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From Chronicles of England, France and Spain and the Surrounding Countries, by Sir John Froissart, Translated from the French Editions with Variations and Additions from Many Celebrated MSS, by Thomas Johnes, Esq; London: William Smith, 1848. pp. 439-453.
CHAPTER CCLXXX. — THE FORM OF THE LETTER WHICH THE ENGLISH KING SENT INTO AQUITAINE. — CHATELHERAUT IS TAKEN BY THE FRENCH, AND BELLEPERCHE IS BESIEGED.
EDWARD, by the grace of God, king of England, lord of Ireland and of Aquitaine, to all who shall see or hear these present letters: know, that we having considered the matter of the boundaries of our lordship of Aquitaine, as well as its extent under various lords, have had information relative to some oppressions done, or intended to have been done, by our very dear son the prince of Wales, to this lordship aforesaid: for which cause we hold it a duty to endeavour to obviate and remedy any such improper acts, and to conciliate all hatred and rancour that may have arisen between us and our loyal friends and subjects. We therefore announce, pronounce and ordain, out of our deliberate and perfect good will, and by the resolutions of our council for this cause assembled, that our very dear son the prince of Wales desist from all sorts of exaction, done or about to be done; and that he restore and make restitution to all of each sex who may have been oppressed by him, or by his officers in Aquitaine, with all costs, fees, and expenses that they may have incurred under the name of these taxes, aids or fouages. And if any of our feal subjects and friends, as well prelates as other members of the church, universities, barons, knights, townships, inhabitants of cities and large towns have turned, or may be willing to turn, through bad information or weak advice, to the party of our adversary the king of France, we pardon this misdeed, if, after having read this letter, they shall return to us within one month from the date hereof. And we entreat those our loyal and trusty friends, that they so comport themselves not to draw on them any reproach as to their faith and homage; which thing would greatly displease us, and with sorrow should we perceive it. If our very dear son the prince of Wales, or any of his dependants, complain of being hurt or oppressed, either now or in former times, we will have such oppression amended; so that in reason it may be sufficient to encourage love, peace and concord between us and those within our boundaries in our aforesaid lordship. And, in order that these things may be publicly known, we will that each person have a copy of this present letter, the conditions of which we have solemnly sworn to observe, and not break through, upon the body of Jesus Christ, in the presence of our very dear son John, duke of Lancaster, William, earl of Salisbury, the earl of Warwick, the earl of Hereford, Walter Manny, the bastard of Percy, lords Neville, Bourchier and Stafford, Richard Pembridge, Roger Beauchamp, Guy Brian, the lords Mohun and Delaware, Aleyne Boxhull and Richard Sterry, knights. Given at our palace of Westminster, the fifth day of November, in the forty-fourth year of our reign*.
This letter was carried by two of the king of England’s knights into the principality and duchy of Aquitaine, proclaimed and published every where. Copies of it were promptly and secretly sent to Paris, to the viscount de Rochechouart, the lords de Maleval and de Marneil, as well to several others of the French nation as to those who had turned to that interest. Notwithstanding the letter they had proclaimed in the country of Aquitaine and elsewhere, I never heard that it had any effect, or that any one was prevented by it from following his own inclinations; but that more turned to the party of France, and the French daily advanced their conquests.
As soon as sir Louis de St. Julien was returned to la Roche-Posay, sir William des Bourdes to his garrison of La Haye in Touraine, and Carnet le Breton† to St. Salvin, they secretly planned a new expedition of men at arms, and companions well mounted on whom they could depend. They set off to scale the walls of the town of Chatelheraut, and, arriving there at early morn, would have made prisoner sir Louis de Harcourt, who was sleeping at his hôtel in the town, not any way suspecting such an enterprise, if he had not fled with his 440 bed-clothes, without shoes or stockings, from house to house, and from garden to garden, in great dread of being taken by the French, who had scaled the walls of the town, until at last he arrived at the bridge of Chatelheraut, which his people had fortified: there he saved himself, and remained a considerable time. The Bretons and French, however, were masters of the whole town, and placed a strong garrison in it, of which Carnet was captain. This garrison advanced daily to engage with those who still kept possession of the bridge; and many a gallant skirmish and feat of arms were performed.
Duke Louis de Bourbon was much enraged that the English and free companies should keep possession of his country, the Bourbonnois, and that Ortigo, Bernard de Wist and Bernard de la Salle, should hold his castle of Belleperche, and detain his mother prisoner in it: he resolved, therefore, to set on foot an expedition of men at arms, and lay siege to the castle of Belleperche, which, he declared he would not quit until he had re-taken it. He spoke of it to the king of France, who instantly promised to assist him in the siege with men and money. He left Paris, having ordered his rendezvous at Moulins in the Bourbonnois, and at St. Poursaint‡, whither there came a numerous body of men at arms and able combatants. The lord de Beaujeu came to serve him, with three hundred lances: the lords de Villars and de Roucillon, with one hundred; and numbers of barons and knights from Auvergne and Forêts, of which he was lord paramount, through the lady his wife, the daughter of that gallant lord Beroald count dauphin. The duke arrived and fixed his quarters before the castle of Belleperche, where he built a large and strong redoubt, in which his men might be sheltered every night, and skirmish with the garrison during the day. He had also brought and pointed against the castle four large machines, which kept continually throwing, night and day, stones and logs of wood, so that they broke through the roofs of all the houses, and beat down the greater part of the towers. The mother of the duke of Bourbon, who was a prisoner within the castle, was much alarmed, and sent frequently to entreat her son to abstain from this mode of attack, for these machines annoyed her exceedingly; but the duke, who knew for certain that these requests came from his enemies, replied that he would not desist happen what would.
When the garrison found themselves so much harassed, and that the French force was daily increasing; for sir Louis de Sancerre, marshal of France, had just arrived with a large body of men at arms; they resolved to send and acquaint sir John Devereux, séneschal of Limousin, who resided at La Souteraine§, two short days’ journey from them, of their distress, and who knew that, when these lords of Poitou and Gascony had made an excursion from Quercy, it was upon the faith, that if they should take any castles in France, and were besieged in them, they would be assisted. They wrote their letters, and sent them off in the night by one of their servants to the castle of sir John Devereux. Sir John recognized the messenger by the tokens he mentioned, and, having read the letters, said, “that he would most willingly acquit himself of his engagement, and that the more effectually to do so, he would immediately wait on the prince and the lords who were with him, at Angoulême, and exert himself so that the garrison of Belleperche should be reinforced.”
