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king of Bohemia, who had been duly elected and crowned emperor of Germany. When the duke of Bavaria had received this answer, he returned through Hainault to the new emperor. He related to him all that had passed in France, and the answer he had received, with which he was not well pleased, but he could not amend it.

The emperor, soon after this, proposed marching a powerful army, under his own command, to Lombardy, to gain possession of the passes, and sent a detachment before him for this purpose, but his troops were met by an army from the duke of Milan *, who slew many, and took numbers prisoners. Among the latter was sir Girard, lord of Heraucourt, marshal to the duke of Austria, and several other persons of distinction. This check broke up the intended expedition of the emperor.


About the month of March, in this year, great dissensions arose between Henry, king of England, and the family of Percy and the Welsh, in which some of the Scots took part, and entered Northumberland with a considerable force. King Henry had raised a large army to oppose them, and had marched thither to give them battle; but, at the first attack, his vanguard was discomfited. This prevented the second division from advancing, and it being told the king, who commanded the rear, he was animated with more than usual courage, from perceiving his men to hesitate, and charged the enemy with great vigour. His conduct was so gallant and decisive, that many of the nobles of both parties declared he that day slew, with his own hand, thirty-six men at arms. He was thrice unhorsed by the earl of Douglas' spear, and would have been taken or killed by the earl, had he not been defended and rescued by his own men. The lord Thomas Percy was there slain, and his nephew Henry made prisoner, whom the king ordered instantly to be put to death before his face. The earl of Douglas was also taken, and many others. After this victory, king Henry departed from the field of battle, joyful at the successful event of the day. He sent a body of his men-at-arms to Wales, to besiege a town of that country which was favourable to the Perciesł.


[A. D. 1402.]

At the beginning of this year, John de Verchin f, a knight of high renown and seneschal of Hainault, sent letters, by his herald, to the knights and esquires of different countries, to invite them to a trial of skill in arms, which he had vowed to hold, the contents of which letters were as follows:

