Thursday, May 16, 2013

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.

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