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

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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 8 of 18)
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ter, becaufe he faw clearly public affairs were
badly governed, going on from bad to worfe, and
fpoke boldly the truth concerning them ? Have
they not alfo put to death that gallant knight the



earl of Arundel, and banifhed England, without
reafon, the gentle fir Henry of Lancafter, earl of
Derby, by whom, and his four promlfing fons,
the kingdom ought to be fupported ? This cruel
condud is much aggravated; for, while they make
the earl fuifer many difgufls beyond fea, they have
difinherited his children of the eflates that de-
volved to them from their grandmother, the lady
Blanche of Lancafter, by dividing and diftributing
them daily to thofe who are unworthy to poflefs
them. Becaufe thofe two gallant knights, the earl
of Northumberland and fir Henry Percy, have
fpoken their minds on this flibjefl:, king Richard
has alfo banifhed them: it is clear there will not
foon be any men of courage and honefty in the
country, and hatreds and difcontents are now in-
creafmg every where, fo that if a remedy be not
fought for, all things will fall to ruin. The re-
medy is in the earl of Derby, who is now lofing
his time in France : him we muft: fend for, and,
on his arrival, appoint him regent of the kingdom,
that he may reform all abufes, and punifh thofe
who have ufed him fo ill. Richard of Bordeaux
muft be arretted and confined in the Tower of
London, when all his adions will be examined
and put into writing, which are fufficiently nu-
merous, and will prove clearly he is unworthy to
govern a kingdom or wear a crown : his a6ts arq
fo infamous, that they will condemn him/




the: archbishop of CANTRRBaRY IS SENT TO

OUCH was the language of the Londoners, and
of many others throughout England; but, al-
though much was done to excite the people to in-
furre6Hons, they would never have attempted what
they did, if the Londoners had not fet them the
example. The citizens of London, who, from
their power and wealth, lead the reft of England,
held feveral fecret councils, to which were ad-
mitted fome prelates and knights, when they re*
folved to fend in fearch of the earl of Derby, who
was refiding at Paris or thereabout, and bring
him back to England. On his return, they were
to remonftrate with him on the weak government
of wicked king Richard, and propofe, if he would
undertake it, to give him the crown, and eled
him and his heirs kings for ever, on condition that
he promifed to govern according to the ancient
ufages of the country.

They next thought on the moft proper perfon
to fend on this commiffion: he muft be prudent
and brave ; for it would be a grand enterprife to
feduce the earl from France, ^hen the king and
^is uncles were fliewing him every token of love



and courtefy ; and he would not put any belief in
the fimple propofitions of a low born perfon, nor
in any letters that were fent him, but rather the
contrary. In confcquence, they entreated the arch-
bifhop of Canterbury*, a man of prudence and
wifdom, to undertake it, who, for the good of his
country, complied with the requeft. He made
his preparations for the journey fo privately, that
none knew of his departure but thofe in the fecret.
He, with fix more, embarked on board a veflel
on the Thames, and landed at Sluys, thence he
went to Ardembourg, Ghent, Oudenarde, Ath,
Conde and Valenciennes, and flopped at the hotel
of the Swan, in the market-place. Having (laid
there three days to recover himfelf, he purfued
ills journey, not as archbifhop of Canterbury, but
like a fimple monk on a pilgrimage, difcovering
to no one his rank, nor the bufinefs he was about.
He departed from Valenciennes the fourth day,
having hired a guide to condudl him to Paris,
giving out that he was on a pilgrimage to Saint
Maur des FofTesf. He arrived at length where
the earl of Derby refided, which was, I believe,
at the hotel de Vinche{ler|, near to Paris.


* Thomas Fitz-alan, fen to the earl of Arundel.

f Saint Maur des Folfes, — a town in the i(]c of France,
diocefe of Paris.

I Frqinart has fald before, ^he earl of Derby refided at the
hotel de Cliffon, near the Temple. This hdtel de Yinchefter
was fo called from having been built by John bifhop of Win-

I 2 chefter


When the earl of Derby firft faw the archbifhop;
his heart rejoiced and he recovered his fpirlts.'
Thofe about him were well pleafed, for they con-
cluded he had brought fonie important intelli-
gence from England. The archbifhop, however,
did riot difcover the caufe of his coming, and, to
prevent any fufpicions of it, faid he was on a
pilgrimage to Saint Maur des FolTes, which the
earl's attendants believed and were fatisfied.

