Jousting during the Hundred Years War – 1382

The French chronicler Jean Froissart recounts how an English knight won his spurs in a joust of 1382.

During the Hundred Years War, England was allied with Portugal against Castile. When the two continental armies made their peace, the English under the Earl of Cambridge were unhappy.

Before the armies broke up, individual warriors looked to advance themselves through deeds of arms. Miles Windsor came forward to challenge Tristan de Roye.

This account was given by the French chronicler Jean Froissart (c1337-c1445).

An English knight wins his spurs, 1382

In the army of the king of Castile was a young knight from France, called sir Tristan de Roye, who was desirous of displaying his courage. When he saw, that as peace was concluded, there would not be any engagement, he determined not to quit Spain , without doing something to be talked of. He sent a heard to the English army, requesting, that since peace had put an end to the combat, some one would have the kindness to tilt with him three courses with the lance before the city of Badajos .

When this request was brought to the army, they consulted together, and said it ought not to be refused. A young English squire then stepped forth, called Miles Windsor, who wished honourably to be created a knight, and said to the herald, “Friend, return to thy masters, and tell sir Tristan de Roye, that to-morrow he shall be delivered from his vow, by Miles Windsor, before the city of Badajos, according to his request.”

The herald returned, and related the answer to his masters, and sir Tristan de Roye, who was highly pleased. On the morrow morning, Miles Windsor left the army of the earl of Cambridge, and went towards Badajos, which was hard by, as there was only the mountain to cross, well accompanied by friends; such as sir Matthew Gournay, sir William de la Barde, and several more; there were upwards of one hundred knights on the spot, where the tournament was to be performed. Sir Tristan de Roye was already there, accompanied by French and Bretons.

Miles was created a knight by the souldich de la Traue, as being the most accomplished knight there, and the person who had been in the greatest number of brilliant actions. When the combatants were completely armed, with lances in their rests, and mounted, they spurred their horses, and, lowering their spears, met each other with such force that their lances were twice broken against their breast-plates, but no other hurt ensued. They then took their third lance, and the shock was so great that the heads of Bordeaux steel pierced their shields, and through all their other armour even to the skin, but did not wound them: the spears were shattered, and the broken pieces flew over their helmets.

This combat was much praised by all the knights of each side who were present. They then took leave of each other with much respect, and returned to their different quarters, for no other deeds of arms were performed.

Peace being restored, both Spaniards and Portuguese returned to their own homes. In such manner was this great assembly of Spaniards, English and Portuguese broken up.

Source: Tales from Froissart, Book II, ch. 92, edited by Steve Muhlberger, Nipissing University