Before leaving on our trip through Southwestern France I read the excellent “A Traveller’s History of The Hundred Years War in France” by Michael Starks. It is part of the Traveller’s History Series and highly recommended if you are interested in the tapestry of human events that formed the very landscape around you as you pass through an area. You can find the book here
in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Southwestern France was the scene of the first great battle between the English (simplistically the French who had invaded England centuries before) and the French who had remained at home. Both societies had developed concepts of a strong peaceful church, state partnership and a chivalry code of behavior.
At the same moment the Black Death began to ravage the population which was so reduced that lawlessness and disorder soon reigned in most of Europe. The Abbey at Nouile Maupertois is next to the battleground of the Battle of Poitiers (9 September 1356).
After recovering from the plague in 1355 King Edward’s son the Black Prince began a series of raids of French territory called chevauchées. These lightening raids consisted mainly of burning and pillaging the farms of the peasants who ran to hide in the nearest fortified castle or abbey.
Nouile Maupertois is one such fortified abbey.
The Abbey was well fortified against attack by marauders and passing armies looking for food and entertainment. Toward the end of the 14th Century peasants were as much in danger from local nobility as from foreigners.
The bucolic countryside once swarmed with English and French troops on the prowl for unwary peasants and loose livestock for their fires.
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