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Medieval Sourcebook:
The Hundred Years War In The High Court Of Parlement


The following documents are taken from the registers of the Parlement of Paris. They are principally arrets or juges of the Court, that is final or interlocutory decisions.

Procedure in the Court was quite complex; a handbook for practitioners had already been written in the 1320's. Cases came there either directly, in the case of privileged persons or corporations, or on appeal from lower courts, both royal and seignorial. Although arguments were given orally, much of the procedure was written, beginning with royal letters which were formally requested from the royal chancery ("impetrated" was the technical term). These were addressed to the appropriate official, outlined the dispute (that is, the version of the dispute given by the person requesting the letters), and instructed him to summon the other party or parties and to proceed. Appeals were made both orally at the time of judgment and then in writing, again by means of letters from the royal chancery that summoned the official, from whose actions or judgment appeal was being made, to appear in Court. After oral arguments were made, the Court often instructed the parties to present their arguments and their proofs in writing.

If proofs involved hearing witnesses, these would be named and enqueteurs (inquisitors, or what are now called "judges for instruction" in Civil Code countries), dispatched to hear them. Parties would have the opportunity to tell the court if they believed any of the opposing side's witnesses were prejudiced against them, but there was no cross examination of witnesses by the parties or by their proctors.

Proceedings could sometimes be agonizingly slow, for excuses of all kinds were allowed for not appearing, delays were allowed, and the rules of procedure themselves allowed many opportunities for chicanery. Often a case spun off other subsidiary disputes (as in VII below) which had to be resolved before the principal case could be decided. It is thus not surprising that litigation seems sometimes never to reach a final judgment, probably because one or both of the parties died before the Court could decide, or because settlements were reached out of court (though I once followed one dispute between a monastery and a bishop through a variety of courts over more than a hundred years). It was not just in England that a Man of Law

In termes hadde he cases alle
that fra the time King William were falle.

 


I. [Translated from P.C. Timbal, et al. La Guerre de Cent Ans vues travers les registres du Parlement (Paris, 1961), pp. 19-20.

[Note: With the exception of the last text, the first person plural pronoun in these court records refers to the king of France, since the Parlement is his court and all documents go out under the king's name. By the late 14th century, the Parlement was officially proclaiming itself "part of the king's body."]

In as much as our bailli of Sens was ajourned to our Court by virtue of our letters, at the request of Jean Anselle of Vassy, who claimed that the aforesaid bailli forced him to pay to us the "fiftieth" [i.e. the tax of 2% on real property] for our wars as a man of the people [tanquam hominem plebeyum], a burgess and not a nobleman, and to pay us certain subsidy or loan, although we had ordered the bailli on several occasions to desist from such demands; and when the aforesaid Jean had appealed from this injury by the bailli, the bailli imprisoned him in prejudice of the aforesaid appeal, as he says; when the parties appeared in our Court, the aforesaid Jean stated the aforesaid complaint against the bailli, claiming that the bailli in doing so unjustly injured him, though he gave faith [fidem fecisset] of his nobility, as indeed it appears by our letters sealed with green wax on silk bands which state that we have been sufficiently informed that the said Jean is of noble birth and family and that, even in the event that it be questioned in the future whether our inquiry into his noble birth was sufficiently made, we ennobled him and his posterity and made and considered him and them to be noble, as the aforesaid letters more fully state; despite this, the bailli compelled him to pay the said subsidy and loan as a non-noble, and imprisoned him, as is said, because he dared to appeal, and took many of his goods; in consequence, he asked that -- in view of the aforesaid letters testifying to his nobility -- the bailli be compelled and condemned to desist from the aforesaid molestations, and that the Court declare that he ought to be maintained as a noble man and not subject to the subsidy as a man of the people or a burgess, especially since he, by himself or by someone serving in his place, is able to serve in our wars and ready according to his status to serve, as he asserts appears by the testimony of several of our people.

Our aforesaid bailli said on the contrary that the aforesaid Jean should not be said nor considered to have been noble but rather a man of the people or burgess, for, so he says, Jean was a public merchant, doing acts of a merchant and burgess or common man of the people, publicly and in view of all; nor did he ever perform an act or deed of a nobleman, nor did he ever take part in our wars as noblemen were and are held to do; in accordance with which, he said, he could justly and lawfully force Jean to pay the subsidy, and was obliged to compell him to do so; and he added several other reasons to support his claim.

