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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., Volume II, London: William Smith, 1848. pp. 210-228.



AT this period there was an achievement of arms performed by two knights at Bordeaux, in the presence of the séneschal, sir John Harpedon, and other noblemen. These knights were the lord de la Rochefoucault, son to the sister of the captal de Buch, and sir William de Montferrant, attached to the English interest. As this tilt was to be made before all the lords and ladies of Bordeaux, the count de Foix sent thither some knights if his household to advise and direct the lord de la Rochefoucault, who was the son of his cousin, all likewise different sorts of armour, daggers, battle-axes, and swords well tempered, although he had before properly provided himself with all things necessary. These knights armed themselves on the appointed day, and were attended by a numerous body of chivalry. The lord de la Rochefoucault was accompanied by two hundred knights and squires, all connected with him by blood; and Sir William de Montferrant by as many, if not more. Among the number were the lords de Rohan, de l’Esparre, de Duras, de Mucident, de Landuras, de Curton, de Languran, de la Barde, de Tarbe, de Mont-croyat in Perigord, who had come from distant parts because he was their relation, and to be spectators of the feats of arms of two such valiant knights.

When they were mounted, and had their helmets laced on, their spears and shields were given them. They instantly stuck spears into their horses, and met each other full gallop, with such force that the laces of the helmets burst asunder, and their helmets were knocked off, so that they passed each other bare-headed, excepting the caps which were under the helmets. “On my faith,” the spectators said, “they have gallantly performed their first course.” The knights now had their armour set to rights, and their helmets laced again, when they performed their second and third courses with equal ability. In short, they behaved, in every attack, most gallantly, and to the satisfaction of all present. The séneschal, sir John Harpedon, entertained at supper, that evening, all the lords and ladies in Bordeaux; and on the morrow the company departed, and went to their different homes. The lord de la Rochefoucault made preparations for his journey to Castille; for king John had sent to him, and the time was drawing nigh for him to set out. Sir William de Montferrant, when returned home, made also his preparations to cross the sea to Portugal; for that king had, in like manner, written to him.



IN such a grand and noble history as this, of which I, sir John Froissart, am the author and continuator until this present moment, through the grace of God, and that perseverance he has endowed me with, as well as in length of years, which have enabled me to witness abundance of the things that have passed, it is not right that I forget anything. During the wars of Brittany, the two sons of the lord Charles de Blois (who, for a long time styled himself duke of Brittany, in right of his lady, Jane of Brittany, who was descended in a 211 direct line from the dukes of Brittany, as has been mentioned in his history*) were sent to England as hostages for their father, where they still remain in prison; for I have not as yet delivered them from it, nor from the power of the king of England, wherein the lord Charles had put them.

You have before seen how king Edward of England, to strengthen himself in his war with France, had formed an alliance with the earl of Montfort, whom he had assisted, with advice and forces, to the utmost of his ability, insomuch, that the earl had succeeded to his wishes, and was duke of Brittany. Had he not been thus supported, the lord Charles de Blois would have possessed seven parts of Brittany and the early only five. You have read how, in the year 1347, there was a grand battle before la Roche-derrien, between the forces of the countess of Montfort, and of sir Thomas Hartwell and the lord Charles de Blois, in which the lord Charles was defeated, and carried prisoner to England. He was handsomely entertained there; for that noble queen of England, the good Philippi, (who, in my youth, was my lady and mistress,) was, in a direct line, his cousin-german. She did everything in her power to obtain his freedom, which the council were not willing to grant. Duke Henry of Lancaster, and the other barons of England, declared that he ought not to have his liberty; for he had too mighty connexions, and that Philip, who called himself king of France, was his uncle: that as long as they detained him prisoner, their war in Brittany would be the better for it. Notwithstanding these remonstrances, king Edward, through the persuasion of that noble and good lady, his queen, agreed to his ransom for two hundred thousand nobles; and his two sons were to be given as hostages for the payment of this sum, which was very considerable to the lord Charles, but would not now be so to a duke of Brittany. The lords of those days were differently situated from what they are at present, when greater resources are found, and they can tax their people at their pleasure. It was not so then, for they were forced to content themselves with the amount of their landed estates; but now, the duchy of Brittany would easily pay for the aid of its lord two hundred thousand nobles within the year, or within two years at farthest.

Thus were the two young sons of the lord Charles de Blois given up as hostages for the payment of his ransom. He had, afterward, in the prosecution of his war in Brittany, so much to pay his soldiers, and support his rank and state, that he could never, during his lifetime, redeem them. He was slain in the battle of Auray, defending his right, by the English allies of the earl of Montfort, and by none others. His death, however, did not put an end to the war; but, king Charles of France, ever fearing the effects of chance, when he saw the earl of Montfort was conquering all Brittany, suspected, should he wholly succeed, that he would hold the duchy independent of paying him homage for it; for he had already therefore negotiated with the earl, which, having been already mentioned§, I shall pass over here: but the earl remained duke of Brittany, on condition that the homage should be paid to his own right lord, the king of France. The duke was also bound, by the articles of the treaty, to assist in the deliverance of his two cousins, sons of the lord Charles de Blois, who were prisoners to the king of England. In this, however, he never stirred; for he doubted, if they should return, whether they would not give him some trouble, and whether Brittany, which was more inclined towards them than to him, would not acknowledge them as its lord.

For this reason he neglected them, and they remained so long prisoners in England, under the guard, at one time, of sir Roger Beauchamp, a gallant and valiant knight, and his lady Sybilla, at another under sir Thomas d’Ambreticourt, that the youngest brother, Guy of Brittany, died. John of Brittany was now alone prisoner, and frequently bewailed his situation with wonder; for he was sprung from the noblest blood in the world, the advantages of which he had been long deprived; for he had been thirty-five years in the power of his enemies, and, as he perceived no appearance of help coming to him from any quarter, he would rather have died than thus have existed. His relations and friends kept at a distance, and the sum he was pledge for was so great, that he could never have procured it, without 212 a miracle; for the duke of Anjou, ion all his prosperity, though the person who had married his sister-german, by whom he had two fine sons, Lewis and Charles, never once thought of him.

I will now relate how John of Brittany obtained his liberty. You have before read of the earl of Buckingham’s expedition, through France, to Brittany, whither the duke had sent for him, because the country would not acknowledge him for its lord. The earl and his army remained the ensuing winter, in great distress, before Nantes and Vannes, until the month of May, when he returned to England. During the time the earl of Buckingham was at Vannes, you may remember, there were some tilts between knights and squires of France and those of England, and that the constable of France was present. There was much conversation kept up by him and the English knights; for he was acquainted with them all, from his childhood, having been educated in England. He behaved very politely to many of them, as men at arms usually do, and the French and English in particular, to each other; but, at this moment, he was the more attentive, as he had an object in view, which occupied all his thoughts, and which he had only disclosed to a single person, who was squire of honour in his household, and had served the lord Charles de Blois in the same capacity. If the constable had made it more public, he would not have succeeded as he did, through the mercy of god, and his own perseverance.

The constable and duke of Brittany had for a long time hated each other, whatever outward appearances they might put on. The constable was much hurt at the length of the imprisonment of John of Brittany, and at a time when he was rather on better terms with the duke, said to him, &8212; “My lord, why do you not exert yourself to deliver your cousin from his imprisonment in England? You are bound to do so by treaty; for when the nobles of Brittany, the prelates and the principal towns, with the archbishop of Rheims, sir John de Craon, and sir Boucicaut, at that time marshal of France, negotiated with you for peace before Quimper Corentin, you swore you would do your utmost to liberate your cousins John and Guy, and as yet you have never done anything; know, therefore, that the country does not love you the more for it.” The duke dissembled, and said, “Hold your tongue, sir Oliver: where shall I find the three or four hundred thousand francs which are demanded for their liberty?” “My lord,” replied the constable, “if Brittany saw you were really in earnest to procure their freedom, they would not murmur at an tax or hearth-money that should be raised to deliver these prisoners, who will die in prison unless God assist them.” “Sir Oliver,” said the duke, “my country of Brittany shall never be oppressed by such taxes. My cousins have great princes for their relations; and the king of France or duke of Anjou ought to aid them in their deliverance, it was always my intention that the king of France and their other relations should find the money, and that I would join my entreaties.” The constable could never obtain more from the duke.

