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merous manors in the counties of Derby, Stafford, Leicester and Rutland. CHAP. 11. One of the ancestors of the Blounts, or Blonds, was William, who was Thomas slain at the battle of Lewes, fighting on the part of the barons. In him le Blond. the elder branch became extinct, and the estates, which were chiefly in Lincolnshire and Suffolk, fell to the husbands of his two sisters. The younger branches of the Blounts rose gradually into dignities and wealth. The Thomas abovementioned, came into possession of extensive estates in this and the neighbouring counties, by his marriage with Juliana, the daughter of Thomas de Leyburne and widow of John lord Bergavenny: he was steward of the household to Edward II. but on the flight of his unhappy sovereign to Wales he joined the party of the queen and Mortimer, and was in parliament among the barons by whose vote the king was deposed.
Henry Fitz Hugh was of a line of distinguished warriors who had taken no regular surname until this period, each son contenting himself with prefixing the word Fitz to the name of his father: the descendants of this Henry, who was employed in all the Scottish wars of the last feeble reign, and had been summoned to parliament as a baron, retained the name of Fitz Hugh, and became a wealthy and powerful family, possessing in this county the manor of Beighton, with large territories in Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire. This noble baron attended Edward III. on this occasion. William d'Eincourt was lord of the manors of Holmesfield, Elmton william and Cresswell in this county. Being young at this period, he served in the retinue of Eubulo l'Estrange in this Scottish expedition. He was afterwards employed beyond sea, and having been appointed commissary to the army, he returned to England for stores, when he obtained license to transport thirty-three sacks of his own wool towards the payment of the charges of his expedition. He was constantly in the wars of this reign, and was joined in commission with lord Grey of Codnor to raise troops in the counties of Derby and Nottingham.
The family of D'Arcy was held in high favour by this great military D'Arcy. monarch, and on this occasion John d'Arcy, then a youth, attended the king to Scotland, while his father was employed in Ireland, of which country he was governor and justiciary.
Henry, styled earl of Derby during the life of his father, Henry, earl of Henry, Earl Lancaster, attended the king in these Scottish wars and subsequently signalized himself in France.
The success of Baliol, as we have already remarked, had been surprising. The young king David of Scotland had been obliged to take refuge in France, with his queen, the sister of the king of England. Edward was not slow in taking advantage of these favourable circumstances. He marched against Berwick, and the governor, Sir William Keith, finding all means of defence, unless he could depend upon re-enforcements and supplies of provisions, to be hopeless, capitulated for the surrender of the town on a certain day, should he not be relieved by the regent, earl Murray, in the interval. Edward awaited the Scottish army at Halidon hill, and there, after a sanguinary engagement, the Scots were entirely defeated. hill. The surrender of Berwick followed; and Edward having left with Baliol
CHAP. 11. a body of troops to ensure the subjugation of the rest of the kingdom, and having garrisoned the castle of Edinburgh and most of the southern fortresses with his own soldiers, returned to England.
Various exEdward soon found, as his warlike grandfather had so often experienced, peditions of Edward into that the Scots were not subdued however they might be defeated. Shortly after his departure, the lords Douglas and Marr headed a large body of insurgents and drove Baliol from his throne, and Edward again entered Scotland with similar success, but his conquest was never secure; a third and a fourth time did he try the dreadful experiment of subjugating a brave and independent people by the sword, and would have pursued still further this cruel course of policy, had not a greater object given a new direction to his ambition. This object was the crown of France, to which he had long secretly aspired, and of which the circumstances of the French court seemed to favour the acquirement. Robert d'Artois, having been denied his claim to the earldom of that province, which Philip seized in the presumed right of his queen, who was cousin to Robert, came over to Edward and urged him to enforce his claims to the French crown. In the train of Robert d'Artois there came over to this country the famous James d'Arteville, a brewer of Ghent, who was so popular in the free towns of Flanders that he was able to draw them all to the English inCampaign in terest. Edward having strengthened his cause by alliances with the emperor and other potentates, commenced his enterprise by sending a body of troops over to Flanders; and some time afterwards followed in person with a fleet of five hundred sail. Various negociations and other important circumstances protracted his stay in Brabant, and it was not until the September of the ensuing year (1339) that he invaded the province of Cambray. This first campaign terminated without any general engagement, although the armies of Edward and of his riva! Philip were encamped for some weeks at no great distance from each other, on the borders of Piccardy. The second campaign was likewise undistinguished by incidents favourable to the ambitious views of the English sovereign. The preparations had been great, and in the month of June, 1340, Edward embarked at the mouth of the Orwell in Suffolk. Having received intelligence from Sir John de Chandos, who had sailed before him, that the French fleet, consisting of four hundred vessels, was in readiness to intercept him in his passage, he prepared to engage the enemy, notwithstanding their manifest superiority. This naval battle is one of the most glorious on record. Edward gave astonishing proofs of his bravery and prudence. The vessels grappled with each other, and the men fought furiously hand to hand, from eight in the morning until seven at night. At length, on the approach of night, the French, in a state of desperation, leapt into the sea, unable any longer to stand the encounter with their assailants animated by the presence of the king. Of the whole French fleet, only thirty escaped. The courtiers of Philip dared not to communicate this misfortune to him, and, it is said, that the melancholy message was entrusted to the court buffoon, who, in the king's presence cried out several times, “Oh those cowardly, faint-hearted Englishmen !" Philip demanded why he called them faint-hearted. "Why," replied the buffoon, "they dared not leap out of their ships into the sea, as our brave Frenchmen did.”