Sir John Devereux set out, after having given proper directions respecting his castle and garrison to his officers, and, being arrived at Angoulême, found there the prince, the earl of Cambridge, the earl of Pembroke, sir John Montague, sir Robert Knolles, lord Thomas Percy, sir Thomas, Felton, sir Guiscard d’Angle, the captal de Buch, and many others. He explained to them, how these free companies in the castle of Belleperche were besieged and much straitened by the French under the duke de Bourbon and the count de St. Pol¶. The lords, on hearing this statement, replied with great cheerfulness, that they must be relieved, according to the promises which had been made to them. This business was entrusted to the earls of Cambridge and Pembroke; and the prince issued a summons to all his vassals, who, in sight of it, were to assemble in the town of Limoges. Upon which, knights, squires, free companies, and men at arms, marched to that place, according to their 441 orders; and, when they were mustered, they amounted to upwards of fifteen hundred lances and about three thousand others. They marched to Belleperche, where they encamped themselves opposite to the French. The French kept themselves close in their redoubt, which was as strong and as well fortified as a good town might be. The English foragers were at a loss where to seek for provisions, so that, whenever it was possible, some were brought to them from Poitiers.
Sir Louis de Sancerre, marshal of France, gave exact information of the number and condition of the English to the king of France, and to those knights who had remained at Paris: he sent also a proclamation, which he had affixed to the gates of the palace. It ran in these words: “Ye knights and squires who are anxious of renown, and seek for deeds of arms, I inform you for a truth, that the earl of Cambridge and the earl of Pembroke are arrived with their troops at Belleperche, with the intention of raising the siege which we have so long made: we have so much straitened the garrison of the castle that it must immediately surrender, or our enemies beat us in a pitched battle. Come therefore hither, directly, for you will have opportunities of exhibiting your prowess in arms; and know that the English are encamped so much apart, and in such positions, that they may be wonderfully annoyed.”
Upon this exhortation and request of the marshal, several good knights and squires of France advanced to those parts; and I know myself that the governor of Blois, named Alart de Toustanne, went thither with fifty lances; as did also the count de Porcien, and his brother sir Hugh de Porcien.
* This letter is not in Rymer.
† His name was Jean de Keranlouet. In the proofs attached to the Histoire de la Bretagne, are several acquittances from Jean de Keranlouet, in which he is styled, Ecuyer, Huissier, d’Armes du Roi notre Sire, Capitaine de la Ville de la Roche-Posay, for his own pay as well as for his soldiers. He was to conduct four hundred combatants into Guienne 1371; and also to march to the assistance of Moncontour.
‡ St. Poursaint, — a town in Auvergne, diocese of Clermont.
§ La Souteraine, — a town in Limousin, about two leagues from Limoges.
¶ Denys Sauvage thinks it ought to be the count de Sancerre, as the count de St. Pol’s name has not been mentioned before. I should be of this opinion, if every copy I have, printed and MS. did not say St. Pol.
CHAPTER CCLXXXI. — THE EARLS OF CAMBRIDGE AND PEMBROKE CARRY OFF THE MOTHER OF THE DUKE OF BOURBON WITH THE GARRISON OF BELLEPERCHE. — THE DUKE OF BOURBON TAKES POSSESSION OF THAT CASTLE.
WHEN the earls of Cambridge and Pembroke had remained before the French army at Belleperche fifteen days, and did not see any signs of the French quitting their redoubt to fight with them, they called a council, in which they resolved to send to them a herald, to know what they meant to do. Chandos the herald was ordered on this business, and it was repeated to him what he was to say: he therefore went to them, and said; “My masters and lords send me to you, and inform you by my mouth, that they are quite astonished you have allowed them to remain fifteen days here, and you have not sallied out of your fort to give them battle. They therefore tell you, that if you will come forth to meet them, they will permit you to choose any plot of ground for the field of battle; and let God give the event of it to whomsoever he pleases.” The duke of Bourbon made to this the following reply: “Chandos, you will tell your masters, that I shall not combat as they may wish or desire. I know well enough where they are: but for all that, I will not quit my fort nor raise the siege, until I shall have re-conquered the castle of Belleperche.” “My lord,” answered the herald, “I will not fail to report what you have said.”
The herald set out, and on his return gave the duke’s answer, which was not very agreeable. They called another council, and when it was over, gave to Chandos a proposal, for him to carry to the French. He did so, and said: “Gentlemen, my lords and masters let you know, that since you are not willing to accept the offer, they have made you, three days hence, between nine and twelve o’clock in the morning, you my lord duke of Bourbon, will see your lady-mother placed on horseback, and carried away. Consider this, and rescue her if you can.” The duke answered: “Chandos, Chandos, tell your masters, they carry on a most disgraceful war, when they seize an ancient lady from among her domestics, and carry her away like a prisoner. It was never seen formerly, that in the warfare between gentlemen, ladies or damsels were treated as prisoners. It will certainly be very unpleasant to me to see my lady-mother thus carried off: we must recover her as soon as we can: but the castle they cannot take with them: that, therefore, we will have. Since you have twice come hither with propositions, you will bear this from me to your masters, that if they will draw out fifty men, we will draw out the same number, and let the victory fall where 442 it may.” “My lord,” replied the herald, “I will relate to them everything you have told me.”
At these words, Chandos left them, and returned to the earls of Cambridge and Pembroke and the other lords, and told them the offer the duke of Bourbon had sent them. They were advised not to accept it. Preparations were therefore made for the departure of the army, and to carry off with them the lady and the garrison, which had been exceedingly harassed by the machines of the enemy. When the appointed day arrived, they ordered their trumpets to sound at early morning: upon which every one armed himself and drew up, both horse and foot, in order of battle, as if they expected a combat, with their banners and pennons flying before them. In this manner were they arrayed; and on this day sir John Montacute*, nephew to the earl of Salisbury, displayed his banner. They had ordered their trumpets and minstrels to sound very loud; and at nine o’clock the garrison and madame de Bourbon came out of the castle of Belleperche. They mounted her on a palfrey handsomely equipped for her. She was accompanied by her ladies and damsels. The English army marched away at mid-day. Sir Eustace d’Ambreticourt and sir John Devereux† attended upon madame de Bourbon; and in this manner they returned to the principality, where the lady remained a considerable time a prisoner to the free companions at La Roche Vaucloix in Limousin‡.
This capture never pleased the prince, who, whenever it was mentioned, said, that if any others than the free companies had taken the duchess, she should instantly have had her liberty: and when the captains of these free companies spoke to him on the subject, he told them to make some sort of exchange, for him to get back his knight, sir Simon Burley§, whom the French had taken. You may suppose the duke of Bourbon was greatly incensed when he saw his lady mother carried away from the castle of Belleperche in the Bourbonnois. Soon after her departure, he marched from the redoubt, and sent his men to take possession of his own castle of Belleperche, which the English had left quite empty. Thus ended this grand expedition, and each withdrew to his usual place of residence. The French who were under the duke of Bourbon, retired to the garrisons from whence they had come. The duke returned with his knights and squires to the king of France, who received him with great joy, and entertained him handsomely. The earl of Cambridge went to his brother at Angoulême; and the earl of Pembroke and his troops to Mortagne in Poitou. Those free companies and men at arms who had been in Belleperche went into Poitou and Saintonge, seeking for provisions, and committing many disgraceful acts, from which they had not the inclination to refrain themselves, nor power to restrain others.
