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The Story of Rouen 

First Edition^ March 1899 
Second Edition f April 1901 

All rights reserved 

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" Est enlm benignnm et plenum Ingenui pudorii fiteri pu 

npHE story of a town must difier from the history 
of a nation in that it if conceroed not with 
large isniea but with familiar and domeatic details. A 
nation has no individuality. No single phrase can 
^rly sum up the characteristics of a people. But a 
town is like one face picked out of a crowd, a face 
that shows not merely the experience of our human 
span, but the traces of centuries that go backward into 
unrecorded time. In all this slow development a 
character that is individual and inseparable is gradually 
formed. That character never radea. It is to be 
found first En the geographical laws of permanent or 
slowly changed surroundings, and secondly in the 
outward aapect of the dwellings built by man, for his 
. personal comfort or for the good of the materiai com- 
munity, or for his spiritual needs. 

To these three kinds of architecture I have attached 
this story of Rouen, because even in its remotest 
syllables there are some traces left that are still visible ; 
and these tnces increase as the story approaches 
modem times. While moats and ramparts still sever 
a dty from it* surrounding territory, the space within 
the walls preserves many of those sharply defined 
characteristics which grow fainter when town and 
country merge one into the other j the modem suburb 
graduallv destrmri the pertooality both of what it 
•prang from ana of what it meets. Up to the be- 
gumiog of the wxtewtb ctatujr I hnt been more 


careful to explain the scattered relics of an earlier 
time than during the years when Rouen was filled 
with exquisite examples of the builder's art. After 
that century there is so little of distinction, and so 
much of average merit, that my story languishes 
beneath a load of bricks and mortar. 

Each chapter in this book which describes an 
advance in time or a different phase of life and feeling 
will be found to be connected with the buildings that 
are either contemporaneous with that phase or most 
suggestive of it. I have thus been able to mention 
all the important architectural features of the town 
without disturbing a fairly even chronological develop- 
ment of the tale, in the hope that this method will 
appeal not only to the traveller who needs guidance 
and explanation in the place he visits, but also to the 
reader who prefers to hear my story by his own fire- 
side. Working, then, with this double audience in 
my mind, I have used to a very large extent, in my 
description of the people's life, the documents they 
have left behind themselves, so that the best expression 
may be given of the vital fact that a town is built and 
fashioned and inspired not by a few great men, but by 
the many persistent citizens who dwell in it, working 
their will from age to age without shadow of changing. 

One such manuscript, the work of many hands and 
many centuries, I must particularly mention. It is the 
record kept by the Cathedral Chapterhouse, from 1 2 1 o 
to 1790, of the prisoners pardoned by the Privilege of 
St. Romain's Shrine. Forbidden, for reasons of health, 
to investigate these ancient parchments for myself, I 
have been fortunate enough to find them all printed by 
the care of M. A. Floquet, to whom the judicial his- 
tory of Rouen owes so much. To his industry and to 
that of M. Charles de Beaiu'epaire I owe all the more 
astonishing and unknown details which are derived from 

original authorities scarcely yet appreciated at their fUl 


value. Both were scholars in the £cole dee Chartes, 
the OD]y school of accurate historical instruction in the 
world; and for any possibility of usmg fruitfully the 
mass of details they have brought to light I am indebted 
to my initiation by M. and Madame James Darmesteter 
into the same principles of organised research. The 
list of Authorities in the Appendix will show rather 
more fully a debt to M. de Beaurepaire which can never 
be adequately acknowledged. 

My stay in Rouen was rendered more profitable and 
more pleasant by the kindness of yet others of its 
citizens. To M. Georges Dubosc ; to M. le Marquis 
de Melandri ; to M. Lafont who, as is but right in 
Armand Carrel's birthplace, presides over the oldest 
and best French provincial newspaper ; to M. Edmond 
Lebel, Director of the Museum ; to M. Noel^ the 
librarian, I would here express my heartiest gratitude. 
To M. Beaurain I am under an especial obligation. 
Not only did he carefidly trace for me the madrigal, set 
in its modern dress by the kindly skill of Mr Fuller 
Maitland, which English readers may now hear for the 
first time since 1 550 ; but he chose out of the vast store 
at his command the portrait of ComeiUe by Lasne, and 
the View of Rouen in 1620 by Merian. These were 
photographed by M. Lambin of 47 Rue de la R^pub- 
lique, with whom I left a list of those typical carvings 
in wood and stone of which visitors to Rouen would be 
likely to desire some accurate and permanent record. 

Among those things in this little volume to which I 
desire special attention, as being unknown in England, 
and in some cases never reproduced before, I would 
mention, in addition to the music in Chapter XIII.,the 
plan in Chapter IX. by Jacques Lelieur, who also drew 
the view of the whole town reproduced in Chapter 
XIII. This plan is the only instance of which I am 
aware which enables us to see a French town of 1525 
exactly as it was, for by a queer but easily intelligible 



mixture of plan and elevation, the architect has drawn 
not merely the course of various streets but the fa9ades 
of the houses on each side of them. And this leads 
me to my last, and perhaps my most striking debt, that 
to my illustrators ; not only to my mother, who drew 
the arms of Rouen, from a design of 1 5 50, for the first 
chapter, and Coustou's charming bas-relief of Com- 
merce for the last, but more especially to Miss James ; 
of her work I need say nothing ; it is quite able to 
make its own appeal ; but for her indefatigable desire 
to draw exactly what I wanted and to assist the whole 
scheme of the book I cannot sufHciently express my 
gratitude. Her drawings of the Crypte St. Gervais, 
of the Chapelle St. Julien, and of the Eglise St. Paul, 
will be as new as they are valuable to architectural 
readers ; her picture of the Cour des Comptes, and of 
the old house in the Rue St. Romain were made under 
exceptional circumstances which may never recur again ; 
and the view of the Chartreuse de la Rose is the first 
representation of the headquarters of our Henry V. in 
France which has ever, to my knowledge, been pro- 
duced in England. 

In conclusion I must express the earnest wish that 
the pages I have written about the carvings of the 
Maison Bourgtheroulde, and the illustrations accom- 
panying them, will not have been published in vain. 
That the only authentic contemporaneous record of the 
Field of the Cloth of Gold, except the one picture at 
Hampton Court, should now be mouldering into decay 
in a French town is hardly creditable to those who can 
act with authority in valuable questions of historical art. 
The town of Rouen is aware of the risk, but nothing is 
done* In a few years the inaccurate reproductions in 
the Crystal Palace will be the only traces left of these 
invaluable records, unless an immediate effort is made 
to secure the preservation of the originals in the French 
house, which they will soon cease to adorn. 





Introductory ....•• I 


The First City . . . • . . 12 


Merovingian Rouen . . . « . 24 


Rouen under her own Dukes . « , 44 


The Conquest of England and the Fall of 

Normandy ..... 72 


A French Town ..... 103 


La Rue de la Grosse Horloge • , ^ 134 


The Siege of Rouen by Henry V. » s . 1 69 



Jeanne d' Arc and the Englith Occupation loO 

A City of Churchet 

Jutticc 164 


^f' 3" 

LiteriUuri and Commerce .... 369 

A MaJrigalof i$^o 362 

Appetu^ .,,,,.. 394 
Index 4O3 


Si. Maclou Frontiipieei 

Tie ^rms of Rouen * 
The Original Faaiame Croix Je Pii 
Cryfl of St. Geroait . 
Statue of St. Louit 
laitial Letter fi^m an old Manutcripi 
The Armt of Rouen * . 
Cbapelle di la Fierte de Si. Roma'm 
Tht Armi of Normandy * . 
Figure fram the Border of tht Bayeux Tapetlry * 
Figure from the Border of the Bayeux Tapetiry * 
Figure from the Border of the Bayeux Tapeilry * 
Horttt for the Army of IVilRam the Conqueror 
eroiang the Channel, Bayeux Tapeitry * . 
Figure from the Border of the Bajeux Tapeitry * 
Interior of the Chapel of St. JuTien 
Corbel from the old Church of St. Paul 
Apte of the old Church oj St. Paul 
The Armt of France * 
J Mason at Work * . . . 

Portail del Librairet . 

ralfrom the Norlb-IVetl 



The Good Shepherd of the Gross e Horloge 
The Salt Porter of St. Vincent 
La Grosse Horloge and the Town Belfry 
Hotel des Bons Enfants 
A Cobbler at Work * . 
The Rue du Hallage 
The Chartreuse de la Rose 
The Apse of St, Ouen , 
Maison des Celestins • 
Rue St, Romain • 
La Cour d^Albane 
Central Tower of St, Ouen from the Souths East 
Tour Jeanne d'Arc . 
The Original West Front of St. Ouen 
Nave of St. Ouen 
Staircase of St. Maclou 
Door of St. Maclou 
Tour St. Andre . 
Eglise St, Laurent 
Western Porch of St. Vincent 
Palais de Justice. Tourelle in the Rue St. L6 
Courtyard of Palais de Justice 
Octagon Room of the Palais de Justice 
Bureau des Finances^ from the Parvis 
Cour des CompteSy from the Rue des Carmes 
The Dead Body of De Bre%ey from his Tomb 
in Rouen Cathedra! * . . . . 






















Entrance to the jittre St. Maclou . . • 299 

The Cemetery of St. Maclou , . . .304 

Tomb of the two Cardinals d^jimboise^ from 

Rouen Cathedral . . . .311 

Tomb of Louis de Bre%e in Rouen Cathedral . 313 

AMonkfrayingyfrom the Tomb of the Cardinals 

d*Amboise . . . . .315 

Sir Christopher Lytcot^ from the Brass in 

West Hannay Church * . . • 3 ' 9 

Des Todes Wappenschild^ after Holbein * . . 320 

Rouen in 15259 by Jacques LeHeur . Facing 3«i 

The Gallery of the Matson Bourgtheroulde . 323 
The Field of the Cloth of Gold . . . 327 
A Window in the Maison Bourgtheroulde . 335 

Inner Fagade of the Maison Bourgtheroulde . 339 
Maison Caradas . . . . • 3+7 

Rue de V Eflcerie . . -353 

A Window in the Maison Bourgtheroulde* . 361 
Rouen in 1620, by Merian . . . Facing 369 

Coustou* s Bas-relief of Commerce * . . 369 

Pierre Corneillcy by Lasne . . . Facing 376 

Eau de Robec . . . • . •381 

Courtyard in the Rue Petit Salut . . . 388 

The illustrations marked with * are drawn by Jane E. Cook. 




A. The Site of Rouen between the Seine and 

the Hills ...... 3 

B. Mfiin Streets and Boulevards, showing the 

Walls besieged by Henry V. . Facing 5 

C. The Gallo^Roman Walls^ and the oldest 

Streets in Rouen . . . Facing 7 1 

D. Rouen in the Thirteenth Century , Facing 103 

E. The Extension of Rouen East^vards at the 

end of the Fourteenth Century • Facing 1 69 

F. Plan (^and elevation of the Houses) of the 

Vieux^Marche and the Marche^aux' 
Veaux (^now Place de la Pucelle) drawn 
by Jacques Lelieur for his ** Livre des 
Fontaines^* in 1525 • • • Facing log 




Anit, c*eM done Rooeii, la tUIc lux vieillet net, 
Anx TleUlei tour), dAHi de ncei diipaiuei, 
La ville am cent clochen cuHlonaaC dam I'air, 
Le RmKD dn chlCeanx, det hAceb, dei hMtiltu, 
DoDt le front h£riu£ de flichei et d'alguillei 
Djchlre inceiaamment lei bnimei de la met. 

THE three great rivers that flow from the hoit of 
France to her three *ea« have each a character 
of their own. The grey and rapid current of the 
Rhone, swollen with the melting of the glacier-sDowa, 
rolli past the impenshable moDuments of ancient 
Empire, and through the oliTcyards and vineyards of 
ProTcnce, falls into the blue wave* of the aouthem 
sea> The sandy stream of Loire goes weatward past 
the pabcca of kings and the walled pleasure-gardens of 
Touraine, whispering of deid royalty. But the Seine 

The Story of Rouen 

pours out his black and toil-stained waters northward 
between rugged banks, hunying from the capital of 
France to bear her cargoes through the Norman cliffs 
into the English Channel. 

If Paris, Rouen, and Le Havre were but one town, 
whose central highway was this great river of the 
north, it would be at the vital spot, the very market- 
cross, that Rouen has sprung up and flourished through 
the centuries, at that dividing line where ships must 
stay that sail in from the sea, and cargo boats set out 
that ply the upper stream with commerce for the 
inland folk ; and this geographical position has affected 
every generation of the city's growth and strength. 

