Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Jack Vance was a great writer, full stop. But there are just complaints that he was insufficiently appreciated outside the genres in which he wrote. Michael Chabon said:
Jack Vance is the most painful case of all the writers I love who I feel don’t get the credit they deserve. If ‘The Last Castle’ or ‘The Dragon Masters’ had the name Italo Calvino on it, or just a foreign name, it would be received as a profound meditation, but because he’s Jack Vance and published in Amazing Whatever, there’s this insurmountable barrier.
Truth. The prejudice against writers who write in particular genres is real and unfortunate. It's turned on its head in Fritz Leiber's wonderful Silver Eggheads when the naive Gaspard de la Nuite is tricked into reading as genre whodunnits The Maurizius Case and The Brothers Karamazov, "a little rib-tickler about an Irish funeral called Finnegan's Wake, some light society reminiscences entitled Remembrances of Things Past, a cloak-and-sword melodrama name of King Lear, a fairy tale called The Magic Mountain and a soap opera about suffering families-War and Peace"

Jack Vance: August 28, 1916 - May 26, 2013

Mordant and drily ironic, he wrote with unique style. Here is an appreciation of his work.  Here is another, with some helpful suggestions on where to start if you haven't read him yet.  Here's another.

I can still remember my first exposure to Jack Vance: Mazirian the Magician, a story from The Dying Earth, which I first read in an anthology. I was very young, and reading voraciously, but that was a story that stood out.

Until today I had not known that one of his suspense novels was made into a TV Movie.

Ozark Medieval Fortress for Sale

The uncompleted Ozark Medieval Fortress is for sale.

Love of Gears III

More here.


Just finished Neal Stephenson's Anathem. The concents of his novel are like Hogwarts of SCIENCE. But with more Hermiones.

Also, Stephenson's not-Latin has a better justification than Rowling's not-Latin.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Woolwich: Terrrorists Behead Soldier with Machetes? The Power of Narrative.

"Soldier beheaded by two terrorists, citing Allah, in London machete attack" Except that photos show the two killers armed not with machetes, but long kitchen knives and cleavers.

Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, who admirably went to try and help the victim, reported: "I went over to the body where there was a lady sitting there and she said he was dead. She had comforted him by putting something under his back and a jacket over his head. I took his pulse and there was none. I couldn't see the man's face but I could see no evidence that suggested someone had tried to cut off his head."

The murderers, surrounded by unarmed civilians, made no effort to harm them, but waited for armed police to arrive. When they did, they attacked them and were shot down.

In my opinion either deliberate targeting of or recklessly indiscriminate attacks on civilians is one of the essential characteristics of terrorism.

Today, some news sources are still reporting the attack as a beheading.

We are predisposed to fit Islamist attacks into familiar narratives, such as: they are clearly terrorists who want to behead us with their scimitar-like weapons.

When confronted with an atrocity that doesn't fit that pattern, we need to report the truth.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

La Belle Compagnie: "How Shall a Man Be Armed?"

Our presentation at Kalamazoo. Liveblogged here.

Reconstruction of a Judicial Duel, c. 1410

Freelance Academy Press sponsored a session at this year's Kalamazoo Congress on Medieval Studies: a paper by Greg Mele on the judicial duel, followed by a reconstruction of a judicial duel performed by members of the Chicago Swordplay Guild and La Belle Compagnie. The script is here. Here are the cartellos. Here is a gallery of photos from the Kalamazoo Gazette.

