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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. 384-397.



THE situation of the prince of Wales and the state of his affairs were well known to the neighbouring monarchs; particularly to the king of Arragon and king Henry; for they took great pains to gain information concerning them. They had been truly told how the barons of Gascony were gone to Paris, to wait on the king; and that all the country was beginning to rebel against the prince. This intelligence was not displeasing to either of the above-mentioned kings, especially king Henry, who looked forward to the conquest of Castille, which he had lost through the power of the prince of Wales.

King Henry took leave of the king of Arragon, and set out from the city of Valencia, accompanied by the viscounts de Roquebertin* and de Rhodez. They had with them three thousand men at arms and six thousand infantry, including some Genoese, who served for a subsidy. This body of men at arms advanced into Spain, to the city of Burgos, which instantly opened its gates, and surrendered to king Henry, receiving him as its lord. From thence they marched to Valladolid; for king Henry had received information that the king of Majorca had been left there, which gave him great joy.

When the inhabitants of Valladolid heard that those of Burgos had surrendered and had acknowledged king Henry, they no longer thought of making any resistance, or holding out against him, but surrendered also, and received king Henry as their lord, in the same manner as formerly. As soon as king Henry had entered the town, he inquired where the king of Majorca was lodged, and when the place was pointed out to him, he immediately, on his going thither, entered the hôtel and the room where he was confined by illness. King Henry advanced towards him, and said: “King of Majorca, you have been our enemy, and have entered our kingdom of Castille with a large army; for which reasons we lay our hands on you, and make you our prisoner, or you are a dead man.” The king of Majorca, 385 sensible of the difficulty of his situation, and that opposition would be of no avail, replied: “Sir, I am certainly dead, if you order it so; but I am very willing to surrender myself as your prisoner, and to you alone. If you intend to place me in any other’s hands, say so; for I had much rather die than fall into the hands of my adversary the king of Arragon.” “By no means whatever,” answered King Henry, “will I act so disloyally by you, for which, and with good reason I should be greatly blamed. You shall remain my prisoner for me to ransom or set at liberty according to my own will and pleasure.” Thus was the king of Majorca made prisoner, on his oath, by king Henry, who placed a numerous garrison in Valladolid, for the more securely guarding it, and then advanced towards the city of Leon in Spain, which immediately opened its gates on hearing he was marching that way.

Upon the surrender of the city of Leon to king Henry, the whole province of Galicia did the same, and changed their party. The principal barons and lords, who had lately done homage to the king don Pedro, came out to meet king Henry; for, notwithstanding their outward appearances of friendship to don Pedro during the presence of the prince of Wales, they could not love him, from the cruelties he had formerly exercised upon them, and from their doubts of what he might do in future; whilst king Henry had always treated them kindly: not only did he not oppress them, but promised to do them much good: all the country, therefore, returned to their allegiance to him.

Sir Bertrand du Guesclin had not as yet arrived in Spain, but was hastening to join king Henry with two thousand fighting men. He had left the duke of Anjou, who had put an end to the war in Provence, and broken up the siege of Tarascon by a capitulation with its inhabitants, the terms of which I do not know. He had therefore set out for Spain, attended by several French knights and squires, who were desirous of signalizing their prowess, and had already entered Arragon to join king Henry, who was laying siege to the town of Toledo.

News was brought to the king don Pedro of all these conquests; that the whole country was turning to his brother the Bastard, during the time he tarried in the neighbourhood of Seville, and on the borders of Portugal, where he was but little loved. Upon hearing these tidings, he was in a violent rage against his brother and against the Castillians, who had abandoned him, and declared with an oath, that he would avenge himself so severely upon them, they should be a warning to all others. He immediately issued his commands to all those from whom he expected help or service. He sent to some, however, who never came, but excused themselves to the best of their ability: whilst others turned to king Henry, and paid to him their homage. When the king don Pedro found his people were wavering, and failed to obey his summons, he began to be alarmed; he therefore applied to don Fernando de Castro for counsel, who had never yet deserted him. He advised him to collect as large a force as he could from all countries, as well in Granada as elsewhere, and to hasten to meet his brother before he should have made any farther progress into the kingdom.

Don Pedro did not hesitate following this advice, but sent to the king of Portugal, who was his cousin-german, from whom he had a large body of men; and also to the kings of Granada, Bellemarine, and Tramesames§; with whom he entered into alliances, and engaged to support them in their kingdoms, and not to make war against them for the space of thirty years. These kings, on their part, sent him upwards of twenty thousand Moors, to assist him in his war. Don Pedro used so much activity that he had assembled, as well Christians as Moors, forty thousand men, in the country round Seville.


While these treaties and negotiations were going forwards, and during the time of the siege of Toledo, sir Bertrand du Guesclin, with his body of two thousand men, arrived in the camp of king Henry, where he was received with great joy, as was naturally to be expected: the whole army were happy at his arrival. The king don Pedro, who, as I have already said, had assembled his whole force at Seville and in its environs, was desirous of giving his brother battle: he left Seville with his numerous army, in order to raise the siege of Toledo. There may be between these two places, Seville and Toledo, seven days’ march.

Intelligence was brought to the army of king Henry, that don Pedro was approaching with forty thousand men, including those of every description. He called a council, to consider what was to be done, to which all the French and Arragonian knights were summoned; and in particular sir Bertrand du Guesclin, by whose opinion they wished to act. Sir Bertrand gave the following advice, which was followed; namely, that king Henry should immediately collect as many of his army as he could spare from the siege, advance by forced marches to meet don Pedro, and, in whatever situation he should meet him, begin the battle; “For,” added he, “we have heard that he is marching against us with a strong army, and he would be too powerful, were he to come regularly upon us: let us, therefore, be beforehand with him, without his knowing anything of our intentions; that we may surprise him and his army so unexpectedly as to have the advantage, and, I doubt not, defeat him.“ This plan of sir Bertrand was applauded and followed. Towards evening, king Henry set out with a chosen body of men at arms, and left the command of the siege to his brother don Tello. On his march, he had his spies dispersed over the country, in order to bring him exact intelligence the moment they should see or hear of don Pedro and his army. And what condition they were in.

