Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

CHAPTER LI.-THE EARL OF SALISBURY CONQUERS GERGEAU AND OTHER PLACES NEAR ORLEANS.—THE DUKE OF BEDFORD WANTS TO LAY HANDS ON THE REVENUES OF THE CHURCH.

The earl of Salisbury, on his arrival before Gergeau, caused it to be surrounded on all sides, and very hotly attacked by his artillery, insomuch that the garrison who held it for king Charles, fearing the consequences, entered into a treaty with the earl to surrender it, on being permitted to depart in safety. The earl, having regarrisoned it, advanced to Genville, which he besieged on all sides; but the French, being in force within it, defended themselves valiantly. After a few days, however, they held a parley with the earl, but they could not agree as to the terms of delivering it up. On the French retiring, a skirmish took place between the besiegers and the besieged, which occasioned the whole of the English to arm themselves suddenly, and without command from the earl to storm the place so vigorously that it was won, and numbers of the French taken or killed, and other great disorders committed which it would be tedious to relate.

During these transactions, the regent duke of Bedford and king Henry's ministers at Paris were earnestly attempting to acquire, for the king's use, all the rents and revenues that had been given to the church for the last forty years. To succeed in this, several great councils were held in Paris between the duke and his ministers and the members of the university, in which the matter was fully and long debated; it was, however, in the end negatived, and the church remained at peace in regard to this demand.

In this year, the king of Portugal raised a large army", in conjunction with the duke of Cambrayt, who commanded the van division, and the whole amounted to ten thousand combatants. They led his army to an island against the infidels, where were the king of Albastre+ with twenty thousand Saracens, Turks, Tartars, Barbaresques, of which the greater number were left dead on the field, and the said king of Albastre made prisoner. The king of Portugal suffered but little loss, and after the victory he returned with his army back to his own country.

CHAPTER LII.--THE EARL OF SALISBURY LAYS SIEGE TO THE TOWN OF ORLEAN.S.–IIE IS THERE SLAIN.

WHEN the earl of Salisbury had subjected the towns of Gergeau, Genville, Mehun, and several castles and forts in those parts, to the obedience of king Henry of Lancaster, he made diligent preparations to lay siege to the city of Orleans. His army came before it in the month of October; but as the garrison and inhabitants had long expected his arrival, they had provided themselves with all sorts of warlike stores and provision, having determined to defend the place to the last extremity. To prevent the earl from fixing his quarters in the suburbs and fortifying them, the French had demolished the whole, including many excellent houses, and upward of twelve churches, belonging to the four orders of mendicant friars, with several fine houses of recreation for the burghers of Orleans. By thus doing they could discharge the cannon from the ramparts freely all around. Lord Salisbury, notwithstanding this, and a violent opposition from the garrison, who made many sallies, and fired on him from culverins, and other instruments of death, to the wounding and killing many of his men, quartered himself and his army near to the walls. The English repulsed these attacks with the utmost courage, to the wonder of the besieged; and while these skirmishings were going on, the earl ordered the tower at the end of the bridge over the Loire to be stormed, which was won, as well as a small bulwark hard by, in spite of the defence of the French. The earl commanded a party to enter and guard this * All this seems to be a romance founded on the ex- brated for the discoveries made under his auspices in

ploits of Peter, duke of Coimbra, the famous traveller, Africa and India. and Henry, duke of Wiseo, his brother, much more celc- t Cambray. Q. Coimbra. + Albastre. Q.

tower, that the garrison might not unobserved make any sallies from the town. He then, with his captains, made a lodgment in some of the ruins that remained in the suburbs near the walls; and his men, in their usual manner, raised huts of earth to shelter themselves from the effects of the arrows which were showered at them from the battlements.

ORLEANs.-From an original Drawing.

The earl, on the third day after his arrival before Orleans, entered the tower on the bridge, and ascended to the second story, whence from a window that overlooked the town he was observing what was passing within, and was considering on the best mode of reducing it to obedience. While thus occupied, a stone from a veuglaire struck the window, whence the earl, hearing the report, had withdrawn, but too late, for the shot carried away part of his face, and killed a gentleman behind him dead on the spot". The army were greatly grieved at this unfortunate accident, for he was much feared and beloved by them, and considered as the most subtle, expert, and fortunate in arms of all the English captains. The earl, though so severely wounded, lived eight days; and having summoned all his captains, he admonished them, in the name of the king of England, to reduce the town of Orleans to his obedience without fail. Having done this, he was carried to Mehun, and there died, as I have said, at the end of eight days.

The earl of Suffolk was now the commander of the English army before Orleans, having under him the lords Scales, Talbot, sir Lancelot de Lisle, Classedach, and others. The English, notwithstanding the loss they had suffered in the death of the earl of Salisbury, recovered their vigour, and exerted themselves in every way to carry the town. They also erected block-houses in various parts, in which large detachments were posted to prevent any surprise from the enemy.

