Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation, by Richard Hakluyt

The comming of Lyon King of Armenia into England, in the yeere 1386, and in the ninth yeere of Richard the second, in trust to finde some meanes of peace or good agreement betweene the King of England and the French king. Iohn Froyssart lib. 3. cap. 56.

Thus in abiding for the Duke of Berrie, and for the Constable, who were behind, then king Lyon of Armenia, who was in France, and had assigned him by the king, sixe thousande frankes by the yeare to maintaine his estate, tooke vpon him for a good intent to goe into England to speake with the king there and his Councell, to see if he might finde any matter of peace to be had, betweene the two Realmes, England and France: And so he departed from his lodging of Saint Albeyne beside Saint Denice, alonely1 with his owne company, and with no great apparell. So he rode to Boloine, and there he tooke a shippe, and so sayled foorth till he came, to Douer; and there he found the Earle of Cambridge, and the Earle of Buckingham, and moe then a hundreth men of armes, and a two thousand Archers, who lay there to keepe that passage, for the brute [Footnote: Report, French BRUIT. (Nare’s Glossary). Compare 3 Ilen, vi., iv., 7.] ran, that the Frenchmen should lande there or at Sandwich, and the king lay at London, and part of his Councell with him, and daily heard tydings from all the Portes of England. When the king of Armenia was arriued at Douer, he had there good cheere, because he was a stranger, and so he came to the kings vncles there, who sweetly receiued him, and at a time conuenient, they demaunded of him from whence he came and whither he would. The king answered and sayd, that in trust of goodnesse he was come thither to see the king of England, and his Councell, to treate of peace betweene England and France, for he saide that he thought the warre was not meete: for he sayd, by reason of warre betweene these two Realmes, which hath indured so long, the Saracens, Iewes and Turkes are waxed proude, for there is none that make them any warre, and by occasion thereof I haue lost my land and Realme, and am not like to recouer them againe without there were firme peace in all Christendome: and I would gladly shew the matter that toucheth all Christendome to the king of England, and to his Councell, as I haue done to the French king. Then the kings Vncles demaunded of him if the French king sent him thither or no; he answered and sayd, no: there is no man that sent mee, but I am come hither by mine owne motion to see if the king of England and his Councel would any thing leane to any treaty of peace, then was he demaunded where the French king was, he answered I beleeue he be at Sluce, I sawe not him sithence I tooke my leaue of him at Senlize. Then he was demaunded, howe he could make any treatie of peace, and had no charge so to doe, and Sir, if yee be conueyed to the King our Nephew and to his Counsell, and the French king in the meane season enter with his puissance into England; yee may happe thereby to receiue great blame, and your person to be in great ieoperdy with them of the Countrey. Then the King answered and said, I am in suretie of the French king, for I haue sent to him, desiring him till I returne againe, not to remoue from Sluce, and I repute him so noble and so well aduised, that he will graunt my desire, and that hee will not enter into the sea, till I come againe to him. Wherefore, sirs, I pray you in the instance of loue and peace, to conuey me to speake with the King, for I desire greatly to see him: or else yee that be his Vncles, if ye haue authoritie, to giue me answere to all my demaunds. Then the Earle of Buckingham sayd, syr king of Armenia, we be ordayned here to keepe and defend this passage, and the frontiers of England, by the King and his Counsell, and wee haue no charge to meddle any further with the businesse of the Realme, without we be otherwise commanded by the King. But sith ye be come for a good intent into this Countrey, ye be right welcome; but sir, as for any firme answere ye can haue none of vs, for as now we be not of the Councell, but we shall conuey you to the king without perill or danger. The king thanked them, and said: I desire nothing else but to see the king and to speake with him.

How the King of Armenia returned out of England, and of the answere that was made to him.