The king don Pedro was ignorant of everything his brother was doing, even of his marching to meet him; so that he and his army were advancing slowly, in a very disorderly manner. It fell out, that upon the dawn of day king Henry and his army met don Pedro and his force; for, the preceding night, he had slept in a castle called Montiel, where the lord of Montiel had received him with all possible honour and respect. He had left it very early in the morning, and was continuing his march in the same disorderly manner, for he never expected to fight that day, when suddenly king Henry, his brother don Sancho, sir Bertrand du Guesclin, by whose orders they acted, le bègue de Villaines, the lord de Roquebertin, the viscount de Rhodez, and their companies, with banners flying and prepared for action, came upon them: they might be six thousand fighting men: they advanced in very close order, and at a full gallop, so that they fell heavily and with a good will upon the first they met, crying out, “Castille for king Henry!” and “Our Lady, for Guesclin!” They overthrew and defeated all whom they first encountered, driving them before them. Many were slain and unhorsed; for none were made prisoners, according to the orders of sir Bertrand du Guesclin the preceding day, on account of the great number of Jews and infidels who were in don Pedro’s army.

When don Pedro, who was advancing with the largest division of his army, received the news that his van had been defeated by his brother the Bastard and the French, he was amazed where they could come from: he perceived that he had been betrayed, and was in danger of losing everything; for his men were very much dispersed; so that like a bold and valiant knight as he was, and of great resource and enterprise, he halted upon the spot, and ordered his banner to be displayed in the wind to rally his men. He sent orders for the rear to advance with all speed, for that the engagement was begun. Upon this all men of courage hastened towards his banner, which was fluttering in the wind. The battle now became more general and hot: many of don Pedro’s army were slain and unhorsed; for king Henry, sir Bertrand, and their friends, fought them so manfully, that none could stand before 387 them. The battle, however, was not so soon over: for don Pedro had such immense numbers, as to be at least six to one: but they were so closely followed that it was wonderful to see how they were discomfited and slain.

This battle of Spaniards against Spaniards, and the two brother kings, with their allies, near Montiel, was very grand and horrible. Many were the good knights on king Henry’s side; such as sir Bertrand du Guesclin, sir Geoffry Ricon, sir Arnold de Limousin, sir Gauvain de Bailleul, le bègue de Villaines, Alain de St. Pol, Aliot de Calais, and the Bretons who were there. From the kingdom of Arragon were the viscount de Rocaberti, the viscount de Rodais, with many other good knights and squires whom I cannot name, who performed various gallant deeds of arms, as in truth they had full need. They had strange people to encounter, such as Moors and Portuguese: the Jews who were there very soon turned their backs, and would not fight; but those from Granada and Bellemarine fought valiantly: they were armed with bows and lances, of which they made good use, and behaved themselves right well. Don Pedro was in the midst, and with intrepid courage fought so valiantly with his battle-axe that scarcely any dared to come near him.

King Henry drew up his division opposite to his brother, in very compact order, and full of bold combatants, who shouted loudly, making good use of their lances; so that the army of don Pedro was thrown into confusion, and those near his person began to be alarmed. Don Fernando de Castro, who had watched over the king his lord, soon perceived (so good was his judgment) that their army would be beaten; for they were too much frightened from having been so suddenly attacked: he therefore said to don Pedro, “Sir, save, yourself, and hasten back to the castle of Montiel, which you left this morning: if you retire thither, you will be in safety: but if you be taken, your enemies will slay you without mercy.” The king approved of this advice, set out directly on his retreat to the castle of Montiel, and arrived there so à-propos that he found the gates of the castle open, where he was received with only eleven followers.


While this was passing, the remainder of his men, who were dispersed over the plain, continued the combat as well as they could; for the Moors who were among them, and had not any knowledge of the country, were indifferent whether they were directly slain or suffered a long pursuit: they therefore sold their lives dearly. Others also acted marvellously well.

Intelligence was brought to king Henry and to sir Bertrand, that don Pedro had retreated to the castle of Montiel, where he had shut himself up: that le bègue de Villaines and his men had pursued him to the castle, which had but one path to enter or come from it, and that le bègue had there placed himself and fixed his pennon. King Henry and sir Bertrand were delighted with this news: they were quite fatigued with this business of butchery. The pursuit lasted more than three long hours, and there were upwards of fourteen thousand killed and wounded: very few escaped; those who did were from that part of the country, and acquainted with its strong places. This battle was fought under Montiel, and in its environs, the 13th day of August, 1368.

After the defeat of don Pedro and his army, king Henry and sir Bertrand encamped themselves before the castle of Montiel, where don Pedro was: they surrounded it on all sides: for they said truly, that what they had hitherto done would be of no effect, unless they took the castle of Montiel with don Pedro, who had shut himself up in it. They sent the principal part of their force back to Toledo, in order to reinforce the besiegers, which was very agreeable to don Tello, who commanded there¥.

The castle of Montiel was of sufficient strength to have held out a considerable time, if it had been properly victualled; but when don Pedro entered it, there was not enough for four days, which much alarmed him and his companions. They were so strictly watched that a bird could not escape from the castle without being noticed. Don Pedro was in great anguish of heart at seeing himself thus surrounded by his enemies, well knowing that they would not enter into any treaty of peace or agreement with him; so that considering his dangerous situation, and the great want of provision in the castle, he was advised to attempt an escape with his eleven companions about midnight, and to put himself under the protection of God: he was offered guides that would conduct him to a place of safety.

They remained in the castle, with this determination, until midnight, when don Pedro, accompanied by don Fernando de Castro and others of the eleven companions, set out. It was very dark. At this hour the bègue de Villaines had the command of the watch, with upwards of three hundred men. Don Pedro had quitted the castle with his companions, and was descending by an upper path, but so quietly that it did not appear as if any one was moving: however, the bègue de Villaines, who had many suspicions, and was afraid of losing the object of his watch, imagined he heard the sound of horses’ feet upon the causeway: he therefore said to those near him: “Gentlemen, keep quiet: make no movement: for I hear the steps of some people. We must know who they are, and what they seek at such an hour. I suspect they are victuallers, who are bringing provision to the castle; for I know it is in this respect very scantily provided.” The bègue then advanced, his dagger on his wrist, towards a man who was close to don Pedro, and demanded, “Who art thou? Speak, or thou art a dead man.” The man to whom the bègue had spoken was an Englishmen, and refused to answer: he bent himself over his saddle, and dashed forwards. The bègue suffered him to pass; when addressing himself to don Pedro, and examining him earnestly, he fancied it was the king, notwithstanding the darkness of the night, from his likeness to king Henry his brother, for they very much resembled each other. He demanded from him, in placing his dagger on his breast, “And you, who are you? Name yourself, and surrender this moment, or you are a dead man.” In thus saying, he caught hold of the bridle of his horse, and would not suffer him to escape as the former had done.

