Prospect of War with France

Edward IV’s return to England from Flanders saw the armies of the Earl of Warwick, then Margaret of Anjou, met and defeated in battle. So too was there a threat to London in the form of a fleet and army under the Bastard of Fauconberg. Three potent threats to Edward’s attempts to regain and keep the throne. But they were not the only problem that was faced by the returning Yorkist King. There was a very real prospect of war with France in 1471. King Louis had backed the Lancastrian invasion. He had engineered the alliance between Warwick and Margaret of Anjou. Did he now intend to follow this investment with a campaign of his own? Edward IV’s advisors certainly thought that was a possibility. 

Prospect of War with France, 1471

The praises of these regal victories having been carried to the most illustrious duke of Burgundy, who was there to be found more glad than he? For being then at war with their common enemy, king Louis, he could not entertain a doubt but that he should receive assistance against him at the hand of his allies. And who was there to be found more sorrowful than Louis? through whose craftiness alone so many domestic foes had been thus frequently raised up against the person of king Edward; but now, at last, all in vain. Certain ambas-
sadors were accordingly sent to the king by the duke, not more for the purpose of congratulating him on his successes, than of reminding him what a degree of ill. will their common enemy had shewn against his serene highness, and advising his majesty to give his early thoughts to making and carrying out preparations for a descent on France, not so much with the object of avenging past injuries, as of regaining the rights of his ancestors, which had been lost in France; while at the same time he was assured that he should have the duke as a sharer in the expedition, and a partner in both his prosperity and his adversity. Having taken so important an offer as this into due consideration, it was at last determined that the king should send some one of his people for the purpose of enquiring more thoroughly into the duke*s intentions, and of informing the king thereon.

Accordingly, one of the king’s council was sent, a Doctor of Canon Law. He was despatched, however, by way of Boulogne (for at this time Calais had not as yet been reduced to obedience to the king); and he found the duke at a certain great and well-fortified town, situate on the river Sonune, which is called Abbat’s Viu or Abbeville, in the county of Pontay. Having fulfilled the object of his embassy, he returned, bringing with him most earnest requests for assistance, by way of Calais, which shortly after, with all the marches adjacent thereto, in conformity with the king’s views, received, lord Hastings, the king’s chamberlain, with due respect and submissiveness, and surrendered to him possession of the place. By means of this short embassy were
laid the foundations of those mighty preparations of which mention will be found made in the sequel, for recovering the king’s rights in France. In this manner passed the summer of this year, being the eleventh of the reign of king Edward the Fourth, and year of our Lord, 1471. In the Michaelmas Term after this, by act of Parliament, many persons were attainted and several other measures taken, which it is not worth while individually here to describe. This Parliament lasted nearly two years.

Croyland Chronicle

Image Credit

A Coin of Louis XI. Coinman62 via Wikipedia. CC BY-SA 3.0

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