The Chronicles of Froissart Chapters II to X

1314 Battle of Bannockburn

1322 Despencer War Executions

The Chronicles of Froissart Chapters II to X is in The Chronicles of Froissart.

The Chronicles of Froissart Chapter II

1326. To encourage all noble hearts and show them worthy examples, I, Jehan Froissart, following on from the account made by my lord Jean le Bel, canon of Saint Lambert's in Liège, will begin by saying that while many noble and common people alike have often spoken about the wars of France and England, they did not know the truth, if questioned or interrogated on the matter, of how or why they began, here you will find the proper root of the matter. To that end I will not omit, forget, alter, or abridge anything at all in this history for want of language, but will rather enrich and elaborate where I am able, and thoroughly relate every event point by point from the birth of king Edward of England who reigned and participated in so many remarkable and perilous ventures and battles, and other feats of arms and great prowess since the year of grace 1326 in which this noble king was crowned in England. All of those who were with him in his battles and most fortunate encounters, or with his people when he was not present in person, which you will subsequently hear about, should rightly be renowned for their valour; notwithstanding that there are a good many of them who may well be deemed to have achieved the very pinnacle of valour amongst their peers, such as the person of the aforementioned noble king, the prince of Wales his son, the duke of Lancaster, Sir Gauthier de Mauny of Hainault, Sir John Chandos, Sir Franck de Hale, and several others who will be remembered in this book for their integrity and skill. For in all the battles in which they have taken part, they have achieved renown as the best, by land and sea, and have shown such valour that they ought rightly to be held up as valorous above all other. Not that the others, let it be said, who have served with them should be considered less worthy. In France there are also to be found strong, robust and vigorous exemplars of chivalry, for the realm of France was never brought so low that one might not find those prepared to join in combat. And the noble Valois king named Philippe was a bold and chivalrous knight, along with king Jean, his son, Charles, king of Bohemia, the count of Alençon, the count of Foix, my lord Saintré, Sir Arnoul d'Audrehem, my lord Boucicaut, Sir Guichard d'Angle, my lord Guichard de Beaujeu, father and son, and several others whom I cannot all name at this time and who will be honoured in timely fashion, for in truth we must recognise the courage of all those who have been seen to do their rightful duty in such cruel and treacherous battles and stand their ground until defeat.

The Chronicles of Froissart Chapter III

Battle of Bannockburn

FIRST, the better to enter into the matter of this honourable and pleasant history of the noble Edward king of England (1), who was crowned at London the year of our Lord God MCCCXXVI., on Christmasday, living the king his father and the queen his mother, it is certain that the opinion of Englishmen most commonly was as then, and oftentimes it was seen in England after the time of king Arthur, how that between two valiant kings of England there was most commonly one between them of less sufficiency both of wit and of prowess : and this was right well apparent by the same icing Edward the third (1); for his grandfather, called the good king Edward the first, was right valiant, sage, wise and hardy, adventurous and fortunate jn all feats of war, and had much ado against the Scots, and conquered them three or four times ; for the Scots could never have victory nor endure against him : and after his decease his son of his first wife, who was father to the said good king Edward the third, was crowned king and called Edward the second (30), who resembled nothing to his father in wit nor in prowess, but governed and kept his realm right wildly, and ruled himself by sinister counsel of certain persons, whereby at length he had no profit nor land, as ye shall hear after; for anon after he was crowned, Robert Bruce king of Scotland, who had often before given much ado to the said good king Edward the first, conquered again all Scotland, and brent and wasted a great part of the realm of England, a four or five days' journey within the realm at two times, and discomfited the king and all the barons of England at a place in Scotland called Stirling, by battle arranged the day of Saint John Baptist, in the seventh year of the reign of the same king Edward, in the year of our Lord MCCCXIV. The chase of this discomfiture endured two days and two nights, and the king of England (30) went with a small company to London and on mid-lent Sunday in the year of our Lord MCCCXVI. The Scots won again the city of Berwick by treason ; but because this is no part of our matter, I will leave speaking thereof.

The Chronicles of Froissart Chapter IV

THIS king Edward the second, father to the noble king Edward the third, had two brethren, the one called [the earl] marshal, who was right wild and diverse of conditions, the other called sir Edmund earl of Kent, right wise, amiable, gentle and well beloved with all people. This king Edward the second was married to Isabel, the daughter of Philip le Beau king of France, who was one of the fairest ladies of the world. The king had by her two sons and two daughters. The first son was the noble and hardy king Edward the third, of whom this history is begun. The second was named John, and died young. The first of the daughters was called Isabel, married to the young king David of Scotland, son to king Robert de Bruce, married in her tender youth by the accord of both realms of England and Scotland for to make perfect peace. The other daughter was married to the earl Raynold, who after was called duke of Gueldres, and he had by her two sons, Raynold and Edward, who after reigned in great puissance.

