Constable de Richemont depicted in modern statue outside Town Hall of Vannes.
Arms of Arthur de Richemont.
Standard with the black boar device, accompanied Richemont at the battle of Patay.

Arthur de Richemont (1392-1458), connétable de France (1425-58) sous Charles VII,
Arthur III, duc de Bretagne [Brittany] (1457-1458)

A Breton soldier, disfigured by facial wounds and captured at Agincourt. He was 33 years old and brother of Jean V, duc de Bretagne, when he accepted the constable's sword from Charles VII of France. His association with the Valois cause was largely due to Yolande d'Aragón's planning. Richemont temporally fell from favor in the French court, when his brother made a pact with the English. Returning from temporary 'exile', the constable joined Jeanne d'Arc's forces for the battle of Patay. However, Charles VII denied Richemont the Constable's role at the coronation at Reims. Eventually, Richemont returned to the French court, where he was instrumental (again in collusion with Yolande) in the removal of corrupt advisors to Charles VII. Thereafter, Richemont's influence grew along with battlefield successes. He was the principal advisor behind the significant military reforms that made Charles VII's army victorious. When Richemont's brother, Pierre II, died, Arthur became the duc de Bretagne for about a year before his own death.

The title of 'Richemont' derived from the English earldom of 'Richmond', and is addressed further in a note at the end of this webpage.

Detail from early miniature (BNF).

Born 24 August to Jean IV duc de Bretagne and Jeanne de Navarre.
In April, the widowed duchess Jeanne became the second wife to Henry IV, king of England. Her sons, Arthrur and his older brother, Jean V (now duc de Bretagne), did not accompany their mother when she departed to England in January 1403. Jean and Arthur were knighted in March 1402 by the French constable Olivier de Clisson, and later placed in the care of the duke of Burgundy until Jean V reached his majority in December 1403.
Richemont was wounded and captured by the English at the battle of Agincourt .
Released from captivity in England, Richemont offered his service to the Anglo-Burgundian cause. He married Margaret of Burgundy, sister of Philippe the Good, duke of Burgundy. Margaret was widow of the French dauphin Louis de Guyenne, who had been a close friend to Richemont.
A dispute with the English duke Bedford [who also held the title of ‘earl of Richmond' since 1414] over an opportunity to hold a military command ended Richemont's service with the Anglo-Burgundian faction in 1424.
As arranged by Yolande d'Aragon, Richemont was made constable of France by Charles VII.
Richemont engaged in a dispute with La Trémoïlle, the senior advisor to Charles VII, and was denied direct access to Charles VII when Richemont's brother, Jean V, formed an alliance with the English.
In February, Richemont led a rebellion aimed at removing Trémoïlle. Charles VII was convinced that the revolt was against him and moved successfully to thwart Richemont's initiative. Though Charles VII offered, and Richemont accepted a pardon, the incident led to the Constable 'exiling' himself away from the court.

However, hearing of the summer campaign around Orléans, Richemont assembled a force with the intent of joining up with the Royal army under the banner of Jeanne d'Arc. His host did not get to the theater of operations until after the relief of Orléans, and met the Royal army as it was attacking the English at the towns of Meung and Beaugency around 16-17 June. The English troops that had been driven from Orléans had just received reinforcements and the arrival of Richemont's host was welcome by the Maid. Jeanne was able to persuade the duc d'Alençon, who expressed reservations about accepting the Constable's aid, to receive Richemont. The combined French forces were together as the English emerged from Meung. Neither side decided to engage immediately, and the English began a withdrawal on 17 June. The combined forces of Richemont and Jeanne pursued, catching and decisively defeating the English at the battle of Patay (18 June). [A fifteenth-century painting of the battle shows a white standard with a black hedgehog-like animal device. Some have believed it to represent the porcupine device of the duc d'Orléans that may have been brought to the battle by Jean d'Orléans, the 'Le Bâtard d'Orléans', and half-brother to the duke who was then a prisoner in England. However, there is convincing evidence that the device represents the boar standard often used by Richemont. A link to a webpage on the Battle of Patay is at the bottom of this page.]

