstating one's own aggressive potential to a point where the enemy prefers to avoid confrontation altogether and opts to flee. In order to overstate one's potential for aggression, battle cries need to be as loud as possible, and have historically often been amplified by acoustic devices such as horns, drums, conches, carnyxes, bagpipes, bugles, etc. (see also martial music).
Battle cries are closely related to other behavioral patterns of human aggression, such as war dances and taunting, performed during the "warming up" phase preceding the escalation of physical violence. From the Middle Ages, many cries appeared on standards and were adopted as mottoes, an example being the motto "Dieu et mon droit" ("God and my right") of the English kings. It is said that this was Edward III's rallying cry during the Battle of Crécy. The word "slogan" originally derives from sluagh-gairm or sluagh-ghairm (sluagh = "people", "army", and gairm = "call", "proclamation"), the Scottish Gaelic word for "gathering-cry" and in times of war for "battle-cry". The Gaelic word was borrowed into English as slughorn, sluggorne, "slogum", and slogan.Battle of Poitiers
The Battle of Poitiers was a major English victory in the Edwardian phase of the Hundred Years' War. It was fought on 19 September 1356 in Nouaillé, near the city of Poitiers in Aquitaine, western France. Edward, the Black Prince, led an army of English, Welsh, Breton and Gascon troops, many of them veterans of the Battle of Crécy. They were attacked by a larger French force led by King John II of France, which included allied Scottish forces. The French were heavily defeated; an English counter-attack captured King John II along with his youngest son and much of the French nobility.The effect of the defeat on France was catastrophic, leaving Dauphin Charles to rule the country. Charles faced populist revolts across the kingdom in the wake of the battle, which had destroyed the prestige of the French upper-class. The Edwardian phase of the war ended four years later in 1360, on favourable terms for England.
Poitiers was the second major English victory of the Hundred Years' War. Poitiers was fought ten years after the Battle of Crécy (the first major victory), and about half a century before the third, the Battle of Agincourt (1415). The town and battle were often referred to as Poictiers in contemporaneous recordings, a name commemorated in several warships of the Royal Navy.Bohun family
The Bohun family played an important part in English history during the late Middle Ages.
Humphrey with the Beard (died c. 1113) who founded the English family, held the manor of Bohun (or Bohon) in Normandy – on the Cotentin Peninsula between Coutances and the estuary of the Vire. This is still reflected in place names such as Saint-André-de-Bohon and Saint-Georges-de-Bohon.
Eleanor de Bohun (c.1366–1399); elder sister and co-heiress of Mary de Bohun.
Henry de Bohun, 1st Earl of Hereford (1176–1220); a Norman-English nobleman.
Henry de Bohun (d. 1314); English knight killed by Robert I of Scotland at Bannockburn.
Humphrey de Bohun (disambiguation), multiple people with the name.
Mary de Bohun (c. 1368–1394); the first wife of King Henry IV of England and mother of King Henry V.
William de Bohun, 1st Earl of Northampton, KG (ca. 1312 – 1360); English nobleman and military commander who won the Battle of Crécy for England.
John Bohun, Abbot of Bury St Edmunds, 1453–1469Cormolain
Cormolain is a commune in the Calvados department in the Normandy region in northwestern France.
Edward III camped with his army in Cormolain overnight on 23 July 1346 on the way to the battle of Crécy.Crécy-en-Ponthieu
Crécy-en-Ponthieu, known in archaic English as Cressy, is a commune in the Somme department in Hauts-de-France in northern France, located south of Calais. It gives its name to Crécy Forest, which starts about two kilometres to the south-west of the town and which is one of the largest forests in the north of France. A very small river, the Maye, runs through the town. It was the site of the Battle of Crécy in 1346.Crécy (comics)
Crécy is a graphic novel written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Raulo Cáceres, depicting some of the events surrounding the historical Battle of Crécy (1346). The graphic novel was published in 2007 by Avatar Press, under the Apparat imprint. The story is told from the point of view of the fictional William of Stonham, a sarcastic and foul-mouthed English longbowman. It features several important characters from the event, including Edward III and Philip VI, the kings of England and France respectively.John Chandos
Sir John Chandos, Viscount of Saint-Sauveur in the Cotentin, Constable of Aquitaine, Seneschal of Poitou, (c. 1320 – 31 December 1369) was a medieval English knight who hailed from Radbourne Hall, Derbyshire. Chandos was a close friend of Edward the Black Prince and a founding member and 19th Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1348. Chandos was a gentleman by birth, but unlike most commanders of the day he held no inherited title of nobility.
Described by the medieval historian Froissart as "wise and full of devices", as a military strategist Chandos is believed to have been the mastermind behind three of the most important English victories of the Hundred Years War: the Battle of Crécy, the Battle of Poitiers and the Battle of Auray. His death in a minor skirmish was regretted by both sides.John de Vere, 7th Earl of Oxford
John de Vere, 7th Earl of Oxford (c. 12 March 1312 – 24 January 1360) was the nephew and heir of Robert de Vere, 6th Earl of Oxford who succeeded as Earl of Oxford in 1331, after his uncle died without issue.