The constable, therefore, when at these tournaments at Vannes, saw clearly that the earl of Buckingham and the English barons and squires, were greatly dissatisfied with the duke of Brittany, for not having opened his towns to them, as he had promised, when they left England. The English near Hennebon and Vannes were in such distress, that they frequently had not wherewithal to feed themselves, and their horses were dying through famine: they were forced to gather thistles, bruise them in a mortar, and make a paste which they cooked. While they were thus suffering, they said; “this duke of Brittany does not acquit himself loyally of his promises to us, who have put him in possession of his duchy; and, if we may be believed, we can as easily take it from him as we have given it to him, by setting at liberty his enemy, John of Brittany, whom the country love in preference. We cannot any way revenge ourselves better, nor sooner make him lose the country. The constable was well informed of all these murmurs and discontents, which were no way displeasing to him: on the contrary, for one murmur he wished there had been twelve; but he took no notice of it, and only spoke of what he had heard to this squire, whose name, I think, was John Rolland.

It happened that sir John Charlton, governor of Cherbourg, came to château Josselin, where the constable resided, who entertained him and his company most splendidly; and to obtain their friendship, out of his special favour, escorted them himself until they were in 213 safety. During the time of dinner, the before-mentioned squire addressed sir John Charlton, saying, “Sir John, you can, if you please, do me a very great favour, which will cost you nothing.” “From friendship to the constable,” replied sir John, “I wish it may cost me something; what is it you wish me to do?” “Sir,” replied he, “that I may have your passport to go to England, to my master John of Brittany, whom I am more anxious to see than anything in the world.” “By my faith,” said sir John, “it shall not be my fault if you do not. On my return to Cherbourg, I shall cross over to England: come with me, therefore, and you shall accompany me, and I will have you conducted to him, for your request cannot be refused.” “A thousand thanks; my lord, I shall ever remember your goodness.” The squire returned, with sir John Charlton, to Cherbourg; when, having arranged his affairs, he embarked, and made straight for London, attended by John Rolland, whom he had conducted to the castle where John of Brittany did not, at first, recollect him; but he soon made himself known, and they had a long conversation, in which he told him, that if he would exert himself to procures his freedom, the constable would make the greatest efforts to second him. John of Brittany, desiring nothing more eagerly, asked, “By what means/” ‘I will tell you, my lord: the constable has a handsome daughter whom he wishes to marry, and if you will promise and swear, that on your return to Brittany you will marry her, he will obtain your liberty; as he has discovered the means of doing it.” John of Brittany replied, “he would truly do so;” adding, “when you return to the constable, assure him from me, that there is nothing I am not ready to do for my liberty, and that I accept of his daughter, and will cheerfully marry her.” They had several other conversations together before the squire left England and embarked for Brittany, where he related to the constable all that had passed. The constable, eager to advance himself and marry his daughter so nobly, was not dilatory in searching out means to obtain his end. He considered to whom he should address himself in England; and, had he not made choice of the earl of Oxford, he would never have succeeded; but, notwithstanding this nobleman had the complete government of the king, matters were not instantly brought about; for as long as the duke of Lancaster remained in England, he never mentioned anything concerning it to the king. The earl of Buckingham, on his return from Brittany, irritated the king and his brothers so much against the duke that it was publicly said, the duke had acted treacherously towards him and his army; and they were so greatly angered, that John of Brittany was summoned before the king and council when he was addressed as follows: — “John, if you be willing to hold the duchy of Brittany from the king of England, you shall have possession of it, and be married in this country as nobly as the present duke has been;” (for the duke of Lancaster was desirous of giving him his daughter Philippa, who was afterwards queen of Portugal.) John of Brittany replied, “that he would never consent to such a treaty, nor be an enemy to the crown of France: he would willing accept of the daughter of the duke of Lancaster, but he must first have his liberty.” On this, he was remanded to prison.

When the earl of Oxford, who now bears the title of the duke of Ireland, found the duke of Lancaster was landed in Castille, and all expectation of the connexion with John of Brittany broke off by his carrying his daughter with him, he resolved to solicit the king to give up to him John of Brittany, as a remunerations for past services, or for those he might perform If he succeeded, he could then treat with the constable of France, who had offered him, as the price of his ransom, six score thousand francs to be made in two payments of sixty thousand each: the first to be paid at Boulogne on the arrival of John of Brittany in that town, and the second in Paris which the place he had fixed on himself. The duke of Ireland coveted the money, and was so pressing with the king that he gave up John of Brittany absolutely to his disposal; which surprised all England, and caused much talking, but there it ended. The duke of Ireland had John of Brittany conducted to Boulogne, where he found equipages ready which the constable had caused to be prepared for him. He set out directly for Paris, where he was kindly received by the king and his other relations. The constable was there waiting for him, and carried him to Brittany, where he espoused his daughter in conformity to their agreement.

When the duke of Brittany learnt that John of Brittany had obtained his liberty, and was returned to France, through the aid of the constable, he conceived a greater hatred 214 against sir Oliver de Clisson, and said, — “Indeed! does sir Oliver think to thrust me out of my duchy? He shows some signs of it by ransoming John of Brittany, and marrying him to his daughter. Such things are very displeasing to me; and, by God, I will tell him so some day when he little thinks of it.” This, in truth, he did; for before the end of the year, he spoke to him very sharply on this subject, as you will hear in the course of this history. But we must now say something respecting the affairs of Castille and Portugal, and of an expedition which the English made against Sluys.


*  Vol. i. chap. 74.

  In chap. 78, and the following, vol. i.

  Vol. i. chap. 227.

§  Vol. i. chap. 229.

  In 1381.



YOU have heard how the grand armament of the king of France at Sluys was broken up, not indeed through the will of the king, who was eager to the last to pass over to England, and when he saw it could not be, was the most vexed of any. The whole blame was laid on the duke of Berry: perhaps he saw more clearly into this matter than others, and his advice of not attempting the invasion of England was for the honour and advantage of France; for, before anything of this sort be undertaken, the end of it should be considered, and the duke of Berry had remained so long in England as an hostage for king John, and had conversed so much with Englishmen, he probably foresaw the event would be unfortunate: but the principal reason for putting it off was the season of the year. It was, however, said, that the constable in the course of the summer, should lead thither six thousand men at arms and as many cross-bows, which he and the council thought would be fully sufficient to combat the English. The constable was supposed to know this from his having been educated in England.

On the return of the lords to France, it was considered who should be sent to the aid of king John of Castille, against the king of Portugal and duke of Lancaster: for it was clear there would be deeds of arms, as the English kept the field. None could be sent thither without much cost; for the distance was great, and there was not any money in the exchequer, nor in the hands of the receivers: the immense sums which had been raised from the people were all dissipated. Recourse, was, therefore, had to a tax that should be instantly levied, and published as being for the assistance of the king of Castille, and the expulsion of the English from that country. This tax having been proclaimed, the king’s commissioners came to the different towns, and said to the principal inhabitants, — “Sirs, this city, or this town, is taxed at such a sum, which must be instantly paid.” “Very well,” they replied, “we will collect it, and sent the whole amount to Paris.” “That will not do,” said the commissioners: “we cannot wait so long, and shall act more expeditiously.” On saying this, they ordered, in the king’s name, which protected them from harm, ten or twelve of the richest inhabitants to prison, unless they should find the money. These, being afraid of the king’s displeasure, soon brought the sum required, which they afterwards collected from the townsmen. The taxes were so frequent, that one was scarcely paid before another was called for. Thus was the noble kingdom of France governed, and the poor oppressed; which caused numbers to sell their houses and lands, and retire to Hainault, or the bishopric of Liege, where no such taxes existed.

