Tales from Froissart

edited by Steve Muhlberger, Nipissing University

Francis Atremen defeats the French at Ardembourg

The duke of Burgundy, heir to the earl of Flanders, prepares to wage war against rebellious Ghent.

Book II, ch. 157 (Johnes, v. II, p. 30-31).   The duke of Burgundy, in consequence of the renewal of the war, had reinforced the garrisons of his towns and castles in Flanders with men and stores. The lord de Guistelles was commander in Bruges, and sir John de Jumont in Courtray: for sir William de Namur was at that time lord of Sluys: sir Roger de Guistelle governed Damme, and sir Peter de la Sieple Ypres.  Men at arms were stationed in all the frontier towns of Flanders by order of the duke of Burgundy. Sir Guy de Pontarlier, marshal of Burgundy, remained in garrison in the town of Ardembourg, with sir Rafflart de Flandres, sir John de Jumont, sir Henry du Coing, the lord de Montigny in Ostrevant, the lord de Longueval, sir John de Bernecte, sir Peter de Bailleul, Belle-Fourriere, Phelippot Ganey, Raoullin de la Folie, and several more, to the amount of two hundred combatants.

They determined among themselves to make an excursion into the Quatre Mestiers and ravage that country, for much provision was carried from thence into Ghent. They therefore, having fixed on a day for this enterprise,
armed themselves and marched thither.

The same day that the French had fixed on for their expedition, about two thousand determined men had sallied out of Ghent under the command of Francis Atremen: accidentally they found themselves in a village in the midst of the French. When they had reconnoitred each other, they saw a battle was unavoidable. The French instantly dismounted, and, grasping their lances, advanced on the enemy: the Ghent men, who were as numerous, did the same. The combat began sharply; but the Ghent men
advanced into a pass which was much to their loss, where the battle was more severe: many gallant deeds were done, and many beat down. Sir Rafflart de Flandres in that place showed the greatest courage; and the knights and squires engaged the Ghent men with determined valour, as indeed it behoved them to do, for quarter was given to none.

At last the Ghent men, by having superior numbers, gained the field, and the French were obliged to mount their horses or they would have been slain, for their opponents much outnumbered them. In this encounter were killed sir John de Bernecte, sir Peter de Bailleul, Belle-Fourriere, Phelippot de Ganey, Raoullin de la Folie, and many others: the more the pity. The rest were obliged to fly and re-enter Ardembourg, or they must inevitably have been killed.

After this event, the viscount de Meaux was sent with all his men at arms to garrison Ardembourg, which he repaired and strengthened. He had with him several knights and squires who were good determined soldiers. At this time sir John de Jumont was great bailiff of Flanders, and had been so for the two preceding years. He was much feared through all that country for his great prowess, and the deeds he had performed. Whenever he got hold of any Ghent men he put them to death, or had their eyes thrust out, or their hands, ears or feet cut off, and in this state sent them away to serve as an example to their fellow-citizens. He was so renowned throughout all Flanders for his pitiless justice in thus cruelly punishing the Ghent men, that no one was talked of but him in the whole country.

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