Gold THE GEOFFREY CHAUCER PAGE


SIR THOMAS GRAY (d. 1369?)

 

THE `SCALACRONICA'

(Account of King Edward's Campaign in France, 1359-60)

 

 

In the same year after the Incarnation, 1359, the aforesaid King Edward of England, the third after the Conquest, led an expedition out of England with all the great men of his realm, his envovs having returned from the Pope, and arrived at Sandwich on his way to the war in France on the [feast of] the Nativity of our Lord. He was grievously delayed for want of ships, wherefore he could neither land [his forces] at once nor at the Place he intended. So he divided the crossing, sending the Duke of Lancaster with his retinue to Calais, to bring out of that town the Marquis de Metz with

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all his Germans who had gone there to support the said King [Edward]. This he did, and took the field with them, riding beyond the river Somme and attacking the town of Braye- sur-Somme, where they crossed the ditches, shoulder deep in the water, to the foot of the walls. Having suffered severely [in the attempt], they failed to take the said town, losing some of their knights in the assault, and returned towards Calais to get intelligence of the coming of the said king.

The Earl of March, who had crossed the sea six days before the said king, made a raid beyond Boulogne, burnt Étaples,, and so returned.

The King arrived at Calais on Monday next, before All Saints, where he remained eight days. He divided his army into three [columns]; one he kept with himself, another column he gave to his eldest son the Prince of Wales; the third column he intended for the Duke of Laaan into Vermandois, near which a knight, Baldwin Dawkin, master of the arblasters of France,

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was captured at that time, with other French knights of the Prince's, attempting a night attack on the quarters of the Earl of Stafford, who defended himself gallantly.

About this time the Anglo-Gascon Vicomte de Benoge, who was entitled Captain of Busche, came out of his district [passing] from one English garrison to another, crossed the river Seine under safe-conduct from the King of Navarre, and so came to Creil which was then held by the English, from which town he took the Castle of Clermont in Beauvaisis. An English knight, John de Fotheringay, held this town of Creil in keeping for the King of Navarre, on sworn condition to deliver it on notice from the said king. He often received summons [to deliver it], but refused to do so failing a large sum of money which he declared that the said king owed him, which money he received from the French in discharge of the said debt and handed over the said town to them.

The said John de Fotheringay strengthened at this time another fine fortress at Pont-Saint-Maxence, on the river Oise, where he remained.

The Prince [of Wales] held his aforesaid way by Saint-Quentin and by Retieris where the enemy himself fired the town to obstruct his crossing. [But] the prince's people forced a passage at Château-Porcien, whence he marched through Champagne to join his father's column before Reims.

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The Duke of Lancaster followed a route between the king and his son, and the three columns formed a junction before Reims, lying all around the city in hamlets for a month at Christmastide. From the column of the said prince the town of Cormicy was taken by escalade and the castle won, the keep being mined and thrown down by the people of the said prince. On the challenge of the French in Reims, Bartholomew de Burghersh, an officer of the Duke of Lancaster's army, fought there á outrance by formal arrangement, where one Frenchman was killed and two others wounded by lance-point. From the king's column, the Duke of Lancaster and the Earls of Richmond and March captured two fortified market towns, Orrey and Semay, on the river Aisne and the border of Lorraine.

Lords and knights of the king's column made a raid from Reims nearly to Paris. They ambushed themselves and sent their scouts up to the gates of the city. They made an such uproar in the suburbs that those within the city had not courage to come forth.

The bands of English were scattered in sundry places, those who had remained on their own account before the coming of the king being in different bands. One band was called the Great Company, which had remained in the field throughout the year in Burgundy, in Brie, in Champagne and in Dairres,

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and wherever they could best find provender. This Great Company had taken the city of Chalons in Champagne by night escalade; but the people of the said city rallied in the middle of their town on the bridge of the river Marne, which runs through the city, and kept them by force out of the best quarter of the city; wherefore they [the Great Company], finding it impossible to remain, were compelled to evacuate [the place]. This company disbanded soon after the coming of the king, and sought refuge for themselves.

There were other bands of English, one of which took by escalade the town of Attigny in Champagne at the time the said king came before Reims.

The said King of England afterwards broke up from before Reims, and marched towards Chalons, where he made a treaty with the people of Bar-sur-Aube, but they broke it, so he dispossessed them of their lands.

An English knight, James de Audeley, took the fortress of Chancu in the vale of Saxsoun from the Bretons under Hugh Trebidige. The said James came from his castle of Ferte in Brie to the army of the said prince near Chalons in company with Captal de Buch, who came from Clermont.