The leaders of the troops destined to Castille were next thought of. The gallant duke of Bourbon was chosen commander in chief; but, before he left France, it was resolved to appoint two other commanders, to attend to the men at arms, and instruct those who had never been in Castille. The duke was to have two thousand lances, of knights and squires, for his rear-ward, of as good men as could be found. The two knights appointed to lead the van, and to command the first division, were sir William de Lignac and sir Walter de Passac; and, on receiving their orders, they made every preparation suitable to their rank. Knights and squires were summoned, throughout France, to go on this expedition: and all the passes into Castille were thrown open, as well through Arragon as through Navarre. Many, therefore, came from all the different provinces of the kingdom, and took the road to Castille. Sir William de Lignac and sir Walter de Passac had the command of them, and set out in grand array.




WHILE these knights and squires of France were making themselves ready to march for Castille, and each, as soon as prepared, set off, more especially from the distant parts, as the journey was long; the English fleet was at sea, between the coasts of England and Flanders. The earl of Arundel was admiral of it; but he had under him the earl of Devonshire, the earl of Nottingham, and the bishop of Norwich, with five hundred men at arms and one thousand archers, and they were cruising about in search of their enemies. They received supplies of provisions from the English coast, the islands of Cornwall, Brittany, and Normandy; but were much vexed that the Flemish fleet had escaped into La Rochelle, and still more, that the constable of France should have passed Calais, from Treguier to Sluys, without their having met him. They were desirous of engaging him, though he had as many vessels as themselves; but he sailed through them in the night with a favourable wind and tide.

The fleet, after this, anchored in Margate-roads, at the mouth of the Thames, to wait for the return of the Flemings from La Rochelle, which they knew would soon happen. The merchants from Flanders, Hainault, and several other parts, who had sailed in a body for fear of the English, having loaded their vessels again with wines, set sail from the port of La Rochelle, with a favourable wind, for Flanders and for Sluys, from whence they had come. They had passed the Ras-St.-Matthieu*, in Brittany, and coasted the shores of Normandy and England, until they came to the mouth of the Thames, where the English fleet were lying at anchor. The Flemings descried their masts; and those aloft said, — “Gentlemen, prepare yourselves, for we shall meet the English fleet; they have seen us, and will take advantage of the wind and tide to give us battle before night.” This intelligence was not very agreeable to several of the merchants from Hainault and other countries, who having their goods on board, would have wished to have sheered off. However, as a combat was now unavoidable, they made preparations for it; and they had, of cross-bows and other armed men, upwards of seven hundred, under the command of a noble and valiant knight of Flanders, called sir John de Bucq, who was admiral of the Flemish seas for the duke of Burgundy, and who had done much mischief to the English at sea. Sir John de Bucq, having ably and prudently drawn up his vessels, said to their crews, — “My fair sirs, do not be alarmed, for we are enow to combat the English, should the wind be in our favour; but remember to make a running fight of it, and make for Sluys; if we can draw them on the Flemish coast, we shall have the best of the day.” Some were comforted by these words, others not; but they continued heir preparations for battle, and the gunners made ready their bows and cannons.

The two fleets now approached each other. The English had some light galleys in which they had embarked archers; and these galleys advancing, by dint of oars, began the combat with a shower of arrows, which were lost; for the Flemings sheltered themselves in their vessels, and were unhurt, while they sailed on before the wind. Some of the cross-bows, out of arrow-shot, let fly bolts, which wounded many, and prevented those in the galleys from being of any service. The large ships, under lord Arundel, the bishop of Norwich, and others, now advanced, and ran in among those of Flanders, but they had not any advantage; for the cross-bow men defended themselves gallantly, as their commander, sir John de Bucq, had advised them. He and his company were well armed, in a ship equal to any he might meet, and had their cannons on board, which shot balls of such a weight that great mischief was done. The Flemings, during the engagement, made as much sail as they could for Flanders; indeed, some of the merchant-ships had already gained the coast, and had run into shoal water, where the large ships could not follow them for fear of the sand-bank. This battle was very long and obstinate, for it continued for three or four hours, 216 and many of the vessels were sunk by the large bolts of iron, sharply pointed, that were cast down from the tops, and drove holes through them. When night came on, they separated and cast anchor, to repair their damages and take care of the wounded; but, on the return of the tide, they set their sails and renewed the combat. Peter du Bois commanded a body of archers and sailors, and gave the Flemings enough to do; for, having been a sailor himself, he knew how to act, and was enraged at the Flemings, for having held out so long. The English continually gained on the Flemings, and, having got between them and Blanquenberg and Sluys, drove them to Cadsand, where the defeat was completed. They received no succour, for at this time there were neither men at arms nor vessels in Sluys fit for sea.

Indeed, a squire of Sluys, called Arnold le Maire, when he heard of the engagement, embarked on board a handsome sloop of his own, taking with him some serjeants, and about twenty cross-bows, and made sail for the fleet; but it was towards the end of the defeat, for the English has taken the greater part of the enemy’s ships, with their admiral, sir John de Bucq, and all on board. Arnold le Maire, perceiving it was over, made his cross-bows shoot thrice, and then made off: he was chased as far as the harbour of Sluys, and there escaped, from the large vessels being unable to follow him, through the shoals and low water.

The inhabitants of Sluys were terrified when it was known that heir fleet from La Rochelle had been conquered by the English, and every moment expected to be attacked. The inhabitants knew not how to act, whether to fly or embark on board their laid-up vessels, to wait the event and defend themselves. Had the English suspected the state of Sluys, they might have been lords of that town and castle, or had they followed the advice of Peter du Bois, who strongly recommended, when they were masters of the fleet, to make for Sluys which they would be sure to gain. The English, however, thought they had done sufficient; and some said, “We shall commit a great folly if we enter Sluys; for those of Bruges, Damme, and Ardembourg, will shut us up in it, and we shall thus lose all we have won. It is much better that we keep our prizes, and make war with prudence.” The English, therefore, did not disembark, but contented themselves with attempting to burn the vessels that were in the harbour. They selected the lightest vessels from those they had conquered, and filling and bedaubing them with pitch, oil, and other combustibles, let them float with the tide into the harbour of Sluys. These vessels burnt so clear and well, that the English hoped they would set fire to some large ships from Castille and other countries, indifferent to them which; but they did not the smallest damage to any. The English, by this victory, gained great wealth, especially in wine, as they captured more than nine thousand tuns, which causes wine to be as dear in Flanders and Hainault all that year as it was of course cheap in England. Thus it happens, one man’s gain is another’s loss. The English, however, did not sail from Sluys, but remained at anchor, and from the galleys and barges landed on the opposite side of the river to Sluys, at Tremue, which they burnt, with the monastery, and some other towns on the coast, whither they went along the sea-shore, or on the dykes, called Turnhout and Moerdyck. They made many of the countrymen prisoners, and lay thus at anchor upwards of ten days; during which time they formed several ambuscades between Damme and Sluys, and on the road to Coxye. Sir John de Launay, a man at arms from Tournay, was there made a prisoner, who, in company with the lord d’Estrinay and sir Blanquart de Coulonge, had set out full gallop, with forty lances, for Sluys, on hearing the English were on the coast.

It fortunately happened, that sir Robert Marchand, who had married one of the late earl’s bastards, was at the time in Bruges: he instantly hastened to Sluys, and flung himself into the castle, which he found weakly guarded, and unprovided. But if the English had landed, and entered Sluys with the same earnestness they had done at Tremue on the other side of the river, they must have gained the castle; for so great was the alarm in the town that no one paid attention to anything, nor thought of defending themselves. Sir Robert Marchand encouraged them, by saying, — “You men of Sluys, what are you thinking of? It would seem from your appearance that you are defeated without striking a blow. Men of valour ought to show a good countenance as long as possible; and, should they be taken or slain 217 in their own defence, they will have the grace of God and praise of the word.” Thus did sir Robert harangue those of Sluys; notwithstanding which, the whole country, as far as Bruges, was under the utmost alarm as long as the English remained on the coast; for they now daily disembarked, and foraged far in the country. Not having horses, they were always on foot; when their expeditions were ended, they slept on board, and on the morrow renewed their excursions to the east and west, without opposition. They burnt the town of Coxye, and another large village on the road from the coast to Ardembourg, called Hosebourg: they would have done more if they had known the state of the country. After staying as long as they pleased, and finding no attempt made to regain what they had won on sea and land, they set sail with a favourable wind for England, carrying with them more than two hundred thousand francs of wealth. Having entered the Thames, they landed at London, where they were joyfully received for the fine wines of Poitou and Saintonge they had on board, which were intended to have been drunk in Flanders, Brabant, Hainault, Liege, and other places. They were dispersed throughout England, and the prices so much depressed from the quantity, a gallon was sold for fourpence. The English, who resided on the frontiers of Flanders, Holland, and Zealand, were too enterprising in their voyages to Dordrecht, Zuric-zec, Middlebourg, and the Brielle in Holland. Some of the merchants of Zuric-zee had, on board the fleet that was captured, much wine from La Rochelle, which was restored to them. The English were right in thus courteously treating them; for Zuric-zee would never join the French in their invasion of England, nor permit them to have any vessels or boats from thence, and this conduct acquired them the love of the English.

