Jean de Dunois



Early Life

Jean (2,3) de Dunois, (1,2) Count (1,3) of Longueville (3,11) was known as John of Orléans and Jean de Duno. (5) He was born in Paris (9,11) on 23rd November 1402 (2,6) OR in about 1403 (1,12) OR in 1403 (9) and was the illegitimate son of (2,3) Mariette (5,9) OR Yolande (13) d’Enghien (5,9) wife of Aubert Flamenc, (13) Lord of Cany (11,13) and (5,9) Louis I, (2,4) Duke of Orléans (2,3) the brother of Mad King Charles VI. (4) His mother was described as ‘ravishing and elegant, and a very good dancer’. (13) Jean was adopted (11) and brought up with (10,12) his three legitimate half-brothers (10) by their mother, Louis’ wife, Valentina Visconti. (11,12) This was normal practice in royal or noble families at that time. (13) At the age of 1 John became Grand Chamberlain of France. (13) His tutor was the famous doctor-astrologer, Florent de Villers. (12) For his first ten years he also in the company of the Dauphin the future Charles VII, (7) On 29th June 1406, Charles I1 married Isabelle de Valois, the former Queen of England, at Compiegne. (6) When Jean was only five years old (10) his father was savagely assassinated (4,6) on the 23rd November (6) 1407 (6,8) on the orders of John the Fearless. (6) John’s eldest brother, Charles, was 13 when he became duke. (10) John went to Paris with Valentina to seek justice and after she died on 4th December 1408) he stayed with her brothers. (12) On 13th September 1409, Isabelle de Valois died. (6) John was present at the reconciliation of Chartres on March 9th 1409 and took their side in the quarrel between Armagnacs and Burgundians. (12)


His legitimate siblings were quickly removed from the political game. (10) In 1415, his half-brother, (8,10) Charles, Duke of Orléans was captured (7,8) at the Battle of (8,10) Agincourt (8,11) OR Azincourt (10) on October 25th 1415 (12) he had to join his brother, the Earl of Angouleme, in England as a prisoner (7,8) of the English (8,10) for twenty-five (8) OR thirty-two (10) years. (8,10) John remained alone with his third brother, Count de Vertus. (12) The third brother remained for thirty-two years a hostage with the English. (10)

Pro Armagnac in Civil War

John captured by the Burgundians

John Dunois joined the civil war in France in the time of Charles VI. (11) He became a military commander, (1,2) and diplomat (9) who put himself at the service of (3) King (3) OR the Dauphin (8) Charles VII (3,8) in the civil war on the side of the Armagnacs (8,11) against the English and their Burgundian allies. (3) The Burgundians surprised Paris on the night of 28th/29th May, (12) 1418, (8,11) and John was captured by the Burgundians. (8,11) The Orléanist cause (as well as that of the Dauphin’s) was being defended by Charles of Orléans’ younger brother, John’s half-brother Philippe, comte de Vertus. (11) Philippe arranged to ransom John from his Burgundian captors; (11) his release took place on August 13th 1420, just after (12) Philippe died suddenly in (10,11) August (12) 1420. (10,11) John, being illegitimate, could claim no inheritance. (12) He was advised to enter the Church; his tastes, and the need to look after the family property, meant he took a different path. (12)

Enters royal service

Since he was now the only remaining male representative of the family (7,8) on French territory (7,10) he was called the Bastard of Orléans (1,2) a term of respect, since it acknowledged him as a first cousin to the king. (5,11) and the acting head of the Orleans cadet branch of the royal family during his half-brother’s captivity. (5,10) Jean went proudly and by his own insistence by the title “The Bastard of Orléans”. (11) Jean took up with La Hire (Etienne de Vignolles) and Jean Poton de Xaintrailles in confronting the English when the opportunities arose. (11) This small force managed to make the English occupation uncomfortable, and they even re-captured Le Mans for a short time. (11) John was present at The Dauphinists’ victory at Baugé on 22nd March 1421 (11,12) where he underwent his baptism of fire. (12) On November 4th 1421, John received the lordship of Vaubonnais in Dauphiné, so his poverty began to be alleviated. (12) In 1421 his mother died, and he acquired the lordship of Claix in the Alps. (13) One can still see the house where she died. (13) In April 1422, he married Marie Louvet, (11,12) daughter of Jean Louvet, a favourite of the Dauphin. (12) The marriage took place at Bourges, but they had no children. (11)

Henry VI becomes King of France

On 21st October, 1422, Charles the Mad died in Paris, having reigned 42 years, and unusually long time. (13) By the Treaty of Troyes, Henry VI of England, barely ten years old, became King of France. (13) He was supported by the church, the University and the people of Paris, and the powerful Burgundian faction in France. (13) In France John of Lancaster ruled as regent for the young king, and was embroiled for many years in war with Charles VII. (13) Lancaster made John Fastolf Grand Master of his house in 1422. (13) leaving the regency in England to be managed by Humphrey Duke of Gloucester. (13) Humphrey and his half-brother Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester shared power. (13) The two men did not see eye to eye and the country was seriously misgoverned. (13) Humphrey was jealous of the Duke of Bedford and undermined his policy of alliance with Burgundy. (13)