The said king having caused the bridge over the river Marne to be repaired, and over other very great rivers also, marched to the neighbourhood of Troyes, whence the Marquis de Metz and the Count of Nidow, and other German lords who had come with the king, went off to their own country partly because of scarcity of victual and [partly] from respect for the approach of Lent. Due allowance was made to them for their expenses.

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The king crossed the river Seine near Méry-sur-Seine, and held his way by Sens and Pontigny into Burgundy. His son the prince followed him, and the Duke of Lancaster also; but for want of forage for the horses his said son left the route of his father, and quartered himself at Ligny-le-Châtel, near Auxerre, where the said prince's army suffered more from the enemy than in any other part of this expedition hitherto. Several of his knights and esquires were killed at night in their quarters, and his foraging parties taken in the fields, although the country was more deserted before them than in all the other districts, so that they scarcely saw a soldier outside the fortresses.

Five English esquires belonging to the army of the said prince, without [defensive] armour except their basnets and shields, having only one coat of mail and three archers, were in a corn mill near Regentz, a fortress held by the English not far from Auxerre. Fifty men-at-arms, the troop and pennon of the Lord of Hanget, came to attack them; but the five defeated the fifty, taking eleven prisoners; wherefore even the French of the other garrisons called this in mockery the exploit of fifty against five.

The said king remained at Golion near Montreal in Burgundy, to negociate a treaty with the duchy of Burgundy; and here Roger de Mortimer, Earl of March and marshal of the army and most in the confidence of the king, died on the 24th day of February.

Three years' truice was taken with Burgandy, on payment

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to the said King of England at three terms [the sum of] 200,000 florins moutons, the florin [being reckoned] at 4s. sterling.

The town of Flavigny in Burgundy, strong and well fortified, which had been taken by the Englishman Arlestoun, was retaken from the hands of Nichol de Dagworth, being surprised at the time the negociations for a truce had just begun.

Near this town of Flavigny, the said Dagworth in the previous season had an affair with his thirteen English against sixty-six French lances. The English had occupied a narrow street at the end of a village, having drawn carts across the road before and behind them. They sallied from their shelter at their pleasure, wounding, killing and capturing some of the French. Norman Leslie, who had come from Scotland to help the French, was taken; the others were put to flight.

At the same time William de Aldborough, captain of Honfleur in Normandy, was taken by the French in a sortie, and his people were defeated. An English knight, Thomas Fog, who was in a fortress of his in the neighbourhood, hearing of this affair, threw himself into the said Honfleur, found it displenished of provender, and rode forth with other English garrisons in the neighbourhood, foraging in the country for supplies to the said town. They came suddenly upon 250 French men-at-arms and 200 archers and arblasters, who were ambushed on the English line of march, Monsire Louis d'Harcourt and Baudric de la Huse being in command of the French. The English, numbering

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forty men-at-arms and one hundred archers, had the protection of a hedge. Both sides dismounted and engaged smartly. The French were defeated, their two leaders being captured, and with them several knights and esquires, and several were killed in the mellay. Louis d'Harcourt soon afterwards was released by the same English who took him, and they became Frenchmen with him.

At Fregeuil, an English fortress on the march of Beauce, a French knight who bore the name of the Chevalier Blaunche, challenged the constable of the said place to a personal encounter of two Englishmen against two Frenchmen. The encounter was arranged at a place agreed on. The Chevalier and his esquire were defeated by the two English, who were arrayed in scarlet, and were taken prisoners into the aforesaid English fortress.

About this time the English knight John de Nevill, with thirteen lances, defeated near Estampes fifty French men-atarms, of whom several were taken prisoners. Beyond the Cher, in Berry, the Gascons and English of the garrison of Aubigny met with a defeat, several of them remaining prisoners of the French.

At this time French, Norman and Picardese knights, with others of the commonalty, 3000 fighting men, made an expedition into England at the expense of the great towns of France, with a show of remaining there so as to cause the said King of England to withdraw from France, in order to relieve his own country. These Frenchmen arrived at Winchelsea on Sunday in mid Lent of the aforesaid year, remained in the said town a day and a night, set

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fire to it on leaving, and, in going off in their ships, they lost two ships which had taken the ground, and about 300 men [killed] by the commonalty who attacked them.

Near Paris Robert Le Scot, a knight on the English side, was taken and his people were defeated by the French, and his strengths were taken just when he had fortified them.

As the Prince of Wales, son of the said King of England, was marching through Gastinois, five knights of the country with 60 men-at-arms and one hundred others, people of the commonalty, had fortified anew a country house in front of Journelis, a fortress which the English held. The said prince suddenly surrounded these knights, bivouacking in the woods, and directed siege engines and assaults; wherefore the said knights, Monsire Jaques de Greville and Hagenay de Bouille, with the others, surrendered unconditionally to the said prince.