Sir John de Bucq was a prisoner at London, on his word: he was permitted to go anywhere about the town, but at sunset he was to return to his lodging; nor would the English ever listen to any ransom for him, though the duke of Burgundy would willingly have given in exchange a bastard brother of the king of Portugal, who had been taken at sea in coming from Middlebourg: had he been within the limits of Zealand, he would have escaped. I believe sir John de Bucq remained a prisoner in London for three years, and there died.


*  Ras-St.-Matthieu, I suppose, must mean Ras-de-Blanquet, which is a narrow strait of the sea between Alderney and Cape la Hogue.



IT is time for us now to return to the affairs of Castille and Portugal, and to speak of the duke of Lancaster, as to the prosperity of his undertakings, for his concerns were not trifling; and likewise to mention the aid France sent king John of Castille, for otherwise his fortunes would have made a small figure: he would have lost this year his whole kingdom, if it had not been for the friendship of the king of France. Intelligence is soon spread abroad, and the king of Portugal was as quickly informed of what was doing in France, relative to the great armament that was to invade England, by his merchants on their return home, as the duke of Lancaster; for the king resided, at that season, at Oporto, which s one of the largest cities and the most frequented port of his realm. He was rejoiced to hear it was at an end, for he had been told England would be ruined; and this had made him hesitate as to the conclusion of his marriage, amusing the duke and duchess with fine words and compliments. When he learnt for certain, that the king of France and his nobles were returned home, he summoned his council, and said, — “My fair sirs, you know that the duke and duchess of Lancaster are in Galicia: you also know, a great affection subsists between us, and that we have had several conferences; in one of which it has been proposed by our councils, that I should take the lady Philippa to wife. I mean to persevered in this business, and to make an honourable demand of her, as is becoming two such princes as the duke of Lancaster and myself; for I will have her for my queen.” “Sir,” replied those to whom he addressed himself, “you are in the right, for so you have solemnly 218 promised and sworn. Now, whom shall we sent to conduct the lady hither?” The archbishop of Braganza and sir Joao Rodriguez de Sâ were named; and as they were not present, they were sent for, and informed how they were to act. They undertook the business with pleasure, and were escorted going and returning by two hundred spears.

We will now speak of sir Thomas Moreaux’s siege of Ribadavia, and relate what happened there. I believe the inhabitants expected succours from the king of Castille and the French knights at Valladolid, otherwise they would not have held out; and I know not how such peasants, who had none but themselves to advise with, could so vigorously have opposed the flower of the English army, and how it happened that they were not frightened, for every day there were skirmishes and assaults. The bravest captains of the army said to Sir Thomas, — “Let us leave this town, and may lightning destroy it, and advance further in to the country, towards Mamez, Noya, or Betances [Susan note see if used before differently] : we can at any time return hither.” “By my faith,” replied Sir Thomas, “such peasants shall never have it to say they have defeated me, were I to remain here these two months, unless the duke shall otherwise order.” The marshal was thus obstinate in continuing the siege.

King John received frequent intelligence, at Valladolid, how the men at Ribadavia were defending themselves valiantly, and would not surrender. “In God’s name,” said Barrois des Barres, “I am much vexed I had not sent thither some Frenchmen, who would have greatly encouraged the inhabitants, and still more that I did not go myself, for I should then have acquired all the honour which these peasants will now have; and, if they had really told me it was a town of such strength, and that it required such a garrison, I would, without doubt, have reinforced it, and have personally risked the command; and God would have given me grace to guard and defend it, as he has done to those peasants.” Such were the conversations that frequently passed between the king of Castille and the French knights, who were eager to be employed. They said to the king, — “It will be right, sir, that you send one hundred spears to the castles of Noya and Coruña, and they will defend those parts of Galicia situated between these two castles.” “And whom can we send thither? Several knights instantly offered their services, such as sir Tristan de Roye, sir Reginald and sir Lambert de Braquemont, sir Tristan de la Jaille, sir John de Châtelmorant, and sir Barrois des Barres, whom the king heard with pleasure, and said, — “My fair sirs, I give you many thanks for your willingness; but you cannot all go: some must remain with me in case of accidents; and for the present, I shall entreat sir Barrois des Barres, if he please to undertake the business.” The Barrois was much delighted on hearing this, for he had too long remained idle, and replied, — “Sir king, I thanks you, I will defend them to the utmost of my power; and, when I am once within them, I will never depart without your special order.” “By God,” said the king, “I believe we shall soon have news from France.” the knights were ignorant of the decampment from Sluys, though the king knew it; for the duke of Bourbon had written to him the whole account, and what was going forward in France; how he was to come to Castille with three thousand spears; but that sir William de Lignac and sir Walter de Passac were first to clear the passes, with an equal number of lances. He asked the knights if they wished to hear news. “Ah, sire, tell us some from France, for we are very anxious to hear from thence.” “Willingly,” replied the king. He then told them that the duke of Bourbon was appointed by the king of France and his council, commander in chief of all the forces sent to Castille, which amounted to six thousand spears; that sir William de Lignac and sir Walter de Passac were to lead the van, of three thousand knights and squires, and were then on their march; that the invasion of England was deferred until May, when the constable of France, the count de St. Pol, and the lord de Coucy, should there land, with four thousand lances. “What do you say to this?” asked the king. “What do we say, sire?” replied the knights, who were rejoiced: “we say that it is delightful news, and we cannot have better; and, in the course of the summer, many gallant deeds will be done in your country; for, if they have ordered six thousand, nine thousand will come. We shall certainly combat the English, who now keep the field; and, before St. John’s day, we will shut them up.” “On my faith,” said each of the knights, “the three you have named are gallant men, 219 especially the duke of Bourbon: and the other two are well qualified to command men at arms.”

The news of this army coming from France was soon known in Valladolid, and throughout Castille; and that it had been ordered to arrive by the first of May, to the great comfort of all, and joy of the knights and squires.


*  Noya is an ancient town in Galician, five or six leagues to the westward of Saint Jago.

  “Mamez.” Q. Muros.

  “Betances.” Q. Betanços, or Entança.



SIR Barrois des Barres left the king of Castille in Valladolid, and accompanied by only fifty spears, rode towards the town of Noya. News was brought to sir Thomas Moreaux’s army, but I know not by whom, that the French were on their march, to the amount of five hundred lances, to raise the siege of Ribadavia. Sir Thomas too easily believed this intelligence; for those who had told it affirmed it for truth, and that they had seen them on their march, on this side the river Duero, and encamped at Villalpando. The marshal was advised to let the duke of Lancaster have information of this, which he did, by sending to him sir John d’Ambreticourt, and a herald well acquainted with the roads in Galician. He himself was always on his guard, lest he should be surprised in the night, and one half of his army was on duty, while the other half slept. When the arrival of sir John and the herald at Sant Jago, where the duke and duchess resided, was known, the duke said, “They have brought some intelligence,” and, sending for them, asked the news. “Good news, my lord: the marshal sends me hither to know how you would wish him to act; for he has learnt for certain, that the French have assembled a strong body in Castille, and are on their march to cross the river, and engage with our men before Ribadavia. This is the news I have brought.” “In God’s name,” replied he, “it is news enough, but we will soon provide a remedy.” He looked at sir Holland and sir Thomas Percy, his constable and admiral, and said to them: “Take three hundred spears and five hundred archers, and join our companions before Ribadavia, who are looking for the French coming to attack them.” They replied, they would cheerfully obey, and, making themselves ready, set out with the above-mentioned force, and arrived before Ribadavia, to the great joy of their countrymen.

