The Gold Rose: An Edward of Angoulême timeline

So it's finally...done. Voted for Bad Parliament, IMHO keeping things chronological is the best way to do a TL. Wish good luck and lots of inspiration for the author!
Fun format! I just missed the first poll, but I’ll definitely catch the next! Very excited to see how this goes!!
Fun format! I just missed the first poll, but I’ll definitely catch the next! Very excited to see how this goes!!
Thanks. I decided to close the poll on Monday. Four days seemed like enough time, and one option was way out in front the entire time anyway.

I hope to have the next update up on Thursday. I've already cut it down and it's still four times as long as the first post -- and still not done :coldsweat:
Bad Parliament
Bad Parliament
The English Parliament of 1376 was held at Westminster Palace from 28 April to 6 July 1376, making it the longest-sitting parliament at its time. Lauded by chroniclers in the fourteenth century for the crown's forceful defense of royal power, it was derided by later Whig historians as the Bad Parliament.

Parliament had not met since November 1373, nearly two and a half years prior to its assembly in 1376. The delay in calling parliament was intentional. England and France had been at war since 1369 and England was on the verge of total defeat before the negotiation of a truce in 1375. Edward III's councilors recognised the danger of summoning a parliament during a period of discontent and thus resisted doing so until they had no other option. Summons for a parliament were issued in 1376 as the war was due to resume the following year and the government lacked the funds to raise an army or even fully garrison its defenses.

In session
King Edward III presided over the opening of parliament on 28 April. Both the House of Lords and the House of Commons gathered together in the Painted Chamber to hear a sermon from the archbishop of Canterbury before the lord chancellor, Sir John Knyvet, spoke on the challenges facing the kingdom and the role of parliament in helping the government meet these challenges. The lord treasurer, Sir Robert de Ashton, delivered a report on the kingdom's finances, laying out the need for a tax before the war resumed. The government formally requested a tax on movable goods at the rate of one-tenth for towns and one-fifteenth for farmland as well as the customs revenue from wool for one year. This was a standard request for taxation in the era, but grievances against the government had built up in the years since the parliament of 1373 and the government's request would spark a constitutional crisis in the weeks that followed.

The king's declining health prevented him from attending further proceedings. Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince, presided in the king's absence. The Black Prince had been absent from government for nearly two years by this time, having withdrawn from public life in an attempt to hide the seriousness of an illness he'd been battling since the late-1360s. His attendance at the opening ceremony drew cheers from both the Lords and Commons.

Rise of the Commons
On 29 April, the Lords and Commons were divided into separate chambers, which had become tradition during the reign of Edward III. The barons and bishops of the Lords met in the White Chamber while the knights and burgesses of the Commons met in the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey.

The meeting of the Commons was immediately and unusually well-organized. The attendees swore to keep their discussions secret and work together to advance a list of demands for the government of the realm. They also chose to elect one of their number to speak for them all when advancing these demands. This was Sir Peter de la Mare, a knight of the shire who worked as a sheriff and toll collector and who served as steward for Edmund Mortimer, 3rd earl of March.

After more than a week of deliberation, de la Mare led the whole of the Commons into the White Chamber to deliver an objection to the government's request for taxation and accuse various members of the king's council of corruption and incompetence. The accusations against William Latimer, 4th baron Latimer, and Sir Richard Lyons so appalled the Black Prince that he ordered their immediate arrest. This was opposed by the Black Prince's brother, John of Gaunt, 1st duke of Lancaster, who was a longtime friend of Lyons, but the charges were too serious and well-substantiated to dismiss. Among other crimes, Latimer was accused of selling the control of castles in Aquitaine to the French and Lyons of collecting repayment for loans to the government that were never actually made. A parliamentary investigation over the following weeks determined that the pair were in fact guilty.

Encouraged by the successful removal of Latimer and Lyons, the Commons demanded investigations into John Neville, 3rd baron Neville, and Sir Richard Sturry for possible complicity in Latimer and Lyons's crimes and further demanded the dismissal of Knyvet and Ashton for having been too incomptent to have discovered Latimer and Lyons's corruption earlier. They also called for Alice Perrers, the king's mistress, to be removed from the king's presence for having interfered in the due process of the law.

The Black Prince was initially receptive to the charges brought forward by the Commons. In particular, he agreed that Perrers held too much power and should be banished from court. He further agreed to the removal of Knyvet and Ashton and an investigation of Neville and Sturrey.

The tyranny of the Black Prince
The Commons attempted to impose new councilors on the king after the removal of Latimer and Lyons, which precipitated a breakdown between the Black Prince and parliament. A proposal to create a permanent council of 12 lords elected by the Commons to administer and oversee royal government was rejected by the prince as an infringement upon the royal prerogative. Neither side was willing to compromise and a stalemate ensued.

On 8 June, de la Mare declared that no grant of taxation would be approved without the creation of a permanent council. This was a bold escalation in his showdown with the Black Prince. Parliament had never before refused to grant taxation in a time of war and doing so now in order to force reforms on the government outraged the Black Prince.

The situation came to a head on 25 June when the Black Prince accused de la Mare of treason, arguing that a refusal to grant taxation in a time of war exposed the realm to invasion and ruin. De la Mare was arrested and imprisoned.

The earl of March objected to de la Mare's arrest, but the Black Prince stripped March of his post as earl marshal for this objection. The Commons divided against itself under the threat of more arrests. Cowed by the fury of the Black Prince, the proposed tax and wool revenues were approved and the members of the Commons were made to appear before the king at Eltham Palace and apologize for their delay and impertinence. Parliament was dissolved soon thereafter.

The Black Prince appointed several of his allies and retainers to positions in royal government after the Bad Parliament. Among them, William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester, was made chancellor and Sir Hugh Segrave, who served the Black Prince as steward of the duchy of Cornwall, became steward of the king's household.

The new council launched a full examination of royal accounts. It was discovered that Latimer and Lyons had successfully hidden their corruption for as long as they had by keeping the business of government moving smoothly when it interacted with Gaunt and other major lords while ignoring and defrauding lower-ranking figures. Among the more notable crimes discovered in this examination was that Latimer and Lyons had embezzled 10,000 marks in fines paid to the king by Sir Robert Knolles. The council assessed that the pair had misappropriated more than £24,000 in royal revenue over their tenure. Latimer was fined 20,000 marks and Lyons 16,000 marks in restitution. Neville and Sturrey were not found to be complicit in any major crimes, though they were dismissed from their positions.

The Black Prince ordered that neither Latimer nor Lyons should be released until at least one-third of both their fines had been paid, keeping the two men imprisoned for several months. He earmarked the money extracted from them for the defense of what remained of English Aquitaine, a decision that would be instrumental to turning back a French assault the following year. Otherwise, he left governance of the realm to the new royal council. He again retreated from public life as his health deteriorated.

Another parliament was called in spring 1377, at which time a general pardon was extended to all those who had committed criminal offenses. This was done in celebration of the king's jubilee. Sir Peter de la Mare was the one figure excluded from the pardon. De la Mare remained in prison for more than a year.

The Bad Parliament is famous today for setting two major parliamentary precedents. The first was the tradition of electing a speaker of the House of Commons, the same office that in later centuries grew to become the head of government. The second was the process of impeachment by which parliament would have the right to accuse and convict the king's ministers without the recourse to a court of law.

The failure of the Commons to institute the most radical of its reforms and impose an elected council onto royal government is sometimes seen as a stumbling block in the evolution of parliamentary power, but while the actions of the Black Prince in 1376 would make the proposal untenable in the immediate future, the threat of it would never fully fade from royal consciousness. The rise of the Commons in 1376 would be a bogeyman for monarchs through the next century.

The Black Prince and the lords could not appreciate the legal consequences of the events of the Bad Parliament in their own day. The prince's actions were a reminder that the king's power was nearly absolute so long as he commanded the support of the Lords, and the lack of outrage from the Lords regarding the arrest of the speaker of the Commons is an indication that the magnates and clergy still saw themselves as loyal servants of the king. At the time, this was seen as a positive and the Black Prince was lauded by contemporaries for balancing the reform of his father's government with the protection of the royal prerogative. The chronicler Thomas Walsingham even referred to it as the Good Parliament in his Chronicon Angliæ. The events of the parliament of 1377 would later be recast as a sort of tyranny against the people beginning in the 17th century, becoming the accepted historical narrative by the 19th century, though some recent historians have challenged this.
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King of the Hundred Days
King of the Hundred Days
The King of the Hundred Days refers to the reign and death of King Edward IV of England. Known in popular memory as the Black Prince, Edward reigned for 100 days during the Year of the Three Edwards, from the death of his father, Edward III, on 21 June until his own death on 29 September 1377.

The Black Prince had a long and celebrated military career before succeeding to the throne. He distinguished himself fighting in the Battle of Crécy at age 16 in 1346 and led the English to an unlikely victory against a much larger French force at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356. His capture of King Jean II of France at Poitiers ultimately led to the Treaty of Brétigny in 1360, which gave England control over southwestern France. Edward III organized this new territory into the principality of Aquitaine, which he granted to the Black Prince.

The Treaty of Brétigny established a formal peace between England and France, but proxy wars in Brittany and Castile continued through the 1360s. The Black Prince led an army into Castile and inflicted heavy casualties on the forces of Enrique de Trastámara at the Battle of Nájera in 1367. His continued military success, combined with his lavish lifestyle and largesse, made him a popular figure with the English nobility, but forced severe taxation. This ultimately led to rebellion in Aquitaine and renewed war with France in 1369.

A series of French victories in the early 1370s resulted in England's near-total eviction from the continent. By 1375, all that remained of the lands England had won in 1360 were the towns of Auray, Calais, Brest, Bordeaux, Bayonne, and a collection of small fortresses spread across the Aquitanian interior. Despite an overwhelming French military advantage, the Black Prince's brother John of Gaunt, 1st duke of Lancaster, managed to negotiate a one-year truce. The truce was extended for a second year in 1376.

Illness and incapacity
After the Nájera campaign, the Black Prince suffered a chronic affliction that left him near death on at least two occasions. Contemporaries described this affliction as dysentery, though modern historians question the likelihood that he could sustain a ten-year battle with dysentery, which can be fatal in a matter of weeks.

The Black Prince was forced to return to England in 1371 as a result of his illness, leaving Gaunt as lieutenant of Aquitaine. In an effort to hide the seriousness of his condition, the Black Prince managed a practically vacant household and kept all but the most necessary figures away. He appeared in public only in times of improved health, which were rare after 1374. The Black Prince's retreat from public life, combined with Gaunt's diplomatic success and prestigious military appointment in Aquitaine, led Gaunt to assume a greater role in royal government as Edward III advanced in age.