Rouen that is now '* cheflieu du departement de la 
Snne'Inferieure^^ was once the Norman stronghold 
which commanded all the basin of the river from the 
incoming of the stream of Eiire. The Seine and its 
tributaries have cut vast plateaux some four hundred 
feet in height, through chalk and debris piled above 
the Jurassic bedrock that crops out here and there, as 
it does at Bray. On the right bank of the river, at 
the summit of a huge curve, the city lies between the 
valley of Darn^tal, that is watered by Robec and his 
mate Aubette, and the valley of Bapaume. Upon this 
northern side the town is guarded from east to west by 
the hills of St. Hilaire, Mont Fortin, Mont aux 
Malades and Mont Riboudet, and from these the 
houses grow downwards to the water's edge. Upon 
the plateau above perch the villages of Mont-Saint- 
Aignan and of Bois-Guillaume. But between the 
valley of Darnetal and the Seine, is yet another 
natural buttress, the promontory on whose summit is 
Mont Ste. Catherine and the hamlet Bonsecours. 
From this magnificent height you may take the best 
view of the natural setting of the town. The western 
horizon is closed by the plateau of Canteleu and the 
forest of Roumare. To the south, within that strong 



bent elbow of the atream, the bridges bind to Rouen 
her faubourg of Sl Sever with it» communeg of Sotte- 
▼ille and of Petit Querilly ; and the forest of Rouvray 
^reads its shadow to the meeting of the aky. 

The first Rothomagus, hke the Roueo of to-day, 
was neither a hill city, for then it would have stood 
upon the Mont Ste. Catherine, nor an island ctty like 
ancient Paris, for the He St. Croix was too small. It 
was essentially a river city ; and you may see at once 
the extraordinary natural strength of its position on the 
outside of the river's curve (see Map A), instead of 
on the inside which may have seemed more probable 
at lirst but would have left the town defenceless. 
Even to-day you can only get into Rouen, as into a 
town that has been battered and taken by assault, 
through the breach in her fortified lines. If you 
enter by the railway from Paris, from Havre, from 
Dieppe or from Fecamp, it is by subterraoean tunoels 

The Story of Rouen 

only that approach is possible, and up a flight of steps 
that you make your first acquaintance with a ''coin 
perdu " of the town, a corner without character, with- 
out size, without the least promise of the beauty that 
is hidden further off. Of all those great gates through 
which the mediaeval city welcomed her dukes or 
sallied out against her enemies, but one is left, the 
Porte Guillaume Lion close by the quays, at the end 
of the Rue des Arpents, which is as faded and 
decrepit as its entrance. 

To understand something of the origins of the town, 
it is far better to come there for the first time by the 
river, by the highway that has suffered least change 
since Rouen was a town at all. Yet the river itself is 
cribbed within far narrower bounds than when the first 
huts of savage fishermen were stuck upon the reed-beds 
of the marsh ; for the town was first set upon islets 
that have long ago been absorbed into the mainland, 
and the waters of the Seine once washed the boatmen's 
landing stages at a spot that now bounds the Parvis of 
the Cathedral. Even now the Seine varies in breadth 
at this point from a hundred and thirty-five to two 
hundred and fifteen metres, with a depth of five metres 
on the quays at lowest tide. These tides are felt as 
far as twenty miles above the town. They vary in 
height from one metre to as much as three, and a tidal 
wave is formed that is one of the greatest dangers of 
the downstream navigation. Coming up from the sea 
is fairly easy in almost any kind of stout and steady 
craft, but it is difficult for all but the best steamers to 
get down without being delayed, and sometimes fairly 
stopped, by the great tidal wave at Caudebec or 
Quilleboeuf. Only when the floods reduce their 
strength are the tides unable to turn the current of the 
stream; and flood water is not unusual in a country 
where the rain blows in so often from the Channel. 

There is an average of a hundred and fifty rainy 



days each year, the late autumn being worst, for the 
clouds are attracted by the river, by the forests, and by 
the hills thaf stand round about the city. But the 
unhealthiness engendered by all this moisture is a thing 
of the past. ^ enlightened municipal authority has 
widened streets, planted broad boulevards, and cleansed 
the water-works which Jacques Lelieur first sketched 
in the early years of the sixteenth century. And 
much as we may deplore the loss of picturesque sur- 
roundings, it was high time that some of the '* Fumier 
du Moyen Age" sliould be shovelled out of sight. 
What existence meant in those Middle Ages we shall 
be better able to realise later on, and it will be possible 
as we pass through the streets of Rouen to see what 
little has been left of it ; for the vandalism of ignor- 
ance has too often accompanied the innocent and 
hygienic efforts of the restorer, and undue Haussman- 
ism has mined many an inofiPensive beauty past recall. 

As you look upon the modern town from the river, 
it is difficult to realise that the views of 1525, or of 
1620, which I have reproduced in this book, can 
represent the same place. The old walls and battle- 
ments have disappeared, and all the ancient keeps save 
one. But though we cannot tell the towers of ancient 
Rothomagus, we can mark well her bulwarks, from 
the Church of St. Pierre du Chastel that stands in the 
Rue des Cordeliers (see Maps B and C^ where was 
the first Castle of Rollo, to the Halles and the 
Chapelle de la Fierte St. Romain, where the names 
of Haute and Basse Vieille Tour recall the citadel of 
later dukes. Within her earliest walls was the site of 
the first Cathedral ; outside them was built St. Ouen 
to the north-east, and the monastery of St. Gervais to 
the north-west where the Conqueror died. Above the 
town still rises the Tour Jeanne d'Arc, the donjon of 
the Castle of Bouvreuil, which showed that Normandy 
was no more an independent Duchy, but a part of 


The Story of Rouen 

the domains of Philip Augustus. This memory of 
bondage still remains ; but of the home of her own 
dukes Rouen has not preserved one stone ; nor of the 
English palace of King Henry the Fifth near '* Mai 
s'y Frotte " is anything left in the Rue du Vieux Palais 
near the western quay. 

The small compass of the first battlements set on the 
swamp grew, by the twelfth century, to the lines of the 
modem boulevards on the north and west, but at the 
Tour Jeanne d'Arc they turned east and southwards, 
round the apse of St. Ouen, down the Rue de I'Epee 
and the Rue du Ruisseau by way of the Rue des 
E^gnols to the Porte Guillaume Lion and the 
quay. The walls besieged by the English under 
Henry V. had expanded almost exactly to the lines 
of the present boulevards in all directions, for the town 
had spread up the stream of Robec in broad lines that 
converged past the Place du Boulingrin above, and the 
Place Martainville below, upon the Place St. Hilaire to 
the east (see map B). 

From the Place Cauchoise on the north-west of the 
city of to-day two main streets pierce the town. The 
Rue Thiers passes the Museum, and comes out at the 
Place de THotel de Ville, close to St. Ouen. The 
Rue Cauchoise leads straight into the Place du Vieux 
Marche where Jeanne d'Arc was burnt. From there 
begins the Rue de la Grosse Horloge, the central 
artery of old Rouen, in which is the town's focal 
point, the belfry with its fountain and its archway. 
The other end of this street comes out on the open 
space or Parvis before the west door of the Cathedral. 
If you will go still further eastward by way of the Rue 
St. Romain, past the Portail des Libraires, the most 
characteristic thoroughfare is from the Place des Ponts 
de Robec, not far south of St. Ouen, along the street 
called Eau de Robec to the boulevards. These are 
the main lines of lateral division. 


From north to south the town is cut by the Rue 
Jeanne d'Arc; further eastwards, by the Rue des 
Cannes, which becomes the Rue Grand Pont; and 
by the Rue de la Republique, which passes clear from 
the Musee des Antiquites at the northern angle of the 
town to the Pont de Pierre Corneille on the river. 
The quays are crowded with a busy throng of work- 
men ; on the stream are ships from every quarter of the 
world ; great cranes are hoisting merchsmdise out ot 
their holds and distributing it into the iparkets of the 
town, or into the barges for Paris and the Ile-de-France. 
For this is the limit of the maritime Seine, and here, 
where the tide of ocean throbs upon her quays, it was 
but natural that the strength and commerce of Rouen 
should increase and multiply. '< Uagneau de la ville a 
toujour! la patte levee " says the old Norman proverb, 
and if you look at the lamb upon the arms of Rouen 
you will see her foot is raised in readiness for the travel 
that has been always the characteristic of her sons. 
From the days when northern rovers sailed here, when 
Guiscard's colonists went out to Sicily, when traders 
watched the wind for England, the citizens of Rouen 
have had their interests hv afield. 

But it is with the story of their home-town that I 
have now to do. And if it is to be told within the 
bounds of your patience and my opportunity, that story 
must be limited, if not by the old walls of the city, 
then by the shortest circuit of the suburbs round it. 
Nor need we lose much by this circumscribing of our 
purpose. The life of Normandy was concentrated in 
its capital. The slow march of events from the in- 
dependence as a Duchy to the incorporation as a part 
of France has left footprints upon all the thorough- 
fares of the town. The development of mediaeval 
Rothomagus into modem Rouen has stamped its traces 
on the stones of the city, as the falling tide leaves its 
own mark upon the timbers of a seaworn pier It 


The Story of Rouen 

will be my business to point your steps to these traces 
of the past, and from the marks of what you see to 
build up one after another the centuries that have rolled 
over tide- worn Rouen. Let it be said at once that 
the " Old Rouen " you will first see is almost com- 
pletely a French Renaissance city of the sixteenth 
century. Of older buildings you will find only slight 
and imperfect remnants, and as you pass monstrosities 
more modern you will involuntarily close your eyes. 
But the remnants are there, slight as they are; and 
they are worth your search for them, as we try 
together to reconstruct the ancient city of which they 
formed a part. 

Rouen has in its turn been the most southerly 
city of a Norman Duke's possessions, then the 
central fortress of an Angevin Empire that stretched 
from Forth to Pyrenees, then a northern bulwark for 
the Kings of Paris against the opposing cliffs of Eng- 
land. It has sent out fleets upon the sea, and armies 
upon land. It has been independent of its neighbours, 
it has led them against a common foe, and it has 
undergone with them a national disaster. But no 
matter who were its rulers, or by what title it was 
officially described, or how it has been formally divided, 
eternal bars and doors have been set for its inhabitants 
by the mountains and the waters, eternal laws have 
been made for them by the clouds and the stars 
that cannot be altered. In the natural features that 
remain the same to-day, in the labourers of the soil, and 
in the toilers of the city, there has been the least change. 
For these are the " dim unconsidered populations " upon 
whom the real brunt of war falls, the units who com- 
pose the battalions, the pieces in the game who have 
little or no share in the stakes; who abide in their 
land always, blossoming as the trees in summer, endur- 
ing as the rocks in snow. Over this deep-rooted heart 
of humanity sweeps the living hail and thunder of the 


armies of the earth. These are the warp and first sub- 
stance of the nations, divided not by dynasties but by 
climates, strong by unalterable privilege or weak by 
elemental fault, unchanged as Nature's self. 

In the city of to-day, and in such thoroughfares as 
the Rue de I'Epicerie, you may look for a moment 
into that humbler and less spacious form of habitation 
in which the people and the workers lived their days, 
making up for the poverty of their own surroundings 
by the magnificence of that great Cathedral which rose 
above the low horizon of their roofs, and opened its 
doors to poor and rich alike. The buildings that have 
so long outlived their inhabitants may be taken as the 
background — like the permanent stone scenery in a 
Greek theatre — to the shifting kaleidoscope of many- 
coloured life in the old city. 

In the place itself you will see scarcely a trace of 
the great personages whose names have glittered in its 
list of sieges, battles, massacres, pageants, and triumphal 
entries. The story of a town is not a drum-and- 
trumpet chronicle of the Kings and Queens. It is the 
tale of all those domestic and municipal details which 
from their very unimportance have wellnigh dis- 
appeared. To hear it you must follow nie from the 
Crypte St. Gervais to the Cathedral, from the Hotel- 
lerie des Bons Enfants to the Maison Bourgtheroulde, 
and it is to the voices of the people that I shall ask you 
to listen, and to the life of the people that I shall point 
you among the streets they lived m. Thus, and thus 
only, may you possibly realise the spirit of the place, 
that calls out first to every stranger in the bells that 
sound through the silence of his first night in a foreign 
town. These you shall know better soon in Rouen, 
by name even, " Rouvel " and " Cache- Ribaut, " if 
you be worldly-minded, " Georges d'Amboise " and 
"Marie d'Estouteville" for your hours of prayer. 
Before you pass beyond their sound again, their ancient 


The Story of Rouen 

voices shall bring to you something of the centuries 
that had died when they were young, something of 
the individuality of the city above which they have 
been swinging for so long. 

" Spirit of Place/* writes the most charming of our 
living essayists : — 

« It is for this we travel, to surprise its subtlety ; and ^^here 
it is a strong and dominant angel, that place, seen once, abides 
entire in the memory with all its own accidents, its habits, its 
breath, its name. It is recalled all a lifetime, having been per- 
ceived a week, and is not scattered but abides, one Uving body 
of remembrance. The untra veiled spirit of place — not to be 
pursued, for it never flies, but always to be discovered, never 
absent, without variation — lurks in the byways and rules over 
the towers, indestructible, an indescribable unity. It awaits 
us always in its ancient and eager freshness. It is sweet and 
nimble within its immemorial boundaries, but it never crosses 
them. Long white roads outside have mere suggestions of it 
and prophecies ; they give promise, not of its coming, for it 
abides, but of a new and singular and unforseen goal for our 
present pilgrimage, and of an intimacy to be made." 

How many a traveller moves from place to place, 
not realising anything beyond the transportation of his 
body ! Yet in every town there is this fresh acquaint- 
ance, this lifelong friendship, that shall last while his 
own memory lasts, that is as fresh for him as for a 
thousand before him, and for tens of thousands after. 
When the bells of an unknown city have given me their 
first greeting, my first acknowledgment of that com- 
pelling invitation is to see those buildings in the town 
that can become alive again beneath their echoes. Of 
such churches, of such civic buildings, of private 
houses, of monuments by unknown hands for unknown 
owners, Rouen is full in almost all her streets. 

