Jean Froissart

Jean Froissart was born at Valenciennes in France in 1337. At the age of twenty he was commissioned to write a book on warfare. Froissart came to England in 1360 where he entered the service of Philippa of Hainault, the wife of King Edward III.

After eight years in England, Froissart travelled to France and Italy and eventually settled in the Netherlands. It was while he was in retirement in the Netherlands that he wrote his most famous work. Written in four volumes, Froissart's Chronicles deals with the history of Europe between 1326 and 1400. Most of the information in the book was based on interviews with people who had witnessed or had taken part in important events.

In 1395 Froissart returned to England for the first time since 1369. The purpose of his visit was to present a copy of his work to Richard II. Jean Froissart died in 1410.

Primary Sources

(1) Jean Froissart, Chronicles (c. 1395)

It is the custom in England, as in other countries, for the nobility to have great power over the common people, who are their serfs. This means that they are bound by law and custom to plough the fields of their masters, harvest the corn, gather it into barns, and thresh and winnow the grain; they must also mow and carry home the hay, cut and collect wood, and perform all manner of tasks of this kind.