Deeds of Arms

A Collection of Accounts
of Formal Deeds of Arms of the Fourteenth Century

edited by Steven Muhlberger

Excerpts from Jean Juvénal des Ursins, Histoire de Charles VI, Roy de France, from Nouvelle Collection des Mémoires pour servir a l'histoire de France, depuis le XIIIe siècle jusqu'a la fin du XVIIIe, ed. Michaud and Poujoulat, v. 2 (Lyon and Paris, 1851).

Translations by Steven Muhlberger.   Translations copyright 2001, 2003.

Deeds of Arms Index -- Historical Materials on Knighthood and Chivalry -- KCT Library

p. 368


Pierre de Courtenay, Anglois d'Angleterre, lequelle estoit des plus prochains du roy d'Angleterre en service, et auquiel il se fioit moult, vint en France voulant faire armes contre le seigneur de la Trimoüille, en luy requerant qu'il vouloust accomplir ce qu'il requeroit.   Et le conseil du Roy respondit, que telles manieres de faire n'estoit à souffrir, ne point honnestes, veu qu'il n'y avoit point de matiere.  Et le seigneur de la Trimoüille respondit qu'il le combatroit, et qu'il y avoit assez cause, veu qu'il estoit François et Courtenay Anglois.  Et fut journée assignée à la cousture Sainct Martin.  Il y avoit des astronomiens à Paris lequels vindrent dire au seigneur de la Trimoüille, qu'il combatist hardiment.  Et que au jour assingnée il feroit tres-beau temps, et qu'il vaincroit son adversaire.  Au jour assignée, ils apparurent en champ en la presence du Roy et des seigneurs, et faisoit un temps tres-pluvieux.  Et quand ils furent tous prests de besogner, et de faire armes, le Roy les fit prendre, et defendre qu'ils ne combatissent point.  Et ainsi départirent.  Ledit Anglois s'en partit de Paris, et le fit le Roy deffrayer, et donner du sien bien et honnestement.  Et s'en vint devers le comte de Sainct Paul, qui avoit espousé la soeur du Roy d'Angleterre, et se vantoiit qu'en la cour du Roy, il n'avoit trouvé François qui l'eust ozé combatre.  Un gentilhomme seigneur de Clary estoit present qui luy respondit, que s'il vouloit, il le combatroit le lendemain, ou quand il luy plairoit.  Et estoit homme de petite stature, mais de grand courage.  Et en fut l'Anglois content, et jour assigné au lendemain, et comparurent le François et l'Anglois au champ, et combatirent vaillamment.  Et finalement l'Anglois fut blessé, et cheut à terre, et fut deconfit, et y eut le seigneur de Clary grand honneur.  La chose venuë à la congnoissance du duc de Bourgongne, il en fut tres-mal content, et disoit que ledit de Clary avoit gagné de mourir, et qu'on luy coupast la teste, pource que sans le congé du Roy, il avoit fait armes, et combatu ledit Anglois.  Et il respondit que ce pouvoit avoir lieu entre gens d'un party:  mais un François pouvoit combatre un Anglois son ennemy mortel, en tous les lieux qu'il le trouvoit.  Toutesfois ledit de Clary, craignant le courroux et mal-talent du duc de Bourgongne, se absenta, et en divers lieux se latita, et mussa.  Et à la fin, le Roy pardonna l'offense qu'il luy avoit peu faire, en faisant armes sans son congé.

Peter de Courtenay, an Englishman of England, who was in service one of the closest men to the king of England, and on whom he greatly relied, came to France wishing to fight against the Lord of Trimoüille, requiring of him that he should fulfill the challenge that Courtenay required of him.  And the king's council answered that such things should not be allowed, and were not at all honorable, seeing that there was no reason for them.  And the Lord of Trimoüille answered that he would fight him, and that he had plenty of reason, seeing that he was a Frenchman and Courtenay was English.   And the day's combat was scheduled for the field of St. Martin.   There were some astrologers in Paris who came to tell the Lord of Trimoüille that he would fight courageously.  And that on the chosen day the weather would be very beautiful, and that he would vanquish his opponent. On the chosen day, they appeared before the king and some lords, and the weather was very rainy.  And when they all were ready to go to work and fight, the king made them stop and forbade them to fight at all.  And so they withdrew.   The Englishman left Paris, and the king compensated him, and gave him handsome gifts.  And the Englishman went to the Count of St. Pol, who had married the sister of the King of England, and boasted that in the court of the king he had found no Frenchman who dared to fight him.   A nobleman was present, the Lord of Clary, and he answered him, saying that if he wished, he would fight him on the morrow, or whenever he pleased.   And he was a man of small stature but of great heart.  And the Englishman was satisfied with this, and the day was set for the morrow, and the Frenchman and the Englishman appeared at the field, and they fought valiantly.  And finally the Englishman was wounded, and fell to the ground, and was defeated, and the Lord of Clary was greatly honored as a result.  The affair came to the knowledge of the duke of Burgundy, and he was very displeased, and said that the Lord of Clary deserved death, and he should have his head cut off because without the permission of the king he had taken arms and fought this Englishman.  And he answered that he ought to have a place with the people who have only one cause: but a Frenchman ought to fight an Englishman as a mortal enemy, anywhere he might find him.  However, the Lord of Clary, fearing the anger and the ill-will of the Duke of Burgundy, absented himself, and hid in a number of places, and kept out of sight.   And finally, the king pardoned him the offense he had scarcely done him, in fighting without his permission.

