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bishop, ' ye have good will to ride forth : therefore make you ready, for we will ride to-morrow.' On this purpose they were all agreed, and their riding forth was published throughout the town. And in the morning the trumpets sowned and every man departed into the fields and took the way to Gravelines ; and they were in number about a three thousand men armed, and so they came to the port of Gravelines. The sea was as then but low, and so they passed forth and assailed the minster, the which they of the town had fortified. The town was closed but with pales, the which could not long endure, nor also the men of the town were but seamen; if there had been gentlemen, it would have held longer than it did: nor also the country was not ware thereof, for they feared nothing the Englishmen. Thus the Englishmen conquered the town of Gravelines and entered into it, and then drew to the minster, whereunto the people of the town were drawn and put therein all their goods, on trust of the strength of the place, and their wives and children, and made round about it great dikes, so that the Englishmen could not have it at their ease ; for they were there two days or they won it, yet finally they won it and slew all them that kept it with defence, and with the residue they did what they list. Thus they were lords and masters of Gravelines and lodged together in the town and found there plenty of provision. Then all the country began to be afraid, and did put their goods into the fortresses and send their wives and children to Bergues, to Bourbourg and to Saint-Omer's. The earl of Flanders, who lay at Lille, when he understood these tidings, how that the Englishmen made him war and had taken Gravelines, then he began to doubt of them of [the] Franc of Bruges, and called his council to him and said: ` I have great marvel of the Englishmen, that they run thus on my land : they demanded never nothing of me, and thus without any defiance to enter into my land.' Some of his council answered him and said : `Sir, it is a thing well to marvel of; but it is to be supposed that they repute you, the earl of Flanders, to be French, because the French king hath so ridden in this country that all is yielded to him.' `Why,' quoth the earl, `what is best then to be done?' ` Sir,' quoth they, 'it were good that ye send sir John Villain and sir John Moulin, who be here present, and also they have a pension of the king of Eugland, into England to speak with the king there from you, and to shew him sagely all this business, and to demand of him why he doth make you war. We think, when he heareth your messengers speak, he will not be content with-them that thus warreth against your country, but call them back to their great blame.' `Yea,' quoth the earl, `but in the mean time, while they go into England, they that be now at Gravelines will go farther and do great damage to them of [the] Franc.' `Sir,' quoth they, ` then let them first go to them at Gravelines and desire of them a safeconduct to go to Calais and so into England, and to know of them what it is that they demand of you. We think these two knights are so well advised and will handle them so wisely, that they shall set the country in rest and peace.' ` I am content it be thus,' quoth the earl. Then these two knights were informed by the earl and his council what they should say to the bishop of Norwich, and to shew him what charge they have to go into England to shew the matter to the king there and to his uncles. In the mean season that these knights prepared to go to Gravelines to speak with the bishop of Norwich, all the country arose about Bourbourg, Bergues, Cassel, Poperinghe, Furnes, Newport and other towns, and they came to Dunkirk and there abode in the town, saying how they would shortly issue out and defend their frontiers and fight with the Englishmen. And these men of Flanders had a captain called sir John Sporkin, governour of all the lands of the lady of Bar, the which land lieth in the marches about Ypres : and this sir John Sporkin knew nothing that the earl of Flanders would se



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