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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. 142-159.



JACOB VON ARTAVELD, the citizen of Ghent that was so much attached to the king of England, still maintained the same despotic power over all Flanders. He had promised the king of England, that he would give him the inheritance of Flanders, invest his son the prince of Wales with it, and make it a duchy instead of an earldom. Upon which account the king was, at this period, about St. John the Baptist’s day, 1345, come to Sluys, with a numerous attendance of barons and knights. He had brought the prince of Wales with him, in order that Jacob von Artaveld’s promises might be realised. The king remained on board his fleet in the harbour of Sluys, where he kept his court. His friends in Flanders came thither to see and visit him; and there were many conferences between the king and Jacob von Artaveld on one side, and the councils from the different capital towns on the other, relative to the agreement before mentioned; as to which, those from the country did not unite in sentiment with the king nor with von Artaveld, who kept continually reminding him of their quarrel, and exhorting them to disinherit earl Lewis, their natural lord, and his youngest son Lewis, in favour of the son of the king of England: but they declared they would never consent to such a thing. At the last conference, which was held in the harbour of Sluys, on board the king’s ship, the Catherine (which was of such an enormous size that wonders might be told of it), they made this unanimous reply: “Dear sir, the request you have made has given us much uneasiness, and may in times to come be prejudicial to Flanders and our successors. True it is, that there is not in the world any prince whom we love so much, or for whose profit and advantage we would exert ourselves so greatly as for you: but we alone cannot agree to this proposition, unless all the commonalties of Flanders give their consent. Therefore each of us will return to our different towns, and will explain in a general way this business to the inhabitants: when, if the greater part of them shall consent, we also will agree to it: we will return to you again within a month, and bring such answers as we hope will be satisfactory.” Neither the king 143 of England nor Jacob von Artaveld could at that time obtain more or any other answer. They wished to have had a shorter day appointed, but in vain: so the king answered, he was satisfied that it should be as they determined. The conference broke up, and each returned to the town from whence he had been deputed.

Jacob von Artaveld remained some little time longer with the king of England, in order to be made acquainted with all his affairs: he, in return, promised and assured him that he would bring his countrymen over to his opinion; but he deceived himself, and did wrong in staying behind, and not being at Ghent at the time when the citizens who had been deputed by the corporations of the town arrived there: for as soon as they were returned, taking advantage of the absence of von Artaveld, they collected a large meeting of high and low in the market-place, and there explained to them the subject of the late conferences at Sluys, and what the king of England had required of them, through the advice and information of Jacob von Artaveld. The whole assembly began to murmur against him; and this request was received unfavourably by all. They said, “that if it pleased God, they never would be pointed out, or found so disloyal, as to disinherit their natural lord, in favour of a stranger.” They then left the market-place much discontented, and angry with Artaveld. Now, see how unfortunately it fell out; for if he had gone to Ghent, instead of Bruges and Ypres, and had remonstrated with them upon the quarrel of the king of England, they would all have consented to his wishes, as those of the two above-mentioned towns had done: but he had trusted so much to his prosperity and greatness, that he thought he could recover every thing back in a little time.

When on his return he came to Ghent about mid-day, the townsmen, who were informed of the hour he was expected, had assembled in the street that he was to pass through; as soon as they saw him, they began to murmur, and put their heads close together, saying, “Here comes one who is too much the master, and wants to order in Flanders according to his will and pleasure, which must not be longer borne.” With this they had also spread a rumour through the town, that Jacob von Artaveld had collected all the revenues of Flanders, for nine years and more; that he had usurped the government without rendering an account, for he did not allow any of the rents to pass to the earl of Flanders, but kept them securely to maintain his own state, and had, during the time above mentioned, received all fines and forfeitures: of this great treasure he had sent part into England. This information inflamed those of Ghent with rage; and, as he was riding up the streets, he perceived that there was something in agitation against him; for those who were wont to salute him very respectfully, now turned their backs, and went into their houses. He began therefore to suspect all was not as usual; and as soon as he had dismounted, and entered his hôtel, he ordered the doors and windows to be shut and fastened.

Scarcely had his servants done this, when the street which he inhabited was filled from one end to the other with all sorts of people, but especially by the lowest of the mechanics. His mansion was surrounded on every side, attacked and broken into by force. Those within did all they could to defend it, and killed and wounded many: but at last they could not hold out against such vigorous attacks, for three parts of the town were there. When Jacob von Artaveld saw what efforts were making, and how hardly he was pushed, he came to a window, and, with his head uncovered, began to use humble and fine language, saying, “My good people, what aileth you? Why are you so enraged against me? by what means can I have incurred your displeasure? Tell me, and I will conform myself entirely to your wills.” Those who had heard him made answer, as with one voice, “We want to have an account of the great treasures you have made away with, without any title of reason.” Artaveld replied in a soft tone, “Gentlemen, be assured that I have never taken any thing from the treasures of Flanders; and if you will return quietly to your homes, and come here to-morrow morning, I will be provided to give so good an account of them, that you must reasonably be satisfied.” But they cried out, “No, no, we must have it directly, you shall not thus escape from us; for we know that you have emptied the treasury, and sent it into England, without our knowledge: you therefore shall suffer death.” When he heard this, he clasped his hands together, began to weep bitterly, and said, “Gentlemen, such as I am, you yourselves have made me: you formerly swore you 144 would protect me against all the world; and now, without any reason, you want to murder me. You are certainly masters to do it, if you please; for I am but one man against you all. Think better of it, for the love of God: recollect former times, and consider how many favours and kindnesses I have conferred upon you. You wish to give me a sorry recompense for all the generous deeds you have experienced at my hands. You are not ignorant, that, when commerce was dead in this country, it was I who restored it. I afterwards governed you in so peaceable a manner, that under my administration you had all things according to your wishes; corn, oats, riches, and all sorts of merchandise which have made you so wealthy.” They began to bawl out, “Come down, and do not preach to us from such a height; for we will have an account and statement of the great treasures of Flanders, which you have governed too long without rendering any account; and it is not proper for an officer to receive the rents of a lord, or of a country, without accounting for them.” When Jacob von Artaveld saw that he could not appease or calm them, he shut the window, and intended getting out of his house the back way, to take shelter in a church adjoining; but his hôtel was already broke into on that side, and upwards of four hundred were there calling out for him. At last he was seized by them, and slain without mercy: his death-stroke was given him by a sadler, called Thomas Denys. In this manner did Jacob von Artaveld end his days, who in his time had been complete master of Flanders. Poor men first raised him, and wicked men slew him. News of this event was soon spread abroad: some pitied him, whilst others rejoiced at it. The earl Lewis had remained all this time in Dendremonde, and with much pleasure heard of Jacob von Artaveld’s death, as he had very much opposed him in all his undertakings: nevertheless, he durst not yet place confidence in those of Flanders, nor return to Ghent.

