When the duke of Normandy, who resided at Paris, heard that these men at arms were destroying the country, under the name of the king of Navarre, and that their numbers were daily increasing, he sent to all the principal towns in Picardy and Vermandois, to require that each should, according to his proportion, send a certain number of men at arms, on foot and on horseback, to oppose the Navarrois, who were ruining the kingdom of which he had the government. The cities and chief towns willingly complied with his request: they taxed themselves, according to their fortunes, with men at arms, both horse and foot, archers and cross-bowmen. These advanced first toward the good city of Noyon, making straight for the garrison of Mauconseil, because they thought this the weakest of the fortresses of the Navarrois, and that which had most harassed the inhabitants of Noyon and the country of Vermandois.
The bishop of Noyon, the lord Raoul de Coucy, the lord de Ravenal, the lord de Chauny, the lord de Roye, and sir Matthew de Roye, his brother, were the captains and leaders of these men at arms and the other troops. These lords had with them many other knights and squires from Picardy and Vermandois, who, laying siege to Mauconseil, made many assaults on it, and hardly pressed the garrison; who, when they could not hold out much longer, sent to inform sir John de Piquigny of their distressed situation. He then resided in the castle of la Herielle. All these garrisons and places were under his command. He made haste, therefore, to succour his good friends in Mauconseil, and sent orders privately to the garrison of Creil, to arm themselves directly, and to march to a certain spot which he pointed out to them; for he meant to make an excursion through the country with all the men at arms under his command. When they were all assembled, they amounted to one thousand lances at least. They rode on, under the direction of guides, all that night, without halting, and came before the castle of Mauconseil at day-break. There was so thick a fog that morning, that they could not see the length of an acre of ground. Immediately on their arrival, they fell suddenly on the French army, who, not expecting them, nor having a sufficient guard, were sleeping as if in perfect safety. The Navarrois set up their cry, and began to kill and cut down both men, tents, and pavilions. The skirmish was very sharp, insomuch that the French had not time to arm themselves or collect together, but ran off, as fast as they could, to Noyon, which was hard by, and the Navarrois after them. Many were slain and unhorsed between Noyon and Orcamp1, and between Noyon and Pont l’Evêque2, and in that neighbourhood. The dead and wounded lay in heaps on the ground, on the highways, and between the hedges.
The pursuit lasted as far as the gates of Noyon, which put that town in great danger of being ruined; for some of both parties who were there, have declared, that if the Navarrois had chosen, they might for a certainty have entered the town, as those who belonged to it were so much frightened, when they returned, that they forgot, or had not time to shut the gate leading to Compiegne. The bishop of Noyon was taken prisoner, near the barriers, and gave his word to surrender himself, or he would have been killed. On the morrow, the lord Raoul de Coucy was taken, as were the lord Raoul de Ravenal, the lord de Chauny, and his two sons, le borgne3 de Rouvroy, the lord de Turte, the lord de Vendueil, the lord Anthony de Coudun, and full one hundred knights and squires.
There were upwards of fifteen hundred men slain: the greatest loss fell upon those who came from the city of Tournay: they suffered much, as many had come from that part. Some said, that of the seven hundred which they at first were, scarcely any returned back, but all were either killed or taken prisoners. The garrison of Mauconseil made a sally, to complete this defeat, which happened in the year 1358, on the Tuesday following the feast of our Lady, the middle of August. The Navarrois conducted the greater part of their prisoners to Creil, because it was a good and strong town. They acquired by this expedition much wealth, as well in jewels as by the ransoms of their prisoners. From this time they became rich, and ransomed the citizens of Tournay and those of the other towns whom they had captured cheerfully, for such sort of ware as swords, axes, spear-heads, jackets, doublets, housings, and for all the different sorts of tools they were in want of. The knights and squires took their payments in ready money, in coursers or other horses; and one poor gentleman, that had not wherewithal to pay, they made serve for a quarter of a year: two or three were treated in this manner4. With regard to wines and provision, they had plenty: for all the flat countries supplied them handsomely by way of ransom. The towns got nothing but in an underhand manner, or by means of their passports, which they sold at a high price. By this method they could obtain all they wanted, except hats of beaver, ostrich feathers, and spear-heads; which things they never would insert in their passports. The garrison of Mauconseil destroyed the greater part of the fine abbey of Orchamps, at which the governor was much enraged when informed of it.
These Navarrois spread themselves over many places, along the banks of the Somme and the Oise; and two of their men at arms, called Rabigeois de Dury and Robin l’Escot5 took by escalade, the good town of Berly6, in which they placed a garrison, and strongly fortified it. These two companions had in pay, under their command, about four hundred men, to whom they gave fixed wages, and paid them every month. The garrisons of Beaulieu, Creil, Mauconseil, and la Herielle, scoured all parts of the country, as no one opposed them; the knights having sufficient employment in guarding their houses and castles. These English and Navarrois went armed or unarmed, and rode over the country at their pleasure, to amuse themselves, from one garrison to another, as if all had been at peace. The young lord de Coucy had his towns and castles extremely well guarded; he was also lord paramount of that part of the country. The canon de Robesart watched the Navarrois better than any other, and harassed them much; for infrequently he had overthrown many of them.