Treaty of Bretigny

Towards the treaty. When the representatives of the regent of France (the future Charles V) and those of King Edward III of England signed a peace treaty at the tiny hamlet of Brétigny near Chartres, hopes of the populations were high that the war of twenty three years between France and England was finally over. The Valois French monarchy had suffered a major blow with the capture of King John II by the Black Prince’s army at the battle of Poitiers (19 September 1356) and had had to deal with great upheavals like the Jacquerie of 1358 and the attempt of control of the monarchy by the provost of the merchants of Paris Étienne Marcel (1357-8). That is without mentioning the intrigues of the sly Charles II, king of Navarre! Edward III seriously hoped to use the discredit suffered by the French nobility following their defeat at Poitiers (see “The Complaint on the battle of Poitiers”) in order to make himself king of France.( The authority of John II was particularly weakened as his son Charles, regent in his absence, and the French Estates General had refused the peace treaty of Windsor (1357) and the two treaties of London (1358 and 1359) which the French king had signed he signed as a prisoner in England with Edward III. The second treaty of London had been outrageous for the French: half of France was to be given in full sovereignty to Edward III in exchange for his renunciation to the French throne and a ransom of four million gold crowns to free King John. Obtaining nothing from these diplomatic overtures, Edward III decided to attempt to seize the throne of France (which he had first claimed in 1340). A large military expedition was set up and sent to France via Calais (1359). Its purpose was to seize Reims, the coronation city of the kings of France, in order to legitimate Edward’s claims. But the English army did not bring any siege engines and Reims fiercely resisted any English attacks. Lacking supplies, Edward III’s army was forced to leave Reims and went to Burgundy, then to the region of Chartres where his troops were struck by hailstorms and several men-at-arms and horses lost their lives (‘Black Monday’, 14 April 1360). Faced with the regent’s scorched earth strategy – a strategy Charles V would re-use from 1369 onwards –, exhausted by an inconclusive expedition and tired of this long period of war, Edward III accepted French proposals to reopen negotiations at Brétigny. Things went quickly as the treaty of Windsor and the first treaty of London could be used as the basis for a settlement. The treaty of Brétigny On 8 May 1360, a peace treaty was finally signed. Edward III gave up his claims to the French throne in exchange of the county of Ponthieu, Calais and an enlarged Aquitaine in full sovereignty. He also accepted a reduced ransom of three million gold crowns, one million having to be paid before the effective liberation of King John. Despite the failure of his expedition and his inability to remove the Valois from the throne of France, this treaty was a success for Edward. Not one of his predecessors had succeeded to obtain so favourable terms since 1203-4. Edward obtained an Aquitaine which was as large as Eleanor of Aquitaine’s duchy had been. He also had full sovereignty over it, something which the lawyers of the kings of England had claimed for Gascony since 1298. The treaty was ratified at Calais (24 October 1360) where a separate clause was added specifying the conditions of the mutual renunciations – Edward of the French crown and John of French sovereignty over Aquitaine. These renunciations were determined by the delivery of the promised territories to Edward III and the removing of ‘English’ routier garrisons from northern France. This was not an easy task and mutual distrust prevented these renunciations. In 1361 and 1362 all the territories of the new greater Aquitaine were delivered to John Chandos, then lieutenant in France and Aquitaine. Thereafter, Edward III created this enlarged Aquitaine into a principality (19 July 1362) for his elder son, Edward of Woodstock, ‘the Black Prince’. The impact of the treaty on the Gascon rolls 1362-72 The main change for the Gascon rolls concerns their length and content during the principality of Aquitaine (1362-1372). Very few things were recorded in the rolls during these years as Aquitaine was de facto independant from England. Autonomous institutions were created during the principality. The main content of the rolls in the 1360s were letters of protection for soldiers and others going out to the principality. The failure of the treaty At the time, nobody really bothered about the renunciations as Edward III and he and his son acted for several years in Aquitaine, Ponthieu and Calais without any real interference from Charles V, the new king of France. But Edward III committed a great mistake in not obtaining the renunciations. As king, Charles V used this pretext to recover the territories lost in the treaties of Brétigny-Calais after two Gascon magnates – the count of Armagnac and the lord of Albret – petitioned the French king about the high taxation which the Black Prince had levied to fund his Spanish campaign of 1367. Shocked by the French initiative, Edward III reasserted his French claims in 1369 and the war started again. The French recovered much of what they had lost although a residual Anglo-Gascon duchy of Aquitaine survived around Bordeaux and Bayonne, and Calais was retained by the English. In 1372 Edward III recalled the Black Prince to England: his principality had ended in failure. The treaty of Brétigny-Calais (which was often called ‘the Great Peace’) remained the reference point for a future peace with France until Henry V’s accession to the English throne. The focus of English claims then shifted from Aquitaine to northern France and, as we know, the Lancastrian attempt to seize the French throne was almost successful since Henry V became heir to the Valois by the treaty of Troyes of May 1420. We can conclude that the rupture of the treaty of Brétigny-Calais by Charles V in 1369 perpetuated the Anglo-French war for eighty four years, until the loss of Gascony in 1453.

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King John II = $433 Million
King John II of France was captured at the Battle of Poitiers by England’s King Edward III and held for four years. A treaty was negotiated that would cede parts of western France to England and pay three million crowns. Since the amount was so enormous King John was allowed to return to France to raise the money, but had to trade his imprisonment with 40 high-born French, including his own son, Prince Louis.
One English Crown in the 14th century was made from 22k gold and weighed 3.69 grams. This makes one crown alone worth $144 today. Add three million together, and it turns into over $400 million to play with. The French believed they could raise this money in six months, but after several years the hostages were still imprisoned and Prince Louis escaped back to France. After hearing of his son’s escape, King John returned to England as the terms had not been met. He died in England less than a year later.

The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents

Pseudo History


Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355


'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’

The Prisoner of FoixVol 1 of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

Aquitaine, an English possession, is in crisis. It is under threat from neighbouring nations and internal dissension.

The Black Prince, King Edward III’s eldest son has been given the task of taking command in Aquitaine.

Suddenly there is an opportunity. Ximene Trencavel is the heiress to the lands of Occitan, to the east of Aquitaine: lands controlled by the Franks. Ximene wants independence, both for herself and for Occitan.

A union between Aquitaine and Occitan would be mutually beneficial. The Black Prince undertakes a secret journey to meet Ximene to negotiate a marriage contract. It is, however, a marriage neither of them really wants.

Meanwhile, the  Franks plot to murder Ximene to prevent ,not just the marriage, but any kind of union between England and Occitan.

The Eagle Of CarcassonneVol II of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

The loose alliance between Ximene Trencavel and the Black Prince is under threat.

The Prince invades Occitan, to show his support for Ximene but it becomes an invasion which creates more problems than it solves.

The Prince has fallen hopelessly in love with Joan of Kent and Joan is now determined to marry him and become the next Queen of England.

Joan is therefore  determined to convince Ximene that she should not marry the Prince.

Part of her strategy is to encourage Ximene’s relationship with John Stanley—one of the Princes bodyguards—not an easy task as both John and Ximene have doubts about their compatibility.

However, John is grievously injured in a battle and Ximene commits herself to nurse him back to health.