From about the fifteen minute mark of the first video, when we aren't speaking you can hear the pick-up plainchant choir from down the hall.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Challenge of Michel d'Oris: 1400

At the beginning of this year one thousand four hundred, a squire of Arragon, named Michel d'Oris, sent challenges to England as follows:

"In the name of God and of the blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Michael and Saint George, I Michel d'Oris, to exalt my name, knowing full well the renown of the prowess of the English chivalry, have, from the date of this present letter, taken a piece of a greave to bear upon my leg until I be delivered from it by an English knight performing a deed of arms as follows:

First, to enter the lists on foot, each armed as seems best to them, having their dagger and sword upon their body as they wish, and having a pollaxe of such length as I shall give. And this shall be the number of blows for all the different weapons and arms: ten strokes with the pollaxe, without intermission (sans reprendre); and when these ten strokes shall have been performed, and the judge shall say, 'Ho!' we will give ten strokes with the sword without intermission, or parting from each other, or changing our harness. When the judge shall say, 'Ho!' we will take to our daggers in hand , and give ten strokes with them. Should either one lose or drop his weapon, the other will be able to do as he pleases with the one he holds until the judge shall say, 'Ho!' When the combat on foot shall be finished, we will mount our horses, each arming his body as he shall please, but with two similar chapeaux de fer, which I will provide, and my companion shall have the choice: each shall have what sort of gorget he pleases.I will also provide two saddles, for the choice of my companion.

There shall also be two lances of equal length, and with them in hand we shall make twenty strokes without intermission, and we shall be able to strike in front or behind, from the bottom of the ribs upward. This combat with lances being done and accomplished, we shall do the following combat: That is to say, should it come to pass that neither of us is wounded, we shall be bound to run,on that or on the following day, courses on horseback on a triple field (a trois rangs) until one or the other falls to earth, or is wounded so that he can do no more. And each shall arm his head and body as he pleases. The targes shall be of horn or sinews, not of iron or steel, and without any trickery. And we will run the said courses with the before-mentioned saddles, on horseback; but each may settle his stirrups as he pleases, but without any trickery.

To add greater faith and security to this letter, I Michel d'Oris have sealed it with the seal of my arms, written and dated from Paris, Friday the 20th day of August in the year 1400."

Enguerrand de Monstrelet, Chroniques, Book I, chapter ii. Translation by Will McLean: copyright 2001.

Challenge of Arms of Piers de Masse, 1438

In the worship and in the name of God our blessed lady Virgin Mary and my lord Saint Denis mine avower and condider. I Piers de Masse Squire of the Realm of France born de quater Cotes of my arms without any reproach hath required in the town of Pounteis John Astley Squire born within the Realm of England de quater Cotes of his arms, without any reproach for to do Arms on horseback half at my Request and half at his request. And that we twain be appointed for to do and accomplish the said arms on horseback before le treshaulte et tres excellent et tres puissaunt prince le Roi de France my sovereign lord of the which he of his good grace hath appointed that he himself will be our judge that same day of these articles here ensuing.

The first Article is that we twain shall be armed upon horseback in harness double without any shield and rest of vantage and either of us to be armed as us seemeth best for to break either of us twain, six spears that is twelve spears in the whole and all of one length. And of such greatness as either of us may bear at our pleasure.

The second Article is that I Piers de Masse shall let make the said twelve all of one length. And I the said Piers will that ye have the choice of the said twelve spears.

The third article is that I the said Piers de Masse shall make that field and the Tilt in the midst for to keep our horses God save and keep them from harm.

The fourth article is that which of us twain that God of his high grace will that hath the better shall have of the other his helm or other habillement the which he bears upon his head for to bear upon his lady.

These be the arms that John Astley squire did accomplish within the town of Paris in Saint Anton's street. And smote the said Piers de Masse through the head with a spear in the year of our lord 1438 before King Charles of France was done the 29th day of August, the 16th year of the reign of King Henry the VIth.

