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Edward III (1312-1377).

English ruler. Principal wars: Scots Wars (1327-1328, 1333); Hundred Years' War (1337-1453). Principal battles: Halidon Hill (near Berwick) (1333); Sluys (Sluis) (1340); Crecy (1346); siege of Calais (1346-1347).

Born at Windsor (November 13, 1312), the eldest son of King Edward II and Queen Isabella; fled to the continent with his mother to escape the influence of the Despensers (1325); was betrothed to Philippa of Hainault (1326); returned to England with Isabella and her lover, Roger de Mortimer (September 1326); they led a nobles' revolt against Edward II, who was deposed and murdered (September 1327); the reign of Edward III nominally began with his father's deposition (January 25, 1327), but power rested in a regency of Isabella and Mortimer; took part in an unsuccessful campaign against the Scots (summer 1327), and was forced to accept the treaty of Northhampton, which recognized Scottish independence (1328); married Philippa (January 24, 1328), who bore him a son, Edward the Black Prince (June 15, 1330); at Nottingham he captured Mortimer and had him executed (October-November); he respectfully banished his mother to a royal manor, and assumed personal rule; intervened in Scotland in support of John de Baliol, and defeated a Scots army at Halidon Hill (July 19, 1333); quarreled with King Philip VI of France over the form of feudal homage due Philip for Gascony, and also over Philip's succession of Charles IV (1336-1337); Edward revived an old claim to the French throne, leading to war (1337); Edward established bases in Flanders (1337-1338); assumed the title "King of France" (January 1340); destroyed the French fleet at the battle of Sluys (June 24, 1340); led an indecisive campaign in Brittany (1342); led an army to France, landing near Cherbourg (July 12, 1346), and advanced inland, taking Caen (July 27); nearly trapped by a much larger French army under Philip VI, he escaped across the Seine, closely pursued by the French; turned to meet his pursuers at Crecy, and defeated Philip utterly (August 26, 1346); besieged and took Calais (August 1346-August 1347); formally instituted the Order of the Garter during his campaigns in France (1348); won a hard-fought naval battle over the Spanish off Winchelsea (1350); the Black Death reduced the tempo of the war (1348-1349); active warfare soon began again (1355); his son, the Black Prince, won a great victory over French King John (who was captured) at Poitiers (September 19, 1356); Edward was soon campaigning again in France, and marched to the walls of Paris (summer 1360); the Treaty of Bretigny (near Chartres) (October 24); strengthened the English position in France, but Edward relinquished his claim to the French throne when French Constable Bertrand du Guesclin supported Gascon rebels; Edward renewed the war and his claim to the French throne (1368); he left most of the direction of the war to his son Edward; fell increasingly under the influence of various mistresses after the death of Queen Philippa (1369), notably Alice Ferrers (c. 1371-1376); left the administration of the kingdom largely in the hands of his third son, John of Gaunt; saddened by the death of Edward (June 8, 1376), he died barely a year later at Richmond (June 21, 1377).

A ruler of extraordinary energy and ability; as a general he was a masterly tactician, but lacked the strategic insight of his grandfather; as a ruler he strove to be just, liberal, and kind; he was at heart a knight. <BL>
Allmand, C. T., Society at War: The Experience of England and France
     During the Hundred Years' War. New York, 1973.
Burne, Alfred H., The Agincourt War: A Military History of the Latter
     Part of the Hundred Years' War from 1369-1453. 1956. Reprint, Westport,
     Conn., 1976.
Burne, Alfred H., The Crecy War: A Military History of the Hundred
     Years' War, from 1337 to the Peace of Bretigny, 1360. 1956. Reprint,
     Westport, Conn., 1976.
Froissart, Jean, Chronicles. Translated and edited by Geoffrey
     Beresford. New York, 1968.
Hewitt, Herbert James, The Organization of War Under Edward III,
     1338-1362. New York, 1966.
Nicholson, Ranald, Edward III and the Scots: The Formative Years of a
     Military Career, 1327-1335. Oxford, 1965.
Seward, Desmond, The Hundred Years War. New York, 1978.

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Author:Bongard, David L.
Publication:The Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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