Garrison at Caen agreed a date for surrender

Caen’s garrison agreed to surrender if a relief force had not arrived by 19th September 1417 saw King Henry V of England renew his campaign to seize control of Normandy. His objectives included taking major ports, to ease supply. One of these was Caen, which was also the second largest town in Normandy.

In August 1417, John the Fearless launched an attack towards Paris. As aresult, the Dauphin was forced to withdraw most of his forces from Normandy, to defend the capital against Burgundy. It opened an opportunity for the English to make rapid gains. Henry seized the chance, arriving at Caen on 18th August.

Castle of Caen, France
Castle of Caen, France. Photo by Nikater. Via Wikimedia.

Siege of Caen

Caen was a large town. It was walled and housed a strong citadel. The English manage to make several breaches to the walls. On 20th August discussions led to an agreement by the garrison of the citadel that they would surrender if not relieved within 30 days.
Henry V was not willing to sit and wait for the town to fall. He ordered further attacks. On 4th September, a series of major assaults saw large parts of the town taken. It is recorded that the English showed little mercy, some 2000 of the townsfolk are reputed to have been slaughtered by the English as the town was secured.

Others were granted 3 days safe conduct, enough time to make their way to safety. Many are thought to have travelled to Brittany, others to Falaise. It left the citadel in a much weaker position than when it had made statements that it would surrender in 30 days.

Terms for the surrender of Caen

The terms of surrender were duly renegotiated. Henry was keen to move on to his next target. The defenders were no doubt aware of the fate of those who upset the English King. On the 5th September, a new date of the 19th September was agreed for the surrender of the garrison, should it not be relieved by that date.

Siege of Caen (1417) Links

The fall of Caen. Book chapter on erenow.

Other Sieges

Sack of Narbonne, November 1355

SIege and Fall of Romorantin, 1356

Triumphal Entry into Rouen, 14 January 1419

Siege of Montargis, 1427


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

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