King don Pedro, who saw a large body of men at arms before him, and found that he could not by any means escape, said to the bègue de Villaines, whom he recognised: “Bègue, 389 bègue, I am don Pedro king of Castille, to whom much wrong has been imputed, through evil counsellors. I surrender myself, and all my people, but twelve in number, as thy prisoners: we place ourselves under thy guard and disposition. I beseech thee, in the name of thy gentility, that thou put me in a place of safety. I will pay for my ransom whatever sum thou shalt please to ask; for, thank God, I have yet a sufficiency to do that; but thou must prevent me from falling into the hands of the Bastard.” The bègue (according to the information I have since received) replied, that he and his company might come with him in all security; for that his brother should not from him have any intelligence of what had happened.** Upon this consideration, they advanced when don Pedro was conducted to the tent of the bègue, and into the chamber of sir Lyon de Lakonet. He had not been there an hour, when king Henry and the viscount de Rocaberti, with their attendants, but not in great numbers, came thither. As soon as king Henry had entered the chamber where don Pedro was, he said, “Where is this son of a Jewish whore who calls himself king of Castille?” Don Pedro, who was a bold as well as a cruel man, stepped forward, and said: “Why thou art the son of a whore, and I am the son of Alphonso.” On saying this, he caught hold of king Henry in his arms, began to wrestle with him, and, being the strongest, threw him down under him upon une aubarde qu’on dit en François coeste de materats de soye††: placing his hand on his poniard, he would infallibly have killed him, if the viscount de Rocaberti had not been present, who seizing don Pedro by the legs, turned him over, by which means king Henry being uppermost, immediately drew a long poniard which he wore in his sash, and plunged it into his body. His attendants entered the tent, and helped to dispatch him. There were slain with him a knight from England called sir Raoul Heline, who had formerly had the surname of the Green Squire, and another esquire of the name of James Roland, because they had put themselves in postures of defence‡‡ . But no harm was done to don Fernando de Castro, nor to the rest of don Pedro’s attendants: they continued, therefore, prisoners to le bègue de Villaines and to sir Lyon de Lakonet. Thus died don Pedro, king of Castille, who had formerly reigned in great prosperity. Those who had slain him left him three days unburied, which was a pity for the sake of humanity; and the Spaniards made their jokes upon him.

On the morrow, the lord of Montiel came to surrender himself to king Henry, who received him graciously, as well as all those who returned to their allegiance. News was soon spread abroad of the death of don Pedro, to the great joy of his enemies and sorrow of his friends. When the king of Portugal heard in what manner his cousin don Pedro had been slain, he was mightily vexed at it, and swore he would have satisfaction for it. He immediately sent a challenge to king Henry, and made war upon him, remaining master of all the environs of Seville for one whole season. This, however, did not prevent king Henry from following his enterprise: he returned before Toledo, which surrendered to him as soon as it learnt the death of don Pedro; as did all the other parts of the country dependent on the crown of Castille. Even the king of Portugal did not wish to continue the war longer 390 against king Henry; so that there was a treaty of peace concluded between them, by means of the barons and prelates of Spain. King Henry, therefore, reigned in peace over all Castille. Sir Bertrand du Guesclin, sir Olivier de Mauny, and some others from France, Brittany, and Arragon, continued with him, to whom king Henry behaved very handsomely: indeed, he was in justice bound so to do, for without their aid he would never have been able to have accomplished this business. Sir Bertrand du Guesclin was made constable of Spain, and received the estate of Soria, worth twenty thousand francs a-year. The king gave to his nephew, sir Olivier de Mauny, the estate of Crecte, worth ten thousand francs a-year: and so on to the other knights with such liberality that they were all contented. King Henry went to Burgos with his queen and children, to hold his court there, which he did in a princely style§§. The kings of France and of Arragon, as well as the duke of Anjou, who loved him personally, were very much rejoiced at the fortunate event of the war.

About this time died the lord Lionel of England, who had crossed the Alps, as has been before related, and had taken for his wife the daughter of the lord Galeas Visconti, sovereign of Milan. But, as his death appeared extraordinary¶¶, the lord Edward Despenser, his companion, who had remained with him, declared war against Galeas, and slew many of his subjects at different times: at last, however, the earl of Savoy made peace between them. Let us now return to what was going forwards in the duchy of Aquitaine.


*  Rocaberti. — Ferrera’s Hist. Gen. d’Espagne, translated by d’Hermilly.

  The king of Majorca was afterwards ransomed by his wife, the too celebrated Joan of Naples, whose third husband he was, for 28,000 florins of gold. — Vie de Du Guesclin.

  “The duke of Anjou and Bertrand du Guesclin having crossed the Rhône, laid siege to Tarascon, which is opposite to Beaucaire, the 4th March, 1368. The real history of this siege is unknown to us; for we cannot place any reliance on the different authors of the life, or rather romance of Bertrand du Guesclin, who relate various circumstances about it. What may be depended on is, that the duke of Anjou, having besieged Tarascon by sea and land, the inhabitants, who had an understanding with him, delivered up the town, of which he made himself master.” — Hist. Gen. de Languedoc, vol. iv. p. 336.

§  Bellemarine — Tramesames. Probably Benmarin and Tremecen, kingdoms in Barbary.

Neither Mariana nor Ferreras makes mention of any other king than Mahomet king of Granada, who joined don Pedro with six thousand cavalry and about thirty thousand men. — Hist. Gen. de l’Espagne, vol. v. p. 400.