“To all knights and esquires, gentlemen of name and arms, without reproach, I, Jean do Verchin, seneschal of Hainault, make known, that with the aid of God, of our Lady, of my lord St. George, and of the lady of my affections, I intend being at Coucy the first Sunday of August next ensuing, unless prevented by lawful and urgent business, ready on the morrow to make trial of the arms hereafter mentioned, in the presence of my most redoubted lord the duke of Orleans, who has granted me permission to hold the meeting at the above place. If any gentleman, such as above described, shall come to this town to deliver me from my vow, we will perform our enterprise mounted on horseback, on war saddles without girths. Each may wear what armour he pleases, but the targets must be without covering or lining of iron or steel. The arms to be spears of war, without fastening or covering, and swords. The attack to be with spears in or out of their rests; and each shall lay aside his target, and draw his sword without assistance. Twenty strokes of the sword to be given without intermission, and we may, if we please, seize each other by the body. “From respect to the gentleman, and to afford him more pleasure, for having had the goodness to accept my invitation, I promise to engage him promptly on foot, unless bodily prevented, without either of us taking off any part of the armour which we had worn in our assaults on horseback: we may, however, change our vizors, and lengthen the plates of our armour, according to the number of strokes with the sword and dagger, as may be thought proper, when my companion shall have determined to accomplish my deliverance by all these deeds of arms, provided, however, that the number of strokes may be gone through during the day, at such intermissions as I shall point out. In like manner, the number of strokes with battle-axes shall be agreed on; but, in regard to this combat, each may wear the armour he pleases. Should it happen (as I hope it will not), that in the performance of these deeds of arms, one of us be wounded, insomuch that during the day he shall be unable to complete the combat with the arms then in use, the adverse party shall not make any account of it, but shall consider it as if nothing had passed. “When I shall have completed these courses, or when the day shall be ended, with the aid of God, of our Lady, of my lord St. George, and of my lady, I shall set out from the said town, unless bodily prevented, on a pilgrimage to my lord St. James at Compostella. Whatever gentleman of rank I may meet going to Galicia, or returning to the aforesaid town of Coucy, that may incline to do me the honour and grace to deliver me with the same arms as above, and appoint an honourable judge, without taking me more than twenty leagues from my straight road, or obliging me to return, and giving me assurance from the judge, that the combat, with the aforesaid arms, shall take place within five days from my arrival in the town appointed for it, I promise, with the aid of God and my lady, if not prevented by bodily infirmity, to deliver them promptly on foot, as soon as they shall have completed the enterprise, according to the manner specified, with such a number of strokes with the sword, dagger and battle-axe, as may be thought proper to fix upon. “Should it happen, after having agreed with a gentleman to perform these deeds of arms, as we are proceeding toward the judge he has fixed upon, that I should meet another gentleman willing to deliver me, who should name a judge nearer my direct road than the first, I would in that case perform my trial in arms with him whose judge was the nearest; and when I had acquitted myself to him, I would then return to accomplish my engagement with the first, unless prevented by any bodily infirmity. Such will be my conduct during the journey, and I shall hold myself acquitted to perform before each judge my deeds of arms; and no gentleman can enter the lists with me more than once: and the staves of our arms shall be of equal lengths, which I will provide and distribute when required. All the blows must be given from the bottom of the plate-armour to the head: none others will be allowed as legal. That all gentlemen who may incline to deliver me from my vow, may know the road I propose to follow, I inform them, that under the will of God, I mean to travel through France to Bordeaux; thence to the country of Foix, to the kingdoms of Navarre and Castille, to the shrine of my lord St. James at Compostella. On my return, if it please God, I will pass through the kingdom of Portugal; thence to Valencia, Arragon, Catalonia, and Avignon, and recross the kingdom of France, having it understood, if I may be permitted to travel through all these countries in security, to perform my vow, excepting the kingdom of France, and county of Hainault. “That this proposal may have the fullest assurance, I have put my seal to this letter, and signed it with my own hand, in the year of the incarnation of our Lord, the 1st day of June, 1402.”

* John Galeas Wisconti, first duke of Milan, father of Valentina, duchess of Orleans. During the reign of Wenceslaus, he had made the most violent aggressions on the free and imperial states of Lombardy, which it was the first object of the new emperor to chastise. The battle or skirmish here alluded to, was fought near the walls of Brescia.

f This chapter presents a most extraordinary confusion of dates and events. The conclusion can refer only to the battle of Shrewsbury, which took place more than two years afterwards,-and is again mentioned in its proper place, chap. xv.: besides which, the facts are misrepresented.

Monstrelet should have said, “The lord Thomas Percy (earl of Worcester) was beheaded after the battle, and his nephew Henry, slain on the field.” The year 1401 was, in fact, distinguished only by the war in Wales, against Owen Glendower; in which Harry Percy commanded for, not against, the king. The Percies did not rebel till the year 1403.

t This John de Werchin, seneschal of Hainault, was connected by marriage with the house of Luxembourg St. Pol.

The seneschal, in consequence of this challenge, went to Coucy, where he was received very graciously by the duke of Orleans; but no one appeared to enter the lists with him on the appointed day. In a few days, he set out on his pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James, during which he performed his deeds of arms in seven places, during seven days, and behaved himself so gallantly, that those princes who were appointed judges of the field were greatly satisfied with him.


