When the feast of All-Saints was drawing near, the duke of Burgundy, the count de Saltzbourg, the bishops of Amiens, and of Bayeux, came to Bruges by orders of the king of France, to hold a conference. The duke of Anjou staid at St. Omer, where he continued the whole time. From the king of England there came, the dukes of Lancaster and Brittany, the earl of Salisbury and the bishop of London: so that the town of Bruges was well filled by their retinues, more especially by that of the duke of Burgundy, who kept a most noble and grand state. Sir Robert de Namur resided with the duke of Lancaster, and showed him every attention as long as he remained in Flanders.
The ambassadors from the pope, the archbishop of Rouen and the bishop of Carpentras, were also there, who went to and fro to each party, proposing different terms for an accommodation, but without any effect; for these lords, in their first parley, were too much divided to come to any agreement. The king of France demanded repayment of fourteen hundred thousand francs which had been given for king John’s ransom, and that the town of Calais should be dismantled. This the king of England would never consent to. The truces were therefore prolonged until the feast of St. John the Baptist in the year 1376. The lords remained all that winter in Bruges, and some time longer. In the summer, each returned to his own country, except the duke of Brittany: he continued in Flanders with his cousin the count Lewis, who entertained him handsomely.
In this year, on Trinity-Sunday, that flower of English knighthood the lord Edward of England, prince of Wales and of Aquitaine, departed this life in the palace of Westminster near London. His body was embalmed, placed in a leaden coffin and kept until the ensuing Michaelmas, in order that he might be buried with greater pomp and magnificence when the parliament assembled in London1.
King Charles of France, on account of his lineage, had funeral service for the prince performed with great magnificence, in the holy chapel of the palace in Paris, which was attended, according to the king’s orders, by many prelates and nobles of the realm of France.
The truces, through the mediation of the ambassadors, were again prolonged until the first day of April.
We will now say something of the lord de Coucy and the Germans. When those of Austria and Germany heard that he was advancing with so strong a force to carry on the war against them, they burnt and destroyed three days’ march of country by the river side, and then they retreated to their mountains and inaccessible places. The men at arms, of whom the lord de Coucy was the leader, expected to find plenty of forage, but they met with nothing: they suffered all this winter very great distress, and knew not in what place to seek provision for themselves, or forage for their horses, who were dying of cold, hunger and disorders: for this reason, when spring came, they returned to France, and separated into different troops to recruit themselves. The king of France sent the greater part of the companies into Brittany and lower Normandy, as he imagined he should have occasion for their services.
The lord de Coucy, on his return into France, began to think of becoming a good and true Frenchman; for he had found the king of France very kind and attentive to his concerns. His relationship to the king made him consider it was not worth his while to risk the loss of his inheritance, for so slender a reason as the war with the king of England; for he was a Frenchman by name, arms, blood, and extraction. He therefore sent the lady his wife to England, and kept with him only the eldest of his two daughters: the youngest had been left in England, where she had been educated. The king of France sent the lord de Coucy to attend the negotiations carrying on at Bruges, which continued all the winter. None of the great lords were there, except the duke of Brittany, who had staid with his cousin the count of Flanders; but he entered very little into the business.