|Philip the Good|
Led by the Nose in Arras
One of the major stumbling blocks to a treaty between the Burgundians and the French was Charles VII’s involvement in the murder of Philip’s father John the Fearless in Paris in 1419. Philip was assured that the pope’s[i] envoys, the Cardinal Cyprus Hugh de Lusignan[ii] and Cardinal Albergati, would ensure that Charles did penance for the deed.
The French and the Burgundians signed the Treaty of Arras on 21st September 1435[iii]. Philip was not a diplomat and was led by the nose by Charles VII who offered terms he never meant to keep in order to detach the Burgundians from their former allies. Charles bribed a number of important members of the Burgundian council to encourage them to support the treaty. The bribed included Philip’s most senior and trusted advisor Antoine, Lord of Croy [iv] along with Chancellor Rolin.
‘To the said Nicolas Rolin 10,000 saluts[v]
To the said lord of Croy, likewise 10,000 s
To the said lord of Charny 8,000 s
To Philippe, lord of Ternant 8,000 s
|Antoine de Croy|
The perfidy was not the councillors alone; Isabella too fell for French persuasiveness and accepted a pension of £4,000 per annum[viii] as thanks for her services as a negotiator of the Franco-Burgundian peace treaty. This was rent monies from lands Philip had given his wife, but without Charles to ensure that the money was paid to Isabella, she had little chance of receiving the monies.
Upon recognizing Charles VII as king of France and returning the county of Tonnere to the crown Philip was given; the County of Auxerre and the County of Boulogne, the cities on the Somme and Péronne, Ponthieu. The Vermandois, with its capital Saint-Quentin.
Philip was excused from giving homage to the man he believed complicit in his father’s murder[ix].
Problems at Home and Abroad
It did not take long before Charles showed his true colours, he refused to undertake the penance imposed upon him for the murder of John the Fearless[x]. Charles also ordered his troops to attack the lands he’d given Philip and encouraged raids on the borders with Burgundy. In addition Charles refused to recognise Philip’s privileges due to a Prince of the Blood[xi].
The English for their part, in retaliation at Philip’s perfidy, were negotiating trade deals direct with the merchants of the lowlands, without going through Philip. The Burgundians retaliated by attacking English trading vessels and piracy abounded, causing problems for all nations dependent on trade. Burgundy in particular was hit and Philip was chronically short of ready cash[xii].
|Neptune Gate, Calais|
In September 1435 John of Bedford died and his brother Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester emerged as the most powerful figure in the English government. Humphrey’s marriage to Jacqueline of Hainault meant he was antipathetic to Philip and now he tried to seize Flanders.
Rumours were rife that Philip intended to attack Calais in the summer of 1436. Philip’s army settled before the town on 9th July, but he was unable to stop access from the sea. Running short of money Philip wrote to Isabella pleading for funds to continue the siege. Isabella sent 1,000 saluts[xiii] of her own money, to no avail as Philip’s men abandoned him on 28th July. A few months later Hue de Lannoy[xiv] wrote to Philip about the problems Burgundy was facing;
‘You must have appreciated, during the siege of Calais, what harm is done by lack of finance, and it is to be feared that the war has just begun.’[xv]
Philip turned to his lands in Artois to mobilise another army. He informed Isabella to meet with the leaders of Ghent, Bruges and Ypres and to negotiate a solution to the uprisings by 13th August 1436. Philip needed to get an army in the field to fend off any revenge attacks by the English.
Things went from bad to worse and two of Philip’s men were assaulted, one of whom died of his wounds. In trying to save the wives of the two men, Isabella’s convoy was searched by angry militia. Philip himself was assaulted in Ghent on September 3rd; his bodyguard was disarmed and he was kept prisoner by the citizens until he agreed to their demands.
