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La guerre en Normandie (XIe-XVe siècle)

 | 
Anne Curry
, 
Véronique Gazeau

Town and Crown in Late 15th-Century France: Rouen after the Réduction, c. 1449-14931

Neil Murphy et Graeme Small

Résumé

Les bonnes villes et leurs gouvernants ont joué un rôle très important dans la réaffirmation et l’affermissement du pouvoir royal dans le royaume de France dans la seconde moitié du XVe siècle, non pas comme dominés par la couronne, comme le disait Henri Sée, mais comme partenaires dans une « entente cordiale », comme l’a dit plus récemment Bernard Chevalier. Qu’en était-il de la capitale de la Normandie pendant cette période ? Le duché avait une valeur stratégique considérable en raison des guerres bretonnes et bourguignonnes, mais aussi en raison d’une menace anglaise qui restait très présente durant le XVe siècle. Malgré les conditions économiques peu favorables de la première moitié du XVe siècle, le roi considérait la Normandie comme l’une de ses provinces les plus riches. En même temps, les victoires militaires de Charles VII n’ont pas assuré à son fils Louis XI une autorité incontestée. Cette étude de la politique rouennaise et des relations entre cette ville et la monarchie pendant la seconde moitié du XVe siècle traite de certaines de ces questions à partir de plusieurs sources essentielles, notamment les registres de délibérations municipales.

Texte intégral

  • 1 We would like to thank Professor Élisabeth Lalou for locating material we have used in this article
  • 2 The main work of synthesis is still B. Chevalier, Les bonnes villes de France du XIVe au XVIe siècl (...)

1Relations between “town and Crown” in late medieval France have received considerable attention in the many major monographs and works of synthesis of urban history that have appeared in recent decades2. Although there are inevitably points of difference and debate between these works, it would be fair to say that a consensus of sorts has emerged. With respect to the decades following the Hundred Years’ War, a “parfait accord” is said to have existed between the monarchy and municipal governments. The case of Rouen in the decades following the recovery of that city from the English in 1449 suggests that the consensus should be revised to take greater account of political conditions in the many “peripheral” regions which were absorbed or reabsorbed into the realm at the close of the Middle Ages. In the process of demonstrating this point through a discussion of selected aspects of Rouen’s experience, this contribution to our theme of “la guerre au Moyen Âge” will also emphasise how, in a period conventionally seen as “l’après-guerre”, the memory and threat of war could still be powerful agents for change.

Town and Crown in Late 15th-Century France

  • 3 A. Thierry, Essai sur l’histoire de la formation et des progrès du Tiers État, Paris, Furne, 1853.
  • 4 B. Guenée, “L’histoire de l’État en France à la fin du Moyen Âge vue par les historiens français de (...)
  • 5 É. Maugis, Recherches sur les transformations du régime politique et social de la ville d’Amiens de (...)
  • 6 H. Sée, Louis XI et les villes, Paris, Hachette, 1890.
  • 7 In Saint-Flour, for example, Louis’s reign was a period of “confiscated independence”: A. Rigaudièr (...)

2To situate our subject in its proper context, we must refer back to Augustin Thierry’s fundamental work on the “Third Estate”, which appeared alongside his study of the medieval constitution of Amiens3. From Thierry’s Orléanist liberal standpoint in the middle of the 19th century, it seemed that the Crown had triumphed over the reactionary forces of feudalism in the medieval period with the invaluable support of townsfolk, particularly the contributions of urban tax payers, militias and lawyers4. A later pioneer of urban history (who also happened to be an historian of Amiens), Édouard Maugis, understandably felt that such a view relegated townsmen to the role of mere accessories in the making of France, at least when compared with “le rôle unique et quasi providentiel” of the monarchy5. But it would be some time before greater weight was accorded to the political importance of urban elites. Instead, it was Henri Sée who developed Thierry’s vision of town-Crown relations, and he did so in such a way as to diminish still further the role accorded to municipalities, at least for the period after 14506. In the reign of Louis XI (1461-1483), Sée argued, the alliance of the Hundred Years’ War gave way to a new relationship: a proto-absolutist monarchy sought to restrict the liberties of municipalities and milk their resources, first the towns of the royal domain lands, then those of the many territories which were absorbed or reabsorbed into the kingdom from 1449 onwards. This narrative of increasing royal domination and diminishing municipal autonomy in the second half of the 15th century was not borne out in every subsequent monograph, of course, but its influence can still be traced in major case studies of the later 20th century, such as Robert Favreau’s work on Poitiers, or Albert Rigaudière’s on St Flour7.

  • 8 B. Chevalier, Tours: ville royale (1356-1520). Origines et développement d’une capitale à la fin du (...)
  • 9 B. Chevalier, “L’État et les bonnes villes en France au temps de leur accord parfait (1450-1550)”, (...)
  • 10 G. Naegle, Stadt, Recht und Krone. Französische Städte, Königtum und Parlement im späten Mittelalte (...)
  • 11 D. Rivaud, Les villes et le roi. Les municipalités de Bourges, Poitiers et Tours et l’émergence de (...)

3A significant adjustment in the historiography occurred thanks to the work of Bernard Chevalier. His research focused on communities which – because of the relative decline of Paris after years of Lancastrian rule – had come to form the political centre of the kingdom by the mid-15th century, namely the towns and cities of the Loire, especially Tours8. In terms more reminiscent of Maugis than Thierry, Chevalier saw the bonnes villes of the kingdom, especially the regional capitals at the head of provincial urban networks, as partners of the monarchy in the work of defence and government. The period that followed the war years was not one of royal dominance, but rather a time when the monarchy, finally secure within its frontiers and having no particular reason to fear the disloyalty of urban elites, largely left highly competent municipalities to their own affairs9. For Gisela Naegle, whose work was based in the main on the records of the Parlement of Poitiers (that is to say, an institution with jurisdiction over the regions that had remained under Valois, not Lancastrian or Burgundian, rule), the relationship which developed between town and Crown was one of reciprocity10. This mutually beneficial arrangement only gradually came to an end when it was no longer perceived to be reasonable that urban elites, who claimed to act in the name of the king, should continue to demand ever greater liberty of action at the king’s expense. David Rivaud’s recent thesis takes issue with some of Chevalier’s conclusions, but in terms of town-Crown relations he comes to broadly similar conclusions. Looking, he too, at the central municipalities of Bourges, Tours and Poitiers in the second half of the 15th century, Rivaud finds that city and royal state were administrative organisms that had grown up in tandem with one another in the pressurized environment of the Hundred Years’ War. They came to form a relationship so symbiotic in character that by 1500 we might even speak of an “état des bonnes villes11. Broadly speaking, then, a model of “consensus monarchy” now prevails in the historiography.

4It is worth emphasising that the prevailing consensus is built around the study of municipalities which had relatively limited experience of interacting with anything other than royal forms of government – even if that government was sometimes exercised through a leading member of the royal familial community who sought as much room for manoeuvre as possible, such as John, Duke of Berry. But there were many towns and cities in later 15th-century France which had been absorbed or re-absorbed into the kingdom after long periods spent under rulers who were either implacably opposed to the Valois dynasty, or who had managed to exclude the king’s authority from their lands far more successfully than the Duke of Berry – the communities which had been subject to the ultimate authority of English kings for varying lengths of time, for example, or those which had formed part of the Burgundian dominions. Although they had all come to form part of the same regnal political community by 1500, the experiences of municipal governments in Caen or Amiens were shaped by rather different circumstances over time compared with those which affected Poitiers, Tours or Bourges.

  • 12 On Rouen’s importance generally, see Histoire de Rouen, M. Mollat (ed.), Toulouse, Privat, 1979. Fu (...)
  • 13 Full details of the extensive literature on Rouen under English rule (including the key studies of (...)
  • 14 R. Harris, Valois Guyenne: a Study of Politics, Government and Society in Late Medieval France, Woo (...)
  • 15 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Inventaire sommaire des archives communales antérieures à 1790. Vil (...)

5Of the many towns that were absorbed or reabsorbed into the kingdom after the middle of the 15th century which might be chosen to explore this point further, Rouen is as good a candidate as any. Probably second only to Paris in terms of its population, it was a city of considerable strategic, commercial and fiscal importance throughout the medieval and early modern periods12. Prior to its surrender to Charles VII in November 1449 (which is discussed elsewhere in the present volume), the exclusion of the capital of Upper Normandy from Valois rule had been more complete, and had lasted longer (since January 1419), than that of just about any other major city, save its smaller counterpart in Lower Normandy, Caen (1417-1450), and the more obvious exceptions of Calais or the communities of English Gascony13. Compared with some other major cities, such as Bordeaux or Dijon, its experience of reintegration within the political life of the kingdom of France has been relatively little studied14. Yet the materials to investigate the subject are not entirely lacking. Incomplete though they are, the minutes of Rouen’s town council during this period provide valuable insight into the decisions taken by the city’s office-holders15. Chronicles, royal and seigneurial correspondence, minutes of the cathedral chapter and records of royal institutions of government, where appropriate, can shed further light on our subject. Given constraints of space, we will focus our investigation on two particular aspects of Rouen’s relations with the monarchy: first, the manner and benefits of the reintegration of the city in the years immediately following the Réduction of Normandy, when Rouen faced the challenge of establishing itself as a privileged interlocutor of the new regime; and second, the key role played by the Rouennais in the events of the first half of the reign of Louis XI, especially the War of the Public Weal.

The Challenges and Benefits of Reintegration

  • 16 Histoire de Rouen, p. 134.
  • 17 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, pp. 49, 60; F. Farin, Histoire de la ville de Rouen, (...)
  • 18 A radical and durable change of regime was only likely in a city where the ruling oligarchy was suc (...)
  • 19 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, pp. 48, 58; F. Farin, Histoire de la ville de Rouen, (...)
  • 20 F. Farin, Histoire de la ville de Rouen, t. II, pp. 127, 146.

