Anglo-French War (1542–1546)
PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: England and the Holy Roman
Empire vs. France
PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Boulogne (France) and the Isle of
DECLARATION: Holy Roman Emperor Charles V declared
war on France on July 30, 1542.
MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: England retaliated when
France allied with Scotland in its war against Henry VIII.
OUTCOME: France ceded Boulogne in exchange for 2
million French crowns.
APPROXIMATE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF MEN UNDER ARMS:
England, 40,000; France, 30,000
CASUALTIES: France, 800 killed; England, 700 killed
TREATIES: Treaty of Crépy-en-Laonnois, September 18,
1544, between the Holy Roman Empire and France;
Treaty of Campe (or Ardres), June 7, 1546, between
England and France
The Anglo-French War of 1542–46 between Henry VIII
(1491–1547) of England and Francis I (1494–1547) of
France started when Henry formed a precarious alliance
with Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1500–58), who had
declared war on France on July 30, 1542. The necessity of
suppressing rebellion in Scotland relegated Henry’s role to
that of a silent partner in the conflict, but a royal victory
over the Scots at Solway in the fall freed Henry for greater
involvement (see ANGLO-SCOTTISHWAR [1542–1549]). On
December 31, 1543, Charles V and Henry VIII concluded a
secret treaty, which called for a dual invasion of France.
Hostilities started in July 1544, when Henry commissioned
Sir John Wallop (1490–1551) and his 5,000-man
infantry to lay siege against Boulogne. Henry then redi-
rected Wallop and his men to aid Charles in his siege
against the French region of Landrecies.
The provisions of the secret treaty called for a joint
campaign to begin in June 1544, with the object of marching
on Paris together. On July 3 Henry arrived in France to
lead a force of 30,000 men. He took over the siege of
Boulogne and captured the town on September 14, just four
days before Charles, independently of Henry, came to terms
with the French. The defeated garrison was allowed to
withdraw in peace from Boulogne, and the Treaty of Crépyen-
Laonnois between the emperor and France ended the
dual invasion. Henry returned to England, leaving behind a
skeleton force of 3,300 men. Over the next year fighting
resumed and was sporadic, limited to periodic raids and
counterattacks, until the summer of 1545, when Francis I
led a naval campaign in the English Channel, which burned
the Isle of Wight and resulted in the accidental sinking of the
English flagship Mary Rose. Wet weapons and poor strategic
planning prevented the French from capitalizing on
what they had gained, forcing them to withdraw to Havre.
Limited fighting continued until a final peace treaty
could be agreed upon. Negotiations started as early as
November 1545 but stalled because Henry VIII stubbornly
demanded the restoration of English hegemony in
Boulogne. In May 1546 the talks were moved to Campe,
where they continued until June 7, 1546, when the Treaty
of Campe (or Ardres) was concluded, whereby France
ceded Boulogne to England for a period of eight years in
return for a payment of 2 million French crowns.
See also ITALIAN WAR BETWEEN CHARLES V AND
FRANCIS I, FOURTH.
Further reading: R. J. Knecht, French Renaissance
Monarchy: Francis I and Henry II (London and New York:
Longman, 1984); William S. Maltby, Reign of Charles V
(New York: Palgrave, 2002).