Henry VI




Minority Council. The Council and the Church

The War in France: Finances. The War in France: Campaigns.

The Death of the Earl of Arundel.  Arundel, a Summary.

Gascony. Scotland. Trade Relations.

General Council of the Church at Basel.

The Congress of Arras. Death of the Duke of Bedford.

The War in France after Arras. Parliament.  

Foreign Relations. Battle of Ponza


 The Year 1435 was a turning point in King Henry VI’s reign. Two events sounded the death knell for Lancastrian France and the dual monarchy. John, Duke of Bedford, Regent of France died in Rouen on 14 September and one week later, at the Congress of Arras, Philip, Duke of Burgundy, renounced his allegiance to England and pledged his loyalty to King Charles VII of France.

Parliament met at the end of the year in the wake of the Congress of Arras and the Duke of Bedford’s death. The Chancellor put the question to the members – abandon King Henry’s claim to the crown of France and buy an ignoble peace or continue the war?

The Duke of Gloucester, with Parliament’s approval, became captain of Calais and the king’s lieutenant for the Marches of Calais. He was named by the Council but not by Parliament as lieutenant of Picardy, Artois and Flanders, territories belonging to the Duke of Burgundy. The Council, looked to the Germanic states for new allies

English participation at the Council of the Church at Basel wound down, most of the delegates had left by 1435.

Lord Talbot and the Earl of Arundel campaigned in France until Arundel was killed in June. There were risings in Normandy against English rule. The war resumed in the autumn with disastrous results; several towns, including Dieppe and Harfleur, were lost to the French.


Minority Council

The Proceedings record only twelve meeting of the Council for 1435. Six in February, two in June, two in July, and two in December (when parliament was in session). 

Richard Drayton 

A letter of protection for Richard Drayton to join the Duke of Bedford’s retinue in France was issued on 28 January 1435 (1). The Draytons were a prominent Oxfordshire family.

(1) Foedera X, p 600.

The Exchequer

John Fray was appointed second baron of the Exchequer on 8 February 1435. William Derby, king’s clerk and chaplain, became third baron of the Exchequer on the same day (1, 2).

(1) PPC IV, p. 295.

(2) CPR 1429-36, pp. 452

‘John Fray’ in historyofparliament.org  


Sir John Radcliffe

Sir John Radcliffe petitioned the Council yet again in February 1435 to clarify and legalise his financial position. A year earlier he had agreed to ‘loan’ the king half of his income for two years from ports in the West Country, plus half of the income from Caernarvon, Merrioneth and Chirklands assigned to him to repay the crown’s debt to him as Seneschal of Gascony. Radcliffe now asked for letters patent to be issued to confirm the tallies on the Exchequer to pay him (1).

See Years 1430 and 1433 for grants to Radcliffe. 

(1) PPC IV, pp. 298-300 (Radcliffe’s petition).


Giles Thorndon, an usher of the chamber, received 10 marks for his expenses on a recent mission to Ireland. Thorndon had been in King Henry V’s service, and in 1434 the Council had granted him the constableship of Develyn [Delvin] Castle in Ireland at a wage of 12d a day. In February 1435 he was commissioned to take the muster of the men-at-arms and archers under the command of Sir Thomas Stanley, the king’s lieutenant in Ireland (1, 2).

(1) Foedera X, pp. 609 (Thorndon).

(2) CPR 1429-1436, pp. 433 and 471 (Thorndon).


John of Luxembourg

The Council had ordered a payment of 1,000 marks to John of Luxembourg, Count of Ligny in 1434 for his services in France ‘when the money should be available.’  It was paid by instalments: in March 1435 Luxembourg acknowledged receipt of 500 nobles from the Treasurer, Lord Cromwell (1).  A noble was worth 6s 8d, half a mark.  

(1) Foedera X, p. 606


The Count of Eu

Charles of Artois, Count of Eu was the last of the French magnates, other than the Duke of Orleans, still a prisoner in England since the Battle of Agincourt. In 1435 he was being held at the Tower of London in the custody of John Holand Earl of Huntingdon, the constable of the Tower. 

In February the Council ordered Huntingdon to transfer Eu into the keeping of Edmund Beaufort, Count of Mortain (1). Two writs were issued, one to Huntingdon for Eu’s release; one to Beaufort to take custody and arrange with the treasurer for the amount to be paid per diem for Eu’s keep (2).

In May the Council issued a warrant to Huntingdon for his expenses in maintaining the Count of Eu while in his custody (3). 

The transfer of Eu into Edmund Beaufort’s keeping was the next step in Cardinal Beaufort’s effort to obtain the release of his nephew John Beaufort Earl of Somerset, Edmund’s elder brother, who had been captured at the battle of Baugé in 1421.  Somerset was in the keeping of Marie, Duchess of Bourbon. Charles of Artois was Marie’s son by her first marriage to Philip, Count of Eu. An earlier attempt to exchange Somerset for the Duke of Bourbon, also a prisoner since Agincourt fell through, and Bourbon died in England in 1434.

See Year 1427: The Duke of Bourbon and the Earl of Somerset

The plan in 1435 was for an exchange of Eu for Somerset, but the ransom and/or exchange of high-ranking prisoners was often complicated and always took time. In this case another three years.

(1) PPC IV, pp. 293-294 (order to transfer Artois to Edmund Beaufort).

(2) Foedera X, p. 602 (two writs, to release unto Beaufort’s custody).

(3) Foedera X, p. 607 (Huntingdon’s expenses in keeping Eu).


The Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Suffolk

James Andrew, a lawyer owing property in Suffolk, was a client of the de la Pole earls of Suffolk.  Inevitably he became involved in the property disputes common in that county, which were usually carried on by violence. James was an old man by 1434 but on 21 July he was ambushed near Bury St Edmunds at the instigation of Sir Robert Wingfield, a client of the Duke of Norfolk. James died of his wounds.  James Andrew’s son, John, and his brother-in-law John Heveringham, appealed to the Earl of Suffolk on behalf of James’s widow Margery, for protection and redress (1).

The duke and the earl were rivals for domination in East Anglia and the dispute with its fatal outcome is a typical and all too common example, of ‘good lordship’ at work: the claims of protection from a client to his lord outweighing the demands of justice.

 In this instance the Council acted to prevent a local feud from developing into a mini civil war.  They summoned the Duke of Norfolk who, although still a minor, was developing into a violent man, and the Earl of Suffolk, a member of the Council, to appear on 15 February 1435. They were required to give a formal assurance that neither would interfere in the judicial process to establish guilt or innocence and to allow the law to proceed accordingly (2). 

(1) Virgoe, ‘The murder of James Andrew,’ in East Anglian Society, pp. 109-115

(2) PPC IV, pp. 300-301 (Norfolk, Suffolk dispute).

The Westmorland inheritance 

Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmorland, died in 1425. His son by his first wife was dead, and the heir to the title was his grandson, another Ralph Neville. But Westmorland left the bulk of his estates to his second wife, Joan Beaufort and her children, the eldest of whom was Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury.

The dispute over the Neville inheritance began after Ralph II came of age in 1429. He inherited Brancepeth in County Durham, some property in Ripon, some manors in Lincolnshire, and Neville Inn in Silver Street in London, but Countess Joan had a dower rights claim on a third of Brancepeth. The rest of the extensive Westmorland estates went to Joan and her eldest son (1).

 At a council meeting in November 1434 (not recorded in the Proceedings) it was agreed that three lords and two justices should be appointed by each side to settle the dispute between Ralph II and his stepmother. 

The protagonists were invited to name representatives to undertake mediation, and early in 1435 Countess Joan named John Kemp, Archbishop of York, Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, Lord Cromwell the Treasurer, John Cheyne and John Cotesmore, two justices (2). Who represented Earl Ralph is not recorded. The council’s intervention was ineffectual, and the case dragged on until Joan’s death in 1440.

(1) James Petre, ‘The Nevills of Brancepeth and Raby, Part I ,1425 to 1469: Nevill v Nevill,’ Ricardian 5, no. 75, (December 1981), pp. 418-435.

(2) PPC IV, pp. 289-290 (arbitrators appointed). 


Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury

In February, at the same time as he was supporting his mother in the Westmorland inheritance dispute, Salisbury petitioned the Council to be allowed to resign as Warden of the East March towards Scotland, which he had held for less than a year; the terms of his indenture permitted him to do so. Salisbury’s petition was presented by his servant Thomas Witham (1).

See Year 1434: The Earl of Salisbury

(1) PPC IV, pp. 296-297 (Salisbury’s petition).

Calais Mint

In December the Council ordered new coins to be issued by the Calais mint.  Buckland was to receive ‘350 crosses and piles for grosses, 60 crosses and piles for demy grosses, 300 crosses and piles for pennies, and 60 crosses and piles for mailles and ferlings of silver’ from John Orewell an engraver.

Orewell was to be paid from the profits of the mint by the type of coin minted: ‘for every piece of the said crosses and piles for grosses 7d; for every piece of the said crosses and piles for demy grosses 6d; for every piece of the said crosses and piles for mailes and ferlings of silver, 4d’ (1).   

A groat was a silver coin, engraved on the back with a cross, worth four pennies. A half groat was worth two pennies. A maile was also a small silver coin, possibly a halfpenny and a ferling was a silver farthing.    

(1) PPC IV, pp. 306-307 (coinage in Calais).


The Council and the Church

The Bishop of Exeter

Edmund Lacy, Bishop of Exeter since 1420, was excused attendance at Parliament or Great Councils because of infirmity (1, 2). He was unable to ride, due to a disease of the shin bones, but was permitted to be represented by a proxy. Lacy lived for another twenty years, steering clear of politics and exercising his rights and responsibilities through proctors.  

(1) Foedera X, p. 604 (Bishop Lacy excused attendance).

(2) CPR 1429-1436, p. 453 (Bishop Lacy excused attendance).


Thomas Bourchier

Pope Eugenius had rejected the Council’s nomination of Thomas Bourchier as Bishop elect of Worcester in 1434, preferring his own candidate, Thomas Brouns, Dean of Salisbury.

See Year 1434 The Council and the Papacy

The Council held firm, and Eugenius capitulated, he had enough trouble on his hands in his quarrel with the Church Fathers at Basel without antagonising the King of England unnecessarily. He provided Thomas Bourchier to the see of Worcester, protesting all the while that never before he had promoted anyone of Thomas’s age to become a bishop (1). 

Thomas was about twenty-four, the canonical age for a bishop was twenty-seven.  The temporalities of Worcester were restored to Thomas on 15 April 1435 (2). He went on to a long and slippery career in church and state (3). Thomas Brouns became Bishop of Rochester in May 1435 (4).

(1) Papal Letters VIII, pp. 216-219 (Eugenius to Henry VI, at length).

(2) Foedera X, p. 607 (temporalities of the see of Worcester).

(3) Emden, Oxford, vol. I, pp. 230-232 (Thomas Bourchier).

(4) Foedera X, p. 608 (temporalities of the see of Rochester).

(5) Foedera X, p. 640 (misdated to 1436).


Peter Barbo

In December Pope Eugenius’s nephew Peter Barbo was licenced to hold benefices in England to the value of 1200 ducats (Barbo was a Venetian) (1, 2). 

He is wrongly named as Paul in the Foedera. He became Pope Paul II in 1464

(1) Foedera X, p. 629 (Barbo).

(2) CPR 1429-1436, p. 498 (Barbo).


Robert Mallory

In 1434 Anton Flavian de Ripa, Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers, the Order of St John of Jerusalem in Rhodes, had ordered Sir Robert Mallore (Mallory), Prior of St John of Jerusalem in England to come to Rhodes with twenty-five knights or brethren of the Order to help defend the island against the threat of an attack by the Ottoman Sultan and the Mamelukes of Egypt (1)

Mallory petitioned the Council for permission to leave England and in January 1435 he was granted a licence to go, taking with him “his brethren, household and servants,” 100 marks in gold and silver coins and “three basins, three ewers, four pots, three silver saucers with covers, three dozen silver cups, eight with covers, four ‘chargers’ of silver, eight platters of silver and two dozen silver spoons, one silver chalice, one little bell for mass and two phials of silver” (2, 3).

In March the Council granted him letters of attorney so that his nominees could handle his and the Order’s legal affairs during his absence (4).

(1) P. J. C. Field, ‘Sir Robert Malory, Prior of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in England 1432-1439/40,’ Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol 28, Issue 3, July 1977, pp. 249-264.

(2) Foedera X, p. 600 (licence to leave England).

(3) CPR 1429-36, p. 452 (licence to leave England).

(4) DKR.  48th Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, p. 302.


Lord Scrope

John, Lord Scrope of Masham was appointed ambassador to Anton Flavian de Ripa, in January 1435. Henry, Lord Scrope of Bolton, John’s son-in-law, was still a minor and technically in the king’s keeping, so permission for him to travel was also obtained. 

A licence and protection were issued to Lord Scrope and his retinue for two years from 1 March 1435. Scrope was permitted to take 500 marks worth of goods with him and was promised 1,000 marks for his expenses (1). He set out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and it is not known if he visited Rhodes on his way to Jerusalem on or his way home.

(1) Foedera X, pp. 600-601 (Scrope ambassador).


Earl of Oxford

John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, was also granted a licence and protection to go to the Holy Land, taking £100 with him (1). ‘There is no evidence that he made the journey; certainly, there was no significant interruption in his appointments to local commissions’ (2).

(1) Foedera X, pp. 600-601 (Oxford on pilgrimage).

(2) H. Castor, ‘John de Vere,’ in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

The War in France: Finance

The agreement reached between the Duke of Bedford and the Council in June 1434 that income from Duchy of Lancaster lands enfeoffed by Henry V under his will, should be diverted to finance the war in France, provided certain conditions were met, had been modified by 1435. 

See Year 1434: The Duke of Bedford’s Requirements

Only five of Henry V’s feoffees were still alive: Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury, Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, Thomas Langley, Bishop of Durham, Lord Hungerford and the duchy official John Leventhorpe who died towards the end of 1435. They had been reluctant to agree to Bedford’s request to divert the income from Duchy of Lancaster lands in their keeping to the war in France. The condition that other revenue should be assigned to meet the terms of Henry V’s will could not be met by the near bankrupt Exchequer.

In February 1435 at the Council’s request, Cardinal Beaufort and the other feoffees agreed to loan £6,000 from Duchy of Lancaster lands, which was more than the net value of the lands, topped up from income repaid to them for previous loans (1). In return they would be allowed to keep the money from the enfeoffed lands for the following year as well as the assignments for repayment on the customs of Southampton!   

