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HUNDRED YEARS WAR (1343 - 1450)

Tuesday 9 October 2001

After William the conqueror the King of England was also Duke of Normandy. By marriages and treaties the King of England ended up controlling more of France than the French King.

In 1204 John Lackland the brother of Richard Lion Heart got pushed out of France.

In 1314 Philipe le Bel died leaving three sons and a daughter. The three sons inconsiderately died leaving no male heirs. Philipe had judiciously married his daughter to Edward II of England to assure the peace. But now Edward II was a contender for the throne. A nephew of Philipe le Bel, Philipe de Valois, invented an "old" law which forbid the throne to be inherited by a daughter so as to exclude Edward from the running, and had himself crowned in 1328.
Dukes and other Vassals were obliged to go through a ceremony of pledging allegiance to the King. Edward III, due to his possessions in France was obliged to do so. In 1337 he refused to appear before the King Philipe de Valois. Philipe confiscated Aquitaine.
Edward makes incursions into Antwerp, then Aquitaine then in 1346 lands at St Vaast Le Hougue on the Cherbourg peninsula. He left a trail of destruction through Normandy, at St Lo, Caen, Lisieux and Elbeuf.
The English were victorious at Crecy which dealt a serious blow to the prestige of Philipe.

More trouble followed from the Black Plague of 1348.
Normandy was in ruins. During 30 years there reigned an intolerable insecurity. First from the pro English armies then from the pro Navarais. (The King of Navarre, Charles the bad held lands in the Cherbourg peninsula and at Evreux. Navarre is in the Pyrenees) and then from brigands (ex soldiers made unemployed by times of "peace"). The Abbeys, farms, mansions and country churches were fortified.
Then Charles V was victorious over the Navarais in 1364 which heralded a return to order. In 1375 a "clean up" was organised and the English were even pushed out of the Channel Islands.

The victory of Henry V of Lancaster in the war of the Roses heralded another invasion into France. On the 1st august 1417 he landed at Touques near Deauville. Whereas in 1346 Edward III had been bringing Normandy back into the English fold, this was purely an invasion. Henry had even confiscated lands in England belonging to Norman monasteries to finance his war. Caen and Honfleur were controlled by Englishmen. It was during this period that Joan of Arc was tried and burnt at the stake.
The only good thing to be left to Normandy from this time was the University of Caen built by the English to give a place of learning to their faithful collaborators.
The French reconquest of Normandy started in 1440 and ended in 1449-1450. The victory of the battle of Formigny (near Omahah beach) led in a few months to the fall of the last remaining towns held by the English.

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