Nadir of the Dauphin

The Dauphin, the future Charles VII, was at that time cut off south of the Loire, after his father, mad king Charles VI, had delivered his kingdom to the King of England (10) by the Treaty of Troyes, signed on May 24th 1420. (12) The Dauphin was referred to contemptuously as the ‘Little King of Bourges’ (13) He himself hardly believed that he had any chance of survival. (13) He was tortured by guilt regarding the lèse-majesté and parricide represented by the crime of Montereau2. (13) The rumours of his mother’s relationship with Louis of Orleans made him doubt his own paternity. (13) His courtiers were riven by faction. (13) He had neither money nor support apart from the Armagnacs and a few mercenaries from various places. (13) Month by month he was losing territory. (13) France thus found itself with two equally legitimate kings: Paris and the north belonged to the Anglo-Burgundians, and the Pays d’Oc remained faithful to the ‘Little King of Bourges’, whose base was in Berry, Touraine (notable Loches and Chinon) and the Languedoc. To govern, he had to improvise with untried staff with little experience of business. (13) His Parlement at Poitiers and Finance Department at Bourges were mostly staffed by officials recently ejected from Paris by the Burgundians, so that his routine administration was better than his government. (13) In 1422 (13) Dunois entered (8,9) OR rejoined (3,11) the service of (8,9) the Dauphin (10,13) Charles, (8,9) in 1420, (8,9) fighting (2,8) against English (8,10) and Burgundian (10) forces (8,10) for the Valois king and for the protection of the dukedom3 against the English. (11) He was appointed councillor and Grand Chamberlain. (12) He turned out to be one of the best captains of Charles VII. (10) He was perfectly successful. (4) A charismatic and effective leader, who won many victories, (4) he became one of the greatest men of war of the fifteenth century (3,4) nicknamed ‘King of Bourges’. (4) The Dauphinists4 suffered defeats at Cravant in 1423 and (11) at Verneuil on August (11,12) 17th (12) 1424. (11,12) The disgrace of Louvet in June 1425, (provoked by the constable of Richemont) briefly involved John as well. (12) He retired to the Dauphiné with his father-in-law. (12) His disgrace was short lived, and by late 1425 or early 1426 he was back fighting. (12) His first wife Marie died in 1426. (11). (12)

The Battle of Verneuil

A Dauphinist took the castle at Ivry-la-Bataille by surprise, and the English laid siege to it to get it back. (13) The besieged proposed to surrender on August 15, 1424 if not relieved by then. (13) The Dauphin’s army assembled at Chateaudun, and set out to rescue them. (13) The scouts reported that the English position was strong, so the French decided to abandon the attempt, and seize instead the nearby town of Verneuil-sur-Avre in the Eure. (13) Disguising Scottish archers as English ones, they occupied the city. (13) John Lancaster was furious, and moved towards Verneuil. (13) The Franco-Scots agreed to fight on August 17th 1424 rather than suffer a siege. (13) 11,000 French and some 7,000 Scots were opposed to 14,000 English. (13) Jean Poton de Xaintrailles, Thomas Montaigu and Jean V of Bueil served during this his first battle, alongside John II of Alençon and William II of Narbonne. (13) Despite his youth, Jean V de Bueil earned the nickname ‘Scourge of the English’. (13) After long hours of waiting and observation, the English archers decide to provoke the French, but the French charged before the archers could settle on their new positions, shattering the English right wing. (13) Meanwhile on the French-Scottish right, the Scottish archers advanced and engage in a formidable archery duel, in which 12,000 archers fired at each other for nearly three quarters of an hour. (13) Further to the right, the Spanish and Lombard mercenaries, avoiding the archery duel, attacked the English baggage and made off with its booty. (13) Ignoring them, the English baggage escort attacked the French left wing, forcing it to retreat. (13) The English then encircled the Scots and massacred them. (13)

The Battle of Montargis

John Dunois’ first notable military success was (9,12) on September 5th (12) 1427 (11,12) when (9,11) with 1,600 men (13) he defeated (9,11) an army of 3000 (13) English (9,11) commanded by Richard Neville, William de la Pole and Jean de la Poul (13) at Montargis. (9,11) The town was liberated. (13) In 1427, John Stuart was sent as an embassy to James I Stuart to ask for reinforcements. (13)

