Froissart's Chronicles

Froissart's Chronicles (or Chroniques) are a prose history of the Hundred Years' War written in the 14th century by Jean Froissart. The Chronicles open with the events leading up to the deposition of Edward II in 1326, and cover the period up to 1400, recounting events in western Europe, mainly in England, France, Scotland, the Low Countries and the Iberian Peninsula, although at times also mentioning other countries and regions such as Italy, Germany, Ireland, the Balkans, Cyprus, Turkey and North Africa.

For centuries the Chronicles have been recognized as the chief expression of the chivalric culture of 14th-century England and France. Froissart's work is perceived as being of vital importance to informed understandings of the European 14th century, particularly of the Hundred Years' War. But modern historians also recognize that the Chronicles have many shortcomings as a historical source: they contain erroneous dates, have misplaced geography, give inaccurate estimations of sizes of armies and casualties of war, and may be biased in favour of the author's patrons.

Although Froissart is sometimes repetitive or covers seemingly insignificant subjects, his battle descriptions are lively and engaging. For the earlier periods Froissart based his work on other existing chronicles, but his own experiences, combined with those of interviewed witnesses, supply much of the detail of the later books. Although Froissart may never have been in a battle, he visited Sluys in 1386 to see the preparations for an invasion of England. He was present at other significant events such as the baptism of Richard II in Bordeaux in 1367, the coronation of King Charles V of France in Rheims in 1380, the marriage of Duke John of Berry and Jeanne of Boulogne in Riom and the joyous entry of the French queen Isabeau of Bavaria in Paris, both in 1389.

Sir Walter Scott once remarked that Froissart had "marvellous little sympathy" for the "villain churls."[1] It is true that Froissart often omits to talk about the common people, but that is largely the consequence of his stated aim to write not a general chronicle but a history of the chivalric exploits that took place during the wars between France and England. Nevertheless, Froissart was not indifferent to the wars' effects on the rest of society. His Book II focuses extensively on popular revolts in different parts of western Europe (France, England and Flanders) and in this part of the Chronicles the author often demonstrates good understanding of the factors that influenced local economies and their effect on society at large; he also seems to have a lot of sympathy in particular for the plight of the poorer strata of the urban populations of Flanders.[2]

The Chronicles are a very extensive work: with their almost 1.5 million words, they are amongst the longest works written in French prose in the late Middle Ages.[3] Few modern complete editions have been published, but the text was printed from the late 15th century onwards. Enguerrand de Monstrelet continued the Chronicles to 1440, while Jean de Wavrin incorporated large parts of it in his own work. Robert Gaguin's Compendium super origine et gestis Francorum made ample use of Froissart.[4] In the 15th and 16th centuries the Chronicles were translated into Dutch, English, Latin, Spanish, Italian and Danish. The text of Froissart's Chronicles is preserved in more than 150 manuscripts, many of which are illustrated, some extensively.[5]

The execution of Hugh the younger Despenser, a miniature from one of the better-known manuscripts of the Chronicles.
Madness of Charles VI
Charles VI of France attacks his companions in a fit of insanity
Fire carles6
The Bal des Ardents in the Gruuthuse MS: Charles VI huddling under the Duchess of Berry's skirt at middle left, and burning dancers in the centre


The Dukes of Berry and Burgundy Departing from Paris to Meet with the Duke of Bretagne
The Dukes of Berry and Burgundy leaving Paris to meet with the Duke of Bretagne, miniature of 1480-83

Jean Froissart came from Valenciennes in the County of Hainaut, situated in the western tip of the Holy Roman Empire, bordering France (it is now in France). He seems to have come from what we would today call a middle-class background, but spent much of his adult life in courts, and took on the world-view of the late medieval feudal aristocracy, who initially represented his readership. He appears to have gained his living as a writer, and was a notable French poet in his day. At least by the end of his life he had taken holy orders, and received a profitable benefice.