6Stained glass windows bearing the English royal coat of arms were wisely replaced with blank panels on public buildings in time for Charles VII’s ceremonial entry into Rouen in 1449, but in many respects the political regime within the city remained much as it had been under Lancastrian rule16. The constitutional arrangements established by the French Crown following the revolt of la Harelle in 1382 had been largely left intact by the English, and were maintained under Charles VII. The post of mayor having been abolished by the Crown in punishment for the rebellion, Rouen was governed by an executive of six aldermen-counsellors, supported by a conseil of twenty-four and a number of specialists, such as the receiver, the town clerk and the city’s main legal officer, the procureur. For reasons unknown, but which were not necessarily to do with the change of regime of course, two of Rouen’s longstanding aldermen-counsellors, Gieffin du Bosc and Guillaume Ango, asked to be allowed to resign their posts less than six weeks after the king’s entry. Despite the entreaties of their four colleagues, representatives of the four districts of the city, and even the new royal bailli, Guillaume Cousinot, both men were eventually allowed to demit in May 1450. But within two years Gieffin du Bosc was back serving as one of the six aldermen-counsellors, as he was again in 1458. In this last year he was joined on the aldermen’s benches by his former colleague, Ango17. The reality was that such men were generally too valuable – in terms of their wealth, experience, training or connections – to disappear altogether from municipal political life18. Continuity was therefore a marked feature of municipal government, in Rouen as elsewhere. The point is well illustrated by the career of Pierre Daron who, having served as the city’s procureur for over thirty years, was nominated by the Duke of Somerset to become a conseiller of Henry VI “en la chambre de son conseil a Rouen” in 1449. In 1453, now under the Caroline regime, he took up the senior post of lieutenant du bailli, and was later the town’s principal orator in negotiations which pitted him against a deputation from the University of Paris19. By contrast with well-connected, technically skilled oligarchs like Daron, the holders of higher local or regional offices which lay in the gift of the king were often absentees who generally had far less of a foothold in the city, such as the occupants of the offices of vicomte de Rouen or the vicomte de l’eau20.

  • 21 F. Neveux, Bayeux et Lisieux, villes épiscopales à la fin du Moyen Âge, Caen, Éditions du Lys, 1996 (...)
  • 22 Histoire de Caen, G. Désert (ed.), Toulouse, Privat, 1981, p. 108.
  • 23 M. G. A. Vale, Charles VII, London, Eyre Methuen, 1974, pp. 61-67.
  • 24 G. Prosser, After the Reduction. Re-Structuring Norman Political Society and the Bien Public, 1450- (...)

7The apparent absence of any significant purge was a feature of Norman political life more generally after the Réduction. In other municipalities, such as Lisieux and Caen, the pattern at Rouen appears to have been replicated21. In the second of these cities, indeed, the municipal officer who conducted the ceremony of submission apologized to Charles VII on behalf of his fellow citizens for the fact they had not returned to his obedience sooner, asking him to remember that “ils ont eu de fortes grandes affaires et ont été fort constraints par les anglais”. As almost everyone present must have been aware, however, the speaker himself had spent at least sixteen of these long years of English servitude acting as lieutenant du bailli22. Within other Norman institutions there were similar awkward realities to take account of. In the archbishopric of Rouen, said to be the richest in the kingdom, the see was occupied at the time of the Réduction by Raoul Roussel, a former canon of Rouen cathedral – and one of the judges who had condemned Joan of Arc in the city just eighteen years earlier23. Only after Roussel’s death in 1452 could Joan’s trial of rehabilitation begin in earnest, culminating in the public burning on the market place of Rouen of the trial documents four years later. It was primarily in the countryside, and especially in the biggest fiefs held by the greater lords, that the most significant change in Norman political society occurred. Those best placed to exploit Charles VII’s Edict of Compiègne, promulgated in 1429, and stipulating the return of lost lands to the dispossessed in their original condition, were the few powerful exiled families whose territories, because they were often the most strategically important in the first place, were among the first to be vacated by the English or Lancastrian supporters who had been granted them24. These returning families were necessarily well connected within the new Caroline regime, and were joined at the top of Norman political society by the leading military figures who had achieved the Réduction, and who had been rewarded with lands and offices in the region by Charles.

  • 25 The rise of legists was a feature of Rouennais politics, as elsewhere in late medieval France, but (...)

8Two main consequences arose from the concentration of change at the top of Norman political society and its relative absence at other levels. In the first instance, political objectives below the top level remained largely unchanged. In the case of the municipality of Rouen which interests us most, the concerns of the mercantile elite that dominated the city remained very much to the fore25. In the second instance, however, the powerbrokers between locality, region and regnal centre were now completely different. Existing objectives would have to be pursued through the forging of new relationships.

  • 26 H. Prentout, Les États provinciaux de Normandie, Caen, E. Lanier, 1925, vol. II, p. 416. For the ro (...)
  • 27 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, p. 52.
  • 28 Ibid., pp. 53, 54.
  • 29 Ibid., p. 61.

9Perhaps wary of the problems that had arisen the last time Normandy was granted to a single member of the royal family under John II, Charles VII left oversight of the duchy’s affairs to “une sorte de haut commissariat collectif” consisting of leading royal counselors who had played a key role in the reconquest. These men included Arthur de Richemont, Constable of France, Louis d’Harcourt, then Archbishop of Narbonne, and Pierre de Brézé, Charles VII’s leading adviser in the 1440s26. The extent of their involvement in the day-to-day running of Normandy and Rouen can be gauged in the minutes of the city council. When the possibility was mooted in July 1452 that a royal garrison might be stationed in the city, for example, the advice of Harcourt, Richemont and others was taken on how to avoid this dreaded imposition27. Brézé for his part presided over several sessions of the town council, where items of business included bread-and-butter issues such as the voting of aides for the king and the regulation of municipal elections28. When the key document enshrining the liberties of Normandy, the Charte aux Normands, had to be taken to the king for confirmation, it was entrusted, not to a Rouennais emissary, but to the professionally safe hands of Louis d’Harcourt’s barber29.

  • 30 Ibid., p. 54.
  • 31 Ibid., p. 49.
  • 32 P. Bernus, “Le rôle politique de Pierre de Brézé au cours des dix dernières années du règne de Char (...)
  • 33 G. Prosser, After the Reduction…, pp. 138-158.
  • 34 Ibid., pp. 139-159; see also M. Walsby, The Counts of Laval. Culture, Patronage and Religion in Fif (...)
  • 35 Ibid., pp. 138-139.
  • 36 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, p. 49.

10Fundamental involvement such as this in municipal affairs might be taken to imply that the Réduction was followed by the imposition of a close royal tutelage over Rouen, much as Henri Sée imagined. But the new masters could not simply act as they pleased. When Louis d’Harcourt’s maître d’hôtel attempted to claim a municipal post for himself, probably to benefit his own patronage networks, he met with a blunt refusal from the town council: the office in question had never actually existed under the English administration, they successfully argued30. Close, regular contact with leading royal advisers also created great potential advantages for the municipal elite. In particular, the Rouennais wasted little time in winning over Brézé. This key figure was made captain of Rouen the day after the city’s submission to Charles, and was immediately accorded an annual retainer of 1,000 l.t. by the city council – ten times more than the pension that had previously attached to the post31. Two years later, in plenary assembly of the town council, Brézé became grand sénéchal of Normandy, an office which had been created by the English administration, and which carried extensive powers over the affairs of the entire duchy, not least in the dispensation of justice32. Rouen was very much the centre of Brézé’s duchy-wide activities in the 1450s, as Gareth Prosser has shown. It was here that he and his servants kept lodgings, bought properties and provisioned their households33. The urban elite began to integrate within the noble affinity of the great man, an important feature of political culture in other parts of Europe, such as the Low Countries, and one which historians of later medieval and early modern France are coming to recognize as significant in their own field34. Roger and Jean Gouel, from a wealthy family of drapers, became respectively bailli of Brézé’s lands in his county of Maulévrier and the count’s main business agent in Rouen35. Key offices in the defence of the city (which was in theory Brézé’s main concern) were placed in the hands of leading Rouennais: Guillaume Seigneurant, for example, lieutenant in charge of the city’s bridge “sous Monseigneur Pierre de Brézé”, or the alderman-counselor Richard Ango, “commis au gouvernement de la fortresse36. A relationship of reciprocal trust thus appears to have been gradually established.

  • 37 Ibid., p. 51. On the wider context of this long-term issue see R. Cazelles, “La rivalité commercial (...)

11There would be a number of ways of illustrating how the Rouennais elite was able to build on these relationships to advance their own interests. Commerce on the Seine and the long-term rivalry with Parisian merchants which went back several centuries was one area in which the Rouennais enjoyed the full support of their new allies, the city’s captain and royal bailli, Guillaume Cousinot, agreeing to “labourer en ceste chose” in negotiations that took place in 145137. But we have chosen to focus instead on another rivalry, that of Rouen with its regional counterpart in Lower Normandy, Caen – a provincial city which also had to rebuild relations with the Valois dynasty.

  • 38 X. de Planhol et al., An Historical Geography of France, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 199 (...)
  • 39 For what follows, see C. Allmand, Lancastrian Normandy, 1415-1450. The History of a Medieval Occupa (...)
  • 40 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, p. 47.

12It should be said that Caen and Rouen were not necessarily natural rivals, Rouen tending to look to the Pays de Caux and the Seine, Caen being more obviously the capital of Lower Normandy, with its own coastline and rural hinterland38. Of the two, Rouen had the more advantageous position strategically and commercially, and insofar as Lower and Upper Normandy constituted a single entity, Rouen was preeminent. But of course political circumstances could conspire to change things. Under English rule in particular, as Christopher Allmand has shown, Caen – like some other Norman municipalities – was much more an “English town” than the Norman capital39. Because it had come under English rule earlier than Rouen, as we have seen, Caen was the centre of the Lancastrian administration in the early stages. It was smaller and may well have been safer (due to its geographical location) than Rouen, and it experienced a slower turnover of English functionaries and soldiers, who themselves appear to have been better integrated within the local population. Rouen’s importance increased in 1436 with the fall of Paris and shift of Lancastrian government from the French to the Norman capital, but Caen was not forgotten. It seemed to the English administration that “a sub-capital [in Caen] needed fostering”, and it was probably around 1439-1440 that the university, an English foundation planned earlier in the decade, really took off. By the 1440s, Caen was even prepared to engage in a power struggle with Rouen for commercial and political supremacy in the region. Caen’s elite used its favourable access to the Lancastrian court to attempt to curb Rouen’s liberties in 1447, assuming regional leadership by co-opting neighbouring bailliages to act against the Norman capital. We find in the town council minutes that the authorities in Rouen had to send at least two deputations to the court of Henry VI in England to defend their city’s rights within the wider duchy40.

  • 41 C. Allmand, Lancastrian Normandy…, p. 121.
  • 42 Gilles le Bouvier, Les chroniques du roi Charles VII, H. Courteault and L. Celier (eds.), Paris, Kl (...)
  • 43 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, p. 50.
  • 44 Histoire de Caen, p. 106.
  • 45 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, p. 50.