Harriss suggests that Cardinal Beaufort willingly authorized successive loans from the Duchy of Lancaster, amounting to over £8,000 in 1435 alone, because he knew that it would take years of assignments on the customs to make repayment. It guaranteed him the whip hand in Council: protection against the Duke of Gloucester and gratitude from the Duke of Bedford, not to mention the councillors who were at their wits ends as to where enough money to continue the war was to come from (2).

Beaufort certainly expected and received special treatment. Custom officials at Southampton were ordered at the end of May to allow a shipment of wine for the cardinal to clear the port free of duty. In June his right to prosecute for the repayment of the 10,000 mark loan he made in 1434 was confirmed by the council (3).

The Duke of Bedford sent the royal secretary Jean Rinel to England to remind the Council of their obligations, to expedite the matter, and collect the money.  In February Rinel was authorized to purchase as many bows and sheaves of arrows as he could for 1500 marks (£700) to be shipped via Dieppe. He was to receive 4,790 marks (£3,193 6s 8d) as wages for the garrisons from September to December (4).

The council awarded Rinel 25 marks for the expenses of his journey, and five marks to James Le Heron who had accompanied him (5).

Louis of Luxembourg, Bishop of Thérouanne, the Chancellor of France was also in England briefly in the spring of 1435. He had taken over the governance of Lancastrian France outside the Duchy of Normandy and he may have come to collect some of the money, and perhaps to warn the Council that the English hold on Paris was by no means secure. Sir John Tyrell, keeper of the household, received £123 6s 8d for the expenses of the Chancellor’s visit (6).

In June Luxembourg was allocated £1,631 13s 4d for 100 men-at-arms and 153 archers for half a year, and 60 men at arms and 124 archers for the same period as wages for the Norman garrisons from June to September and for the purchase of war supplies (7). 

(1) Somerville, p 202 (estimates the net value of feoffee lands at £5,503 in 1431-32).

(2) Harriss, Beaufort, p. 244 (loans).

(3) Foedera X, p. 609 (wine and loan).

(4) PPC IV, pp. 294 (purchase of bows and arrows; instalment of garrisons’ wages)

(5) PPC IV, p. 295 (Rinel’s expenses). 

(6) Dickinson, Arras, p. 45 n 8, citing C 81/1545/52 and E 404/51/329 (for Louis of Luxembourg’s visit).

(7) Foedera X, p. 610 (Luxembourg’s expenses and the allocation for garrison wages).

Sale of Wool

Another instalment of the money for France, 5,000 marks, was due in May 1435. The Exchequer was unlikely to meet this obligation and the Treasurer, Lord Cromwell, probably at his suggestion, was authorized to purchase 222 sarplers [555 sacks] of wool to be paid for by assignments on the king’s income from the Duchy of Lancaster, on revenue from North Wales (‘loaned’ by Sir John Radcliffe), and from the Southampton customs. The treasurer was to re-sell the wool, remitting half the customs duties due on it.  If the arrangements for repayment did not meet the purchasers’ approval, the treasurer could change them, but he was not to be held liable for any default. Cromwell was a cautious man; the Council undertook to protect him against any charges resulting from the buying or selling the wool (1). 

The merchants who purchased the wool were to pay 5,000 marks (£3,333 6s. 8d) into the treasury at Calais by May to be sent on to Louis of Luxemburg. The merchants who bought the wool, Hugh Dyke, Thomas Browne, and Thomas Pond, could sell the wool at current market value through Calais or any other place of their choice (2).

Harriss estimated that the profit margin would be in the region of £2,500 but adds ‘How the expected profit was divided remains unclear’ (3).  It would appear that there was no profit to the king – it was a temporary expedient to raise 5,000 marks in a hurry to defray a contracted debt.

(1) PPC IV, pp. 291-92 (purchase and sale of wool).

(2) CPR 1429-36, p. 454 (licence to ship wool to Calais or elsewhere).

(3) Harriss, Beaufort, p. 243 (purchase and sale of wool).

The War in France: Campaigns

Caen: a rising in Normandy

The atrocity committed by men from the garrison at Falaise in 1434 triggered an uprising of the inhabitants of Lower Normandy between Falaise and Bayeux.

See Year 1434: The Duke of Bedford in France, Richard Venables

In January 1435, a rebel army of several thousand men led by local French lords marched on Caen, the second largest city in Normandy. Sir Richard Harrington was bailli of Caen and Sir John Fastolf was Captain of Caen. 

Fastolf was at Falaise when he heard that Caen was under siege; he sent to Lord Scales and the garrison at Domfort to come to his assistance. There was fighting outside the city walls, but Caen was strongly defended by its garrison and its citizens and many in the rebel army, who were probably poorly armed, were killed as they attempted to gain entry into the city. The rest turned aside and marched west through Mortain to join Ambroise de Loré, the Duke of Alençon’s war captain, in laying siege to Avranches. The duke himself joined them, but not for long.

A general call to arms went out to the English held towns of Saint Lô, Port Audemar, Lisieux and Orbec to rendezvous with the Earl of Arundel and Lord Scales (but not Lord Talbot as in Cleopatra C IV) at Lisieux by 17 January (1).  A year later, in April 1436, two men received payment of 20 sols tournois each for supplying two horses for Nicholas Clare to ride to Caen to carry information to Fastolf and Scales on French troop movements, their numbers and their dispositions so that effective counter measures could be taken (2).

As soon as he heard that Arundel was on the march, Alençon raised the siege of Avranches and decamped. He had the larger army but, just as at Sillé le Guillaume a year earlier, he would not face Arundel in the field. He withdrew west towards Brittany.  According Monstrelet the rebel army dispersed ‘without having done anything worthy of notice’ (3).

Arundel set about restoring order and control. The rank and file of the citizen army were forced to surrender their arms, but according to Cleopatra C IV those who renewed their oath of loyalty to King Henry were issued with ‘new byllettes’ (thick sticks used as weapons). The rebel leaders’ lands were confiscated, and, in the accepted the practice of the administration of Lancastrian Normandy, they were parceled out to Englishmen.  Monstrelet adds that ‘afterward some exceptions were made for the people.’

Monstrelet and Chartier’s accounts differ from that of Cleopatra C IV (4). They do not mention Fastolf or include Lord Talbot in the relief force. Monstrelet reverses the order of the risings in Normandy, placing the one in the Caux later in the year before the one at Caen.

“And in that same grete wynter the comens of Normandy all abought cane [Caen], what in besyn [the Bessin] and in the valey of Mortem, roos vp all att onys and leyd sege vnto the tovne and castell of cane [Caen] vnto the nombre of x m1 curll with many jentell of the same contre. 

And in the tovne beyng that tyme Sir Richard of haryngton capteyn of the tovne and castell.  And Sir John ffastolf that tyme being in the tovne of alenson, herd how that the sege whas leyd vnto the tovne of cane, he hied him theder with vixx men; and ffel vpon her wacche by nyght and slew many of hem, and cam into the tovne and so rescevyd the tovne.                  

In the mene tyme the erll of Arondell, the lorde Talbot with many knyghtes and squyers to the nomber of iiij m1 cam theder, for the duke of lanson whas in that marches and seyd that he wolde have fou[gh]t. And whan the Engelissh lordys were come theder he ffled away befor ther kommyng; and yet the duke had a x m1 men with him, and the Englishe lordes were not fully of iiij c men. 

And then the erll of Arondell sett gouernance in that contre and tokyn all wepyn from hem, and weren sworne ayen vnto the kyng, and haddyn new byllettes euery man.  And ther were a iiij knyghtes of þt contre-syde went fforth with the duke of lanson and ther landes weryn gevyn awey to Englissh kny[gh]tes.”  

                                                            Chronicles of London (Cleopatra C IV) p. 137

(1) Chronique de Mont Saint Michel, pp. 50-53 (English activities).

(2) L&P II, Appendix to the Preface, pp. lv-viii (messenger to carry news).

(3) Monstrelet I, p. 113 (Caen and rebel army).

(4) Chartier, Chronique  I, pp. 172-173 (Caen and Alençon).


Death of the Earl of Arundel

In May the Duke of Bedford learned to his dismay that an Armagnac force had taken the town of Rue at the mouth of the Somme opposite Le Crotoy. Both towns had been recovered at considerable cost on Bedford’s orders in 1423 and he feared that Le Crotoy too would be lost, cutting off access to the Somme from the sea.

See Year 1423 The Siege of Le Crotoy

The Earl of Arundel was at Mantes after he put down the rising in Caen and Bedford ordered him to proceed via Gournay with a force of about 800 men to lay siege to Rue. While he was at Gournay Arundel learned that La Hire and Poton de Xaintrailles were refortifying the fortress at Gerberoy between Gournay and Beauvais. Arundel turned aside from his march on Rue to recover Gerberoy. In his haste he split his army and rode through the night with only a small vanguard, leaving the bulk of his men to follow.

According to Monstrelet, Arundel had not reconnoitered, and he did not expect Gerberoy to be heavily manned. He posted about 120 men around Gerberoy to repulse any sortie from the fortress and the rest made camp to wait for the main body of the army and its artillery to come up later in the day.

La Hire and Xaintrailles could not risk a siege. When they sighted the dust of Arundel’s army from Gerberoy’s battlements, they decided on an immediate attack. They sent out a small force to distract Arundel and deceive him as to their numbers while Xaintrailles, La Hire, and Regnault de Fontaines with sixty mounted men and a contingent on foot intercepted Arundel’s army.  Without their captain to direct them the English were taken by surprise; they broke ranks and fled back towards Gournay. La Hire pursued them, killing some and capturing others. 

La Hire then returned to Gerberoy and made short work of Arundel and what was left of his men; they were caught in the open with a thick hedge behind them and only a line of defensive stakes in front of them.  La Hire did not charge the stakes, he ordered a culverin (small cannon) to be brought out from the fortress; its second shot hit Arundel in the ankle. He was captured and carried to the neighbouring Beauvais for treatment, but his leg had to be amputated and he died on 12 June (1, 2).

Monstrelet records that Sir Richard Woodville, Mondart de Montferrand, and ‘Restandif,’ identified as Ralph Standish, were taken prisoner with Arundel. Woodville was with Arundel’s force (3, 4) but if he was taken, he did not remain a captive for long.

 “And [the] iiij day of May the erll of Arondell with a [fayre] maine went before Garboray in bevoissins for [to lay] sege vnto the seyd tovne; for poton and [la hire] had fortefied vp the sayd place and weryn therin with a vi m1 men.

And the erlis men went abow[gh]t and sawtyd the placys ffast by. And so the erle whas left with a fewe meyne; and poton and la hire sawgh how that the erlles meyne weren all from him but a fewe vn to the number of iijc and they weren wery of rideng of all the nyght, and the footmen weryn not yet i-kom vn to them.

And then poton and la hire fell vpon Sir Raulyn of Standyssh, as they weren at the bulwerk with xl men of armys before the yate of Garbery; and potton and la hire with all her meyne com owte at onys owte of the towne on horseback with vic men and so the erll whas hurt with a gon thorow the ancle and whas takyn presoner and Sir Richard Wodevyle and so many moo with hem the nombre of vixx presoneres and ijc weryn slayn with Sir Raulyn of Standyssh. And son vpon the erll of Arondell died in the tovne of bevois (Beauvais).”             Chronicles of London (Cleopatra C IV) pp. 137-138

(1) Monstrelet I, pp. 637-638 (Gerberoy).

(2) Arundel’s death is recorded in one sentence in The Great Chronicle (p. 171) and in Gregory’s Chronicle (p. 117).

(3) CPR 1429-1436, p. 359 (Woodville had mustered in June 1434 with 20 men-at-arms and 60 archers for service in France).

(4)  Bell & Curry, Soldier, p. 61, citing E404/50/305 (Woodville).

John, Earl of Arundel, a Summary

John of Arundel, Lord Mautravers by inheritance from his great grandmother, Eleanor Baroness Mautravers, was born in 1408. He was knighted by King Henry in 1426.  

He was contracted as a child to marry Constance, the daughter of Sir John Cornwall and Elizabeth of Lancaster but the marriage did not take place; Constance died sometime before 1429 and John married Maud Lovell; their son, Humphrey, was born in 1429.

John claimed the earldom of Arundel when he came of age in 1429, and although he was not formally recognised as such by Parliament until 1433, he used the title and is usually referred to as the Earl of Arundel.

He crossed to France with King Henry’s coronation expedition in 1430 and remained there until his death in 1435. Arundel adapted quickly, and for the most part successfully, to his role as war captain. He may have been with the Earl of Huntington at Compiègne in 1430 when Joan of Arc was captured. He is described by a contemporary chronicler as having distinguished himself there, but other source evidence is lacking (1). 

The Duke of Bedford thought highly of Arundel. He made him Captain of Vernon in 1431 and of Verneuil in 1432, both posts exercised through deputies, as Arundel was needed elsewhere. His lieutenant in Vernon was Sir William Lucy and in Verneuil Richard Burghill (2, 3). His captaincy of Verneuil may have misled the compiler of the Brut, Continuation H to include Arundel in Bedford’s ranks at the Battle of Verneuil in 1424, the only chronicle to do so.

In 1431 Arnaud-Guillaune Lord of Barbazon, the famous French war captain, laid siege to the Duke of Burgundy’s castle of Anglure. The Duke of Bedford sent Arundel and three Burgundian captains, including L’Isle Adam, with 1600 men to its relief.  (The reference here and elsewhere in the French chronicles to the presence of ‘the son of the Earl of Warwick’ is mysterious. Warwick’s only son was the same age as King Henry; he may have been at Rouen with the king but is unlikely to have taken part in the fighting).   

About twenty men on both sides were killed in an encounter outside the castle walls at Anglure, and L’Isle Adam was wounded.  Arundel decided not to risk a battle; instead  he covered the evacuation of the castle, including the unnamed ‘lady of the castle.’ Either before they left, or after they were safe, the castle was set on fire (4).

Also in 1431 Arundel was in command of the artillery during the failed attempt to take the town and fortress of Lagny (5) but was not apparently with Bedford in 1432 when he too failed to take Lagny.   

Arundel attended King Henry’s coronation in Paris in December 1431 where he and Jean, Bastard of St Pol, his companion in arms, carried off the prizes as the best jousters at the coronation banquet (6).