From Landsdowne Ms. 285 (John Paston's copy of the Grete Booke) fo. 15b, reproduced in Cripps-Day, F.H. The History of the Tournament (London, 1918; reprint New York, 1982). Appendix, p.xxxv

An alternate version of the text from the Hastings MS, in the original Middle English:

In the worschip and in the name of god and oure blessid ladi virgyn marie and my lorde seynt Denys mon avouer and codyder. I Peiere de masse squier of the reem of ffrauns born de quarte cotes of my armes wt out ony reproche haith reqirid in ye toun of pounteis ihon asteley squer born wt ynne ye reme of yngeland de quarte cotes of his armys wtoute ony reproche for to doe armys an horsbak half at my requeste and half at his request and that we tweyne be a poyntid for to doe and acumple thei seid armys an horsbak before le treshaute et tresexcelent et trespyssaunt prince le roye de ffraunce my sovereyn lorde of the whech he of his goode grace haith apoyntid that he himselfe wol be oure iuge that same day of these artiklis here suinge.

The firste artikle is that we tweyne schal be armyd a pon horsbak in harnes double wt oute ony shilde and reste of vauntage and ethir of us to be arimud as us semyth beste for to breke ethir of us tweyne vj spris that is xij speris in that hole and alle of on lencthe and of such gretenesse as eythir of us may bere at oure plesyre.

The seconde artickyl is that I peire de masse schal lette make the seyde xij speris all on length and I wel that ye have the choyissche of the seide xij speris.

The thirdde artickill is that I the seide peirre de masse schall make the ffelde and the Telle in the mddis for to kepe oure horssis god saffe and kepe them frome harme.

The fourthe artickill is that whiche of us tweyne that god of his heye grace woll that hathe the bettyr schall have of the todyr his helme o rodyrr a bylmannt the which he berys apon his hede for to bere unto his ladye.

These be the armys that John Asteley squire didde a complye wt un the toun of parris in seynttatonne strette smoitte the seide peirre de masse thorwe the hedde wt a spere in the yere of oure lorde mcccccxxxviij before kyng charlys of ffraunce was don the xxix day of Auguste the rayne of kyng Harry the vj xji.

Medieval Tournament Prizes

I think it would be useful for those who hold tournaments in these times to know what sort of prizes were commonly given at the tournaments of the Middle Ages. The following is a list of prizes that were awarded at tournaments from the twelfth through the sixteenth century, as mentioned in the first two sources in the bibliography. The majority of the references are to fifteenth-century tournaments. Where a given type of prize is mentioned more than once, I have listed the number of different times it was given.

Jewelry and Gems

A golden clasp decorated with diamonds and rubies
A golden clasp
A clasp worth forty pounds
A clasp worth forty marks
A golden belt
A silver belt
A gold chain (2)
An "A" of gold with a diamond
An "E" of gold with a ruby
An "M" of gold with an emerald
A very rich ring
A ring of gold with a ruby (2)
A ring of gold with a diamond (3)
A golden ring (2)
A ruby mounted on a golden rod
A golden rod or baton (4)
A gold crown (2)
A gold circlet
A diamond (4)
A ruby (3)
A sapphire

Arms and Armor

A sword and steel gauntlets
"A set of fine steel armor such as a prudent man would wear"
An elaborately crested helmet (6)
A sword garnished to the value of three crowns

Cloth and Clothing

A velvet cap
A rich silken chaplet
Three fine pieces of cloth
A length of velvet


A swift horse with silk trappings
A bay horse
A noble courser, saddled and bridled
A barded destrier with harness (2)
A white hound with a gold collar around his neck
A bear
A talking parrot
A big dead fish 1


A golden thorn
A horn garnished with gold
A silver gilt lion
A cup of gold worth forty marks
A golden vulture

A few other miscellaneous prizes are also worthy of mention. At a tournament at Nourdhausen during the thirteenth-century Heinrich, margrave of Meissen, set up a tree with gold and silver leaves. If a contestant broke a lance against his apponent, he was awarded a silver leaf; if he unhorsed his foe he received a gold leaf. The fifteenth-century pas d'armes of the Fountain of Tears involved three different types of combat: with axe, with mounted lance, and sword combat on foot. The challenger who fought best in each weapons form received a golden replica of the weapon with which he had fought.

