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Guerre et société en France, en Angleterre et en Bourgogne xive-xve siècle

 | 
H. Maurice Keen
, 
Charles Giry-Deloison
, 
Philippe Contamine

News from the front: Letters and Despatches of the Fourteenth Century

Kenneth A. Fowler

Texte intégral

‘… The Bretons are in the valley of Lamone; they happen to have halted some five or six miles this side of Faenza, and there are three possible routes they could take. The first one is by the valley, which they would follow as far as Marradi, and then descend [the Appenines] into the Mugello; but I do not believe that they will take this road, because the pass narrows so that one must travel in single file. The second route would follow a fairly open road, and this is called la via della Collina; but it is longer, proceeding to Crespino and Rozzolo, then descending easily into the Mugello. This would present few obstacles, unless it were blocked by a large number of men; but I do not believe that they will take this route either, particularly since, in that event, this commune would have moved its troops from Bologna into the Mugello, and also would have had some word of their presence. The third possibility is that they will leave these two roads on their left and go to their right, taking the road direct to Ascoli, and that is the way everyone believes they will go…’

  • 1 ASS, Lettere del Consistoro, t. XIII, No. 86. This letter, and some of those subsequently cited, w (...)
  • 2 ASS, Lettere del Consistoro, t. XII, Nos. 61, 69, cf. 83; t. XV, No. 89.

1It was in these words that, on 23 August 1376, Giovanni di Siena, a doctor of Medicine residing in Florence, described to the signory, the Consistoro, of Siena the various options open to the Breton forces who had arrived in Italy to support Gregory XI’s attempts to recover the Patrimony of Saint Peter in the war known as La Guerra degli Otto Santi1. Recruited in France by Cardinal Robert of Geneva, Giovanni had reported to the Consistoro on several stages of their progress through northern Italy: on the initial engagement when crossing the Panaro in early July, which involved some 4,000 Bretons who suffered some losses in the skirmishing; on the likely intentions of Sir John Hawkwood, with regard to his continued service with the Church or service with Florence, as the Bretons proceeded through the Ferrarese some ten days later; on the massacre at Cesena in February of the following year, and on their likely movements when leaving that town towards the end of the following August.2

  • 3 Ibid., t. XV; cited by A. Professione, op. cit., p. 65, n. 2.
  • 4 Ibid., t. XV; cited by A. Professione, op. cit., p. 65, n. 3.
  • 5 Ibid., t. XIV, No. 36.
  • 6 Ibid., t. XV, Nos. 50 & 81; see, however, No. 57.
  • 7 Ibid., t. XV, Nos. 70-71, 75, 86-87; t. XVI, Nos. 12, 21, 29; t. XX, No. 108.

2The Consistoro evidently had agents and informants in other Italian cities. On 9 July, Giacomo Senzabarba, a Sienese then in Bologna, reported that he had never before seen troops like them in northern Italy, and advised the twelve charged with the defence of Siena to prepare for the defence of their territories.3 Nine days after, in response to a letter from the Consistoro for information, Guidi di Giovanni Guidi reported that the Breton forces were around 12,000 strong and that they were commanded by Jean de Malestroit and Sylvestre Budes.4 On 31 January of the following year Francesco d’Ambroglio reported on the likely strenght of the forces to be specified in a new contract which Hawkwood was concluding with the Church.5 In April, Piero di Misser Anthonio Tholomei sent information from Orvieto concerning the movements of the cardinal of Geneva, and in August Salvestro Oraso detailed the activities of the German mercenary, Lucius, the son of Conrad of Landau, in the neighbourhood of Perugia and his partial check of the Bretons at Bevagna.6 The Consistoro had two informants in Cortona: the imperial vicar Nicolao Giovanni da Casale, and Tomasseo di Jachomo.7 Together they covered troop movements in that area. Nicolao announced the news of the occupation of Bolsena in August 1377, and wrote about the subsequent activities of the papal forces, in part based on news which he had in turn received from a friend in Città di Castello.

  • 8 Ibid., t. XVI, Nos. 4, 12 & 15.
  • 9 Ibid., t. XVI, Nos. 12 & 21, cf. No. 17.
  • 10 Ibid., t. XVI, No. 33.
  • 11 Ibid., t. XVI, No. 29.

3During the first fortnight of September 1377 events reached a critical juncture. Gregory XI had given orders for the concentration of papal forces to force a passage across the Tiber, defended by Hawkwood, and to take the war into Tuscany. On 8 September the Eight of War in Florence informed the Consistoro that they had been notified in a despatch, written in Perugia two days earlier, that the papal forces were concentrating under Budes and Raymond of Turenne around Spello and Bevagna, but by the 12th, they indicated in another letter that Lucius of Landau had moved his forces from the neighbourhood of Perugia to the marches of Ancona8. On 8 September, Tomasseo di Jachomo announced the arrival of the Bretons at Ponte del Chiaccio, estimating their strength at around 6,000 cavalry and 1,000 infantry, and the following day reported on another band, made up of 3,500 cavalry, who were also rumoured to be advancing on Tuscany9. The Florentine Signoria took the precaution of informing the Consistoro of Siena that the Bretons who were with the cardinal in Orvieto and the surrounding parts departed from thence to arrive at Todi, proceeding on all sides as far as Foligno, where they joined up with other Church forces…; you should therefore advise Sir John Hawkwood and all other men that if the Bretons approach your territories, then without further ado they and all their men will vigorously pursue them…’10 At that juncture, we learn from another letter of Nicolao Giovanni da Casale, written in Cortona on 12 September, Hawkwood was defending the crossing of the Tiber at Ponte San Giovanni:11

‘… Magnificent lords, the news from Perugia is that the Bretons arrived to cross the Tiber, but because of the height of the river they were unable to do so; for this reason they have fallen back on the plain around Bettona, and from there taken the direction of Foligno. It is rumoured here that they are about to join up with the forces from the Patrimony in order to pass into Tuscany. Sir John Hawkwood, with the rest of the troops, is at Ponte San Giovanni…; it is said that Count Lucius is in the territory of Camerino, carrying out great destruction, and now it is still expected that he will come and join up with Sir John Hawkwood and the others…’

  • 12 Ibid., t. XVI, No. 36.

4One further attempt was made to cross the Tiber near Assisi, after the Bretons had been joined by the papal forces under the cardinal of Ostia, but once again it had to be abandoned because the bridges were too well guarded and the rising water-level prevented the river from being forded. On 15 September the break-up of the Breton forces was reported to Siena from Perugia by the tres conservatores consulares libertatis civitas Perusie.12 The immediate crisis had passed.

  • 13 Ibid., t. XVIII, No. 65.
  • 14 L. Mirot, art. cit., p. 297. La Salle was invited to assume responsibility for defending the Sacre (...)
  • 15 According to the Cronache di Viterbo, ed. I. Ciampi, the decisive engagement took place at Ponte S (...)
  • 16 L. Mirot, art. cit., p. 298.
  • 17 Ibid., and see N. Valois, op. cit., t. I, pp. 163, 169-170.

5The sequel to these events is well known, but some of the details are instructive. Following the death of Gregory XI on 27 March 1378, when an accommodation with Florence at last seemed within his grasp, Bartolomeo Prignano, archbishop of Bari, an Italian born in the kingdom of Naples, was proclaimed pope on 9 April, taking the name of Urban VI. At the end of that month some 1,500 Breton cavalry and a large number of infantry assembled together at Chiusi and Panicale where, on 30 June, they were rumoured to be awaiting the arrival of Sylvestre Budes and Bernard de la Salle’s lieutenant, Guillonet de la Salle, accompanied by 600 lances.13 Their precise intentions were not immediately evident, but at Anagni the French cardinals had reassembled to dispute Urban’s election. Among their number was the man who had led the Bretons into Italy in 1376 and who had master-minded their operations there up to the sack of Cesena, namely Robert of Geneva. He immediately got into touch with some of the Breton captains and summoned the companies, then in Tuscany, of Bernard de la Salle and of one of his own relatives, Louis de Montjoie (who belonged to an old Alsatian family, the Frohbergs) to Anagni. On the pretext of defending the forthcoming conclave from attack by Urban’s supporters, but also to be closer to the territories of his ally, Queen Joanna of Naples, he then proceeded south with a substantial force.14 A league from the Eternel City, La Salle, who may have had no more than 200 lances with him, found the passage of the Taverone blocked by a considerable Urbanist force; but, despite his inferior numbers, the Roman party were repulsed and the road south from Anagni was opened, leaving the dissident cardinals free to proclaim Robert of Geneva pope at Fondi, where he assumed the name of Clement VII. It was a decisive action, for which La Salle was subsequently rewarded by Clement with a grant of the castles of Mornas and Caderousse in the Comtat Venaissin.15 Nevertheless, the tide soon turned against Clement. Cesena was recovered by the Urbanist forces, and in February a Gascon army was defeated at Carpineto.16 In Rome, despite the efforts of the Bretons to revictual the castle of San Angelo, and the stout resistance put up by two captains from the Dauphiné, Pierre Gandelin and Pierre Rostaing, the situation of the garrison deteriorated daily. Faced with famine, after a siege of eight months, they had to capitulate on 27 April 1379, and the Romans took control on the 30th.17 That day, a decisive engagement took place at Marino, situated some twenty-four kilometres to the southeast of Rome on a spur of the Alban hills.

