STORIES FROM FROISSART
go perforce Sir Eustace was taken prisoner.-p. 81,
-ujtLs CLaLIL-I. 'Do Ile- ~P
.,A,9),rVZ L9Af`L-rRU)Lr'r- &
TO ALL THE DESCENDANTS OF
KING EDWARD THE THIRD, OF NOBLE MEMORY,
AND OF THE
KNIGHTS, SQUIRES, ARCHERS AND TALL YEOMEN,
HIS COMPANIONS IN ARMS.
I. THE BATTLE OF SLUYS.
Of the battle on the sea, before Sluys in Flanders, between the
King of England and the Frenchmen I
II. THE BATTLE OF CRESSY.
How the King of England came over the sea again, and rode with
his army in three battalions through Normandy 6
How Sir Godfrey Harcourt fought with them of Amiens before Paris 9
How the French King followed the King of England in the country
of Beauvais 14
Of the Battle of Blanchetaque, between the King of England and
Sir God6mar du Fay 18
Of the order of the Englishmen at Cressy, and how they made three
battalions afoot 21
The order of the Frenchmen at Cressy, and how they beheld the
demeanour of the Englishmen 23
Of the Battle of Cressy, between the King of England and the
French King 25
How the next day after the battle the Englishmen discomfited divers
How the next day after the Battle of Cressy, they that were dead
were numbered by the Englishmen 36
III. THE SIEGE OF CALAIS.
How the King of England laid siege to Calais, and how all the poor
people were put out of the town. 37
How the French King assembled a great host to raise the King of
England from the siege before Calais 38
How the King of England made the passages about Calais to be
well kept, that the French King should not approach to raise his siege 40
How the town of Calais was given up to the King of England 43
How the King of England repeopled the town of Calais with
IV. THE BATTLE OF LES ESPAGNOLS-SUR-MER.
How the King of England attacked the Spanish ships on the sea on
their way from Flanders into Spain, and how he discomfited them 51
V. THE BATTLE OF POITIERS.
Of the assembly that the French King made to fight with the
Prince of Wales, who rode in Berry 62
How the Prince of Wales took the castle of Romorantin .67
Of the great host that the French King brought to the Battle of
Of the order of the Frenchmen before the Battle of Poitiers. 72
How the Cardinal of Perigord treated to make agreement between
the French King and the Prince before the Battle of Poitiers 75
Of the Battle of Poitiers, between the Prince of Wales and the
French King .
Of two Frenchmen that fled from the.Battle of Poitiers, and two
Englishmen that followed them 89
How King John was taken prisoner at the Battle of Poitiers 92
Of the gift that the Prince gave to the Lord James Audley after the
Battle of Poitieis 96
How the Englishmen won greatly at the Battle of Poitiers 97
How the Lord James Audley gave to his four Squires the five
hundred marks of revenue that the Prince had given him 99
How the Prince made a supper to the French King the same day of
the battle oo
How the Prince returned to Bordeaux after the Battle of Poitiers 10
How the Prince conveyed the French King from Bordeaux into
VI. THE JOURNEY OF SIR JOHN FROISSART.
How Sir John Froissart, author of this Chronicle, departed out of
France and went to the Earl of Foix, and the manner of his voyage in
the company of a Knight of Foix .
Of the taking of the castles of Ortingas and Le Paillier, by Peter
d'Anchin, a Knight of Bigorre o
How Sir John Froissart came to Casseres, and there Sir Espaing du
Lyon showed him of the taking of the town by the Armagnacs, and
again by the Earl of Foix 19
How Sir John Froissart and the Knight rode by the river of
Of the wars that the Duke of Anjou made against the Englishmen,
and how he recovered the castle of Malvoisin in Bigorre, which was
afterwards given to the Earl of Foix 127
Of the treasure of the Earl of Foix 35
How the garrison and castle of Lourdes was cast down and dis-
comfited by the great diligence that the Earl of Foix made 138
Of the great strength of the Bourg d'Espaign, and how Sir Peter
Arnaut de B6arn kept his faith and angered two great lords 47
How in journeying from Tarbes to Morlens the Knight showed Sir
John Froissart of the beginning of the war that was between the Earl of
Foix and the Earl of Armagnac. 53
Of the great virtuousness and liberality that was in the Earl
of Foix, and the manner of the piteous death of Gaston, the Earl's
Of the state or ordinance of the Earl of Foix 174
VII. THE BATTLE OF ALJUBAROTA.
How, for the war that was between them, the King of Castile had
aid out of France, and the King of Portugal out of England 178
Of the English and Portuguese, how they ordered themselves and
their battalion 82
Of the Spaniards, how they ordered themselves and their battalions 184
How the French knights and Gascons, such as were taken prisoners
at Aljubarota by the Portuguese, were slain by their masters, and none
How the King of Castile and all his great battalion were discomfited
by the King of Portugal before the village called Aljubarota 94
VIII. ORTHON, THE FAMILIAR SPIRIT.
How a Spirit, called Orthon, served the Lord of Corasse a long
time, and brought him ever tidings from all parts of the world 202
IX. THE DEATH OF THE EARL OF FOIX.
Of the sudden death of the Earl Gaston of Foix, and how the Earl
of ChAtel-bon came to the inheritance 214
X. THE INVASION OF ENGLAND.
Of the great apparel and provision that was made in the realm of
France by the King there and by his Council, for a journey to be made
into England 224
With what demeanour they in England beheld the preparation of
the Frenchmen 228
How the French King and his uncles arrived at Sluys in Flanders,
to the intent to pass into England 232
How the voyage into England was broken by reason of the winds
and of winter, and by counsel of the Duke of Berry 235
How King Charles of France and the French lords returned ill
content from Sluys, where their provisions were made to have gone into
the realm of England: and of the feast that was made at London 238
XI. THE CAPTURE OF THE FLEET FROM LA ROCHELLE.
Of the battle on the sea between the Englishmen and Sir John de
Bucq, Admiral for the Duke of Burgundy 240
XII. THE ADVENTURE OF SIR PIERS COURTENAY.
How Sir Piers Courtenay came into France to do arms with Sir Guy
de la Tremouille, and how the Lord de Clary conveyed him, and by
what occasion he did arms with him in the marches of Calais .248
XIII. THE CHALLENGE OF THE THREE CHAMBERLAINS.
How the Jousts of St. Inglevere were enterprise by Sir Reginald de
Roye, the young Sir Boucicaut, and the Lord de Saimpi 260
Of the deeds of arms at St. Inglevere, continuing thirty days against
all comers of the realm of England and other countries: every man
three courses: and first, of the arms done the first day .264
Of the second day at St. Inglevere 270
Of the third day at St. Inglevere, and how the French King was
there present, disguised as unknown 275
Of the fourth day, and how the Englishmen departed in courteous
manner from the three knights of France, and thanked them greatly 279
List of Illustrations
FRONTISPIECE: So perforce Sir Eustace was taken prisoner.
Heading to List of Illustrations xv
,, ,, Introduction xvii
,, Prologue xxix
Their masts seemed to be like a great wood 3
They made all the inen of the town to issue out 8
The people of Paris came and kneeled down .
The men-of-arms and archers went along the river 15
The four knights view the English host. 24
The king his father struck a stroke with his sword 28
Certain Frenchmen and Germans fought with the men-of-arms hand to
List of Illustrations
Then the king rode till he came to the castle of La Broyes 33
He issued out with the six burgesses 46
"Ho I see a ship coming" 55
The Frenchmen put themselves in ambush 65
Tied him to a cart and there let him stand 83
He struck him so that he was stunned 91
Then I demanded how that might be II
He brought him before the castle where his wife and children were 115
They were forced to take this way, and so made a hole in the wall 12
The servant wrestling overthrew him .143
"Wherefore, Sir, ye cannot be ill paid" 63
And so he fell down suddenly and died 171
With much sore weeping the boy was borne to the church 175
Within the narrow way 189
He feared then the losing of such a rich jewel and so fled 197
"I shall send to you such a champion, whom ye shall fear more
than me" .205
He had marvel of that lean sow 212
The porter saw the tokens, which he knew well 217
Night and day kept watch 231
She gave him at departing a little gold chain .251
\ \ O B^M B- ff F Q D Up O -
T HIS noble realm of England," said the Earl of Salis-
I bury, "hath been a long season in triumphant flower."
The words were spoken just five hundred years ago, and in
every generation since then, Englishmen have delighted
to find the colour and splendour of that flower still glowing
freshly in the Chronicles of Sir John Froissart. The time
deserved a lasting record, and the Earl of Foix, who had
the right to an opinion, spoke plainly to our author of his
opportunity, "saying to me how the history that I had
begun should hereafter be more praised than any other;
and the reason, he said, why, was this; how that in fifty.
years past there had been done more marvellous deeds of
arms in the world, than in three hundred years before that."
Many histories have been praised since then, and they have
recorded many deeds of arms, some perhaps as marvellous
as Cressy or Poitiers; but this is likely enough to keep its
place among them all, for its truth is not a matter of dates,
and it differs from all mere records as widely as a forest
in leaf differs from a timber-yard. Nothing here is dry,
nothing dead: in the hall we see the lords and bishops at
their Christmas dinner, the minstrels playing and singing,
"the knights and squires of honour going up and down,
and talking of arms and of love;" in the battle-field the
hedges and dykes, the moated abbey with the minster
among the trees, or the "little windmill hill" ; in the church
the "goodly hearse and well-ordered" with the -torches
round it burning night and day, and the dead lord's banners
before the High Altar. Everything is seen: sometimes in a
picture, as when at the foot of the castle they mounted on
their horses and so rode away," or when "the king of England
stood on the forepart of his ship apparelled in a black jacket
of velvet, and he wore on his head a bonnet of black cloth,
the which became him right well; and he was there so
joyous as he never was seen:" sometimes in drama, as
when the young king of France irritates the old Constable
by his childish eagerness, or the great Earl, half in anger,
half in ignorance, kills his only son.
Of these Chronicles, thirteen episodes are here presented
entire; they contain abundant matter for comment; but
before I go further I must tell something of the story of
the book itself and of the man who wrote it.
In the middle of the fourteenth century Messire Jean le
Bel, knight and nobleman, soldier, sportsman, song writer,
and reverend Canon of Liege, composed for his lord and
captain Jean de Beaumont a "true and notable history of
new wars and things befallen, between the years 1326 and
1361, in France, in England, and elsewhere." That work
was lost for centuries, and was only re-discovered in 1847,
but it was famous in its time, and gave one at least of its
readers an inspiration and a career in life. This was Jean
Froissart, a young scholar and churchman, born at Valen-
ciennes in Hainault, in the year 1338, who had always, as
he himself tells us, "justly inquired for the truth of the
deeds of wars and adventures that have fallen, and espe-
cially since the great battle of Poitiers, as before that time
I was but of a young age or understanding. Howbeit I
took on me, as soon as I came from school, to rhyme and
to recite the above wars, and bare the same compiled into
England, as I had written it." It was in 1361, that is, in
the very year in which Jean le Bel's Chronicle came to an
end, that Jean Froissart's first book made its appearance,
and was published after the fashion of the time by being
presented to the queen of England. Whether this was a
mere coincidence, or whether the elder writer in some way
nominated the younger to succeed him, we cannot tell, for
we know little -of the outward circumstances of Froissart's
early life; he has nowhere so much as told us the name or
occupation of his father. But for the rest of his days we
know all that we need to know, both of himself and his
book; we can see how he wrote and re-wrote it, and from
time to time enlarged it; how much he took entire from
Jean le Bel, and how much he changed or rejected; and we
can follow him through the Courts of England, France and
Brabant, where he collected his material from witnesses at
first hand, passing his time among the feudal barons and
veteran soldiers, living as they lived, admiring where they
admired, believing all that they believed, and most of what
they told, and wishing without doubt that it might have
been his fortune to fight as they had fought. He was
constrained to make a better use of his opportunities,
happily for us ; for Europe was then a chessboard of little
kingdoms, and every kingdom swarmed with fighting men;
but poets and chroniclers were few, and among the few
there was only one Froissart.