Sir Robert Knolles, shortly after this, left the prince, and returned to his castle of Derval in Brittany, where he had not been a month, before the king of England sent him positive orders to set out, without delay, and cross the sea to him in England, as he would find his profit in it. Sir Robert very willingly obeyed this summons: having made his preparations, he embarked and landed in Cornwall, at St. Michael’s Mount, and thence continued his road until he arrived at Windsor, where he found the king, who was right glad to see him, as were all the English barons; for they thought they should have much need of him, as he was so great a captain and leader of men at arms.
* Son of sir John Montacute before-mentioned, and third earl of Salisbury. — ED.
† Sir John Devereux — banneret — 76th knight of the Garter, a baron from the 8th to the 16th Richard II. — See Dugdale. — Steward of the household to Richard II. constable and governor of the cinque ports. Died suddenly 16th Richard II. Buried Grayfriars, London.
“Sir Nicholas Louvaine held Penshurst 44th Edward III. and married Margaret, eldest daughter of John Vere, earl of Oxford, — re-married to Henry lord Beaumont, and after to sir John Devereux, knight of the Garter, lord warden of the cinque ports, steward of the household 11th Richard II.; in whose 16th year he had licence to embattle his mansion-house at Penshurst, and his daughter and heiress was married to William lord Fitzwalter, but he only enjoyed this manor in right of his wife.” — Anstis MSS. from Philpot’s Kent, p. 270.
‡ In the curious life of the duke de Bourbon, printed at Paris, 1612, from old MSS. the account of this siege is very differently related, and entirely to the honour of the French. The duchess is there said to be carried prisoner to the tower of Bron near to Brouage, on the sea-coast.
§ Sir Simon Burley — knight — was 75th knight of the Garter, warden of the cinque ports, governor of Windsor and Dover castle. Beheaded 1388. — See Hollingshed.
CHAPTER CCLXXXII. — THE FOUR BROTHERS OF FRANCE HAVE A MEETING. — THEIR PREPARATIONS FOR THE WAR. — THE MOTHER OF THE DUKE OF BOURBON OBTAINS HER LIBERTY. — A TREATY ENTERED INTO BETWEEN THE KINGS OF FRANCE AND NAVARRE.
AH this time the duke of Anjou set out from Toulouse, and marched in great array through the kingdom of France; he continued his route until he arrived in Paris, where he found the king and his other brothers the dukes of Berry and Burgundy, who received him with infinite pleasure. The four brothers, during the time they were together at Paris, held many councils and consultations on the state of the kingdom, and in what manner they should best act during the ensuing summer. It was determined to raise two large armies, and make an incursion to Aquitaine. The duke of Anjou was to command one of these armies, which should enter Guienne by La Réole and Bergerac; the duke of Berry the other towards Limoges and Quercy, when these two armies were to unit and march to Angoulême, to besiege therein the prince of Wales. It was also proposed and determined in these consultations to recall that valiant knight sir Bertrand du Guesclin, who had so gallantly and loyally fought for the crown of France, and entreat him to accept the charge of constable of France.
When king Charles, his brothers, and his council, had completely arranged their future plans, and had enjoyed themselves together for some time, the duke of Anjou, early in May, took his leave of them, to return the first to his government, for he had the longest journey to make. He was escorted by the barons and knights of France, being much beloved by them, and pursued his journey until he came to Montpelier, where he tarried upwards of a month, and then returned to Toulouse. He directly collected as many men at arms as he was able, wherever he could hear of them, and soon had a large force from those who had kept the field guarding the frontiers of the English in Rouergue and Quercy: for le petit Mechin, Naudon de Pans, Perrot de Savoye, le bourg Camus, Antoine le Negre, Lanuit, Jacques de Bray, and numbers of their companions, had remained all the year at Cahors, where they had ravaged and ruined the country. On the other hand, the duke of Berry went to Bourges in Berry, where he had issued a grand summons to all knights and squires of France and Burgundy. The duke of Bourbon had gone into his own country, where he had given orders concerning this intended expedition, and had collected a large body of knights and squires from the country of Forêts and the Bourbonnois. His brother, count Peter d’Alençon, made preparations in another part, and with good effect.
Sir Guy de Blois, at this period, was returned from Prussia, where he had been made a knight, and displayed his banner in an enterprise against the enemies of God. As soon as this gallant knight arrived in Hainault, and was informed of the expedition which his cousins of France were about to undertake in Aquitaine, he made immediate preparations for joining it; and, setting out from Hainault with all his array, he arrived at Paris to present himself to the king. He was gladly received by him, and ordered to join the duke of Berry with a command of knights, squires, and men at arms in the expedition. Sir Guy de Blois, therefore, left the city of Paris, and rode to Orleans in his way to Berry.
In like manner as the king of France had arranged his armies, so did the king of England by two armies and two expeditions. It was ordered that the duke of Lancaster should march with four hundred men at arms and as many archers into Aquitaine, to reinforce his brothers; for it was thought that the greatest force of the enemy would be sent to that country. The king and his council determined that another army of men at arms and archers should enter Picardy under sir Robert Knolles, who was perfectly capable of such a command, having learnt it under the most able masters for a considerable time. Sir Robert, at the request of the king, willingly undertook this expedition: he promised to cross the sea to Calais, to pass through the whole kingdom of France, and to fight with the French, if they were bold enough to meet in the field. Of this he seemed quite certain, and made wonderful preparations for himself, as well as for all those who were to accompany him.
