Category Archives: France

Bouvines 1214, Part 1

In the year 1204, Philip Augustus of France wrested control of the duchy of Normandy from King John of England. The long Capetian-Plantagenet struggle for power, however, was not yet over and would reach another decisive point a decade later at the Battle of Bouvines, 1214. This time the leaders of the other main power of the western Europe, Germany, would be brought into the conflict, and so also have important consequences for central Europe and Italy. And so for this episode I will get us up to date with the political situation in Germany.

Medievel Germany map

End of the Hundred Years War 1449-1453

A recent guest episode for the History of England podcast on the End of the Hundred Years War, in brief the years after Agincourt 1415, but focusing on the last four years from 1449-1453 and the Battles of Formigny and Castillon. In England the victories at Agincourt, Crecy and Poitiers are well known, but less so,  the events around the end of the war, and how the French eventually drove the English from all the continent, except for Calais.   Battles of Formigny and Castillon

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), default quality
Painting depicting the Battle of Castillon (1453) by the French painter Charles-Philippe Larivière (1798–1876). John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury is falling from his wounded horse


Maps courtesy of

Siege of Chateau Gaillard 1203-1204, Part 4

King John of England in his first year or two of rule achieved some successes, but his lack of tact and diplomacy, plus poor decision-making lost him many allies in France. The focus of the escalating conflict between the Plantagenets and Capetians became Chateau Gaillard, a magnificent fortress in the key borderlands between Normandy and the French royal demesne around Paris.

The Inner Bailey today of Chateau Gaillard

Chateau Gaillard
Chateau Gaillard

Location of Chateau Gaillard in France

france-map-relief-big-cities-Les Andelys

Reconstruction of how the castle looked

Chateau Gaillard_As_It_Looked

Siege of Chateau Gaillard 1203-1204, Part 3

The sons of King Henry II of England, impatient for power of their own and encouraged by Louis VII and then Philip II Augustus of France, rebel against their father and end up damaging the cause of their dynasty, the Plantagenets.

Chateau Gaillard 1203-04, Part 2

The story of France in the High Middle Ages, the reigns of Louis VI and Louis VII. As the twelfth century opened the kings of France barely controlled much land beyond Paris, but these two monarchs began to build the foundations for the French kings’ great rise in power and prestige.

Tomb of Louis VII



Chateau Gaillard 1203-04, Part 1

William the Conqueror’s conquest of England in 1066 and the division of his lands between England and Normandy sowed the seeds for centuries of Anglo-French conflict. This episode covers the reigns of Henry I of England, the Anarchy (civil war over Henry’s succession) and the formation of the Angevin Empire of France and England under Henry II