13The entry of Charles VII’s army into Normandy in 1449 offered Rouen an opportunity to restore its supremacy; in seizing it, the city council acted with the advice and assistance of key members of the new Caroline regime. By surrendering to Charles VII, Rouen won favour with the Valois monarch, while Caen, “the most ‘English’ of the duchy’s towns”, held out41. According to the Berry Herald, during Rouen’s negotiations with Charles VII in November 1449 the city’s leaders urged the king “[de] faire guerre a ses ennemis les Englois” and recover the entire duchy. In effect, this meant Rouen was calling on the king to lay siege to Caen42. What the Berry Herald does not appear to have known is that this course of action was strongly recommended to the Rouennais by their new royal advisers, the bailli Guillaume Cousinot and their captain Pierre de Brézé. The point was that “la ville pourroit estre en plus grant recommendacion […] de cy en avant”; whenever the king’s advisers would have cause to speak of Rouen thereafter, they could do so “plus largement et hardiment”. This action would also be “cause donnée aux nuisans de eulx tappir et traire de leur nuisance”, the “nuisans” in question undoubtedly being the Caennais43. Having already sent its men to the siege of Bayeux, the town council revised downwards the estimate of 400-500 troops it would send to besiege Caen in May 1450, but they still sent a substantial force of 200. The force was dressed in Rouen’s livery, to highlight – lest Caen’s population had missed the point – that the Norman capital had backed the right side in the war, and was now fully aligned with the leading power in the region. When, on 24 June 1450, Caen finally gave up its surprisingly strong resistance in the face of the royal army and its Rouennais supporters, some of the populace opted to leave with the English garrison, having clearly decided their fortunes would be better pursued elsewhere44. Meanwhile, the Rouen council was able to have the costs of sending its militia to the siege of Caen deducted from the sum they had agreed to pay Charles when they surrendered to him six months earlier45. In effect, Rouen had the Valois monarch foot the bill for its efforts against Caen.

  • 46 P. Braun, “Les lendemains de la conquête de La Réole par Charles VII”, in La “France anglaise” au M (...)
  • 47 H. Prentout, Les États provinciaux de Normandie, vol. I, pp. 161-169.
  • 48 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, pp. 55-56.
  • 49 Ibid., p. 65.
  • 50 R. Gandilhon, La politique économique de Louis XI, Paris, Imprimeries réunies, 1940, pp. 230-233.
  • 51 M. Mollat, Le commerce maritime normand…, pp. 126, 134, 332-333.
  • 52 Histoire de Rouen, pp. 145-161; P. Cailleux, “Le marché immobilier rouennais au XVe siècle”, in Les (...)
  • 53 J. Dewald, The Formation of a Provincial Nobility. The Magistrates of the “Parlement” of Rouen, 149 (...)

14Caen was not unusual in its reluctance to submit to the Valois monarchy, so the advantage gained by the Rouennais in the years following the Réduction should not be underestimated – particularly given that rumours over the existence of pro-English loyalties among Caen’s population persisted well into the 1450s46. Rouen was well placed to drive home its advantage against its neighbour. A semblance of unity emerges in the requests of the Estates of Normandy to the new king in October 1452, but on closer inspection it is clear that Rouen was seeking the lion’s share of the benefits of Valois rule. Of the four main requests, three were to Rouen’s advantage (the creation of a Chambre des Comptes, chancery and Cour des Aides), and only one to Caen’s – the re-establishment of the university, which the king had suspended. Even then, the Rouennais cathedral chapter (which was closely bound up with the municipality) objected to the decision of the Estates of Normandy to fund Caen’s attempts to restore its university47. In the matter of the trading rights of the Rouennais in Caen (which appears to have been at the heart of the trouble in 1447), the aldermen-counselors sought to outflank their counterparts in the capital of Lower Normandy in 1454, first by taking the unusual step of conducting an investigation among the “gens anciens” in the Lower Norman capital to gather evidence of Rouen’s privileges, then by bribing the royal officials in Caen so that they might have “en plus frescz memoire le fait de la franchise que les bourgeois de Rouen ont en l’acquit et coustume audit Caen48. Efforts by the bourgeois of Caen to resist the Rouennais’ trading rights in their city were still in evidence in the 1460s49. In 1470 it seemed Caen had achieved a significant advantage within the region when Louis XI selected the city to be the site of a fair he intended to establish as a rival to the great trading centres of the Burgundian Netherlands, especially Antwerp50. But the venture soon ran into trouble, and seven years later the fair was transferred to Rouen where its prospects for success seemed greater51. Rouen’s commercial links and industries progressed and its property market remained buoyant, while Caen embarked on a well-documented decline in the second half of the 15th century52. For the monarchy, the most important municipal interlocutors were the largest bonnes villes which clearly dominated regional urban hierarchies. Thanks to the manner of Rouen’s actions after 1450, it had clearly become the dominant city. The privileged relationship with the monarchy continued to develop, leading in 1499 to the foundation in Rouen of a Parlement53.

  • 54 C. Allmand, Lancastrian Normandy…, p. 296, n. 43.
  • 55 P. Contamine, “À l’abordage! Pierre de Brézé, grand sénéchal de Normandie, et la guerre de course ( (...)
  • 56 D. Angers, “Le redressement difficile d’une capitale régionale après la guerre de Cent Ans: Caen, 1 (...)
  • 57 Journal des États généraux de France tenus à Tours en 1484 sous le règne de Charles VIII par Jehan (...)
  • 58 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, pp. 70-71.

15Rouen’s relationship with the monarchy is not easily characterized as one of submission in the aftermath of the Réduction, nor was it simply a partnership: instead, the Rouennais elite successfully exploited the political circumstances of their city’s reintegration into the kingdom to restore fully their regional influence, briefly challenged under English rule by Caen. The opportunistic quality of Rouen’s external relations is more akin to the behaviour of urban elites before 1450, when warfare placed a premium on their loyalty and discouraged heavy-handed interventions by the monarchy. But of course the threat of war never fully receded in a city like Rouen, at least when compared to towns at the political centre such as Bourges or Poitiers. The continuing threat of English intervention in the 1450s is well documented54. Brézé’s raids on English territory later in that same decade, and his pro-Lancastrian interventions of the early 1460s, contributed to the sense that Rouen remained a frontier town55. Soon afterwards, the Anglo-Burgundian alliance created the prospect of a combined menace across both Channel and Somme, and led to Charles the Bold’s destructive raids into the Pays de Caux in 1471. It has been stated that the threat of war receded after the treaty of Picquigny (1475), but that was not the view of the Rouennais elite, which continued to present the Norman capital to successive royal interlocutors as a frontier city of vital strategic importance56. It was true that Caen should have had the same advantage, but even here Rouen could not be second best. In his address to the Estates-General of Tours in 1484, the head of Rouen’s deputation, Canon Jean Masselin, argued that Lower Normandy had the high cliffs of the Cotentin to protect its inhabitants from maritime invasion, unlike Upper Normandy, made vulnerable by its flatter coastline and many inlets. The Seine was a particular concern, broad enough to allow enemy ships to penetrate with impunity for up to ten leagues57. Masselin’s argument was designed to justify a reduction in Rouen’s share of Normandy’s fiscal contribution to the monarchy. In 1492 a similar case was made when Charles VIII’s tax demands were presented to the town council. Rouen should not have to pay, given that “la ville est mal close vers le pays où sont les Anglois”. After all, “quant Rouen et Normandie seroit perdue, Paris le seroit. La seurté de la duchié, c’est Rouen”. As if this were not enough, the speaker harked back to the desperate days of the siege of Rouen by Henry V in 1418-1419, when the city’s inhabitants had had to eat cats and rats to survive58.

Rouen and the War of the Public Weal

  • 59 J. Blanchard, Louis XI, Paris, Perrin, 2015, p. 15; E. Le Roy Ladurie, The Royal French State, 1460 (...)
  • 60 C. Petit-Dutaillis, Charles VII, Louis XI et les premières années de Charles VIII (1422-1492), Pari (...)
  • 61 Arch. dép. Seine-Maritime, AM Rouen, A 8, fol. 233 ro, 233 vo; J. Quicherat (ed.), “Lettres, mémoir (...)
  • 62 Ibid., pp. 243-244, 377. As T. Basin observed, the absence of a royal garrison in Rouen and the fac (...)

16Forty-six years after Henry V had starved Rouen into submission, the population found itself undergoing another winter siege, as a result of the city’s actions during the War of the Public Weal (1465-1466). Although Rouen played a decisive role in this rebellion against the Crown, historians often ignore the conflict’s urban dimension. Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie considered the war to be “simply an aristocratic or dynastic quarrel”, while Joël Blanchard has recently labelled it “une des dernières révoltes féodales59. It is typically seen as a conflict between princes and little or no consideration is given to the motivations of urban elites. Charles Petit-Dutaillis stated that “dans toute la haute bourgeoisie, les sentiments qui dominèrent furent le désir de ne point se compromettre et la terreur de voir se perpétuer la guerre civile”, while for Bernard Chevalier towns across the kingdom turned their backs on the league princes in 1465 and gave their support to the monarchy instead60. Yet, as the principal city of the wealthiest province in France, both the king and the princes appealed to the rulers of Rouen for support61. The princes sought to win over the kingdom’s urban elites by calling for the abolition of taxes such as the aides, while Louis XI asked Rouen’s échevins to organize the city’s defence and provide the financial resources and goods he needed to fight the war62.

  • 63 Arch. dép. Seine-Maritime, AM Rouen, A 8, fol. 190 vo, 195 ro. Louis appears to have been suspiciou (...)
  • 64 Ordonnances des roys de France de la troisième race, E. Laurière et al. (eds.), Paris, Imprimerie r (...)
  • 65 T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, p. 53; Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, p. 3.

17While Louis looked to Rouen’s échevins in 1465, his actions towards the city during the first four years of his reign had caused ill feeling amongst the urban elite. At the beginning of his reign, Louis treated the city’s population with suspicion and in a heavy-handed manner. As soon as he learnt of his father’s death in July 1461, Louis dispatched a delegation from Avesnes to Rouen “pour prendre ou faire prendre possession des ville, chastel, palais et pont”. The following month he sent Guillaume d’Estouteville to take possession of the city in his name and obtain an oath of loyalty from the townspeople63. Louis then delayed confirming the Charte aux Normands (which guaranteed Normandy’s political and juridical rights) until January 146364. Although representatives from Rouen managed to obtain new commercial rights for the city following the king’s inaugural entry into Paris in August 1461 (including the abolition of taxes on wine and commercial transactions), Louis effectively nullified these grants the following year when he introduced a tax on goods that were brought to Paris via Pont-de-l’Arche, which lay just upriver from Rouen65. This was particularly harmful for Rouen’s merchants because their wealth was dependent on trade with Paris. Louis further antagonized the Rouennais when he granted his household favourite Pierre de l’Isle the right to marry the daughter of one of the city’s wealthiest men (Jehan Le Tellier). This act contravened Rouen’s privileges and united the city’s bourgeois and clergy against the king.