And Joan of Arc

The siege of Orleans

At the end of 1428, the English and their Burgundian allies occupied almost all of northern France down to the Loire. (13) The duchy of Charles I of Orleans was left defenceless. (13) Thomas Montague, Lieutenant General of the English Army, took Rambouillet, Meung-sur-Loire, Beaugency and Jargeau, strategic places along the Loire. (13) Only two bridges remained in French hands: Angers, defended by Yolande d’Anjou, and Orleans. (13) To get at the Dauphin, English needed to take one of them. (13) They would then control the whole valley of the Loire, and the south of France, the last refige of the “king of Bourges”, would be ripe for invasion. (13) Dunois’ victory at Montargis (9,10) and the disgrace of the constable, Richemont, (12) meant that the defence of Orleans was entrusted to him (7,8) when the city was besieged by the English (1,10) between October 12th (12) 1427 (9,12) and May 8th, (12) 1428 (9,12) OR in 1428. (11) The English commander, Thomas Montague, Earl of Salisbury, (13) laid siege to Orleans (1,10) on October 12th 1428 (12,13) without even bothering to ask their prisoner Charles I of Orleans to open the doors. (13) At the beginning of the siege, Antoine de Chabannes was again captured by the English, but they were not numerous enough to invest and encircle the city effectively. (13) They built forts from which to conduct the siege, but their guns were not powerful enough to break the ramparts. (13) By October 24th, 1428, they had managed to take the gatehouse defending the bridge over the Loire on the south bank of the river. (13) Jean I de Brosse, James I of Chabannes, Jean V of Bueil and Louis of Culan arrived in Orleans on the following day, with the 800 men-at-arms led by John of Dunois. (13) On 27th October 1428 Thomas Montague was killed at Meung-sur-Loire (13) William de la Pole took over the command, and was in turn replaced by John Talbot. (13) On December 30, 1428, Jacques I de Chabannes was hit in the foot by a crossbow bolt, and his horse was killed under him. (13) The Burgundians then withdrew from the siege following a disagreement on tactics. (13) Charles VII of France refused, despite the urgency of the situation, to recall the constable Arthur III of Brittany from his disgrace. (13) Louis de Culan brought 200 reinforcements to Orleans on January 30th 1429. (13)

The Day of the Herrings

The French posted spies to gain intelligence about English movements. . (13) One informed the French that a convoy of 300 wagons had left Chartres, escorted by 1 500 English under the command of John Fastolf and Simon Morhier, provost of Paris. (13) The convoy was bringing fish and other food for consumption during Lent. (13) On hearing the news, several thousand French left Orléans (13) on February 12th, 1429 (12,13) under the command of John of Dunois. (13) They arrived at Rouvray-Saint-Denis in Eure-et-Loir near Pithiviers. (13) Charles I of Bourbon, was late joining Dunois, which lost him the advantage of surprise. (13) The English put their wagons in a circle and awaited the French attack. (13) A dispute broke out between John Stuart commanding the Scottish troops and John of Dunois about the tactics to be adopted. (13) Stuart wanted to fight on horseback, Dunois on foot. (13) Charles I of Bourbon arrived this point, and the outcome was that each commander applied his own preferred approach. (13) The English left their defences and routed the French in spite of a rearguard action by Étienne de Vignolles and Jean Poton de Xaintrailles. (13) John of Dunois was severely wounded, (12,13) and the French snatched a serious defeat out of the jaws of an easy victory. (13) French morale was at rock bottom. (13) Many fled Orleans by the Porte de Bourgogne, the only gate not in the hands of the English. (13) The bridge crossing the Loire and connecting the city to the left bank to the kingdom of Charles VII of France was cut. (13) Louis de Culan retreated from Orleans on February 18, 1429. (13) Jean I de Brosse, Jacques I OR Antoine of Chabannes and John of Dunois offered their help to the governor of the city, Raoul de Goncourt. (13) They defended Orleans as best they could. (13) They were joined by Jean’s cousin, Louis de Culan. (13) The city had already been under blockade by the British for 7 months. (13) John of Dunois took command, with Louis de Culan his deputy. (13) Dunois was one of the most active leaders in (11) the siege of Orléans. (7,9)

Joan arrives

The surrender of the city seemed to be only a matter of days away. (13) Charles VII of France agreed to entrust Jeanne d’Arc with a force of 4,000 men. (13) Jean d’Aulon gave Joan instruction in war. (13) On his way to ask Charles VII for reinforcements, Jean I de Brosse met Joan. (13) Jean I de Brosse and Louis de Culan, his cousin, were appointed to escort Joan of Arc and her men to join the rest of the royal forces. (13) Joan was given a sword found in church of Sainte-Catherine de Fierbois. (13) From Blois, moved to Orleans. (13) Guy III of Chauvigny, Pierre de Rieux, Pierre d’Amboise and Louis d’Amboise fought with her there. (13) When Joan of Arc met the leaders of the Royal Army in her captain’s armour, claiming to be about to liberate Orleans, they made fun of her. (13) But her energy and faith quickly made one of the captains, along with Étienne de Vignolle, La Hire, Gilles de Rais, Jean II of Alençon and Jean Poton de Xaintrailles. (13) The soldiers even agreed to put moderate their language and to dismiss the prostitutes who usually followed them. (13) John of Dunois was one of the first military commanders to value her participation. (11) She gained his confidence by saying that she wanted to deliver the Duke of Orleans. (12) John advised King Charles VII to accept her help, which he had been reluctant to do. (12) Dunois welcomed her (7) and was her (2,3) faithful (3,9) ally. (2,3) He was still only the ‘Bastard of Orleans’ when he became (10) companion in arms of Joan of Arc. (3,8)

