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22. du Guesclin
Arms: Argent a double headed eagle displayed, armed Gules, a bendlet overall Gules.

SOURCES, NOTES & CREDITS: Illustration for background
is from the Wikipedia Article as is the biographical information.
The blazon is from John Hamilton Gaylor.

Bertrand du Guesclin, Connétable de France was born circa. 1320 in Brittany to Robert du Guesclin and Jeane de Malmaines who were minor nobles.

Known as the Eagle of Brittany was a Breton knight and an important French military commander during the Hundred Years’ War and was appointed Constable of France by King Charles V of France.

du Guesclin was knighted in 1354 after successfully countering a raid by Arnoul d”Audrehem.

In 1356-1357 he successfully defended Rennes against an English siege laid by Henry of Grosmont who was THE Henry of Grosmont, Duke of Lancaster, 1st creation, 4th Earl of Leicester and Lancaster, Earl of Derby was He was a member of the English Royal family and a prominent diplomat, politician and soldier and the wealthiest and most powerful peer of the realm and the owner of Bolingbroke Castle and importantly the father-in-law of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster 2nd creation (1340-1399) who inherited everything via his daughter Blanche. Henry of Grosmont (c. 1310 died on 23 Mar 1361) was also maternal grandfather of Henry of Bolingbroke the future King Henry IV (1367-1413)

The success of du Guesclin brought him to the attention of the Dauphin Charles who became king of France as Charles V in 1364.

On 16 May 1364 when the King sent him to deal with Charles of Navarre whose army under Jean de Grailly, Captal de Buch du Guesclin defeated
the Captal at the Battle of Cocherel. Thus securing Burgundy for King Charles V to give to his brother Philip.

However on 29 Sep 1364 at the Battle of Auray, du Guesclin served under Charles of Blois who was defeated and killed. Du Guesclin broke his weapons to indicate his surrender. He was ransomed by King Charles V for we believe 100,000 écus, a lot anyway !

Du Guesclin then gathered some free companies to aid Henry of Trastamara in his bid for the Spanish crown, however at the Battle of Najera in 1367 Trastamara’s forces were defeated and again du Guesclin captured and again ransomed by Charles V of France.

BUT in 1369 du Guesclin and Trastamara assembled more soldiers to renew the attack on King Pedro of Castile and defeated and killed him at the Battle of Montiel. The English army suffered terribly with four out of five died during the campaign and the Black Prince was greatly affected by dysentery.

Then war with England was declared again in 1369. Du Guesclin was recalled from Spain in 1370 and made Connétable de France on 2 Oct 1370 which put all the Marshals, generals and nobles under him.

Du Guesclin immediately defeated the English army under Sir Robert Knolles at the Battle of Pontvallain on 4 Dec 1370 then reconquered the Provinces of Poitou and Saintonge causing the Black Prince, who was ill, to return to England.

In 1372 Du Guesclin assembled a Castilian naval fleet which destroyed the English ships at the Battle of la Rochelle on 22-23 June. He then proceeded to organize a series of raids on the English coasts in revenge for what the English did on the French coast.

Finally at the Battle of Chizé on 21 Mar 1373, he again decisively defeated the English and chased them into Brittany.

When he died at age circa. 60, in bed of illness, he had reconquered much of France for the French King. He was buried at Saint-Denis in the tomb of the French kings with the French kings.

It is to be mentioned that he is a character in Arthur Conan Doyle's book ”The White Company” in chapters 24 and 28.

Du Guesclin died on 13 July 1380.

The artwork is an interpretation by John Hamilton Gaylor

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