He first wrote a rhyming chronicle for the English queen Philippa of Hainault, which he offered to her in 1361 or 1362.[6] The text of this earliest historical work, which Froissart himself mentioned in the prologue of his Chronicles, is usually considered to have been completely lost, but some scholars have argued that a 14th-century manuscript containing a rhyming chronicle, of which fragments are now kept in libraries in Paris and Berlin, may be identified as this so-called 'lost chronicle'.[7]


The Battle of Sluys, 1340, in the Gruuthuse MS
The battle of Poitiers
The Battle of Poitiers in 1356, in a manuscript of c. 1410, which mixes scenes with patterned and (as here) naturalistic backgrounds
Illuminated page from c. 1480 manuscript of Book II depicting Richard II at the Peasants' Revolt and at the death of Wat Tyler, 1381

Some of the important events recorded in Froissart's Chronicles:

Book I 1322–1377

Chroniques de Froissart (15e eeuw) - Slag op het Beverhoutsveld
Chroniques de Froissart Battle of Beverhoutsveld.
Otterburn Battle
Battle of Otterburn. 1388

Book II 1376–1385

Book III 1386–1388

Book IV 1389–1400

Composition and sources

Froissart began writing Book I of the surviving possibly at the request of Robert de Namur, to whom the earliest version was dedicated.[8] In the prologue of this version of the prose text, Froissart justified his new enterprise by his desire to improve on his first attempts to write a historical account of the early years of the Hundred Years' War. In particular he denounced his earlier rhyming chronicle, whose accuracy, he admitted, had not always been as good as such important matters as war and knightly prowess require. In order to improve the quality and historical accuracy of his work, Froissart declared his intention to follow now as his main source the Vrayes Chroniques of Jean Le Bel, who had expressed fierce criticism on verse as a suitable vehicle for serious history writing. Froissart also used other texts, such as the Life of the Black Prince by Chandos Herald, in particular for the Black Prince's campaign in Spain in 1366-1367.[9] He furthermore inserted some official documents into his text, including the act of hommage by King Edward III to the French King Philip VI (1331) and the English version of the Peace Treaty of Calais (1360).

Pierre leCruel
Henry II kills his predecessor as King of Castile and León, Pedro the Cruel, in an early illustration taken from Besançon, BM, MS 864 (ca. 1410-1420)

Le Bel had written his chronicle for Jean, lord of Beaumont, uncle of Philippa of Hainault, who had been a supporter of Queen Isabella and the rebellion which led to the deposition of Edward II in 1326. Jean of Hainault had also taken part in several of the early battles of the Hundred Years' War, first on the English side, then on the French. His grandson, Guy II, Count of Blois later became the main patron of Froissart's Chronicles. Jean Le Bel himself, throughout his work expressed great admiration for Edward III, in whose 1327 Weardale campaign against the Scots he had fought. For all these reasons Froissart must have highly valued Le Bel's chronicle as a source for reliable information about the events which led to the outbreak of the war between France and England and about the early phases of the Hundred Years' War. Comparison of Froissart's Book I with Le Bel's work shows that for the early parts of the Chronicles (up to c.1360) Froissart often directly copied and developed very large parts of Le Bel's text.

Froissart seems to have written new drafts of Book I, which covers the period up to 1378/1379, at different points in time. Several of these variant versions are now known to scholars by the unique manuscripts which have transmitted their texts, such as the 'Amiens' (Amiens, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 486), 'Valenciennes' (Valenciennes, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 638), and 'Rome' versions of Book I, so named after manuscripts kept in the municipal libraries of Amiens and Valenciennes and in the Vatican Library. The so-called 'Rome' version of Book I (Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Reg. Lat. 869) has only partly survived and now only covers the period up to c.1350.

The order of the authorial versions of Book I has been discussed extensively by scholars in the last century and a half and there have been many fundamental disagreements.[10] French scholars have often followed Siméon Luce, the French 19th-century editor of the Chronicles, who thought that the 'Amiens' version was a more recent version that must have followed the 'A' and 'B' versions in the chronology. But research by Godfried Croenen has now firmly established that these earlier views are no longer tenable.[11] Croenen has demonstrated that the so-called 'A' version that Luce had identified, is in fact a hybrid version composed by medieval scribes who put together the very beginning and end of the authorial 'A' version, combining it with a much larger part of the so-called 'B' version, and a fragment of the Grandes Chroniques de France covering the years 1350-1356. The authorial 'A' version, which is now largely lost except for the fragments from the beginning and end, is the first version of Book I written by Froissart and was probably composed by him between June and December 1381.[12]

