In 1435 the English and French agreed to negotiate. At the Congress of Arras the Hundred Years War‘s combatant states sought a mutual understanding that would secure a lasting peace. However, the resulting Treaty of Arras was an agreement between Burgundy and France, excluding the English. England’s hold on it’s French domain immediately weakened, with consequences that were to eventually lead to France, Normandy, then Aquitaine falling under the control of King Charles VII of France.
Delegations at the Congress of Arras
Both countries sent delegations that were led and staffed by nobles of high standing. The English delegation included Cardinal Beaufort, John Kemp the Archbishop of York, and the Duke of Suffolk. The French delegation was led by the King’s brother-in-law, Charles Duke of Bourbon. Regnault de Chartres the Constable of France and Archbishop of Reims and the Constable of France, Arthur de Richemont also attended.
Breakdown in negotiations
The conference did not go well for the English. The French wanted England to renounce the claim to the French crown. The English delegation refused. Two French captains began raiding English held towns as the conference was held.
English delegates had little choice but to go and address this problem. Whilst the English were dealing with the French attacks, the French contacted Philip the Good of Burgundy and offered to punish the men who had murdered Philip’s father, adding that the Duke of Burgundy would no longer need to pay homage to the King of France.
Treaty of Arras
The English returned to the talks to find that France had made an agreement with Burgundy [terms as noted above]. Burgundy and France would ally, measures would be taken to prevent routiers assaulting the duchy from French lands, and, crucially for the English, Burgundy would no longer support the agreements made fifteen years earlier in the Treaty of Troyes.
Furthermore, the English crown’s strongest diplomatic tie to Burgundy had been John, Duke of Bedford. Unfortunately for the English, the duke of Bedford had died just a week earlier. England had gone to Arras with high hopes of an agreeable peace. They left with no continental allies. The coming months proved incredibly hard for English forces in France and Normandy and draining on the English treasury.
The Costs of Anglo-Burgundian Interdependence. John Munroe. Persee, Login required.
Lobanov A.M. The Outposts of Lancastrian France in Eastern Champagne. Vestnik of
Saint Petersburg University. History, 2019, vol. 64, iss. 4, рр. 1317–1337.
Oxford Reference: Congress of Arras
Featured Image: Conférences d’Arras (1435). Enluminure du manuscrit de Martial d’Auvergne, Les Vigiles de Charles VII, vers 1484, BnF, Manuscrit Français 5054, enluminure du folio 86 recto. c1484 via Wikipedia. This file comes from Gallica Digital Library and is available under the digital ID btv1b105380390/f183