Arundel was with the garrison in Rouen in 1432 when, after an initial setback, he thwarted a surprise attack by an Armagnac force which had gained entry to the castle. Bedford made him captain of Rouen and he became a Knight of the Garter.

At the end of 1432 Arundel rushed to the defence of the town of Saint Lô when it was threatened by an army under the Duke of Alencon (7, 8).

Bedford nominated Arundel as his lieutenant for Lower Normandy in 1433 before he left for England (9). Arundel recovered the Abbey of Sées and the town of Saint Cérnéi by siege, using his heavy artillery; he forced the town to surrender at the end of the year after a three-month siege. 

And in the same year he petitioned Parliament in absentia to recognise his right to the Earldom of Arundel. Arundel’s father, another John, who died in 1421, had claimed it as a cousin and closest male heir of Thomas Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, who childless died in 1415. The claim was disputed by John Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk. It turned on the question of who rightfully held the castle of Arundel from which the title stemmed.

Thanks to his war service and Bedford’s influence, Arundel was officially recognised by Parliament in November 1433 (9, 10).  

In 1434, his most successful year, Arundel recovered Crépy en Valois and took Sillé le Guillaume by a combination of strength and guile. In partnership with John, Lord Talbot, he recovered, Beaumont sur Oise and Corbeil. 

In 1435 Bedford sent him to defeat and disperse the rebel rising in Normandy. After the rebels failed to take Caen Arundel forced his old adversary the Duke of Alençon to abandon the siege of Avranches.

Arundel’s death in June 1435 was a waste. He was only twenty-nine, and it cut short a promising military career. His successful campaigns may have given him an exaggerated idea of his own abilities.  Gerberoy was not a strategically important town, but Arundel could not resist the opportunity, as he saw it, to rout the dreaded La Hire and Poton de Xaintralles. His death was a blow to Bedford who could ill afford to lose his most promising young war captain.

Arundel was buried in the church of the Cordeliers in Beauvais, ironically the town which he and Talbot had considered attacking in 1431 but had decided was too strong.  His body was later brought home for burial at Arundel in accordance with his last known wish (10). 

See Years 1426, 1430, 1431, 1432, 1433, 1434 and 1435 (above) for Arundel.

(1) Dictionary of National Biography

(2) L&P II, ii, pp. 434, 542, 543 (captain of Verneuil and Vernon).

(3) Marshall, ‘English War Captains,’ pp.  275 and 276 (captain of Verneuil and Vernon).

(4) Monstrelet I, p. 588 (Anglure).

(5) Monstrelet I, p. 604 (with artillery at Lagny, 1431).

(6) Monstrelet I, p. 597 (jousts at coronation).

(7) Chronique de Mont Saint Michel II, ed. Luce, p. 14 (rescue of St Lô).

(8) Barker, Conquest, p. 188 (rescue of St Lô).

(9)  Chronique de Mont Saint Michel II, ed. Luce, pp. 20-22 (Bedford’s lieutenant in Lower Normandy).

(10) M.A.Tierney, The History and Antiquities of the Castle and Town of Arundel, II (1834) pp. 625-626.


The Gascon knight Bernard de Montferrand had been rewarded in 1432 for his services to Henry V and Henry VI.

See Year 1432 Gascony for Montferrand

Montferrand claimed lands and lordships in Rions and the Gironde as heir to his uncle, Bérat d’Albret. In May 1435 he submitted a copy of the confirmation of this inheritance to the Minority Council for examination. It had been issued by the mayor and council in Bordeaux in 1369 (1). The claim had been disputed over many years, presumably by other relatives of d’Albret who died in 1379 and had not been resolved owing to ‘several impediments.’  Monferrand requested ‘the king’ (for 13s 4d paid in the Hanaper) to uphold his claim and settle the matter.  

The Council were not satisfied; in July they appointed a special oyer and terminer commission of seven men in Bordeaux: Pey Berland, Archbishop of Bordeaux, Hélias de Faurie, Abbot of Bornat, Ralph de Blaye, a judge, Walter Colles, constable of Bordeaux, Tétbault d’Agès , Dean of St André, the cathedral at Bordeaux, Sir Johan de Lavergne, captain of Aubeterre and John Stevens, a Master of laws, ‘to decide the claims of Bertrand, Lord of Montferrand to the possessions of Sir Berard de la Bret, his uncle, deceased’ and pronounce a final judgement (2,3).                                              

(1) CPR 1429-36, pp. 458-460 (copy of original award).

(2) Foedera X, p. 617 (commission of oyer and terminer).

(3) gasconrolls.org C61 125

 Sir Robert Clifton

At the end of 1435 Sir Robert Clifton replaced Thomas Burton, as mayor of Bayonne. He would go on to become Constable of Bordeaux in 1439 (1). 

(1) Foedera X, p. 629.


The Council issued their annual commission to treat with the Scots in July 1435.  Thomas Langley, Bishop of Durham (still going strong despite having retired from politics), Marmaduke Lumley Bishop of Carlisle, Richard Neville  Earl of Salisbury (no longer Warden of the March), Henry Percy Earl of Northumberland, (one again Warden of the March) and the northern lords William Neville, Lord Fauconberg, Lord Dacre, Lord Greystoke, and Sir Robert Umfraville. They had a wide brief: to receive King James’s outstanding ransom, which was unlikely, to redress Scottish complaints of truce breaking along the border, which were endemic, and to begin another round of negotiations to renew the truce with Scotland which was due to expire in 1436 (1).   

A week earlier, on 12 July, the Council had issued a safe conduct for Patrick Dunbar to come to England and return (2). Patrick was the son and heir of George Dunbar, the Scottish Earl of March.  King James habitually confiscated his nobles’ lands whenever a pretext offered and in 1435 his victim was George Dunbar whose earldom was forfeited on a probably spurious accusation of treason: his father had supported King Henry IV against the Scots in 1400 and the then young George had been with him.

In September Robert Ogle the younger, keeper of Berwick, led a raid into Scotland probably on his own initiative in retaliation for some local grievance. He and his force penetrated twenty miles into Scotland towards Dunbar before the Earl of Angus and Adam Hepburn, the Scottish Wardens of the March, caught up with him on 10 September. They easily defeated and captured Ogle at Piperdean near Cockburnspath   

The ever-suspicious King James jumped to the conclusion that Patrick, whom he dubbed ‘the kingis rebell,’ had solicited and received military aid from the English and that Ogle’s raid, although Patrick was not with him, was on Patrick’s behalf (3). 

At the of October, George, designated Earl of Dunbar not Earl of March, received a safe conduct to come to England for three months, escorted by twenty four horsemen (4) and in December the Council issued another safe conduct for George and Patrick to remain in England for a year (5). 

King James’s biographer, Michael Brown, accepts James’s version that the Dunbars “like their predecessors in 1400 were lobbying for military support” (6). 

Balfour-Melville is not so sure, “had [George] gone to join his son in rebellion . . . to prepare for a widespread rising which he would lead against James? Or did he go to England with the consent of James to bring Patrick back to his loyalty and receive the pension of £400 for this?” (7).

Patrick may have hoped initially for help from England, but by the end of the year both Dunbars had good reason to fear for their lives and prefer to remain in England, at least for the time being, King James’s temper was unpredictable.

(1) Foedera X, pp. 620-621 (commission to treat with the Scots).

(2) Foedera X, p. 618 (safe conduct July).

(3) PPC IV, pp. 309-313. (recapitulation of James’s complaint, September 1435 and King Henry’s reply, November 1435).

(4) Documents Relating to Scotland IV, # 1086,  p. 223 (this safe conduct is not noted in the Proceedings or in the Foedera).

(5) Foedera X, p. 628 (safe conduct December).

(6) Brown. James I, pp. 161-162.

(7) Balfour-Melville, James I, pp. 121-123.

Trade Relations


The Duke of Burgundy periodically banned the import of English cloth into the Low Countries to protect the Flemish cloth trade. He did so again in 1434, at the instigation of the Four Member of Flanders, in retaliation for the changes imposed on the purchase of wool, in cash and not on credit, by the Calais Staplers in 1429/1430 (1).

See Year 1430 ‘Trade with the Netherlands’

Wool buying towns throughout the Netherlands, not just the Flemings, had complained and continued to complain, of harsh treatment and unfair trading practices in Calais.

Wool buying towns throughout the Netherlands, not just the Flemings, complained and continued to complain of harsh treatment and unfair trading practices in Calais.

Trade with the Four Members was important to the English economy and the Council was willing to listen, even if they could do little to circumvent an act of Parliament.  In February 1435 a messenger was paid twelve crowns for bringing letters to the Council from John, Count of Étampes, representing the Duke of Burgundy, and the Four Members of Flanders (2).  

A procuration was issued to no less than twelve envoys to meet with representatives of the Duke of Burgundy and the Four Members in Calais ‘concerning the modification of the statutes of the staple of Calais’ Robert Shotesbroke, John Stokes, Stephen Wilton, Richard Selling, Richard Woodville, lieutenant of Calais, Richard Buckland, treasurer of Calais, John Mitchell, Thomas Charlton, Hamo Sutton, Roger Knight, Thomas Gare, and Richard Warter (3).

In June Richard Selling was paid £20 as one of the ambassadors negotiating with the Four Members of Flanders (4). 

In July, just before he left England for Calais on his way to the Congress at Arras, Cardinal Beaufort was authorized to treat ‘with the ambassadors of the Duke of Burgundy and the Four Members’ in Calais in almost the same words: ‘for the modification of the states concerning commerce’ (5, 6). Did a meeting take place or was it superseded by the Congress of Arras?


(1) Thielemans, Bourgogne et Angleterre, pp. 60-61 (Burgundy imposed a cloth ban).

(2) PPC IV, p. 298 (letter from the Count of Étampes).

(3) Foedera X, p. 605 (envoys to meet Four Memebrs in Calais).

(4) Foedera X, p. 609 (payment to Selling).

(5) Foedera X, p. 619 (Cardinal Beaufort in Calais).

(6) Harriss, Beaufort, p. 248 (Cardinal Beaufort in Calais).



Hanseatic League

By late 1434 relations with the Hanseatic League had reached an all-time low (1). The Hanse merchants objected to the invasion by English merchants of their exclusive trading privileges in the Baltic, especially within the territories of King Eric of Denmark and they resented the additional tax on their imports in England imposed by Parliament in 1431.

John Stokes, Stephen Wilton, Richard Selling, Richard Buckland and Thomas Borowe, a merchant of King’s Lynn, were also commissioned to treat with Hanse representatives ‘for the redress of grievances (2). But ‘for all practical purposes this embassy accomplished nothing;’ it may never have taken place (3).

See Years 1423, 1430 and 1431 for the Hanse.

Paul von Rusdorf the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights sent representatives to complain to the Minority Council in October 1434 of ‘injuries’ done to Hanse merchants. The English mercantile community lodged counter complaints, and the Council, as they were apt to do when now knowing what to do, suggested a postponement. They would send a delegation to meet with the Grand Master and the Hanse’s representatives in Bruges in 1435.

In September, the consuls of Hamburg reported to the Council that two ships sailing of out Hamburg with a cargo of beer had been captured by Michael Schotte (Scott?) and Molchum Poerter (Porter?). They requested the immediate return of the ships and their cargo (4). This is a typical example of the numerous complaints by merchants of the Hanse of pirates sailing out of English ports or out of Calais. The Council was powerless to stop them, but it may be doubted that despite issuing diplomatic orders forbidding the practice and ordering restitution, the Council would have put an end to it even if they could, some members of the council had ships of their own, and piracy was lucrative. 

John Stokes, Richard Selling, Richard Woodville, Richard Buckland and Thomas Borowe were commissioned again in December to treat with the Grand Master and representatives of the Hanse (5). But the English were no longer welcome in the Duke of Burgundy’s dominions.  Hanse delegates simply failed to arrive (6).

(1) Postan, Medieval Trade and Finance, pp. 260-261 (relations with the Hanse).

(2) Foedera X, p. 605 (commission to treat with the Hanse).

(3) Ferguson, Diplomacy, pp.  93-94     

(4) Foedera X, p. 623 (Hamburg complaint).

(5) Foedera X. p. 627 (second commission to treat with the Hanse).

(6) Ferguson, Diplomacy, pp. 93-94 (Hanse negotiations). 

General Council of the Church at Basel

Only a few English delegates to the Council at Basel were still there in 1435. Robert Fitzhugh, Bishop of London appears to have become the leader of the delegation.

In February a new procuration was issued for Fitzhugh, William Wells, Bernard de la Planche, Bishop of Dax, Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Lisieux, Zane de Castiglione Bishop of Bayeux, Peter Maurice a Doctor of Theology, and Nicholas David Archdeacon of Coutances, to treat ‘for the reformation of the church and peace with France’ (1, 2).  Only the first three were accredited at Basel, the Norman subjects of King Henry had been excluded.

See Year 1434 The General Council at Basel

Two days after issuing the procuration, on 12 February, a letter in King Henry’s name was addressed to Giuliano Cesarini Cardinal of St Angelo, president of the Council, to demand that the delegates sent to Basel as representatives for his kingdom of France should be recognised and have the right to vote. They had appealed for an audience on several occasions but were still excluded (3).

Protection letters were issued in February for William Wells, Abbot of St Mary’s York, and John Burton, a clerk.  Further letters of protection for another year were issued for Robert Fitzhugh in May (4).  

John Clederowe, Bishop of Bangor may have been at Basel. He had received permission to visit Jerusalem in 1431, but it is not known if he went. He was among those named by Archbishop Chichele to go to Basel in 1433, but there is no record that he was there.  He is noted as being abroad in 1432 and again in 1434. Letters appointing William Fallon and John Bate as his attorneys were issued in May 1435, while was ‘overseas.’ He died sometime before the end of 1435, but it is not known where (5).  

John Beaupere

John ‘Pulcer Patris’ was John Beaupere, a professor of theology who had conducted the interrogation of Joan of Arc at her trial (6). He had attended the Council of Basel as one of King Henry VI’s delegates, representing the University of Paris.

Beaupere and Stephen Novarria, a Doctor of Civil Law, described as an advocate for the English at Basel, came to England in June to inform King Henry and the Minority Council that the Church Fathers endorsed the peace conference to be held at Arras. They were each licenced to hold benefices in England up to the value of £100 (7).  Beaupere returned to Basel to report to the council on 4 September wearing a SS collar of King Henry (8).