  • 18 These two hitherto unknown despatches, one written on the day of the battle (30 April) and the oth (...)
  • 19 The account of Jean Froissart, Chroniques, éd. S. Luce, G. Raynaud, L. and A. Mirot, SHF, Paris, 1 (...)
  • 20 Andrea Gataro, Istoria Padovana, in RIS, ed. L. A. Muratori, t. XVII, col. 277. The letter, publis (...)
  • 21 Letter of 30 April, cit. supra, The Cronaca Riminese, RIS, t. XV, col. 920, speaks of 1,200 cavalr (...)
  • 22 The letter of 30 April, cit. supra, says 600 lances, the Chronicon Estense, RIS, t. XV, col. 503, (...)
  • 23 According to Gataro, loc. cit., another French mercenary, Pierre de Sagra, rather than Sylvestre B (...)
  • 24 See the letter of 30 April, cit. supra, which also indicates that 500 horses were captured.
  • 25 ...Qualiter etiam Brittonum et Guasconum sceleratum agmen [di]e predicto, sub felici victoria nost (...)
  • 26 Donato di Neri, in his Cronaca Senese, RIS, new series, t. XV, Bologna, 1937, p. 674, speaks of mo (...)
  • 27 N. Valois, op. cit., t. I, p. 172. P. Durrieu, op. cit., pp. 132-133, adopts Gataro’s story.

6The most important informations on this battle is derived from two newsletters sent to the consuls and commune of Orvieto, of which the most detailed is a postscript to a letter written on the day of the battle, possibly by Rinaldo Orsini, and certainly by a clerk in his chancery.18 Louis de Montjoie, having been appointed commander-in-chief of the Clementist forces, had established his general headquarters at Marino, and had been ordered to break the blockade of the castle of San Angelo. This he was unable to do, but the forays of his forces into the Roman countryside threatened the security of the contadini, finally driving Urban to order Alberigo da Barbiano, captain of the Italian Company of Saint George, to engage the enemy.19 According to the chronicler Andrea Gataro, having received the papal blessing, Alberigo left Rome by night and camped with his forces a short distance from Marino, but it is clear from the Orsini letter that they were in fact proceeding from the north-east of Rome, to the west of Tivoli, near Ponte Lucano.20 This same source makes it clear that they consisted of no more than 240 lances, divided into three corps of equal strength, together with a number of infantry and the baggage train, which were placed between the first two squadrons.21 Louis de Montjoie’s forces were twice as large, amounting to 600 lances.22 They were aslo divided into three corps, the first under the command of Montjoie himself, and the remaining two commanded by Sylvestre Budes and Bernard de la Salle.23 Alberigo took the offensive, and the initial encounter went in Montjoie’s favour. He broke both the advance guard of the Urbanist forces, commanded by Galéas di’Pepoli, and the line of infantry placed in the second battle. Then Alberigo opened an offensive with the rest of his cavalry and, after a fierce struggle which lasted some five hours, he won the day. Some 300 of Montjoie’s forces were killed and as many taken prisoner, including 50 captains, among whom were the three army chiefs: Montjoie, Budes and La Salle.24 These are the official figures, largely confirmed in a letter written in Rome the day after the battle by one of the Roman delegates who describes himself as the Antepositi super guerris Romani populi, and who claimed to have got his information from a letter sent to him by the captain of the Italian Company of Saint George.25 The figures given by the chroniclers are considerably higher.26 In Gataro’s account of the battle, Alberigo da Barbiano and Galéas di’Pepoli returned in triumph to Rome on the evening of their victory, accompanied by their prisoners, whose banners were reversed as a sign of their defeat, and they were promptly knighted by the pope himself. However, as we have seen, on the day following the battle Urban’s war council were only aware of the details of the combat from the letter of Alberigo, and it is clear that the victors had passed the night on the field of battle.27

  • 28 See, for instance, P.C. Timbal, La guerre de Cent ans vue à Pavers les regisPes du Parlement, 1337 (...)

7Whilst it is self-evident that the powers exercised by the signories of the Italian city states differed fundamentally from those exercised by the municipal authorities in France, it is clear that a similar infra-structure for the distribution of news existed both at municipal and at ducal or at comital levels. The French towns did not stand in isolation from one another, nor from the villages and rural communities of the plat pays in which they were situated. Their need to act as defensive centres for the surrounding areas, which was encouraged by royal ordinances, and for them to communicate with one another touching war measures, was a regular feature in the second half of the fourteenth century. The formalisation of the military control of the larger towns over their surrounding areas meant that some urban centres came to consider themselves as the headquarters of ‘military districts’ — not exactly akin to the Italian contados, since their jurisdiction was largely limited to defence, but significant nonetheless. The pressure on towns to extend their defensive measures beyond their walls was occasioned by a variety of factors: by the need to demolish indefensible sites, by the influx of inhabitants from the villages of the neighbourhood in times of emergency, and by the need to give their defensive actions greater coherence. All of these required the extension of military obligation and municipal taxation to wider communities than those confined within town walls.28 The Crown and its officers seem to have favoured such moves as were made to extend many towns’jurisdictions to take in outlying parishes, and to give greater control of defensive measures in the area, although it was a policy which frequently involved conflicts with the affected village communities and local seigneurs.

  • 29 See the agreements concluded in 1358 between Reims, on the one hand, and Rethel and Châlons-sur-Ma (...)
  • 30 For instance, the Comptes consulaires de la cité et du bourg de Rodez, 1350-1388, ed. H. Bousquet, (...)
  • 31 Douze comptes consulaires d’Albi au XIVe siècle, ed. A. Vidal 2 vol., Archives historiques de l’Al (...)
  • 32 M. Ménard, Preuves, t. II & III, passim.
  • 33 Comptes consulaires de Saint-Antonin du XIVe siècle, ed. R. Latouche, Nice, 1923, pp. 27-49.
  • 34 Ch. Samaran, «Les Comptes consulaires d’Escazeaux (Tarn-et-Garonne), 1358-1464 », Annales du Midi,(...)
  • 35 The consular accounts and deliberations of the area reveal much information on these. See, for ins (...)

8Co-operation between towns involved the despatch of messengers, supplies and troops, and the use of spies, smoke signals and other earlywarning systems29. These became an almost daily item of expenditure in the town accounts, those of the larger communities often having a special section devoted to the costs of ‘Messengers and Spies’.30 An analysis of entries under this rubric in the consular accounts of the cité and bourg of Rodez for the years 1358-1386 shows that the consuls communicated with their like numbers in more than 58 towns, the majority of journeys being made to places situated within the sénéchaussée, but occasionally taking couriers as far afield as Périgueux, Cahors, Montauban and Castres. The published accounts for Albi for the period 1360-1400 show the consuls there in correspondence with some twenty-seven places in the Albigeois, some messengers being sent as far as Toulouse and Villefranche-deRouergue.31 Nîmes was in touch with not less than thirty places in the years 1357-1373, mostly situated in the sénéchaussée of Beaucaire-which, however, it should be noted, stretched a long way north-and the consuls occasionally sent couriers as far afield as Brioude and Le Puy in search of information.32 The chief towns of the sénéchaussées and vigueries would thus seem to have operated a news service within their circumscriptions, and some towns appear to have acted as centres for the exchange of news between the sénéchaussées: Millau acted in this way for Rodez and Nîmes; Rodez disseminated news of troop movements in Rouergue and received like information from Périgord and Quercy by way of Périgueux and Cahors. But information services were not confined to the larger towns; smaller places kept up a regular flow of messengers within their more immediate localities: Saint-Antonin with fourteen consulates in Rouergue and Agenais in 1358-135933, and the little town of Escazeaux (situated south of the Garonne, to the north-west of Toulouse) with fifteen in the Toulousain — and as far afield as Penne — in the years 1360-1372.34 Moreover, inter-communal communications on defence measures were not limited to troop movements: the jurades and consulates of the towns of southern France consulted one another on a variety of related matters: upon the desirability of concluding pâtis, suffertes and other truces, upon infringements of their terms, and upon the stand to be taken at meetings of the regional Estates in response to the demands of the king’s officers for taxes. In the 1370s and 1380s the towns of Rouergue were holding regular jornada on these and other matters.35

  • 36 AC Martel (now conserved in the Archives départementales du Lot at Cahors), EE 1.
  • 37 Ibid., Nos. 2 (Anjou, 24 July 1378), 3 (du Guesclin, Brive-la-Gaillarde, 24 October), 7-8 (Armagna (...)
  • 38 Ibid., No. 19.
  • 39 Ibid., Nos. 24 & 27.
  • 40 Ibid., Nos. 20 & 21.
  • 41 Ibid., Nos. 22 & 23.
  • 42 Ibid., Nos. 4 i & ii, 51, 66.
  • 43 Ibid., Nos. 13, 26, 31, 62.
  • 44 Ibid., Nos. 37 (Castelnau), 38 (Galard), 44 (Barbe), 45 (Doat), 48 (Saint-Cag), 61 (d’Albret). See (...)

