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Medieval History


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History of some of the World's medieval wars, battles and campaigns including the War of the Roses and the battles between the Saxons and Normans.

Battles Fought (Click on Name to view art prints and more information):

  • Battle of Hastings
    • The Norman Conquest of England led to the battle of Hastings in 1066. King Harold was engaged in seeing off the Norse invasion at Stamford Bridge when the Norman Duke William landed at Pevensey on September 28th. King Harold quickly marched back to London and on October 13th deployed his troops on the Senlac Hill near Hastings. William attacked on the 14th. The Saxons managed to repel the first charge of William's knights, and while the Normans were retiring in disorder the Saxon infantry followed in pursuit. They were, however, routed. Amazingly Harold managed to reform his line before the next assault and his foot soldiers managed to hold their ground. In the evening a feigned withdrawal by William caused the Saxons to pursue William's troops, and they were promptly dispatched by the knights. After King Harold was hit in the eye by an arrow what remained of the Saxon army dissolved and William was free to march to London to be crowned King of England. Battle Abbey was later built by order of King William at the site.
  • Richard the Lion Heart
  • Battle of Crécy
    • One of the battles fought during the Hundred Years War, on 26th August 1346. On 12th July Edward III landed in Normandy with his army and marching north plundered the countryside. King Philip VI assembled an army to stop Edward and tracked them across the Somme River. When Edward reached Crécy he stopped and ordered his army to take up defensive positions. King Philip surveyed the English positions and decided to postpone his attack until August 27th. However, the French vanguard pressed forward too far and so committed the entire army to the battle. The hired Genoese crossbowmen began the assault but came under severe attack from the English longbows and so fled to the rear. King Philip then ordered his cavalry to charge resulting in a huge loss of horse and man under the barrage of arrows which rained down on them. By the end of the night after several unsuccessful assaults the French army was reduced by a third and King John of Luxemburg was dead. Edward then turned towards Calais.
    • Crecy

          For more than four hundred years the words “King if France” were included in the formal titles of the Kings of England, but the only English Monarch, from the days of Edward III to those of George III, who could lay claim to anything more than the empty name of King of France was Edward III himself, with whom, indeed, the claim originated.

                 It was in 1337 that Edward III formally asserted his right to the French Throne, through his mother, Isabella, daughter of Philip IV.  This audacious proceeding was probably an afterthought, indeed, perhaps, by a desire for revenge for the many ill-turns which his cousin, Philip VI of France, ha done him; for we know for eight years previously Edward had done homage to him for his duchy of Aquitaine.  The assertion of his claim, which most modern historians consider had little or no legal basis, naturally led to the outbreak of hostilities between England and France, but probably neither combatant dreamt then that the quarrel between the two countries was not to terminate till 1453, more than a hundred years later.

                 Edward followed up the assertion of his right by an invasion of France, but neither this nor two subsequent invasion that he attempted were successful, and in 1342 a truce was made for three years.  But by 1345 it had become evident no permanent peace was to be expected, and Edward resolved once more to take the offensive and make a final effort to crush his rival.

                 He found no difficulty in getting together a large and efficient armed force with which to prosecute the war.  Parliament had decreed in 1345 that every landowner should provide armed men in proportion to the value at which your land is assessed; and towns had to equip bodies of men in proportion to their wealth; thus the City of London had to provide a 100 men at arms and 500 foot soldiers.  In addition to these troops, the King arranged personally with various noblemen to bring so many men with them into the field; and these, being paid a fair wage, came voluntarily.

                 This system enabled the English army to attain a far greater degree of discipline than the feudal levies, which the king of France summoned his vassals to bring to his aid.  These latter, if they felt disinclined to fight for their over-lord-and if he was not strong enough to force them to do so-stayed away, or if they came, brought into the field an ill-disciplined rabble of unwilling followers, without any cohesion or though of acing together, while their leaders were perpetually quarrelling for precedence in the field.  It was this want of homogeneity and lack of discipline, which brought crushing defeats upon the armies of feudal France by small but better disciplined English troops.

                 An army in the days of chivalry formed a striking and beautiful spectacle.  Friossart, to whose “Chronicles” we owe vivid and picturesque descriptions of the campaigns of Edward III, and from whom this account of the battle of Crecy is chiefly taken, says it was “a great pleasure to look upon the English army drawn up in battle array, the knights each beneath his banner or pennon, mounted upon horses whose housings, decorated with their arms, reached to the ground.”  The arms of the knights appeared, too, on the brilliantly emblazoned sucroats, which they wore over their armour.