The Black Prince's last major public appearance before succeeding to the throne was at the contentious parliament of 1376, which later became known as the Bad Parliament. One account of the arrest of Sir Peter de la Mare describes the Black Prince as pale and drawn, suggesting that his health had begun to decline over the course of the long parliament, which sat for more than two months. The Black Prince retreated again from public life after the dissolution of parliament in July. His condition had so deteriorated by September that he was confined to Kennington Palace thereafter.

Preparations for war
Early in March 1377, Edward III's council, which was controlled by the Black Prince after the events of the Bad Parliament, received its first report as to the scale of the French military operation planned for the coming summer. Sir Thomas Felton, seneschal of Aquitaine, had come into possession of documents detailing French and Castilian naval preparations after the capture of a French spy in Gascony. The information gleaned from these papers and the spy's interrogation revealed that the French were coordinating assaults on every English position on the continent as well as southern England and Wales. The council acted quickly to address the situation. Summons for parliament were issued and an embassy to France was simultaneously dispatched in a last-ditch effort to extend the truce. A diplomatic mission to Navarre was also planned, but scotched by the Black Prince.

Edward III presided over the opening of parliament on 5 May 1377. The king's appearance here and at the Order of the Garter ceremonies the month prior gave many the impression that his health was on the mend. The Black Prince attended the opening ceremony, but neither the king nor prince took part in any further proceedings. Gaunt represented the king through the rest of the parliament.

The details of the French war plans were so alarming that the Commons approved a new grant of taxation even though a tax had been approved at the previous parliament. This new grant introduced the poll tax, which was popular with the Commons because it shifted much of the tax burden away from the gentry and onto the peasantry. It was also supported by the church, which effectively paid nothing at all.

Men and materials were quickly dispatched to areas known to be French targets. Six hundred men were sent to Pembrokeshire, castles across southern Wales were repaired and resupplied, new garrisons were ordered into the Isle of Wight and ports in Cornwall and Devon, and 1,000 men were put into Dover Castle. Sir Michael de la Pole concentrated the whole fleet of the northern admiralty on the Thames, though this was a rump force after the 1372 Battle of La Rochelle. The garrisons at Berwick and Lochmaben on the Scottish march were also reinforced, though there was no mention of Scotland in the captured French war plans. Most importantly, magnates were charged with defending areas in which they were the principal landholders as to allow for a rapid response to any French attack.

First days
The Black Prince succeeded to the throne as Edward IV upon his father's death on 21 June 1377. He likely received news of his father's passing early the following morning and wrote to Gaunt saying "I have ascended the throne of our father" on 22 June.

On 23 June, the embassy to France returned to England and learned of Edward III's death. John Harewell, bishop of Bath and Wells, who was a longtime councilor of the Black Prince and had been a part of the diplomatic mission, wrote that he and his fellow ambassadors "found the country full of lamentation and foreboding" upon their return.

William Montagu, 2nd earl of Salisbury, had led the embassy and reported immediately to Edward IV. He informed the king that the French were unwilling to extend a truce, but had made an offer for permanent peace. King Charles V of France proposed to buy out English claims to the old duchy of Aquitaine for 1.2 million francs (£200,000) and restore England to all lands in the old duchy of Gascony in exchange for the immediate English abandonment of Calais and for the king of England's homage to the king of France for Gascony. Charles further proposed sealing the peace with the marriage of his daughter, Marie, and Edward's son and heir, Edward of Angoulême. The offer would halve the territory that the English had won in the Treaty of Brétigny while also reducing English Gascony to the legal status it had held before the Edwardian War.

From a diplomatic standpoint, the French offer was remarkably generous given the English military position in France. Politically, it was impossible for the English to accept any deal that submitted their king to the king of France. Personally, it was an outrage to Edward, who erupted in anger at the idea that he would pay homage for half the land he had once ruled in southwestern France. Legally, the proposal was already null and void, as it had been made to Salisbury as a representative of Edward III, who was now dead. The English had no diplomatic option available to them and the truce was set to expire on 24 June.

Various documents and letters signed by Edward IV or carrying his seal survive from the days immediately following his father's death, but the new king appears to have remained at Kennington for several weeks, suggesting that he was physically weak but had full control of his mental faculties. These documents demonstrate the chaos produced by Edward III's death at such a crucial time, as the actions taken by the royal council through the spring to prepare for war were called into question. Their commands were given in the name of Edward III from March to June 1377 and their authority had now lapsed with his death. Edward IV issued a flurry of orders to keep the kingdom at high alert.

The defense of the realm was further complicated by the sudden need to plan both a state funeral and a coronation. These ceremonies were an important part of the English political tradition and necessary for establishing the legitimacy of the new regime, but some were accused of abandoning their military responsibilities to secure prestigious roles for themselves in these events. The chroniclers Jean Froissart and Thomas Walsingham wrote of Richard Fitzalan, 4th earl of Arundel, with particular scorn. Arundel had been charged with the defense of Sussex, but was engrossed in planning Edward's coronation when 500 Englishmen were lured into a French trap along the southern coast. The coronation, originally planned for mid-July, was postponed until August.

French invasion
On 29 June, a French force under the command of Jean de Vienne, admiral of France, landed at Winchelsea with the support of a fleet of Castilian galleys and naos. They made their way up the Rother and attacked Rye. The English had built new walls to protect the small river port, but the new defenses were not complete and the town fell to the French that same day.

Vienne occupied Rye with the intention of using the town as a base from which to stage a larger invasion. The French plan at this time was to lay waste to southern England, as Edward III had to northern France during his devastating chevauchées in the 1340s. The French had seen firsthand how terror camapigns could disrupt a kingdom's economy and provoke the lower classes into rebellion. To this end, Vienne had landed with a force of 4,000 men to secure landing sites as an army of 8,000 mustered in Normandy. After capturing Rye, Vienne sent the bulk of his force west so that a second base could be established at Hastings.

The English defensive system was highly decentralized. It was designed so that men could be swiftly called out to repel French landings anywhere in southern England or Wales and relied on having men armed and ready in their homes. It would prove to be fairly successful despite the turmoil caused by Edward III's death.

Hamo of Offington, the abbot of Battle, led the local response to the French invasion. He and his men quickly captured the beached galleys that had carried the French to shore at Winchelsea, which provoked panic in Vienne's ranks. The loss of their ships meant that the French had no means of escape should the English launch a major assault on Rye. Vienne lacked the manpower to both defend the town and sortie out to retake the galleys, as he had ordered most of his number west to capture Hastings. An outrider was sent to recall the detachment from Hastings, which had barely reached the town when they were ordered to abandon their mission and return to Rye. They burnt Hastings to the ground and returned east, chasing Hamo's local force into the countryside. Having lost the element of surprise, the French abandoned Rye.

Vienne next landed at Rottingdean, which he found defenseless in Arundel's absence. John of Charlieu, prior of Lewes, organized a local response to the town's capture with the support of Sir John Fawsley and Sir Thomas Cheyne. They led a force of 500 Englishmen to the beach, perhaps in an attempt to capture the French galleys as Hamo had done at Winchelsea, but they were ambushed during their approach. Charlieu, Fawsley and Cheyne were taken prisoner and more than 100 of their men were killed. The French and Castilians faced no further opposition in the area and moved inland to sack Lewes. Edward IV was said to have become so enraged when news of the attack on Sussex reached Kennington that he ordered Arundel back to his estates to expel the French, but the French withdrew to the coast and set sail before Arundel could mount an attack.

The French and Castilian fleets attempted other landings along the southern coast of England in July, but local defenses were better prepared outside of Sussex. The invaders returned to Harfleur before the end of the month, unable to establish a base of operations or achieve anything of note after the sack of Lewes.

On 3 July, Edward IV's brothers Edmund of Langley, 1st earl of Cambridge, and Thomas of Woodstock escorted the body of Edward III from Sheen Palace to St. Paul's Cathedral. They led a procession of more than 1,000 mourners, including 400 torchbearers, and were met at St. Paul's by Gaunt and William Courtenay, bishop of London. Gaunt and Courteney led the coffin inside and onto a platform that had been erected at the center of the cathedral. A mass was performed for the mourners and church services continued on through the night in honor of the old king. The following morning at dawn, the three princes led a march from St. Paul's Cathedral to Westminster Palace, where they were greeted by Edward IV.

This was Edward IV's first public appearance since May. Accounts of the day say that he was standing at the head of a receiving party that included his wife Joan of Kent and their two sons, but his absence from St. Paul's and the procession therefrom suggests that he may not have been well enough to stand for very long. Edward III's body lay in state overnight at Westminster Palace before being interred at the Abbey.

Gaunt, as lord high steward, was responsible for the planning of the coronation. He ensured that all business related to the ceremony and its proceedings were documented in the Close Roll, providing the most complete record of a medieval coronation to date. On 9 July, in an attempt to appease the magnates and ensure the smooth running of events, Gaunt sat in the White Chamber to hear petitions from any lord or knight who felt that he had a right to perform a service at the coronation. This proved so successful that it would be repeated for all future coronations and grow in time to become the Court of Claims.

Edward IV was formally crowned at Westminster Abbey on 6 August. Established customs were largely observed, but some notable changes were made. Among them, the procession from the Tower of London to Westminster Palace that traditionally preceded coronation day was not made and a procession from Westminster to the Tower was made after coronation day instead. This may have been done to accommodate the new king's declining health. Edward had remained at Westminster after his father's interment instead of returning to his favorite palace at Kennington, a possible sign that he did not have the strength to travel. The coronation's procession may therefore have been moved so that the king would not have to make the journey from Westminster to the Tower just to proceed back to Westminster for the coronation ceremony.

Edward took confession at dawn on coronation day. He then heard three masses at St. Stephen's Chapel in honor of the Holy Trinity, to which he was intensely devoted. He was purified with holy water and incense before being escorted from the royal chamber by the monks of Canterbury. In a display of Christian humility, Edward and Joan emerged from Westminster Palace barefoot and wrapped in gauze. They traveled the short distance from the Palace to the Abbey by carriage, likely because Edward was too weak to walk. Their movement was slow, as the space was choked by crowds of onlookers.

A procession formed at the doors to the Abbey. The bishop of London entered first, carrying the sacraments. He was followed by the monks of Westminster. The bishop of Winchester came next bearing the chalice of St. Edward, then the bishop of Exeter with the paten. The duke of Lancaster, carrying the royal scepter, was the first lay lord to follow the bishops. He was followed by the earl of Cambridge, carrying a gold rod surmounted by a dove. The prince of Wales bore Curtana, the blunted sword of Mercy that once belonged to Edward the Confessor. The earl of March and the earl of Warwick followed the prince, carrying the two swords of justice. Finally, the king and queen entered, flanked on one side by the bishop of Bath and Wells and the other by the bishop of Durham.