The 'Amiens' and 'Valenciennes' versions are both earlier than the so-called 'B' redaction.[13] The 'Amiens' version and the abridgement of Book I (Paris, BnF, fr. 10144) were probably both written in the period 1384-1391, but the 'Amiens' version seems the earlier of the two.[14] The 'B' redaction is the version of Book I that was edited by S. Luce for the Société d'Histoire de France and that represents what is often seen as the 'standard' version of Book I.[15] Luce himself was convinced that the 'B' version represented the earliest completed state of Book I and that it was therefore earlier than the 'Amiens' text. The evidence from the text, however, argues strongly for a date of composition in or shortly after 1391, so certainly later than the 'Amiens' version, and before 1399.[16]

The 'B' version was followed by the 'C' version of Book I, written sometime between 1395 and 1399, which was long considered lost; the 'C' version actually survives in a single manuscript now in the Newberry Library in Chicago.[17] The 'Rome' version was written towards the end of Froissart's life, at the earliest in late 1404 and probably sometime before 1415.[18]

A first version of the second book of Froissart's Chronicles, which in the author's mind never seems to have been a separate book but rather a continuation covering the period 1378-1385, was probably completed in the late 1380s.[19] It does not seem to have been based on other pre-existing chronicles and is therefore entirely Froissart's own work. Book II, however, includes an extended account of the Flemish revolt against the count in the years 1379-1385, which Froissart had earlier composed as a separate text and which is known as his Chronicle of Flanders. Froissart inserted several official documents into his Chronicle of Flanders, which were also kept in Book II of the Chronicles, including the text of Treaty of Tournai (1385) that re-established peace between the Flemish cities and their count.

As with Book I, Froissart also seems to have rewritten the later books of his Chronicles. Apart from the Chronicle of Flanders, at least three authorial versions of Book II survive. Most manuscripts of Book II contain one of the two earlier versions, which have an almost identical text, except for a small number of chapters in which there are substantial differences. The manuscripts of these two earlier versions have provided the basis for all the modern editions.

There is also a later version of Book II, which dates from after 1395 and survives only in the Newberry manuscript that also contains the 'C' version of Book I.[20] The Newberry version of Book II is substantially different from the other known versions and is undoubtedly the result of an extensive authorial reworking of the text, which included the addition of important material that does not appear in the other versions. The Newberry text has not yet been fully edited but it has been partly transcribed for the Online Froissart.

A first version of Book III, which covers the years 1385 to 1390, but which also includes extensive flashback to the earlier periods, was possibly completed in 1390 or 1391 and is the one found in nearly all the surviving manuscripts. A second version exists in a single manuscript (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS fr. 2650).[21] This second version is probably a later reworking by Froissart himself: it follows the pattern that can be seen in the different authorial versions of Book II, with many chapters remaining the same and some chapters having been extensively rewritten.[22]

Book IV, whose text goes up to the year 1400, remains incomplete and was probably, like the 'Rome' version of Book I, written after 1404. It is likely that the abrupt ending of Book IV is to be explained by Froissart's death, which may have occurred while he was writing this part of the Chronicles.

Battle of La Roche-Derrien
Capture of the Duke of Bretagne at the Battle of La Roche-Derrien, 1347

Book IV has been transmitted in 21 manuscripts, all representing a single authorial version.[23] The text shows traces of having been worked over by a 'copy editor', who was not the author but someone who seems to have prepared a text, possibly autograph, for reproduction. Unlike the other three books of the Chronicles, Book IV seems to have remained unknown for a long time, until it was discovered in the second half of the 15th century, when the first manuscript copies of the text were made and the text started to circulate in the court circles of the Dukes of Burgundy.[24]

Illuminated manuscripts

The Chronicles were almost immediately popular among the nobility, and many manuscripts were expensively illuminated. In the first quarter of the 15th century many illustrated copies of Book I, as well as some copies of Books II and III, were produced by the Parisian booktrade. Nearly half of these surviving copies can be linked to a particular libraire, called Pierre de Liffol.[25] Several artistic hands can be detected in these copies, but two anonymous miniature painters seem to stand out as regular collaborators in Liffol's production: the Boethius Master and the Giac Master.