                 Besides the Earls, barons, knights, and esquires who formed the mainstay of his army, Edward’s force consisted of light armed horsemen, who wore steel caps and coats of mail, and were armed sometimes with lances and swords, but more often, at

       

  • Battle of Agincourt
    • One of the battles fought during the Hundred Years War, on 25th October 1415. King Henry V marched towards Calais after his conquest of Harfleur only to be stopped by a swollen river Somme and French defences. Henry was forced towards Amiens while a French army was raised under constable Charles d'Albret and marshal Jean Bouciquaut and stationed between Calais and Henry V's army. Realising he must fight, Henry chose the battlefield by deploying his troops near the village Agincourt. With horses to the rear and three divisions of men supported by archers he opened the battle at 11 o'clock. The French had deployed their cavalry first which trudged through the mud towards the English lines, taking heavy casualties at the hands of the archers and those that made it to the line were cut down by axes and swords. The second French line under the Duc d'Alencon marched forward only to be beaten back with the Duc himself being killed. The third and final French line lost their will to fight after seeing the mounds of bodies slain on the battlefield. The battle took less than 3 hours, resulted in 7,000 French casualties and c1,600 English casualties, and afterwards Henry marched on to Calais.
  • War of the Roses
    • 1455   Battle of St Albans
      • On 22nd May Richard of York along with the earls of Salisbury and Warwick, assaulted the Lancastrians at St Albans. The earl of Warwick attacked the rear and gave the royalists a good routing. In the end the King had to submit to the control of the Yorkists. Another battle ensued in 1461.
    • 1459    Battle of Blore Heath
    • 1459    Battle of Ludford
    • 1460    Battle of Sandwich
    • 1460    Battle of Northampton
    • 1460    Battle of Wakefield
    • 1461    Battle of St Albans
    • 1461    Battle of Ferrybridge
    • 1461    Battle of Towton
    • 1464    Battle of Hedgeley Moor
    • 1464    Battle of Hexham
    • 1469    Battle of Banbury
    • 1470    Battle of Lose-coat Field
    • 1471    Battle of Ravenspur
    • 1471    Battle of Barnet
    • 1471    Battle of Tewkesbury
    • 1485    Battle of Bosworth
  • The Battle of the Spurs
    • Four years after his ascent to the throne, Henry VIII, fired with that spirit of martial enterprise which had been the natural heritage of so many of his predecessors, found his plans ripe for the invasion of France.  A long peace had made the project popular, and on the 30th June 1513, the King landed at Calais with a vanguard of 8,000 men, leavened with a body of English archers, who, notwithstanding the new but cumbrous practice of firearms, were still renowned throughout Europe.  The Swiss, armed with pike and sword, and the Germans, under the Emperor Maximilian, to whom 120,000 crowns had been advanced by Henry, were counted upon as allies.  Only the former fully kept their word, but the Emperor of Germany, on finding that he could not fulfil his bond to supply a complement of auxiliaries, was chivalrous enough to enlist himself in the King of England's service.  Henry, on his part, showed his appreciation of this magnanimity by appointing the Emperor to direct the combined operations.  At the outset, the small town of Terouane was successfully besieged, but the French King Louis, advancing to Amiens, despatched a body of 800 light horse under Fontrailles to create a diversion.  This body was successful enough to surprise the English camp, without, however, having the strength to maintain this advantage.  In the meantime Henry prepared for the main advance of the French cavalry, and a body of English troops crossed the Lis in readiness.  When suddenly confronted with this unexpected opposition, the French gave an illustration of one of the most unaccountable panics in military history, and this despite the fact that the force consisted of the gentlemen of France.  A mad sauve qui peut ensued, and in the headlong flight at Guinegate the pink of the French chivalry were cut down or captured.  Chief among the prisoners was the Chevalier Bayard - the knight "sans peur et sans reproche" - and in the unhappy company was the Duc de Longueville, the General in command.  After this amazing incident a straight road seemed clear to Paris, but, as was manifested later, the expedition had been designed by Henry for glory - not for conquest.

