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While things were thus carried on successfully against the count d'Alençon, Aymé de Vitry and the bastard of Savoy” kept up a continued warfare with the duke of Bourbon in the Beaujolois; and about the middle of April, an engagement took place near to Villefranche, when two of the duke's captains, Vignier de Reffort and Bernardon de Seres, were defeated, and with them eightscore men-at-arms, knights and esquires: few escaped death or being made prisoners. In another part of the kingdom, the lord de Heilly and Enguerrand de Bournouville were equally successful, and had subjected to the king's authority the greater part of Poitou. They had very lately gained a victory over two hundred of the duke of Berry's men, near to Montfaucon.
The grand-master of the king's household, sir Guichard Daulphin, and the master of the cross-bows of France, and sir John de Châlont, were sent by the king's orders, with ten thousand horse, to lay siege to St. Fargeau in the Nivernois, which belonged to John son to the duke of Bar. While there, they were in daily expectation of a battle, but in vain: however, when they had remained ten or twelve days, with the loss of many men in killed and wounded, the town surrendered, and was by them regarrisoned in the king's name. With similar success did the lord de St. George and the nobles of Burgundy make war on the count d'Armagnac, in Gascony. Sir Elyon de Jacques-Ville was stationed at Estampes, and made daily conquests from the Orleans party, who at this period were very unfortunate, for war was carried on against them on all sides. To provide a remedy, and to enable themselves to make head against their adversaries, they sent a solemn embassy to Henry king of England, and to his children, to solicit succours of men and money. The ambassadors, by means of their credential letters and other papers which they brought from these lords of France, treated with king Henry so that he consented to send to the dukes of Berry, Orleans, and their party, eight thousand combatants, under the command of his second son, the duke of Clarence.
For the confirmation of this, he granted to the ambassadors letters under his great seal, which they carried back to the dukes of Berry, Orleans, Bourbon, and the count d'Alençon and others, whom they found at Bourges waiting their return. They were much rejoiced on seeing the great seal of the king of England; for they expected to have immediate need of his assistance, as they had information that the duke of Burgundy was intending to lead the king in person to subdue and conquer them.
cHAPTER x.c.—CHARLEs KING of FRANCE, ATTENDED BY other PRINCEs, MARCHES A LARGE FoRCE FROM PARIs to Bou RGES.—LETTERS FROM THE KING OF ENGLAND,AND OTHER MATTERS.
The council of state now determined that the king should march in person against his rebellious subjects, to reduce them to obedience. Summonses were sent throughout the kingdom for men-at-arms and archers to assemble between Paris and Melun ; and at the same time, great numbers of carriages were ordered to meet there for the baggage. In like manner, the dukes of Aquitaine and Burgundy issued their special summonses. When all was ready, and the king on the point of leaving Paris on this expedition, a large body of the Parisians and members of the university waited on him, and earnestly required, in the presence of his council, that he would not enter into any treaty with his enemies without their being included and personally named therein. They remonstrated with him on the necessity for this, as they were hated by his enemies, because they had loyally served him against them. The king and council granted their request.—The king then left Paris in noble array, on Thursday the 5th day of May, and lay the first night at Vincennes, where the queen resided : he thence went through Corbeil to Melun, where he remained some days waiting for his men-at-arms. On the ensuing Sunday, the dukes of Aquitaine and Burgundy set out from Paris to join the king at Melun, to which place large bodies of men-at-arms and archers repaired from all parts of the kingdom.
* Humbert, natural son of Amadeus VII, and brother + John de Châlon, second son to Louis I. count of of Amadeus VIII. counts of Savoy. Auxerre, and brother to Louis II.
On Saturday, the 14th of May, the king marched his army from Melun, accompanied by the dukes of Aquitaine, Burgundy and Bar, the counts de Mortain and de Nevers, with many other great barons, knights and gentlemen. It had been resolved in council, that the king should not return to Paris until he had reduced the dukes of Berry, Orleans, and Bourbon, with their adherents, to obedience. He then advanced to Moret, in the Gatinois, and to Montereau-Faut-Yonne. At this last place, he was wounded in the leg by a kick from a horse, but continued his march to Sens, where he was confined by this accident six days. The queen and the duchess of Burgundy had hitherto attended him, but they were now sent back by their lords to reside at Vincennes. The count de Charolois was ordered by his father to return to Ghent; and, shortly after, the queen went to Melun, where she held her court.