The Chronicles of Froissart Chapter V

Now sheweth the history that this Philip le Beau king of France had three sons and a fair daughter named Isabel, married into England to king Edward the second ; and these three sons, the eldest named Louis, who was king of Navarre in his father's days and was called king Louis Hutin, the second had to name Philip the Great or the Long, and the third was called Charles; and all three were kings of France after iheir father's decease by right succession each after other, without having any issue male of their bodies lawfully begotten. So that after the death of Charles, last king of the three, the twelve peers and all the barons of France would not give the realm to Isabel the sister, who was queen of England, because they said and maintained, and yet do, that the realm of France is so noble that it ought not to go to a woman, and so consequently to Isabel, nor to the king of England her eldest son for they determined the son of the woman to have no right nor succession by his mother, since they declared the mother to have no right : so that by these reasons the twelve peers and barons of France by their common accord did give the realm of France to the lord Philip of Valois, nephew sometime to Philip le Beau king of France, and so put out the queen of England and her son, who was as the next heir male, as son to the sister of Charles, last king of France. Thus went the realm of France out of the right lineage, as it seemed to many folk, whereby great wars hath moved and fallen, and great destructions of people and countries in the realm of France and other places, as ye may hereafter [see]. This is the very right foundation of this history, to recount the great enterprises and great feats of arms that have fortuned and fallen. Sith the time of the good Charlemagne king of France there never fell so great adventures.

The Chronicles of Froissart Chapter VI

Despencer War Executions

1322. THE foresaid king Edward the second (37), father to the noble king Edward the third (9), on whom our matter is founded, this said king governed right diversely his realm by the exhortation of sir Hugh Spencer (36), who had been nourished with him sith the beginning of his yongth ; the which sir Hugh (36) had so enticed the king (37), that his father and he were the greatest masters in all the realm, and by envy thought to surmount all other barons of England ; whereby after the great discomfiture that the Scots had made at Stirling great murmuring there arose in England between. The noble barons and the king's council, and namely against sir Hugh Spencer (36). They put on him that by his counsel they were discomfited, and that he was favourable to the king of Scots. And on this point the barons had divers times communication together, to be advised what they might do, whereof Thomas earl of Lancaster (44), who was uncle to the king, was chief. And anon when sir Hugh Spencer (36) had espied this, he purveyed for remedy, for he was so great with the king (37) and so near him, that he was more beloved with the king (37) than all the world after. So on a day he came to the king (37) and said, `Sir, certain lords of your realm have made alliance together against you, and without ye take heed thereto betimes, they purpose to put you out of your realm': and so by his malicious means he caused that the king made all the said lords to be taken, and their heads to be stricken off without delay, and without knowledge or answer to any cause. First of all sir Thomas earl of Lancaster (44), who was a noble and a wise, holy knight, and hath done sith many fair miracles in Pomfret, where he was beheaded, for the which deed the said sir Hugh Spencer (36) achieved great hate in all the realm, and specially of the queen (27) and of the earl of Kent (20), brother to the king (37). And when he perceived the displeasure of the queen (27), by his subtle wit he set great discord between the king and the queen (27), so that the king (37) would not see the queen nor come in her company, the which discord endured a long space. Then was it skewed to the queen (27) secretly and to the earl of Kent (20), that without they took good heed to themselves, they were likely to be destroyage to Saint Thomas of Canterbury, and so to Winchelsea, and in the night went into a ship that was ready for her, and her young son Edward (9) with her, and the earl of Kent (20) and sir Roger Mortimer (34), and in another ship they had put all their purveyance, and had wind at will, and the next morning they arrived in the haven of Boulogne.

