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A.D. 1417. England, and remained there for the time that his
safe-conduct lasted on the faith of some English lords, who gave him to understand that they would get it prolonged for him ; in which he was in the end deceived, for King Henry ordered his head to be cut off because he had taken money for the surrender of Cherbourg, which was still well supplied with provisions and artillery. All good Frenchmen were very glad at this, because through coveting money he had thus sold the said place to the great injury of the King of France.
How the King of France sent a large garrison to
Rouen, to keep the town against the English. . CHAPTER XXI. At this time many good captains were sent to the city of Rouen on the part of the King of France and the Duke of Burgundy, to help the inhabitants to defend it against the King of England and his force, by which they daily expected to be besieged. They were the Lord of Pasmes; the Lord of Montagu, Sir John de Neufchâtel, Sir Antony de Tholongon, Sir Andrew Des Roches; Henry de Cauffort; the bastard of Tyan; Great Jacques, a native of Lombardy; Gerard, bastard of Brimeu ; and others renowned in arms; besides this there were there already Sir Guy de Boutillier, captain general of all in the town, a native of Normandy, and Laghuen, bastard of Arly. All these captains together might be four thousand warriors or more, all picked men. And the inhabitants of the town were full sixteen thousand men, all armed and accoutred according to their condition, ready and desirous to defend themselves against all those who would seek to do them injury. These by common accord with the men-at-arms above mentioned, began in earnest to put in order the gates, bulwarks, walls, towers, and moats of the town, both inside and A.D. 1417. outside, with the intention of resisting King Henry and his army. Besides they made many military arrangements for guarding and strengthening it; likewise formed the citizens into constableries. And it was proclaimed with sound of trumpet in all the public places of the town that every dwelling of every person whatsoever should be provided with victuals for at least ten months; and that all who were not able to do this should leave the town and go where they pleased. After which proclamation many poor people went away; also a great number of married and unmarried ladies, burgesses' wives, churchmen, aged men, and little children went to live elsewhere; and in this way the good town of Rouen in Normandy became entirely military. These arrangements being completed, the garrison made several sorties against the English, among whom they sometimes killed some or took prisoners; but also on the other hand some of the men were sometimes left behind in their hands.
At this time a brigand captain, named Thabary, who adhered to the Burgundian party, dominated the districts of Pontoise, Lisle-Adam, Gisors, and Normandy. He was little of stature, ugly, and lame. He often collected from forty to fifty peasants, sometimes more, sometimes less, armed and furnished with old coats and jackets of mail, carrying old battle axes smoked or blackened, and other accoutrements in poor condition. These went, some mounted on wretched horses or mares, and others on foot, with the said Thabary, to ambush in the woods and forests where the English kept themselves; and when they could take any of them the said Thabary cut their throats without mercy or ransom, and similarly he did to those who adhered to the party of the Dauphin of France, when he could catch any of them. This Thabary kept the upper
A.D. 1417. hand a good while, greatly hated both by English and
French. Such were the doings in France and Normandy at the time that the English were conquering the country, as you can hear.
And when the King of England had caused to be repaired and well provisioned the towns and castles of Caen and Cherbourg, he took his way towards Pont de l'Arche, which be besieged by sea and by land, and finally carried by assault.
How the King of England laid siege to the good
town of Rouen. CHAPTER XXII. WHEN the King of England, then, had taken most of the towns and fortresses of the country of Normandy, as I have said, at least the principal ones, and at each of the places had appointed his garrisons and captains as seemed good to him, he set out from Pont de l'Arche in fine array and good order, drawing towards the good town of Rouen. And as he approached there remained in his way neither stronghold, nor tower, nor strong castle that did not submit to his orders. And he prospered so that he came before the noble and powerful city with a great display of engines and artillery just at the beginning of the month of June, before the besieged could be provided with new cereals or new wines. The vanguard arrived before the town just at midnight, in order that those within might make no sallies against them. The king lodged in the Maison des Chartreux, and his brother, the Duke of Gloucester, lodged at the gate of St. Hilary, the Duke of Clarence at the Caux and Martanville gate, the Earl of Warwick at the Beauvais gate, and the Duke of Exeter with the Earl of Dorset' at the castle gate, the Earl Marshal and the Lord of A.D. 1417. Cornwall at thu bridge gate; at the other side of the water towards Normandy were posted the Earls of Southampton, Salisbury, and Kent; with them Lord Neville, son of the Earl of Northumberland, and before St. Catherine-on-the-hill were posted some other English barons.
However, before the said besiegers were fortified in their camp, they were assailed by several skirmishing parties of the besieged, and there were great deeds of arms done on one side as well as the other. But Henry, as soon as he could, gave orders to make great trenches between the town and his encampment, and on the banks of these to erect high fences of thorns, so that the English could not be surprised or troubled, except by cannons and firearms. And afterwards the King of England commanded to fix iron chains in the waters of the Seine on each side of the river, about a cannon shot from the town; one chain was a foot and a half below the water, the second at the surface, and the third two feet above, which thing the king did in order that the besieged might not obtain relief by boats, and also that they might not be able to get out by water and escape his hands. Further, the marshals of the king had many deep trenches made in various places for going securely from one part of the encampment to another.
It was not long after the town of Rouen was surrounded when those who were within St. Catherine surrendered the fortress to the King of England through want of provisions, and evacuated it, only saving their lives, without carrying away any of their goods.
The King of England had in his following at least twenty thousand Irishmen, of whom the greater part went on foot, a shoe on one foot and none on the
A.D. 1417. other. They were poorly equipped, each one having a
shield, and short spears with large knives of strange fashion ; and those who went on horseback had no saddles, however, they rode very skilfully on good little mountain horses, and their paniers were pretty much of the same fashion as those which are carried by the French corn-merchants. These people had little powers of defence compared with those who are natives of the country of England, and they carried no weapons with which they could do much harm to the French when these encountered them. During the siege these Irish, with others who were English, often overran the country of Normandy, and committed evils beyond estimation, carrying back a great deal of booty to their camp. The said Irish even took little children in their cradles, beds and other baggage which they put upon cows, then mounted on the top and brought all to the camp, and they were often met in this condition by the French. By these raids, as well by the English as the Burgundians, and the adherents of the dauphin, the country of Normandy was greatly oppressed, and the poor people ruined.
Moreover, the King of England, being at the siege before Rouen, got many large cannons and bombards with mortars and other engines set up before the gates and walls of the town to undermine them and knock them down. And similarly the besieged, by all ways and means in their power, injured their enemies, as well by their shooting as by sallies which they often used, and which it would be too long to describe each by itself; but in truth the said besieged behaved very valiantly,
During this siege, Laguen, the bastard of Arly, who was one of the captains of the town, and the one in whom the common people had the greatest confidence, had the charge of the Caux gate. Before this gate there came one day Sir John Le Blancq, captain of