The mother of the duke of Bourbon about this time obtained her liberty, being exchanged for sir Simon Burley, the prince of Wales’ knight. Sir Eustace d’Ambreticourt was very instrumental in bringing this business to an end, for which the duke of Bourbon and the queen 444 of France testified their obligations to him. There had been, for a considerable time, long negotiations carried on between the king of France and the king of Navarre, who resided at Cherbourg. The ministers of both kings managed the business in such a manner that they informed the king of France he had not any reason for waging war against his brother-in-law the king of Navarre. They added, that for the present he had enough on his hands with his war with England, and that he had better leave things as they then were, lest greater evils might arise; for, if the king of Navarre should consent to admit the English into his forts in Coutantin, they would harass the country of Normandy most grievously, which was a thing to be well considered and attended to. Upon receiving this information and advice, the king of France consented to a peace. He went to the town of Rouen, where all the treaties were drawn up and confirmed. The archbishop of Rouen, the count d’Alençon, the count de Sallebruche, sir William des Dormans* and sir Robert Lorris, waited on the king of Navarre, whom they found at Vernon. He made for them grand dinners and magnificent feasts; after which they conducted him to the king of France at Rouen, when these treaties and alliances were again read, sworn to, confirmed, and sealed. It seems that the king of Navarre, by the articles of this peace, was to renounce whatever engagements he might have entered into with the king of England; and that he himself, on his return to Navarre, was to declare war against him. For greater security of the affection between him and the king of France, he was to leave in his hands his two sons, Charles and Peter, as hostages. Upon this treaty being concluded, the two kings left Rouen, and came to Paris, where there were again great feasts. When they had sufficiently enjoyed and amused themselves, they took leave of each other. The king of Navarre quitted the king of France in the most amicable manner, leaving his two children with their uncle. He set out for Montpelier, and returned through that country to Foix, and from thence to his own kingdom of Navarre.
We will now return to what was passing in Aquitaine.
* Sir William des Dormans was chancellor of France.
CHAPTER CCLXXXIII. — SIR BERTRAND DU GUESCLIN LEAVES SPAIN AND ARRIVES AT TOULOUSE, WHERE THE DUKE OF ANJOU RECEIVES HIM WITH GREAT JOY. — THEY TAKE TOGETHER SEVERAL CASTLES FROM THE ENGLISH.
YOU know, as we have before mentioned it, that the duke of Anjou had been in France, and that, according to arrangements then made, upon his return to Languedoc, he was to invade, with his whole force, Guienne; for he never loved the prince of Wales nor the English, and indeed made no pretensions to that effect. Before he left Paris, the king of France, by his desire, had sent letters and ambassadors to the king of Castile, to request he would send back sir Bertrand du Guesclin, for by so doing he would very much oblige him. At the same time, the king and duke of Anjou wrote most friendly letters to sir Bertrand himself. The envoys made haste on their journey, and found king Henry with sir Bertrand in the city of Leon in Spain, to whom they delivered their letters and the message from the king of France. The king of Spain never wished to detain sir Bertrand, nor would have forgiven himself for so doing. Sir Bertrand therefore made his preparations in haste, and, taking leave of king Henry, set out with his attendants, and continued his road until he came to Toulouse, where the duke of Anjou was. He had already there assembled a very large force of men at arms, knights, and squires, and waited for nothing but the arrival of sir Bertrand du Guesclin: so that upon his coming the duke of Anjou and all the French were mightily rejoiced. Orders were given to march from Toulouse, and invade the territories of the prince.
The duke of Lancaster at this time was arrived at Southampton, with four hundred men at arms, and an equal number of archers. He embarked them and every necessary provision and stores on board ships, with the intent of sailing for Bordeaux, provided they might have a favourable wind. With the duke, and under his command, were the lord Roos (of Hamlake), 445 sir Michael de la Pole*, sir Robert de le Roux†, sir John de St. Lo, and sir William Beauchamp‡.
The duke of Anjou left the city of Toulouse with a great and well ordered array. He was attended by the count d’Armagnac, the lord d’Albret, the count de Perigord, the count de Comminges, the viscount de Carmaing, the count de Lisle, the viscount de Bruniguel, the viscount de Narbonne, the viscount de Talar, the lord de la Barde, the lord de Pincornet, sir Bertrand Tande, the séneschal of Toulouse, the séneschal of Carcassonne, the séneschal of Beaucaire and several others, amounting in the whole to upwards of two thousand lances, knights and squires, and six thousand footmen armed with pikes, and shields. Sir Bertrand du Guesclin was appointed to the command of all this force. They directed their march through the Agénois; and being joined by more than a thousand combatants from the free companies, who had waited for them all the winter in Quercy, they made for Agen.
The first fort they came to was that of Moissac§. The whole country was so frightened at the arrival of the duke of Anjou, and the large army he had brought, that they trembled before him, and neither towns nor castles had any inclination to hold out against him. When he arrived before Moissac, the inhabitants instantly surrendered, and turned to the French. They then advanced to Agen, which followed this example. They afterwards marched towards Tonneins¶ on the Garonne; and the French went on unmolested, following the course of the river Garonne, in order to have plenty of forage: they came to Port St. Marie¥, which immediately surrendered. The French placed men at arms and garrisons in all these towns. The town and castle of Tonneins did the same, in which they placed a captain and twenty lances to guard it. They afterwards took the road to Montpezat** and Aiguillon††, burning and destroying all the country. When they came before Montpezat, which is a good town and has a strong castle, those within were so much frightened by the duke of Anjou that they directly opened their gates. The French then advanced to the strong castle of Aiguillon, where they only remained four days; for then the garrison surrendered to the duke, not being such men as sir Walter Manny commanded, when he defended it against John duke of Normandy, afterwards king of France. The inhabitants of Bergerac were very much astonished at their having so done: for the governors, at this time, of Bergerac, were the captal de Buch and sir Thomas Felton, who had with them one hundred lances, English and German.
* Sir Michael de la Pole, afterwards earl of Suffolk, and favourite of Richard II. — See Dugdale.
† Barnes calls him sir Robert Ros.
‡ Sir William Beauchamp, — Lord Abergavenny. — Dugdale.
§ Moissac, — a town in Quercy, twelve leagues from Agen.
¶ Tonneins, a town of Agenois, on the Garonne, forty-one leagues from Toulouse.
¥ Port St. Marie, on the Garonne, below Agen.
** Montpezat, a village in Guienne, near Tonneins.
†† Aiguillon, a town of Guienne, one league from Tonneins.
JUST as the duke of Anjou and his army had invaded the territories of the prince by the way of Toulouse and Agen, so did the duke of Berry with his army enter the Limousin. He had full twelve hundred lances and three thousand footmen, who conquered towns and castles, and burnt and destroyed the country they marched through.
With the duke of Berry were, the duke of Bourbon, the count d’Alençon, sir Guy de Blois, sir Robert d’Alençon, count du Perche, sir John d’Armagnac, sir Hugh Dauphin, sir John de Villemur, the lords de Beaujeu, de Villars, de Senac, sir Geoffry de Montagu, sir Louis de Maleval, sir Raymond de Marneil, sir John de Boulogne, his uncle sir Geoffry de Boulogne, the viscount d’Uzes, the lords de Sully, de Talenton, de Confant, Dappechere, Dacon, sir John Damenue, Ymbaut de Peschin, and many other good barons, knights and squires. This army entered Limousin, where they did infinite mischief, and advanced to besiege the city of Limoges. In this city were a body of English, whom sir Hugh Calverley the séneschal of Limousin had placed there; but he was not the master, for the bishop of the city governed it, in whom the prince of Wales put much confidence, looking upon him as his steady friend.446
The prince of Wales, who kept his court at Angoulême, had received information of these two grand expeditions of the dukes of Anjou and of Berry, and how they had invaded his principality at two different places. It was also told the prince, that as far as could be imagined, they were marching to form a junction near Angoulême, to besiege him and the princess therein, and advised him to consider of it. The prince, who was valour itself, and full of resources, replied, that “his enemies should never find him shut up in town or castle, and that he would immediately march and take the field against them.” Clerks and knights were instantly employed to write and send off letters to loyal friends and subjects in Poitou, Saintonge, La Rochelle, Rouergue, Quercy, Gorre, Bigorre, and Agénois, commanding them, with as many men as they could bring, to meet him at the town of Cognac. His rendezvous was fixed there; and he soon left Angoulême, attended by the princess and his young son Richard.