His first volume, of which I have spoken, was an account
of the battle of Poitiers; and, though lost in its separate
form, the substance of it is no doubt incorporated in the
Chronicles as we now possess them. It might well be
vividly and picturesquely written, for at the Court of
Edward III. he was able to meet and question the very
men who had borne the brunt of that day's work, and he
was a favoured guest at Berkhamstead, in the house of the
Black Prince himself. His admiration for the character
and achievements of the English is flattering to our national
pride, and we may believe that it was based upon a fair
judgment of what he saw and heard, but the fact that
Queen Philippa was his kindest patron and a native of his
own Hainault, undoubtedly added something to the colour-
ing; for many years afterwards he saw the Court of
England through a golden haze of personal feeling. But
he was at least as impartial as an English writer would
have been, and he gives solid and abundant reasons for his
preferences. His portrait of Queen Philippa is to this day
undimmed by any adverse criticism. "Tall and upright
was she, wise, gay, humble, pious, liberal and courteous,
decked and adorned in her time with all noble virtues
beloved of God and of mankind; and so long as she lived
the kingdom of England had favour, prosperity, honour, and
every sort of good fortune." And whatever flaws old age
may have brought to light in the character of Edward III.,
in the days when Froissart knew and admired him he was
a" king indeed. At Sluys, "in the flower of his youth, he
showed himself a noble knight of his own hand." At
Cressy "he rode from rank to rank, desiring every man to
take heed that day to his right and honour. He spake it
so sweetly, and with so good countenance and merry cheer,
that all such as were discomfited took courage in the
saying and hearing of him." And in the flush of unhoped-
for victory, "the king would have that no man should be
proud or make boast, but every man humbly to thank
God." The Black Prince too in his youth, before disease
and hardships dragged him down, was the true son of such
a father, "worthy to guard a realm." In battle he was
"courageous and cruel as a lion; he took great pleasure to
fight and to chase his enemies;" but when he knew that
the greatest triumph of the age was safely his, and John of
France sat as a prisoner at his table, "always the prince
served before the king, as humbly as he could;" and he
cheered his fallen enemy with such exquisite courtesy and
sincere offer of friendship, that even the French knights,
sitting weary and wounded at that bitter feast, began to
murmur among themselves "how that the prince had
spoken nobly, and that by all estimation he should prove a
noble man, if God send him life, and to persevere in such
good fortune." In the end God sent him neither long life
nor such good fortune, but that one summer was enough to
place him apart as a figure of heroic splendour in the
memory and imagination of his countrymen.
And it was not the princes only of England who moved
Froissart to enthusiasm; we read with an even greater and
nearer pleasure his praise of the men-of-arms and archers
who did the hardest of the marching and fighting; they
were, to his mind; ideal soldiers; ready and orderly before
the battle, cool and unabashed in the face of tremendous
odds, self-restrained in the dangerous first moment of
success ; generous and trustful in ransoming their prisoners,
to whom they made good cheer," and would let them go,
all only on their promise of faith and truth to return again
with their ransoms." Such courtesy, he says, was not to be
found among the Germans, nor such steadfastness among
the Spaniards: as to the French he gives no direct opinion,
but puts into the mouth of the Flemings a sharp saying,
"We think they will not pass into England this year, for
the realm of England is not so easy to be won; English-
men be not of the condition of Frenchmen. And what
will they do in England ? When the Englishmen were in
France and over-rode their countries, then the Frenchmen
hid themselves in their fortresses, and fled before them as
the lark doth before the hawk."
In England then, among these congenial friends, he
lived, as one of the queen's secretaries, for five of the
happiest years of his life. In 1366 he accompanied the
Prince and Princess of Wales, and in 1368 the Duke of
Clarence, on their journeys to the Continent. He was in
Italy in 1369, when news came of the death of Queen
Philippa, and he found himself thrown upon the world
again. For a time he is supposed to have turned to trade;
but it is certain that the "first edition of the Chronicles
appeared very shortly afterwards, under the patronage of
Robert of Naknur, Lord of Beaufort, and with such success
as to give its author at once a reputation and a certain
livelihood for the rest of his days. He passed under the
protection of one great lord after another: the Duke and
Duchess of Brabant, Duke Aubert of Bavaria, his son
William of Ostrevant, governor of Hainault, Gaston
Phoebus, Earl of Foix, and Richard II. of England, all
employed or entertained him; Guy de ChAtillon made him
Cur6 of Lestinnes, and afterwards, when Earl of Blois,
appointed him to be his own chaplain and a Canon of
Chimay. In 1388, intent on completing his Chronicles,
Froissart made his famous journey into Bearn, and went
the next year from thence to Bruges; in 1394 he came
back for the last time to England, after an absence of
twenty-seven years. The new king, Richard, received him
kindly, but he found only one of his old acquaintance still
at Court, and soon returned to Hainault. Tradition says
that he died in 1410, and therefore in his 72nd year; and
that he was buried in St. Anne's Chapel, in the Church of
His book, after being read widely for a hundred and fifty
years in the original French, came at last to be translated
into English by command of King Henry VIII. And here
Froissart's good fortune followed him even after death : the
work was entrusted to Sir John Bourchier, Lord Berners,
who was himself a knight and veteran soldier, a descendant
of Edward III., and in character and feeling a man so exactly
after the Chronicler's own heart, that his version, in spite
of its great freedom, its often careless grammar, and its
obsolete words and phrases, remains a masterpiece of inter-
pretation, never to be superseded. There is one other
translation, made at the beginning of this century and
more commonly known: its author, Colonel Johnes, was
an industrious scholar, to whom for the sake of his learning
and enthusiasm, his long-winded and insipid style may
perhaps be forgiven; but he cannot be heard in place of
a writer whose English almost everywhere rivals the beauty
of his original, and who is under strong suspicion of having
added, in one passage at least, a touch of tragic dignity
beyond the intention of Froissart himself. The ruined
French king as he fled from Cressy, came at dark, we are
told, with but four barons round him, to the castle of
la Broyes, and found his own fortress closed and guarded
against him. "Who is it that calleth there this time of
night ? cried the captain from the wall. "Then the king
said 'Open your gate quickly, for this is the fortune of
France.'" Of the many manuscript copies known to us,
not one contains the equivalent of these words.
From this version by Lord Berners then, the present
volume is taken, with such dove-tailing of separated narra-
tives, substitution of intelligible for obsolete words, and
new translation of mistaken or omitted passages, as seemed
necessary to make the work easily readable. Pynson's
edition of 1523 and.Utterson's of 1812 are for the use of
scholars only; it is the general reader who is here invited
to take these stories on trust, one' only being a new trans-
lation, and the remaining twelve being in substance! the
work of Lord Berners, with each passage given practically
in full, and altered as little as possible in the process of
smoothing away the stumbling-blocks. In them will be
found not only history, tragedy, comedy, fairy tale, and
romance, in a delightful medley, but many curious parallels
between our own and other times, and some passages still
more suggestive, bearing on problems which belong to the
life of man and do not really change with the passing of
centuries. From the beginning we shall be struck with
the evident persistence of national types of character;'the
coolness of the Anglo-Saxon in fight was not more, nor
less, conspicuous "down among the vines at Poitiers, than
in the squares at Waterloo ; Cressy, where the archers faced
a horde of yelling enemies, and "stirred not for all that,"
was the very counterpart of Omdurman; and the English-
men who shot so wholly together at Aljubarota were
the true forefathers of the gunners at Santiago and Manila
Bay, before whom the Spaniards were once iore, for all
their pride and fierceness, "discomfited without recovery."
Frenchmen's ideas on the invasion of England are still
what they were in the time of Charles VI. and of the first
Napoleon; it is still "the opinion of divers, that if they
might arrive all together in England, where they intended
to land, they should sore abash the country ;" the comment
is still true, and so they should, without doubt," and truer
still the Duke of Berry's unpopular remark, that "though
we be now a thousand and five hundred ships, yet before
we come there we shall not be three hundred; then behold
what peril we should put ourselves in "
In these days we joust no longer, but still "for the great
SThe account of the battle of Les Espagnols-sur-Mer was not con-
tained in the MS. used by Lord Berners, but was added by Froissart
in the later copies.
desire that we have to come to the knowledge of noble
gentlemen, strangers, as well on the frontiers of the realm
of France as elsewhere of far countries," we send cricketers
to Australia, and football teams to Paris; and when the
athletes of Harvard or the oarsmen of Cornell come three
thousand miles over-sea to meet us on our own ground we
are right joyful of their highcourage and enterprise;" we
watch the contest day by day, as our ancestors watched the
lists at St. Inglevere, marking the score as man after man
comes out ready to answer when his name is called, and
we understand with a perfect understanding the feelings
with which those sportsmen of five hundred years ago, still
aching from hard knocks, departed in courteous manner"
from their antagonists, and thanked them greatly for their
There is in truth more of the modern than the antiquated
in Froissart, and the better we know him the mere we shall
realize this, and understand and admire the age in which he
lived. It was the age of chivalry; a word of much con-
fusion, but one worth considering with Froissart's help;
for to him it stood neither for a narrow and exaggerated
view of the position of women, nor for a fantastic love of
mere adventure; it was nothing sentimental, high-flown, or
unreal, but a plain rule of life: and we may remember that
he learned it chiefly among Englishmen, the most practical
people in Europe. The fourteenth, like the nineteenth and
all other centuries, was cursed, and blessed, with war.
Blessed, because contest being the law of this material world,
where order must depend ultimately on force, it is natural
and right for man to love fighting as he loves the sense of
life, and the virtues of the soldier are the most desirable
of all: cursed, because the domination of the animal in us
is a danger always to be dreaded, as a violation of man's
nature and the destruction of his hopes. Now in that age
the Holy Church herself was militant, and the question of
the absolute wrongfulness of war, which weighs so heavily
upon the modern world, was perhaps never even raised;
but if it had been pressed upon them as it has been upon
us, we may be sure that Froissart and those among whom
he lived would have wondered how any one could so
hastily deny that man may live happily and honourably in
a world of arms. To know his answer, we have only to
mark what are the characters he loved: the brave, such as
those "noble jousters Sir John d'Ambreticourt and Sir
Reginald de Roye, who "feared neither pain nor death,"
knowing that these are the conditions of the game, and not
its worst possibilities; the faithful, such as the-French
knights and squires at Poitiers, who, though their masters
departed, yet had rather have died than have had any
reproach," and so died accordingly; the victorious king,
who would have no man proud, but humbly to thank God;
the prince, who loved and served his conquered enemy;
the men of honour, who scorned to mistrust or imprison
their captives; the soldiers, who wept to see their own
general beheading their enemies in cold blood. For much
as he loved courage, Froissart loved gentleness more : he is
never squeamish over the necessities of war, but cruelty he
cannot pass by, even in his great and admirable patron
the Earl of Foix; and over the sack of Limoges he cries
aloud: There was not so hard a heart, an if he had any
remembrance of God, but that wept piteously for the great
mischief that they saw before their eyes; for more than
three thousand men, women, and children were slain and
beheaded that day; God have mercy upon their souls, for
I trow they were martyrs." He was of the mind of Sir
John de Vienne and his companions, who would "endure
as much pain as ever knights did, rather than consent that
the poorest lad in the town should have to bear any more
evil than the greatest of us all ;" and of Eustace de St. Pierre,
who thought that "great mischief it should be, to suffer to
die such people as be in this town, when there is a means
to save them "-by giving his own life for theirs.
By these and many such passages Froissart has shown
us not merely his own ideal, but the ideal of his age; for he
learned from the knights of England and France that
which he wrote, and that which he wrote was in turn read
and approved by them. For them, as for Nelson, to be
fighting was to be in the full tide of happiness," and I do
not doubt that their descendants, for some generations yet,
will feel the same stirring of the blood. It will be well if
they will frankly own to it, taking care that at the same
time they keep alive the soldierly instincts of discipline,
generosity, loyalty, and fair play; that the new men-of-
arms, like the old, look with sympathy on all human forti-
tude, and with tenderness on all human suffering: that
they learn, like their ancestors, to fight without hatred, to
conquer without insolence, and to meet death without
terror; to think of honour as the true self-interest, and of
nobility as the right to serve.
-~1~9 LI ,OC U
TO the intent that the honourable and noble adventures
and feats of arms done and achieved in the wars of
France and England should notably be enregistered and
put in perpetual memory, whereby the brave and hardy
may have ensample to encourage them in their well-doing, I,
Sir John Froissart, will treat and record a history of great
merit and praise.
But before I begin, I entreat the Saviour of all the world,
Who out of nothing created all things, that He will give me
grace and understanding that I may continue and persevere
in such wise, that whoso readeth or heareth this book, may
take profit, pleasure, and ensample.
Then, to attain to the matter that I have enterprised, I
will take my foundation out of the true chronicles sometime
compiled by the right reverend, discreet, and sage master,
John le Bel, sometime Canon in St. Lambert's of Liege,
who with good heart and due diligence did his true devoir
in writing this noble chronicle, and did continue it all his
life's days. Truth it is that I, who have enterprise to set
in order this book, have for pleasure, the which hath always
inclined me thereto, followed and frequented the company
of divers noble and great lords, as well in France, England,
and Scotland, as in divers other countries, and have had
knowledge by them, and always to my power justly have
inquired for the truth of the deeds of war and adventures
that have fallen, and especially since the great battle of
Poitiers, where the noble King John of France was taken
prisoner, as before that time I was but of a young age or
understanding. Howbeit, I took on me, as soon as I came
from school, to write and recite the above wars, and bare
the same compiled into England, and presented the volume
thereof to my lady Philippa of Hainault, noble Queen of
England, who right amiably received it to my great profit
and advancement. And it may be so that the'same book'
is not as yet examined nor corrected so justly as such a
case requireth. Therefore to acquit me in that behalf, and
in following the truth as near as I can, I, John Froissart,
have enterprise this history on the foresaid ordinance and
true foundation, at the instance and request of a dear lord
of mine, Robert of Namur, knight, lord of Beaufort, to
whom entirely I owe love and obeisance; and God grant
me to do that thing that may be to His pleasure. Amen.
