John IV


John IV
(1403-1427)
   John IV acquired the title of duke of Brabant following the death of his father Duke Anthony at the Battle of Agin-court (25 October 1415). Dull-witted and indolent, he married (1413) his beautiful and brilliant cousin Jacqueline, countess of Hainault and Holland. Despite the promising match, he quarreled incessantly— with his wife, brother, and mother-in-law, with the clergy, nobles, and bourgeoisie of the cities, including Brussels, and with John the Pitiless, bishop of Liège, who waged war against Brabant. A settlement brokered by Philip the Good of Burgundy, acting on behalf of his father John the Fearless, by which a portion of land was ceded and the title of regent was bestowed on John the Pitiless, outraged both Jacqueline and the townsmen of Brussels.
   In 1420, when the citizens of Brussels imprisoned William of Assche, the amman appointed by John, the latter refused to approve the list of patrician candidates for city offices as required. For three weeks Brussels had no functioning government. A compromise secured the release of Assche, who was not reinstated, and the appointment of an amman acceptable to city residents. A new charter stipulated that henceforth a deputy amman would be appointed who would be competent to act for the amman should the latter refuse to act or act in an unacceptable manner. If the deputy proved unsatisfactory the aldermen could replace him.
   John also bickered with the Estates of Brabant and he remained alienated from his wife. The rising of 1421 led by John's younger brother, Philippe of Saint-Pol, led to reforms in municipal government.
   John was reconciled with the Estates and returned to Brussels, from whence he had fled during the rising, on 11 October 1421. He conceded the privileges of the statute of 11 February 1421, which represented acknowledgment of the victory of craftsmen during the rising that witnessed approximately 10 of his patrician allies executed. Continuing unsettled relations between patricians and craftsmen drove him away again. City officials persuaded him to return, and he entered Brussels on 25 November 1423. He died in the Coudenberg Palace on 17 April 1427.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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