The said King of England, coming from Burgundy, lost two or three German knights from his army. They were killed in their quarters at night by Ivo de Vipont, a French knight, and his company.

And as the said king was marching through Beauce, near Turry, that castle chanced to be set accidentally on fire by those within it; wherefore most of them rushed out and threw themselves on the mercy of the said king. The castellan held the keep for two days and then surrendered to the said king, who caused the walls of the said castle to be razed.

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In the same season thirty lances of the English garrison of Nogent-en-Brie defeated on the river Marne one hundred men-at-arms of the French garrison of Terry, and captured sixty of them.

At Christmastide preceding an English knight, James de Pipe, was surprised in the tower of Epernon which he had won from the French. He was so confident in the strength and height of the keep that he did not set a proper watch and, having caused a low window to be built up, the fortress was lost through the said window, by the wile of a French Mason who built it up dishonestly. The said James was taken in his bed, and also the knight Thomas de Beaumont, who had come to lodge the night with him as he was travelling from one district to another on safe conduct. Both of these, and their property, were under safe conduct of the Regent, the king's son. Now the said James had not discharged his ransom. for the other time that he was captured in season before, having been taken near Graunsoures as he and the English knight Otis de Holland were travelling from the King of Navarre at Evreux, when the said Otis was wounded and died thereof. From which former captivity the said James was rescued from the hands of the enemy by his well-wishers the English, who were in garrison throughout the country. Having espied that, at a certain hour of the day, he was accustomed to go and ease himself outside the castle of Auneuyle where he was detained, they concealed themselves near at hand, found him at the place, took him away, and declared that he was rescued. Those who had captured him and in whose keeping he was

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a prisoner maintained that this was not a proper rescue, but contrary to his parole, inasmuch as he had assured them he would observe ward loyally without deceit, collusion or evil design. They blamed him for this and charged him with it openly, telling him that the said English had arranged this ambush against the laws of loyal chivalry [acting upon] his instigation, information, procurement, command and design. In consequence whereof they afterwards agreed upon a sum of ransom, of which he had provided and laid by much with him in the said tower.

In the same season about the feast of the Purification, an English knight, Robert Herle, who was Guardian of Brittany for the King of England, was in the field against the Welsh Bretons, near Dowle, where there was a river between him and his enemy; and when the English were descending, thinking that they might find a bridge (but this was broken, for there was a great flood in the river), an English knight, Robert de Knollys, coming on the other side [of the river] out of Brittany [leaving] his fortress on the command of the said Guardian, descried his friends, and with seven of his comrades, spurred forward rashly without the rest of his people being aware of it, judging by the descent which he saw the English making that the said Guardian had crossed the river, and so he was unhorsed and captured by the enemy. But without delay he was rescued by his people when they came up, who were furious

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when they perceived the mishap of their leader. They attacked with the remainder of the force, defeated the enemy and rescued their master.

This chronicle does not record all the military adventures which befel the English everywhere during this war, because of the [great] variety of them; but [it records] only the more notable ones. To relate everything would be too lengthy a business.

Be it known that, in Passion week of the same season, the said King of England marched through Beauce, where the monasteries were almost all fortified and stocked with the provender of the country, some of which were taken by assault, others were surrendered so soon as the siege-engines were in position, whereby the whole army was greatly refreshed with victual.

At this time the Captal de Buch went by permission of the said King of England to Normandy with 22 English and Gascon lances, to interview the King of Navarre to whom he was well-disposed. Near Dreux he fell in suddenly with four and twenty French men-at-arms, knights and esquires, who were lying in ambush for other English garrisons. Both sides dismounted and engaged smartly; the French were defeated, and Bèque de Villaines their leader was taken with four of his knights, the others being taken or killed.

The said King of England took up his quarters before Paris on Wednesday in Easter week in the year of grace 1360, [namely] in the villages adjacent to the suburb of Saint-Cloud, across the Seine above Paris. He remained there five days,

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and in departing displayed himself in order of battle before the King of France's son, who was Regent of the country and was in the city with a strong armed force. The Prince of Wales, eldest son of the said King of England, who commanded the advanced guard, and the Duke of Lancaster with another column, marched close under the faubourgs from sunrise till midday and set them on fire. The king's other columns kept a little further off. A French knight, Pelerin de Vadencourt, was captured at the city barriers, where his horse, being wounded by an arrow, had thrown him. [Certain] knights of the Prince's retinue, newly dubbed that day, concealed themselves among the suburbs when the said columns marched off, and remained there till some [knights] came out of the city, then spurred forth and charged them. Richard de Baskerville the younger, an English knight, was thrown to the ground, and, springing to his feet, wounded the horses of the Frenchmen with his sword, and defended himself gallantly till he was rescued, with his horse, by his other comrades, who speedily drove back into their fortress the Frenchmen who had come out.

