Jean Froissart.

Sir John Froissart's chronicles of England, France, Spain, and the adjoining countries, from the latter part of the reign of Edward II. to the coronation of Henry IV (Volume 12) online

. (page 11 of 18)
Online LibraryJean FroissartSir John Froissart's chronicles of England, France, Spain, and the adjoining countries, from the latter part of the reign of Edward II. to the coronation of Henry IV (Volume 12) → online text (page 11 of 18)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Londoners would not hear his excufes, and would
have him executed, for they faid he had deferved
it. The earl of Saliibury therefore continued in
prifon, in great danger of his life.

Sir John Holland, earl of Huntingdon, who
was governor of Calais, had been duly informed
of all that had palTed; how his brother, king
Itichard, had been arrefled and carried to the
Tower of London, where he had been condemned
to pafs his life, afcer refigning his crown to Henry
of Lancafler, who was acknowledged king of
England. The earl of Huntingdon, notwithftand-
ing the vexation the ftate of his brother, king
Richard, gave him, weighed well the times and
circumftances, and found that he alone could not
pretend to withftand the whole power of England*
His countefs, fifter-german to king Henry, told
him, on his return from Calais to England, —
* My lord, you mud prudently lay afide your
anger, and not haftily do any thing you may repent
of, for my lord the* king, my brother, can fhew
you much kindnefs. You fee the whole kingdom
is in his favour, and fhould you commit yourfelf
by any rafh ad, you are ruined. 1 advife and
entreat you to diffemble your vexation, for king

M 3 Henry


Henry is as much your brother as king Richard.
Attach yourfelf to him, and you will find him a
good and faithful friend ; for there has not been
any king of England fo rich as he is, and he may
be of the greateft fervice to you and to your

The earl of Huntingdon liftened to what the
countefs faid, and followed her advice. He waited
on his brother-in-law, king Henry, paid him many
refpedts, and did his homage, promifing fealty
and fervice : the king received him with much
pleafure. The earl, afterwards, with the fupport
of other friends, preiTed the king fo ftrongly in
favour of the earl of Salifbury, that his excufes
were heard and accepted : his miflion to France
was pardoned, and he regained the favour of the
king and people.





npHE lady of Coucy, on landing at Boulogne,
haftened her affairs, that fhe might begin
her journey to Paris j for there were already great
murmurings in many parts of France at the events
which were happening in England. Some imper-
fe£l intelligence had been carried of them thither
by merchants of Bruges, but when the lady of
Coucy, who had been attached to queen Ifabella,
returned, the whole truth was known.

This lady, on her coming to Paris, went, as
was natural, to the hotel of her lord, who had ar-
rived the preceding night. News of it was in-,
ftantly carried to the king of France, who fent di-
rectly for the lord de Coucy to come and bring
him intelligence of king Richard and his queen
Ifabella. On his entering the king's chamber, he
aflved him the flate of England. The knight, not
daring to conceal any thing, told him the full
particulars he had learnt from his wife. The king

M 4 was


was much afFe£led at the melancholy account he
heard, for he knew the Englifh to be determined,
and hard to appeafe ; and, although he had been
for a confiderable time in a good (late of health,
the rage he got into, on learning the events paiTmg
in England, brought back his frenzy, to the grief
of his brother, uncles, and the barons of France^
but they could not prevent it.

TI"ke duke of Burgundy faid, — ' The marriage
of king Richard with Ifabella was ill advifed : I
fpoke of it when in agitation, but was not attended
to. The Londoners never fmcerely liked king
Richard, and all this mifery has been hatched by
the duke of Glocefler. We mufl learn how the
Englifh mean to proceed, and take our meafures
accordingly. Since they have imprifoned their
king, they will put him to death (for they never
loved him, becaufe he preferred peace to war),
and crown the duke of Lancafter. Jle will be
forced to enter into fuch engagements from his
obligations to them, that whether he will or not,
he mud ad as they fhall pleafe. '

The duke of Burgundy added, ^ that it would
be proper to know the inclinations of the inhabi-
tants of Bourdeaux ; for king Richard, having been
bojn there, was greatly beloved by them, as well
as by thofe of Dax, Bayonne, and that whole
country. It would not be amifs (he faid' that the.
conftable, lord Louis de Sancerre, fliould have
notice <yf what was propofed, and that he fhould
advance toward the frontiers of Aq^uitaine, taking



with hlin fir Reginald d'Efpagne, Barrels des
Barres, and other barons and prelates, who knew
how to negotiate ; that his brother of Berry fhould
go into Poitou, and hover over the borders of
Saintes, Blaze and Mirabel, in order that, if thofe
of Bourdeaux fhould be inclined to enter into any
treaty, they might be received ; for we mufl gain
them now, or never/