  • 66 Ibid., pp. 80-81, 82, 93; “Mémoires de Jacques du Clercq”, in Choix de chroniques et mémoires sur l (...)
  • 67 Arch. dép. Seine-Maritime, AM Rouen, A 8, fol. 238 vo.
  • 68 For Normandy’s resources being used in defence of Paris, see: C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délib (...)
  • 69 BNF, ms. fr. 6963 [“Papiers de l’abbé Le Grand sur l’histoire de Louis XI. IV: Pièces originales”], (...)
  • 70 C. Richard, “Le dernier duché…”, pp. 533-534.

18The demands Louis placed on Rouen during the summer of 1465 to support the war created further discontent66. When the king levied aides on the already financially exhausted city on 19 September 1465, the échevins attempted to resign en masse. However, the royal officials based in Rouen refused to accept their resignation because they needed the municipal council to oversee the defence of the city and organise the collection of the tax67. This financial burden may have particularly rankled with the Rouennais because the resources Louis stripped from the city and its region were put towards the defence of Rouen’s longstanding commercial rival, Paris68. As the league troops were to find out in October 1465, Louis XI had so effectively emptied Rouen of its wealth during the summer that there was not enough money left to pay for the city’s defence69. Recognizing how unpopular his actions had been in Rouen (and perhaps sensing that the échevins’ loyalty was wavering), Louis sought to retain the support of the municipal council by granting them new commercial rights and liberties following his visit to the city in August 1465 (albeit in return for yet further resources which he took from Normandy)70. However, these grants were too little, too late, and the growing ill feeling towards the Crown paved the way for the city to join the rebellion.

  • 71 While Louis d’Harcourt maintained the appearance of loyalty to Louis XI, he had in fact already plo (...)
  • 72 Arch. dép. Seine-Maritime, AM Rouen, A 7, fol. 238 vo; “Mémoires de Jacques du Clercq”, p. 280; G.- (...)
  • 73 T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, pp. 210-211.

19Rumours that Louis XI had orchestrated the murder of Pierre de Brézé, grand sénéchal of Normandy, at the battle of Montlhéry led his widow, Jeanne Crespin, to devise a plot with Louis d’Harcourt, bishop of Bayeux and patriarch of Jerusalem, to hand over Rouen to the league princes in late September 146571. During the night of 27/28 September 1465, Jeanne gave control of the palace at Rouen to John, Duke of Bourbon72. Yet the plotters needed the support of the municipal council if they hoped were to gain possession of the city. The duke of Bourbon sought to induce Rouen’s échevins to join the rebellion by a combination of persuasion (the promise of new rights) and threat (the spoliation of the city)73.

  • 74 H. Stein, Charles de France, frère de Louis XI, Paris, Picard, 1919, p. 115; A. Canel, “Révolte de (...)
  • 75 Arch. dép. Seine-Maritime, AM Rouen, A 7, fol. 238 vo; T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, p. 2 (...)
  • 76 Quote: T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, p. 213. For the actions of the other Norman towns, s (...)
  • 77 Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, p. 118.
  • 78 P. de Commynes, Mémoires, pp. 100-101. See also: Les mémoires de messire Jean, seigneur de Haynin e (...)
  • 79 P. de Commynes, Mémoires, p. 101.
  • 80 T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, p. 231.
  • 81 Ibid., p. 233.
  • 82 BNF, ms. fr. 6963, fol. 59 ro, “Papiers sur l'histoire de Louis XI”.

20The nationalistic historians of the 19th and early 20th centuries who have dealt with this incident in greatest depth, such as Henri Stein, Urbain Legeay and Alfred Canel, took the view that the Rouennais were unwillingly forced to open their gates by the duke of Bourbon. These historians held a negative view of the actions of the French princes in 1465 because they had threatened the unity of France, something which sat uncomfortably with the grand centralizing narrative of French history74. Yet rather than being forced into rebellion, the Rouennais used the conflict to win new rights and ensure the city’s supremacy in the region. After opening the city’s gates to league troops, Rouen’s leaders took an oath of allegiance to Charles of France, the king’s brother, and John Duke of Bourbon, one of the rebel princes75. As the “métropole” and “mère de toute la province”, the other Norman towns looked to Rouen for guidance and followed its example76. The actions of the Rouennais changed the course of the war. As soon as the league princes learnt of the events in the second city of the realm, they disavowed the terms of the peace they had newly made with Louis XI77. Rouen’s leaders effectively undercut Louis’s position and compelled him to give Normandy to his brother, Charles, who was made duke78. Louis himself acknowledged the role that Rouen’s actions had played in changing the course of the war, remarking that “n’eust jamais baillé tel partaige à son frère; mais […] de eux-mesmes les Normans en avoient faict cette novalité [i.e. the restoration of the duchy of Normandy]”79. The civic elite encouraged Charles to visit the city as soon as possible, with the intention of presenting him with petitions for tax reduction at his entry80. The townspeople wrote to the duke to assure him that the earlier he made his entry into the city, the more “il apporterait de consolation, et de soutien à tous les bourgeois et autres habitants du pays81. The Rouennais were supported by Jean d’Harcourt, who informed Charles that he had the “grande et singulière amour” of the people of Rouen82.

  • 83 M. Spencer, Thomas Basin (1412-1490): the History of Charles VII and Louis XI, Nieuwkoop, De Graaf, (...)
  • 84 Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, p. 141; arch. dép. Seine-Maritime, AM Rouen, A 8, fol. 241 ro. Se (...)

21After Louis had invested him with the duchy on 30 October, Charles left Paris in the company of Duke Francis of Brittany to travel to Rouen and make his inaugural entry into the city83. As Charles waited in the monastery of Mont-Sainte-Catherine (which lay on a hill just outside Rouen) for the townspeople to finish preparing the ceremony, Francis began to restrict access to him, possibly with the intention of taking him to Brittany before he could be formally installed as duke of Normandy in the cathedral. This was an action which threatened to overturn the rebellion’s principal benefit for the political elites of Normandy (i.e. access to a pliable ruler). Jean d’Harcourt and the town council responded by descending, heavily armed, upon the monastery, forcibly separating Charles from the duke of Brittany, and making him enter the city to take “la possession de la ville comme duc de Normandie84.

  • 85 Guillaume d’Harcourt, count of Tancarville, had played a prominent role in the Valois reconquest of (...)
  • 86 Arch. dép. Seine-Maritime, AM Rouen, A 8, fol. 241 ro; C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Inventaire s (...)
  • 87 Ordonnances des roys de France…, vol. XVI, pp. 395-396, 400-401; H. Stein, Charles de France…, p. 1 (...)
  • 88 H. Stein, Charles de France…, pp. 148-149; A. Floquet, Essai historique sur l’Échiquier de Normandi (...)
  • 89 See BNF, mss. fr. 21477 [“Rooles des gaiges et autres paiemens faiz par maistre Pierre Morin, conse (...)

22The ducal coronation which ensued on 1 December was also the product of close collaboration between Rouen’s leaders and the local nobility. The échevins searched through their archives to find records of the form the ceremony customarily took (the last inauguration having been that of Charles, son of John II, in 1355). Thomas Basin, bishop of Lisieux, placed the ducal ring on Charles’s finger; Jean d’Harcourt, presented him with the banner of the duchy; Guillaume d’Harcourt, count of Tancarville, belted him, while Louis d’Harcourt said mass at a service held for Charles85. The participation of the municipal elite, local nobility and higher clergy in the ceremony was important because Charles swore to respect and observe the Charte aux Normands, which guaranteed the liberties of these groups86. A Chambre des Comptes was installed in the city, its authority to extend across the duchy87. The Échiquier (the ducal sovereign court set up in the 10th century by Duke Rollo, which developed into the Parlement of Normandy in 1499) was installed in Rouen and the Estates of Normandy were convened to meet in the city88. Rouen was a ducal capital once more. Charles of France’s expense accounts show that between October 1465 and January 1466, there was indeed a fully functioning ducal administration based in the city89.

  • 90 P. de Commynes, Mémoires, p. 100.
  • 91 T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, p. 233.
  • 92 Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, p. 146; C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, “Notes sur les six voyage (...)
  • 93 Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, p. 147.
  • 94 Arch. dép. Seine-Maritime, AM Rouen, A 8, fol. 242 ro; Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, p. 147; BN (...)

23Contrary to the recent assertion that the population of post-conquest Normandy “préfèrent encore un roi sur la Loire à un duc à Rouen”, it is quite clear that the duchy’s political elites (municipal, noble and clerical) preferred to have a duke based in the city. Commenting on the re-establishment of the duchy of Normandy in 1465, Philippe de Commynes observed that “a tousjours bien semblé aux Normans, et faict encores, que si grand duchié comme la leur [sic] requiert bien ung duc90. The duke’s residence in Rouen consolidated the town council’s efforts to make the city the political and economic centre of the region because, as Thomas Basin noted, Charles “désirait complaire aux bourgeois de Rouen91. Following the ducal inauguration in the cathedral, there was a separate ceremony in the council chambers during which the duke confirmed the civic administration’s rights and liberties and abolished half of the aides owed by the city92. In return for these privileges, Rouen’s elite worked to maintain Charles’s rule. After he was inaugurated as duke in the cathedral, the “bourgeois et populaire d’icelle ville [Rouen]” swore “qu’ilz se rendoient et demouroient du tout ses vrais et loiaulx subgetz, tous bien deliberez de vivre et mourir pour lui et jusques au derrenier homme93. On 28 December 1465, just as royal armies were pouring into the duchy to bring Normandy back into the king’s direct obedience, the échevins took their copy of the Chroniques de Normandie to Jean d’Harcourt and had him read an excerpt to their new Duke which they clearly considered relevant to their current circumstances. The passage in question detailed how, in the 940s, the citizens of Rouen had taken up arms against the king of France, Louis IV, to ensure that Richard the Fearless was able to hold on to an independent Normandy94.

  • 95 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, pp. 64-65; BNF, ms. fr. 21477, fol. 4 ro; H. Stein, (...)
  • 96 T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, p. 255; T. Bonnin, Cartulaire de Louviers…, vol. III, p. 32 (...)

24Rouen’s leaders backed their words up with deeds. The municipal deliberations and the ducal accounts for October to December 1465 contain references to the military preparations the city took to resist Louis XI. Rouen also acted to secure the wider defence of the duchy by providing weapons and powder for the defence of castles such as that at Vernon95. Rouen’s regional influence and its military strength were instrumental in determining the course of Louis XI’s war to re-conquer Normandy. When royal armies entered the duchy in December 1465, the towns of Lower Normandy, which were garrisoned by Breton troops, went over to the king with no resistance. By contrast, the bulk of the towns of Upper Normandy (which looked more firmly to Rouen) closed their gates to royal forces and had to be taken by force, ploy or persuasion96.

