Battle of Mons-en-Pévèle

Battle of Mons-en-Pévèle
Part of the Franco-Flemish War

The Battle of Mons-en-Pévèle, by Charles Philippe Larivière (1839)
Date18 August 1304
LocationMons-en-Pévèle, County of Flanders
(Modern France)
Result Decisive French victory[1]
Kingdom of France County of Flanders
Commanders and leaders
Philip IV  (WIA) William of Jülich  
Philip of Chieti
John I of Namur
7,200 15,000
Casualties and losses
4,500 4,200

The Battle of Mons-en-Pévèle was fought on 18 August 1304 between the French and the Flemish. The French were led by King Philip IV "the Fair" in person.


The French King wanted revenge for the defeat in Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302, after which the Flemish had retaken Douai and Lille. By the beginning of 1304, the French king was ready to attack the Flemish rebels. While the French army, led by the king himself, marched north to attack William of Julich's force, the French navy sailed to Zeeland to unite with the army of Hainault and Holland. It was this combined northern force in Zeeland which struck the first blow on 10–11 August 1304 when it soundly defeated Guy of Namur's army and navy at the Battle of Zierikzee; Guy was captured and the Flemish conquest of Holland was halted.[2]

Philip of Chieti, son of Count Guy, Count of Flanders, had gathered a strong Flemish army to stop the French invasion and taken up positions on the Pévèle hill.

The Battle

After a day of fighting the outcome was undecided and negotiations were opened between 17:00 and 18:30. When a French force under Guy de Saint-Pol tried to surround the Flemish, he was pushed back. Now the furious Flemish decided to launch a frontal attack, and surprised the French, who thought the battle was over for the day.

The attack reached king Philip IV of France, who was wounded and his horse was killed. He barely escaped alive, because some knights around him covered his flight, paying for this act with their lives. The Flemish reached the royal tent, but then William of Jülich was killed in a counterattack that the King managed to launch, leading it himself without his helmet.

As only the Flemish right wing had attacked, and the left wing under John I, Marquis of Namur was already leaving the battlefield, the Flemish right wing also withdrew.

The French chose not to pursue the Flemish.

Mons-en-Pévèle is one of four battles during which the French lost their sacred royal banner, the oriflamme. A hugely symbolic and significant flag, its raising during battle signified that no quarter was to be given to the enemy, while its loss was seen as a huge blow to morale and French royal dignity.[3]


Both sides claimed victory: (the rebels may have inflicted heavier casualties) but the French remained in possession of the battlefield and forced a Flemish retreat. The French also conquered Douai and Orchies and burned down Seclin.

After further minor battles, eventually the Treaty of Athis-sur-Orge was signed on 23 June 1305 which recognized Flemish independence, at the cost of the cities of Lille, Douai and Béthune, which were transferred to France, and the paying of exorbitant fines to King Philip IV.


  1. Stephane Curveiller (1989). Dunkerque, ville et port de Flandre à la fin du Moyen âge: à travers les comptes de bailliage de 1358 à 1407. Presses Univ. Septentrion. p. 34. ISBN 978-2-85939-361-8. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  2. Kelly Devries (1996). Infantry Warfare in the Early Fourtheenth Century: Discipline, Tactics, and Technology. Boydell & Brewer Ltd. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-85115-571-5. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  3. DeVries, Kelly (2006) : Infantry Warfare in the Early Fourteenth Century. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press, p.40
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