Simon Sudbury, the archbishop of Canterbury, met the procession in the center of the Abbey, where a stage had been erected and covered in crimson cloth. St. Edward's Chair sat atop the stage draped in gold cloth. Edward climbed the steps onto the stage and took his seat with Joan at his side. Sudbury came forward to ask the lords if they wanted Edward as their king. The lords bellowed "Yes" so that it rang out through the Abbey. This "election" of the king was purely ceremonial by 1377, but it had been a central part of English kingship prior to the Norman Conquest. Sudbury then read the four articles of the coronation oath, which Edward swore to uphold. Edward stood to deliver an address in French that embellished the king's God-given authority, which he had aggressively and controversially defended at the Bad Parliament.

Sudbury led Edward and Joan from the stage to the altar. A gold cloth was used to shield the king and queen from the audience as Edward and Joan were stripped of their clothing above the waist. Their hands, chest, shoulders, upper back, arms and head were anointed with holy oil. They were covered in the cloth of gold and formally crowned.

Edward and Joan donned cloaks of purple silk and brocade and returned to the platform with Sudbury. They were joined there by Angoulême. Sudbury asked the lords if they accepted the prince as heir to the throne and the lords again bellowed "Yes." Angoulême knelt to receive a coronet, ring and rod as signs of his authority. An election of the prince of Wales had no precedent and its inclusion in the coronation ceremony, which was a solemn religious occasion, may imply that Edward already knew that he was nearing the end of his life.

A High Mass was held and, once complete, Edward offered the coronation's holy relics to the shrine of St. Edward. Music played as the procession moved out of Westminster Abbey and back to the Palace.

There was an intermission between the coronation ceremony and the feast. Edward and Joan sat in the Painted Chamber as the lord chancellor sealed letters patent formally bestowing the titles of prince of Wales, duke of Cornwall and earl of Chester onto Angoulême. The prince then stood by his father's side as the lords and ladies in attendance, beginning with Gaunt and his wife Constanza de Castile, paid homage to the king and swore oaths to support Angoulême as his heir.

Edward created two new titles at the oath-swearing in addition to those bestowed upon Angoulême, both for members of the royal family. His brother Langley, who had been made earl of Cambridge during their father's reign, was given the title duke of Aumale and granted the lordship of Holderness, which had been home to the de Forz earls of Aumale, to support his new rank. Another brother, Woodstock, was created earl of Buckingham.

The feast that followed lasted for several hours. The long day took a serious toll on Edward's health. Two knights were required to help lift him from his seat at the end of the night. The following day's procession was postponed for hours, likely as a result of the king's exhaustion. The crowds that had gathered in the streets that morning slowly dispersed. The procession was finally attempted at midday, but the king was so weak that he could not sit upright without support. He was wrapped in gold cloth and nailed into a carriage so that he could make the journey. Joan and their younger son, Richard, rode in the carriage with him so that the nails could not be seen by onlookers.

Edward and his family were housed in the royal apartments at the Tower upon their arrival. The king would remain there until his death weeks later.

Scottish raids
In July, a series of small and mostly unrelated incidents along the Scottish march inflamed tensions on both sides of the border. One of these incidents was at the Roxburgh fair, where a brawl between drunken fairgoers ended in the accidental death of a Scotsman who had been in the employ of George Dunbar, 10th earl of Dunbar. [1] Dunbar was the most powerful lord in southeastern Scotland and his response to the events at the Roxburgh fair nearly brought England and Scotland to all-out war.

On 10 August, Dunbar marched a small army to Roxburgh, which was then under English control. His men massacred the local population and burned the town to the ground. He led an ambush on the English garrison at Berwick just days later, killing several Englishmen and capturing Sir Thomas Musgrave, captain of Berwick. Dunbar justified his actions as a response to the English failure to compensate the widow of the man who'd been killed at the Roxburgh fair, but the later discovery of a French ambassador in the Scottish march suggests that the assault was planned in concert with the French.

On 19 August, news reached London that Henry Percy, 4th baron Percy, had raised an army and planned to lead an expedition into Scotland in retaliation. The rapidly escalating crisis alarmed the royal council and Edward dispatched Gaunt to restore order. Gaunt would not arrive in time to stop Percy from raiding Dunbar's lands, but a tense truce between the border lords was restored in September.

War in France
The English had three footholds in France in 1377: Aquitaine, Brittany and Calais. The French planned attacks on each of these positions as part of a summer campaign. Charles V's brother Louis I, duke of Anjou, would lead an assault on English partisans in Aquitaine. Another brother, Philippe II, duke of Burgundy, would attack the stronghold of Calais. Olivier V de Clisson, would lead a campaign against the last remaining Anglo-Montfort positions in Brittany. Charles envisioned the fall of Bordeaux, Brest and Calais by the end of the year, but all three campaigns fell short by fall.

Siege of Brest
The 1360 Treaty of Brétigny technically made peace between England and France, but a proxy war in Brittany continued until 1364. Jean de Montfort, the English candidate in the War of Breton Succession, effectively won control of the duchy in the Battle of Auray in 1364 and was formally recognized as duke in the 1365 Treaty of Guérande, becoming Duke Jean IV. Supporters of the rival Blois claimant gained prominent positions at the court of Charles V and poisoned relations between the king and duke. Feeling threatened, Jean defied the neutrality clause of the Treaty of Guérande and forged a new alliance with England. This was deeply unpopular and Jean was forced into exile by his former ally, Clisson, in 1373.

Clisson had effective control of the duchy in 1377, with only the towns of Auray and Brest holding out for Jean and his English allies. Clisson gathered an army of about 6,000 men in early July and marched on Auray. The town's garrison had too few men and lacked the supplies to withstand a long siege. Clisson negotiated the town's surrender before the end of the month and moved on to Brest.

The English position in Brest was little better than it had been in Auray, but the port town had managed to hold out against Clisson on several occasions over the previous four years. Clisson was determined to take the town and complete his conquest of the duchy. A Castilian fleet was called in to blockade the harbor and prevent a resupply of the defenders.

Jean was desperate to relieve Brest, but had no options available to him. He had led a campaign to reclaim Brittany in 1375 and its failure had put him so far into debt that he had lost control of even his English estates. He had put the honor of Richmond up as collateral to secure a loan from John Neville, 3rd baron Neville, and subsequently defaulted on the loan. Jean survived now only on the charity of the English royal family.

In August, Edward's council was persuaded to bail out Jean. Royal revenues were used to pay off his debts and restore the honor of Richmond. The council approved funds for the purchase of foodstuffs and recruitment of 4,000 men for the relief of Brest. The fleet of the northern admiralty, which was still gathered in the Thames, was ordered to carry the relief and resupply to Brest in two convoys. Whether these actions were taken now because Brest was a valuable strategic location or because Jean was wed to Edward's stepdaughter, Joan Holland, is unknown.

A major storm rolled through in the second week of September, scattering the Castilian fleet and damaging too many of its ships for a blockade to be reformed. English supply ships were thus able to reach the town later that month and again in October. Clisson continued the siege into November, but ended the campaign as winter approached.

Battle of Eymet
The collapse of the principality of Aquitaine in the early 1370s had been swift, but uneven. Armagnac defected to the Valois in 1369, Limousin and Périgord had been largely conquered by 1370, Poitou by 1372, Angoulême and Saintonge by 1373, and Agenais by 1374. By 1375, France had control of nearly the entire principality outside of Bayonne and Bordeaux, but the speed of the conquest hadn't allowed time for the French to consolidate their gains. A number of minor Gascon lords remained committed to English overlordship even as territory around them fell to the French. These minor lords did not control great swathes of land, but their small castles and walled towns dotted the terrain from southern Poitou through Saintonge and Angoulême and into Périgord. These holdouts made the logistics of a direct assault on Bayonne or Bordeaux difficult, as long French supply lines were exposed to attack.

The English had done little to support these minor lords through the two-year truce. Edward III's government was desperately low on funds and rife with corruption in the mid 1370s, which left local lords to prepare their own defenses. The royal council installed by the Black Prince in the wake of the Bad Parliament had managed to collect nearly £12,000 to support Aquitaine's defenses, mostly from fines, but Gascon administrators had not yet dispersed these funds far beyond Bordeaux. As a result, the Gascons who'd remained loyal to the English through the principality's interior lacked the funds to fully garrison their positions or supply them ahead of a renewed French offensive.

A two-prong assault led by Anjou was the brainchild of Bertrand du Guesclin, constable of France. Anjou gathered an army of more than 2,000 men at Poitiers in late July while Jean III, lord of Bueil, mustered a smaller force at Agen. In early August, the two men began marching their armies on circuitous routes towards Bergerac. Gascon defenders abandoned their stations as the armies approached or surrendered after only perfunctory resistance. Even Raymond de Montaut, lord of Mussidan, was forced to surrender Bourdeilles, one of the few great fortresses in the area still under English control, after just a week.

On 22 August, Anjou arrived outside the walls of Bergerac. The town was small, but strategically important. Its position on the Dordogne made it a wealthy commercial center and it was the last major defensive position on the river, with only minor fortifications and even smaller towns between it and Bordeaux. As a result, it was likely the furthest outpost from Bordeaux to receive funds for the improvement of its defenses. About 400 new men were sent to reinforce the town's garrison. In addition, several companies of Gascons who'd fled their positions ahead of Anjou's advance further in the Aqutainian interior had taken refuge in the town and were convinced to join in its defense by the town's captain, Bertucat d'Albret.

Albret was an inspiring figure in the defense of Bergerac. He was a bastard from the storied Gascon family and had never wavered in his support of English overlordship, refusing to declare for the Valois even after his capture by Anjou in 1374. He spent more than two years in Anjou's custody and had only managed to gather the funds to buy his freedom in late 1376. He immediately put himself in the service of Sir Thomas Felton, seneschal of Aquitaine, to take up arms against the French once more.

Anjou lacked the manpower to take Bergerac upon his arrival. He had received reinforcements of about 1,000 men from Languedoc, but this only served to offset the fact that his army had thinned as he'd garrisoned the dozens of small towns and fortresses that had submitted to him on his march. His army numbered less than 2,500 men when he set up camp outside Bergerac. An initial assault on the town was repelled and Anjou's men suffered heavy casualties. Anjou sent word to Bueil to bring siegeworks north and join the attack on Bergerac as soon as possible.

Bueil was only 40 miles from Bergerac, preparing an attack on Duras, home of the pro-English lord of Durfort, when he received Anjou's orders. He first marched south to retrieve siegeworks from La Réole and then turned north toward Bergerac. Dragging the heavy siege weapons north made for slow progress, which gave Gascon locals time to report his movement to Bordeaux. Felton quickly gathered all the men he had available to him around the Gascon capital, about 1,200 in all, and moved to intercept Bueil before he could join forces with Anjou.

Bueil's army had, like Anjou's, thinned considerably since the beginning of the campaign, having garrisoned the towns and castles that submitted to him with men from his own army. He may have had as few as 400 men with him on the road to Bergerac. He called for reinforcements from La Réole after hearing of Felton's approach.