  • 97 T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, pp. 260-261.
  • 98 H. Stein, Charles de France…, p. 168.
  • 99 G. Prosser, After the Reduction…, p. 238; J. Favier, Louis XI, p. 523.
  • 100 Chronique de Mathieu d’Escouchy, G. du Fresne de Beaucourt (ed.), Paris, Renouard, 1863-1864, 3 vol (...)
  • 101 Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, pp. 151-152; Journal parisien de Jean Maupoint, prieur de Sainte- (...)
  • 102 Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, pp. 149-150.

25Although Rouen’s municipal council was prepared to pour its efforts and resources into the defence of the duchy, by early January 1466 it had become clear that they could not win the war against the forces the king had mustered. Yet Rouen’s experiences of war and conquest during the 15th century had shown the city council that it could turn this type of situation to its advantage. Rouen’s leaders initiated negotiations with Louis XI three days after Pont-de-l’Arche fell to royal troops (11 January 1466)97. According to Henri Stein, fear of the king’s vengeance prompted the Rouennais to make a groveling surrender98: on 16 January 1466, the aldermen prostrated themselves before Louis XI as he sat enthroned under a golden cloth in one of the principal halls in Pont-de-l’Arche99. But we must bear in mind that Rouen’s rulers were masters of displays of contrition which they had used to good effect in the past, such as on the occasion of Charles VII’s entry in 1449100. Rather than cowering before an all-powerful monarchy in 1465, the city council felt strong enough to negotiate substantial concessions from Louis XI in return for their surrender, including commercial privileges, control over fairs and the right to acquire noble lands in the surrounding region. Furthermore, the Rouennais used their capitulation at Pont-de-l’Arche to strengthen their hand in their longstanding competition with Paris, by requesting that Louis “les afranchist en la maniere qu’il avoit fait ceulx de sa ville de Paris101. This undoubtedly came as a blow to Paris’s municipal council, which had played a major role in Louis XI’s re-conquest of the duchy. The Parisians sent troops and engineers under the command of the échevin Denis Gilbert to the siege of Pont-de-l’Arche102. If the Parisians had hoped to use the war to impose their dominance over Rouen (just as they had also attempted to do following Charles VII’s conquest of the duchy in 1449-1450), the Rouennais were able to use their expertise at staging ceremonial submissions to emerge from the conflict stronger than ever before.

  • 103 Journal parisien de Jean Maupoint…, pp. 99-100; P. B. de Barante, Histoire des ducs de Bourgogne de (...)
  • 104 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, p. 65.
  • 105 Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, pp. 145-146, 148, 154-155; T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I (...)

26Some have suggested that the king may have found ways to wreak vengeance belatedly on his opportunistic Rouennais opponents. Jean Maupoint, the Parisian prior of Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Couture, stated that Rouen’s municipal leaders were brought down by an insurrection of artisans and lower bourgeois in January 1466, and it is suggested elsewhere that Louis XI may have fomented the divisions in the city which led to this apparent revolt103. But the municipal evidence does not support his conclusion. While the city’s capitulation after the Public Weal did indeed trigger a new civic election on 16 January, it did not change the balance of power in the council chambers. The new échevins belonged to the same group of elite bourgeois families which had led the revolt against the Crown. Moreover, the men who were removed from power in January 1466 remained active in the administration of the city. One of them, Jean Alorge, even acted as Rouen’s ambassador to Louis XI in the following year104. In contrast to the townspeople who skilfully turned the collapse of ducal Normandy to their advantage, the noble and clerical participants in the rebellion did not fare so well. Many of the royal officials and nobles who had joined the League were executed, while the entire cathedral chapter of Rouen was sent into exile105.

  • 106 Ordonnances des roys de France…, vol. XVI, pp. 579-581; C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, “Notes sur (...)
  • 107 C. Richard, “Le dernier duché…”, p. 539; A. Floquet, Essai historique sur l’Échiquier de Normandie, (...)
  • 108 Ibid., p. 255.

27When Louis returned to Rouen in June 1467 he granted the town council further privileges, including exemption from land tax. He made these grants “considerans la grant et bonne loyaulté [de] noz chiers et bien-amez les bourgeois et habitans de ceste nostre bonne ville et cite de Rouen106. While there was scarcely a town in France that had opposed the Valois monarchy more than Rouen in the past five decades, this fiction was useful because it allowed Louis to bind the fortunes of the Rouennais elite to the Crown and make it in their interests not to go into rebellion again. Louis needed the support of the Rouennais in the late 1460s because Charles the Bold had formed an alliance with Edward IV, and he faced the danger of an Anglo-Burgundian invasion of Normandy. His policy of binding the interests of the city to those of the Crown was successful, and in 1468 the Norman delegates at the meeting of the Estates of Tours ruled that Normandy was inseparable from the royal domain (which was a complete reversal of the strategy they had pursued three years earlier during the Public Weal)107. When the count of St Pol broke the ducal ring of Normandy in the chambers of the Échiquier in Rouen in 1469 (after Louis had reunited Normandy with the Crown), Louis stated in his correspondence that he wanted the Normans to see once and for all that his brother was no longer their duke. But for the leaders of Rouen, the act may simply have symbolised the formation of a new and mutually beneficial union between them and the Crown108.

Epilogue and Conclusion

  • 109 J. S. C. Bridge, A History of France from the Death of Louis XI, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1921-1936 (...)
  • 110 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, “Entrée et séjour de Charles VIII à Rouen en 1485”, Mémoires des an (...)

28Two decades after the War of the Public Weal, a further princely rebellion (known as the Guerre Folle) broke out against the French Crown. It was under the leadership of Louis, duke of Orléans, who claimed that the regent of the kingdom, Anne of Beaujeu, was abrogating local rights and autonomy in an attempt to construct a despotic form of government109. While the duke of Orléans attempted to build a support base amongst the ruling elites of northern towns by posturing as the champions of urban liberties, Rouen kept its gates closed and remained loyal to the Crown. The city’s fidelity was especially important because Rouen had re-established its regional dominance during the 1450s and the other Norman towns followed its example. In contrast to the War of the Public Weal (when towns across Upper Normandy followed Rouen into rebellion), only Évreux opened its gates to the rebels (and only because it had little choice in the matter). In return for Rouen’s loyalty, Charles VIII travelled to the city, confirmed the rights and liberties of capital and the province, and granted the townspeople exemption from the franc-fief110. Rather than profiting the entire population, this grant (essentially, a tax due on land owned by non-nobles) only benefited the city’s wealthy merchants. Charles VIII was deploying the strategy developed by his father and grandfather of bestowing lucrative rights on municipal leaders to encourage them to remain loyal to the Crown.

  • 111 M. Mollat and P. Wolff, The Popular Revolutions of the Late Middle Ages, London, George Allen and U (...)
  • 112 For Dinant and Liège, see: R. Douglas Smith and K. DeVries, The Artillery of the Dukes of Burgundy, (...)

29Charles VIII’s actions in the 1480s stood in sharp contrast those his predecessors had employed a century earlier to keep their rebellious towns in check. When a revolt of textile workers broke out in Rouen in 1382, Charles VI abolished the commune, confiscated the city’s marks of municipal power (most notably the bells) and placed it under direct rule. While Rouen’s leaders – who did not participate in the revolt – attempted to assuage the monarch’s wrath by staging a contrite ceremonial welcome, the event had been a failure111. Yet, in both 1449 and 1466 Rouen’s leaders successfully used ceremonial submissions to restore their relations with the Crown. Whereas the king had punished Rouen for its revolt in 1382 by stripping its rights away, in 1466 the city’s rebellious town council was able to negotiate with the king for new liberties. Whereas Charles the Bold destroyed Dinant when it went into revolt against him in 1466, in the same year Louis XI appeased Rouen and the other rebellious Norman towns112. Clearly, the relationship between the French king and his leading towns had changed fundamentally between the reigns of Charles VI and Louis XI.

30The catalyst for this change in the relationship between the French king and his towns was undoubtedly the English occupation of northern France. The conditions created by the Hundred Years’ War – when towns passed from the control of one prince to another – gave frontier towns such as Rouen experience of negotiating with rulers in ways that towns lying at the centre of Valois France (such Tours or Bourges) never really knew. From the late 1420s, Charles VII used the granting of rights and liberties to encourage urban leaders to transfer their allegiance to him.

  • 113 Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, J. S. Brewer, J. Gairdner and (...)
  • 114 Documents historiques inédits…, vol. II, p. 428.
  • 115 Letters and Papers…, vol. I, pt. ii, no. 1971.

31Urban communities that were situated on frontiers could transfer their strategic location into political power to obtain lucrative new rights and liberties. Whereas the power of Gascon towns such as Bordeaux declined after 1453 because they were no longer on a frontier, the English threat to Normandy remained present decades after the collapse of Lancastrian France. In 1512, for example, Henry VIII planned to send an English army to Upper Normandy and only changed his plan when intelligence from a spy detailed the extensive military preparations taken there against such an attack113. In the wake of the War of the Public Weal, Louis XI used the seriousness of the English threat to Normandy as a means to bind Rouen’s leaders to him, telling them that the establishment of the duchy of Normandy in 1465 had brought civil war and weakened the region against an English invasion, and that “le pays de Normandie est voisin d’Angleterre et des Anglois, qui sont anciens ennemis de ce royaume […] et si ledit pays de Normandie estoit séparée de la couronne, la Normandie, ne pourrait résister aux Anglais, et chacun peut voir quelle préjudice ce serait à tout le royaume114. Whenever the French Crown failed to guarantee the security of Normandy from English invasion, the population could revive the spectre of separation from the Crown. The lack of adequate defensive measures taken by the French Crown against Henry VIII’s feared invasion of Normandy in 1513 led the province’s population to declare (according to Thomas Howard) that they “would gladly yield themselves English so that their country were not robbed nor brenned”115.

  • 116 H. Sée, Louis XI et les villes, p. 224.

32If the overall argument put forward by Bernard Chevalier about the entente that developed between French towns and the Crown in 15th-century France remains valid, the chronology and mechanics of this process require re-thinking. Chevalier’s model (which has been built upon in recent years by historians such as David Rivaud) is principally based on the relationship between the king and the towns at the centre of the kingdom. Yet the political conditions of post-conquest Normandy were not those of the Loire and we should not expect a model devised for a study of towns such as Tours to fit Rouen’s experiences. Rather, during the century that followed 1450, the towns on the frontiers had a different (and arguably more lucrative) relationship with the French Crown than those at the centre. If Henri Sée’s argument about Louis XI abrogating municipal liberties is undoubtedly wrong, his distinction between the towns of the domain and the towns incorporated into the kingdom (the “villes étrangères au domaine”) still offers a legitimate and essential way to approach the history of town-Crown relations in 15th-century France116.