There was something of a revival in interest from about 1470 in the Burgundian Low Countries, and some of the most extensive cycles of Flemish illumination were produced to illustrate Froissart's Chronicles. Several complete copies of the four books, as well as all the illustrated manuscripts of Book IV, date from this period.[26] Whereas older illustrations are mostly rather simple and formulaic, with decorated backgrounds, the larger images of this later period are often full of detail, and have extensive views of landscape, interiors or cities in their backgrounds. Most of the images here come from this period. One of the most lavishly illuminated copies was commissioned by Louis of Gruuthuse, a Flemish nobleman, in the 1470s. The four volumes of this copy (BnF, Fr 2643-6) contain 110 miniatures painted by some of the best Brugeois artists of the day. Among them is Loiset Lyédet, who has been identified as the painter who executed the miniatures in the first two volumes. Those in the third and fourth volume have been attributed to a collaboration between the Master of Anthony of Burgundy, the Master of the Dresden Prayer Book and the Master of Margaret of York.[27] Many of the illustrations to this entry come from this copy.


  1. ^ Sir Walter Scott: Tales of my landlord. As used here, "villain" means "villein".
  2. ^ Peter Ainsworth, 'Froissardian perspectives on late-fourteenth-century society', in Jeffrey Denton and Brian Pullan (eds.), Orders and Hierarchies in Late Medieval and Renaissance Europe (Basingstoke / London: Macmillan Press, 1999), pp. 56-73.
  3. ^ Croenen, Godfried. "Online Froissart". HRIOnline. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  4. ^ Franck Collart, Un historien au travail à la fin du XVe siècle: Robert Gaguin (Geneva: Droz, 1996), 121-122, 341-344.
  5. ^ Godfried Croenen, 'Froissart illustration cycles', in Graeme Dunphy (ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle (Leiden: Brill, 2010), I, 645-650.
  6. ^ Normand R. Cartier, 'The lost chronicle', Speculum 36 (1961), 424-434; Peter F. Ainsworth, Jean Froissart and the Fabric of History: Truth, Myth, and Fiction in the Chroniques (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), pp. 32-50; Jean Devaux, 'From the court of Hainault to the court of England: the example of Jean Froissart', in Christopher Allmand (ed.), War, Government and Power in Late Medieval France (Liverpool: Liverpool UP, 2000), pp. 1-20.
  7. ^ Dominique Stutzmann, 'Un deuxième fragment du poème historique de Froissart', Bibliothèque de l'Ecole des Chartes, 164 (2006), 573-580.
  8. ^ Jean-Marie Moeglin, 'Froissart, le métier d'historien et l'invention de la Guerre de Cent Ans', Romania 124 (2006), 429-470.
  9. ^ J.J.N. Palmer, 'Book I (1325-78) and its sources', in J.J.N. Palmer (ed.), Froissart: Historian (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1981), pp. 7-24; Peter F. Ainsworth, 'Collationnement, montage et jeu parti: le début de la campagne espagnole du Prince Noir (1366-67) dans les Chroniques de Jean Froissart, Le Moyen Âge, 100 (1994), 369-411.
  10. ^ J.J.N. Palmer, 'Book I (1325-78) and its sources', in J.J.N. Palmer (ed.), Froissart: Historian (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1981), 7-24; P. Courroux, L'écriture de l'histoire dans les chroniques françaises (XIIe-XVe siècle) (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2016), 352-361.
  11. ^ Godfried Croenen, 'La Guerre en Normandie au XIVe siècle et le problème de l'évolution textuelle des Chroniques de Jean Froissart', in A. Curry and V. Gazeau (eds.), La Guerre en Normandie (XIe-XVe siècle) (Caen: Presses Universitaires de Caen, 2018), 111-147, table p. 127.
  12. ^ Croenen, 'La Guerre en Normandie', p. 118-122, 127.
  13. ^ George T. Diller (ed.), Froissart. Chroniques. Livre I. Le manuscrit d'Amiens. Bibliothèque municipale n° 486, 5 vols. (Geneva: Droz, 1991-1998); Michael Schwarze, Generische Wahrheit - Höfischers Polylog im Werk Jean Froissarts (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 2003), p. 209; Jean-Marie Moeglin, 'Froissart, le métier d'historien et l'invention de la Guerre de Cent Ans', Romania 124 (2006), 429-470.