Felton caught up to Bueil at Eymet on 1 September. Reinforcements had brought the size of Bueil's force up to perhaps 700 or 800. Both Felton and Bueil ordered their men to dismount. Fighting was fierce at the outset, but the outnumbered French were eventually overwhelmed. A bloody retreat followed, as the English ran down more than 500 Frenchmen. Bueil was captured along with three other French commanders: Bueil's brother Pierre, Guesclin's longtime ally Thibault du Pont, and Owain Lawgoch, a Welsh soldier who fought for the French as a mercenary. Lawgoch's capture was especially important given that his claim to the principality of Wales as the last male-line descendant of Llywelyn the Great had made him a powerful propaganda tool for Charles V.

The only notable English casualty was Felton, who appears to have been killed during the chaos of the French retreat. The battle already won by that point and the English eager to ride down their enemies, Felton's death went unnoticed for several hours. His quick leadership in the defense of Aquitaine and sacrifice on the battlefield would make him a hero to the local population.

News of the slaughter at Eymet reached Anjou on 3 September. The destruction of Bueil's army divided Anjou's councilors. The lord of Coucy was just days away with reinforcements from the north, but the French were likely unaware that Felton's death had left the Gascons leaderless and so they would have thought themselves vulnerable to attack before Coucy's arrival. Anjou called an end to the campaign after a day of deliberations, fearing that the Gascon victory at Eymet would inspire the towns he'd so recently captured to rise up against him and thus leave him deep in hostile territory. In this he was soon proven right, as French garrisons were expelled in several towns in Périgord.

Assault on Calais
Calais plagued the mind of Charles V more than any other English possession on the continent. It was a constant threat to the security of his realm and, while he showed a willingness to negotiate in other areas, he never wavered from his demand that the English abandon or destroy the town to secure a long-term peace. His brother Burgundy, whose wife was heiress to the county of Flanders, was similarly obsessed with the town's conquest or destruction.

Jean de Vienne's failure to establish a base of operations in southern England was not a major setback for the French in July 1377. Charles's council recognized the invasion of England was the most ambitious of their plans and a contingency had been made for its failure. In August, the army that had gathered in Normandy to lay waste to southern England moved instead to Flanders and joined Burgundy's forces that had already gathered there. Vienne launched a new series of raids along the English coast to distract English leadership from the upcoming attack on Calais then sailed back across the Channel to join the attack himself.

On 2 September, Burgundy led an army of 10,000 men to the Pale of Calais. Vienne joined him there with at least 50 ships. It was an extraordinary show of force, but a necessary one. Calais was one of the strongest fortresses in Europe and it had been heavily fortified since spring. A long campaign was expected by both sides.

Burgundy laid siege to Ardes, the largest of the Pale's outlying forts, on 4 September. The fort's captain was awed by the scale of the French operation and quickly lost his nerve. He surrendered after just three days. The quick fall of Ardes shattered English morale and the captain of the nearby town of Audruicq was bribed into surrendering on 12 September. Calais had been opened up to a direct assault from the east in just 10 days, but French fortunes turned in a matter of hours as the storm that scattered the Castilian fleet at Brest reached Calais. Rain had already begun to fall as Audruicq surrendered and the storm would intensify as the day went on. Driving winds and rains lashed the French army through the day and night and Vienne's fleet was scattered, with several ships lost or damaged.

Burgundy was apprised of the situation on 13 September, as the wind abated but heavy rains continued to fall. Vienne had already sailed for safe harbor with what remained of the French fleet and the downpour had flooded the causeways surrounding Calais, making the deployment of siege equipment impossible. Worse still, the army's supply lines were no longer dependable as the storm washed out roads in the surrounding area. The overwhelming size of Burgundy's army was no longer an advantage, but was now a serious liability, as the thousands of men at his command would quickly eat everything they had with no chance for resupply in the near future. In a stunning turnaround, Burgundy abandoned the campaign and disbanded his army.

Decline and death
The stress of the succession and war, combined with the long public ceremonies of the coronation, had a catastrophic effect on Edward IV's health. The Anonimalle Chronicle reported that "a grievous malady left him languishing in his bed" for days after the procession to the Tower.

Edward's efforts to hide the health problems after the Nájera campaign make it impossible to know to what extent his decline in summer 1377 differed from previous downturns in his health or how soon he would have recognized that this decline was terminal. Historian Richard Barber speculates that the king lingered near death after the procession to the Tower, as few letters bearing Edward's seal remain from the days immediately following the coronation yet many survive from the days following the succession. Other historians, like Michael Jones, argue that Edward's decline could not have been so dramatic so early on, as Edward would not write a will for more than a month after the coronation. Most matters were dealt with by the royal council during this time. Only great matters, such as the crisis on the Scottish march, were referred to the king.

Edward's condition visibly worsened in September and it became clear at some point that he was dying. The heir to the throne, Anouglême, was 12 and a regency was required to ensure the good governance of the realm during a time of war. Edward worked with John Fordham, keeper of the privy seal, and Sir Hugh Segrave, steward of the king's household, to devise a plan for the succession and regency that vested all the authority of the crown in Edward's eldest surviving brother, Gaunt.

On 22 September, William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester, was called to the Tower. He may have been the first figure outside of the royal family and a few trusted retainers to see the king since the coronation. As chancellor, Wykeham's support was necessary to ensure the peaceful transfer of power to a regent and the success of a regency government. Wykeham, however, opposed the arrangement Edward envisioned.

Wykeham was a powerful figure in English politics and was lord of the greatest ecclesiastical estate in England. He had served the royal government in various posts since 1361 and was familiar with all the princes of the blood. He had been friendly with Edward and Gaunt for many years, but his relationship with Gaunt soured in 1371 as Gaunt joined a chorus of critics in parliament accusing Wykeham of corruption and forcing Wykeham's resignation. Wykeham had maintained good relations with Edward, however, and was made chancellor after the events of the Bad Parliament. Gaunt and Wykeham's relationship had deteriorated further in 1377 as a result of Gaunt's support for religious reformer John Wycliffe.

Instead of Gaunt, Wykeham advised Edward to establish a regency council in which power would be shared between several lords and made accountable to parliament. This suggestion was unacceptable to Edward, who had forcefully rejected a similar proposal during the Bad Parliament of 1376. According to the chronicle of Henry Knighton, Edward bluntly dismissed Wykeham, saying "do not trouble us any longer." News of Edward's condition spread quickly through London after Wykeham's audience with the king.

On 23 September, Gaunt sealed a truce that ended the violence on the Scottish march. He returned to London just days later via a small merchant vessel. This was an unusual mode of transportation for a person of Gaunt's rank generally and for Gaunt especially. As duke of Lancaster, Gaunt was accustomed to traveling in great extravagance with a large entourage and both the mode and the speed of his return in 1377 indicates that Edward's inner circle had sent word of the king's condition.

Gaunt initially resisted the regency and requested a license to retire to his estates, but this was denied by the king. Walsingham writes that Gaunt understood he was liable to be blamed for any disasters that might befall the kingdom during Angoulême's minority and wished instead to pursue his own royal ambitions in Castile. This explanation is generally accepted by historians today, as Gaunt had once before accepted a prestigious post with an overwhelming responsibility from his ailing brother and Gaunt's subsequent lieutenancy of Aquitaine had been a failure. Regardless, he was convinced to accept the post of regent.

On 28 September, Gaunt and Wykeham were brought together at the Tower. Queen Joan, who likely organized the event, met with them in a private chamber in Wakefield Tower and encouraged them to reconcile. She returned to her husband's bedside, but Gaunt and Wykeham were kept out of the royal apartments in the neighboring St. Thomas Tower until they reached an accord. Their meeting lasted from early morning through the day and into the evening.

Gaunt conceded several points to win Wykeham's support. Firstly, to alleviate concerns that he would manage government to benefit the duchy of Lancaster, he swore to keep all officials appointed by Edward during the Bad Parliament and during his short reign as king. Secondly, to ensure the good governance of the realm, he swore to summon parliament at least once a year. Most importantly, he swore to respect the temporal estates of the church, which had become the subject of intense debate with the bishop of London's investigation of Wycliffe.

Edward dictated his will from his deathbed. His wife, his brother Langley, the archbishop of Canterbury, bishop of Exeter, bishop of Bath and Wells, and three household knights served as witnesses. In addition to a traditional plea for the will's executors to honor his debts and bequests and bequeathments to family and religious causes, he left strict instructions for his funeral and the design of his tomb. The document is most unusual, though, for the long and deeply personalizing preamble in which Edward lamented that God no longer favored him and that he deserved punishment for his sins. This sort of moralizing would soon become common in Lollard writings.

On 29 September, Gaunt and Langley were called to Edward's side. Walsingham wrote that the king "commended them to his wife and two sons, whom he greatly loved, and begged that each should help them and each other." The king's brothers swore to do so. Edward lingered through the morning, but grew faint in the afternoon and died at dusk. The Chandos Herald recorded his final words as "I give thee thanks, O God, and with all my heart desire forgiveness."

Gaunt and Wykeham were named among his will's executors. In accordance with his wishes, he was buried at Canterbury Cathedral and not at Westminster.

Edward IV is unique among English monarchs for being remembered more commonly as a prince of Wales than as a king of England. Edward was immortalized for his feats of arms as the Black Prince in William Shakespeare's Edwardian plays, but the resumption of hostilities at the start of his reign is a generally overlooked period of the war. His 100-day reign was important, though. The campaigns of summer 1377 would lead both England and France to adopt new strategies and Edward's devise for the succession would reshape English politics. These things would determine the conduct of the war through the next decade and beyond.

The Caroline War
The English response to the war was divided by class and geography. The attack on southern England failed at its mission to capture a staging ground for invasion and the raids that followed inflicted only modest damage, but this still represented the largest naval offensive against England since 1339. Townspeople along the southern coast were left with a sense of extreme vulnerability and Arundel's failure in Sussex had shown that they could not rely on their leaders to protect them. The anxiety this produced soon turned to anger.

Dunbar's campaign in the north produced similar feelings of unease. Families along the Scottish march were used to periodic raids, but the level of brutality inflicted on Roxburgh combined with news of French raids in the south gave the impression that the kingdom was surrounded. Dunbar and Vienne's attacks therefore had an effect on morale far greater than their immediate military impact.

The response in Gascony was wholly different, as the Battle of Eymet buoyed the local population. Anjou and Bueil's progress had been so swift in the first few weeks of August that it seemed possible they could sweep through 100 towns and fortresses and lay siege to Bordeaux itself. By early September, however, the French offensive had been broken. Anjou was forced to spend the rest of the year putting down anti-Valois revolts in the territory he'd captured. The Anglo-Gascon leadership was eager to capitalize on the momentum and Raymond de Montaut, lord of Mussidan, was already planning a counteroffensive to retake his great fortress at Bourdeilles.

