History of the Stewarts | Battles and Historic Events
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The Battle of Baugé
22 March 1421 at Baugé, France,
When Henry returned to England in 1421, he left his heir presumptive, Thomas, Duke of Clarence, in charge of the remaining army. Following the King´s instructions, Clarence led 4000 men in raids through the Anjou and Maine This chevauchée met with little resistance, and by Good Friday, 21 March 1421, the English army had made camp near the little town of Vieil-Baugé. The Franco-Scots army of about 5000 also arrived in the Vieil-Baugé area to block the English army´s progress. It was commanded by the Earl of Buchan and the new Constable of France, the Sieur de Lafayette; however, the English forces were dispersed, and significantly many of the English archers had ridden off in search of plunder or forage. On Easter Saturday, one of these foraging groups captured a Scots man-at-arms who they brought before the Duke of Clarence. Clarence was keen to engage the enemy; however, he had a problem: the following day was Easter Sunday, one of the most holy days in the Christian calendar, when a battle would be unthinkable. A two-day delay was also deemed as out of the question. According to the chronicles of Walter Bower both commanders agreed to a short truce for Easter. However this was ignored.
There are several accounts of the Battle of Baugé; they may vary in the detail; however, most agree that principal factor in the Scoto-French victory was the Duke of Clarence It seems that Clarence did not realise how big the Franco-Scottish army was as he decided to rely on the element of surprise and attack immediately. He discounted the advice of his lieutenants Huntingdon and Gilbert Umfraville to consolidate his own force and position; instead he ordered the Earl of Salisbury to round up all the archers and follow him as soon as possible. Clarence then with only about 1500 men-at-arms available, and virtually no archers, charged the Franco-Scottish lines. The Scots rallied hastily, and battle was joined at a bridge which Clarence attempted to cross. A hundred Scottish archers, under Sir Robert Stewart of Ralston, reinforced by the retinue of Hugh Kennedy, held the bridge and prevented passage long enough for the Earl of Buchan to rally the rest of his army.
When Clarence forced his way across finally, he met with the main body of the Franco-Scottish army; the men-at-arms were dismounted and were well defended by the Scottish archers. In the ensuing melée, John Carmichael of Douglasdale broke his lance unhorsing the Duke of Clarence. There are several versions of how Clarence met his death, but, according to Bower, the Scottish knight John Swinton wounded the prince in his face, but it was Alexander Buchanan who is credited with killing the Duke with his mace and holding the dead Duke´s coronet aloft on his lance in triumph. Another version stated that a Highlander, Alexander Macausland of Lennox, was responsible for Clarence´s demise, whereas a French chronicler Georges Chastellain has the Duke killed by a Frenchman.
Later on in the day, probably in the evening, decisive action was taken by Salisbury, who, having succeeded in rounding up the English archers, used some of them to rescue what was left of the English force and retrieve some of the bodies of the fallen, including that of Clarence.
The battle of Baugé was a rout in which the Franco-Scots did not lose any man of importance, whereas Henry V lost some of his most senior commanders plus the heir to the throne of England and commander of his forces in France. On hearing of the Scottish victory, Pope Martin V passed comment by reiterating a common mediaeval saying, that "Verily, the Scots are well-known as an antidote to the English." However, the Scots allowed the remains of the English army, led by Salisbury, to escape, and so missed an opportunity to remove the English from France. But it did secure the reputation of the Scottish army in France.
The Dauphin was able to exploit the victory at Baugé, by announcing his intention to invade English-held Normandy He made Archibald Douglas, Earl of Wigtown, the count of Longueville and lord of Dun-le-roi. Sir John Stewart of Darnley received the lands of Aubigny-sur-Nere and Concressault. The Earl of Buchan was made Constable of France.
In 1422 the Dauphin created the "hundred men-at-arms of the King´s bodyguard", known as the "Hundred Lances of France", to supplement the 24 archers of the Garde Ecossaise. The Hundred Lances eventually became the company known as the Gendarmerie of France, who distinguished themselves at Fontenoy in 1745. John Carmichael was elected bishop of Orléans in 1426, and was one of the 6 bishops to attend the coronation of the Dauphin as Charles VII in 1429 at Rheims. Hugh Kennedy, known to the French as Canede, was granted the right to quarter his coat of arms with the fleur-de-lis of France.