« ZurückWeiter »
CHAPTER CXX. — THE KING OF FRANCE MARCHES HIS ARMY FROM COMPIEGNE TO SOISSONS, WHICH HE BESIEGES AND TAKES BY STORM :-IT IS PILLAGED AND DESTROYED.
The king, having reduced the town of Compiegne to his obedience, departed, on the 5th day of May", with his army, to lay siege to the town of Soissons, of which place the brave Enguerrand de Bournouville was governor. The van division had before advanced thither, under the command of the duke of Bar, the count d'Armagnac, Clugnet de Brabant, calling himself admiral of France, the bastard of Bourbon, sir Aymé de Sallebruche, and other able captains. The inhabitants of Soissons, perceiving that they should be besieged, acted like to those of Compiegne, in destroying their suburbs, with many noble buildings, churches and houses. Notwithstanding this, they were, on the arrival of the royal army, very closely besieged. The king, on his coming thither, sent to summon the town to surrender itself to his obedience, otherwise the inhabitants were in the road to destruction; but in defiance of this, they resolved to defend themselves against the king's army, in the hope of receiving reinforcements from their lord and master the duke of Burgundy, who had promised to succour them by a certain day. The king fixed his quarters in the convent of St. Jean des Vignes of the order of St. Augustin : the dukes of Aquitaine and of Orleans were lodged in the abbey of St. Quentin, and the other princes and lords in the best manner they could. With sir Enguerrand within the town, were sir Collart de Phiennes, Lamon de Launoy, sir Pierre Menau, Gilles du Plessis, the old lord de Menau, full of years and riches, Guyot le Bouteiller, with many more warriors from the Boulonois, Artois, and Picardy. There were also full four hundred English soldiers; but owing to some quarrels, the townsmen and those under the command of Bournouville, were not on good terms together, by which their strength was much weakened. The king's forces were very diligent in their daily attempts to annoy the town, by means of bombards, cannon, bricolles, and other engines of destruction. They were also frequently played off during the night against the walls and gates, which greatly damaged them in several places, and harassed the garrison. At length, on the 21st of May, the place was vigorously stormed on every side; but before this happened, some new knights were created, among whom were Louis duke of Bavaria, the count de Richemont, and the provost of Paris. The van division posted on the opposite side, under the command of the duke of Bar, the count of Armagnac, and Remonnet de la Guerre, made their attack at the same time; and the princes and leaders urged their men on with such bravery, that in spite of the obstinate resistance of the besieged, the king's forces made an entry by a large breach which had been effected by the engines, and there the combat raged,—for every inch was disputed with lances, battle-axes, and swords, hand to hand. During the storm, the commander of the English forces within the town, having held a parley with some of his countrymen in the king's army, caused a gate leading to the river to be cut down, through which the count d'Armagnac's men rushed, and hoisted, on the highest tower, the banner of their count; and the greater part of the English suddenly turned against the townsmen. Soon after, the army forced an entrance through the walls, putting all they met to the sword, inhabitants and garrison indiscriminately. During this attack, as Enguerrand de Bournouville was riding through different parts of the town, to encourage his men, he was pursued through a narrow street which had a chain thrown across it by some of the men of Remonnet de la Guerre, who pressed on him so much that he was forced to retreat and attempt to leap over the chain; but, in so doing, his horse could not clear it, and remained suspended, when he was made prisoner and led with great joy to Remonnet. The others, seeing the town was taken, retired to different parts within the gates, and the towers of the walls, whence, parleying with their enemies, they surrendered, on promise of their lives being spared. Those who defended their posts were slain or made prisoners: in short,
* Monstrelet mentions in the preceding chapter, that the king of France made his public entry into Compiegne on the 8th day of May.
including the townsmen with the duke's garrison, there were that day full twelve hundred
of Bourbon, who much loved his brother, conceived, on account of this act, which he thought was treacherously done, so violent a hatred against Enguerrand, and some others of the besieged, that he prevailed on the king and council to have him beheaded, his head placed on a lance, and his body hung by the shoulders on a gibbet. Many princes and captains, notwithstanding Enguerrand had been their enemy, were greatly displeased at his death, and not without cause, for he was at that time renowned as the flower of the warriors of all France. With him were beheaded sir Pierre de Menau, one of the governors of the town, and of the inhabitants, master Aussiel Bassuel, advocate, and four other gentlemen, whose heads were put on lances, and their bodies hung in the usual manner on the gibbet.
