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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Feb, 2007 11:18 am    Post subject: Famous tournament between English and French knights         Reply with quote

I read somewhere, some time, I think it was in Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror, about an infamous tournament in the 14th century (?) held by 30 (I think it was) French and and equal number of English knights. IIRC they fought all morning, resulting in only one casualty, then had lunch together, and fought again all afternoon when four knights were killed.

Does anyone remember the name of this incident so that I can look it up and find out more about it?

J

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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Feb, 2007 11:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

Jean,

I believe it's known as the "Combat of the Thirty". There is some information regarding this encounter in Tournaments by Richard Barber and Juliet Barker. Here's what the authors say about this episode during the war in Brittany:
Richard Barber and Juliet Barker wrote:

At Ploermel in Brittany in 1351, thirty French knights fought against thirty English with no restrictions as to weapons, with the result that six French and nine English were killed and several more died of their wounds later. According to Jean le Bel, the English had demanded jousts on behalf of their respective ladies, but this appears to be a romantic view of a challenge which really arose between two garrisons attached to rival parties claiming the duchy of Brittany. Interestingly, for what was essentially a chivalric combat, all fighting took place on foot, and most of the participants were mercenaries.

I know I have read more details about this elsewhere; I'll dig around later and see what else I come up with. I hope this was a helpful start, anyway!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
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Last edited by Richard Fay on Mon 19 Feb, 2007 12:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Feb, 2007 12:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard Fay wrote:
Hello all!

Jean,

I believe it's known as the "Combat of the Thirty". There is some information regarding this encounter in Tournaments by Richard Barber and Juliet Barker. Here's what the authors say about this episode during the war in Brittany:
Richard Barber and Juliet Barker wrote:

At Ploermel in Brittany in 1352, thirty French knights fought against thirty English with no restrictions as to weapons, with the result that six French and nine English were killed and several more died of their wounds later. According to Jean le Bel, the English had demanded jousts on behalf of their respective ladies, but this appears to be a romantic view of a challenge which really arose between two garrisons attached to rival parties claiming the duchy of Brittany. Interestingly, for what was essentially a chivalric combat, all fighting took place on foot, and most of the participants were mercenaries.

I know I have read more details about this elsewhere; I'll dig around later and see what else I come up with. I hope this was a helpful start, anyway!

Stay safe!


Thanks RIchard, thats a good start. A remarkable event, it seems, you filled me in on some nuances I wasn't aware of. Very interesting. If i find anything else myself I'll post it here.

Jean

EDIT: found this on wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combat_of_the_Thirty

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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Feb, 2007 12:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Funny, the date I have is March 26th, 1351... Aside from that Richard's post sums it up nicely.

I have another perhaps romantic account here in a magazine which states that it was the French leader Robert de Beaumanoir who challenged the English because they were oppressing the people... Well I guess both sides wanted to look like the 'good ones' Wink

More strange is the fact that the English version of the Wikipedia article says March 27th but the French says March 26th WTF?!

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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Feb, 2007 12:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:
Funny, the date I have is March 26th, 1351... Aside from that Richard's post sums it up nicely.


That was a typo, sorry! The "Combat of the Thirty" was indeed in 1351. I edited my original post.

My one source didn't give an exact date, I'll have to look around in my personal library and see what I find.

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Feb, 2007 12:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:
Funny, the date I have is March 26th, 1351... Aside from that Richard's post sums it up nicely.

I have another perhaps romantic account here in a magazine which states that it was the French leader Robert de Beaumanoir who challenged the English because they were oppressing the people... Well I guess both sides wanted to look like the 'good ones' Wink

More strange is the fact that the English version of the Wikipedia article says March 27th but the French says March 26th WTF?!

Regards


Might be some truth to that the Wikipedia page says that the English were 'violating a truce' which probably means ravaging the countryside; and the 'French' fighters were mostly actually Breton, which could arguably be locals with an interest in defending their territory.

J

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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Feb, 2007 1:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!
Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:

More strange is the fact that the English version of the Wikipedia article says March 27th but the French says March 26th


In Stephen Turnbull's The Book of the Medieval Knight, the author gives the date for the "Combat of the Thirty" as March 27, 1351.

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Might be some truth to that the Wikipedia page says that the English were 'violating a truce' which probably means ravaging the countryside; and the 'French' fighters were mostly actually Breton, which could arguably be locals with an interest in defending their territory.


In the same work by Turnbull that I mention above, the author states that they were thirty Breton knights from Josselin under Jean (called Robert in another work) de Beaumanoir, so they could indeed be locals.