"T HUS, when I remembered the manifold commodities of history, how
beneficial it is to mortal folk, and eke how laudable and meritorious
a deed it is to write histories, I fixed my mind to do something therein : and
ever when this imagination came to me, I volved, turned and read many
volumes and books containing famous histories; and among all others I read
diligently the four volumes or books of Sir John Froissart of the country of
Hainault, written in the French tongue, which I judged commodious,
necessary and profitable to be had in English, sith they treat of the famous
acts done in our parts; and specially they redound to the' honour of English-
men. What pleasure shall it be to the noble gentlemen of England to see,
behold and read the high enterprises, famous acts and glorious deeds done and
achieved by their valiant ancestors !"-LORD BERNERS.
STORIES FROM FROISSART
THE BATTLE OF SLUYS
OF THE BATTLE ON THE SEA, BEFORE SLUYS IN FLANDERS,
BETWEEN THE KING OF ENGLAND AND THE FRENCHMEN.
IN the year of our Lord MCCCXL, King Edward' the
Third of England was on the sea to the intent to
arrive in Flanders, and go into Hainault, to make war
against the Frenchmen.
This was on Midsummer Eve that all the English
fleet was departed out of the river of Thames, and
took the way to Sluys. And at the same time between
Blanckenburgh and Sluys on the sea were Sir Hugh
Quiriel, Sir Peter Bahucet, and Barbenoire," with more'
Stories from Froissart
than six score great vessels besides others, and they had
aboard of Normans, light troops, Genoese and Picards,
about the number of forty thousand. There they were
laid by the French king to defend the passage against the
king of England.
The king of England and his came sailing till he came
before Sluys; and when he saw so great a number of ships
that 'their masts seemed to be like a great wood, he
demanded of the master of his ships, what people he
thought they were.
He answered and said, "Sir, I think they be Normans,
laid here by the French king, and they have done great
displeasure in England, burnt your town of Southampton,
and taken your great ship the Christopher."
"Ah!" said the king, "I have long desired to. fight
with the Frenchmen; and now shall I fight with some of
them, by the grace of God and St. George: for truly they
have done me so many displeasures, that I shall be revenged
if I may."
Then the king set all his ships in order, the greatest
before, well furnished with archers; and ever between
two ships of archers he had one ship with men-of-arms;
and then he made another division of the fleet to lie aloof
with archers, to support ever them that were most weary,
if need were. And there were a great number of countesses,
ladies, knights' wives and other damsels, that were going to
see the queen at Ghent; these ladies the king caused to
be well guarded with three hundred men-of-arms and five
When the king and his marshals had set in order his
divisions he drew up the sails, and came with a quarter
wind, to have the vantage of the sun. And at the last
tley turned a little, to get the wind as they wished it; and
when the Normans saw them turn back, they had marvel
why they did so. And some said, "They think themselves
The Battle of Sluys
not meet to meddle with us; wherefore they will go
They saw well how the king of England was there
personally, by reason of his banners. Then they did
apparel their fleet in order; for they were sage and good
men of war on the sea; and did set the Christopher, which
they had won the year before, to be foremost, with many
trumpets and instruments, and so set on their enemies.
There began a sore battle on both parts: aichers and
Their masts seemed to be like a great wood.
crossbows began to shoot, and men-of-arms approached
and fought hand to hand; 'and the better to come together
they had great hooks and grapplers of iron, to cast out of
one ship into another, and so tied them fast together. There
were many deeds of arms done, taking and rescuing again;
and at last the great Christopher was first won by the
Englishmen, and all that were within it taken or slain.
Then there was a great noise and cry, and the Englishmen
approached, and. fortified the Christopher with archers,
Stories from Froissart
and made him to pass on before, to fight with the
This battle was right fierce and terrible; for the battles
on the sea are more dangerous and fiercer than the battles
by land. For on the sea there is no drawing back or
fleeing; there is no remedy but to fight and to abide fortune,
and every man to show his prowess.
Of a truth Sir Hugh Quiriel, and Sir Peter Bahucet, and
Barbenoire, were right good and expert men of war. This
battle endured from the morning till it was noon, and the
Englishmen endured much pain, for their enemies were four
against one, and all good men on the sea.
There the king of England showed himself a noble knight
of his own hand; he was in the flower of his youth. In
like wise so did the Earls of Derby, Pembroke, Hereford,
Huntingdon, Northampton, and Gloucester; Sir Reginald
Cobham, Sir Richard Stafford, the Lord Percy, Sir Walter
Manny, Sir Henry of Flanders, Sir John Beauchamp, the
Lord Felton, the Lord Bradeston, Sir John Chandos, the
Lord Delawarr, the Lord Multon, Sir Robert d'Artois, called
Earl of Richmond, and divers other lords and knights, who
bare themselves so valiantly, with some succours that they
had from Bruges and from the country thereabout, that
they obtained the victory. So that the Frenchmen,
Normans, and others were discomfited, slain, and drowned;
there was not one escaped, but all were slain.
When this victory was achieved, the king all that night
abode in his ship before Sluys, with great noise of
trumpets and other instruments. Thither came to see the
king divers men of Flanders, such as had heard of the
king's coming; and on the next day, which was Mid-
summer Day, the king and all his people took land, and
the king on foot went a pilgrimage to our Lady of Ardem-
bourg, and there heard mass, and dined; and then took his
horse and rode to Ghent, where the queen received him
The Battle of Sluys
with great joy, and all his baggage train came after him by
little and little.
But when the French king heard how his army on the
sea was discomfited, he dislodged, and drew off to Arras,
and gave leave to his men to depart, till he heard other
THE BATTLE OF CRESSY
HOW THE KING OF ENGLAND CAME OVER THE SEA AGAIN, AND
RODE WITH HIS ARMY IN THREE BATTALIONS THROUGH
T HE king of England had heard how certain of his
men were sore constrained in the castle of Aiguillon,
where the Duke of Normandy and the lords of France had
laid their siege. Then the king caused a great navy of ships
to be ready in the haven of Southampton, and caused all
manner of inen of war to draw thither about the feast of St.
John the Baptist in the year of our Lord God MCCCXLV.
Then the king rode to Southampton, and there tarried
for wind: then he entered into his ships, and the Prince of
Wales with him, and the Lord Godfrey Harcourt; and
all other lords,'earls, barons, and knights with all their
Now I shall name you certain of the lords that went
The Battle of Cressy
over with King Edward in that journey. First, Edward
his eldest son, Prince of Wales, who was then of the age
of sixteen years or thereabout; the Earls of Hereford,
Northampton, Arundel, Cornwall, Warwick, Huntingdon,
Suffolk, and Oxford. And of barons, the Lord Mortimer,
who was afterwards Earl of March; the Lords John,
Louis, and Roger Beauchamp, and the Lord Reginald
Cobham; of lords, the Lords Mowbray, Roos, Lucy, Felton,
Bradeston, Multon, Leyburn, Mauley, Basset, Barlett, and
Willoughby, with divers other lords; and of knights
bachelors there was Sir John Chandos, Sir Fulk Fitzwarren,
Sir Peter and Sir James Audley, Sir Roger Vertuall, Sir
Bartholomew Burghersh and Sir Richard Petmbridge, with
divers others that I cannot name.
When the king arrived in the Hogue he issued out of
his ships, and the first foot that he set on the ground he
fell so rudely that the blood burst out of his nose: the
knights that were about him took him up, and said, Sir,
for God's sake enter again into your ship; and come not
a-land this day; for this is but an evil sign for us."
Then the king answered quickly and said, "Wherefore ?
this is a good token for me, for the land desireth to have
me." Of the which answer all his men were right joyful.
So that day and night the king lodged on the sands,
and in the meantime discharged the ships of their horses
and other baggage. There the king made two marshals
of his host: the one the Lord Godfrey Harcourt, and the
other the Earl of Warwick; and the Earl of Arundel,
Constable. And he ordained that the Earl of Huntingdon
should guard the fleet of ships with a hundred men-of-arms
and four hundred archers. And also he ordained three
battalions, one to go on his right hand, closing to the sea-
side, and the other on his left hand, and the king himself
in the midst, and every night to lodge all in one camp.
Thus they set forth as they were ordained, and they that
Stories from Froissart
went by the sea took all the ships that they found in their
,ways; and they went forth so long, what by sea and what
.by land, that they came to a good port and to a good town
,called Barfleur, the which was won instantly; for they
within gave up for fear of death. Howbeit, for all that,
.the town was robbed, and much gold and silver there
found, and rich jewels: there was found so much riches
They made all the men of the town to issue out.
that the boys and servants of the host set no store by good
They made all the men of the town to issue out and to
go into the ships, because they would not suffer them to
remain behind them for fear of rebelling again.
After th2 town of Barfleur was thus taken and robbed,
without burning, then they spread abroad in the country,
and did what they listed : for there was none to resist them.
At last they came to a great and a rich town called
Cherbourg: the town they won, and robbed it, and burnt
The Battle of Cressy
part thereof, but into the castle they could not come, it
was so strong and well furnished with men of war: then
they passed forth and came to Montebourg, and took it,
and robbed and burnt it clean.
In this manner they burnt many other towns in that
country, and won so much riches that it was marvel to
reckon it. It was hard to think the great riches that there
was won, in clothes specially: cloth would there have been
sold good cheap, if there had been any buyers.
Then the king went towards Caen, and took it; and the
Englishmen were lords of the town three days, and won
great riches, the which they sent by barques and barges to
St. Sauveur, by the river of Estreham, a two leagues
thence, where all their navy lay.
HOW SIR GODFREY HARCOURT FOUGHT WITH THEM OF AMIENS
Thus the king of England ordered his business, being
in the town of Caen, and sent into England his navy of
ships charged with clothes, jewels, vessels of gold and silver
and other riches; and of prisoners more than sixty knights
and three hundred burgesses.
Then he departed from the town of Caen and rode in
the same order as he did before, burning and wasting the
country; and took the way to Evrcux and so passed by it.
Then they entered into the country of Evreux, and burnt
and pillaged all except the good walled towns and castles,
to which the king made no assault, because of sparing his
people and his artillery.
Then the Englishmen passed by Rouen, and went to
Gisors, where was a strong castle: they burnt the town,
and then they burnt Vernon and all the country about
Rouen and Pont de l'Arche, and came to Nantes and to
Meulan and wasted all the country about; and passed by
Stories from Froissart
the strong castle of Roulleboise; and in every place along
the river of Seine they found the bridges broken.
At last they came to Poissy, and found the bridge
broken, but the arches and joists lay in the river. The
king lay there a five days, and in the mean season the
bridge was made good, to pass the host without peril.
The English marshals ran abroad almost as far as Paris,
and burnt St. Germain-en-Laye, and Montjoye and St.
Cloud, and Boulogne near Paris, and Bourg la Reine: and
they of Paris were not well assured of their own safety, for
Paris was not then walled.
Then King Philip of France removed to St. Denis, and
before he went, caused all the pent-houses in Paris to be
pulled down. And at St. Denis were already come the
king of Bohemia, the Lord John of Hainault, the Duke of
Lorraine, the Earl of Flanders, the Earl of Blois, and many
other great lords and knights, ready to serve the French
When the people of Paris saw their king depart, they
came to him and kneeled down and said, "Ah! Sir'and
noble king, what will ye do, that ye leave thus this noble
city of Paris ?"
The king said, "My good people, doubt ye not, the
Englishmen will approach you no nearer than they be."
"Why so, Sir?" said they, "they be within these two
leagues; and as soon as they know of your departing, they
will come and assail us, and we be not able to defend
ourselves against them: Sir, tarry here still and help to
defend your good city of Paris."
"Speak no more," said the king, "for I will go to St.
Denis, to my men of war: for I will encounter the
Englishmen, and fight against them, whatsoever may
The king of England was then at Poissy, and lodged in
the nunnery there, and kept there the feast of Our Lady in
The people of Paris came and kneeled down.
The Battle of Cressy
August, and sat in his robes of scarlet furred with ermine;
and after that feast he went forth in order as they were
The Lord Godfrey Harcourt rode out on the one side
with five hundred men-of-arms and thirteen hundred
archers; and by adventure he encountered a great number
of burgesses of Amiens a-horseback, who were riding by
the king's commandment to Paris. They were quickly
assailed, and they defended themselves valiantly, for they
were a great number and well armed: there were four
knights of Amiens who were their captains.
This skirmish lasted long: at the first meeting many
were overthrown on both parts, but finally the burgesses
were taken and nigh all slain, and the Englishmen took all
their carriages and harness. They were well. stuffed with
riches, for they were going to the French king well
appointed because they had not seen him for a great
season before. There were slain in the field a twelve
Then the king of England entered into the country of
Beauvoisin, burning and wasting the plain country; and
lodged at a fair abbey and a rich called St. Messien, near
to Beauvais. There the king tarried a night, and in the
morning departed; and when he was on his way he looked
behind him and saw the abbey afire. He caused in-
stantly twenty to be hanged of them that set the fire there:
for he had commanded before on pain of death none to
violate any church nor to burn any abbey.
Then they came to Airaines and there lodged; for there
the king was minded to lie a day or two, to take advice
how he might pass the river of Somme; for it was necessary
for him to pass the river, as ye shall hear afterwards.
Stories from Froissart
HOW THE FRENCH KING FOLLOWED THE KING OF ENGLAND IN
THE COUNTRY OF BEAUVAIS.
