After the total defeat of lord Charles’s army, when the field of battle was free, and the principal leaders, English and Bretons, were returned from the pursuit, sir John Chandos, sir Robert Knolles, sir Eustace d’Ambreticourt, sir Matthew Gournay, sir John Boursier1, sir Walter Huet, sir Hugh Calverly, sir Richard Burley, Sir Richard Tancon2, and several others, drawing near to the earl of Montfort, came to a hedge, where they began to disarm themselves, knowing the day was theirs. Some of them placed their banners and pennons in this hedge, with the arms of Brittany high above all, in a bush, as a rallying post for their army.
Sir John Chandos, sir Robert Knolles, sir Hugh Calverly and others, then approached to the earl of Montfort, and said to him, smiling; “My lord, praise God, and make good cheer, for this day you have conquered the inheritance of Brittany.” He bowed to them very respectfully, and then said, loud enough to be heard by all around him; “Sir John Chandos, it is to your valour and prudence that I am indebted for the good fortune of this day: this I know for a truth, as well as all those who are with me: I beg you will, therefore, refresh yourself out of my cup.” He then extended to him a flagon full of wine, and his cup, out of which he himself had just drunk, adding, “After God, I owe more thanks to you than to all the rest of the world.” As he finished these words, the lord de Clisson returned, out of breath and very hot. He had pursued the enemy a long way, and had just left them, bringing back his men, with a number of prisoners. He advanced directly to the earl of Montfort and the knights who were about him, leaped off his courser, and refreshed himself with them. Whilst they were thus together, two knights and two heralds returned, who had been sent to examine the dead bodies in the field, to know what was become of the lord Charles de Blois: for they were uncertain if he had been slain or not. They cried with a loud voice, “My lord, be of good cheer, for we have seen your adversary lord Charles de Blois among the dead.” Upon this, the earl of Montfort rose up and said, he wished to see him himself, for that, “he should have as much pleasure in seeing him dead as alive.” All the knights then present accompanied him to the spot where he was lying apart from the others, covered by a shield, which he ordered to be taken away, and looked at him very sorrowfully. After having paused a while, he exclaimed; “Ha, my lord Charles, sweet cousin, how much mischief has happened to Brittany from your having supported by arms your pretensions! God help me, I am truly unhappy at finding you in this situation, but at present this cannot be amended.” Upon which he burst into tears. Sir John Chandos, perceiving this, pulled him by the skirt, and said: “My lord, my lord, let us go away, and return thanks to God for the success of the day: for without the death of this person, you never would have gained your inheritance of Brittany.”
The earl then ordered that lord Charles’s body should be carried to Guingamp3, which was immediately done with great respect, and he was most honourably interred. This was but his due, as he was a good, loyal, and valiant knight. His body was afterwards sanctified by the grace of God, and venerated as Saint Charles. Pope Urban V. who was the reigning pontiff, approved of it, by canonizing it; for it performed then, as it does to this day, many miracles4.
After these orders, when the dead were stripped, and the victors returned from the pursuit, they all retired to the quarters which they had left that morning. They disarmed themselves; and having taken some refreshment, of which they had an ample provision, they attended to their prisoners. Those that were wounded, were moved and dressed: even the servants who had suffered were well taken care of.
On the Monday morning, the earl of Montfort sent information to the city of Vannes, and to the neighbouring towns, that he should grant a truce for three days, in order that those slain in the battle might be buried in consecrated ground. This conduct was very pleasing to all.
The earl of Montfort sat down before the castle of Auray, declaring he would not depart thence until he had possession of it. News was spread abroad with great celerity, and in different places, that the earl of Montfort, by the help and assistance of the English, had gained the victory; that the lord Charles was defeated and slain; and that all the knights of Brittany, who had sided with the lord Charles, were either taken prisoners or dead. Sir John Chandos had the whole honour of this battle; for all the knights, lords, and squires who had been engaged in it, declared that it was solely owing to his prudence and prowess they had gained the day.
The friends and allies of lord Charles were much afflicted at this news, as was natural for them to be; but the king of France was the most hurt; for this defeat affected him greatly, considering that many of the knights of his realm had been made prisoners and killed. Among the first, sir Bertrand du Guesclin, whom he much loved; the earls of Auxerre, of Joigny, and all the barons of Brittany without exception. The king of France, therefore, sent his brother, the duke of Anjou, to the borders of Brittany, to the assistance of the country, which was much distressed by the loss of their lord, Charles de Blois; and to comfort and condole with the duchess of Brittany, his widow, who was in the deepest affliction. This it was the duty of the duke to do; but he was the more earnestly engaged in this melancholy task, having married her daughter. He therefore most willingly gave his promise of advice, assistance, and succour to the large cities, towns, castles, and to all the country of Brittany in which the duchess, whom he called his mother, and the whole country, had for a long time great confidence, until the king of France, to avoid all difficulties, made other arrangements, as you shall hereafter be informed of.
News of this victory was brought to the king of England; for the earl of Montfort had written to him on the fifth day after the battle of Auray, and sent the intelligence, with credential letters, by a pursuivant at arms, who had been in the engagement, to the town of Dover. The king of England nominated him his herald, and gave him the name of Windsor5, with a handsome present of money. Through this herald, and from some knights of both parties, I have been informed of the whole. With regard to the cause why the king of England was then at Dover, you shall immediately learn. It is a well-known fact, that proposals for a marriage between the lord Edmund earl of Cambridge, son of the king of England, and the daughter of earl Lewis of Flanders, had been treated of, and different negotiations entered upon three years before6: to which marriage the earl of Flanders had but lately given his consent, provided a dispensation could be obtained from pope Urban V., as they were very nearly allied.
The duke of Lancaster, and the lord Edmund his brother, attended by many knights, had been to visit the earl of Flanders, who received them with every mark of distinction; and, to show greater affection and love, he had accompanied them to Calais, and crossed the sea to Dover, where the king and part of his council had remained. When the before-mentioned pursuivant brought to this place the news of the affair at Auray, as it has been told, the king and his barons were much rejoiced at the event; as was also the earl of Flanders, on account of the advancement of his cousin-german the earl of Montfort.
The king of England, the earl of Flanders, and the other barons, staid at Dover three days, which were spent in feasts and entertainments. When they indulged in these sufficiently, and had finished the affairs on which they had met, the earl of Flanders took his leave of the king and departed.
It seems to me, that the duke of Lancaster and the lord Edmund crossed the channel with the earl, and attended him until he arrived at Bruges. We will not speak longer of this matter, but return to the earl of Montfort, and mention how he conducted himself in Brittany.