^ La dans le pass^ tu peux vivre 
Chaque monument est un iivre 
Chaque pierre un souvenir." 

The history of the Middle Ages is written upon 



magnificent and enduring volumes, and a great responsi- 
bility is laid on those who would deface the writing 
on the wall. Their virtues and vices, their jests and 
indecencies, their follies and their fears, are all writ 
large upon the pages of a book that was ever open to 
every passer-by, and that remains for us to read. It 
is no rhetorical exaggeration, that ^< Ceci tuera cela " 
of Victor Hugo. Our smaller doings are recorded in 
the perishable print of fading paper, and we have 
no care to stamp what little we have left of character 
upon our buildings. No one, at least it may be 
fervently hoped, will try in the future to reconstruct 
the ideals or the life of the Victorian Era from its 
architecture. Yet we are the heirs of all that is noblest 
in that greatest of all arts ; and if you would test that, 
you need only look at any mediaeval French Cathedral 
with a seeing eye. You will find no meaningless mass 
of bricks and mortar, but the speaking record of the 
age that built them. <* The stone shall cry out of the 
wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer 



the First City 

" Latera aquilonis civitas regis magni 
Deus in domibus eius cognoscetur cum suscipiet earn." 

COLLOW the Rue de la Republique past the 
Abbey of St. Ouen and up the hill to the Place 
Sainte Marie. On your left you will find the Mus^ 
des Antiquites which contains the earliest traces of 
the inhabitants of Rouen. There are so few of them 
that they are easily contained in a few glass cases; 
and this Museum is itself an excellent place with 
which to begin your visitation of the town. Few 
travellers go there, yet it is well worth the while, 
for here are collected many relics of an age that 
has left few traces anywhere, and here can be filled 
up many gaps in that story of Rouen which you can 
never read completely in what is left of the old town. 
In the courtyard that faces the Rue de la Republique 
are several of the ancient gateways that have given 
way before the press of. modern traffic, and a few 
fagades of carved and timbered houses rest like empty 
masks against the wall, looking forlorn enough, yet 
better here than lost. One of the best of these emp^ 
shells was taken in 1842 from No. 29 Rue Damiette. 
Dating about 1 500, its overhanging storeys are carved 
with statues of St. John and of St. Romain with his 
Gargouille. It probably belonged to the Professional 
(Pellottier or Racquettier) of the Tennis Court near 
it, the Jeu de Paume St. Jacques. In this same court- 


Tbe First City 

vard of the Museum ia a row of aacieot weather- 
beaten atatuet, and, best relic of them all, the exquinte 
original of the fountaui Croix de Pierre which is 
reprcBeoted by a more modera imitation oa the spot 
it once adorned.^ 

The ianer quadrangle, 
which you reach thrangh 
the roomsof the Museum, 
is the best thing it has 
to show. Remote from 
the dust and bustle of 
the highway the little 
cloistered square is gay 
with flowers upon the 
turf, and statues from 
various churches are set 
here and there, like 

Snsioners in Chelsea 
ospital, after their 
active service in re- 
ligious wars has left 
them mutilated and use- 
less, but not without 
hwour in the dayv of 
their old age. From 
the walls and windows 
sculptured saint* and •''x^■^^-^ 
angels look down with """ '>"<!™"j 
an air of gentle ap- ^iT^is 

probation on tbe scene, 
and in the very middle a litde bishop r: 

■ Butlc In I J15, iu nunc ii mltleidlng, for It was nude by 
Cardlnil d'Amboiie not to hold > crm9 but to cany a fbontalu 
irtiich happened to be placed near the itone crou erected by 
ArthbUhop Gauthler to commemoration of the profitable 
eschangea made when Richard Coeur de Lion bulll hii 
Chlteao Galllanl In 1197 on land belonging to the Cathedral. 
When the CrOM dlnppeared the Fonnt^n took lt> name. 

ts his hand ii 

The Story of Rouen 

beoediction over pious strangers from the centre of 
a rosebed. 

But it is in the galleries within that we must seek 
for those records of primitive habitation that we hate 
come to see. Hatchets of silex or of bronze, nide 
clay vases that were found nine yards beneath the soil, 
bear witness to the remotest ages of humanity in 
Rouen. The town grew very slowly, for its name 
was unknown in any form to Csesar, and it is not 
till the second century that Ptolemy mentions Roto- 
magos as the capital of the tribe of Velocasses who 
have left their name to the Vexin. The unhealthy 
marshes in the valley between the hills and the 
river were not likely to be tenanted by the first 
Roman conquerors who fixed their centre at Julia 
Bona, and their amphitheatre may still be seen, near 
the ruins of a Norman castle, in the midst of the 
manufactories of Lillebonne. But as the importance 
of Lutetia grew upon the upper waters of the Sein^ 
the value of this elbow of the stream grew greater 
every year; and by the days of Diocletian, Roto- 
magus had become the sea-gate of the capital, and 
the chief town of the province. Already Strabo 
speaks of its commerce with the English ports, and 
it appears as the natural point of exchange between 
soudiem civilisation and the barbarism of the north, 
the gate through which goods came from Italy, 
travelling by Rhone, by Saone, or Seine, to England. 

Its first fortifications found a natural southern base 
upon the river's bend ; to east, to west, and north it wa& 
protected by hills and by the marshes, and unhealthy as it 
was, the Roman colonists were compelled, when danger 
came, to leave the Julia Bona they preferred in peace, 
and fty for safety to the fine strategical position Nature 
had marked out at Rouen. Here, too, was the home 
of the Provincial Governor, and of his military captain ; 
and of the walls they built the eye of faith can still see 

ne First City 

traces at the Fonts de Robec, at the Abbaye de St 
Amamdy near the Hotel de France, close to the Priory 
St. Lo, and in the Place Verdrel in front of the Palais 
de Justice. I have marked out the limits of this earliest 
castrum on Map C ; and in the Rouen of to-day 
you may see ai strange confirmation of the fact that 
Roman Rotomagus was a far more watery place than 
may be realised at first. For if you stand anywhere 
about the level of the Cathedral foundations and look 
in the direction of the river, you will notice that all 
the streets slope upwards. Go nearer still, and at the 
angle where the Rue^ du Bac meets the Rue des 
Tapissiers, the upward slope becomes even more pro- 
nounced, for though the river is not so far away, there 
is even less of it to be seen. A great embankment has 
been slowly built ; and upon what was once marshland 
and islands and the tidal mud, has grown up nearly all 
that part of Rouen which lies between the Cathedral 
and the river. 

This gradual consolidation of the land which was 
reclaimed slowly from the Seine must have gone on 
from the time when the Roman walls stopped at the 
Rue aux Ours on one side, and at the Rue Saint 
Denis on the other. Their northern boundary was 
very slightly farther than the Rue aux Fosses Louis 
VIII. The Rue Jeanne d'Arc runs just outside them 
to the west, and the stream of Robec forms their natu- 
ral boundary to the east, flowing into the Mala Palus 
that has left its name in the Rue Malpalu which leads 
from the west front of St. Maclou towards the Seine. 
Robec himself is well-nigh hidden now, though once 
his southern turn formed one of the defences of the 
town. Now he gropes underground his way into the 
Seine, and even when his waters can be traced, in the 
Rue Eau de Robec, their muddy waves were almost 
better hidden. 

There is a striking likeness to all this in the early 


The Story of Rouen 

days of the history of London. Apart from all legends 
of the Troy Novant, of Lud and Lear and that King 
Lucius who sanctified Cornhill, legends which have 
their counterpart in all the old histories of Rouen, 
there are almost as few relics of the fortified barrack 
on the Thames, or of the more pretentious << Augusta " 
which followed, as there are of Roman Rouen. 
The same mud flats along the river bank remained 
until, in 982, after the first great fire, Cnut made a 
canal for his boats round Southwark. Into the marsh 
fell the Fleet river, just as Robec into Mala Palus ; 
the English stream like the French one, formed the 
first natural line of defence on that side ; and both are 
now little better than built-in sewers, one flowing into 
Thames at Blackfriars Bridge, the other through its 
smaller tunnel into Seine near the Pont de Pierre 

In the Museum of the Place Sainte Marie are the few 
Roman tombs that have survived all other relics of their 
occupants, and some of the money that they brought 
here, coins of Posthumus, of Tetricus, of Gordian, of 
Commodus. It is said, too, that when the foundations 
of vanished St. Herbland were being dug, some rusty 
iron rings for mooring boats and mouldering ship timbers 
were discovered, which were supposed to have been 
traces of the Roman quay. But the word "Port 
Morant" is probably not derived from Portus Morandiy 
but from Postis, and refers to the far more modern 
" avant soliers ** or jutting balconies, which were sup- 
ported on stout beams, and ran round the Parvis when 
Jacques Lelieur was making his sketches of the town in 
1525. With such mere conjectures we must leave all 
that the Roman occupation has to tell. Their story 
was a short one ; for the town was outside that circle 
where Roman influence was chiefly felt ; and it ended 
with the Prankish invasions from beneath the Drachen- 
fels. From being the head of a Roman province, Rouen 

7be First City 

became one of the fourteen cities of the Armorican Con- 
federation, through the influence of the churchmen who 
now begin to appear in the dim records of the city- 
chronicles as the defenders of these earliest citizens. 

The Romans laid foundations here, as they did in so 
many places in Europe, and then passed away. But 
before they disappeared there had been time for the first 
missionaries of the Christian faith to sow the seeds that 
were to grow into the Church. The legions left the 
city, but the faith of Rome stayed on. As early as the 
second century (and some say earlier still) came St. 
Nicaise. After him arrived St. Mellon of Cardiff, 
who is said to have converted the chief Pagan temple 
into a Christian church. St. Sever was the third 
<< Bishop." In 400, St. Victrice had laid the founda- 
tions of the first church on the site of the Cathedral, 
and tradition puts the beginning of what became St. 
Ouen as one year earlier. Strangely enough there 
remains a record of the ecclesiastical architecture of 
these early days that is of the highest interest, for it 
is the oldest building of its kind to be found north of 
the Alps. 

To reach it you must pass out of the town to the 
north-west, going by the Kue Cauchoise where it starts 
from the Place du Vieux March6 towards the hill of 
St. Gervais. All Roman burials took place outside 
their walls, and the tombs generally lined the great 
roads that \e6, out of the towns. There is no doubt 
that many such monuments stood on either hand of the 
road that you must follow now, beyond the Place Cau- 
choise and into the Rue Saint Grervais. Go straight 
on up the hill and at the turn into the Rue Chasseli^vre^ 
upon the left, you will see an uncompromisingly new 
Norman church standing alone upon some high ground. 
This is a modem building on the site of the old Priory 
of St. Gervais, to which William the Conqueror was 
carried in his last illness, when he could no longer bear 

B 17 

The Story of Rouen 

the noise and traffic of the town. At the west end, on 
the outside wall of this third and newest church, is 
placed a tablet that records his death. Of the second 
church you can trace the apse, with its RomaQesqiiie 
pillars and carved capitals of birds and leaves, beneath 
the choir at the east end of the third one. 

Look lower still. Beneath the second choir is a 
still older window that barely rises high enough above 
the soil to catch the light at all. That is the wiadow 
of the oldest crypt in France. Down thirty steps 
from the inner pavement of the new church you cai 
descend with lighted candles to see the first building 
in which the Church of Rouen met. The only 
accurate drawing that has ever been published of it 
was made for these chapters, and it is worth while 
taxing your patience with rather more detail than 
usual in describing a subterranean chamber that has 
no parallel save in the Catacombs of Rome. It was 
no doubt after his visit to the Holy City in 404 that 
St. Victrice built this shrine for the saie-keefHng of 
the first relics of his church in a pagan land. The 
friend of St. Martin of Tours, and of St. Ambrose 
at Milan, St. Victrice had probably obtained from 
them the sacred fragments which were to be so care- 
fidly preserved for the strengthening of the faith among 
the infidels. But the little community of Christians* 
at Rouen had its own relics that needed safe disposal 
too. For in this crypt on the left hand as you enter 
is the tomb of St. Mellon who died in 31 1, to whom 
a church is dedicated that still exists in Monmouth- 
shire, and on the right lies St. Avitien who died in 
325. The saint to whose name and memory the 
crypt was dedicated lies buned beneath the high altv 
of the Church of St. Ambrose at Milan. The body 
of St. Victrice, its builder, after lying in this sane 
vault for nearly four centuries after his death, was 
transferred elsewhere. 

