John IV, Count of Armagnac

Last updated

John IV
Count of Armagnac
Armoiries Armagnac-Rodez.svg
Born15 October 1396
Died5 November 1450 (aged 54)
Noble family Armagnac
SpousesBlanche of Brittany
Isabella d' Évreux
Father Bernard VII of Armagnac
Mother Bonne de Berry

John IV (15 October 1396 – 5 November 1450) was a Count of Armagnac, Fézensac, and Rodez from 1418 to 1450. He was the son of Bernard VII of Armagnac, Count d' Armagnac, [1] of Fézensac, Pardiac, and Rodez; and Bonne of Berry. John IV was involved in the intrigues related to the Hundred Years' War and in conflicts against the King of France.


His father had taken the County of Comminges by force, but John IV could not prevent the second marriage of Marguerite to Mathieu de Foix in 1419. Subsequently, they took the County of Comminges. In 1425, he recognized the King of Castile as overlord of Armagnac. The French king, occupied fighting the English, could not intervene, but did not overlook the affront. Later, John IV negotiated the marriage of his daughter Isabelle with Henry VI of England, but he backed off from this plan after threats from the king of France. In 1440, he took part in a revolt of the barons and the Dauphin of France, but the coalition was overcome by Charles VII, who pardoned the insurrectionists. He asked the Count of Armagnac to give up its kingly formula, but this last was refused.

Charles VII then asked the Dauphin to punish the recalcitrant John IV. Besieged in L'Isle-Jourdain, John IV was made prisoner and imprisoned in Carcassonne in 1443. He was pardoned three years later, but his counties were directed by royal officers, and he did not have any more noble capacities until his death.

Negotiations with the English

John IV's quarrels with Charles VII encouraged him to seek an approximation with the latter's enemies, namely the English. In July 1437, both parties signed a treaty, one of the terms being that Armagnac would not allow his subjects to act with hostility towards the English. [2]

In 1442, negotiations started for a marriage between King Henry VI of England and one of John's daughters. Armagnac was anxious for a strong alliance which would protect him from threats by Charles VII, while the English were looking forward to being able to use his lands as a defensive buffer zone against French attacks. [3] John's strategically located territories in southwestern France made him much better positioned to defend Gascony than the English crown. "Armagnac was said to have offered a huge dowry in money, lands and men to help defend the borders of Gascony." [4]

John IV seems to have stalled the negotiations as he evaluated whether allying with the English or attempting a reconciliation with Charles VII was the best idea. Regardless, with John receiving threats from his overlord, coupled with indecisiveness on the part of the English, the marriage negotiations came to an end.

Marriages and children

He married Blanche of Brittany (1395–1419), daughter of John IV, Duke of Brittany and Jeanne d' Évreux, on 16 June 1407 [5] and had one child:

He married his second wife on 10 May 1419, shortly after the death of his first wife. His second wife was Isabella d' Évreux (b. 1395; † 1450), daughter of Charles III, king of Navarre and Eleanor of Castille. [1] They had five children:


Related Research Articles

House of Valois

The House of Valois was a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. They succeeded the House of Capet to the French throne, and were the royal house of France from 1328 to 1589. Junior members of the family founded cadet branches in Orléans, Anjou, Burgundy, and Alençon.

John IV may refer to:

Armagnac (province)

The county of Armagnac, situated between the Adour and Garonne rivers in the lower foothills of the Pyrenées, is a historic county of the Duchy of Gascony, established in 601 in Aquitaine. It is a region in southwestern France that includes parts of the Departments of Gers, Landes, and Lot-et-Garonne.

John the Fearless 14th/15th-century Duke of Burgundy

John the Fearless was a scion of the French royal family who ruled the Burgundian State from 1404 until his death in 1419. He played a key role in French national affairs during the early 15th century, particularly in the struggles to rule the country for the mentally ill King Charles VI, his cousin, and the Hundred Years' War with England. A rash, ruthless and unscrupulous politician, John murdered the King's brother, the Duke of Orléans, in an attempt to gain control of the government, which led to the eruption of the Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War in France and in turn culminated in his own assassination in 1419.

Count of Armagnac

The following is a list of rulers of the county of Armagnac:

John V, Count of Armagnac

John V of Armagnac, the penultimate Count of Armagnac of the older branch. He was the son of John IV of Armagnac and Isabella of Navarre.

The Armagnac faction was prominent in French politics and warfare during the Hundred Years' War. It was allied with the supporters of Charles, Duke of Orléans against John the Fearless after Charles' father Louis of Orléans was killed on a Paris street on the orders of the Duke of Burgundy on 23 November 1407.