Thefe proportions of the duke of Burgundy
were heard attentively, and his advice followed-
He underftood the matter well, and what enfued
proved it. The inhabitants of Bourdeaux, Dax
and Bayonne were lofl in aflonifhment when they
heard that their lord, king Richard, had been ar-
refted, and was confined in the Tower of London,
his principal counfellors executed, and duke Henry
of Lancafler crowned king, and would not at firfl
believe that fuch melancholy events had happened
in England : but, as the reports were confirmed
daily by frefh intelligence, they were conftrained
to think them true. The gates of the three cities
were clofed, and no perfon whatever fuffered to go
out, from the forrow they were in, more particularly
thofe of Bourdeaux, for king Richard had been
educated among tliem. They were fincerely at-
tached to him, and he always received them kindly
when they waited on him, inclining naturally to
comply with every requeft they made him. On
firfl hearing of his misfortune, they faid, — ^ Ah,
Richard, gentle king ! by God, you are the mofl
.honourable man in your realm. This mifchief



ha^ been brewed for you by the Londonei's, wha
never loved you, and their diHike was ftill in-
creafed by your alliance with France. This mis-
fortune is too great for us to bear. Ah, king
Richard! they have acknov/ledged you heir fove-
reign two and twenty years, and now they imprifon
you, and will put you to death ; for, fince they have
crowned the duke of Lancafler king, that confe-
quence mud follow.'

Such were the lamentadons of the townfmen of
Bourdeaux, and that whole country; and they con-
tinued fo long the fenefchal of Bourdeaux, a valiant
and able Englifh knight, determined to fend home
intelligence of thefe complaints in Bourdeaux,
Dax and Bayonne, and that they were on the
point of furrendering themfelves to the king of
France. Having written and fealed his letters, he
gave them to a trufty varlet, whom he embarked
on board a veflel j and, having a favourable wind^
he was landed in Cornwall, and thence purfued his
journey to London, where king Henry at that
lime was holding his parliament. Thefe letters
were addrefled generally to the king and citizens
of London, and, being opened and read, the king
and his parliament confulted on them. The Lon-
doners faid, like men no way difmayed, — ' Thofe
of Bourdeaux and Bayonne will never turn to the
French : they cannot bear them nor fuffer their
tricks. They are free under us; but, if the French
govern them, they will be taxed and taxed over
again two or three times a-year. This they have
tLot been accuftomed to, and will find it hard to



endure. Thefe three cities are befide furrounded
by the lands of great barons, who are and always
have been loyal to England, fuch as the lords de
Pommiers, de Mucident, de Duras, de Landuras,
de Copane, de Rofem, de Langurant, and many
other barons and knights, who will initantly make
war upon them : they cannot ilTue out of their
gates without being made prifoners. Notwithftand-
ing, therefore, what the fenefchal of Bourdeaux
writes to us, we do not fear they will ever turn to
the French : let us, however, fend them fome man
of valour and prudence, whom they efteem, and
who has governed them before : and we recom-
mend fir Thomas Percy.'

What they had advlfed was done, and fir Thomas
Percy was entreated by the king and citizens to
undertake the voyage and the government of that
country. Sir Thomas could not refufe, and made
his preparations.

it was now about Chriftmas, when the winds are
high, and the fea rough : he made, therefore, his
purveyances in Cornwall, at the port nearefl to
Bourdeaux, and his equipment was two hundred
men at arms and four hundred archers.

Sir Thomas was accompanied by his nephew,
Hugh de Haftings, Thomas Colleville, William
Lifle, John de Grailly, baftard-fon to the captai
de Buch, William Drayton, John d'Ambreticourt,
and feveral others. He had likewife with him
Robert bifliop of London *, and mafter Richard

* Robert Bra)' brook., dean of Samm and lord chancellor.




Rowhall. It was, however, the middle of March
before they were able to embark.