Sir John Holland said to the marshal, — “What do these fellows of Ribadavia men? will they not surrender?” “No, by my faith,” replied sir Thomas, “they are so presumptuous: notwithstanding they have seen all the neighbouring towns do so, they obstinately follow their own inclinations. They are but peasants; for not one gentleman is in the town.” “Say no more,” answered sir John: “before four days we will put them in such plight, that they will gladly surrender to any who will shew them mercy; but tell the admiral and me, are the French abroad?” “I was so informed,” said sir Thomas, “and was assured there were upwards of five hundred in one body. This is very probable: for men at arms are continually coming from France to Castille. I afterwards heard, that only sir Barrois des Barres had entered the castle of Noya with fifty lances, and I known nothing more of them.” The conversation now cased; and the newcomers were lodged among them as well as circumstances would admit, and were well served from the provision which had followed them. Four days after the arrival of sir John Holland and sir Thomas Percy, great preparations were made for a general assault; and a large machine of timber was built, and mounted on wheels, which could be pushed anywhere. It would contain, with ease, one hundred men at arms, and the same number of archers; but, for this attack, it was filled with archers only, and the ditches were levelled where it was intended to pass.

When the attack commenced, this machine was wheeled up to the walls by main force; and the archers, being well provided with arrows, shot vigorously on their enemies, who returned it by throwing darts and such other missile weapons, as was wonderful to behold. The roof of this machine was covered with strong ox-hides to shelter them from the effects 220 of the stones and the darts; underneath were men at arms well shielded, that with pick-axes worked hard, and with success against the walls; for the townsmen could not prevent them for fear of the archers, who gave them full employment. At length a large breach was made in the wall, and a considerable part thrown into the ditch; which when the Galicians perceived, they were so dismayed, that they cried loudly, “We surrender, we surrender!” No one made any answer; but the English laughed at them, and said, “These peasants have done us much mischief, and mock us by now offering to surrender, for the town is ours.” Some of the English replied, “If you wish to say any thing to us, it must be in good French or English, for we do not understand Castilian,” and kept advancing and slaying those who were flying before them. They killed them in heaps; and that day there were fifteen hundred put to death, including Jews, many of whom were resident in the town. Thus was Ribadavia taken by storm; those who first entered it gained great pillage, especially from the houses of the Jews, wherein they found more wealth in money than elsewhere. After the town had been plundered, the marshal was asked what he intended doing with it, and if they should set it on fire. “Oh, no,” replied he, “we will keep it, and make it as strong as any town in Galicia.”

After they had consulted whither to go next, they determined to march to Muros, another tolerably good town in Galicia. The garrison of Ribadavia, consisting of twenty spears and sixty archers, was put under the command of sir Peter Clinton, a valiant knight and expert man at arms. The army carried away much provision from the town, which was well stored, particularly in pork and wine: these last were so strong and fiery, they could scarcely drink them; and when any of the English drank too much, they were disabled for two days. On their departure from Ribadavia, they took the road towards Muros, and had their large machine taken to pieces and brought after them, for they found it had caused great alarm to many other towns.

When the inhabitants of Muros heard that the English were on their march to attack them, that Ribadavia had been stormed and numbers put to death, and that they had with them a devil of a machine, so great and wonderful it could not be destroyed, they were much frightened thereat, and were apprehensive what the English might do to them. They held a council, whether they should defend the town or not, and thought it would be more for their advantage to surrender; for, should the town be stormed they would lose their lives and fortunes, and they saw no hopes of aid from any quarter. “Consider,” said some of the most prudent, “what has been the consequence of the defence of Ribadavia, which was much stronger than our town; they held out for near a month, but no reinforcements were sent them. The king of Castille, as we understand, looks on all Galicia, as far as the river Duero, as lost, and you will never, this year, see any of the French enter it. Let us, therefore, handsomely surrender, without making any opposition, in the like manner the other towns of Castille have done.” “It is well said,” the hearers replied, and they unanimously agreed to adopt this opinion. But how shall we manage it?” said some of them. “In God’s name,” replied those who proposed the surrender, “we will go out to meet the English, and present them the keys of our town; for they are a civil people, and will not hurt us: if we receive them kindly, we shall have their thanks.”

Having determined on this plan, fifty of the principal inhabitants went out of the town as soon as they heard the English were approaching, and waited on the road, about a quarter of a league off. News was brought to the English army, that those of Muros had come out of their town, not in hostile array, but with the intention of surrendering and offering the keys of the place, which they had brought with them. Some of the lords rode forward to know the truth of it, but ordered the army to halt until their return. As they were advancing, the townsmen were told, “Here come three of the principal lords of England, sent by the duke of Lancaster to conquer the country: speak to them.” On which, they cast themselves on their knees, and said, “My lords, behold the poor inhabitants of Muros, who are desirous to put themselves under the obedience of the duke and duchess of Lancaster: we therefore entreat you to receive us in your favour, for all we have is yours.” The three lords, having consulted together, replied, — “Good people, we will return with you to your town, and enter it with part of our army, but not all, and there you shall take 221 such oaths as good subjects ought to their lord or lady.” They answered, they would cheerfully do so. “Now, then,” said the lords, “go back, and open your gates, for you surrender is accepted.” They flung open the gates and barriers for the constable and other lords, who might amount to four hundred lances, but not more; the rest remained without the walls, but had much provision from the town, wherein the leaders were lodged, and where they made the townsmen take the usual oaths of obedience.



ON the morrow, after the surrender of Muros, when the knights were preparing for their march towards Betanços, a messenger from the duke of Lancaster arrived with letters, ordering them to return instantly, whatever might be their situation; for he was daily expecting the archbishop of Braganza and sir Joao Rodriguez de Sâ, ambassadors from the king of Portugal, who were to marry his daughter by procuration, and conduct her to that king at Oporto, where he was waiting for her. Sir John Holland, the marshal and admiral, on learning this, altered their plans, and said it was proper that their lord the duke, when he received ambassadors from the king of Portugal, should have all his council with him. Having placed sufficient garrisons in the towns they had won, they said they would not attempt more until the month of May, and returned to Sant Jago, whither the duke had sent for them. Three days after their arrival, came the archbishop of Braganza and sir Joao Rodriguez de Sâ, who entered the town of Sant Jago with two hundred lances, where they were all lodged, everything having been prepared for them.

When the archbishop, with the knights and lords in his company, had refreshed themselves, they waited on the duke and duchess of Lancaster in grand array, who received them most graciously. They then declared the motive of the embassy, which the duke heard with pleasure; for he was rejoiced at the exaltation of his daughter, and the connexion with the king of Portugal, which was very opportune, if her persevered in his intention of conquering Castille. The archbishop explained, to the satisfaction of the duke and his council, that by power of the king’s procuration, he was authorised to espouse personally the lady Philippa of Lancaster, in the name of don John, king of Portugal. During the residence of these ambassadors at Sant Jago, the ceremony was performed by virtue of the above-mentioned procuration; and the archbishop of Braganza and the lady Philippa were courteously laid beside each other, on a bed, as married persons should be. This being done, on the morrow the lady and her attendants were ready to depart; and, having bidden adieu to her father and mother, she mounted her palfrey, as did her damsels, and her bastard sister, the wife of the marshal, who accompanied her to Portugal. Sir John Holland, sir Thomas Percy, and sir John d’Ambreticourt, were ordered to escort her, with one hundred spears and two hundred archers. The followed the road to Oporto, and, when near, were met by the king and his court, with all the prelates at that time in Oporto, to do her honor; such as the bishops of Lisbon, Evora, Coimbra, and Oporto: among the barons were, the counts d’Angouse, de Novaire, de l’Escalle, Guadalupe Ferrant Pacheco, Vasco Martin de Merlo, with upwards of forty knights, and great crowds of ladies and other persons, and the whole of the clergy in their holiday dresses. Thus was the lady Philippa conducted to the king’s palace at Oporto, where she dismounted. The king took her by the hand and kissed her, performing the same ceremony to all the ladies who had accompanied her, and then led her to her apartments, where he took leave of her and her companions.

