Late last night, the official spokesman for the Black Prince issued the following statement:
Despite what some historians may have been speculating, after winning the Battle of Poitier in 1396, the Prince’s responsibilities were clear. On leaving the battle-field of Poitiers and before making up his mind to return to England, the Black Prince concluded on the 14th March, 1357 a truce of two years with the regency ruling France during the captivity of her King. The English army, with its many prisoners and rich booty, did not venture to attack any fortress on their way to Bordeaux; it was honour enough to take back in safety the caputured King Jean of France and his son, and all the gold and silver and jewels they had won. They therefore proceeded by slow marches, as they were heavily laden. They met with no resistance. The whole country was subdued by terror, and the men-at-arms retreated into the fortresses. At no time did they turn north to lay siege on Honfleur.
Your correspondents recieved this information with some dismay and concern. The whole purpose of this section of the cycle tour was to mark the 618th anniversarty of the sacking of Honfleur. How could we continue to justify our stay if there was no anniversary to celebrate.
However, all was not lost. A chance encounter with Lord Orange of Deauville was an opportunity to learn of the celebrations held every year in Honfleur on the night of August 8th to mark the sacking of the town by King Henry V in 1417 as documented in the town charter from that year:
The mouth of the Touques is at Deauville where Henry V landed:
Lord Salisbury besieged the town for 5 days, before the walls eventually crumbled and the inhabitants surrendered. A careful observer can still see the damage left on the buidings near the harbour showing the marks of that terrible siege:
The celebrations in the town every August 8th take the form of setting light to the restauants and bars around the harbour. A beautiful sight and a fitting reminder of the courage and profligacy of the age: