Norwich Crusade

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John of Gaunt (1340—1399) prince and steward of England

Henry Despenser (c. 1343—1406) bishop of Norwich



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Led by Henry Despenser, bishop of Norwich (1370–1404), this ‘crusade’ scandalously mixed ecclesiastical, commercial, and political motives—with disastrous results. Supported by Pope Urban VI (Rome) in his move against Pope Clement VII (Avignon), the cost was borne by ordinary people's alms, with the aim of releasing Philip of Burgundy's stranglehold on the Flemish wool trade. Despite military experience, Despenser was no strategist. Landing in May, he took coastal towns and besieged Ypres, but hastily abandoned all at Philip's approach.

Subjects: British History.

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