Henry VI presenting the Earl of Shrewsbury with the sword of the Constable of France, 1442
English rule in France was at its late-medieval zenith during the 1420s. The infant Henry VI had succeeded to the thrones of both countries in 1422. At Verneuil in August 1424, a combined Franco-Scottish force suffered a further defeat by Henry's uncle John, Duke of Bedford. From 1422 the defence of England's continental lands was entrusted to a succession of experienced commanders, the last being John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury. An accomplished knight, much of his later career was spent defending England's conquests against a resurgence of French power. Talbot was killed while leading his men at Castillon in 1453, a battle that heralded the end of English rule in Gascony.