The king of England, in order to entertain and fest the strangers and their company, held a great court on Trinity-Sunday, at the house of the black friars, where he and the queen were lodged, and where each kept their household separate; the king with his knights, and the queen with her ladies, whose numbers were considerable. At this court the king had five hundred knights, and created fifteen new ones. The queen gave her entertainment in the dormitory, where at least sixty ladies, whom she had invited t entertain sir John de Hainault and his suite, sat down at her table. There might be seen a numerous nobility well served with plenty of strange dishes, so disguised that it could not be known what they were. There were also ladies most superbly dressed, who were expecting with impatience the hour of the ball, or a longer continuance of the feast: but it fell out otherwise; for, soon after dinner, a violent affray happened between some of the grooms of the Hainaulters, and the English archers, who were lodged with them in the suburbs. This increased so much that the English archers collected together, with their bows strung, and shot at them so as to force them to retreat their lodgings. The greater part of the knights and their masters, who were still at court, hearing of the affray, hastened to their quarters. Those who could not enter them were exposed to great danger; for the archers, to the number of three thousand, aimed at both masters and servants. It was supposed that this affray was occasioned by the friends of the Spencers, and the earl of Arundel, in revenge for their having been put to death through the advice of sir John de Hainault. The English also, at whose houses the Hainaulters lodged, doors their doors and windows, and would not suffer them to enter: nevertheless, some of them got admittance at the back doors, and quickly armed themselves, but durst not advance into the street, for fear of the arrows. The strangers immediately sallied from their lodgings, breaking down the hedges and enclosures, until they came to a square, where they halted, waiting for their companions, till they amounted to a hundred under arms, and as many without, who could not gain admittance to their lodgings. United thus, they hastened to assist their friends, who were defending their quarters in the great street in the best manner they could: They passed through the hotel of the lord of Aughein, which had great gates before and behind open into the street, where the archers were dealing about their arrows in a furious manner. Many Hainaulters were wounded with them.1.
Here we found the good knights, sir Fastres de Reu, sir Percival de Severies, and sir Sause de Boussac, who, not getting admitted to their lodgings, performed deeds equal to those that were armed. They had in their hands great oaken staffs, taken from th house of a carter: they dealt their blows so successfully that none durst approach them, and, being strong and valiant knights, beat down, that evening, upwards of sixty men. At last the archers were discomfited and put to flight. There remained on the ground dead three hundred men, who were all from the bishoprick of Lincoln. I believe that God never showed greater grace or favour to any one than he did that day to sir John de Hainault and his company; for these archers certainly meant nothing less than to murder and rob them, notwithstanding they were come on the king's business. These strangers were never in such peril as during the time they remained at York: nor were they in perfect safety until their return to Wissan; for, during their stay, the hatred of the archers was so greatly increased against them, that some of the barons and principal knights informed the lords of Hainault, that the archers and others of the commonality of England, to the number of six thousand, had entered into an agreement to massacre and burn them and their followers in their lodgings either by night or day, and there was no one on the part of the king, or of the barons, that could venture to assist them. The Hainaulters, therefore, had no other resource left that to stand by each other, and to sell their lives as dearly as possible. They made prudent regulations for their conduct, were frequently obliged to lie on their arms, to confine themselves to their quarters, and to have their armour ready, and their horses always saddled. They were also obliged to to keep detachments continually on the watch in the fields and roads around the city, and to send scouts to the distance of half a league, to see if those people, of whom they had received information, were coming, with orders, that, if they perceived any bodies in motion advancing towards the town, they were immediately to return to the detachments in the fields, in order that they might be quickly mounted, and collected together under their own banner, at an appointed alarm-post. They continued in the suburbs four weeks in this distressing situation, and none, except a few of the great lords, who went to court to see the king and his council, or to the entertainments to hear the news, ventured to quit their quarters or their arms. If this unfortunate quarrel had not happened, they would have passed their time very pleasantly; for their was such plenty in the city and surrounding country, that during more than six weeks, while the king and the lords of England, with upwards of forty thousand men at arms, remained there, the provisions were not dearer; for as much was to be bought for a penny as before their arrival. Good wines from Gascony, Alsace, and the Rhine, were also in abundance and reasonable; poultry and other such provisions were at a low price. Hay, oats, and straw, of a good quality, and cheap, were delivered at their quarters.