Deeds of Arms at Vannes (From the Chronicle of the Good Duke)
XLIII How the earl of Buckingham raised the siege of Nantes and how the fifteen English did not perform their arms with fifteen Frenchmen.
Charles King of France in honor of his coronation made many knights of whom he had many in Nantes who grandly held steady with their companions against the English. The earl of Buckingham who saw this weakness among his people and no advantage to continuing his siege of Nantes, had the intention to raise his siege for this reason; but he delayed it somewhat because fifteen men at arms of the household of the duke of Bourbon had proposed a battle on an island near Nantes with another fifteen English men at arms in the household of the earl of Buckingham, to fight to the end with no judges but only two heralds, one of France, the other of England. And this was promised and sworn, but failed on account of English as you have heard. And this enterprise cost the duke of Bourbon three thousan francs in harness and equipment that he had sent to his people every day for the space of three weeks; and the fifteen in the household of the duke of Bourbon did nothing but insist that the English hold this fight, but the English led them on by words, and told them "wait, wait, we will tell you right away." Thereupon, the earl of Buckingham seeing a great loss of his English from dysentery, one evening decamped with all his people and the next day in the morning, the fifteen English sent by a herald to the fifteen French of the household of the duke of Bourbon that they would not hold the battle there, but if they wished to come to Vannes, where their master the earl had come, they would accomplish their arms. The fifteen of the duke of Bourbon gave no other response except to say to the herald that if the duke of Brittany wanted to give them good security that they would come and accomplish them there. And so the earl of Buckingham left the siege of Nantes without having done anything to his advantage, and his Englishmen rode towards Vannes. And after them sallied out the French captains, Messire Jean de Chastelmorand, Messire le Barrois, Messire Pierre de Bueil, and the marshal of Savoy, who were a good eight hundred men at arms who harassed and held the English close and took much of the baggage train before they got to Vannes. And the French retired to Chastel-Josselin, where the Lord of Clisson, the new constable of France, had come, and asked him leave to depart for those of the garrison of Nantes to go to their masters. The Constable told them no, insisting that they should wait until the English embarked on the sea and in the meantime the fifteen of the household of the duke of Bourbon who had turned back to Nantes in the garrison with the others sent to the English fifteen that they should appear to fulfill their promise and that thereupon they should send them good guarantees from the earl of Buckingham their master and from the duke of Brittany and they would willingly come there. So a herald carried the safe conducts to Messire Jean de Chastelmorand, to Barrois and their companions, and that with them they would be able to bring forty gentlemen to accompany them and gave willingly the safe conducts believing that the fifteen French ought not go there at all; but notwithstanding the safe conduct the fifteen sent Cordellier de Gironne, a squire of the household squires of the king of France, to the earl of Buckingham and to the duke of Brittany for the guarantee, and he brought it and the fifteen companions went with Cordellier to Vannes to the duke of Brittany and to the earl of Buckingham there presents, and to notify them that they had come all ready to accomplish that which had been promised, the next day after their mass.
XLIV How five noble Frenchmen performed arms at Vannes against five noble Englishmen and what happened.
The earl of Buckingham, seeing that this was in earnest had great counsel with the duke of Brittany to about what should be done. And the response which the earl of Buckingham made was that his people were not up to the mark, and it had been a year since he left England and also that he and his people had been at siege before Nantes for three months, for which reason their harness was very deteriorated. For this reason he was not in favor of performing arms especially to extremities but he had thought to give his advice to some of his servants that if there was any from the household of the duke of Bourbon who wished to perform specified arms, to this he agreed willingly. So the companions of the agreement were much amazed and infuriated thinking that they would not fight at all. So they decided that they should not hold to them but it would be good to do something of the sort for which they had come there and they should take what the English were offering. The arms which the English wished to do were five blows of the lance, five of the sword, five of the axe, five of the dagger, all on foot; and it was granted to them. And the next day early in the morning there were but five Englishmen who wished to perform arms and from the people of the duke of Bourbon another five: namely Jean de Chastelmorand, Messire le Barrois, the bastard of Glarains, the viscount of Aunay, Messire Tristan de la Jaille; and the five English were Messire Walter Cloppeton, Edward de Beauchamp, Messire Thomas de Hennefort, Brisselai, and Messire Jehan de Traro. All the companions standing on the field where the duke of Brittany and the earl of Buckingham were accompanied by their people. The first to perform arms from the French was Jean de Chastelmorand against Walter Cloppeton
Cloppeton, an Englishman, of which
they were not able to do more than the lance on foot, four
Messire Walter Cloppeton was
wounded by the lance right through, between the lames and the piece, and it
passed through as he fell to the earth and of those two there were only these
three blows, for Cloppeton was carried off. Messire le Barrois, who was armed,
entered the field to perform arms against his companion, Thomas de Hennefort,
who entered the field likewise and they did their five blows with the lance
very chivalrously; and when it came to swords, when they attacked at the first
blow of the sword Le Barrois wounded the Englishman between the piece and the
gardebras and damaged the mail and pierced the shoulder completely so that it
was necessary to lead off the Englishman without doing more arms. Then came the
bastard of Glarains and Edward Beauchamp and when it came to combat with lances
Edward Beauchamp turned his shoulder a little and so much that the bastard of
Glarains twice knocked him to the ground with two blows of the lance,
notwithstanding that he was large of body and a good gentleman and then the
Englishmen said that Beauchamp was dronch,
that is to say, drunk. They picked him up and led him away. Then came Messire
Tristan de la Jaille to his English companion and they accomplished all of
their arms up to the axes; and when this came to strike Messire Tristan knocked
down his Englishman with the second axe blow, and badly wounded him and that
was it. The Viscount d’Aunay came into the field to his companion who performed
his arms beautifully, but the Viscount wounded the Englishmen with last blow of
the lance, between the avant-bras and the garde-bras, and pierced the arm right
through, so that he did no more. And so were the arms accomplished that day in which
the five noble men, the French companions, had the better of it, and the five
noble Englishmen the worse as you have seen above.