  14. ^ G. Croenen, Jean Froissart, Chronicles [Amiens version and abridged version], in M. Livingston and K. DeVries (eds.) The Battle of Crécy: A Casebook (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2015), p. 396-397, 400-402; Croenen, 'La Guerre en Normandie', p. 126-127.
  15. ^ Siméon Luce (ed.), Chroniques de J. Froissart [Book I] 8 vols. (Paris: Société de l'histoire de France, 1869-1888).
  16. ^ G. Croenen, Jean Froissart, Chronicles [B/C version], in M. Livingston and K. DeVries (eds.) The Battle of Crécy: A Casebook (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2015), p. 407-410; Croenen, 'La Guerre en Normandie', p. 126-127.
  17. ^ Godfried Croenen, 'A 'refound' manuscript of Froissart revisited: Newberry MS f.37', French Studies Bulletin, 31 (2010), 56-60; G. Croenen, Jean Froissart, Chronicles [B/C version], in M. Livingston and K. DeVries (eds.) The Battle of Crécy: A Casebook (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2015), p. 407-410; Croenen, 'La Guerre en Normandie', p. 126-127.
  18. ^ George T. Diller, 'La dernière rédaction du premier livre des Chroniques de Froissart. Une étude du Reg. lat. 869', Le Moyen Âge, 76 (1970), 91-125; Croenen, 'La Guerre en Normandie', p. 126-128.
  19. ^ Peter Ainsworth, 'Froissart and his Second Book', In: Christopher Allmand (ed.), War, Government and Power in Late Medieval France (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2000), pp. 21-36.
  20. ^ Godfried Croenen, 'A 'refound' manuscript of Froissart revisited: Newberry MS f.37', French Studies Bulletin, 31 (2010), 56-60.
  21. ^ Godfried Croenen, 'La tradition manuscrite du Troisième Livre des Chroniques de Froissart', in Valérie Fasseur (ed.), Froissart à la cour de Béarn: l'écrivain, les arts et le pouvoir (Turnhout: Brepols, 2009), pp. 15-59.
  22. ^ Godfried Croenen, 'Stemmata, philology and textual history: a response to Alberto Varvaro', Medioevo Romanzo, 34 (2010), 398-402.
  23. ^ Alberto Varvaro, 'Problèmes philologiques du Livre IV des Chronique de Jean Froissart', in Godfried Croenen & Peter Ainsworth (eds.), Patrons, Authors and Workshops: Books and Book Production in Paris around 1400 (Leuven: Peeters, 2006), pp. 255-277.
  24. ^ Alberto Varvaro, La tragédie de l'histoire. La dernière œuvre de Jean Froissart (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2011).
  25. ^ Godfried Croenen, Mary Rouse & Richard Rouse, 'Pierre de Liffol and the manuscripts of Froissart’s Chronicles, Viator 33 (2002), 261-293; 'Les Chroniques de Jean Froissart', Art de l’enluminure, 31 (2009).
  26. ^ Laetitia Le Guay, Les princes de Bourgogne lecteurs de Froissart. Les rapports entre le texte et l'image dans les manuscrits enluminés du livre IV des Chroniques (Turnhout: Brepols, 1998).
  27. ^ Ilona Hans-Collas & Pascal Schandel, Manuscrits enluminés des anciens Pays-Bas méridionaux. I. Manuscrits de Louis de Bruges (Paris: Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2009), pp. 272-283.

Online copy

1400 in France

Events from the year 1400 in France

Bal des Ardents

The Bal des Ardents (Ball of the Burning Men) or Bal des Sauvages (Ball of the Wild Men) was a masquerade ball held on 28 January 1393 in Paris at which Charles VI of France performed in a dance with five members of the French nobility. Four of the dancers were killed in a fire caused by a torch brought in by a spectator, Charles's brother Louis, Duke of Orléans. Charles and another of the dancers survived. The ball was one of a number of events intended to entertain the young king, who the previous summer had suffered an attack of insanity. The event undermined confidence in Charles's capacity to rule; Parisians considered it proof of courtly decadence and threatened to rebel against the more powerful members of the nobility. The public's outrage forced the King and his brother Orléans, whom a contemporary chronicler accused of attempted regicide and sorcery, to offer penance for the event.