Having heard the parties and seen the letters presented by the aforesaid Jean concerning his noble status, inasmuch as by their tenor it appears plainly that Jean is noble and of noble birth, it was declared by the decision of our Court that he is to be maintained as noble, nor is he to be compelled as a burgess or man of the people to pay any subsidy; and by the same decision it was said that if the bailli took any of his goods by reason of the "fiftieth," the subsidy or loan, as of a non-noble, these are to be fully restored to him, notwithstanding whatever the bailli has proposed to the contrary. If, however, the bailli wishes to proceed against and punish Jean for not appearing sufficiently armed in our wars or sending someone in his place, he may proceed in his court, and having held his hearing, do as reason demands. =

28 April 1341

 


II.

[Ibid., pp. 16-17.]=20

A suit was moved in our Court between our proctor and Bertrand, lord of the castle of Oupia, on one side, and Beatrice, lady of Saissac, on the other side.

Our proctor and Bertrand said that Bertrand was in possession and saisine [a technical legal term for possession by right, especially one based on long unopposed use -- sometimes spelled 'seisin' in English] of giving us service alone and by himself, going with us or with our men to our wars, at our command appearing at muster himself or sending someone for him; and that we are in possession and saisine alone and by ourselves of receiving his service whenever we command our vassals and other subjects to appear for war or service on horseback; that we and Bertrand have made use of this possession and saisine -- and especially in recent years have done so -- for sufficient time to acquire good saisine; and that, continuing that aforesaid possession and saisine, the said Bertrand at our command appeared at muster, or sent someone for him, with horse and arms to go to our war at Amiens, and by our order went to Gascony and to Amiens; they also said that when the aforesaid lady of Saissac was ordered to come to our wars, she had Bertrand ordered to go with her, and because Bertrand refused, she had his castle of Oupia along with many goods that were there seized into her hand, thus unlawfully and newly disturbing Bertrand and us in our saisine; following which our said proctor and Bertrand besought from us a letter in casu novitatis [the technical name for the document from the royal chancery that initiated suits to defend saisine] in virtue of which Bertrand was given temporary repossession of the disputed goods; for which reasons our said proctor and Bertrand asked that they be held and defended in their aforesaid possessions and saisines and the impediments removed that the aforesaid lady unlawfully and newly put in their way, and that our hand -- which was placed on those possessions and saisines during the proceedings -- be lifted in their favor, and the temporary repossession which Bertrand has be made full possession, and that the lady of Saissac be condemned to pay Bertrand his expenses. They put forward various other reasons in their favor.

The lady of Saissac on the contrary proposed and said that Bertrand, lord of the castle of Oupia, holds -- and his predecessors held -- the castle of Oupia from her in fief by oath of fealty and homage; that the said Bertrand confessed to this and swore fealty and homage for the castle; she said furthermore that she and her predecessors were in possession and saisine for sufficient time to acquire good saisine of commanding whoever were at the time the lords of Oupia to muster with horse and arms himself and with his men and to march to our wars with her and in her company and under her banner, whenever we ordered her to come to our wars; and that, although the said Betrand endeavored to muster with our men and march to war with our men by reason of his fief of Oupia, nevertheless the s=82n=82schal of Carcassonne or his lieutenant sent Bertrand back to the lady to muster and march in her company and under her banner; and that when Bertrand refused to do this service he unlawfully and newly impeded and disturbed her possession and saisine; for which reason the lady of Saissac asked that we hold and defend her in her aforesaid possessions and saisines, and remove in her favor ... [etc. as above]

Hearings on these matters having been held by commissioners deputed by our Court, and the record thereof received by our Court for judgment, seen and diligently examined, it was declared by judgment of our Court that the lady be held and defended in her possession and saisine, and the impediments placed by our proctor and Bertrand removed ... and she be absolved from their suit ... and Bertrand be condemned to pay her expenses, the amount to be determined by our Court.

15 March 1343

 


III.

[Ibid., pp. 28-9.]