When the king of England, who was waiting at Sluys for the return of the deputies, was informed in what manner the inhabitants of Ghent had slain his faithful fried and companions Artaveld, he was in a mighty passion, and sore displeased. He immediately departed, put to sea, and vowed vengeance against the Flemings and all Flanders, declaring that his death should be dearly paid for by them. The councils of the principal towns guessed that the king of England would not be much enraged against them; they therefore considered that their best method to soften his anger, would be to go and excuse themselves from the murder of Jacob von Artaveld, especially those of Bruges, Ypres, Courtray, Oudenarde, and the franc of Bruges. They sent to the king and his council for a safe conduct, that they might come over to make their excuses; and the king, whose anger was somewhat cooled, granted it to them.

The principal persons of all the chief towns in Flanders, except those of Ghent, came into England about Michaelmas. The king was at that time in Westminster, near London. They made very fair excuses, and swore most solemnly that “they were guiltless of the murder of von Artaveld, which, had they suspected, they would have guarded and defended him: that they were exceedingly vexed at his loss, and regretted it most sincerely; for they knew how kind he had been to them, how useful he was in all their affairs, and that he had reigned and governed Flanders most wisely: that since those of Ghent had slain him, they should make ample amends for it. They also explained to the king and his council, “that though Jacob von Artaveld was dead, he was not the less beloved, or less in the good graces of the Flemings, save and except in the investiture of Flanders, which he wished to be taken from the earl, their natural lord, however he may be attached to the French interest, and from his son, their lawful heir, to give it to the prince of Wales; for the Flemings would not, on any account, listen to it. But, dear sir, you have a fine family of sons and daughters: the prince of Wales, your eldest son, cannot fail being a great prince, with an ample inheritance, without desiring that of Flanders: and you have also a young daughter; we have too a young lord, whom we are bringing up and taking care of, that will be lord of Flanders: it perhaps may be, that a marriage could be brought about between them, so that the county of Flanders will in the end be possessed by one of your children.” These speeches softened very much the anger and ill-will of the king of England; and, in the end, both he and the Flemings were equally satisfied with each other. Thus, by degrees, was the death of Jacob von Artaveld forgotten.




AT this time and season, William earl of Hainault was laying siege to the town of Utrecht, and had been there for a long time, in order to recover some rights which he claimed as belonging to him. He pressed the siege so closely by his vigorous assaults, that he brought it back to its duty, and obtained every thing he wished for. Soon afterwards, in the same year, about the feast of St. Remy (1st of October), the earl collected a large body of men at arms, knights, and squires, from Hainault, Flanders, Brabant, Holland, Gueldres, and Juliers; and, embarking them on board a considerable fleet at Dordrecht, made sail for Friezland; for the earl considered himself as lord thereof. If the Friezlanders had been people to listen to the legality and reasonableness of the claim, the earl was entitled to it: but, as they were obstinate, he exerted himself to obtain it by force, and was slain, as well as a great many other knights and squire. God have mercy on their souls!

Sir John of Hainault did not accompany his nephew, but went to another part. On hearing of his nephew’s death, he wanted to combat the Friezlanders like one out of his senses: when his servants found the state he was in, they took him and carried him on board a vessel, whether he would or no. Sir Robert de Glewes, who was his body squire, was most active in saving him. They returned in small numbers, and in disorder, to Gertruydenberg in Holland, where the lady Jane his niece, the wife of the above-mentioned earl, was waiting for him. She was the eldest daughter of the duke of Brabant, and from that moment withdrew to the territory of Binch*, which was her dower. The county of Hainault remained vacant some time, and was governed by sir John of Hainault, until the lady Margaret, mother to earl Albert, came thither, and took possession of the heritage; to whom all the lords did homage and fealty. This lady Margaret, countess of Hainault, was married to the lord Lewis of Bavaria, emperor of Rome and king of Germany.


*  Binch, near Mons, in Hainault.



SOON after this, king Philip of France endeavoured by a treaty, through the means of the earl of Blois, to persuade sir John of Hainault to take part with France. He promised to allow him the same subsidy which he received from England, and would assign it upon whatever lands his council might think best. But sir John was not willing to comply; for he had spent the flower of his youth fighting for England, and king Edward had always much loved and esteemed him. When the earl of Blois, who had married his daughter, and had three sons by her, Lewis, John, and Guy, found that he could not succeed in this business himself, he endeavoured, by means of the lord of Faguinelles, who was the chief friend and adviser of sir John, to gain his point. In order to make him alter his opinion of the English, they made him believe that they would not pay him his subsidy for a considerable time. This put sir John so much out of humour, that he renounced all treaties and agreements which he had entered into with England. The king of France was no sooner informed of it, that he sent to him persons sufficiently authorised, who retained him, as well as his council, for France, at a certain salary: and he recompensed him in his kingdom with a greater revenue than he derived from England.





*Bayeux. — BARNES.

  Mr. Barnes makes it Ancenis; but that is too far off; and he quotes Du Chesne, page 663. In my opinion, it must be St. Jean d’Angely, as that is in Saintonge, and not too far distant for this excursion.




THE lords of France remained for a very considerable time before Angoulême. The French overran all the country which had been conquered by the English: they created much trouble, and, whenever they found a fit opportunity, brought to their camp many prisoners and much pillage: the two brothers of Bourbon acquired great praise from all, as they were the foremost in every excursion. When sir John Norwich, the governor of Angoulême, found that the duke of Normandy would not break up the siege until he had gained the city; that his provisions were growing short, and that the earl of Derby showed no signs of coming to his relief: having also perceived that the inhabitants were much inclined to the French, and would have turned to them before, if they had dared: he began to be suspicious of treason, and bethought how he could best save himself and his companions. On the eve of the Purification, he came on the battlements of the walls of the city alone, without having mentioned to any one his intentions, and made signs with his cap that he wanted to speak with some one from the army. Those who had noticed the signal came to know what he wanted: he said, “he wished to speak with my lord the duke of Normandy, or with one of his marshals.” They went to inform the duke of this, who came there, attended by some of his knights. As soon as sir John saw the duke, he pulled off his cap, and saluted him. The duke returned the salute, and said, “Sir John, how fares it with you? Are you inclined to surrender yourself?” “I have no intentions to do that,” replied sir John; “but I could wish to entreat of you, in reverence to the feast of our Lady, which is to-morrow, that you would grant us a truce for that day only, that neither of us may hurt the other, but remain in peace.” The duke said, “he was willing to consent to it.”

