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DU CHASTEL KILLED AT DARTMOUTH.
The sieur du Chastel did not come off so easily from another expedition to the west coast, which he made in company with the admiral of Bretagne. That commander had taken some good English prizes laden with wine in the preceding year, and that success had encouraged him. They sailed, with thirty ships and 1200 men at arms, from St. Maloes, and landed near Dartmouth ; where, both by land and by water, they met with a reception which they had little expected. The people of the country round came to the aid of the townsmen, and defeated them “in plain fight :” the women, it is said, “ by hurling of flints and pebbles, and by such other artillery, greatly advanced their husbands' and kinsfolks victory.” An English fleet, which arrived in good time, captured many of the vessels. The sieur du Chastel, his two brothers, and some 400 men, were slain. Orders were despatched by the king, that none of the prisoners should be sent out of the kingdom without his special license *; and this was followed by instructions that Bertram dle Guytyn, Jehan Gaudyn, and Olivier Arall, who are called knights, Tange de Chastell, Henry de Chastell, and a certain Welsh esquire, should be sent to the king, that he might converse with them, and learn from them as much as he could concerning the secrets and devices of his enemies. f Accordingly they were conducted to London, by the boisterous troop of plain west-countrymen who had captured them, and who now presented them to the king, "praying that they might reap some commodity by their captives. It was but reason,” says Speed : “wherefore the king, who took pleasure to talk with the lusty western men, himself caused their purses to be stuffed with golden coin, reserving the prisoners
ransom for the island. St. Pol too easily listened ; for it was a device on the part of the priest to amuse him with words, until the English should arrive and give them battle; and when the count discovered this, he reembarked in haste.
"he order was repeated some weeks afterwards, and addressed also to the baileys of Falmouth and of Weymouth.-Rymer, viii. 362. . Rymer, viii. 357, 358.
repay himself with advantage out of their ransoms.' Half the ransom was the king's share, and in this instance he made a grant of it to the queen.t
Some of the enemy were captured the same year in an unsuccessful descent upon the Dorsetshire coast, near Portland, and a great dispute concerning the prisoners arose among the captors. They were, however, wise enough to refer it to the sheriff and other persons of authority at Weymouth, and the decision was, that, for the sake of peace and good-will, a tenth of whatever money might be raised, either by selling or ransoming the prisoners, should be distributed among those who, having been engaged in the fight, had not been so fortunate as to secure any prisoners for themselves. This award was confirmed by the king, but with a proviso, that it was not to be taken as a precedent in any like case thereafter. 5
In the winter of the same year, great damage was done in Kents, by the waters overflowing the sea banks, during a storm, in which Flanders suffered more than in any former inundation whereof any remembrance had been preserved; a tract of four-and-twenty miles in length was lost there with all its cattle and inhabitants, neither sea-wall, dykes, nor dams being able to resist the force of the waves, impelled by a tempestuous north wind. Much of the land about Damma and Sluys, which, with so much industry, had been reclaimed from the sea, was then lost. || The Spanish historian of Flanders I observes, upon this occasion, that no like portion of territory in the world could have compared with this in wealth and strength, had it not been for the frequent losses which it sustained from this cause, and for the destruction which the people brought upon themselves by their seditions. The Flemings were, indeed, the most turbulent as well as the
* Monstrelet, c. 14. Fabyan, 571. Holinshed, iii. 29. Speed, 618. Cam. den, 29. + Rymer, viii. 382.
| Rymer, viii. 356. Holinshed, iii. 32. Il Gabbema. Nederlandre Watervloeden, 145. Sueyro, ii. 55.
most industrious of men. Even the dear desire of peace with England, which, as a mercantile people, they had so often expressed, and sometimes acted upon, in opposition to their courts, was counteracted, at this time, by some of those restless adventurers who looked upon war or piracy as the easiest way to wealth, and cared not by which denomination the predatory course of life that they pursued might properly be called. They had some pretext for their vocation before the truce between England and France was renewed; the duke of Orleans, in whom the management of affairs during the king's malady was vested, having refused to let Flanders, as a dependency of France, remain neutral. * Corsairs accordingly had been fitted out in all the Flemish ports: they captured many English vessels which were laden with wool, and bound for Zeeland ; and, with a ferocity that belonged to the national character, they hung such of the sailors as were not put to the sword. + The English revenged this by a destructive descent upon Cadsant, having increased their own force by hiring some ships of the Hollanders and Zeelanders. Against these latter the Flemish government made war in a way as effectual as it was easy, by seizing all the property belonging to Holland and Zeeland subjects in Flanders; and this soon led to an agreement there. I
But the English, as they had more cause for hostility, were also better enabled to carry, it on. With them it was not an affair of individual interests.