The subject inhabitants [habitatores de potestate] of Cuisy- en-Almont had the abbot and convent of St-M=82dard of Soissons, their bailiff and some of their sergeants, adjourned before the lieutenant of our bailli of Vermandois concerning the following:

The aforesaid monks having imposed on the inhabitants the service due us in our wars and the inhabitants having refused to pay, they [i.e. the monks] judged this in their court and in consequence demanded fines, and then to collect the fines seized many goods of the inhabitants and sold them, although judgment on this matter did not belong to the monks, so the inhabitants said; and in the presence of the said lieutenant they [i.e. the inhabitants] put forward their reasons why they should be allowed to create proctors [to represent them in court], and asked that the aforesaid goods be returned to them or at least restored during the proceedings and that all execution of the abbot's judgment cease or at least be suspended while the case is being heard.

The adverse party presented their reasons to the contrary.

The said lieutenant by his sentence said that the parties would proceed [on the question of whether the villagers should be allowed to create a proctor], and that all execution of the judgment would be suspended lite pendente, and that the goods seized would be restored while the case was being heard. From this the abbot and convent appealed.

The Court judging on the appeal, considering everything it ought to, declared that the monks had well appealed and the lieutenant from whom they appealed had badly judged. At the same time, the Court, judging in equity [ex causa], ordered that the proceedings on whether the villagers should be allowed to create a proctor cease, and that the parties come to the Parlement next during the days for hearing cases from the baillage of Senlis, that they be represented by proctors [sufficienter fundata] and that they proceed concerning the principal question. The Court orders that the monks in the interim make no execution of their judgment on the said inhabitants.

1 December 1341

 


IV.

[Ibid., pp. 41-2.]

To the bailli of Senlis, greetings. A number of inhabitants of the village of Chacrisse have explained to our Court that they have certain suits which they are moving or hoping to move in our Parlement and elsewhere against the religious abbess and convent of Notre-Dame of Soissons, concerning certain taxes on wine that the nuns are seeking and trying to collect from the said inhabitants and also concerning a certain number of men at arms which the said nuns assert they are to have from the said inhabitants or a certain sum of money to pay for them, which men at arms the said nuns are held to provide to us whenever we personally go to war ourselves. To prosecute these suits, they must pay certain expenses and therefore must apportion and collect a tallage among themselves, they must draw up letters of procuration and name proctors, and they must come together to consider the defense and prosecution of these suits. These things they do not dare to do unless they first be granted license to do so. Since some of them are men subject to us, and others are men subject to several other lords, so they say, they entreat us that our Court provide for them.

For this reason we order you to grant license to the said inhabitants to come together, to apportion and collect a moderate tallage among themselves, to draw up letters of procuration, to name proctors, and to do everything else necessary for the prosecution and defense of their suits, and that you send one of our sergeants from your baillage, serving at their expense, to be with them while they do these things.

26 April 1357

 


V.

[Ibid. pp. 163-4.]

[In the following case, Guillaume du Merle was captain of the city and castle of Caen in 1360, and in June of that year refused to fulfil his functions when his wages and expenses were not paid. This did not stop Charles V from naming him captain general of the bailiages of Caen and Cotentin in 1365 and 1368. Messei, a castle on the Varenne river in Normandy, had been occupied by the English in 1356 and evacuated in accordance with the terms of the treaty of Bretigny (see the next document).]

To the viscount of Falaise or his lieutenant, greetings.

Our Court was informed by the inhabitants and parishoners of the village of Messei and of St-Andre-de-Messei and certain subjects of our beloved and faithful Guillaume du Merle, knight, the lord of Messei, joined together as one party, of a deplorable dispute.

They said that some time ago there was a suit heard in your presence and in the presence of the baillif of our dear cousin the Count of Alencon between the said plaintiffs on one side and the said knight on the other, concerning the following. The said knight endeavored to force the said plaintiffs to fortify and repair his place of Messei, and by force and power de facto [i.e. not by right] had the place fortified at the expense of the said plaintiffs; thereafter, fearing that the place might be occupied by our enemies, and knowing in truth that it was not defensible and could not be held, razed it and burned it; and then, wishing to further vex and injure the said plaintiffs -- who in time of necessity, danger, and war neither store their goods nor take refuge there -- forced them again to repair, fortify and restore the said place's walls, towers, and moats, and to do guard duty there both day and night, forcing them by violence to do this, though the said plaintiffs were not at all held by right to do so; and before this suit was heard, the said knight obtained certain letters from the baillif of our said cousin ordering that the said plaintiffs be forced by the seizure and sale of their goods to do the aforesaid guard duty, despite the pending suit; and the said plaintiffs, seeing themselves thus disturbed and oppressed without right, obtained certain other letters from us directed to you, ordering and commissioning you to notify the men of our said cousin and the said knight and any others concerned not to continue to do the aforesaid nor to compel the said plaintiffs by their bodies or goods to do the aforesaid; and instructing you that in case of opposition you were to hear the parties and do what justice requires.

