thither resorted all the counsel of the country, and also of Holland and Zealand. There were divers opinions: some would that certain sufficient persons should be sent to the French king, to know if he were consenting to the hurt done in Hainault, or by what title he should make war into the earl's land without any defiance : and some other would that the earl should be revenged in like manner as the Frenchmen had begun. Howbeit finally, all reasons debated, it was thought that the earl could do no otherwise, but to make war into France. And it was ordained that the earl should make his defiance to the French king, and then to enter by force into the realm of France; and to bear these defiances was ordained the abbot Thibalt of Crespin.' So then the letters of defiance were written and sealed by the earl and by all the nobles of the country. Then the earl thanked all his lords and other of their good comfort and of their promise to aid to revenge him against the Frenchmen. The abbot of Crespin came into France and brought these defiances to king Philip, who made light thereof and said how his nephew was but an outrageous fool, and how that he was a merchant to have his country brent.2 The abbot returned to the earl and to his council and skewed how he had sped ; and then the earl prepared for men of war in his country and in Brabant and in Flanders, so that he had a great number together : and so set forward toward the land of Chimay ; for the earl's intent was to go and bren the lands of the lord of Vervins and also Aubenton in Thierache.
How the earl of Hainault took and destroyed Aubenton in Thierache.
THEY of Aubenton doubted greatly the earl of Hainault and sir John his uncle ; and so they sent for some aid to the great bailly of Vermandois, and he sent to them 1 Not 'Saint Crispin' as given by the translator. 2 ' Qu'il marchandoit bien de faire ardoir son pays. the vidame of Chalons, the lord Bosmont, the lord de la Bove, the lord of Lor, and divers other to the number of three hundred men of arms, and so they repaired the town in certain places, and determined to abide the Hainowes and to defend the town, the which was a great town and full of drapery.' The Hainowes came on a Friday, and lodged near to Aubenton, and advised the town to see on what quarter it were most best to be taken ; and in the morning they approached in three wards, their banners before them right ordinately, and also their cross-bows. The earl of Hainault led the first battle, and with him great number of the knights and squires of his country: his uncle sir John of Hainault had the second battle, whereas he had plenty of men of war : the third had the lord Fauquemont with a good number of Almains. And so thus every lord was under his own banner, and there began a sore assault, and the bows began to shoot both within and without, whereby divers were sore hurt. The earl and his company came to the gate : there was a great assault and a sore skirmish: there the vidame of Chalons did marvels, and he made at the gate three of his sons knights. But finally the earl and his company conquered the bails, and by force made their enemies to withdraw into the gate. And also at the gate toward Chimay was sir John la Bove and sir John Bosrnont : there was also a cruel assault ; they within were fain to withdraw in at their gates and to leave the barrier, and the Hainowes won it and the bridge also. There was a sore assault, for such as were fled and entered within went up on the gate and cast down bars of iron, stones, pots full of quicklime, whereby many were sore hurt. A squire of Hainault received such a stroke with a stone on his large, that it was cloven clean asunder with the stroke and his arm broken, so that it was long after or he was whole. The Saturday in the morning there was a great assault, and they within did their devoir to defend themselves ; but finally the town was won by force and their pales and defences broken. And first entered into the town sir John of Hainault with his banner with great crying and shouting