Tales from Froissart

edited by Steve Muhlberger, Nipissing University

Account of the Deed of Arms at St. Inglevert

in the Chronographia Regum Francorum, ed. H. Moranville (Paris, 1897), pp. 97-100.

Translated by S. Muhlberger for this site.

In that same year, 1389 [n.s. 1390], three knights of King Charles of France, his chamberlains, namely Boucicaut the greater, who not long afterward was appointed marshal of France, Reginald de Roye, and the Lord of Sempy manfully performed a deed worthy of recitation.  For  performed this deed   against all foreigners, from England, Denmark, Germany, Bohemia, Poland and all regions and countries of Christendom who gathered at the end of February at St. Inglevert, a religious house located between Boulogne on the sea and Calais.  These people came from everywhere having news of the upcoming deed through herald of the Duke of Lancaster, who was called in French "Lincastre", namely that the three were prepared to meet everyone of whatever condition, as long as they were nobles, who would come to them over a thirty day period, beginning on the first of March, and excepting Sundays and holy days, and who wished to perform courses with sharp lances or others with blunt ones.  And the following conditions were set forth:   that if any of the three of them for whatever cause should be rendered unable to joust during the thirty days of the festival, the other two would be obligated to fulfill the courses of the rest of the comers, however many there were; and that if two of them were incapable the third nevertheless would have all those courses of the lances aforesaid for withstanding the comers  and fulfilling their courses.   And it was added that he who ran out of bounds, either within or without, should lose his horse; and if anyone killed the horse of his oppoinent, he should give full compensation, either out of his own funds or from that of the comers as a group.

And so that these three should have firm notice, however late, of what they were committed to do on the morrow, there was in an open area  well suited for jousting a certain spruce tree, which was beautiful, branchy and well shaped, in which it was arranged that two shields should hang, one for blunt lances for the joust of peace, and the other for sharp steel for the joust of war; and any noble coming to this spruce tree should touch which of the two shields he wished with a certain wand which he would find ready there, and a certain herald was placed among the branches at the highest point of the spruce tree waiting from sunrise to sunset and he should respond to anyone  touching the shields by asking who he was and from what country, and that one should tell the herald his name, country, and family, and whether he was noble by name or by arms.    And the herald should immediately write this down in his papers and always late in the day to his three masters who were named above.

Indeed a very large number of noble knights and squires from different regions outside of the kingdom of France came together in that place to take part in this jousting and to test the prowess of these men at arms; and especially the English came.   Among them, just like the rest, came the Earl of Derby, the heir of the aforesaid duke of Lancaster, who was soon to be king of England, as will be reported below.   He gave the Frenchmen from his largesse many great gifts.

But these three knights, failing in nothing, so mightily and valorously conducted themselves in this deed,  in which they overcame all the others who came both by their vigor in arms and by their lavish banquest and gifts, through the generosity of the aforesaid king, that they were commended with  praises from abroad and heaped up the highest possible honor and glory for his consecrated Gallic realm.

Froissart's account of St. Inglevert

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