This letter was not executed nor did it have effect, since our said cousin as a peer of France is not held to litigate elsewhere than in our Parlement. Because of this the said plaintiffs said they obtained yet other letters to you making mention of this. And since the said bailiff and knight refused to do what was said in those letters and contradicted them, they were adjourned to our present Parlement in the days for hearing cases from the Duchy of Normandy. For sufficient reasons the case was continued to a future Parlement.

Nevertheless, the bailiff of our said cousin and the knight, notwithstanding all the above, nay rather in contempt of it, had some of the plaintiffs seized and imprisoned by the lieutenant of the said bailiff in our prison at Caen for fourteen weeks and longer, and thus subject to horrid prison, their goods were seized, tallages were laid upon them, and other things done, as letters bearing your vicecomital seal clearly relate.

These things happened to the great prejudice and hurt of the said plaintiffs and in contempt of the suit, and without regard to our letters, indeed spurning them. So say the plaintiffs, who, as they are paupers and miserable persons without the means to live or to prosecute their rights against the aforesaid, are led to such beggary that they may die of hunger and helplessness in the said prison unless we provide needed remedy.

For these reasons, not wishing that our subjects be oppressed in so unlawfully a way, we order you and commission you that, when you see the present letters, you proceed to the prison and free the prisoners, taking sureties from them, and summon our said cousin and his bailiff and the knight and any other guilty persons to the present Parlement, notwithstanding that we are currently in session and by equity [i.e. notwithstanding the procedural rules of the Parlement], to answer our proctor and the said plaintiffs concerning the aforesaid and to proceed as justice reuqires. We order you not to allow anything further to be done in prejudice of the plaintiffs, and that you restore to them their goods that were seized, taking sureties for them, until our Court shall decide otherwise. You shall certify to us the inquest you have made on this matter and whatever else you have done, and forcefully compel those whom you adjourn to be present. This is done notwithstanding any ordinance remitting causes of the Duchy of Normandy [i.e. to the Norman exchequer], and any letters to the contrary are to be considered subreptice [i.e. fraudulant by reason of insufficient information].

20 June 1368 [In 1374, the Parlement decided provisionally that the inhabitants of Messei were required to do guard duty in the castle of Messei. By a compromise agreement of 1380, the inhabitants agreed to contribute to the construction and upkeep of the castle, except for its walls and towers; their obligation to guard the castle was limited to cases of immediate danger and only at night.]

 


VI.

[Ibid., pp. 456-8.]

A suit was moved in our Court between Thomas of Uldale, English knight, on the one side, and Peter lord of Tournebu, Jacques de la Caudroie, Guillaume du Merle, Jean lord of Ferrieres, Guillaume de la Palu, Guillaume de la Burnache, knights, Jean Boulet, baillif of Alencon and Perche, and Colin de St-Denis, squires concerning the following:

Thomas said that during the wars many castles and fortifications in our kingdom were captured and occupied and many districts put to ransom, and that it has been legitimate for the subjects of one side to acquire rights over the subjects of the other side by feat of arms and to treat them as his acquisitions; that the duke of Lancaster by himself and his men captured the villages with their castles and towers of Domfront, Le-Bois-de- Maine, Messei, Cond=82-sur-Noireau, and the tower of Villiers- Charlemagne [all places in western Normandy and Maine] during the aforesaid wars; and that in consequence the territories around these castles were made subject to him and large ransoms imposed on them which were to be paid to the Duke and his men over a term of years; and that the Duke gave these to the aforesaid Thomas and to Thomas Fogg, English knight, his lieutenants; he said furthermore that in 1360, in March or thereabouts, it was agreed by Louis d'Harcourt, our father's lieutenant, and by John Chandos, lieutenant of our dear brother the King of England, in the presence of the said lieutenants of the Duke, that the Duke's men would surrender the aforesaid castles and ransoms, and for this and for the ransoms still due Louis d'Harcourt obligated himself to pay the Duke 20,000 gold =82cus of the coin of our said dear father Jean; that this was to be paid in two terms, half at Pentecost the other on the feast of St. John the Baptist following; that certain persons were to obligate themselves to guarantee this payment and render themselves as hostages in the city of Calais within ten days of these due dates if the sums were not paid in full; and for this the said Chandos surrendered to Louis the castle of Le-Bois-de- Maine, and promised that when the aforesaid personal obligations were made he would surrender the remaining castles; and that all this is contained in the letters of the aforesaid lieutenants drawn up on March 11; he said in addition that the aforesaid knights and squires, the defendants, along with others obligated themselves personally to pay those 20,000 ecus to the Duke or to his attorneys, obligating themselves as a group along with their property both personal and real by their letters drawn up and sealed on March 12; and that, although after this obligation was delivered the castles were surrendered, and the greater part of the sum was raised on our subjects in the districts concerned to the amount of 20,000 ecus or more, only 6,800 ecus were paid in several installments and in part after the death of the aforesaid Duke, leaving 13,200 ecus to be paid; Thomas said furthermore that the Duke in his last testament made dispositions of his personal property to pay his debts and to remunerate those who had served him, this to be accomplished by his executors, who were given the power to fulfil his testament or to interpret it for the usefulness of his soul; the three executors -- Robert of Mara, knight, John of Charnel, canon of Warwick, and John of Newmarket, squire -- granted the obligation of 20,000 ecus to the said Thomas, knowing that the Duke had given it in recognition of the good service he [Thomas] had given and the money he had loaned to him, as is contained in the letters bearing their seals and dated November 10, 1362, of which a copy is contained in letters of our brother.

For this debt the aforesaid defendants along with our dear cousins the archbishops of Rouen and Lyons were adjourned at the request of the said Thomas's proctor to recognize or deny their seals; and the proctors of the defendants said they did not recognize the seals; after which they were adjourned again to appear personally or by proctors sufficiently instructed; and when the proctors appeared they recognized the seals.

By virtue of this recognition, Thomas's proctor asked that execution be made of the said remaining debt of 13,200 ecus, and that the defendants not be allowed to oppose this execution until they place in escrow according to the rules of this Court the sum being demanded ....

The aforesaid defendants proposed on the contrary that by both canon and civil law and by the rules of our Court of Parlement Thomas is not legitimately founded to demand, prosecute or reqauire execution or any other conclusions that he might present, because the letters which he uses in his case are not to be given faith for they are not originals, one being an authenticated copy of the Duke's testament bearing the seal of an ecclesiastical court -- that of the bishop of London -- which by rule is not admitted in lay court, the others bearing seals that are unknown and from outside the kingdom; that obligations or promises made per metum qui cadere possit in constantem virum, vel ob turpem causam, per vim compulsivam seu per dolum vel fraudem causam dantem are ipso facto null [these phrases are references to provisions of Roman Law that declare null contracts made under threat of fear, fraud, or physical compulsion] and no execution may be made by virtue of them even if they are confirmed by oath; and one so obligated may act against his own oath; that the defendants suppose it is notoriously true that in the year of Our Lord 1360 in the month of May a peace treaty was made between our lord father and the king of England, our brother, and us, then regent of the kingdom, and in the following month of October was confirmed in the city of Calais both by we three and by the aforesaid Duke, and fortified by oaths taken on the sacrament of our Lord Christ; in which peace treaty was contained, among other things, the provision that all fortifications and castles occupied by the English in Normandy were to be freely surrendered and liberated without payment of any money; and nevertheless the men then holding those castles refused to leave them but rather committed crimes on persons and goods even graver than before, which the people in the surrounding territories could not resist; and that they, the defendants, treated with them in order to forestall even greater afflictions inasmuch as they [the English] refused to depart unless first they [the defendants] obligated themselves to pay 20,000 =82cus to the Duke; thus the obligation was extorted by force, fear, and base cause, which the Duke himself would not have been admitted to prosecute had he survived, especially considering his oath confirming the peace; even less should Thomas be admitted, especially since the aforesaid Duke ordered in his testament that the trespasses he had committed be repaired, as is contained in the copy of what is claimed to be his testament; and that, by reason and by the law of arms, and by the usages and customs notoriously observed in war, if he who has received an obligation by capturing castles or persons or ransoms dies, those who have obligated themselves are freed by his death, as it was declared in the case of Jean de Charny, knight, and in other cases by the court of the Constable and Marshal of France. For which reason they ask that Thomas of Uldale not be admitted .