Robert Fitzhugh, Bishop of London and William Wells Abbot of St Mary’s York left Basel in the summer of 1435.  Bernard de la Planche Bishop Dax and the Norman bishops of Coutances and of Evreux, stayed on (9), but they were there as interested churchmen rather than as representatives of Henry VI. All eyes were now focused on the Burgundian town of Arras and the peace conference taking place there.

(1) Foedera X, p. 603 (second procuration).

(2) Schofield, ‘Second English Delegation at Basel,’ p. 44 (names).

(3) PPC IV, p. 297 (Henry VI to the Council).

(4) Foedera X, p. 608 (William Wells and John Burton).

(5) Foedera X, p. 607 (John Clederowe).

(6) Castor, Joan of Arc, pp. 170-174 (Beaupere as inquisitor of Joan).

(7) CPR 1429-1436, p. 461 (Beaupere and Stephen Novarria benefices).

(8) Schofield, ‘Second English Delegation at Basel,’ pp. 61 and 62 (Beaupere and Stephen Novarria).

(9)  Schofield, ‘Second Basel’ p. 62 (Fitzhugh and Planche).

A cryptic entry in Brut Continuation G refers to two miracles, three suns were seen in the sky at one time, a favourite augury, presumably referring to the split in the Council at Basel between the Pope, the Church Fathers and the warring representatives and the arguments over supremacy. I have found no other trace of the holy maid who turned vegetarian.

“This same yeer wer seen thre Sonnes at ones & Anone folowed þe threfolde gouernance in þe chirch þat is to wete of Eugeny þe Pope, of the Counsel, & of þe neutralitie. 

About þis tyme was an holy maid in Holand called Lydwith which lyued onely bi miracle not etynge any mete.”                Brut Continuation G, p. 503

The Congress of Arras  

A Meeting at Nevers

Duke Philip of Burgundy, whose commitment to the English had been wavering for years, convened a conference at Arras, ostensibly to broker a peace between England and France; but his role as peacemaker masked his more sinister intentions. The invitation to the English to attend the Congress of Arras was window dressing: the serious work, to reconcile the Duke of Burgundy with the King of France had been done, and agreement reached, well before the congress opened.

Burgundy invited Arthur de Richemont, the Constable of France, with whom he had just signed a six-month truce for parts of north-eastern France, and Charles, Duke of Bourbon, formerly the Count of Clermont, to meet him at his town of Nevers. The meeting was disguised as a family reunion and reconciliation. Richemont and Bourbon were Burgundy’s brothers-in-law. Richemont had married Margaret, and Bourbon had married Agnes, Burgundy’s sisters. Burgundy arrived in Nevers on 16 January 1435 accompanied by Charles, Count of Nevers and other Burgundian magnates. They were joined by Isabelle, Duchess of Burgundy with her infant son Charles, Count of Charolais.

Duke Philip was renowned for this hospitality, and he entertained them royally with feasts, dancing and jousts. More ominously, King Charles’s representatives were present by invitation. Regnault de Chartres, Charles VII’s chancellor of France who had worked for years to reconcile the duke and the king, and two other members of King Charles’s council, Christopher Harcourt and Gilbert Motier, Marshal de la Faytette,.  

On 6 February amid feasting and merry making old enemies became fast friends. The Duke of Burgundy, the Duke of Bourbon, and Arthur de Richemont sank past differences and paved the way for a reconciliation between the Duke of Burgundy and the King of France (1). When the Nevers conference broke up in early February   everything had been settled and it was time to put on a show.

The Duke of Burgundy undertook to inform King Henry of the meeting at Nevers and to invite him to send his ambassadors to Arras. He supposedly sent his herald, Toison D’Or, to England in mid-February, but owing to illness the herald failed to arrive. The Minority Council claimed that they only received news of the conference on 8 May.  

There is an intriguing entry in Letters and Papers dated 16 May 1435. Bien Amé, a pursuivant of Jean, Bastard of St Pol, arrived in Rouen on 3 May and waited thirteen days on the orders of Louis of Luxembourg, Bedford’s Chancellor of France, for copies of safe conducts to permit French delegates ‘the adversaries’ to travel to the forthcoming congress. (2). Did the Duke of Burgundy use the request for safe conducts to notify the English Council in Rouen?  One of the demands made by the French envoys at Arras was that their safe conducts should be extended beyond 31 August (3).

Duke Philip waited until May to send a formal embassy to England, led by Hugh de Lannoy who was no stranger to diplomatic exchanges with the English. By then Burgundy knew for certain that King Charles had listened to his councillors and agreed to send representatives to Arras. The stage was set.

The Burgundian ambassadors invited King Henry to send ‘princes and nobles of his blood’ and representatives of Parliament to Arras, and to include the Duke of Orleans and the Count of Eu as interested parties, so that they too could participate.

Duke Philip still posed as England’s ally. He requested King Henry to send an army into France before the meeting, to encourage ‘the adversary’ to offer ‘reasonable terms’ or, should the conference fail, to be ready to take the field with the Burgundians.  He did not mean a word of it (4). 

The envoys, although not entirely welcome, received courtesy gifts:

Hugh de Lannoy, a gold cup worth £35. Jacques, Lord of Crèvecoeur and Quentin Menart, Provost of St Omer, each received gold cups worth £31 6s 8d. John de Bellay and the other Burgundian esquires received 50 marks. Jean le Fèvre de Saint Remy, Toisson d’Or, King of Arms of the Burgundian Order of the Golden Fleece who was to have delivered the invitation in February received £10. Lesser members of the embassy received £40 (5).    

Sir John Tyrell, treasurer of the household, was reimbursed £29 2s 10d for the expenses of the Burgundian embassy (6). 

The Minority Council could not refuse an invitation from the Duke of Burgundy; their reply was conciliatory but cautious. The councillors were suspicious, what was Burgundy up to? Although they opined that King Henry had complete faith in Burgundy’s loyalty, they thought it necessary to remind Burgundy of the Treaty of Troyes, and his oath to recognise Henry V and his heirs as King of France.

They had earlier taken the precaution of sending Master Adam Moleyns to Pope Eugenius to ask for the pope’s assurance that he had not released the Duke of Burgundy from this oath (7).  Eugenius’s reply dated 16 July, assured King Henry that no French prince or noble had requested or would receive absolution from the oaths they had sworn to King Henry V and to Henry VI.

One wonders if the pope’s statement was true even when he wrote it: the Duke of Burgundy had been in correspondence with him as early as April 1435 and it is more than likely that Burgundy would have put out feelers for the possibility of absolution. After Arras, in November 1435, the Minority Council circulated the pope’s letter as an example of his bad faith (8, 9).

The Council replied to Burgundy that of course King Henry wished for peace but protested that they could not guarantee to assemble an embassy with full powers to treat at such short notice, envoys could not reach Arras much before the middle of July. The Duke of Orleans and the Count of Eu might be sent to Calais, although not to Arras, but not until ‘the adversary’ had demonstrated a willingness to negotiate. The Council also declared that King Henry was prepared to send an army, but that Burgundy should consult with Louis of Luxembourg, to coordinate its deployment with a Burgundian army to the best advantage of both (10). 

(1) Beaucourt, Charles VII, vol. II, pp. 514-515 (Nevers).

(2)  L&P II, pp. 277-278 (pursuivant sent to Rouen).

(3) Dickinson, Arras, pp. 134-135 (French safe conducts).

(4) Dickinson, Arras, pp. 209-214 (Burgundian embassy instructions).

 (5) PPC IV, p. 301.  (Burgundian embassy, gifts).

(6) Foedera X, p 609 (Burgundian embassy, expenses).                                   

(7) Foedera X, p. 610 (Moleyns received £26 13s 4d for carrying Henry’s letter to the pope).

(8) Foedera X, pp. 620 and 625 (Eugenius’s letter on oaths).

(9) Harvey, England and Papacy, p. 162 (Eugenius’s letter).

(10) Dickinson, Arras pp.  214-216 (Council’s reply to Burgundy).



The first procuration to the English ambassadors named the Duke of Burgundy to head the embassy as England’s principal ally. It must be doubted if the Council, all of whom with the possible exception of Cardinal Beaufort, distrusted Burgundy to a greater or lesser degree, expected him to accept. Or possibly his inclusion was on the Duke of Bedford’s instructions.

Failing Burgundy, Cardinal Beaufort was named, but for show only. He intended to play a more important role. The Cardinal of England could not and would not negotiate with anyone of lesser status than his own, precedence was more important than peace. His mission was to save the Anglo-Burgundian alliance.

The leadership of the embassy finally and sensibly devolved onto John Kemp, Archbishop of York, who could be trusted to carry out his instructions to the letter. Kemp was an experienced diplomat and administrator; he had been Henry V’s Chancellor of Normandy. He was autocratic and he had no love for the French.

He was accompanied by William Alnwick, Bishop of Norwich, Thomas Rudbourne, Bishop of St. David’s, the Earl of Suffolk, Lord Hungerford, Sir John Popham, Sir Robert Shotesbroke, and William Sprever. William Lyndwood, Keeper of the Privy Seal and Sir John Radcliffe went ahead as the advance party; they arrived at Arras on 1 July, before anyone else.

Eleven Englishmen, including Kemp, ten Lancastrian French, and five Burgundians in English service in France were named as ambassadors. Four English and four Lancastrian French together with Kemp would make up a quorum. They are listed according to rank in the procuration, not separated into nationality (1). 

The Council’s reply to Burgundy makes no mention of the Duke of Bedford who was in Rouen; he had left Paris for the last time on 10 February. Was he consulted?  Did he contribute the names of the Lancastrian French delegates? He would certainly have approved of the council’s instructions; he may even have dictated part of them.

Not all of those named attended. Louis of Luxembourg as Chancellor of France was committed to the defence of Paris, the Armagnacs had just succeeded in capturing the suburb of Saint Denis.  L’Isle Adam was also named, but by August he with Lord Willoughby when the English laid siege to and recovered Saint Denis. (See The War in France above).  Louis, Count of St Pol and John of Luxembourg, Count of Ligny, the chancellor’s nephew and brother had served the English in France. John of Luxembourg was to receive £166 13s 4d as a ‘reward’ from the king; he had certainly earned it by his war services, but the gift was probably because he was expected to attend Arras as one of Henry VI’s delegates (2). But the Luxembourgs were clients of the Duke of Burgundy not the King of England, and they joined Burgundy at Arras.

Permission for the ambassadors to take gold and silver plate and jewels out of England was issued on 20 June, the same day as the procuration. John Kemp, Archbishop of York, was allowed 3,000 marks; William Alnwick Bishop of Norwich, 2,000 marks; Thomas Rudbourne, Bishop of St David’s, £1,000, the Earl of Suffolk, 3,000 marks; the Earl of Mortain (an error for the Earl of Huntingdon) 2,000 marks, Lord Hungerford 2,000 marks, Sir Robert Shotesbroke £200, William Lyndwood, Keeper of the Privy Seal 500 marks, Sir John Radcliffe, Seneschal of Gascony, the same (3, 4).

On 23 June William Lyndwood, and Sir John Radcliff, Seneschal of Gascony received £100 each for expenses as the advance party (5).

John Holand, Earl of Huntingdon, was to accompany Cardinal Beaufort. As the son of Elizabeth of Lancaster, he was the closest the Council could come to sending ‘a prince or noble of the blood.’  He was permitted to take £6,000 in valuables with him.  He would receive a wage of 5 marks a day for three months and a writ of protection against any official proceeding while he was abroad. Suffolk and Lord Hungerford were to receive wages according to their rank (6, 7). 

Letters of protection were issued to those accompanying the ambassadors: Henry Bowet, archdeacon of Richmond, going with Archbishop Kemp; Richard Chappe of Norfolk, John and Thomas Bere, George Denefell, and Ralph Arundel, of Cornwall, going with Cardinal Beaufort. William Chantour going with Huntingdon, and Geoffrey ap Rys going with Bishop Rudbourne (8).

On 20 June, with the Duke of Gloucester and Cardinal Beaufort present, the Council sent a letter in King Henry’s name to Pope Eugenius to inform him that, in accordance with his repeated injunctions for England to make peace with France, King Henry would send his ambassadors to Arras (9).

(1) Foedera X, pp. 611-613 (embassy named).

(2) Foedera X, p. 610 (Luxembourg).

(3 PPC IV, p. 302 (permission to take gold and silver out of the country).

(4) Foedera X, pp. 613-615 (permission to take gold and silver out of the country).

(5) Foedera X, p. 614 (Lyndwood and Radcliff wages).

(6) PPC IV, pp. 305 -306 (writ of protection, Huntingdon).

(7) Foedera X, p. 619 (Huntington to take £6,000).

(8) Foedera X, pp. 614 615 618 (protection letters for entourage).

(9) Foedera X, p. 610 (letter to pope).

The Congress of Arras (1, 2)

The major players in this predetermined charade trickled into Arras throughout July. The town was thronged with thousands of visitors. French and Burgundian nobles accompanied by their heralds, representatives from French and Burgundian towns and territories, as well as envoys from the courts of Europe gathered to listen to gossip and report on what they saw and heard (3). 

The Congress was presided over by none other than Cardinal Nicolas Albergati as Pope Eugenius’s representative. The Duke of Burgundy had obtained his nomination from the pope by the end of April. At last, after years of humiliating failure, Albergati was all set to initiate what he had advocated since 1431: forget the English and forge a Franco/Burgundian alliance. 

Not to be out done, the Church Fathers at Basel sent an embassy led by Hugh de Lusignan, Cardinal of Cyprus to join Albergati. After some initial wrangling over precedence Hugh agreed to play second fiddle to Albergati in the interests of peace.

King Charles issued two procurations to twelve ambassadors on 6 July. The Duke of Bourbon and Arthur and Richemont were honourary members, a sure indication to those in the know that King Charles had accepted the settlement agreed to at Nevers in February. Regnault de Chartres Archbishop of Rheims and Chancellor of France was the lead negotiator.  He had crowned Charles VII at Rheims and had cooperated with Albergati’s earlier attempts to reach a peace settlement between France and Burgundy.   

King Charles’s first procuration merely authorised negotiations with the English for a general peace with no specific instructions. The second procuration gave his envoys full powers to treat with the Duke of Burgundy for a separate peace, and to offer him substantial inducements to change sides.