The siege continues

On April 29, 1429, Joan skilfully managed to get her army and supplies into Orleans avoiding the English, and joined forces with John of Dunois, who defended the city for several months. (13) Food was still short, so an expedition under Ambroise II de Loré was sent to Blois. (13) It returned to Orleans on May 4, 1429, and succeeded in getting supplies and reinforcements into the city without being attacked by the enemy. (13) Jacques I of Chabannes brought reinforcements. (13) On the north bank of the Loire Orleans was surrounded to the north and west by a network of fortifications, and access from the east is blocked by the Fort Saint Lou. (13) The bridge over the Loire south of the city was held by the English; and its southern access was fortified. (13) The river upstream was controlled by the fort of Saint Jean le Blanc which is the counterpart of Saint Lou on the south bank. (13) May 4th, 1429, there was a skirmish between the French and the defenders of Saint Lou. (13) Joan of Arc, awakened in the middle of a nap, charged the fort with a strong party of Orleans militiamen. (13) To counter this, John Talbot sent troops from his fortifications to the north to push Joan back and support Saint Lou. (13) John of Dunois seeing the manoeuvre came out and attacked the Bastille Saint Pouair which marked the northern end of its network of fortifications. (13) John Talbot was forced to pull his men back not to be outflanked and lost Saint Pouair. (13) John of Dunois pulled his men back and Saint Lou was taken by Joan. (13) On May 6th 1429, Ambroise II of Loré took part in the attack on the fort of Augustins. (13) As the river access from the east was no longer blocked, the English transferred troops from Saint Jean le Blanc to the fort of La Tourelle, which gave them control of the bridge. (13) In spite of the difficulties due to sandbanks in the river, Joan managed to cross the Loire by boat to the east of the city with a strong contingent, and reached one of the islands. (13) The English garrison of Saint John the White abandoned the fort and retreated towards the Turret. (13) The French sappers build a bridge over the lesser channel of the Loire separating the island from south bank, and Joan of Arc easily took possession of the fort of Saint John the White. (13) The last fort, des Tourelles, was attacked on Saturday, May 7, 1429, in the early morning, after mass. (13) The Maid was wounded by an arrow on her shoulder as she attacked the wall. (13) As evening fell, the French attackers were exhausted and John of Dunois was preparing to give the signal for the retreat. (13) Joan, who had retired to rest and pray, saw this. (13) She waved her banner, signalling a final assault. (13) The English commander Glasdale, fell from the walls of the fort and drowned in the river, and the fort was taken, restoring communication between Orleans and the south of the Loire. (13) The following day, May 8th, 1429, the English army drew itself up in order of battle in the plain, but Joan of Arc refused battle because it was a Sunday. (13) John Talbot, in command of the English army, understood that he has nothing further to gain by staying, raised the siege and withdrew. (13) John of Dunois’ tactful dealing with Joan had contributed significantly to the success as (11) she (1) OR he (3) OR both together (3,8) in an epic three months (10) succeeded in raising the siege in 1429. (3,8)

After Orleans


In Orleans, the French proved that they could now outperform their opponents in the siege warfare. (13) Joan needed a free and safe road by which to go to Reims for the coronation of Charles VII. (13) She hunted the English troops still in the Loire Valley. (13) Joan needed to know in which direction the various corps of the English army had retreated: she sent Ambroise II de Loré and Étienne de Vignolles, with a hundred horsemen, to follow and observe the enemy 25 miles away. (13) About ten miles from Orleans, in the small town of (13) Jargeau (12,13) English troops under William de La Pole, Duke of Suffolk, were waiting for reinforcements led by John of Lancaster. (13) The French army of 2,000 men, commanded by John II of Alençon (13) OR John of Dunois (11) was soon joined by the companies of (13) John of Dunois (12,13) and Florent d’Illiers, then captain of Chateaudun, doubling his force. (13) Antoine de Chabannes, Jean Poton de Xaintrailles, Gilles de Rais, Guy III of Chauvigny, Jean I of Brosse, and Louis I of Bourbon-Vendome fought at Jargeau. (13) It was June (12,13) 12th 1429. (13) When she saw that they were concerned at the probable size of the English force at Jargeau, (13) Joan (12,13) encouraged them to attack it. (13) The royal army set out, thinking to camp outside the city, but the English army came out and a battle was inevitable. (13) With her banner Joan went into the attack, and the French took the suburbs of the town. (13) On the following day the French took the town: ‘Act and God will act’, Joan had cried. (13) During the attack she was hit on the head by a stone and knocked into a ditch but got up again. (13) In the middle of the battle, William de La Pole asked for a truce, but this was no longer the time for such a request. (13) In an irresistible momentum, the French seized Jargeau and then carried on in pursuit of the English. (13) William de La Pole was taken prisoner and remained in prison for 3 years. (13) The English troops fell back in disorder on Meung-sur-Loire and Beaugency. (13) Jean de Dunois for £20,000, (8) a huge ransom that involved selling several estates in 1431. (7) It was rumoured that Suffolk never paid it, (8)


