« ZurückWeiter »
forced to retreat. This happened on a Thursday; and on the Friday, the duke of Burgundy, I know not for what reason, had it proclaimed that no one should, on any account, make an assault on the town, but that all should labour in forming bridges over the Somme, that a
passage might be obtained for the army, and that the place might be besieged on all sides, —but events turned out very far from his expectations. On the Friday morning, the besieged were expecting that the attack would be renewed; but hearing of the duke's intentions to cross the river with his army and surround the town, they packed up all their valuables and fled, leaving within the walls only poor people and peasants, who had retired thither for safety. Those persons not having ability or inclination to defend themselves, the duke's army, headed by the Picards, entered the place without any danger. The Flemings, observing this, rushed so impetuously to gain admittance that many were squeezed to death. When they had entered, they instantly began to plunder all they could lay hands on, according to the liberty which their lord the duke had granted them; for, as I have said, he had been necessitated so to do before they would march from home. Part placed themselves on one side of the street, leading to the gate which they had entered, and part on the other; and when the Picards, or others not of their country, were returning, they stopped and robbed them of all they had : they spared no man, noble or otherwise; and in this riot several were killed and wounded. They entered a monastery of the town, and took away all they could find, and carried to their tents many of both sexes, and children; and, on the morrow, having seized all they had, they set fire to several parts of the town, and, to conclude all, the churches and houses, with many of the inhabitants, were burnt, as well as a great quantity of cattle that had been driven thither as to a place of security. Notwithstanding this cruel conduct of the Flemings, six or seven of the monks escaped from the monastery, by the assistance of some noblemen, particularly the prior, who most reverently held in his hands a cross, and were conducted to the tents of the duke of Burgundy, where they were in safety. Such was the conduct of the Flemings at the commencement of this war. There were many towns beyond the Somme that belonged to the duke of Orleans and his allies, who, hearing of what had passed at Ham, were, as it may be readily believed, in the utmost fear and alarm ; and there were few people desirous of waiting their coming, lest they should be besieged in some fortress, and suffer a similar fate, for sir Clugnet de Brabant and sir Manessier Guieret, as I have said, had already abandoned Ham, which was well supplied with stores and provision, and had retreated to Chauni and to Coucy. The inhabitants of the town of Nesle, belonging to the count de Dammartin, seeing the smoke of Ham, were greatly perplexed, for their garrison had fled; but they, following the example of the town of Athies, waited on the duke of Burgundy, and, with many lamentations, presented him with the keys of their town, offering to submit themselves to his mercy. The duke received them into favour, in the name of the king and his own, on their swearing not to admit any garrison, and to be in future true and loyal subjects to the king, their sovereign lord. This oath they willingly took; and, having thanked the duke for his mercy, they returned to their town, and by his orders demolished some of their gates and many parts of their walls. They also made their magistrates and principal inhabitants swear to the observance of the treaty which they had made, and for this time they remained in peace. In like manner, those of the town of Roye, that were but lately become subjects to the king, sent deputies to the duke, at his camp before Ham, to say, that the Orleans party had treacherously entered their town, and had done them much mischief, but that they had departed on hearing of his march, and requesting he would not be displeased with them, as they were ready to receive him, and act according to his pleasure. The duke told them, he should be satisfied if they would promise, on their oaths, never to admit again within their walls any of his adversaries of the Orleans party. Having obtained this answer, they returned joyous to their town. The duke now passed the Somme with his army at Ham, leaving that town completely ruined, and marched toward Chauni on the Oise, belonging to the duke of Orleans; but the garrison, hearing of it, quitted the place in haste. The townsmen, greatly alarmed, sent, without delay, to offer him their keys, and humbly supplicated his mercy, saying that their lord's men-at-arms had fled on hearing of his approach, from the fear they had of him. The duke received them kindly, and took their oaths, that they would henceforth loyally obey the king their sovereign lord, and himself, and would admit a garrison of his men to defend the town. After the conclusion of this treaty, the duke advanced to Roye, in the Vermandois, and was lodged in the town, having quartered his army in the country round it. He dispatched thence sir Peter des Essars, knight, and his confidential adviser, to the king of France, to his son-in-law the duke of Aquitaine, and to the citizens of Paris, to make them acquainted with the strength of his army, and with his successes. Sir Peter des Essars was honourably