|Duke of Brittany|
|Reign||12 April 1365 – 1 November 1399|
|Predecessor||Joan, Duchess of Brittany, contested by John (IV)|
|Count of Montfort |
(as John III)
|Reign||16 September 1345 – 1 November 1399|
|Earl of Richmond|
|Reign||20 June 1372 – 1 November 1399|
|Predecessor||John of Gaunt|
|Died||1 November 1399 (aged 59–60)|
|Father||John of Montfort|
|Mother||Joanna of Flanders|
John IV the Conqueror KG (in Breton Yann IV, in French Jean IV, and traditionally in English sources both John of Montfort and John V) (1339 – 1 November 1399), was Duke of Brittany and Count of Montfort from 1345 until his death and 7th Earl of Richmond from 1372 until his death.
He was the son of John of Montfort and Joanna of Flanders. His father claimed the title Duke of Brittany, but was largely unable to enforce his claim for more than a brief period. Because his father's claim to the title was disputed, with only the English king recognising it, the subject of this article is often numbered in French sources as "John IV" and his father as simply "John of Montfort" (Jean de Montfort), while in English sources he is known as "John V". However, the epithet of "The Conqueror" makes his identity unambiguous.
The first part of his rule was tainted by the Breton War of Succession, fought by his father against his cousin Joanna of Penthièvre and her husband Charles of Blois. With French military support Charles was able to control most of Brittany. After his father's death, John's mother Joanne attempted to continue the war in the name of her baby son. She became known as "Jeanne la Flamme" (Fiery Joanna) for her fiery personality. However, she was eventually forced to retreat with her son to England to ask for the aid of Edward III. She was later declared insane and imprisoned in Tickhill Castle in 1343. John and his sister Joan of Brittany were taken into the King's household afterwards.
John returned to Brittany to enforce his claim, with English help. In 1364, John won a decisive victory against the House of Blois in the Battle of Auray, with the support of the English army led by John Chandos. His rival Charles was killed in the battle and Charles's widow Joanna was forced to sign the Treaty Guérande on 12 April 1365. In the terms of the treaty, Joanna gave up her rights to Brittany and recognized John as sole master of the duchy.
Having achieved victory with English support (and having married into the English royal family), Duke John IV was constrained to confirm several English barons in positions of power within Brittany, especially as controllers of strategically important strongholds in the environs of the port of Brest, which gave the English military access to the peninsula, and which took revenue from Brittany to the English crown.This English power-base in Brittany was resented by the Breton aristocrats and the French monarchy, as was John's use of English advisers. However, John IV declared himself a vassal to king Charles V of France, not to Edward III of England. Nevertheless, this gesture did not placate his critics, who saw the presence of rogue English troops and lords as destabilizing. Faced with the defiance of the Breton nobility, John IV was unable to muster military support against King Charles V, who took the opportunity to exert pressure over Brittany. Without local support, in 1373, he was once more forced into exile to England.
However, King Charles V made the mistake of attempting to completely adjoin the duchy of Brittany to France. Bertrand de Guesclin was sent to make the duchy submit to the French king by force of arms in 1378. The Breton barons revolted against the takeover and invited Duke John IV back from exile in 1379. He landed in Dinard and took control of the duchy once more with the support of local barons. An English army under Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester, landed at Calais and marched towards Nantes to take control of the city. However, John IV subsequently reconciled with the new French king, Charles VI of France, and paid off the English troops to avoid a confrontation. He ruled his duchy thereafter in peace with the French and English crowns for over a decade, maintaining contact with both, but minimizing open links to England. Between 1380 and 1385, John IV built the Château de l'Hermine (Castle of Hermine) in Vannes, which became a defensive fortress and dwelling for the Dukes of Brittany. He built it inorder to benefit from the central position of the city of Vannes in his duchy. In 1397, Duke John IV finally managed to extricate Brest from English control by using diplomatic pressure and financial inducements.