But during the time this summons was sent, and every one making his preparations, the French kept advancing, burning, and ravaging the country. They came before Linde, a good town situated upon the river Dordogne, one league from Bergerac: a valiant knight of Gascony, named sir Thonius de Batefol*, was the governor of it. The duke of Anjou, the count d’Armagnac, the lord d’Albret, the count de Perigord, the viscount de Carmaing, and all the other barons with their men, came thither and formed the siege in a regular manner, saying they would not depart without having taken it.
This town was large, strong and well provided with all sorts of provision and artillery: for the captal de Buch and sir Thomas Felton had been there a fortnight before, and had reinforced it. They thought that Linde was very capable of holding out, if those within were determined, considering the assistance they might draw from Bergerac, should there be occasion. But the inhabitants were so wonderfully inclined to the French, that they entered into a negotiation with the duke of Anjou, and listened to his promises, which made them press the governor, sir Thonius, that he also consented to be a true Frenchmen, upon consideration of receiving a large sum of money, and having a good annuity from the duke for his life. Everything being thus settled, the town was to be delivered up to the French. This treaty was, however, known at Bergerac the evening preceding the day of surrender. The earl of Cambridge had just arrived there with two hundred lances, and was present when this information was given. The captal and sir Thomas Felton were thunderstruck at the intelligence, and said they would be present at this surrender. Having ordered their troops, they set out from Bergerac after midnight, and rode towards the town of Linde. They came there by day-break, and, ordering one of the gates to be opened, pushed forward without stopping until they arrived at the other gate, through which the French were to enter: indeed, they were already assembled there in crowds, for sir Thonius was about to allow them to enter the gate. On seeing which, the captal, grasping his sword, dismounted, as did all his troops, and, advancing to sir Thonius, said: “Sir Thonius, thou wicked traitor, thou shalt be the first dead man: and never more shalt thou commit another treason.” Upon which he thrust his sword into him, and with so much force that it went through his body and came upwards of a foot on the other side, and struck him down dead. The French, on seeing the banners of the captal de Buch and sir Thomas Felton, immediately returned, having failed in their attempt.
Thus did the town continue English, but was in great danger of being burnt, and the inhabitants slain, because they had all consented to this treaty. They excused themselves wisely and prudently, saying that what they had done and consented to was through fear, and principally through their governor, who had brought this business about. The lords appeared to believed all this, and the inhabitants remained in peace: but the captal and sir Thomas Felton continued in the town as long as the duke of Anjou lay before it, and until he had taken another road.
We will now speak a little of the state and condition of England, for that is now necessary; and of the invasion of France by sir Robert Knolles.
* Sir Thomas de Batefol. It is so in all my printed copies, but otherwise in the MSS. One has Thomas Q. if it should not be so. [Or rather Anthony? though Lord Berners and Barnes both read Thomas. — ED.
CHAPTER CCLXXXV. — A TRUCE IS ESTABLISHED BETWEEN ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND. — SIR ROBERT KNOLLES OVERRUNS, BURNS AND RAVAGES THE WHOLE COUNTRIES OF PICARDY AND THE VERMANDOIS.
WHEN sir Robert Knolles was about to leave England, there were many councils held between the English and Scots. They were so well conducted by the able ministers of both kingdoms, that a truce was established between each king, kingdom, subjects and adherents, for nine years. The Scots, by this treaty, might arm and hire themselves out like to others for subsidies, taking which side they pleased, either English or French: by which means sir Robert increased his army with one hundred lances*. When sir Robert and all who were to accompany him were ready, and had arrived at Dover, they passed the sea, he himself crossing the last, and landed at Calais, where, on his disembarking, he was received with great joy by the governor, sir Nicholas Stambourn, and his brother soldiers. When they had refreshed themselves for seven days, and had formed their plans with respect to the parts of France into which they should carry their attack, they ordered their baggage and stores to advance, and took the field in a very handsome manner. There were about fifteen hundred lances and four thousand archers, including the Welshmen. Sir Robert was accompanied, according to the king’s orders, by sir Thomas Grantson†, sir Aleyne Boxhull, sir Gilbert Gifford, the lord de Salvatier‡, sir John Bourchier§, sir William de Merville¶, sir Geoffry Urswell¥, and many other knights and squires, expert and able men at arms, who marched this first day pretty near to Fiennes**.
Sir Moreau de Fiennes, who at that time was constable of France, resided in his castle with a great number of men at arms, knights, and squires, all prepared and ready to receive the English. On the morrow, when they advanced towards the castle and drew up to the attack, they found they should not gain anything, so they marched off through the country of Guines, and entered that of Faukenbourg, burning everything on their road, and came before the city of Terouenne, but did not attack it: for it was so well garrisoned with men at arms that it would have been only lost trouble. They continued their march through the country of the Terouennois, to enter Artois; and, as they only advanced three or four leagues a-day on account of their baggage and infantry, they took up their quarters in the large villages at the early hour of mid-day or noon. Thus did they advance with their whole army until they came before the city of Arras. The lords and principal captains were lodged in the town of Mount St. Eloy, near Arras, and their army in the environs; whence they pillaged and ravaged all the country round, as far as they dared to extend themselves. The king of France had at this season ordered a number of men at arms to the different cities, fortresses, large towns, castles, bridges, and fords, to guard and defend those which should be attacked, and which they were not to quit on any account.
