Geoffrey le Baker


(1) Geoffrey Ie Baker was a monk at Osney Priory. Baker's Chronicles cover the period 1303 to 1356. The section on the Battle of Crecy was based on an interview with Thomas de la More, one of Edward Ill's knights.

The French army was so large, that its leaders were sure they would win. They began to argue over which English prisoners they should have. The King of Majorca wanted the King of England as his prize... and others wanted other leaders...

King Philip ordered the banner to be unfurled. When this was flying, it was unlawful for anyone, on pain of death, to spare a prisoner.

The first attack was made by the French to the sound of trumpets, drums and clarions. With a shout like thunder, the Genoese crossbowmen advanced... The English archers were ordered to fire on them.

When they saw that their crossbowmen were not harming the English at all, the French knights rode down their crossbowmen. They crushed the crossbowmen beneath the feet of their horses, and charged headlong forward, to show the English how brave they were. The Genoese who were being trampled gave such shrieks of pain that the French army at the back thought it was the English who were being killed.

The French knights pressed forward but many of their horses were killed and wounded by the English archers. Those who reached the English were beaten down with axes and swords. Many Frenchmen were crushed to death by the weight of numbers.

Prince Edward, the king's eldest son, being then only 16 years old, showed his courage to the French. He pierced horses, shattered helmets, broke spears, parried blows and set all men a fine example. The battle went on for most of the night. During this time, the French attacked fifteen times, but at last they fled in defeat. The number of French knights and nobles killed in the battle was more than 4,000. No one bothered to count the others who were slain. The English then discovered that only 40 of their army had been killed.

English soldiers in France during the 100 Years War (c. 1350)
English soldiers in France during the 100 Years War (c. 1350)