9Unfortunately, the financial accounts tell us little about the actual contents of the letters despatched by the messengers whose expenses they record, and the survival of newsletters and despatches in town archives is, to say the least, both intermittent and haphazard. However, a liasse of some 70 letters, designated affaires militaires, has been preserved in the communal archives of Martel in Quercy.36 Unfortunately, the dates given in many of these letters do not indicate the year in which they were written, although in most cases this can be determined from internal evidence. More than half of the letters appear to date from the second half of the fourteenth century (38, and possibly a further 6). Of these, fifteen conveyed news of troop movements and a further twelve were concerned with pâtis, suffertes and local truces. Letters were received from the duke of Anjou, from Talleyrand of Périgord and Arnaud d’Espagne (one of Anjou’s captains and marshals, respectively), from the count of Armagnac (as lieutenant of the king and of the duke of Anjou), from du Guesclin, and from the marshal of France, Arnoul d’Audrehem.37 Although most of the towns corresponding with the consuls of Martel were situated within a radius of 75 kilometres of that town, the nature of the news to be conveyed was more important than the distance it had to travel. Thus, for instance, the consuls of Bellac in Poitou, a town situated some 170 kilometres to the north of Martel, wrote concerning the impending arrival of Sir John Chandos to secure the transfer of sovereignty to Edward III and the the Black Prince.38 However, most of the inter-communal correspondence was concerned with troop movements. The consuls of Figeac and Orliac sent news of ‘English’ troop concentrations39; those of Brive-laGaillarde wrote about the ‘English’ at Beauvoir, and about a local change of allegiance40; from Gourdon came news of the capture of Tulle, Bellac, Vayrac and Brive, and in another letter the consuls offered assistance to their beleagured neighbours, intimating that they would inform the marshal of France, who was then at Sarlat with a considerable force, of their predicament41; the consuls of Sarlat in turn wrote about the activities of Bertucat d’Albret at Bellac, and about other military matters, including a truce.42 Other information came from local lords like the vicomte of Turenne and Signac de Cavagnac, and from the captain of Creysse who wrote about the capture of the town and castle of Villedieu by the ‘English’43. Most of the routier captains corresponding with the consuls of Martel did so on the subject of pâtis et suffertes: from Pierre de Galard, and from notorious personages like Bertucat d’Albret, demanding the ransom of a prisoner he had taken; from Noli Barbe complaining about the failure of the Martellois to pay him neither suferta ni pati, and threatening reprisals from his base at Pinsac; from Bernard Doat concerning Barbe’s demands; from the bastard of Castelnau about a pâti he had concluded with the town of Bellac; and from Jehanot de Saint-Cag, who described himself in a letter of 14 October 1388 as captain of Trans for Bernard Doat and the king of England and France, granting bon et loyau seurte de toute guerre to all the parishes and inhabitants of la Treyne and Montvalent.44

  • 45 Ibid., Nos. 43, 54 & 58.
  • 46 Ibid., Nos. 28-30 & 33. The letter to Cavagnac is marked copia.

10The identity of some of the persons corresponding with the consuls remains unclear: of the English official, possibly the seneschal of Quercy, who informed the consuls that the town was in danger of being treasonably surrendered to the French; of the correspondent who revealed the connivance of the count of Armagnac in a chevauchée conducted by the ‘English’ despite the conclusion of a pâti; of the esquire who brought news from Toulouse that, at the request of the consuls of Martel, Brive and Sarlat, the lord of Blanquefort was to be appointed to a captaincy embracing their localities; but indicating that they would have to pay for the troops placed at his disposal.45 The consuls of Martel also kept copies of some of the letters which they expedited; others were presumably never sent, or did not reach the persons to whom they were addressed. Correspondence in this category included letters sent to Bertrand de Cavagnac, lieutenant of the vicomte of Turenne, to Hugues Pelegrini, lieutenant of Talleyrand of Périgord, to Gautier Lespinasse, master of moneys of the king, and to du Guesclin.46

  • 47 Ibid., No. 30, published below, document No. I. The letters of the count of Armagnac, that of Tall (...)

11The letter to the constable, written on a Saturday at the beginning of 1374, is not atypical of the kind of information revealed from this and similar sources. The consuls began by acknowledging du Guesclin’s letters informing them that the duke of Lancaster, John of Gaunt, had arrived in the Bordelais at the conclusion of his disastrous winter campaign from Calais in 1373, intimating (evidently in response to a previous request for assistance from the consuls) that they therefore had no further need of military reinforcements. In their reply, they indicated that the enemy had three establidas, amounting to more than 1,000 men-at-arms, within two leagues of Martel, under the command of Sir Hugh Calveley, Edward, Lord Despenser, and Bernard de la Salle (all of whom had participated in one way or another in Lancaster’s ‘Great March’). Pointing out that they therefore remained en frontiera, and were daily in danger of being taken, they requested a token force of 20 men-at-arms to ‘comfort’ them and the country ‘on that side’.47

  • 48 AC Riom, AA 37; published in M. Boudet, Thomas de la Marche, Bâtard de France, et ses aventures, R (...)

12Calveley’s military activities, like those of Bernard de la Salle, come up for mention in the correspondence of other French towns. In a letter of 10 July 1359 from the consuls of Issoire to their counterparts in Riom, detailing the activities of Thomas de la Marche in Auvergne, the writers indicated the arrival of the enemy, around sunset on Monday 17 June, before the gate of their city which gave access to the road to Clermont, demanding that it be opened to them.48 Unable to gain access, they went off to camp in the granges and fields across the bridge leading out of the town. Seeing that the commune intended to defend itself, early the following morning Calveley, qui estoit le grand capitaine, and others with him, threatened the town that if they did not conclude a pâti with them they would set fire to the surrounding countryside, destroying the cornfields and the vines. The consuls therefore concluded a year’s pâti at a charge of 300 florins, Calveley undertaking to oblige other captains in English obedience not to damage the town and its inhabitants during the period in question. Nevertheless, on the following Friday night, around 800 enemy troops camped in the cornfields, gardens, granges and other fields outside the town, assaulted it with more than 1,500 arrows on the following morning, and attempted to take it by escalade. However, the town put up a stout defence, wounding several of the enemy and capturing their ladders, despite the absence of any assistance from the neighbouring nobility or others.

13The reasons for giving an account of these activities, at the time of writing some three weeks old, were then made clear. Thomas de la Marche had raised 700 men-at-arms and 200 sergeants kitted out with habergeons and basinets, and was ready to do battle with the enemy if the pays d’Auvergne would assemble a further 400 men-at-arms. The count dauphin, the count of Auvergne, nobles and clergy having failed to take up the proposal, the town of Riom took the initiative of forming a league of the towns of Auvergne to raise the 400 troops requested, specifying the contingents to be provided by each, and of which Issoire was to furnish 30 men-at-arms. In view of the circumstances detailed, they now wished to be excused, requesting instead that the consuls of Riom intervene on their behalf to secure from the captain of Auvergne, or the bailli, a force of 20 men-at-arms to defend their city. To add weight to their argument, they pointed out that since the Saturday (22 June) that the enemy had departed, several prisoners they had taken had escaped, and had informed the consuls that they intended to return to take their town with a large force which they had assembled at Neschers, situated to the northwest of Issoire.

14From Riom, just over four years later, came news of the capture of the town of Brioude by the Périgordian captain, Seguin de Badefol. The circumstances were conveyed a week later in a letter of Philibert de Lespinasse, governor of Berry and Auvergne, following the request of the bailli of Chalon-sur-Saône for assistance against the companies operating in Burgundy:

‘Very dear and good friend, I would have been in Burgundy to give help and counsel, as requested by my lord of Touraine [Philip, subsequently duke of Burgundy], but because I am charged with the government of Berry and Auvergne, I did not go because of a very great misfortune which has recently befallen the Auvergne. On Wednesday 13 September, the town of Brioude, which is the strongest, finest and richest in all of Auvergne, was taken by escalade and by treason, which has astounded the whole of Auvergne and all of the kingdom of France. It was taken by messire Seguin de Badefol and several other captains of the Companies, who are very strong people. And after them many others have also arrived there, that is Annesorge [the German, Johann Hazenorgue], Bertrequin [alias Bertuchin or Bertuquin], Petit Meschin [Elias Machin], Espiote [Menaud de Villers, from Béarn], Vaire de Cap and several other captains of the Companies. I firmly believe that when they assemble together they are a good 2,000 lances-some 10,000 cavalry, including the archers and sergeants. Last Monday the vicomte of Murat told me that he had spoken with them at Brioude, and with messire Becons de Marcenat, who told him that it is their intention to go into Burgundy, and that if my lord of Touraine has need of them, they will gladly serve him, and if not they will join whoever else can use them…’

  • 49 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 114 r°. The original of the letter cited above is referred t (...)
  • 50 BN, coll, de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, fos 53, 75-78, 83-84, 86, 88, 108-133, 136, 148-150, 181 & 188. (...)

15The value of this particular letter is evident, not only for the information which it gives as to the date and circumstances of the capture of Brioude, but also for that concerning the personnel and strength of the companies, and their attitude to employment. Preserved among the archives of the Chambre des Comptes at Dijon, it would be just another isolated example of a genre of newsletter, had it not been copied, along with many others addressed to Girard de Longchamp, bailli of Chalonsur-Saône in the 1360s, for dom Urbain Plancher at the beginning of the eighteenth century.49 These letters are now to be found in one of the volumes of the collection de Bourgogne in the Bibliothèque Nationale.50 For the two-and-a-third years running from 20 September 1363 to 20 January 1366 there are no less than thirty-three communications which can properly be described as newsletters, and these provide an invaluable source of information on the activities of the Companies in eastern France during that period.

16Chalon-sur-Saône then occupied an important position. At a communications crossroads between Dijon, the lower Saône and Rhone valleys, it was also well placed to receive news from the Auxerrois, Berry and the Auvergne, and was strategically important in respect of the incursions made from the county of Burgundy in the mid-1360s. The bailli consequently received a large number of communications from Philip the Bold, his governor in Burgundy and from the ducal council in Dijon, as well as others from Tournus, Mâcon, Lyon, Riom, Clermont, and other places. Almost without exception the latter communications also came from ducal and comital officials, rather than from the municipal authorities; but these individuals also forwarded copies of correspondence which they had received from other quarters, sometimes for onward transmission through the bailli to Dijon.

  • 51 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 117 r°; see E. Petit, op. cit., t. I, pp. 115-116.
  • 52 See K. Fowler, «L’emploi des mercenaires par les pouvoirs ibériques et l’intervention militaire an (...)

