Knighthood, Chivalry & Tournaments
Resource Library

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

                   edited by Steven Muhlberger

To introduce this section I must explain why I call it "Deeds of Arms."

Modern people often make a big distinction between "tournaments" and "real war," but the distinction was much more fluid in the fourteenth century (and perhaps at other times in the Middle Ages, too).    The late 14th century chronicler Jean Froissart, who dedicated hundreds of thousands of words to the faits d'armes (deeds or feats of arms) of his time used faits d'armes indiscriminantly for formal activities, where combatants were regulated by judges and rules, and battles, raids, and sieges.   And in fact, sometimes a "real" military campaign would come to a halt while enemies competed in formal, almost friendly combat.   Noble and gentle "men at arms" (those who fought in high-quality armor, who might be knights or squires or have neither rank) might kill each other in battle, but might spare each other, too.   The same thing applied to "jousts" or "tournaments:" at some level they were friendly confrontations, with rules and limits, but injury and death and real hostility were possible outcomes, and everyone knew it.

The material collected here reflects my interest in 14th-century formal "deeds of arms," what we often call "tournaments."  This section includes a great many chronicle accounts of such deeds.  Some were written close to the event; others much later.   Archival documents are in a separate section.

Where possible under copyright law, I have included both the original text in Latin, Middle French, Middle English or Scots, and a translation into modern English.   Many of the translations are my own, and I invite comment on them.

The collection is organized in two different ways:

Accounts in chronological order of the events described
Accounts organized by source and date of writing.

Will McLean has made available some accounts of 15th Century Deeds of Arms at the St. Michael's
Tournament Company web site.

As of February 21, 2003, I have added a section called Deeds of Arms -- From the Archives:
Documents relating to Formal Deeds of Arms of the Fourteenth Century.  These include archival documents proper -- government licenses and orders connected with deeds of arms -- and announcements of and invitations to jousts and other formal deeds.  These are more nearly contemporary with the events discussed, but usually were issued in preparation for the combats, and so can't describe them.

All translations by Steven Muhlberger are copyright 2001-3 by Steven Muhlberger, but may be used for educational purposes.

Historical Materials on Knighthood and Chivalry -- KCT Library

Accounts in chronological order of the events described

Henry of Grosmont jousts with William of Douglas (Wyntoun) -- 1338

Hastiludes between English and Scots -- 1342 Tournament at Dunstaple  -- 1342 Hastiludes at Northhampton -- 1342 Hastiludes at Eltham (Adam Murimuth) -- 1342 Jousts at London (le Bel) -- 1342 Thomas Colvyle jousts with a French knight (Anonimalle Chronicle) -- 1346 Women at tournaments (Knighton) -- 1348 Hastiludes at Windsor (Geoffrey le Baker) -- 1349 Combat of the Thirty (le Bel, Froissart, verse, Wyntoun) -- 1351 Combat of Twenty French vs. Twenty Gascons (Knighton) -- 1353 Challenges between Edward III and John II (Le Bel) -- 1355 Deed of Arms at Rennes (Froissart) -- 1357

Bartholemew de Burgersh at Reims (Grey) -- 1359

Hastiludes at London (John of Reading) -- 1359 John Asneton at Noyon (Froissart) -- 1370 Gavin Macaille challenges the English army (Froissart) -- 1381 Jousts at Vannes (Froissart) -- 1381 Joust between Jean Boucinel and Nicholas Clifford  (Froissart) -- 1381 Joust between Miles Windsor and Tristan de Roye (Froissart) -- 1382 Peter Courtenay jousts with the Lord of Trimouille and the Lord of Clary (Juvénal des Ursins, Froissart) --1383? Joust between Sicart de la Barde and Boucicaut (Life of Boucicaut) -- 1385 Joust between Peter Courtenay and Boucicaut (Life of Boucicaut) -- 1386 Joust between Thomas Clifford and Boucicaut (Life of Boucicaut) -- 1386 The life-and-death duel between James le Gris and John de Carouge (Froissart, Religieux) -- 1386 A duel between Robert de Beaumanoir and Pierre de Tournemine (Juvénal des Ursins) -- 1386 A deed of arms at Bordeaux  before Sir John Harpedon (Froissart) Joust between John Holland and Reginald de Roye at Entenca  (Froissart) -- 1387 A joust between Boucicaut and Jean d'Aubercicourt fails to come off (Froissart)-- 1387 Boucicaut is challenged at Orthez by English knights, but no combat results (Life of Boucicaut) -- 1387 Hastilude at Calais (Knighton) -- 1388 Deed of arms at Montereau sur Yonne (Froissart) -- 1388 Deed of arms at Bordeaux before the Duke of Lancaster (Froissart) -- 1389? Hastilude at Paris (Monk of St. Denis) -- 1389? Jousting at Queen Isabella's entry into Paris (Froissart)  -- 1389 Death of John Hastings, Earl of Pembroke, at Woodstock (History of the Life and Reign of Richard II)  -- 1389
  • text in Latin
  • translation by Steven Muhlberger
  • St. Inglevert  -- 1390 Royally-sponsored joust at Smithfield, London  -- 1390 David of Lindsay jousts with the Lord of Wells (Wyntoun) -- 1390 Lords of Scotland joust with English lords in London  (the Brut)-- 1393 Royally-sponsored joust in London (Froissart) -- 1399 A challenge issued by Michel d'Orris (Monstrelet) -- 1400

    Accounts organized by source and date of writing.

    Adam Murimuth, Continuatio Chronicarum -- 1346

    Jean Le Bel, Chronique -- 1350s

    La Bataille de Trente Anglois et de Trente Bretons (anonymous poem) -- 1350s or 60s

    Geoffrey le Baker, Chronicle-- 1356

    Thomas Grey of Heton, Scalacronica-- 1362

    John of Reading, Chronica -- 1367

    The Anonimalle Chronicle -- before 1382 (this section)

    Henry Knighton, Chronicle--late 1370s to 1396

    Anonymous Poem on the Deed of Arms at St. Inglevert (Middle French text at Gallica, starting on p. 61) -- 1390s?

    Jean Froissart, Chronicles -- (various editions in the late 14th c. and the very early 15th c.)

    Chronique du religieux de Saint-Denis  (Monk of St. Denis) -- 1380-1422

    Chronographia Regum Francorum-- 1405

    Le Livre des fais du bon Messire Jehan le Maingre, dit Bouciquaut, Mareschal de France et Gouverneur de Jennes (Life of Boucicaut) -- 1409

    Historia Vitae et Regni Ricardi Secundi (History of the Life and Reign of Richard II) -- early 15th century.

    Jean Juvénal des Ursins, Histoire de Charles VI -- 1416

    The Brut or The Chronicles of England -- Continuation to 1419

    Androw of Wyntoun, The Orygynale Chronykil of Scotland -- early 1420s

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