Master John Titet, a wise and learned advocate, by whom all the business of the town had until then been managed, was carried with some others to Laon, and there examined: he was afterwards beheaded, and hung by the shoulders on a gallows. Fifty-one persons were sent to the Châtelet prison in Paris, several of whom were beheaded, such as Gilles du Plessis, knight, and others. Very many of the townsmen, English archers, and soldiers of the garrison were hung on a gibbet without Soissons; others escaped death by ransoming themselves, namely, the old lord de Menau, sir Colart de Phiennes, Lamon de Launoy, Guyot le Bouteiller, and great numbers of gentlemen. Those who had taken them allowed them their liberty, on their promising to send the amount of their ransoms by a certain day, so that the king's justice might not be inflicted upon them. After some days had passed, the king caused to be restored, by some of the pillagers, the bones of many bodies of saints, and divers relics; but all the gold and jewels that had adorned them were gone; and even in this state, many were forced to buy them back for large sums, when they were replaced in the churches from which they had been stolen.
Thus was this grand and noble city of Soissons, strong from its situation, walls and towers, full of wealth, and embellished with fine churches and holy relics, totally ruined and destroyed by the army of king Charles and of the princes who accompanied him. The king, however, before his departure, gave orders for its rebuilding, and appointed new officers for the defence and support of it, who, when the army had marched away, recalled as many as possible of the inhabitants who had fled before it was taken. The king also granted a total abolition of taxes, excepting, nevertheless, those who had been principally instrumental in admitting the Burgundians within their town.
CHAPTER Cxxl.--THE KING, AFTER THE CAPTURE OF soissons, MARCHES to st. QUENTIN, AND THENCE to PERONNE, To FACILITATE HIS ENTRANCE INTO ARTOIs.
HAviNg done these things at Soissons, the king departed, and went to the town of Laon, where he was magnificently and joyfully received by the clergy, burghers, and inhabitants of that town. Shortly after his arrival, Philip count de Nevers, baron de Donsy of the royal lineage, and brother to the duke of Burgundy, came thither under the protection of a passport from the king, and was lodged by the royal harbingers, in the abbey of Saint Martin des Premonstrés. He had been informed by some of his friends, that the king intended to send into his country of Rethel a large force to seize his person; and for this reason he had come to Laon to surrender into the king's hand the lordships and estates he possessed in France, and to solicit mercy and pardon for all his offences, promising henceforward not to assist his brother, the duke of Burgundy, openly or secretly, in this quarrel against the king his sovereign lord. What he requested was granted; and the lord de Lor with others of his vassals were given as hostages for the faithful observance of these promises. He then departed, with the king's leave, to Mezieres on the Meuse.
While the king remained at Laon, he ordered fresh proclamations to be made throughout his realm, to obtain the aid of his knights and others who were accustomed to bear arms for him. On the 10th day of June he marched to Tierrache, thence to Ribermont and to St. Quentin; at which place, the countess of Hainault, sister to the duke of Burgundy, came to him, with a noble attendance of two hundred.horsemen, to endeavour to make peace between the king and the duke of Aquitaine and the duke of Burgundy. But when the king heard what terms she had to propose, there was an end of the business; and, seeing no prospect of success, she took leave of the king, and left Saint Quentin, and went to the duke of Bourbon and Charles d'Albreth, constable of France, the commanders of the rear division of the army. Four of the king's knights escorted her until she met two hundred Burgundian men-at-arms. This body of troops was under the command of Sir Gaultier de Ruppes, the lords de Montagu" and de Toulongeon, Sir Guillaume de Champ-divers, le Veau de Bar, bailiff of Auxoist, and others, quartered at Marle i, who were on their road towards Hainault.
The moment the king of France's knights perceived them, they returned with all speed to give information that they had seen the Burgundians, in order that they might be encountered. The duke of Bourbon, the constable, and many others, instantly made themselves ready, to the amount of four thousand combatants, and galloped away as fast as their horses could carry them, through la Chapelle in Tierrache, to overtake the Burgundians. They continued their pursuit as far as the bridge of Verberie over the Sambre, near to Beaumont, when they came up with the baggage, and killed or made prisoners several of the escort among the last was le Veau de Bar, bailiff of Auxois. They still pursued the Burgundians until they came near to Nôtre Dame de Halle, but they had then secured themselves within the suburbs of Brussels. Finding that all hopes of overtaking them were vain, the French knights retreated through Hainault, plundered many of its inhabitants, who little suspected it, and arrived at Guise in Tierrache, where they met the king and his whole army, who had returned thither to combat his enemies. Duke William count of Hainault was highly displeased with this expedition, because his country had been overrun and pillaged. Soon after, the king marched back to St. Quentin, and the Burgundians, who were before Oudenarde, went to Douay, where they met the duke of Burgundy, who received them as cordially as if they had been his brethren. The lady of Hainault, his sister, came thither also, who had endeavoured, as has been said, with all her power, to conclude a peace between the king of France and the duke of Burgundy, but hitherto she had been unsuccessful.