The exact location of the British army on June 18, 1429, the day after Beaugency’s English surrender, is not known, but tradition attributes this honor to the small village (13) of Patay. (9,13) John Fastolf, John Talbot and Thomas de Scales, lieutenant of John of Lancaster, commanded the English army. (13) The usual defensive tactics of the English Archers was to plant stakes into the ground in front of their position, which stopped cavalry charges and slowed the progress of the infantry sufficiently to give them time to destroy them. (13) But at Patay, before this could be done, a deer crossed the field near the English lines. (13) The archers shot it and gave a cry of triumph which revealed their position to the French. (13) The French vanguard of about 1,500 men, pikemen, led by Étienne de Vignolles, Ambroise II of Loré and Jean Poton de Xaintrailles, attacked the 4,000 archers in the flank, quickly scattering them. (13) Jacques I of Chabannes, Antoine de Chabannes, Bernard VIII of Armagnac, Guy III of Chauvigny, Florent d’Illiers and Jean I of Brosse fought in this battle. (13) Meanwhile, the English knights fled before the French cavalry charge. (13) This was the only pitched battle of the Loire campaign. (13) For the first time in the war, the French heavy cavalry charge was successful, with unexpected results. (13) John of Dunois (9,13) was a powerful contributor to this victory. (13) John Fastolf, accompanied by a small body of men, managed to escape only to face disgrace: John of Lancaster attributed the defeat to his cowardice, and he was stripped of his Order of the Garter. (13) Thus was born the unfortunate reputation that made him the prototype of the character of Falstaff in Shakepeare. (13) The Battle of Patay finished off the reconquest of the Loire Valley, and deprived the English of their best officers and the elite of their archers. (13) John Talbot and many officers were captured by the French. (13) Jean Poton Xaintrailles released John Talbot without ransom. (13) He soon had the chance to return the favour. (13) Despite the victory at Patay the disgraced Arthur III of Brittany is ordered to turn back and strongpoints closed their doors to him. (13) Still attached to the French cause, although still in disgrace, Arthur went to fight in Normandy, forcing the English to divide their forces. (13) Dunois was one of the French commanders at the victory of Patay. (11)


Dunois and Joan took Charles VII to Reims (9,10) for his coronation (8,9) in which they took part. (11) He accompanied Joan in her attempt against Paris (7,12) on August 26th, 1429. (12)

Death of Joan

He could not prevent her from being captured (10,12) at Compiegne (12) or handed over to the English. (10,12), nor, in spite of a diversionary attack in Normandy, save her from being burned at the stake on May 30th 1431. (12) His brief partnership with Joan of Arc, although memorable, is not enough to give an adequate picture of the warrior, the adviser and the diplomat who played a decisive role in the recovery of the kingdom for more than thirty years. (10)


He captured Chartres (9,10) by a bold coup on April 12th (12) 1432, (12,13) and threatened Paris. (12) 4 bishops, including Pierre Cauchon, were responsible for governing Paris in the name of Henry VI Plantagenet. (13) Charles VII of France now felt able to start a counter-offensive against the English. (13) He was eager to return to his capital. (13)


He continued the war after the capture of the Maid. (3,8) He forced Bedford (12) OR Lancaster (13) to raise the siege of (12) Lagny (9,12) in August (12) 1432. (9,32) The English held Paris, but the garrison of Lagny-sur-Marne caused them serious supply difficulties. (13) John of Lancaster, accompanied by a large number of Burgundians made a strong attack on it. (13) He brought a force of 6,000 men commanded by Jean de Villiers of Isle-Adam, Jean de Luxembourg, the bastard of Aunay, Philebert de Vaudray, the lord of Amont, and a prodigious number of siege engines, to besiege the town, which had a garrison of 800 to 1,000 men under a Scottish captain Ambrose de Loreil, and Jean Foucault. (13) The siege began in July 1432, and the town was invested on all sides. (13) Siege engines battered the walls and gates. (13) The English built a bridge across the Marne so that they could move from one bank to another easily. (13) Their camp was fortified and sheltered from attack. (13) The city was running short of food. (13) Charles VII of France sent a force of 600 to 800 to relieve the garrison. (13) The relief troops arrived just in time, as the English had already planted their banner on one of the streets of the city: the English withdrew to their camp. (13) Raoul VI de Gaucourt entered the city with food and reinforcements. (13) On August 11th 1432, John of Dunois and Gilles de Rais marched the left bank of the Marne and at Ferte-sous-Jouarre, they begin to gather boats to make a bridge. (13) Such a tactic was so fatal for the besiegers that John of Lancaster left the camp in haste, abandoning his artillery and supplies. (13) Thus the forces of Charles VII drove off the English forces besieging Lagny. (13)The Parisians, who had financed Lanacaster’s enterprise, were not impressed. (13) The countryside round the city fell increasingly under the control of the Armagnacs, so that food supplies could not reach the city. (13) Famine stalked Paris, and diseases were rife. (13) Discontent grew: the abbess of Saint-Antoine and several of her nuns were put in prison, suspected of having formed a plot to let the French the gate of the city. (13)