When the archbifhop thought it was time to
make the objeft of his journey known, he took
the earl into a private chamber, and there in-
formed hini of the miferable Hate England was in ;
that violence and defolatiori riiled in many parts,
and that, by the kingV fault, 'there was neither
law nor juflice:' that the Londoners, with fomc
prelates and valiant men, had determiriisd to re-
medy thefe evils, and that for this he had been
fent by them to fay, that if the earl would return
to England (for he was wafting his time in' France)
they would make him king : Richard of Bordeaux
had done, or confented to fo many atrocious a6ls,
that the people were indignant, and refolved to
life againft him.' * Now is the time, or never,'
added the archbifliop, * for you to feek your de-

chefter 1204. It belonged, at the period we are now speaking
of, to the du4<.e of Berry. — Sauval Antiquitcs (le Paris.

There feems a miftake as to the name of the tifliop of
Winchefter. ' Peter de llupibus was biftiop 1204, and died
1238. ' ','•''

• ^his h6tel de Vinchcfler is pronounced, by corruption,
Bic^re, and was converted into a bridewell, before the Revo-
lution, for diforderly women.

i liveranccj


iiverancc, and the advantage of yourfelf and chil-
dren ; for, if you do not, no one elfe will for
them, fince this Richard of Bordeaux is giving
away all their eflates to his minions, or to whoever
afks for them. The citizens of London, and many
other gallant men, are greatly enraged at fuch
condudt, and would amend it if they could, though
hitherto they have been filent.

^ He has filled up the meafure of his crimes
by the murder of the duke of Glocefter, the be«
heading of the earl of Arundel without caufe, the
exile of the earl of Warwick, and your banifh-
ment; clearly fliewing his intentions to deprive
England of its nobles and the fupport fhe might
have from them, for he has lately banifhed the earl
of Northumberland and his fon becaufe they talked
too freely of him and his miniflers. The citizens
of London and the greater part of the prelates
and barons of England entreat you will not fleep
over this bufinefs, but that you will take leave of
the king of France and the French, and return
home, where you will be joyfully received, and
every promife I have made be pundually fulfilled,
for the country defire none other than you for
their king, fo much are you beloved and re-

When the earl of Derby had heard this fpeech
of the archbifhop, he did not immmediately reply,
but, leaning on a window that looked into the
gardens, mufed a while, and having various
thoughts iu his mind, turned to the bifliop, and

T 3 faid J


faid; * My lord, your fpeech requires much con-
fideration. I would be unwilling to begin an en-
terprife and be forced to leave it unfinifhed, for I
well know, that unlefs by the means you propofe,
it will be a long time before I return to Kngland.
I am loth to refort to this, for the king of France
and his nobles have paid me every honour and
attention, and will continue fo to do, as long as I
fliall pleafe to live among them. Should I accept
of the offers and kind promifes \^hich you and my
good friends the citizens of London make, I mufl
fubjeft myfelf to their will, arreft king Richard,
and put him to death. For this I fhall be univerfally
blamed, and 1 would not willingly do fo, if any
other means could be adopted.'

^ My lord,' replied the archbifliop, '^ T am fent '
hither with every good difpofition towards you.
Call in your council, alhd lay before them the pro-
'pofitibns I have mkde: rwiil alfo explain why I
am deputed hither, and! do' not think they will
advife you to a6l otherwife than to accept them.'
* 1 confent,' faid the earl, ' for fuch matters de-
mand great confideration.' '^

The earl of Derby fent for thofe knights and
fquires in whom he had the mofl confidence, and
in their prefence defired the archbifliop to repeat
what he had jufl told him ; which being done, he
afked their advice how he fliould ad. They
unanimoullyanfwered,' — * My lord, God has taken
com'paflion on you : be careful how you refufe fuch
offers, for you will never have more advantage-

l * ous

J,t^'- .*.'


il9 ,

ous ones made you. Whoever will examine your
blood will find that it defcends in a ftraight
line from Saint Edward, king of England.
Thank your good friends the Londoners for wifh-
ing to deliver you from exile, and for having
pity on your children and the kingdom of Eng-
land, which now is forely troubled. Have you
forgotten the many wrongs this Richard of Bor-
deaux has done you, and who does not diifemble
hiswifhes to add to them daily. When your
marriage with the lady Mary of Berry was on the
point of being concluded, did he not fend over
the earl of Salifbury to break off the match, and
to accufe you before the king and his whole court
of being a falfe and wicked traitor? Such things
are unpardonable, and you fliould rather feek for
means of revenge. If you will not help yourfelf,
no one will do it for you : c.onfider well, therefore,
all we have faid/