When sir Robert Knolles had refreshed himself and his army for two days, he quitted St. Eloy, and marched from before Arras in good array. Sir William de Merville and sir Geoffry Urswell, who were the marshals of the army, could not resist a wish to see those of Arras a little nearer. They quitted, therefore, the battalion, and advanced with about two hundred lances and four hundred archers, as far as the barriers of the suburbs of Arras, which they found well guarded by men at arms and cross-bows. The lord Charles de Poitiers, was at that 448 time in the town with madame d’Artois, but he made not any attempt to sally out on the English or otherwise attack them. The English, having finished their course, had halted a short time at the barriers; and, seeing no appearance of any one coming to them, they set out on their return to the main army, who were waiting for them drawn up in a line of battle. However, before they departed, they wished to leave a remembrance behind, and set fire to the suburbs of Arras, in order to entice the inhabitants out of the town, who had not any good will to do so. This fire did much mischief, for it burnt a large monastery of preaching friars, cloisters, and all that was without the town. After this, the English continued their march, taking the road to Bapaume††, burning and ravaging the whole country. The army was constantly in motion, and having entered the Vermandois, arrived at Roye‡‡; which town they burnt, and then marched towards Ham§§ in Vermandois. All the inhabitants of the flat country had retired into this town, and into St. Quentin and Peronne, carrying with them everything portable. The English found nothing but barns full of unthreshed corn, for it was now after August. They advanced by easy marches, without any labour or fatigue, until they came to a rich country, where they halted for two or three days. During this time, sir Robert Knolles sent parties to a town or castle which commanded the surrounding country, and the marshals having obtained a parley with the governors, asked, “How much will you give us in ready money for all this country, if we will not despoil it?" A treaty and composition was entered into with sir Robert, and a large sum of florins paid down. This country was respited from being burnt. Sir Robert gained by this treaty a sum amounting to one hundred thousand francs, for which he was afterwards ill at court, and accused to the king of English for not having done his duty faithfully, as I shall fully relate in the continuance of this history.
The lands of the lord de Coucy were unmolested; and never did the English hurt man or woman, nor take from them a farthing, who said, “I belong to the lord de Coucy.” They marched unto the good town of Noyon¶¶, which was well provided with men at arms, and halted in the neighbourhood: they made their approaches very near, to see if it were possible for them to carry it by assault, but found it well fortified, and able to defend itself should there be occasion. Sir Robert was lodged in the abbey of Orcamp¥¥, and his men in the neighbourhood. They advanced one day in order of battle to the walls of the city, to see if the garrison and inhabitants would issue forth, but in vain.
There was a Scots knight in the English army who performed a most gallant deed of arms. He quitted his troops, with his lance in its rest, and mounted on his courser, followed only by his page; when, sticking spurs into his horse, he was soon up the mountain and at the barriers. The name of this knight was sir John Assueton***, a very valiant and able man, perfectly master of his profession. When he was arrived at the barriers of Noyon, he dismounted, and, giving his horse to his page, said, “Quit not his place:” then, grasping his spear, he advanced to the barriers, and leaped over them. There were on the inside some good knights of that country, such as sir John de Roye, sir Launcelot de Lorris, and ten or twelve others, who were astonished at this action, and wondered what he would do next: however they received him well. The Scots knight, addressing them, said; “Gentlemen, I am come to see you; for, as you do not vouchsafe to come out beyond your barriers, I condescend to visit you. I wish to try my knighthood against yours, and you will conquer me if you can.” After this, he gave many grand strokes with his lance, which they returned him. He continued in this situation alone against them all, skirmishing and fighting most gallantly, upwards of an hour. He wounded one or two of their knights; and they had so much pleasure in this combat, they frequently forgot themselves. The inhabitants looked from above the gates and top of the walls with wonder. They might have done him much hurt with their arrows, if they had so willed: but no: the French knights had forbidden it. Whilst he was thus engaged, his page came close to the barriers, mounted on his courser, and 449 said to him aloud, in his own language, “My lord, you had better come away: it is time, for our army is on its march.” The knight, who had heard him, made ready to follow his advice; and, after he had given two or three thrusts to clear his way, he seized his spear, and leaped again over the barriers without any hurt, and, armed as he was, jumped up behind the page on his courser. When he was thus mounted, he said to the French, “Adieu, gentlemen: many thanks to you,” and spurring his steed, soon rejoined his companions. This gallant feat of sir John Assueton was highly prized by all manner of persons.
* Mezeray says, this truce was for three years — Buchanan, fourteen, — Froissart, nine. — Note in Barnes, p. 800.
I cannot find this truce in the Fœdera. On the contrary, there is an offensive and defensive treaty with the king of France, dated at Edinburgh castle, 28th October, 1371, in which it expressly mentions that no truce is to be entered into, without including both France and Scotland, by either of the parties. — For more particulars, see Rymer.
†Sir Thomas Grantson, — 82d knight of the Garter. — See Grandison in Dugdale.
‡ “Le sire de Salvatier.” Q.
§ Sir John Bourchier, — 86th knight of the Garter — a baron. — See Dugdale.
¶ “De Merville.” Q. if not Neville. I believe it to be sir William Neville, one of the sons of Ralph lord Neville, of Raby. — See Dugdale.
Barnes names sir Hugh Meinel, sir Walter Fitzwalter, and sir John Mentsreworth.
¥ I have called this person Urswell, after Barnes; but, as Froissart writes it Ourcelay, it is probably one of the Worsley family. It may also be sir Hugh Wrottesley, spelled Worthesley in Mills, who was 19th knight of the Garter, and perhaps with more probability.
** Fiennes, — a village in the Boulonnois, generality of Amiens.
†† Bapaume, — a strong town of Artois, six leagues from Arras.
‡‡ Roye, — a strong town in Picardy, eighteen leagues from Arras.
§§ Ham, — a town in Picardy, on the Somme, six leagues from Roye.
¶¶ Noyon, — now a village in Picardy, diocese of Amiens.
¥¥ Orcamp, or St. Anne, — a village in Picardy, near Noyon.
*** Sir John Assueton. Probably Seton.
CHAPTER CCLXXXVI. — THE GARRISON OF NOYON MAKE THE ENGLISH PRISONERS WHO HAD SET FIRE TO PONT-L’EVEQUE. — THE KING OF FRANCE SENDS FOR SIR BERTRAND DU GUESCLIN.
SIR Robert Knolles and his army, on their departure from the town of Noyon, set fire to Pont-l’Evêque on the river Oise, where there were several handsome hôtels. Those knights and squires in the town of Noyon were exceedingly angry at this proceeding, and, understanding that sir Robert and his forces had proceeded, left the city of Noyon with about fifty lances, and came so well in time to the town of Pont-l’Evêque, that they found there those who had burnt it, and others occupied in the pillage. They were attacked most furiously, and the greater part of them slain or made prisoners. The French took more than sixty horses, and rescued many prisoners whom the enemy intended carrying off. Several good houses would have been burnt if they had not come there so opportunely. They returned to Noyon with upwards of fifteen English prisoners, whom they beheaded.
