Origins of the War of Saint-Sardos

The English put off paying homage to Charles IV of France on 1 July 1324. It was the beginning of a series of events that culminated in the War of Saint-Sardos. This conflict, a French victory, can be viewed as a precursor of the Hundred Years War.

Saint-Sardos was a village within the Duchy of Aquitaine. It fell under the jurisdiction of the King of England, Edward II, as the Duke. The King of France had been making moves to increase his own authority across many parts of France, gradually eroding the quasi-independence of Duchies.

The Abbey of Sariat can be found close to the village of Saint-Sardos. Laying inside the Duchy of Aquitaine, it owed allegiance to both the Duke, and King of France. In 1318, the abbot of Sariat petitioned the French Parlement. He asked for the abbey to be exempt from the jurisdiction of the Duchy of Aquitaine.

Such moves would make an abbey answerable only to the church and crown. At a time when there was a political will to force changes such as this, those favours could be very beneficial, but asking for such a move could also be rather provocative.

In his request to remove the Ducal jurisdiction the Abbot had offered to build a bastide. This angered local nobility, who were concerned that such a development would reduce their own incomes and attract workers from their own estates. It led to violence, with the Lord of Monpezat raiding Saint-Sardos.

That raid proved costly. The lord had met with the Senschenal of Gascony just two days previously. The Senschenal was England’s most senior official in France. France consequently accused England of having authorised the raid and the murder of the French Sergeant-at-Arms in the village.

Parlement then found in the Abbots favour, granting the removal of the Duke of Aquitaine’s jurisdiction. It raised suspicions between all sides, heightened by renewed calls for King Edward II to pay homage to King Charles IV. That homage was postponed several times before being agreed to take place, by proxy, on 1J uly 1324. The Earl of Kent, however, discovered that the nobility of Gascony were still furious about the issues around Saint-Sardos and the Abbey. As a result, he decided not to travel to Amiens. His failure to attend and pay homage was a trigger for the War of Saint-Sardos. It was a precursor to the Hundred Years War and served as a warning to the English. The French won the war and forced concessions out of the English crown.







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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