Taken together the prizes give a strong impression of expensive display. A clasp worth forty pounds could represent a year's income to a fifteenth-century knight. Even the helmets frequently given as prizes in Italian tournaments (Piero de' Medici kept four in his bedroom) were primarily vehicles for elaborate and expensive crests. 2 Such a helmet, crested with a silver figure of St. Bartholomew, or with "a naked cupid tied by his hands behind him to a laurel tree," might often cost more than a complete jousting harness. 3 Hosting a tournament was always an opportunity for the wealthiest men in Europe to show just how wealthy they were.

I do not wish to suggest that we should be offering costly prizes. Even our dukes do not have ducal incomes. Worse, an expensive prize puts a terrible strain on a system of running tournaments that depends almost entirely on the honor and good will of the individual contestants. We can, however, recreate much of the spirit of the medieval prizes without going to great expense. Gems and jewels are by far the most common items on my list of prizes. Fortunately, reproductions of medieval jewelry, available through the various museum catalogs and from the merchants and artisans of the Society, are often quite reasonably priced. Brass, gilding, and assorted base metals can simulate expensive gold and silver objects. Cloth, a not unpopular medieval tournament prize, is also within our budget. A single yard of fine cloth, laboriously spun, woven and dyed by hand, might well cost a fourteenth-century English knight a week's wages. 4 A length of such cloth was not, in the Middle Ages, out of place with the other expensive prizes given at tournaments. Thanks to the Industrial Revolution our fabric costs us much less.

I hope that this list may be of use to those who host tournaments. If nothing else it may provide an alternative to the bad custom of giving scraps of green paper as a prize to the victor. And anyone awarding a gold vulture as a tourney prize will have my undying admiration.


  1. This prize was given at one of William Marshal's tournaments. A lady of noble birth awarded a pike to the duke of Burgundy, one of the contestants. He declined it, proclaiming himself unworthy, and it "passed from hand to hand among the upper barony," each man handing it on with speeches of self-deprecating generosity until it was taken home by William Marshal. It is not clear whether chivalry or prudent self-preservation was at work here.
  2. Scalini, 24.
  3. Scalini, 24.
  4. Hart, 37 and 124.


Barber, Richard and Juliet Barker. Tournaments. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989. Cripps-Day, F.H. The History of the Tournament. London: Bernard Quaritch, 1918; reprint New York: AMS Press, 1982.
Duby, Georges. William Marshal: the flower of chivalry. New York: Pantheon Books, 1985.
Hart, Roger. English Life in Chaucer's Day. London: Wayland Publishers, 1973; New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1973.
Scalini, Mario. "The Weapons of Lorenzo de' Medici." Art, Arms and Armour: An International Anthology. Vol. 1, ed. Robert Held. Chiasso, Switzerland: Aquafresca Editrice, 1979.

Copyright Will McLean, 1992, 1997 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Cry of Jousts of King Richard II, 1390

Hear ye, Lords, Knights, and squires. We make known to you a very great deed of arms and very noble Joust that will be performed by a Knight, who will carry a red shield, with on it a white hart having a crown around its neck with a hanging chain of gold, on a green bank. And the said Knight accompanied by twenty knights all dressed in one color. And then to come Sunday, the ninth day of October next into the new Abbey near the Tower of London.

And from that place these same knights will be led by twenty ladies dressed in one livery, of the same color and suite as the said knights, all around the outside of the noble city called New Troy, otherwise known as London  And just outside the same gate the said knights will hold the field called Smithfield by the Hostel of Saint John called Clerkwell. And there they will dance, and sing and lead a joyous life.

And the following Monday the said twenty knights, in one livery as aforesaid, will be within the said field of Smithfield, armed and mounted within the lists, before the hour of High Prime, to deliver all manner of Knights who wish to come and Joust, each one of them of six lances, such as they will find within the tourney field, the which lances will be carried according to the standard. The standard will be in the same field, and by that standard all the lances will be measured so that they are the same length. And the said twenty knights will joust in high saddles. And all the lances will be fitted with appropriate coronels (reasonables Roques). And the shields of the said knights will be covered neither with iron nor steel.