Early the next morning, which was Candlemas day, sir John and his companions armed themselves, and packed up all they had. They then ordered one of the gates to be opened, and issued forth; which being perceived by the army, some part of it began to put itself in motion: sir John, upon this, rode up to them, and said, “Gentlemen, gentlemen, beware that you do no harm to us; for we have had a truce agreed on for this whole day, as you must know, by the duke of Normandy; and we shall not touch you. If you have not been informed of it, go and inquire; for we can, upon the faith of this truce, ride and go wherever we please.” This information was brought to the duke, and he was asked what was to be done, who replied, “Let them go, in God’s name, whatever way they choose; for we cannot force them to stay. I will keep the promise I made them.” Thus sir John Norwich passed through the whole French army unhurt, and took the road to Aiguillon. When those who were in garrison there heard in what manner he had escaped and saved his men, they said he had acted very cunningly. The inhabitants of Angoulême held a council on Candlemas day, and determined to surrender themselves to the duke: they sent persons properly authorized to treat, who managed so well, that the duke showed them mercy, and pardoned them. He entered the city and castle, where he received their homage, and appointed sir Anthony de Villiers governor, with a hundred soldiers to defend it. The duke afterwards decamped, and came before the castle of Damazan*, which he laid siege to for fourteen days. There were continued assaults; but at last it was taken, and all within it, Gascon and English, put to the sword. The duke gave this castle and its dependencies to a squire, from Beausse, named the Borgne de Nully. He then came before Tonniens, which is situated on the Garonne, and which he found well provided with Gascons and English. There were many attacks and skirmishes; and he remained some time before it. However, at last they surrendered, upon condition of preserving their lives and fortunes, and to be conducted in safety to Bordeaux. When these foreigners had left it, the town entered under obedience to the duke, who staid here with his whole army, and on the banks of the Garonne, until after Easter, when he advanced towards Port St. Marie upon the same 149 river. There were about two hundred English to defend the town and this passage, who had strongly fortified it; but they, and all within, were taken by assault. The French, after they had repaired and reinforced it with men at arms, set out and took the road towards Aiguillon.


*  A town in Gascony, in the election of Condom.

  Diocese of Agen.



THE noblemen of France, under the command of the duke of Normandy, pushed on until they came before the castle of Aiguillon, when they encamped and divided their forces in the extensive and handsome meadows on the banks of the river Garonne, which is navigable for great vessels. Each lord was posted with his own people, and every company by itself, according to the orders of the marshals of the army. This siege continued until the beginning of October; and there were upwards of one hundred thousand men in arms, including cavalry and infantry. Those within were obliged to defend themselves against this army two or three times every day, and most commonly from noon until eve without ceasing; for they were continually pouring upon them fresh forces, Genoese or others, who gave them no repose. The chiefs of the French army found they could never attack, with advantage, the fortress, unless they passed the river, which was wide and deep: the duke therefore ordered a bridge to be constructed, that they might cross it: three hundred workmen were employed at this bridge, who worked day and night. As soon as the knights who were in Aiguillon perceived that this bridge was nearly finished, and that one half of it was completed, they prepared three vessels, in which they embarked, and, driving away the workmen and guards, instantly destroyed what had taken so much time to make. The lords of France, seeing this, got ready other vessels to attack them, in which they placed a number of men at arms, Genoese cross-bowmen and infantry, and ordered the workmen to continue their works, under the support of these guards. When these workmen were thus employed, sir Walter Manny, and some of his companions, embarked about noon, and, dashing upon them, made them quit their work and run off: he soon destroyed all that they had done. This kind of skirmish was continued daily; but at last the French sent such large detachments to guard the workmen, that the bridge was completed in a good and strong manner. The army then passed over it in order of battle, and attacked the castle for the space of one whole day, but did no great harm; and, in the evening, they retreated to their camp, where they were plentifully supplied with everything.

Those within the castle repaired what damage had been done, for they had plenty of workmen. On the morrow, the French resolved to divide their army into four divisions; the first of which should make an attack on this fortress from the dawn until about nine o’clock; the second from that time till noon; the third from noon till four o’clock; and the fourth division from that time till night. This mode of attack was continued for six successive days. However, those within the castle were never so much harassed but that they could defend themselves valiantly; and their enemies gained nothing but the bridge, which was before the castle. The French lords, upon this, held a council, and sent to Toulouse for eight of their largest battering engines, and constructed four other large ones upon the spot. These twelve engines cast stones into the fortress day and night; but the besieged had taken such pains to avoid the mischief they could do, that they only destroyed the roofs of the houses: they had also made counter-engines, which played upon those of their enemies, and in a short space of time totally ruined six of them.

During this siege, sir Walter Manny made frequent excursions beyond the river, with about six score companions, to forage, and often returned with his booty in sight of the army. One day the lord Charles of Montmorency had been on a foraging party, with five or six hundred men, and was conducting a great number of cattle to victual the army, when he met sir Walter Manny under the walls of Aiguillon. They immediately began an engagement, which was very sharp; and many were killed and wounded on both sides. The French were at least five to one. News was brought of this into Aiguillon, when 150 every one sallied out for the fastest, and the earl of Pembroke with the foremost: they dashed into the midst of them, and found sir Walter Manny unhorsed, and surrounded by his enemies, but fighting most valiantly. He was directly rescued and remounted. During the heat of the engagement, the French hastened to drive off the cattle to a place of safety, or they would have lost them; for the English were coming in crowds to succour their countrymen, and, falling upon the French vigorously, they put them to flight, rescued those they had made prisoners, and captured also many from them. The lord Charles de Montmorency had great difficulty to escape, and retreated as fast as he could, quite discomfited. When it was over, the English returned to Aiguillon.

Such skirmishes frequently happened, for scarcely a day passed without some engagement. The French having one day drawn out their army, ordered those noblemen that were from Toulouse, Carcassonne, and Beaucaire, and their dependencies, to make an attack with their men, form the morning until noon; and those from Rouergue, Cahors, and Agenois, to continue it from their retreat until the evening. The duke promised to any of his soldiers who should gain the draw-bridge of the castle a reward of a hundred golden crowns*. The duke, in order to assist this attack, commanded a number of vessels and barges to come down the river, in which many embarked to cross it, whilst the remainder passed over the bridge. Those in the castle made a gallant defence; but at last, some of the French got into a small boat, and, passing under the bridge, fastened strong hooks and chains to the draw-bridge, with which they pulled so lustily, that they broke the iron chains which held the bridge, and forced it down.

The French, so eager were they to gain the promised reward, leaped upon the bridge in such haste that they tumbled over each other. The besieged flung down upon them stones, hot lime, large beams, and boiling water, so that many were hurt, and drowned in the ditches. The bridge, however, was taken, though it cost them more than it was worth: but they could not gain the gate: therefore, as it was late, they returned to their camp, for they had need of rest; and those within the castle sallied out, and repaired the bridge making it stronger than it was before.

