This Day in History: 1383-08-08

On 8th August 1383, Henry Despenser, Bishop of Norwich, made his way with his army to Gravelines after failing to capture Ypres and/or engage the French king Charles VI in battle. Despenser had gained support from Pope Urban VI in Rome for a crusade against supporters of the ‘alternative’ Pope, Clement VII, in Avignon, and the Clementist Count of Flanders was considered a legitimate target for Despenser. John of Gaunt (overlooked by Parliament to lead the crusade) was at Pontefract when he learned of Despenser’s imploding venture and summarily mustered his men to sail from the Isle of Thanet to Flanders to try and salvage the crusaders. Despenser returned home humiliated and Gaunt negotiated with Philip of Burgundy, Charles VI’s uncle, to try and repair the damage.