IN the year 1402, Louis, duke of Orleans, brother to the king of France, sent a letter to the king of England, proposing a combat between them, of the following tenor: “I, Louis, by the grace of God son and brother to the kings of France, duke of Orleans, write and make known to you, that with the aid of God and the blessed Trinity, in the desire which I have to gain renown, and which you in like manner should feel, considering idleness as the bane of lords of high birth who do not employ themselves in arms, and thinking I can no way better seek renown than by proposing to you to meet me at an appointed place, each of us accompanied with one hundred knights and esquires, of name and arms without reproach, there to combat together until one of the parties shall surrender; and he to whom God shall grant the victory shall do with his prisoners as it may please him. We will not employ any incantations that are forbidden by the church, but make every use of the bodily strength granted us by God, having armour as may be most agreeable to every one for the security of his person, and with the usual arms; that is to say, lance, battle-axe, sword and dagger, and each to employ them as he shall think most to his advantage, without aiding himself by any bodkins, hooks, bearded darts, poisoned needles or razors, as may be done by persons unless they be positively ordered to the contrary. To accomplish this enterprise, I make known to you, that if God permit, and under the good pleasure of our Lady, and my lord St. Michael, I propose (after knowing your intentions) to be at my town of Angoulême, accompanied by the aforesaid number of knights and esquires. Now, if your courage be such as I think it is, for the fulfilment of this deed of arms, you may come to Bordeaux, when we may depute properly-qualified persons to fix on a spot for the combat, giving to them full power to act therein as if we ourselves were personally present.

“Most potent and noble prince, let me know your will in regard to this proposal, and have the goodness to send me as speedy an answer as may be; for in all affairs of arms, the shortest determination is the best, especially for the kings of France, and great lords and princes; and, as many delays may arise from business of importance, which must be attended to, as well as doubts respecting the veracity of our letters, that you may know I am resolved, with God's help, on the accomplishment of this deed of arms, I have signed this letter with my own hand, and sealed it with the seal of my arms. Written at my castle of Coucy", the 7th day of August, 1402.”


“Henry, by the grace of God, king of England and France, and lord of Ireland, to the high and mighty prince Louis, duke of Orleans.

“We write to inform you, that we have seen your letter, containing a request to perform a deed of arms; and, from the expressions contained therein, we perceive that it is addressed to us, which has caused us no small surprise, for the following reasons. First, on account of the truce agreed on, and sworn to, between our very dear lord and cousin, king Richard, our predecessor, whom God pardon 1 and your lord and brother; in which treaty, you are yourself a party. Secondly, on account of the alliance that was made between us at Paris, for the due observance of which you made oath, in the hands of our well-beloved knights and esquires, sir Thomas de Spinguchen *, sir Thomas Ramson, and John Morbury, and likewise gave to them letters signed with your great seal, reciting this treaty of alliance, which I shall hereafter more fully state.

* Enguerrand VII. lord of Coucy and count of Soissons, His other daughters were, Mary, wife of Robert Were, duke died a prisoner in Turkey, as related by Froissart. Mary, of Ireland (the ill-fated favourite of Richard II.) and Isabel, his daughter and co-heiress, sold her possessions, and this married to Philip, count of Nevers, youngest son of the castle of Coucy among the rest, to Louis duke of Orleans, duke of Burgundy.

HENRY IV. of England.—From the effigy on his tomb at Canterbury.

“Since you have thought proper, without any cause, to act contrary to this treaty, we shall reply as follows, being desirous that God, and all the world, should know it has never been our intention to act any way contradictory to what we have promised. We therefore inform you, that we have annulled the letter of alliance received from you, and throw aside henceforward, all love and affection toward you ; for it seems to us that no prince, lord, knight, or any person whatever, ought to demand a combat from him with whom a treaty of friendship exists. In reply to your letter, we add, that considering the very high rank in which it has pleased God to place us, we are not bound to answer any such demands unless made by persons of equal rank with ourselves. With regard to what you say, that we ought to accept your proposal to avoid idleness, it is true we are not so much employed in arms and honourable exploits as our noble predecessors have been; but the all-powerful God may, when he pleases, make us follow their steps, and we, through the indulgence of his grace, have not been so idle but that we have been enabled to defend our honour.

