Whilst these last-mentioned barons and knights of England, with their army, were making excursions and conquests in Rouergue, Quercy, and the Agénois, where they continued a considerable time, the siege of Bourdeilles was still going on. It had lasted upwards of nine weeks. All this while there were daily skirmishes, attacks and gallant deeds of arms. The besieged had a custom of advancing every day with their whole army without the gate, where they skirmished valorously with all comers, and behaved themselves so gallantly that they acquired praise even from the enemy. The garrison remained in this situation some time, and would have continued so longer, if pride and presumption had not tempted them; for they were in sufficient numbers, all tried men, with plenty of provision, and artillery to defend themselves. The besiegers began to grow weary, notwithstanding they acted much to their honour, for they considered that their expenses were greater than the conquest they were attempting was worth. After holding a council, to consider by what means they could the sooner bring this business to an end, they determined to arm all their people by four o’clock in the morning, and to keep them in their quarters, sending a part of them to skirmish with the garrison as usual: for the garrison were so eager for these combats, they would frequently march into the open fields to engage in them. The English ordered their party to make a feint, and to retreat by degrees towards their own army, as if they were defeated, in order to draw them further out, and then a body of cavalry was to sally forth, and, by getting between them and the town, prevent them from entering it again. The plan was adopted; for they said, if they could not win the place by this means, they should not easily gain it. On the morrow morning they armed themselves, and sent two hundred to skirmish with the garrison.
When the companies in Bourdeilles, and their captains Ernaudon and Bernardin, saw them approach, they were very much rejoiced, and quickly made themselves and their men ready. There might be about seven score young men, active soldiers, who, having ordered the gate to be thrown quite open, advanced to their barriers, and met the English lances and bucklers very handsomely. They fought so well that the English gave way, and retreated as they had been ordered; which being observed, those of the garrison ordered their standard to be advanced, crying out at the same time, “By St. Anthony’s head, we shall take them,” On which they attacked them with greater fury as they were flying before them, so that some were unhorsed, wounded or made prisoners. But because they were so eager to gain every thing, and as the proverb says, “All covet, all lose,” they had advanced so far from the town that when they wished to return they could not; for sir John Montague1, who had the command of the ambuscade, which consisted of five hundred chosen men, placed himself between them and the town. He was knighted on the field, by the earl of Cambridge, and directly attacked them with great vigour. When the companies of Bourdeilles saw themselves thus entrapped, they were sensible of their folly in pursuing so far: however, they collected themselves in a body like brave men, and began to fight valiantly, and to perform such feats of arms as were marvellous to behold. This combat lasted upwards of two hours: and they annoyed their enemies so much, and behaved so gallantly, that the English lords were much delighted with them. Sir John Montague proved himself deserving of his knighthood, by his valour and prowess in attacking the enemy. At last, those of Bourdeilles were entirely defeated: all were killed or made prisoners, for not one of them escaped. Those of the English who had been taken were rescued. Sir John Montague made the two governors, Ernaudon and Bernardin de Batefol, his prisoners.
During the time of this skirmish, the earls of Cambridge and of Pembroke had advanced to the barriers and gate, which having gained, they entered the town, the earl of Cambridge’s banner displayed before them. Thus did the English conquer Bourdeilles. They made the inhabitants swear fealty and allegiance to the prince. The chiefs ordered the lord de Mucident to remain there as governor, and gave him sixty archers, in addition to his own people. They then broke up their encampment, having determined to march to Angoulême, to know from the prince what he wished them next to do. Thus ended the siege of Bourdeilles; and the lords with their companies set out on their return. We will now speak of those knights of England and Gascony, who were making inroads in Quercy, and of Chandos the herald, and the news he brought them from the prince of Wales.