You have before heard, that after the death of the queen of Navarre, sister to the king of France, there were many persons who, from love to one and hatred to the other, had declared that the inheritance of the children of the king of Navarre, which had fallen by them on their mother’s decease, was legally their due; and that the king of France, their uncle by the mother’s side, had a right to the guardianship of them, and the management, in their name, of all the lands which the king of Navarre held in Normandy, until his nephews should be of age1. The king of Navarre was suspicious of something being proposed like to the above, for he was well acquainted with the laws and customs of France. He therefore determined to send the bishop of Pampeluna and sir Martin de la Carra into France, to entreat the king in the most amicable manner that, out of love to him, he would send his two sons, Charles and Peter; and that, if it were not agreeable to the king to allow of both coming to him, he at least would let him have Charles, for a treaty of marriage was in contemplation between him and the daughter of king Henry of Castille. He resolved, notwithstanding this embassy to France, to order his castles in Normandy to be secretly inspected and reinforced, that the French might not seized them; for, if they were not strengthened in every respect, they might do so; and, should they once get possession, he could not regain them when he pleased.
He made choice, for this business, of two valiant men at arms of Navarre, in whom he had great confidence, whose names were Peter de Basille and Ferrando. The bishop of Pampeluna and sir Martin de la Carra arrived in France, and had long conferences with the king, to whom, with much reverence, they recommended the king of Navarre, and entreated of him that he would suffer his two sons to depart. The king replied, that he would consider of it. They afterwards received an answer in the king’s name, his majesty being present, that “the king wished to have his nephews, the children of Navarre, near him: that they could not be any where better placed: and that the king of Navarre ought to prefer their being with their uncle, the king of France, to any other person: that he would not allow either of them to leave him, but would keep them near his person, and form them a magnificent establishment, suitable to their rank as sons of a king, and his own nephews.” This was all they could obtain.
During the time these ambassadors were in France, Peter de Basille and Ferrando arrived at Cherbourg with many stores. These two visited, by orders of he king of Navarre, the whole country of Evreux, renewed the officers, and placed others In the different forts, according to their pleasure, The bishop of Pampeluna and sir Martin de la Carra returned to Navarre, and related to the king, whom they met at Tudelle2, all that had passed in France. The king was not well pleased that he could not have his children, and conceived a violent hatred against the king of France, which he would have show if he had had the power; but he was incapable of hurting that kingdom, and besides he had not formed any alliances. He thought it, therefore, better to dissemble, until he should have greater cause of complaint, and more real evils be done unto him. The king of France and his council received information that the king of Navarre was reinforcing all the castles and towns in Normandy, which he called his own; and they knew not what to think of his conduct.
At this time there was a secret armament formed in England, of two thousand men at arms, who were embarked, but without any horses, of which the duke of Lancaster and earl of Cambridge were the commanders. The Normans, hearing of it, had informed the king of France that this expedition was certainly intended for the coasts of Normandy, but they could not say whither it had sailed. Others supposed it to have been undertaken by the advice of the king of Navarre, who meant to deliver up to the English his strong places in Normandy. The king of France was also told, that he must hasten his preparations, if he wished to be master of these castles, and that it had been too long delayed; for, if the English should once gain them, they would be enabled to harass France very much, and they could not obtain a more convenient entrance into the kingdom than by being possessors of the towns and castles of the king of Navarre. Two secretaries of the king of Navarre were arrested in France, a lawyer and a squire: the name of the first was Peter du Tertre, and the other James de Rue: they were conducted to Paris for examination, and were found so intimately connected with the king of Navarre’s intentions of poisoning the king of France that they were condemned to death, and were executed and quartered at Paris accordingly3.