Conquest: The English Kingdom of France, 1417-1450 by Juliet Barker

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By Juliet Barker

For thirty dramatic years, England governed a good swath of France on the aspect of the sword—an all-but-forgotten episode within the Hundred Years’ conflict that Juliet Barker brings to bright lifestyles in Conquest.

Following Agincourt, Henry V’s moment invasion of France in 1417 introduced a crusade that may position the crown of France on an English head. Buoyed through conquest, the English military appeared invincible. by the point of Henry’s untimely dying in 1422, the majority of northern France lay in his palms and the Valois inheritor to the throne have been disinherited. purely the looks of a visionary peasant woman who claimed divine tips, Joan of Arc, used to be in a position to halt the English increase, yet now not for lengthy. simply six months after her loss of life, Henry’s younger son used to be topped in Paris because the first—and last—English king of France.

Henry VI’s nation persisted for 20 years, but if he got here of age he was once now not the chief his father were. The dauphin whom Joan had topped Charles VII might eventually force the English out of France. Barker recounts those stirring events—the epic battles and sieges, plots and betrayals—through a kaleidoscope of characters from John Talbot, the “English Achilles,” and John, duke of Bedford, regent of France, to brutal mercenaries, opportunistic freebooters, innovative spies, and fanatics torn aside by way of the clash.

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And very little mercy was shown. The king and Clarence attacked simultaneously from opposite ends of the town. ’ and sparing neither man nor child. Though the king had ordered that women and clergy were to be spared, the streets were said to have run with blood. 22 The brutal sack of Caen was an exemplary punishment authorised by the Bible23 and meted out in accordance with the laws of war by a king who believed he was simply carrying out God’s will. It was designed to teach ‘his’ subjects in the duchy of Normandy the penalty of ‘rebellion’, as he termed any act of resistance, and the lesson was not lost on the Normans.

On 22 March 1421 his brother and heir, Clarence, to whom he had given supreme military command in France during his absence, had unexpectedly intercepted a newly arrived contingent of four thousand Scots at Baugé in Anjou. Clarence was desperate to prove himself his brother’s equal but succeeded only in demonstrating that he was not. Against the advice of his 38 ESTABLISHING THE KINGDOM captains, he had not waited for the slower columns of English and Welsh archers to arrive but had launched an immediate attack.

He had already had his wife brought to him, installing her in a house which he had built for that purpose near his own tents. There – in the nearest he ever came to a romantic gesture – he had her serenaded by musicians for an hour every dawn and dusk. 5 More significantly, Henry had two other kings brought to join him at the siege: poor, mad Charles VI and James, the twenty-five-year-old king of Scotland, who had been a prisoner in England since 1406. What he wanted them to do was to issue a summons to surrender to the defenders of Melun.

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