This website uses cookies to provide a rich user experience. Please consult our Cookie Policy to learn about what cookies this website uses, or to control the cookies you receive. You need do nothing if you are happy to receive cookies.
Look and Learn History Picture Library License images from £2.99 Pay by PayPal for images for immediate download Member of British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies (BAPLA)

Sir John Falstaff won the Battle of Roverai

Posted in Famous battles, Historical articles, History, Shakespeare, War on Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Click on any image for details about licensing for commercial or personal use.

This edited article about the Hundred Years War originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 213 published on 12 February 1966.

Falstaff, picture, image, illustration

Sir John Falstaff by Gerritt Vandersyde

The Hundred Years War between England and France was raging and since the summer of 1428 an English army under the Earl of Suffolk had been besieging Orleans, which was holding out for the King of France. Month after month, the siege dragged on, and as the surrounding countryside was hostile to the English and refused them supplies, Suffolk’s troops were becoming worse off for food than the French locked up in Orleans.

Early in February, a convoy of five hundred wagons loaded with food and military stores and escorted by a force of three thousand troops was sent from Paris to the besieging English army. The expedition was commanded by Sir John Fastolfe, one of the bravest and most experienced English generals. He was later created a Knight of the Garter by Henry VI, but he is better known as the original Falstaff in Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor.

King Charles of France discovered that the relief convoy was on its way to Orleans and sent a force of four thousand men under the Count of Claremont to cut it off.

The French came up with the English convoy at Roverai, a few miles from Orleans. The English commander ordered his men to make a barricade of the wagons, behind which he waited for the attack.

When the French arrived, they made a mass charge against the barricade, but were received with such a deadly hail of arrows from the English archers’ long-bows that they were thrown into complete confusion. Fastolfe then ordered some of the wagons to be drawn aside and sword in hand swept through the gap with his cavalry to annihilate the French. Only a small remnant of the French troops escaped and these fled back the way they had come.

Although this English victory was fought and won at Roverai, it is more often called the Battle of the Herrings from the fact that a large part of the provisions comprised barrels of salted herrings.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.