  M. Dillon, in his history of Peter the Cruel, says, “While Henry lay before Toledo, ambassadors arrived at his camp from Charles V. of France, who sent his chamberlain, Francis de Perelles, viscount de Rhodez, and John de Ric, lord of Neburis, to acquaint him, that war was declared between England and France, &c.” — Vol, II. p. 104.

This John de Ric may perhaps be the Geoffry Ricon of Froissart.

¥  M. Dillon says, the Manrique, archbishop of Toledo, assisted by some able officers, had the command of the blockade of Seville, when Henry marched to meet don Pedro; and that don Tello had joined the king of Navarre in spoiling the kingdom of Spain.

**  There are different accounts of this affair. Ferreras attributes the capture of don Pedro to Bertrand du Guesclin, and not much to his honour: but I cannot believe this, as avarice was not a vice of such gallant men, and am inclined to believe Froissart has been rightly informed.

††  Not knowing how to translate this, I have left it as in the original. Du Cange, in the last volume of his Glossary, refers the word aubarde to abbarda, in the first volume of the Supplement, which is as follows: “Abbarda, Clitella — adde Provincialibus bardo, nostris olim barde, equi armatura. Aubarde vero dixerunt, pro culcitra, vulgo coite de matelas. Froissart,” (quoting the expressions in the text.) Albardacha. — Gall. Hallebarde. Vide supra Alabarda. — Du Cange. [Une aubarde qu’on dit en François coeste de materais de soye, that is “an aubarde, or, as it is called in French, a silken counterpane or quilt;” literally the silk covering of a mattrass. Lord Berners translates it a bench, and probably he is not far wrong. According to the quotation from Du Cange, the original meaning of the word was a war-saddle, which might not unnaturally be applied to the camp-bed of a tent, which serves for a seat or a couch as occasion requires, and may thence be aptly likened to a soldier’s saddle, which serves him for a pillow in a bivouac. As Froissart however confines the meaning to the covering of the couch, this conjecture may very possibly be wrong, but in that case the etymology still escapes us.] — ED.

‡‡  “With this unfortunate monarch there also fell two gallant Englishmen, who were slain for having drawn their swords in his defence when grappling with Henry. These were sir Ralph Holmes and James Rowland. The life of Fernando de Castro was spared, on account of his long attachment and fidelity to his sovereign.

“Don Fernando de Castro, after the death of king Peter, made his escape into Portugal, and afterwards retired to Guienne, where he died. Over his tomb was placed the following inscription: AQUI YACE DON FERNANDO PEREZ DE CASTRO, TODA LA FIDELIDAD DE ESPANA.” — Dillon’s Hist. of Peter the Cruel, vol. ii. p. 119.

§§  “King Henry assembled the states of the realm at Medina d’el Campo, to make arrangements for recompensing the French and other knights. They paid Bertrand du Guesclin one hundred and twenty thousand gold florins. The king also gave Soria, Almazan, Atiença, Montéagudo, and Seron, with their dependencies, to sir Bertrand: to Olivier de Mauny, Agreda: Ribadéo, with the title of count, to the Viguer de Villames, whom he married to a lady of the Guzman family: Aquilar de Campo to Geoffry Relor, and Villalpand to Arnold Solier.” — Ferreras Hist. d’Espagne, vol. v., pp. 414, 415.

¶¶  “Anno Domini 1367, et regni 42 Edwardi, Leonellus dux Clarentiæ obit in natali S. Mariæ ut fertur, potionatus.” — Lelandi Collectanea, vol. i. p. 251.

“Quo anno (1368), mense Aprilis, leonellus dux Clarenciæ, regis Edwardi tertii filius, cum electa multitudine nobilium Anglicorum transivit versus Mediolanum, an accipendum in uxorem filiam domini Gallias, domini Mediolani, cum qua medietatem ejusdem dominii fuerat habiturus. Sed tamen modico tempore super conjuge vel dominio gaudere permissus est, morte (Quæ cuncta disjungit & separat) mox præventus. Celebrato nempe inter eos cum maxima gloria matrimonio, Leonellus, circa festum nativitatis beatæ Mariæ proximo sequentem diem clausit extremum.” — Tho. Walsingham Hist. Angli. Edw. III. pp. 132, 3.

“Moreover, at the coming of Leonell, such abundance of treasure was in the most bounteous manner spent, in making of most sumptuous feasts, setting forth stately sights, and honouring with rare gifts above two hundred Englishmen who accompanied his son-in-law, as it seemed to surpass the greatness of the most wealthy princes; for the banquet at which Francis Petrarch was present among the chiefest guests, had about thirty courses of service at the table, and betwixt every course there were as many presents of wondrous price intermixed; all of which John Galeasius, chief of the choice youth, bringing to the table, did offer to Leonell. There were in one only course seventy goodly horses, adorned with silk and silver furniture; and in another silver vessels, falcons, hounds, armour for horses, costly coats of mail, breast-plates glistering of massy steel, helmets and corselets decked with costly crests, apparelled distinct with costly jewels, soldiers’ girdles, and lastly, certain gems by curious art set in gold and purple, and cloth of gold for men’s apparel in great abundance. And such was the sumptuousness of that banquet, that the meats which were brought from table would sufficiently have served ten thousand men. But not long after, Leonell, living with his new wife, whilst after the manner of his own country, as forgetting or not regarding his change of air, he addicted himself overmuch to untimely banquetings, spent and consumed with a lingering sickness, died at Alba.”

This account from Stowe, pp. 267, 268, edition 1631, seems very naturally to account for the death of the duke of Clarence, without supposing it caused by treachery.

For a more particular account of this entertainment, see Corio’s History of Milan, printed at Milan, 1503.



WE have before related how the prince had been advised to raise a hearth-tax in his dominions: by which many thought themselves over-burdened, especially the Gascons; for those of the low countries of Poitou, Saintonge, and la Rochelle had acceded to it with tolerable good humour, as living nearer the residence of their prince, and as being more obedient and tractably disposed to the ordinances of their lords, more to be depended on, and firmer in their allegiance than those from the more distant parts of the country.