Now let us speak of King Philip, who was at St. Denis
and his people about him, and they daily increased. Then
on a day he departed, and- rode so long that he came to
Coppigny du Guise, a three leagues from Amiens, and
there he tarried.
The king of England being at Airaines wist not where
to pass the river of Somme, the which was large and deep,
and all the bridges were broken and the passages well
guarded. Then at the king's commandment his two
marshals with a thousand men-of-arms and two thousand
archers went along the river, to find some passage, and'
passed by Lompr6 and came to the bridge of Remy, the
which was well guarded with a great number of knights and
squires and men of the country.
The Englishmen alighted afoot, and assailed the French-
men from the morning till it was noon; but the bridge
was so well fortified and defended, that the Englishmen
departed without winning anything.
Then they went to a great town called Fontaines, on
the river of Somme, the which was clean robbed and burnt,
for it was not walled. Then they went to another town
called Long, in Ponthieu; they could not win the bridge, it
was so well kept and defended. Then they departed and
went to Pecquigny, and found the town, the bridge,
and the castle so well fortified, that it was not a likely
place to cross there.
The French king had so well defended the passages, to
the intent that the king of England should not.pass the
river of Somme to fight with him at his advantage, or else
he meant to famish him there.
When these two marshals had essayed in all places to
The men-of-arms and archers went along the river.
The Battle of Cressy
find passage, and could find .none, they returned again to
the king, and showed how they could find no passage in
no place. The same night the French king came to
Amiens with more than a hundred thousand men.
The king of England was right pensive, and the next
morning heard mass before the sunrising, and then dis-
lodged: and every man followed the marshals' banners.
And so they rode into the country of Vimieu, approaching
to the good town of Abbeville; and found a town thereby,
whereunto was come much people of the country, trusting
to a little fort that was there; but the Englishmen anon
won it, and all they that were within were slain, and many
taken of the town and of the country. The king took his
lodging in a great hospital that was there. .
The same day the French king departed from Amiens
and came to Airaines about noon; and the Englishmen
had departed thence in the morning. The Frenchmen
found there a great provision that the Englishmen had
left behind them, because they departed in haste: there
they found flesh ready on the spits, bread and pasties in the
ovens, wine in tuns and barrels, and the tables ready laid.
There the French king lodged, and tarried for his lords.
That night the king of England was lodged at Oisemont.
At night when the two marshals were returned, who had
that day overrun the country to the gates of Abbeville
and to St. Valdry, and made a great skirmish there, the
king assembled together his council, and made to be
brought before him certain prisoners of the country.
The king right courteously demanded of them if there
were any among them that knew any passage below
Abbeville,:that he and his host might pass over the river
of Somme: if he would show him thereof, he should be
quit of his ransom, and twenty more of his company for
There was a varlet called Gobyn a Grace, who stepped
Stories from Froissart
forth and said to the king, "Sir, I promise you, on the
jeopardy of my head, I shall bring you to such a place,
where ye and all your host shall pass the river of Somme
without peril. There be certain places in the passage that
ye shall pass twelve men front, two times between day
and night; ye shall not go in the water to the knees ; but
when the time cometh, the river then waxeth so great that
no man can pass: but when the tide is gone, the which
is two times between day and night, then the river is so
low that it may be passed without danger, both a-horse-
back and afoot. The passage is hard in the bottom with
white stones, so that all your baggage-train may go safely :
therefore the passage is called Blanchetaque. If ye make
ready to depart betimes ye may be there by the sunrising."
The' king said, "If this be true that ye say, I quit thee
thy ransom, and all thy company, and moreover shall give
thee a hundred nobles in money." Then the king com-
nanded every man to be ready, at the sound of the
trumpet, to depart.
OF THE BATTLE OF BLANCHETAQUE, BETWEEN THE KING OF
ENGLAND AND SIR GODEMAR DU FAY.
The king of England slept not much that night, for at
midnight he arose and sounded his trumpet: then instantly
they made ready carriages and all things. And at the
breaking of the day they departed from the town of Oise-
mont, and rode .after the guiding of Gobyn a Grace, so
that they came by the sunrising to Blanchetaque; but
then the tide was up so that they might not pass. So
the king tarried there till it was six o'clock; then the
The French king had his scouts in the country, who
brought him word of the demeanour of the Englishmen.
Then he thought to shut in the king of England between
The Battle of Cressy
Abbeville and the river of Somme, and so to fight with him
at his pleasure.
And when he was at Amiens he had ordained a great
baron of Normandy, called Sir God6mar du Fay, to go and
keep the passage of Blanchetaque, where the Englishmen
must pass, or else in none other place. He had with him a
thousand men-of-arms and six thousand afoot, with the
Genoese. So they went by St. Ricquier in Ponthicu, and
from thence to Crotoy, where the passage lay. And also
he had with him a great number of men of the country,
so that there were a twelve thousand men, one and other.
When the English host was- come thither, Sir God6mar
du Fay arranged all his company to defend the passage.
The king of England stayed not for all that; but when
the tide was gone, he commanded his marshals to enter
into the water in the name of God and St. George. Then
they that were hardy and courageous entered on both sides,
and many a man was overthrown. There were some of the
Frenchmen of Artois and Picardy that were as glad to tilt
:in the water as on the dry land. The Frenchmen defended
so well the passage while the Englishmen were issuing out
of the water that they had much to do : the Genoese did
them much trouble with their crossbows.
On the other side the archers of England shot so wholly
together that the Frenchmen were fain to give place to the
Englishmen. There was a sore battle, and many a noble
feat of arms done on both sides: finally the Englishmen
passed over and assembled together in the field ; the king
and the prince passed, and all the lords; then the French-
men kept no order, but departed, he that might best.
When Sir God6mar saw that discomfiture, he fled and
saved himself. Some fled to Abbeville and some to St.
Ricquier; they that were there afoot could not flee, so that
there were slain a great number of them: the chase
endured more than a great league.
Stories from Froissart
But when as yet all the Englishmen were not passed
over the river, certain scouts of the king of Bohemia and
of Sir John of Hainault came on them that were behind
and took certain horses and carriages, and slew divers
before they could take the passage.
The French king the same morning was departed from
Airaines, trusting to have found the Englishmen between
him and the river of Somme; but when he heard how that
Sir God6mar du Fay and his company were discomfited,
he tarried in the field, and demanded of his marshals what
was best to do.
They said, "Sir, ye cannot pass the river but at the
bridge of Abbeville, for the tide is come in at Blanche-
taque." Then he returned, and lodged at Abbeville.
The king of England when he was past the river he
thanked God; and so rode forth in like manner as he did
before. Then he called Gobyn a Grace, and did quit him
his ransom, and all his company; and gave him a hundred
nobles in money and a good horse.
And so the king rode forth fair and easily, and his marshals
rode to Crotoy on the seaside, and burnt the town, and
found in the haven many ships and barques charged with
wines of Ponthieu, pertaining to the merchants of Saintonge
and la Rochelle: they brought the best thereof to the
Then one of the marshals rode to the gates of Abbeville
and from thence to St. Ricquier, and afterwards to the town
of Rue St. Esprit. This was on a Friday, and both battalions
of the marshals returned to the king's host about noon;
and so lodged all together near to Cressy in Ponthieu.
The king of England was well informed how the French
king followed after him to fight: then he said to his
company, "Let us take here some plot of ground, for we
will go no further till we have seen our enemies. I have
good cause here to abide them, for I am on the right
The Battle of Cressy
heritage of the queen my mother, the which land was
given to her at her marriage: I will challenge it of mine
adversary Philip of Valois."
And because that he had not the eighth part in number
of men as the French king had, therefore he commanded
his marshals to choose a plot of ground somewhat for his
advantage; and so they did, and thither the king and his
Then he sent his scouts to Abbeville, to see if the French
king drew that day into the field or not. They went forth
and returned again, and said how they could see no
appearance of his coming. Then every man took their
lodging for that day, and to be ready in the morning at the
sound of the trumpet, in the same place.
Thus on Friday the French king tarried still in Abbeville,
waiting for his company ; and sent his two marshals to ride
out to see the dealing of the Englishmen; and at night
they returned, and said how the Englishmen were lodged in
That night the French king made a supper to all the
chief lords that were there with him ; and after supper the
king desired them to be friends each to other. The
king looked for the Earl of Savoy, who should come to
him with a thousand spears; for he had received wages for
a three-months of them, at Troyes in Champaigne.
OF THE ORDER OF THE ENGLISHMEN AT CRESSY, AND HOW THEY
MADE THREE BATTALIONS AFOOT.
On the Friday, as I said before, the king of England lay
in the fields; for the country was plentiful of wines and
other victual, and if need had been they had provision
following in carts and other carriages.
That night the king made a supper to all his chief lords of
his host, and made them good cheer. And when they were
Stories from Froissart
all departed to take their rest, then the king entered into
his oratory, and kneeled down before the altar, praying God
devoutly that if he fought the next day, he might achieve
the day's work to his honour.
Then about midnight he laid him down to rest; and in
the morning he rose betimes, and heard mass, and the
prince his son with him; and the most part of his company
confessed and had absolution.
And after the mass said, he commanded every man to be
armed and to draw to the field, to the same place before
appointed. Then the king caused a park to be made, by
the wood-side behind his host; and there they set all carts
and carriages, and within the park were all their horses,
for every man was afoot; and into this park there was but
Then he ordained the battalions. In the first was the
young Prince of Wales; with him the Earls of Warwick
and Stafford, the Lord Godfrey Harcourt, Sir Reginald
Cobham, Sir Thomas Holland, the Lord Stafford, the Lord
Mauley, the Lord Delawarr, Sir John Chandos, Sir Bartho-
lomew Burghersh, Sir Robert Neville, the Lord Thomas
Clifford, the Lord Bourchier, the Lord Latimer, and divers
other knights and squires that I cannot name: they
were an eight hundred men-of-arms and two thousand
archers, and a thousand of others, with the Welshmen.
Every lord drew to the field appointed, under his own
banner and pennon.
In the second battalion was the Earl of Northampton,
the Earl of Arundel, the Lord Roos, the Lord Lygo, the
Lord Willoughby, the Lord Basset, the Lord St. Amand,
Sir Louis Tufton, the Lord Multon, the Lord Lascelles, and
divers others, about an eight hundred men-of-arms and
twelve hundred archers.
The king had the third battalion; he had seven hundred
men-of-arms, and two thousand archers.
The Battle of Cressy
Then the king leapt on a horse, with a white rod in his
hand, one of his marshals on the one hand and the other on
the other hand : he rode from rank to rank, desiring every
man to take heed that day to his right and honour. He
spake it so sweetly, and with so good countenance and
merry cheer, that all such as were discomfited took courage
in the saying and hearing of him.
And when he had thus visited all his battalions, it was
then nine of the day: then he caused every man to eat and
drink a little: and so they did at their leisure. And after-
ward they again set in order their battalions: then every
man lay down on the earth, and by him his steel cap and
bow, to be the more fresher when their enemies should come.
THE ORDER OF THE FRENCHMEN AT CRESSY, AND HOW THEY
BEHELD THE DEMEANOUR OF THE ENGLISHMEN.
This Saturday the French king rose betimes, and heard
mass in Abbeville in his lodging in the abbey of St. Peter:
and he departed after the sunrising.
When he was out of the town two leagues, approaching
toward his enemies, some of his lords said to him, Sir, it
were good that ye set in order your battalions, and let all
your footmen pass somewhat on before, that they be not
troubled with the horsemen."
Then the king sent four knights, the Lord Moyne of
Bastleburg, the Lord of Noyers, the Lord of Beaujeu, and
the Lord d'Aubigny, to ride to view the English host: and
so they rode so near that they might well see part of their
dealing. The Englishmen saw them well, and knew well
how they were come thither to view them; they let them
alone, and made no countenance toward them, and let them
return as they came.
And when the French king saw these four knights return
again, he tarried till they came to him, and said, Sirs,
what tidings ?"
Stories from Froissart
These four knights each of them looked on other, for
there was none would speak before his companion: finally
the king said to Moyne, who pertained to the king of
Bohemia, and had done in his days so much that he was
reputed for one of the valiantest knights of the world, "Sir,
Then he said, Sir, I shall speak, since it pleaseth you,
under the correction of my fellows. Sir, we have ridden
and seen the behaving of your enemies; know ye for truth
they are halted in three battalions, abiding for you. Sir, I
will counsel you, as for my part, saving your displeasure,
that you and all your company rest here and lodge for this
The four knights view the English hdst.
night; for before they of your company that be behind be
come hither, and before your battalions be set in good
order, it will be very late, and your people be weary and
out of array; and ye shall find your enemies fresh and
ready to receive you. Early in the morning ye may order
your battalions at more leisure, and advise concerning your
enemies at more deliberation, and regard well what way ye
will assail them; for, Sir, surely they will abide you."
Then the king commanded that it should be so done.
Then his two marshals rode one before, another behind,
saying to every banner, Tarry and abide here, in the name
of God and St. Denis."
The Battle of Cressy
They that were foremost tarried, but they that were
behind would not tarry, but rode forth, and said how they
would in no wise abide till they were as far forward as the
foremost. And when those before saw them come on
behind, then they rode forward again, so that the king nor
his marshals could not rule them.
