Triumphal Entry into Rouen, 14 January 1419

The Siege of Rouen lasted from July 1418 to January 19th 1419. Henry Vs army had adopted the method of starving the city into submission. Thousands of people were forced from inside the walls but refused passage through the siege lines. Henry V was asserting his right to the City, its inhabitants were his subjects and his City would yield to him. The conditions within Rouen led to its capitulation in January 1419. 

Henry Vs entry into the city was triumphant and hugely symbolic. The Chronicler Enguerrand de Monstrelet wrote of it:

From The Chronicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet[i]:

“This treaty was concluded on the 16th day of January in the year 1419 ; and on the following Thursday, the 19th of the same month, the king of England made his public entry into the town of Rouen with great pomp, attended by the princes of his blood and numbers of his nobles. He was followed by a page mounted on a beautiful horse, bearing a lance, at the end of which, near the point, was fasten ed a fox’s brush, by way of streamer, which afforded great matter of remark among the wise heads.

the churches were rung, and the mitred abbots, and all others of the clergy, went out in procession to meet him dressed in their sacred robes, bearing many relics, who, with chaunting, conducted the king to the cathedral of our Lady. When he was come to the great gate, he dismounted, and, bare-headed, reverently entered, the church, and returned his thanksgivings to God at the high altar: thence he went to the castle, where he was lodged, and the others wherever they could in the town.

This city of Rouen, now conquered by the king of England, had, with all Nor mandy, appertained to France, and been under the obedience of her kings for 215 years: from the time when king Philip, grandfather to saint Louis, acquired it from king John of England, by judgment of the peers of France, in right of confiscation.

King Henry, the day after his entry, had Alain Blanchart, who had been the leader of the populace, beheaded: the two others escaped punishment by dint of mo hey. The garrison were ordered to march out by the gate leading toward the Seine, and were escorted by the English as far as the bridge of St George, where they were searched by commissaries from the king, who took from them all their money, with every thing valuable, giving them in return only two sols. Some of the gentlemen were even stripped of their handsome robes, made of martin skins, or embroidered with gold, and others of less value given them in return.

This conduct was noticed by those of the garrison who were in the rear; and foreseeing the same would be done to them, they quietly, and unobserved, threw into the Seine many purses full of gold, silver and jewels. Others, to avoid being plundered, had sewed up their money within the waistbands of their breeches. When they had all passed the bridge of St George, they kept together until they came to Pontoise, where they separated, and went to different parts, excepting the nobles, who joined the king of France and the duke of Burgundy at Provins.

Sir Guy le Bouteiller, who had been governor of Rouen, turned to the English, with several of his men, and took the oaths of allegiance to the king of England, desert ing his own natural lord the king of France, for which he was much blamed by the French, and even by the English. Sir Guy was a native of Normandy, and not only had his estates restored to him, but was appointed deputy to the duke of Glocester, the new governor of Rouen.

The surrender of this town spread such an alarm and fear of the king of England throughout the whole of Nor mandy and the adjacent countries, as far as Pontoise, Beauvais and Abbeville, that the greater part of the chief towns and castles submitted to him without offering any resistance, or even striking a blow; such as Caudebec, Monstieriller, Dieppe, Fécamp, Argues, Neuf-Châtel, Denicourt, Eu, Monchaulx,-and on the other side of the Seine, Vernon, Mantes, Gournay, Honfleur, Pont au de Mer, Château Mo lineaux, le Treict, Tancarville, Abrechier, Maulevrier, Valmont, Neufville, Bellau combre, Fontaines le Bourc, Preaulx, No gondouville, Logempré, St Germain sur Cailly, Baudemont, Bray, Villeterre, Charles Maisnil, les Boules Guillencourt, Ferifontaines, le Beeq Crepin, Bacqueville, —and many more, in which the king of England placed his own garrisons.

From that time, the inhabitants of these countries wore a red cross as a badge, and several bore arms for the English; not indeed those of great autho rity, for it was not then become the cus tom for gentlemen or nobles to join the English. The inhabitants of Rouen in general took the oath of fidelity before the commissioners, at least all who intended to reside there; and they individually gave security to pay whatever they should be assessed to make up the sum of three hundred and sixty-five golden crowns before mentioned.

None were permitted to go out of the town without a billet from the king; and the same was practised in all the other towns under his obedience. – These billets cost four solsgach, French money; and by this means large sums were raised, to the advantage of the king and his ministers”.

[i] The Chronicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet, available online at []


Brittanica – Siege of Rouen

Chapter XXV - Henry of Monmouth, Volume 2, by J. Endell Tyler

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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