The English lords and their men were lodged in the town, which is of considerable size; and this night they kept the vigil of the feast by carolling, dancing, and other amusements, until the morrow’s dawn. On Tuesday morning*, the king of Portugal, the prelates and lords of his country, were dressed by eight o’clock, and, mounting their horses at the palace 222 gate, rode to the cathedral called St. Mary’s church, where they waited for the queen. She followed shortly after, attended by her ladies and damsels; and, though the ambassadors had before espoused her in the king’s name, the ceremony was again performed; which done, they returned to the palace, where were grand and solemn feastings. In the afternoon they were tilts and tournaments before the king and queen; and in the evening the prizes were distributed. Sir John Holland gained the one destined for strangers; and that for the natives was won by a knight attached to the king, sir John Testad’oro (Susan note check other spelling_. The day and night passed thus jovially in various amusements, That night the king lay with the queen, and it was reported by those who were near his person that he had hitherto been perfectly chaste, and had never known woman.

On the morrow the feastings and joustings were renewed, when sir Vasco Martin de Merlo gained one prize, and sir John d’Ambreticourt the other. The night was spent as before, in carollings, dancing, and other sports; and while the English staid at Oporto, there were tournaments every day. With such rejoicings was the queen of Portugal received on her arrival at Oporto. They lasted upwards of ten days; and the king made all the strangers, on their departure, such gifts as satisfied them. The English lords, having taken leave of the king and queen of Portugal, returned to Sant Jago. The duke and duchess of Lancaster made inquiries, and were told all that had passed; that the king saluted them, and that the queen recommended herself to their love. Sir John Holland and sir Thomas Percy added, “My lord, the last words the king said to us were, that you might take the field when you pleased, for that he would join you and enter Castille.” “That is good news, indeed,” replied the duke.

About fifteen days after the return of the lords from Portugal, the duke of Lancaster ordered them to prepare for conquering the remaining towns in Galicia, for there were several he was not master of. It was settled by the council of the duke, that when he should depart from Sant Jago, the duchess and her daughter of Catherine should visit the king and young queen of Portugal, at Oporto. The town of Sant Jago was placed under the command of an English knight, called sir Lewis Clifford, with thirty spears, and one hundred archers, for his garrison.


*  The 11th of February, 1387, the day of the Purification. The king was twenty-nine years of age, the queen twenty-eight. — ED.



WHEN the duke of Lancaster marched from Sant Jago, he left no more in garrison than those already mentioned. He rode on, in company with his duchess, towards the city of Entença, which is a good town in one of the extremities of Galician, and the last one on the borders of Portugal, in the direct road from Saint Jago to Oporto and Coimbra. They had taken this line of march, because the duchess and her daughter were to visit Portugal. The inhabitants of Entença, hearing that the duke and his army were advancing against them, held a council to consider what conduct they should pursue. After many debates, it was at length agreed that they should send six of their principal men to the duke and duchess, to entreat they might not be attacked for eight days only, when they would let the king of Castille know their situation, and if he sent them no aid they would surrender unconditionally. The six citizens, on leaving the town, took the road the English were coming, and first met the van-guard under the command of the marshal, by whom they were instantly arrested. They said they were deputed by the inhabitants of Entença to parley with the duke. Upon which the marshal said to sir John Sounder, who was by his side, “Conduct these men to my lord; for it will be necessary to escort them, or they may be slain by our archers.” The knight replied, he would take care of them; and then the marshal said, “Go, go, this knight will conduct you.” They all departed,, and rode together until they came up with the duke and duchess, who had dismounted, and were sitting under some fine olive trees, attended by sir John Holland, sir Thomas Percy, and others. On seeing sir John Sounder approach, they eyed him well; and sir John Holland 223 said, “Fair brother, Sounder, are these prisoners thine? “They are not prisoners, sir, but men from Entença whom the marshal has ordered me to conduct to my lord; and from what I can learn, they wish to treat with him.” The duke and duchess heard all this; and sir John Sounder continued, “Come forward, my good people: you see your lord and lady.”

Upon this the six men advanced, and, casting themselves on their knees, thus spoke, “Our most redoubted lord and lady, the commonalty of the town of Entença, hearing you were marching your army against them, have sent us hither to entreat you would delay advancing further for eight or nine days only, in which time they will send to the king of Castille, in Valladolid, an account of the great peril they are in; and if, during those nine days, they be not reinforced sufficiently to offer you combat, they will put themselves fully under your obedience. In the mean time, should you or your army be in want of provision or stores, those of the town will cheerfully serve you with both for your money.” The duke made no reply, leaving it to the duchess, as she was from that country. She looked at the duke, and said, “Well, my lord, what do you say?” “Lady, what do you say? you are the heiress of this country, and, as the inheritance comes through you, you must reply.” “It will be right the, my lord, that their offer be accepted; for I do not believe that the king of Castille has any desire to combat you so soon.” “I do not know that,” answered the duke; “God grant it may happen otherwise; we shall the sooner put an end to the business; and I wish it were to take place within six days; but, since you are desirous their offer be accepted, I consent.” The duchess then addressed the deputies, saying, “You may return, for your offer is accepted; but you must deliver up to the marshal twelve of your principal citizens, as pledges for the due performance of the treaty.” They replied they would do so, and, rising up, were given to the care of sir John Sounder, who conducted them back to the marshal, and told him what had passed, which gave him satisfaction. The deputies returned to their town and related the success of their mission. Twelve of the principal inhabitants were sent to the marshal, and the place was unmolested, on the terms mentioned. In another council they resolved to send the same six men, and no others, to inform the king of Castille of their situation. They rode to Valladolid, where the king resided, with part of his council, and, their arrival being notified to him, he was eager to see them, to learn the news and talk with them; for he was ignorant of the treaty they had entered into, and that the English were before Entença.



WHILE these six deputies were journeying towards Valladolid, the duke of Lancaster gave directions for the departure of his duchess and daughter, the lady Catherine, to visit the king and queen of Portugal. On their setting out, the duke said, “Constant, you will salute from me the king my son, my daughter, and the barons of Portugal, and give them all the intelligence you can; how Entença has entered into a treaty with me; but that I doubt if John de Transtamare, your adversary, will allow them to keep it, or whether he will offer me battle; for well I know that great reinforcements are to come to him from France, and those who are eager for renown will hasten to Castille as speedily as possible. It will be necessary for me to be daily on my guard, in expectation of an engagement, which you will tell the king and his barons; and that, if I shall learn any thing for certain of a combat being likely to take place, I will instantly signify it to the king of Portugal. Desire him from me to be well prepared to come to our assistance, in the defence of our right, as he has solemnly sworn to do in the treaties concluded between us. You will return to me; but leave our daughter Catharine with her sister, the queen of Portugal, for she cannot be better place, nor more in safety.” “My lord,” replied the duchess, “all this I will cheerfully perform.”

The duchess, her daughter, and the ladies and damsels who accompanied them, took 223 their leave and departed. They were escorted to Oporto by the admiral, sir Thomas Percy, sir Evan Fitzwarren, the lord Talbot, sir John d’Ambreticourt and sir Maubrun de Linieres, with one hundred spears and two hundred archers. The king of Portugal, hearing the duchess of Lancaster and her daughter were on the road, was much pleased, and sent some of his principal courtiers to meet them, such as the counts d’Angouses, de Novaire, sir Joao Rodriquez de Sâ, sir Joao Ferrant Pachecho, sir Vasco Martin de Merlo, sir Egeas Colle, and twenty other knights. They rode two long leagues before they met the ladies, who received them graciously and gaily. The duchess politely made acquaintance with the different knights, and, as they rode together, she conversed with much affability among them all. Thus did they arrive at Oporto, when the duchess and her ladies were conducted to the palace. The king was the first who waited on them, and kissed them all round; then came the queen, attended by her ladies, and received her lady-mother and sister most kindly and honourably. The whole palace was rejoiced at the arrival of these ladies; but will not pretend to speak very particularly of what passed, for I was not there: all I know was from that gallant knight, sir Joao Ferrant Pacheco, who was present. The duchess took a proper opportunity to deliver the duke’s message to the king of Portugal, who replied with prudence and friendship, — “Lady and cousin, I am prepared, should the king of Castille take the field, with three thousand lances, who are stationed on the borders of Castille, whom I can collect in three days, and I shall also bring with me full twenty thousand men from the commonalty of the country, who are not to be despised, for they were of the greatest service to me at the battle of Aljubarota.” “Sir,” said the duchess, “you say well, and I am greatly thankful to you; and if my lord gain any further intelligence, he will instantly let you know.” Such was the conversation that passed between the king of Portugal and the duchess of Lancaster.