So they rode without order or good array till they came
in sight of their enemies. And as soon as the foremost
saw them they recoiled aback without good array; whereof
those behind had marvel, and were abashed, and thought that
the foremost company had been fighting. Then they might
have had leisure and room to have gone forward, if they had
listed. Some went forward and some abode still: the
common soldiers, of whom all the roads between Abbeville
and Cressy were full, when they saw that they were near
to their enemies, they took their swords and cried : "Down
with them let us slay them all !"
There was no man, though he were present at that day's
work, that could imagine or show the truth of the evil order
that was among the French party: and yet they were a
marvellous great number. That which I write in this book
I learned it specially of the Englishmen, who well beheld
their dealing; and also certain knights of Sir John of
Hainault's, who was always about King Philip, showed me
all they knew.
OF THE BATTLE OF CRESSY, BETWEEN THE KING OF ENGLAND AND
THE FRENCH KING.
The Englishmen, who were in three battalions, lying on
the ground to rest them, as soon as they saw the Frenchmen
approach, they rose upon their feet fair and easily, without
any haste, and arranged their battalions.
The first was the prince's battalion: the archers there stood
in the manner of a harrow, and the men-of-arms at the
Stories from Froissart
rear of the battalion. The Earl of Northampton and the
Earl of Arundel were on a wing in good order, ready to
support the prince's battalion, if need were.
The lords and knights of France came not to the assembly
together in good order, for some came before and some
came after, in such haste and evil order that one of them
did trouble another.
When the French king saw the Englishmen, his blood
changed, and he said to his marshals, Make the Genoese
go on before and begin the battle in the name of God and
There were of the Genoese crossbows about a fifteen thou-
sand, but they were so weary of going a six leagues afoot that
day armed with their crossbows, that they said to their
constables, We be not well ordered to fight this day, for we
be not in the condition to do any great deed of arms; we
have more need of rest." These words came to the Earl of
Alencon, who said, "A man is well off to be burdened with
such a sort of rascals, to be faint and fail now at most
Also at the same time there fell a great rain, and an
eclipse of the sun, with a terrible thunder, and before the
rain there came flying over both armies a great number of
crows, for fear of the tempest coming. Then anon the air
began to wax clear, and the sun to shine fair and bright;
the which was right in the Frenchmen's eyes and on the
When the Genoese were assembled together and began
to approach, they made a great leap and cry, to abash the
Englishmen; but they stood still and stirred not for all that.
Then the Genoese again the second _time made another leap
and a fell cry, and stepped forward a little; and the
Englishmen removed not one foot; thirdly again they leapt
and cried and went forward till they came within shot; then
they shot fiercely with their crossbows.
The Battle of Cressy
Then the English archers stepped forth one pace, and
let fly their arrows so wholly together and so thick that it
seemed snow. When the Genoese felt the arrows piercing
through heads, arms and breasts, many of them cast down
their crossbows, and did cut their strings, and returned
When the French king saw them fly away, he said,
"Slay these rascals, for they will let and trouble us without
reason." Then ye should have seen the men-of-arms
dash in among them, and kill a.great number of them.
And ever still the Englishmen shot where they saw
thickest press; the sharp arrows ran into the men-of-arms
and into their horses, and many fell, horse and man, among
the Genoese; and when they were down they could not
rise again, the press was so thick that one overthrew
And also among the Englishmen there were certain
rascals that went afoot, with great knives; and they went
in among the men-of-arms, and slew and murdered many
as they lay on the ground, both earls, barons, knights and
squires; whereof the king of England was afterwards
displeased, for he had rather they had been taken
The valiant king of Bohemia, called Charles of Luxem-
bourg, son to the noble Emperor Henry of Luxembourg,
for all that he was nigh blind, when he understood the
order of the battle, he said to them about him, "Where is
the Lord Charles my son ?"
His men said, Sir, we cannot tell; we think he be
Then he said," Sirs, ye are my men, my companions and
friends in this day's work. I require you, bring me so far
forward that I may strike one stroke with my sword."
They said they would do his commandment; and to the
intent that they should not lose him in the press, they tied
Stories from Froissart
all their reins of their bridles each to other, and set the
king in front to accomplish his desire, and so they went
on their enemies.
The Lord Charles of Bohemia his son, who wrote himself
king of Bohemia, and bore the arms, came in good order to
the battle; but when he saw that the matter went awry on
their side, he departed, I cannot tell you which way.
The king his father was so far forward that he struck a
The king his father struck a stroke with his sword.
stroke with his sword, yea, and more than four, and fought
valiantly. And so did his company; and they adventured
themselves so forward that they were there all slain; and
the next day they were found in the place, about the king,
and all their horses tied each to other.
The Earl of Alenqon came to the battle in right good
order, and fought with the Englishmen; and the Earl of
Flanders also on his part: these two lords with their
companies coasted past the English archers, and came to
The Battle of Cressy
the prince's battalion, and there fought valiantly for a long
time. The French king would fain have come thither,
when he saw their banners, but there was a great hedge
of archers before him.
The same day the French king had given a great black
courser to Sir John of Hainault, and Sir John of Hainault
made the Lord John de Fusselles to ride on him, and to
bear his banner. The same horse took the bridle in the
teeth, and brought him through all the outposts of the
Englishmen; and as he would have returned again he fell
into a great ditch, and was sore hurt, and had there been
dead if his page had not been there, who followed him
through all the battalions, and saw where his master lay in
the ditch; he had none other hindrance but for his horse,
for the Englishmen would not issue out of their battalions
for taking of any prisoner. Then the page alighted and
raised up his master; then went not back again the same
way that they came; there was too many in his way.
This battle, fought between La Broyes and Cressy this
Saturday, was right cruel and fell, and many a feat of arms
was done that came not to my knowledge. In the night
divers knights and squires lost their masters, and sometimes
came on the Englishmen, who received them in such wise
that they were ever nigh slain, for there was none taken
to mercy nor to ransom, for so the Englishmen were
In the morning, the day of the battle, certain Frenchmen
and Germans perforce broke through the archers of the
prince's battalion, and came and fought with the men-of-
arms hand to hand. Then the second battalion of the
Englishmen came to succour the prince's battalion, the
which was time, for they had then much ado; and those
with the prince sent a messenger to the king, who was on
a little windmill hill.
Then the knight said to the king, "Sir, the Earl of
.Stories from Froissart
Warwick and the Earl of Stafford, Sir Reginald Cobham,
and other such as be about the prince your son, are fiercely
fought withal, and are sore handled: wherefore they
desire you that you and your battalion will come and aid
them, for if the Frenchmen increase, as they doubt they
will, your son and they shall have much ado."
Then the king said, Is my son dead, or hurt, or on the
earth felled ?"
"No, Sir," said the knight, "but he is hardly matched
wherefore he hath need of your aid."
"Well," said, the king, return to him and to them that
sent you hither, and say to them that they send no more
to me, whatever adventure befalleth, as long as my son is
alive; and also say to them, that they suffer him this day
to win his spurs, for if God be pleased, I will that this day's
work be his, and the honour thereof, and to them that be
Then the knight returned again to them, and showed the
king's words, the which greatly encouraged them; and they
repented in that they. had sent to the king as they did.
Sir Godfrey. Harcourt would gladly that the Earl of
Harcourt his brother might have been saved; for he heard
say, by them that saw his banner, how that he was there in
the field on the French .side; but Sir Godfrey could not
come to him betimes, for he was, slain before he could come
at him, and so was also the Earl of Aumale his nephew.
In another place the Earl of Alenqon and the Earl of
Flanders fought valiantly, every lord under his own
banner; but finally they could not resist against the
puissance of the Englishmen, andc so there they were also
slain, and divers other knights.and squires.
Also the Earl Louis of Blois, nephew.to the French king,
and the.Duke of Lorraine, fought.under their own banners;
but at last they were closed in among a company of
Englishmen and Welshmen, and there were slain for all
Certain Frenchmen and Germans fought with the men-of-arms hand to hand.
The Battle of Cressy
their prowess. Also there was slain the Earl of Auxerre,
the Earl of St. Pol, and many others.
In the evening the French king had left about him no
more than a threescore persons, one and other, whereof one
was Sir John of Hainault, who had remounted the king
once, for his horse was slain with an arrow.
Then he said to the king, "Sir, depart hence, for it is
time; lose not yourself wilfully; if ye have loss at this
time, ye shall recover it again another season." And so he
Then the king rode till he came to the castle of La Broyes.
took the king's horse by the bridle, and led him away, in a
Then the king rode till he came to the castle of La
Broyes: the gate was closed because it was by that time
Then the king called the captain, who came to the walls,
and said, Who is it that calleth there this time of night ?"
Then the king said, Open your gate quickly, for this is
the fortune of France."
The captain knew then that it was the king, and opened
Stories from Froissart
the gate and let down the bridge. Then the king entered;
and he had with him but five barons, Sir John of Hainault,
Sir Charles of Montmorency, the Lord of Beaujeu, the Lord
d'Aubigny, and the Lord of Mountfort. The king would
not tarry there, but drank, and departed thence about
midnight, and so rode by such guides as knew the country
till he came in the morning to Amiens, and there he rested.
This Saturday the Englishmen never departed from their
battalions for chasing of any man, but still kept their field,
and ever defended themselves against all such as came to
assail them. This battle ended about evensong time.
IIOW THE NEXT DAY AFTER THE BATTLE THE ENGLISHMEN DIS-
COMFITED DIVERS FRENCHMEN.
On this Saturday when the night was come, and the
Englishmen heard -no more noise of the Frenchmen, then
they reputed themselves to have the victory, and the
Frenchmen to be discomfited, slain, and fled away.
Then they made great fires, and lighted up torches and
candles because it was very dark. Then the king came
down from the little hill Where he stood, and all that day
till then his helm came never upon his head.
Then he went, with all his battalion, to his son the
prince, and embraced him in his arms and kissed him, and
said, "Fair son, God give you good perseverance; ye are
my good son, thus ye have acquitted you nobly, ye are
worthy to guard a realm." The prince inclined himself to
the earth, honouring the king his father.
This night they thanked God for their good adventure,
and made no boast thereof; for the king would have that
no man should be proud or make boast, but every man
humbly to thank God.
On the Sunday in the morning there was such a mist,
that a man might not see the breadth of an acre of land
The Battle of Cressy
from him. Then there departed from the host, by the
commandment of the king and marshals, five hundred
spears and two thousand archers, to see if they might see
any Frenchmen gathered again together in any place.
The same morning, out of Abbeville and St. Ricquier in
Ponthieu, the common soldiers of Rouen and of Beauvais
issued out of their towns, not knowing of the discomfiture
the day before; they met with the Englishmen weening
they had been Frenchmen. And when the Englishmen
saw them they set on them freshly, and there was a sore
battle; but at last the Frenchmen fled, and kept no order.
There were slain in the roads and in hedges and bushes
more than seven thousand; and if the day had been clear,
there had never a one escaped.
Afterwards another company of Frenchmen were met by
the Englishmen-the Archbishop of Rouen and the Great
Prior of France, who also knew nothing of the discomfiture
the day before, for they heard that the French king should
have fought the same Sunday, and they were going to join
him. When they met with the Englishmen there was a
great battle, for they were a great number; but they could
not endure against the Englishmen, they were nigh all
slain; few escaped; the two lords were slain.
This morning the Englishmen met with divers French-
men that had lost their way on the Saturday, and had lain
all night in the fields, and wist not where the king was, nor
the captains. They were all slain, as many as were met
with; and it was showed me, that of the common soldiers
and men afoot of the cities and good towns of France, there
were slain four times as many as were slain on the Saturday
in the great battle.
Stories from Froissart
HOW THE NEXT DAY AFTER THE BATTLE OF CRESSY, THEY THAT
WERE DEAD WERE NUMBERED BY THE ENGLISHMEN.
The same Sunday, as the king of England came from
mass, such as had been sent forth returned, and showed
the king what they had seen and done, and said, Sir, we
think surely there is now no more appearance of any of our
Then the king sent to search how many were slain, and
what they were. Sir Reginald Cobham and Sir Richard
Stafford, with the heralds, went to search the field and
country; they visited all them that were slain, and rode all
day in the fields, and returned again to the host as the
king was going to supper. They made just report of that
they had seen, and said how there were eleven great princes
dead, fourscore lords with banners, twelve hundred knights,
and more than thirty thousand others.
The Englishmen still kept their field all the night, and
on the Monday in the morning the king prepared to depart.
The king caused the dead bodies of the great lords to be
taken up and conveyed to the abbey of Montenay, and
there buried in holy ground; and made a cry in the country
to grant truce for three days, to the intent that they of the
country might search the field of Cressy to bury the dead
Then the king went forth, and came before the town of
Montreuil by the sea, and his marshals ran toward Hesdin.
The next day they rode toward Boulogne, and came to the
town of Wissant; there the king and the prince lodged,
and tarried there a day to refresh his men; and on the
Wednesday the king came before the strong town of Calais.
^ --- ---------- -- S
THE SIEGE OF CALAIS
HOW THE KING OF ENGLAND LAID SIEGE TO CALAIS, AND HOW
ALL THE POOR PEOPLE WERE PUT OUT' OF THE TOWN.