Duke Philip, who had orchestrated the event to his entire satisfaction, did not arrive in Arras until 29 July, after the English delegation, because, he said, he did not wish to be there ahead of the French. They, as was their habit, were the last to arrive, on 30 July. King Charles was in no hurry; the English could be made to wait.  

Burgundy refused to lead the English delegation. He said that as convener of the convention he could not take sides. He had not attended any of Cardinal Albergati’s previous peace initiatives. Burgundy’s chancellor, the Francophile Nicholas Rolin, pointedly informed the English that there were three parties, not two, to these discussions: King Henry, the king’s ‘adversary’ and the duke. But characteristically Burgundy still expected to be shown the English ambassadors’ instructions.   

Initially, the ambassadors had been instructed to present their letters of credence to the Duke of Burgundy and be advised by him. They could also consult with ambassadors from the Duke of Brittany or the Emperor Sigismund if they were at Arras, but only in so far as this would further English interests. They were to negotiate for peace on acceptable terms or for a truce with an offer of a marriage alliance. The release of the Duke of Orleans was not included in the first procuration.  

The negotiations took place in the Abbey of St Vaast with Cardinals Albergati and Lusignan acting as mediators, not as judges: they could facilitate, but were not supposed to pronounce on the validity or otherwise of the conflicting French and English offers.

The Conference opened officially on 5 August. The English and French delegates never met face to face. Three separate rooms in the abbey were allocated, one to the French, one to the English, and a third to the Burgundians. The procedure may have had a precedent in earlier ecclesiastical conferences, but it was decidedly peculiar, and open to misinterpretation. This method was employed throughout the meetings in August; both sides presented proposals, amended proposals, or repeated proposals.  Each sides rejected and made fun of the others’ offers, dismissing them as derisory, ridiculous, farcical, or not peace proposals at all.  

The English put their proposals and then left the room. The French then put their proposals and left the room, and the cardinals reported verbally what each had offered. As was to be expected much of the detail of what was said and then repeated has been lost, but it seems probable that William Sprever and Jean Rinal, the two secretaries with the English embassy kept notes of what they heard.

The English had come to defend King Henry VI’s title as King of France. This was not negotiable.  They never wavered from this point, they merely refused to discuss it, unlike the French, who continued to insist that King Henry must renounce his claim to the crown of France. This was the crux of the matter: was King Henry or King Charles the rightful king of France? There was never any hope of reaching an agreement.

The English position was that peace could not be made until the French accepted Henry as King of France, and in any case, the Council could not take the responsibility of making peace while King Henry was a still a minor. They could explore the possibility of a long-term truce, and with this end in view a few territorial concessions might be made, and the marriage of Henry VI to a daughter of King Charles. Authorization to negotiate the marriage was issued to the original ambassadors, including Cardinal Beaufort the Duke of Burgundy (4).

Archbishop Kemp demanded that ‘the adversary’ should release and return all the lands he now held unjustly in France. This was a statement, not an offer, and was not a matter for debate.  Cardinal Albergati quite rightly rejected Kemp’s opening as not conducive to furthering the peace process. 

How many English representatives attended the sessions at any one time is not known.  Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Lisieux, acted as spokesman when Archbishop Kemp fell ill. The Earl Suffolk is recorded as speaking on two occasions, Lord Hungerford once, stoutly supporting Archbishop Kemp, and the Earl of Huntingdon at least once after his late arrival from Calais at the end of August in the company of Cardinal Beaufort.   

Suffolk was the only Englishman invited to attend the jousts held on11/12 August to entertain the French. He was also graciously granted an interview by Duchess Isabelle.  What the English did not know, and Suffolk had no reason to suspect, was that Isabelle, and most of her husband’s councillors, were in the pay of the King of France. In December, after the successful outcome of the congress, Charles VII made over to her, with Duke Philip’s consent, the annual payment of £4,000 which the counts of Hainault received from the French crown. Charles VII stated that this was a reward for her contribution to the Franco-Burgundian reunion at Arras (5). 


For a week, from 12 to 19 August, seven offers and counteroffers were submitted only to be rejected. The daily meetings were then prorogued while the Duke of Burgundy entertained his French guests and awaited the arrival of Cardinal Beaufort who was believed to be coming from Calais with special powers, although no one knew quite what they were.

Beaufort arrived on 25 August, with a retinue of 800 men in scarlet livery with the word ‘honour’ embroidered on their sleeves. Perhaps a subtle reminder to the Duke of Burgundy of where his honour lay? Beaufort had been licenced to take 10,000 marks with him to Arras, more than that permitted to other member of the embassy, and he had been granted special powers to issue safe conducts for anyone going to Arras (6).  

He had stayed in Calais with the Earl of Huntingdon, possibly to safeguard the Duke of Orleans whom, as a gesture of good will, the Council had permitted cross to Calais but not to go on to Arras, or more probably to await the outcome of the talks conducted by Archbishop Kemp.  If things went badly, he could make a personal appeal to the Duke of Burgundy, if thing went well, he would share in the triumph.

Beaufort was welcomed into Arras by the English embassy, by Hugh de Lusignan, Cardinal of Cyprus but only by representatives of Cardinal Albergati who claimed to be ill. The Duke of Burgundy rode out to meet Beaufort accompanied by the Bishop of Liege, the Duke of Guelders, and the Luxembourgs, Louis Count of St Pol, and John Count of Ligny. The latter hoped that the rift with the English could still be patched up.  He was loyal to his duke, but to him France remained the enemy and he would refuse to sign the Treaty of Arras.  

Negotiations were resumed on 27 August after Archbishop Kemp had conferred with Cardinal Beaufort. The French stated their position once again and once again the English rejected it.  Beaufort was present, but he did not speak.

Final Offer

On 31 August the English and French ambassadors met face to face for the first and last time in the presence of the Duke of Burgundy and Cardinal Beaufort to exchange their final offers. A second set of instructions, issued under the Great Seal on 31 July, formed the basis of what the English should offer and how far they could go (7). But their final offer did not vary greatly from what had already been rejected.

King Henry would cede all the lands south of the Loire, to an annual value of 120,000 saluts, including Toulouse, Languedoc, Vivarais, Berry, Touraine (which were in French hands) excepting Gascony. They would cede all the lands held by the French north of the Loire except for the Duchy of Normandy, Paris, and the Isle de France. In other words, the Kingdom of France was to be split into two parts, with King Henry remaining King of France. 

The English offered a long-term truce, for twenty, thirty, or even forty years to be sealed by a marriage between King Henry and a daughter of Charles VII, the princess to be accepted without a dower as the French had stipulated. The offer of marriage appears to have entered the negotiations a late stage. The English argument that a long term truce would allow time for a final peace to be negotiated when King Henry came of age was spurious. Henry was fourteen and would come of age well within twenty years. The Minority Council hoped to buy as much time as possible before they would have to resume the war, since renouncing King Henry’s claim to the crown of France was unthinkable. Not even Cardinal Beaufort was prepared to go that far in 1435.

The Duke of Orleans, languishing at Calais after Cardinal Beaufort left for Arras was included in the final offer in general terms, based on earlier proposals: he would be released on the payment of a ransom, the sum as yet to be determined. The Count of Eu, if he was brought to Calais with Orleans, is not mentioned (8).

Cardinal Albergati expressed his opinion, (and therefore his judgement) that King Henry should be satisfied with one crown, the crown of England, and that most people thought that King Charles had the better right to the crown of France. Albergati stated that since there was no hope of a general peace, he and the Cardinal of Cyprus would use their powers as representatives of the Pope and the Council at Basel to pursue a ‘particular peace,’ i.e., between France and Burgundy.

Kemp angrily protested that they had no such powers, since the Duke of Burgundy was committed to the English by his oath under the Treaty of Troyes to recognise Henry VI as king of France (which Burgundy had never in fact done). And what about his earlier oath? In 1419 he had vowed never to forgive the Dauphin Charles, his father’s murderer. Albergati’s pronouncement undoubtedly hastened Archbishop Kemp’s decision that it was time to leave Arras. 

The French offer was directed towards a final peace. Whether Charles VII would have kept its terms had it been accepted is open to question, but since Charles knew there was no possibility of this, the offers served his purpose:

King Henry must renounce his claim to the crown of France. He must return all the lands, towns, cities, fortresses etc. in France currently occupied by the English with the exception of those specified. All ecclesiastical benefices formerly held by French clerics must be returned to them, except any which both sides agreed to exempt.

King Henry would retain the duchies of Gascony and Normandy and parts of Picardy, i.e. the Pale of Calais, but he must do homage and fealty for them as a vassal of the King of France.

A marriage with a French princess might be negotiable, but she must be accepted without dower. The Duke of Orleans was to be released for a reasonable ransom.

If these conditions were met, the terms could be modified: King Henry need not do homage in person, he could designate his eldest son (when he had one!) who would become Duke of Normandy, or failing that, some other English noble or close kin.

On this basis a peace for seven years would be signed, with the requirement for homage postponed for seven years. A conference in a convenient Burgundian town, perhaps Arras, would open before Easter 1436 to finalize a treaty, but if the terms were not accepted by 1 January 1436, then the offer would be withdrawn and declared null and void.

Burgundy and Beaufort 

Duke Philip entertained the English ambassadors at a banquet for the first and only time on 1 September, after Archbishop Kemp announced his intention to withdraw. The Duke of Guelders, the Bishop of Liege, Cardinal Beaufort, Archbishop Kemp, the Earl of Huntingdon and the Earl of Suffolk, sat at first table. 

This was Cardinal Beaufort’s last chance to accomplish what he had come for, to persuade the Duke of Burgundy, who had thus far proved elusive, to reaffirm the Anglo Burgundian alliance. After dinner Beaufort and Burgundy met alone ‘in secret’ and Archbishop Kemp was invited to join them. What was said is not recorded. Did Beaufort use all his eloquence to convince Burgundy to stay faithful to the English alliance? Did Burgundy admit that he cared nothing for their friendship and would make peace with King Charles because the English had refused the French offers?  An observer noted that the Cardinal’s forehead was bathed in sweat. Was he angry, or was he humiliated? He had failed.

On 5 September the English ambassadors, but not Cardinal Beaufort, signed a collective statement justifying their negotiations at Arras. (Was it written out for them by Bedford’s trusted French secretary Jean Rinel?) It was sent to Rouen to be copied and disseminated throughout Normandy so that ‘the people may see and clearly understand how our lord the king has done his duty out of reverence to God and the relief of the poor people in treating for the said peace.’ In October Guillaume Bourse, a clerk in Rouen was paid four livres tournois for making fair copies of it with other letters and instructions issued by the Council in Rouen (9).

The charade was played out. Cardinal Beaufort and the English embassy left Arras on 6 September.


On his way home, the Earl of Huntingdon was halted as he rode through the town of Poperinge in Flanders. The townsmen demanded that his retinue should clean up the mess made by their horses’ dung before they would permit him to proceed.  Huntingdon was forced to comply, and he complained to the Council of his treatment when he reached London. This anecdote, with variations and misconceptions, was probably included by the compiler of The Brut to illustrate the antagonism between the Flemings and the English that dated back over many years.

“wherefore they [the English] departit thens [Arras], and come home ageyn into Englonde.  But thay of the toun of Popperyng in Flaundres demenet hem vngentilly and entreid hym vnmanerly as he came rydyng thrughe the toun from the saide tretyy of Arras; wherefore he was sore amovid and gravid with hym for they made his men to bere out of toune þeyr horses dong, mawegre their tetter; neuerþeles he suffirit it and rode on his way; but he quit hem that foule and gret despite as ye shal here afterwardes.”                           Brut Continuation H, pp. 571-572

“And thedyr [Arras] was sent in bassetre þe Duke of Exetyr with oþer lords; & and as he cam homewards ayen, his hors doungyd in þe toune of Poperyng; and þe Flemyggis rysn vp & woolde nat suffyr hym to passe tyl his men were fayne to bere awey his hors dounge & make clene þe stretys.  And whan þe Duke was come ayen in-to Englond, he enformyd þe Kyng & his lordys þerof; and they were sore amevyed therwith.”                          Brut Continuation K, p. 599

Brut H does not name the noble involved. The context, possibly with an explanatory sentence missing, implies Cardinal Beaufort, but he had an escort of 800 men; they could have forced their way through. Huntingdon would have had only a small number with him. Brut K names him as the Duke of Exeter. Huntingdon became Duke of Exeter in 1444, an indication that this section of The Brut was compiled much later than the events it recounts.


Burgundy and Charles VII

On 10 September, the anniversary of the assassination of Duke John the Fearless, Duke Philip attended a requiem mass for his father in the abbey and indulged in intensive consultations with his councillors, his magnates, and representatives from Burgundian towns to prepare for and justify his reconciliation with the man he held responsible for his father’s murder.

The real business of the congress began on 11 September. King Charles VII would not make peace with the English, but he was more than willing to make peace with the Duke of Burgundy. In modern parlance, he made Burgundy an offer he could not refuse:  Burgundy would retain all the territories he now held which had been claimed by the French, but he would not be required to do homage to Charles for them. The strategically valuable Somme Towns along the French border would be handed over, with the provision that Charles could buy them back for an enormous sum at any time in the future. Less substantial, but more important to achieve his ends, King Charles offered a full apology for the murder Duke John the Fearless in 1419, and a promise that he would found religious houses in expiation of his guilt. 

The sticking point for the ‘particular peace’ lay with Duke Philip. To reconcile with the King of France he would have to renounce the Treaty of Troyes, which, as the English kept reminding him, meant breaking his scared oath.

The cardinals were no longer mediators, they had become facilitators. They did not need to conduct separate negotiations, the French and Burgundians met happily together.  In Duke Philip’s presence his chancellor Nicholas Rolin paved the way with a lengthy speech setting out all the opinions, compiled over months of consulting lawyers and churchmen, recalling all the arguments justifying Burgundy’s repudiation of the Anglo Burgundian alliance: it was the noble thing do in a righteous cause for the good of his people and for the sake of peace.

Duke Philip was still not satisfied; all this did not absolve him from his oath. John, Duke of Bedford, Regent of France died in Rouen on 14 September and the news of his death came to Arras as a gift from God. It enabled Cardinal Albergati to pronounce that Philip’s oaths were no longer valid. The death of Henry V and now that of Bedford released him. Although not spelled out, it was tacitly accepted that as Philip had never done fealty or homage to Henry VI he was not forsworn.