“With regard to the proposal of meeting you at a fixed place with one hundred knights and esquires of name and arms, and without reproach, we answer, that until this moment none of our royal progenitors have been thus challenged by persons of less rank than themselves, nor have they ever employed their arms with one hundred or more persons in such a cause; for it seems to us that a royal prince ought only to do such things as may redound to the honour of God, and to the profit of all Christendom and his own kingdom, and not through vain-glory nor selfish advantage. We are determined to preserve the state God has intrusted to us; and whenever we may think it convenient, we shall visit our possessions on your side of the sea, accompanied by such numbers of persons as we may please; at which time, if you shall think proper, you may assemble as many persons as you may judge expedient to acquire honour in the accomplishment of all your courageous desires: and should it please God, our Lady, and my lord St. George, you shall not depart until your request be so fully complied with that you shall find yourself satisfied by a combat between us two personally, so long as it may please God to suffer it, which mode I shall prefer to prevent any greater effusion of Christian blood. God knows, we will that no one should be ignorant that this our answer does not proceed from pride or presumption of heart, which every wise man who holds his honour dear should avoid, but solely to abase that haughtiness and over presumption of any one, whosoever he may be, that prevents him from knowing himself. Should you wish that those of your party be without reproach, be more cautious in future of your letters, your promises, and your seal, than you have hitherto been. That you may know this is our own proper answer, formed from our knowledge of you, and that we will maintain our right whenever God pleases, we have sealed with our arms this present letter. Given at our court of London, the 5th day of December, in the year of Grace 1402, and in the 4th of our reign.”

* Spinguchen. Q. Speneham * WOL. I. C



“Louis, duke of Orleans, count de Valois, Blois and de Beaumont, to all to whom these presents may come, health and greeting. We make known by them, that the most potent prince, and our very dear cousin, Henry, duke of Lancaster and Hereford, earl of Derby, Lincoln, Leicester and Northampton, has given us his love and friendship. Nevertheless, being desirous of strengthening the ties of this affection between us, seeing that nothing in this world can be more delectable or profitable:

“In the name of God and the most holy Trinity, which is a fair example and sound foundation of perfect love and charity, and without whose grace nothing can be profitably concluded: to the end that the form and manner of this our friendship may be reputed honourable, we have caused the terms of it to be thus drawn up. First, we both hold it just and right to except from it all whom we shall think proper; and conformably thereto we except, on our part, the following persons: first, our very mighty and puissant prince and lord Charles, by the grace of God king of France: my lord the dauphin, his eldest son, and all the other children of my foresaid lord; the queen of France; our very dear uncles the dukes of Berry, Burgundy and Bourbon; those most noble princes, our dear cousins, the king of the Romans and of Bohemia; the king of Hungary, his brother and their uncles, and Becop * marquis of Moravia; and also all our cousins, and others of our blood, now living, or that may be born, as well males as females, and our very dear father the duke of Milan, whose daughter we have married. This relationship must make us favourable to his honour. Also those noble princes, and our very dear cousins, the kings of Castille and of

* Jodocus, marquis of Moravia and Brandenburg, cousin-german to the emperor Wenceslaus, appears to be here meant. See the following table:–

* 1. Isabel, = John, King of Bohemia, -ī- 2. Beatrix, Daughter of Heiress of Bohemia. killed at Crecy. | Louis, Duke of Bourbon. I Charles IV. Emperor. John-Henry, Marq. l, Margaret, Wenceslaus, Duke.

of Moravia. m. Duke of Bavaria. of Luxemburg. 2. Bona, m. Joan, Duchess of | m. K. John of France, Brabant & Limburg, -— s 3. Anne, d. s. p.

m. Otho, D. of Austria.

Wenceslaus, John, Duke of Jodocus, Procopius,
Emperor, Luxemburg & Marq. of Brand. Marq. of Brand.
d. s. p. Goritia. & Moravia, & Moravia,
d. 1411. after Jodocus.

m. Antony, D. of Brabont :
2dly, John of Bavaria, Bishop of Liege.

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