Tales from Froissart

edited by Steve Muhlberger, Nipissing University

The Funeral of the Earl of Flanders (1384)

After truce negotiations, Louis III, earl of Flanders, dies, and his funeral is accompanied by much ceremony and heraldic display.

Book II, ch. 147 (Johnes, v. II, pp. 14-7).  I will now relate the arrangement of this ceremony, and the manner in
which it was conducted, and describe the order of procession at the funeral of the earl and countess of Flanders, whose bodies had been carried to Los, an abbey near Lille. When they were about to enter Lille, a great number of lords from France, Flanders, Hainault and Brabant, who had arrived there the eve of the funeral, were to meet the body at the gate of the Invalids, and to carry it through the town to the church of St. Peter. They were to be armed as for war, as well as their
squires who supported them.

Sir John Haluin was nearest the body, supported by Enguerrand de Volemie, and Roger de L'Espierre: then the lord de la Marque, supported by John de L'Espierre, and the lord Sausée de Fretin; the lord de Mauvis, supported by Godfrey de Noille, and Henry de la Vacquerie. The names of those appointed to the convoy were, sir Peter de Bailleuf, near the body,
supported by Guyot de Lompré, and John Louis lord of Lamberticourt: sir Sohier de Gand advanced before sir Peter de Bailleuf, supported by Hugart de Quinghen, and by Michael de La Quarrie: sir John du Moulin advanced before sir Sohier de Gand, supported by John de Quinghen and Haubequin le mareschal.

Next followed the banners of the bier; first, sir Francis de Hasurquerque and sir Goussain le Sauvage in front; sir Lancelot de la Personne before sir Goussain, and sir John de la Helle before sir Lancelot de la Personne. Those who bore the banners of the bier and convoy came next, sir Matthew de Hunieres, and before him sir John de Helles lord des Aveaux, and sir Cierchelart de la Barre before the above named lord des Aveaux; and sir John de Paris before Cierchelart.

The names of those barons who assisted to carry the corpse of the earl from the gate of the Invalids, in procession through the town of Lille, to the church of St. Peter: first, sir John de Vienne, admiral of France, on the right, and the lord de Guistelles on the left; sir Valeran de Ravenal on the right, the castellan de Disquenieu on the left; the lord d'Estournay on the right, and sir Ansel de Salins on the left.

Those barons who assisted in bearing the corpse of the countess of Flanders from the gate of St. Ladre to the church of St. Peter were, the lord de Sully on the right, and the lord de Châtillon on the left side of the body; sir Guy de Pontalliers, marshal of Burgundy, on the right, sir Guy de Guistelles on the left; then sir Henry du Coing on the right, and castellan of Furnes on the left.

I shall now mention the regulations on the day of the obsequies, which were performed in the church of St. Peter, the names of those present as well as of the squires who supported the shields during the whole mass, until the offertory: first, the duke
of Burgundy by himself, and the first shield was borne before him, which shield was supported by the lord de Ravenal, by the lord de ha Gouneuse, by Labequin de ha Coutre, and by John de Pontalliers brother to the marshal of Burgundy.  The second shield was borne before my lord John of Artois, count d'Eu, and the lord Philip de Bar, by Valeran de la Sale and Lesclaus d'Annequin. Next followed the count de la Marche and the lord Plailip d'Artois; the shield was borne by Gillon de Labert and Robin de Florigny. Then came sir Robert de Namur, and with him his nephew sir William de Namur: the shield was borne by Chaux Bernard and Girard de Sternaille.

The shields of the convoy: the lord d'Anghien, and with him sir John de Namur; the shield carried by Aillart de Ponthees and Henry de Moucy. Next followed sir Esne de Chatillon, and the lord de Fere; the shield supported by John de Heluin and Edward de Castron; then the lord d'Ancoing and the lord de Guistelles: the shield-bearers were Tristan de Landres and John du Beart; then the lord de Moriennes and the lord de Silly: the shield borne by Fresingue and by Damas de Bucy.