Death of Richard The Lion heart (Coeur-de-Lion)

Richard of the Lion heart is a type of the Knight errant who has made captive the imagination of posterity. His passion for adventure carried him into many lands and his courage and prowess in ware were so great that a century after his death Saracen mothers stilled the cry of their children by the terror of his name. England it is said, owes him nothing but barren fame and blood-stained laurels. his lust for conquest may have drained the country of its wealth, yet his chief exploit-the Crusade  to free the Holy Sepulchre, had the fervent support of his subjects  and all Christendom like Cromwell, he made the name of England feared and respected aboard. fate surely was in the mood for irony , in an obscure quarrel, the warrior who had faced the hosts of Saladin and had carried the sword and fire though France and had escaped the prison of his enemies sand the plot's by his brother John.  Ever in the need to raise money for war, Richard demanded a treasure that had been found at Chaluz. The owner of the castle, a vassal of Richards enemy, the viscount of Limoges, offered part of the treasure but would not give it all up. This refusal the King, a strict disciplinarian, looked upon it as an act of rebellion. he laid siege to the castle, rejecting all proposals to surrender on terms. The situation of Chaluz 3was strong but the means of defense were small. Richard was riding round the outer wall's to discover a weak point for his assault when a arrow from a long bow struck him in the shoulder. Enraged at this wound the King's men stormed the castle, carried it with sword and lance and hange3d the defenders. the sole survivor was the archer was the archer who had fired the fateful bolt. Him Richard with th4e generosity of a brave soldier, pardoned on his death bed, for the wound being treated by an unskillful surgeon proved fatal. Marchadie, who had not the nobility of soul of his master, caused the archer to be flayed alive. Whatever his faults  as a ruler Richard -Coeur -de Lion will always be one of the most romantic heroes in British history. (text from British Battles 1898)

 


Battle of Hastings - Battle of Agincourt - War of the Roses

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Richard the Lionheart by Brian Palmer.


Richard the Lionheart by Brian Palmer.

Richard the Lionhearts tactical skills and military training played a substantial role in the capture of Acre in 1191 by the Crusaders. But Richard the Lionheart was ruthless and after the capture of the city he marched 2,700 Muslim soldiers onto the road of Nazareth and in front of the Muslim army positions, had them executed one by one. But Richard the Lionheart was up against a great leader in Saladin and the crusades did not always go his way. After he negotiated the Treaty of Jaffa with Saladin and secured the granting of special rights of travel around Palestine and in Jerusalem for Christian pilgrims, Richard the Lionheart started his journey back to England in 1192. He was shipwrecked, and captured by the German Emperor Henry VI, only being released after a 150,000 mark ransom was paid. This money was raised by taxes in England.
Item Code : DHM1382Richard the Lionheart by Brian Palmer. - Editions Available
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Richard I (The Lion Heart) During the 3rd Crusade by Chris Collingwood.
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Richard I (The Lion Heart) During the 3rd Crusade by Chris Collingwood.


Richard I (The Lion Heart) During the 3rd Crusade by Chris Collingwood.

Richard the Lionhearts tactical skills and military training played a substantial role in the capture of Acre in 1191 by the Crusaders. But Richard the Lionheart was ruthless and after the capture of the city he marched 2,700 Muslim soldiers onto the road of Nazareth and in front of the Muslim army positions, had them executed one by one. But Richard the Lionheart was up against a great leader in Saladin and the crusades did not always go his way. After he negotiated the Treaty of Jaffa with Saladin and secured the granting of special rights of travel around Palestine and in Jerusalem for Christian pilgrims, Richard the Lionheart started his journey back to England in 1192. He was shipwrecked, and captured by the German Emperor Henry VI, only being released after a 150,000 mark ransom was paid. This money was raised by taxes in England.
Item Code : DHM1016Richard I (The Lion Heart) During the 3rd Crusade by Chris Collingwood. - Editions Available
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Image size 25 inches x 17 inches (64cm x 43cm)Artist : Chris Collingwood£70 Off!
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Richard Lionheart at the Battle of Acre by Matania.


Richard Lionheart at the Battle of Acre by Matania.

Richard the Lionhearts tactical skills and military training played a substantial role in the capture of Acre in 1191 by the Crusaders. But Richard the Lionheart was ruthless and after the capture of the city he marched 2,700 Muslim soldiers onto the road of Nazareth and in front of the Muslim army positions, had them executed one by one. But Richard the Lionheart was up against a great leader in Saladin and the crusades did not always go his way. After he negotiated the Treaty of Jaffa with Saladin and secured the granting of special rights of travel around Palestine and in Jerusalem for Christian pilgrims, Richard the Lionheart started his journey back to England in 1192. He was shipwrecked, and captured by the German Emperor Henry VI, only being released after a 150,000 mark ransom was paid. This money was raised by taxes in England.
Item Code : DHM0122Richard Lionheart at the Battle of Acre by Matania. - Editions Available
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Death of Richard Coeur-de-Lion, 1199 by Henry Dupray.


Death of Richard Coeur-de-Lion, 1199 by Henry Dupray.

Siege of the castle of Chaluz, 1199, where Richard received a arrow in the shoulder
Item Code : HD0014Death of Richard Coeur-de-Lion, 1199 by Henry Dupray. - Editions Available
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