Francis II, Duke of Brittany
|Sculpture of Francis II on his Tomb in Nantes.|
|Reign||26 December 1458 – 9 September 1488|
|Coronation||3 February 1459|
|Consort||Margaret of Brittany
Margaret of Foix
|John, Count of Montfort
Anne of Brittany
Isabeau of Brittany
|House||House of Dreux-Montfort|
|Father||Richard, Count of Étampes|
23 June 1433|
Château de Clisson, Clisson
|Died||9 September 1488
Francis II of Brittany (in Breton Frañsez II, in French François II) (23 June 1433 – 9 September 1488) was Duke of Brittany from 1458 to his death. He was the son of Richard of Brittany and the grandson of the late Duke John V. Francis' life was characterised by conflicts with King Louis XI of France (War of the Public Weal) and with his son King Charles VIII.
- 1 Life
- 2 Family
- 3 Succession
- 4 Legacy
- 5 Ancestry
- 6 Notes
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Bibliography
- 10 References
A recurring theme in Francis II's life was his quest to assure the independence of Brittany from France.
Relationship with Henry Tudor
Protector of the House of Lancaster
Francis II was protector of the House of Lancaster in exile.
During the 15th century, civil war raged across England as the Houses of York and Lancaster fought each other for the English throne. In 1471, the Yorkists defeated their rivals in the battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury. The Lancastrian King Henry VI and his only son, Edward of Lancaster, died in the aftermath of the Battle of Tewkesbury. Their deaths left the House of Lancaster with no direct claimants to the throne. The Yorkist king, Edward IV, was in complete control of England. He attainted those who refused to submit to his rule, such as Jasper Tudor and his nephew Henry, naming them traitors and confiscating their lands.
The Tudors tried to flee to France but strong winds forced them to land in Brittany, then a semi-independent duchy, where they were taken into the custody of Francis II. Henry's mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, was a great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, uncle of King Richard II and father of King Henry IV. The Beauforts were originally bastards, but Henry IV legitimised them on the condition that their descendants were not eligible to inherit the throne. Henry Tudor, the only remaining Lancastrian noble with a trace of the royal bloodline, had a weak claim to the throne, and Edward regarded him as "a nobody". Francis II, however, viewed Henry as a valuable tool to bargain for England's aid in conflicts with France and kept the Tudors under his protection.
From Brittany, in 1483, Henry launched a failed invasion of England. He had attempted a landing on 10 October (or 19 October), but his fleet of 15 chartered vessels was scattered by a storm. His ship reached the coast of England in company with only one other vessel (at either Plymouth or Poole), and a group of soldiers hailed him to come ashore. They were, in truth, Richard III's men, prepared to capture Henry once he set foot on English soil. Henry was not deceived and returned to Brittany, abandoning the invasion. Aagain, on the return journey, his ship met a great storm, which forced the Shipmaster to seek shelter in a haven of the Island of Jersey which was largely Yorkist in sympathy under the long-time Plantagenet-appointed Governor Richard Harliston. However, Henry found secret shelter for several days in the Manor House of Seigneur Clement Le Hardy - who is locally still known as the Red Rose Bailliff - until the weather moderated and Henry Tudor's ship was able to continue it's return voyage.  Henry's conspiracy against Richard III unravelled, and the Duke of Buckingham - who was the main Conspirator, was convicted of treason and beheaded in Salisbury on 2 November, - in fact he was already dead when Henry Tudor's 2 ships made landfall.  Without Buckingham or Henry, the rebellion was easily crushed by Richard.
The survivors of the failed uprisings fled to Brittany, where they openly supported Henry's claim to the throne. On Christmas Day in 1483 at Rennes Cathedral, Henry Tudor swore an oath to marry Edward IV's daughter, Elizabeth of York, to unite the warring houses of York and Lancaster. Henry's rising prominence made him a great threat to Richard, and the Yorkist king made several overtures to Francis II to surrender the young Lancastrian. Francis II refused, holding out for the possibility of better terms from Richard. In mid-1484, Francis was incapacitated by illness and while recuperating, his treasurer, Pierre Landais, took over the reins of government. Landais reached an agreement with Richard III to send Henry and his uncle back to England in exchange for military and financial aid. John Morton, a bishop of Flanders, learned of the scheme and warned the Tudors; the Tudors then who fled to France. The French court allowed them to stay and provided resources. For the French, the Tudors were useful pawns to ensure that Richard's England did not interfere with French plans to annex Brittany. This unwittingly played against the interests of Francis II.[a]
Titular Earl of Richmond
Since John IV and John V, the English kings had begun to bestow the title Earl of Richmond and its possessions (the Honour of Richmond) on others than the Dukes of Brittany, including Edmund Tudor, Henry Tudor's father. Francis II's immediate predecessors, however, used the titulary Earl of Richmond. It is possible that Francis willed whatever remained of his claims to the Earldom and the Honour of Richmond to Henry Tudor. On successfully gaining the English crown after the Battle of Bosworth Field, Henry merged the Earldom and its possessions into the crown.[b]
Brittany's traditional allies, the English, were embroiled in the Wars of the Roses. They provided little assistance as Francis saw his duchy ravaged in what is known as the Mad War (La Guerre Folle).