The aforesaid Thomas on the contrary replied that the peace treaty alleged by the defendants should not stand against him ... because the articles of that treaty should not be considered notorious [i.e. well known by all] in this case, since the case at hand does not concern us who swore to the peace nor persons arguing our rights or our quarrels, but rather is between private persons by reason of their own actions and private obligations; and that the other allegations of the defendants touch other issues than those here being debated ... .

The defendants to this replied ... that the said letters of obligation were made null ipso jure by the aforesaid peace treaty, concerning which our Court as a Court could take cognizance ... .

The Court having heard all this and received from the parties their arguments in writing and all the documents and instruments and peace treaties ... it was declared by the Court that Thomas of Uldale is to be received and admitted to request that the defendants put in escrow the sum being demanded, in accordance with the rules of our Court; and, this being done, the parties shall than proceed.

5 December 1366

 

[In April 1367 Thomas settled with the defendants out of court, agreeing to accept 7000 gold francs. In 1368, Pierre de Tournebu not having paid his share, Thomas requested and received from the court an execution of the debt against Pierre's property. Thomas died soon afterwards, and his executors allowed Pierre's family to repurchase the property for 2,000 francs.]

 


VII.

[Translated from C.T. Allmand and C.A.J. Armstrong, English Suits before the Parlement of Paris, 1420-1436 (London, 1982), pp. 28- 43.]

 

The circumstances of the this suit, or rather complex of suits, are the following.

Fastolf's troops had taken Passy-en-Valois in 1423 from a garrison loyal to the Dauphin. One of the prisoners was a certain Guillaume Remon, whom John Duke of Bedford, the regent for Henry VI, ordered freed without ransom as part of a complicated agreement that allowed him to recover Compi=8Agne later that same year. Remon himself had taken prisoners while in command of the castle, and these prisoners were freed at the same time. John Fastolf, however, had been promised ransoms by these prisoners, and now found himself unable to collect. Two of those prisoners were Denis Sauvage and Henry de Lidan, one from Hainault and the other from Brabant. Fastolf claimed them both as prisoners of war, and each claimed the other was more financially liable for the ransom than himself. The suit thus eventually turned into one between the two merchants.

Unlike the preceding texts, the first of the following is the "stenographic" record of the arguments before the Court.

Between Denis Sauvage, appealing from the court of the Provost of Paris, on one side, and Sir John Fastolf, knight, maitre d'hotel of the Duke of Bedford, and John Sak, who calls himself his proctor, on the other side. [John Sak whom Fastolf in his will calls "marchaunt of Parys my trusty frend & servaunt" was actually an Italian merchant banker, not a regularly sworn proctor before the Parlement, and thus one "who calls himself (soy disant) proctor."]

The appellant says he is a good and loyal merchant, accustomed to bring foodstuffs to Paris; and that some time ago while he and other merchants were coming to Paris, they were encountered and taken as prisoners and hostages by our enemies of the castle of Passy-en-Valois. [In this case the enemies of Henry VI "king of France and England" since at this date Paris was controlled by the Anglo-Burgundian alliance and some of the Parlement had remained in Paris to continue sitting as the king's Court, now King Henry's.] They [i.e. the merchants] sent some of their group to arrange their payment; and some of them learned that Passy was being besieged and for this reason they went to the Duke of Bedford and the said Fastolf to see whether they could make the ransom payments to the said enemies at La Folie [probably a castle near Passy, where the merchants were being held]. And it is possible that they said they would be willing to give 100 =82cus which had been paid for a pack- horse. And for this Denis Sauvage was imprisoned at the Ch=83telet [the prison belonging to the Provost of Paris]. And since then Fastolf, or John Sak, his proctor, has asked to have the prisoner surrendered to him as his prisoner of war, or at least that the case be sent to the court of the Marshals; and the Provost decided that he would send the case there; from which decision Sauvage appealed. Sauvage concludes that the decision should be reversed and his expenses paid; and he says that he is an obedient subject of good will and should not be a prisoner of war; and he asks to be let free, at least under surety.