News from Gascony could not penetrate the malaise that hung over the lower classes of England, though it was well received by the nobility and especially so among the lords of the Welsh marches. The capture of Owain Lawgoch at Eymet and his swift execution in Bordeaux ended the longstanding threat of a French invasion of Wales and removed a powerful figurehead for native Welsh discontent.

The French had a mixed reaction to the summer's campaigns. The surrender of Calais's outer defenses came far faster than expected and many believed that the town itself would have fallen if not for the storm that tore through the area. Anjou's campaign in Aquitaine was an embarrassment, though. Fewer than two dozen small towns captured that summer would remain in French hands by the end of the year. Charles V was so disappointed by the lack of progress that he refused to consider a 1378 campaign in the area and instead focused his efforts on Brittany. Anjou's retreat from Aquitaine was taken by many observers as a sign of French weakness and it reignited the dynastic and territorial ambitions of King Charles II of Navarre and King Fernando of Portugal.

The extent to which Edward IV can be credited for England's successes and blamed for its failures during the campaigns of 1377 is debatable. He was unable to take action himself, but he kept in close contact with his councilors. This was done largely through letters carried by his longtime retainers Sir Richard Adderbury and Sir Bernard Brocas, who were among the few figures he admitted into his presence during periods of ill health in the late 1360s and 1370s.

One success that can be at least partially attributed to Edward is the Battle of Eymet. English Gascony had been starved of revenue as a result of the corruption and incompetence of Edward III's government in the mid 1370s. As prince, Edward had overseen the reform of his father's government during the Bad Parliament, removing councilors and imposing staggering fines on corrupt officials. Crucially, he earmarked these fines for the defense of Gascony and about £12,000 was sent before the resumption of hostilities. The financial situation had been so dire before this that nearly the entire first installment of roughly £6,000 went toward arrears. The second installment allowed Felton to grow the number of men under his command by about half ahead of Anjou's campaign, which likely tipped the scales at Eymet and Bergerac in the English favor.

The succession and regency
Edward IV was succeeded by Angoulême, who became King Edward V. In accordance with Edward IV's plan for the regency, Gaunt assumed control of royal government as lord regent and Langley took custody of Edward V as lord protector.

The decision to divide the government and person of Edward V between Gaunt and Langley was novel for its time, as the authority of the medieval government flowed from the monarch. England's only successful post-Conquest regency was that of William the Marshal, whose position was legitimized by his guardianship of the young King Henry III. Walsingham recounts rumors that Gaunt was plotting to usurp the throne, but it is unlikely that Edward IV would entrust the regency to a man he suspected to be a traitor. The Chandos Herald suggests that Edward saw Gaunt as the only figure with the stature to serve as regent through a time of war. In his biography of Edward IV, historian Ian Mortimer speculates that Edward recognized that the challenges facing the kingdom would make any regent unpopular and so divided the government of the realm from the guardianship of the young king as a way to insulate Edward V from any possible criticism.

Opposition to Gaunt's regency was immediate. Gaunt had reached an accord with Wykeham, but Gaunt had other enemies. First among these was William Courtenay, bishop of London. Courtenay had launched the examination of Wycliffe in early 1377 and Gaunt had been Wycliffe's most public supporter at the time, poisoning relations between the two. In addition to his powerful post within the church, Courtenay had been born into the upper nobility, had relations throughout the peerage, and the location of his see surrounded him with potential anti-Gaunt allies, as Gaunt had repeatedly offended London's merchant oligarchs. Gaunt would have to make a series of concessions and public apologies to his various enemies in order to secure the regency and stabilize young Edward V's government, but he would soon find support in the upper lay nobility.

Langley's protectorship was uncontroversial. Historian Jonathan Sumption describes Langley as "an easy-going mediocrity" whose custody of Edward V was acceptable to all. Langley's disinterest in royal government and his close personal relationship with Gaunt eliminated the risk of conflict between the lord protector and lord regent. Langley was an avid hunter with large estates in the north and he quickly moved Edward's household from London to Yorkshire. As a result, Edward was effectively removed from the politics of the realm and performed only ceremonial duties at parliaments, great councils and Garter ceremonies.

Royal relations
Edward IV's brief reign had a polarizing effect on the royal family. Gaunt's role as regent and Langley's as protector, as well as Langley's promotion to a dukedom, left Thomas of Woodstock as a comparatively minor figure among the princes and he struggled to find a role for himself. He had no practical military experience, and thus could not expect a major command, and Gaunt's commitment to keep Edward's councilors in place locked Woodstock out of government office. This lower status and lack of prestigious appointments frustrated Woodstock and alienated him from his surviving brothers.

Isabella, the only surviving daughter of Edward III, was also forced to endure a lower status. Her husband, Enguerrand VII, lord of Coucy, was perhaps the wealthiest and most powerful subcomital lord in France. Coucy had come to England as part of a hostage exchange in 1360 and spent five years at the court of Edward III, during which time he met and married Isabella. Edward III made large grants of land to the couple. Coucy was made the earl of Bedford and entailed lands in Cumberland, Lancashire, Westmorland and Yorkshire. Isabella, who was described in her own day as Edward III's favorite daughter, was given grants for life in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, and Wiltshire, as well as land in Yorkshire in addition to that which her husband had been granted there.

Coucy and Isabella's marriage and the land grants that came with it had bought Coucy's neutrality in the conflict between England and France during Edward III's lifetime, but Coucy renounced his English title and declared his allegiance to Charles V after Edward III's death. Edward IV was so enraged by his brother-in-law's betrayal that he confiscated all of Coucy and Isabella's lands. Edward was eventually persuaded to restore Isabella to the lands she had been granted in her own right, but she was denied the title of countess. Coucy's lands were granted to Langley. Isabella would lose control of her own lands again less than a year after Edward's death as the result of a scurrilous attack on her character by her brother Woodstock.

More distant relatives were affected by Edward IV's short reign and death as well. Edward V's royal cousins and his nieces and nephews by his Holland half-brothers became important diplomatic tools in an era when treaties were often sealed by marriage, though the promotion of Lancastrian children in such negotiations exposed Gaunt's regency to criticism. Gaunt would also come into conflict with Edmund Mortimer, 3rd earl of March, regarding who was next in the line of succession after Edward's brother Richard. These divisions within the royal family would give rise to intense factionalism over the course of Gaunt's regency.

There were also physical divisions, as Edward V and his brother Richard were separated after their father's death. Edward technically maintained his own household, which was under the control of Langley as lord protector and funded by revenues from the county of Chester. Richard remained in his mother's household at Joan's request. The two boys had grown up together in Aquitaine and England as part of a tight family unit. Their father's efforts to hide his illness kept their household staff small, which largely isolated the boys from other children. They were almost certainly each other's only friend at this time and their separation was likely painful for them both.

Edward IV provided Joan with the largest dower ever received by an English queen, granting her estates in two dozen English and three Welsh counties. The grant of Haverford Castle may have been a romantic gesture, as it was the couple's favorite residence before the reconstruction of Kennington Palace in London. These grants, combined with the land she owned as suo jure countess of Kent, made Joan one of the greatest female English landholders in the medieval era.

Edward IV is often referred to as the "Black Prince." The first known source to use this epithet was the antiquary John Leland in the 1530s or 1540s, about 165 years after Edward's death. It became prominent near the end of the 16th century as a result of Shakespeare's Edward III, Part 3. His later sobriquet, "King of the Hundred Days" was dubbed by romantic writers in the 19th century. Today, historians generally use the two terms to differentiate between Edward's life and career in support of his father's reign and his own brief reign.
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Something I meant to mention in the update: I decided to make the live results of this poll public. The first one was private because I thought maybe it would be more exciting to see what won when an update was posted, but in retrospect that seems silly. (I'm surprised to see the Great Council option take an early lead. I thought people would have gotten their fill of English politics from the Bad Parliament update I did to keep things moving until KOTHD was finished.)

I can only back up what Cate has said - this is the amount of detail I aspire to.
Hopefully the pile of reference materials that I've assembled on the era will allow me to keep this level of detail going forward, though I expect articles to vary wildly in length depending on what is featured in each update. (With 9,000+ updates like this one on the higher end of the spectrum :coldsweat: )
Great Council of 1378
Great Council of 1378
The Great Council of 1378 was the first assembly of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal during the reign of King Edward V of England. It was held at Westminster Palace from 6 January to 14 January 1378.

Assemblies of church leaders and wealthy landowners had a long history in England. Anglo-Saxon kings consulted gatherings of clergy and noblemen since at least the seventh century, which predates the creation of the kingdom of England itself. These councils are sometimes referred to as the witan or witenagemot, but use of these terms is rare in contemporary sources.

The Norman Conquest introduced the magnum concilium to England, which more regularly convened ecclesiastical and secular magnates. This established a tradition that grew into parliament as a result of the political instability of the 13th century. Parliament was expanded over time to include representatives from cities, boroughs and town burgesses. This growth led to its formal division into two chambers, the House of Lords and the House of Commons, in the 14th century.

Authority over taxation was the basis of parliamentary power. Successive kings made concessions to parliament in exchange for grants of taxation, allowing the institution to develop into a forum for addressing grievances and eventually into a body for establishing laws. Both houses of parliament were required to take these actions, but the Lords did sometimes meet without the Commons. Such meetings were especially frequent during the reign of King Edward III, who needed to maintain the support of the upper nobility as he prosecuted wars in France and Scotland.

Meetings of the House of Lords outside of a regular parliament were informal through most of the 14th century. The clerk of the crown appears to have recorded their events, but their acts were not enrolled and only patchy records remain. Documents that have survived refer to these meetings interchangeably as great councils, king's councils or simply "the council."

The meeting of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in 1378 was significant for restoring the great council to prominence and beginning a process that would define it as a political entity separate from both the royal council and parliament. Over the next century, great councils would emerge as the primary vehicle for policymaking in the areas of war and diplomacy.

John of Gaunt
John of Gaunt, 1st duke of Lancaster, served as regent for Edward V, who came to the throne at age 12. Gaunt had grand notions of royal authority and class hierarchy. This was informed by his upbringing at one of the most illustrious courts in 14th century Europe and enhanced by his status as one of England's first dukes and his pretensions to the throne of Castile. His opinions were shared by many Englishmen of his generation, including his brother King Edward IV. Gaunt lacked Edward's charm and courtesy, though, and he could never hope to match his brother's feats of arms or win the popular acclaim with which they came. Instead, Gaunt's pretentiousness and defensiveness made enemies of any person or institution that he perceived as overly powerful in relation to the crown or to the upper nobility. These enemies needed to be reconciled with Gaunt to secure his regency government amid the kingdom's ongoing war with France.

There were three main groups opposed to Gaunt in the early months of the regency. First, there were the London merchant oligarchs led by William Walworth of the Fishmongers Guild. The crown had been hostile toward London since the city first secured self-governing rights during the reign of King John, but Gaunt went further than other members of the royal family by involving himself in the city's chaotic and vindictive political scene. London's craft and trade guilds effectively controlled the city and had roughly polarized into two opposing parties. Gaunt believed the merchant class had grown dangerously wealthy and, as such, he supported the party of John Northampton, who promised to break the fishmongers monopoly as part of a broader reform of city government. This earned Gaunt the wrath of London's financial elite.

