Fall of Romorantin to Edward of Woodstock’s men
Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales, had launched his campaign from Gascony. Using the chevauchee approach, he attacked Limousin and Berry. His scouts then reported the presence of the lords of Craon and Boucicault at Romorantin. The Black Prince opted to besiege the town, taking it on 3 September 1356.
Usually, speed was the emphasis of any chevauchee style campaign. In this instance, the Black Prince and his war council decided to besiege Romorantin. This was due to the expectation of a French army bearing down on their army, so leaving a garrison alone could cause harm to them in days to come.
The siege is recorded in the Chronicles of Geoffrey the Baker:
“Because it was reported that the French usurper was not more than thirty miles away, the council judged it better not to move and await the usurper with a view to battle, rather to seek to avoid it, because they were very anxious to come to grips with him and reckoned that if they began a siege it would provoke the French into trying to raise. In the end, it was decided not to retire from the castle until those shut up in it were either captured or surrendered themselves, unless a major battle was expected. The prince gave orders that stone-throwing machines and tortoises for the protection of the miners should be built. The machines, manned by specially trained troops, destroyed the roof of the tower and the battlements with round stones. They also set fire to the tunnel which the miners had dug and which reached to the foundations of the castle, burning the timbers which had hardly been strong enough to prevent the foundations from collapsing on the men who were digging it, and these would have fallen into the mine. But the helpless besieged saw their safety threatened by so many dangers that they begged to be allowed to surrender; and this was agreed in accordance with the prince’s wishes on the sixth day of the siege [3rd September]”.