17A good example of this latter category is a letter of Marshal Audrehem, written to Jean de Boulogne, count of Auvergne, from Martial (near Millau in Rouergue) on 5 August 1364, concerning the concentration of troops on the Pyrenean frontier with Navarre.51 Shortly before 28 July of that year Charles of Navarre’s brother, Louis, had been appointed lieutenant and captain-general of the Navarrese lands in France and, having recruited a number of captains of the Great Companies (in particular Berrardeco de San Per, Bertuquin, Petit-Meschin, Amaury de Buch and Espiote), was heading north for La Charité-sur-Loire, commanded in Charles’name by another captain of the Companies, Seguin de Badefol.52 In his letter to the count, Audrehem described how the king of Navarre and his brother had mobilised some 800 lances and 2,000 foot sergeants, both of their own subjects and contingents of the Great Companies, along the frontiers from Bigorre to Navarre, with the intention of entering the French kingdom. Some 8,000 lances and 6,000 foot sergeants recruited to resist them, and he was expecting more in response to a military summons he had issued. He announced his intention of preventing them from crossing the frontiers, of combatting them and, should they proceed to Auvergne by the duchy of Aquitaine, of his determination to pursue them. He advised the count to seek advice on the action to be taken, to inform the local communities, and to bring both victuals and people into fortified places so that they would not be harmed or taken by surprise, and so that the enemy would be deprived of sustenance.

  • 53 Ibid., loc. cit., for the dating of his movements.
  • 54 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 116 r°; see E. Petit, op. cit., t. I, pp. 116-117.
  • 55 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 115 r°; see E. Petit, op. cit., t. I, pp. 117-119.
  • 56 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 129 r°; see Petit op. cit, t. I, pp. 121-123.

18Audrehem’s despatch was no sooner written than Louis had entered France by the pass of Roncevaux and Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.53 The despatch itself took seventeen days to arrive in Clermont, where Jean de Boulogne sent it on to the bailli of Chalon, with a covering letter, dated 22 August, to the effect that he had heard from the échevins of Aurillac that Louis was already in the neighbourhood of that town with a large number of men-at-arms and infantry. Aware of the impending danger for the inhabitants of Burgundy, he requested the bailli to advise the local population to be on their guard, and to send his letters to the governor of the duchy and the bailli of Dijon.54 The news could not have come at a worse time for the ducal administration, preoccupied throughout August with raising troops to keep in check the companies holding fortresses of which they were trying to negotiate the evacuation, but which remained incomplete for lack of funds.55 In the middle of September the tension was relieved somewhat by news of an engagement with, and the capture of, the notorious routier captain Guillampot, which was sent from Guillaume de Cluny, bailli of Auxois, writing on behalf of Jacques de Vienne, lord of Longvy, and captain-general of a force of men-at-arms sent into the province of Lyon.56 However, this letter included a postscript:

‘… Dear friends, after these letters were written, we have received letters from my lord the duke, intimating that he is near Cosne-sur-Loire and that messire Louis de Navarre is at La Charité. And he writes that if he [Louis] goes into France, that he will go ahead to engage him in combat, and likewise if he comes into this country [i.e. into Burgundy]; and he [the duke] has a good 2,500 glaives, whose number mounts daily. We advise you of this so that, if needs be, we can all draw towards him, to do honour to my lord and the country…’

  • 57 Froissart, Chroniques, t. VI, p. lxvi, n. 1.

19Louis of Navarre had, in fact, been able to reinforce the garrison of La Charité with 300 armures de fer under two captains of the English routes of the Great Companies, Sir Robert Birkhead and Sir John Cresswell, before Philip the Bold undertook, and had rapidly to abandon, the siege of that stronghold. By 21 October Louis had arrived safely in Normandy, after having conducted his chevauchée across France unimpeded.57

  • 58 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 117 r°; see E. Petit, op. cit., t. I, pp. 108-110.
  • 59 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 113 r°; see E. Petit, op. cit., t. I, p. 135.

20Through the correspondence he received, the bailli of Chalon, witnessed many of the great moments in the history of the Companies in the 1360s, and must have been familiar with the names of some of their leading captains. In addition to those already mentioned, he on more than one occasion heard about the exploits of Bertucat d’Albret, of Arnaud de Tallebarde, otherwise known as Talbardon, of le bourg Camus, Frère Darrier, and others whose exploits in Burgundy and elsewhere were notorious. He must have reflected, at least occasionally, upon the dubious loyalty of the routier captains whom the duke’s officers recruited to act as policemen: of the Gascons Amanieu and Jean de Pommiers, and even Jean d’Armagnac; of the Bretons Yvon de Lacoué, Jean de Saint-Pol and Munde Batailler. In the summer of 1364 the latter two almost provoked something of an ‘international incident’, whilst in ducal pay they raided the territories of the count of Savoy, prompting several missives from the ducal council in Dijon, in which the lord of Sombernon, the marshal of Burgundy and the bailli of Dijon saw the necessity for speedy action.58 The military events reported were sometimes recounted with a terseness that betrays their gravity, as in this letter of 6 November 1364 from the bailli of Mâcon to Jacques de Vienne, communicated in turn to the balli of Chalon59:

‘My very dear lord, I send you my greetings, and wish you to know the news which has just arrived in Mâcon, that messire Seguin de Badefol, with a large force of men, has during the night entered the town of Anse and holds it. May it please you to have compassion on the country, and to provide such ordinance and remedy as seems best to you. Our Lord have you in his Holy keeping and give you a good and long life’.

  • 60 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 121 r°; see E. Petit, op. cit., t. I, p. 167.
  • 61 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 123; see E. Petit, op. cit., t. I, p. 193.

21From the summer of 1365, after the evacuation of Anse had been negotiated as an integral part of the pope’s plans to send the Companies operating in eastern France across the Empire and Hungary to fight the Turks, their passage down the Saône and Rhone valleys occasioned much activity on the part of the ducal officers. The bailli himself was to have been among those to escort the departing garrison forces under safeconduct60, and when the plan failed he saw all of its consequences. Reporting the contents of a letter of 12 March 1366 from the bishop of Clermont, the abbot of Tournus informed the bailli ‘that a large number of men-at-arms called Companies are so widely dispersed in the country that nobody dares to leave his fort’.61 If he had added ‘nor look out of his window’, the scene would have been even more reminiscent of that recounted to Froissart by the Bascot de Mauléon at the Sign of the Moon in Orthez; but, instead, the bailli continued that he had been given to understand that ‘Jean d’Armagnac intended shortly to put himself at the head of them, to go with them into Burgundy, to make war on the duke and his country’. The cops had once again turned robbers.

  • 62 Chronicon de Lanercost, MCCI-MCCCXLVI, ed. J. Stevenson, The Bannatyne Club, Edinburgh, 1839; The (...)
  • 63 Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS. Ashmole 789, fos 160 r°-160 v°. This letter was published, together (...)

22The absence in fourteenth-century England of similar letters to the communications received by the governing bodies of Italian and French towns is hardly surprising. The country did not experience the destructive warfare of the enemy on its soil, save intermittently on the south coast and in the Borders with Scotland, which did occasion some newsletters from the northern outposts. The compilers of both the Chronicle of the Augustinian priory of Lanercost, near Carlisle, and of the Anonimalle Chronicle of Saint Mary’s Abbey in York, evidently utilised letters relating to local affairs as well as those recounting events abroad62, although they do not appear to have been aware of the letter of Thomas Samson, a clerk of the diocese of York, describing the battle of Neville’s Cross.63

  • 64 Adae Murimuth, Continuatio Chronicarum, and Robertus de Avesbury, De gestis mirabilibus regis Edwa (...)
  • 65 For the careers and work of Adae Murimuth and Robertus de Avesbury, see A. Gransden, Historical Wr (...)
  • 66 Notably Michael de Northburgh’s first letter, of which Avesbury gives the original French version (...)

23Samson’s letter is just one of a number which relate to the events of the annus mirabilis of 1346-1347: a year which saw, not only the capture of King David of Scotland, but also that of Charles de Blois at La Roche Dérien in Brittany, the earl of Derby’s victories in Gascony, the battle of Crécy and the capture of Calais. This was the stuff that news was made of. However, that the testimony of eye-witnesses to, and participants in, events abroad has survived owes not a little to the accounts of two clerks, Adam Murimuth and Robert of Avesbury, who incorporated a large number of newsletters and other documents into their chronicles64, and to the propagandist efforts of the English government at this time. Both writers have been described as ‘patriots’, and through their friends in government departments, as well as in their capacities as prebendary of Saint Paul’s and registrar of the court of the archbishop of Canterbury, respectively, they both had access to official documents.65 In addition to a letter describing the defeat of the Moors at the battle of Tarifa in Spain, Murimuth included in his chronicle some five letters dealing with the Crécy-Calais campaign, as well as lists of the French losses at Crécy, and of prisoners and places taken by the earl of Derby in Gascony. Avesbury incorporated letters covering the Thiérache campaign, the naval victory at Sluys, the campaign in Brittany in 1342, two letters of Michael de Northburgh and one of Richard de Winkley on the Crécy campaign, another concerning the dispersal of French victualling ships attempting to enter Calais, letters from Henry of Grosmont on his campaigns in Gascony in 1346 and in Normandy ten years later, from Sir Thomas Dagworth on the battle of La Roche-Derrien in 1347, from Sir Walter Bentley on that of Mauron in 1352, and two letters giving accounts of the the Black Prince’s first raid in Aquitaine in 1355, followed by another recounting the events which immediately followed. Two of the letters on the Crécy campaign are given in one form of another by both authors.66 For other letters we must go elsewhere, notably to the Lanercost chronicle already mentioned, to a number of bishop’s registers and the cartulary of Winchester Cathedral, the records of the city of London, the collections of Ancient Correspondence and the files of Privy Seal Letters in the Public Record Office, and a number of other miscellaneous collections.

  • 67 Robertus de Avesbury, op. cit., p. 357, refers to him as ‘... valens clericus, de consiliariis dic (...)
  • 68 Adae Murimuth, op. cit., p. 212, says that the first letter was written to ‘... quibusdam suis ami (...)