Second, there was the clergy. The writings of reformer John Wycliffe kicked off an intense debate on the temporal wealth of the church in the 1370s. Support for Wycliffe was fairly widespread within the royal family, but again Gaunt took things further than others. Edward IV and Queen Joan of Kent quietly employed several figures close to Wycliffe and disseminated his writings, but Gaunt appeared at a public hearing in support of Wycliffe. At that hearing, Gaunt was heard muttering threats to drag William Courtenay, bishop of London, out by his hair for haranguing Wycliffe. This display had a chilling effect on Gaunt's relations with churchmen across the country.

Third, there were a number of lords and knights who had come into conflict with Gaunt at different times for different reasons. These figures had yet to come together as a coherent opposition group in 1378, but Gaunt understood their formidability as he had seen miscellaneous members of the lower nobility coalesce into a radical reform movement during the Bad Parliament.

Gaunt initially resisted the regency, understanding that the regent would be a target of extreme criticism and that his rank and wealth guaranteed him influence regardless of whether he had control of the government or not. Once he accepted the role, though, he worked quickly to secure his authority by reconciling with his various enemies.

Shortly after Edward IV's death, a delegation of Londoners that included Courtenay and Walworth asked for an audience with Edward V. They were invited to the Tower and given an audience that included the king, his mother, and several court officers, churchmen and knights. Courtenay spoke for the delegation and asked for an end to the quarrels between Gaunt and the city. Gaunt swore to give the Londoners his friendship and then, as a gesture of his goodwill, he knelt before the king and asked that a general pardon be extended to all the people of London. Gaunt then proceeded to exchange the kiss of peace with each member of the delegation in turn.

Following this, Gaunt ended his public support for Wycliffe, but tensions with the church, and especially Courtenay, lingered for several years. His exit from the London political scene was more readily accepted, as he refused to intervene when Walworth installed his ally Nicholas Brembre as mayor. Brembre went on to violently crush opposition to the merchant class during his time in office, arresting and sometimes executing critics on trumped-up charges. Gaunt's refusal to intervene against these abuses blackened his reputation with the reformers he'd once supported, but bought the oligarchs' support for the regency and helped stabilize the kingdom's finances.

Summons for a parliament were issued on 12 November 1377. The assembly of a great council just weeks before a general parliament suggests that Gaunt had intended to stage a similar public reconciliation with his rivals within the peerage, but this was ultimately unnecessary. The political climate of the country had shifted enough in late 1377 that several figures who may have been expected to oppose him were instead more concerned with the ongoing war with France.

War with France
French attacks on southern England in summer 1377 shocked the lower classes along the coast. In Rye, which was captured and briefly occupied by Jean de Vienne, admiral of France, a peasant mob formed after the French withdrawal and hanged several of the town's leaders for their failures. Riots broke out in Sussex protesting the earl of Arundel's absence, which was blamed for the French sack of Lewes and the deaths of hundreds of Englishmen. Even in areas that had largely escaped damage, like Kent, it became a widely held view that the ruling class had failed and demands were made to repair and garrison castles and other defensive structures.

The lords and gentry recognized that England had defended itself well in 1377, but the fear and anger that had gripped the peasantry was impossible to ignore. This had a major impact on the nobility as they gathered in council and parliament.

The Lords gathered at Westminster on 6 January to celebrate the feast of the Epiphany. Turnout was exceptionally high among the secular magnates. Both dukes of the realm, all eight of the earls who had been summoned, and several barons attended. Of the five earls who had not received a summons, three were minors and the remaining two were unmarried suo jure countesses who, as women, were not permitted to attend.

Edward V presided as official business began on 7 January. His presence in the White Chamber was purely ceremonial, as he was still weeks shy of thirteenth birthday. Accounts of the proceedings describe the young king as serious and stately, paying close attention to the proceedings through the long days of debate, but referring all matters and questions to Gaunt.

William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester and lord chancellor, addressed the assembly first. He spoke at length on the challenges that had faced the realm in the previous year and extolled the virtues of Edward III and Edward IV. Gaunt may have planned to stage a public reconciliation with various peers at this time, similar to what he did with the Londoners at the Tower months prior, but he had no opportunity for this. As soon as the chancellor finished his remarks, the Poitevin exile Guichard d’Angle, lord of Marans, rose to his feet to ask what actions could be taken to gain the initiative against France. The lords roared in approval as Angle spoke and war planning began.

Plan of attack
The explosive anger of the lower classes had made increasing the defense of the coasts a foregone conclusion, but the lords were unsatisfied with defensive plans alone and discussion turned to launching an offensive campaign in Gascony. The Anglo-Gascons had won a surprise victory at the Battle of Eymet and reports from Bordeaux in the months that followed had been positive. Sir William Elmham, governor of Bayonne, had taken control of English administration in Gascony after the death of the seneschal of Aquitaine at Eymet. The army had been redeployed to defend the northern and western marches and Raymond de Montaut, lord of Mussidan, had organized guerilla bands to wreak havoc on French supply lines in Périgord. Local uprisings had forced French garrisons out of several small towns across the region. The lords in council recognized that an infusion of fresh men and materials into Gascony at this time had the potential to transform the conflict, but the logistics made a major offensive extremely difficult.

English naval power had never recovered from the Battle of La Rochelle in 1372 and there was no real way to transport a large army to Bordeaux in 1378. Merchant vessels could be requisitioned in London and the Cinque Ports, but the large number required and the length of the journey to Bordeaux were obstacles too great to overcome. These facts drove the debate toward possible actions in Brittany and Flanders.

Richard Fitzalan, 4th earl of Arundel, and Gaunt's brother Thomas of Woodstock, 1st earl of Buckingham, emerged as vocal proponents of a Breton campaign. Jean IV, duke of Brittany, sat in the Lords as earl of Richmond and offered to cede control of Brest to the English for a generation in exchange for their help in reclaiming his duchy. This was a symbolic offer, as the city had effectively been under English control since Edward IV ordered a large garrison of men there the summer prior, but the gesture succeeded in winning Jean support among the lords.

Plans began for a major offensive campaign in Brittany. The lords aimed to capture a string of towns and fortifications along the northern coast so that they could deny the burgeoning French navy and, more importantly, deny France's Castilian allies access to ports from which to launch attacks on England. It was estimated that an army of 6,000 men could accomplish this. This, in addition to the men already stationed at Brest, would make Brittany the center of the English war effort in the years ahead.

Marriage prospects
A Norman squire in the service of King Charles II of Navarre arrived at Westminster on 13 January, as the lords finalized plans for a campaign in Brittany. Charles proposed the marriage of one of his daughters and Edward V, but the details of the possible alliance were nonexistent. The squire was authorized to do no more than introduce the idea and invite the English to send an embassy to Navarre to begin negotiations.

A Navarrese alliance was an attractive, but suspicious offer. Charles was a famously untrustworthy figure. In the Edwardian War, he routinely strung along Edward III in negotiations only to betray promises made to the English in exchange for gold or grants of land from the French crown. This history had poisoned Charles's relationship with Edward IV, who refused to send an embassy to Navarre to explore the prospect of an alliance in 1377. Gaunt, however, supported a reversal in policy toward Navarre.

Gaunt was an experienced diplomatic hand by this time, having served at the head of several embassies for his father and brother. He was also unusual among English noblemen in this era for conducting his own foreign policy, as he deployed envoys in his own name as pretender king of Castile. Gaunt interpreted the arrival of a lone squire as a sign of genuine interest in opening negotiations for an alliance, as Charles would have sent a more high-profile figure, like a Navarrese lord, if he wanted to catch attention and thus solicit a bribe from the French crown.

Gaunt extended the meeting of the great council for another day to allow for discussion on the young king's marriage. The Navarrese match was the main topic of debate, which reignited interest in Gascony. The lords resolved to send 1,000 men to Bordeaux, which was likely the largest force they could transport to the area, while moving forward with the planned offensive in Brittany. They also resolved to pursue the Navarrese match and to send two embassies, each consisting of one bishop and one esquire, to explore other potential alliances. One was dispatched to Prague to investigate the prospect of a marriage with one of the daughters of Emperor Karel IV and the other was sent to Mons to do the same with regard to the daughters of Albrecht I, duke of Bavaria-Straubing. Albrecht was heir to Hainaut and he already governed the county on behalf of his mad and childless older brother.

Parliament of 1378
The work of the great council came to an end on 14 January, but the Lords reassembled on 21 January as part of a full parliament. Edward V again performed a purely ceremonial role due his young age.

Sir Peter de la Mare was elected speaker of the Commons. De la Mare had led the radical reform program of the Bad Parliament and was arrested for treason by the Black Prince as a result. De la Mare had been imprisoned for more than a year and only gained his freedom after a pardon was issued to celebrate the coronation of Edward V.

A large number of the knights of the shire who had sat in the Commons of the Bad Parliament were elected again in 1378. Their choice of de la Mare as speaker may have signaled an intention to revisit the reform program of 1376, but no such effort was made. Gaunt had so far honored his pledge to ensure continuity between the government of Edward IV and the regency for Edward V, having kept every man appointed by Edward IV in office. Gaunt also allowed commissioners appointed by the Commons to review royal finances. These things denied the Commons any opportunity to accuse Gaunt of favoritism or mismanagement and seemed to stop any obvious reform movement before it could start.

In the wake of the 1377 attacks on southern England, the parliament of 1378 was the most enthusiastically pro-war assembly in many years. The Commons quickly endorsed the council's plans for Brittany and Gascony, but objections were made to Gaunt's appointment of his friend and ally John Neville, 3rd baron Neville, as lieutenant of Aquitaine and to Gaunt's intention to lead the campaign in Brittany himself.

Neville was closely associated with figures found guilty of defrauding the government of Edward III, though an investigation of Neville was unable to find evidence of wrongdoing on his behalf. De la Mare seemed to be searching for a fight to pick with Gaunt, but could not seriously challenge the appointment of an acquitted man to a vacant post. Opposition to Neville's appointment quickly faded.

Gaunt's critics could not accept him as leader of the Breton campaign, however. He eventually agreed to name a new leader for the expedition, but there was no obvious candidate for the job. The scale of the operation and its symbolic importance as the first campaign of Edward V's reign required a figure of exceptionally high status to lead it. Gaunt's brother Edmund of Langley, 1st duke of Aumale, was the only other man in England of such high rank, but Langley had led only minor operations in his career and had proven a poor commander. Gaunt ultimately split responsibility between his other brother, Woodstock, who had no real military experience, and the distinguished veteran William Montagu, 2nd earl of Salisbury.