Sadly, the Maid was less successful in convincing Charles VII to permit Richemont to attend the coronation at Reims where his office as Constable would have entitled him to carry the sword of state in front of the king.
Richemont became reconciled with Charles VII in March.
Richemont forced the expulsion of Trémoïlle from the court of Charles VII.
Richemont led a royal army that recovered Paris 13 April.
Richemont was one of the few senior military leaders who did not join in the Revolt (la Praguerie) of the nobles against Charles VII led by Charles I, duc de Bourbon [1434-56]. Rather, Richemont led in putting down the revolt. [The revolt was instigated, in part, due to the military reforms being instituted by Charles VII that created the compagnies d'ordonnance, which Richemont advocated. Essentially the ‘ordonnances' initiated in 1439 began a series of royal decrees that compelled all combatant forces to be under commanders appointed by the French king. In effect it outlawed the êcorcheur captains that did not submit to the command of Charles VII. Richemont led many of these new compagnies in successfully eliminating the mercenary bands that plagued the French countryside, and in confronting the English armies in France.]
Richemont cleared Île de France of remaining English partisans.
Margaret of Burgundy died in February, and Richemont married in August Jeanne d'Albret, daughter of Charles d'Albret, who had been one of his companions-in-arms.
Richemont's second wife, Jeanne d'Albret, died, and he married Catherine of Luxembourg, daughter of Peter of Luxembourg, comte de Saint-Pôl. Catherine would survive her husband. [Richemont had no children by any of his three wives. He did have a natural daughter, Jacqueline, who was legitimized in 1443.]
Richemont's greatest military victory was won jointly with the comte de Clermont at the Battle of Formigny (15 April). This victory essentially ensured the reconquest of Normandy that same year. [Link to webpage on Battle of Formigny is at the end of this page.]
Arthur de Richemont became Arthur III, duc de Bretagne (27 September).
Richemont died on 26 December at Nantes.

The English earldom title of ‘Richmond' had a loose association with the ducal position in Brittany, France, soon after the French Norman conquest of England. Starting in 1268, English sovereigns bestowed upon, and took from French ducal subjects in Brittany the ‘Richmond' title, according to the ruling Breton family's loyalty to the English king. At the outbreak of the 1341-64 War of Succession in Brittany, Edward III of England bestowed the earldom of ‘Richmond' upon Jean de Montfort, claimant to the disputed ducal title against the French supported Charles de Blois. Eventually, the Anglo-Montfortists prevailed and Jean de Montfort's son became Jean IV, duc de Bretagne. Though Jean IV paid homage to the French king, Charles V, he continued to hold the English granted title to ‘Richmond'. However, upon Jean IV's death without heirs in 1399, the title of ‘Richmond' reverted to the English crown. Still, the dukes of Brittany continued to assume the title of ‘Richemont' for many years after. In fact, from 1414 to 1435 the earldom of Richmond was held by John Plantagenet, duke of Bedford, brother of Henry V of England and regent of English occupied France at the beginning of the last phase of the Hundred Years' War. [Interesting aside: Henry V and Bedford were step-brothers to Arthur de Richemont.] Bedford died in 1435, and the English title of ‘Richmond' no longer played a role in France.


Chronique d'Arthur de Richemont by Guillaume Gruel.
Written in 1458-66 by a member of duke Arthur's court in Brittany, and one who accompanied the constable in some of his military campaigns. Achille le Vavasseur edited a 1890, Paris, publication of Guillaume's work.
Arthur de Richemont, le justicier, precurseur, compagnon et successeur de Jeanne d'Arc, ou, L'honneur d'êter français, by Etcheverry, Jean-Paul.
Editions France-Empire, Paris, 1983.
For more, see link to Hundred Years' War bibliography webpage below.


Return to Hundred Years' War Web Page.

This page was last updated 10 August 2002.
Comments can be sent to the Société de l'Oriflamme.
Hundred Years War, la guerre de cent ans