On the next day, two principal engineers came to the duke, and said, If he would find them wood and workmen, they would build for him two such high towers, as, when they were advanced to the walls of the castle, should overtop them. The duke commanded all the carpenters of the country to be sent for, and handsomely paid. These four towers were constructed, and placed on the decks of four large vessels; but they took a long time in making, and cost much money. Those ordered upon this attack embarked on board the vessels, and, when they were about half way over the river, the besieged let off four martinets, which they had newly constructed, to defend themselves against these towers. These four martinets cast such large stones, and so very rapidly, that the men at arms in the towers were much hurt by them: and, having no means to shield themselves, they returned back as fast as they were able: but in their retreat one of the vessels foundered and sunk: the greater number of those that were on board were drowned, which was a great pity, as they were chiefly valiant knights who were eager to distinguish themselves. When the duke found that this scheme did not answer his expectations, he ordered them to disembark from the three remaining vessels. He was at a loss what plan to follow, by which he could gain the castle of Aiguillon; for he had vowed he would never quit the place until he was master of it and the garrison, unless the king, his father, ordered otherwise. The lords therefore advised him to send the constable of France and the earl of Tancarville to Paris, to inform king Philip of the state of the siege, and to know if the king wished the duke of Normandy to continue before Aiguillon, until he had, through famine, made himself master of it, since he could not gain it by force.

The king of England, having heard how much pressed his people were in the castle of Aiguillon, determined to lead a great army into Gascony. He set about making his preparations, summoned all the vassals in his kingdom, and collected forces from whatever quarter he could, that were willing to enter into his pay. About this time sir Godfrey de 151 Harcourt, who had been banished from France, arrived in England. He was received by the king in his palace; and he assigned over to him a handsome estate in England, to maintain him, suitable to his rank. Soon after this, the king assembled a large fleet of ships at Southampton, and sent thither his men at arms and his archers. About St. John the Baptist’s Day, 1346, the king took leave of the queen, and, setting out, left her to the care of his cousin, the earl of Kent. He appointed the lord Percy, and the lord Neville of Raby, the archbishop of York, the bishop of Durham, and the bishop of Lincoln, to be his lieutenants for the northern parts of his kingdom; and he did not take so many forces out of the realm but that there was a sufficiency of men at arms left to defend it, should there be occasion. He took the road for Southampton, where he tarried until he had a favourable wind, when he embarked with his whole army. On board the king’s ship were the prince of Wales and sir Godfrey de Harcourt: the other lords, earls, and barons embarked with their men, as they had been ordered. There might be about four thousand men at arms, and ten thousand archers, not including the Irish and the Welch, who followed the army on foot.

I will enumerate the names of those lords that accompanied king Edward. I must mention first the prince of Wales, who at that time was only thirteen§ years old, or thereabouts: there were Humphry Bohun earl of Hereford and Essex, his brother William Bohun earl of Northampton, Thomas Beauchamp earl of Warwick, Richard Fitzalan earl of Arundel, , John Vere earl of Oxford, William Clinton earl of Huntington, Robert Hufford earl of Suffolk: of barons, there were the young lord Roger Mortimer, the lord Gerard Lisle, and his kinsman the lord John Lisle, the lord Reginald Cobham, the lords John and Roger Beauchamp, the lord John Mowbray, the lord William Roos of Hamlake, the lord Thomas Lucy of Cockermouth, the lord William Felton, the lord Thomas Bradestan, the lord Ralph Basset of Sapcoat, John lord Willoughby of Eresby, the lord Peter Manly fifth of the name, Thomas lord Ughtred, John lord Fitzwalter, William lord Kerdeston, the lord Roger Say, the lord Almaric de St. Amand, the lord Robert Bourchier, the lord John le Strange, the lord Edward Montagu, the lord Richard Talbot, the lord John Mohun of Dunster, William lord Boteler of Wemme, Robert lord Ferrers, John lord Seymour, John lord Grey, William lord Botreaux, the lord Hugh Spencer, the lord John Striveling, Michael lord Poynings, Robert lord Morley, Thomas lord Ashley, John lord Sutton, the lord Nicholas Cantilupe, and others: of knights-bachelors, sir John Chandos, the lord Peter Audley, and the lord James Audley, the lord Bartholomew Burgherst junior, the lord Thomas Holland, the lord Fulk Fitzwarren, sir Richard Pembridge, and several others. There were few strangers: only sir Oulphart de Guistelles, from the country of Hainault, and five or six knights from Germany, whose names I have forgotten.

When they embarked, the weather was as favourable as the king could wish, to carry him to Gascony; but on the third day, the wind was so contrary, that they were driven upon the coasts of Cornwall, where they cast anchor, and remained for six days and six nights. During this time, the king altered his mind with respect to going towards Gascony, through the advice and representations of sir Godfrey de Harcourt, who convinced him that it would be more for his interest to land in Normandy, by such words as these: “Sir, that province is one of the most fertile in the world; and I will answer on my head, that you may land in any part of it you shall please without hindrance, for no one will think of opposing you. The Normans have not been accustomed to the use of arms; and all the knighthood, that otherwise would have been there, are at present with the duke before Aiguillon. You will find in Normandy rich towns and handsome castles, without any means of defence, and your people will gain wealth enough to suffice them for twenty years to come. Your fleet may also follow you, up the river Orne, as far as Caen. I therefore entreat you will listen, and give belief to what I say.” The king, who at that time was in the flower of his youth, and 152 who desired nothing better than to combat his enemies, paid much attention to what Godfrey de Harcourt, whom he called cousin, had said. He commanded his sailors to steer straight for Normandy, and ordered the flag of the admiral, the earl of Warwick, to be hoisted on board his ship: he took the lead, as admiral of the fleet, and made for Normandy, with a very favourable wind. The fleet anchored near to the shores of Coutantin, and the king landed at a port called La Hogue St. Vast. News of his arrival was soon spread abroad: it was told all over the country, that the English had landed with a very great army. Messengers were instantly dispatched to Paris, to the king, from the towns of Coutantin. He had already been informed, that the king of England had embarked a numerous army, and was on the coasts of Normandy and Brittany; but he was not sure for what particular part he meant to make. As soon, therefore, as he heard the English had landed, he sent for his constable, the earl of Guignes, and the earl of Tancarville, who were just come from Aiguillon, and ordered them to set off directly for Caen, to defend that place and the neighbourhood against the English.

They replied, they would cheerfully do it, to the utmost of their power, and left the king at Paris, taking with them a number of men at arms, whose ranks were every day increasing, and rode on to Caen, where they were received most joyfully by the inhabitants and the good people of the country, who had retired thither, with their effects. These lords immediately made inquiries into the state of the town, which at that time was not walled, and ordered arms to be prepared, to supply every one with them according to his degree. We will now return to the king of England, who had landed at la Hogue St. Vast, not far from St. Sauveur le Vicomte¥, the inheritance of sir Godfrey de Harcourt, who at that time was a partisan of England**.


*  6s. 8d. each. — BARNES.