John de Vere was a trusted captain of Edward III in the king's wars in Scotland and France, and took part in both the Battle of Crécy and the Battle of Poitiers. He died campaigning in France in 1360. Throughout his career he was closely associated with William de Bohun, 1st Earl of Northampton, who was his brother-in-law.John of Bohemia
John of Bohemia (Luxembourgish: Jang de Blannen; German: Johann der Blinde von Luxemburg; Czech: Jan Lucemburský; 10 August 1296 – 26 August 1346) was the Count of Luxembourg from 1313 and King of Bohemia from 1310 and titular King of Poland. He was the eldest son of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII and his wife Margaret of Brabant. He is well known for having died while fighting in the Battle of Crécy at age 50, after having been blind for a decade.Louis II, Count of Blois
Louis II of Châtillon (d. 26 August 1346, battle of Crécy), son of Guy I, Count of Blois and Margaret of Valois, was count of Blois and lord of Avesnes 1342–1346.
In 1340 in Soissons, he married Jeanne of Avesnes, Countess of Soissons (d. 1350), daughter of John of Avesnes, Lord of Beaumont. They had three children:
Louis III, Count of Blois and Soissons
John II, Count of Blois
Guy II, Count of Blois and Soissons.Louis was killed at the Battle of Crécy.Michael Northburgh
Michael Northburgh, otherwise Michael de Northburgh (Northborough), was the Bishop of London between 1354 and his death in 1361. He was the nephew of Roger Northburgh, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield.
Northburgh's uncle's influence enabled him to be appointed Archdeacon of Chester in 1341 (until forced to resign in 1342) and Archdeacon of Suffolk in 1347 (until 1353) before he had been ordained into higher orders. Whilst archdeacon he became Rector of Pulham St. Mary (1341) and acquired a large number of canonries. He occupied the office of Lord Privy Seal between 1350 and 1354.Northburgh was elected Bishop of London on 22 April 1354 and consecrated on 12 July 1355. His most lasting achievement as bishop was in helping to found the Charterhouse. He bought land from Sir Walter de Manny and by his will left £2000 'for the foundation of a House according to the ritual of the Carthusian order in a place commonly called "Newchirchehawe", where there is a church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Northburgh accompanied King Edward III of England on the English expedition to France which included the Battle of Crécy (1346) and acted as royal clerk, writing an eyewitness account in a newsletter from the English camp, and giving the French casualties as 1,542 "without reckoning the commons and foot-soldiers".
Northburgh died of the plague on 9 September 1361. In his will he left valuable books and artifacts to the illegitimate Michael Northborough, a future Archdeacon of Colchester.Pale of Calais
The Pale of Calais (French: le Calaisis) was a historical region in France that was controlled by the monarchs of England following the Battle of Crécy in 1346 and the subsequent siege. Pale is an archaic English term for "area, jurisdiction". The capture by the English is the subject of Auguste Rodin's 1889 sculpture The Burghers of Calais. In 1558, the expanding Kingdom of France annexed the Pale of Calais in the aftermath of the Siege of Calais.
The region was represented in the Parliament of England by members sitting for the Calais constituency.Richard Barber
Richard William Barber FRSL FSA FRHistS (born 1941) is a British historian who has published several books about medieval history and literature. His book The Knight and Chivalry, about the interplay between history and literature, won the Somerset Maugham Award, a well-known British literary prize, in 1971. A similarly-themed 2004 book, The Holy Grail: Imagination and Belief, was widely praised in the UK press, and received major reviews in The New York Times and The New Republic.Barber has long specialised in Arthurian legend, beginning with the general survey, Arthur of Albion (1961). His other major interest is historical biography: he has published Henry Plantagenet (1964) and a biography of Edward, the Black Prince, Edward Prince of Wales and Aquitaine (1978). Recent biographical books are Edward III and the Triumph of England: The Battle of Crécy and the Order of the Garter (2013), which includes a reappraisal of the origins of the Order, and Henry II in the Penguin Monarchs series (2015).
His latest book is The Prince in Splendour (2017), a study of the role of festivals and feasts in the courts of medieval Europe looking at the events which such occasions celebrated and the organisation which lay behind them.Rudolph, Duke of Lorraine
Rudolph (1320 – 26 August 1346), called the Valiant (le Vaillant), was the Duke of Lorraine from 1329 to his death. He was the son and successor of Frederick IV and Elisabeth, daughter of Albert I of Germany. Though he was but nine years of age when his father died and he succeeded to the duchy under the regency of his mother (until 1334), he was a warrior prince, taking part in four separate wars in Lorraine, France, Brittany, and Iberia. He was killed at the Battle of Crécy.In 1337, Count Henry IV of Bar refused to do homage for a few seignories he held of the duke. Rudolph was forced to devastate Pont-à-Mousson and its environs. In a series of reprisals, Henry ravaged the west of Lorraine and Rudolph attacked the Barrois. Only by the intervention of Philip VI of France was the war ended. By that time, the ties of Lorraine to France had become very strong. They were to become stronger under the half-Habsburg Rudolph. His second marriage was to the daughter of a French lord, Guy I of Blois, and niece of the king of France. He also assisted Philip with troops to lift Edward III of England's Siege of Tournai (1340) in the opening phase of the Hundred Years' War.
