In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Hundred Years War

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Narrative Histories
  • Reference Works
  • Collections of Essays
  • Source Materials
  • Regional Studies
  • Biographies
  • Society and Economy
  • Chivalry and Conduct
  • Culture and Literature

Medieval Studies Hundred Years War
Anne Curry
  • LAST REVIEWED: 10 December 2014
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 May 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396584-0076


The Hundred Years War has become the established name for the Anglo-French conflicts that happened between 1337 and 1453. Although the designation does not refer to an actual event—the term was first used in France in the early 19th century—it usefully emphasizes the insoluble nature of the hostilities. There had been earlier Anglo-French wars arising out of the difficulties of the English king holding lands (especially the duchy of Aquitainia) as a vassal of the French king, but a new element arose in the reign of Edward III in England in the form of a claim to the French crown, a claim that was not dropped until 1802. By 1453, however, the English had lost all of their French lands except for Calais. The war is important for its military dimensions, its effects on economy and society, and its contribution to French and English state building, not least in terms of the development of taxation. It also has a pan-European dimension because each side sought allies in other countries and also exploited the Papal Schism in the Catholic church of 1378–1417.

General Overviews

There is a broad consensus across the general works in this section about the events of the Hundred Years War. All of them emphasize the legacy of Anglo-French conflict between 1066 and 1337 and explain how the claim to the French throne changed the nature of the war. Perroy 1951 has proved an enduring study, which, through its English translation, has brought a French view to a wider public. Fowler 1967 and Allmand 2001 go beyond the events to consider the social and military implications of the war, with Vale 2007 adding a reflection on its cultural and literary dimensions. Curry 2003 breaks down the war into distinct phases and summarizes the debates. Jones 1989 provides a succinct summary of the 14th-century issues concerning the English rulers. Vale 1996 looks at an early phase of the war (the 1330s–1340s) in the light of Anglo-French relations since 1259.

  • Allmand, Christopher T. The Hundred Years War: England and France at War c. 1300–c. 1450. Rev. ed. Cambridge Medieval Textbooks. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

    A wide-ranging study that contains chronologically organized chapters and also thematic discussions of topics related to the war, such as military organization, chivalry, and impact on civilians. It embraces both English and French dimensions and contains an extensive bibliography. It was published in the series Cambridge Medieval Textbooks (Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press), aimed at undergraduates.

  • Curry, Anne. The Hundred Years War. 2d ed. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

    First published in 1993 by Macmillan, this short, chronologically arranged study is intended as an introduction to the subject of the Hundred Years War and the main debates surrounding it. It focuses on the origins of the war and explains the differences between the 14th- and 15th-century phases. It opens with a chapter on the historiography of the subject and also considers the involvement of countries beyond England and France. It explores the war largely from the viewpoint of the English.

  • Fowler, Kenneth Alan. The Age of Plantagenet and Valois: The Struggle for Supremacy, 1328–1498. London: Elek, 1967.

    This book casts the war in a wider chronological framework and includes chapters focusing on chivalry and the arts and making an important comparison of the armies of France and England in the period. It contains more than ninety illustrations ranging over contemporary manuscripts and modern photographs of key sites.

  • Jones, Michael. C. E. “Relations with France, 1337–1399.” In England and Her Neighbours, 1066–1453: Essays in Honour of Pierre Chaplais. Edited by Michael Jones and Malcolm G. A. Vale, 239–258. London: Hambledon, 1989.

    This short essay provides an interpretative overview of the 14th-century phase of the war, focusing particularly on the motivations of the various rulers and the seriousness of Edward III’s claim to the French throne.

  • Perroy, Edouard. The Hundred Years War. London: Eyre and Spottiswood, 1951.

    Translated from its original French version, La guerre de cent ans (Paris: Gallimard, 1945), this is the fullest single-volume overview of the war. Its tendency to lament French failures and applaud the country’s recovery is explained by the fact that Perroy wrote it over the winter of 1943–1944. This edition contains an introduction by David Douglas exploring the impact of Perroy’s experiences on his interpretations of the war.

  • Vale, Malcolm Graham Allan. The Origins of the Hundred Years War: The Angevin Legacy, 1250–1340. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.

    First published in 1990 as The Angevin Legacy and the Hundred Years War, 1250–1340 (Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell), this is a scholarly but accessible explanation of how conflict over English territory in France after the treaty of Paris of 1259 was made into a dynastic war in the 1330s. Vale emphasizes the importance of Gascony to the English as well as the deterioration of Anglo-French relations thanks to the inconclusive wars of 1294–1297 and 1324–1327 and the Valois succession in 1328.

  • Vale, Malcolm Graham Allan. The Ancient Enemy: England, France, and Europe from the Angevins to the Tudors, 1154–1558. London: Hambledon Continuum, 2007.

    A reflection on the enmity between England and France that ranges widely across history, literature, and culture, drawing out connections and differences across time between the two countries. A very stimulating read and useful for contextual background to the war.

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