Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Anglo-French War (1300–1303)

Anglo-French War (1300–1303)

PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: England and Flanders vs. France


DECLARATION: Flemish revolt, known as the Matins of
Bruges, on May 18, 1302

Edward I sought to reassert English claims in France by
backing a revolt in Flanders; the French fought to
maintain their control over Flanders.

OUTCOME: England regained hegemony in Gascony, and
Edward’s empire building was strengthened.



TREATIES: Peace of Paris, 1303

Although a truce between England and France had followed
the ANGLO-FRENCH WAR (1294–1298), an Englishbacked
revolt in Flanders rekindled aggression in 1300.
King Edward I (1239–1307) of England, since 1297
deeply involved in a war with rebellious Scotland known
as WALLACE’S REVOLT, gave his approval and promised
backing to his Flemish allies to take up arms against
French king Philip IV the Fair (1268–1314). The extent of
English involvement in the resulting struggle was limited
to Edward’s support of Flemish actions, but the subsequent
French defeat in 1302 gave Edward a strong position
in the peace negotiations.
Since the war of 1294–98 Flanders had been at the
mercy of Philip IV the Fair, who ruled the region harshly
Several years of active resistance led to a full-scale revolt,
the Matins of Bruges, in the west Flanders town of Courtrai
on May 18, 1302. The Flemish, led by Guy de
Dampierre (c. 1225–1305) and armed with heavy pikes
and other weapons unconventional for the time, faced a
formidable French armored cavalry led by Robert d’Artois
(1250–1302). On July 11, 1307, the feudal army charged
the “pike wielding” Flemish, which resulted in the utter
rout of the stunned French forces, thousands of whom
were slain, including Artois, as the pikemen emerged from
their well-positioned cover along the waterways of Flanders.
One of the most significant victories of infantry over
armored cavalry in the Middle Ages, the Battle of the
Spurs—named for the 700 pairs of gilt spurs removed
from the slain knights and displayed as trophies in Courtrai
Cathedral—forced the French to negotiate with
England. The battle was a disaster for the knights, their
horses all but useless in the prevailing mud. After the battle,
the Peace of Paris in 1303 between France and
England restored English hegemony over Gascony and
greatly strengthened Edward’s growing empire.

Further reading: Joseph Reese Strayer, The Reign of
Philip the Fair (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press,

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