Charles's wife, Isabeau of Bavaria, held the ball to honor the remarriage of a lady-in-waiting. Scholars believe the dance performed at the ball had elements of traditional charivari, with the dancers disguised as wild men, mythical beings often associated with demonology, that were commonly represented in medieval Europe and documented in revels of Tudor England. The event was chronicled by contemporary writers such as the Monk of St Denis and Jean Froissart, and illustrated in a number of 15th-century illuminated manuscripts by painters such as the Master of Anthony of Burgundy. The incident later provided inspiration for Edgar Allan Poe's short story Hop-Frog.

Barbary Crusade

The Barbary Crusade, also called the Mahdia Crusade, was a Franco-Genoese military expedition in 1390 that led to the siege of Mahdia, then a stronghold of the Barbary pirates in Hafsidi Tunisia. Froissart's Chronicles is the chief account of what was one of the last crusades.

Bascot de Mauléon

Bascot de Mauléon was a Basque soldier, mercenary and Brigand of the Hundred Years' War in the 14th century.

In 1363, after the Treaty of Brétigny, Bascot de Mauléon and his men began to pillage the countryside. His was one of the many so called Tard-Venus, groups of mercenaries left without employment by the end of hostilities.

His troops attacked Avignon and ransomed the Pope. They then plundered Burgundy. He took part in the Battle of Brignais where troops raised by the king were routed due to the betrayal of the Archpriest.Froissart tells the story that Mauléon had a lady love in Anse, however, Another Bandit leader named Limousin also obtained the favors of this beautiful woman. The chronicle recounts that Mauléon attacked Limousin(caught in the Act) who fled the city naked. Limousin, however latter ambushed, Mauléon on May 2, 1365.

Battle of Nájera

The Battle of Nájera, also known as the Battle of Navarrete, was fought on 3 April 1367 near Nájera, in the province of La Rioja, Castile. It was an episode of the first Castilian Civil War which confronted King Peter of Castile with his half-brother Count Henry of Trastámara who aspired to the throne; the war involved Castile in the Hundred Years' War. Castilian naval power, far superior to that of France or England, encouraged the two polities to take sides in the civil war, to gain control over the Castilian fleet.

King Peter of Castile was supported by England, Aquitaine, Majorca, Navarra and the best European mercenaries hired by the Black Prince. His rival, Count Henry, was aided by a majority of the nobility and the Christian military organizations in Castile. While neither the Kingdom of France nor the Crown of Aragon gave him official assistance, he had on his side many Aragonese noblemen and the French free companies loyal to his lieutenant the Breton knight and French commander Bertrand du Guesclin. Although the battle ended with a resounding defeat for Henry, it had disastrous consequences for King Peter, the Prince of Wales and England.

Battle of Otterburn

The Battle of Otterburn took place according to Scottish sources on 5 August 1388, or 19 August according to English sources, as part of the continuing border skirmishes between the Scots and English.

The best remaining record of the battle is from Jean Froissart's Chronicles in which he claims to have interviewed veterans from both sides of the battle. His account is still regarded with some concern as details, such as the distance between Newcastle upon Tyne and Otterburn, are incorrect.

The Scottish noble James, 2nd Earl of Douglas decided to lead a raid—one of a continuing series on both sides of the border—into English territory. It was timed to take advantage of divisions on the English side between Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland who had just taken over defence of the border.

Froissart of Louis of Gruuthuse (BnF Fr 2643-6)

The Froissart of Louis of Gruuthuse (BnF Fr 2643-6) is a heavily illustrated deluxe illuminated manuscript in four volumes, containing a French text of Froissart's Chronicles, written and illuminated in the first half of the 1470s in Bruges, Flanders, in modern Belgium. The text of Froissart's Chronicles is preserved in more than 150 manuscript copies. This is one of the most lavishly illuminated examples, commissioned by Louis of Gruuthuse, a Flemish nobleman and bibliophile.

The four volumes are now in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris as BnF, MSS Français 2643-6, and contain 110 miniatures of various sizes painted by some of the best Brugeois artists of the day. The page size is approximately 44 x 33 cm, with miniatures of various sizes, from 3/4 page and half-page, to historiated initials. The French text is in two columns and there is extensive marginal decoration of scrolling stems and other plant motifs, with some human and animal figures among them.