  Du Cange, supplement, under the word Martinetus, calls it an instrument of war, and quotes this passage for his authority, but does not explain it further.

  Edward appoints his son, Lionel, lieutenant of the realm, during his absence, by an ordinance dated Porchester, 5th June, 1346. — Rymer.

He was at Porchester the 1st and 2nd of July, 1346. — Rymer.

John de Offord, chancellor, delivered up the great seal to John de Thoresby, the 2nd July, in the isle of Wight.

§  This is a mistake; for he was born the 15th June, 1330: he must therefore have been sixteen.

I have copied the names out of Barnes’ life of Edward III. wherein he mentions twenty-two of them, from lord Ughtred, are taken from an old MS. in C. C. C. library, Cambridge, intituled, “Acta Edwardi filii, Edwardi tertii.”

  Coutantin, — a district of Normandy, of which Coutances is the capital town.

¥  Diocese of Coutances.

**  On the king’s landing at La Hogue, he created the Prince of Wales a knight, and, in consequence, demanded the usual aid on such occasions, dated Calais, the Nativity of our Lady, 1346. — Rymer.



WHEN the fleet of England was all safely arrived at La Hogue, the king leaped on shore first; but by accident he fell, and with such violence that the blood gushed out at his nose: the knights that were near him said, “Dear sir, let us entreat you to return to your ship, and not think of landing to-day, for this is an unfortunate omen.” The king instantly replied, “For why? I look upon it as very favourable, and a sign that the land is desirous of me.”

His people were much pleased with this answer. The king and his army lay that night upon the sands. In the mean time, they disembarked their baggage, armour, and horses; and there was a council held, to consider how they could act most advantageously. The king created two marshals of his army: one was sir Godfrey de Harcourt; the other the earl of Warwick: and he made the earl of Arundel, his constable. He ordered the earl of Huntington to remain with his fleet, with a hundred or six score men at arms, and four hundred archers. He then held another council respecting the order of march, and determined to divide the army into three battalions; one of which should advance on his right, following the sea-coast, and another on his left; and he himself, with the prince his son, and the main body, in the centre. Every night, the marshal’s battalion was to retire to the quarters of the king. They thus began their march, as they had resolved upon: those who were on board the fleet coasted the shores, and took every vessel, great and small, they met with. Both the armies of sea and land went forward, until they came to a strong town, called Barfleur*, which they soon gained; the inhabitants having surrendered immediately, for fear of losing their lives: but that did not prevent the town from being pillaged and robbed of gold, silver and everything precious that could be found therein. There was so much wealth, that the boys of the army set no value on gowns trimmed with fur. They made all the townsmen quit the 153 place, and embarked them on board the fleet; for they did not choose that, after they had continued their march, they should collect together, and attack them.

After the town of Barfleur had been pillaged, but not burnt, they spread themselves over the country, near the sea-coast, where they did whatever they pleased, for there were none to oppose them. They advanced until they came to a considerable and wealthy town called Cherbourg, which they burnt and pillaged in part; but they could not conquer the castle, as it was too strong, and well garrisoned with men at arms: they therefore passed on, and came before Montebourg, near Valognes, which they pillaged, and then set fire to it. In this manner did they plunder and burn a great many towns in that country: and acquired so much riches that it would have been difficult to have counted their wealth. They afterwards marched to a very considerable town, and well inclosed, called Carentan, which had a strong castle, garrisoned by a number of soldiers. Those lords that were on board the fleet then disembarked with their people, and made a vigorous attack upon it; which, when the townsmen perceived, they were fearful of losing their own lives, as well as those of their wives and children, and opened the gates to them, in spite of the men at arms and soldiers that were within the town. They voluntarily offered the English all they had, thinking it best for their advantage. The men at arms, finding the inhabitants determined to admit the English, retired into the fortress, which was very strong; and the English entered the town; but, not thinking it right to leave so strong a place behind them, for two successive days they kept up a strong assault against the castle. Those within, not hearing of any assistance coming to them, surrendered, on condition of their lives and fortunes being spared. They marched out, and withdrew to another part of the country. The English did what they pleased in the town and castle; but, finding that they could not conveniently keep them, they burnt and destroyed both, and forced the inhabitants to embark on board their fleet, and go with them, as they had done to those of Barfleur, Cherbourg, Montebourg, and all the other towns which they had plundered on the sea-coast.

We will now return to the expedition of the king of England. As soon as he had sent part of his army under the command of the earl of Warwick, one of his marshals, and the lord Reginald Cobham, along the sea-coast, as you have heard, he set out from La Hogue, where he was lodged, under the guidance of sir Godfrey de Harcourt, who was well acquainted with every part of Normandy. Sir Godfrey, as marshal, advanced before the king, with the van-guard of five hundred armed men and two thousand archers, and rode on for six or seven leagues’ distance from the main army, burning and destroying the country. They found it rich and plentiful, abounding in all things; the barns full of every sort of corn, and the houses with riches: the inhabitants at their ease, having cars, carts, horses, swine, sheep, and every thing in abundance which the country afforded. They seized whatever they chose of all these good things, and brought them to the king’s army; but the soldiers did not give any account to their officers, or to those appointed by the king, of the gold and silver they took, which they kept to themselves. In this manner did sir Godfrey, every day, proceed on the left of the king’s army; and each night returned, with his party, to the place where he knew the king intended fixing his quarters. Sometimes, when he found great plenty of forage and booty, he was two or three days before he returned. The king therefore, with the army and baggage, advanced towards St. Lo§, in Coutantin; but, before he arrived there, he took up his quarters on the banks of the river, to wait for the return of that part of his army which he had sent along the sea-coast. When they were come back, with all their booty safely packed in waggons, the earl of Warwick, the earl of Suffolk, the lord Thomas Holland, and the lord Reginald Cobham, took their march, with their battalion, on the right, burning and destroying the country in the same way that sir Godfrey de Harcourt was doing. The king marched, with the main body, between these two battalions; and every night they all encamped together.


*  Diocese of Coutances.

  Diocese of Coutances.

  About three leagues from the sea, diocese of Coutances.

§  Diocese of Coutances.




THUS, whilst the English were burning and destroying great part of Normandy, the king of France was not idle, but had issued out his summons to the lord John of Hainault, who came to him with a powerful company of knights from Hainault and elsewhere: he also sent to every earl, baron and knight that were dependent on him. They obeyed his summons in such numbers as France had not seen for a hundred years; but as those in foreign countries were at great distances, they were long before they arrived, and the king o England had overrun and destroyed the whole district of Coutantin in Normandy, to its great detriment.