King Charles, knowing that his ancient and inveterate enemies, the English, were desirous to gain the city of Orleans, had resolved in council, before they came before it, to defend the place to the last, believing that, should it be conquered, it would be the finishing

- - - * Sir Thomas Gargrave. -
WOL. I. N. N.

[graphic]

stroke to himself and his kingdom. For this reason he had sent thither his most expert and faithful officers, namely, Boussac, the lord d'Eu, the bastard of Orleans, the lords de Gaucourt, de Graville, de Vilain, Poton de Saintrailles, la Hire, sir Theolde de Valperghe, sir Louis de Vaucourt, with others renowned in arms, and of great authority. They had under their daily command from twelve to fourteen hundred combatants, well tried and enterprising; but sometimes more and sometimes less, for the town was not so completely surrounded but that the besieged could replenish themselves with provision or stores whenever they pleased. Very many sallies and skirmishes took place during the siege, but it would be tiresome to relate the various successes that attended them; but from what I have heard from wellinformed persons, I do not find that the besieged did any great damage to the enemy, except with their cannon and other like instruments from their walls. By one of these was slain sir Lancelot de Lisle, a very valiant English knight, and renowned in arms.

CHAPTER LIII.-A PREACHER, CALLED FRIAR THOMAS, CONVERTS MANY PERSONS, AND IN weighs AGAINST THE EXTRAVAGANT DRESSES OF THE woMEN, 1N DIFFERENT PLACES.

IN this year, a friar called Thomas Conecte, a native of Brittany, and of the Carmelite order, was much celebrated through parts of Flanders, the Tournesis, Artois, Cambresis, Ternois, in the countries of Amiens and Ponthieu, for his preachings. In those towns where it was known he intended to preach, the chief burghers and inhabitants had erected for him in the handsomest square, a large scaffold, ornamented with the richest cloths and tapestries, on which was placed an altar, whereon he said mass, attended by some monks of his order, and his disciples. The greater part of these last followed him on foot wherever he went, he himself riding on a small mule. Having said mass on this platform, he then preached long sermons, blaming the vices and sins of each individual, more especially those of the clergy, who publicly kept mistresses, to the breach of their vows of chastity. In like manner, he blamed greatly the noble ladies, and all others who dressed their heads in so ridiculous a manner, and who expended such large sums on the luxuries of apparel. He was so vehement against them, that no woman thus dressed dared to appear in his presence; for he was accustomed, when he saw any of them with such dresses, to excite the little boys to torment and plague them, giving them certain days of pardon for so doing, and which he said he had the power of granting. He ordered the boys to shout after them, Au hennin, au hemmin /* even when the ladies were departed from him and from hearing his invectives; and the boys pursuing them, endeavoured to pull down these monstrous head-dresses, so that the ladies were forced to seek shelter in places of safety. These cries caused many tumults between those who raised them and the servants of the ladies. Friar Thomas, nevertheless, continued his abuse and invectives so loudly, that no women with high head-dresses any longer attended his sermons, but dressed in caps somewhat like those worn by peasants and people of low degree. The ladies of rank, on their return from these sermons, were so much ashamed, by the abusive expressions of the preacher, that the greater part laid aside their head-dresses, and wore such as those of nuns. But this reform lasted not long, for like as snails, when any one passes by them, draw in their horns, and when all danger seems over put them forth again,_so these ladies, shortly after the preacher had quitted their country, forgetful of his doctrine and abuse, began to resume their former colossal head-dresses, and wore them even higher than before. Friar Thomas, however, acquired very great renown in the towns wherein he preached, from all ranks of people, for the boldness and justness of his remonstrances, more especially for those addressed to the clergy. He was received wherever he went with as much respect

* Au hennin. This was the name given by the preacher in the 15th century. For further particulars, see the to those ridiculous colossal head-dresses worn by the ladies French Encyclopédie, vol. viii.

and reverence by the nobles, clergy, and common people, as if he had been an apostle of our Lord Jesus CHRIST, sent from heaven to earth. He was followed by multitudes of people, and his mule was led by knights, or those of high rank, on foot to the house wherein he was to lodge, which was commonly that of the richest burgher in the town; and his disciples

Au HENNIN.—Female Head-parssrs or the Fifteenth Crntury.—Selected from various contemporary MSS.

of whom he had many, were distributed among the best houses; for it was esteemed a great favour when one of them lodged in the house of any individual.

When Friar Thomas arrived at his lodgings, he retired to a private chamber, and would not be visited by any but those of the family, except for a few moments. At the conclusion of his sermons, he earnestly admonished the audience, on the damnation of their souls and on pain of excommunication, to bring to him whatever backgammon-boards, chess-boards, ninepins, or other instruments for games of amusement, they might possess. In like manner did he order the women to bring their hennins,—and having caused a great fire to be lighted in front of his scaffold, he threw all those things into it.

