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Historical Bugurt : The Battle of Trente

The combat of the 30

Translated from French to English by me : http://bibnum.univ-rennes2.fr/archive/files/158009-10_212fba0906.pdf

Par M.r le Chevalier DE FREMINVILLE, Lieutenant des Vaisseaux, de S. M. , Membre de la Société Royale des Antiquaires de France. 1819

Le Combat des Trente par Octave Penguilly L’Haridon, 1857

The combat of the 30 is one of the most famous knight tales of Brittany (western part of France). It’s a symbol of brave, faith and noble tale of the Knights from Brittany. This noble table ended by humiliation of the insolent and perfid enemy.

Here is a presentation of the action that happened during one of the long wars of Brittany at the middle of the XIVth century to decide who shall inherit the Duke land, Charles de Blois or Jean IV, count of Montfort. Each one had powerful protectors. Charles de Blois was supported by the King of France and his troops. Jean de Montfort was allied to England and called a wave of English soldiers spread across all Brittany.

The two opponents had similar strength and valor, they declared war to each other, and fought very hard against each other. The fights were long and the war was temporary stopping to begin harder some time after. The country was literally ruined by the war.

During one of these breaks, Robert de Beaumanoir, Marshal of Brittany, commander of Charles’ de Valois troops was staying in the town of Josselin. Some English troop lead by the Knight Richard Bembro who was holding the city of Ploërmel did not care about respecting the break without any respect for the faith. These English troops were plundering the countryside continuously, even on the land under the protection of the city of Josselin (stealing cattle and racketing villagers). Some of these villagers complained at the Marshal Beaumanoir and asked for help. This Brittanian Knight welcomed them, listened them. He did not want to tolerate such behavior and swore the justice will be done. He went to Ploërmel and asked answers from the Governor Bembro, the acts commited by his soldiers and his non-will to respect the temporary peace between their two masters. The English answers with insolence and the Marshal get very angry. Bembro defied the Marshal to fight him with 30 men of his own. Beaumanoir accepted the challenge with joy.

When he came back to the men holding Josselin, all the noble men asked the honor to serve the nation and join the Marshal in the challenge. Making his choice among such knights was difficult. Bembro, at the opposite did not find enough Knights of squires to get his 30 champions. He asked some men (several were Flamish and Brittanians link to Montfort party).

The place of the fight was chosen near an oak called the oak of mid-way because it was at the same distance between Josselin and Ploëmel. The day was fixed to the 27th March 1351. Concerning weapons rules, it was decided that everyone will be free to choose whatever he wanted, offensive or defensive weapons he likes the most.

A huge crowd came to attend the challenge when the day came.

Before the fight, there were some talks. Bembro, who challenged the Brittanians, told Beaumanoir that this affair was far too important to happended without the agreement of their respective kings. He asked to postpone the fight till they get the agreement in order to avoid breaking the temporary peace. The Brittanians, impatient, answered they did not came on the battleground to get back without seeing who had the nicest women, them of the English. They also added that leaving without fighting would be a dishonor and they would be mocked by their compatriots. Bembro said that such behavior can only led to the death of many brave men. Beaumanoir answered he did not get the elit knights of Brittany. The lord of Laval, Rochefort and Loheac were missing but the knights who were present were enough to win the challenge.

Then, the signal of the fights was given. On each side, the two lines of Knights attacked with great furor. Bembro, screamed to support his men in the fight (he was found of astrology and the stars told him the English would win today). At the begining, the advantage was in favor of the English. The Brittanians lost Geoffroy de Mellon and Geoffroy Poulard, both squires. They were both killed by spears. The knights Yves Charruel, Caro de Bodegat and the squire Tristan de Pestivien were killed by hammer hits of Brembo. After long efforts while the victory was uncertain, both teams splited to get some breath and fresh air for a moment.

Beaumanoir seeing his troops weakened by the lost of 5 men called the living ones to fight like two men. The squire Geoffroy de la Roche told him that if he was a knight he would feel his strength and courage multiplied. The Marshal granted him immediately the title of knight and follow the path of his ancestor, Budes de la Roche, hero during the crusades.