In order to carry these intentions of the prince into effect, several parliaments were held at Niort, Angoulême, Poitiers, Bordeaux, and Bergerac: but the Gascons declared they would never pay this tax, nor suffer it to be laid upon their lands, and asserted, that they had an appeal to the courts of the king of France. This claim of appeal much angered the prince, who answered, that they had no such appeal; for that the king of France had surrendered all right to appeals and jurisdictions, when he had given these territories to his lord and father, as was fully apparent by the treaties of peace; for that the negotiators of this peace had not reserved the slightest article whereby an appeal to the king of France could be made. To this the Gascons replied, that it was not lawful for the king of France, nor in his power, nor had ever been in his power, to free them from appealing to him, without the will of the prelates, barons, cities, and principal towns of Gascony, who would never have consented to it, nor ever will consent to it, if it were to be proposed, because it would be the cause of a perpetual warfare with France.

Thus were the prince and the barons of Gascony quarrelling with each other; for either party supported his own opinion, and maintained that it was the right. The earl of Armagnac, the earl of Comminges, the lord d’Albret, the earl of Perigord, and several other barons from Gascony, remained quiet at Paris, near the person of the king, and at his leisure moments informed his majesty, that the prince, through pride and presumption, was desirous of trampling them under his feet, and oppressing them with taxes upon their lands which had not been heard of before, and which they would never permit to be levied. They demonstrated to the king, that they had an appeal to him, and demanded that the prince should be summoned before the parliament and the peers, to answer for their grievances and oppressions he intended to lay on them.

The king of France listened with complacency to these lords of Gascony, when they requested from him help and assistance as from their sovereign lord, adding, that should he refuse it to them, they would withdraw their allegiance, and apply to some other court; so that, for fear of losing his claim to this sovereignty, he in the end complied with their request. He was, however, sensible that this affair must cause a war, which he was desirous not to begin without some appearance of right: besides, his kingdom was not recovered from the effects of the late war, nor from the oppressions of the free companies and other enemies. In addition also to these reasons, his brother the duke of Berry was still a hostage in England; so that he was determined to act with prudence and caution.

About this time, sir Guy de Ligny, earl of St. Pol, had returned to France from England, without permission of the English, by a very ingenious trick. As the full detail of it would take a considerable time, I pass it over. This earl hated the English more than words can express, and took much pains that the king of France should accede to the request of the Gascon lords; for he was well aware, that if the prince of Wales were summoned to appear before the parliament, it would create a war. Many prelates, barons, earls and knights of France had united themselves with the earl of St. Pol, and had told the king, that the king of England had not in any way maintained the peace, nor paid any respect to what he had sworn and sealed, according to the tenor of the treaties which had been made at Bretigny near Chartres, and afterwards confirmed at Calais; for the English had carried on the war with France in an underhand manner, as much, if not more, since the peace had been made than before. They remonstrated with the king on the subject, adding, that if he would have the articles and treaty of peace read, which had been accepted by the king of England and his eldest son upon their faith and oath, he would find the truth of what they had told him.

Upon this, the king of France, to be better informed, and to preserve the rights of his crown, ordered all the papers relative to the last peace, to be brought to the council-chamber, where they were read several times, that the different points and articles might be fully examined. They were very carefully inspected, and among them they found one relating to the territories given up, which the king and his council fixed on with greater attention, because it spoke fully and clearly on the subject they were desirous to discuss. The paper was in these terms:

“Edward, by the grace of God, king of England, lord of Ireland and of Aquitaine, to all those to whom these present letters shall come, greeting. Know all, that in the agreement 392 and final peace entered into between our very dear brother the king of France and ourselves, there are two articles of the following tenor: Item, the aforesaid kings shall be found to have all the before-mentioned things confirmed by our holy father the pope; and they shall be strengthened by oaths, sentences, and censures of the court of Rome, and by every other bond in the strongest manner possible: and there shall be obtained from the aforesaid court of Rome dispensations, absolutions, and letters in regard to the perfecting and accomplishing this present treaty, which shall be forwarded to the different parties within three weeks at the latest after the king shall be arrived at Calais. Item, in order that the aforesaid things, which have been gone through and treated of, may be more firm and stable, the securities which follow shall be given; that is to say, letters drawn up in the best possible manner by the councils of the two kings, and sealed with the seals of the two kings, and also with the seals of their two eldest sons. The aforesaid kings, their eldest sons, and their children, as others of the branches of the royal family, and of the principal nobility of their kingdoms, to the number of twenty, shall swear they will keep, and help to keep as far as in them lies, all these articles which have been made, entered into and agreed upon, and will keep them without doing anything contrary, either by fraud, malice, or by any hindrance whatever. And if there should be any persons in the two before-mentioned kingdoms of France and England who shall be rebellious, and not consenting to the aforesaid treaties, the two aforesaid kings together shall use every exertion of body, fortune, and friends, to bring the aforesaid rebels into true obedience, according to the form and tenor of the aforesaid treaty. And withal the two aforesaid kings will submit themselves and their kingdoms to the coercion of our holy father the pope, in order that he may constrain by ecclesiastical censures, or other proper means, him who shall be rebellious, according to what shall be thought reasonable. And among the securities and assurances aforesaid, the two kings shall renounce for themselves and their heirs, upon their faith and oath, all wars and actions of war: and if through disobedience, rebellion, or power of some of the subjects of the kingdom of France, or through any other just cause, the king of France shall not be able to accomplish and fulfill all the things aforesaid, the king of England aforesaid, his heirs and kingdom, or any of them, shall not make war, nor cause war to be made, upon the aforesaid king of France, nor upon his heirs nor kingdom; but both together shall unite and exert themselves in bringing back the aforesaid rebels to their proper obedience, and to the fulfilling the aforesaid things. And also, if in the aforesaid kingdom, and under the obedience of the king of England, there should be any not willing to surrender and give up those castles, towns, or fortresses which they hold in the kingdom of France, nor to obey the aforesaid treaty: or if, through any just cause, the king of England shall be prevented from accomplishing what is laid down in the aforesaid treaty, neither the king of France, his heirs, or any one for them, shall make war upon the king of England, nor upon his kingdom; but bothe of them together will, with all their might, endeavour to regain the aforesaid castles, towns, and fortresses, and to bring back such rebels to their proper obedience, so that the perfect fulfilment of the aforesaid treaties may be wrought. And there shall be mutually given on both parts, according to the nature of the act, every sort of security which may be devised, as well by the pope and college of Rome as by others, for the maintaining the peace and other articles of the treaty. For which reasons, wishing to preserve and cherish a perpetual peace and love between us and our aforesaid brother and kingdom of France, we have renounced, and by these presents do renounce, all war and offensive acts against our brother aforesaid, his heirs and successors, the kingdom of France, and his subjects. And we promise and swear, and have promised and sworn upon the body of JESUS CHRIST, for ourselves and successors, that we will not do, nor suffer to be done, any act or word against this renunciation, nor against anything contained in these aforesaid articles. And if we should do or suffer to be done anything to the contrary, which God forbid, we are willing to be reported false, wicked and perjured, and to incur such blame and infamy as a consecrated and crowned king ought to incur in similar cases. We renounce all idea of importuning any dispensation or absolution from the pope from our oath aforesaid; and if obtained, we declare it to be null and of no weight, and that no advantage whatever ought to be made of it. In order more fully to strengthen the aforesaid declarations, we submit ourselves, our heirs and successors, to the jurisdiction and coercion of the church of 393 Rome, and will and consent that our holy father the pope confirm all these things by ordering monitory and general mandates for the accomplishment of them, against us, our heirs and successors, and against our subjects, (whether commonalties, universities, colleges, or private persons of whatever description,) and by granting sentences of excommunication, suspension, or interdict, to be incurred by us or by them, as soon as we or they shall attempt to do anything contrary to these articles, by occupying towns, castles, fortresses, or any other act, by giving comfort, aid, advice, or assistance, that may be in any way infringe upon the true meaning of this treaty.