7 be First City 

The cold ' and gloomy little [lit ia eleven im tree 
forty lODg, by five metres forty broad, and five metre! 
thirty high, and m the rece»Bed arches above the 
ttmibs roay atiU be traced the thm red bncki of the 
Roman builder* and their strong cemeM between In 
the circular apse opposite the tiny aquare-beaded eo- 
traoce is the high window, set m the east, that we 
saw from the outside, and in the wall on each side 
are two square re- 
cesses m which the 
sacred vessels were 
locked up The 
altar on its raued 
platform stands upon 
two rude upnght 
stones, and is marked 
with five small 
crosses tncised npon 
Its upper suT&ce 
Behind it, on the 
rounded wall, are 
faint traces of carv- 
ing and of fresco 
All round the walls, 
except at the altar 
and the entrance, 
runs a law stone 
■eat after the true 
type of the Christian Catacomb A flat projecting 
nb of stone divides the barrel roof of the nave from 
the circular vault of the apse which slopes up- 
wards to the rounded summit of the tiny window 
A &w skulls he m a shadowed hollow near the 
altar, but the State has fortunately put a atop to 
any further grubbmg m the floor for corpses that 
should never have been disturbed 

Tlwre u aa absolute and elenwMal ain^hcity m 

The Story of^ Rouen 

this tiny crypt, with its stone bench and tombs of 
stone, that appeals far more strongly to the imagination 
than any bespangled ecclesiasticism above it. This 
is the true service of God and of His poor. The 
cold austerity of a faith that stood in no need of 
external attractiveness lays hold upon the senses at 
the reticent syllables of that first gospel, spelt oat 
from its original sentences, must have gripped the 
Jiearts of those who heard it first. The Latin phrases 
of a long drawn litany, set to complicated tunes, rolled 
overhead with an emptiness of barren sound, among 
the clouds of incense and the glitter of the painted walk 
and all the service of " the clergyman for his rich.*' i 

More beautiful places of worship we shall see in 
many parts of Rouen. But in all France there is 
nothing more sincere than the small crypt of St 

So the only remnant that is left of " Roman " Rouen 
is not Roman at all, but a type of that strong, naiVe, 
and sincere Christianity which invigorated the Gothk 
captains who overthrew Rome. It is but fitting that 
there should be so litde left. For the Romans weie 
not so much a nation as an empire. They were not so 
much a people, as the embodiment of a power. When 
their work of spreading law and order, of diffusing Greek 
imagination through the channels of their strength wai 
over, they split asunder at the vigorous touch of the 
truth that came against them. They left no personal 
traces in a town so far removed as Rouen fi'om the 
centres of their civilisation. 

It was the same in London, which was still farther 
off. For if you believe that any *< Roman " wall was 
built round Augusta before 400 a.d., there is little left 
of it to point to now, save at that south-eastern comer 
on which the Norman Conqueror built his tower, at the 
New Post Office buildings in St. Martin's le Grand, 
and in the churchyard of St. Giles's, Cripplegate. In 

The First City 

the British Museum and at Guildhal] are some scanty 
relics of domestic life, some fragments of mosaic, shreds 
of pavement, and the like. 

At Rouen it is the same. The legions left the 
stamped impression of their armoured feet, impersonal 
and strong, a hallmark as it were, to guarantee the local 
strength and value of the first Rothomagus. But it was 
the Christian worshippers who left the only building that 
remains of those first centuries, to testify to what some 
men and women in that early time could really feel and 
think and do. 

It is by another priest that the story of the town is 
carried on from ** Roman " times to the next period of 
transition. St. Godard appropriately enough, a Frank 
by descent himself and bom of a Roman mother, is the 
link between this shadowy twilight of early church 
history and the stronger colouring of the Prankish story 
that is to come. In 488 he was elected as the four- 
teenth bishop of Rouen by the unanimous vote of clergy 
and people together, and eight years afterwards he re- 
presented the diocese when Hlodowig or Clovis was 
baptised at Rheims, from which we may gather that 
the Prankish power had definitely embraced his town 
within its grasp some time before. He died about 525 
and his body, which was first buried in the crypt of the 
church which bears his name, was afterwards removed 
to Soissons. It was at that same Soissons that the 
Romans were driven out of " Prance," and Hlodowig 
with his Pranks took possession of the country to the 
Loire, and then pushed on the boundaries of their 
kingdom to the Pic du Midi. The profession of 
Chnstianity by Hlodowig was not a mere matter of 
policy. It was another expression of that Prankish 
quality of sincerity and truth, which has been already 
noticed, in the Gaul that was shaking off the bonds of 
Rome. It was perhaps the chief quality of that band 
of nations north of Tiber which stretched from English 


The Story of Romoi 

hUb, acran fimettone {Jite&uz of Nordiem Fnncet 
trough GemuB foreUa, to the vales of the Carpad^ 
ans. Theae were the fint wave 
of the "barbarian" iiiTaaion aftcf 
Rome bad £illeD. Bduod tbem, 
furriwr to the north and eai^ 
drifted a piratica] band of rosB* 
ing warriors, who for the next fin 
centuries preas and harry the 
boundaries of the Idngdoma, Vni- 

foths and Ostrogoths, SaxoM, 
)anet, and Scandinaviaas, of 
whom we shall hear mora taXa. 
The Christian bi^ops were the 
shield after Rome fell, betweea 
the trembling conquered races and 
the first wave of conquering bar- 
barian invasion. The stj-ength ol 
their &idi we have teen almtdy 
in the crypt of St. Gervaia. Thu 
little altar, and the tiny shrine of 
St. Godard watched infant Rouen from beyond its 
walls. An edict in 399 had destroyed the rurd 
temples of the old Pagan faith. About 4^0 a new 
law recommended the converuon of the old temples 
within the towns into churches. So in these years 
we may suppose that the first building had risen on the 
site of the Cathedral, with St. Herbland's earliett 
church in front, and upon other eyots in the S«ne 
the shrines of St. Martin de la Roquetie, St. Clement, 
and St. EloL When Julia Bona was finally deserted, 
Rouen became the home of a count, who held, 
under Clovit, adminiatrative, judicial and military 
power. By the next century the town must have 
grown to a connderable size and impoitance. Yet 
there is absolutely nothing of Merovingian Rouen 
kft except the few poor ornaments in the glau caaea of 

The First City 

the Mu86e des Andauit^. Here you will see some 
of the characteristically shaped bronze axe-heads of the 
period ; but by far the larger part of what is left is 
woman's gear* Beside the axes there are a few lance 
and arrow-heads; but the finger rings (still on the 
bones that wore them) are mimeroos ; there are neck- 
laces too, and bracelets ; nails and buttons, styles for 
writing, pins, needles, combs, and pottery. By such 
pitiful trifles that have survived the pride and strength 
of all their owners, you may be fidy introduced to the 
next chapter in the pageant of historic Rouen, the tale 
of Fredegond and Brunhilda* 


Merovingian Rouen 

PTERALLY doI one stone remalna in Rouen 
to which I can point you as a witDCBS of 
the tragedy Id which the names of FredegoDd 
and Brunhilcia will always live. Yet the part 
of their tragedy which was played in Rouen 
must be told, if you are clearly to fashioit for 
yourself that web of many faded colours which 
is to be the background for the first figure* 
recognisable as flesh and blood, the northern 
I pirates. It is a story which points a« clearly to 
the downfall of Merovingian society and 
; coining of a new race, as ever any 
: of Rome's decline and &1I pointed 
o the coming of the barbarians. 
After the death of King 
. Hlothair, the last man of the 
■ Uood of the great Hlodowig, 
^ or Clovis, whose Prankish 
warriors had driven Uie Romans out of Caul, and 
who himself became the "eldest son of the Church," 
his kingdom had been divided among his four sons, of 
whom the eldest died ic possession of the lands of 
Bordeaux ; and left his treasure to be taken by the 
next brother, Gunthram, and his lands to be divided 

Merovingian Rouen 

among all three of the surviying heirs. Mutual sus- 
picion defeated its own ends, and the ridiculous prin- 
ciples on which the division was made were the 
mainspring of nearly all the quarrelling that followed. 
Sigebert, the youngest brother, reigned over Austrasia, 
which stretched eastward from the north of Gaul through 
Germany towards the Slavs and Saxons. Gunthram 
had the central land of Orleans and Burgundy. Hil- 
perik reigned north and westward of the Loire in 
Neustria. But each of the three owned towns and 
lands in various parts of France without regard to the 
broad lines of division which have just been indicated. 
Of them all Hilperik, the King of Neustria, was the 
most uxorious and effeminate. By his wife, Audowere, 
he had had three sons, Hlodowig, Theodobert and 
Merowig, who was held at the font of Rouen Cathedral 
by the Bishop Pretextatus. Among the royal waiting 
women was a young and very beautiful Frank called 
Fredegond, on whom the King had already cast a too- 
favourable eye ; and the opportunity of his absence on 
an expedition to the North was seized by the girl in a 
way which showed at once the unscrupulous and subtle 
treachery which was the keynote of her character. The 
Queen was brought to bed of her fourth child, a daugh- 
ter, while the King was still from home. By Frede- 
gond's suggestion, the infant was held at the font by 
Audowere herself and christened Hildeswinda. Hilpe- 
rik at once took advantage of the trap into which the 
innocent and unsuspecting mother had fallen. As 
soon as he returned he sent away Audowere and 
her baby to a monastery at Le Mans, on the pre- 
text that it was illegal for the godmother of his own 
daughter to be his wife. He then made Fredegond 
his queen. 

The conduct of the younger brother Sigebert was at 
once more dignified and more politically secure. At 
Metz in 566 he married Brunhilda, the younger daughter 

The Story of Roaett 

of Athanagild, King of the Goths, whose capital was at 
Toledo, a woman whose courage, beauty, aod resource, 
have remained a byword in history and song. The 
splendour and success of this alliance roused Hilperik's 
jealousy, and he lost no time in sending an embaaay to 
Spain asking the hand of Galeswintha, the elder sister 
of his brother's wife. After much negotiation, the girl 
left the palace of Toledo on her long march to the north. 
Her own presentiment of coming evil was strengthened 
by the tears of her reluctant mother, who could with 
difficulty be persuaded to leave the procession that 
escorted the princess across the Pyrenees. By way 
of Narbonne, Carcassonne, Poitiers, and Tours, 
Galeswintha moved slowly across France towards 
her husband, with all her Goths and Franks behind 
her, and a train of baggage waggons groaning beneath 
the treasures of her dowry. She made her entry into 
Rouen on a towering car, set with plates of glittering 
silver, and all the Neustrian warriors stood in a great 
circle round her with drawn swords, crying aloud the 
oath of their allegiance. Before them all, the Eling 
swore constancy and faith to her, and on the morning 
following he publicly made present to her of the five 
southern cities that were his wedding gift. 

Fredegond had disappeared. In the general pro- 
scription of immorality that had followed the embassy 
to Spain, she was swept away like the rest, and she knew 
when to yield. Like the viper in the grass she lay 
hidden, gathering up her venom for a more deadly 
blow. So harmless did she seem that she was soon 
allowed to return to her former humble post as one of 
the waiting women of the palace. It was not long 
before she struck. The sensual and shallow nature of 
the King had soon wearied of his new bride, whose 
chief charm was not, it would appear, her beauty. A 
moment came when weariness became disgust. The 
sight of Fredegond recalled his former passion, and the 

Merovingian Rouen 

proud princess of the Goths soon had the mortificatioii 
of seeing the afiections of her husband transferred to her 
waiting woman. But this was not enough. A few 
days afterwards Queen Galeswintha was found strangled 
in her bed, in 568. Hilperik was not long in adding 
the dignity of queen to the position of wife which he had 
already given to the triumphant Fredegond. 

The sad young figure of this Spanish princess, 
brought up against her will from sunnier courts into 
the midst of Merovin^n brutality in the dark palaces 
of Nenstria, is one that aBPected many minds with com- 
passion for her fete. The story of the crystal lamp 
that hung above her tomb in Rouen, which fell upon 
the marble pavement, yet was neither broken nor extin- 
guished, was but a poetical expression of the universal 
pity.^ In the heart of her sister Brunhilda pity flamed 
rapidly into revenge. Sigebert was enlisted on the 
side of justice, and Gunthram quickly followed him, 
with the object of making peace between his brothers. 
The King of Neustria was condemned to forfeit certain 
cities as punishment for the murder of his queen. 

But the blood of Galeswintha still cried out for 
vengeance from the ground, and the horrible series of 
murders that filled die century began with Hilperik's 
unwarranted aggressions on the territory of his brother 
Sigebert. Long months passed in pillage, in in- 
effectual attempts at reconciliation, in perpetual re- 
prisals. At last Brunhilda rose and insisted that her 
husband should make an end with the murderer of 
her sister. So Sigebert and his army moved forward 
to a combined attack and chased Hilperik to the walls 

I Gregory of Tours, H. P., iv. 2S. ^Post cuius obitum 
Deus virtutem magnam ostendit Lichinus enim ille, qui fiine 
•ntpensus coram sepulchrum eius ardebat, nullo tangente, dis- 
rnpto fune, in pavimentum conruit, et fugientem ante earn 
duriciam pavimenti, taoquam in aliquod molie aelimentum 
discendit, atque medius est suflfusns nee omnino contritus." 



