Étienne de Vignolles, Sieur de Montmorillon, Chatelain de Longueville (French pronunciation: [etjɛn viɲɔl]), also known as La Hire (French: [la iʁ]; 1390 – 11 January 1443), was a French military commander during the Hundred Years' War.

Étienne de Vignolles
La Hire and Xaintrailles depicted in a 15th-century illuminated book.
Nickname(s)La Hire
Préchacq-les-Bains, Lordship of Albret
Died11 January 1443 (aged 53)
Montauban, Guyenne
AllegianceKingdom of France
Idealized portrait of La Hire as imagined by Louis-Félix Amiel, 1835.

One explanation for his nickname of "La Hire" would be that the English had nicknamed him "the Hire-God" (Ira Dei: the wrath of God).[citation needed] Alternatively, his name may simply come from the French "hedgehog" ("hérisson") because he had a prickly disposition.[1] In French tradition, "La Hire" is used as a nickname for the knave of hearts.[2] His name remains a byword for a choleric disposition.[3]

La Hire joined Charles VII in 1418, when the English army invaded France. Although not a noble, La Hire was regarded a very capable military leader as well as an accomplished rider.[4] Three years later, in 1421 he fought at the Battle of Baugé. Along with Jean de Dunois, La Hire was involved in scouting and skirmishing in the countryside as far north as Paris.[5] In 1427, both La Hire and Dunois relieved the siege of Montargis.[6] He was a close comrade of Joan of Arc. He was one of the few military leaders who believed in her and the inspiration she brought,[7] and he fought alongside her at Orleans.[8] At the Battle of Patay, La Hire commanded the vanguard and won a great victory for France.[9] La Hire was also known for praying before going into battle, something that could be attributed to Joan's influence.[10] In 1430, La Hire captured the English held fortification of Château Gaillard.[11] He was imprisoned in Dourdan in the spring of 1431. He won the Battle of Gerberoy in 1435 and was made Captain General of Normandy in 1438. His last two major military engagements occurred in 1440 at Pontoise where he assisted Dunois to capture it from the English; and in 1442 he assisted Charles of Orleans in capturing La Réole.[11] He died at Montauban on 11 January 1443, of an unknown illness.

References edit

  1. ^ David Nicolle (2001). Orléans 1429. Botley, Oxford: Osprey. p. 14. ISBN 1-84176-232-6.
  2. ^ Benham, William Gurney (6 December 2012) [1931]. "Chapter XV: The Carboard Court (Continued) - The Knave of Hearts and the Story of La Hire". In Read, Benjamin (ed.). Playing Cards - History of the Pack and Explanations of Its Many Secrets (PDF). Redditch, Worcestershire, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom: Read Books Ltd. pp. 114–117. ISBN 9781447422754. Retrieved 17 June 2021 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Gilman; Peck; Colby, eds. (1911). "La Hire". New International Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. Dodd, Mead & Co.
  4. ^ DeVries, Kelly. Joan of Arc: A Military Leader Bath, England: Sutton Publishing, 1999, p. 55.
  5. ^ Perroy, Edouard. The Hundred Years' War London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1951, p. 290.
  6. ^ DeVries, p.65.
  7. ^ DeVries, p. 30
  8. ^ Warner, Marina. Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 2000, p. 65.
  9. ^ DeVries, p. 121.
  10. ^ Scott, W. S. Jeanne D'Arc: Her Life, Her Death, and the Myth London: George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd., 1974, p. 46.
  11. ^ a b DeVries, p. 188.