Legislation: ordinance made in council concerning the French army

A certain ordinance made in the king's council concerning various articles and points to be considered and kept in the war to be made simultaneously by the French and Scots

This indenture or part letter contains and gives testimony that at the beginning of the month of July 1385, the very noble and powerful prince Robert, by the grace of God king of Scotland, and his eldest son John [Stewart], earl of Carrick, with many other earls and barons of the realm of Scotland, and also the noble Seigneur John de Vienne, admiral of France and lieutenant of the king of France for Scotland and England, with other nobles and valiant knights, lords of the realm of France sent for this purpose by the king of France to the realm of Scotland, assembled at Edinburgh for having discussion together regarding making war, by consent, against the king of England as a common enemy and adversary of the kings of France and Scotland, after negotiating and conferring together at their leisure, they came to an agreement with respect to moving towards effecting the following arrangement: that is to say, that when they come to the marches of England on the day assigned for assembling thereto, the 23th day of the said month, and have seen the castles that are in the area of the marches, if [the castles], according to their judgement, are considered to be assailable and winable, they could consent [to do so] if they agree by common accord, but because they want to have the battle, in the case that it appears to them that it will be a long and grievous attack, in so much that there appears to be peril to the men at least of injury to those who come to the battle, it should be agreed for the best by common accord to pass away and make war in such a manner as to avoid the abovesaid peril, allowing those who are uncertain of an attack to befall the peril of the above-written, and especially then that those who attend the battle are not able to set out volunteers to assault in all ways and return having made good, on the advice of those on the frontiers and of those who are certain concerning the state, and from the assembly of them together to do and cause what is most expedient. This done and agreed in the said manner, certain ordinances were made and agreed to be set down in writing and to be sealed and proclaimed in common and permanently that, in passing towards the marches by the country of Scotland, no man face robbery, nor larceny, nor seizures [paigne], looting horses, harness, victuals nor other goods without the grace and will of those who will be under the burden [poine] of being the commanders. Item, that all persons who want to come to the host, of which part will have with them merchandise and victuals to sell, come surely, and they will be able to come and go surely and safely, and no man seize [paigne] anything without payment or satisfaction under the same pain [poine]. Item, that whosoever kills a man of the host, he shall be killed for that, and if [he is] a trusted manservant of a lord, his hand or ear will be cut off, and if a lord entrusts another, he be taken immediately and justice administered according to the advice of the captains. Item, if any riot or dispute emerges between any of the men of France and Scotland, that no one shall arm himself nor provoke one against another for this without being arrested, which dispute having been silenced, on the one part and the other part, by the captains who shall do justice (and who shall not have upheld this ordinance), if he be a man of arms, he will lose a horse and harness, and if he be a manservant, a hand or an ear. Item, it is ordained that this same pain [poine] and punishment be kept and upheld and done to those who oust their companions and those who do not keep the ordinance in the cavalry or in the army, which shall be for the captains to make and establish. Item, that all men, French and Scots, have a sign in the front and at the back, namely, a white cross of St. Andrew and [if] his jacket or jerkin is white, he shall wear the said white cross on a piece of black cloth, round or square. And if a Scot encounters maltreatment or grievance in the French army, the captain in whose company this has been done will be able to take those who have mistreated and return them to a Scottish lord, wherever he be, who will do the law and justice for him. And similarly, if a Frenchman faces harm or maltreatment in the company of Scots, the captain will take those from that place and deliver them to a French lord, wherever he be, to whom he will make amends and justice. Item, that whosoever, French or Scot, will transport Englishmen by land in a 'horse box' [chace de cheval], that he who will take him by land will have half of his ransom, and also every time that he does such a hoped for and desirable thing. Item, that no man of arms, under pain of losing horse and harness, nor any manservant, under pain of losing a hand or an ear, put or set fire to a church or kill a woman or child, or seize [paigne] a woman by force. Item, that the prisoner shall be with the person who first arrested him [aura recu la foi de la main], and if another siezes him by force, his captain will return him and (turn the folio and read the rest of the letter in the other part of the folio at the sign) [sic] will amend the wrong; and if he kills him [the prisoner], he will be set a reasonable fine and will be punished according to the ordinance of the captain. Item, that all safe-conducts that shall be given on the part of the said [John de Vienne] lord admiral [of France] be held and kept well and firm, just as the holder of those made by the lords and captains of Scotland to any persons, and also the safe-conducts that shall be given on the part of the lords and captains of Scotland to whatsoever persons be well kept and protected by the said lord admiral and by his men.

  1. NAS, Liber Niger, PA5/4, f. 71v and 71r. Back