The Chronicles of Froissart Chapter VII

1324. WHEN queen Isabel (29) was arrived at Boulogne, and her son (11) with her and the earl of Kent (22), the captains and abbot of the town came against her and joyously received her and her company into the abbey, and there she abode two days: then she departed and rode so long by her journeys that she arrived at Paris. Then king Charles (29) her brother, who was informed of her coming, sent to meet her divers of the greatest lords of his realm, as the lord sir Robert de Artois (37), the lord of Coucy, the lord of Sully, the lord of Roye and divers other, who honourably did receive her and brought her into the city of Paris to the king her brother (29). And when the king (29) saw his sister (29), whom he had not seen long before, as she should have entered into his chamber he met her and took her in his arms and kissed her, and said, ` Ye be welcome, fair sister, with my fair nephew your son,' and took them by the hands and led them forth. The queen, who had no great joy at her heart but that she was so near to the king her brother, she would have kneeled down two or three times at the feet of the king, but the king would not suffer her, but held her still by the right hand, demanding right sweetly of her estate and business. And she answered him right sagely, and lamentably recounted to him all the felonies and injuries done to her by sir Hugh Spencer (38), and required him of his aid and comfort. When the noble King Charles of France (29) had heard his sister's lamentation, who weepingly had shewed him all her need and business, be said to her : ` Fair sister, appease yourself, for by the faith I owe to God and to Saint Denis I shall right well purvey for you some remedy.' The queen then kneeled down, whether the king would or not, and said: 'My right dear lord and fair brother, I pray God reward you.' The king then took her in his arms and led her into another chamber, the which was apparelled for her and for the young Edward her son, and so departed from her, and caused at his costs and charges all things to be delivered that was behoveful for her and for her son. After it was not long, but that for this occasion Charles king of France (29) assembled together many great lords and barons of the realm of France, to have their counsel and good advice how they should ordain for the need and besynes of his sister queen of England. Then it was counselled to the king that he should let the queen his sister to purchase for herself friends, whereas she would, in the realm of France or in any other place, and himself to feign and be not known thereof; for they said, to move war with the king of England (39), and to bring his own realm into hatred, it were nothing appertinent nor profitable to him nor to his realm. But they concluded that conveniently he might aid her with gold and silver, for that is the metal whereby love is attained both of gentlemen and of poor soldiers. And to this counsel and advice accorded the king, and caused this to be shewed to the queen privily by sir Robert d'Artois (37), who as then was one of the greatest lords of all France.

The Chronicles of Froissart Chapter VIII

1325. Now let us speak somewhat of Sir Hugh Spencer (39). When he saw that he had drawn the king of England so much to his will, that he could desire nothing of him but it was granted, he caused many noblemen and other to be put to death without justice or law, because he held them suspect to be against him ; and by his pride he did so many marvels, that the barons that were left alive in the land could not bear nor suffer it any longer, but they besought and required each other among themselves to be of a peaceable accord, and caused it secretly to be known to the queen their lady, who had been as then at Paris the space of three year, certifying her by writing, that if she could find the means to have any company of men of arms, if it were but to the number of a thousand, and to bring her son and heir with her into England, that then they would all draw to her and obey her and her son Edward, as theywere bound to do of duty. These letters thus sent secretly to her out of England, she shewed them to king Charles her brother, who answered her and said: `Fair sister, God be your aid, your business shall avail much the better. Take of my men and subjects to the number that your friends have written you for, and I consent well to this voyage. I shall cause to be delivered unto you gold and silver as much as shall suffice you.' And in this matter the queen had done so much, what with her prayer, gifts and promises, that many great lords and young knights were of her accord, as to bring her with great strength again into England. Then the queen, as secretly as she could, she ordained for her voyage and made her purveyance; but she could not do it so secretly but sir Hugh Spencer had knowledge thereof. Then he thought to win and withdraw the king of France from her by great gifts, and so sent secret messengers into France with great plenty of gold and silver and rich jewels, and specially to the king and his privy council, and did so much that in short space the king of France and all his privy council were as cold to help the queen in her voyage as they had before great desire to do it. And the king brake all that voyage,. and defended every person in his realm on pain of banishing the same, that none should be so hardy to go with the queen to bring her again into England. And yet the said sir Hugh Spencer advised him of more malice, and bethought him how he might get again the queen into England, to be under the king's danger and his. Then he caused the king to write to the holy father the pope affectuously, desiring him that he would send and write to the king of France, that he should send the queen his wife again into England ; for he will acquit. himself to God and the world, and that it was not his fault that she departed from him, for he would nothing to her but all love and good faith, such as he ought to hold in marriage. Also there were like letters written to the cardinals, devised by many subtle ways, the which all may not be written here. Also he sent gold and silver great plenty to divers cardinals and prelates, such as were most nearest and secretest with the pope, and right sage and able ambassadors were sent on this message; and they led the pope in such wise by their gifts and subtle ways, that he wrote to the king of France that on pain of cursing he should send his sister Isabel into England to the king her husband. These letters were brought to the king of France by the bishop of Saintes, whom the pope sent in that legation. And when the king had read the letters, he caused them to be shewed to the queen his sister, whom he had not seen of long space before, commanding her hastily to avoid his realm, or else he would cause her to avoid with shame.