“We have caused our very dear eldest son, Edward, prince of Wales, to swear to the aforesaid articles, in like manner as ourself; and also our younger sons, Lionel earl of Ulster, John earl of Richmond, and Edmund of Langley; and also our dear cousin Philip de Navarre, the dukes of Lancaster and Brittany, the earls of Stamford and Salisbury, the lord of Manny, the captal de Buch, the lord de Montfort, lord James Audley, sir Roger Beauchamp, sir John Chandos, lord Ralph Ferrers, lord Edward de Spenser, sir William and sir Thomas Felton, sir Eustace d’Ambreticourt, sir Franque van Halle, sir John Moubray, sir Bartholomew Burghersh, sir Henry Percy, and several other knights. And we will have the aforesaid articles in like manner sworn to, as soon as we well can, by our other children, and by the greater part of our prelates, churchmen, earls, barons, and other nobles of our realm. In witness whereof, we have affixed our seal to these presents, given in our town of Calais, the 24th day of October, in the year of grace 1360*.”

Among other letters which had been drawn up, as well at Bretigny near Chartres as at Calais, during king John’s residence there, was the above letter, now under examination of king Charles, his eldest son, and the principal persons of his council. After it had been maturely considered by the prelates and barons of France who had been summoned to this council, they told the king, that neither the king of England nor the prince of Wales had kept or fulfilled the articles of the treaty of Bretigny; but, on the contrary, had taken possession of castles and towns by force, and had remained in the aforesaid kingdom of France, to its great loss; where they had pillaged and ransomed its subjects, by which means the payment for the redemption of the late king John was still part in arrear: that upon this, and upon other points, the king of France and his subjects had good right and just cause to break the peace, to make war upon the English, and deprive them of the possessions they had on this side the sea.

The king was also secretly advised, after much deliberation, in such words as these: “Dear sire, undertake with courage this war: you have a very good cause to induce you to do so: and know, that as soon as you shall have determined upon it, you will find that many in the duchy of Aquitaine will turn to your side; such as prelates, barons, earls, knights, squires, and citizens of the principal towns; for as the prince proceeds in levying this hearth-tax, in the same proportion will hatred and ill-will follow from all ranks, as they will be very miserable should he succeed in his attempt. As for those of Poitou, Saintonge, Rouergue, Quercy, and La Rochelle, from their nature they cannot love the English, who, in their turn, being proud and presumptuous, have not any affection for them, nor ever had. Add to this, that the officers of the prince are such extortioners, as to lay their hands on whatever they can find, and levy such heavy taxes, under the name of the prince, that they leave nothing to the subject: besides, the gentlemen of the country cannot obtain any offices, for they are all seized on by the English knights attached to the prince.”

By these arguments, the king of France was determined to declare war; and the duke of Anjou, who at that time was at Toulouse, took great pains to bring it about; for he was very desirous that the war should be renewed with the English, as he was one who could not love them for some affronts they had put upon him in former times.

On the other hand, the Gascons frequently said to the king of France; “Dear sire, we insist that we have an appeal to your court, (and therefore supplicate you to do us justice, as being the most upright prince in the world,) in regard to the great injuries and extortions which the prince of Wales and his people want to impose against us. Should you refuse, 394 however, to do us right, we will seek for it in other courts, and we will place ourselves under that lord who will exert himself to preserve our rights; by which means you may lose the principality.”

The king of France, who very unwillingly would have suffered this loss, for it would have been of the greatest prejudice to his kingdom, made a courteous reply: “That never, for want of law or advice should they apply to any other court than his own; but it was proper such affairs should be treated with much deliberation and prudence.” In this manner, he kept them in expectation for one year, detaining them privately at Paris; where, besides paying all their expenses, he made them handsome presents and gave them rich jewels. He, however, inquired secretly, whether, in case the peace should be broken, and war with the English recommence, they would support him: they replied, that he ought not to be alarmed, nor prevented from carrying on the war in their country, as they were sufficiently able to make head against the prince, and the force he could employ.

The king at the same time, sounded those of Abbeville, if they would return to their allegiance, and become good Frenchmen: they desired nothing more earnestly than to do so, for much did they hate the English. Thus did the king of France acquire friends on all sides: otherwise, he would not have dared to act as he did. At this time was born Charles of France, eldest son to the king of France, in the year of grace 1368, which gave great joy to the kingdom. Before this time, had been born Charles d’Albret. The birth of these two children, who were cousins-german, was highly pleasing to the whole realm, but particularly to the king of France.


*  See this and other treaties, in the Fœdera, relative to the peace of Bretigny.

  Very probably for having escaped dishonourably from England, where he was an hostage for his father king John.



