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CHAPTER CXVII

How sir John of Hainault became French.

ANON after, the French king entreated and caused the earl of Blois to entreat this lord John of Hainault to become French, promising to give him more revenues in France than he had in England, to be assigned where he would himself devise. To this request he did not lightly agree, for he had spent all the flower of his youth in the service of the king of England, and was ever well beloved with the king. When the earl Louis of Blois, who had married his daughter and had by her three sons, Louis, John and Guy, saw that he could not win him by that means, he thought he would assay another way, as to win the lord of Fagnolle, who was chief companion and greatest of counsel with the lord John of Hainault; and so they between them devised to make him believe that they of England would not pay him his pension, wherewith sir John of Hainault was sore displeased, so that he renounced his service and good-will that he bare to the king of England. And when the French king knew thereof, incontinent he sent sufficient messengers to him, and so retained him of his council with certain wages, and recompensed him in France with as much or more than he had in England. .

CHAPTER CXVIII

Of the great host that the duke of Normandy brought into Gascoyne against the earl of Derby.

SUMMARY.-Near the end of the year 1345 the duke of Normandy gathered a great host at Toulouse, and after Christmas they rode forth. They took Miremont and Villefranche, and laid siege to Angouleme.

CHAPTER CXIX

How John Norwich scaped from Angouleme, when the town was yielded to the Frenchmen.

SUMMAR Y- John of Norwich, who was captain at Angouleme, seeing that he could not hold out, asked for a truce to last for the day of the Pur ification, and this being granted he and his company rode openly away through the French host, and came to Aiguillon. Angouleme surrendered, and the duke of Normandy went to Aiguillon.

CHAPTER CXX

How the duke of Normandy laid siege to Aiguillon with a hundred thousand men.

The duke of Normandy and these lords of France did so much that they came to the castle of Aiguillon. There they laid their siege about the fair meadows along by the river able to bear ships, every lord among his own company and every constable by himself, as it was ordained by the marshals. This siege endured till the feast of Saint Remy: there were well a hundred thousand men of war, a-horseback and afoot: 1 they made lightly every day two or three assaults, and most commonly from the morning till it was near night without ceasing, for ever there came new assaulters that would not suffer them within to rest. The lords of France saw well they could not well come to the fortress without they passed the river, the which was large and deep. Then the duke commanded that a bridge should be made, whatsoever it cost, to pass the river: there were set awork more than three hundred workmen, who did work day and night. When the knights within saw this bridge more than half made over the river, they decked2 three ships, and entered into them a certain, and so came on the workmen and chased them away with their defenders ; and there they brake all to pieces, that had been long a-making. When the French lords saw that, then they apparelled other ships, to resist against their ships, and then the workmen began again to work on the bridge, on trust of their defenders. And when they had worked half a day and more, sir Gaultier of Manny 1 The number is reduced to 60,000 in the latest revision of the first book, where the siege of Aiguillon is called `le plus biau siege qui oncques les guerres durant de France et d'Engleterre euist este fait ne tenu ens ou roiaulme de France.' It lasted in fact only till 20th August. 1 ` Fisent apparillier.'




Page 90 (Chronicles of Froissart)