Tales from Froissart

edited by Steve Muhlberger, Nipissing University

Sir John Assueton performs a notable deed at Noyon

In the course of an expedition led by Sir Robert Knolles, the English army comes near Noyon but finds it too strong to attack.

Book I, ch. 285. There was a Scots knight in the English army who performed a most gallant deed of arms. He quitted his troop, with his lance in its rest, and mounted on his courser, followed only by his page: when, sticking spurs into his horse, he was soon up the mountain and at the barriers. The name of this knight was sir John Assueton, a very valiant and able man, perfectly master of his profession. When he was arrived at the barriers of Noyon, he dismounted, and giving his horse to his page, said, "Quit not this place:" then, grasping his spear, he advanced to the barrier, and leaped over them.

There were on the inside some good knights of that country, such as sir John de Roye, sir Launcelot de Lorris, and ten or twelve others, who were astonished at this action, and wondered what he would do next: however they received him well. The Scots knight, addressing them, said; "Gentlemen, I am come to see you; for, as you do not vouchsafe to come out beyond your barriers, I descend to visit you. I wish to try my knighthood against yours, and you will conquer me if you can."

After this, he gave many grand strokes with his lance, which they returned gallantly, upwards of an hour. He wounded one or two of their knights; and they had so much pleasure in this combat, they frequently forgot themselves. The inhabitants looked from above the gates and top of the walls with wonder. They might have done him much hurt with their arrows, if they had so willed: but no: the French knights had forbidden it.

Whilst he was there engaged, his page came closer to the barriers, mounted on his courser, and said to him aloud, in his own language, "My lord, you had better come away: it is time, for our army is on the march." The knight, who had heard him, made ready to follow his advice; and, after he had given two or three thrusts to clear his way, he seized his spear, and leaped again over the barriers without any hurt, and armed as he was, jumped up behind the page on his courser. When he was thus mounted, he said to the French, "Adieu, gentlemen, many thanks to you," and spurring his steed, soon rejoined his companions. This gallant feat of sir John Assueton was highly prized by all manner of persons.

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