I 4





nPHE earl of Derby's courage was ralfed on
hearing his council thus boldly declare their
opinion, and he faid, — ' I will do whatever you
advife, for I have called you together to have
your counfel.' They unanimoufly anfvvered, ' You
fay well ; and we will advife you, according to
circumftances, to the befl: of our power.' After
this, they carried on their bufinefs fo very.fecretly
that none of the houfehold but thofe immediately
concerned knew any thing of what was goiilg for-
ward. They confulted how they could crofs the
fea before any news of their intention iliould reach
England, and whether to travel through Hainault
and Holland, and embark at Dordrecht^ or to go
to Brittany under pretence of vifiting the duke,
fail from one of his ports, and land at Plymouth
or any other place whither God might pleafe to
fend them.

Every thing confidered, they thought the road
through Brittany the eafiell accompliflied; and
they advifed the earl, faying, — ' My lord, you
will take leave of the king of France, his brothef
and uncles, and thank them warmly for the alfec
tion and courtefy they have fhcwn you. After



thfsi you win requefl: the king to grant you an
efcort to Brittany, to vifit the duke and flay fbme
time with him,'

The earl of Derby confented, and came to .
Paris, where all things were prepared for his de-
parture : he waited on the king as ufual whenever
he pleafed, for the doors of the palace were open
to him at all hours. At this laft vifit, lie talked
to the king very ably, as he knew well how to do,
as to his future plans, and faid he would go and
amufe himfelf in Brittany and vifit the duke, whom
he called his uncle, for he had married a fifter to
his father, daughter to king Edward. The king,
not thinking he was plotting mifchief, cafily af-
fented : and the earl, having requefted an efcort
to Brittany, the king promifed to give inftant
birders for one to be at his command. To fhorten
the matter, the earl managed his affairs with much
difcretion, and took leave of all the lords who
were then at court : on his departure, he made
very handfome prefents to the king's officers,
for he was boimden fo to do ; and to the herald*
and minflrels refident in Paris, and who attended
the farewel fupper he gave at the hotel de Cliflbn
to fuch of the French knights as chofe to partake
of It.

Thefe things done, on the next morning he and

his attendants mounted their horfes and left Paris

by the gate of St. James, following the road to

^Eflampes. A knight from Beauce, called fir Guy

le Baveux, efcorted them. They continued their


v >

journey to Blois, where they remained €f?ght days ;
for the earl had fent forward one of his knights, and
a hernld, to fignify to the duke his intention of
vifiting him, and the circumftance of his being-
on the road.

The duke of Brittany was very happy to learn
that his nephew the earl of Derby was coming to
fee him ; for he was attached to him, and had
always loved the duke of Lancafler and his other
brothers. ' Why,' faid the duke to the knight,
whofe name was fir William de la Perriere, ' has
our nephew flopped on the road, fmce he intends
to vifit us, and has not come diredly hither ?'
The knight excufed him as well as he could ; but
the duke faid, — ' It is foolifh y for there is no knight
whom for thefe lad feven years I fhould more
gladly fee in Brittany than my fair nephew the earl
of Derby. Let him come to us with a hearty wel-
come, and he Ihall find my country and towns open
and ready to receive him.*

The knight was well contented with this anfwer,
and fct out on his return as fpeedily as pofTible, On
his arrival at Blois, he told the earl and his council
the words of the duke of Brittany. On the morrow
they mounted their horfes, and left Blois. with the
good wiihes of the inhabitants, who had been paid
mod liberally for every thing they had wanted, and
all were contented.

In company with the carl of Derby was fir Peter
de Craon, who had been fo much haraffed by the
parliament of Paris iu his fuic with the queen



of Naples, that he was m a manner baniflied France,
and all his caftles and eftates fequeftered for pay-
ment of the one hundred thoufand francs he was
indebted to the queen, and various other heavy
fums incidental to the cofls and expences of this

The earl of Derby journeyed on until he came
to Nantes, w here he met the duke of Brittany,
who received him and his company with much joy.
Sir Guy le Baveux returned to France, and the
earl ftaid with the duke, who entertained him in
the bell manner. 1 he archbifhop of Canterbury
accompanied the earl, but did not open himfelf to
any one on the caufe of his coming, fo that it was
a perfect fecret excepting to the earl and his council.
The duke, to fliew his love, fpared no expenfe in
entertaining his nephew and his attendants, although
he knew king Richard was very wroth againfl him,
for which he pitied him.