The king, provoked at the insults which St. Pol and the Bretons had committed upon his coast, and at the cruelties which the Flemings had committed upon his people, sent out a fleet under his son, the lord Thomas of Lancaster, afterwards duke of Clarence, to revenge these injuries, “either by battle or depopulation of the sea coasts.” He, coasting along, and landing
divers times, fired ships, burnt towns, and destroyed people, without favour or mercy.”Then entering the Zwijn, he burnt many ships belonging to the Easterlings and other merchants in Sluys harbour, and besieged the castle. It was well defended, and the earl of Pembroke was killed in an unsuccessful assault. The English deposited his body in the church of Ter Muyden, which, for that reason, they spared when they burnt Heysvliet, and Coudekerke, and wasted the Isle of Cadsant. When the duke John the Bold came against them with a great force, Ghent alone having supplied him with 7000 men, they removed the body for interment in its own burial place, and put to sea ; less from any apprehension of the duke's strength, than because they believed a report that he was about to attack Calais, and thought they might be needed there for its defence. Walter Jansen, a seaman in great renown among the Flemings, followed them in his galleon ; and, watching his opportunity, cut off a ship which had much booty on board, and, among other treasures, the frontispiece of the altar from Ter Muyden : the ship he carried into Dunkirk, and this was restored to its place.
* Sueyro, il. 56
Speed, 619. Holinshed, ii. 29.
On their way, the English met with three Genoese carracks, one of which, “having the wind with her,” endeavoured to run down the lord Thomas's ship ; “but, by the good foresight of the master that ruled the stern, the violent sway of that huge vessel coming so upon them was avoided ; yet the carrack struck off the nose of the English ship, and bruised her on the side. Then began the fight, very cruel, till the earl of Kent came to the rescue ;” and, after a severe conflict, the three Genoese vessels were taken. The lord Thomas proceeded to the coast of Normandy, where he burnt the Hogue and other places, to the number of six-and-thirty, and laid the country waste for some thirty miles. He then carried his prizes into Rye, where one of them took fire, and was consumed, “to the loss,” says the chronicler," and no gain of either of the parties.” + The duke of Burgundy's intention to besiege Calais * Sueyro, ii. 59.
+ Holinshed, iii. 36.
was disappointed by the refusal of the French government to concur in any such measure. His preparations were complete, and upon a great scale ; and his resentment at having them thus frustrated is said to have been the immediate cause of that deadly hatred against the duke of Orleans, which brought so many miseries upon France. Neither were his Flemish subjects disposed to second his intentions against England, or to submit to them. Their trade with that country was of too great importance, and the mercantile interest at that time strong enough to prevail over the privateering ; so that, upon complaints being made from England to the great trading cities, they had influence enough to have the admiral Van Blanckart banished, with two bastards of count Louis de Male, and some other persons of distinction, who had taken an active part in the predatory warfare. *.
The only serious attempt which was made by France in support of those who resisted Henry's usurpation, or revolted against it, was on the side of Wales, in aid of Owen Glendower. Marshal Montmorency and the master of the arbalisters were sent with 12,000 men to Milford Haven, where they landed safely, though not without losing most of their horses on the way, for want of fresh water. They came with 120 sail : lord Berkeley and Henry Paye, who commanded the fleet of the Cinque-ports, burnt fifteen of their ships as they lay in the haven, and captured a squadron of fourteen on its way to the expedition, with ammunition and stores. By land the invaders were more fortunate. They made an attempt upon Haverfordwest, where they burnt the suburbs and the town, but were repulsed by the earl of Arundel, when they attempted to take the castle. They wasted the country with fire and sword, took Caermarthen, effected a junction at Denbigh with Glendower, burnt the suburbs of Worcester, and, when the king came against them in person, with a great force, he could obtain no advantage over them. Eight days
* Sueyro, ii. 59.