To make assurance doubly sure, Cardinal Albergati invoked his powers as papal legate. He declared that Philip’s oaths were invalid because they obstructed a higher authority, Pope Eugenius’s command to him to make peace. Albergati placed his hand on Philip’s head and absolved him from his oath; he ordered Burgundy, for the reverence of God and his own soul, to reconcile with King Charles.  The Cardinal of Cyrus followed suit, absolving Philip in the name of the Council of Basel. 

On 21 September 1435 in the Abbey of St Vaast before a  crowd to witness that Philip ‘the Good’ was bringing peace to a war worn land, Philip signed the Treaty of Arras with Charles VII. Did Burgundy wait for news of Bedford’s death before signing, or was the timing purely fortuitous?  Burgundy’s defection changed the direction if not the outcome of the war, but it would still take King Charles another fifteen years before he finally succeeded in throwing the English out of Normandy.

(1) Dickinson, The Congress of Arras, passim.  

(2) Beaucourt, Charles VII, vol. II ‘Le diplomatie de Charles VII jusqu’au traité d’Arras, passim. 

(3) Vaughan, Philip, p. 98 (Vaughan estimated that there were at least 5,000 ‘strangers’ in Arras in August).

(4) Foedera X, pp. 643-644 (marriage negotiations, misdated to 1436).

(5) Vaughan, Philip, pp. 100-101 (Burgundy’s councillors bribed).

(6) Foedera X. pp. 610 and 1616 (Beaufort money and safe conducts).

(7) L&P II, pp. 431-433 (English Instructions, July 31).

(8) L&P I, pp. 57-64 (English final offer).

(9) L& P II Preface Appendix, pp. xlv-xlvii (copies of English negotiations made in Rouen).


The Congress of Arras received hostile, but for the most part correct, coverage in the English Chronicles. Only Brut G laments the loss of the Duke of Burgundy as detrimental to the English cause.

“This yere was þe counsel of Aras, & A gret treaty biitwen pe King of Englond & þe King of Fraunce, wher was Assembled many gret lordes of bothe parties; At which counsel was offred to þe Kyng of Englond, many gret thinges by þe meane of A legate þat come fro Rome, which was Cardinal of Seynt Crosse, which offres wer refused by þe Cardinal of Englond, & other lordes þat wer for þe Kinge. Wherfore þe Duke of Burgoyn, which had bene long English sworne, forsoke oure partie, & retourned Frensh, by meane of þe said legate & made A pees with þe Frensh kyng, receyving of þe King, for recompense of his fader deth, the counte Pontien, þe lordship of Macon with mych other þat was specified in þe said treaty. And so our Embassatoures come home Ayen in wers case þan þei went forth, ffor þei lost þer þe Duke of Burgoyn which had bene, with his Burgoynons & Pycardes, A singular help in al þe Conquest of Normandy & of Fraunce.”                                                 

                                                                 Brut Continuation G, p. 503

“And that same yere whas the grete counsell at Aras of all cristen naciones ffor to trete for the peas, Betwene these two Reames of Englond and of ffraunce; ther beyng thre cardinalls, the cardinall of Englond and off ffraunce herry Beauford, vncle to the kyng, the cardinall of Seint Crosse, and the cardinall of Siprys, and many other lordis both spirituell and temporell of the ffrenche party, and the duke of Borgoyn; and ther he ffalsyd his ffeith ayenst the kyng of Englond and of ffraunce. 

And of the party of Englond of the sayd cardinall, the erll of hontyngdon, the erll of Southfolk, with many lordys both spirituell and temporell; and thei brought with hem the duke of Orlianx oute of Englond, and whas at Caleys ffor to trete as for his party. 

And ther vpon the ffremche party had cast a trayn with grete treson ffor to have betrayed the cardinall with the sayd lordis; and therfore the sayd Englissh party wold no ffurther procede but cam home ayen in to Englond, and the duke of Orliaunce with them. And so the duke of Borgoyn a none aftyr made werre ayenst the kyng of Englond and off fraunce &c.”   

                                                           Chronicles of London (Cleopatra C IV) pp. 138-139

“This yere was the grete counseill at Aras of all Crysten nacions forto trete of the pees betwene the two Reaumes of Englond and of Fraunce there beyng three Cardynals that is to sey herry Beauford uncle to the kyng oure souverain lord and Cardynal of Englond.  The Cardynall of seynt Crosse. And the Cardynall of Cypres.

“Ande that yere was the Counselle of Aras of alle Crystyn nacyons for to trete of pes by twyne thes ij realmys, Ingelonde and Fraunce, there beynge iij cardynallys; the Cardynalle of Wynchester for the realme of Inglonde, and hys name was Syr Harry Bewforde, the Kyng of Engelonde ys onkylle; the Cardynalle of Syn Crosse, and the Cardynalle of Ciprys.  And there was the Duke of Burgayne and many moo othyr lordys of that party.  And of Ingelonde the Erle of Huntyngdone, whythe many othyr spyrytualle and temporalle of oure partye. But was not to noo profyte, for the Fraynsche parte was not alle trewe in hyr comyng.                                          Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 177 

“This same yere in hervest tyme, at the citee of Aras, there was a gret counseill and a strong, to trete for the pees betwen Engelond and Fraunce of manye a gret lord both sp’uelx and temporelex but as it is seyn oft tyme that undir tretys is treson, so was it there; for the duke of Burgogyne that was sworn upon Godes by sacred to be good and trewe to the kyng of Engelond and hise successores, there, of a cardinall that was callyd cardinall of Crouche, unwetynge the holy fader the pope, was asoyled of that othe to holde with oure adversarye the dolphyn that hadde mordred his owne fadyr before tyme.”                                                                                   Chronicle of London (Harley 565) pp. 120-121

“And in this same yere, Sir Herrye Beauford, Cardynall, Bisshop of Wynchestre, and Maister John Kemp, Archebisshop of York, and the Erle of Huntyngton, with oþer lordes, knyghtes, and Squyers, and Clergye, went ouer the see into Fraunce to þe Citie of Reynes  (sic) to trete for a fynall peas betwene England and Fraunce.  Bot it was sone disquat, for þe grete highnesse, pride and couetyse of þe Frenssh party. For oure Englissh peple abode there from Midsomer till it was nygh Michelmasse. And so they departed from hem, and come ageyne into England in saufte, thanked be God!”

                                                                                            Brut Continuation F, p. 467

In þat that same yere was þe trety of Arras betwene the Kyng of Englond, Henry the vjte And Philipe Duyke of Burgoyn; and Charles de Valoice, Dolfyn of Fraunce; that tyme being there in enbasshat for þe Kyng of Englond Henry, Cardynall of Englond, Bisshope of Wynchester, John Kempe Erchbisshope of York, John Erle of Huntyngtdon; Pole Erle of Suffolk, Prevey Seale, Sir Waulter Hongerford, Sir John Poppham, with a faire feleshipe with hem to þe nomber of viijc men. att which trety þai wold the Kyng of Englond should have putte out þe floure de lice out of his Armes; and many oþer thynges was spoken of; but to say shortly, pei couth not accord; wherfore they departit thens, and come home ageyn into Englonde.  Then, as sone as thenbassetoures were departet from Arras and home, the Dolfyn and the Duyke of Burgoyn were accordet and made att one for deth of the Duyk of Burgoyns fader, þat was slayn att Muttereux by þe same Dolyfyn; ans þerwith endit all that trety.”         

                                                                                   Brut Continuation H,  p. 572                                                 

Still claiming to be a mediator for peace between England and France and not a turncoat, the Duke of Burgundy sent Jean le Fèvre, Toison D’Or, Herald of the Order of the Golden Fleece, with letters to break the news of the Treaty of Arras to the Minority Council and to exhort them to do likewise and make peace with France. He included a copy of the French offer with the added modifications to make the conditions more acceptable (1).

King Henry had not been in London during the summer when the Council decided to send delegates to Arras, although his governor the Earl of Warwick, and his steward of the household the Earl of Suffolk, who was to go to Arras, attended council meetings.

“And in 1435, during the summer, the king hunted in the forest of Rockingham. He remained at the castle at Higham Ferrers until Michaelmas.” Benet’s Chronicle, p. 184

According to Burgundian chronicle accounts, Henry was back in London in September and present when Burgundy’s letters were read in Council. The Council claimed to be amazed and affronted that Burgundy had omitted to use King Henry’s title as King of France. The Duke of Gloucester and Cardinal Beaufort walked out of the council chamber in disgust. The young king was visibly upset by the anger swirling about him (2, 3).

Henry never forgave Burgundy, whom he never met, for humiliating him. Twenty years later the peace-loving king would say that if he had to fight anyone then let it be the Duke of Burgundy who had abandoned him in his youth.

It is unwise to take the Burgundian chroniclers’ account too literally.  Their sense of the dramatic led them to overstate the English reaction. Gloucester and Beaufort were not angry with each other, but with Burgundy.  Did the young king really burst into tears?  These details are not included in Toison d’Or’s report; he records only that the offers were rejected by Chancellor Stafford to him in person: “Toison d’Or, the King of England and France, my sovereign lord, has seen the letters and offers you have brought; they are greatly displeasing to him, and not without cause. He has asked the advice of those of his blood and lineage, and you can now return whence you came, vous en povez bien retourner dela mer. I received no other reply”    

(1) Saint Rémy, Chronique II, pp. 361- 364.  (Toison d’Or).

(2) Wavrin IV, pp. 98-101

(3) Monstrelet II, pp. 20-21

Toison D’Or, probably wearing the full panoply of his heraldic dress, caused the complier of the Brut Continuation G to assume that the Duke of Burgundy had copied the Order of the Garter and founded the Golden Fleece in 1435.  Philip had in fact founded the order in January 1430 to celebrate his marriage to Isabelle of Portugal.

“This yere þe Duke of Burgoyn began his Ordre at Lyle of ‘þe golden Flyes’ & ordeyned certeyn knightes of þe ordre & made statutes & ordinances moche Accordinge vnto þe ordre of þe Garter.”

                                                                             Brut Continuation G, p 504

Death of the Duke of Bedford

John Duke of Bedford, Regent of France left Paris for Rouen on 10 February 1435.

His last months in Rouen were bitter. He believed that for twelve years he had ruled the Duchy of Normandy in the best interests of its people, and that they were loyal to him. The rising in Normandy and the threat to Caen saddened him. In June came the news that his protégée, the Earl of Arundel had been killed.

What Bedford made of the Congress at Arras we do not know. He may have been too ill to care, but he lived long enough to learn that the English ambassadors had rejected the French offers and that the dual monarchy which he had fought for all his life had not been surrendered.

Sir John Fastolf, Bedford’s master of the household, wrote a memorandum justifying in no uncertain terms the English rejection of the offers made to them at Arras. It may have been composed with Bedford’s concurrence, possibly on his instructions at about the same time as he made his will, although Fastolf’s style, verbose and repetitive, is all his own.

Fastolf’s opinion went far beyond what Archbishop Kemp had proposed at Arras: the dual monarchy was based on the Treaty of Troyes, signed by the King of England (Henry V), the King of France (Charles VI) and sworn to by the Duke of Burgundy and many others. Henry VI was king of France by divine right, a gift of God, consecrated by his coronation; his status could not be debated, let alone altered, by mortal man. The war in defence of Henry’s title should be resumed immediately and prosecuted with vigour.

Although it is addressed to the Grand Conseil, it ends with an exhortation that the war should be conducted by Englishmen and not on the advice of the French council ‘as hit hathe be done herebefore’ (1). Bedford was dying and the cracks were already beginning to appear.

Bedford drew up his will on 10 September. He named Cardinal Beaufort, John Kemp, and his chancellor, Louis of Luxembourg as his chief executors along with Lord Cromwell, Sir John Fastolf, Andrew Ogard and Robert Whittingham. There was no mention of his brother, either as an executor or as a beneficiary.

Bedford died without a legitimate heir. He bequeathed most of his considerable personal property to his wife Jacquetta. He had two illegitimate children, Richard, who is mentioned in his will, and Mary whom he somewhat surprisingly married into a Gascon family, the Monferrands (2, 3).

He died in Rouen on 14 September 1435 at the age of forty-six before he learnt that the Duke of Burgundy, that master of duplicity, had abrogated the Anglo Burgundian alliance and signed a pact with ‘the adversary of France.’

“And pt same yere the xiiij day of September died the good duke of Bedford, regent of ffraunce, in the castell of Roon betwene ij and iii in the mornyng. And his body is worthilli entered in Notre Dame’s chirch in Rooen at the north side of the hihauter, vpon whos soule god have mercy.           Chronicles of London (Cleopatra C IV) p. 139

“And in this same yere, anon after these lordes comyng out of Fraunce from this trety of peas, Iohn Duk of Bedford, was seke, and deyed in the Roan in Normandy; and there he is buryed; vpon whos soule, God haue mercy! amen!      

                                                Brut Continuation F, p. 468

And this yere the xiiijth of Septembre passed to god the Excellent Duke of Bedford and Regent of Fraunce in the Castell of Roon betwene two and iij in the mornyng Whos cors Ryally as it bylongeth is entered in the Chirche of nostre dame in Roon on who soule god have mercy1 Amen.      Great Chronicle, p.  171

Bedford was heir to the English throne, but he was a stranger in London, he visited it only twice after became Regent of France. Paris had accepted him but not English rule. The Duke of Burgundy was the Parisians’ hero, despite doing nothing for them.  Rouen was his home and Bedford was content to be buried in Rouen cathedral. His tomb was near the high altar, appropriately close to the urn containing the heart of King Richard I, the Lionheart.

After Bedford’s death there was no one of his stature and abilities to replace him. There would never be another English Regent of France.

A funeral service for Bedford was held in Westminster Abbeym probably in November although I can find no exact date. In December 1435 John Davy, a wax chandler of London was paid for providing a hearse ‘for the exequies and funeral of the Duke of Bedford.’

Queen Isabelle, the widow of King Charles VI of France and Henry VI’s grandmother died in Paris on 24 September, ten days after Bedford. She was buried beside her husband in the abbey of Saint Denis, recently recovered from the French by Lord Willoughby.  It appears that Bedford’s hearse was recycled for Isabelle’s requiem. Davy was paid £5 ‘for the expense of reusing the same hearse for Anne (sic) late Queen of the King of France.’

