This Day in History: 1373-07-17

On 17th July 1373, John of Gaunt, lord of Pontefract, landed at Calais with 6,000 men-at-arms and archers. With the assistance of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, and the Duke of Brittany, the army marched towards Bordeaux hoping to engage with the French forces of Charles V in order to recover Aquitaine. On reaching Bordeaux, around December, the exhausted English army found a city devastated by famine and plague. Unanswered pleas, in January 1374, to Edward III for finance and reinforcements, compelled Gaunt to return to England.