Wars with France
Louis XI was renowned as a cunning adversary and a master at diplomacy, if not the military arts. His contemporary nickname was The Spider, reflecting his constant political plotting.
Francis II became a member of the League of the Public Weal.[c] This was an alliance of feudal nobles organized in 1465 in defiance of the centralized authority of King Louis XI of France, whose declared aim was to enlarge France by annexing all of the independent Duchies - Burgundy, Berry, Normandy, Orleans, Brittany, etc. It was masterminded by Charles the Bold, Count of Charolais, son of the Duke of Burgundy, with the king's brother Charles, Duke of Berry, as a figurehead.
Charles the Bold, was heir to the duke of Burgundy, held fiefs in France which included Flanders, and held the Imperial lands of Holland and Brabant. As Duke of Burgundy Charles aspired to forge a kingdom of his own between France and Germany, approximating the former domains of the Frankish Emperor Lothair I. Charles himself was killed in the Battle of Nancy against the Swiss, and Louis was saved from his greatest adversary. He had already taken his revenge on Charles's allies within France. The great duchy of Burgundy was then absorbed into the Kingdom of France. The League of the Public Weal was routed in its every objective.
The fortunes of Francis II and Brittany would continue to suffer after Louis XI's death at the hands of Louis' daughter Anne of France. Anne would serve as regent to Louis XI's successor, Charles VIII.
During the minority of Charles VIII of France, Francis II was anxious to maintain his duchy's independence. He aligned himself with the Duke of Orléans, the future Louis XII and the count of Angoulême against the regency of Anne of France. Anne of France had been pursuing the same underhand politics as her father, Louis XI, towards Brittany. In intervening in the politics of his neighbour France, however, Francis II neglected his own realm. His corrupt and oppressive prime minister, Guillaume Chauvin, was overthrown by treasurer general Pierre Landais. A large part of the nobility had been bribed by Anne and Charles and supported them in their eagerness to subjugate Brittany. These nobles performed a coup d'état against Landais, who was eventually hanged.
In 1486, the Estates of Brittany confirmed the succession of Brittany on Francis' daughter Anne, Duchess of Brittany, to further assure the Duchy's independence from France. The Treaty of Chateaubriant was signed in 1487 with France and reaffirmed Brittany's independence.
Francis then allied with Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, against France; however, Brittany was defeated 28 July in the Battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier. A few days later, on 10 August, Francis was forced to sign the Treaty of Verger. Under the terms of the treaty, the duke was compelled to submit himself and his duchy as a vassal of the king of France.
La Guerre Folle (The Mad War)
Despite the Treaty of Chateaubriant, the French continued to harass the Duchy. Under the leadership of Louis II de la Trémoille, the French royal army had struck against Vannes and Fougères, controlling access to Brittany.
Alain d'Albret, a rebel lord, believing he would marry Francis II's daughter Anne, had reinforced the Breton army with 5000 troops supplied by the king of Spain. Maximilian I of Austria also sent 1500 men, and Edward Woodville, Lord Scales, brought over a force of archers from Britain.
The defeat of Francis II forced him to accept a treaty which deprived him of power by requiring him to expel foreign princes and troops from Brittany. It also restricted his ability to marry his children to suitors of his choosing and required that he cede territory in Saint-Malo, Ferns, Dinan and Saint-Aubin to the king as a guarantee that in the absence of a male successor the king would determine the succession. Francis died a few months later leaving only a daughter, Anne of Brittany, so the treaty was used to force her, as his successor, to marry King Charles VIII, and then Louis XII.
The Battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier also destroyed the power-base of the warring noble leaders. Edward Woodville was killed. Louis of Orleans (the future Louis XII), and Jean, Prince of Orange were captured. Alain d'Albret and the Maréchal de Rieux succeeded in escaping, and played an important part in continuing the conflict. Despite the French victory, La Guerre Folle dragged on beyond Francis II's death for three more years until December 1491, when Charles VIII married Anne.
Francis II was married twice.
- John (29 June- 25 August 1463), Count of Montfort
- Anne of Brittany (1477-1514) - his only legitimate heir to reach adulthood,
- Isabeau of Brittany (1478–1490), betrothed to Jean d'Albret in 1481, died young and buried in the Rennes Cathedral.
Francis II died in 1488 shortly after signing the Treaty of Verger. His death was caused by a fall from his horse during a leisurely ride. His daughter Anne was his sole heir and became Duchess of Brittany.