The procurement of ships and transport of the armies to Brittany and Gascony were considered tasks of extreme urgency and the Commons petitioned the king to appoint lords of exceptional talent. Gaunt gladly encouraged the king to accept this proposal, removing Sir Michael de la Pole from the admiralty of the north and Sir Robert Hales from the admiralty of the west. In their steads, he appointed Arundel and Thomas Beauchamp, 12th earl of Warwick, respectively.

The government estimated that it would cost at least £200,000 to defend the realm, reinforce Gascony, and send an army to Brittany as they had planned, but only about £45,000 was expected from ordinary revenue over the course of the year. The Commons's auditors confirmed these estimates. An extraordinary double grant of taxation—two tens and two fifteenths—was approved along with revenue from wool customs for a year. Outrage from the Commons that the church had escaped the poll tax of 1377 led ecclesiastical lords to match the double grant with a clerical tax of two tenths. These grants would raise £106,000 over the course of the year. This, in addition to the £45,000 expected from ordinary revenue, left the government with a projected deficit of about £50,000.

The Commons suspected that more money could be made from the royal demesne, but their expectations were unrealistic and their skepticism of Gaunt was a major obstacle in maximizing revenues. Gaunt had developed the most efficient administrative system in the kingdom, having increased net income from the Lancastrian estates by more than 25 percent since inheriting them from Henry of Grosmont. Gaunt's shrewd team of clerks may have been able to increase income from royal estates, but the Commons was bitterly opposed to managing the royal demesne as an extension of the duchy of Lancaster and Gaunt was forced to take a more hands-off approach to the crown's lands.

Princess Isabella
In the end, de la Mare's most significant attack on the royal family was aimed not at Gaunt but at Isabella, the only surviving daughter of Edward III. As a result of the public anger that followed French attacks on the southern coast, a number of xenophobic petitions were introduced in the Commons. Foreigners were forced to swear oaths that they would not aid enemies of the realm and foreign priors were not allowed to reside within 20 miles of the sea to prevent possible information sharing. It was even suggested that local authorities be empowered to arrest foreign priors suspected of espionage, though ecclesiastical lords ultimately prevailed in stopping this last point.

Isabella was caught up in this wave of anti-foreigner legislation as a result of her marriage to Enguerrand VII, lord of Coucy. Isabella had separated from her husband and resided in England since 1377, but this did not remove her from suspicion. Edward III had granted Isabella a vast array of estates and the Commons questioned whether she would use the revenues gained therefrom to support Coucy's campaigns on the continent, given that wives vowed to obey their husbands. The king rejected the petition on Gaunt's advice, but de la Mare refused to drop the issue and a firestorm of debate ensued. Even the typically mild-mannered Langley stood to angrily denounce the insinuation that his sister would financially support the French war effort.

Sir John Guildesborough, a knight of the shire from Essex, broke the impasse by proposing a compromise in which Isabella would be stripped of her land and lose custody of the young earl of Oxford, but invest these things in her brother Woodstock for the remainder of the war. A portion of the revenues derived from the lands would be used to provide Isabella with a respectable allowance and Woodstock would oversee his sister's household. Gaunt begrudgingly accepted this compromise after Woodstock swore to provide Isabella with the funds necessary to maintain her dignity. Woodstock was soon suspected of engineering the attack on his sister to gain control of her lands.

Gaunt emerged from the great council and parliament of 1378 secure in his position as regent. He had successfully made peace with the merchant oligarchs of London, had somewhat thawed his relationship with the church, and had papered over his disagreements with several members of the secular peerage through a shared hatred of the French.

It was difficult for the upper nobility to maintain harmony for long, though. Fourteenth century society was a complex web of conflicting land claims, family alliances, local rivalries, patronage, and personal ambitions. The great council of 1378 was an opportunity for England's great families to renew old ties and forge new alliances as they entered the regency era. The first and easiest to identify of these new alliances is that between the Mortimer and Percy families.

Allied against Gaunt
Edmund Mortimer, 3rd earl of March, was first at odds with Gaunt during the Bad Parliament. At that parliament, March objected to the arrest of de la Mare, who served as March's steward. This objection led the Black Prince to remove March from the office of earl marshal. Gaunt vocally supported the Black Prince through the Bad Parliament, but March was humiliated. In 1378, March attempted to reclaim his position as earl marshal, but was refused on the basis that Gaunt had sworn to keep the officers appointed by Edward IV in place. That Gaunt denied this request while accepting a petition from the Commons to remove the admirals of the northern and western fleets enraged the earl.

March was married to Philippa of Clarence, Gaunt's niece and Edward V's first cousin. March was therefore a member of the royal family by marriage, but he was surprisingly isolated within the peerage. The rebellion of his great-grandfather had disgraced the Mortimer family and both his father and grandfather had died as young men, keeping the size of the family small while depriving it of patriarchs who could arrange strategic marriages. Besides a sister and an illegitimate half-brother, neither of whom had marriages of any import, March's closest relations were his mother's family, the Montagus.

William Montagu, 2nd earl of Salisbury, and John Montagu, 1st baron Montagu, were March's uncles. Salisbury had fought a legal battle with Gaunt for control of a large manorial estate in Dorset in the mid 1360s, which Gaunt won, but relations between the two were otherwise amiable. Salisbury was more interested in his own affairs than in antagonizing Gaunt, but the baron Mantagu would support March against the regent.

March's next-closest blood relations, the Bohuns, had been reduced to a pair of underage heiresses who could offer him no support at all. That left the marriage arrangements of his children as his only path to power.

Henry Percy, 4th baron Percy, was considered an ally of Gaunt before the late 1370s. The two lords had worked amicably together to maintain their competing interests in the north and had served together abroad. Percy had been appointed earl marshal, almost certainly on Gaunt's recommendation, after March lost the position. Thus, it was Percy who Gaunt was refusing to remove from the position when March sought to be restored to it in 1378.

Gaunt's mission to Scotland during Edward IV's brief reign seems to have been a turning point in his relationship with Percy, however. Gaunt had been tasked with restoring peace to the border in summer 1377, which he did. The Scots had since insisted on dealing with Gaunt on various issues, bypassing Percy, who had long been the greatest English lord on the Scottish border. Gaunt's new role in Anglo-Scottish affairs threatened Percy's position on the Scottish march and this seems to have been the catalyst for Percy's alliance with March. A marriage license for Percy's son and heir, also named Henry, and March's daughter Elizabeth is dated September 1378, suggesting that marriage negotiations between the two lords began soon after their meeting at Westminster in January.

March and Percy would form the nucleus of the anti-Gaunt faction that would emerge in the late 1370s. This group did not have a particular grievance against the regency government or a shared policy agenda that it sought to advance. Instead, its members were opposed to Gaunt on a personal level and had individual motivations.

William Courtenay, bishop of London, would be an early supporter of March. Courtenay's nephew Edward Courtenay, 3rd earl of Devon, would join the anti-Gaunt party soon after attaining his majority. Gaunt had a long and bitter feud with the bishop of London, but had little known history with Devon. The Courtenays were among the poorer of England's comital families and Gaunt had no major territorial interest in the southwest, where the Courtenay estates were concentrated, leaving no obvious explanation for Devon's antagonism towards Gaunt beyond familial loyalty to his episcopal uncle.

Allied with Gaunt
Gaunt, in contrast to March, had a large number of kin who supported him, most notably his brothers Langley and Woodstock. Langley was fiercely loyal to members of his family and would never waver in his support for Gaunt. Woodstock also supported Gaunt through the early 1380s, but Woodstock resented being the only prince denied a ducal title and both Gaunt and Langley harbored suspicions that Woodstock instigated the Commons's attack on their sister Isabella. This fueled tensions between the brothers, which would eventually erupt in 1381.

Gaunt also had strong support from Edward V's Holland half-brothers. Sir Thomas Holland, who was heir to the earldom of Kent, had fought alongside Gaunt at the Battle of Nájera and served Gaunt in various roles in both England and Aquitaine. John Holland was a violent youth with considerable ambitions who shared none of his older brother Thomas's competence or reliability, but who still found great favor as part of the Lancastrian household and returned it with fierce loyalty.

The patronage showered upon the Holland boys likely stemmed from Gaunt's friendship with their mother, Joan of Kent. As dowager queen and suo jure 4th countess of Kent, Joan was one of England's greatest landholders and Gaunt's most powerful ally within the royal family. She would play an important conciliatory role behind the scenes of Gaunt's regency.

Margaret of Norfolk, suo jure 2nd countess of Norfolk, was another powerful woman upon whom Gaunt could rely. Her alliance with Gaunt was mutually beneficial. In addition to her own large estates, Margaret was grandmother of the teenage John de Mowbray, 5th baron Mowbray, and five-year-old John Hastings, 3rd earl of Pembroke. Both boys had lost their fathers, and Mowbray his mother too, and their wardships were highly sought after. Margaret had custody of them both, but fourteenth century women were inherently insecure in their positions. As regent, Gaunt ensured that Margaret retained custody of the boys and, in return, she used her resources and connections to support the regency.

Gaunt also had lifelong connections with the Fitzalan family. Edward III had been close friends with the 3rd earl of Arundel and so Gaunt had known Richard Fitzalan, 4th earl of Arundel, and his brother Thomas Arundel, bishop of Ely, for their entire lives. The earl's explosive temper would sometimes strain his relationship with Gaunt, but the bishop would always remain supportive, even in light of Gaunt's earlier support for Wycliffe.

A quartet of northern baronial lords rounded out Gaunt's supporters. Richard Scrope, 1st baron Scrope of Bolton, and Thomas Ros, 4th baron Ros, were two of Gaunt's oldest friends. William Latimer, 4th baron Latimer, had become a fierce Lancastrian partisan after Gaunt's defense of Latimer in the Bad Parliament. John Neville, 3rd baron Neville, was one of many Lancastrian retainers whose relationship with Gaunt was unremarkable until the late 1370s, but Neville would become Gaunt's favorite as Percy's hostility toward the regent grew.

Third pole
As factions emerged in support of Gaunt and March in 1379 and 1380, an independent group of earls emerged as power brokers. They were led by William Ufford, 2nd earl of Suffolk.

Suffolk had a number of Lancastrian links, many of which dated back to Henry of Grosmont's time, but he was a figure of great stature whose unimpeachable character allowed him to act as a peacemaker between Gaunt and March on several occasions. Suffolk was supported in this role by Thomas Beauchamp, 12th earl of Warwick, and Hugh Stafford, 2nd earl of Stafford. These lords appear to have had no agenda or personal vendettas, but were instead devoted to maintaining the peace at home and prosecuting the war abroad. The chronicler Thomas Walsingham, who wrote bitterly of most political figures in this era, was unreserved in his praise of these lords and especially of Suffolk.

These factions roughly defined English politics in the early years of Gaunt's regency, though these divisions were not impossible to overcome. The lords were able to work together to fight the war against France and members of different groups would sometimes share personal or regional interests. Some figures even managed to gain favor from all sides, such as Sir Thomas Percy, who worked closely with his brother in the Scottish marches and who Gaunt trusted completely on diplomatic missions.