p. 371

At this time there was a noble knight named Messire Jean de Carrouget, who had married a very beautiful and worthy lady, from whom he had been away for some time.   And when he returned, the weeping lady told her husband that she had been taken by force and carnally known by a squire called Jacques le Gris.  That squire, when he knew that he had been charged with such a deed was very displeased and often affirmed by oath that such a thing had never been done by him.  Carrouget, however, did not believe him in the slightest, and had him summoned to the royal presence for a trial by battle, and he appeared in court and the gage was thrown, and this matter was referred to the court of Parlement.   And when everything had been seen and considered, it was decided that gage fell due in this case, and it awarded trial by battle, and it was ordered that the lady should be held prisoner.   And she made a sworn declaration that what she had imputed to Jacques le Gris was true, and thus she swore and affirmed, and Jacques likewise to the contrary.   So the parties came to the field and the proclamations were made in the accustomed form and manner.   And some say that Messire Jean de Carrouget suffered from fevers, and that they took him at this hour, and thus the champions fought each other well and fiercely.   And finally Jacques le Gris fell.   And then Carrouget got on top of him and taking his sword demanded that he tell him the truth.   And he answered by God, by the peril of eternal damnation to his soul, that he had never committed the deed with which he was charged.  And yet Carrouget, who believed his wife, thrust the sword right down through his body, and killed him, which was great pity.   For then the truth became known, that he had never committed the deed, and that another had done it, who died of disease in his bed and on the point of death confessed before a group of people that he had done this.

pp. 371-2

In Brittany at this time there was a knight named Messire Robert de Beaumanoir, who summoned before the duke another knight called Pierre de Tournemine, for a trial by battle.  And he said that he had a relative of his name and arms, whom one had accused of keeping the daughter of a worker, and before this worker had come the said de Tournemine and said to him, that he was very disgraceful because he did not kill the relative of Beaumanoir, or have him killed, for the reason aforesaid, and advised him to do it.   And he so encouraged the laborer that he placed himself in ambush many times, and found a time to his advantage and killed him.   And Beaumanoir said that the murder had been done by the persuasion of the said Tournemine and that he had done it falsely and treacherously; and if he wished to deny it, he was ready to fight him over it, and threw down his gage.   Tournemine responded and denied everything that Beaumanoir had said.  And finally in view of the material, and all things being considered, the gage was adjudged and it was decided that he should have trial by battle on account of it.   And a day and place were assigned, at which the parties appeared before the duke and there were oaths taken in the accustomed manner.  After the proclamation was made that each should do his duty, the two of them approached each other and fought a long time, and one could hardly tell which had the advantage.  Finally de Tournemine was defeated without admitting the deed, and left the field as a dead man.

p. 385

The English who sometimes came into contact with the French at Calais said that the French were cowardly at heart.   And there were two barons or knights of England who maintained that they had not found any Frenchman willing to perform arms with them or against them.  When this came to the knowledge of Messire Renaud de Roye and Messire Jean Boucicaut, they came before the king and begged him to give them leave to perform a deed of arms.  And the king was well pleased with this, and they took themselves to Boulogne, and the English were at Calais.   And the English showed up and the French did likewise.  They fought strongly and passionately and for a good long time.  And finally the judges said that enough had been done, and both had gained honor, and they dined and supped together and made very good cheer, giving beautiful and gracious presents.  The French presented their horses and harness to the church of Notre-Dame of Boulogne, and went to Paris to great honor.