Before thefe lords arrived atBourdeaux,the duke
of Bourbon came to the city of Agen, to treat
with thofe of Aquitaine, and made fuch progrefs
that the magiilrates of Bourdeaux, Dax and Bay-
onne, were deputed to Agen. The duke received
them mod kindly, and was not fparing of fine
words and fair promifes : he gave them to under-
ftand, that if they would turn to the French, and
fubmit themfelves to the obedience of the king of
France, they fliould have granted whatever they
might afk, and that the engagements they entered
into fhould be fealed and recorded to laft for ever^
that whenever they might call on France, they
Ihould be fupported to the utmoft of its powar.
He made them many other flattering promifes ;
but they replied, they mud return to their con-
ilituents, and lay before them his offers, and con-
fi der how to ad. They then left Agen and the
duke of Bourbon, on their return home, w^here,
on their arrival, they related all the duke had
faid ; but his offers came to nothing, for the in-
habitants of thefe towns having confidered their
prefent fituation, and that France was vexed by all
forts of taxes, and every opprelTive means to ex-
tort money, concluded they fhould fuffer fimilar
vexations if they fubmitted themfelves to the
French: ' It will be, therefore, better for us,*
they faid, ' to remain fteady to the Fnglifh, who
hold us frank and free. If the Londoners have




depofed king Richard, and crowned king Henry,
what is that to us ? We have (till a king ; and we
underftand the bifhop of London and fir Thomas
Percy are on their way hither, who will fully inform
us of the truth. We have more commerce with the
Englifh than the French, in wool, wines and cloth,
and they are naturally more inclined to us. Let
us, therefore, be cautious how we enter into any
treaties of which we may hereafter repent.'

Thus were the negotiations of Bourdcaux, Dax
and Bayojine, with the French, broken off. Sir
Thomas Percy and the bifhop of London arrived
fafe in the harbour of Bourdeaux with their charge
of men at arms and archers, to the great joy of
fome, and grief of others, who were of the party
of the king of France. Thefe Englifli lords lodged
all together at the abbey of Saint Andrew, and,
when they thought it was time, they remonllrated
with the commonalty of Bourdeaux on the ftate
of England, and the caufe of their coming, with
fuch fuccefs as they were contented with : Dax and
Bayonne were alfo fatisfied. Thefe cities and their
dependancies remained fleady to the Fnglilh in-
tereft, and hard would it have been to have turned
them to the French.





''I HE council of France, perceiving the king
fo greatly affected at what had befallen his
foii-in>law king Richard, determined to fend to
England feme lord of high rank to fee and inquire
into the fituation of queen liabella. The lord
Chaiies d'Albreth and Charles de Hangers were
nominated on this embaffy, and made their pre-
parations accordingly. On leaving Paris, they
rode to Boulogne, where they remained and fent a
herald to inform king Henry of their intention of
cxMmng to England ; for, although there was a
truce between the two kingdoms, they would no:
venture thither without his aflurance of fafety.

King Henry, who had no: forgotten the kind-
nels of the king of France when in exile, men-
ticmed the matter to his council; and the herald
was told, that it was very agreeable to the king
and coandl that his lords and their company
(hould come to England, and by the direcl road
to Lcmdon, not quitting it without licence. The
French herald returned to tell his lords at Sou-
kigne what he had obtained. They were pleafed
with the anfwer, iince they could not obtain more.



They immediately embarked themlelves and
horfes in two veflels, an,d, putting to fea, ar-
rived at Dover. On difembarking and entering the
town, they were met by one of the king's knights,
who had been ordered thither to receive them.
Having known him, when he accompanied the
king in his banifhment to Paris, they were all fooa
well acquainted. The lord Charles d'Albreth and
the lord de Hangers were handfomely lodged in
Dover, where they (laid until their horfes v/ere
landed. They condnued their journey through
Canterbury to Eltham, and wherever they flopped
all their expenfes were paid by the king. The king
and his council were at Eltham, and they were
fplendidly entertained in compliment to the king of
France, to whom king Henry felt himfelf under

The lord d'Albreth explained to the king the
caufe of his coming, who replied, ' You will go
to London, and within four days I will confult my
council, and you fhall have an anfwer to your de-
mands,' This fatished them. They dined with
the king, and, when it was over, remounted their
horfes and rode to London, attended by the knight,
who lodged them conveniently in London, and
never quitted them.