Fastolf says that it is true that the said merchants were taken by the garrison at Passy and afterwards were taken to La Folie when Passy was besieged. And then the merchants negotiated for their delivery with Fastolf and arranged to pay 500 ecus as ransom. And Fastolf freed the said merchants, who obligated themselves to him for the said sum and gave as guarantors Henry of Lidan who is prisoner in the Bastille and Denis Sauvage who was imprisoned in the Ch=83telet. And despite this, some of the merchants arranged with the good towns of Hainault and Brabant to have letters sent to the Duke of Bedford to free them from this debt, but the Duke of Bedford rendered his sentence, declaring that they would pay and that the guarantors would remain in prison [until then] and that Denis would be sent before the court of the Marshals because this is a deed of war [fait de guerre], and that Fastolf obtained the same rights over them as had the enemies. And he concludes that the sentence should be upheld and his expenses paid.

The appellant says that he is a good merchant of Hainault and the others also, and they are foreigners, and they should be shown good justice, and there was no decision of the Duke of Bedford against Denis nor against the others, and Denis is not obligated to Fastolf, nor is Henry de Lidan, because they promised him nothing, and if Henry promised something for the release of his nephew he alone should answer for it.

It is determined that the Court will consider in council whatever the parties wish to present them in writing, and will do justice; and that the parties must present their writings today.

to the council. Aguenin.

28 February 1424

The following day, Denis was freed on giving pledges for the 400 ecus. The pledges were a merchant and a pastry maker of Paris. Then on March 6, Henry of Lidan sent a written request to the Court, claiming that Denis was his guarantor for 400 ecus of the ransom, and that he should be condemned to pay it. Denis denied that he was guarantor for Henry. This dispute between Denis and Henry dragged on until May, when the Parlement finally ordered Henry also released on pledge. Meanwhile Denis was given a safeguard against Fastolf, and for good reason: in November, Henry's horse was taken by a sergeant at arms, acting for Fastolf, and both the sergeant and Fastolf had to be warned not to do anything more, on pain of 2000 =9C fine.

A suit was heard in our Parlement between Henry de Lidan, plaintiff, on one side, and Denis Sauvage, defendant on the other.
[The decision repeats much of what has already been presented above.]

The defendant on the contrary said that he made no such promises as the plaintiff claims; and if the plaintiff became a guarantor it was for his nephew and not for anyone else. ... And the defendant paid to Fastolf 104 ecus for himself and his associates, for which the defendant was freed and should remain free. ... The plaintiff had told the defendant not to pay Fastolf those 104 =82cus at Passy, saying that he (i.e. Henry) spoke English and had a large account [magnam notitiam, or metaphorically "was held in great account by"(?)] with Fastolf and his men and also with the men of our uncle John [Duke of Bedford] our regent, and would be able to arrange for the defendant and his associates to go free for only 50 ecus. The defendant believing the plaintiff, although he had not been acquainted with him before this, put off paying the 104 ecus, and when he discovered that the plaintiff did nothing for him [the defendant] and his associates, the defendant paid the 104 ecus, or at least gave sufficient guarantors in Parlement to make the payment. ....

On this and other things advanced by the parties an inquest was made and brought for judgment. ... All seen and examined, our Court by its judgment ordered the aforesaid defendant to indemnify the said plaintiff for his pledges in the amount that it belongs to the defendant to do so, and to pay the plaintiff's expenses.

20 January 1425

In January 1428, the Parlement finally declared that Henry was not obligated to Fastolf, since he had been involved only as a guarantor for Denis, who since that time had found other guarantors. Meanwhile, Fastolf was still unable to collect his money. Finally, in January 1433, the Duke of Bedford granted Fastolf a substantial estate in Normandy in recompense for his lost ransoms and other services rendered.

 

translations by Fredric L. Cheyette [From: FLCHEYETTE@amherst.edu ]

Permission to reproduce for non-commercial and education use granted.

 

 


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Paul Halsall Feb 1996
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