53 Torn Apart – Loss of an Empire

After the defection of William des Roches the military situation was poor for John but not irretrievable. Unfortunately, John failed to provide the leadership needed.  He distrusted his barons; he panicked and had no coherent strategy. When he killed Arthur, he pushed the self destruct button, and Normandy collapsed from with – the Barons no longer supported the descendants of William the Bastard.

53 Torn Apart – the loss of an Empire


The Murder of Arthur

It is not possible to definitively prove that John killed Arthur. But a bit like Richard III and the Princes in the tower, his failure to produce Arthur at any stage seems incomprehensible unless he did. The story is that John killed him at Rouen in a fit of drunken rage as the war turned against him. It was disastrous for John's reputation. 

The Fall of Normandy

1203-1204 The Loss of NormandyNormany fell because John's barons no longer cared to support him. John panicked, and had no coherent strategy. He distrusted his barons, and in return they distrusted him. He put vicious mercenaries like Lupescar in control of whole regions, and surrounded himself with household knights – not powerful barons who could make a difference. 

In 1203, John ran for it. It is probably true that he intended to gather support from the English Barons, but he left it to late. On 6th March, Chateau Gaillard surrendered. After a triumphant march through Western Normandy, Phillipo returned to Rouen and on 26th April he entered the Norman capital. 



3 thoughts on “53 Torn Apart – Loss of an Empire

  1. Hi David
    Just caught up with a backlog of 8 episodes and, as ever, thoroughly enjoyed the podcasts. I really enjoy the balance of history and humour in yoru presentation. Listenign to the latest podcast I was reminded of a Son et Lumiere I went to many years ago with my wife at Castillon – which was depicting La Battaile de Castillon. I know that was 1453 but it traced back to Eleanor of Aquitaine and was very evocative. We bought a record (shows how long ago it was!) by Eric le Collen featuriung music of the peiod – one track of whcih was called le Morte D’Arthe – not sure if it referred to the title of this podcast episode? If I can find a way of sending you the track I will do so. One very small bit of critical feedback if I may – in the background I keep hearing a loud metallic noise a bit like a metal item in a tumble dryer which is distracting – any chance of losing it? Anyway, thanks again for the podcast. Look forward to the next episode. Best Wishes Ian

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