Truce of Espléchin
The Truce of Espléchin (1340) was a truce between the English and French crowns during the Hundred Years' War.
The Hundred Years' War had started in 1337. In 1340 Edward III of England, returned to France by sailing across the English Channel only to find his landing blocked by a large French and Genoese fleet at Sluys. The English won the resulting naval battle, which took place on 24 June 1340. The English navy was ably assisted by their allies, principally Flemings from Sluys and nearby Bruges who watched the fight from the shore and kept any French sailors from escaping.
At the battle of Sluys the French navy was almost completely destroyed. Edward III followed this with a siege of the town of Tournai, initially the siege went well. The English army and its allies destroyed French lands and villages nearby even though the French king (Philip VI of France) and his army were camped within sight of the besieged town but refused to do battle with the English. The town seemed on the verge of surrendering.
Edward's ability to continue the siege and campaign in France, came to an abrupt end, partly due to bickering within his alliance but also his own parliament held up much needed funds to enable him to prosecute the war. The French had been in an equally precarious position, with Tournai on the point of running out of food. Edward had been well aware of this as a French messenger had been intercepted.
Pope Benedict XII had asked Edward's mother-in-law, who was also the sister of Philip, Jeanne of Valois to intercede on the pope's behalf. Both kings were persuaded to sign the Truce of Espléchin on 25 September 1340. Under the terms of the truce, the English could not attack France for five years, Edward also had to return to England with his army. However, in 1341, before the five years was up, conflict over the succession to the Duchy of Brittany began the Breton War of Succession. On one side, Edward backed John of Montfort, and on the other Philip VI of France, backed Charles of Blois. Edward used this as an excuse to restart hostilities with France.
- DeVries. Medieval Weapons. pp. 144-145
- Mortimer. The Perfect King The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation. pp. 177–180
- Rogers. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare. pp. 88-89
- DeVries, Kelly; Smith, Robert Douglas (2007). Medieval Weapons: An Illustrated History of Their Impact. Santa Barbara CA: ABC-CLIO Ltd. ISBN 1-85109-526-8.
- Mortimer, Ian (2008). The Perfect King The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation. London: Vintage. ISBN 0-09-952709-X.