In 1392 an attempt was made to kill Olivier de Clisson, the Constable of France, who was an old enemy of the duke's. The attacker, Pierre de Craon, fled to Brittany. John was assumed to be behind the plot, and Charles VI took the opportunity to attack Brittany once more. Accompanied by the Constable, he marched on Brittany, but before he reached the duchy the king was seized with madness. Relatives of Charles VI blamed Clisson, and instituted legal proceedings against him to undermine his political position. Stripped of his status as Constable, Clisson now took refuge in Brittany himself, and was reconciled with John (1397), becoming a close adviser to the duke.
John IV was knighted by King Edward III between 1375 and 1376 as a member of the Order of the Garter. He is believed to be the only Duke of Brittany to have attained this English honour.
Duke John IV married three times:
Joan of Navarre was the mother of all of John's children. After his death, she served as Regent to their son, John V, Duke of Brittany, and eventually married King Henry IV of England.
Joan of Navarre, also known as Joanna was Duchess of Brittany by marriage to Duke John IV and later Queen of England by marriage to King Henry IV. She served as regent of Brittany from 1399 until 1403 during the minority of her son. She also served as regent of England during the absence of her stepson, Henry V, in 1415. Four years later he imprisoned her and confiscated her money and land. Joan was released in 1422, shortly before Henry V's death.
The Duchy of Brittany was a medieval feudal state that existed between approximately 939 and 1547. Its territory covered the northwestern peninsula of Europe, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west, the English Channel to the north. It was less definitively bordered by the Loire River to the south, and Normandy and other French provinces to the east. The Duchy was established after the expulsion of Viking armies from the region around 939. The Duchy, in the 10th and 11th centuries, was politically unstable, with the dukes holding only limited power outside their own personal lands. The Duchy had mixed relationships with the neighbouring Duchy of Normandy, sometimes allying itself with Normandy, and at other times, such as the Breton-Norman War, entering into open conflict.
Constance was Duchess of Brittany from 1166 to her death in 1201 and Countess of Richmond from 1171 to 1201. Constance was the daughter of Duke Conan IV by his wife, Margaret of Huntingdon, a sister of the Scottish kings Malcolm IV and William I.
Robert II of Burgundy was Duke of Burgundy between 1272 and 1306. Robert was the third son of duke Hugh IV and Yolande of Dreux.
Arthur II, of the House of Dreux, was Duke of Brittany from 1305 to his death. He was the first son of John II and Beatrice, daughter of Henry III of England and Eleanor of Provence.
The War of the Breton Succession was a conflict between the Counts of Blois and the Montforts of Brittany for control of the Sovereign Duchy of Brittany, then a fief of the Kingdom of France. It was fought between 1341 and 12 April 1365.
John of Montfort, sometimes known as John IV of Brittany, and 6th Earl of Richmond from 1341 to his death. He was the son of Arthur II, Duke of Brittany and his second wife, Yolande de Dreux. He contested the inheritance of the Duchy of Brittany by his niece, Joan of Penthièvre, which led to the War of the Breton Succession, which in turn evolved into being part of the Hundred Years' War between England and France. John's patron in his quest was King Edward III of England. He died in 1345, 19 years before the end of the war, and the victory of his son John IV over Joan of Penthièvre and her husband, Charles of Blois.
Charles of Blois-Châtillon "the Saint", was the legalist Duke of Brittany from 1341 to his death via his marriage to Joan of Penthiève, holding the title against the claims of John of Montfort. The cause of his possible canonization was the subject of a good deal political maneuvering on the part of his cousin, Charles V of France who endorsed it, and his rival, Montfort, who opposed it. The cause fell dormant after Pope Gregory XI left Avignon in 1376, but was revived in 1894. Charles of Blois was beatified in 1904.
John V, sometimes numbered as VI, bynamed John the Wise, was Duke of Brittany and Count of Montfort from 1399 to his death. His rule coincided with the height of the Hundred Years' War between England and France. John's reversals in that conflict, as well as in other internal struggles in France, served to strengthen his duchy and to maintain its independence.
