King Philip of France, who felt that his subjects in Calais must be severely oppressed, commanded all the knights and squires of his realm to rendezvous at Amiens, or near that town, on the feast of Whitsuntide. No one dared to disobey this order, but all were punctual in being there at the appointed time. King Philip kept a solemn court at Amiens, at which were present the duke of Normandy his eldest son, the duke of Orleans his youngest son, Eudes duke of Burgundy, the duke of Bourbon, the earl of Foix, the lord Lewis of Savoy, the lord John of Hainault, the earls of Armagnac, Valentinois, Foręts, and a great many other earls, barons, and knights. When all these noblemen were assembled in Amiens, they held many councils. The king of France was very anxious to have a free passage through Flanders, that he might send through it a part of his army by way of Gravelines, to reinforce the garrison of Calais, and to attack and fight with the English on that side of the town. He sent, therefore, a very magnificent embassy into Flanders, to treat with the Flemings on this subject: but the king of England had so many friends there, that they would not grant him his request. The king upon this said, he would then advance as far as Boulogne.
The king of England, who found he could not conquer Calais but by famine, ordered a large castle to be constructed of strong timbers, in order to shut up the communication with the sea; and he directed it to be built and embattled in such a manner that it could not be destroyed. He placed it between the town and the sea, and fortified it with all sorts of war-like instruments1, and garrisoned it with forty men at arms and two hundred archers, who guarded the harbour and port of Calais so closely, that nothing could come out or go into the town, without being sunk or taken. By this means he more sorely aggrieved the Calesians, than by anything he had hitherto done, and sooner brought famine among them. About this time, the king of England was so active among the Flemings (with whom as you have just heard the king of France wanted to make a treaty) that they, to the amount of a hundred thousand men, marched out of Flanders, and laid siege to the town of Aire2: they burnt all the country round it, as far as St. Venant, Mourville la Gorge, Estelly le Ventre, and a tract of country round Loo, and even as far as the gates of St. Omer3 and Terouenne4.
The king of France took up his quarters at Arras5. He sent a large body of men to strengthen his garrisons in Artois, and in particular sir Charles d’Espagne, his constable, to St. Omer; for the earl of Eu and of Guines, who had been constable, was a prisoner, as I have before related, in England. The Flemings kept advancing into the country, and gave the French employment enough before they retreated. When the Flemings were returned, after having made themselves well acquainted with the parts about Loo6, the king of France and his army left Arras, and came to Hesdin7: the army and baggage occupied three leagues of country. When the king had rested one day at Hesdin, he advanced the next day to Blangy8, where he halted, in order to consider whither he should march next. He was advised to make for that part of the country called la Belune, and accordingly began his march thither, his army following, which amounted, including men of all descriptions, to two hundred thousand. The king and his army passed through the country of Faukenberg9, and came straight to the hill of Sangate10, between Calais and Wissant: they marched armed, with banners flying, by moon-light; so that it was a beautiful sight to see their gallant army. When those in Calais perceived them from the walls, pitching their tents, they thought it had been a new siege.