Calais recaptured today in 1558\.
Calais fell to Francois de Lorraine,2nd Duke de Guise, today and France was at last rid of all English presence. It had been an English possession since thd great King Edward III captured it in 1347. Since its capture it had brought much wealth to England and obviously much embarrassment to France.
It fell to a lightning attack by the French Duke, who had only been besieging it for 6 days. Francois de Lorraine was 39 and had been fighting France’s enemies all his adult life. His nickname was Le Balafre, or Scarface, from a wound received when 26. About 300 guns were captured as well as much booty.
The unpopular English Queen Mary was said to have proclaimed if she were cut open both her estranged husband, Phillip of Spain, and Calais would be found inscribed on her heart.
Nice piece of history!
Thanks Malachi. Nice to hear from you again.
I wonder if France had held off retaking it until the next year and the monarch had been Elizabeth(Mary died of cancer in Nov 1558), would she have been thought of in a different light, rather than one of England’s greatest?
Losing Calais was considered a great disaster and Mary is remembered as much for its loss as for the 300 Protestants she had burnt.
Thanks for reminding us of an interesting piece of history.
It seems a little dubious to think of Calais as a “natural” part of France at the time. The French would of course promote such a point of view, but the allegiance of the northern regions to the Frech crown had been rather weak even before the area was conquered by the English. And those “English” themselves had historically only been English troops fielded by the Plantagenet kings who laid claim to a large part of what is now France. It was all the result of that complicated dynastic struggle for the throne of France that the Hundred Years’ War really was. Whether a “France” existed as a political entity during that period, and what lands that enity would comprise, was not very obvious. Demographically, Calais was more a part of Flanders at the time of the French conquest. It’s people spoke a Dutch dialect.
Thank you Herr KaLeun.
I was unaware of the Flanders dialect point you introduced.
I knew France was disjointed and few Dukes cared for a King and united country.
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