Having landed in Flanders, Edward laid siege to Tournay; but as the CHAP. 11. town held out several weeks, and the besieging army was annoyed by the Siege of forces under Philip, which, without coming to a general engagement, had Tournay. encamped at a short distance and intercepted the foraging parties of the besiegers, he was obliged to consent to a truce, which was to last until the Midsummer of the year following. In consequence of this unfortunate termination of the campaign that had commenced so brilliantly, the emperor and the duke of Brabant fell off from their alliance with the king of England, who returned to England greatly irritated at his want of success. He had no sooner resumed the reins than he complained to parliament of the conduct of the archbishop of Canterbury, his prime minister, whom he charged with obstructing the levy of the money voted to him for the expenses of the war; and, at the same time, he caused to be imprisoned Imprisonmost of the first officers of state, amongst whom was Thomas lord Wake, ment of of Chesterfield, all of whom he accused of having acted dishonestly in the levy of the late subsidies.
Whilst thus irritated against the ministers of his government, and discouraged by the defection of his allies, and by the reflection that in two campaigns he had made no advance towards the obtainment of his object, Edward suddenly found his hopes revived, by the offer of John de Mont- John de fort, one of the claimants of the duchy of Bretagne, to acknowledge his title to the crown of France, to do him homage and to aid his design. Troops were instantly raised and sent into Bretagne in order to assail the territories of Philip from that quarter, but still nothing effective was performed, and the rival monarchs shortly after consented to submit to the mediation of the pope and agreed to a truce for three years.
The affairs of Scotland demanded the attention of Edward. The obe- Affairs of Scotland. dience of that people to Baliol was partial and temporary. Robert Stuart, who acted for David Bruce, had rallied the patriotic spirit of the Scots and had driven Baliol, who was everywhere regarded as the lieutenant of the king of England, to those southern provinces of the realm which were garrisoned and defended by English troops. These circumstances instigated Edward to attempt the subjugation of Scotland once more, and for that purpose he prepared to invade it both by sea and land. The Scots, intimidated at his purpose, sent ambassadors offering to acknowledge him as sovereign of Scotland, should David not return from France with succours before the ensuing month of May. David, on receiving intelligence of this truce, speedily re-visited Scotland with a large body of forces, furnished him by Philip. On his arrival he was joined by numbers of his subjects, and crossing the borders, he laid waste the northern counties of England, besieged and took the city of Durham and put all the inhabitants to the sword. Alarmed by intelligence that Edward was advancing in person, at the head of a large army, he commenced his retreat to Scotland; but a part of his troops being attacked and deprived of their plunder by the garrison of Werke castle, he determined to lay siege to that fortress. The castle of Werke, in Northumberland, had been held by the earl of Siege of Salisbury, then recently dead, in consequence of bruises received at a tournament at Windsor. He had stood high in favour with the king, and had
CHAP. 11. obtained the wardship of the princess, Joan, daughter of Edmund, earl of Kent, whom, with the consent of Edward, he caused to be betrothed to his eldest son, in the infancy of the contracted pair. Joan had been so remarkable from her childhood for her beauty, that she was known by the name of the Fair Maid of Kent, and the possessions to which she was either immediate or presumptive heiress were great; including in this county alone, besides the town of Chesterfield, the manors of Longstone, Sheldon, Wardlow, Holme and Ashford. It is probable that the earl of Salisbury, having been very recently appointed to a command on the borders, had been accompanied by his lovely ward and intended daughter-inlaw to his castle of Werke. Froissard intimates that she had command of the castle, or that she held it in her own right, at the time of its being besieged by the king of Scotland; but she could not then have been more than fifteen or sixteen years of age, and it is not unlikely that the widow of the deceased earl also resided at Werke, and that the countess dowager and the intended countess have been spoken of somewhat confusedly in his narrative. The young earl, who is stated to have been fifteen years old at his father's death, had been placed under the tutelage of John de Somerton and Thomas Waryn.