Then came those who were to make offerings of the war-horses of the earl: first my lord de Chatillon and sir Simon de Lalain, bailiff of Hainault. These lords were on foot, and the horse was armed and caparisoned; with the second horse were sir Valeran de Ravenal and the castellan de Dixmude: with the third, sir Hugh de Melun and the lord d'Aucy:  the lord de Burnel and the lord de Brumeu were with the fourth horse. Then came those who were to ofter the steeds of the convoy: first, sir Henry d'Ancoing and sir Gerard de Guistelles; with the second, the lord de Montigny and the lord de Rasenghien; the lord de la Haurade and the castellan de Furnes were with the third; and the fourth had the lord de Saugmelles and sir Rowland de la
Clicque.

Next came those who were to offer the earl's swords of war; my lord admiral of France bore the first, the lord de Rary the second, the marshal of Burgundy the third, the lord de Saint Py the fourth. The names of those who offered the swords of the convoy: sir Wilhiam de Ponthieu bore the first, sir William de la Trimouille the second, the castellan of Ypres the third, and sir Guy de Hâncourt the fourth.

Then came those who offered the war-helmets of the earl; the lord de Mailly bore the first: the second was borne by sir William de Hornes and sir Ansel de Sahins: sir John Doppem and the castellan of St. Omer had the third; and sir Guy de Guistelles and le Galois d'Aunoy the fourth.   The helmets of the convoy were borne and offered as follows: the first by sir Josse de Hallain and sir Oliver de Guffy; the second by the lord d'Ysebobecque and the lord de Lalain; the fourth by sir Tristan du Bois and sir John de Jumont.

Then came those who offered the banners of war: the lord de Listrenaille offered the first, sir Leoncel d'Airainnies the second, sir Giles de la Gouneuse the third, and sir John de Luisolom the fourth. The banners of the convoy were next offered: the first by sir Orengois de Rely, the third by sir John de Disqueniue and the fourth by sir Vilaines de la Clicque.

Those who, after the obsequies were ended, laid the body of the earl of Flanders in the earth were, sir John de Vienne admiral of France, the lord de Guistelle, sir Valeran de Ravenal, the castellan de Dixmude, the lord de Ray and sir Ansel de Salins. Those who interred the body of the countess, consort to the earl, were, sir Guy de la Trimouille, the lord de Châtillon, the séneschal of Burgundy, the lord Gerard de Guistelles, sir Henry d'Antoing and the castellan of Furnes.

It should be observed, that all who officia1ly had entered the church of St. Peter at Lille, with the corpse in the evening, remained there until the mass of the morrow, as well those knights who were armed as those who bore the banners and the squires who led the horses. There were about four hundred men, clothed in black, appointed to carry the body of the earl and countess of Flanders, through Lille, to the church of St Peter, and each of them bore a torch in his hand. These four hundred men held their torches on the morrow in the church during mass, and they were all of them officers in the principal towns or of the earl's household.

The archbishop of Rheims celebrated the mass, assisted by the bishops of Paris, Tournay, Cambray and Arras, and likewise by five abbots. There were in the church, during the obsequies, seven hundred candles or thereabouts, and each candle weighed one pound. On the catafalque were five banners: in the centre, the banner of Flanders; on the right, that of Artois; on the left, lower down, that of Boulogne; the fourth of Nevers, and the fifth of Rethel. The catafalque was emblazoned on the right side with the scutcheons of Flanders, and on the left with those of Flanders and Brabant. Down the church were twelve hundred and twenty- six candles, similar to those around the bodies. There was not any lady or damsel present on the part of the duke or duchess of Burgundy except the lady of the governor of Lille.

A magnificent dinner was provided, and every knight and squire were gratuitously entertained the day and night of the obsequies; and all the black cloth they had won was given to them. After this ceremony they all returned to their homes.

The duke of Burgundy placed in the garrisons and towns in Flanders, knights and squires, notwithstanding the truce which had been made between France and England, and between their allies, for every one was on his guard. The duke of Burgundy then returned to France, but the lady-duchess remained a considerable time in Artois.

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