The king of England came, as he had faid, to
his palace of Wellminfter, and the French lords
were tol3 of it, and to hold themfelves in readinefs
to attend him, for they Avould be fummoned. The
king, having his council with him, and being
prepared what anfwer to make, the French lords



were introduced. They faid, they had been fent
by the king and queen of France to fee the young
queen of England their daughter. The king an-
fwered, — ' Gentlemen, we no way wi(h to prevent
you feeing her ; but you mud promife, on your
oaths, that neither yourfelves, nor any of your
company fpeak to her on what has lately palfed
in England, nor about Richard of Bourdeaux,
Should you do othervvife, you will greatly offend
us and the country, and put yourfelves in peril of
your lives.*

The two knights replied, they would not in-
fringe this regulation: all they wanted was to fee
and converfe with her, and then they would fet
out on their return. Not long after this, the earl
of Northumberland carried them to Havering at
the Bower, where the young queen refided. She
was attended by the duchefs of Ireland, daughter
to the lord de Coucy, the duchefs of Glocefter,
her two daughters, and other ladies and dam-
fels, as companions. The earl introduced the two
knights to the queen, who converfed fome time
with them, afking queftions after her parents, the
king and queen of France. They kept the pro-
mife they had made, by never mentioning the
name of king Richard; and, when they had been
with her a fufficient time, took leave and returned
to London. They made no long flay there, but,
having packed up their things, and had their ex-
penfes paid by the king's officers, they rode to
Kltham, and dined with the king, who prefented

them with fome rich jewels. On taking leave,



the king parted with them amicably, and faid, —
< Tell thofe who have fent you, that the queen
(hall never fufFer the fmalleft harm, or any difturb-
ance, but keep up a ftate and dignity becoming
her birth and rank, and enjoy all her rights ;
for, young as fhe is, fhe ought not as yet
to be made acquainted with the changes in this

The knights were very happy to hear the king
fpeak thus^ and then departed. They lay that
night at Dartford, on the morrow at Ofpringe,
the next at Canterbury, and then at Dover, the
king's officers paying every expenfe of tlieir
journey. Having embarked with a favourable
wind, they were landed at Boulogne, and thence
proceeded to the king and queen at Paris, to whom
they related what you have read.

We will now leave them, and fpeak of the affairs
of England.







TT was much difputed among the nobles, and in
the principal towns, whether Richard of Bour-
deaux was put to death, and nothing more was
faid about him, which was but what he deferved-
King Henry declared, that in regard to the charges
made againft him he much pitied him, and would
never confent to his death ; that the prifon wherein
he was confined was fufficient punifhment ; and that
he had engaged his word no other harm fhould
be done him, which promife he was refolved to

The enemies of king Richard replied, — * Sire,
we fee plainly that compailion alone moves you
thus to fay and ad, but, in fo doing, you are run-
ning great rifks ; for, fo long as he fhall be alive,
notwithftanding the outward good humour and
fincerity with which he refigned to you his crown,
and that in general you haye been acknowledged
as king, and received the homage of all, there
muft remain many attached to him, who ftill pre-
ferve their afFeftion, and will inftantly rife againfl:



you whenever they perceive any hopes of deliver-
ing him from prifon. The king of France alfo,
whofe daughter he married, is fo exafperated at
the late events, that he vi^ould willingly retaliate
the firfl: opportunity ; and his power is great of
itfelf, and muft be increafed by his connexions in

King Henry anfweredg — ^ Until I fhall obferve
any thing contrary to the prefent ftate of affairs, or
that the king of France or other perfons ad againft
me, I will not change my refolution, but iirmly
keep the promife I have made.' This was the an-
fwer of king Henry, for which he narrowly efcaped
fuffering, as you fhall prefently hear.

The earl of Huntingdon, brother to king
Richard, though married to the fifler of king
Henry, could not forget his treatment of the late
king, any more than the earl of Salifbury. They
had a fecret meeting near to Oxford, on the
means to deliver Richard of Bourdeaux from the
Tower of London, deflroy king Henry, and throw
the country into confufion. They refolved to
proclaim a tournament to be holden at Oxford, of
twenty knights and fquires, and invite the king
to witnefs it privately. During the time the king
was fitting at dinner they were to flay him, (for
they were to be provided with a fufliciency of men
at arms for their purpofe) and to drefs out in the
royal robes a priefl called Magdalen, who had been
of king Richard's chapel, and was like him in coun-
tenance, and make the people to underfland that
he was delivered from prifon, and had refumed

N 2 his


his ftate. They were, inftantly after the bufinefs
was completed, to fend information of it to the
king of Fra :e, that he might fend them large
fuccours, un er the command of the count de
Saint Pol or a v others.