THE king of France was so strongly advised by his council, and so strenuously entreated by the Gascons, that an appeal was drawn up, and sent to Aquitaine, to summon the prince of Wales to appear before the parliament of Paris. It was in the names of the earl of Armagnac, the lord d’Albret, the earls of Perigord and of Comminges, the viscount of Carmaing, the lords de la Barde and de Pincornet, who were the principal appellants. In this appeal, the said Gascons complained of certain oppressive grievances which the prince of Wales and of Aquitaine was about to inflict on them and their vassals; and that the said Gascons appealed to and claimed the jurisdiction of the king of France, whom as a matter of right, they had chosen for their judge. When this appeal from the said barons and lords of Gascony had been well drawn out, and reduced to writing, after different corrections in the best possible manner by the wisest of the French council, and after it had been very fully considered, they resolved that it should be signified to the prince of Wales, that they summoned him to appear in person, in the chamber of peers at Paris, to answer the complaints made against him and attend the judgment: to which effect, orders were given to an eloquent lawyer, that the business might be more properly done, and a very noble knight of Beauce, called Caponnel de Caponnal.

These two commissioners left Paris with their attendants, taking the road towards Bordeaux. They passed through Berry, Touraine, Poitou, Saintonge, and came to Blaye, where they crossed the Garonne: from thence they went to Bordeaux, where the prince and princess at that time resided, more than at any other place. These commissioners declared wherever they passed, that they were come by orders of the king of France; by which means they were in all places well received. When they entered the city of Bordeaux, they took up their quarters at an inn (for it was late, about the hour of vespers), and remained there all that night. On the following day, at a proper hour, they went to the abbey of St. Andrew, where the prince of Wales kept his court.

The knights and squires of the prince received them kindly, out of respect to the king of France, by whom they said they were sent. The prince of Wales was soon informed of their arrival, and ordered them to be brought to him. When they came into his presence 395 they bowed very low, and saluted him with great respect (as was on every account his due, and they well knew how to pay it), and then gave him their credential letters. The prince took them, and after having read every word, said, “You are welcome; now communicate all that you have to say to us.” “Respected sir,” said the lawyer, “here are letters which were given to us by our honoured lord the king of France; which letters we engaged on our faith to publish in your presence, for they nearly relate to you.” The prince upon this changed colour, from his great difficulty to conjecture what they could relate to: the barons and knights who were with him were equally astonished: but he restrained himself, and added, “Speak, speak: all good news we will cheerfully hear.” The lawyer then opened the letter and read, word for word, the contents of it, which were:

“Charles, by the grace of God king of France, to our nephew the prince of Wales and Aquitaine, health. Whereas several prelates, barons, knights, universities, fraternities and colleges of the country and district of Gascony, residing and inhabiting upon the borders of our realm, together with many others from the country and duchy of Aquitaine, have come before us in our court, to claim justice for certain grievances and unjust oppressions which you, through weak counsel and foolish advice, have been induced to do them, and at which we are much astonished. Therefore, in order to obviate and remedy such things, we do order and command you to appear in our city of Paris in person, and that you shew and present yourself before us, in our chamber of peers, to hear judgment pronounced upon the aforesaid complaints and grievances done by you to your subjects, who claim to be heard, and to have the jurisdiction of our court. Let there be no delay in obeying this summons, but set out as speedily as possible after having heard this order read. In witness whereof, we have affixed our seal to these presents. Given at Paris, the 25th day of January, 1369.”



WHEN the prince of Wales had heard this letter read, he was more astonished than before. He shook his head; and after having eyed the said Frenchmen, and considered awhile, he replied as follows: “We shall willingly attend on the appointed day at Paris, since the king of France sends for us; but it will be with our helmet on our head, and accompanied by sixty thousand men.” The two Frenchmen, upon this, fell on their knees, saying, “Dear sir, have mercy, for God’s sake: do not bear this appeal with too much anger nor indignation. We are but messengers sent by our lord the king of France, to whom we owe all obedience (as your subjects in like manner do to you), and to whom it is proper we should pay it: therefore, whatever answer you shall wish to charge us with, we will very willingly report it to our lord.” “Oh no,” replied the prince, “I am not in the least angry with you, but with those who sent you hither. Your king has been ill advised, thus to take the part of our subjects, and to wish to make himself judge of what he has nothing to do with, nor any right to interfere in. It shall be very clearly demonstrated to him, the when he gave possession and seisin of the whole duchy of Aquitaine to our lord and father, or to his commissaries, he surrendered also all jurisdiction over it; and all those who have now appealed against us, have no other court to apply to but that of England, and to our lord and father. It shall cost a hundred thousand lives, before it shall be otherwise.” On saying this, the prince quitted them, and entered another apartment, leaving them quite thunderstruck.

Some English knights came to them, and said: “My lords, you must go from hence, and return to your hôtel; you have well executed the business you came here upon, but you will not have any other answer to it than what you have just heard.” The knight and lawyer returned to their inn, where having dined, they soon after packed up their baggage, and mounting their horses, set out from Bordeaux, taking the road to Toulouse, to relate to the duke of Anjou what they had done.

The prince of Wales was much cast down by this appeal which had been made against 396 him. His knights and barons were not in better spirits: they wished, and even advised the prince to kill the two messengers, as a salary for their pains; but the prince forbade it to be done. His thoughts, however, were ill-inclined to them: when he heard they were set out, and had taken the road towards Toulouse, he called sir Thomas Felton*, the high steward of Rouergue, sir Thomas de Pontchardon, sir Thomas Percy, his chancellor the bishop of Rhodez, and several others of his principal barons; of whom he asked, “Have these Frenchmen that are gone away any passports from me?” They answered, that they had heard nothing about it. “No,” replied the prince, shaking his head; “it is not right that they should so easily leave our country, and go to relate their prattle to the duke of Anjou, who loves us little, and say how they have summoned us personally in our own palace. They are, upon due consideration, messengers from my vassals, the earl of Armagnac, the lord d’Albret, the earls of Perigord, Comminges and of Carmaing, rather than from the king of France; so that, for the vexation they have given us, we consent they should be detained and thrown into prison.” The council of the prince were well pleased on hearing this, as it was before their advice, and said it had been but too long delayed.