During a brief Anglo-French peace, he journeyed to the Iberian Peninsula to aid Alfonso XI of Castile in the Reconquista. He battled the Moors of Granada and shone in the Battle of Gibraltar on 3 November 1340.On his return to France, he came to the aid of his French brother-in-law, Charles of Blois, in the War of the Breton Succession. He returned to Philip's side at the Battle of Crécy and was killed there, along with many illustrious French cavaliers, on 26 August 1346.
His first wife was Eleanor (Aliénor), daughter of Edward I of Bar, and Mary of Burgundy. Their marriage took place at Pont-à-Mousson in 1329, but they had no children before Eleanor's death in 1332. He was remarried to Mary (1323–1380), daughter of the aforementioned Guy and Margaret of Valois, the sister of King Philip. They had three children:
twins (died before 31 July 1343)
John (1346–1390), his successorSomme (department)
Somme (French pronunciation: [sɔm]) is a department of France, located in the north of the country and named after the Somme river. It is part of the Hauts-de-France region.
The north central area of the Somme was the site of a series of battles during World War I. Particularly significant was the 1916 Battle of the Somme. As a result of this and other battles fought in the area the department is home to many military cemeteries and several major monuments commemorating the many soldiers from various countries who died on its battlefields. The 1346 Battle of Crécy, a major English victory early in the Hundred Years' War, also took place in this department.The Grail Quest
The Grail Quest is a historical fiction novel series written by Bernard Cornwell dealing with a 14th-century search for the Holy Grail, around the time of the Hundred Years' War. The stories follow the adventures of the fictional Thomas of Hookton as he leaves Dorset after the murder of his father and joins the English Army under Edward III as an archer. In Harlequin he is involved in battle in Brittany and subsequently at the Battle of Crécy. The archers are the first soldiers to be deployed along the crest of the hill at Crécy, providing cover before the battle starts for the knights building a system of ditches, pits and caltrops below to maim and bring down the enemy cavalry. The battle is a decisive victory for the English, even though they were outnumbered.
It is after this battle that Thomas' family links to the Grail come to the attention of the King and in Vagabond he is sent back to England to discover its whereabouts and becomes involved in the Scottish invasion of 1347. He soon discovers that his cousin, Guy Vexille, is working with powerful figures within the Catholic Church in France to discover the Grail for their own ends. The novel ends with fierce fighting at La Roche-Derrien back in Brittany.
Heretic finds Thomas still in France, this time during a time of supposed peace with the French following the fall of Calais. Thomas leads a small band of men into southern France to find the Grail. He becomes the centre of a bitter local war with those also seeking the Grail as well as by the Black Death.William de Ros, 3rd Baron de Ros
William de Ros, 3rd Baron Ros of Helmsley (19 May 1329 – c. 3 December 1352) was a military commander under Edward, the Black Prince. He was knighted by the Black Prince in 1346, having helped raise the siege of Aiguillon. In the same year, he was one of the lords who led the second division in the Battle of Crécy, and afterwards commanded the fourth division of the English army against the Scots, near Neville's Cross, when David Bruce, with many of the Scottish nobles, was taken prisoner.
In 1346, he was with the Black Prince, at the siege of Calais, when it was taken by the English. In 1352, he accompanied Henry of Grosmont, Duke of Lancaster on his journey to Prussia; but died the same year, before the feast of St Michael, aged twenty-six, and was buried abroad.Worshipful Company of Bowyers
The Worshipful Company of Bowyers is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London.
Originally, bowyers (longbow-makers) and fletchers (arrow-makers) comprised one organisation. However, in 1371, the fletchers petitioned the Lord Mayor to divide into their own company, the Worshipful Company of Fletchers. Demarcation disputes arose between the two over supervision until 1429, when a City ordinance defined their respective spheres. It was not until the late 1480s that the bowyers acquired a coat of arms and a set of coherent written ordinances.
The actual trade of the bowyers still survives. Although originally made for use in war and hunting, there is now some demand for longbows used in target archery. There are several practising bowyers in the membership of the Company and it maintains a great interest in the craft. The bowyers are also involved in the sport of archery and give awards and medals each year at the Royal Toxophilite Society and school competitions.
The Bowyers' Company mostly exists as a charitable institution, as do a majority of the 110 Livery Companies, with a focus on the disabled. HMS Northumberland is affiliated to it. The bowyers rank 38th in the order of precedence of the Companies, immediately above the fletchers. Uniquely, among all the City's Livery Companies, Companies without Livery and Guilds, it is the only one that does not admit women.The Company motto is Crecy, Poitiers, Agincourt, a reference to the Battle of Crécy, the Battle of Poitiers, and the Battle of Agincourt, all battles between medieval England and France in the Hundred Years' War in which longbows and English longbows were used to great effect by English and Welsh archers, before artillery took over towards the end of the war.
Hundred Years' War
Edwardian phase (1337–1360)