Hue de Lannoy agreed with Philip that Burgundy needed allies at the French court in order to persuade Charles VII to desist in his attacks on Burgundy’s frontiers, especially as they believed that the English would once again start raiding. Philip believed that there were two possibilities he could pursue to gain his ends;
· or forgiving the 400,000 gold crown[xvii] ransom agreed when Philip’s men captured René of Anjou[xviii]
Philip opted to play the first card and hold René’s ransom as a backup card. After Isabella negotiated with them, the English undertook to allow Charles of Orléans to tend the upcoming negotiations;
‘That same autumn the Duke of Orléans, who had been a prisoner in England ever since the battle of Agincourt, was released…..it was hoped that his presence and influence in France would further the English cause, and the duke undertook to do his best in the interests of peace.’[xix]
|Hue de Lannoy|
Isabella helped prod the French nobility into paying up towards Charles of Orléans ransom.
Rebellion continued to flare throughout Flanders during the remainder of the year and into 1437 as well. The Flemings blamed Philip’s policies for the loss of trade, they were not alone in this; Hue de Lannoy pointed out to Philip;
‘The English are planning to keep a large number of ships at sea to effect a commercial blockade of your land of Flanders. This is a grave danger, for much harm would result if that country were deprived for any length of time of its cloth industry and commerce.’[xx]
The people also blamed Philip for the growing struggles between merchants and artisans and rivalry among the major towns of the region. The people seemed to regard Isabella as separate and apart from her husband; recognising that she understood the problems facing a maritime economy.
The Hundred Years War – Alfred Burne, Folio Society 2005
Edward IV – Keith Dockray, Fonthill Media Limited 2015
Wars of the Roses – John Gillingham, Weidenfeld Paperbacks 1990
The Reign of Henry VI – RA Griffiths, Sutton Publishing Ltd 1998
Europe: Hierarchy and Revolt 1320-1450 – George Holmes, Fontana 1984
The Fifteenth Century – EF Jacob, Oxford University Press 1997
Margaret of Anjou – Helen E Maurer, Boydell Press 2003
Louis XI – Paul Murray Kendall, Sphere Books Ltd 1974
Prince Henry – Peter Russell, Yale University Press 2000
Isabel of Burgundy – Aline S Taylor, Madison Books 2001
John the Fearless – Richard Vaughan, Longmans, Green and Co Ltd, 1966
Philip the Good – Richard Vaughan, Boydell Press 2014
Charles the Bold – Richard Vaughan, Boydell Press 2002
[ii] Known as the Cardinal of Cyprus
[iii] Shortly after the death of John of Bedford
[iv] Leader of the pro-French party at the Burgundian court
[v] On the assumption that the salut was equal in worth to the French livre then in 2015 this payment would have been worth; historic standard of living value of that income or wealth is £7,318,000.00 labour earnings of that income or wealth is £59,830,000.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £247,500,000.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £4,461,000,000.00 www.measuringworth.com
[vi] Jan van Hoorn, admiral of Flanders, killed the following year by Flemings after being accused of accepting English bribes
[vii] Philip the Good - Vaughan
[viii] In 2015 the relative: historic standard of living value of that income or wealth is £2,927,000.00 labour earnings of that income or wealth is £23,930,000.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £98,990,000.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £1,784,000,000.00 www.measuringworth.com
[ix] Upon the death of either Philip or Charles the giving of homage for the Burgundian lands in France would resume
[x] To apologise for his involvement and to set up a number of religious foundations in memory of the duke
[xii] A frequent problem for any nobility whose worth was usually measured in lands
[xv] Philip the Good - Vaughan
[xvi] Who had been held captive for 23 years, ever since the Battle of Agincourt; his family had been unable to raise the ransom demanded by the English for a Prince of the Blood. see http://wolfgang20.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/charles-duke-of-orleans-ii.html
[xvii] Anjou had been released in 1437; in 2015 the relative: historic standard of living value of that income or wealth is £224,500,000.00 labour earnings of that income or wealth is £2,241,000,000.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £8,615,000,000.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £156,700,000,000.00 www.measuringworth.com
[xix] The Hundred Years War - Burne
[xx] Philip the Good - Vaughan