John IV, Count of Armagnac

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John IV (15 October 1396 – 5 November 1450) was a Count of Armagnac, Fézensac, and Rodez from 1418 to 1450. He was the son of Bernard VII of Armagnac, Count d' Armagnac,[1] of Fézensac, Pardiac, and Rodez; and Bonne of Berry. John IV was involved in the intrigues related to the Hundred Years' War and in conflicts against the King of France.

John IV
Count of Armagnac
Armoiries Armagnac-Rodez.svg
Born15 October 1396
Died5 November 1450 (aged 54)
Noble familyArmagnac
SpousesBlanche of Brittany
Isabella d' Évreux
FatherBernard VII of Armagnac
MotherBonne de Berry

His father had taken the County of Comminges by force, but John IV could not prevent the second marriage of Marguerite to Mathieu de Foix in 1419. Subsequently, they took the County of Comminges. In 1425, he recognized the King of Castile as overlord of Armagnac. The French king, occupied fighting the English, could not intervene, but did not overlook the affront. Later, John IV negotiated the marriage of his daughter Isabelle with Henry VI of England, but he backed off from this plan after threats from the king of France. In 1440, he took part in a revolt of the barons and the Dauphin of France, but the coalition was overcome by Charles VII, who pardoned the insurrectionists. He asked the Count of Armagnac to give up its kingly formula, but this last was refused.

Charles VII then asked the Dauphin to punish the recalcitrant John IV. Besieged in L'Isle-Jourdain, John IV was made prisoner and imprisoned in Carcassonne in 1443. He was pardoned three years later, but his counties were directed by royal officers, and he did not have any more noble capacities until his death.

Negotiations with the EnglishEdit

John IV's quarrels with Charles VII encouraged him to seek an approximation with the latter's enemies, namely the English. In July 1437, both parties signed a treaty, one of the terms being that Armagnac would not allow his subjects to act with hostility towards the English.[2]

In 1442, negotiations started for a marriage between King Henry VI of England and one of John's daughters. Armagnac was anxious for a strong alliance which would protect him from threats by Charles VII, while the English were looking forward to being able to use his lands as a defensive buffer zone against French attacks.[3] John's strategically located territories in southwestern France made him much better positioned to defend Gascony than the English crown. "Armagnac was said to have offered a huge dowry in money, lands and men to help defend the borders of Gascony."[4]

John IV seems to have stalled the negotiations as he evaluated whether allying with the English or attempting a reconciliation with Charles VII was the best idea. Regardless, with John receiving threats from his overlord, coupled with indecisiveness on the part of the English, the marriage negotiations came to an end.

Marriages and childrenEdit

He married Blanche of Brittany (1395–1419), daughter of John IV, Duke of Brittany and Jeanne d' Évreux, on 16 June 1407[5] and had one child:

  • Bonne (b. 1416; † before 1448)

He married his second wife on 10 May 1419, shortly after the death of his first wife. His second wife was Isabella d' Évreux (b. 1395; † 1450), daughter of Charles III, king of Navarre and Eleanor of Castille.[1] They had five children:



  1. ^ a b Régine Pernoud and Marie-Véronique Clin, Joan of Arc: Her Story, transl. Jeremy duQuesnay Adams, (St. Martin's Press, 1999), 174.
  2. ^ "Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council of England, Volume 5", by Privy Council of England, p. XCV, preface
  3. ^ King Henry VI
  4. ^ Susanne Saygin, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (1390-1447) and the Italian Humanists, p. 117
  5. ^ Arthur de La Borderie and Barthélemy Pocquet, Histoire de Bretagne, Vol. 4. (H. Vatar, 1906), 137.
  6. ^ According to Mathieu d'Escouchy, she was aged 22 in 1455. If his statement is correct, she would have been born in 1432 or 1433, strictly speaking. Samaran, C. (1907). "Isabelle d'Armagnac, dame des Quatre-Vallées" (PDF). Revue des Hautes-Pyrénées (in French). 2: 97–115, 140–149, 171–178).CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  7. ^ Samaran 1907, p. 114 n. 4.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Bernard VII
Count of Armagnac
Succeeded by
John V