When the king of Armenia was refreshed at Douer a day, and had spoken with the kings Vncles at good leasure, then he departed towards London, with a good conduct that, the Lords appointed to him, for feare of any recounters: so long he rode that he came to London, and in his ryding through London he was well regarded, because he was a stranger, and he had good cheare made him, and so was brought to the king, who lay at the Royall at the Queenes wardrobe, and his Councell were in London at their lodgings: The Londoners were sore fortefying of their citie. When the comming of the king of Armenia was knowen, the kings Councell drew to the King to heare what tydings the King brought in that troublous season: When the king of Armenia was come into the kings presence, he made his salutation and then beganne his processe to the states, how he was come out of France principally to see the king of England whom he had neuer seene before, and said, how he was right ioyous to be in his presence, trusting that some goodnesse might come thereby. And there he shewed by his words, that to withstande the great pestilence that was likely to be in England; therefore he was come of his owne good will to doe good therein if he might, not sent from the French king, willing to set some accorde and peace betweene the two Realmes England and France. Many faire pleasant words the king of Armenia spake to the king of England, and to his Counsell, then he was shortly answered thus: Syr king, ye be welcome into this Realme, for the king our soueraigne lord, and all we are glad to see you here, but sir, we say that the king hath not here all his Councell, but shortly they shall be here, and then ye shall be answered. The king of Armenia was content therewith, and so returned to his lodging. Within foure dayes after the king was counselled (and I thinke he had sent to his Vncles to know their intents, but they were not present at the answere giuing) to goe to the pallace at Westminster and his Councell with him, such as were about him, and to send for the king of Armenia to come thither. And when he was come into the presence of the king of England and his Councell, the king sate downe, and the king of Armenia by him, and then the Prelates and other of his Councell. There the king of Armenia rehearsed againe his requestes that he made, and also shewed wisely how all Christendome was sore decayed and feeblished by occasion of the warres betweene England and France. And how that all the knights and Squires of both Realmes entended2 nothing else, but alwayes to be on the one part or of the other: whereby the Empire of Constantinople leeseth,3 and is like to leese; for before this warre the Knights and Squires were wont to aduenture themselues. And also the king of Armenia shewed that by occasion of this warre he had lost his Realme of Armenia, therefore he desired for Gods sake that there might be some treaty of peace had betweene the two Realmes England and France. To these wordes answered the Archbishop of Canterburie, for he had charge so to doe; And he sayd, Sir king of Armenia, it is not the manner nor neuer was seene betweene two such enemies as the king of England and the French king, that the King my Souereigne lorde should be required of peace, and he to enter his land with a puissant army, wherefore sir, we say to you, that if it please you, ye may returne to the French king, and cause him and all his puissance to returne backe into their owne countreys. And when euery man be at home, then if it please you ye may returne againe hither, and then we shall gladly intende to your treatie.

This was all the answere the king of Armenia could get there, and so he dined with the king of England, and had as great honour as could bee deuised, and the king offered him many great gifts of golde and siluer, but he would take none though he had neede thereof, but alonely a ring to the value of a hundreth Frankes. After dinner he tooke his leaue and returned vnto his lodging, and the next day departed, and was two days at Douer, and there he tooke his leaue of such lords as were there, and so tooke the sea in a passager,4 and arriued at Calais and from thence went to Sluce, and there he spake with the French king and with his Vncles, and shewed them how he had bene in England, and what answere he had: the French king and his Vncles tooke no regard of his saying, but sent him backe againe into France, for their full intention was to enter into England as soone as they might haue winde and weather, and the Duke of Berrie and the Constable came to them: The winde was sore contrary to them, for therewith they could neuer enter into England but the winde was good to goe into Scotland.5

1 “Merely” “only.” (Nare’s Glossary.) “I speak not this alonly for mine owne.” MIR. FOR MAGIST., p. 367.

2 Attend to. It is used in the same sense in the Alleyn papers. “Loe that I will now after Monday, intend your busines carefully.” And in Timon of Athens ii., 2.

3 Diminisheth, dwindleth. Nares does not give this meaning, not have I ever come across a precisely similar instance of its use.

4 Generally spelt passenger, as in the letter of the Earl of Leicester 1585. Quoted by Nares.

5 The King of Armenia here referred to was Leon VI., the last of the Cilicio Armenian dynasty founded by Rupen, a relative of Gagik, the last of the Bagratide Kings: He was taken prisoner by the Mamelukes of Egypt in 1375, and after a long captivity wandered as an exile through Europe, dying at Paris in 1393.

Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:51