Geryt Potter van der Loo

Geryt Potter van der Loo (died 10 November 1454) was a Dutch nobleman at the court of Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut until her death in 1436, and from 24 April 1445 a councillor of the Court of Holland in The Hague. His Middle Dutch translation of Froissart's Chronicles is one of the 1000 notable works in the Canon of Dutch Literature.

Jacques Le Gris

Sir Jacques Le Gris (c. 1330s – 29 December 1386) was a squire and knight in fourteenth century France who gained fame and infamy when he engaged in the last judicial duel permitted by the Parlement of Paris after he was accused of rape by the wife of his neighbour and rival Sir Jean de Carrouges. Carrouges brought legal proceedings against Le Gris before King Charles VI who after hearing the evidence, authorised a trial by combat to determine the question. The duel attracted thousands of spectators and has been discussed by many notable French writers, from the contemporary Jean Froissart to Voltaire.

Described as a large and physically imposing character with a reputation for womanising, Le Gris was a liege man (feudal retainer) of Count Pierre d'Alençon and a favourite at his court, governing a large swathe of his liege lord's territory in addition to his own ancestral holdings. Le Gris' insistence on defending his case by chivalric trial by combat rather than opting for the safer church trial (to which as a cleric in minor orders he was entitled) attracted widespread support for his cause amongst the French nobility, and controversy continues to this day as to where the real guilt lies in the case.

Jean Froissart

Jean Froissart (Old French and Middle French: Jehan, c. 1337 – c. 1405) was a French-speaking medieval author and court historian from the Low Countries, who wrote several works, including Chronicles and Meliador, a long Arthurian romance, and a large body of poetry, both short lyrical forms, as well as longer narrative poems. For centuries, Froissart's Chronicles have been recognised as the chief expression of the chivalric revival of the 14th century kingdoms of England, France and Scotland. His history is also an important source for the first half of the Hundred Years' War.

Jean de Carrouges

Sir Jean de Carrouges IV (c. 1330s – 25 September 1396) was a fourteenth-century French knight who governed estates in Normandy as a vassal of Count Pierre d'Alençon and served under Admiral Jean de Vienne in several campaigns against the English and the forces of the Ottoman Empire. He became infamous in medieval France for fighting in the last judicial duel permitted by the French king and the Parlement of Paris. The combat was decreed in 1386 to contest charges of rape Carrouges had brought against his neighbour and erstwhile friend Jacques Le Gris on behalf of his wife Marguerite. It was attended by much of the highest French nobility of the time led by King Charles VI and his family, including a number of royal dukes. It was also attended by thousands of ordinary Parisians and in the ensuing decades was chronicled by such notable medieval historians as Jean Froissart, Jean Juvénal des Ursins and Jehan de Waurin.

Described in the chronicles as a rash and temperamental man, Carrouges was also a fierce and brave warrior whose death in battle came after a forty-year military career in which he served in Normandy, Scotland and Hungary with distinction and success. He was also heavily involved in court politics, initially at the seat of his overlord Count Pierre of Alençon at Argentan, but later in the politics of the Royal household at Paris, to which he was attached as a chevalier d'honneur and Royal bodyguard in the years following the judicial duel. During his life he conducted a long trail of legal and financial dealings which infuriated his contemporaries and may have invited violence against himself and his family. The truth of the events which led him into public mortal combat in the Paris suburbs may never be known, but the legend is still debated and discussed 600 years later.

Jean de Fiennes

Jean de Fiennes is a sculpture by the French artist Auguste Rodin, first produced between 1885 and 1886. A bronze cast of it is now in the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City.

It is an individual nude modello for his group The Burghers of Calais, showing Jean de Fiennes, captain of Calais and the youngest of the burghers. However, de Fiennes' name was only assigned to one of the burghers long after the historical event in 1346 and he is not mentioned in the contemporary accounts of the siege of Calais such as Froissart's Chronicles.