At those jousts the noble ladies and damsels will give the knight who jousts best of those without a horn garnished with gold, and they will give to the one who jousts best of those within a white greyhound with a collar of gold around its neck. And the following Wednesday the same twenty knights aforesaid will come the said field to deliver all knights and squires whatever with as many lances as it pleases them to joust with. And the noble ladies will give a circlet of gold to the one who jousts best of those without. And one within that jousts best will be given a golden belt. And the lady or damsel who dances best or leads the most joyful life those three days aforesaid, that is to say Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, will be given a golden brooch by the knights. And the lady who dances and revels best after her, which is to say the second prize for those three days, will be given a ring of gold with a diamond.

And whoever jousts the said three days with a lance that is not according to the measure of the standard will neither carry away nor be given any manner of prize or degree. And whoever jousts with a lance without an appropriate coronel will lose their horse and their harness.

And the Wednesday following the said three days of the said jousts, sixteen squires carrying red shields, and on those shields a silver griffon, mounted, armed, and riding in high saddles with white sockets and shields as aforesaid, will hold the field and deliver all knights and squires who come of as many lances as seem good to them.

And there will be given in the same field to whoever jousts best of those without a noble courser, saddled and bridled. And whoever jousts best of those within will be given a fine chaplet well worked with silk.

And by virtue of the noble pardon of arms, surety will be given to all foreign knights and squires who wish to come to the said festival. And to remain and spend twenty days before the festival and twenty days afterward, by virtue of the truce given and agreed by the two Kings without any hindrance being given to them. And concerning that matter, all who wish will have safe conduct from the King our sovereign lord.

Excerpt translated from Landsdowne Ms. 285 (John Paston’s copy of the Grete Booke) fo. 46b, reproduced in F. H. Cripps-Day, The History of the Tournament (London, 1918; reprint New York, 1982), Appendix, pp.xli-xlii.

Translation copyright 1998.

Socket: a defense shaped like a plowshare that attached to the front of the saddle, shielding the legs and making leg armor unnecessary.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Space Oddity

Chis Hadfield covers David Bowie, and once again the future is more cheerful than previously predicted.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Script for a Judicial Duel

In the first place, the quarrels and the bills of the appellant and of the defendant have been posted in the court before the constable and the marshal. 

And when they could not prove their cause by witnesses or by any other manner, but needed to determine their quarrel by strength, the one to prove his intent upon the other and the other in the same manner to defend himself, the constable had power to join the battle as vicar general under God and his lord. 

The battle conjoined by the constable, he assigned them a day and place, so that the day be not within forty days after the said battle so conjoined, unless it be by the consenting of said appellant and defendant. Then he awarded them points of arms otherwise called weapons. Either of them would have, that is to say, lance, long sword, and dagger. 

The appellant and the defendant were required to find sufficient surety and pledges that each of them would come at his said day. And that this may be done, there was given unto the appellant hour, term and so on, to make his prove and dare, and for him to be the first within the lists to quit his pledges. And of the same wise the defendant. . . . 

The lord found the field to fight in. And the lists were made and devised by the constable. It was considered that the lists should be forty paces of length and forty paces of breadth in good manner, and firm, stable, and hard, and evenly made without great stones, and that that it be flat. And that the lists would be strongly barred round about and a gate in the east and another in the west with good and strong barriers of seven foot of height or more. . . . 

The day of the battle the lord shall be in a raised chair or scaffold and a place shall be made for the constable and marshal at the stair foot of the scaffold. Then shall be asked the pledges of the appellant and defendant to come as prisoners into the lists before the lord and those present in the court until the appellant and the defendant have come in the lists and have made their oaths. 
The appellant came to the east gate of the lists in such manner as he would fight, with his arms and weapons assigned to him by the court, and there he shall abide till he be led in by the constable and the marshal

Herald:  What man are you who has come armed to the gate of the lists, and what name have you and for what cause have you come? 

