The lords of France remained for a very considerable time before Angoulême. The French overran all the country which had been conquered by the English: they created much trouble, and, whenever they found a fit opportunity, brought to their camp many prisoners and much pillage: the two brothers of Bourbon acquired great praise from all, as they were the foremost in every excursion. When sir John Norwich, the governor of Angoulême, found that the duke of Normandy would not break up the siege until he had gained the city; that his provisions were growing short, and that the earl of Derby showed no signs of coming to his relief: having also perceived that the inhabitants were much inclined to the French, and would have turned to them before, if they had dared: he began to be suspicious of treason, and bethought how he could best save himself and his companions. On the eve of the Purification, he came on the battlements of the walls of the city alone, without having mentioned to any one his intentions, and made signs with his cap that he wanted to speak with some one from the army. Those who had noticed the signal came to know what he wanted: he said, “he wished to speak with my lord the duke of Normandy, or with one of his marshals.” They went to inform the duke of this, who came there, attended by some of his knights. As soon as sir John saw the duke, he pulled off his cap, and saluted him. The duke returned the salute, and said, “Sir John, how fares it with you? Are you inclined to surrender yourself?” “I have no intentions to do that,” replied sir John; “but I could wish to entreat of you, in reverence to the feast of our Lady, which is to-morrow, that you would grant us a truce for that day only, that neither of us may hurt the other, but remain in peace.” The duke said, “he was willing to consent to it.”
Early the next morning, which was Candlemas day, sir John and his companions armed themselves, and packed up all they had. They then ordered one of the gates to be opened, and issued forth; which being perceived by the army, some part of it began to put itself in motion: sir John, upon this, rode up to them, and said, “Gentlemen, gentlemen, beware that you do no harm to us; for we have had a truce agreed on for this whole day, as you must know, by the duke of Normandy; and we shall not touch you. If you have not been informed of it, go and inquire; for we can, upon the faith of this truce, ride and go wherever we please.” This information was brought to the duke, and he was asked what was to be done, who replied, “Let them go, in God’s name, whatever way they choose; for we cannot force them to stay. I will keep the promise I made them.” Thus sir John Norwich passed through the whole French army unhurt, and took the road to Aiguillon. When those who were in garrison there heard in what manner he had escaped and saved his men, they said he had acted very cunningly. The inhabitants of Angoulême held a council on Candlemas day, and determined to surrender themselves to the duke: they sent persons properly authorized to treat, who managed so well, that the duke showed them mercy, and pardoned them. He entered the city and castle, where he received their homage, and appointed sir Anthony de Villiers governor, with a hundred soldiers to defend it. The duke afterwards decamped, and came before the castle of Damazan1, which he laid siege to for fourteen days. There were continued assaults; but at last it was taken, and all within it, Gascon and English, put to the sword. The duke gave this castle and its dependencies to a squire, from Beausse, named the Borgne de Nully. He then came before Tonniens2, which is situated on the Garonne, and which he found well provided with Gascons and English. There were many attacks and skirmishes; and he remained some time before it. However, at last they surrendered, upon condition of preserving their lives and fortunes, and to be conducted in safety to Bordeaux. When these foreigners had left it, the town entered under obedience to the duke, who staid here with his whole army, and on the banks of the Garonne, until after Easter, when he advanced towards Port St. Marie upon the same river. There were about two hundred English to defend the town and this passage, who had strongly fortified it; but they, and all within, were taken by assault. The French, after they had repaired and reinforced it with men at arms, set out and took the road towards Aiguillon.