Truce with Scotland.
It cannot for certain be shown that the youthful warrior, Thomas de Holand, who, by his influence over the heart of the Fair Maid of Kent, contrived to cancel her betrothment to the young earl, was resident at Werke castle at the period of the siege. Thomas de Holand was the son of the Robert de Holand of whom we have already made mention; and in early life he was received into the family of Montacute, earl of Salisbury, and was appointed by him steward of his household. In the expeditions of the king to Flanders, during the two preceding years, he was in the train of his patron, and it is likely enough that when the earl received an appointment upon the borders of Scotland, Thomas de Holand would accompany him and have a command in the garrison of Werke castle at the time of his death. An historical novelist would undoubtedly place him at that spot during so interesting an occasion and find opportunities to unite the triumphs of both love and war. All that we can discover in the narratives of the old historians, is, that the castle was defended with such bravery, that although it was stormed several times and one of the towers demolished, the king of Scotland and his army were obliged to retire from before it. That the approach of Edward was the principal cause of the Scots retiring may be suggested without depreciating the valour of the garrison or the intrepidity of the countess and her gallant defenders. The king arrived immediately upon the departure of the Scottish army, and was not sparing of his compliments to his young cousin upon her having sustained so desperate a siege, and some serious as well as romantic historians have told us that he fell in love with her upon that occasion. He remained at Werke only until the next day; and then went in pursuit of the Scottish monarch. This expedition terminated in a truce between England and Scotland.
Edward employed this interval in domestic regulations; and as he found that in favouring the liberties of his subjects and leaving them the free
enjoyment of the legislative power as regarded the general interests of so- CHAP. 11. ciety, they were ever more inclined to promote the great objects of his Great ambition, he voluntarily confirmed the Great Charter, and promoted the Charter enactment of statutes favourable to the due administration of justice. But while engaged in the works of peace, his mind was bent upon the renewal of war, and his thoughts were continually busied about the means of forming alliances and of leading a powerful army into the heart of France. His allies in his former campaigns had deceived him; and he looked no longer to the sovereigns of Germany or Flanders, whom he had found greedy to receive his money but negligent in supplying the troops agreed upon. He, therefore, changed his plan, and entered into private negociations with the warlike subjects of these potentates, who, according to the feudal system, could levy soldiers from their own territorial possessions, and by the practice of the period were accustomed to engage, as soldiers of fortune, in the armies of the great European monarchs. In order to draw to his court an abundance of these baronial cavaliers, he proclaimed the holding of tournaments on a scale of extraordinary magnificence. A circular hall or Tournatheatre was constructed at Windsor, two hundred feet in diameter, which ments. contained a round table, in imitation of king Arthur, at which all the knights that arrived were feasted. Philip of France, jealous of the influence which his rival was acquiring by these splendid festivities, which, he was aware, served chiefly to cover the private agreements for the levy of troops, soon to be used against himself, instituted similar tournaments in various parts of France; but having discovered that some knights who had been drawn to them by the splendour of them and by the custom of the times, had secretly entered into engagements with Edward, he caused them to be seized and beheaded. In vain did Philip endeavour to vindicate Treachery himself from a charge of treachery so contrary to the received principles of Philip. of chivalry; Edward, glad of a pretence to resume the war, proclaimed to all Christendom that the truce had been broken by this atrocious violation of the laws of knighthood.
Henry, earl of Lancaster, or rather, the earl of Derby, for his father was yet alive, although then on his death-bed, was sent with an army into Earl of Guienne. Richard Fitz Alan, earl of Arundel, was joined with him, in command, and these leaders were accompanied by Hastings, earl of Pembroke, Vere, earl of Oxford, lord Stafford, Sir Walter de Manny and several other barons and knights.—The earl of Lancaster had greatly distinguished himself during his father's life, while he was known by the title of earl of Derby. He was employed in the wars during the preceding campaigns, and was sent over to clear the isle of Cagant of a garrison which the French had placed there. On the first onset he was beaten to the ground, but by the valour of the famous Walter de Manny he was brought safely off, to the great joy of his military adherents, who rushed forward with intrepidity, while the brave Sir Walter shouted "Lancaster! for the earl of Derby." As great part of the earl's estates lay in this county, we may suppose many of the men of Derbyshire to be comprehended in the cry of "Lancaster!"-He had command also in Flanders and was at the great sea fight, already mentioned, before Sluys.