During this time the English, on the frontiers of the Boulonois, took by storm the fortress of Banelinghen, situated between Ardres and Calais, and the inheritance of the lord de Dixcunde *, notwithstanding there were sealed truces between the kings of France and England. It was commonly said that the governor, John d'Estienbecque, had sold it to the English for a sum of money. The French were much troubled when they heard of this capture, but they could not any way amend it, and were forced to be contented. The governor and his wife resided quietly with the English, which convinced every one that the place had been sold, and also some of his soldiers, who had been made prisoners, were ransomed. This conduct of King Henry surprised many; for he had appeared earnest in his desire to marry his eldest son with the daughter of the duke of Burgundy, but he had been turned from it by the offers and negotiations of the ambassadors before mentioned, and had now united himself with them.
The king of England wrote the following letter to the towns of Ghent, Bruges, Ypres and the Franc, which he sent by one of his heralds. “Henry, by the grace of God king of England and France and lord of Ireland, to our honoured and wise lords the citizens, sheriffs and magistrates, of the towns of Ghent, Bruges, Ypres, and of the territory du Franc, our very dear and especial friends, we send health and greeting. Very dear and respected lords, it has come to our knowledge, through a very creditable channel, that under the shadow of our adversary the king of France, the duke of Burgundy, count of Flanders, is making, or about to make, a speedy march into our country of Aquitaine, to wage war upon and destroy our subjects, particularly on our very dear and well beloved cousins the dukes of Berry, Orleans and Bourbon, and the counts of Alençon, of Armagnac, and the lord d'Albreth. Since, therefore, your lord perseveres in his malicious intentions, you will have the goodness to assure us, on the return of our messenger, by your letters so soon as possible, whether the Flemings be willing to conform to the truces lately concluded between us, without any way assisting their lord in his wicked purposes toward us.
“Understanding, honoured lords, and very dear friends, that if your town, and the other towns in Flanders, be desirous of continuing the terms of the truces, to the advantage of Flanders, we are very willing, on our part, to do the same. Very dear friends, may the Holy Spirit have you alway in his keeping !—Given under our privy seal, at our palace of Westminster, the 16th day of May, in the 13th year of our reign f.”
The Flemings sent for answer to this letter by the bearer, that they would no way infringe the truces between the two countries; but that they should serve and assist the king of France their sovereign lord, and their count the duke of Burgundy, as heretofore, to the utmost of their power. This letter and answer were sent to the duke of Burgundy, who was attending the king in the town of Sens in Burgundy.
At this same time, the duke of Berry, by the advice of the count d'Armagnac, coined money with the same arms and superscription as that of the king of France, in the town of Bourges, to pay his troops, which greatly exasperated the king and his council when they heard thereof. The coins consisted of golden crowns and others, perfectly similar to those of the king.
• Q. Dixmuyde?
CHAPTER xCI.—THE Town of vervins Is TAKEN BY SIR CLUGNET DE BRABANT, AND AFTERWARD RETAKEN.—THE CASTLE OF GERSIES IS WON BY SIR SIMONDE CLERMONT
About this same time, the town of Vervins, which was very strong and rich, was taken by treachery, by sir Clugnet de Brabant and Thomas de Lorsies, lord of Boquiaux, and some other gentlemen, to the amount of six hundred men, from different countries, of the party of the duke of Orleans. This was said to have been effected by a butcher who had been for ill conduct banished the town, and in revenge had joined the army of sir Clugnet de Brabant.
The butcher's wife and family had remained in the town; and one day, when it was dusk, they hid themselves near the gate, and about sun-rise, when the guard had quitted the ramparts, and the gate was opened and the drawbridge let down, they made a signal to the enemy, who was in ambuscade. Sir Clugnet instantly entered the place, sounding trumpets, and shouting out, “The duke of Orleans for ever!” to the great surprise of the inhabitants, who were far from expecting such a morning salute. Very few were made prisoners, but all were robbed; and for three days the money and plate of the lord de Vervins, who was with the king, or on his road to join him, as well as everything of value in the different houses, were collected, and sent off by sir Clugnet, to the amount of thousands of florins, to the town of Ardennes *, that those of his countrymen who had joined his party, and those who had accompanied him on this expedition, might be paid.
