John the Fearless arranged a meeting with the Dauphin

After years of conflict and division, attempts to reconcile the Burgundians and supporters of the Dauphin had been made at the highest levels by the late summer of 1419. The divisions were deep, having resulted in civil war and ongoing mistrust. With Normandy on the verge of capitulation to the English, the need for both parties to settle their differences was high. A united force may be able to halt the advances of the English. Perhaps even push them back. Disharmony on the other hand, only served to aid the English cause.

John the Fearless arranged a meeting with the Dauphin

On 7th September 1419, John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, offered the olive branch that could facilitate a rapprochement between himself and the Dauphin. He sent a messenger to the Dauphin offering to meet him on 10th September. The meeting would be on a bridge at Monterau with the two mens supporters kept apart by the river. For additional security the Duke of Burgundy would have control of the Castle of Moret. Charles, the Dauphin, considered the proposal and the messenger is sent back to John saying that the meeting can go ahead as proposed.

On the 10th John sent his sons to the Dauphin for talks, and to see if there was any sign of treachery. With all seeming to be peaceful, John, and the Dauphin approached the bridge with a guard of 300 men each. On the bridge itself each man had agreed to a limit of ten associates each.

The detail of what happened next varies from source to source. What is clear is that the meeting between the two began with the Duke kneeling and pledging to support the Dauphin. Soon after, the scene turned ugly. What is for certain is that the Dauphin was pulled away from a melee of the associates.

That melee results in the assassination of the Duke of Burgundy. Others fell in the clash, which soon drew in followers from the armed bands that had accompanied the two men. John the Fearless’ body was subjected to the fate that the Duke of Orleans’ remains had been years previously. His skull was caved in, hands cut off, chin severed from his head. And the body dumped. It was a clear sign that this was a revenge killing.

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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