The king and the princes advanced from St. Quentin to Peronne,—and his majesty was lodged in the castle. He devoutly celebrated the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, in the church of St. Quentin; and on the morrow of this feast the countess of Hainault returned, with her brother the duke of Brabant, to renew her propositions for peace. They were royally and magnificently entertained, after which the king inquired the cause of their coming. On the following Sunday, the first day of July, the duke of Guienne gave the lady and her brother a magnificent dinner, when they were solemnly feasted. This countess was also accompanied by some of the chief citizens of the Quatre-Mestiers, as deputies from the three estates of Flanders to the king, who graciously received them,-and, on their departure, properly distributed among them presents, of one hundred marcs of silver in gilt plate, which pleased them mightily. But neither the lady nor her brother, the duke of Brabant, could at this time obtain peace for the duke of Burgundy; on which account, they returned to him at Douay dejected and sorrowful. The duke, hearing of their ill success, concluded bargains with his captains for their support of him against all his enemies, excepting the persons of the king of France and the duke of Aquitaine. After this, the duke departed into his country of Flanders.
CHAPTER CXXII.--THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY PLACES GARRISONS IN DIFFERENT TOWNS AND CASTLES.—THE KING OF FRANCE MARCHES HIS ARMY FROM PERONNE TO BESIEGE BAPAUME$.
Such was the state of affairs on the departure of the duke of Burgundy, with the greater part of the Burgundians, under the command of Sir Gaultier de Ruppes and others, from Douay. Sir John de Luxembourg, then a young knight, was intrusted with the government of Arras; but there were appointed, as his advisers, the lord de Ront, sir William Bouveir, lieutenant-governor of Arras, the lord de Noyelle, surnamed Le Blanc Chevalier, Allain de Wendosme, with a body of troops to the number of six hundred men-at-arms and as many archers. Those from Burgundy were commanded by the lord de Montagu, captain-in-chief, the lord de Vienne", the borgne de Toulongeon knight, sir William de Champ-divers, the bastard of Granson, to the amount of six hundred men-at-arms. The lord de Beauford-à-labarbe was commander of the commonalty; and in all the other towns were appointed able men, according to the good pleasure of the duke of Burgundy. These warriors made frequent excursions on the lands of such as were attached to the Orleans party; and one day sir John de Luxembourg, with a large detachment, advanced to the town of Hamme on the Somme, belonging to the duke of Orleans, which was pillaged and robbed of everything portable that it contained; and many of the adjacent villages shared the same fate, from the aforesaid cause. In like manner, Hector de Saveuses, Philippe de Saveuses his brother, Louis de Wargis, and some other captains, crossed the river Somme at Hauges, near to Pecquigny, and thence advanced to the town of Blangy, near Monchiaux, belonging to the count d'Eu, which was filled with much wealth. This was soon plundered by the Burgundians, who carried away men and all portable effects, and returned with them into Artois. Such expeditions did the duke of Burgundy's partisans often make, to the sore distress of the poor inhabitants. On the 9th day of July, the king and the princes left Peronne, on a pilgrimage to our Lady of Cuerlu, and proceeding thence, fixed their quarters on the banks of a river, very near to Miraumor. T. On the Thursday following, he came before Bapaume, a town belonging to the duke of Burgundy; and at this place the count d'Auxerre was made a
* Alexander, son of Hugh III. duke of Burgundy, t Auxois-a country in Burgundy, of which Semur is was the first lord of Montagu in 1205. From him the capital. descended the two branches, of Sombernon, extinct in : Marle,—a town in Picardy, five leagues from Laon, 1391, and of Conches. Philibert de Montagu, lord of thirteen from Soissons. Conches, lived in 1404. He married into the house of § Bapaume, a strong town in Artois, cleven leagues. Vienne. from Amiens.
WOL. I. x
knight by the duke of Bourbon, who commanded the van division, and had arrived before Bapaume at break of day. The king also created, with his own hand, the count d'Alençon a knight, as well as some others. The lords de Boissay and de Gaucourt at this time exer
• William IV. de Vienne, lord of St. Georges, &c., and died in 1434. There were several junior branches surnamed the Wise, was counsellor and chamberlain both of the house; but I cannot tell which is here meant. to the king and duke of Burgundy. He was at the + Miraumont, a village in Picardy, election of Pebridge of Montereau when the duke was killed in 1419, ronne.