Thomas Daunte, a painter of London supplied 300 shields with the Duke of Bedford’s arms and six banners ‘of the said arms’ to be placed on his hearse.  Daunte also supplied 50 shields ‘with the arms of France and “Berye.”’ These were presumably for Queen Isabelle, but Berye is puzzling. John, Duke of Berry (Berri) died in 1416 and neither Bedford nor Queen Isabelle had a claim to his arms. Berye is a fruit, more specifically a grape, and it is possible that the German princess had some such device as one of her emblems.  

(1) L& P II, pp. 575-585 (Fastolf’s memorandum).

(2) Harriss, Beaufort, p. 251 (Bedford’s will).

(3) Williams, Bedford, p. 247 (Bedford’s will).

(4) Issues of the Exchequer pp. 427-428 (Bedford and Isabelle’s funeral services in England).


John Duke of Bedford Regent of France, a summary

John of Lancaster, the third son of King Henry IV was born in 1389. He began his public service in 1403 at the age of fourteen when his father appointed him as Warden of the East March under the tutorship of Ralph, Earl of Westmorland.

Henry V bestowed the titles Duke of Bedford, Earl of Kendal and Earl of Richmond on him, and John served as his brother’s most gifted and most loyal lieutenant, in England and in France, for the rest of his life.

He became Regent of France in 1423, skilfully administering the Duchy of Normandy and the pay de conquête, the lands Henry V had conquered, known to later historians as Lancastrian France. He directed English military campaigns successfully for the most part, despite the setback of the death of the Earl of Salisbury and the coming of Joan of Arc, although he never repeated his resounding victory of the Battle of Verneuil.

He held sway over two councils, the Grand Conseil in Paris and the Council in Rouen, except for the short period from 1430 to the end of 1431 when King Henry was in France and Cardinal Beaufort forced him to give up the title of Regent. The Minority Council, governing England with his acquiescence, sent for him to ‘come home’ in times of crisis. He alone could command obedience from all of its members, including his brother of Gloucester and Cardinal Beaufort.  

Bedford was a large man, physically, and he had the Plantagenet temper, but he controlled it in his dealings with Beaufort, Philip of Burgundy, and even with his own brother. Perhaps because he had a strong sense of his own worth as heir to the throne, and of his own abilities, he subdued his dislike, and later his distrust, of both Burgundy and Gloucester.  He worked with Cardinal Beaufort because he needed the Cardinal’s loans although he probably deprecated Beaufort’s pride, and at no time did he allow Beaufort equal status with him.

Bedford was a stern man who could punish severely anyone he judged to have acted unlawfully, but as Regent he was respected if he was not loved. Thomas Basin, who was not given to praising the English, described him as “brave, humane, and just, who greatly loved the French lords who adhered to him and strove to raise them to honour according to their merits. Wherefore, so long as he lived, he was greatly admired and cherished by the Normans and French of his party” (1).

Carlton Williams’s biography My Lord of Bedford, published in 1963 is excellent on French sources but is now out of date. She saw Bedford through rose tinted glasses; in her estimation he could do no wrong. Bedford was a great man, but not a perfect one, he deserves a modern biography.

(1) Basin, Charles VII, ed. Samaran, i, p. 88 (estimate of Bedford).

The War in France after Arras

St Denis

The small English garrison stationed in the suburb of Saint Denis just outside Paris had been overrun and slaughtered by a French force in May 1435. The Minority Council, presumably led by Gloucester, had promised the Duke of Burgundy in King Henry’s name that an army would be sent to France. It mustered in mid-July under the command of Lord Willoughby and Lord Talbot (1, 2).

In August, while the Congress of Arras was in progress, Lord Willoughby marched to rescue Saint Denis. He was joined by L’Isle Adam and the Bastard of St Pol, and Thomas Lord Scales, Captain of Domfort, whom the Duke of Bedford had just made Seneschal of Normandy. It was the last engagement in which English and Burgundian troops fought side by side. They laid siege to Saint Denis with about 600 men for over a month until on 24 September, four days after the King of France and the Duke of Burgundy signed their peace accord, the defenders sued for a truce. They were permitted to leave on 4 October with what they could carry (3, 4).

“And the same tyme a none aftyr whas the tovne and the abbey of Seynt Denys in ffraunce whas lost.

“And a none aftyr the lorde of Willeby with [. . .]c speris and the bowys, com ow[gh]t of Englond in to ffraunce; and so the lord talbot, the lord Willeby and the lord scalys, the lorde lilleadam and the bastard of seynt poule with a vi m1 men leiden sege vn to seynt Denys (to the number of  – words marked for erasure) in ffraunce; and the sege continewed well iij monythes ffor ther whas a grete multitude of peple in the tovne of seynt Denys to the nombre of iij m1 men of werre. 

“and duryng the sege the place of Pount Melant whas lost be treson; and elles the tovne of seynt Denys be yolden euery moderson vn to the lordys above sayd presoneres and for to have yold vp therwith mylen-sure-sayn (Meulan) and mo other placys had not the sory doghole of Pount melank have ben; ffor that place did moch harm vnto Normandy.”     Chronicles of London (Cleopatra C IV, p.138)

(1) Pollard, Talbot, pp. 20-21 (army mustered. Saint Denis).  

(2) CPR 1429-1436, p. 476 (army musters).

(3) Bourgeois, pp. 295-297 (the Bourgeois claims that the English devasted the country for miles around Paris).

(4) Monstrelet II, pp. 18-19 (Saint Denis).


Pont Meulan

The recovery of Saint Denis did little to help the suffering citizens of Paris and their situation became worse when, on the same day as Saint Denis offered to surrender, possibly as part of a co-ordinated plan, Pont Meulan, a bridgehead over the Seine was taken by the French who gained entry to the town through the sewers that emptied into the river. This appears to be what the obscure passage in Cleopatra C IV implies: that had the French not diverted to take Meulan the English, the lordys above sayd, would have been taken prisoner and forced to yield more than Meulan.

Chartier records that the captain of Pont Meulan, Sir Richard Merbury, fled (1).  If he did, he was not called to account, he went on to become captain of Pontoise.

Pont Meulan was a vital link in the supply line for food and other vital materials to reach Paris from Rouen. One of the Dauphin’s first acts of resistance against the English in 1423 had been to send an army to capture it. The Earl of Salisbury had marched to its relief and the Duke of Bedford had sent reinforcements. Salisbury recovered Meulan, but in 1435 it passed into French hands, this time permanently.

See Year 1423 for Pont Meulan

(1)  Chartier, Chronique I, p. 181 (Pont Meulan).


On 1 October the Council confirmed Richard Woodville as lieutenant of Calais to hold the fort, literally, after Bedford’s death (1). Woodville and Sir John Stewart, the king’s master of horse and William Baron were commissioned to take the muster of the Calais garrison serving on the day of Bedford’s death (2).

The Brut Continuations G and H have a story, unique to this chronicle, of a French attempt to take Calais before they attacked Dieppe. French fishing vessels had safe conducts to put into Calais during the herring season. It was customary for the garrison going to church on Sunday to leave their staves (weapons) at the church door.  The French, dressed as fishermen, planned to seize the weapons and so take the town. But one of them spent the night with ‘a common woman’ (a prostitute?) and he told her of the plan. The next day she went straight to Richard Woodville and told all she knew.  Woodville immediately ordered his men not to carry their weapons with them when they went to mass, and so the plot was foiled. When they found that the weapons were not there the French abandoned their scheme and went on to attack and take Dieppe and then Harfleur.

“Also þis same yere þe Frenshe men had enterprised to have stolen Caleys in þe fysshing tyme for many botes of Fraunce held saufe conduyt to come to Caleys for to take hering; And þe Sowdioures of þe town had A custome to come to chirch & leve þer staves stonding at þe chirch dore, which staves þe Frenschemen which wer Araied like fissheres, had purposed to haue taken so þere wepon & wynn þe town. But one of þame lay with A common woman þe night to-fore & he tolde to hir þare counsel; And she on þe morne told þe lieutenaunte which forth with commanded þat euery man shold kepe his wepen in his hand, sacryng tyme and other. And when þei Aperceyved þis, þat þei wer myspoynted, they sayled streght to Depe & stale & toke þat town”.

                                                                                   Brut Continuation G, p. 504

“And that same yere in þe heryng tyme þere come iij C botes out of Normandy to Caleis on fisshyng fare as they were wont ich yere; and euery bote hade in xvi men and they come as ffisshers and in ffisshers clothing; but a gret part of hem were men of werre and had cast to haue geton þe toune . . . . wherefore Richarde Woodville, Squyer, leotenaunt of the said toun of Caleis vnder the Duyke of Bedford charget euery souldioure to bere his staff in his hand, as wele in þe cherche and att sacryng tyme as in þe market and not to leve stondyng att þe chrch durre as they were wont to do . . . .  Then the Frensshe men vnderstood wele þat they were aspiet, and sawe wele þey couth not brynge theire entent nor purpos about; And wenth their way out of Caleis hauen in a tide and went straight to þe toune of Deepe and come in þere as ffisshers and so gate the toun.                        Brut Continuation H, pp. 572- 573

(1) Foedera X, pp. 623-24 (Woodville lieutenant of Calais).

(2) CPR 1429-1436, p. 518 (Calais musters). 



On 29 October, the port of Dieppe, only thirty-six miles from Rouen fell to the French.  Pierre de Rieux, Marshal of France, in revenge for being forced to surrender Saint Denis joined forces with a war captain, Charles de Maretz. Their men scaled the walls on the harbour side under cover of darkness and broke open the northern gate to allow the rest of the army to enter and seize not only the town, but English shipping anchored in the harbour (1). 

Dieppe was thought to be secure; it was only lightly garrisoned by one mounted lance, three foot lance, and twelve archers.  Its nominal captain Sir John Salvain was Bedford’s bailli of Rouen, and he was far too busy and too involved with the council’s administration in Rouen to have time for Dieppe (2). There would have been a town watch, but it was probably complacent and lax, so it is not surprising that the enterprising French were able to gain easy access.

“And a none aftyr his [Bedford’s] deth the towne of depe whas lost be treson of the burges of the tovne.  And this was in the monyth of Octobre.”

                                    Chronicles of London (Cleopatra C IV), p. 139

(1) Monstrelet II, p. 23 (Dieppe).  

(2) L& P II ii, p. 543 (Salvain captain of Dieppe).


Rising in the Caux

The loss of Dieppe came as a severe shock to English councils on both sides of the Channel. Men, money, and ordnance for Lancastrian France had been shipped from England via Dieppe for years.

But it was the immediate aftermath of Dieppe that focused the attention of the English Council and the Estates of Normandy.  A rebellion of several thousand men erupted in the Caux region around Dieppe, led by Pierre de Rieux,d Jean D’Estouteville, and other French captains (1). It spread rapidly: in the space of eight weeks, Fécamp, Montivilliers, Tancarville, Lillebonne, and Harfleur were taken (2, 3).  

The port of Harfleur had been Henry V’s first victory in 1415 but because the town had resisted him, he punished many of its citizens by dispossessing them.  Jean d’Estouteville was captured at Harfleur in 1415 and spent ten years as a prisoner of war in England.  Harfleur was under the command of William Minors; he withstood the first assault but was forced to surrender when the citizens took their revenge for Henry V’s harshness and threw open the gates on New Years Eve to welcome the French (4). The English chronicles glossed this as a betrayal from within.  

“And in Christmas week the towns of Harfleur and Dieppe and many other towns were taken by the French.”  Benet’s Chronicle, p. 184

“And this same yere, on seint Thomas day afore cristmas, the comons of Caleys [an error for Caux] be exitacion of the Duke of Borgoyne  rebelled ayenst the kyng of Englond and of ffrauce, and Potton whas with hem with a ij m1 men of werre. 

They went to havyn wonne the abbey of ffescham [Fécamp] and than on cristmas even they won valamond [Valmont],

and leyd sege vnto harflewe, and [g]af ther to many a strong saw[gh]t, and on seint Johannis day in cristmas weke they wan the town of harflewe with a saught for they weryn mo than x m1 men, and ther whas not within the tovne of herflew but iiijxx men good and bad.”                     Chronicles of London, (Cleopatra C IV) p.139

“and on newe yeres tyd nest folowynge the toun of Harflieu also, for defaute of good kepynge, the whiche kyng Herry the fyfthe gette before the bataill of Agincourt with a strong sege and a ryall, first of alle the townes of Normandye.”                                            Chronicle of London (Harley 565) p. 121

“And on Newyeres even after þei toke Harflete; And thus Englishe men began to loose A litel and litell in Normandy.”             Brut Continuation G, p. 504

In a panic the Estates of Normandy wrote to King Henry pleading with him to send a large army under the command of a great lord related to him; they were disappointed at the rejection of the French offers of peace, especially as King Henry was to retain Normandy; they warned him that although they were loyal, they could not contribute to the  cost or maintenance of an army. The continual fighting and the depredations of marauders throughout the Duchy meant that Normandy was now too impoverished to protect itself (5).  The Bishop of Bayeux addressed a similar plea to the Duke of Gloucester (6). Did the Estates have Gloucester mind?

The Council in King Henry’s name replied to the Estates justifying the stand his envoys had made at Arras, and the reasons why it had proved impossible to achieve peace.  A second letter at the end of December after Parliament made the tax grant, promised that a powerful army, larger than any that had been seen before, would be sent to Normandy under the command of the Duke of York.  An advance party would cross immediately to be followed by the main body at the end of January 1436 (7).  The army would remain in France to protect ‘his’ people and impose peace.  One wonders if this piece of bombast reassured the Estates, or if the Council, coerced by the Duke of Gloucester, had accepted his contention that a large English army would defeat the French in battle and impose peace terms so that King Henry’s promise would be fulfilled.     

(1) Barker, Conquest, pp. 232-233 (Caux).

(2) Beaucourt, Charles VII, vol.  III, p 6 (French towns).

(3) L&P I, p. 424 (French towns).

(4) Champollion-Figeac, Lettres de rois, reines et autres personnages II, pp. 420-428 (Estates appeal).

(5) Beaurepaire, États de Normandie sous le Domination Anglaise, pp. 52-55 (Estates appeal).

(6) Bekynton, Correspondence I, pp. 289-290 (letter to Gloucester).

(7) Champollion-Figeac, Lettres de rois, reines et autres personnages II, pp. 428-431 and 433-435 (King Henry’s replies).