I'be Story of Rouen 

of Paris. Thither, when Fredegond and her husband 
had fled to Rouen and then to Toumai, Brunhilda 
came southwards to meet the conqueror who soon 
marched north again to be crowned at Vitry, leaving 
his wife behind to guard the capital in triumph. Now 
came Fredegond's opportunity. For when Hilperik 
was besieged by Sigebert in the city of Toumai and 
sore pressed, Fredegond saw her enemy delivered into 
her hand. ''La femme/' say the chronicles of St. 
Denis (III. 3 and 4) ^^pensa de la besogne la oil le 
sens de son seigneur faiJlait, qui selon la coutume de 
femme, moult plus est de grand engieng a mal&ire que 
n'est homme.'' By some diabolical trick of &scination 
she persuaded a pair of assassins to penetrate into 
Sigebert's camp, armed with a ^' scramasax '' she had 
herself provided. They murdered him as he sat at 
table, and were instandy cut to pieces by the courtiers.^ 
Fredegond always managed to get inconvenient 
witnesses out of the way. Hilperik at once took 
advantage of the confusion to march on Paris, and 
the horror of Brunhilda may be imagined as she 
realised that the murderer of her husband and of 
her nster was approaching the city in which the 
widow and her three orphans were defenceless. Mer 
son (afterwards the second Hildebert), was then but 
five years old, and by the help of Gundobald she was 
able to contrive his escape, lowering him in a basket 
through an opening in the city walls. 

Then began another act in this dark drama, which 
ended very differendy to the expectations of Frede- 
gond. For with his &ther had come young Merowig 
to Paris, and whether from fascinations that had some 
deep ulterior design, or whether as is more probable 

^ Gregory of Tours, iJ. 51. *<Tunc duo pueri cum cultris 
validis, quos vulgo scramasaxos vocant, infectis veneno, male- 
ficati a Predegundae Regina, cum aliam causam suggerere 
simularent, utraque ei latent feriunt." 


Merovingian Rouen 

from the natural attraction felt by the young warrior 
for a lovely princess in distress, Merowig fell hope- 
lessly in love with the fair Brunhilda, who was but 
twenty-eight and could have been very little older 
than her second husband. He saw^ however, the 
danger of prematurely confessing his passion, and 
quietly went off on a foraging expedition to Berri 
and Touraine at the bidding of his father. But, no 
doubt, he was aware before starting of Hilperik's 
intention to send Brunhilda to Rouen ; for it was not 
long before he marched northwards (after a visit to 
his mother Audowere in her prison at Le Mans),^ 
and came to Rouen himself. The meeting cannot have 
been a surprise to the daughter of the Spanish Goths, 
and whatever may have been her intentions, she proved 
80 willing to console herself that a very short time elapsed 
before she was the wife of Merowig. Strangely enough 
the Bishop of Rouen at the time was the same Pretextatus 
who had been Merowig's godfather at his baptism. 
"Proprium mihi," he says (in the history of Gregory of 
Tours) ^'esse videbatur, quod filio meo Merovecho 
erat, quem de lavacro regeneratione excepi." This 
kindly and somewhat weak prelate, whose natural 
sympathies seem invariably to have proved too strong 
for his political prudence, was prevailed upon to per- 
form the ceremony of marrying to Merowig the widow 
of his Other's murdered brother. But it was not 
merely canonical law, or even certain sentimental pre- 
cepts, that were offended by a union that was later 
on to cost its celebrant his life. The suspicions of 
Hilperik were instantly aroused. Brunhilda's young 
son had already been accepted as their King by the 
Austrasian warriors at Metz. Now Brunhilda herself 
had taken what was evidently the second step in a 

^ But ** Ipse veroi timuUuu ad matrem suam ire velle/' says 
Gregory (H. F. V. s), <* Rothomago petiit et ibi Bninecbildae 
reginae conjungitur. ..." 


The Story of Reuen 

deep-laid plot to reassert her own superiority and 
ruin Neustria. It can have scarcely needed the 
hatred of Fredegond, both for her natural rival and 
for the son of Audowere, to urge Hilperik to speedy 
action. He hastened to Rouen with such swiiFtiiess 
that the newly-married pair were entirely taken by 
surprise in the first few months of their new hap|»» 
ness. They fled for sanctuary to the little wooden 
church of St. Martin, whose timbers rested on the 
very ramparts of the town. No entreaties nor cajol- 
eries at first availed to make them leave their refuge. 
At last, they agreed to come out if the King would 
swear not to separate them. His oath was a crafty 
one as it is given by Gregory of Tours : ** Si, inqutt, 
voluntas Dei fuerit, ipse has separare non conaretur," 
and, of course, the " will of God *' happened to be 
the wish of Hilperik, and they were safely separated 
as soon as possible. For after two or three days of 
feasting and apparent reconciliation he hurried off with 
the unwilling bridegroom in his train, and left Brunhilda 
under a strict guard at Rouen. 

The very first incident that followed this unhappy 
marriage was the siege of Soissons by the men of 
Neustria, and in this coincidence the King saw further 
confirmation of the plots of Brunhilda in which she 
had so nearly secured the assistance of Merowig against 
Fredegond and his father. He at once ordered his 
miserable son, whose intellect was incapable of am- 
bitious schemes, and whose only fault had been an 
unconsidered passion, to be stripped of his arms, and 
to have the long hair cut from his head that was a 
mark of royal blood. The later adventures of the 
wretched Merowig, an exile and an oudaw, hunted 
through his father's kingdom, are too intricate to 
follow. After a long imprisonment in the sanctuary 
of Tours Cathedral, he escaped only to be murdered 
by the emissaries of the implacable Fredegond in a 


Merovingian Rouen 

farmhouse north of Arras. Meanwhile his wife, Brun- 
hilda, had long ago been set free to go from Rouen to 
Austrasia. She was safer across the border, while the 
follies of another Merowig might make her dangerous. 
Her flight, at this unexpected opportunity of freedom, 
was so rapid that she le^ the greater part of her baggage 
and treasure with the Bishop of Rouen, who was once 
more unwise enough to compromise himself in order to 
be of service to his godchild's wife. For Pretextatus 
not only supplied Merowig with money in his various 
efforts to escape, but was so careless in his demands 
upon the friendship of the surrounding nobles, and in 
scattering bribes to gain them over, that his treasonable 
practices soon came to the ears of Hilperik. That 
avaricious and perpetually needy ruler was not long in 
securing the remainder of the treasure of which tidings 
had so opportunely reached him, and he then immedi- 
ately summoned Pretextatus to answer before a solemn 
ecclesiastical council in Paris, as to his relations with 
Brunhikla, and his disposition of the money she had left 
with him. The celebrated trial that followed, of which 
Gregory of Tours was at once the historian and the 
noblest figure, was ended by the brutal interference of 
Fredegond, who could not be patient with the law's 
delays, and forced the Bishop of Rouen to fly for 
refuge to the island of Jersey where he lived in exile 
for some years, until the time arrived for Fredegond's 
full vengeance to be consummated. 

That time was marked, as was every crisis in the 
blood-stained career of Fredegond, by a murder. The 
weak and effeminate King himself fell a victim, and was 
slain (in 584) by unknown assassins as he was out 
hunting. In the confusion and lawlessness that ensued, 
Pretextatus returned firom exile to Rouen, and Frede- 
gond, who had placed herself under the protection of 
Gunthram, was sent to Rueil, a town in the domain of 
Rouen, near the meeting of the Eure and Seine. Leav- 


The Story of Rouen 

ing for awhile in peace the old ecclesiastic who had had 
the insolence to come back to the dignities from which 
she had driven him, Fredegond turned at once to plot 
the destruction of her lifelong enemy, Brunhilda, who 
was now in a position of far greater security and hoDOur 
than herself. But her emissary was obliged to retorn 
unsuccessful, and had his feet and hands cut off for his 
pains. A second attempt upon both mother and aon 
feiled equally, and then Fredegond, balked of her 
higher prey, took the victim that was nearest, and 
went out from Rueil to Rouen. It was not long 
before the quarrel that she sought was occasioned by 
the bishop, who seems to have added to his usoal 
unwisdom a courage bom of the hardships of seven 
years of exile. Answering a taunt flung at him by the 
deposed queen, he bitterly drew the contrast between 
their present positions, and their former relation to each 
other, and bade Fredegond look to the salvation of her 
soul and the education of her son, and leave the wicked- 
ness that had stained so many years of her life with 

She left him on the instant and without a word, 
"felle fervens," says Gregory; and indeed it was not 
long before her vengeance broke out in the usual way. 
As the bishop knelt in prayer soon afterwards before 
the altar of the Cathedral, her assassin drove his knife 
beneath his armpit, and Pretextatus was carried bleeding 
mortally to his chamber. Thither came the queen to 
gloat over her latest victim, begging him to say whose 
hand it was had done the deed, that so due punishment 
might be at once exacted. But he knew well who was 
the real murderess. **Quis haec fecit," replied the 
dying prelate, ^^nisi qui reges interemit, qui sepius 
sanguinem innocentium effudit, qui di versa in hoc regno 
mala commisit I " 

_ * 

The whole town was cast into distress and bitter 
mourning by this pitiless assassination, and Fredegond 


Merovingian Rouen 

had accomplished her will with so much cunning that 
the crime could with the greatest difficulty be legally 
traced to its true origin. For she had taken adrantage 
of the ecclesiastical jealousy which unfortunately existed 
side by side with the popular reverence and love. Melan* 
tins, who had for seven years enjoyed the privileges 
of office and dispensed his favours in the bishopric, had 
seen himself deposed with very mingled feelings by the 
exile from Jersey. His own nominees were doubtless 
not unwilling to emphasise his grievance, and Frede- 
gond found in his disappointed ambition a soil only too 
ready to receive the poisonous seed she was so anxious 
to implant. Among the inferior clergy was an arch- 
deacon whose hatred of Pretextatus was as great, 
and more reckless in its expression. By him a slave 
was easily discovered ready to commit this or any 
other crime on the promise of freedom for himself 
and his family. A guarantee of favours to come was 
provided in some ready money paid beforeliand, and 
the blow was struck while Pretextatus prayed. Romans 
and Franks alike were horrified at the dastardly outrage. 
The former could scarcely act outside the city walls, 
but the Franks felt more secure in the ancient privileges 
of their race, and some of their nobles at once gave 
public expression to the hatred felt by every citizen 
for the instigator of the crime. Led by one of their 
own chiefs, a deputation of these Prankish nobles rode 
up to Fredegond's palace at Rueil. They delivered a 
message to the effect that justice should be done, and 
that the murderess must at last put a term to all her 
crimes. Her reply was even more rapid and fearless 
than usual. She handed the speaker a cup of honeyed 
wine, after the custom of his country ; he drank the 
poison, and fell dead upon the spot. 

A kind of panic fell upon his comrades, and extended 
even to the town of Rouen itself. Like some monstrous 
incarnation of evil, Fredegond seemed to have setded 

c 33 

The Story of Rouen 

near their city, followed by a trail of death. Her rery 
breath, it was imagined, exhaled the poisons of tfaie 
sorcery and witchcraft that accompanied and rendered 
possible her coundess assassinations. She seemed beyond 
the pale of human interference, and invested with some 
infernal omnipotence that baffled all pursuit or vengeance. 
Every church in Rouen closed its doors, for the head 
of their Church lay foully murdered, and his murdorer 
was not yet punished. Leudowald of Bayeox took 
over the sacred office in the interval of consternation 
that ensued, before another successor could be appcnnted, 
and he insisted that not another Mass should be cele- 
brated throughout the diocese until the criminal had 
been brought to justice. Night and day he had to pay 
the penalty for his boldness by being forced to keep care- 
ful guard against the hired bravos of his unscnipoloos 
enemy, who was now fairly started in a career of blood- 
shed, that she would never end until her vengeance was 
complete. At last she wore out his courage and his 
strength alike, and the inquiry gradually faded away 
before the persistent and sinister vindicdvenesa of tl4 
royal witch at Rueil. She soon was strong enough to 
put her creature Melantius back in his episcopal chair, 
and he was content to officiate upon the very stones 
that were still stained with the innocent blood of 

One more proof of the absolute mastery her intrigaei 
had given her was afforded by Fredegond's next 
action. Its heartless cynicism was but a natural con- 
sequence of so much previous guilt. For she deliber- 
ately summoned before her the slave whose assassin's 
knife she had bought, reproached him openly with 
his hideous crime, and handed him over to the dead 
bishop's relations. Under torture this miserable wretch 
confessed the full details of the murder, the names of 
his accomplices, and the guilt of Fredegond. The 
nephew of Pretextatus, apparendy aware that he would 


Merovingian Rouen 

aevet get satiiiactioD on the principal*, leiipt upon the 
prey that had bo contemptuously been flung to him, 
and cut the alave to pieces with his Bword> And 
thiB was the sole reparation that waa ever given for 
the murder of the bishop. But the people never 
forgot the Pretextatus who lived for centuries in their 
memory as a martyred sainL Hia terrible &te has 
more than atoned, in their eyes, for the impolitic events 
of his earlier life, or his unwise affection for the un- 
fortunate prince he had baptised. 

With this last crime that part of the Merovingian 
tragedy with which Rouen is connected comes to a 
close. Nor have I apace here to follow out the actors 
to the curtain's fail. In other pages their various 
fortunes and their dark calamities may be followed to 
a. conclunon. The next chapter in 
the history of the town is that of the 
Northmen, and of the founding of I 
that mighty dynasty which was to J 
spread itt rale across the Channel, I 
and to gather the towns of England I 
under the same sceptre that fwaved I 
the citizens of Rouen. But before ' 
the coming of the Northmen, there 
are a few more slight hcU chat I 
must chronicle if only to explain the 
desert and the ruins that alone were Rouen when 
the first [urate galley swept up to the quay and 
anchored close to where tlie western door of the 
Cathedral now looks out across the Parrit. 

