Sunday, February 12, 2012

Two Challenges Fought at Arras, 1423

How Poton de Saintrailles and Lyonnel de Wandonne Do Arms at Arras, in the Presence of the Duke of Burgundy

During this time, a deed of arms was performed at Arras, in the presence of the duke of Burgundy as judge, between Poton de Saintrailles on the one side and Lyonnel de Wandonne on the other. Poton had demanded of Lyonnel that they run together until they had struck on each other six strokes of the lance, or broken them. And Lyonnel, in return, had required of Poton that they would then fight together with axes so long as they could hold out. When the preparations had been finished, and the day of combat was arrived, Poton entered the field first as the appellant, very nobly accompanied by his people, and having made his reverence to the duke of Burgundy , who was seated on a scaffold, he then retreated. Soon after, Lyonnel entered, attended by Sir Jean de Luxembourg, who, all through the day, supplied him with lances, and some other lords and friends. He, like Poton, went to make his bow to the duke, and then retired to the end of the lists, and soon they prepared to run against each other. They ran many strokes very rudely, and there were several lances broken and crumpled on both sides. Finally, it was seen that the helmet of Lyonnel was somewhat broken by the point of the lance of his adversary, and his head wounded, but not seriously. When the duke knew of this, he made them stop running courses against each other, completing the arms on horseback.

On the morrow, the duke of Burgundy returned to his scaffold about ten o'clock in the morning, accompanied by the count de Richemont and the lords of his council, to be ready for the champions who were to do their arms on foot. Shortly after came Lyonnel, constantly attended by Sir Jean de Luxembourg, and, having made his reverence to the duke as before, withdrew into his pavilion to wait for his opponent. He was not long in making his appearance, and, doing reverence to the duke, retired to his pavilion also. Upon this, the customary proclamation was made by a herald, for every man to clear the lists, and for none to give hindrance to the champions, on pain of death. Lyonnel de Wandonne then, as appellant, issued from his tent, his axe in hand, and marched with long strides toward his opponent, who, seeing him approach, advanced to meet him. Lyonnel made a vigorous attack, throwing many great swinging strokes with his axe at Poton, and sometimes thrusting at him, without stopping or catching his breath. Poton coolly received the blows on his axe, turning some back with his strength. And watching his opportunity, he closed with Lyonnel and struck him many blows with the point of his axe under the visor of his bassinet so that he raised the visor, and the face of Lyonnel was clearly seen. Seeing his danger, Lyonnel with one hand seized Poton's axe under his arm, and Poton, taking hold of Lyonnel with one hand by the edge of his bassinet, scratched his face with his gauntlet. And while they were doing so boldly against each other, Lyonnel nearly reclosed his visor. And soon the duke had them restrained and conducted to him by those who had charge of the field, and ordered them henceforth to be good friends, as their arms had been achieved as they had earlier promised. On this they returned to their lodgings, where Poton kept a good table with his people.

The next Rifflard de Champremy, attached to King Charles, and the bastard de Rosebecque ran together with sharp lances. They broke many lances, but, in the end, Rifflard was pierced through his armor, so that one could see his side, but nonetheless was not pierced to the quick. With this blow the duke made them stop; and each party retired to his lodgings with his people. Within a few days after this last combat, Poton, with his companions, went back to the county of Guise.

From: Monstrelet, Enguerrand de, (La) Chronique d'Enguerran de Monstrelet. Paris 1860, Vol. IV Chapter viii p. 151-154

Translation copyright Will McLean, 2003

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