The decision to summon Parliament in anticipation of the Congress of Arras was taken at a council meeting on 5 July (1, 2). Whatever the outcome at Arras, peace or war, Parliament would have to be informed.

Parliament assembled at Westminster on 10 October and sat for just over ten weeks, to 23 December 1435. By that time the Duke of Bedford was dead, and the defection of the Duke of Burgundy from his alliance with England was known. Chancellor Stafford’s opening speech emphasised Burgundy’s betrayal. In view of this he declared that the lord king must either accept ‘the trifling and derisory offers made by the enemy’ and renounce his claim to be king of France, ‘or else be willing to defend with force of arms his realm of France . . . and his Duchy of Normandy.’  Which was it to be? (3).

“And that yere the kyng hylde a Parlyment at Westemyster, that duryd fro Mychellemasse unto the Feste of Crystymas next folowynge.” 

                              Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 178 and Great Chronicle, p. 172

“And that same yere the kyng lett ordeyne a parlement at Westmynster, and that contynued ffrom michelmas vnto cristmas even next folowyng; and that parlement whas ordeyned for the gouvernance of ffraunce.”              Chronicles of London (Cleopatra C IV) p. 139

The Duke of Gloucester

The Commons responded with an allocation of men and money to the Duke of Gloucester as the newly appointed Captain of Calais (4). Gloucester had not been slow to profit from his brother’s death. On 29 October, ironically the same day as Dieppe surrendered to the French, indentures were drawn up for him to replace Bedford as Captain of Calais and the king’s lieutenant for the Pale of Calais. The terms and conditions of his employment for nine years were set out in elaborate detail and ratified by Parliament.  

In the xiiij yere of the regn of þe said Henry the vjte Humfrey, Duyke of Gloucester Protectour and Deffendour of Englond was made Capteyn of Caleis; and he was Capteyn of Guysnes before that tyme; An so he was both Capteyn of Caleis and of Guysnes.                             Brut Continuation H, p, 573

More ominously, the Council but not Parliament, named Gloucester as the king’s lieutenant in Picardy, Artois, and Flanders, probably at Gloucester’s instigation (5). For the King of England to bestow three counties belonging to the Duke of Burgundy on the heir to the English throne reflected the angry mood of the Council, but it was deliberate provocation, would England go to war with Burgundy was well as with France?


On the last day of Parliament, the Commons made a fairly generous tax grant for the defence of the realm (i.e., the war in France) and for the king’s use (i.e., crown debts and household expenses) except that some of the provisions were for one year only to November 1437.

A full 10th and 15th, payable in four instalments on 27 May and 11 Nov 1436 and 19 May and 11 November 1437. With the usual exemption of £4,000 for counties too poor to meet this demand. 

A wool subsidy of 5 nobles (33s 4d) on English Merchants for each sack of wool and 240 wool fells from 11 November 1436 when the current subsidy would expire, to 11 November 1437.

Alien merchants would pay two or three shilling the tun on wine imports and 12 pence (tunnage and poundage) on other goods, over the same period.

An income tax on lands, rents, annuities, and offices valued at more than £5 p.a., on a sliding scale: six pence in the pound on incomes between £5 and £100. On incomes over £399, six pence on the first £100 and eight pence in the pound over that. Those with incomes over £400 would pay two shillings.  The taxes to be paid by April 1436 (6).

Griffiths estimated that these provisions raised little more than £9,000, nowhere near enough to meet the expenditure for which they were granted (7).

“And in this same yere, and in the yere of grace M ccccxxxvj, Kyng Henre þe vj held his parlement at Westmynster.  And in þis parlement was graunted a disme for holy chirche, and a xv thurghout the Reame, to mayntene þe Kynges werres and to deffende oure Enemyes. 

And also they graunted to þe Kyng in this parlement, of all peple, pore and riche, both of spirituell and temporell, to pay of theire landes and rentes, and of all freheld þat they haue within this Reame of England, vj d. of þe pound; and þis treuly to fecche and geddre, to help in þe Kynges nedes as at this tyme.”      Brut Continuation F, p. 468

(1) PPC IV, p. 305 (Parliament to be summoned).

(2) PPC IV, pp. 303-304 (a long list drawn up on Gloucester’s orders probably represents the names of those who were expected to attend the Parliament).

(3) PROME XI, pp. 164-165 (Chancellor’s speech).

(4) PROME XI, pp. 168-171 (money for Gloucester and Calais).

(5) Foedera X, p. 644 (Gloucester, Calais and Burgundian counties).

(6) PROME XI, pp. 174-179 (tax grants).

(7) Griffiths, Henry VI, p. 118 (Tax grants).


Foreign Relations

The failure to achieve peace with France at the Congress of Arras, and more importantly the Duke of Burgundy’s defection, meant that the war would go on and the Minority Council looked to other allies, whom they had for the most part neglected after King Henry V’s death.

Sir Robert Clifton and Master Stephen Wilton were to lead an embassy to the Emperor Sigismund (who had made his peace with Burgundy) and pay a round of visits to Louis of Bavaria, the Prince-Archbishop of Cologne, the Count of Moers, the Duke of Guelders and the Bishop of Liège. Their instructions, “to treat for an alliance and receive the homage of,” these magnates was wildly optimistic (1, 2).  What did the King of England have to offer to entice them to join England against their natural ally the Duke of Burgundy? The Duke of Gloucester, temporarily in control of the Council, may have looked back, as he often did, to King Henry V’s policies. Henry had paid Germanic princes to ally with him and contribute men to his wars when needed, but it was a policy England could no longer afford. Clifton and Wilton were the first of several forlorn missions sent in 1436 to try to mend fences and resurrect old alliances. They probably did not leave England until the New Year.

(1) Foedera X, pp. 626-627 (commission to treat with German princes).

(2) PPC IV, p. 308 (100 marks for their expenses).

Louis, Duke of Bavaria 

There had been negotiations with Louis, the Elector Palatine, always referred to in the English sources as the Duke of Bavaria, earlier in 1435; not for an alliance but for payment of the 1,000 marks annuity granted by King Henry V to Louis III, Elector Palatine.

See Year 1423: Louis of Bavaria, Elector Palatine

It had been paid from the beginning of Henry VI’s reign until 1429. Payments were suspended from 1429 to 1434 and Louis had sent his agents to demand their resumption. The Council acknowledged the obligation in February 1435 and one year’s annuity was paid (1). 

Master John Stokes, Master Stephen Wilton, and Richard Selling, had been commissioned to meet with Louis’s agents and negotiate terms for future payments. Stokes resumed the negotiations in August, and Louis agreed to a temporary suspension of payment.  Henry VI wrote to thank him for his forbearance in March 1436 (2, 3).

Dietrich von Moers [Theodoric in Foedera], was Prince-Archbishop of Cologne.  Henry V had purchased his alliance in 1416 for an annuity of 500 nobles, considerably less than the £1,000 that Richard II had paid an earlier Archbishop. Dietrich tried to renew the arrangement after Henry died, but the Minority Council judged him to be an unreliable ally and they allowed his payment, and therefore the alliance, to lapse (4). 

Frederick von Moers, Count of Moers was Dietrich’s older brother. Frederick had attended the Congress of Arras, as had Arnold, Duke of Guelders and John of Heinsberg, Bishop of Liège.  They had played an active role as adherents of the Duke of Burgundy. 

The English Council either did not know or chose to ignore the inconvenient fact that the Duke of Guelders had arrived at Arras with the Duke of Burgundy and was constantly in his company, and that the Bishop of Liege spoke in favour of a Franco-Burgundian alliance. They had accompanied Burgundy to welcome Cardinal Beaufort to Arras and their courtesy may have been misinterpreted (5).

(1) PPC IV, p. 294 (1,000 to Louis of Bavaria).

(2) Foedera X, p. 604 (February), p. 622 (August) and p. 633 (March). 

(3) Ferguson, Diplomacy, pp. 72-73   (Louis of Bavaria).

(4) Ferguson, Diplomacy, pp. 59-60 (Archbishop of Cologne).

(5)  Dickinson, Arras, passim (Guelders and Liège).


There is no record of an envoy or embassy being sent to Portugal, but letters were sent to King Durate. England’s ties with Portugal remained strong. Durate was the son of Philippa of Lancaster, the sister of King Henry IV. Durate replied in November that he would observe the alliance and the treaties that his father, King Joao, had made with England (1). 

(1) Foedera X, pp. 625-26.

Battle of Ponza

In 1435 King Alfonso V of Aragon was attempting to extend his conquests in the Mediterranean, and in July his ships laid siege to the port of Gaeta on the west coast of Italy between Rome and Naples. Alfonso was trapped by a Genoese fleet between Gaeta and the island of Ponza on 4 August. His ships were inferior to those of Genoese, and he was defeated and captured, along with his brothers, King John of Navarre, and Henry, Grand Master of the Order of Santiago (1, 2).   

‘No naval encounter of that century had a more dramatic outcome: Alfonso, two of his brothers and his whole entourage, Spanish and Italian found themselves prisoners of the Genoese and ultimately of Filippo Maria Visconti, Milanese overlord of the Republic [of Genoa]’ (3).

“This same yere was A gret batail on þe See, bitwen þe Ienewense[s] [Genoese] & þe King of Aragon; of which batail þe Ianeuenses had þe victori, for þey toke þe Kinge of Aragon þe King of Naverne & þe gret Maister of Seynt Iames in Galise, with iijc knightes & squyers & moche other peple: & this was of seynt Dominices day.”

                                                Brut Continuation G, p. 503

“And this same yere the kyng of Aragon, the king of Navare and the Master of seynt James, with iij c knyghtes and squyers and mo were taken in the see of Jauneys upon seynt Domnyk day.”                   Chronicle of London (Harley 565) p. 121

(1) Cambridge Medieval History VIII, p. 484.

(2) Monstrelet I, pp. 7-8.

(3) New Cambridge Medieval History VII, p. 576

 Bibliography 1435

Primary Sources

Basin, T., Histoire de Charles VII, 2 vols. ed. C. Samaran, (Paris, 1933, 1944)

Bekynton, T, Correspondence I, (1872 ).

Benet’s Chronicle. John Benet’s Chronicle for the years 1400-1460, ed. G.L.& M.A. Harriss, Camden Miscellany XXIV, (Camden Soc., 4th ser. IX, 1972)

Bourgeois of Paris, A Parisian Journal, trans. J. Shirley (1968)

The Brut, or the Chronicles of England II, ed. F.W.D. Brie, (Early English Text Society, 1908)

CPR. Calendar of the Patent Rolls 1429-1436

Champollion-Figeac, M., Lettres de rois, reines et autres personnages II (1847)

Chartier, J., Chronique de Charles VII, roi de France, 3 vols, ed. A. Vallet de Viriville, (Paris, 1858)

A Chronicle of London, ed. N.H. Nicolas & E. Tyrell (1827)

Chronicles of London, ed. C. L. Kingsford (1905)

Chronique de Mont Saint Michel, 2 vols, ed. S. Luce (1879, 1883)

DKR, Forty-Eighth Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records (1887)

Documents Relating to Scotland IV

Foedera, conventiones, literae……  20 vols., ed. T. Rymer, (1704-35)

The Great Chronicle of London, ed. A.H. Thomas & I.D. Thornley, (1938)

Gregory’s Chronicle in The Historical Collections of a Citizen of London in the Fifteenth  Century, ed. J. Gairdner, (Camden Society XVII, 1876)

Issues of the Exchequer, ed. F. Devon (1837)

L&P: Letters and Papers Illustrative of the Wars of the English in France during the reign of Henry VI, ed. J. Stevenson, Rolls Series, 2 vols in 3 (1861-1864)

Monstrelet. The Chronicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet trans. T. Johnes, 2 vols., (1877)

Papal Letters. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland VIII (1909)

PROME. The Parliament Rolls of Medieval England, vol. X, ed. A. Curry (2005)

PPC IV, Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council of England, 6 vols., (Record Commission, (1834-37)

Saint Rémy, Jean le Fèvre, Chronique II (1881)

Wavrin, J de, Recueil des croniques et anchiennes istories de la Grant Bretaigne, a present nomme Engleterre, eds., W. & E.L.C.P. Hardy, 5 vols., (1864-91).


Secondary Sources

Balfour-Melville, E.W.M., James I, King of Scots 1406-1437 (1936)

 Beaurepaire, Ch. de, États de Normandie sous le Domination Anglaise (1859)

Brown, M., James I (1994)

Barker, J.  Conquest (2009)

Beaucourt, G. du Fresne de, Histoire de Charles VII, vol II, (Paris, 1881-1891)

Cambridge Medieval History, vol. VIII, ed. C.W, Previté-Orton (1936)

Cambridge Medieval History, vol. VII, ed. C. Allmand (1998)

Dictionary of National Biography

Castor H., Joan of Arc, (2004)

Castor, H., ‘John de Vere’ in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Bell, A. R. & Curry A., The Soldier in Later Medieval England (2013)

Dickinson, J. G., The Congress of Arras, 1435 (1972)

Emden, A, B., A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, vol I (1957)

Ferguson, J., English Diplomacy, (1972)

Field, P.J.C. ‘Sir Robert Malory, Prior of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in England 1432-1439/40,’ Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol 28, Issue 3, July 1977,

Griffiths, R.A., The Reign of King Henry VI (1981)

Harriss, G.L., Cardinal Beaufort, (1988)

Harvey, M., England, Rome and the Papacy1417-1464 (1993)

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Petre, J., ‘The Nevills of Brancepeth and Raby, Part I ,1425 to 1469: Nevill v Nevill,’ Ricardian 5, no. 75, (December 1981)

Pollard, A.J., John Talbot and the War in France 1427-1453 (1983)

Postan, M. M., Medieval Trade and Finance (1973)

Schofield A.N.E.D., ‘Second English Delegation to the Council of Basel,’ Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol 17, (1966)

Thielemans, M-R.,  Bourgogne et Angleterre 1435-1467 (Brussels, (1966)

Tierney, M. A., The History and Antiquities of the Castle and Town of Arundel, II (1834)

Vaughan, R., Philip the Good (1970)

Virgoe, R., ‘The murder of James Andrew,’ in East Anglian Society and the Political Community of Late Medieval England (1997)

Williams, E Carlton, My Lord of Bedford (1963)


Marshall, A., ‘The Role of English War Captains in England and Normandy 1436-1461,’ University of Wales, Swansea (1974)

Online sources