Geffray Teste Noire
France During the Hundred Year’s War


“Concerning Geffray Teste Noire” is set in south central France, near the Castle of Ventadour in the French department of Ardèche; on the map this is placed in French-controlled territory.

From the 1350s-70s onwards a number of outlaws took advantage of French losses from the Hundred Years War (1337-1453) to plunder French villages and seize fortresses under the pretext of serving the English. The strongest and the cruelest of these bandits was Geffray Teste Noire, who according to Jean Froissart’s Chronicles was a Breton, not (as in Morris’s poem) a Gascon thief. According to Froissart:

this was a cruell man, and had pytie of no man; for as soone he wolde put to dethe a knight or a squyer as a vyllayne, for he sette by no body . . . he helde the countre about hym in peace and in subiectyon; none durst ryde in his countre, he was so feared and douted [distrusted]. (Vol. I, Ch. 460)

Associated Place(s)