The Battle of Warns (West Frisian: Slach by Warns; Dutch: Slag bij Warns) was a battle of the Friso-Hollandic Wars between Count William IV of Holland and the Frisians which took place on 26 September 1345. The annual commemoration of the battle is important for many nationalist Frisians. The Frisians won the battle and repelled the Dutchmen from the eastern coast of the Zuiderzee.
|Battle of Warns|
The monument of the battle of Warns in Friesland. It says, in Frisian, "Better to be dead than a slave".
|Commanders and leaders|
|William IV of Holland †||Frisians|
|Casualties and losses|
In 1345, William IV, count of Holland, prepared a military action to conquer Middle Frisia, crossing the Zuiderzee with a large fleet and with the help of French and Flemish knights, some of whom had just returned from a crusade.
He set sail in Enkhuizen to cross the Zuiderzee, together with his uncle John of Beaumont, and landed near Stavoren and Laaxum. They planned to use the Sint-Odulphus monastery near Stavoren as a fortification. The Hollandic knights wore armour, but had no horses as there was not enough room in the ships, which were full of building materials and supplies. William's troops set fire to the abandoned villages of Laaxum and Warns and started to advance towards Stavoren.
In the countryside around Warns the Hollandic count was attacked by the local inhabitants. With their heavy armor the knights were no match for the furious Frisian farmers and fishermen. The path the Hollandic knights chose to flee led straight to the Red Cliffs.
As they fled they entered a swamp where they were decisively beaten. Their commander William IV of Holland was killed. When John of Beaumont heard what had happened, he ordered a retreat back to the ships. They were pursued by the Frisians and only a few made it to Amsterdam.
The battle was marked by a number of tactical mistakes of the Hollanders. First, they divided their forces in two. William landed north of Stavoren and his uncle Jan landed south.
In addition, William continued the attack in haste without waiting for his archers. With a small group of 500 men he reached St. Odulphusklooster because the Frisians purposely moved back. But then they cut Willem from the bulk of his troops and defeated him.
After Count Willem was destroyed they turned against his main troops that could not flee because the ships were offshore. When these troops were defeated, they attacked John of Beaumont. He had not participated until then. The Frisians could beat him because his camp was chosen poorly with the sea in the back so that his army could never retreat. The Frisians took the battle with the Hollanders in the water where they beat them down.
The disaster sparked many accounts of the losses. In 1869 Van Malderghem made a serious study of the losses on Count Williams' side. He made a list of the deceased, with notes about which source mentioned them. The table shows the part of Van Malderghem's list that he based on the Chronique Anonyme de Valenciennes and Beke. Relevant fragments of the Chronique Anonyme de Valenciennes were published by Joseph Kervyn de Lettenhove in his Histoire et croniques de Flandre.
The author of the Chronique Anonyme de Valenciennes focused on the losses from the County of Hainaut. The monk Johannes de Beke from Egmond Abbey focused on casualties from the County of Holland. Beke thought that the knight bannerets, referred to as 'Domino de' or 'D' and marked with (b), were important enough to mention, even when they were not from Holland.