IN the town of Calais there was captain a knight of
Burgundy, called Sir John de Vienne, and with him
Sir Arnold d'Andreghen, Sir John de Surie, Sir Bardon de
Bellebourne, Sir Godfrey de la Motte, Sir Pepin de Were,
and divers other knights and squires.
When the king of England was come before Calais, he
laid his siege, and ordained buildings of wood between the
town and the river. He made carpenters to make houses
and lodgings of great timber, and set the houses like streets,
and covered them with reeds and broom. So that it was
like a little town ; and there was everything to sell, and a
market-place, to be kept every Tuesday and Saturday, for
flesh and fish, and mercery ware; houses for cloth, for bread,
wine, and all other things necessary, such as came out of
England, or out of Flanders: there they might buy what
The Englishmen ran oftentimes into the country of
Stories from Proissart
Guisnes, and to the gates of St. Omer, and sometimes to
Boulogne: they brought in to their host great prey.
The king would not assail the town of Calais, for he
thought it but a lost labour: he spared his people and his
artillery, and said how he would famish them in the town
with long siege, without the French king came and raised
his siege perforce.
When the captain of Calais saw the manner and the
order of the Englishmen, then he constrained all poor and
mean people to issue out of the town. And on a Wednesday
they issued out, of men, women, and children more than
seventeen hundred; and as they passed through the host,
they were demanded why they departed. And they
answered and said, because they had nothing to live on.
Then the king did them that grace that he suffered them
to pass through his host without danger, and gave them
meat and drink to dinner, and every person twopence
sterling in alms; for the which dinners many of them prayed
for the king's prosperity.
HOW THE FRENCH KING ASSEMBLED A GREAT HOST TO RAISE
THE KING OF ENGLAND FROM THE SIEGE BEFORE CALAIS.
King Philip, who knew well how his men were sore
constrained in Calais, commanded every man to be with him
at the feast of Pentecost in the city of Amiens or thereabout:
there was none durst say nay.
The king kept there a great feast: thither came Duke
Eudes of Burgundy, and the Duke of Normandy the king's
eldest son, and the Duke of Orleans his youngest son, the
Duke of Bourbon, the Earl of Foix, the Lord Louis of
Savoy, Sir John of Hainault, the Earl of Armagnac, the
Earl of Forets, the Earl of Valentinois, and divers other
earls, barons, and knights. When they were all at
Amiens, they took counsel.
The Siege of Calais
The French king would have been glad that the passages
of Flanders might have been opened to him; for then he
thought he might send part of his men to Gravelines, and
by that way to refresh the town of Calais, and on that side
to fight easily with the Englishmen. He sent great
messengers into Flanders to treat for that matter: but the
king of England had there such friends that they would
never agree to this favour.
Then the French king said how he would go thither on
the side towards Burgundy.
The king of England saw well how he could not get
Calais but by famine; then he made a strong castle and a
high, to close up the passageby the sea, and this castle was
set between the town and the sea, and was well fortified
with springals, bombards, bows, and other artillery. And
in this castle were threescore men-of-arms, and two hundred
archers: they kept the haven in such wise that nothing
could come in nor out. It was thought that thereby those
within should the sooner be famished.
Then the French king went to the town of Arras, and
set many men of war to the garrisons of Artois, and
specially he sent his constable Sir Charles d'Espagne to
St. Omer, for the Earl of Eu and of Guisnes, who was
Constable of France, was prisoner in England. Then the
French king and his company departed from Arras and
went to Hesdin: his host, with the baggage train, took
well in length a three leagues of that .country : and there he
tarried a day, and came the next day to Blangy.
There he rested, to take advice what way to go forward :
then he was counselled to go through the country called La
Belune, and that way he took, and with him a two
hundred thousand men, one and another; and so passed by
the country of Faukenberg, and so came straight to the hill
of Sangate, between Calais and Wissant. They came
thither in goodly order, with banners displayed, and
Stories from Froissart
armour shining, that it was great beauty to behold their
puissant array. When they of Calais saw them lodge, it
seemed to them a new siege.
HOW THE KING OF ENGLAND MADE THE PASSAGES ABOUT CALAIS
TO BE WELL KEPT, THAT THE FRENCH KING SHOULD NOT
APPROACH TO RAISE HIS SIEGE.
Ye shall hear what the king of England did and caused
to be done, when he saw and knew that the French king
came with so great an host to raise the siege, the which
had cost him so much goods, and pain of his body, and lost
many of his men.
He knew well how he had so constrained the town, that
it could not long endure, for default of victuals: it grieved
him sore then to depart. Then he considered well how the
Frenchmen could not approach, neither to his host nor to
the town, but in two places; either by the downs by the
seaside, or else above by the highway, where there was many
dykes, rocks, and marshes, and but one way to pass, over a
bridge called Newland Bridge.
Then the king made all his navy to draw along by the
coast of the downs, every ship well garnished with bombards,
crossbows, archers, springals, and other artillery; where-
by the French host might not pass that way. And the
king caused the Earl of Derby to go and keep Newland
Bridge with a great number of men-of-arms and archers,
so that the Frenchmen could not pass no way, without they
would have gone through the marshes, the which was un-
On the other side toward Calais there was a high tower,
guarded by thirty archers, who kept the passage of the
downs from the Frenchmen: and it was well fortified with
great and double dykes. When the Frenchmen were now
lodged on the mount of Sangate, the common soldiers of
The Siege of Calais
Tournay, who were a fifteen hundred, came to that tower,
and those within shot at them, but they passed the dykes,
and came to the foot of the wall with pikes and hooks.
There was a sore assault, and many of them of Tournay
sore hurt; but at last they won the tower, and all that were
within were slain, and the tower beaten down.
The French king sent his marshals to consider what way
he might approach to fight with the English: so they went
forth, and when they had considered the passages and
straits, they returned to the king and said, how that in no
wise he could come to the Englishmen, without he would
lose his people. So the matter rested all that day and night.
The next day after mass the French king sent to the
king of England the Lord Geoffrey of Chargny, the Lord
Eustace of Ribeaumont, Sir Guy of Nesle, and the Lord of
Beaujeu, 'and as they rode by that strong way, they saw
well it was hard to pass that way. They praised much
the order that the Earl of Derby kept there at the bridge
of Newland, by the which they passed: then they rode till
they came to the king, .who was well accompanied with
noble men about him.
Then they four alighted, and came to the king, and did
their reverence to him: then the Lord Eustace of Ribeaumont
said, Sir, the king my master sendeth you word by us that
he is come to the mount of Sangate to do battle with you,
but he can find no way to come to you.- Therefore, Sir, he
would that ye should appoint certain of your council, and
he in likewise certain of his; and they between them to
advise a place for the battle."
The king of England was ready advised to answer, and
said, "Sirs, I have well understood that which ye desire of
me on the behalf of mine adversary, who keepeth wrong-
fully from me mine heritage, wherefore I am angered.
Say unto him from me, if ye list, that I am here, and so
have been nigh an whole year, and all this he knew right'
Stories from Froissart
well: he might have come hither sooner if he had been
willing; but he hath suffered me to abide here so long, the
which hath been greatly to my cost and charge. I now
could, if I would, be soon lord of Calais; whereupon I am
determined not to follow his service and ease, nor to depart
from that which I am at the point to win, and which I have
so sore desired and dearly bought: wherefore if neither
he nor his men can pass this way, let them seek some other
passage, if they think to come hither."
Then these lords departed, and were conveyed till they
were past Newland Bridge: then they showed the French
king the king of England's answer.
In the mean season, while the French king studied how
to fight with the king of England, there came into his host
two cardinals from Pope Clement, in legation as ambas-
sadors; who took great pains riding back and forward
between these hosts, and they procured so much that there
was granted a certain treaty of accord and a respite
between the two kings and their men there at siege and
in the field.
And so there were four lords appointed on either side to
counsel together, and to treat for a peace : for the French
king there was the Duke of Burgundy and the Duke of
Bourbon, Sir Louis of Savoy and Sir John of Hainault;
and for the English party, the Earl of Derby, the Earl of
Northampton, the Lord Reginald Cobham, and the Lord
Walter Manny; and the two cardinals were means between
These lords met three days, and put forward many devices,
but none took effect; and in the mean season the king of
England always fortified his host and camp, and made
dykes on the downs, that the Frenchmen should not
suddenly come on them.
These three days passed without any agreement: then
the two cardinals returned to St. Omer; and when the
The Siege of Calais
French king saw that he could do nothing, the next day
he dislodged betimes, and took his way to Amiens, and
gave every man leave to depart.
When they within Calais saw their king depart, they
made great sorrow. Some of the Englishmen followed the
tail of the Frenchmen, and won many baggage-carts and
carriages, horses and wine, and other things; and took
prisoners, whom they brought in to the host before Calais.
HOW THE TOWN OF CALAIS WAS GIVEN UP TO THE KING OF
After that the French king was thus departed from
Sangate, they within Calais saw well how their succour
failed them; for the which they were in great sorrow.
Then they entreated so much their captain, Sir John de.
Vienne,.that he went to the walls of the town, and made a
sign to speak with some person of the host.
When the king heard thereof he sent thither Sir Walter
Manny, and Lord Basset; then Sir John de Vienne said
to them, Sirs, ye be right valiant knights in deeds of
arms; and ye know well how the king my master hath
sent me and others to this town, and commanded us to
keep it in such wise that we take no blame to ourselves nor
to him no damage; and we have done all that lieth in our
power. Now our succours have failed us, and we be so
sore strained that we have not _enough to live withal, but
that we must all die, or else go mad for famine, without the
noble and gentle king of yours will take mercy on us; the
which to do, we request you to desire him to have pity on
us, and to let us go and depart as we be, and let him take
the town and castle, and all the goods that be therein, of
the which there is great abundance."
Then Sir Walter Manny said, Sir, we know somewhat
of the intention of the king our master, for he hath showed
Stories from Froissart
it unto us: know ye surely for truth, it is not his mind that
ye, nor they within the town, should depart so; for it is
his will that ye all should put yourselves wholly into his
hands, to ransom all such as pleaseth him, and to put to
death such as he lists: for they of Calais have done him
such contraries and despite, and have caused him to spend
so much goods, and lost him so many of his men, that he is
sore grieved against them."
Then the captain said, "Sir, this is too hard to us: here
within we are a small sort of knights and squires who have
truly served the king our master, as well as ye serve yours,
in like case; and we have endured much pain and unease;
but we shall yet endure as much pain as ever knights did,
rather than consent that the poorest lad in the town should
have to bear any more evil than the greatest of us all.
Therefore, Sir, we pray you, of your humility, that ye will
go and speak to the king of England, and desire him to
have pity of us; for we trust to find in him so much
gentleness, that by the grace of God his purpose shall
Sir Walter Manny and Lord Basset returned to the
king, and declared to him all that had been said. The
king. said he would have it no otherwise, but that they
should yield them up simply to his pleasure.
Then Sir Walter said, Sir, saving your displeasure in
this, ye may be in the wrong; for ye shall give by this an
evil ensample; if ye send any of us your servants into any
fortress, we will not be very glad to go, if ye put any of
them in the town to death after they be yielded; for in
like wise they will deal with us, if the case fell out alike;"
the which words divers other lords that were there present
sustained and maintained.
Then the king said, Sirs, I will not be alone against you
all; therefore, Sir Walter Manny, ye shall go and say to
the captain, that all the grace that he shall find now in me
The Siege of Calais
is, that they let six of the chief burgesses of the town come
out bare-headed, bare-footed and bare-legged, and in their
shirts, with halters about their necks, with the keys of the
town and castle in their hands; and let them six yield
themselves purely to my will, and the residue I will take to
Then Sir Walter returned, and found Sir John de Vienne
still on the wall, abiding for an answer: then Sir Walter
showed him all the grace that he could get of the king.
Well," said Sir John, Sir, I request you tarry here a
certain space till I go into the town, and show this to the
commons of the town, who sent me hither."
Then Sir John went into the market-place, and sounded
the common bell; then instantly men and women as-
sembled there. Then the captain made report of all that
he had done, and said, "Sirs, it will be no otherwise;
therefore now take counsel, and make a short answer."
Then all the people began to weep and to make such
sorrow, that there was not so hard a heart, if they had seen
them, but would have had great pity of them; the captain
himself wept piteously.
At last the most rich burgess of all the town, called Eustace
de St. Pierre, rose up, and said openly, "Sirs, great- and
small, great mischief it should be, to suffer to die such
people as be in this town, either by famine or otherwise,
when there is a means to save them. I think he or they
that might keep them from such mischief should have
great merit of our Lord God: as for my part, I have good
trust in our Lord God, that if I die in the quarrel, to save
the residue, God would pardon me my sins. Wherefore to
save them I will be the first to put my life in jeopardy."
When he had thus said every man worshipped him, and
divers kneeled down at his feet with sore weeping and sore
sighs. Then another honest burgess rose and said, "I will
keep company with my gossip Eustace;" he was called
Stories from Froissart
John Daire. Then rose up Jacques de Wissant, who was
rich in goods and heritage; he said also that he would
hold company with his two cousins; in likewise so did
Peter de.Wissant, his brother: and then rose two others;
they said they would do the same.
Then they went and apparelled them as the king
desired; then the captain went with them to the gate.
