My background reading for our display game at Carronade next week took me to Sean McGlynn's book, 'Blood Cries Afar'. This covers the French invasion of England in 1216.
Now, other than a few raids and aborted efforts, I had no idea that there was such a French invasion in 1216, or that it very nearly succeeded. I suspect I am not alone, hence the sub-title 'The Forgotten Invasion of England 1216'.
King John was on the throne and after losing Normandy and other French territory, the Angevin Empire was very much on the defensive. Capetian France ruled by Philip Augustus was on a roll, particularly after the Battle of Bouvines in 2014. The English barons were yet again in revolt against John, despite Magna Carta in 2015. They controlled London and invited Philip's son Louis, who had a tenuous claim to the crown, over as King. They controlled London, so facilitating the invasion.
John pursued a battle avoiding strategy holding key royal castles, but was gradually being forced out of southern England, with the exception of the key castle at Dover, that held out. Then John dies of an illness and bizarrely that was the turnaround for the Angevin fortunes. His son Henry was only a child, but the Regent rallied and took advantage of splits between the rebel barons and the French. The royalists won the Battle of Lincoln in 1217 and a naval battle off Sandwich that dispersed a relief fleet. Louis sued for peace and left for France.
The book is a good narrative history of the campaigns that led up to the invasion and the campaigns in England. The military strategy of the period is also covered in depth. Well worth a read and a campaign I will certainly return to.
It also helped my understanding of the context for our display game, Muret 1213. The production line of knights continues. Not as many as I had hoped to do, work keeps getting in the way, but probably enough after a few late nights this week. These are the latest additions.