Charles IV, Duke of Alençon

Charles IV of Alençon was the son of René of Alençon and Margaret of Vaudémont.

The County of Fézensac was an 8th-century creation on the north-eastern fringes of the Duchy of Gascony following Charlemagne's policy of feudalisation and Frankish colonisation. The move was aimed at offsetting and undermining the authority of the duke of Gascony Lupo II after the setback suffered by the Franks at the Battle of Roncevaux in 778 and failure to restrain the Basques. That advance clearly displeased the Basques, with these policies sparking a stir on the banks of the Garonne.

Bonne of Berry Countess of Savoy

Bonne of Berry was the daughter of John, Duke of Berry, and Joanna of Armagnac. Through her father, she was a granddaughter of John II of France.

Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War

The Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War was a conflict between two cadet branches of the French royal family — the House of Orléans and the House of Burgundy from 1407 to 1435. It began during a lull in the Hundred Years' War against the English and overlapped with the Western Schism of the papacy.

The crown lands, crown estate, royal domain or domaine royal of France were the lands, fiefs and rights directly possessed by the kings of France. While the term eventually came to refer to a territorial unit, the royal domain originally referred to the network of "castles, villages and estates, forests, towns, religious houses and bishoprics, and the rights of justice, tolls and taxes" effectively held by the king or under his domination. In terms of territory, before the reign of Henry IV, the domaine royal did not encompass the entirety of the territory of the kingdom of France and for much of the Middle Ages significant portions of the kingdom were the direct possessions of other feudal lords.

Anne of Armagnac

Anne of Armagnac, Dame d'Albret, Countess of Dreux was a French noblewoman and a member of the powerful Gascon Armagnac family which played a prominent role in French politics during the Hundred Years War and were the principal adversaries of the Burgundians throughout the Armagnac-Burgundian Civil War. Anne was the wife of Charles II d'Albret. One of her illustrious descendants was Queen Jeanne III of Navarre, mother of King Henry IV, the first Bourbon king of France.

Isabella of Navarre was the younger surviving daughter of Charles III of Navarre and his wife Eleanor of Castile. She was a member of the House of Évreux.

Catherine of Alençon

Catherine d'Alençon was a younger daughter of Peter II of Alençon and his wife Marie Chamaillart, Viscountess of Beaumont-au-Maine. Catherine was the second wife of Louis VII, Duke of Bavaria. Catherine was also maid of honour to Louis' sister, Isabeau of Bavaria.

Charles d'Armagnac, born 1425, died June 3, 1497 in Castelnau-de-Montmiral at the age of 72 years, was Count of Armagnac and Rodez from 1473 to 1497. He was the son of John IV, Count of Armagnac and Rodez, and Isabella d'Évreux. His older brother, Count John V, was a leader of the League of the Public Weal against King Louis XI of France, causing Charles to be imprisoned for fifteen years. John was killed in a skirmish, allowing Charles to inherit the title of Count of Armagnac.

Gerald VI, Count of Armagnac

Gerald VI, (1235–1285), was Viscount Fezensaguet from 1240 to 1285, then Count of Armagnac and Fezensac from 1256 to 1285. He was the son of Roger d'Armagnac, Viscount of Fezensaguet, and Pincelle d'Albret.

Bernard VI, Count of Armagnac

Bernard VI,, Count of Armagnac and Fezensac, was the son of Gerald VI, Count of Armagnac, and Mathe de Béarn.

House of Armagnac

The House of Armagnac is a French noble house established in 960 by Bernard I, Count of Armagnac. It achieved its greatest importance in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Mathieu de Foix-Comminges

Mathieu de Grailly or Mathieu de Foix was Count of Comminges between 1419 and 1443.


  1. 1 2 Régine Pernoud and Marie-Véronique Clin, Joan of Arc: Her Story, transl. Jeremy duQuesnay Adams, (St. Martin's Press, 1999), 174.
  2. "Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council of England, Volume 5", by Privy Council of England, p. XCV, preface
  3. King Henry VI
  4. Susanne Saygin, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (1390–1447) and the Italian Humanists, p. 117
  5. Arthur de La Borderie and Barthélemy Pocquet, Histoire de Bretagne, Vol. 4. (H. Vatar, 1906), 137.
  6. According to Mathieu d'Escouchy, she was aged 22 in 1455. If his statement is correct, she would have been born in 1432 or 1433, strictly speaking. Samaran, C. (1907). "Isabelle d'Armagnac, dame des Quatre-Vallées" (PDF). Revue des Hautes-Pyrénées (in French). 2: 97–115, 140–149, 171–178).
  7. Samaran 1907, p. 114 n. 4.

Further reading

Preceded by
Bernard VII
Count of Armagnac
Succeeded by
John V