Cover image for Knights and peasants : the Hundred Years War in the French countryside
Knights and peasants : the Hundred Years War in the French countryside
Wright, Nicholas, 1945-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK ; Rochester, NY : Boydell Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
x, 144 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DC96.5 .W75 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Examining the soldier-peasant relationship in the context of the Hundred Years War, this work draws on the late-medieval literature of chivalry and political commentary in England and, especially, France. It seeks an understanding of different attitudes: how aristocratic soldiers reconciled the ideals of chivalry with exploitation of non-combatants, and how French peasants reacted to the soldiery.

Author Notes

Nicholas Wright, an associate director of the Royal National Theatre, is an actor & playwright & author of the celebrated play "Mrs. Klein". He lives in London.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Histories of the Hundred Years War usually say little about the its effects on noncombatants, and what they do say tends to present a one-dimensional picture of the peasant as victim. In his brief and engagingly written study, Wright partially redresses that serious failing by examining the relationship between soldiers, whether French or English, and the French peasantry, often through the testimony of the soldiers and peasants themselves. Although he does not ignore the spectacular ravages wrought during the major campaigns, Wright focuses on the more long-term and widespread problem of underpaid, ill-supplied, and frequently poorly disciplined garrisons, both French and English, who sought necessary provisions and additional enrichment from the local peasantry, either by the imposition of legitimate obligations or through various forms of intimidation, including hostage-taking and protection rackets. Rather than passively submit, however, many peasants, seeking not only to survive but to maintain customary privileges, protected themselves by constructing fortifications or underground and forest hideouts, or turned against their oppressors, individually as brigands or collectively as rebels. By showing the dirty underside of the war, Wright lays bare many inadequacies of the late medieval state while also revealing the strengths of traditional peasant communities. Upper-division undergraduates and above. C. F. Briggs; Georgia Southern University