All these speeches, the treatment of the messenger, the contents of the letters, and the perilous situation of Auberoche, were known to the earl of Derby, by means of a spy he had in the French army. The earl therefore sent orders to the earl of Pembroke in Bergerac, to meet him at an appointed place and hour; and also the lord Stafford and sir Stephen Tombey, who were at Libourne. The earl of Derby then, accompanied by sir Walter Manny and the forces he had with him, took the road towards Auberoche as secretly as possible; for he had guides who were acquainted with all the by-roads. They came to Libourne, where they staid a whole day for the earl of Pembroke; but hearing no tidings of him, and being impatient to succour their friends who were so distressed, the earl of Derby, the earl of Oxford, sir Walter Manny, sir Richard Hastings, sir Stephen Tombey, the lord Ferrers, and other knights, set out from Libourne: riding all night, they came on the morrow within two leagues of Auberoche. They entered a wood, when, alighting from their horses, they tied them to the trees, and allowed them to pasture, in expectation of the arrival of the earl of Pembroke: they waited all that morning, and until noon, in vain, not knowing what to do; for they were but three hundred lances and six hundred archers, and the French were from ten to twelve thousand men. They thought it would be cowardice to suffer their friends to be lost, when they were so near them. At last sir Walter Manny said, “Gentlemen, let us who are now here mount our horses, skirt this wood, and advance until we come to their camp: when we shall be close to it, we will stick spurs into our horses, and, with loud shouts, fall upon them. It will be about their hour for supper; and we shall see them so much discomfited, that they can never rally again.” The knights present replied, that they would all do as he had proposed. Each went to his horse, re-girthed him, and tightened his armour: they ordered their pages, servants and baggage, to remain where they were.
They advanced in silence by the side of the wood until they came to the other end, where the French army was encamped in a wide valley, near a small river: they then displayed their banners and pennons, and sticking spurs into their horses, dashed into the midst of the French and Gascon forces, who were quite confounded and unprepared for this attack, as they were busy about their suppers, many having set down to table. The English were well prepared to act, and crying, “Derby, Derby for ever!” they cut down tents and pavilions, and slew and wounded all that came in their way. The French did not know where to turn, so much were they surprised; and when they got into the plains, if there were any large body of then, the archers and cross-bowmen made such good use of their weapons, that they were slain or dispersed. The count de Lisle was taken, in his tent, badly wounded; the earl of Perigord in his pavilion, and also sir Charles, his uncle; the lord of Duras was killed, and so was sir Aymery de Poitiers; but his brother, the earl of Valentinois, was made prisoner. Every one took to his heels as fast as he could; but the earl of Comminges, the earls of Carmain, Villemur, and Bruniguel, the lords de la Barde and de la Taride, with others, who were quartered on the opposite side of the castle, displayed their banners, and, having drawn up their men, marched for the plain: the English however, who had already defeated the largest body of the army, fell upon them most vigorously. In this engagement, many gallant deeds of arms were performed, many captures made, and many rescues. As soon as sir Frank van Halle and sir John Lendal, who were in Auberoche, heard the noise, and perceived the banners and pennons of their friends, they hastened to arm themselves, and all those that were with them; when, mounting their horses, they sallied out of the fortress, made for the plan, and dashed into the thickest of the combat, to the great encouragement of the English.
Why should I make a long story of it? All those who were of the count de Lisle’s party were discomfited, and almost all taken prisoners, or slain. Scarcely any would have escaped, if night had not closed so soon. Nine earls and viscount were made prisoners, and so many barons, knights and squires, that there was not a man at arms among the English that had not for his share two or three. This battle before Auberoche was fought on the eve of St. Laurence’s day, in the year 1344. The English treated their prisoners like friends: they received many upon their promises to surrender themselves by a certain day at Bordeaux, or Bergerac. The English retired into Auberoche; and the earl of Derby entertained at supper the greater part of the prisoners, earls, viscounts, barons, and knights. They gave thanks and praises to God, for having enabled them to overcome upwards of ten thousand men, when they themselves were not more than one thousand, including every one, and to rescue the town and castle of Auberoche, in which were their friends, that must have been captured in two days’ tine. On the next morning, a little after sun-rise, the earl of Pembroke arrived with three hundred lances and four thousand archers; he had been informed of the event of the battle as they came along, and said to the earl of Derby “Certainly, cousin, you have neither been courteous, nor behaved honourably, to fight my enemies withut waiting for me, seeing that you had sent for me; and you might have been assured, that nothing should have prevented my coming to you.” The earl replied, “Fair cousin, we were very anxious for your arrival, and we waited for you from the morning until vespers: when we saw no appearance of your coming, we dared not wait longer; for had our enemies been informed of our arrival, they would have had the advantage over us; but now, thanks to God, we have conquered them, and we pray of you to help us in conducting them to Bordeaux.” They remained that day and night in Auberoche: on the next day early, they were armed and mounted, and set off, leaving there a Gascon knight in their interest, as governor, named the lord Alexander of Chaumont. They took the road to Bordeaux, and carried with them the greater port of their prisoners.