Lioness of Brittany
August 2, 1343 - Jeanne de Clisson's husband was beheaded on this day. The wealthy Breton had been charged with treason against the French crown. His widow took her two sons, Guillaume and Olivier, to the city gate where their father's head was mounted on a lance and displayed as a warning.
Clisson vowed revenge and went on to wage a long and deadly campaign against French forces in Brittany.
With help from the King of England, Clisson took control of 3 warships and painted them black. She used this Black Fleet to wreak havoc on French ships in the English Channel. She was notorious for slaughtering entire crews and leaving only a few survivors with taunting messages to carry back to the French King.
Known as the Lioness of Brittany, Clisson's reign of terror lasted for 13 years.
Eventually her flagship, My Revenge, was sunk. Guillaume died from exposure, but Clisson and Olivier were resuced after 5 days adrift.
Clisson would go on to marry her fourth husband, Sir Walter Bentley, a wealthy deputy in the court of King Edward III. She settled down in a castle on the Brittany coast.
She died in 1359.