The English continued their march in battle array, intending to enter the Laonnois, and to cross the river Oise* and Aine†. They committed no devastation in the county of Soissons, because it belonged to the lord de Coucy. True it is, they were followed and watched by some lords of France, such as the viscount de Meaux, the lord de Chauny, lord Raoul de Coucy, lord William de Melun, son of the count of Tancarville, and their forces; so that the English, not daring to quit their line of march, kept in a compact body. The French did not attack them, but every night took up their quarters in castles or strong towns; whilst the English encamped in the open plains, where they found provision in plenty and new wine, with which they made very free. Thus did they advance, burning, ravaging, and oppressing all the country, when they crossed the river Marne ‡, and entered Champagne, and then passed the Aube§, returning to the country about Provins¶: when they several times passed the Seine, and made appearances of marching towards Paris; for they had heard that the king of France had collected a large force of men at arms under the command of the count de St. Pol and the lord de Clisson, with whom they were very eager to engage, and for that end made every preparation as if they only wished for the combat. Upon this, the king of France wrote to sir Bertrand du Guesclin, who was in Aquitaine with the duke of Anjou, to order him, as soon as he should have read the letters, to set out for France, as he intended to employ him in another part of the kingdom.
Pope Urban V. came back about this time to Avignon, after having resided nearly four years at Rome. He returned, in the hope of making peace between the two kings: for his renewal of war was very displeasing to him. All those of Avignon and the country around it were very happy at the return of the pope, as they thought it would be more advantageous for them.
We will now say how the prince of Wales carried on his affairs.
* “Oise,” — a river in Picardy, — rises in Hainault.
† “Aine,” — or Aisne, a river which rises in Champagne, and joins the Oise a little above Compiegne.
‡ “Marne,” — a large river which rises near Bassiny.
§ “Aube,” — a considerable river in Champagne. It rises at Auberive, near Langres.
¶ “Provins,” — an ancient town of Brie, on the Morin, which runs into the Marne, 22 leagues from Paris.
CHAPTER CCLXXXVII. — THE PRINCE OF WALES ASSEMBLES HIS ARMY AT COGNAC, WHERE HE MEETS HIS BROTHER THE DUKE OF LANCASTER. — THE DUKES OF ANJOU AND BERRY BREAK UP THEIR EXPEDITION, LIMOGES HAVING TURNED TO THE FRENCH.
YOU have before heard of the prince of Wales fixing his rendezvous at Cognac, with the intent of advancing to combat the duke of Anjou, who was burning and despoiling his territories. The barons, knights, and squires of Poitou and Saintonge, and all who were vassals to the prince, hastened to obey his summons. The earl of Pembroke quitted his garrison, with a hundred lances, and came to meet him. The duke of Lancaster and his army arrived about this time at Bordeaux, at which the country rejoiced much. He made not any long stay there; for, hearing that the prince was about to march against his enemies, he departed, and met, one day’s march from Cognac, the earl of Pembroke, who was likewise going thither. They were very happy to see each other, and rode together to Cognac, where they found the prince, princess, and earl of Cambridge, who were greatly pleased at their arrival. Men at arms daily came in from Poitou, Saintonge, La Rochelle, Bigorre, Gorre, Gascony, and the surrounding countries under the obedience of the prince.
The duke of Anjou, the count d’Armagnac, the lord d’Albret, and the counts, viscounts, knights, and squires of that army, who, as before has been related, conquered cities, towns, and fortresses to the number of more than forty, by merely showing themselves before them, and who had advanced within fifteen leagues of Bordeaux, burning and ravaging the country round Bergerac and Linde, hearing that the prince had summoned his forces to meet him at Cognac, and that the duke of Lancaster was arrived with a strong body of men at arms and archers from England, called a council to consider what measures would be now most proper for them to pursue. It was at this time that the king of France had sent back sir Bertrand du Guesclin to the duke of Berry, who was besieging the city of Limoges, and had pressed it so hard that it was upon the point of surrendering, but upon good terms. Sir Bertrand was summoned to attend this council of the duke of Anjou, as was right, and many were the debates at it. At last, after well considering the business, the duke of Anjou was advised, for the present, to break up this expedition, to order his men to different garrisons, and to carry on the war from thence, as he had done sufficient in the open field. It was therefore highly behoving the lords of Gascony who were present, such as the count d’Armagnac, the count de Perigord, the lord d’Albret, and others, to retire to their own country to guard and defend it; for they knew not what the prince might be inclined to do with so large an army. They then separated, each going on his own business. The duke of Anjou returned to the city of Cahors: his men and the free companies spread themselves over the country which they had conquered, and quartered themselves in different garrisons. The count d’Armagnac and the other lords went to their homes, and amply stored their towns and castles with all sorts of provision and artillery, as if they expected a war: they ordered out their vassals, and trained them to defend their country should need be.
We will now speak of sir Bertrand du Guesclin, who, on his departure from the duke of Anjou, marched with his men to the siege of Limoges, where the duke of Berry, the duke of Bourbon, and the great knights of France were employed. The French were in high spirits on the arrival of sir Bertrand, and it was a grand piece of news both within as well as without the city. He immediately followed up some treaties which had been before opened between the bishop and citizens with the duke of Berry, and managed that they were concluded by the bishop and citizens turning to the French. The dukes of Berry and Bourbon, sir Guy de Blois, and the lords of France, entered the town with great state, when they received from the inhabitants their homage and fealty. After they had rested themselves for three days, they followed the same resolutions as had been determined upon in the council held by the duke of Anjou, and each man retired to his own country to guard his towns and castles against sir Robert Knolles, who still kept his ground in France, and also because they had done enough by taking such a city as Limoges. The lords then separated, but sir Bertrand remained in Limousin with two hundred lances, which he posted in the castles of the lord de Maleval, who had turned to the French.451
When the duke of Berry left Limoges, he ordered into the city, at the request of the bishop, sir John de Villemur, sir Hugh de la Roche, and Roger de Beaufort, with one hundred men at arms. He then retreated to Berry, and the duke of Bourbon to the Bourbonnois. The other lords who had come from distant parts went to their different countries.
We will now return to the prince.
WHEN intelligence was brought to the prince that the city of Limoges had become French, that the bishop, who had been his companion, and one in whom he used to place great confidence, was a party to all the treaties, and had been much aiding and assisting in the surrender, he was in a violent passion, and held the bishop and all other churchmen in very low estimation, in whom formerly he had put great trust. He swore by the soul of his father, which he had never perjured, that he would have it back again, that he would not attend to anything before he had done this, and that he would make the inhabitants pay dearly for their treachery. When the greater part of his forces were arrived, he mustered them: they amounted to twelve hundred lances, knights and squires, a thousand archers, and a thousand footmen. They marched from the town of Cognac. Sir Thomas Felton and the captal de Buch remained at Bergerac, to guard that frontier against the French and the free companies who were dispersed over that part of the country.