The Chronicles of Froissart Chapter IX

1326. WHEN the Queen (31) heard this tidings, she knew not what to say nor what advice to take ; for as then the barons of the realm of France were withdrawn from her by the commandment of the king of France, and so she had no comfort nor succour, but all only of her dear cousin Sir Robert de Artois (39) ; for he secretly did counsel and comfort her as much as he might, for otherwise he durst not, for the king had defended him. But he knew well that the Queen (31) was chased out of England and also out of France for evil will and by envy, which grieved him greatly. Thus was Sir Robert de Artois (39) at the queen's commandment ; but be durst not speak nor be known thereof, for he had heard the king and the Earl of Kent (24) and Sir Roger Mortimer (38), and to put them all in the hands of the king and of Sir Hugh Spencer (40). Wherefore he came on a night and declared all this to the queen (31), and advised her of the peril that she was in. Then the queen (31) was greatly abashed, and required biro all weeping of his good counsel. Then he (39) said: 'Madam, I counsel you that ye depart and go into the Empire, whereas there be many great lords, who may right well aid you, and specially the earl Guilliam of Hainault (38) and sir John of Hainault (40) his brother. These two are great lords and wise men, true, drad and redoubted of their enemies.' Then the queen (31) caused to be made ready all her purveyance, and paid for everything as secretly as she might, and so she and her son (13), the Earl of Kent (24) and all her company departed from Paris and rode toward Hainault, and so long she rode that she came to Cambresis ; and when she knew she was in the Empire, she was better assured than she was before, and so passed through Cambresis and entered into Ostrevant in Hainault, and lodged at Bugnicourt, in a knight's house who was called sir d'Aubrecicourt, who received her right joyously in the best manner to his power, insomuch that afterward the queen of England (31) and her son (13) had with them into England for ever the knight and his wife and all his children, and advanced them in divers manners. The coming thus of the queen of England (31) and of her son and heir into the country of Hainault was anon well known in the house of the good earl of Hainault, who as then was at Valenciennes; and sir John of Hainault (38) was certified of the time when the queen arrived at the place of sir d'Aubrecicourt, the which sir John (38) was brother to the said earl Guilliam (40), and as he that was young and lusty, desiring all honour, mounted on his horse and departed with a small company from Valenciennes, and came the same night to Bugnicourt, and did to the queen all honour and reverence that he could devise. The queen, who was right sorrowful, began to declare (complaining to him right piteously) her dolours ; whereof the said sir John (38) had great pity, so that the water dashed in his eyen, and said, ' Certainly, fair lady, behold me here your own knight, who shall you into your estates in England, by the grace of God and with the help of your friends in that parts : and I and such other as I can desire shall put our lives and goods in adventure for your sake, and shall get men of war sufficient, if God be pleased, without the danger of the king of France your brother.' Then the queen would have kneeled down for great joy that she had, and for the good-will he offered her, but this noble knight took her up quickly in his arms and said : 'By the grace of God the noble queen of England shall not kneel to me ; but, madam, recomfort yourself and all your company, for I shall keep you faithful promise ; and ye shall go see the earl my brother (40) and the countess his wife (32) and all their fair children, who shall receive you with great joy, for so I heard them report they would do.' Then the queen said: 'Sir, I find in you more love and comfort than in all the world, and for this that ye say and affirm me I thank you a thousand times ; and if ye will do this ye have promised in all courtesy and honour, I and my son shall be to you for ever bound, and will put all the realm of England in your abandon; for it is right that it so should be.' And after these words, when they were thus accorded, sir John of Hainault (38) took leave of the queen (31) for that night, and went to Denaing and lay in the abbey; and in the morning after mass he leapt on his horse and came again to the queen (31), who received him with great joy. By that time she had dined and was ready to mount on her horse to, depart with him ; and so the queen departed from the castle of Bugnicourt, and took leave of the knight and of the lady, and thanked them for their good cheer that they bad made her, and said that she trusted once to see the time that she or her son should well remember their courtesy. Thus departed the queen in the company of the said sir John to the countess his wife, and feasted her right nobly. And as then this earl (40) had four fair daughters, Margaret (14), Philippa (11), Jane (11) and Isabel (3), among whom the young Edward (13) yet most his love and company on Philippa (11), and also the young lady in all honour was more conversant with him than any of her sisters. Thus the queen Isabel (31) abode at Valenciennes by the space of eight days with the good earl (40) and with the countess Jane de Valois. In the meantime the queen apparelled for her needs and business, and the said sir John wrote letters right affectuously unto knights and such companions as he trusted best in all Hainault, in Brabant and in Bohemia, and prayed them for all amities that was between them, that they would go with him in this enterprise into England; and so there were great plenty, what of one country and other, that were content to go with him for his love. But this said sir John of Hainault (38) was greatly reproved and counselled the contrary both of the earl his brother (40) and of the chief of the council of the country, because it seemed to them that the enterprise was right high and perilous, seeing the great discords and great hates that as then was between the barons of England among themselves, and also considering that these Englishmen most commonly have ever great envy at strangers. Therefore they doubted that the said sir John of Hainault and his company should not return again' with honour. But howsoever they blamed or counselled him, the gentle knight would never change his purpose, but said he had but one death to die, the which was in the will of God; and also said that all knights ought to aid to their powers all ladies and damosels chased out of their own countries, being without counsel or comfort.