Notes

1 We would like to thank Professor Élisabeth Lalou for locating material we have used in this article.

2 The main work of synthesis is still B. Chevalier, Les bonnes villes de France du XIVe au XVIe siècle, Paris, Aubier Montaigne, 1982. For an Anglophone synthesis which also considers more recent material, see G. Small, Late Medieval France, Basingstoke, Palgrave MacMillan, 2009, pp. 171-210, 228-229.

3 A. Thierry, Essai sur l’histoire de la formation et des progrès du Tiers État, Paris, Furne, 1853.

4 B. Guenée, “L’histoire de l’État en France à la fin du Moyen Âge vue par les historiens français depuis cent ans”, Revue historique, t. CCXXXII, 1964, pp. 331-360; C.-O. Carbonell, “Les origines de l’État moderne: les traditions historiographiques françaises (1820-1990)”, in Visions sur le développement des états européens. Théories et historiographies de l’État moderne (Proceedings of the Rome conference, 18-31 March 1990), W. Blockmans and J.-P. Genet (eds.), Rome, École française de Rome, 1993, pp. 297-312, esp. pp. 300-301.

5 É. Maugis, Recherches sur les transformations du régime politique et social de la ville d’Amiens des origines de la commune à la fin du XVIe siècle, Paris, Picard, 1906, p. XXV.

6 H. Sée, Louis XI et les villes, Paris, Hachette, 1890.

7 In Saint-Flour, for example, Louis’s reign was a period of “confiscated independence”: A. Rigaudière, Saint-Flour, ville d’Auvergne au bas Moyen Âge. Étude d’histoire administrative et financière, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1982, vol. I, p. 296. R. Favreau notes the “abandon de toute ambition” of the municipality of Poitiers and the ever greater intervention of central authority in the town’s affairs: La ville de Poitiers à la fin du Moyen Âge. Une capitale régionale, Poitiers, Société des antiquaires de l’Ouest, 1978, vol. I, p. 360.

8 B. Chevalier, Tours: ville royale (1356-1520). Origines et développement d’une capitale à la fin du Moyen Âge, Leuven – Paris, Vander-Nauwelaerts, 1975; Les bonnes villes, l’État et la société dans la France de la fin du XVIe siècle, B. Chevalier (ed.), Orléans, Paradigme, 1995.

9 B. Chevalier, “L’État et les bonnes villes en France au temps de leur accord parfait (1450-1550)”, in La ville, la bourgeoisie et la genèse de l’État moderne (XIIe-XVIIIe siècles) (Proceedings of the Bielefeld conference, 29 November-1 December 1985), N. Bulst and J.-P. Genet (eds.), Paris, CNRS, 1986, pp. 71-85. Important way-markers en route to the ideas expressed in this article are the same author’s “La politique de Louis XI à l’égard des bonnes villes: le cas de Tours”, Le Moyen Âge, t. LXX, 1964, pp. 473-503; and “The ‘Bonnes Villes’ and the King’s Council in France”, in The Crown and Local Communities in England and France in the Fifteenth Century, J. Highfield and R. Jeffs (eds.), Gloucester, Sutton, 1981, pp. 110-128.

10 G. Naegle, Stadt, Recht und Krone. Französische Städte, Königtum und Parlement im späten Mittelalter, Husum, Matthiesen, 2002, 2 vols. See also R. G. Little, The Parlement of Poitiers: War, Government and Politics in France, 1418-36, London, Royal Historical Society, 1984.

11 D. Rivaud, Les villes et le roi. Les municipalités de Bourges, Poitiers et Tours et l’émergence de l’État moderne (v. 1440-v. 1500), Rennes, Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2007.

12 On Rouen’s importance generally, see Histoire de Rouen, M. Mollat (ed.), Toulouse, Privat, 1979. Further useful comment can be found in Society and Culture in Medieval Rouen, 911-1300, L. Hicks and E. Brenner (eds.), Turnhout, Brepols, 2013; and P. Benedict, Rouen during the Wars of Religion, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1981.

13 Full details of the extensive literature on Rouen under English rule (including the key studies of A. Chéruel and P. Le Cacheux) can be found in A. Curry, “The Impact of War and Occupation on Urban Life in Normandy, 1417-1450”, French History, t. I, part II, 1987, pp. 157-181, and A. Curry, “Towns at War: Relations between the Towns of Normandy and their English Rulers, 1417-50”, in Towns and Townspeople in the Fifteenth Century, J. Thomson (ed.), Stroud, Sutton, 1988, pp. 148-172. See also N. Murphy, “War, Government and Commerce: the Towns of Lancastrian France under Henry V’s Rule, 1417-22”, in Henry V: New Interpretations, G. Dodd (ed.), Woodbridge, Boydell Press, 2013, pp. 249-272.

14 R. Harris, Valois Guyenne: a Study of Politics, Government and Society in Late Medieval France, Woodbridge, Boydell Press, 1994; M. Bochaca, La banlieue de Bordeaux. Formation d’une juridiction municipale suburbaine (vers 1250-vers 1550), Paris – Montreal, L’Harmattan, 1997; A. Leguai, “Dijon et Louis XI (1461-1483)”, Annales de Bourgogne, t. XVII, 1945, pp. 26-37, 103-115, 145-169, 229-263; t. XIX, 1945, pp. 40-41; and A. Leguai, “The Towns of Burgundy and the French Crown”, in The Crown and Local Communities…, pp. 129-145. The immediate aftermath of the reconquest in Rouen, particularly the period 1449 to 1452, is discussed in C. Allmand, “Local Reaction to the French Reconquest of Normandy: the Case of Rouen”, in The Crown and Local Communities…, pp. 146-161.

15 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Inventaire sommaire des archives communales antérieures à 1790. Ville de Rouen, t. I: Délibérations, Rouen, Imprimerie nationale, 1887. The main registers cover the periods 1447-1471 and from 1491 onwards (A7 [1447-1453], A8 [1453-1471], A9 [1491-1502] and A10 [1505-1515]). Insight into the nature of these sources can be found in P. Lardin, “La vie municipale à Rouen au lendemain de la révolte de la Harelle, à travers le plus ancien registre de délibérations (1389-1390)”, in La ville médiévale en deçà et au-delà de ses murs. Mélanges Jean-Pierre Leguay, P. Lardin and J.-L. Roch (eds.), Rouen, Publications de l’université de Rouen, 2000, pp. 261-290.

16 Histoire de Rouen, p. 134.

17 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, pp. 49, 60; F. Farin, Histoire de la ville de Rouen, Rouen, B. Le Brun, 1738, 3rd ed., t. II, pp. 111-112.

18 A radical and durable change of regime was only likely in a city where the ruling oligarchy was successfully challenged or overthrown by internal rivals, and the Crown for whatever reason agreed to the new arrangements that were put in place – at Tournai in 1428, for example: G. Small, “Centre and Periphery in Late Medieval France: Tournai, 1384-1477”, in War, Government and Power in Late Medieval France, C. Allmand (ed.), Liverpool, Liverpool University Press, 2000, pp. 145-174.

19 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, pp. 48, 58; F. Farin, Histoire de la ville de Rouen, t. II, p. 123; J.-L. Roch, “Au sujet des élites rouennaises aux derniers siècles du Moyen Âge”, in Des châteaux et des sources. Archéologie et histoire dans la Normandie médiévale. Mélanges en l’honneur d’Anne-Marie Flambard Héricher, É. Lalou, B. Lepeuple and J.-L. Roch (eds.), Mont-Saint-Aignan, Publications des universités de Rouen et du Havre, 2008, p. 435.

20 F. Farin, Histoire de la ville de Rouen, t. II, pp. 127, 146.

21 F. Neveux, Bayeux et Lisieux, villes épiscopales à la fin du Moyen Âge, Caen, Éditions du Lys, 1996, pp. 264-266. To smarten up the court room in which their new king’s justice would be dispensed, the aldermen of Lisieux commissioned a traditional crucifixion scene. The painter they employed was an Englishman who had remained in the town.

22 Histoire de Caen, G. Désert (ed.), Toulouse, Privat, 1981, p. 108.

23 M. G. A. Vale, Charles VII, London, Eyre Methuen, 1974, pp. 61-67.

24 G. Prosser, After the Reduction. Re-Structuring Norman Political Society and the Bien Public, 1450-65, unpublished doctoral thesis, University College London, 1996, p. 60.

25 The rise of legists was a feature of Rouennais politics, as elsewhere in late medieval France, but unlike many other cities merchants still predominated in the political elite of the Norman capital. The point, first observed by M. Mollat, has since been explored in greater detail: M. Mollat, Le commerce maritime normand à la fin du Moyen Âge: étude d’histoire économique et sociale, Paris, Plon, 1953, p. 475; C. Haquet, Les “sages marchans et bourgois de Rouen”, de la Harelle à la conquête anglaise (1382-1418). “Un estat des gens tres necessaire”, thesis, École des chartes, 2003, 3 vols (see http://theses.enc.sorbonne.fr/2003/haquet [accessed 18 January 2016]).

26 H. Prentout, Les États provinciaux de Normandie, Caen, E. Lanier, 1925, vol. II, p. 416. For the role of these men in the royal council, see P.-R. Gaussin, “Les conseillers de Charles VII (1422-1461): essai de politologie historique”, Francia, t. X, 1982, pp. 67-130, at pp. 110, 117, 122.

27 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, p. 52.

28 Ibid., pp. 53, 54.

29 Ibid., p. 61.

30 Ibid., p. 54.

31 Ibid., p. 49.

32 P. Bernus, “Le rôle politique de Pierre de Brézé au cours des dix dernières années du règne de Charles VII (1451-1461)”, Bibliothèque de l’École des chartes, t. LXIX, 1906, pp. 303-347; C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, p. 50.

33 G. Prosser, After the Reduction…, pp. 138-158.

34 Ibid., pp. 139-159; see also M. Walsby, The Counts of Laval. Culture, Patronage and Religion in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century France, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2007, pp. 58, 78; S. Carroll, Noble Power during the French Wars of Religion. The Guise Affinity and the Catholic Cause in Normandy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998.

35 Ibid., pp. 138-139.

36 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, p. 49.

37 Ibid., p. 51. On the wider context of this long-term issue see R. Cazelles, “La rivalité commerciale de Paris et de Rouen au Moyen Âge. Compagnie française et compagnie normande”, Bulletin de la Société de l’histoire de Paris et de l’Île-de-France, t. XCVI, 1969, pp. 99-112.