Francis I, was Duke of Brittany, Count of Montfort and titular Earl of Richmond, from 29 August 1442 to his death. He was born in Vannes, the son of John V, Duke of Brittany and Joan of France, the daughter of King Charles VI of France.
Louis I of Orléans was Duke of Orléans from 1392 to his death. He was also, Duke of Touraine (1386–1392), Count of Valois (1386?–1406) Blois (1397–1407), Angoulême (1404–1407), Périgord (1400–1407) and Soissons (1404–07).
Olivier Le Vieux de Clisson, dit Olivier V de Clisson, nicknamed "The Butcher", was a Breton soldier, the son of Olivier IV de Clisson. His father had been put to death by the French in 1343 on the suspicion of having willingly given up the city of Vannes to the English.
The House of Montfort was a Breton-French noble family, which reigned in the Duchy of Brittany from 1365 to 1514. It was a cadet branch of the House of Dreux; it was thus ultimately part of the Capetian dynasty. It should not be confused with the older House of Montfort which ruled as Counts of Montfort-l'Amaury.
The Battle of Champtoceaux, often called the Battle of l'Humeau, was the opening action of the 23-year-long War of the Breton Succession, a dynastic conflict in Brittany which became inevitably embroiled in the Hundred Years War between England and France. This battle should have decided the war at a stroke, as John of Montfort, the leader of one faction, was made prisoner. However his wife, Joanna of Flanders, and young son John escaped imprisonment. Their escape and continued support from his ally, England, allowed continued resistance to flourish and eventually turn the tide.
Margaret of Brittany was a duchess consort of Brittany. She was the elder of the two daughters of Francis I, Duke of Brittany, by his second wife, Isabella of Scotland.
Richard, Count of Montfort, Vertus and Étampes was the eighth child and youngest son of John IV, Duke of Brittany, and his third wife, Joan of Navarre. Not much is known of his life, except that he was the father of Francis II, Duke of Brittany. In his lifetime he held many titles and positions; he was appointed captain-general of Guyenne and Poitou in 1419, became comte d'Étampes and seigneur de Palluau et de Châteaumur de Thouarcé, de Bourgomeaux-l'Evêque et de Ligron on 8 May 1423, and Count of Mantes in October 1425.
Jeanne de Clisson (1300–1359), also known as Jeanne de Belleville and the Lioness of Brittany, was a Breton former noblewoman who became a privateer to avenge her husband after he was executed for treason by the French king. She plied the English Channel and targeted French ships, often slaughtering the crew. It was her practice to leave at least one sailor alive to carry her messages to the King of France.
The French–Breton War lasted from 1487 to 1491. The cause of this war was the approaching death of the Breton Duke Francis II of Brittany, who had no clear successor. If not resolved, this meant a resumption of issues from a previous War of the Breton Succession (1341–1364), which had rival claimants allying with England or France, resulting in an ambiguous peace treaty that failed to prevent future succession disputes.
The sieges of Vannes of 1342 were a series of four sieges of the town of Vannes that occurred throughout 1342. Two rival claimants to the Duchy of Brittany, John of Montfort and Charles of Blois, competed for Vannes throughout this civil war from 1341 to 1365. The successive sieges ruined Vannes and its surrounding countryside. Vannes was eventually sold off in a truce between England and France, signed in January 1343 in Malestroit. Saved by an appeal of Pope Clement VI, Vannes remained in the hands of its own rulers, but ultimately resided under English control from September 1343 till the end of the war in 1365.
John I, was Count of Penthièvre and Viscount of Limoges from 1364 to 1404, and the Penthièvre claimant to the Duchy of Brittany.
John IV, Duke of BrittanyBorn: 1339 Died: 1 November 1399
John of Montfort
| Count of Montfort |
Charles and Joan
| Duke of Brittany |
|Peerage of England|
New creation or recreation
Title last held byJohn of Gaunt
| Earl of Richmond |
Title next held byJohn of Lancaster