The neighbouring towns were astonished when they heard of this event, and collected a large force to enable them to besiege the enemy in Vervins, and retake the town. The bailiff of the Vermandois, sir le Brun de Bairins, the lord de Chin, with many other knights and citizens, hastened thither, to the number of four hundred helmets and from six to eight thousand infantry very well armed. The lord de Vervins, who was of high rank and a very expert knight, no sooner heard of his loss than he hastened to join the besiegers, and led many brisk attacks on the town. Those who had captured it made an excellent defence from the walls with bows and cross-bows, so that the besiegers were twenty-three days before it. On the 26th of June, the lord de Boquiaux, Thomas de Lorsies, son to the lord de Selebes, knights, the bastard d'Esne, and those who were with them, considering that their enemies were daily increasing, and that they had done much damage to the walls and houses, were afraid of being killed or taken, and held a council on the best means to escape. They defended themselves with greater vigour than before, the better to conceal their intentions; and when the besiegers were at their dinner in their tents and pavilions, and they had seen their guard posted at one of the gates, they mounted their horses fully armed,—and, having had the gates thrown open, all except three, who were asleep or too negligent, sallied out full gallop, sticking spurs into their horses, and made with all speed for the forest near the town. The besiegers were astonished on seeing this, and, pushing aside their tables, mounted instantly to pursue them, and followed with such haste that they took about forty of them, —and the rest saved themselves by dint of speed. The royalists returned to the town with their prisoners, and found there the three negligent Armagnacs and some other wretches of their party, who, by the command of the bailiff of the Vermandois, were sent to prison; and when he had heard their confession, they were by him sentenced to be beheaded. The bailiff then set out for Laon, whither he carried the other prisoners, well-bound, there to suffer a similar punishment. The lord de Vervins remained in his town to put it into repair, and the lord de Chin and the rest went to their homes. A few days after, the castle of Gersies, which was very strong, was taken by some of the army of sir Clugnet de Brabant, namely, by sir Simon de Clermont, a captain called Millet d'Autre, and others, who won it one morning by storm. But shortly after, the bailiff of the Vermandois, with some of the aforesaid lords and a large body of the commonalty, regained it by assault. Sir Simon and Millet d’Autre, with their companions, were all made prisoners, carried to Laon, and beheaded. The castle was new garrisoned for the king.
* Q. Ardres?
CHAPTER XCII.--THE KING OF FIRANCE RECEIVES CERTAIN INFORMATION THAT HIS ADVERSARIES HAD FORMED AN ALLIANCE WITH THE KING OF ENGLAND.-The CONSTABLE MARCHES INTO THE BOULONOIS.
DURING the residence of the king of France at Sens in Burgundy, he received positive intelligence, that the dukes of Berry, Orleans, Bourbon, and their confederates, had formed an alliance with the king of England, who had engaged to send a large army to their assistance, to lay waste his kingdom, and that part of it had already marched from Calais and the other castles on the frontiers of the Boulonois, and commenced the war. They had carried away much plunder, and had set fire to the town of Merck on the sea-shore, thus infringing the truces which subsisted between them. In consequence of this inroad, the king of France ordered his constable, the count de St. Pol, to march thither, to assemble all the nobles of Picardy, and to garrison and victual the frontier towns, and to use every diligence in opposing the further progress of the English; for the duke of Burgundy had carried with him all the youth, and the most warlike men, from the countries of the Boulonois, Ponthieu, and Artois, leaving behind only the superannuated and such as were unable to bear arms.