received by the duke of Aquitaine and the Parisians; and in compliment to the duke of Burgundy, he was reinstated in his office of provost, in the room of sir Brunelet de Sainct Cler, who, by the royal authority, was appointed bailiff of Senlis, on the dismission of sir Gastelius du Bost, who was suspected of being a favourer of the Orleans-party. When sir Peter des Essars had finished the business he had been sent on to Paris, he set out for Rethel to announce to the count de Nevers, who had assembled a considerable force, the march of the duke, and to desire him to advance to the town of Mondidier, where he would have more certain intelligence of his brother. The count de Nevers, on hearing this, used all diligence to assemble his men, and set off to join the duke. During these transactions, the duke of Orleans, the count d'Armagnac, the constable of France, the master of the crossbows, with a large body of men-at-arms and others, came to the town of Melun, where the queen of France and the duke of Berry resided. Having held a conference with the queen and duke, they advanced to La Ferté on the Marne, which belonged to sir Robert de Bar", in right of his wife the viscountess de Meaux. They crossed the Marne, and came to Arsyen-Mussien, in the county of Valois, dependent on the duke of Orleans, where his brother, the count de Vertus, met him. The count was accompanied by a numerous body of combatants, among whom were the duke of Bourbon, John son to the duke of Bar, sir William de Coucy, Amé de Sallebruche, sir Hugh de Hufalize, with others from the Ardennes, Lorrain and Germany, who, in the whole, amounted to full six thousand knights and esquires, not including armed infantry and bowmen; and this party was henceforward popularly called Armagnacs, as I have before observed. Each bore on his armour badges similar to those which they had formerly worn when they lay before Paris. The duke of * Nephew of duke Edward. See p. 174.
Orleans marched this army from the Valois, passing by Senlis, toward his county of Beaumont; but Enguerrand de Bournouville, who had been posted in Senlis with a large force of men-at-arms to guard it, sallied out on their rear, and made a good booty of their baggage as well as prisoners. In doing this, however, he lost some of his men, who were slain or taken, and he then returned to Senlis. The duke of Orleans, with the other princes, were lodged in the castle of Beaumont, and his army in the country surrounding it. The count de Nevers was prevented from joining his brothers as he intended,—for the Armagnacs, being the strongest, constrained him to conduct his army to Paris. The duke of Burgundy was already arrived at Mondidier with his whole army, and was making preparations to combat his enemies, should they be so inclined, or to attack any town to which they should retire, according to his pleasure. But the Flemings were now desirous to return home, and had demanded permission of the duke, saying, that they had served the time required of them on their departure from Flanders. The duke was much surprised and displeased at their conduct, but earnestly desired that they would stay with him for only eight days longer, as he had received intelligence that his enemies were near at hand, with a great army, ready to offer him battle, and that they could never serve him more effectually. At this moment, the greater part of their officers waited on the duke to take leave of him, who, hearing the earnest and affectionate manner in which he made so trifling a request, resolved to go back to their men and inform them of it, and promised to do everything in their power in order that it should be complied with. On their return to the tent of Ghent, where all their councils were held, they assembled the leaders of the commonalty, and told them the request the duke their lord had made, namely, that they would stay with him only eight days more, for that his adversaries were at hand with a large army to offer him battle. This request having been stated, various were the opinions of the meeting: some were for staying, others not, saying they had fulfilled the term required of them by their lord, that winter was approaching, when, so numerous as they were, they could not keep the field without great danger. Their opinions were so discordant that no conclusion could be formed, to enable their captains to give any positive answer to the duke. This council was held the 20th day of September, in the afternoon; and when it became dusk, these Flemings made very large fires in different places, of the wood and timber of the houses which they had pulled down and destroyed in Mondidier. They then began to load their baggage-waggons, and to arm themselves; and at midnight they all shouted from their quarters, in Flemish, War, raw 1 which signifies, “To arms, to arms!” and alarmed all the other parts of the army. The duke of Burgundy was entirely ignorant of what they intended to do, and sent some Flemish lords to know their intentions; but they would not explain themselves to any one, and made answers contrary to the questions asked. During this, the night passed away; and the moment day appeared, they harnessed their horses to the baggage-waggons, and set fire to all their lodgings, shouting, “Gau, gau !” and departed, taking the road to Flanders. The attendants of the duke of Burgundy, hearing this cry and clamour, went to inform him of it in his tent. Very much astonished thereat, he instantly