38 X. de Planhol et al., An Historical Geography of France, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 88, 174, 235, 253.

39 For what follows, see C. Allmand, Lancastrian Normandy, 1415-1450. The History of a Medieval Occupation, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1983, pp. 81-121.

40 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, p. 47.

41 C. Allmand, Lancastrian Normandy…, p. 121.

42 Gilles le Bouvier, Les chroniques du roi Charles VII, H. Courteault and L. Celier (eds.), Paris, Klincksieck, 1979, vol. II, p. 328.

43 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, p. 50.

44 Histoire de Caen, p. 106.

45 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, p. 50.

46 P. Braun, “Les lendemains de la conquête de La Réole par Charles VII”, in La “France anglaise” au Moyen Âge (Proceedings of the CXIth Congrès national des sociétés savantes, Poitiers, 1986), Paris, CTHS, 1988, pp. 269-283; Histoire de Caen, p. 107.

47 H. Prentout, Les États provinciaux de Normandie, vol. I, pp. 161-169.

48 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, pp. 55-56.

49 Ibid., p. 65.

50 R. Gandilhon, La politique économique de Louis XI, Paris, Imprimeries réunies, 1940, pp. 230-233.

51 M. Mollat, Le commerce maritime normand…, pp. 126, 134, 332-333.

52 Histoire de Rouen, pp. 145-161; P. Cailleux, “Le marché immobilier rouennais au XVe siècle”, in Les villes normandes au Moyen Âge. Renaissance, essor, crise (Proceedings of the Cerisy-la-Salle conference, 8-12 October 2003), P. Bouet and F. Neveux (eds.), Caen, Presses universitaires de Caen, 2006, pp. 241-266; D. Angers, “Une ville à la recherche d’elle-même: Caen (1450-1500)”, in Les villes normandes au Moyen Âge…, pp. 305-315.

53 J. Dewald, The Formation of a Provincial Nobility. The Magistrates of the “Parlement” of Rouen, 1499-1610, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1980.

54 C. Allmand, Lancastrian Normandy…, p. 296, n. 43.

55 P. Contamine, “À l’abordage! Pierre de Brézé, grand sénéchal de Normandie, et la guerre de course (1452-1458)”, in La Normandie et l’Angleterre au Moyen Âge (Proceedings of the Cerisy-la-Salle conference, 4-7 October 2001), P. Bouet and V. Gazeau (eds.), Caen, Publications du CRAHM, 2003, pp. 307-358; J. Calmette and G. Périnelle, Louis XI et l’Angleterre: 1461-1483, Paris, A. Picard, 1930, pp. 2-3, 5, 24, 36, 55.

56 D. Angers, “Le redressement difficile d’une capitale régionale après la guerre de Cent Ans: Caen, 1450-1550”, in Commerce, finances et société, XIe-XVIe siècles. Recueil de travaux d’histoire médiévale offert à M. le Professeur Henri Dubois, P. Contamine, T. Dutour and B. Schnerb (eds.), Paris, Presses de l’université Paris-Sorbonne, 1993, p. 196.

57 Journal des États généraux de France tenus à Tours en 1484 sous le règne de Charles VIII par Jehan Masselin, A. Bernier (ed.), Paris, Imprimerie royale, 1835, pp. 548-550.

58 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, pp. 70-71.

59 J. Blanchard, Louis XI, Paris, Perrin, 2015, p. 15; E. Le Roy Ladurie, The Royal French State, 1460-1610, Oxford, Blackwell, 1994, p. 64.

60 C. Petit-Dutaillis, Charles VII, Louis XI et les premières années de Charles VIII (1422-1492), Paris, Hachette, 1911, p. 32; B. Chevalier, “The Policy of Louis XI towards the Bonnes Villes: the Case of Tours”, in The Recovery of France in the 15th Century, P. S. Lewis (ed.), London – Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1971, p. 286. H. Sée is one of the few historians to address the urban dimension of the War of the Public Weal: Louis XI et les villes, pp. 209-217.

61 Arch. dép. Seine-Maritime, AM Rouen, A 8, fol. 233 ro, 233 vo; J. Quicherat (ed.), “Lettres, mémoires, instructions et autres documents relatifs à la guerre du Bien public, en l’année 1465”, in Documents historiques inédits tirés des collections manuscrites de la Bibliothèque royale et des archives ou des bibliothèques des départements, J.-J. Champollion-Figeac (ed.), Paris, Didot, 1841-1848, 4 vols, here vol. II, pp. 196-197.

62 Ibid., pp. 243-244, 377. As T. Basin observed, the absence of a royal garrison in Rouen and the fact that the municipal council had control of the city’s defence was to prove disastrous for Louis XI when échevins placed themselves in opposition to the Crown: T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, C. Samaran (ed.), Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1963, vol. I, p. 207.

63 Arch. dép. Seine-Maritime, AM Rouen, A 8, fol. 190 vo, 195 ro. Louis appears to have been suspicious of the loyalty of the inhabitants of the former Lancastrian lands in France and also sent his agents to obtain oaths of loyalty from the residents of towns and cities such as Agen and Paris: J.-B. Auguste, Ville d’Agen. Inventaire sommaire des archives communales antérieures à 1790, Paris, Imprimerie nationale, 1884, p. 22; Journal de Jean de Roye connu sous le nom de Chronique scandaleuse, 1460-1483, B. de Mandrot (ed.), Paris, Renouard, 1894-1896, vol. I, p. 16.

64 Ordonnances des roys de France de la troisième race, E. Laurière et al. (eds.), Paris, Imprimerie royale, 1723, vol. XV, pp. 302-303.

65 T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, p. 53; Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, p. 3.

66 Ibid., pp. 80-81, 82, 93; “Mémoires de Jacques du Clercq”, in Choix de chroniques et mémoires sur l’histoire de France, J. A. C. Buchon (ed.), Paris, Desrez, 1838, p. 272.

67 Arch. dép. Seine-Maritime, AM Rouen, A 8, fol. 238 vo.

68 For Normandy’s resources being used in defence of Paris, see: C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, p. 64; Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, pp. 80-81, 82, 93, 116; C. Richard, “Le dernier duché de Normandie (1465-1466)”, Revue de Rouen, t. XV, 1987, p. 532. For the rivalry between Rouen and Paris, see: R. Cazelles, “La rivalité commerciale…”, pp. 99-112.

69 BNF, ms. fr. 6963 [“Papiers de l’abbé Le Grand sur l’histoire de Louis XI. IV: Pièces originales”], fol. 59 ro.

70 C. Richard, “Le dernier duché…”, pp. 533-534.

71 While Louis d’Harcourt maintained the appearance of loyalty to Louis XI, he had in fact already plotted to capture the king during the summer of 1465: P. de Commynes, Mémoires, P. Contamine (ed.), Paris, Imprimerie nationale, 1994, p. 100; Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, p. 68, and vol. II, p. 126. After meeting his death while leading the royal vanguard in the battle, Pierre de Brézé’s body was brought back to Rouen. It was received with honour by the municipal council (who had developed close links with the sénéchal – see above) and was then buried in the cathedral: arch. dép. Seine-Maritime, AM Rouen, A 8, fol. 237 ro-237 vo; C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Inventaire sommaire des archives départementales antérieures à 1790. Seine-Inférieure: archives ecclésiastiques – série G, Paris, Lecerf, 1874, vol. II, G 2136.

72 Arch. dép. Seine-Maritime, AM Rouen, A 7, fol. 238 vo; “Mémoires de Jacques du Clercq”, p. 280; G.-A. de La Roque, Histoire généalogique de la maison de Harcourt, Paris, Cramoisy, 1662, vol. III, p. 539. For an account of events of the evening of 27/28 September, see the letters of abolition given to Jeanne Crespin in 1466 for her part in the plot: Nicholas Lenglet Du Fresnoy, Mémoires de Messire Philippe de Commynes, seigneur d’Argenton, London – Paris, Rolin, 1747, vol. II, pp. 556-557.

73 T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, pp. 210-211.

74 H. Stein, Charles de France, frère de Louis XI, Paris, Picard, 1919, p. 115; A. Canel, “Révolte de la Normandie sous Louis XI”, Revue de Rouen et de la Normandie, 1838, pp. 316-317; U. Legeay, Histoire de Louis XI, Paris, Didot, 1874, vol. I, p. 463.

75 Arch. dép. Seine-Maritime, AM Rouen, A 7, fol. 238 vo; T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, p. 211; P. de Commynes, Mémoires, p. 100; Rouen’s échevins also provided 4,400 l. towards the costs of victualling the troops, which Charles of France repaid: H. Stein, Charles de France…, p. 150.

76 Quote: T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, p. 213. For the actions of the other Norman towns, see: ibid., pp. 205, 207; Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, p. 116; H. Stein, Charles de France…, pp. 116-118; H. de Surirey de Saint-Remy, Jean de Bourbon, duc de Bourbonnais et d’Auvergne, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1944, p. 126.

77 Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, p. 118.

78 P. de Commynes, Mémoires, pp. 100-101. See also: Les mémoires de messire Jean, seigneur de Haynin et de Louvegnies, 1465-1477, R. Chalon (ed.), Mons, Société des bibliophiles de Mons, 1842, vol. I, p. 54; Ordonnances des roys de France…, vol. XVI, pp. 378-386; J. Quicherat (ed.), “Lettres, mémoires, instructions…”, p. 437; “Mémoires de Jacques du Clercq”, pp. 282-287.

79 P. de Commynes, Mémoires, p. 101.

80 T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, p. 231.

81 Ibid., p. 233.

82 BNF, ms. fr. 6963, fol. 59 ro, “Papiers sur l'histoire de Louis XI”.

83 M. Spencer, Thomas Basin (1412-1490): the History of Charles VII and Louis XI, Nieuwkoop, De Graaf, 1997, p. 32; B. Guenée, Between Church and State: the Lives of Four French Prelates in the Late Middle Ages, Chicago – London, University of Chicago Press, 1991, pp. 336-337.

84 Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, p. 141; arch. dép. Seine-Maritime, AM Rouen, A 8, fol. 241 ro. See also: T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, p. 235-245; BNF, ms. ital. 1649, fol. 67 vo; “Mémoires de Jacques du Clercq”, p. 289; H. Stein, Charles de France…, p. 144. For Jean d’Harcourt, see: “Jean Monseigneur de Lorraine”, Bibliothèque de l’École des chartes, t. LI, 1890, pp. 569-570.