24This body of material tells us a good deal about the mechanisms behind, and the purposes of the information disseminated in England relating to the campaigns in the Low Countries, France and Spain during the reign of Edward III. For the Crécy campaign the chronicles of Murimuth and Avesbury provides us with two letters from Bartholomew Burghersh to the archbishop of Canterbury, one written after the arrival at La Hogue and the other after the capture of Caen; another letter written from La Hogue by the chancellor of Saint Paul’s to his friends in London; one from the king’s confessor, Brother Richard Winkley, addressed to the prior and convent of the Dominican friars in London, relating the progress of the campaign from the capture of Caen to the battle of Crécy; and, finally, the two letters already referred to of Michael de Northburgh (a member of the king’s council, who was to become keeper of the privy seal in 1350)67, which give the fullest account of their campaign, and which were apparently written to some of his friends in England.68 All of these letters appear to have been sent as straight, unadulterated news, mostly to private individuals.

  • 69 All three letters are to be found in Robertus de Avesbury, op. cit., pp. 434-439. For Stafford’s r (...)
  • 70 Registrum Johannes de Trillek, Episcopi Herefordensis, p. 242.
  • 71 This has been published several times, in Archaeologia, t. I, pp. 212-214, by Kervyn de Lettenhove (...)
  • 72 Also published several times: by Sir N. H. Nicolas, op. cit., pp. 204-206, and R. Delachenal, Hist (...)
  • 73 Bodleian Library, MS. Ashmole, 789, f° 149 r°; published in Le prince noir; poème du héraut d’arme (...)
  • 74 Winchester Cathedral Chartulary, ed. A. W. Goodman, Winchester, 1927, pp. 159-161, No. 370.
  • 75 Ibid., pp. 162-164, No. 371.
  • 76 PRO, SC 1/42/33. This letter has been published several times, on the second and third occasions a (...)

25Much the same seems to be true of the accounts of the the Black Prince’s campaigns in Aquitaine and Castile. For the first raid in 1355 we have two letters, written in Bordeaux on 23 and 25 December and addressed to the bishop of Winchester, one from the prince and the other from the prince’s steward, Sir John Wingfield. These were carried to England by Sir Richard Stafford and Sir William Burton, the prince intimating to the bishop that if he wished to have further information about the campaign he could secure it from Sir Richard. Another letter, written in Libourne on 22 January 1356, also by Sir John, related the events which followed the first raid for the benefit of Stafford, who did not return to Aquitaine until June of that year.69 For the second raid and the battle of Poitiers we have three letters written by the prince, all from Bordeaux. The first of these, dated 25 June 1356, is brief and contains little news; it was sent under the prince’s privy seal to the bishop of Hereford, asking for prayers and special masses for his expedition.70 The second, written on 20 October, was taken to the bishop of Worcester by the prince’s bachelor, Sir Roger Cotesford.71 The third, and by far the most important account, was addressed to the mayor, aldermen and commonalty of London, and was carried by the prince’s chamberlain, Sir Nigel Loring.72 This may have been intended for wider circulation, and to have been used for political purposes, although we have no evidence of this. In addition to these letters we have two other communications, which have only minor variations. One of these was sent by Sir Bartholomew Burghersh to Sir John Beauchamp by way of a prisoner taken by Bartholomew, Jean de Collandesbergh.73 The other was sent to the prior of Winchester by Sir Henry Peverel, warden of the south coast, who may have secured his information from Beauchamp or, more likely, from Bartholomew’s prisoner on his arrival in England.74 The prince also communicated to the prior a list of those taken prisoner or killed at Poitiers.75 For the battle of Najera in 1367 we have the letter of the prince to his wife.76

  • 77 PRO, C/81/314/17803, published below, document No. ii.

26There remains the official letter from Edward III himself, relating the first part of the Crécy campaign, and which was written in Caen on 29 July 1346. Several versions of this are known to exist, but have not to my knowledge been collated. However, the original from which they all derive, which is a letter under the privy seal to the chancellor, treasurer and other members of the king’s council in London, appears to have escaped notice.77 At first sight this would seem to be no different from the other versions, which I shall come to presently; but the letter does in fact include important additional information. To begin with, Edward explained his reasons for writing, ‘for the comfort of you and all our other faithful and liege men in England, we inform you of the grace and prosperity of our undertaking, which God has granted to us since the time of our arrival at La Hogue near Barfleur’, indicating that he had written a previous letter on the circumstances of his arrival, apparently now lost. After his account of the campaign up to the capture of Caen, which is essentially the same as in the copies of his letter, he then requested the council to thank God for his good fortune to date, and to pray for its continuance, instructing the chancellor to send letters under the great seal to the prelates and clergy, with copies of his despatch to the two archbishops and all the bishops, requesting them to do likewise. The council were also to communicate the contents of his letter ‘to our city of London and to our people to comfort them’, because, the king added, ‘we have already, with the assent of all our men, who are in entire agreement with us, determined to hasten towards our adversary, wherever he may be, from one day to another, trusting firmly in God that he will give us a successful and honourable issue to our enterprise’. To help to make this possible he instructed them to do everything they could to provide him with further finance, because ‘it is necessary that several of our men should be comforted, since we have gained nothing from the profits they have made, but all the charges have fallen on us and our men press us for their wages’. More important, he requested that bows, arrows and bow-strings, such money as the council could raise in the meantime, and as many men-at-arms and archers as could be mustered, be sent to Le Crotoy, at the mouth of the Somme, ‘to restrain our enemies in those parts’.

  • 78 See below.
  • 79 A. H. Burne, The Crecy War, London, 1955, p. 157.
  • 80 R. Barber, op. cit., p. 62.
  • 81 ‘Et mesme le jour [24 August] monsire Hughe le Despenser prist la ville de Crotoye, et lui et sa g (...)
  • 82 Chronica Monasterii de Melsa, ed. E. A. Bond, RS, London, 1868. As R. Barber points out, op. cit.,(...)

27These requests were made whilst Edward was at Caen, and we know that they reached the council at Windsor on 3 August78, by which time the king had begun his march to Poissy, where he halted from 13-16 August, some of his troops making forays to the suburbs of Paris. The army had then hastened north in the direction of Abbeville, hotly pursued by the forces of Philip VI, before swinging due west from Airaines in the direction of Oisement, Acheux and Saint Valery, to cross the shallow mouth of the Somme by the tidal causeway of Blanchetaque, only a few kilometres upstream from Le Crotoy on the 24th, to take up his first position at Crécy the same day and engage Philip’s forces there two days later, on the 26th. These movements have baffled historians of the campaign, as has Edward’s halt when crossing the Somme. ‘But why had Edward marched in such a curious direction and why did he waste time in attacking Oisement?’, asked Colonel Burne.79 ‘What is surprising is that neither side moved very far during the two days following the crossing of the Somme by the English’, writes Mr. Barber, adding ‘Edward could have made two forced marches to get well beyond Philip’ s reach, and he would then have been that much nearer his Flemish allies… the Italian chronicler Villani is probably right when he explains that the English decided to select a good position and await an enemy attack…’80 In the light of the additional information to be derived from Edward’s letter of 29 July to the council, the reasons for both the westerly route taken by the royal army and the halt when crossing the Somme are evident. By the time Edward took up a defensive position on the Crécy ridge, he was already in ‘home territory’, in Ponthieu (the county had been confiscated by Philip from Edward in 1337), and we know from Michael de Northburgh’s second newsletter, of 4 September, that immediately after crossing the Somme, on the 24th, the vanguard of the army under Sir Hugh Despenser had secured control of Le Crotoy, where they had found plenty of victuals.81 From the moment Edward III had arrived in Caen, and in all probability from the time he left England, he had intended to proceed in the direction of Le Crotoy, and in view of the speed with which he took up position after crossing the Somme, the battlefield must have been reconnoitred in advance. Who had told the king of the causeway across the Somme estuary? Gobin Agace, or an Englishman from Ruston, near Nafferton, who had lived in those parts for sixteen years and who, according to the Meaux chronicle, had been born on the abbey’s lands in North Yorkshire.82 Edward could, of course, have had no assurance that Philip’s forces would attack his army, nor that, in that event, he would have been victorious. But he had trusted firmly in God and his men to give him a successful and honourable issue to his enterprise, and perhaps secured shipping to beat a hasty retreat to England had that proved necessary.

  • 83 Collection générale des documents français qui se trouvent en Angleterre, ed. J. Delpit, Paris, 18 (...)
  • 84 Foedera, t. III, i, p. 88.
  • 85 Registrum Johannes de Trillek, pp. 279-281.
  • 86 Chronicon de Lanercost, ed. J. Stevenson, t. I, pp. 342-343. Kervyn de Lettenhove, in Froissart, Œ (...)
  • 87 Bodleian Library, MS. Ashmole 789, f° 148 r°-v°; published by Francisque-Michel, op. cit., pp. 308 (...)
  • 88 ‘... Chier fitz, faitez monstrer cests lettres al ercevesque de Cauntibirs et a ceaux de nostre co (...)
  • 89 For the king’s letters, dated 10 October, see Foedera, t. III, i, p. 341, and for the archbishop’s (...)