The Retaking of Paris

With Richemont he made a campaign in the North, and operated without him in Lower Normandy and around Paris to hasten the conclusion of the treaty of Arras on September 20th 1435. (12) He refused to sign the treaty, because it did not restore his brothers’5 liberty. (12) He engaged in a series of campaigns culminating in a triumphal entry into Paris in 1436. (8,9) On March 8th 1436, Charles VII named Arthur III of Brittany Lieutenant-general in Île-de-France, Normandy, Champagne and Brie, with the task of taking back Paris. (13) Jean de Villiers of L’Isle-Adam assists Arthur III of Brittany. (13) Although reinforced by Burgundian troops, the English were pushed back to the gates of the capital. (13) John of Dunois gained the approaches to the city by taking Meulan on September 24th, (12) On April 13th 1436, Arthur III of Brittany presented himself under the walls of the city. (13) The city was in turmoil. (13) Faced by the popular fury of the Parisians, the English took refuge in the fortress of Saint-Antoine. (13) On April 15th the garrison surrendered. (13) Dunois and Duke Arthur occupied the capital on April 13th, 1436. (12) Pierre Cauchon fled, after paying a large bribe. (13) Henry VI Plantagenet thus lost the capital of the kingdom of France. (13) Arthur III of Brittany had now got back into the good books of Charles VII of France, especially since his Bretons had distinguished themselves in Île-de-France along with John of Dunois, Etienne of Vignolles and Jean Poton de Xaintrailles. (13) In 1436, Henry Beaufort sent Edmond Beaufort to help John Talbot in Normandy where was struggling against Charles VII’s army. (13) Charles VII of France returned to Fontainebleau after the liberation of Île-de-France and Paris in 1436, choosing it for its healthy climate. (13)They took Montereau by siege on October 10th, 1437, and held a place of honour at the King’s entry into Paris on November 12th. (12) The castle of Vincennes was also liberated from the English. (13)

From 1436 to 1444

Brother saved from Imprisonment in England

Dunois shared in the negotiations with the English at Gravelines in 1439 and worked with Charles on the reorganization of the military. (9) During the next two years he was entirely occupied securing the release of his half-brothers. (12) His persevering diplomacy finally obtained the release of his two half-brothers. (10,13) OR Philippe III the Good sent Philippe Pot as an ambassador to London, where he negotiated the release of Charles 1st of Orléans on 5th November 1440, for a ransom of 220 000 gold écus and the pledge to marry Mary of Clèves, the niece of Philippe III le Bon as a pledge of his commitment to France. (13) Upon being released from captivity in England, (11) by way of gratitude, (10) on July 21st, (6,12) 1439 (5,7) he received the county of Dunois (5,6) and the lordship (12) and castle of Châteaudun (11,12) from his half-brother, (5,9) the poet (10) Charles, Duke of Orléans, (5,9) in exchange for the county of Vertus. (12)

Grand Chamberlain

His brilliant conduct at the head of the armies (7,10) caused him to be covered with honours, the king giving him the title of “Restorer of the Fatherland”, (7) (although he himself still preferred to go by the expression ‘the Bastard’). (11) He made the name of Dunois immortal. (7)

Praguerie of 1440

In the Estates General of Orleans in October 1439, Dunois advised that the war should be continued, but his affection for his brother Charles who took the side of the disaffected nobles, led him into the Praguerie. (12) On October (11,12) 26th(11) 1439 he married again, this time to (11,12) the daughter of Jacques d’Harcourt, (12) Marie of Harcourt, a lady of Parthenay. (11,12) This brought him rights over the lordship of Parthenay, which John Larcheveque II had been forced to leave to the constable. (12) John and Marie had two children, (11,12) François (11,12) d’Orléans-Longueville6 (1447–1491), and Montgomery7. (11) Francois inherited his titles and his large estates. (12) The future ducs de Longueville descended from him. (9) In February 1440, the nobility, preventing from raising taxes or controlling the army revolted against Charles VII of France, Arthur III of Brittany and the all-powerful Angevins at court. (13) The following nobles took part: Georges I of Trémoïlle, Gilbert Motier de La Fayette, Charles I of Bourbon, Francis I the Fratricide, Duke of Brittany, John II of Alençon, Duke of Alençon, Louis XI, the Dauphin, aged 17, Pierre d’Amboise, Jean IV Armagnac. (13) After an interview with John II of Alençon, the future Louis XI joined the Praguerie. (13) The Dauphin’s rebellion is explained by his father’s preventing him from exercising any responsibility. (13) On 6th November 1440 Charles of Orléans married Marie of Clèves, a marriage which produced Louis XII. (6) After the liberation of Charles, Duke of Orleans, on November 11th, 1440 (12) John of Dunois joined the conspiracy but soon repented (12,13) he threw himself at the feet of the monarch and was pardoned. (13) Pierre de Breze supports Charles VII during the Praguerie. (13) As a reward he was named Sénéchal d’Anjou and Poitou. (13) With his brother Antoine de Chabannes, Count of Dammartin, Jacques I of Chabannes, his brother, sided with the Dauphin. (13) Jacques I de Chabannes was dismissed from all his duties but will quickly returned to favour, and promoted to the high office of Grand Master of France. (13) The nobles were forced to submit to Charles VII of France, master of the kingdom. (13) The monarchy prevailed over any system of sharing of public power. (13) Jean II d’Alençon found himself alone and negotiated with the English in April 1440. (13) In 1440, Edmond Beaufort managed to seize Harfleur, which the French had just taken, and slow down the French offensive. (13)