Breton nobles acted to safeguard Anne as their Duchess and protect the Duchy's independence as Francis II had fought for it. In 1489 these nobles signed the Treaty of Redon with Henry Vii; that treaty between Brittany and England was meant to prevent the annexation of Brittany by France. However in a short time, in 1491, Henry VII signed the Treaty of Etaples with France, effectively neutralizing England's defence of Breton independence. Charles VIII of France invaded Brittany and forced Anne to marry him, thereby gaining control of the duchy. The Duchy's independence was all but lost as the process of merging it into the French crown began. Anne, however, would become a formidable Queen Consort and fight to preserve Brittany's independence and Francis II's legacy for herself, the Breton people, and her descendants.
|Ancestors of Francis II, Duke of Brittany|
- On 16 March 1485, Richard's queen, Anne Neville, died, and rumours spread across the country that she was murdered to pave the way for Richard to marry his niece, Elizabeth. The gossip alienated Richard from some of his northern supporters, and upset Henry across the English Channel. The loss of Elizabeth's hand in marriage could unravel the alliance between Henry's supporters who were Lancastrians and those who were loyalists to Edward IV. Anxious to secure his bride, Henry assembled approximately 2,000 men and set sail from France on 1 August. Henry's second successful invasion of England ended with his victory at the Battle of Bosworth Field.
- (History has shown that those with conflicting claims to titles can work as temporary allies, such as the many cooperations between monarchs of England and France, despite their many wars.)
- League of the Public Weal in French is La ligue du Bien public
- Francis II's tomb was designed by Jean Perréal and Michel Colombe.
- Dukes of Brittany family tree
- Henry VII of England
- War of the Roses
- Other politically important horse accidents
- Ross 1997, pp. 172–173.
- Chrimes 1999, p. 17.
- Chrimes 1999, p. 3.
- Chrimes 1999, p. 21.
- Ross 1999, p. 192.
- Chrimes 1999, pp. 26–27.
- Williams, p. 25.
- Ross 1999, p. 117.
- Ross 1999, p. 118.
- Ross 1999, p. 196.
- Chrimes 1999, p. 19.
- Lander 1981, p. 324.
- Kendall, p. 297.
- Chrimes 1999, p. 31.
- Ross 1999, p. 144.
- Ross 1999, pp. 145–146.
- Chrimes 1999, p. 38.
- Chrimes 1999, p. 39.
- Lander 1981, p. 325.
- Currin, p. 379-412.
- Adams, George (1896). The Growth of the French Nation. Chautauqua Century Press.
- Currin, John M. (2000). "The King's Army into the Partes of Bretaigne': Henry VII and the Breton Wars", War in History, Vol. 7, No. 4.
- Contamine, Philippe (2004). 'Bataille de Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier, in Jacques Garnier dir. Dictionnaire Perrin des guerres et batailles de l'histoire de France. Paris,France: Perrin.
- Chrimes, Stanley (1999) . Henry VII. Yale English Monarchs. New Haven, Connecticut; and London: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-07883-8. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
- de La Borderie, Arthur Le Moyne (Membre de l'Institut) (1905-1914). Histoire de la Bretagne, 6 volumes in-quarto. Rennes, France: Imprimerie Vatar, Plihon Editeur.
- Dupuy, Antoine (1880). Histoire de l'union de la Bretagne à la France, 2 vol. Paris,France: Librairie Hachette.
- Hoyt, Robert (1966). Europe in the Middle Ages. Harcourt, Brace and World, Inc., 2nd ed.
- Kendall, Paul Murray (1973). Richard the Third. Sphere Books. ISBN 0-351-17095-2.
- Kerhervé, Jean (1987). L'État Breton aux XIVe et XVe siècles, 2 vol. Maloine. ISBN 2-224-01703-0. "isbn-2-224-01704-9"
- Lander, Jack (1981) . "Richard III". Government and Community: England, 1450–1509. Massachusetts, United States: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-35794-9. Retrieved 26 May 2009.
- Legay, Jean-Pierre; Martin, Hervé (1982). Fastes et malheurs de la Bretagne ducale 1213-1532. Rennes, France: Editions *Ouest-France Université.
- Minois, Georges (1999). Anne de Bretagne. Paris, France: Fayard.
- Ross, Charles (1997) . Edward IV. Yale English Monarchs (revised ed.). New Haven, Connecticut; and London: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-07372-0. Retrieved 16 March 2009.
- Ross, Charles (1999) . Richard III. Yale English Monarchs. New Haven, Connecticut; and London: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-07979-6.
- Tourault, Philippe (1990). Anne de Bretagne. Paris, France: Perrin.
- L'État Breton, tome 2 de l' Histoire de la Bretagne et des pays celtiques. Morlaix: Éditions Skol Vreizh. 1996.
- Williams, Neville (1973). The Life and Times of Henry VII. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-76517-5.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
Francis II, Duke of Brittany
Cadet branch of the House of DreuxBorn: 23 June 1433 Died: 9 September 1488
|Duke of Brittany
Count of Montfort
|Count of Étampes
|Peerage of England|
|— TITULAR —
Earl of Richmond