The monk Fridegode relates that it was in 513 
that the first stones of what was afterwards to be the 
famous Abbey of St. Ouen' were laid by the first 
Hlothair. Others tay that a church founded neariy 
two centuries before was restored by the son of Hlotild 

> " In manu gothlcs," be njt, with a phnue that wm to 
pnMluce a tcij prcttj quarrel later on. 


The Story of Rouen 

the holy Queen and dedicated first to the WxAj 
Apostles, and then to St. Peter and. St. PauL Iti 
name was changed to the one it bears now in 686 
when the body of St. Ouen was moved there oe 
Ascension Day three years after his death. But 
not a trace of the original church remains, and moK 
probably it was built almost entirely of wood, like 
that shrine of St. Martin in which Brunhilda and her 
young husband fled for sanctuary in about the year 
J 80. In this same century we first hear too of that 
legendary Kingdom of Yvetot, whose lord was fireed 
from all service to the Royal House of France bj 
the penitence of King Hlothair. Its history is chieflj 
confined to the airy fantasies of poets, and is com- 
pletely justified of its existence by Beranger's verses : 

" II ^tait un roi d'Yvetdt 

Peu connu dans lliistoire 
Se levant tard se couchant t6t 

Dormant fort bien sans gloire 
£t couronne par Jeanneton 

D'un simple bonnet de coton,*' 

which may very well serve as the epitome and epitaph 
of a lazy independence that needed no more seriou 

Early in the next century occurs the name of a saint 
who was destined to be famous in the story of the town 

^ This jovial monarch is mentioned in a l^gal decree ot 
1392. He retires into obscurity during the English Occupa- 
tion, and is restored, curiously enough, by the sombre Louis XL 
in 146 1, and freed from ail taxes and subsidies. At the entrj 
of Charles VIII. in 1485 (see Chap. X.) he makes a very ap- 
propriate appearance. In 1543 Franpis Premier mentloiii 
a «Reine d'Yvet6t/' In 1610 Martin du Bellay, Siear de 
Langey and Lieutenant General of Normandy, was hailed as 
** Mon petit roi d'Yvet6t " by Henri Quatre at the coronatioo 
of Marie de Medicis. In 1783 the last << documentary " 
evidence occurs in the inscription on two boundary -stones : 
«« Franchise de la Prlncipaut^ d'Yvet6t" 



Merovingian Rouen 

from its earliest days of civic liie until the duos of the 
Revolution, in wluch the old order fell to pieces and 
carried ao many picturesque and harmless ceremonies 
into the limbo where it swept away the ancient abuses 
of despotic monarchy. For with the name of St. 
Romain, who enlargM St. Mellon's primitive " cathe- 
dral " even more 
than St. Victrice 
had done, is con- 
nected one of the 
most extraordinary 
privileges that any 
ecclesiastical body 
ever possessed. The 
Chapter of the 
Cathedral of Rouen 
every Ascension Day 
were allowed by the 
*' Privilege de Saint 
Romain " to release 
a prisoner con- 
demned to death, 
who was then made 
to carry the holy 
relics of the saint 
upon hit shoulders 
in a great pro- — . - 

cession. The list "^"^'.VJI^'^" "^",^ 
of the prisoners who ^mi 
bore the " Fiertc 

Saint Romain"^ extends (ram mo to 1790, the 
chapel where the ceremony was performed still stands 
in the Place de la Haute Vieille Tour, and the manu- 
scripts in which the released prisoners' names with their 
accomplices and crimes are recorded, furnish some of the 
' Evidently "fcretmm," if. "La fiertre de Silnt Thonai,'' 
Frgjinn, xil. 9. 


The Story of Rouen 

most interesting and practically unknown details of the 
intimate life of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. 
I shall have occasion to refer to them so fully later 
on that I must for the present confine myself merdy 
to abolishing a myth, and laying some slight foundation 
for the facts that are to follow — ^facts so astonishing 
and so authentic that they need no aid firom legend 
or romance. 

Yet the miracle that is related to-day about St. 
Romain is so persistent and so widely spread, that 
it must be told, if only to explain the many allusioDS 
contained in picture, in carving, and in song,^ throughoot 
the tale of Rouen, and in the very stones and windows 
of her most sacred buildings. The story is but another 
variant of our own St. George, of St. Martha and the 
Tarasque in Provence, of many others in almost ewer^ 
country. It is but one more personification of that 
struggle of Good against Evil, Light against Darkness, 
Truth against Error, Civilisation against Barbarism, 
which is as old as the book of Genesis and as the 
history of the world. It has been represented by 
Apollo and the python, by Anubis and the serpen^ 
by the Grand'gueule of Poitiers, by the dragons of 
Louvain and of St. Marcel. The general truth was 
appropriated by each particular locality until every 
church and town had its peculiar monster slain by 
its especial saint. Thus at Bordeaux there was St. 
Martial, thus Metz had St. Clement, Asti and Venice 
had their guardian saints, Bayeux had St. Vigor, Rouen 
had St. Romain. The emblem of eternal strife had 
become a universal allegory acceptable in every place 
and in all centuries, and so commonly believed, that 
until some poignant necessity arose for its assertion, 

^ He is carved on a facade in the Mus^ des Antiquit^s, for 
instance, and painted in a window of the Church of St. Godard, 
to take only two examples of his constant occurrence in the 
civil and religious life of the people. 


Merovingian Rouen 

it was never — as we shall see — mentioDed even by 
those historians of the life of St. Romain^ who might 
more especially be expected to know the details of liis 

For St. Romain, so the fable niDS^ delivered Rouen 
from an immense and voracious monster^ called the 
^^ Gargouilley'' who dwelt in the morasses and reed- 
beds of the river^ and devoured the inhabitants of the 
town.^ The wily saint employed a condemned crimi- 
nal as a bait, lured the dragon from its den, then made 
the sign of the cross over it, and dragged it, unresisting, 
by his holy stole into the town, <^ o5 elle fiit arse et 
bruslez.'' To commemorate this deliverance in 626, 
continues the legend, the good King Dagobert (or was 
it Hlothair ?) at the saint's request, allowed the Cathe- 
dral to release a prisoner every year upon Ascension 
Day, as the saint had released the prisoner who had 
assisted in the destruction of the ^^ Gargouille." 

All this is a very pretty example of a holy hypothesis 
constructed to explain facts that arose in a very different 
manner ; and though it is no pleasant task to undermine 
a picturesque belief, yet the chain of events which led to 
its universal acceptance are too remarkable to be left 
without a firm historical basis, or at any rate a sugges- 
tion more in accordance with the science of dates than 
that which was related by the Church throughout so 
many centuries. For there is no disputing that if the 
^< miracle ** had in actual ^ct occurred, some mention 
would have been made of it after the death of St. 
Romain in 638, or at any rate after 686, when the 
historians had the whole life of St. Ouen and his 
times to describe. Yet neither St. Ouen himself 
nor Dudo of St. Quentin in the tenth century, nor 
William of Jumi^ges, nor Orderic Vital, nor Anselm, 

^ Not only did it eat men, women, and children, say the old 
chronicles, but "oe pardonnait meme pas aux vaisseaux et 
Da?iret I " 



The Story of Rouen 

Abbot of BeCy in the eleventh, say a word about it; 
and these are all most respectable and painstaking 
authorities. In iioS, when an assembly was held by 
William the Conqueror at Lillebonne, with the express 
object of regulating privileges, not a word was said by 
the Archbishop of Rouen there present about the most 
extraordinary privilege enjoyed by his chapter. It is 
only at the beginning of the thirteenth century that the 
inevitable quarrels between the civil and ecclesiasdcal 
powers over a criminal claimed by both can first be 
traced; and it may be safely argued that while the 
rivilege was not questioned it did not exist. It is as 
ate as 1394 that the first mention of the famous 
" Gargouille " itself occurs in any reputable docu- 
ment. It was not till a twenty-second of May 1425, 
that Henry, King of France and England, did com- 
mand the Bishop of Bayeux and Raoul le Sage to 
inquire into the '< usage et coutume d'exercer le 
privilege de Saint Romain '' ; for the good reason that 
in this year the chapter desired to release, by the exer- 
cise of their privilege, one GeofFroy Cordeboeuf, who 
had slain an Englishman. In 1485, one Etienne 
Tuvache, was summoned to uphold the privilege before 
the " Lit de Justice " of Charles VIII. on the 27th 
of April ; and in i 5 1 2 we find the definite confirma- 
don of the privilege by Louis XII. ; and even yet 
there are only a few confused and vague rumours of 
the "Gargouille" and its saintly conqueror. 

There are, therefore, hr more numerous and more 
authentic traces of the privilege than of the miracle ; 
the effect is undoubted ; it remains to conjecture its 
prime cause ; and as I shall show at greater length in 
its right place, there is every reason to believe that the 
origin of the privilege was one of the great Mystery 
Plays of the Ascension, and that it was first exercised 
between 11 35 and 1145. As the custom grew into a 
privilege, and the privilege crystallised into a rights 

Merovingian Rouen 

ecclesiastical advocates were never at a loss to bring 
divine authority to their aid in their championship of 
the chapter's powers ; the <^ Gargouille/' in fact, was 
" created " after the " privilege ** had become estab- 
lished ; and for us the chief merit of the tale lies in 
the fact that it preserves the national memory of St. 
Roroain's firm stand against the old dragon of idolatry 
and paganism, whose last remnants were swept out of 
Normandy by his firm and militant Christianity.^ 

This is an age of great churchmen. While the 
Roman Empire lasted, the Church had been dependent 
and submissive to the Emperors. When the Franks 
arrived her attitude was changed, for to these barbarous 
and ungodly strangers she stood as a beneficent superior, 
and a steadfast shield over the Gallo-Roman people. 
So it was that the bishops became the protectors of 
towns, the counsellors of kings, the owners of large 
and rich tracts of land, the sole possessors of knowledge 
and of letters in an age of darkest brutality and ignor- 
ance. With the names of St. Ouen and St. Romain 
in Normandy at this time are bound up those of 
St. Philibert, St. Saens, and St« Herbland, under 
whose protection was one of the oldest parishes of 
Rouen. His church stood until quite modem years 
in the Parvis of the Cathedral at the end of the Rue de 
la Grosse Horloge. On various islands in the stream, 
for the very soil of Rouen at this time was as uncertain 
as its chronicles, were built the chapels to St. Clement 
and St. Eloi, and other saints. The boundaries of the 
Prankish settlement, described in terms of modern street- 
geograplw, were, roughly, along the Rue des Fosses 
Louis vIII. from Pont de Robec to the Poteme, 

^ He certainly pulled down the Amphitheatre, and destroyed 
the Temple of Venus, and the loss of l>oth of these was likdy 
to be well remembered for some time by the inhabitants. It is 
suggested that the Temple of Adonis fell at the bidding of the 
same bold reformer to make way for the first church of St. Paul 
beneath the heights of St Catherine. 


The Story of Rouen 

thence by the Marche Neuf, now Place Verdrel, 
along the Palais, through the Rue Massacre to the 
Rue aux Ours. From there the line passed to the 
Place de la Calende and the Eau de Robec, while the 
fourth side was marked by the waters of the Robec 

This was the Rouen which welcomed Charlemagne 
in 769, who came to celebrate Easter in the Cathedral 
he was to benefit so largely, among the canons who had 
only been organised into a regular chapter, living in one 
community, about nine years before. The great Em- 
peror not only helped the Cathedral in his lifetime, but 
left it a legacy in his will, for the town, in gratitude for 
his benefactions, had furnished twenty-eight ^* ships ** to 
help him pursue his enemies, out of the fleet which had 
already begun to exploit the rich commercial possibilities 
of Britain, and to enter into trading engagements even 
with the Byzantine emperors. With the second coming 
of Charlemagne at the dawn of the ninth century, the 
next period in the history of Rouen closes. At his 
death the semblance of an empire, into which his mighty 
personality had welded the warring anarchies of Western 
Europe, crumbled back into its constituent fragments. 
His was an empire wholly aristocratic, and wholly 
German. After Charles Martel had driven out the 
Saracens from Tours and Poitiers, it absorbed Gaul 
also in its rule, but Charlemagne was never other than 
a Teutonic ruler over Franks. He was one of the 
makers of Europe but not one of the creators of the 
Klingdom of France. It was not until his empire 
crumbled at his death that those persistent entities, 
France and Germany, made their appearance. 

But Normandy had much to go through before she 
became a part of that kingdom which she did so much 
to make. In 556 a great (ire had destroyed most of 
the city of Rouen. Thirty years later a plague had 
decimated her inhabitants. The Merovingians had 


Merovingian Rouen 

left her ruined and depopulated. Though spasmodic 
efforts at prosperity and strength appeared during the 
great Emperor's life-time, the town had not yet 
reached anything approaching to a solid basis of civic 
or commercial power. Its attempts were ruined by 
the anarchy that followed Charlemagne's decease, and 
there was uttle left for the first Danes to plunder when 
the first galleys of the Northern pirates swept up the 
Seine in 841. 