They execi ad this plan, and proclaimed a grand
tournament to ^e holden by twenty knights and as
manyfquires ai- Oxford, who were to be accom-
panied by many ladies and damfels. They had
gained to their party the young earl of Kent, ne-
phew to the earl of Huntingdon, and the lord
de Spencer, one of the moft powerful barons in
England. They expefted the aid of the earl of
Rutland, becaufe king Henry had deprived him of
the conftablefhip, but he failed them, and fome fay
that by him their plot was difcovered.

When all things had been fettled for this feaft,
the earl of Huntingdon came to Windfor, where
the king held his ftate, and with much flattering,
like one who, by foft words, thought to deceive,
invited, with many marks of affedlion, the king to
be prefent at it. Not fuppofmg any treafon was
intended, he readily complied, and the earl of
Huntingdon, much rejoiced, thanked and left the
king. On going away, he faid to the canon de
Roberfac *, ' Get thyfelf ready for our feaft, and
I promife thee if thou come, and we meet in the
lifts, there fliall be a fharp conflid between us.*
Sir John de Roberfac replied, * By my faith, my
lord, if the king come to your feaft, it is neceffary

* In the MSS. he is called Robeflart and Robertfart.



that I accompany him.' Upon this, the earl fhook
him by the hand, and faid, * Many thanks,' and
pafled on.

Several knights and fquires, hearing of this
tournament, made preparations to attend it, and
all the armourers in London were fully employed.
The king's minifters were attentive to every cir-
cumftance that was agitated, and'^hey told him,
* Sire, you have no bufinefs to go to this tourna-
ment, and muft not think of it, for we have heard
whifpers of plots that are very difpleafing to us,
and in a few days we fhall learn the whole.' The
king believed what they had faid, and did not go
to the tournament, nor any of his knights, and
indeed very Tew of thofe who were marked for

When the earls of Salifbury, Huntingdon, Kent,
and the lord de Spencer, found they had failed
in their fcheme of feizing the king, they held a
council, and faid, — * We mud go to Windfor and
raife the country. We will drefs Magdalen in
royal robes, and make him ride with us, proclaim-
ing that king Richard has efcaped from prifon.
All who fee him will believe it true, and the report
will gain fuch credit that we fhall deftroy our ene-
mies. This they executed, by colleding their
whole party, amounting in all to about five hun-
dred men, and, placing Magdalen in the center,
dreffed in royal ftate, they rode towards Windfor,
where king Henry kept his court.

God was very kind to the king, for he had
tarly intelligence that the earls of Huntingdon,

N 3 Salifbury,


Salifbury, the young earl of Kent, and the lord de
Spencer, were advancing towards Windfor, to feize
and murder him ; that they were in fufficient force
to take the caftle, and had with them Magdalen,
one of the priefls of the chapel royal to Richard of
Bourdeaux, dreffed up as the late king ; and that
^ they gave it out every where that king Richard had

efcaped from prifon. Many of the country people
believed it, faying, ^ We have feen him,' miftaking
him for the king.

Thofe who brought the intelligence faid to king
Henry, * Sire, depart hence inftantly, and ride to
London, for they will be here in a fhort time.*
He followed this counfel, and, mounting his horfe,
fet off with his attendants from Windfor, taking
the road to London. He had not been long de-
parted, before thofe who intended to put him to
death came to Windfor, and entered the caflle-gate,
for there were none to oppofe them. They fearched
the apartments of the caftle, and the houfes of the
canons, in hopes of finding the king, but were dif-
appointed. On their failure, they were much en-
raged, and rode away to Cohibrook, where they
lay, and forced many to join them by fair or foul
means, faying that king Richard was in their com-
pany, which fome believed, but others not.

King Henry, doubtful of the confequences of
this confpiracy, haftened to London, and, by a
roundabout road, entered the Tower. Some fliarp
words paffed between him and Richard of Bour-
deaux : he told him, — ' I faved your life, and
had great difficulty in doing it j and, in return,



you want to have me murdered by your brother,
and my brother-in-law, and by the earls of Sa-
lifbury and Kent, your nephew, with the lord de
Spencer, but, if you have had any hand in this
plot, it fhall end badly for you.' Richard denied
any knowledge of it, faying, — * As God may help

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 13 14 15 16 17 18

Online LibraryJean FroissartSir John Froissart's chronicles of England, France, Spain, and the adjoining countries, from the latter part of the reign of Edward II. to the coronation of Henry IV (Volume 12) → online text (page 11 of 18)