There was great lamentation made of men, women, and
children at their departing: then the gate was opened, and
He issued out with the six burgesses.
he issued out with the six burgesses, and closed the gate
again, so that they were between the gate and the barriers.
Then he said to Sir Walter Manny, Sir, I deliver here
to you, as captain of Calais, by the whole consent of all
the people of the town, these six burgesses; and I swear to
you truly that they be and were to-day most honourable,
rich, and most notable burgesses of all the town of Calais;
wherefore, gentle knight, I entreat you pray the king to
have mercy on them, that they die not."
The Siege of Calais
Said Sir Walter, I cannot say what the king will do,
but I shall do for them the best I can."
Then the barriers were opened; the six burgesses went
towards the king, and the captain entered again into the
When Sir Walter presented these burgesses to the king,
they kneeled down and held up their hands, and said,
Gentle king, behold here, we six, who were burgesses of
Calais, and great merchants, we have brought to you the
keys of the town and of the castle, and we submit our-
selves clearly unto your will and pleasure, to save the
residue of the people of Calais, who have suffered great
pain. Sir, we beseech your grace to have pity on us,
through your high nobleness."
Then all the earls and barons and others that were there
wept for pity. The king looked fiercely on -them, for
greatly he hated the people of Calais, for the great
damages and displeasures they had done him on the sea
before. Then he commanded their heads to be stricken off.
Then every man entreated the king for mercy; but he
would hear no man in that behalf.
Then Sir Walter Manny said, "Ah! noble king, for
*God's sake refrain your anger: ye have the name of
sovereign nobleness, therefore now do not a thing that
should blemish your renown, nor give cause to some to
speak villainy of you; every man will say it is a great
cruelty to put to death such honest persons, who by their
own will put themselves at your mercy, to save their
Then the king ground his teeth and turned himself away
from him, and commanded to send for the hangman, and
said, "Sir Walter, hold your peace; they of Calais have
caused many of my men to be slain.; wherefore these shall
'die in like wise."
Then the queen, being great with child, kneeled down,
Stories from Froissart
and sore weeping said, "Ah! gentle sir, since I passed
over sea in great peril I have desired nothing of you;
therefore now I humbly entreat you, in the honour of the
Son of the Virgin Mary, and for the love of me, that ye
will take mercy of these six burgesses."
The king looked on the queen and stood still for a space
in a study, and then said, Ah! dame, I would ye had
been now in some other place: ye make such request to
me that I can not deny you; wherefore I give them to you
to do your pleasure with them."
Then the queen caused them to be brought into her
chamber, and made the halters to be taken from their
necks, and caused them to be new clothed, and gave them
their dinner at their leisure. And then she gave each of
them six nobles in money, and made them to be brought
out of the host in safe guard, and set at their liberty.
HOW THE KING OF ENGLAND RE-PEOPLED THE TOWN OF CALAIS
Thus the strong town of Calais was given up to King
Edward of England in the year of our Lord God MCCCXLVII,
in the month of August.
The king of England called to him Sir Walter Manny
and his two marshals, the Earl of Warwick and the Earl of
Stafford, and said to them, Sirs, take here the keys of the
town and castle of Calais; go and take possession there,
and put in prison all the knights that be there; and all
other soldiers that came thither simply to win their living,
cause them to leave the town, and also all other men,
women, and children; for I will re-people again the town
with pure Englishmen."
So these three lords, with ,a hundred men with them,
went and took possession of Calais, and did put in prison
The Siege of Calais
Sir John de Vienne, Sir John de Surie, Sir John de Belle-
bourne, and others: then they made all the soldiers to
bring all their armour into a place appointed, and lay it all
on a heap in the town-hall of Calais. Then they made all
manner of people to leave the town, and kept there no
more persons but a priest and two other ancient personages,
' such as knew the customs, laws, and ordinances of the
town, and to mark out the heritages how they were divided.
Then they prepared the castle to lodge the king and queen,
and prepared other houses for the king's company. Then
the king mounted on his horse and entered into the town
with trumpets, drums, and horns.
The king gave to Sir Walter Manny divers fair houses
within the town, and others to the Earl of Stafford, to Sir
Bartholomew Burghersh, and to other lords, to re-people
again the town: the king's mind was, when he came back
into England, to send out of London a thirty-six good
burgesses to Calais to dwell there, and to do so much that
the town might be peopled with pure Englishmen; the
which intent the king fulfilled.
Then the new town and wooden buildings that were
made outside the town, were pulled down, and the castle
that stood on the haven was rashed down, and the great
timber and stones brought into the town. Then the king
ordained men to keep the gates, walls, and barriers, and
amended all things within the town; and Sir John de
Vienne and his company were sent into England, and
were half-a-year at London: then they were put to
Methinks it was very pitiful for the burgesses and other
men of the town of Calais, and women and children, when
they were made to forsake their houses, heritages, and
goods, and to bear away nothing: and they had no restore-
ment from the French king, for whose sake they lost all.
The most of them went to St. Omer.
Stories from Froissart
The Cardinal Guy de Boulogne, who was come into
France in legation, and was with the French king his
-cousin in the city of Amiens, laboured so much that a
truce was taken between the kings of England and France,
to endure two years. Then the king of England and the
queen returned into England.
THE BATTLE OF LES ESPAGNOLS-SUR-MER
HOW THE KING OF ENGLAND ATTACKED THE SPANISH SHIPS ON THE
SEA ON THEIR WAY FROM FLANDERS INTO SPAIN, AND HOW HE
AT this season there was much ill will between the king
of England and the Spaniards by reason of certain
evil-dealing and robberies that the Spaniards had done on
the sea against the Englishmen. Whereof it came that in
this year the Spaniards, who were come into Flanders for
their merchandise, were informed that they could not return
into their own country without they should be met with by
Then the Spaniards took counsel, and were advised that
they should not make too great account thereof; and they
furnished themselves right plentifully, and their ships of
war and others, at Sluys, with all kinds of arms and of good
artillery, and retained all manner of people, soldiers, archers,
and crossbows, such as were willing to take their pay:
Stories from Froissart
and they all tarried the one for the other, and did their
buying and merchandise as each man would.
The king of England, who held them in great hatred,
heard how they made them so great provision; then he said
in a loud voice, We have this long time borne with the
Spaniards, and they have done us much despite, and still
they come not to make any amends, but fortify themselves
against us; so that we shall do well to take them on their
Those that were about the king lightly agreed to this
device, desiring that the Spaniards should be fought withal.
Then the king made a great and special summons to all his
gentlemen who were at that time in England; and so
departed from London and came into the county of Sussex,
the which is by the sea between Southampton and Dover,
opposite to the country of Ponthicu and Dieppe: and there
he lodged in an abbey by the sea; and thither came also
the queen his wife.
At this time and in this same place came to the king
the gentle knight Sir Robert of Namur, who was newly
returned from over sea: so it fortune to him to be of
this army, and the king of England rejoiced much at his
When the king heard that the time was come that the
Spaniards should make the passage, he took the sea with a
right fair company of knights and squires : there were so
many great lords as he had never before in no voyage that
he made. In this year'he had made his cousin the Earl
Henry of Derby to be Duke of Lancaster, and the Baron
of Stafford to be Earl of Stafford: they were with him in
this army, with his two sons, the Prince of Wales and John
Earl of Richmond; but the Earl of Richmond was still so
young that he went not armed, but the king had him in
his ship with him, for he loved him greatly.
There also were the Earl of Arundel, the Earl of
The Battle of Les Espagnols-sur-Mer
Northampton, the Earl of Hereford, the Earl of Suffolk,
the Earl of Warwick, Sir Reginald Cobham, Sir Walter
Manny, Sir Thomas Holland, Sir Louis Beauchamp, Sir
James Audley, Sir Bartholomew Burghersh, the Lord Percy,
the Lord Mowbray, the Lord Neville, the Lord Clifford,
the Lord Roos, the Lord Grafton, the Lord Berkeley, and
many others. The king was there accompanied with four
hundred knights: he had never so many great lords
assembled together in any battle where he was, as he had
The king and his people kept the sea, with their vessels
all furnished and arrayed to abide their enemies; for they
were informed how that they must pass that way, without
long awaiting; and so held themselves at anchor three days,
between Dover and Calais.
When the Spaniards had done their buying and their
merchandise, and had laden their vessels with sheets and
stuffs and all manner of things that seemed to them good
and profitable to bring back into their country, they saw
well that they should be met with by the Englishmen, but
for all that they made no account thereof. They came into
the town of Sluys, and entered upon their vessels, and there
they had them so heavily furnished with all kinds of artillery,
that it was marvel to think on; and also with great bars of
iron forged and all ready for throwing, and for sinking ships
by casting rocks and stones without number.
When they saw that they had the wind fair, they weighed
anchor; and they were forty great ships, all together, so
strong and fair that it was pleasure to see and to look upon
them: and they had above on the masts castles and towers,
furnished with rocks and stones for throwing, and soldiers to
keep them. Also upon these masts were the pennons
emblazoned with their ensigns, the which flew in the wind
and waved and fluttered : it was great beauty to see and to
imagine. And meseems, if the Englishmen had great
Stories from Froissart
desire to find them, they had yet more to be found, as it
appeared, and as I shall tell you after.
These Spaniards were full ten against one, with the
soldiers that they had taken and retained for wages in
Flanders. So they reputed and held themselves strong
enough to fight on the sea with the king of England and
his puissance; and to this intent they came sailing, and
driving before the wind, for the wind was fair for them off
The king of England, who was on the sea with his navy,
had there ordained all his force, and said how he would
have them deal and fight: and he had made Sir Robert of
Namur to be master of a ship called La Salle du Roi, where
all his lodging was.
The king of England stood ever on the forepart of his
ship, apparelled in a black jacket of velvet, and he wore
on his head a bonnet of black cloth, the which became him
right well. And he was then, as it was-told me by them
that were with him on that day, so joyous as he never was
seen. And he made his minstrels to play before him a
dance of Germany, the which Sir John Chandos, who was
there present, had newly brought back; and moreover to
divert him he made the said knight to sing with his
minstrels, and took great pleasure to hear: and at the
same time he looked ever aloft, for he had set a watch on
the tower of his ship to tell him when the Spaniards should
And while the king was at this pastime, and all the
knights were right gay to see him so joyous, the watch, who
perceived the navy of the Spaniards, cried, "Ho! I see a
ship coming, and methinks it is a ship of Spain."
Then the minstrels were quiet; and again it was
demanded of him if he saw more ; and in a little time after
he answered and said, "Yes, I see two of them," and then
three, and then four. And when he saw the great fleet,
" Hoi I see a ship coming."
The Battle of Les Espagnols-sur-Mer
then he cried, "I see so many, so help me God, that I
cannot count them."
Then the king and his knew well that it was the
Spaniards. Then the king sounded his trumpets: and
they put themselves in array and drew together all their
ships, to .be in better order and to keep their place more
surely, for they knew well that they should have battle,
since the Spaniards came in so great a fleet. It was then
late, nigh upon the hour of vespers or thereabout.
Then the king made. them bring wine, and drank, and
all his knights, and then he put his helm upon his head,
and so did all the others.
In a. little time the Spaniards approached, who might
well have gone their way without fighting, if they had been
minded: for seeing that they were well furnished and in
great ships, and had the wind with them, they needed not
to have spoken with the Englishmen if they had not wished
it; but by pride and presumption they designed not to
pass by them without speaking, and they came of set
purpose and in good order to begin the battle.
When the king of England, who was in his ship, saw
their dealing, he addressed his ship against a Spanish ship
that came right opposite, and said to him that steered his
vessel, "Address you against this ship that comes thither,
for I would tilt against her."
The mariner, since the king would have it so, would
never have dared to do the contrary; he steered against
this Spanish ship, that came down the wind at great
The king's ship was strong and well built, else she had
been broken, for she and the Spanish ship, the which was
a great ship and a heavy, encountered with so much force
that it seemed a tempest falling; and in the rebound that
they made the tower of the king of England's ship struck
the tower of the Spanish ship in such wise that the force
Stories from Froissart
of the blow broke it off where it was, high up on the mast,
and overthrew it in the sea; and they within were drowned
By this encounter the king's ship was so shaken that
she was cracked and let in water, so that the knights
perceived it; but they spoke no word of it to the king, but
were busy baling and emptying it.
Then said the king, who saw the ship against which he
had tilted, lying before him, Grapple my ship to this one,
for I wish to take her."
Then his knights answered, "Sir, let go this one; ye
shall have better."
Then that ship passed on, and another great ship came.
Then the king's knights grappled their ship to this one
with hooks of iron and chains.
There began a battle long, hard, and fierce; the archers
began to shoot and the Spaniards to fight and defend
themselves with right good will, and that not only in one
place but in ten or twelve; and when they on one side
found themselves more strong than their enemies, then they
grappled, and did marvellous deeds of arms. The English
had there no advantage; for the Spaniards were in these
great ships, higher and greater than the English ships, and
had thereby great advantage in shooting and in throwing
and casting great bars of iron, with which they gave
the Englishmen much trouble.
The knights of the king of England, that were in his
ship, seeing that she was in danger of being sunken, by
reason of her leaking, as I have said before, made haste
and persevered to win the ship whereto they were
grappled; and there they did many great feats of arms.
