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thence against the people of Abbeville, harassing them, and more especially the poor fishermen, with two flatbottomed boats, called gabarres; and thus they commanded or infested the river, till, the Abbeville men stealing down the stream by night, some expert swimmers fastened grappling irons to the unguarded gabarres, and they were towed away, "to the vexation of the English." The seneschal, and the sieur d'Auxy, who was commander on that frontier, were erroneously informed that the garrison would not be able to hold out more than a month for want of provisions; and upon this report they assembled a force, and fixed their quarters in front of the castle, within the old enclosure of the town, the fortifications of which they had demolished before they withdrew from it in the preceding year. Abbeville readily supplied stores and money, being very desirous to be relieved from so ill a neighbour; but the castle, as they had before experienced, was "wondrous strong;" and therefore, when they apprised the duke of their undertaking, they required his support. Some of his household, whom he sent to enquire into the probabilities of success, reported that the castle could not possibly be reduced by famine, unless the mouth of the river was blockaded. Upon this he ordered the governors of St. Valery, Dieppe, and the adjoining sea-ports to engage as many vessels as they could for the purpose, and appointed Jean de Croy to command the siege; an undertaking for which he was peculiarly qualified, because he had once been governor of Crotoy. The duke did wisely in not assuming the command, and exposing himself to the disgrace of a second failure. Perhaps he did not deem the enterprise of sufficient importance to be carried on in his own person, for he seems to have taken no other lesson from experience. He went to inspect the siege, and, as at Calais, gave orders for erecting a large bastille, or blockhouse, that the besiegers might be secure in their quarters. It was constructed under the direction of sir Baudo de

Monstrelet, vii. 384.



Noyelle, a knight of the Golden Fleece, and was very strongly built, and surrounded with ditches: other works also were erected, and the whole well stored with ammunition and provisions. Having given this order, the duke departed; and his hopes were heightened by the result of a skirmish, in which the lieutenant-governor was taken prisoner by the sieur d'Auxy.*

When the king of England and his council were informed of these preparations, "they were not well pleased thereat," knowing how important the possession of Crotoy was to them, for facilitating the landing of a force in Picardy. It was not, however, necessary to fit out an armament for its relief: instructions were sent to Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, who was then regent of France, and he despatched some 5000 men, horse and foot, from Normandy, under lord Talbot, lord Falconbridge, and sir Thomas Kiriel. Their in tended movement was no sooner made known to the duke than he summoned from Picardy and his other dominions the greater part of his nobles and men-atarms. Monstrelet estimates them at 800 or 1000 † : it is not likely that he could draw any force from Flanders at that time, and the Flemings were not the only vassals who failed him. He went in person with the count d'Estampes, his nephew of Clèves, and the count de St. Pol. At Hêdin sir John of Luxemburg joined him, as he had been summoned; but he came honourably and manfully to declare that he could not bear arms against the English, because he had not formally renounced his oath of alliance with them. It was in vain that the duke endeavoured to shake his resolution; representing that, as his vassal, he was bound to him also by an oath; that he wore his order, and had always been of his party, and could not honourably refuse to serve him, especially as it was to repulse enemies who had invaded his dominions. Luxemburg

* Monstrelet, viii. 49-51.'

+ Hall says 10,000 men and more, with great plenty of guns and goodly ordinance.,

remained firm to his purpose; and the ground on which he rested was so valid, that he obtained from the duke letters of remission, and returned home accordingly.*

The duke was then left inferior in numbers to the force which was advancing from Normandy; but that which he had with him consisted of experienced menat-arms. He arrived with them at Abbeville a day before the English reached the abbey of St. Valery, where they quartered themselves. He reinforced the town with stores of every kind; so that the townsmen, when asked whether they thought themselves able to hold out in case they should be besieged, replied in full confidence of so doing. His plan was, not to make any engagement for giving battle on an appointed day, but to avoid a general action, to guard all the defiles and fords, cut off the supplies of the enemy, and attack them in their quarters, or wherever they should find them at advantage; a plan more prudently laid than steadily pursued. Expecting them to pass at the ford of Blanchetaque, he prepared for defending that passage with cannon and other engines: Talbot, therefore, directed his march toward another ford, which had been left unprotected, perhaps because it was more difficult.