The Chronicles of Froissart Chapter X

1326. THUS was sir John of Hainault (38) moved in his courage and made his assembly, and prayed the Hainowes to be ready at Hal, and the Brabances at Breda, and the Hollanders to be at Dordrecht at a day limited. Then the queen of England (31) took leave of the earl of Hainault (40) and of the countess (32), and thanked them greatly of their honour, feast and good cheer that they had made her, kissing them at her departing. Thus this lady (31) departed and her son (13) and all her company with Sir John of Hainault (38), who with great pain gat leave of his brother, saying to him: 'My lord and brother, I am young and think that God hath purveyed for me this enterprise for mine advancement. I believe and think verily that wrongfully and sinfully this lady hath been chased out of England, and also her son. It is alms and glory to God and to the world to comfort and help them that be comfortless, and specially so high and so noble a lady as this is, who is daughter to a king and descended of a royal king; we be of her blood and she of ours. I had rather renounce and forsake all that I have and go serve God over the sea and never to return into this country, rather than this good lady should have departed from us without comfort and help. Therefore, dear brother, suffer me to go with your good-will, wherein ye shall do nobly, and I shall humbly thank you thereof, and the better thereby I shall accomplish all the voyage.' And when the good earl of Hainault had well heard his brother (38), and perceived the great desire that he had to his enterprise, and saw well it might turn him and his heirs to great honour hereafter, said to him: 'My fair brother, God forbid that your good purpose should be broken or let: therefore in the name of God I give you leave'; and kissed him, straining him by the hand in sign of great love. Thus he departed and rode the same night to Mons in Hainault with the queen of England (31). What should I make long process? They did so much by their journeys that they came to Dordrecht in Holland, whereas their special assembly was made. And there they purveyed for ships great and small, such as they could get, and shipped their horses and harness and purveyance, and so commended themselves into the keeping of God and took their passage by sea. In Sanses de Boussoit, the lord of Vertaing, the lord of Potelle, the lord Villers, the' lord of Hennin, the lord of Sars, the lord of Bousies, the lord of Aubrecicourt, the lord of Estrumel, and sir Wulfart of Ghistelles, and divers other knights and squires, all in great desire to serve their master. And when they were all departed from the haven of Dordrecht, it was a fair fleet as for the quantity, and well ordered, the season was fair and clear and right temperate, and at their departing with the first flood they came before the dikes of Holland; and the next day they drew up their sails and took their way in coasting Zealand ; and their intents were to have, taken land at Dongport ;1 but they could not, for a tempest took them in the sea, that put them so far out of their course that they wist not of two days where they were: of the which God did them great grace, for if they had taken land at the port whereas they had thought, they had been all lost, for they had fallen in the hands of their enemies, who knew well of their coming, and abode them there to have put them all to death. So it was that about the end of two days the tempest ceased, and the mariners perceived land in England and drew to that part right joyously, and there took land on the sands without any right haven or port at Harwich, as the English chronicle saith, the 24th day of September, the year of our Lord MCCCXXVI., and so abode on the sands three days with little purveyance of victual, and unshipped their horses and harness, nor they wist not in what part of England they were in, other in the power of their friends or in the power of their enemies. On the fourth day they took forth their way in the adventure of God and of Saint George, as such people as had suffered great disease of cold by night and hunger and great fear, whereof they were not as then clean rid. And so they rode forth by hills and dales on the one side and on the other, till at the last they found villages and a great abbey of black monks, the which is called SaintEdmund, whereas they three days refreshed themselves.