Praguerie of 1442

He liberated Dieppe (10,11) on August (11,12) 14th (12) 1443 (11,12) and, on his return, (9,12) King Charles VII made him count of Longueville. (5,9) received the County of Longueville. (12) He was Knight of the Order of the Porcupine. (8) Duke Charles employed him to prepare a second Praguerie, to negotiate with the Duke of Milan, then to abandon his submission to the King in May 1442. (12) He even tried to arrest the constable at Blois; it is true that he made the first submission. (12) Dunois was immediately named lieutenant-general in the north. (12)

Dieppe, 1442

Dieppe was besieged by the English. (11) Louis XI, still Dauphin, accompanied by John of Dunois, co-seigneur de Beaugency, vowed to rebuild the church at Notre Dame de Cléry if the Virgin gave him the victory. (13) Louis managed to raise the siege and liberated the town on 15th August 1543. (13)

The last years of the Hundred Years’ War

Administrative and legal changes

Rightly nicknamed the ‘Well Served’, Charles VII of France was lucky to be assisted by competent administrators like Chancellor William Jouvenel des Ursins or financier Jacques Coeur. (13) Between 1444 and 1450, Charles VII still appeared easily influenced, and often dominated by favourites like Arthur III of Brittany, La Trémoïlle and Brézé. (13)

Permanent Taxation

Having obtained from local assemblies and states general or provincial taxes necessary for the financing of the war, Charles VII, with the help of Jacques Coeur, his great financier, managed to accustom his subjects to permanent taxation. (13) From around 1450 the States-General was no longer convened bringing an end to the consent which had been regarded as essential for ‘extraordinary’ taxation. (13) Permanent taxation was a monarchical right alien to the customary law according to which the King been required to live on his ordinary revenues, like a private person. (13)

Standing Army

Permanent taxation made possible the defence of royal power by a permanent military force. (13) Charles VII equipped his army with structures adapted to the maintenance of an armed force at all times: the “companies of order” were created by order (hence their name) by King Charles VII on May 26, 1445. (13) They were paid regularly, whereas the other companies were dissolved when peace was made. (13) Charles VII was assisted by bold captains like Arthur III of Brittany and John of Dunois, the commander of the royal forces, and by the brothers Jean and Gaspard Bureau, who reorganized his army and provided it for the first time with a powerful and relatively effective artillery. (13)


Charles VII was wary of Paris, where he had lived difficult days in his childhood. (13) He passed management of the city to officers of justice or finance who assured control of it. (13) The King continued to prefer to live in the small towns of the Loire Valley and his castles of Touraine and Berry. (13) Paris ceased to be the principal residence of the King, the court or the aristocracy. (13)

Lieutenant General of the Kingdom

While Duke Charles was a prisoner, (7) OR in 1544, (13) John was named lieutenant-general of France (7,11) a position just below that of Constable. (11)

Truce of 1444

Dunois played an important part in France’s final victory over England. (9) During the final years of the Hundred Years War. (7,8) He helped negotiate the truce (9,10) of Tours (10,12) of May 20th (12) 1444 with the English. (9,10) and was responsible for supervising its implementation. (12) He occupied himself with the reform of the army, and received a company of one hundred spears, with the general command of the rearguard. (12) His refusal to take part in new intrigues attracted him the enmity of the Dauphin, the future Louis XI, who confiscated his land of Vaubonnais. (12) He employed the years 1446 – 1448 (12) OR 1447–49 (9) negotiating for Charles VII with the King of England, the Duke of Burgundy and the Duke of Savoy. (12) While he was there 16th July he met in secret with William de la Pole Earl of Suffolk at his mansion of the Rose in Candlewick street, the first of several meetings in London at which they planned a French invasion. (8S8) Suffolk passed Council minutes to Dunois. (8S) With Jacques Coeur (!) he negotiated the abdication of the antipope Felix V. (9,12) He was still in Lausanne when hostilities when hostilities with the English recommenced (March 1449). (12) At the end of the truce, (9) he commanded the royal armies in three campaigns that led to the complete expulsion of the British. (10) He took part in the liberation of Maine, (10) leading the army that captured Le Mans for the last time in 1448. (11)