When king Philip first heard of the destruction the king of England was making in his realm, he swore that the English should never return without his having combated with them; and, that the mischief they had done to his people should be dearly paid for. He hastened, therefore, to dispatch his letters: he sent first to his good friends in the empire, because they were at the greatest distance, and also to the gallant king of Bohemia, whom he much loved, and to the lord Charles of Bohemia his son, who had then the title of king of Germany, which he had obtained, as was well known, through the influence of his father and the king of France, and he had already quartered the arms of the empire. King Philip intreated of them to come speedily to his assistance, for he was impatient to meet the English, who were despoiling his kingdom. These lords had no intention of excusing themselves, but set about collecting a large body of men at arms, from Germany, Bohemia, and Luxembourg, and came to the king of France with a powerful army. The king of France wrote also to the duke of Lorraine, who came to serve him with upwards of three hundred lances. The earl of Savoy*, the earl of Saltzburgh, the earl of Flanders, and earl William of Namur, came also to king Philip, each of them with a very handsome company.

You before heard the manner of the king of England’s march: the two marshals on the right and left, and the king and prince of Wales in the centre. They advanced by short marches; and every day they encamped between ten and twelve o’clock. They found the country so abounding with provisions, that they had no need to seek for forage, except wines, of which there was a reasonable quantity. It is not to be wondered at, if the people of the country were alarmed and frightened; for they had never seen any men at arms, and knew nothing of war or battles: they therefore fled before the English, as soon as ever they heard they were coming, leaving their houses and barns quite full, for they had neither means nor art to save them.

The king of England and Prince of Wales had, in their battalion, about three thousand men at arms, six thousand archers, ten thousand infantry, without counting those that were under the marshals; and they marched on in the manner I have before-mentioned, burning and destroying the country, but without breaking their line of battle. They did not turn towards Coutances, but advanced to St. Lo, in Coutantin, which in those days was a very rich and commercial town, and worth three such towns as Coutances. In the town of St. Lo was much drapery, and many wealthy inhabitants: among them, you might count eight or nine score that were engaged in commerce. When the king of England was come near to the town, he encamped: he would not lodge in it for fear of fire. He sent, therefore, his advanced guard forward, who soon conquered it, at a trifling loss, and completely plundered it. No one can imagine the quantity of riches they found in it, nor the number of bales of cloth. If there had been any purchasers, they might have bought enough at a very cheap rate.

The English then advanced towards Caen, which is a much larger town, stronger, and fuller of draperies and all other sorts of merchandize, rich citizens, noble dames and damsels, and fine churches. In particular, there are two very rich monasteries; one dedicated to St. Stephen, and the other to the Trinity. The castle is situated on one side of the town: it is the handsomest in all Normandy: and sir Robert de Blargny was governor, with a garrison of three hundred Genoese.


In the heart of the town was the earl of Eu and of Guignes, the constable of France, and the earl of Tancarville, with a crowd of men at arms. The king rode on very prudently; and, having united his three battalions, he took up his quarters, for that night, in the fields, two short leagues from Caen, near a town called Estreham, where there is a haven. He ordered the earl of Huntington, whom he had made admiral of his fleet, to sail for that place. The constable of France, and the other lords who were assembled in Caen, watched it well that night; and, on the morrow, they armed themselves, and all the inhabitants. After they were drawn out, the constable and the earl of Tancarville ordered that no one should leave the town, but should guard well the bridge, the gates, and the river. They gave up the suburbs to the English, because they were not inclosed; and they thought they should find sufficient employment to guard the town, which was only defended by the river. The townsmen, however, said, they would march out into the plains, as they were in sufficient force to fight with the English. When the constable perceived their willingness, he said, “It shall be so then; but, in God’s name, you shall not fight without me.” They then marched out of the town, in handsome order, and made a show as if they would fight valiantly, and risk their lives upon the event.


*  The earl of Savoy did not come, as you will see further on.

  Estreham, — diocese of Bayeux, at the mouth of the river Orne, four leagues from Caen.



ON this day the English rose very early, and made themselves ready to march to Caen: the king heard mass before sun-rise, and afterwards mounting his horse, with the prince of Wales, and sir Godfrey de Harcourt (who was marshal and director of the army, and through whose advice the king had undertaken this expedition) marched forward in order of battle. The battalion of the marshals led the van, and came near to the handsome town of Caen.

When the townsmen, who had taken the field, perceived the English advancing, with banners and pennons flying in abundance, and saw those archers whom they had not been accustomed to, they were so frightened that they betook themselves to flight, and ran for the town in great disorder, without regarding the constable and the men at arms who were with them. The English pursued them eagerly; which, when the constable and the earl of Tancarville saw, they gained a gate at the entrance of the bridge in safety, and a few knights with them, for the English had already entered the town.

Some knights and squires of the French, who knew the road to the castle, made for it; and the governor, sir Robert de Blargny received them all; as the castle was very large, and plentifully victualled, those were safe that could get there.

The English who were after the runaways, made great havoc; for they spared none. When the constable, and those that had taken refuge with him within the gate of the bridge, looked round them, and saw the great slaughter the English were making, for they gave no quarter, they began to fear lest they should fall into the hands of some of those archers, who would not know who they were. But they perceived a knight who had but one eye, named sir Thomas Holland (whom they had formerly known in Prussia and Grenada), coming toward them, in company with five or six other knights: they called to him, and asked if he would take them as his prisoners? Sir Thomas and his company advanced to the gate, and, dismounting, ascended to the top, with sixteen others, where he found the above-mentioned knights, and twenty-five more, who surrendered themselves to sir Thomas*.

Having left a sufficient guard over them, he mounted his horse, rode through the streets, and prevented many acts of cruelty: as did also other knights and squires, to whom several 156 of the citizens owed their lives, and many a nun was protected from violation by their interference. It was fortunate for the English, that it was ebb tide in the river, which caries large vessels, and the water very still, so that they could pass and repass it without any danger from the bridge. Those inhabitants who had taken refuge in the garrets flung down from them, in these narrow streets, stones, benches, and whatever they could lay hands on; so that they killed and wounded upwards of five hundred of the English, which so enraged the king of England, when he received the reports in the evening, that he ordered the remainder of the inhabitants to be put to the sword, and the town burnt. But sir Godfrey de Harcourt said to him: “Dear sir, assuage somewhat of your anger, and be satisfied with what has already been done. You have a long journey yet to make before you arrive at Calais, whither it is your intention to go: and there are in this town a great number of inhabitants, who will defend themselves obstinately in their houses, if you force them to it: besides, it will cost you many lives before the town can be destroyed, which may put a stop to your expedition to Calais, and it will not redound to your honour; therefore be sparing of your men, for in a month’s time you will have call for them; as it cannot otherwise happen, but that your adversary king Philip must soon come to give you battle, and you may meet with many difficulties, assaults and skirmishes, that will find full employment for the number of men you have, and even more if we could get them. We are complete masters of the town without any more slaughter; and the inhabitants, and all they possess, are at our disposal.” The king replied: “Sir Godfrey, you are our marshal; therefore order as you please; for this time we wish not to interfere.”