mounted his horse, and, accompanied by the duke of Brabant, rode after them. When he had overtaken them, with his head uncovered and his hands uplifted, he most humbly besought them to return, and stay with him four days only, calling them his most trusty and well-beloved friends and companions, offering them great gifts, and promising to relieve the country of Flanders from taxes for ever, if they would comply with his wishes. The duke of Brabant also remonstrated with them on the advantages offered them by their lord, and, as he asked in return so very trifling a favour, entreated them to pay due deference to his demand. But it was in vain: they turned a deaf ear to all that was said, and continued their march, only showing the written agreements they had made with the duke, which were carried before them, and which they had fulfilled on their part; but, as they were signed with his seal, he had not performed his, in having them escorted beyond the river Somme to a place of safety. Should he refuse to do this, they would send him his only son, then at Ghent, cut into thousands of pieces. The duke of Burgundy, noticing their rude manners, and perceiving that nothing was to be gained from them by fair means, began to appease them by ordering the trumpets to sound for decamping. This was not done without much loss, for the duke, occupied solely with the attempt to make the Flemings change their minds, had not ordered the tents to be struck, nor the baggage loaded, so that the greater part of the tents were burnt, with other things, from the fire of the houses caused by the Flemings on their departure. The flames spread from house to house, to the lodgings of the duke of Burgundy, who was troubled to the heart, for he well knew that his adversaries were in high spirits, a short day's march off, and he was anxious to give them battle; but from this conduct of the Flemings his intentions would be frustrated,— and what was worse, he knew for certain, that the moment they should hear of it, they would publish that he had retreated, not daring to meet them. He was, nevertheless, forced to submit to events which he could not foresee nor prevent.
The Flemings had no sooner turned their faces homeward but they advanced more in one day than in three before, and whatever they could lay hands on was pillaged and thrown into their baggage-carts: they had, moreover, many quarrels with the Picards and English, and it often happened that stragglers were wounded or put to death, –and when they were superior in numbers, they failed not to retaliate. It must be remembered, that this retreat took place in the month of September, when the grapes in the vineyards were ripe; and they robbed every vineyard they passed, devouring so many that numbers were found dead among the vines. On the other hand, they fed their horses and cattle so very abundantly on the immense pillage which they everywhere made, that very many were bursten.
The duke of Burgundy, on his arrival at Peronne with his men-at-arms, went personally to thank the Flemings, who were encamped on the river side, in the most humble manner for their services, and then had them escorted by his brother, the duke of Brabant, to Flanders, when every man returned to his home. The magistrates of the great towns were, however, very much displeased when they heard of their behaviour; but they did not at the time notice it, for there were too many of them under arms. Thus did the Flemings retreat from Mondidier contrary to the will of their lord, the duke of Burgundy. On the same day, a knight of the party of the duke of Orleans, called sir Peter de Quesnes, lord of Garois, at the head of full two hundred combatants, made an attack on Mondidier, about four hours after they had marched away. He found there many people, especially merchants, and inhabitants of the neighbourhood, whom he took prisoners: he slew many, and he and his men made a very great booty.
He then returned to Clermont in Beauvoisis, whither the Armagnacs had marched in pursuit of the count de Nevers. When they heard of this retreat of the duke of Burgundy and the Flemings, they held a council whether or not they should follow them into their own country. It was at length determined by the wisest to return toward Paris, and attempt to gain admittance by means of some connexions they had there, principally in order to have possession of the person of the king, which was their grand object. They began their march, in consequence, towards Werberies, and crossed the river Oise by a new bridge, which they erected, and thence advanced for Paris. Those who had the guard of the king and the Parisians were not well pleased to hear of their being so near, and made every preparation to oppose their entrance to Paris. The Armagnacs, finding it impossible to succeed, managed so well with the inhabitants of St. Denis that they were there admitted; and the princes lodged in the town, and the army in the adjacent fields and villages. From that situation, they made a sharp war on the town of Paris, and on all those who sided with the king and the duke of Burgundy. They advanced daily from different parts to the very gates of Paris, —when sallies were made against them, particularly by sir Enguerrand de Bournouville, who was one of the chiefs of the garrison under the count Waleran de St. Pol, the governor of the town. Severe skirmishes often took place, and many gallant deeds were done by the men-at-arms of both sides.