We will now return to Entença, and say what success their deputies had at Valladolid. On their being introduced to the king of Castille, they cast themselves on their knees, and said, — “Most redoubted lord, if you will condescend to listen to us, we have seen sent hither by your town of Entença, which has been forced to enter into a treaty with the duke and duchess of Lancaster. The terms of which are, that the English will abstain from any attack for nine days; and if, within that time, you shall come in sufficient force to offer them combat and resist the duke, the town will remain yours: but, if not. The town has given up hostages to surrender it to them. You will be pleased, most redoubted lord, to say what you will do.” The king replied, that “he would advise upon it, and they should have an answer.” He then left them, and retired to his chamber. I am ignorant if he summoned his council or not, or how it the matter was managed; but these six men were there for eight days without obtaining any answer, nor did they again see the king. The day came for the surrender of the town before any of the deputies returned. The duke, therefore, sent his marshal to Entença, on the tenth day, to say, that if the town were not surrendered, according to the terms of the treaty, he would instantly cut off the heads of the hostages. The marshal, on arriving at the barriers, whither he summoned the inhabitants, thus addressed them, — “My good people, the duke of Lancaster sends me to know why you have not brought him the keys of the town, and put yourselves under his obedience, as you were in duty bound? The nine days expired, as you know, yesterday. If you do not instantly comply, he will order the heads of the hostages to be struck off, and then march hither to storm the town, when you will all be slain, without mercy, like to those of Ribadavia.”

The men of Entença, hearing this, were much afraid, not only for themselves, but also for their friends who were pledged for the observance of the treaty, and replied, — “In good truth, my lord marshal, the duke has reason for saying what you tell us; but we now not what is become of the deputies we sent to the king of Castille, nor what can have kept them at Valladolid.” “Sirs, they may perhaps be confined,” said the marshal; “for the news they carried could not be very pleasant to the king, and my lord will not longer wait. Consider well what answer you make for, if it be not agreeable, I am ordered to commence the attack.” They answered; “My lord, only allow us time to collect all the inhabitants together, that we may know their determinations.” “I consent to it,” said he. They 225 entered the town once more, and, by sound of trumpet in every street, the inhabitants were summoned to the market-place, where, when assembled, the chief citizens told them all that had passed between them and the marshal. Having agreed to surrender the town, for the release of their hostages from prison, whom they were unwilling to lose, they returned to the marshal and said, — “Marshal, your demands are reasonable, and we are ready to receive, as sovereigns, the duke and duchess of Lancaster in our town, of which here are the keys. We will accompany you to the duke’s quarters, if you will have the goodness to escort us.” “I will willingly do that,” said the marshal. There came out of Entença upwards of sixty persons, carrying with them the keys of the gates: the marshal conducted them to the duke, and obtained for them an audience, where they were well received, and had their hostages given up. The duke entered Entença the same day, where he was lodged, and as many of his people as could be accommodated.

Four days after the surrender of Entença, the six deputies returned from Valladolid. They were asked why they had stayed so long; which they answered, by saying they could not help it. They had indeed seen and spoken to the king, who replied that he had heard them, and would advise on what answer to give; “but, though we waited eight days for it, we are come back without any, for no further notice was taken of us.” They had heard in Valladolid, that the king was expecting great succours from France; that numbers of men at arms were already arrived, and quartered up and down the country; but that their commanders, sir William de Lignac and sir Walter de Passac, were still behind: that the main body of the army, with the knights and squires, were on their march for Castille, but that those who had been retained to serve under the duke of Bourbon were still at their homes.



SIR William de Lignac and sir Walter de Passac passing through France, assembled their men in the Toulousain, Narbonnois and Carcassonne, where, as they arrived, they quartered themselves in the richest parts, and many never paid anything for what they took. News was brought to the count de Foix at Orthès, where he resided, that the French men at arms were advancing near his country, with the intent of marching through it in their way to Castille. Those who told him this added, — “But, my lord, the mischief is, that they pay for nothing they take, and the people fly before them as if they were English. The captains are still at Carcassonne, and their men overrun from thence all the adjacent countries. They cross the Garonne at Toulouse, and enter Bigorre, from whence they will soon by in your territories; and, if they do there what they have done on their march, they will greatly injure your domains of Béarn. Consider, therefore, how you will act.” The count de Foix, who had instantly formed his resolution, replied, — “I will, that all my castles, as well in Foix as in Béarn, be well garrisoned with men at arms, and that all the country be put on its guard, as if an immediate battle were to take place; for I will not suffer from the wars in Castille. My lands are free; and, if the French want to pass through them, they shall truly pay for whatever they may want, or they shall be shut against them. This I order you, sir William and sir Peter de Béarn, to see obeyed.” These two knights were bastard-brothers, valiant in arms, and able to support the count’s orders. They replied, they would undertake the charge willingly.

Proclamation was made, throughout the territories of the count, for every one to provide himself with proper arms, and to be prepared to march on instant notice, wherever sent for. Numbers came to Foix, Béarn, and the stewartry of Toulouse, prepared for battle. Messire Espaing de Lyon, with a hundred good lances and men at arms, was sent to the city of Pamiers; messire Ricart de Saint Leger, to Savredun; Peter de Béarn held Mazeres with a hundred lances; messire Pierre Cabestan was at Bellepuich at the entrance into the county of Foix; messire Pierre Menaut de Noailles with fifty lances, at Saint Shibaut, on the 226 Garonne; messire Pierre de la Roche at Palaminich; the bastard d’Espaigne (Susan note check spelling), at the castle of Lamesen; messire Arnault Guillaume, with, in all, a hundred lances, at Morlans; messire Guy de la Motte, at Pau; messire Raymond de Chastel-Neuf, at Mont-de-Marsan; messire Evan de Foix, bastard son to the count, at Sauveterre; messire Berdruc de Nebosem, at Montesquieu; messire Jean de Saint Marcille, at Aire; messire Hector de la Garde, at Oron; Jean de Chastel-Neuf, at Montgerviel; Jean de Morlans, at Erciel. Messire Raymond l’Aisné, who had the command of the castle of Malvoisin {Susan note Mauvoisin?}, was ordered to be very attentive to the whole of that frontier, and sent his cousin, sir Arnaulton d’Espaign, to St. Gaudens. In short, there was not a town or castle in Foix and Béarn unprovided with men at arms, which the count said were sufficient to oppose double their numbers; for they amounted, in the whole, to twenty thousand picked men at arms.