This short break was followed by a fight much more terrible. Beaumanoir did get tales of valor but get wounded and lost a great quantity of blood. He asked to drink and his fellow, Geoffroy du Bois answered “Beaumanoir, drink your blood and you throat won’t be dry anymore”. The Marshal get more and more furious. Despite of his fury, surrounded by many opponents, he was close to be captured as prisoner by Bembro who was screaming he should surrender. But this English chief get suddenly killed by Alain de Keranrais, Brettonian squire pierced his head with a spear, throught the visor. Bembro felt to his feet. Dead. The steel penetrated from the eye till the brain. His death made many trouble and chaos amond the English. Several knights were already captured by Brembo : three Brittanian Charruel, Bodegat and Pestivien. Thanks to his death they were free to join the fight again. The squire Guillaume de Montauban succed to make the English flee thanks to a war trick. He get on a horse and feinted fleeing. The English rushed at him. He turned back and charged among them. Throwing them on the ground on left and right  thanks to his great mallet (huge hammer). All English fighters lost courage and those who were not already killed get captured and led to the castle of Josselin by the winning Britonnians.

This is the tale of the Combat of the 30 as reported by d’Argenté, D. Lobineau and D. Morice. This tale was described by several families and knights who attended the fight.

Source:”Le Combat des Trente” d’Yvonig Gicquel – Coop Breiz – 2004

Le Chef, Gouverneur de la Place de Josselin, ayant prit le parti de Charles de Blois, pour la France
Le Chef, commandant la Place de Ploërmel, ayant prit le parti de Jean de Montfort, pour l’Angleterre
Jean III de Beaumanoir, Maréchal de Bretagne
Robert Bembro
Les Trente Bretons
Les Trente Anglais
Les 10 Chevaliers
Olivier Arrel, seigneur de Kermarquer (Evêché de Tréguier)

Raoulet d’Apremont, de Renac (Evêché de Vannes)

Caro de Bodégat, de Mohon (Evêché de Saint-Malo)

D’Ardaine, de Saint-Georges-de-Reintembault (Evêché de Rennes)

Even Charruel, (Evêché de Tréguier)

Perrot de Comenan, de Sérent (Evêché de Vannes)

Geoffroy Du Bois, de Dinan (Evêché de Saint-Malo)

Guillon Le Gaillard, de Pommeret (Evêché de Saint-Brieuc)

Guillaume de La Marche, de Bedée (Evêché de Saint-Malo)

Robert Adès ou Arrès

Robin de Raguedel, vicomte de La Bellière (Evêché de Dol)
James d’Andelée
Guy de Rochefort, d’Escoublac (Evêché de Nantes)

Jeannequin Betonchamp

Jean Rousselet (ou Rouxelot) (Evêché de Nantes)

Hugues de Calveley, du Comté de Chester

Huon de Saint-Hugeon (ou de Saint-Yvon) (Evêché de Tréguier)
Hucheton Clamaban
Jean de Tinténiac , de Bécherel (Evêché de Saint-Malo)


Les 20 Ecuyers
John Dagworth
Geoffroy de Beaucors, de Saint-Cast (Evêché de Saint-Brieuc)
Hugo Catus, d’Evran (Evêché de Saint-Malo)


Maurice du Parc, de Rosnoen (Evêché de Quinper)
Thomelin Henefort
Olivier de Fontenay, de Plédran (Evêché de Saint-Brieuc)

Rennequin Hérouart

Louis Gouyon, de Ploubalay (Evêché de Saint-Malo)
Thomelin Hualton
Alain de Kéranrais, de Plouaret (Evêché de Tréguier)


Olivier de Kéranrais, de Plouaret (Evêché de Tréguier)

Guillaume Isannay, dit le Hardi

Guillaume de La Lande, seigneur du Lou (Evêché de Saint-Malo)

Robert Knollys, du comté de Chester

Geslin de Lanloup, de Plélo (Evêché de Saint-Brieuc)
Richard de La Lande
Geffroy de La Roche, de Dinan (Evêché de Saint-Malo)

Gaule Lalmant

Mellon, de Pacé (Evêché de Rennes)

Hervé de Luxualen

Guillaume de Montauban, (Evêché de Saint-Malo)
Hennequin Maréchal
Olivier de Monteville, de Plouec (Evêché de Tréguier)

Robinet Mélipart

Tristan de Pestvien, de Plougonvern (Evêché de Tréguier)

Jean Plesanton

Guyon de Pontblanc, de Plouaret (Evêché de Tréguier)

Repefort dit le Vaillant

Geoffroy Poulard, seigneur de Kergolléan (Evêché de Saint-Brieuc)

Ridèle dit le Gaillard

Simon Richard, seigneur de Kerjean (Evêché de Tréguier)

Jeannequin Toigne

Jean de Sérént, (Evêché de Vannes)
Jean Troussel ou Trussel
Alain de Tinténiac, de Bécherel (Evêché de Saint-Malo)
Jean Vuin
Maurice de Tréséguidy, de Pleyben (Evêché de Quimper)

The table is from

Categories: All, Litterature, Reenactment
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