Friar Thomas remained in these parts for the space of six months, and visited many great cities, such as Cambray, Tournay, Arras, Amiens, and Therouenne, wherein he made many celebrated sermons, to the delight of the lower ranks, who sometimes assembled to hear him to the number of from sixteen to twenty thousand persons. At his sermons he divided the women from the men by a cord; for he said he had observed some sly doings between them while he was preaching. He would not receive any money himself, nor permit any of the preachers who attended him to do so, but was satisfied if presents were made to him of rich church ornaments, if his disciples were clothed, and his own expenses paid. The people were very happy in thus gratifying him.

Many persons of note, in the conviction that to serve him would be a pious act, believing him to be a prudent and holy man, followed him everywhere, deserting their parents, wives, children and homes. In this number was the lord d'Antoing, and some others of the nobility. When he had remained any time, without the clergy attempting to confute his reasonings, he departed with the love of the people, but with the indignation of some churchmen. He embarked at the port of St. Valery, to return to Brittany, where he had been born.

N. N. 2

[graphic]

CHAPTER LIV.-A GRAND TOURNAMENT IN THE CITY OF BRUSSELS.

At this period the duke of Burgundy set out, grandly accompanied by the nobles of his country, for Brussels, to be present at a tournament that was to be given there during the carnival. The son of the demoisel de Gazebeque was the founder of the prize. The duke of Burgundy was magnificently feasted by his cousin duke Philip of Brabant, the great barons of the country, and by the city of Brussels. On the day of the tournament, the two dukes were matched against each other, as well as their nobles, by the advice of prudent counsellors and heralds at arms, to avoid any accidents that might happen. There were this day from seven to eight score helmets in the market-place at Brussels who made a fine show; for they were all richly dressed, and adorned with their emblazoned surcoats. When the officers-at-arms had made the usual proclamations, the tournament commenced, and many hardy strokes were given; but the prize was adjudged to a gentleman of Brabant, called Jean Linquart. On the morrow, and the ensuing day, were great joustings: on the first, the duke of Brabant gained the prize, and on the second, the lord de Mamines won it. With regard to the dancings and banquets, there were abundance of both, and crowds of ladies and damsels richly dressed according to the fashions of the country. There were likewise very many masquerades of the ladies and gentlemen. During the feast, the sword was given to the lord de Croy, knight to the duke of Burgundy, who, having considered a while, had another tournament proclaimed to be holden on an appointed day in the town of Mons, in Hainault; but which, from certain causes that interfered at that time, did not take place. The duke of Burgundy, having tarried in the city of Brussels from four to five days, set out on his return home to Flanders, notwithstanding the weather was then very severe, with frost and snow. The other lords returned to the places whence they came.

CHAPTER Lv.—THE COUNT DE NAMUR DIES, AND MAKES THE DUKE of BURGUNDY HIs HEIR.

The count de Namur, who was very old, died in the course of this year. He had, some time before his death, sold to the duke of Burgundy his county of Namur, with its dependencies; and on his decease the duke advanced thither, when peaceable possession was given to him of the whole; and he appointed commissioners and captains to govern and defend it at his pleasure. The Liegeois, who bordered on Namur, were not well pleased at this accession of power to the duke of Burgundy, whom they feared before, and very much disliked, because duke John, his father, and duke William, his uncle, had formerly conquered them, as has been related in the earlier part of this work. The Liegeois held, at this time, the strong town of Mont-Orgueil, situated near to Bouvines *, which was said to belong to Namur, and, as such, the duke of Burgundy wished to have it; but the Liegeois refused to yield it up, and hence began a quarrel on each side. The duke, finding that he could not gain it amicably, returned to Flanders, and secretly raised a body of men-at-arms, whom he despatched, under the command of sir John Blondel, and Gerard, bastard of Brimeu, to the country of Liege, with orders to win the tower of Mont-Orgueil by force. When they had approached the walls, and were preparing their scaling-ladders, they were seen by the garrison, who made a sally, and defeated them. They then returned back, and the Liegeois kept up a stricter watch than before; and their hatred to the duke of Burgundy was increased.

The English continued their siege of Orleans, and king Charles was in very great distress; for the major part of his princes and nobles, perceiving that his affairs were miserably bad, and everything going wrong, had quite abandoned him. Nevertheless, he had great hope and confidence in God; and laboured earnestly to procure a peace with the duke of Burgundy, and had sent him many embassies to solicit it; but hitherto no terms could be agreed on between them.

* Bouvines, in the county of Namur, situated on the Meuse.

« ZurückWeiter »