28There remain some loose ends to be tied up. We know thet Edward Ill’s despatch of 29 July had arrived in London by 3 August, because on that day the municipality recorded it in its registers83, and the same day the chancellor had letters sent out under the great seal to the archbishops of Canterbury and York, and all the bishops, enclosing copies of the relevant portions of Edward’s privy seal letter in an attached schedule, a cedula (but omitting those parts, including the references to Le Crotoy, which were intended only for the council), requesting that they publish it throughout their dioceses, organise solemn processions and continue intercessory services for his continuing success.84 The letter and the schedule were recorded in the register of John Trillek, bishop of Hereford, which constitutes a second known copy of Edward’s despatch; on 11 August Trillek instructed the Dean and Chapter to carry out the king’s wishes.85 Another copy of the schedule, sent to the archbischop of York, was incorporated into the Lanercost chronicle.86 In his despatch to the council, Edward had also requested that copies be sent to his Flemish allies, to the marquis of Juliers, Leo de Faukemont and the three towns of Flanders. These were presumably sent, although I have been unable to find any reference to their survival. In a further privy seal letter, written in Calais on 3 September, and addressed to Sir Thomas Lucy, Edward’s clerks incorporated the relevant portions of his letter of 29 July, then added further material (rather more than two-thirds of the whole), including an account of the battle of Crécy, which brought the report on his expedition up to date.87 Some letters thus appear to have been sent direct to an intended recipient, whilst others were filtered through the king’s council for wider distribution and doubtless propagandist as well as religious intercessory purposes. Edward Ill’s despatch on his campaign in Brittany in 1342 was sent to the the Black Prince, with instructions to show it to the archbishop of Canterbury and the council88, and the letters on the victories of both La Roche-Derrien and Mauron were addressed to the chancellor. In 1356, we can again see the news distribution programme at work, when Edward III informed the archbishops and bishops of the prince’s victory at Poitiers and the capture of King John, requesting them to order prayers and thanksgiving; and we have a copy of the archbishop of York’s instructions to the officers of his court in York, written at his manor near Westminster two days later, ordering them to carry out the king’s instructions.89 That Edward III made use of the English clergy to give publicity to, and act as propagandists for, his war in France there can be no doubt. By giving news of the victories of his armed forces he could reinforce morale and, more important, encourage the people to rally to the cause and put their backs into the war effort.

  • 90 Documentos de Pedro I, ed. A.-L. Molina Molina, and Documentos de Enrique II, ed. L. P. Martínez, (...)
  • 91 See, for instance, the letter of Louis, dated Imola, 10 August 1382, to Marseille, which was copie (...)

29I have not, in this paper, commented upon the apparent absence in France of similar newsletters disseminated to the nation at large, not even of the undoubted achievements of Charles V’s lieutenants in the 1370s. Nor have I said anything about royal newsletters in Castile, which bear many similarities to those sent to England by the king and his lieutenants in France, for instance two royal letters preserved in the archives of the town of Murcia: one from Pedro I, written on 1 April 1367, when the king and the the Black Prince had arrived in Logrono, commenting on the composition of the prince’s army before the victory at Najera two days later; the other from Enrique II to his wife, written near Braga on 18 August 1369, giving an account of his campaign in Portugal, in which Bertrand du Guesclin played a prominent role.90 Perhaps news of war, in addition to recounting successful campaigning, had also to come from foreign parts, or relate the progress of an offensive rather than a defensive action, to be incorporated in royal military despatches, and the campaign of Louis I of Anjou to secure control of the kingdom of Naples and Sicily lends some support to this view.91 In this paper I have devoted some time to l’histoire de la France à l’étranger, with the intention of underlining some of the similarities and differences of approach to the treatment of news from the front. If, in the course of doing that, I have highlighted the international role of the mercenary companies, that fact is not altogether accidental.

DOCUMENT I. Letter of the consuls of Martel to Bertrand du Guesclin, constable of France AC Martel, EE 1, No. 30

30A Bertran de Clequin, connetable.

31Nostra tre car redoptable excellen e poderos senhor. Receubat avem vostras letras e de so que nos mandat que quar lo duc de Lancastre am la avangarda e am la reiregarda sen sian anat vas las partidas de Bordels, a nos no faziam mestrer gens d’armas. Nostra redoptable senhor, plassa asaber a la vostra senhoria que nos hem environat de III establidas a II leguas de nostra loc, or es asaber de mosenhor Hugo de Chamvarlays, e de lo dich lo Despensie e de mosenhor Bernat la Sala, que son grans guerries e an gran re de gens d’armas am lor, plus de mil. E nos demoran sols an frontiera que tot jorn doptam que venho sub nos, quar aisi nem asabentat. Per que nostra redoptable senhor vos plassa agrer dir de trametre a nos XX homes d’armas als gratie del senhor per confortar nos el pays de part de say e per resister al enamixs del Rey nostra senhor, quar autramen nos e aquest pays em en via de perditio. Nostra senhor per la Sancta gratia vos tenha en bon estamen e vos [dona] de bona vida e longa. Scrich a Martel lo jorn de sabata. Los vostras humiels e subgietz los cossols de Martel.

DOCUMENT II. Caen, 29 July 1346. Letter of Edward III to the Chancellor, Treasurer and other members of his council in London (PRO, C 81/314/17803)

32A noz cheres et foialx chancelier, tresorer et autres de nostre conseil demorantz a Londres.

  • 92 The letter, which is badly stained, is illegible at this point. The missing words appear to read l (...)

33Edward, par la grace de Dieu, roi d’Engleterre et de Fraunce et segnour d’Irlandes, a noz cheres et foialx chaunceller, tresorer et autres de nostre counseil demorantz a Londres, saluz. A l’honour de Dieu et de nostre dame Seinte Marie, et au confort de vous et de touz noz autres foialx et liges gentz d’Engleterre, vous signifions la grace et la prosperite de noz busoignes que Dieu nous ad done puis le temps que nous arrivasmes a la Hoge pres de Barflu dont nous vous feismes autrefoiz signifier la manere de nostre arivailler. Primes, nous movames ove nostre host de la Hoge le mardy prochein devant la feste de Seinte Margarete et preismes le chastel et la ville de Valonges, et puis sur nostre chemyn feismes refaire le pount de Ove, q’estoit debrise par noz enemis, et le passames et preismes le chastel et la ville de Carentene, et d’ylloeqes nous tenismes le droit chemyn devers la ville de Seint Loo, et trovasmes le pount Herbert pres de celle ville rumpu pour avoir destourbe nostre passage, et nous le feismes maintenant refaire, et lendemain prismes la ville, et nous adresceames droittement a Caen sanz nul jour sojourner de l’eure que nous departismes de la Hoge tantque a nostre venue illoeqes. Et maintenant sur nostre herberger a Caen noz gentz commencerent de doner assaut a la ville, q’estoit molt afforcee des gentz d’armes, environ mille et sis centz, et des communes armez et defensables, et eisme de trente mille, qi se defendirent molt bien et apartenient, si que le mellee feust tresforte et longe durante; mes, loez en soit Dieux, la ville estoit prise par force au darrein sanz perte de noz gentz, et y feurent pris le conte de Eu, conestable de France, le chamberlein Tankerville, q’estoi a la journee escriez mareschal de France, et des autres baneretz et chivalers environ cent et quarante, et des esquiers et riches burgeis grant fuison, et sont mortz tout plein des nobles, chivalers et gentils hommes et des communes grant nombre. Et nostre navie, q’est demoree devers nous, ad ars et destruit toute la costere de la meer de Barflu jusque a la fosse de Colville pres de Caen, et si ont ils ars la ville de Cherburc et les niefs en la havene, et sont ars des grantz niefs et autres vessealx des enemis, que par nous que par noz gentz, cent ou plus. Par quoi vous prions que vous regraciez Dieu devotement de l’exploit q’il nous ad issint done, et lui priez assiduelment q’il nous voille doner bone continuance et que vous escrivez souz nostre grant seal a les prelatz et le cierge de nostre roialme q’ils le facent aussint, et que vous signifiez ceste chose a nostre citee de Loundres et a nostre poeple en confortz de eux, car nous ja par l’assent de touz noz grantz qi se moustrent de bone entiere et une volente pris pourpos de nous hastier devers nostre adversaire, queu parte q’il soit de jour en autre, tant come nous purrons et esperons fermement en Dieu q’il nous donra bon issue et honorable de nostre emprise. D’autreparte, vous mandons que vous vous afforcez par toutes les voies que vous purrez de faire hastive chevance de deniers a nostre oeps, car covient que pluseures de noz gentz sont confortez, des avantages q’ils ont eu nous avons riens gaignez, mes toutes la charge gist sur nous et noz gentz nous pressent molt pour lour gages. Et vous mandons aussint que vous facez pourvoier tantz des arcs et des seces et cordes pour arcs come vous purrez. Et si voudriens que vous ordinassez par entre vous que noz niefs que sont par decea, et sont ja taillees d’aler en l’eawe de Sayn pour grevee, vine ovesqes le conte de Huntiyngdon, apres lour retourner en Engleterre feussent envoiees devers Crotoye, sibien ovesque les deniers que vous purrez cheinir en le meen temps, et que touz les gentz d’armes et archers que l’en purra pour restreindre noz enemis celles parties. Et pour escouter novelles de nous, sicome nostre chere et foial William, counte de Huntyngdon, qi nous fait retourner en Engleterre par cause de molt forte et perillouse maladie dont il estoit suppris, cornent que son retourner estoit molt contre son gre, vous savera moustrer de bouche plus pleinement, a qi voiliez foi et credence doner en ce q’il vous dirra de nous, et communer ovesque lui les busoignes que nous touchent en nostre absence, car nous asseurons molt de son seau et loialte. Donne souz nostre privie seal a Caen, le XXIX jour de juyl, l’an de nostre regne d’Engleterre vintisme et de France septisme. D’autre parte, nous vous mandons que noz lettres directes au markes de Julers, au Leo de Faukemont et a les bones gentz des trois villes de Flandres et a noz gentz qi serra en celles parties, que les nous vous envoians par…,92 les facez maintenant envoier, et facez aussint envoier avant noz lettres directes a l’evesque d’Everwyk et a les autres segnors envers le north.

Notes

1 ASS, Lettere del Consistoro, t. XIII, No. 86. This letter, and some of those subsequently cited, were utilised by L. Mirot «Sylvestre Budes (13??-1380) et les Bretons en Italie», BEC, t. LVIII (1987), pp. 579-614, and t. LIX (1898), pp. 262-324. See also A. Professione. Siena e le Compagnie di Ventura nella seconda meta del seculo XIV, Civitanova-Marche, 1898. The intervention of the Bretons in northern Italy is treated more fully in chapter 17 of my forthcoming book on Medieval Mercenaries. I wish to thank Dr Martin McLaughlin, of the Department of Italian at Edinburgh University, for his kind assistance with the translation of this passage and that from the letter of Nicolao Giovanni da Casale, quoted below.