85 Guillaume d’Harcourt, count of Tancarville, had played a prominent role in the Valois reconquest of Normandy and had served as a royal councillor to Charles VII, who had appointed him maître et général reformateur des Eaux & Forêts de Normandie in 1453. Jean de Lorraine, count of Harcourt, was first cousin to Louis d’Harcourt, bishop of Bayeux from 1460 and patriarch of Jerusalem: B. Guenée, Between Church and State…, p. 336; L. Moréri, Le grand dictionnaire historique ou Le mélange curieux de l’histoire sacrée et profane, Paris, J.-B. Coignard, 1725, vol. III, p. 434.

86 Arch. dép. Seine-Maritime, AM Rouen, A 8, fol. 241 ro; C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Inventaire sommaire…, vol. II, G 3692; C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, “Notes sur les six voyages de Louis XI à Rouen”, Précis de l’Académie imperiale des sciences, belles-lettres et arts de Rouen, 1856-1857, p. 24; C. Richard, “Le dernier duché…”, p. 535; A. Floquet, Essai historique sur l’Échiquier de Normandie, Rouen, Édouard Frère, 1840, pp. 250-251; T. and D. Godefroy, Le Cérémonial François, Paris, Cramoisy, 1649, vol. I, pp. 602, 604. For the Charte aux Normands, see A. Floquet, “La Charte aux Normands”, Bibliothèque de l’École des chartes, t. IV, 1842, pp. 42-61.

87 Ordonnances des roys de France…, vol. XVI, pp. 395-396, 400-401; H. Stein, Charles de France…, p. 128. The creation of a separate Chambre des Comptes at Rouen had been the subject of petitions to Charles VII soon after the reconquest. The king had only partially acquiesced to the request, by obliging masters of the Parisian Chambre des Comptes to attend meetings of the Norman échiquier: H. Prentout, Les États provinciaux de Normandie, vol. I, pp. 161-168.

88 H. Stein, Charles de France…, pp. 148-149; A. Floquet, Essai historique sur l’Échiquier de Normandie, p. 251; H. Prentout, Les États provinciaux de Normandie, vol. I, pp. 190-191.

89 See BNF, mss. fr. 21477 [“Rooles des gaiges et autres paiemens faiz par maistre Pierre Morin, conseiller et trésorier des guerres de Monseigneur le duc de Normandie”], 23262 [“Comptes du susdit Étienne Petit, et des receveurs généraux des finances de Normandie, Pierre Jobert, 1461-1464, et Robert Le Gay, 1465, avec les lettres de commission de Louis XI”]; H. Stein, Charles de France…, pp. 128, 564-581, 582-585, 585-590. For the presence of the ducal administration in Rouen, see also Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, p. 41; BNF, ms. fr. 20415 [“Chartes de Charles, duc de Normandie, puis de Guyenne, frère de Louis XI (77-86)”], no. 78; “Magnus Rotulus Scaccabini Normanniae”, Mémoires de la Société des antiquaires de Normandie, t. VIII, 1834, p. 396.

90 P. de Commynes, Mémoires, p. 100.

91 T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, p. 233.

92 Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, p. 146; C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, “Notes sur les six voyages…”, p. 24. For the text of the oath taken by Charles at his inauguration in Rouen’s cathedral, see: A. Duchesne, Historiae Normannorum Scriptores Antiqui res ab illis per Galliam, Angliam, Apuliam, Capvae principatum, Siciliam, & Orientam gestas explicantes, Paris, Cramoisy, 1619, pp. 1051-1052. The other towns of Normandy also received privileges in return for taking an oath to Charles of France: T. Bonnin, Cartulaire de Louviers: documents historiques originaux du Xe au XVIIIe siècle, la plupart inédits, extraits des chroniques & des manuscrits des bibliothèques & des archives publiques de la France & de l’Angleterre, Évreux, Leclerc, 1870-1883, 5 vols, here vol. III, pp. 27-32; C. Vasseur, Les archives de Lisieux, notes pour servir d’inventaire, Lisieux, Piel, 1870, p. 24; Ordonnances des roys de France…, vol. XVI, pp. 457-460; H. Stein, Charles de France…, p. 548. For requests to the duke from political elites across Normandy, see: T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, p. 235; A. Canel, Histoire de la ville de Pont-Audemer, Pont-Audemer, Imprimerie administrative de l’Hospice, 1885, vol. I, p. 100; A. Canel, “Révolte de la Normandie…”, p. 310; H. Stein, Charles de France…, p. 118.

93 Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, p. 147.

94 Arch. dép. Seine-Maritime, AM Rouen, A 8, fol. 242 ro; Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, p. 147; BNF, ms. fr. 2623, fol. 10 ro-27 ro; C. Richard, Notice sur l’ancienne bibliothèque des échevins de la ville de Rouen, Rouen, A. Péron, 1845, pp. 32-39. The duke also met with the cathedral chapter and town council on 25 December and guaranteed their rights and privileges: C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Inventaire sommaire…, vol. II, G 2137. For Rouen and Duke Richard the Fearless, see: E. Searle, Predatory Kingship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840-1066, Berkeley – London, University of California Press, 1988, pp. 80-90; Dudo of St Quentin, History of the Normans, E. Christiansen (ed.), Woodbridge, Boydell Press, 1998, pp. 110-138. It is interesting to note that the independent past of the duchy of Normandy continued to be celebrated by the duchy’s elite. In May 1467, while Duke Charles was under the protection of Francis II of Brittany and continued to harbour hopes of restoring his rule over the Duchy of Normandy, the cathedral chapter of Rouen commissioned an image of Duke William Longsword, father of Richard the Fearless and another heroic figure in the duchy’s history, for the chapel of St Anne: see Histoire de Rouen, p. 135.

95 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, pp. 64-65; BNF, ms. fr. 21477, fol. 4 ro; H. Stein, Charles de France…, p. 588.

96 T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, p. 255; T. Bonnin, Cartulaire de Louviers…, vol. III, p. 32; Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, pp. 144-145; Ordonnances des roys de France…, vol. XVI, pp. 453-461; A. Canel, “Révolte de la Normandie…”, p. 317; H. Stein, Charles de France…, pp. 151-152.

97 T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, pp. 260-261.

98 H. Stein, Charles de France…, p. 168.

99 G. Prosser, After the Reduction…, p. 238; J. Favier, Louis XI, p. 523.

100 Chronique de Mathieu d’Escouchy, G. du Fresne de Beaucourt (ed.), Paris, Renouard, 1863-1864, 3 vols, here vol. I, pp. 222, 232; “Chronique des Pays-Bas, de France, d’Angleterre et de Tournai”, in Recueil de Chroniques de Flandre, J. J. de Smet (ed.), Brussels, Hayez, 1856, vol. III, p. 440; Les chroniques du roi Charles VII par Gilles le Bouvier dit le Héraut Berry, H. Courteault and L. Celier (eds.), Paris, Klincksieck, 1979, vol. II, p. 319.

101 Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, pp. 151-152; Journal parisien de Jean Maupoint, prieur de Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Couture, 1437-1469, G. Fagniez (ed.), Paris, Champion, 1878, p. 99; J. Quicherat (ed.), “Lettres, mémoires, instructions…”, pp. 419-420; C. Richard, “Le dernier duché…”, pp. 537-539.

102 Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, pp. 149-150.

103 Journal parisien de Jean Maupoint…, pp. 99-100; P. B. de Barante, Histoire des ducs de Bourgogne de la maison de Valois, 1364-1477, Paris, Librairie de SAR M. le Duc de Chartres, 1826, vol. VIII, p. 478.

104 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, Délibérations, p. 65.

105 Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, pp. 145-146, 148, 154-155; T. Basin, Histoire de Louis XI, vol. I, p. 259; C. Richard, “Le dernier duché…”, pp. 53-58; Dépêches des ambassadeurs milanais…, vol. IV, pp. 192-193. Officials such as the écuyer, Gauvain Mauviel, the lieutenant of the bailli (who had worked closely with the town council) were executed: Journal de Jean de Roye…, vol. I, pp. 154-155; A. Canel, “Révolte de la Normandie…”, pp. 321-332.

106 Ordonnances des roys de France…, vol. XVI, pp. 579-581; C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, “Notes sur les six voyages…”, p. 306.

107 C. Richard, “Le dernier duché…”, p. 539; A. Floquet, Essai historique sur l’Échiquier de Normandie, pp. 252-255.

108 Ibid., p. 255.

109 J. S. C. Bridge, A History of France from the Death of Louis XI, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1921-1936, 5 vols, here vol. I, p. 122.

110 C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, “Entrée et séjour de Charles VIII à Rouen en 1485”, Mémoires des antiquaires de Normandie, t. XX, 1853, pp. 294-295.

111 M. Mollat and P. Wolff, The Popular Revolutions of the Late Middle Ages, London, George Allen and Unwin, 1973, pp. 170-173.

112 For Dinant and Liège, see: R. Douglas Smith and K. DeVries, The Artillery of the Dukes of Burgundy, 1363-1477, Woodbridge, Boydell Press, 2005, pp. 155-156; R. Vaughan, Charles the Bold: the Last Valois Duke of Burgundy, London – New York, Boydell Press, 2002, pp. 34-35. See also: M. Boone, “Destroying and Reconstructing the City: the Inculcation and Arrogation of Princely Power in the Burgundian-Habsburg Netherlands (14th-16th Centuries)”, in The Propagation of Power in the Medieval West (Selected Proceedings of the Groningen international conference, 20-23 November 1996), M. Gosman, A. Vanderjagt and J. Veenstra (eds.), Groningen, Egbert Forsten, 1997, pp. 1-33.

113 Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, J. S. Brewer, J. Gairdner and R. H. Brodie (eds.), London, HMSO, 1862-1932, vol. I, pt. i, no. 1081.

114 Documents historiques inédits…, vol. II, p. 428.

115 Letters and Papers…, vol. I, pt. ii, no. 1971.

116 H. Sée, Louis XI et les villes, p. 224.

Auteurs

Northumbria University

Neil Murphy est professeur d’histoire à Northumbria University. Il s’intéresse à l’histoire de la France et de l’Angleterre à la fin du Moyen Âge et au début des Temps modernes. Il a publié : Ceremonial Entries, Municipal Liberties and the Negotiation of Power in Valois France, 1328-1589 (Leyde, Brill, 2016) et The Captivity of John II, 1356-60 (Basingstoke, Palgrave MacMillan, 2016).

Durham University

Graeme Small est professeur d’histoire médiévale à Durham University. Il s’intéresse à la culture politique et historique de la France, des Pays-Bas et de l’Écosse à la fin du Moyen Âge. Ses livres les plus récents sont (en collaboration avec J. Frońska et H. Wijsman) : The Flemish Chronicle of Philip the Fair (Lucerne, Quaternio Verlag Luzern, 2015) et Late Medieval France (Basingstoke, Palgrave MacMillan, 2009).

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