In the Steps of the Black Prince

February 2011
11 black and white, 31 line illustrations
274 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Warfare in History
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037010, HIS015000

In the Steps of the Black Prince

The Road to Poitiers, 1355-1356

Peter Hoskins

eBook for Handhelds
The author has retraced on foot the routes taken by the Black Prince during the French campaigns of 1355-1356, enabling him to provide an entirely new dimension to the events.
In 1355 the Black Prince took an army to Bordeaux and embarked on two chevauchées [mounted military expeditions, generally characterised by the devastation of the surrounding towns and countryside], which culminated in his decisive victory over King Jean II of France at Poitiers the following year. Using the recorded itineraries as his starting point, the author of this book walked more than 1,300 miles across France, retracing the routes of the armies in search of a greater understanding of the Black Prince's expedition. He followed the 1355 chevauchée from Bordeaux to the Mediterranean and back, and that for 1356 from Aquitaine to the Loire, to the battlefield at Poitiers, and back again to Bordeaux. Drawing on his findings on the ground, a wide range of documentary sources, and the work of local historians, many of whom the author met on his travels, the book provides a unique perspective on the Black Prince's chevauchées of 1355 and 1356 and the battle of Poitiers, one of the greatest English triumphs of the Hundred Years War, demonstrating in particular the impact of the landscape on the campaigns.

Peter Hoskins is a former Royal Air Force pilot, now living in France. He combines his interest in exploration of his adopted country with his research into the Hundred Years War.

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Table of Contents

Advance to Contact - Bordeaux to Arouille, 5 to 11 October 1355
Armagnac - Arouille to Mirande, 12 to 22 October 1355
Toulouse - Mirande to Montgiscard, 23 to 29 October 1355
Carcassone - Mongiscard to Canet, 29 October to 7 November 1355
Turning for Home - Canet to Pennautier, 8 to 14 November 1355
Re-crossing the Garonne - Pennautier to Carbonne, 15 to 18 November 1355
Home for Christmas - Carbonne to La Réole, 19 November to 2 December 1355
Consolidation and Preparation - 2 December 1355 to 4 August 1356
Advance to the Vienne - La Réole to Manot, 6 July to 14 August 1356
Romorantin - Manot to Romorantin, 14 August to 5 September 1356
Manoeuvre - Romorantin to Poitiers, 5 to 17 September 1356
Battle Joined - A Close Run Thing - Nouaillé-Maupertuis, 18 and 19 September 1356
The Return to Bordeaux - Nouaillé-Maupertuis to Bordeaux, 20 September to 2 October 1356
Appendix 1 - Summary Itinerary for Prince's Division 1355
Appendix 2 - Summary Itinerary for Prince's Division 1356


Not only does Hoskins give us a very readable and enjoyable book, but also greater practical insights than any writer sitting either in the archives or at a computer could ever hope to. HISTORY

A fascinating study which enhances our understanding of the way chevauchées unfolded as well as impressing us even further with the qualities of the Black Prince and the resilience of his men. [...] It stands as a new and imaginative approach to the subject. H-FRANCE REVIEW

This impressive study is based on Hoskins' personal knowledge of the landscape and local history, combined with the use of the chronicles and modern historical viewpoints. The author points out the difficult terrain and issues with logistical matters that impacted the expeditions. The work includes numerous photographs and maps indicating the path of the chevauchées. It is a fine addition to the literature on the Edwardian War. INTERNATIONAL HISTORY

Well written and gives a lot of information. [...] All the essential information is there and the reader will gain insight into how the battle [of Poitiers] took place. MEDIEVAL WARFARE
Hoskins' book is a valuable and insightful contribution to our knowledge of the road to Poitiers and the strategy of the medieval English chevauchée. His firsthand experience of the terrain, his understanding of tactics and strategy, and his careful use of the extant sources inform every page of the book, making In the Steps of the Black Prince a must for an historian of the Hundred Years War. DE RE MILITARI
Another first-rate Boydell title. [...] I can think of few accounts of medieval warfare which read as well as this one. LONE WARRIOR
Hoskins' book is the product of a fascinating exercise and the author's approach can be of considerable value when dealing with differences between sources. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW
Aided by fine maps this is a solid reconstruction of medieval warfare. CONNEXION

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