Reconquest of Normandy

Ile-de-France had by now been entirely retaken by the French but, for the moment, Normandy remained in the hands of the English. (13) Agnès Sorel urged Charles VII to complete the conquest of his kingdom by taking over Guyenne and Normandy from the English. (13) Dunois was appointed lieutenant-general in Normandy on July 17th, 1449 (12) and was prominent in its reconquest. (7,8) 1449 (9) – 50 (7,9) In 1449, he took the castle of Ivry-la-Bataille from the English and ordered it to be dismantled, after which it was merely a stone quarry. (13) He then took Pont-de-l’Arche, Verneuil, Pont-Audemer, Lisieux, Mantes, Vernon, Gisors, and finally besieged Talbot in Rouen. (12) The Englishmen John Fastolf and Thomas Montague distinguished themselves in the defence of Rouen in October 1449, (13) but an uprising of the inhabitants enabled Dunois to (12) take the city (11,12) in 1449. (9,11). On 31st August 1449 he married Marie de Rohan. (6) OR d’Harcourt. (9) He went on to capture Harfleur on December 14th, Honfleur on February 18th and after the victory of the Constable Richemont (12) OR of himself, Richemont and Clermont (7) at Formigny (7,12) on April 15th, Bayeux on May 16th. (12) He then forced the surrender of Caen on July 1st, Falaise on July 25th and Domfront on August 2nd, completing a conquest that Charles VII described as miraculous. (12) John of Dunois makes us forget his conduct at Harfleur, Gallardon and Dieppe. (13)

Reconquest of Guyenne

Then he turned to (7) Guyenne (7,8) In 1451, (7,9) Dunois reconquered the whole of Guyenne. (7,12) The surrender of Bordeaux on June 12th and Bayonne on August 18th were the two major episodes of the campaign. (12) According to some historians, Dunois was then legitimized, but the fact is not proven. (12) He brought the Hundred Years’ War to an end at the battle of Castillon (7) on July 17th (12) in 1453. (7,12) OR He took no part in the Battle of Castillon. (12) He took no part in the campaign of the king against the Dauphin and Louis I of Savoy in October 1452. (12) He then put Normandy in a state of defense. (12)

Later Years

After the expulsion of the English (11,12), Dunois remained loyal to Charles VII (7) OR Dunois joined in an uprising (8,11) called the Praguerie (8) against the king, (11) but he made his peace with him and returned to royal service. (9,11) Charles VII entrusted him with (9,12) all great affairs of state. (12) These included negotiations with Savoy, (12) the arrest (9) and trial (12) of the duc d’Alençon (9,12) (Jean II) (9) review of the trial of Joan of Arc (12) and with measures against the intrigues of the dauphin, the future Louis XI. (9) When Richemont became Duke of Brittany on September 22nd, 1457, he obtained from him the expectation of property of Jean Larchevêque on October 22nd 1458. (12) The death of Arthur III on December 26th earned him Parthenay and its dependencies. (12) He remained faithful to Charles VII and was present with him until his last moments on July 22nd 1461. (12)

Louis XI

League of the Common Weal

When Louis acceded to the throne, (9,10) in 1461, he trusted John to negotiate with the duke of Brittany, and then sent him to deliver Savona. (12) This expedition was not adequately supported by the King and did not turn out well. (12) John’s half-brother Charles of Orleans (6,12) the father of Louis XII (6) died on January 4th 1465. (6,12) In 1464-65 (11) OR in 1465 (8) Dunois remained loyal to Louis XI (7) OR Dunois participated in an uprising of nobles called (11,12) the League of the Public Weal against him, (8,9) Louis XI managed to settle with the nobles, and (11) Dunois regained favour at court. (8,10)

Council of 36

He became head of Louis XI’s Council of Thirty-Six (a kind of supreme court of inquiry and public policy in Paris). (11) He was employed as a diplomat; to negotiate the treaty of Saint-Maur on October 20th 1465. (12) On July 2nd, 1466 he married for the third time, this time to Agnès de Savoie (1445–1508) (11) On 30th April 1467 his brother John of Angoulème the grandfather of Francis 1st, died. (6) He was awarded a pension of 6000 livres. (12) His son married the king’s sister-in-law, Agnes of Savoy in July 1466. (12) Dunois passed his last years in full favour and was managing of the affairs of the kingdom until the end. (12)


John Dunois died (2,6) of pneumonia during a winter trip (10) on 24th November 1468 (2,6) at the castle of the Hay (12) OR L’Haÿ-les-Roses. (9) By then he had acquired six noble titles: Lord of Valbonais; Count of Mortain; Viscount of Saint-Sauveur; Count of Périgord; Count of Dunois and Count of Longueville. (11) His funeral was celebrated in the presence of king (10,12) Louis XI. (12) He was buried in the church of Notre Dame de Cléry (12) with a pomp worthy of a prince of the blood. (10) He had been at the same time one of the main architects of the revival of the kingdom against the English and the pillar of the Orleans family in adversity until it reached the throne of France with Louis XII and Francis I. (10)

1 ?

2 The assassination of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, on the bridge at Montereau on 10th September 1419.

3 ?

4 Properly so called until the formal anointing of the Dauphin at Rheims.

5 Apostrophe was singular, but there were two of them.

6 Count of Dunois, Tancarville, Longueville

7 Baron of Varenguebec, Viscount of Melun, Chamberlain of France, Governor of Normandy and the Dauphiné, Constable and Chamberlain of Normandy

8 A Reference ‘8S’ like this refers to my piece in this series on William de la Pole Duke of Texas


[bibliography of sources available upon request]

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