CHAPTER LXXIX. —THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY ASSEMBLES ANOTHER ARMY TO MARCh. To PARIS.–EVENTS THAT happeNED DURING THAT TIME.
We will now return to the duke of Burgundy, who having, as I have said, dismissed his Flemings, under the escort of his brother, the duke of Brabant, went from Peronne to Arras, where he met the earls of Pembroke and of Arundel, and sir William Baldock, who had accompanied him on his late expedition. As these earls were lately come from England, he paid them every respect, in compliment to the king of England who had sent them. They had brought full twelve hundred combatants, as well horse as foot, all men of courage. Much intercourse took place at this time between the king of England and the duke of Burgundy, respecting a marriage between Henry prince of Wales and one of the duke's daughters *. After he had magnificently feasted these English captains in his town of Arras, and made them handsome presents, he ordered them to march to Peronne, and hastily summoned menat-arms from all quarters to meet him personally at Peronne, where he had commanded the nobles of his estates to assemble. The duke of Brabant did not meet him this time, being detained in the county of Luxembourg by affairs on behalf of his wife. The duke of Burgundy left Peronne with no more than six thousand combatants, and marched to Roye, thence, by Breteuil, to Beauvais, and from Beauvais, through Gisors, to Pontoise, where he halted for three weeks or thereabout. During this period, great numbers of men-at-arms came from different countries to serve him.
While these things were passing, it was ordered by the royal council, in the presence of the duke of Aquitaine, the count de Mortain, the lord Gilles of Brittany, Waleran count de St. Pol, governor of Paris, the chancellor of Francef, the lord Charles de Savoisy, and other great nobles, that certain proclamations should be sent to all the bailiwicks and seneschalships of the kingdom, respecting the assembling of such large bodies of men-at-arms, daily done in defiance of the king's orders, by the duke of Orleans, his brothers, the duke of Bourbon, the counts d'Alençon and d'Armagnac, and others of their party, to the great mischief and tribulation of the kingdom at large, and highly displeasing to the king, and disgraceful to his dignity. This proclamation again prohibited any one from daring to join the aforesaid nobles, or any of their party in arms, under pain of being reputed rebels and traitors to the king and his realm. It likewise commanded all that had joined them to depart without delay, and return peaceably to their homes, without further living on or harassing the people; and ordered that no hindrance should be given to prevent this from being carried into effect. Such as should disobey these orders would be most rigorously prosecuted without delay as rebels; and from that day forth no grace or favour would be shown them.
This proclamation was published in the usual places; and some few, but in no great number, privately quitted the party of the Armagnacs, and returned to that of the king. Those that were disobedient, when taken by the royal officers, were in great danger of their lives. Several were publicly executed; and among them a knight, called sir Binet d'Espineuse, attached to the duke of Bourbon from being a native of the county of Clermont, suffered at Paris. The cause of his death was his having taken by force some Flanders horses that were coming as a present to the duke of Aquitaine from the duke of Burgundy.
* The advice which, according to Stowe, king Henry gave to the duke of Burgundy on this occasion, was deserving of more attention than he was disposed to pay to it. "The duke of Burgoyne, desiring the king's aid against the duke of Orliance, promised many things, – amongst the which he promised his daughter in marriage to the prince, and a great sum of gold with her. To whom the king answered : “We advertise you not to fight with your enemie in this case, who justly seemeth to vexe you, for the death of his father by you procured, but as much as in you lyeth endeavor yourself to mitigate the young man's wrath, and promise to make him reasonable satisfaction, *cording to the advice of your friends; and if then he
will not cease from persecuting you, get you into the strongest place of your dominion, and there gather such power as may be able to put off his force. If then, after this, he will make war against you, you shall have the juster occasion to fight with him,-and in such case we will show you such favour as yee have demaunded.' Thus there were sent over to his ayde Thomas earl of Arundell, Gilbert Umfreville earl of Angus, or earl of Kyme, sir Robert Umfreville, sir John Oldcastle lord Cobham, sir John Grey, and William Porter, with twelve hundred archers, &c., &c."
f According to the catalogue in Moreri, Arnauld de Corbie, lord of Joigny, was at this time chancellor.