Siege of Roche-au-Moine

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Siege of Roche-au-Moine
Part of the Anglo-French War (1213–14)
John of England vs Louis VIII of France.jpg
King John of England in battle with the French (left), Prince Louis VIII of France on the march (right).
Date19 June – 2 July 1214
Result French victory
Arms of the Kings of France (France Ancien).svg Kingdom of France Royal Arms of England.svg Kingdom of England
Blason duche fr Normandie.svg Duchy of Normandy
Commanders and leaders
Arms of the Kings of France (France Ancien).svg Prince Louis of France Royal Arms of England.svg John of England


800 knights[1]
2,000–4,000 infantry[2]
Casualties and losses
unknown unknown

The Siege of Roche-au-Moine was a siege between the Kingdom of France and the Kingdom of England in 1214. John besieged the castle but retreated in the face of Prince Louis of France's relief army after he was refused support from Angevin nobles.


In 1214 John began his final campaign to reclaim Normandy from Philip. John was optimistic, as he had successfully built up alliances with the Emperor Otto, Renaud of Boulogne and Count Ferdinand of Flanders; he was enjoying papal favour; and he had successfully built up substantial funds to pay for the deployment of his experienced army.[3] Nonetheless, when John left for Poitou in February 1214, many barons refused to provide military service; mercenary knights had to fill the gaps.[4] John's plan was to split Philip's forces by pushing north-east from Poitou towards Paris, whilst Otto, Renaud and Ferdinand, supported by William Longespée, marched south-west from Flanders.[4]

The first part of the campaign went well, with John outmanoeuvring the forces under the command of Prince Louis and retaking the county of Anjou by the end of June.[4][5] John besieged the castle of Roche-au-Moine, a key stronghold, forcing Louis to advance against John's larger army.[6] The local Angevin nobles refused to fight with the king; left at something of a disadvantage, John had to retreat back to La Rochelle.[6]


Shortly afterwards, Philip won the hard-fought battle of Bouvines in the east against Otto and John's other allies, bringing an end to John's hopes of retaking Normandy.[7] A peace agreement was signed in which John returned Anjou to Philip and paid the French king compensation; the truce was intended to last for six years.[7] John arrived back in England in October.[7]

References and footnotes[edit]


  1. ^ Verbruggen 1997, p. 242.
  2. ^ Verbruggen 1997, p. 246.
  3. ^ Barlow 1999, p. 335
  4. ^ a b c Carpenter 2004, p. 286
  5. ^ Warren 1991, p. 221
  6. ^ a b Warren 1991, p. 222
  7. ^ a b c Warren 1991, p. 224


  • Barlow, Frank (1999). The Feudal Kingdom of England, 1042–1216. Harlow, UK: Pearson Education. ISBN 0-582-38117-7.
  • Carpenter, David (2004). The Struggle for Mastery: The Penguin History of Britain 1066–1284. London: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-014824-4.
  • Verbruggen, J.F. (1997) [1954]. De Krijgskunst in West-Europa in de Middeleeuwen, IXe tot begin XIVe eeuw [The Art of Warfare in Western Europe During the Middle Ages: From the Eighth Century to 1340]. Translated by Willard, S. (2nd ed.). Suffolk: Boydell Press. ISBN 0 85115 630 4.
  • Warren, W. Lewis (1991). King John. London: Methuen. ISBN 0-413-45520-3.

Coordinates: 47°23′02″N 0°39′23″W / 47.38389°N 0.65639°W / 47.38389; -0.65639