Battle of Caen

Battle of Caen, from a MS. Froissart of the Fifteenth Century.

Sir Godfrey then rode through the streets, his banner displayed before him, and ordered, 157 in the king’s name, that no one should dare, under pain of immediate death, to insult or hurt man or woman of the town, or attempt to set fire to any part of it. Several of the inhabitants, on hearing this proclamation, received the English into their houses; and others opened their coffers to them, giving up their all, since they were assured of their lives. However, there were, in spite of these orders, many atrocious thefts and murders committed. The English continued masters of the town for three days; in this time, they amassed great wealth, which they sent in barges down the river of Estreham, to St. Sauveur, two leagues off, where their fleet was. The earl of Huntington made preparations therefore, with the two hundred men at arms and his four hundred archers, to carry over to England their riches and prisoners. The king purchased, from sir Thomas Holland and his companions, the constable of France and the earl of Tancarville, and paid down twenty thousand nobles for them.

*  “But here whatsoever Froissart doth report of the taking of this town, and of the yielding of these two noblemen, it is to be proved, that the said earl of Tancarville was taken by one surnamed Legh, ancestor to sir Peter Legh now living; whether in the fight or within the tower I have not to say: but for the taking of the said earl, and for his other manlike prowess shewed here and elsewhere in this journey, king Edward, in recompense of his agreeable service, gave him a lordship in the county of Chester, called Hanley, which the said sir Peter Legh doth now possess, as successor and heir to his ancestor, the foresaid Peter Legh, to whom it was so first given.“ — Hollingshed.

  This is scarcely intelligible. Lord Berners says, “the ryuer was so lowe that men went in and out besyde the bridge,” that is across the bed of the river, avoiding the danger of pressing in crowds over a narrow bridge. — ED.

  As the reader may perhaps wish to see another account of Edward’s progress, by an eye-witness, I copy from Robert de Avesbury’s “Historia de Mirabilibus Gestis Edwardi tertii,” the following very curious letter§:

De Progressu Regis Angliæ de Hogges usque Cadamum.

“You may remember that our lord the King and his army landed at La Hogue St. Vast, the twelfth day of July, and remained there some days to unship the horses, and repose himself, and his people, and provide bread, until the following Tuesday. They found eleven ships at La Hogue, eight of which had castles before and behind; these a man set on fire. On the Friday, whilst the king still remained, a party proceeded to Barfleur, where they expected to have found many people, but there were none of any consequence. Here were eleven ships with castles before and behind, two carracks, and a number of smaller vessels lying at the quays. The town is about as large, and of the same importance, as Sandwich. When this party retired, the mariners set fire to the town, and several good towns and manors were burnt in the country round about. When the king removed on Tuesday he went to Valognes, where they remained all night and found plenty of provisions. The next day they made a long march, as far as a bridge which the inhabitants of Carantan had broken down. The king caused it to be repaired the same night, and the next day proceeded to Carantan, which is not above an English league from the bridge. This town is as large as Leicester, and here they found plenty of wine and provisions. A great part of the city was burnt, in spite of the king’s efforts to prevent it. On the Friday the king went on, and lodged in the villages on the banks of a river difficult to pass, for the inhabitants of St. Lô had broken down the bridge. The king caused the bridge to be repaired, and passed it the next day with all his army, and took post close to the town. Those of the town had begun to strengthen it, and had drawn together many men at arms, who ought to have defended the place, but they left it before the coming of the king. Great riches were found in the town, a thousand tuns of wine, and a great quantity of other goods. The town is larger than St. Nicholas. And the next day the king went his way and abode at an abbey, and his host at the villages round about; and those of the host made excursions every day, robbing and destroying every day five or six leagues about, and burnt several places. And the Monday the king removed and lodged in the villages, and Tuesday also. And Wednesday, about the hour of noon, they arrived before the town of Caen, and received intelligence that a great number of men at arms were in the town. The king drew up his forces in good order and in strong number, and sent some of his people to reconnoitre the town. They found the castle well built and strong, and that it was held by the knights and men at arms of the Bishop of Bayeux. The town on the side of the water is very strong and large, and in one part of the town is an abbey as noble as can be, where William the Conqueror is buried; it is enclosed with walls and large and strong battlemented towers; no person remained in the abbey; and in another quarter of the town was another noble abbey of ladies, and nobody remained in the said abbeys nor in the town on that side of the water, where the castle was; and the inhabitants had gone over to the town on the other side of the water, where were the constable of France and the chamberlain of Tankerville, who is a very great lord, and many gentlemen, to the number of five or six hundred, and the commons of the town. The people of our host attacked the bridge without command and without order. The bridge had been strengthened with battlements and barriers, and there was much to do, for the French defended it very stoutly, and they bore much before they gave way; and then the said constable and chamberlain were taken together with about a hundred knights, and six or seven score esquires. A great multitude of knights, esquires, and others, people of the town, were slain in the streets, houses and gardens; no one can tell how many people of note, for the bodies were so despoiled they could not be known. No gentleman was slain on our side, except one esquire, who was badly wounded and died two days afterwards. Wine, provisions, and other goods, and moveables without number, were found in the town, which is larger than any town in England, except London. When the king left La Hogue, two hundred ships remained, which were taken to Rothemasse; then the country was burnt two or three leagues inland, and many things were taken and brought to the ships; they went as far as Cherbourg, which was a good town, with a strong castle and a handsome and noble abbey; they burnt the said city and abbey, and the whole country on every side, from the sea at Rothemasse to the army at the haven of Caen, a distance of twenty-six English leagues. And the number of ships that were burnt was sixty-one ships of war, with castles before and behind, and twenty-three carracks, besides of other smaller vessels more than twenty-one; they also destroyed thirty tuns of wine. On the Thursday after the king had come before Caen, they of the city of Bions demanded of our lord the king, that they might surrender themselves and their city to him, and do him homage, but he would not admit them to any conditions, but that they should be saved from damage.”


§  This is given by Mr. Johnes in the original old French, but we considered it would be more agreeable to our readers to present it in an English dress, and have accordingly translated it. — ED.




WHEN the king had finished his business in Caen, and had sent his fleet to England, loaded with cloths, jewels, gold and silver plate, and a quantity of other riches, and upwards of sixty knights, with three hundred able citizens, prisoners; he then left his quarters and continued his march as before, his two marshals on his right and left, burning and destroying all the flat country. He took the road to Evreux*, but found he could not gain anything there, as it was well fortified. He went on towards another town called Louviers, which was in Normandy, and where there were many manufactories of cloth: it was rich and commercial. The English won it easily, as it was not inclosed; and having entered the town, it was plundered without opposition. They collected much wealth there; and, after they had done what they pleased, they marched on into the county of Evreux, where they burnt every thing except the fortified towns and castles, which the king left unattacked, as he was desirous of sparing his men and artillery. He therefore made for the banks of the Seine, in his approach to Rouen, where there were plenty of men at arms from Normandy, under the command of the earl of Harcourt, brother to sir Godfrey, and the earl of Dreux.