2 ASS, Lettere del Consistoro, t. XII, Nos. 61, 69, cf. 83; t. XV, No. 89.

3 Ibid., t. XV; cited by A. Professione, op. cit., p. 65, n. 2.

4 Ibid., t. XV; cited by A. Professione, op. cit., p. 65, n. 3.

5 Ibid., t. XIV, No. 36.

6 Ibid., t. XV, Nos. 50 & 81; see, however, No. 57.

7 Ibid., t. XV, Nos. 70-71, 75, 86-87; t. XVI, Nos. 12, 21, 29; t. XX, No. 108.

8 Ibid., t. XVI, Nos. 4, 12 & 15.

9 Ibid., t. XVI, Nos. 12 & 21, cf. No. 17.

10 Ibid., t. XVI, No. 33.

11 Ibid., t. XVI, No. 29.

12 Ibid., t. XVI, No. 36.

13 Ibid., t. XVIII, No. 65.

14 L. Mirot, art. cit., p. 297. La Salle was invited to assume responsibility for defending the Sacred College by Pierre de Cros, archbishop of Arles, chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church. See P. Durrieu, Les Gascons en Italie; études historiques, Auch, 1885, pp. 129-130.

15 According to the Cronache di Viterbo, ed. I. Ciampi, the decisive engagement took place at Ponte Salvo. N. Valois, La France et le grand schisme d’Occident, 4 vol., Paris, 1896-1902, t. I, p. 76, places it at Ponte Salaro, and P. Durrieu, op. cit., at Lamentano. The grant to La Salle is dated 28 December 1378 (N. Valois, op. cit., p. 163, n. 1), and not 27 December 1379, as stated by P. Durrieu, op. cit., p. 130.

16 L. Mirot, art. cit., p. 298.

17 Ibid., and see N. Valois, op. cit., t. I, pp. 163, 169-170.

18 These two hitherto unknown despatches, one written on the day of the battle (30 April) and the other the following day have been published by L. Fumi, «Notizie officiali sulla battaglia di Marino dell’anno 1379», and «Un nuovo avviso della battaglia di Marino», in Studi e documenti di storia e diritto, t. VII (1886), pp. 3-11, 57-58. This information was not available to P. Durrieu, op. cit., pp. 132-134. The best modern account of the battle is that of N. Valois, op. cit., t. I, pp. 170-173. See also L. Mirot, art. cit., p. 299. The most important chronicle accounts are indicated below.

19 The account of Jean Froissart, Chroniques, éd. S. Luce, G. Raynaud, L. and A. Mirot, SHF, Paris, 1869-1967, t. IX, pp. 145-146, may allude to one of these raids, led by Budes.

20 Andrea Gataro, Istoria Padovana, in RIS, ed. L. A. Muratori, t. XVII, col. 277. The letter, published by L. Fumi, art. cit., p. 58, reads as follows: Post scriptam litteram, hodie quasi prope auroram, Dei favente dementia, castrum Sancti Angeli pervenit ad manum domini nostri pape et Romanorum; et derobatum est per Romanos et positum in ruyna. Deindeque nova sunt, prout Altissimus ministravit, et certa et certissima, quod Societas sancti Georgii dedit confrictus Vasconibus et Brettonibus prope castrum Marini, et fuit in hac forma, videlicet: Quod hoc mane dicta Societas dirigens gressus suos a ponte Lucano versus dictum castrum, fecit tres acies; videlicet, unam primam de lxxx lanceis, et duas alias coequales, et inter primam et secundam ibant omnes pedites et salmas; demum domini Sylvester Buda, Bernardus [sic.] de Mongiogia et plures alii Capitanei Brittonum et Vasconum cum una acte numero yj c lancearum erant ibi preparati: videntes primam aciem curritorum, irruerunt in eos et ipsos fecit retrocedere: et dicta prima acies nostra maximum dampnum recepit et similiter nostri pedites, et sicut Deo placuit ita factum est. Nostra secunda acies irruit contra illos, et omnes posuerunt in confrictu, Dei favente dementia, nostris victoria remanente; in quo confrictu capti sunt dominus Sylvester, dominus de Mongiogia, dominus Bernardus, quidam alius dominus Bernardus cum 1. caporalibus et ultra, et cum ccl aliis: et interfecti sunt hinc inde numero iij c, et sunt ad bottinum v c, et omnes nostre gentes sunt divites. Campus vero est circum circa Castrum Marini etc. Datum fuit ultima prilis die debellationis prefate.

21 Letter of 30 April, cit. supra, The Cronaca Riminese, RIS, t. XV, col. 920, speaks of 1,200 cavalry.

22 The letter of 30 April, cit. supra, says 600 lances, the Chronicon Estense, RIS, t. XV, col. 503, says 500; see the Diario d’anonimo Fiorentino (Documenti di storia italiana), t. VI, p. 396.

23 According to Gataro, loc. cit., another French mercenary, Pierre de Sagra, rather than Sylvestre Budes was in charge of the third corps; but the testimony of the Chronicon Estense is to be preferred, and is in accord with the letters of 30 April and 1 May published by L. Fumi, art. cit., pp. 9-10, 58. Thomas Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vol., RS, London, 1863-1864, t. I, p. 393, singles out Bernard de la Salle for special mention, referring to him as campi-ductore. See P. Durrieu, op. cit., p. 132, n. 2.

24 See the letter of 30 April, cit. supra, which also indicates that 500 horses were captured.

25 ...Qualiter etiam Brittonum et Guasconum sceleratum agmen [di]e predicto, sub felici victoria nostre Societatis Ytalice sancti Georgii, universum est in campo Marini devictum et in conflictu positum, flagello sanguineo diri martis, captis quampluribus de maioribus dicte Societatis Bretonum tricentorum numero et satis ultra, de aliis etiam interfectis infinitis, prout ex litteris Capitanei dicte Societatis Ytalice Sancti Georgii nobis directis ingnotuit amicitie vestre, quam scimus de nostra felicitate, honore et exaltatione gaudere, ad munera letitie nuntiamus. Ceterum inter alios captivos sunt isti, videlicet: Sylvester Buda, Lodovicus de Montegaudio, Bernardus de la Sala, Vitalis Blancus, Batius Bertonus et alii infmiti... (L. Fumi, art. cit., pp. 9-10, documenti iii).

26 Donato di Neri, in his Cronaca Senese, RIS, new series, t. XV, Bologna, 1937, p. 674, speaks of more than 700 killed, the Diario d’anonimo Florentine, p. 396, of 800 and the Cronaca Riminese, col. 920, of more than 1200. According to Walsingham, loc. cit., 60 knights were taken prisoner and 5,000 or more of the rank and file of Clement’s forces were killed. The length of the battle is given by the Cronaca Riminese, col. 920.

27 N. Valois, op. cit., t. I, p. 172. P. Durrieu, op. cit., pp. 132-133, adopts Gataro’s story.

28 See, for instance, P.C. Timbal, La guerre de Cent ans vue à Pavers les regisPes du Parlement, 1337-1369, Paris, 1961, pp. 184-200, 248-258, and passim. I have reviewed the evidence for much of the foregoing in a paper on «Investment in Urban Defence: The Frontier Regions of France and England during the Fourteenth Century», given as long ago as 1977, but shortly to be published in the Atti della IX Settimana di Studio of the Instituto internazionale di storia economica Francesco Datini in Prato.

29 See the agreements concluded in 1358 between Reims, on the one hand, and Rethel and Châlons-sur-Marne, on the other, referred to in Ph. Contamine, Guerre, Etat et Société à la fin du Moyen Age. Etudes sur les armées des rois de France, 1337-1494, Paris et La Haye, 1972, p. 6. For smoke signals at Nîmes, see M. Ménard, Histoire civile, ecclésiastique et littéraire de la ville de Nismes, 7 vol., Paris, 1744-1758, t. II, Preuves, p. 231. At Montferrand the guards were equipped with banners. See M. G. Fournier, «La défense des populations rurales pendant la guerre de Cent ans en Basse-Auvergne», Actes du quatre-vingt-dixième congrès national des sociétés savantes, Nice, 1965, section d’archéologie, Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques, Paris, p. 159.

30 For instance, the Comptes consulaires de la cité et du bourg de Rodez, 1350-1388, ed. H. Bousquet, 2 vol., Archives historiques du Rouergue, t. VI & t. XVII, Rodez, 1926-1943, Cité, t. II. The analysis which follows is based on entries in this volume and on the accounts of the bourg for 1383-1386 (AC Rodez, Bourg, CC 128-129).

31 Douze comptes consulaires d’Albi au XIVe siècle, ed. A. Vidal 2 vol., Archives historiques de l’Albigeois, Albi, 1906-1911, passim.

32 M. Ménard, Preuves, t. II & III, passim.

33 Comptes consulaires de Saint-Antonin du XIVe siècle, ed. R. Latouche, Nice, 1923, pp. 27-49.

34 Ch. Samaran, «Les Comptes consulaires d’Escazeaux (Tarn-et-Garonne), 1358-1464 », Annales du Midi, t. LXVIII (1956), pp. 272-273.

35 The consular accounts and deliberations of the area reveal much information on these. See, for instance, AC Najac, Comptes consulaires (1376-1377), f° 7 v°.

36 AC Martel (now conserved in the Archives départementales du Lot at Cahors), EE 1.

37 Ibid., Nos. 2 (Anjou, 24 July 1378), 3 (du Guesclin, Brive-la-Gaillarde, 24 October), 7-8 (Armagnac, Montignac, 5 November, and near Tulle, 16 November), Audrehem (Limoges, 17 October, and another of 8 November), Talleyrand and Arnaud (Montignac, 2 December).

