Douay, and said how he would have reason of Gaunt. And anon after the death of John Lyon all they of Gaunt advised how they could not be long without captains. Then they ordained of the aldermen of the crafts and of the cinquanteniers of the ports' four of them according to their advice, most hardy and cruel persons of all other. First they chose John Pruniaux, John Boele, Ralph de Herselle and Peter du Bois,2 and all the other people sware to maintain and obey them as their captains, on pain of their heads that did the contrary, and the captains sware again to keep and maintain the honour and franchises of the town. These four captains stirred them of Gaunt to go to Ypres and to [the] Franc, to have obeisance of them or else to slay them all. So these captains and their people departed from Gaunt in good array they were a twelve thousand clean armed, and so came to Courtray. They of Courtray suffered them to enter into their town without danger, for it pertained to the franchise of Gaunt, and there took their ease two days and the third day departed and went to Ypres, and took with them two hundred 3 men of arms with the cross-bows of Courtray, and so took the way to Thourout. And when they came there, they rested and took counsel, and advised to send thither a three or four thousand of their men and the captain of the white hats with them, to treat with them of Ypres, and the great battle to follow after to comfort them, if need required. As it was ordained, so it was done, and so came to Ypres : and when they of Ypres, and especially they of the mean crafts, knew the coming of them of Gaunt, they armed them and took the market-place, and they were a five thousand: so there the rich men of the town had no puissance. The knights that were there in garrison, set by the earl, went ordinately to the gate of Thourout, whereas the Gauntois were without, desiring to have free entry : the knights and squires were ready ranged before the gate and shewed good defence, nor indeed the Gauntois had never entered without great damage, but that the ancient crafts of the town against the knights'
1 The better reading is ' paroches,' ' parishes.'
2 The true name is Van den Bossche.
3 A better reading is 'twelve hundred.'
will would that the Gauntois should enter.' The men of the town went out of the market-place and so came to the gate, the which the knights kept, and said ` Sirs, open the gate : let our friends and neighbours of Gaunt enter : we will they shall enter into our town.' The knights answered that they should not enter, and said how they were stablished there by the earl of Flanders to keep the town, the which they would do to the best of their powers, saying how it lay not in the puissance of Gaunt to enter there. Insomuch that words multiplied in such wise between the gentlemen and them of the town, that at last they cried : ` Slay and beat down them : they shall not be masters of our town.' There was a sore scrimmish and long endured in the streets. The knights were not of sufficient force to resist against them of the town, so that there were five knights slain, whereof two were sir Roubaix and sir Hovard de la Hovarderie, the which was great damage, and there was in great danger sir Henry d'Antoing. With much pain some of the rich men of the town saved him and divers other : but the gate was set open and the Gauntois entered and were lords and masters of the town without damage of any hurt.' And when they had been there two days and taken surety of them of the town, who sware in like manner and form as they of Bruges, of Courtray, of Grammont and of Damme had done, and delivered hostages for the same intent, then they departed right courteously and so went again to Gaunt.
SUMMARY.-The men of Ghent with those of Bruges, Ypres and other towns besieged Oudenarde in great force, and also sent a body of men to Termonde, where the earl was, and attacked it both by land and water. Being unable to take it, these retired to Oudenarde, where the siege continued1 By the better text, 'but that the small crafts of the town, whether the greater would or not, went out of the market-place,' etc.
2 'Without doing any damage in it.'