The English did not march direct towards Rouen, but went to Gisors, which has a strong castle, and burnt the town. After this, they destroyed Vernon§, and all the country between Rouen and Pont-de-l’Arche: they then came to Mantes¥ and Meulan**, which they treated in the same manner, and ravaged all the country round about. They passed by the strong castle of Roulleboise††, and everywhere found the bridges on the Seine broken down. They pushed forward until they came to Poissy‡‡, where the bridge was also destroyed; but the beams and other parts of it were lying in the river. The king remained here five days, whilst they were repairing the bridge, so that his army might pass over without danger. His marshals advanced very near to Paris, and burnt St. Germain-en-Laye§§, la Montjoie¶¶, St. Cloud¥¥, Boulogne near Paris and Bourg la Reine***. The Parisians were much alarmed, for Paris at that time was not inclosed. King Philip upon this began to stir, and having ordered all the pent-houses in Paris to be pulled down, went to St. Denis†††, where he found the king of Bohemia, the lord John of Hainault, the duke of Lorrain, the earl of Flanders, the earl of Blois, and great multitudes of barons and knights, ready to receive him. When the Parisians learnt that the king was on the point of quitting Paris, they came to him, and falling on their knees, said, “Ah, sire, and noble king, what are you about to do? to leave your fine city of Paris?” The king replied: “My good people, do not be afraid: the English will not approach you nearer than they have done.” He thus spoke in answer to what they had said, that “our enemies are only two leagues off: as soon as they shall know you have quitted us, they will come hither directly; and we are not able to resist them ourselves, nor shall we find any to defend us. Have the kindness, therefore, sire, to remain in your good city of Paris, to take care of us.” The king replied, “I am going to St. Denis, to my army, for I am impatient to pursue the English, and am resolved to fight with them at all events.”

The king of England remained at the nunnery of Poissy to the middle in August, and celebrated there the feast of the Virgin Mary. He sat at table in his scarlet robes without sleeves, trimmed with furs and ermines. He afterwards took the field, and his army marched as before: sir Godfrey de Harcourt, one of his marshals, had the command of the 159 vanguard, with five hundred men at arms, and about thirteen hundred archers. By accident, he fell in with a large party of the citizens of Amiens on horseback, who were going to king Philip at Paris, in obedience to his summons. He immediately attacked them with those under his command; but they made a good defence, as they were very numerous and well armed, and had four knights from Amiens with them. The engagement lasted a long time, and many were slain at the onset; but at last those from Amiens were overthrown, killed or taken prisoners. The English seized all their baggage and arms, and found many valuables; for they were going to the king excellently well equipped, and had but just quitted their city. Twelve hundred were left dead on the spot. The king of England entered the country of Beauvais, destroying all the flat country, and took up his quarters in a rich abbey called St. Messien, near to Beauvais‡‡‡, where he lodged one night. The morrow, as he was on his march, he by chance turned his head round and saw the abbey all in flames; upon which he instantly ordered twenty of those who had set fire to it to be hung, as he had most strictly forbidden that any church should be violated, or monastery set on fire. He passed near Beauvais without attacking it, for he was anxious to be as careful of his men and artillery as possible, and took up his quarters at a small town called Milly§§§. The two marshals passed so near to Beauvais, that they advanced to attack it and skirmish with the townsmen at the barriers, and divided their forces into three battalions; this attack lasted until the afternoon; for the town was well fortified and provided with everything, and the bishop was also there, whose exertions were of more service than those of all the rest. When the English found they could not gain anything, they set fire to the suburbs, which they burnt quite close to the gates of the town, and then came, towards evening, to where the king was.

The next day, the king and his whole army marched forward, burning and wasting all the country as they went, and lay that night at a village called Grandvillier. On the morrow, he passed near to Argis: his scouts not finding any one to guard the castle, he attacked and burnt it, and passing on, destroyed the country, and came to Poix¶¶¶, which was a handsome town with two castles. The lords of both were absent, and no one was there but two handsome daughters of the lord of Poix, who would have been soon violated, if two English knights, sir John Chandos and lord Basset, had not defended them. In order more effectually to guard them they brought them to the king, who, as in honour bound, entertained them most graciously: he inquired whither they would wish to go? they answered, To Corbie¥¥¥, to which place they were conducted in safety. The king of England lay that night in the town of Poix. The inhabitants of Poix, as well as those of the castles, had a conference with the marshals of the army, in order to save the town from being plundered and burnt. They offered to pay, as a ransom, a certain number of florins the ensuing day, as soon as the army should have marched off. On the morrow morning, the king and army departed, except some few, who remained behind, by orders of the marshals, to receive the ransom from the townsmen. When the inhabitants were assembled together, and considered the small number of the English who were left with them, they resolved to pay nothing, told them so, and directly fell upon them. The English defended themselves gallantly, and sent after the army for succour. When lord Reginald Cobham and sir Thomas Holland, who commanded the rear-guard, were told of this, they cried out, “Treason! treason!” and returned back to Poix, where they found their countrymen still engaged with the townsmen. Almost all the inhabitants were slain, the town was burnt, and the two castles razed to the ground. The English then followed the king’s army, which was arrived at Airaines****, where he had ordered the troops to halt, and to quarter themselves for that night, strictly commanding, under pain of death, that no harm should be done to the town or inhabitants, by theft or otherwise; for he wished to remain there a day or two, in order to gain information where he could best cross the river Somme, which he was under the necessity of doing, as you will shortly hear.


*  An ancient town in Normandy, and a bishopric, twenty-eight leagues from Caen.

  Louviers, — in the diocese of Evreux. It still maintains its celebrity for the goodness of its cloths.

  Diocese of Rouen, fourteen leagues from Rouen.

§  Diocese of Evreux, thirteen leagues from Rouen.

  Diocese of Evreux, four leagues from Rouen.

¥  In the Isle of France, diocese of Chartres, nineteen leagues from Rouen.

**  In the Isle of France, ten leagues from Paris, twenty-three from Rouen.

††  A village in Normandy, election of Chaumont.

‡‡  In the Isle of France, seven leagues from Paris.

§§  In the Isle of France, five leagues from Paris.

¶¶  Q. if not Montjoye St. Denis.

¥¥  Isle of France, two leagues from Paris.

***  Isle of France, one league from Paris.

†††  Isle of France, two leagues from Paris.

‡‡‡  A city in the Isle of France, sixteen leagues from Paris.

§§§  A town in the diocese of Beauvais.

¶¶¶  Poix — a town in Picardy, six leagues from Amiens.

¥¥¥  Corbie, — a town in Picardy, four leagues from Amiens.

****  A town in Picardy, four leagues from Amiens.