The great council of 1378 is notable for continuing a shift in power away from the Commons that began with the Bad Parliament. Gaunt's use of a great council as a body for the formulation of public policy may have been accidental, but it was instructive for the management of the regency government and later for the personal government of Edward V.

Great councils under Edward III were effectively informal, short-term expansions of the royal council without specialized functions or missions. These specializations began to develop under Gaunt's regency. Great councils came to be regular deliberative assemblies of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal that typically focused on a singular pressing issue. Meanwhile, the permanent council, also called the royal council, was composed of the officers of state and magnates who were at court to continually advise the king.

In short, great councils became forums for debate and the development of policy, particularly in foreign affairs, while the royal council formed a semi-professional body that executed the business of state. The meetings of the Lords in full parliament, meanwhile, came to focus almost exclusively on domestic matters that required the presence of the Commons.

A major part of the growth of the great council was the establishment of an office that directly supported its work. Gaunt made Edmund Brudenell clericus magni concilii, or clerk of the great council, which established a position separate from the clerk of the crown and the clerk of the Commons. Brudenell began keeping the "Book of the Great Council" and served the Lords in both great councils and full parliaments. This ensured the regularity of proceedings in meetings and provided a complete record of business.

Beginning in 1379, Gaunt created a schedule for two meetings of the great council and one meeting of a full parliament annually. Great councils were assembled in January and September, with a full parliament following the September council meeting. This schedule was adhered to through 1381.
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John of Gaunt was the second Duke of Lancaster
Technically the dukedom of Lancaster went extinct with the death of Grosmont, as women could not (and, oddly, still today cannot) inherit dukedoms. (The inheritance rights of women went through a rather stark regression in 14th century western Europe, so it's not a huge surprise that the introduction of a new rank in English society would come with male exclusivity.) The title was thus downgraded and returned to its original rank, that of an earldom, when it was inherited by Blanche. This made Gaunt 5th earl of Lancaster jure uxoris. He held this title for about a year until Edward III recreated the dukedom, thus making Gaunt 1st duke of the 2nd creation and Blanche a duchess in right of her husband.

edit: Got my centuries wrong. Still too early for me.
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Conference of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
Conference of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
The Conference of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port was a series of meetings between representatives of England and Navarre at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the spring and summer of 1378. They were the first formal negotiations between the two kingdoms since the aborted 1370 Treaty of Westminster.

King Charles II of Navarre was among the most ambitious and duplicitous figures of the late-medieval era. He inherited a small Pyrenean kingdom from his mother and extensive lands in Normandy from his father, holding the titles count of Évreux and count of Longueville. He also possessed claims to the counties of Angoulême, Brie and Champagne, the duchy of Burgundy and the kingdom of France itself. His murder of Charles de la Cerda, a close advisor and lifelong friend of King Jean II of France, kicked off the longest and bloodiest civil war in French history. The war between France and Navarre, combined with the overwhelming English victory at the Battle of Poitiers, allowed King Edward III of England to exact harsh terms on France in the 1360 Treaty of Brétigny. The treaty ended direct hostilities between England and France, but war between France and Navarre continued for several more years.

In 1365, Charles of Navarre finally conceded defeat to King Charles V of France. He was forced to surrender nearly all of the castles, fortifications and valuable towns and cities he held as count of Évreux, reducing the county to an empty title that had lordship over no more than the town of Évreux itself and a dozen castles considered vital to the town's protection. He was allowed to maintain his holdings in the Cotentin Peninsula, but he was deprived of Longueville and made to renounce his claims to the counties of Angoulême, Brie and Champagne. His claim to Burgundy was to be decided by the pope, but French pressure on the papacy ensured that the issue was never actually considered.

War between England and France resumed in 1369 and went poorly for the English. Charles of Navarre concluded negotiations for an alliance with Edward III in 1370, but Edward's son and heir, Edward, the Black Prince, refused to sign the treaty and the alliance never came to be. In 1373, Charles negotiated an alliance with Edward's other son, John of Gaunt, 1st duke of Lancaster, to support Gaunt's pretensions to Castilian throne, but it was quickly abandoned after the failure of Great Chevauchée.

The French launched coordinated attacks on Aquitaine, Brittany, Calais and mainland England in 1377, but failed to make significant progress anywhere. Charles of Navarre saw the stalemate as an opportunity to revisit his land claims in France. He sought restoration of the Norman lands he'd lost in 1365 as well as 350,000 francs in financial compensation for the duchy of Burgundy, which had by this time been granted to one of Charles of France's brothers. This sum represented several years worth of ordinary revenue from the duchy, which Charles of Navarre believed was fair restitution given that his claims there were never genuinely investigated by the papal court.

Charles of Navarre's representatives were coolly met when they arrived in Paris in October 1377. The French considered 1377 to be a brief setback and believed that a refocused war effort would succeed in pushing the English out of Brittany and Calais within a year. The king of France was therefore unwilling to concede anything to Navarre. He did not yet feel secure enough to alienate Navarre entirely, though, and the Navarrese were strung along through the fall of 1377 before their demands were finally rejected. Charles of Navarre quickly and quietly dispatched one of his agents to propose an alliance with England. Gaunt, now regent for King Edward V of England, sent a small embassy to explore the offer.

First conference
The English delegation arrived in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on 26 April 1378. The town was a Navarrese holding north of the Pyrenees and was considered ideal for keeping talks secret. Its location just 35 miles from Bayonne made it an easy position for the English to reach and its history as an important stopping point on the pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James made the appearance of foreigners unremarkable.

Sir Edward Berkeley was the lead English negotiator. He was accompanied by Sir John Roches and the Gascon squire Garcie-Arnaud de Salies. The lack of clerics and lawyers signaled that the English were not yet convinced that Navarre was serious in forming an alliance against France.

García Arnault II, lord of Garro, led the Navarrese delegation. Garro was one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in Navarre and was known to be one of Charles of Navarre's closest advisors. His presence demonstrated that the Navarrese were, in fact, very serious.

The Navarrese offer was a good one. Navarre would raise 300 men in Normandy and put all its castles and ports in the region at English disposal for the duration of the war. In exchange, England would provide 1,000 men from Gascony to support Navarre's conquest of Logroño and would not make peace with France unless Navarre's interests in Normandy were realized. The proposed alliance was to be sealed with the marriage of a Navarrese princess and Edward V, though the details of this, such as a dowry, were to be negotiated separately.

Berkeley lacked the authority to agree to these terms or even to negotiate their finer points. Embarrassingly, he reached the limit of his instructions after only days of discussion. He asked permission to bring this offer to Gaunt and report back. The two delegations exchanged promises to represent each other to their lords fairly and without delay, agreeing to reconvene in two months.

Berkeley's two deputies sailed to England, but Berkeley himself remained in Gascony. He set out on a fact-finding mission that took him across the duchy, from Bayonne and Bordeaux to the frontiers of English control. He would in time become one of the most knowledgeable and trusted figures in the region.

English response and second conference
Roches and Salies delivered the Navarrese offer on 1 June. The Lords Spiritual and Temporal had been gathered in a great council as the country's plans for war in Brittany were slowly being worn down by the logistics of transporting thousands of men and horses. The lords were jubilant. Gaunt named the veteran diplomat Richard Stafford, 1st baron Stafford of Clifton, as head of a new embassy. Stafford secured transport on a merchantman headed for Bayonne and quickly departed with Roches and Salies.

The two sides reconvened on 29 June. Stafford's delegation included Berkeley, Roches, Salies, and a pair of clerks recruited in Bayonne. The English proposed only minor changes to Navarre's original proposal, but in a sign of their continued suspicion, they demanded the control of the town of Cherbourg as surety, pledging to return the town upon the marriage of Edward V and one of the Navarrese princesses.

Cherbourg was perhaps the greatest fortress in northern France and it was beyond Garro's diplomatic authority to negotiate its transfer to the English. Talks were suspended again in early July so that Garro could deliver the English counteroffer to Charles of Navarre.

Discovery and third conference
Garro's movements back and forth across the Pyrenees did not escape notice. Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port was bordered to the north by English Gascony and to the east by the viscounty of Soule, which technically still submitted to English overlordship, though the remoteness of its location gave it an enviable level of autonomy. Nearby, though, was the Fuxéen viscounty of Béarn.

Gaston III, count of Foix, had a remarkable network of spies in his employ across the region. His agents, taking note of Garro's travel, discovered the English embassy in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port sometime in July. Foix had a troubled history with both England and Navarre and, fearing that an Anglo-Navarrese alliance may threaten Béarn, wrote to Charles of France seeking support.

Charles of France was well aware that an army was gathering in southern England when Foix's letter arrived in Paris. The English force was far too large to escape the notice of merchants traversing the Channel, but the French had no idea as to where it was headed. The discovery of Anglo-Navarrese talks led the king's council to believe that the English army was destined for Navarre's lands in Normandy. The king's brother, Philippe II, duke of Burgundy, was ordered to hold off a planned attack on Calais and to be prepared to head off the English army once it landed.

On 21 August, English and Navarrese ambassadors convened at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port for the third and final time. Discussion was short. Navarre agreed to England's terms and a treaty was signed. Papers of safe conduct were to be delivered to Garro in Pamplona so that he could travel to England to begin negotiating the details of the promised marriage and to oversee the transfer of Cherbourg to the English.

The delegations dispersed. Stafford returned to London and Garro to Pamplona to deliver copies of the treaty to their kings. Berkeley moved on to Bordeaux and put himself in the service of the new lieutenant of Aquitaine. Roches and Sailes, however, proceeded to Orthez. The pair had orders from Gaunt to make contact with the count of Foix in the event that Navarrese talks were successful.

Roches and Sailes arrived at Foix's magnificent Bearnese court in Orthez in hopes of bringing Foix into the new alliance. Roches, though, appears to have badly misjudged his host's intentions and shared plans for the coming Anglo-Navarrese campaign in great detail. Foix quickly reported these to the king of France.

Charles of France ordered the seizure of Charles of Navarre's Norman estates immediately upon receipt of Foix's news. In early October, Burgundy swept through Évreux, Mortain and Avranches before Charles of Navarre could even make the captains of these towns aware of his plans. Navarre lost control of all his Norman estates, save Cherbourg, before the end of the year. Château de Breteuil was a particularly devastating loss, as it was the home of Navarre's young children, making all but his eldest son and heir hostages of the French crown. [2]

The surprise attack on Navarre's Norman lands in October 1378 greatly complicated the Anglo-Navarrese alliance. The English took control of Cherbourg, as outlined by their agreement, but Navarre was no longer able to provide any real assistance in Normandy and the English were committed to defend Navarre against invasion from Castile, which now seemed imminent. Navarre could not even provide the bride that was promised in the treaty, with his daughters now held hostage.
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