Deeds of the fourth year of the reign of Phillip Augustus, king of the Franks

20. In the same year as above, moreover, the year of the Lord's incarnation 1183, the fourth year of the reign of the most Christian king Phillip, it happened that the same king on requests from many and especially at the suggestion of a certain servant who appeared at that time to be the most faithful at carrying on the king's business, bought from the lepers living outside the city of Paris the fairs for himself and his successors, and had them transferred to the market-place called "Campellis" [Champeaux?]. There he had the same most experienced servant build two great houses which the populace call "halls" ["halas". Can this be les Halles?], because he felt it appropriate and likely to be extremely helpful to those who worked there (ob decorem at maximam institorum utilitatem), where the merchants could sell their wares in the dry when it was raining and keep them safe from the incursions of thieves at night. For even greater security, he ordered a wall to be built around the same halls, with gates made so that they could always be shut at night, and between this exterior wall and the actual halls he had covered stalls erected for the merchants so that they would not have to stop buying and selling on rainy days and suffer loss thereby.

On the circuit of the wall around the Forest of Vincennes

21. The forest of Vincennes had never been enclosed in the time of all his predecessors and had been quite open to anyone passing through it. At much this time, Phillip Augustus king of the Franks, concerned for the development and improvement of the realm, had it ringed with a very fine wall. When Henry (II) king of the English, who had succeeded king Stephen as ruler of the kingdom of England, had wild beasts collected from all over Normandy and Aquitaine, stag fawns, young does and wild goats, placed in a great ship with the utmost care and cleverly protected and provided there with the necessary fodder. He then sent them along the Seine by water to king Phillip his lord at Paris. The most Christian king received this gift kindly and had them enclosed in the forest of Vincennes near the city, placing a permanent watch over them.

22. Incidentals. Many heretics were burned at this time in Flanders by William the reverend archbishop of Rheims, titular cardinal-priest of Sancta Sabina and papal legate, and by Phillip the illustrious count of the Flemings.

Another incident. In the same year in the region of Cahors, in a castle commonly known as Martel [Lot], there died on the 13th kalends of June [actually 11 June not 20 May as indicated here] Henry the young king of England. His corpse was carried to the city of Rouen in the province formerly known as Neustria and now Normandy.

On the killing of the Cottereaux near the city of "Biturica"

23. In the same year, more than seven thousand Cottereaux were killed in the region of the Beauce (?) [near Châteaudun, 20 August 1183] by the local inhabitants allied together against the enemies of God. They were taking booty and wasting the king's lands, dragging their captives vilely after them and (Oh, Horrors!) sleeping with their wives as they watched. What is even worse, they would set fire to churches consecrated to God, and take the priests and religious along with them, calling them in mockery "Choirboys" (Cantores) and ridiculing them in their torments by saying: "Sing to us choirboys, sing!", incessantly boxing their ears or hitting them in a disgraceful manner with big sticks. Some of those beaten in this way gave up their blessed souls to the Lord. Others after long captivity got themselves released from custody by giving money for ransom, and returned to their own. But how can we tell the story without tears and deep sighs?

More on the same

24. So at the same time, to punish our sins these Cottereaux were invading and despoiling churches, and were, at the Devil's prodding and with rash daring, even taking the body of Our Lord, which was reserved, as it should be, for the emergency needs of the sick in gold or silver vessels, extracting it from them with hands (Oh, so painful!) polluted by human blood, throwing it vilely on the ground and crushing it under foot. Their concubines would concoct robes for their heads with that holy linen covering which is called the "corporal" (altar cloth), and carried around with them the gold and silver vessels in which (the eucharist) was conserved and made ready, to smash them up with hammers or break apart with stones. When the local inhabitants saw this, they reported all these evils to their lord Phillip the most Christian king of the Franks, and once he had heard what they were saying he was fired with the zeal of Go to send his army to their assistance. The royal army joined up with them and they mounted a united assault on the enemy, killed them all from the least to the greatest, and were greatly enriched from their spoils. Then the people, seeing what they had achieved, returned home glorifying and praising God for all the things they had seen and heard [cf. Luc., ii. 20].

On the miraculous restoration of peace between Raymond, count of St. Gilles and the king of Aragon

25. But there had arisen over a long time past a great quarrel between the king of Aragon and Raymond, count of St. Gilles, which could, because of the work of the Devil, enemy of humankind, in no way be settled. However, the Lord hearing his poor people complaining over a long period of so great an oppression and affliction, sent them as their savior, no emperor or king, nor any prince of the Church, but a certain poor man called Durand, to whom the Lord is said to have appeared in the city of "Aniciensi" now commonly known as Le Puy, and to have handed over to him a parchment (scedulam). On it was the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary enthroned and holding in her hands an image of our Lord Jesus Christ as a child and around the edges was printed words of this nature: "Lamb of God, who bearest away the sins of the world, give us peace". The princes, greater and lesser, having heard what had been done by God's will, assembled at Le Puy (Anicium) with their whole followings on the day of the Blessed Mary's Ascension as was their annual custom. The bishop of that city then with the clergy and people and whole crowd there gathered for the feast day listened intently to that Durand, a poor, humble carpenter, laying down the law in the midst of the populace. He boldly told them of God's command that they were to restore peace among themselves and showed the parchment with its image of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a sign to everyone. They raised their voice in weeping, admiring the kindness and mercy of God, and swore most readily on the holy gospels the strongest of oaths promising God to observe the peace in every way they could. As a token of the commitment to keep the peace, they made a seal of the Blessed Virgin impressed on lead, placed it over their breasts on white linen hoods like the scapulars of the white monks (Cistercians) and carried it there always as a sign of the compact entered into with him. What is even more amazing, anyone carrying a hood of this kind with the sign could be sure that if anyone had killed the brother of another by any kind of accident and the surviving brother had seen the killer wearing the sign just mentioned, the brother's death was at once forgiven and he received him (the killer) with the kiss of peace in tears and weeping, took him hone and gave him what he needed to eat. Surely one can say that in this place there was fulfilled again the prophecy of Isaiah: "The wolf will dwell with the lamb and the leopard make common cause with the kid; the calf and the lion, the sheep and the bear will graze together and the little child will be a threat to them" [Isa., xi. 6]. We understand indeed by those beasts that live from violence and on flesh the irreligious men such as homicides and robbers, but by the rest of the grazing animals the gentle and simple people. And of them all the prophet said that Christ ordered them to live together and keep peace. Why so? "Because the land is filled with the knowledge of the Lord" [Isa., xi. 9]. This reconciliation engineered by the man of God was observed most carefully all over Gothia (Aquitaine) for some time.


[Oeuvres de Rigord et de Guillaume le Breton, ed. H. Francoise Delaborde, I (Libr. Renouard: Paris, 1882).
Translation © Paul R. Hyams 1998]