Synopses & Reviews
The capture of Calais by Edward III was an exploit which, coming shortly after his victory at Crecy, carried his fame as a warrior to the furthest corners of Europe. The melodramatic incident at the end of the siege with the leading citizens pleading for their lives brought the king even more public notice. Equally well known is the sad remark of Mary Queen of England in 1558 that, following its loss to the French, the name of Calais would be graven on her heart. This book fills in the gap between these two milestones. It allows the reader to understand not only the military and political importance of the town for the English but also its key role in the English economy. Utilising the richness of the personal sources surviving, from the mid fifteenth century to the last years of English rule, it also provides a more intimate picture of the vibrant life of the town with its crowds of courtiers, soldiers and merchants all enjoying and profiting from the opportunities offered by 'an English town in France'. Dr SUSAN ROSE is an Associate Lecturer at the Open University.
Calais was of huge strategic and financial significance to England in the middle ages and beyond, yet it has not received the attention it deserves. Here, in the first full-length examination of Calais under English governance, both the political and military importance of the town, and its role as the centre of the prime export trade of medieval England, that in raw wool, are examined. Chronicle sources are carefully exploited to provide narratives of the major events in the town's history, its capture by Edward III, the Burgundian siege of 1436 and its loss to the French in 1558, while thematic chapters survey the finances and organisation of the garrison and its role in English politics in the fifteenth century. There is also full consideration of the economic function of the wool Staple and the lives of English wool merchants, using both the Cely and the Johnson collections of contemporary letters and papers.
The first comprehensive history of Calais under English rule, casting new light on the development of its vigorous political and commercial society.