It was told to sir William de Lignac, who resided at Toulouse, and sir Walter de Passac, at Carcassonne, who the count de Foix had summoned his men at arms and reinforced all the garrisons; and that it was reported he would not suffer their army to pass through the country. The two knights, on hearing this, though captains of the others, were much astonished, and appointed a day to meet and confer on this subject. They met at the castle of Aury, half way between Toulouse and Carcassonne, when the following conversations passed on the means of gaining permission from the count de Foix to march through his territories: —

“I wonder,” said sir William, “very much, that neither the king of France nor his council have written to him, to obtain liberty for us to march quietly through Foix and Béarn. You must go to him, sir Walter, and amicably explain how we are sent by the king of France to continue our march peaceably, and to pay for whatever we may want; for you must know, that the count de Foix is so powerful, that he can, if he please, shut up the passage, and force us to go round by Arragon, which would be too long, and much against us. In truth, I know not of whom he is suspicious, nor why he had thus strengthened his towns and castles, nor if he have formed any connexion with the duke of Lancaster; but I beg of you to go thither, and learn the truth of what we have heard.” “I will willingly do so,” replied sir Walter; and the two knights, having dined together, took leave of each other, and departed different ways: sir William de Lignac returned to Toulouse; and sir Walter de Passac, attended by only forty horse, crossed the Garonne at St. Thibaut, where he met sir Menaut de Noailles, who entertained him handsomely. Sir Walter asked, where he could find the count de Foix. He replied, “At Orthès.” The two knights having passed some little time together, conversing on different matters, separated; and sir Walter went to St. Gaudens, where he made good cheer. On the morrow he came to St. John de Riviere, and, riding through Lane-bourg, skirted Malvoisin{Susan note spelling] , and lay at Tournay, an inclosed town of France. The next day he dined at Tarbes, and stayed the whole day: having met the lord d’Anchin, and sir Menaut de Barbasan {Susan note check spelling), two great barons of Béarn, they had much conversation together; but, as the lord de Barbasan was an Armagnac, he would not say anything favourable of the count de Foix. Sir Walter, on the morrow, left Tarbes, and indeed at Morlas in Béarn, where he found sir Reginald William, bastard-brother to the count, who received him kindly, and said, — “Sir Walter, you will meet my lord of Foix at Orthès, who, you may be assured, will be glad to see you.” “God grant it may be so,” answered sir Walter; “for I am come purposely to wait on him.” They dined together, and sir Walter went afterwards to Montgerbeil where he lay. On the ensuing day he arrived at Orthès, about eight o’clock in the morning, but could not see the count until the afternoon, when he usually left his chamber. The count de Foix, hearing of the arrival of sir Walter de Passac, hastened to leave his apartment sooner than common; and sir Walter, seeing him come out of his chamber, advanced to meet him, and saluted him very respectfully. The count, who was perfectly polite, returned the salute; and, taking him by the hand, said, — “Sir Walter, you are welcome: what business has brought you to Béarn?” “My lord,” replied the knight, “sir William de Lignac and myself, whom the king of France has appointed commanders of the force which, you must have heard, he is sending to assist the king of Castile, have been given to understand that you intend to prevent us, by shutting your country of Béarn against us and our men.” The count replied, — “Sir Walter, under favour, I never mean to close my country against you, nor any person who may travel peaceably 227 through it, and pay honestly and fairly for whatever they may want, to the satisfaction of my people; for I have sworn to defend and protect them in their rights, as good landholders ought to do, for upon these terms do they possess them. But I have head that you have a set of Bretons, Barrois, Lorainers and Burgundians, who never think of paying. It is against such I shall close my country; for I will not have my people harassed nor oppressed.”

“It is the intention of my brother-commander and myself,” replied sir Walter, “that none pass through your lands without paying for all things peaceably and to the contentment of your people, otherwise let him be arrested and punished according to your laws, and make restitution for the damage he may have done, or we will make satisfaction for him, on having him given up to us; and, if no gentleman, we will inflict such exemplary justice on him, in the presence of your people, that all may take warning. Should the offender be a gentleman, we will make ample restitution for what he may have done, should he be unable so to do himself. This order shall be proclaimed by sound of trumpet, in all our quarters; and we will have it repeated when on the point of entering your territories, so that no one may excuse himself, by pleading ignorance, and in consequence act otherwise than honestly. Tell me, if this be satisfactory to you.” “Yes, sir Walter,” replied the count, “I am contented with what you say; and you are welcome to this country, for I see you with pleasure: but come, let us go to dinner, it is now time, and we can have some further conversation. Accursed be this war of Portugal, sir Walter; for I never suffered so much as I did in one battle between the kings of Castille and Portugal, when I lost the flower of my men at arms from Béarn, who were there slain. When they took leave of me, I forewarned them to act with caution, for the Portuguese were a hardy race, who, whenever they had the upper hand, showed mercy to none. I advise you, therefore, that when you and sir William de Lignac, who are the commanders of the men at arms that have passed, and of those that are to follow, are arrived in Castille, and the king asks counsel of you, be not too hasty in recommending a battle with the duke of Lancaster and the king of Portugal, without evident advantage, nor with the English and Portuguese; for they are a hungry race, and the English are, for two reasons, eager to fight. They have not gained anything for some time, but rather lost, consequently are poor: they therefore wish to hazard an engagement, in hopes of gain; and those who are bold, and anxious to obtain the property of others, fight valiantly, and are commonly fortunate. The other reason is, that the duke of Lancaster sees clearly he can never succeed in winning the crown of Castille, which he claims in right of his wife, but by a battle; and that, if the day should be his, and the king defeated, the whole of Castille would surrender, and tremble before him. For this he has landed in Galician, and given one of his daughters in marriage to the king of Portugal, who is to assist him with all his might in his claim. I mention this; because, should matters turn out unfortunate, you and sir William de Lignac would be more blamed than any others.”

“My lord,” answered sir Walter, “I return you many thanks for the advice you give me. I ought to follow what you say; for you are, at this day, the wisest of Christian princes, and the most fortunate in your affairs. But my companion and myself are under the duke of Bourbon, who is our commander-in-chief; and, until he be arrived in Castille, we shall not hasten our march, and will not, for what any person may say, press the engaging with our enemies.” Other conversation now took place, until the count de Foix called for wine. When it was brought, sir Walter and all present drank of it, and took leave of the count, who re-entered his chamber. Sir Walter returned to his lodging, accompanied by the knights of the count’s household; and, at the usual hour, he again went to the castle and supped with the count. On the morrow, after dinner, sir Walter took leave of the count, who, among other gifts, presented him on his departure with a handsome horse and mule. Sir Walter, having returned him his thanks, and his attendants being ready, mounted his horse, and quitted Orthès for Erciel, where he lay that night. He arrived at Tarbes the following day, for he had ridden hard to finish this day’s journey, where he halted, that he might write to sir William de Lignac respecting the success of his visit to the count de Foix. He told him he might order the army to advance, as they would find the country of Béarn and the towns open to them, by paying for whatever they might want, but not otherwise. The 228 messenger delivered this letter to sir William de Lignac at Toulouse, who, having read it, communicated the contents to the leaders of the men at arms, and gave them orders to begin the march, and to pay for whatever they might want in Béarn, or they would be called upon to make due restitution. This order was proclaimed, by sound of trumpet, in all their quarters; and, shortly after, the men at arms began their march from Toulouse, Carcassonne, and other places, towards Bigorre. Sir William de Lignac left Toulouse, and, on his arrival at Tarbes, found his brother-commander, sir Walter de Passac. They mutually entertained each other with good cheer, as was natural, while their men at arms were continually passing towards Bigorre, where they were to assemble and traverse Foix and Béarn, in a body, to cross the Gave at Orthès.

The instant you leave Béarn you enter the country of the Basques*, where the king of England has large possessions in the archbishopric of Bordeaux and bishopric of Bayonne. The inhabitants of fourscore villages with churches, attached to England, on hearing of this march of the French, were greatly alarmed lest their country would be overrun and spoiled; or at that time there were not any men at arms to defend it. Those, therefore, counselled together who were of the most influence and of the largest properties, and determined to negotiate with the French for the ransom of their country. They, in consequence, sent four deputies to Orthès, empowered to treat for peace. They related to Ernauton du Pin, a squire of the count de Foix, an agreeable and discreet man, the cause of their coming, and entreated him, when, in two days’ time, sir William and sir Walter should come to Orthès, to assist them in their treaty. This Ernauton readily promised; and as they lodged with him, he aided them so much that they were well satisfied to pay two thousand francs to save their country from ruin. The count de Foix again entertained the commanders at dinner, and gave sir William de Lignac a beautiful horse. On the morrow, they marched to Sauveterre, and entered the country of the Basques: and though it had been ransomed, they seized provision wherever they found any, but continued their march, without doing further mischief, to St. Jean Pied de Port, at the entrance of Navarre.


*  Basques, a small country near the Pyrenées, bounded by Spain, the sea, the river Adour, and Béarn.