Rodin made individual modellos of the figures to study the proportions of the figure. In one version of the modello for de Fiennes, Rodin he showed the figure's arms tense and fists clenched, while in another he showed his hands open and his arms by his sides.A second modello has a nude torso with arms extended and palms uprwards; from his forearms a shirt is held a shirt which covers his lower body and his legs. His face is in profile facing left.A third study shows him with no arms, totally covered by a robe from shoulders to feet, with more hair on his head and with more detail in the facial features. In the final group the figure is clothed but has his arms extended as in the first nude modello. However, overall the figure of de Fiennes in the final group is the one with the most changes from the initial modello.

Joan of the Tower

Joan of England (5 July 1321 – 7 September 1362), known as Joan of the Tower because she was born in the Tower of London, was the first wife and Queen consort of David II of Scotland.

John de Ashton (military commander)

Sir John de Ashton, or Assheton (c. 1354 – c. 1398), of Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, was an English politician and military commander.

He was the son of Sir John Ashton (d. c. 1360), and followed his father into military service at a young age. In 1369 he fought in France under John of Gaunt, and in Ireland in 1373. He was knighted by 1377, when he was retained by John of Gaunt.Froissart's Chronicles records a Sir John Assueton who fought at the siege of Noyons in 1370, who was identified by the 19th-century Dictionary of National Biography with the subject of this article, but the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography views this as "suspect"; he would have been sixteen, and not yet knighted.Ashton was elected as a Member (MP) of the Parliament of England for Lancashire in October 1382, with Gaunt's support. He joined Despenser's Crusade in Flanders in 1383, and campaigned in Scotland in 1385; however, he did not accompany Gaunt on his Spanish campaign in 1386.Ashton returned to Parliament in September 1388, and again in January 1390, though not much is known about his activity at them. His eldest son, John de Ashton, was MP for Lancashire in 1411, 1413 and 1416, as well as seneschal of Bayeux in 1417-18.


Marchenoir is a commune in the Loir-et-Cher department of central France. The nearby forest of Marchenoir was the site of L'Aumône Abbey, a Cistercian daughter house of Cîteaux Abbey. The Earl of Buckingham stayed at the Abbey in 1380 whilst his army was quartered in the Forest.

Seguin de Badefol

Seguin de Badefol was a Medieval leader of a large bandit army or Routier With 2000 troops he was the head of the largest group of Tard-Venus.

Thomas Conecte

Thomas Conecte (died 1434) was a French Carmelite friar and preacher.

Born at Rennes, Conecte travelled through Cambrai, Tournai, Arras, Flanders, and Picardy, his sermons vehemently denouncing the vices of the clergy and the extravagant dress of the women, especially their lofty head-dresses, or hennins. He ventured to teach that he who is a true servant of God need fear no papal curse, that the Roman Catholic hierarchy is corrupt, and that marriage is permissible to the clergy, of whom only some have the gift of continence. Having inveighed against the disedifying life of certain priests, he had to seek safety in flight and left France for Italy. He was listened to by immense congregations, and in Italy, despite the opposition of Nicholas Kenton (d. 1468), provincial of the English Carmelites, he introduced several changes into the rules of that order. He introduced a strict observance in the convent near Florence, which gradually developed into the Congregation of Mantua. He visited this latter convent in 1432 and then proceeded to Venice, and finally to Rome, where the manners of the Curia provoked anew his violent language and occasioned a charge of conspiracy against the pope. He was finally apprehended by order of Pope Eugene IV, condemned and burnt for heresy.

An account of Friar Thomas's preaching and its effect is given by Enguerrand de Monstrelet, provost of Cambrai (d. 1453), in his continuation of Froissart's chronicles.

Walter IV, Count of Enghien

Walter IV of Enghien (died 1381), Hainault nobleman and soldier, was the son of Sohier of Enghien. He was Count of Brienne as Walter VII and Lord of Enghien in 1364–1381.

Appointed Marshal of Flanders by Louis II of Flanders, he energetically prosecuted the war against the rebellious Ghentois. He is notorious for his sack of the city of Geraardsbergen on July 7, 1381, wherein his troops burned and destroyed the town, killing many of its inhabitants.

Rejoining the Flemish army besieging Ghent, he and a handful of companions were trapped by an ambush laid by the Ghentois, perhaps composed of survivors of Geraardsbergen. He and his illegitimate half-brother John were both cut down in the fighting.

He was succeeded by his heir in proximity of blood, his uncle Louis of Enghien.

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