The high steward of Agénois was charged with this commission: his name was sir William le Moine, a very gallant and noble knight of England: who immediately mounted his horse with his attendants, and left Bordeaux. He made such haste, in pursuing these Frenchmen, that he overtook them before they had passed the district of Agénois. Upon coming up with them, he arrested them under title of his office, and found another pretence for so doing without compromising the prince, whose name he never mentioned, but said, their host of the preceding evening had complained to him that they had taken one of his horses in mistake from his inn. The knight and lawyer were astonished on hearing this, and endeavoured to excuse themselves, but in vain, for they could not obtain their liberty. They were conducted to the city of Agen, and put in the prison of the castle. The English suffered some of their attendants to return to France, who, passing through Toulouse, related to the duke of Anjou every thing as it had happened. The duke was not much displeased thereat; for he thought it would be the beginning of the war, and prepared to take his measures accordingly.

News of the imprisonment of his commissioners was soon carried to the king of France; for their servants, being returned to court, told all they had seen and heard from their masters, in regard to the state, government and countenance of the prince of Wales; which, coming to the ears of the king, inflamed his anger: he was greatly vexed, and thought much upon it, as well as on the words of the prince, on receiving this appeal, namely, that he would attend the appeal in person, with his helmet on his head, accompanied by sixty thousand men. This haughty and proud answer occupied the mind of the king of France; he therefore, most prudently and wisely, began to make preparations for supporting the weight of this ensuing war; for in truth it was likely to be very heavy as well as hazardous, and to draw upon him the whole force of the king of England, against whom his predecessors had laboured so much in former times, as has been related in this history. But he was strongly solicited by the great lords of Guyenne on the other hand, who demonstrated to him the extortions of the English, and the great losses which this might in future occasion to him, the truth of which he well knew. What appeared to affect him the most, in beginning this war, was his consideration for the destruction of his poor people, which might continue for a long time, and the dangers and opprobium which his nobles had suffered from the last war.


*  Barnes says, sir Thomas Felton was sénéschal of Aquitaine, and sir Thomas Wake sénéschal of Rouergue.



THE king of France and his council, not regarding the haughty answer from the prince of Wales, made every preparation which might be necessary for the grand event about to take place. At this period, the lord John of France, duke of Berry, had returned home, through the favour of the king of England, who had granted him permission to remain a year in 397 France. He asked so prudently, and made so many different excuses, that he never went back; for the war speedily broke out, as you will hear related. Sir John de Harcourt had also returned to his own country, where his estates had been granted him, through the solicitations of sir Louis de Harcourt his uncle, who was from Poitou, and at the time one of the prince’s knights. Sir John de Harcourt fell sick, which happened to him very opportunely: for it lasted until the renewal of the war, so that he never again returned to England.

Sir Gray de Blois, who at that time was a young squire, and brother to the earl of Blois, obtained his liberty also; for when he perceived that the king of France, for whom he was hostage, had not thought of ransoming him, he made overtures to the lord de Coucy, who had married one of the king’s daughters, and who had a very great revenue in right of his wife, assigned to him on the king’s treasury. This treaty advanced so well between the king, his son-in-law, and sir Guy, that the latter, with the permission of his two brothers Louis and John, and with the consent of the king of France, gave up wholly and absolutely into the hands of the king of England, the county of Soissons; which county the king of England gave again, and presented to the lord de Coucy, who released it for four thousand livres a-year annual rent. Thus were these agreements and covenants finished. The earl Peter d’Alençon had, through the good will of the king of England, returned also to France, where he remained so long, and made so many excuses, that he never went back to resume his duty as hostage; but, I believe, at last he paid thirty thousand francs, to acquit his faith and oath.

Before this time, a fortunate circumstance happened to duke Louis de Bourbon, who was one of the hostages in England. By favour of the king of England, he had returned to France; and while he was at Paris with his brother-in-law king Charles, it chanced that the bishop of Winchester, chancellor of England, died. There was at that time a priest in England of the name of William of Wykeham: this William was so high in the king’s grace that nothing was done, in any respect whatever, without his advice. When the chancellorship and bishopric thus became vacant, the king of England immediately wrote to the duke of Bourbon, at the request and prayer of the said William to beg of him, through the affection he had for him, to go to the holy father Urban, and prevail on him to grant the vacant bishopric of Winchester to his chaplain; and that, in return, he would be very courteous to him as to his ransom.

When the duke of Bourbon received the messengers with the letters from the king of England, he was much pleased, and explained to the king of France what the king of England and sir William wanted him to do. The king advised him to go to the pope. The duke therefore, with his attendants, immediately set out and travelled, until they came to Avignon, where pope Urban resided, for he had not as yet set out for Rome. The duke made his request to the holy father, who directly granted it, and gave to him the bishopric of Winchester, to dispose of it as he should please; and if he found the king of England courteous and liberal as to his ransom, he was very willing that Wykeham should have this bishopric. The duke upon this returned to France, and afterwards to England, where he entered into a treaty with the king and his council for his ransom, shewing at the same time his bulls from the pope. The king, who loved Wykeham very much, did whatever he desired. The duke had his liberty, on paying twenty thousand francs; and sir* William Wykeham was made bishop of Winchester and chancellor of England.

In this manner, the French lords who were hostages in England obtained their liberty. We will now return to the war in Gascony, which first broke out on account of the appeal that has been already spoken of.


*  “The custom of prefixing the addition of Sir to the Christian name of a clergyman was formerly usual in this country. Fuller, in his Church History, book vi., enumerates seven chauntries, part of a much larger number, in the old cathedral of St. Paul, in the time of king Edward VI., with the names of the then incumbents, most of whom had the addition of sir; upon which he remarks, and gives this reason why there were formerly more sirs than knights: such priests as have the addition of sir before their Christian names were men not graduated in the university, being in orders, but not in degrees; whilst others, entitled masters, had commenced in the arts. This ancient usage is alluded to in the following humorous catch:

‘Now I am married, Sir John I’ll not curse;
He join’d us together for better or for worse.
But if I were single, I do tell you plain,
I’d be well advis’d, ere I married again.’ ”

Sir John Hawkin’s Hist. of Music, vol. ii. p. 518.