Appellant:  I am Sir David Farrell, appellant, come this day to prove my quarrel by my body in the lists. 

Narrator: And then the constable shall open the visor of his basinet or have him discovered so that he may plainly see his visage and if it be the same man that is the appellant. Then shall he open the gates of the lists and make him enter with his said arms, points, victuals, and lawful necessaries upon him; he shall lead him before the lord.

(Does reverence to lord)

and then to his place, where he shall abide till the defendant be come. 

In the same manner shall be done for the defendant, but that he shall enter in at the west gate of the lists. Also the constable shall take heed that no other before or behind the appellant or the defendant bring more weapons or victuals than were assigned by the court. 

And if it be that the defendant come not on time to his day of battle and at the hour and term limited by the court, the constable shall command the herald to have him called at the four corners of the lists, which shall be done in manner as follows: 

Herald: Oyez, Oyez, Oyez. Giacomo Kulla, Squire, defendant, come to your day of battle which ye have undertaken at this day to acquit your pledges before the constable, and marshal in your defense against Sir David Farrel, appellant, and of that that he has put upon you." 

And if he come not betimes, he shall be called the second time:

Herald: Oyez, Oyez, Oyez. Giacomo Kulla, Squire, defendant, come to your day of battle which ye have undertaken at this day to acquit your pledges before the constable, and marshal in your defense against Sir David Farrell, appellant, and of that that he has put upon you. Come, the day passes fast!

and if he come not at that time, he shall be called the third time, between the third and the ninth hour..

(Defendant appears)

Herald:  What man are you who has come armed to the gate of the lists, and what name have you and for what cause have you come?

Defendant: I am Giacomo Kulla, Squire, come to prove my quarrel as defendant against Sir David Farrel, appellant.

(Examined and brought before the lord, he does reverence and goes to his place)

The appellant and the defendant being entered into the lists . . . they shall be searched by the constable and marshal of their points and that they be true and without any manner of deceit on them, and if they be other than reason asks, they shall be taken away, because reason, good faith, and law of arms will suffer neither guile nor deceit in so great a deed. And it is, to wit, that the appellant and the defendant may be armed as surely upon their bodies as they will. 

Then the constable shall send first after the marshal and then for the appellant with his council to make his oath. The constable shall have his clerk ready in his presence that shall lay forth a mass book, open. 

(Herald reads Cartello of appellant).

Priest: Sir David Farrell, thou knowest well this bill and this warrant and pledge that thou gavest in the court of your lord. Thou shalt lay thy right hand here upon these saints and shalt swear in manner as follows. Thou, Sir David Farrell, this thy bill, is sooth in all points and articles from the beginning continuing therein to the end and that is thine intent to prove this day on the aforesaid Giacomo Kulla, Squire, so God thee help, and these saints.

Appellant: I so swear.

(Constable signals to appellant. Herald reads Cartello of defendant).

Priest:  Giacomo Kulla, Squire, thou knowest well this bill and this warrant and pledge that thou gavest in the court of your lord. Thou shalt lay thy right hand here upon these saints and shalt swear in manner as follows. Thou, Giacomo Kulla, this thy bill, is sooth in all points and articles from the beginning continuing therein to the end and that is thine intent to prove this day on the aforesaid Sir David Farrell, so God thee help, and these saints.

Defendant: I so swear.

(He is led to his place. Constable signals to appellant, to again lay his hand on the missal)

Priest: Sir David Farrell, thou swearest that thou neither hast nor shalt have more points or any points on thee or on thy body within these lists, but they that be assigned by the court; that is to say, a lance, long sword and dagger, nor any other knife little or big, nor any other instrument or engine of point or otherwise, nor stone of virtue, nor herb of virtue, nor charm, nor drug, nor sign nor any other enchantment by thee or for thee by which thou trustest the better to overcome Giacomo Kulla, thine adversary. . . . Nor that thou trustest in any other thing, but only in God and thy body and on thy rightful quarrel, help thee God and these saints.

