Chronicle of Jean de Wavrin

Chronicle of Jean de Wavrin is in Late Medieval Books.

Late Medieval Books, Chronicle of Jean de Wavrin 1429

Chronicle of Jean de Wavrin 1429 Chapter VII

How the Duke of Bedford made a great assemblage of troope to send to the siege of Orléans.

In these days, about Mid-Lent, after the regent was informed of the death of the good earl of Salisbury, and also that the besieged in Orléans had been reinforced with troops and artillery besides a great quantity of provisions, he, being then at Paris, took measures to have collected in Normandy and in the Isle of France from four to five hundred waggons and carts, which, by the diligence of some merchants, were loaded and all filled with various provisions and merchandizes, with plenty of artillery, to take to the English before the city of Orléans. When the said waggons and all these things were made ready, the whole was given into the charge and conduct of sir John Fastolf, who was very wise and prudent in arms, in whom the duke of Bedford the regent trusted greatly for he was his chief chamberlain and grand master of his household: with him were sent the provost of Paris named sir Simon Morhier, the bastard of Thyan a knight and bailly of Senlis, the provost of Melun and many other officers from about the Isle of France, accompanied by sixteen hmidred combatants and fully a thousand men of the common people, with whom the said Fastolf set out from the city of Paris at the beginning of Lent; and he conducted his men and baggage in good order for some days as far as a village called Rouvray-en-Beauce where he lodged; and this village is situated between Jenville and Orléans.

And there came thither some French captains to fight him, who for a good while before were well aware of his coming, such as Charles duke of Bourbon, the two marshals of France, the constable of Scotland and his son, the lord of La Tour, the lord of Chauvigny, the lord of Graville, sir William d'Albret, the viscount of Thouars, the bastard of Orléans, sir James de Chabannes, the lord of La Fayette, Pothon de Saintrailles, La Hire, sir Théaulde de Valpergue and many other noble men, who all together were from three to four thousand combatants of good stuff. Of their coming the said English were informed beforehand by some of their men who were in garrison thereabouts in the fortresses holding their party, on account of which news these English, like men full of confidence, put themselves in good order with great diligence, and with their waggons formed a large enclosure in the open fields in which they left two entrances open, and there all together they placed themselves in the manner following, that is to say, the archers guarding those entrances and the men-at-arms very near in the necessary places; and on one of the sides in the strongest place were the merchants, waggoners, pages, and other people with little power of defence, with the horses and mares.

In the way you have heard the English waited for their enemies for the space of full two hours, who came with great tumult and formed themselves in battle array before the said enclosure out of reach of the arrows; and it seemed to them, considering their noble quality and their great number, and that they had only to do with men gathered from many levies, of whom but from five to six hundred were English, natives of the country of England, that they could not escape from their hands, but would be very soon vanquished; nevertheless there were some wise persons who had great doubt lest the contrary should happen to them, especially because the intentions of the said French captains were not well accordant one with the other, for some, especially the Scots, wished to fight on foot, and others wished to remain on horseback.

There were made new knights, by the hand of the lord of La Fayette. Charles de Bourbon and some others; but meanwhile the said constable of Scotland, his son and his men dismounted and then very shortly they went to attack their enemies, some on foot and others on horseback, and were received by them very courageously; and their archers who were very well shielded by their waggons began to shoot very sharply, in such manner that at the onset they made their enemies fall back before them, fully two to three hundred horsemen who had come to fight at one of the entrances of the said enclosure. And there the said constable of Scotland, thinking he was well followed up by the French, was discomfited and slain on the spot1, with him died his son and sir William d'Albret, the lord of Orval, the lord of Chasteau-Brun, the lord of Monpipel, sir John de Larget, the lord of Verduisant, the lord of Yvri, the lord of La Greve, sir Anthony de Prully, and full six score gentlemen, and others to the number of five hundred combatants or more, much the greater part of whom were Scots: the other captains seeing this departed thence and went away, flying in great confusion, so that one did not wait for another, and they returned to the places whence they had come. And the English, filled with very great gladness on account of the fair victory that they had gained with so little loss, praised their Creator aloud, and then, after the dead were despoiled, they refreshed themselves and rested that night in the said village of Rouvray, and on the next day departing thence sir John Fastolf and all his men, of whom he was supreme captain, took the road towards Orléans, and they and their waggons made such good progress that a few days after, exhibiting great joy, they arrived at the siege, where they were received with great gladness by their people, who, when they knew of their good fortune, heartily praised God for it, making a great noise with trumpets and clarions, and they were also very well refreshed by the victuals which they brought to them: and the said conflict from that day forward was commonly named the battle of the Herrings, and the reason of this name was because a great part of the waggons of the said English were loaded with herrings and other victuals for Lent. For this ill fortune of the French which had thus befallen, king Charles was very sad at heart, seeing that on all sides his affairs turned out contrary to his desire, and continued going on from bad to worse. This battle of the Herrings happened on the eve of Behourdis ^ about three o'clock in the afternoon; and on the side of the English there died, of people of name, but one single man called Besautrau, a very handsome esquire and valiant man in arms, a nephew of sir Simon Morhier, provost of Paris; and there were made knights among the English, Le Gallois Damay lord of Orville, Gerard Kollin, and Louis de Lurieu, a Savoyard. And the said English might be about sixteen hundred combatants of good stuff besides the common people, and the French were six thousand men, all trained and expert in arms; many noble men also were made knights there with the duke of Bourbon, all of whose names I have not been able to learn, except those which follow, that is to say, the lord of Chasteau-Brun and Yvonet de Clichon; and there were no prisoners but one Scot. Thus then as you have heard sir John Fastolf master of the household of the regent arrived gloriously at the siege before Orléans with a great quantity of provisions and other things necessary for those who were at the said siege, the account of which we will leave until it be the time to return to it.

Note 1. M.S. H. adds that the constable's name was sir John Stuart,