The earl, noticing the great affeftion of the
duke, by the advice of his council difcovered fome
parts of his plan, by way of founding him on the
fubjeft. He aflced his advice how to act in refped
to his inheritances of the duchy of Lancafler and
others which his father had held, and by right
of fucceffion had at his death devolved on him ;
but that the king, far from allowing him to havei
poflefiion of them, had banifhed him from England,
and was daily giving away the eftates of his family
to any who alked for them ; that num.bers of
nobles and prelates wxre exceedingly difcontented



Ifrith the king for this condud, and that many parts
of England were in a flate of warfare againft each
bther ; that the good people of London had com-
paflion on him, and had given him to underfland
they would cheerfully receive him, if he would
return, and bring about a reconciliation between
him and th e king, and recover for him his inhe-

When the duke of Brittatiy heard this, he re-
plied; — * Fair nephew^ the ftraighteft road is al-
ways the bed and furefl. You are in a diftrefling
fituation, and aik advice: I therefore recommend
you to truft to the Londoners : they are powerful,
and will force king Richard, who, I underfland,
has behaved to you very unjuftly, to do as they
fhall pleafe, in conjunction with the prelates and
nobles who are attached to you in^ England. I will
affifl you with veffels, men at arms and crofs-bows,
to convey you over the fea, and to defend you againft
any dangers you may meet with. The earl of
Derby was very thankful to the duke of Brittany
for this advice and offer.







T^HUS were all things fettled moll: amicably
between the duke of Brittany and the earl of
Derby, who ftaid fome time with the duke, and
gave out that he would remain longer ; but, in
the mean time, his purveyances were preparing at
a diftant fea-port, which I beUeve was Vannes,
whither the duke and earl came when all things,
were ready. When the wind was favourable for
England, the earl and his attendants embarked on
boatd the velTel prepared for him. He was to be
efcorted by three Ihips full of men at arms and
crofs-bows, as far as the coafls of England.

The fleet, having weighed anchor, put to fea,
and the farther they advanced towards England,
the more favourable was the wind, fo that, within
two days and as many nights, they arrived at Ply-
mouth, where they landed few at a time, and
Entered the town *. The bailiff of Plymouth, to
whom the king had intrufted the guard of the
town, was aftonifhed to fee fo majiy men at arms
and crofs-bows ; but the archbifhop of Canterbury
fatisfied him, by faying they were men at arms

* This Is a miftake : he probably coafted England, and landed
at Raven-fpiarn in Yorkftiire, between Hull and Bridlington.



V'liom the duke of Brittany had fent for the good
of the realm, and to ferve the king and country.
The bailiff's fufpicions were lulled ; and the earl fo
difguifed himfelf that he was not difcovered by any
of the townfmen, and retired to a private chamber,
where he remained fliut up. The archbifhop, on
their arrival at Plymouth, inftantly wrote letters,
figned and fealed by him, which he difpatched by
one of his fervants to London, to inform the ci-
tizens of the earl's landing.

The meflenger made fuch hafle, by changing
horfes in the different towns he paffed through,
that he arrived at London by break of day on the
following morning. He entered the city by Lon-
don bridge gate, which was not fhut, and went to
the houfe bf the mayor, who was in bed ; but,
on hearing a meffenger was come from the arch-
bifliop, he leaped out of it, and ordered the man
into his chamber, who gave him the letters from
the archbifhop. The mayor opened and read
their contents with pleafure, and, inftantly drefling
himfelf, fent off his fervants with the intelligence
of the earl of Derby's landing to tiie houfes of
thofe who had been the mofl adive in fending for
him. All were rejoiced at the news ; and about
'two hundred of the principal citizens affembled,
who held no long council, for the cafe did not re-
cuire it, but cried out, — ' Come, let us haften to
make ourfelves ready, and go and meet our lord
of Lancader, fmce we have invited him hither.
The archbifhop of Canterbury has done well to

tring hiin^ and let the earl's arrival be made



known to fuch gallant lords and knights as are
defirous to fee him, and have hhn for' their fo-


Many perfons were then fele£ted to publifh this
intelligence, and carry it to the barons, knights
and fquires of their party. Upwards of five hun-
<ired Londoners mounted their horfes, and were fo
impatient to fee the earl of Derby, that they
would fcarcely wait one for another.

