The army set about furbishing and repairing their armor, and the King gave a supper that evening to the earls and barons of his army, where they made good cheer.
Continuing Battles that Began The Hundred Years War,
our selection from Froissart’s Chronicles by Sir John Froissart published in around 1400. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages. The selection is presented in five easy 5 minute installments.
Previously in Battles that Began The Hundred Years War.
Place: In Picardy, France
The two battalions of the marshals came, on Friday in the afternoon, to where the King was, and they fixed their quarters, all three together, near Crécy in Ponthieu. The King of England, who had been informed that the King of France was following him, in order to give him battle, said to his people: “Let us post ourselves here, for we will not go farther before we have seen our enemies. I have good reason to wait for them on this spot; as I am now upon the lawful inheritance of my lady mother, which was given her as her marriage portion, and I am resolved to defend it against my adversary, Philip de Valois.” On account of his not having more than an eighth part of the forces which the King of France had, his marshals fixed upon the most advantageous situation, and the army went and took possession of it. He then sent his scouts toward Abbeville, to learn if the King of France meant to take the field this Friday, but they returned and said they saw no appearance of it; upon which he dismissed his men to their quarters with orders to be in readiness by times in the morning and to assemble in the same place. The King of France remained all Friday in Abbeville, waiting for more troops. He sent his marshals, the Lord of St. Venant and Lord Charles of Montmorency, out of Abbeville, to examine the country and get some certain intelligence of the English. They returned about vespers with information that the English were encamped on the plain. That night the King of France entertained at supper in Abbeville all the princes and chief lords. There was much conversation relative to war; and the King entreated them after supper that they would always remain in friendship with each other; that they would be friends without jealousy, and courteous without pride. The King was still expecting the Earl of Savoy, who ought to have been there with a thousand lances, as he had been well paid for them at Troyes in Champaign, three months in advance.
The King of England encamped this Friday in the plain, for he found the country abounding in provisions, but, if they should have failed, he had plenty in the carriages which attended on him. The army set about furbishing and repairing their armor, and the King gave a supper that evening to the earls and barons of his army, where they made good cheer. On their taking leave the King remained alone with the lords of his bedchamber; he retired into his oratory, and, falling on his knees before the altar, prayed to God that if he should combat his enemies on the morrow, he might come off with honor. About midnight he went to bed and, rising early the next day, he and the Prince of Wales heard mass and communicated. The greater part of his army did the same, confessed, and made proper preparations. After mass, the King ordered his men to arm themselves, and assemble on the ground he had before fixed on. He had enclosed a large park near a wood, on the rear of his army, in which he placed all his baggage wagons and horses. This park had but one entrance; his men-at-arms and archers remained on foot.
The King afterward ordered, through his constable and his two marshals, that the army should be divided into three battalions. In the first he placed the young Prince of Wales, and with him the earls of Warwick and Oxford, Sir Godfrey de Harcourt, the Lord Reginald Cobham, Lord Thomas Holland, Lord Stafford, Lord Mauley, the Lord Delaware, Sir John Chandos, Lord Bartholomew Burgherst, Lord Robert Neville, Lord Thomas Clifford, Lord Bourchier, Lord Latimer, and many other knights and squires. There might be, in this first division, about eight hundred men-at-arms, two thousand archers, and a thousand Welshmen. They advanced in regular order to their ground, each lord under his banner and pennon and in the center of his men. In the second battalion were the Earl of Northampton, the Earl of Arundel, the lords Roos, Willoughby, Basset, St. Albans, Sir Lewis Tufton, Lord Multon, Lord Lascels, and many others; amounting, in the whole, to about eight hundred men-at-arms and twelve hundred archers. The third battalion was commanded by the King, and was composed of about seven hundred men-at-arms and two thousand archers.
The King then mounted a small palfrey, having a white wand in his hand, and, attended by his two marshals on each side of him, he rode at a footpace through all the ranks, encouraging and entreating the army that they would guard his honor and defend his right. He spoke this so sweetly and with such a cheerful countenance that all who had been dispirited were directly comforted by seeing and hearing him. When he had thus visited all the battalions it was near ten o’clock; he retired to his own division, and ordered them all to eat heartily and drink a glass after. They ate and drank at their ease, and, having packed up pots, barrels, etc., in the carts they returned to their battalions according to the marshals’ orders, and seated themselves on the ground, placing their helmets and bows before them, that they might be the fresher when their enemies should arrive.
On Saturday the King of France rose betimes, and heard mass in the monastery of St. Peter’s in Abbeville, where he was lodged; having ordered his army to do the same, he left that town after sunrise. When he had marched about two leagues from Abbeville, and was approaching the enemy, he was advised to form his army in order of battle and to let those on foot march forward that they might not be trampled on by the horses. The King, upon this, sent off four knights, Lord Moyne of Bastleberg, Lord of Noyers, Lord of Beaujeu, and the Lord of Aubigny, who rode so near to the English that they could clearly distinguish their position. The English plainly perceived they were come to reconnoiter them; however, they took no notice of it, but suffered them to return unmolested.
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