Friday, February 12, 2010

Maillotin de Bours vs. Hector de Flavy 1431

On the 20th day of June in this year, a combat took place in the town of Arras, and in the presence of the duke of Burgundy, between Maillotin de Bours, appellant, and Sir Hector de Flavy, defendant. Maillotin had charged Sir Hector, before the duke of Burgundy, with having said, that he was desirous of becoming the duke's enemy, and of turning to the party of King Charles; and also, that he had required of him to accompany him in his flight, and to seize Guy Guillebaut, the duke's treasurer, or some other wealthy prisoner, to pay for their expenses.

The duke, on this charge, had ordered Maillotin to arrest Sir Hector, and bring him prisoner to Arras, which he did in the following manner. Having received this order, he went, accompanied by a competent number of men, to a village near Corbie called Bonnay, and thence sent to Sir Hector to come to him. Sir Hector, not knowing that any accusations had been made against him, came thither with a very few attendants, for Maillotin had pretended that he wanted only to speak with him; but no sooner did he appear than he laid hands on him, and carried him prisoner to Arras, where he remained in confinement a considerable time. However, by the exertions of his friends, he was conducted to the presence of the duke in Hesdin, when he ably defended himself against the charges brought against him, and declared that it was Maillotin himself who made the proposals that he had mentioned. Words at last ran so high that Maillotin threw down his glove, which Sir Hector, by leave of the prince, took up. The 20th day of June was fixed on for the combat, and there might be forty days before its arrival. Sufficient pledges were mutually given for their due appearance in person on the appointed day.

The duke of Burgundy came from his palace in Arras about ten o'clock of the 20th of June, grandly attended by his nobles and chivalry, to the seat which had been prepared for him in the centre of the lists, in the great market-square, the usual place for tournaments. The Counts de St. Pol, de Ligny, and others of rank, entered the seat with the duke. Two handsome tents were pitched at each end of the lists, and without them were two great chairs of wood for the champions to repose in. That of Maillotin, as appellant, was on the right hand of the duke, and Sir Hector's on the left. Sir Hector's tent was very richly ornamented with sixteen emblazoned quarterings of his arms, and of those of his ancestors, on each side. There was also a representation of a sepulchre, because Sir Hector had been made a knight at the holy sepulchre of Jerusalem.

Shortly afterward, Maillotin was summoned by the king-at-arms to appear in person and fulfill his engagements. About eleven o'clock he left his mansion, accompanied by the lord de Chargny, the lord de Humieres, Sir Peter Quierel Lord de Ramencourt, and many other gentlemen, his relations and friends. He was mounted on a horse covered with the emblazonments of his arms, having on plain armour, his helmet on and his vizor closed, holding in one hand his lance and in the other one of his two swords; for he was provided with two, and a large dagger hanging by his side. His horse was led by the bridle by two knights on foot; and on his arrival at the barriers he made the usual oaths in the hands of Sir James de Brimeu, who had been appointed for the purpose. This done, the barriers were thrown open, and he entered with his companions on foot, who then presented themselves before the duke of Burgundy. After this, he rode to his chair, where he dismounted, and entered his pavilion to repose himself and wait his adversary. The Lord de Chargny, who was his manager to instruct him how to act, entered the tent with him, as did a few of hie confidential friends.

Artois, king-at-arms, now summoned Sir Hector de Flavy in the same manner as he had done the other; and within a quarter of an hour sir Hector left his house and came to the barriers on horseback, fully armed like his opponent, grandly accompanied by gentlemen, among whom were the two sons of the count de St. Pol, Louis and Thibault, who led Sir Hector's horse by the bridle. The other lords followed behind on foot, namely, the Lord d'Antoing, the Vidame of Amiens, John de Flavy brother to Sir Hector, Hugh de Launoy, the Lord de Chargny, the Lord de Saveuses, Sir John de Fosseux, the Lord de Crevecœur, and many more nobles and esquires of rank. On Sir Hector's arrival at the barriers, he took the oath, and then presented himself to the duke. He went to his chair, dismounted, and entered his pavilion. Soon after, they both advanced on foot before the duke, and swore on the Evangelists that their quarrel was good, and that they would combat fairly and then returned again to their pavilions.

Proclamation was now made by the king-at-arms for all persons, under pain of death, to quit the lists, excepting such as had been charged to guard them. The prince had ordered that eight persons on each side, relations or friends of the champions, should remain within the lists unarmed, in addition to the eight that had been before appointed to raise them, or put an end to the combat, according to the prince's pleasure.

The chairs being removed, proclamation was again made for the champions to advance and do their duty. On hearing this, Maillotin de Bours, as appellant, first stepped forth, and then Sir Hector, each grasping their lances handsomely. On their approach, they threw them, but without either hitting. They then, with great signs of courage, drew nearer, and began the combat with swords. Sir Hector, more than once, raised the vizor of his adversary's helmet by his blows, so that his face was plainly seen, which caused the spectators to believe Sir Hector had the best of the combat. Maillotin, however, without being any way discouraged, soon closed it, by striking it down with the pummel of his sword, and retreating a few paces.

The two champions showed the utmost valour; but at this moment, before any blood had been drawn, the duke ordered further proceedings to be stopped, which was instantly done by those who had been commissioned for the purpose. They were commanded to withdraw to their lodgings, which they obeyed, by quitting the lists at opposite ends; and on the morrow they dined at the duke's table, Sir Hector sitting on his right hand. When dinner was over, the duke ordered them, under pain of capital punishment, to attempt nothing further against each other, their friends, or allies, and to lay aside all the malice and hatred that was between them. In confirmation of which, he made them shake hands.

Enguerrand de Monstrelet The chronicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet tr. Thomas Johnes London, New York, G. Routledge and sons, 1867 v.1 pp 586-587


Steve Muhlberger said...

I am fascinated by Maillotin de Bours' first name. Is this guy named after 14th century urban revolutionaries? Like a 19th century Frenchman being named "Sans-cullote?" Did he wear his baseball cap backwards?

My word verification is "sedista." Is that a clue?

Will McLean said...


I was struck by Maillotin's name, too. I can tell you that it's a nickname: he's listed in Burgundian records as "Etienne de Bours dit Maillotin" Theres at least one other man in those records, a Simon Gure, also "dit Maillotin"

I'm inclined to guess that it's more like an English speaker being nicknamed "the Hammer"

In the course of researching Maillotin de Bours, I discovered that by 1439 the duke of Burgundy had set him up with Colle la Chastelaine, who had borne the duke two bastards in 1426-1427.

The duke granted the couple a lordship and other revenues in consideration of the marriage.

Steve Muhlberger said...

I agree that he's probably "the Hammer" (Uhn! Yeah!). The political Mallotins were probably too obscure.

But what about his baseball cap?

Will he be appearing on UFC?