|Siege of Chartres (1360)|
|Part of the Hundred Years' War|
The History of that Most Victorious Monarch Edward III by Joshua Barnes
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
Black Monday took place on Easter Monday (1360) during the Hundred Years' War (1337–60), when a freak hail storm struck and killed an estimated 1,000English soldiers. The storm was so devastating that it caused more English casualties than any of the previous battles of the war.
On 5 April 1360, Edward III, King of England led his army of 10,000 men (including approximately 4,000 men-at-arms, 700 continental mercenaries, 5,000 mounted archers) to the gates of Paris, in one of the largest English armies fielded in the Hundred Years' War. The force was headed by the King's most trusted lieutenants, including the Prince of Wales; Henry, duke of Lancaster; the earls of Northampton and Warwick; and Sir Walter Mauny; all men who had been responsible for many of the English military successes in the preceding two decades. The defenders of Paris led by the Charles, Dauphine of France, refused battle. It was not possible to breach the defenses so over the next week Edward would try to induce the Dauphine into open battle. All attempts at the latter would prove futile and undermine Edward's hope for a decisive outcome. The English left the vicinity of Paris after laying waste to the countryside, and marched towards the French cathedral city of Chartres.
On Easter Monday 13 April Edward's army arrived at the gates of Chartres. The French defenders again refused battle, instead sheltering behind their fortifications, and a siege ensued. The French defense was low in numbers and led by the Abbot of Cluny, Androuin de La Roche.
That night, the English army made camp outside Chartres in an open plain. A sudden storm materialized and lightning struck, killing several people. The temperature fell dramatically and huge hailstones along with freezing rain, began pelting the soldiers, scattering the horses. Two of the English leaders were killed, and panic set in among the troops, who had little to no shelter from the storm. One described it as "a foul day, full of myst and hayle, so that men dyed on horseback [sic].”Tents were torn apart by the fierce wind and baggage trains were strewn around. In a half-hour, the incitement and intense cold killed nearly 1,000 Englishmen and up to 6,000 horses. Among the injured English leaders was Sir Guy de Beauchamp II, the eldest son of Thomas de Beauchamp, the 11th Earl of Warwick; he would die of his injuries two weeks after.
Edward was convinced the phenomenon was a sign from God against his endeavors. During the climax of the storm he is said to have dismounted from his horse and kneeled in the direction of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres. He recited a vow of peace and was convinced to negotiate with the French.
Shortly after the freak storm, the next day, Androuin de La Roche arrived at the English camp with peace proposals. Edward agreed with the counsel of his trusted aid Henry of Grosmont, the 1st Duke of Lancaster.That day Edward began the withdrawal of his army from the gates of Chartres, effectively ending the one-day siege of the town.
French friar Jean de Venette credited the apocalyptic storm as the result of the English looting of the French countryside during the observant week of Lent.
On 8 May 1360, three weeks later, the Treaty of Brétigny was signed, marking the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years' War.
The legacy was mentioned in Shakespeare:
“It was not for nothing that my nose fell a- bleeding on Black Monday last, at six o'clock i' the morning.” —Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice, ii. 5.
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Edward III, also known as Edward of Windsor before his accession, was King of England and Lord of Ireland from January 1327 until his death. He is noted for his military success and for restoring royal authority after the disastrous and unorthodox reign of his father, Edward II. Edward III transformed the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe. His fifty-year reign was the second-longest in medieval English history, and saw vital developments in legislation and government, in particular the evolution of the English Parliament, as well as the ravages of the Black Death. He outlived his eldest son, Edward the Black Prince, and the throne passed to his grandson, Richard II.
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Lancaster's chevauchée of 1346 was a series of offensives directed by Henry, Earl of Lancaster, in southwestern France during autumn 1346, as a part of the Hundred Years' War.
The Crécy campaign was a large-scale raid (chevauchée) conducted by an English army throughout northern France in 1346, which devastated the French countryside on a wide front and culminated in the eponymous Battle of Crécy. It was part of the Hundred Years' War. The campaign began on 12 July 1346, with the landing of English troops in Normandy, and ended with the capitulation of Calais on 3 August 1347. The English army was led by King Edward III, and the French by King Philip VI.