With the prince were, his brothers of Lancaster and Cambridge, sir Guiscard d’Angle, sir Louis de Harcourt, the lords de Pons, de Partenay, de Pinane, de Tannaybouton, sir Percival de Coulogne, sir Geoffrey d’Argenton, Poitevins: of Gascons there were, the lords de Montferrant, de Chaumont, de Longueren, sir Aimery de Tharse, the lords de Pommiers, de Mucident, de l’Esparre, the souldich de la Trane*, the lord de Gironde and several more: of English there were, lord Thomas Percy, the lord Roos, sir William Beauchamp, sir Michael de la Pole, sir Stephen Cossington, sir Richard de Pontchardon, sir Baldwin de Franville, sir Simon Burley, the earl of Angus, sir John Devereux, sir William Neville, and more whom I cannot name: of Hainaulters, were sir Eustace d’Ambreticourt: of the free companies, sir Perducas d’Albret, Naudon de Bagerant, Lanuit, the bourg de l’Esparre, the bourg de Breteuil, Espiote, Bernard de Wist, and others.
All these men at arms were drawn out in battle array, and took the field, when the whole country began to tremble for the consequences. At that time the prince of Wales was not able to mount his horse, but was, for his greater ease, carried in a litter. They followed the road to Limousin, in order to get to Limoges, where in due time they arrived and encamped all round it. The prince swore he would never leave the place until he had regained it. The bishop of the place and the inhabitants found they had acted too wickedly, and had greatly incensed the prince; for which they were very repentant, but that was now of no avail, as they were not the masters of the town. Sir John de Villemur, sir Hugh de la Roche and Roger de Beaufort, who commanded in it, did all they could to comfort them by saying: “Gentlemen, do not be alarmed: we are sufficiently strong to hold out against the army of the prince: he cannot take us by assault, nor greatly hurt us, for we are well supplied with artillery.”
When the prince and his marshals had well considered the strength and fore of Limoges, and knew the number of gentlemen that were in it, they agreed they could never take it by assault, but said they would attempt it by another manner. The prince was always 452 accustomed to carry with him, in his expeditions, a large body of miners: these were immediately set to work, and made great progress. The knights who were in the town soon perceived they were undermining them, and on that account began to countermine, to prevent the effect. But we will now leave the prince a little, to return to sir Robert Knolles.
* “The souldich de la Trane.” See Anstis, vol. ii. where there is a long account of him, and mention also is made of the lords de Montferrant and de l’Esparre. — [A pedigree of the family is given, and it is clearly shown that the name Souldich de la Trane, or more properly Tran, was only a title, and that his family name was de Preissac. — ED.
CHAPTER CCLXXXIX. — SIR ROBERT KNOLLES, IN CONTINUING HIS INCURSIONS THROUGH DIFFERENT PROVINCES OF FRANCE, ADVANCES NEAR TO PARIS. — A KNIGHT OF HIS ARMY, IN RETURNING FROM A VAINGLORIOUS EXPEDITION, IS SLAIN BY A BUTCHER OF PARIS.
SIR Robert Knolles, as has been before related, had entered France with a large body of men, and was marching by short stages through that kingdom with a magnificence for which the people and the rich provinces paid dearly. The English, as they advanced and retreated, did infinite mischief, at the same time showing as if they only wished for a battle. Having passed through the countries of Artois, Vermandois, the bishopric of Laon, the archbishopric of Rheims in Champagne, they returned into Brie, and from thence came near to Paris, and quartered themselves for a day and two nights in the villages around it.
King Charles of France was at that time in the city, and could see from his palace of St. Pol the fire and smoke which the enemy were making in the Gâtinois. There were also in the city the constable of France sir Moreau de Fiennes, the count de St. Pol, the count de Tancarville, the count de Saltzburg, the viscount Meaux, sir Raoul de Coucy, the séneschal of Hainault, sir Odoart de Renti, sir Enguerrand d’Audin, the lord de Château-julien, sir John de Vienne, the lord de la Riviere, and many more great knights and valorous men of France: but not one of them sallied forth, for the king had strictly forbidden them so to do. The lord de Clisson, who was of the king’s cabinet council, and more listened to than the rest, said everything he could to prevent any knight from quitting the town, adding, among other things, “Sire, why should you employ your men against these madmen? Let them go about their business. They cannot take your inheritance from you, nor drive you out of it by smoke.”
The count de St. Pol, the viscount de Rohan, sir Raoul de Coucy, the lords de Canin, de Cresquos, sir Odoart de Renti and sir Enguerrand d’Audin, were at the barriers of St. James’s gate. Now it happened one Tuesday morning, when the English began to decamp, and had set fire to all the villages wherein they were lodged, so that the fires were distinctly seen from Paris, a knight of their army, who had made a vow the preceding day that he would advance as far as the barriers and strike them with his lance, did not break his oath, but set off with his lance in his hand, his target on his neck, and completely armed except his helmet, and spurring his steed, was followed by his squire on another courser carrying the helmet. When he approached Paris, he put on the helmet, which his squire laced behind. He then galloped away, sticking his spurs into his horse, and advanced prancing to strike the barriers. They were then open; and the lords and barons within imagined he intended to enter the town, but he did not mean any such thing, for, having struck the gates according to his vow, he checked his horse and turned about. The French knights who saw him thus retreat cried out to him, “Get away, get away! thou hast well acquitted thyself.” As for the name of this knight, I am ignorant of it, nor do I know from what country he came; but he bore for his arms gules à deux fousses noir, with une bordure noire non endentée. However, an adventure befel him, from which he had not so fortunate an escape. On his return, he met a butcher on the pavement in the suburbs, a very strong man, who had noticed him as he had passed him, and who had in his hand a very sharp and heavy hatchet with a long handle. As the knight was returning alone, and in a careless manner, the valiant butcher came on one side of him, and gave him such a blow between the shoulders that he fell on his horse’s neck: he recovered himself, but the butcher repeated the blow on his head so that the axe entered it. The knight, through excess of pain, fell to the earth; and the horse galloped away to the squire, who was waiting for his master in the fields at the extremity of the suburbs. The squire caught the courser, but wondered what was become of his master; for he had seen him gallop to the barriers, strike them, and then 453 turn about to come back. He therefore set out to look for him; but he had not gone many paces before he saw him in the hands of four fellows, who were beating him as if they were hammering on an anvil: this so much frightened the squire that he dared not advance further, for he saw he could not give him any effectual assistance: he therefore returned as speedily as he could. Thus was this knight slain: and those lords who were posted at the barriers had him buried in holy ground. The squire returned to the army, and related the misfortune which had befallen his master. All his brother-warriors were greatly angered thereat; and they marched to take up their quarters for the night, between Montlehery* and Paris, upon a small river, where they encamped at an early hour in the day.
* “Montelhery,” — a town in the Isle of France, seven leagues from Paris.