Cross of Bohemia – Croix de Bohême

Cross-of-Bohemia-Crecy-en-Ponthieu

Croix de Bohême

The Cross of Bohemia is one of three memorials of the Bataille de Crécy.

This tragic battle took place on August 26, 1346 and saw the Welsh archers of Edward III of England  defeat the troops of Philippe VI de Valois.

It also marked the start of the Hundred Years Wars, a series of sporadic attacks spread over 116 years.

The Cross of Bohemia stands on the spot where John I of Luxembourg and King of Bohemia aka John the Blind, died during the battle.

However, it was slightly displaced from its original place when its base was restored in 1902.

It’s been proven that the stone cross already existed before the battle and most likely dates from the early 14th century.

It was restored a few years after the battle, in 1360, and turned into a memorial to John I.

The Cross of Bohemia is located outside Crécy-en-Ponthieu, on the D56 to Fontaine-sur-Maye.

You’ll find it at the edge of a field and at the intersection of the road with a small dirt track known as Chemin de l’Armée.

It is the oldest memorial of the Bataille de Crécy.

Who was John I of Luxembourg?

John I of Luxembourg was born in 1296.

He was the only son of Marguerite de Brabant and Henry VII, Count of Luxembourg and Holy Roman Emperor.

Cross-of-Bohemia-in-Crecy-en-Ponthieu

Close-up

John I became King of Bohemia in 1310 after marrying his first wife Elizabeth of Bohemia.

He became known as John the Blind after losing his sight after a failed eye surgery.

John I was a born horseman and warrior.

He was therefore more interested in fighting on the battlefields of Europe than to manage a kingdom.

He became the king of France’ brother-in-law when his sister Marie of Luxembourg married Charles IV the Fair in 1322.

Philippe VI worked hard at extending the intellectual influence of France and invited the European nobility to his court.

John I was thus a regular at the French court and largely benefited from the king’s financial and political support.

It was therefore natural for him to place himself at the service of the French king at the Battle of Crecy.

John the Blind commanded the rearguard.

When he heard that the French army had been defeated, he asked to for his horse be tied to those of his companions and rushed into battle.

They all died heroically, but John I died as he lived, his sword in hand.

Directions: Crécy-en-Ponthieu – D56 to Fontaine-sur-Maye – Somme department – Picardie Region

Coordinates Cross of Bohemia: Lat 50.243805 – Long 1.910704