Battle of Cravant

Battle of Cravant, 31st July 1423

On 31st July 1423 a Franco-Scottish army met an Anglo-Burgundian force in battle at Cravant, Burgundy. The Dauphinist army was part of a force that had been assembled to try and seize the initiative in the Low Countries following the deaths of King Charles VII of France, and Henry V of England.

The Dauphin recruited many Scots for this campaign. Under the command of Sir John Stewart Darnley some 4000 men had gone to the continent to fight alongside the French. As summer began, the army besieged the town of Cravant in Burgundy.

The garrison at Cravant made urgent requests for assistance. It was a message that the Burgundians relayed to their allies, the English, to raise a force as quickly as possible. It resulted in a 4000 strong force, roughly half Burgundian, half English, meeting at Auxerre on 29th July.

When they arrived near Cravant, it was clear that the Anglo-Burgundian force was massively outnumbered, possibly by as much as three times. The Earl of Salisbury, commanding, found the enemy sat on the opposite side of the river Yonne, between himself and the town.

There was something of a standoff as the onus was on the relief force to break through but Salisbury was reluctant to undertake an assault across a river against a far larger force. Eventually, archers from the Franco-Scottish force began to take aim at the relieving force. The response was to respond in kind, English archers letting loose and the artillery being brought to bare.

The aerial assault on the Franco-Scottish lines created an opportunity. Casualties seemed to be mounting and the Earl could see that the defensive line was in disarray. Using the English archers as a means of providing cover, the men-at-arms forded the river and stormed the bridge. The disarray of the Franco-Scottish lines resulted in the advantage falling to Salisbury’s assailants, rather than the more numerous defenders. Seeing this, the garrison of Cravant sallied on horseback, crashing into the rear of the Scottish infantry, and crushing them: the French having already begun to flee the battlefield.

The battle resulted in heavy losses for the Dauphinist army and the capture of its commanders, Darnley and the Comte de Vendóme

Image Credits

Les Vigiles de Charles VII, manuscrit de Martial d’Auvergne, vers 1484, BnF, Manuscrit Français 5054, enluminure du folio 29 verso.

Dan Moorhouse

Dan Moorhouse graduated in History and Politics and has since undertaken postgraduate studies in Medieval History and Education. Dan is a member of the Royal Historical Society and has previously been a member of the Historical Association’s Secondary Education Committee. Dan’s early publishing was in the Secondary School History Education field. This included co-authoring the Becta Award shortlisted Dynamic Learning: Medicine Through Time series for Hodder Murray and contributing to the Bafta Award winning Smallpox Through Time documentary series by A former teacher, Dan now concentrates on research and writing, predominantly in Medieval English history. Books by Dan Moorhouse On this day in the Wars of the Roses On this day in the Hundred Years War

One thought on “Battle of Cravant

  • October 12, 2022 at 5:25 pm

    Hi Dan,
    I do a History trip every year with a friend and to celebrate an English Battle / event with a centenary anniversary. Next year is being planned and the only event i can find with a ’23 is the Battle of Cravant. It looks like a great place to visit and the research could be v good surrounding the 100 years war. We did go to Rouen in 2019 for the Siege of Rouen in 1419 under Henry V.
    1. Is there enough at Cravant do you think to view? Auxerre is lovely – fine Cathedral etc. but would the battle field provide enough focus?
    2. What reading might you recommend – something under the early years of Henry V1 reign? or late 100 years war…?
    Any help for our mad trip would be most appreciated.
    Best and thanks,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.