38 Ibid., No. 19.

39 Ibid., Nos. 24 & 27.

40 Ibid., Nos. 20 & 21.

41 Ibid., Nos. 22 & 23.

42 Ibid., Nos. 4 i & ii, 51, 66.

43 Ibid., Nos. 13, 26, 31, 62.

44 Ibid., Nos. 37 (Castelnau), 38 (Galard), 44 (Barbe), 45 (Doat), 48 (Saint-Cag), 61 (d’Albret). See also Nos. 41 & 50-53, which are also concerned with suffertes and truces.

45 Ibid., Nos. 43, 54 & 58.

46 Ibid., Nos. 28-30 & 33. The letter to Cavagnac is marked copia.

47 Ibid., No. 30, published below, document No. I. The letters of the count of Armagnac, that of Talleyrand of Périgord and Arnaud d’Espagne (Nos. 7-8 & 11), and possibly also of Bertrand du Guesclin (No. 3), referred to above and dated Tulle, Brive-la-Gaillarde and Montignac, all appear to have been related to the progress of Lancaster’s chevauchée.

48 AC Riom, AA 37; published in M. Boudet, Thomas de la Marche, Bâtard de France, et ses aventures, Riom and Paris, 1900, pp. 272-275, Pièces justificatives, No. xxvii.

49 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 114 r°. The original of the letter cited above is referred to by Kervyn de Lettenhove in his edition of Froissart, Œuvres, 25 vol., Brussels, 1870-1877, t. XX, p. 234.

50 BN, coll, de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, fos 53, 75-78, 83-84, 86, 88, 108-133, 136, 148-150, 181 & 188. The only folio written on both sides is f° 132. Many of these letters were utilised by E. Petit, Ducs de Bourgogne de la maison de Valois, t. I: Philippe le Hardi, première partie, Histoire des ducs de Bourgogne, vol. 10, Paris, 1909; Kraus reprint, 1976.

51 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 117 r°; see E. Petit, op. cit., t. I, pp. 115-116.

52 See K. Fowler, «L’emploi des mercenaires par les pouvoirs ibériques et l’intervention militaire anglaise en Espagne (vers 1361-vers 1379)», in A. Rucquoi (ed.), Realidad e imâgenes del poder: España a fines de la Edad Media, Valladolid, 1988, p. 28.

53 Ibid., loc. cit., for the dating of his movements.

54 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 116 r°; see E. Petit, op. cit., t. I, pp. 116-117.

55 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 115 r°; see E. Petit, op. cit., t. I, pp. 117-119.

56 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 129 r°; see Petit op. cit, t. I, pp. 121-123.

57 Froissart, Chroniques, t. VI, p. lxvi, n. 1.

58 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 117 r°; see E. Petit, op. cit., t. I, pp. 108-110.

59 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 113 r°; see E. Petit, op. cit., t. I, p. 135.

60 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 121 r°; see E. Petit, op. cit., t. I, p. 167.

61 BN, coll. de Bourgogne, vol. XXVI, f° 123; see E. Petit, op. cit., t. I, p. 193.

62 Chronicon de Lanercost, MCCI-MCCCXLVI, ed. J. Stevenson, The Bannatyne Club, Edinburgh, 1839; The Anonimalle Chronicle, 1333-1381, ed. V. H. Galbraith, Manchester University Press, 1927; reprinted 1970. The latter part of the first of these works was translated into English by Sir Herbert Maxwell, The Lanercost Chronicle, 1272-1346, Glasgow, 1913. On the use of letters and documents in the Anonimalle Chronicle and other chronicles, see the particulary apposite remarks of the editor, pp. xxxiv-xxxvi.

63 Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS. Ashmole 789, fos 160 r°-160 v°. This letter was published, together with the list of those killed and taken prisoner, by Kervyn de Lettenhove in Froissart, Œuvres, t. V, pp. 489-492.

64 Adae Murimuth, Continuatio Chronicarum, and Robertus de Avesbury, De gestis mirabilibus regis Edwardi tertii, ed. E. M. Thompson, RS, London, 1889.

65 For the careers and work of Adae Murimuth and Robertus de Avesbury, see A. Gransden, Historical Writing in England, t. II, c. 1307 to the Early Sixteenth Century, London, 1982, pp. 29-31 & 64-71.

66 Notably Michael de Northburgh’s first letter, of which Avesbury gives the original French version and Murimuth a Latin translation, and that of Richard de Winkley, of which Avesbury gives only the beginning (Adae Murimuth and Robertus de Avesbury, op. cit., pp. 212-217, 358-363).

67 Robertus de Avesbury, op. cit., p. 357, refers to him as ‘... valens clericus, de consiliariis dicti domini regis Anglorum existens...’. For further information on his career, see A. B. Emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A. D. 1500, Oxford, 1958, t. II, pp. 1368-1370.

68 Adae Murimuth, op. cit., p. 212, says that the first letter was written to ‘... quibusdam suis amicis...’. Could these have included Adae Murimuth and Robertus de Avesbury, or both?

69 All three letters are to be found in Robertus de Avesbury, op. cit., pp. 434-439. For Stafford’s return to Aquitaine, see R. Barber, Edward, Prince of Wales and Aquitaine, London, 1978, p. 131.

70 Registrum Johannes de Trillek, Episcopi Herefordensis, p. 242.

71 This has been published several times, in Archaeologia, t. I, pp. 212-214, by Kervyn de Lettenhove in Froissart, Œuvres, t. XVIII, pp. 389-392, and in A Chronicle of London, from 1189 to 1483, ed. Sir N. H. Nicolas, London, 1827, pp. 206-208.

72 Also published several times: by Sir N. H. Nicolas, op. cit., pp. 204-206, and R. Delachenal, Histoire de Charles V, 5 vol., Paris, 1909-1931, t. II, pp. 381-384; translated into English by H. T. Riley, Memorials of London and London Life in the XIIIth, XIVth and XVth Centuries, London, 1868, pp. 285-288.

73 Bodleian Library, MS. Ashmole, 789, f° 149 r°; published in Le prince noir; poème du héraut d’armes Chandos, ed. Francisque-Michel, London and Paris, 1883, pp. 336-338, and twice by Kervyn de Lettenhove in Froissart, Œuvres, t. V, pp. 528-529, and t. XVIII, pp. 385-387, after the edition of Chandos Herald, ed. H. O. Coxe, London, 1842.

74 Winchester Cathedral Chartulary, ed. A. W. Goodman, Winchester, 1927, pp. 159-161, No. 370.

75 Ibid., pp. 162-164, No. 371.

76 PRO, SC 1/42/33. This letter has been published several times, on the second and third occasions apparently in ignorance of previous publication: by E. Déprez, «La bataille de Nájera», Revue historique, t. CXXXVI, (1921), pp. 37-59; by A. E. Prince, «A Letter of Edward the Black Prince», EHR, t. XLI, (1926), pp. 415-418; and by V. H. Galbraith in The Anonimalle Chronicle, cit. supra, p. 171.

77 PRO, C/81/314/17803, published below, document No. ii.

78 See below.

79 A. H. Burne, The Crecy War, London, 1955, p. 157.

80 R. Barber, op. cit., p. 62.

81 ‘Et mesme le jour [24 August] monsire Hughe le Despenser prist la ville de Crotoye, et lui et sa gent tuerent illeosqe CCCC hommes darmes et tindrent la ville et troveront graunt plente du vitailles. Et cele nuyt herberga le roy Dengleterre en la forest de Cressy, sour mesme leawe...’ (Robertus de Avesbury, op. cit., p. 368).

82 Chronica Monasterii de Melsa, ed. E. A. Bond, RS, London, 1868. As R. Barber points out, op. cit., ‘There is reason to believe that the Meaux account is based upon a contemporary summary of the campaign, and the details are too specific to be lightly set aside’.

83 Collection générale des documents français qui se trouvent en Angleterre, ed. J. Delpit, Paris, 1847; Slatkine Reprints, Geneva, 1971, pp. 71-72, No. cxlv.

84 Foedera, t. III, i, p. 88.

85 Registrum Johannes de Trillek, pp. 279-281.

86 Chronicon de Lanercost, ed. J. Stevenson, t. I, pp. 342-343. Kervyn de Lettenhove, in Froissart, Œuvres, t. XVIII, pp. 285-287, No. lxiii, combines the letter of 3 August to the archbishop of Canterbury (as published in Foedera), with the letter to London (as published by J. Delpit) as the schedule!

87 Bodleian Library, MS. Ashmole 789, f° 148 r°-v°; published by Francisque-Michel, op. cit., pp. 308-311.

88 ‘... Chier fitz, faitez monstrer cests lettres al ercevesque de Cauntibirs et a ceaux de nostre consail devers vous...’ (Robertus de Avesbury, op. cit., p. 342).

89 For the king’s letters, dated 10 October, see Foedera, t. III, i, p. 341, and for the archbishop’s letter, reciting the king’s instructions, Bodleian Library, MS. Ashmole 789, f° 161 r°.

90 Documentos de Pedro I, ed. A.-L. Molina Molina, and Documentos de Enrique II, ed. L. P. Martínez, (Collection de documentos para la historia del reino de Murcia), t. VII, Murcia, 1978, p. 197, No. 143, and t. VIII, Murcia, 1983, pp. 34-36, No. xx.

91 See, for instance, the letter of Louis, dated Imola, 10 August 1382, to Marseille, which was copied into one of the registers of deliberations of that town, quoted by N. Valois, op. cit., t. II, p. 39, n. 2, p. 40, n. 1 & 2, and p. 43, n. 1.

92 The letter, which is badly stained, is illegible at this point. The missing words appear to read le duc de [costque], possibly Huc de Hastingue?

Auteur

University of Edinburgh

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