The king of Navarre, who resided at St. Jean du Pied des Ports, was exceedingly angry that the British were so long in coming, for his country was in great danger; and the city of Pampeluna would have been taken by the Spaniards, had it not been for the viscount de Chastillon, the governor, who had under him in all but two hundred Gascon spears, but his prudence and watchfulness prevented it.
Sir Perducas d’Albret was governor of the town of Tudela in Navarre; the count Pullois and his brother Roger commanded in the city of Miranda: a knight from Catalonia, called sir Raymond de Bageth, was governor of another strong town in Navarre, named Arques1. The king of Navarre, placing his confidence in these captains, remained at St. Jean du Pied des Ports, and left them to act as they pleased. The whole country round Pampeluna was destroyed; for none dared to oppose the Spaniards, and they concluded they must by a long siege gain the town. However, those within thought otherwise; for the viscount de Chastillon, the lord de l’Escut, and sir William de Paux, defended it so well, that the Spaniards began to be tired: winter was approaching, it being about St. Andrew’s day, and their provision was becoming scarce: for, if the viscount de Roquebertin had not reinforced them with men at arms and sixty horse-loads of provision, they would have retreated at All-saints day.
The king of Navarre sent one of his knights, called sir Peter de Bascle, to the English to entreat them, if they wished to serve him, to hasten their march; for they had too long delayed it, according to the promises they had made, and the need he had of them. The knight rode until he came into the country of Bayonne, and found the English before a castle named Poulat, to whom he delivered his message very punctually. Sir Thomas Trivet replied, that as soon as the castle he was now before was conquered, he would march for Navarre, and that the knight might return and depend on what he had said. Sir Peter went back, and two days afterwards the castle surrendered, on the garrison marching out in safety. It was re-garrisoned, and afterwards the country continued tolerably quiet. There were some other smaller bodies, who had posted themselves in churches and monasteries, that harassed the country; but they were in no great numbers. The English, therefore, declared they could no longer remain with them, but must march to Navarre to raise the siege of Pampeluna and combat the Spaniards.
Sir Thomas Trivet, sir Matthew Gournay, with their men, returned to Dax, where they halted four days: on the fifth, they departed, and took the road to Navarre. Sir Matthew Gournay marched back to the city of Bayonne with those under his command, to defend the country, and to conquer some of the small forts which the Bretons still held. Sir Thomas continued his march until he arrived at St. Jean du Pied des Ports, where he found the king of Navarre, who was right glad to see him. He lodged the knights in the town, and the men at arms found the best quarters they could in the country about. The king had, some time before, issued his summons for a large army to assembled before the city of Miranda: none dared to disobey it, and all knights and squires had in consequence prepared themselves to march to Pampeluna against the Spaniards.
News arrived at the Spanish army, that the English with a powerful force were with the king of Navarre, at St. Jean, to the amount of twenty thousand men at arms. Upon this, a council was held of the principal chiefs, to consider whether to wait for the king of Navarre, or to retreat. This was long debated; for some of the captains wished to wait for the English and Navarrois, while others were of a contrary opinion, saying they were not strong enough to meet such an army, and too much fatigued and worn down by the length of the siege. This council sat a considerable time: at last, orders were given to decamp, and make a handsome retreat into their own country. What inclined them to this was, that some valiant knights who had great experience of war, declared that their honour would not suffer any disgrace, for that king Henry, being returned into Castille, had sent, fifteen days before, orders of recal to his son, as well as for the discontinuance of the siege of Pampeluna.
The Spaniards, therefore, quitted their quarters, and when they marched off, set fire to them, taking the road to Logrono and to St. Domingo in Castille. When the inhabitants of Pampeluna saw them march away, they were much rejoiced, for they had pressed them hard. News was brought to the king of Navarre and to the English at St. Jean of the Spaniards having raised the siege, and of their retreat to their own country. They seemed as if much enraged at it, for they would willingly have fought with them. Notwithstanding this, they marched to Pampeluna, where they found the viscount de Chastillon, the lord de l’Escut, and the others, who received them with pleasure.
When these men at arms had refreshed themselves for two or three days in Pampeluna, they thought it advisable to march from thence and divide themselves in different garrisons, to gain more country: besides, the mountains of Navarre are too cold in the winter, being covered with snow. The English were, therefore, ordered to Tudela; the lord de l’Escut to Pont à la Reine2; the count Pullois and his brother Roger to Corella, and the lord de Chastillon to Mundon. In this manner were the men at arms distributed, and the king of Navarre remained in his palace at Pampeluna. The garrisons in Navarre continued in peace without manifesting any inclination to make excursions during the winter: on which account, the Spaniards dispersed, and king Henry went to reside at Seville, accompanied by his queen and children.