Then the Comte de Tankerville came out of the city demanding to treat with the Council of the said King of England, to whom reply was made that their said lord would entertain any reasonable proposal at any time.

The said king marched off, spreading fire everywhere along his route, and took up quarters near Montereau with his

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army round him. On Sunday the 13th of April it became necessary to make a very long march toward Beauce, by reason of want of fodder for the horses. The weather was desperately bad with rain, hail and snow, and so cold that many weakly men and horses perished in the field. They abandoned many vehicles and much baggage on account of the cold the wind and the wet which happened to be worse this season than any old memory could recall.

About this time the people of Monsire James d'Audley [namely] the garrisons of Ferté and Nogent-en-Brie, escaladed the castle of Huchi in Valois, near Sissonne, after sunrise, when the sentries had been reduced. This [place] was very well provisioned and full of gentle ladies and some men-at-arms, knights and esquires.

And eight Welsh Archers of Lord Spencer's retinue had a pretty encounter in Beauce when the said king's army was billeted in the villages. These archers, having charge of the millers in a corn mill outside the lines near Bonneval, were espied by the French garrisons in the neighbourhood, who came to attack them with 26 lances and 12 French Breton archers. Both sides dismounted and engaged smartly; the French were defeated, three of their men-at-arms being killed and nine made prisoners, every man on both sides being wounded nearly to death. Some of the said English had surrendered on parole to the said enemy during the mellay, but were rescued by the said Welshmen, who behaved very gallantly there.

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The said King of England remained in Beauce, near Orleans, fifteen days, for a treaty of peace which the Council of France proposed to him, the Abbé of Cluny and Monsire Hugh de Genève, envoy of the Pope, being the negociators. The English of the said king's army had encounters, some with loss and others with gain, Certain knights in the following of the Duke of Lancaster, disguising themselves as brigands or pillaging soldiers, without lances, rode in pretended disarray in order to give the enemy spirit and courage to tackle them, as several of their foragers had been taken during the preceding days. Some of whom, the knights Edmund Pierpoint and Baldwyn Malet, overdid the said counterfeit to such an extent in running risks from the French that it could not be otherwise than that they should come to grief; thus they were taken and put on parole.

Sir Brian de Stapleton and other knights of the Prince's army and the Earl of Salisbury's retinue, while protecting foragers, had an affair with the French near Janville, and defeated them, taking some [prisoners].

In reprisal for the raid which the French made upon Winchelsea, the admirals of the Cinque Ports and the English northern squadron landed in the isle of Dans, attacked and took the town of Lure and burnt it, and would have done more had they not been stopped by command of their lord the king on account of the truce.

People ought to know that, on the 7th day of May in the aforesaid year, a treaty of peace was made near Chartres and agreed to by the said King of England and his Council around

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him on the one part, and by the aforesaid Regent and Council of France and the commons on the other part, to, the following effect. All actions, claims and disputes to be extinguished and relinquished; the aforesaid covenants to be carried out, to wit, that the aforesaid King of England should have the whole Duchy of Guienne within its ancient limits, and the province of Rouerge, the countships of Ponthieu, of Guines with its appurtenances, Calais with the lordship adjacent, utterly, without hindrance, conditions, appeals, evasions, demands or any subjection to the crown of France, freely with all the crown royalties for all time; and that he should receive three millions of gold as ransom for the King of France; and that the aforesaid kings should be sworn under pain of excommunication as allies by common assent against all nations; and that the action and dispute for Brittany between Montfort and Charles de Blois should be adjudged by the discretion of the said kings; and should this not be agreeable to the said parties, [then] neither these kings nor their heirs should take any part by aid or countenance. The King of France was utterly to give up the alliance with the people of Scotland, and the King of England was to remove his hand from the people of Flanders, and the two kings were to be absolved by the Pope from their oaths under the said alliance; for the fulfilment of which covenants it was agreed that the eldest sons of the two kings -- the Prince of Wales on one part and the Duke of Normandy on the other -- should be sworn by the souls of their fathers and on the body of God. And the King of Navarre and twenty other personages of France, and the Duke of Lancaster and twenty others of England, were to be sworn also.

 

From Scalacronica; the reigns of Edward I, Edward II and Edward II, as recorded by Sir Thomas Gray, and now translated by the Right Hon. Sir Herbert Maxwell, baronet. Glasgow, 1907, p. 145-60 [Widener: Br 1460.80].

 

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