The earl made no long ftay at Plymouth, but on
the morrow^ when the horfes were difembarked,
mounted them and took the road to London. Sir
Peter de Craon and the Bretons flill accomoanied
the earl of Derby.

7he mayor of London and the chief citizens
were the firft who met the earl and the archbifhop
on the road. The meeting was very afie^lionate on
both fides ; and as they rode onward, they met
more of the Londoners. They lay the firft: night
at Guildford, twenty-eight miles from London.
On the morrow, all the city of London knew that
the earl of Derby was coming thither, and men,
women, children and clergy, dreffed in their befl
clothes, went to meet him, fo eager were they to
fee him. The moment he came in fight, they
fhouted out, ^ Welcome lon?]:-wi(lied for earl of*
Derby and duke of Lancafler : may all joy and
profperity attend you !' They faid, — * that ever
fince he had left England nothing good had be-
fallen It : by him all things would be reft:ored, and
put on a proper footing j for we have lived in a



wretched flate by the miferable council^ of
Richard of Bordeaux, but he is mofl: blameable
himfelf ; for a king, to fucceed in the good go-
vernment of his kingdom, fhould have fenfe and
difcretion enough to di(lingui(h between good,
and evil, otherwife he is , unfit to wear a crovi^n ;.
but this Richard has, in many refpeds, acled
\yrong from defign, as iliall be proved againft

Such were the greetings the earl of D^rby had
on his approach to London. The mayor of Lon,-
don'rode by the fide of the ea,rl, to the delight o^
the people, who were pleafed to fee how kiudly
they were received. The mayor faid, ' See, my
lord, how much the people are rejoiced at your
arrival.* ' It is very true,' replied the earl,^
As he advanced, he bowed, his head to the
right and left, and noticed all confers with

In this ftate they arrived in London,, when the
carl was efcorted to his houfe ; and every one re-
tired to his own until he had dined. Then the
mayor, the chief magiftrates of London, and many
barons, knights^ bifhops, abbots, at the time in
(own, came to fee the earl and congratulate him.
The duchefs of Glocefter and her two daughters,
•who were his coufms german, waited likewife on
bim ; b«it their brother Humphrey was with the
king on his expedition to Ireland, more through f

conflraint than love. With thefe ladies came the
countefs of Arundel and fome of her children, as



did the lady Warwick and many other ladies re-
fident in London. The whole town was fo re-
joiced at the earl's return, that every fliop was
fhut, and no more work done than if it had been



npO bring this matter to a conclufion, It was
determined to march againft the king, whom
the citizens of I ondon and other towns called by
no other title than Richard of Bordeaux ; and the
lower claffes had fuch a hatred to him, as not
to be able to fpeak of him but in his difpraife.
The Londoners already treated the earl of Derby
as their king, and had formed refolutions ac-

The earl of Derby engaged to undertake the
government of England on condition the crowa
was fettled on him and his heirs for ever, which
the Londoners fwore to obferve, under their hands
and feals, and promifed that the reft of England

VoL.XIL K fliould


ftiould do the fame in fo folemn a manner that
there never fhould be a queftion concerning it :
they alfo promifed him afliftance in men and

Thefe obligations having been entered into on
each fide, which did not take much time, for they
were in hade to free themfelves, twelve hundred *,
well armed and mounted, \vere ordered to accom-
pany the earl of Derby towards Briftol, to make
Richard of Bordeaux a prifoner, and condud: him
to London. When there, he Ihould be legally
tried before the nobles, prelates and commons of
England, and judged according to the proof of the
charges laid againfl him.

It was alfo ordered, to avoid flanderous reports,
that the men at arms and crofs-bows, who had
been lent by the duke of Brittany to the earl,
as his efcort, fhould be fent back, for they had
men fufficient for the purpofe they were about.
The earl, in confequence, called the Bretons be-
fore him, thanked them warmly for the fervices
they had rendered him, and, on their departure,
gave them fo much money that they were con-

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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 8 of 18)