|Name by Van Malderghem||County||C.a. de Valenciennes||Beke||Comment|
|Henri d'Antoing (b)||Hainaut||D. de Antongen (b)|
|Michel I de Ligne (b)||Hainaut||M. de Lingne||D. de Lingni (b)|
|Gaultier Lingne||Hainaut||Gautier de Lingne||Brother of the Lord of Lingne|
|Le Sire de Wal(in)court||Hainaut||M. de Walecourt||D. de Walincord (b)||Jean sire de Walincourt et Cysoing|
|Thierry de Walcourt||Hainaut||Theodricus de Walkord|
|Rasse de Montigny||Hainaut||M. Rasse de Montigny||There were 2 Montigny's in Hainaut|
|Jean de Lisseroeulx||Hainaut||M. Jehan de Lussereulles|
|Jean de Billemont||Hainaut||M. Jehan de Buyllemont|
|Henri de Brissoeul||Hainaut||M. Henry de Brisseul|
|Gauthier de Mauny||Hainaut||D. de Many (b)||Van Malderghem had doubts here|
|Gilles de Mauni dit Grignart||Hainaut||M. Gille Grenart|
|Thierry de Mauny||Hainaut||M. Thiery de Mauny|
|Jean de Mauny||Hainaut||Jehan de Mauny|
|Ferri de Hordaing||Hainaut||M. Ferry de Hordaing|
|Name by Van Malderghem||County||C.a. de Valenciennes||Beke||Comment|
|Gerard of Hornes, Gaesbeek etc. (b)||Holland||D. de Hoorn (b)||Gerard II of Horne|
|Daniel lord of Merwede and Wieldrecht (b)||Holland||M. Daniel de la Merwede||D. de Merwede (b)|
|Floris van Haemstede (b)||Zeeland||D. de Haemstede (b)|
|Gerard d'Audenhove dit Mettenbaerde||Jülich||M. d'Adenehove||Gerardus Barbatus||The Lord of Audenhove|
|Guillaume de Naeldwyck||Holland||Wilhelmus de Naeldwijc|
|Simon van Teilingen||Holland||Symon de Teyling|
|Thierri van Teilingen||Holland||Theodricus de Teyling|
|Nicolas van Arkel dit Oem||Brabant||Nycolaus Oem|
|Gui son of Otto van Arkel||Holland||Ghyo de Asperen|
|Jean, vicomte de Montfort||Utrecht||Ioh. Roverus de Montford|
|Guillaume de Montfort||Utrecht||Wilhelmus de Montford|
|Thierri van Zanthorst||Holland||Theodricus de Zanthorst|
|Thierri van Swieten||Holland||Theodricus de Zweten|
|Herman van Swieten||Holland||Hermannus de Zweten|
|Florent van der Merwede||Holland||Florencius de Merwede||Brother of the Lord of M.|
|Ogier van Spangen||Holland||Ogerus de Spange|
|Gérard Ever||Holland||Gerardus Ever|
|Alfert van der Horst||Holland||Alfardus de Horst||Van Malderghem is uncertain|
|Guillaume van Dongen||Holland||Wilhelmus de Dongen|
|Gérard de Florenville||Luxembourg||Gerardus de Florevyl|
The Battle of Warns was annually celebrated on September 26 until the 16th century, then it moved to the last Saturday of September on which it is celebrated nowadays by nationalistic Frisians. There is a monument on the Red Cliffs in Warns since 1951, a large glacial erratic with the text leaver dea as slaef [sic] (rather dead than slave). The road to Scharl is still called the ferkearde wei (the wrong way) by the local inhabitants because this was the way the Hollandic knights chose and led to their downfall.
- Beke, H. (1973), "The Johannes de Beke Chronicle up until 1430" (PDF), Rijks Geschiedkundige Publicatiën (in Latin), Martinus Nijhoff, 's-Gravenhage, p. 301-304
- Bruch, H. (1973), "The Johannes de Beke Chronicle up until 1430" (PDF), Rijks Geschiedkundige Publicatiën (in Dutch), Martinus Nijhoff, 's-Gravenhage, p. 189-192
- Kervyn de Lettenhove, Joseph (1868), "Depuis le siége de Rennes jusqu'a l'expédition d'Edouard III en Normandie", Oeuvres de Froissart (in French), Victor Devaux et Cie, Bruxelles, vol. IV
- Leuridan, Th. (1883), "Le Château de la Royère", Bulletins de la Société Historique et Littéraire de Tournai (in French), H. Casterman, Tournai, vol. XX, p. 343-372
- Van Malderghem, Jean (1869), La bataille de Staveren, 26 septembre 1345: Noms et armoiries des chevaliers tues dans cette journee (in French), Leemans et Ce, Bruxelles
- "Holland without Graaf after William IV died at the Battle of Warns". 26 September 1345.
- Van Malderghem 1869.
- Kervyn de Lettenhove 1868, p. 477.
- Beke 1973, p. 303.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 67.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 50.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 83.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 90.
- Leuridan 1883, p. 350.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 57.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 87.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 61.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 76.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 77.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 55.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 80.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 85.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 49.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 52.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 53.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 56.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 89.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 62.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 54.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 86.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 91.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 79.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 82.
- Van Malderghem 1869, p. 78.