I found an interesting account of the "Combat of the Thirty" in Desmond Seward's The Hundred Years War: The English in France, 1337-1453. I don't know how much faith to put in his work, but it's an interesting read:
Desmond Seward wrote:

For contemporaries, if not for history, one of the most important events of the Hundred Years War was the "Combat of the Thirty" - "a magnificent but murderous kind of tourney" as Perroy calls it - which tells us a good deal about the mentality of the officer class of 1351. That year the English garrison at Ploermel was attacked by a French force under Robert de Beaumanoir. To avoid a siege the garrison commander, Sir Richard Bamborough, suggested a combat on the open plain before Ploermel between thirty men-at-arms from each side. Bamborough told his knights (who included Bretons and German mercenaries as well as English) to fight in such a way "that people will speak of it in future times in halls, in palaces, in public places and elsewhere throughout the world". They all fought on foot, with swords and halberds until four of the French and two of the English had been killed and everyone was exhausted. A breathing-space was called but when Beaumanoir, badly wounded, staggered off to find some water, an Englishman mocked at him - "Beaumanoir, drink thy blood and thy thirst will go off". The combat recommenced. It seemed impossible to break the English, who fought in a tight formation, shoulder-to-shoulder. At last a French knight stole away, quietly mounted his great warhorse and then returned at the charge, knocking his opponents off their feet. The French pounced on the English, killing nine including Bamborough, and taking the rest prisoner. Among the later were Robert Knoylls with his half-brother Hugh Calveley...


Interestingly enough, the combatants may not have all been full-fledged knights. There are some recorded quotes from the leaders in Maurice Keen's Chivalry. One mentions the term escuierie, a kind of diminutive of chivalry. The other pretty well matched what Seward wrote about Bamborough's declaration:
Maurice Keen wrote:

"You see here gathered the flower of the escuierie of Brittany," Beuamanoir told Bamborough before the Combat of the Thirty...

"Right here let us try our strength," said Bamborough to Beaumanoir, when they had fixed the ground for the Combat of the Thirty..., "and do so much that people will speak of it in future times in halls, in palaces, in public places, and elseshere throughout the world".


I hope this was of interest.

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Feb, 2007 1:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A translated version of Jean Froissart's Chronicle may be found here.
http://www.nipissingu.ca/department/history/m...THIRTY.HTM

That one reads pretty much like the version the author of this post was trying to recall.

Others have interpreted that the combat was actually quite brutal from the extent to which the few known scarred survivor's were revered. I believe the pieced together version of the tale is that about 1/3 of the participants died during the combat, another third died within a short period of a few days, and only a handful (something like 7) are known to have continued careers afterwards. There were no restrictions (hammers, axes, knifes, etc. were permitted.)

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Feb, 2007 2:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is the Ainsworth account/ poem of the tale of the Battle of the Thirty.

http://www.nipissingu.ca/department/history/m...NSWORT.HTM

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Martin Wilkinson





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PostPosted: Mon 19 Feb, 2007 3:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Could both the dates be correct? One could be using the old calender, the other the new.

Just a thought.

Interesting thread.

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Fabrice Cognot
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Feb, 2007 4:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Might be some truth to that the Wikipedia page says that the English were 'violating a truce' which probably means ravaging the countryside; and the 'French' fighters were mostly actually Breton, which could arguably be locals with an interest in defending their territory.

J


The 'French' fighters were indeed Breton, but fighting on the side of Charles de Blois, who vied the title of Duke of Brittanny with the support of the King of France, while the 'English' fighters were actually working for Jean de Montfort, or rather, for the King of England who supported Montfort - yes, proxy wars existed already at that time ; Montfort also had the support of the Bretons themselves, as they saw Charles de Blois as a tentative usurper with no proper legitimacy to the title - the King of France called (again) on the inheritance through women thing... and so these English were actually fighting for the Breton candidate to the title - facing Breton knights and squires fighting for the King of France.

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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Feb, 2007 9:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fabrice Cognot wrote:
Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Might be some truth to that the Wikipedia page says that the English were 'violating a truce' which probably means ravaging the countryside; and the 'French' fighters were mostly actually Breton, which could arguably be locals with an interest in defending their territory.

J


The 'French' fighters were indeed Breton, but fighting on the side of Charles de Blois, who vied the title of Duke of Brittanny with the support of the King of France, while the 'English' fighters were actually working for Jean de Montfort, or rather, for the King of England who supported Montfort - yes, proxy wars existed already at that time ; Montfort also had the support of the Bretons themselves, as they saw Charles de Blois as a tentative usurper with no proper legitimacy to the title - the King of France called (again) on the inheritance through women thing... and so these English were actually fighting for the Breton candidate to the title - facing Breton knights and squires fighting for the King of France.


Interesting, but I thought the Bretons practiced Tanistry like the Scotts and the Irish, not primogeniture...

J

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