Finally the king and those of his vessel bore themselves
so well that this ship was taken, and all those in her put
Then it was shown to the king in what peril he was, and
The Battle of Les Espagnols-sur-Mer
how that his ship was making water, and that he should
betake him to that which he had won. The king received
this counsel, and entered into the said Spanish ship, and his
knights and all others that were with him, and left the
other ship void: and then they were resolved to go forward
against their enemies, who were fighting right valiantly,
and had crossbowmen that shot quarry-bolts out of strong
crossbows, that troubled much the Englishmen.
This battle on the sea between the Spaniards and the
Englishmen was well and hardly fought, but it began late;
wherefore. the Englishmen made haste to do their business
well and to discomfit their enemies. Also the Spaniards,
who are used to the sea and were in great and strong
vessels, acquitted them loyally as far as they could.
The young Prince of Wales and those with him fought
in another part: and their ship was grappled and stayed
by a great Spanish ship, and there the prince and his had
much ado, for their ship was broken and pierced in several
places, where the water entered at great random: and for
all that they tried to bale her, she ceased not to sink con-
tinually; for fear whereof the prince's people were in great
anguish, and fought right bitterly to win the Spanish
ship; but they could not, for she was strongly kept and
Upon this peril and danger, wherein were the prince
and his, came the Duke of Lancaster coasting close by the
prince's ship, and saw how they had not the best of it, but
their ship had much ado, for they were casting water out
of her on all sides. Then he went round and stayed by
the Spanish ship, and cried "Derby to the rescue !"
There the Spaniards were in great fashion attacked and
fought withal, and endured no long time after: so their
ship was taken, and all put overboard; there was none
taken to mercy. Then the Prince of Wales and his people
entered into her; and they had scant so done when their
Stories from Froissart
ship went down. Then they perceived more certainly the
great peril they had been in.
In other parts the barons and knights of England fought
every man as it had been ordained and established; and
they had need be strong and stirring, for they found
well with what men they must deal. So that late in the
evening the ship La Salle du Roi, whereof Sir Robert of
Namur was captain, was grappled by a great Spanish ship,
and there was a great combat and a hard; and because the
Spaniards wished to force this ship the more at their ease,
and to take her and those within her, they made great
endeavour to draw her with them, and set their sails aloft,
and took advantage of the course of the wind, and so went
away in despite of the mariners of the Lord Robert and
those with him; for the Spanish ship was more great and
heavy than theirs, so that they had good vantage for forcing
Thus in going they passed before the ship of the king.
Then they cried, Rescue, La Salle du Roi !" But they
were not heard, for it was now night; and if they were
heard, yet they were not rescued.
And I suppose that these Spaniards would have led
them away at their ease, but then a servant of the Lord
Robert, who was called Hankin, did there a great feat of
arms; for with his sword naked in his hand he sprang,
and leapt into the Spanish ship, and came to the mast and
cut the rope that held the sail, so that the ship slackened
and had no force; and with this, by a great feat of his
body, he cut four principal ropes that governed the mast
and the sail, insomuch that the said sail fell down upon the
ship, and stayed the ship quite, that she could not go
Then Sir Robert of Namur and his, when they saw this
advantage, they advanced, and leapt into the Spanish ship
with a good will, with their swords naked in their hands,
The Battle of Les Espagnols-sur-Mer
and sought out and attacked whom they found in her; so
that they were all slain and put overboard, and the ship
I cannot speak of all, nor say, This one did well, and
this one better," but while that it endured there was there a
right hard battle and a bitter, and the Spaniards gave the
king of England and his people much ado. But finally
the victory rested with the Englishmen, and the Spaniards
lost there fourteen ships; the others passed on and saved
When they had all passed, and the king and his found
none to fight withal, they sounded their trumpets for retreat,
and so took the way to England, and took land at Rye and
Winchelsea a little after nightfall.
The same hour the king and his sons, the prince and
the Earl of Richmond, the Duke of Lancaster, and some of
the barons that were there, issued out of their ships, and
took horse to the town, and rode to the manor of the
queen, the which was not two English leagues from there.
Then the queen was greatly rejoiced wheq she saw her
lord and her sons : she had had that day great anguish of
heart, from fear of the Spaniards: for on this side, from the
hills on the coasts of England, they had well seen the fight-
ing, for the day had been very clear and fair; and they had
told the queen, since she would know, that the Spaniards
had more than forty great ships. Therefore the queen was
well comforted, when she saw her lord and her sons.
The lords and ladies passed this night in great revel,
talking of arms and of love.
On the morrow came to the king the greater part of the
barons and knights that had been in the battle; and the
king gave them much thanks for their good service; and
then they took their leave, and returned every man to his
THE BATTLE OF POITIERS
OF THE ASSEMBLY THAT THE FRENCH KING MADE TO FIGHT
WITH THE PRINCE OF WALES, WHO RODE IN BERRY.
THE year of our Lord God a thousand three hundred
and fifty-six King John of France heard how the
Prince of Wales with a good number of men of war was
far entered into the country approaching the country of
Berry. Then the king said and sware that he would ride
and fight with him wheresoever he found him.
Then the king made again a special assembly of all
nobles, and such as held of him. His commandment was
that, all manner of excuses laid apart, every man, his letters
once seen, should on pain of his displeasure draw and meet
with him in the marches of Blois and Touraine, for the
intent to fight with the Englishmen.
And the king, to make the more haste, departed from
Paris and rode to Chartres, to hear the better of surety
what the Englishmen did. There he rested, and daily men
The Battle of Poitiers
of war resorted thither from all parts : as from Auvergne,
Berry, Burgundy, Lorraine, Hainault, Vermandois, Picardy,
Brittany, and Normandy; and ever as they came they were
set forward, and made their musters, and lodged in the
country by the assignment of the marshals, the Lord John of
Clermont and the Lord Arnold d'Andreghen.
The king sent also great provision to all his fortresses
and garrisons in Anjou, Poitou, Maine, and Touraine: and
into all the fortresses where he thought the Englishmen
should pass, to the intent to close the passages from them,
and to keep them from victuals, that they should find no
forage for them nor their horses. Howbeit, for all that the
prince and his company, who were to the number of two
thousand men of arms and six thousand archers, rode at
their ease, and had victuals enough: for they found the
country of Auvergne right plentiful: but they would not
tarry there, but went forth to make war on their enemies.
They burnt and wasted the country as much as they
might: for when they were entered into a town, ahd found
it well replenished with all things, they tarried there a two
or three days to refresh them; when they departed they
would destroy all the residue, strike out the heads of the
vessels of wine, and burn wheat, barley, and oats, and all
other things, to the intent that their enemies should have
no aid thereof. And then they rode forth, and ever found
good countries and plentiful, for in Berry, Touraine, Anjou,
Poitou, and Maine is a very plentiful country for men of
The Englishmen rode forth in this manner till they came
to the good city of Bourges; and there they made a great
skirmish at one of the gates. Captains within were the
Lord de Cousant and the Lord Hutin de Memelles, who
kept the city. There were many feats of arms done: the
Englishmen departed without any more doing, and went to
Issodun, a strong castle, the which was fiercely assailed:
Stories from Froissart
and thither came all the host: howbeit they could not win
it ; the gentlemen defended it valiantly.
Then they passed farther and took their way to Vier ton,
a great town and a good castle, but it was evilly fortified,
and the people there not sufficient to make defence ; there-
fore it was won perforce. And there they found wine and
other victuals great plenty, and tarried there three days to
refresh all their host : and thither came tidings to the
prince how the French king was at Chartres with a great
assembly of men of war, and how all the towns and
passages above the river of Loire were closed and kept,
that none could pass the river.
Then the prince was counselled to return, and to pass
by Touraine and Poitou, and by that way to Bordeaux.
Then the prince took that way and returned; when they
had done their pleasure with the town that they were in,
and taken the castle, and slain the most part that were
within, then they rode toward Romorantin.
The French king had sent into the country three great
barons to keep the frontiers there : the Lord of Craon,. the
Lord of Boucicault, and the hermit of Chaumont, who with
three hundred spears rode into that country, coasting the
Englishmen, and had followed them a six days together,
and could never find advantage to set on them; for the
Englishmen rode ever so wisely that they could not enter
on them on any side to their advantage.
On a day the Frenchmen put themselves in an ambush
near to Romorantin at a. marvellous strait passage, by
the which the Englishmen must needs pass. The same day
there was departed from the prince's battalion by leave of
the marshals the Lord Bartholomew Burghersh, the Lord of
Mussidant, a Gascon, the Lord Petiton Courton, the Lord
Delawarr, the Lord Basset, Sir Walter Pavely, Sir Richard
Punchardon, Sir Nesle Loring, the young Lord Edward
Despencer, and the Lord Eustace d'Ambreticourt, with two
The ra'enchmlen put themselves in ambush.
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The Frrenchmen put themselves in iimbusb.
The Battle of Poitiers
hundred men-of-arms, to run before Romorantin. They
passed foreby the Frenchmen's ambush, and were not ware
of them; as soon as they were past the Frenchmen brake
out, and came after them fiercely.
The Englishmen, who were well forward, heard the noise
of the horses coming after them, and perceived how they
were their enemies : they turned and stood still and abode
the Frenchmen, who came on them with great random,
their spears in their rests, and so came running to the
Englishmen, who stood still and suffered them to pass: and
there was not of them more than a five or six overthrown at
the first meeting.
Then the Englishmen dashed forth their horses after the
Frenchmen. There was a fierce skirmish, which endured
long, and many knights and squires beaten down on both
parts, and divers taken and rescued again: so that for a
long season no man could tell who had the better.
So long they fought -that the battalion of the English
marshals approached. And when the Frenchmen saw
them coming along by a wood-side, they fled he that might
best, and took their ways to Romorantin, and the English-
men in the chase, not sparing their horses. There was a
hard battle, and many a man overthrown: howbeit the one
half of the Frenchmen entered into the castle; the three
lords saved themselves, and divers other knights and
squires that were well horsed. Howbeit the town was
taken at their first coming; for the Frenchmen all entered
into the castle.
HOW THE PRINCE OF WALES TOOK THE CASTLE OF ROMORANTIN.
The Prince of Wales heard how his fore-riders were a-
-fighting: then he took that way, and came into the town
of Romorantin, wherein was much of his people study-
ing how they might get the castle. Then the prince
Stories from Froissart
commanded the Lord Sir John Chandos to go and speak
with them of the castle.
Then Sir John went to the castle gate, and made sign
to speak with some person within. They that kept the
watch there demanded what was his name and who did
send him thither. He showed them: then the Lord of
Boucicault and the hermit of Chaumont came to the
When Sir John saw them he saluted them courteously
and said, "Sirs, I am sent hither to you from my lord the
prince, who wishes to be right courteous unto his enemies,
as me thinketh; he saith that if ye will yield up this fortress
to him, and yield yourselves prisoners, he will receive you
to mercy, and keep you good company of arms."
The Lord Boucicault said, "We are not in purpose to put
ourselves in that case: it were great folly since we have no
need so to do: we think to defend ourselves."
So they departed, and the prince lodged there, and his
men in the town without at their ease.
The next day every man was armed and under his
banner, and began to assail the castle right fiercely : the
archers were on the dykes, and shot so wholly together
that none durst scant appear at their defences. Some
swam over the dykes on boards and other things, with
hooks and pikes in their hands, and mined at the walls:
and they within cast down great stones and pots with lime.
There was slain on the English party a squire called
Raymond de Gederlach: he was of the company of the
Captal de Buch. This assault endured all the day without
rest; at night the Englishmen drew to their lodgings, and
so passed the night.
In the morning, when the sun was risen, the marshals of
the host sounded the trumpets. Then all such as were-
ordained to give the assault were ready apparelled : at the
which assault the prince was personally, and by reason of
The Battle of Poitiers
his presence, greatly encouraged the Englishmen : and not
far from him there was a squire called Bernard slain with
Then the prince sware that he would not depart thence till
he had the castle, and all them within, at his pleasure. Then
the assault was enforced on every part: finally, they saw
.that by assaults they could not win the castle, wherefore
they ordained engines to cast in wild-fire into the base court,
and so they did that all the base court was afire, so that
the fire multiplied in such wise that it took into the covering
of a great tower covered with reed.
And when they within saw that they must either yield
to the will of the prince, or else perish by fire, then all
three lords came down and yielded them to the prince, and
so the prince took them with him as his prisoners, and the
castle was left void.
OF THE GREAT HOST THAT THE FRENCH KING BROUGHT TO THE
BATTLE OF POITIERS.
After the taking of the castle of Romorantin, and of
them that were therein, the prince then and his company
rode as they did before, destroying the country approaching
to Anjou and Touraine.
The French king, who was at Chartres, departed and
came to Blois, and there tarried two days: and then to
Amboise, and the next day to Loches : and then he heard
how that the prince was at Touraine, and how that he was
returning by Poitou: ever the Englishmen were coasted
by certain expert knights of France, who always made
report to the king of what the Englishmen did.
Then the king came to La Haye in Touraine, and his
men had passed the river of Loire, some at the bridge of
Orleans, and some at Mehun, at Saumur, at Blois, and at
Tours, and where they might. They were in number