Rouen urtder her own Dukes 

Normanni, si bono rigidoque domioani regunCur, atieniilidinl 
aunt el In arduls rebus inviclE omnee eicelluat et cnnctli 
hoallbiu forCiorea supeiare contendant. Alioquln aeu vlcbdm 
dilanianC atque consumiinC. Rebelllonei enim cuplaat, 
•editionei enim appctunc, et ad omne nefai pnuoptl nut. 
RectitudlDia ergo fbrll cenaara coerceantur et fraeno dliclplinae 
per tTamitem juatitiae giadiri compellancur. 

pHE unity of Charlemagne's Empire existed in 
: alone. The agglomeration of esseatially 
« ODJy served the purpose of emphasising 
the distiDctioDs of blood and climate 
I which were to be the eternal ban 
I against unnatural union. But the resi- 
I duum of separate nations was some tune 
I !n making its appearance. Their various 
I rulers would not accept the inevitable 
I without a struggle ; and in that struggle 
the only power that gained was the 
Church. France had no sooner thrown 
off the German yoke than she profesaed 
obedience to her great eccleBlaatics. In 
Ncustria the only life and strength left after the 
Empire died was in the Church. For the land was 
but a waste of unuUed soil, sparsely inhabited by serfs, 
and divided among the overlords, and of these latter 
the richest were the abbots and the bishops, round 
whose palaces and monasteries clustered the towns for 
their defence. But their temporal power was soon 

Rouen under her own Dukes 

destined to decay. The empire of the mind they 
might regain ; their leadership of France was lost the 
instant that the Northmen's ships appeared upon the 

When the serfs of Neustria first heard the ivory 
horns of the Vikings echoing along their river's banks, 
and saw the blood-red banner of the North against the 
sky, few men realised that the invaders were to weld 
them into the strongest Duchy of the West, and finally 
to make France herself arise as an independent nation 
out of Europe. They fled, these spiritless and defence- 
less villagers, to the nearest abbey's walls, they hid 
before the altars which held the relics of their saints, 
but neither relics nor sanctuary availed to save, as the 
monks of St. Martin at Tours, of Saint Germain des 
Pres at Paris could testify. These barbarians used the 
Christian rites merely to advance their own base pur- 
poses. Ever since Harold had won a province for a 
baptism each pirate chief in turn was the more eager to 
insist upon such lucrative religion. When they could 
not make capital out of *^ conversions " they took gold 
and provisions as the price of temporary peace. By 
degrees they gave up going home in winter. The 
climate of these southern lands was tempting. In 
various parts of France along the river-mouths, just 
as they had. taken the highway of the Humber into 
the heart of Britain, they made their scattered settle- 
ments, even as far inland as Chartres. But only one was 
destined to be permanent, and this was made by Rolf, 
Rollo, or Rou, In Rouen, the kernel of the Northern 
province. In 841 Ogier the Dane had sailed up the 
^< Route des Cygnes " to burn the shrines of St. 
Wandrille and Jumi^ges, to pillage Rouen, even to 
terrify Paris. After him came Bjom Ironside and 
Ragnar Lodbrog. Twice they reached Paris, knock- 
ing at the gates to pass through towards the vineyards 
of Burgundy. In 861 they made a kind of camp 


The Story of Rouen 

upon an island between Oissel and Pont de FArche. 
At last in 876 came Rolf the Ganger, the King of the 
Sea, and made Rouen his headquarters. 

There had been but little resistance to their advance. 
The fifty-three great expeditions of Charlemagne had 
used up the fighting men and scattered the bravest of 
the nobles over widely separated tracts of conqaered 
territory. The Frenchmen had disappeared^ either io 
war or by a voluntary submission to the lords ander 
whose protection alone could they find safety. No 
wonder that the chroniclers were obliged to account 
for the barrenness and weakness of the land by ex- 
aggerating the already certain slaughter at Fontenai. • • . 

** La peri de France la flor 
£t des baronz tuit li meillor 
Ainsi trov^rent Haenz terre 
Vuide de gent, bonne a conqnerre." 

The land was left uncultivated. Forests grew thicker 
between Seine and Loire. Wolves ravaged Aquitaine 
with none to hinder them. The South was still 
infested by the Saracens. France seemed given up 
to wild beasts. Nor were the pirates unaided in 
their work of rapine. Necessarily few in number, for 
they came from far by sea, their ranks were recruited by 
every reckless freebooter in the country, who was quite 
ready to bow down to Thor and Odin, instead of to the 
shrines of his own land, which had proved so power- 
less to protect it. Fast on the heels of the first 
band of pirates came another, and another yet. Only 
by the strength of Theobald of Blois was the Loire 
closed against continual invasion, as the Seine was held 
by Rollo, who was to fix the true race of the Northmen 
for ever in the land. 

He made his settlement in Neustria in exactly the 
same way as Guthrum thirty years before had taken 
possession of East Anglia. But while it was an easy 
task for the Danes to become Englishmen, it was a far 


Rouen under her own Dukes 

harder one for the invaders of the Seine to become so 
completely Frenchmen^ as in &ct they did. In the 
case of both Guthrum and RoUo, the invaded sovereign 
had been compelled to give up part of his lands to save 
the whole. Both the archbishop at. Rouen and the 
" King " at Paris saw no other way out of their diffi- 
culties ; and Rollo was as ready as Guthrum had been 
to go through the form of baptism and the ^rce of 
a submission^ requiring as a pledge the daughter of the 
King, whose vassal or " man *' he became. The treaty 
in which Charles the Simple purchased peace was a 
close imitation of the Peace of Wedmore. These 
things became more serious to the pirate later on. 
But his way was at first made easy for him. At 
Rouen, Archbishop Franco, remembering perhaps the 
gloomy prophecies of Charlemagne, gave up his ruined 
and defenceless city without a blow.^ 

Rolf found indeed very little except the ^< crowd 
without arms'' described by Dudo of St. Quendn 
in a town where hardly a stone wall had been left 
upright and the population had been ruthlessly deci- 
mated by his predecessors. As Wace says of the 
expedition of Hastings the Dane : 

** . . . A Roem rant arest^ 
Tote destruitrent la cit^ 
Aveir troverent i plenty 
Mesonz ardent, froissent callers, 
Homes tuent, robent mostiers ** . . . 

80 that it is almost astonishing to hear that even the 
church of St. Martin de la Roquette remained standing, 

^ Chron. de St. Denis, iii. 99. — << Franco . . . renrda I'^tat 
de la cit^ et les murs qui ^talent d^chus et abattus, etc., or in 
Wace*8 verses : 

*< Li Archeveske Frankes i Jumi^ges ala 
A Rou et i sa gent par latinier parla . . . 
. .{. Done vint Rou a Roem, amont Saine naja, 
De joste Saint Morin sa navie atacha.*' 


The Story of Rouen 

if) indeed, that is meant by the phrase, ** Portae cui in- 
nexa est ecclesia Sancti Martini naves adhieaity" which 
may refer to the "Saint Morin" of Wace, or the 
^^Portus morandi" I spoke of on page i6. The towi 
was still, it must be remembered, in its primitive watery 
condition, the chapels, not only of St. Martin, but of 
St., Clement and of St. Eloi, were on islands that are 
now part of the firm soil of the river's bank. The 
waters of the Robec itself formed one of the defences 
of the ruined city Rollo took. Just beyond the line of 
the old Gallo- Roman walls, rose the first rude monas- 
tery of St Ouen ; shrines were also consecrated to St 
Godard, to St. Martin, to St. Vincent sur Rive ; but 
most of the houses were still only of timber, and it was 
not till Rollo had closed up the wandering bed of the 
river between these shifting islands that the **Terre8 
Neuves" were first formed that reached from the 
Rue Saint Denis to the Eau de Robec, through the 
Place de la Calende, down to the Rue de la Madeleine 
and the Rue aux Ours, and so to the Quai de la Bourse 
by way of the Rue des Cordeliers. What is now merely 
No. 41 Rue Nationale, was once the old church of St 
Pierre du Chaste], and the name commemorates the 
spot where Rollo built his first square tower, the first of 
the many "Tours" that were built by the lords of 
Rouen, native and foreign, princes or pirates, from the 
river to the northern angle of the outer walls. Map B 
shows Rollo's castle and the three which followed it, 
one on each side beneath, and one above. 

It was in 9 1 2 that Rollo thus marked the beginning 
of the Duchy of Normandy with the strong seal of his 
donjon-keep at Rouen, though he and his descendants 
for another century were still known only as the Pirates, 
and the Pirates' Duke. In that year he was baptised 
by the Archbishop of Rouen, and received from the 
Karoling King all the lands from " the river of Epte 
to the sea, and westwards to Brittany," with the hand 


Rouen under her own Dukes 

of the Princess Gisela. Robert, Duke of the Franks, 
came back with him to Rouen to be his godfather, and 
for seven days the " King of the Sea " wore the white 
robes of innocence, and his followers eagerly joined him 
in the fold of Christianity, with results whose world- 
wide importance were only to be seen more than a 
century later. For the present the wolves were quite 
ready to lie down with the lambs, but they kept their 
brutal dignity and coarse jests throughout all the solemn 
ceremonial. The pirate who was sent to do submission 
for the Duchy, embraced the royal foot so roughly that 
the King fell backwards off his throne, and in a roar of 
Norman laughter the Norman rule began that was to 
last for three centuries in France and spread from 
Palermo to the Tees. The fable of this rudely- 
treated monarch reflects more than the anxiety of 
Norman chroniclers to hide the least appearance of 
submission ; it suggests the fact of very actual weak- 
ness in these dying Karolings. Rollo's coming had 
decided for the French dynasty of Paris as against 
the Frankish dynasty of Laon. Both Karolings and 
Merovingians had been essentially of German stock. 
It was only late in the ninth century that Paris, the 
chief object of the Northerners' attack upon the Seine, 
arose as the national bulwark against the invader, and 
became a ducal city that was to be a royal. Its Duke, 
Robert the Strong, the forefather of Capets, of Valois, 
and of Bourbons, had a son, Eudes (or Odo), whose 
gallant repulse of the Pirates had given him a throne 
that was still held by his descendants a thousand years 
later, and he ruled in the French speech, while the 
Karolings of Laon still used the Teutonic idiom. 
When Laon was joined to Paris in 987 by the 
election of Hugh, modem France really began with 
a French king ruling at Paris, and a German emperoi 
as alien to the realm of the Capets as was his brother of 
Byzantium. But there is still much to happen before 

D 49 

The Story of Rouen 

the date of 987 can be Bafely reached, and the last in- 
e£Fectual years of Charles the Simple gave RoUo every 
opportunity to strengthen his new possessions in security. 
The young blood, the adventurous spirit, the thirst 
for conquest, that his Scandinavian followers brought 
to Rouen, was destined to work wonders on its new 
soil. For these pirates took the creed, the language 
and the manners of the French, and kept their own 
vigorous characteristics as mercenaries, plunderers, con- 
querors, crusaders. If in peace they invented nothing, 
they were quick to learn and adapt, generous to dis- 
seminate. In Rouen itself they welcomed scholars, 
poets, theologians, and artists. Their Scandinavian 
vigour mated to the vivacity of Gaul was to produce 
a conquering race in Europe. At Bayeux, where 
a Saxon emigration had setded down long before the 
days of Rollo, the type of the original Norman can stiU 
be seen. The same type comes out in every famous 
Norman of to-day, in that " figure de coq," with its 
high nose and clever brow that marks the bold nature 
tempered with the cunning, the lawyer and the soldier 
mixed. To these men Rollo gave land instead of booty. 
Of himself and his doings little accurate is known; but 
firom the results of his rule his greatness can be fairly 
judged, for he held his sceptre like a battleaxe, and 
increased the bounds of his dominion. It was within 
his capital that his rule was chiefly beneficial. Here 
and there his Norman names have survived, as in Robec 
(Redbeck) Dieppedal (Deepdale) or Caudebec (Cold- 
beck), but in the main he proved at once the high adapta- 
bility of his race. His first assembly was of necessity 
aristocratic, and without ecclesiastics, for every landowner 
was Scandinavian, and the remnant of the aborigines were 
serfs whose revolts were pitilessly crushed. Twice a 
year his barons came to his court, as feudatory judges, 
the first faint beginnings of the Echiquier de Normaqdie. 
His la\»s were made then, and made to be respected, 


Rouen under her own Dukes 

and it is even said that the cry of " Haro ! ** which 
was heard far later in the history of Rouen, originated 
in the " Ha ! Rou ! " with which the citizens then 
began their appeal to him for justice. The tale of the 
golden bracelets he hung in the branches of his hunting 
forest by the Seine, which stayed three years without 
being stolen, is an indication of the rigour of the laws 
he made. In about 930 he died, and was the first lay- 
man to be buried in the cathedral he had improved : — 

<< Ed mostier Nostre Dame, el cost^ verz mid! 
Ont li der ^ li lai li cors ensepulcri/' 

His son, William Longsword, succeeded to his Duchy, 
enlarged by the additions which Rollo had known how 
to secure during the strife between Laon and Paris that 
had been going on throughout his rule. That he had 
paid little attention to the weak King Charles is evi- 
dent from the tale that tells of the first execution 
recorded in what is now the Place du March6 Vieux. 
For Charles, with a simplicity worthy of his title, had 
apparently sent two gallants of his court to console his 
daughter Gisela for the roughness with which he heard 
her husband treated her, and these two were prompdy 
hanged. But there was more material profit to be had 
out of the quarrels of the country, and though he lost 
Eu for a time, Rollo had been able to gain from the 
war by which he was surrounded in Maine, in Bessin, 
and in Brittany ; which meant that his son came into 
possession of Caen, Cerisy, Falaise, and that Bayeux, 
which had been colonised from the North in the last 
days of the Roman Empire, and remained Teutonic 
long after Rouen had been " Parisianised," where you 
may still see all save the tongue of England, in men 
and animals, even in fields and hedges. And William 
Longsword, though he wavered towards France and 
Christianity, remained at heart even more Pagan than 
his father, sending his son to these stubborn Northmen 

The Story of Rouen 

of Bayeux where the Danish tongue was kept in all its 
purity, and calling in fresh Danish colonists to occupy 
his own province of Cotentin from St. Michael's Mount 
to Cherbourg. It was in the battle that secured his 
hold on this new territory that 300 knights of Rouen, 
under Bernard the Dane, drove out 4000 from Cdteo- 
tin under their leader Count Riolf, who had disputed 
William's suzerainty, upon the Pr^ de la Bataille that 
is now a cider market near the town. (Roman de Rou, 
V. 2239.) It was at this time, too, that Prince Aian of 
Brittany fled for refuge to England, and the crushing of 
the Breton revolt resulted in the addition of the Channd 
Islands to the Duchy of Normandy, which remained 
British after John Lackland had lost the last of his 
continental possessions, retaining their local indepen- 
dence and ancient institutions under the protection of 
England ; a far better thing for them than any enjoy- 
ment of the privileges, either of a French Department, 
or of a British county represented in Parliament like 
the ancient Norwegian Earldom of Orkney. 