Appellant: I so swear.

(Defendant is brought forward)

Priest:  Giacomo Kulla, thou swearest that thou neither hast nor shalt have more points or any points on thee or on thy body within these lists, but they that be assigned by the court; that is to say, a lance, long sword and dagger, nor any other knife little or big, nor any other instrument or engine of point or otherwise, nor stone of virtue, nor herb of virtue, nor charm, nor drug, nor sign, nor any other enchantment by thee or for thee by which thou trustest the better to overcome Sir David Farrell, thine adversary. . . . Nor that thou trustest in any other thing, but only in God and thy body and on thy rightful quarrel, help thee God and these saints.


Constable: Thou, Sir David Farrell, appellor, shall take Giacomo Kulla., defender, by the right hand and he thee. And we forbid you and each of you in your lord's name and upon the peril that belongeth thereto and the peril of losing your quarrel, whichever one is found in default, that neither of you be so hardy as to do to the other, ill or grievance or other harm by the hand, upon the peril aforesaid." 

(Constable has them place their right hands together and their left hands upon the missal)

Priest: Sir David Farrell, appellor, thou swearest by the faith that thou givest in the hand of thine adversary, Giacomo Kulla, defender, and by all the saints that thou touchest with thy left hand, that thou this day shall do all thy true power and intent by all the ways that thou best mayst or canst to prove thine intent on Giacomo Kulla, thine adversary and defender, to make him yield himself up to thine hand hand vanquished, to cry, or speak, or else to make him die by thine hand before thou wend out of these lists by the time and the sun that thee is assigned by this court, by thy faith, and so help thee God and these saints. Giacomo Kulla, defender, thou swearest by thy faith that thou givest in the hand of thine adversary, Sir David Farrell, appellor, and by all the saints that thou touchest with thy left hand, that today thou shalt do all thy true power and intent by all the ways that thou best mayst or canst to defend thine intent of all that that is put on thee by Sir David Farrell, thine adversary, by thy faith, and so help thee God and all these saints.

(They swear)

Herald: Oyez, Oyez, Oyez. We charge and command by the lord's constable and marshal that none of great value and of little estate, of what condition or nation that he be, be so hardy henceforward to come nigh the lists by four feet or to speak or to cry or to make countenance or token or semblance or noise whereby either of these two parties Sir David Farrell, appellor, and Giacomo Kulla, defender, may take advantage the one upon the other, upon peril of losing life and limb and their goods at the king's will.

(All leave the lists but the champions and marshals) 

Herald at signal of constable: Lessiez les aler (pause) Lessiez les aler (pause) Lessiez les aler and do their duty in Gods name. 

They fight, and after a time the lord throws down his baton, and the herald cries "Ho! Ho! Ho!" and the guardians of the list part them.

Narrator: And if it happen that the lord would take the quarrel in his hands and make them agree without more fighting, then the constable, taking the one party, and the marshal, the other, shall lead them before the king, and he showing them his will, the constable and marshal shall lead them to the one side of the lists with all their weapons and armor as they are found and have on when the king took the quarrel in his hands. And so they shall be led out of the gate of the lists equally, so that the one go not before the other in any way nor in any thing; for since the lord has taken the quarrel in his hands, it should be dishonest that either of the parties should have more dishonor than the other. . . .

Notes: This is closely based on the Thomas, Duke of Gloucester's text on judicial duels written in the reign of Richard II. I have shifted the authority  governing the duel from the king to a mercenary captain and changed the weapons from sword, short sword and dagger to lance, sword and dagger, another combination used in judicial duels such as that between Anneslie and Katrington in 1380. I have also translated Middle English terms that are either obscure or that had a different connotation in the Middle Ages than today.

Based on: Dillon, "On a MS Collection of Ordinances of Chivalry of the Fifteenth Century, Belonging to Lord Hastings," Archaeologia, LVII (1902), 62-66.