Some three or four hundred of the English, as soon as they had fixed their quarters in the abbey, crossed the river at a ford above Crotoy, and foraged the whole of the country round the newly erected blockhouse, and even as far as the town of Rue, making some men at arms prisoners, with their horses and baggage, and meeting with nothing to oppose them. Very early on the morrow the whole army marched, and forded the river in good order, the water, when half the infantry crossed, being mid-deep. They drew up, on an eminence above the town, in battle array. This was in sight of the blockhouse ; and the besiegers, expecting now themselves to be besieged, made preparations for a brave defence.

Monstrelet, 51-53.

Hall says "the 'men went in the water up to the chin, so glad were they to rescue their fellows."



Many were created knights on this occasion: one of them is designated as the tall bastard of Renty; but it does not appear that he acquitted himself as a tall man" in the sequel. But the English had no intention of giving the enemy the advantage of their works: they advanced to Forest Monstier, some six miles off, quartered themselves there awhile, and afterwards at La Broye, a large village on the Authie, which was full of provisions, and from whence they foraged all around. On their departure, they burnt the village, and advanced to Auxi, from thence also foraging in small parties, and in all directions, without encountering the slightest opposition. It seems as if the duke had learnt so well what the courage of the English was, when he was in alliance with England, that he entertained a proper respect for it ever after. He remained in Abbeville himself; and, instead of watching, as he had intended, for any opportunity of harassing the enemy, he distributed his men among the principal towns and castles in that part of his territories. And, beginning now to have some misgiving, lest the blockhouse which he had constructed before Crotoy should do as little credit to its defenders as that which he had built before Calais, he sent Jean de Croy and the bailiff of Amiens to inspect it, and ascertain whether the garrison were disposed to defend it gallantly. So far, however, was this from being the prevailing sentiment, that it was soon perceived they wished to be any where else, provided they could get away without loss of honour. Disappointed as the duke was in his hopes, and perhaps in his expectations, by this report, he wished, for his own credit as well as for theirs, that they should leave the place like soldiers: he determined, therefore, with the advice of his ministers, that the stores should be packed up, and the men at arms retreat with them and the artillery to the town of Rue, after setting fire to the blockhouse. "The garrison, however," says Monstrelet, "made no such honourable retreat." The greater part of them mutinied against their chiefs, without any rea



sonable cause, and, leaving not only the artillery, stores, and baggage, but most of their armour also, fled rather than marched to Rue, the English from Crotoy shouting after them, as they would have done to a ribald mob." The only part of the duke's instructions which they observed was, that they secretly set fire to the outwork, and the flames, communicating to the blockhouse, consumed it. The captains, among whom were some of the most tried and approved men in the duke's service, had no alternative but to make the best of their way, first to Rue, and thence to other places under their obedience. Much blame was cast upon the knights and esquires of Picardy for their shameful retreat : they excused themselves by throwing the blame upon the archers. The English, whose prudence in not attacking the bastille was fully proved by this event, seeing that the object of their expedition was effected, moved from Auxi, "which was a fair and considerable place," and burnt it to the ground. The great object was accomplished; but while Kiriel, having victualled Crotoy for twelve months with the stores which the besiegers had abandoned, carried the ordnance and carriages which he had captured into Normandy, Talbot sent word to the duke that Picardy should be laid waste, unless he would come forth like a valiant prince and give him battle. The duke knew his enemy too well to accept of such an invitation; he withdrew from Abbeville to Amiens, and Talbot carried his threat into execution, destroying and burning all that he could see or come to" in that county and in the Artois ; till, satisfied with havoc, he re-crossed the Somme at the same place where he had before forded, and returned into Normandy, carrying away many prisoners, much cattle, and much plunder. The only loss which the English had suffered was that some thirty or forty of their foragers had been caught when straggling, and hanged.*


The duke, thus baffled a second time, and not with

* Monstrelet, 54-59. Hall, 188. Holinshed, 192.

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