The constable, hearing of the mischiefs the English were doing, more of his own free will than in obedience to the king's, hastened to Paris, laying all other matters aside, with the borgne de la Heuse and some other knights whom he left there, at the earnest entreatics of the Parisians, to carry on the war against Dreux. He went then to Picardy and to St. Pol, to visit his lady; thence he went to St. Omer and to Boulogne, inspecting the whole frontier, and providing necessaries where wanted. The whole country was now alarmed and in motion, insomuch that the English retired worsted; but they very soon recommenced their Warfare. When the constable saw this, and that they did not abstain, he held a council of his principal officers, such as the lord d'Offemont, the lord de Canny, the lord de Lovroy, sir Philip de Harcourt and others. At the conclusion of it, he assembled a body of men-atorms, to the amount of fifteen hundred, whom he put under the command of the lord de Lovroy, and one called Alen Quentin, and ordered them to march toward the town and “stle of Guines. As they approached the place on foot, the constable sent off, by another road, forty helmets under sir John de Renty, who was well acquainted with all the avenues to the town, to make a pretence of attacking it on that side, which was only inclosed with a palisade and ditch, and garrisoned with Dutchmen and other soldiers who resided there.— The constable, with six hundred combatants, advanced between the town and Calais, to guard that road, and to prevent the English, should they hear of the attack, from sending any considerable reinforcements. Thus did he remain between his two battalions so long as the engagement lasted. The infantry, at day-break, began the storm with courage, and continued it a long time, until they had succeeded in setting the town on fire, so that upward of sixty houses were burnt.—Those in the castle defended themselves valiantly, and much annoyed the assailants with stones and arrows shot from their cross-bows. Perceiving the distress of the townsmen, they opened a gate of the castle to receive them,-and thus they escaped death. By the advice of the said marshal de Renty, his division made a retreat to where they had commenced the attack, but not without many being severely wounded: few, however, were killed. The constable, when informed of their retreat, made it known to the whole army, and returned to Boulogne, but leaving garrisons along the whole frontier, who daily had some skirmishes with the English.
CHAPTER XCIII.- THE KING OF FRANCE LAYS SIEGE TO FONTENAY AND TO BOURGES.– THE EVENTS THAT HAPPENED WHILE HE REMAINED THERE.
The king of France having remained some days at Sens, and having held many councils on the state of his realm, marched thence to Auxerre, and to la Charite on the Loire, where he staid five days. He then advanced toward a strong castle called Fontenay, in the possession of the Armagnacs, who, on seeing the great force of the king, instantly surrendered it, on condition of having their lives and fortunes saved. Several captains, who had commanded on the frontiers against the Armagnacs, entered it, and the army of the king was greatly increased by troops daily arriving from all quarters. In the number of those that came were the lord de Heilly, Enguerrand de Bournouville, the lord de Vitry and others. The king marched from Fontenay to the town of Dun-le-Roi in Berry, where he encamped, and had it besieged by his army on all sides, and well battered by his engines. During this siege, Hector, bastard-brother to the duke of Bourbon, with only three hundred men, made an attack on a body of the king's army when foraging, and killed and took many. After this exploit, he hastened back to Bourges, and told the dukes of Berry and Bourbon of his Success.
Dun-le-Roi was so much harassed by the cannon and engines of the besiegers, that, on the ninth day, the garrison offered to surrender, on condition of their lives and fortunes being spared, and that sir Louis de Corail, lately made seneschal of the Boulonois, should return with his men in safety to the duke of Berry. These terms were accepted, and the town was delivered up to the king. He remained there for three days, and then departed with his army, leaving sir Gautier de Rubes, a Burgundy knight, governor of the town. The king and his army were quartered, on Friday the 10th day of June, three leagues distant from Dun-le-Roi, at a town near a wood. On the morrow he continued his march, and came before the city of Bourges, which was strong, very populous, and full of every sort of provision and wealth. This city was, in ancient times, the capital of the kingdom of Aquitaine, and is situated on the river Yeure. Through the town, a small rivulet runs from Dun-le-Roi.
The lords within this town, namely, the dukes of Berry and Bourbon, the lord d'Albreth, the count d'Auxerre", John brother to the duke of Bar, with the inhabitants, showed every appearance of making a strong resistance. There were also in Bourges many who had fled their country, such as the archbishops of Sens and of Bourges, the bishops of Paris and of Chartres, the lords de Gaucourt, Barbasan, Aubreticourt, le borgne Foucault, and fifteen hundred helmets, or thereabout, and four hundred archers and cross-bowmen. When the king's army approached, which was estimated and commonly believed to consist of upward of one hundred thousand horse, some few sallied out of the town well armed, shouting,
* Louis II. de Châlon, count of Auxerre, son of Louis I. and Mary of Parthenay.