Few of the occurrences of this confused period are 
so clearly prominent or have such far-reaching results 
as this ; and after young Louis d'Outremer had been 
called over from England to the throne of France, 
this vacillating and weak Duke William was murdered 
by Arnoulf of Flanders at the conference held on the 
island of Pecquigny in the Somme, as William of 
Jumi^ges relates (III. cap. xi. ei seq*)» His 
courtiers found upon his body the silver key of the 
chest that guarded the monk's cowl he had always 
desired to wear. So upon a sixteenth of December 
943 (in the year of the birth of Hugh Capet), the 
strengthless descendant of the Viking died and was 
buried in the Cathedral, and the Normans did homage 
to his young son Richard the Fearless who was 
fetched from his Saxon home at Bayeux and guarded 
by Bernard the Dane within the walls of Rouen. 


Rouen under her onvn Dukes 

The boy was desdned to a perilous and adventurous 
career, which began as soon as he had taken up his 
father's power, for the King of France came straight 
to Rouen and would have seized the little Duke had 
not the citizens arisen to protect him with such 
menaces of violence that the attempt was postponed. 
But he enticed the boy to Laon and there imprisoned 
him until the &ithful Osmond got him out concealed 
in a bundle of hay and bore him off on horseback 
to Coucy. Then Bernard the Dane called on Harold 
Blacktooth of Denmark to bring his men from 
Coutances and Bayeux and to sail up with his long 
ships from Cherbourg to avenge the murder of Duke 
William. The King hastened to the walls of Rouen 
to see what could he done by treaty with the invaders, 
but the crafty Normans pretended that among his 
escort they saw the murderer himself, so they fell 
suddenly upon the French, slew eighteen of their 
nobles, and threw their king into prison from which 
he was only rescued by Hugh, Duke of the French, 
at the price of the city of Laon. The interference 
of Germany in the quarrel produced an alliance 
between Normandy and Hugh of Paris that led 
eventually to the independence of the Duchy and 
the downfall of the Karolings of Laon as soon as 
the German help had been withdrawn. But this did 
not happen until an energetic attempt had been made 
to crush Normandy and Paris by the new allies who 
failed to take either Laon or Paris, but ravaged 
Normandy and were only repulsed from Rouen after 
a siege in 946 that is one of the most picturesque 
landmarks in the early story of the town. In the 
Roman de Rou, and in Dudo of St. Quentin, the 
details of the fighting have been carefully preserved. 

The combined host of Germans under Otto, French 
under Louis, and Flemings under Arnoul, advanced 
together upon Rouen, and their scouts reported that 


I'he Story of Rouen 

the town showed no signs of resistance. But bdiind 
the battlements^ the citizens were stacking piles of 
stones and darts. Masses of picked men were posted 
at various vantage-points for sallying forth. Spies 
were hidden in the long reeds and grass all round 
the city, and sentinels unseen were guarding all the 
wallsj from the main road at the Porte Beauvoisine^ 
round the heavy ramparts to the north and east 
Upon their south-west was the river, and there was 
plenty of provisions stored inside. The quiet reported 
to the allies was but the confident repose of thorough 
preparation, and this the Germans discovered as soon 
as they drew near the city. The young Duke 
Richard suddenly dashed out over the drawbridge 
with seven hundred full-armed Norman knights on 
horseback shouting " Dex Aie ! " behind him. 
They rode straight upon the German spears, cut their 
way through and back again taking fifteen captivei 
with them, and slaying their leader, the ** Edeling" 
himself who had followed them to the very bridge. 
Otto fainted at the sight of the dead body of the 
brave Edeling whose " Flamberg " and Castilian steed 
are often mentioned in the story though his name does 
not appear. Then the braying of aurochs' homfly 
of cornets and of trumpets, announced the coming 
vengeance of the allies. Their catapults rained missiles 
on the town, and their men-at-arms waited impatiently 
for a breach to be battered in the Porte Beauvoisine. 
But it remained steadfasdy shut, and the Duke made 
another brilliant sally from a postern gate with the 
blood-red standard waving again above his Norman 
knights, and swept back once more the assailing lines 
of Germany until the French had to bring up their 
reinforcements from the rear and save the field. 
That evening, in Otto's pavilion, the funeral service 

^"As herteiches montent et al mur quernel^.** (Wace. 
R. de R., 4057. 


Rouen under her own Dukes 

of the EdeliDg was held. All night he lay beneath 
the silk of his funeral pall with tapers burning at his 
head and feet, and the low chant of prayer sounded 
till the dawn. All night had Otto stayed awake in 
sorrow and unrest. At last, witli the rising of the 
sun he heard a burst of minstrelsy. Rouen was silent 
no longer ; the songs of triumph and defiance burst 
from every parapet and tower, while the very birds 
(says the chronicler) seemed to join in the chorus 
of happiness all round the beaten camp. Then Otto 
rode moodily along the city walls and watched the 
waggons bringing in supplies across the bridge, and 
noted that the bridge-head at Ermondeville (St. Sever 
as it is to-day), was weakly held, so he rode back 
determined to starve Rouen into submission. 

But the council of his knights refused the plan, 
so he was obliged to veil his anger by asking the 
Normans for permission to pray at the Shrine of St. 
Ouen and bury his noble kinsman beyond the walls 
of their town. Safe conduct was immediately granted, 
and all the leaders except Arnoul of Flanders passed 
in procession to the abbey. There, after gifts of 
gold and precious carpets to the abbot. Otto proposed 
that Arnoul should be given up, but returned before 
the answer, to these treacherous negotiations had been 
given. The night that followed was full of terrors 
and alarms. Suspecting that he would be betrayed, 
Arnoul took all his Flemish host as soon as dark- 
ness fell, and lumbered heavily out of the camp of 
the allies, his cumbrous waggons creaking noisily 
beneath the weight of the camp - furniture. Both 
French and Germans heard the sound and started 
to their feet imagining a night-attack from Rouen. 
Panic seized the camp at once. Men cut the cords 
of the rich tents, and scattered their spoil about the 
ground, rushing half clad in all directions and shouting 
for their arms ; a fire broke out at headquarters ; the 

The Story of Rouen 

camp-followers seized their opportunity, dashed upon 
Otto's tent and plundered it of armour and of all its 
royal ornaments; the rest fled hastily aU ways at 
once not seeing where they went, and in an unknown 

Meanwhile the rising clamour roused the ' sentinels 
of Rouen, and all the garrison made ready for 
attack, hurried to their posts, and waited steadfasdy 
under arms until the dawn. As the light shone fi-om 
the east they saw the rout and disorder of their enemies' 
camp, and loud jeers and laughter rose along the walls, 
and echo still in the rough verses of Dudo their 
historian. The Flemish had the advantage of an early 
start, and got clear away. The French had followed 
fast upon tibeir heels, but the Germans had plunged b 
unwieldy panic into the labyiinth of the woods and 
fens. The Normans spread out at once and caught 

them. At the Place de la Rougemare 
they slaughtered so many that the fields 
were dyed red with their blood. At 
Bihorel more were massacred. In 
FIGURE FROM THE Maupcrtuis, or Maromme, hundreds 
BORDER OF THE ^^^^ butchcred. Theu the peasants 

BAYEUX TAPESTRY ^ , i i i i i * ttt. t 

took up the bloody task. With 
sharpened scythes and pitchforks, with pointed staves 
and heavy truncheons and ironshod clubs, they killed 
the miserable Germans all day long, and the line of 
escape was marked along the Beauvoisine road by 
corpses almost to Amiens itself. 

This strange victory seems to have pulled the men 
of Rouen together, and given them confidence. The 
Laws of RoUo had been restored to their old strength 
by Harold Blacktooth, and at last Neustrians and 
Scandinavians seemed in a fair way to amalgamate and 
produce that nation of warriors and lawyers which they 
afterwards became. In 954 King Louis died after a 
last flicker of expiring power in retrieving Laon. But 

Rouen under her own Dukes 

though Lothair followed him as King of the French, 
Hugh Capet was ruling in 956 as Duke of Paris, and 
it was to Hugh that Duke Richard of Normandy did 
homage for his fief. Thirty-one years later the last 
Karoling was passed over, and Hugh Capet was 
crowned King at Noyon. In the starting of this new 
dynasty, which is the starting-point for the true history 
of France, Duke Richard of ^Normandy had played a 
most important part, for it was in no small measure by 
his help that Gaul liad been made French and had 
won a French Lord of Paris for her King. At the 
coronation of Hugh Capet, Normandy ceased to be the 
Land of Pirates, and became the mightiest and noblest 
fief of the French crown, its most loyal and most daring 
vassal. In the years of Duke Richard too, Normandy 
was completed internally. Her army and her fleet were 
organised. Her frontiers, her laws, her feudal system 
came to perfection. Her national character crystal- 
lised. Already in the Norman Baronage we can find 
English names like that of the Harcourts, descended 
from Bernard the Dane, on a castle- wall we can read 
the name of Bruce, in a tiny village trace the name of 
Percy. Among the elms and apple-orchards that still 
faithfully reflect our English countryside, the square 
gray keeps are rising already which were handed on by 
Norman builders to the clifiFs of Richmond or the banks 
of Thames. In 996 Duke Richard built one of these 
upon the right bank of Robec near the Seine, a new 
Palace-Prison, another " Tour de Rouen " to replace 
the fallen masonry of Rollo's ancient keep. It was 
founded where the Place de la Haute Vieille Tour 
preserves its memory still, with the Duke's private 
chapel on the spot where the Fierte St. Romain stands 
to this day. 

Robert Wace preserves a story that indicates the 
close terms on which Duke Richard was with religion, 
and also shows that the steady growth in wealth and 


The Story of Rouen 

influence of the clergy through his reign, was not 
unaccompanied by an immorality which was conspicuous 
under Archbishop Hugh II., and became flagrant 
during the office of Mauger later on. It appears that 
the Sacristan of St. Ouen fell most uncanonically in 
love with a lady who dwelt on the other side of the 
Robec. On his way to meet her one dark night, his 
foot slipped from the plank that crossed the rapid little 
stream, and he fell into tbe water. Whereon a 
sprightly devilkin seized hurriedly upon his soul and 
was on the point of bearing it away to Hell, when an 
angel (mindful doubtless of the abbey's piety) arrived, 
objecting with a nicely argued piece of logic that the 
sacristan had not been carried off " en male veie," but 
before any sin had been committed. So the contending 
parties brought the case (that is the body) before the 
Duke for judgment.^ His Grace insisted that the 
soul should be put back into its mortal envelope, and 
he would then decide according to the action of the 
sacristan. The ardour of the resuscitated monk 
seems to have been sufficiently cooled by his involuntary 
bath in Robec, and he hurried back to his lonely bed 
in the Abbey of St. Ouen, and at the Duke's com- 
mand confessed his wickedness to the abbot. But his 
escapade remains enshrined in a proverb that lasted well 
into the sixteenth century, and is given by Wace in its 
original form : 

" Sire Moine, suef alez 
Al passer planche vus gardez." 

In 996, the Fearless Duke himself gave up the 

^ Students of that invaluable vision of antiquity " Les Contes 
Drolatiques '* will remember that it was also before Duke 
Richard that Try ballot, the lusty old ruffian known as " Vieuhc 
Par-chemins," was brought up for judgment, and that the 
statue commemorating His Grace's sympathetic verdict re- 
mained in Rouen till the modesty of the English invaders 
removed it. 


Rouen under her oivn Dukes 

ghost, after having enlarged the Cathedral of Rouen, 
and given it new pavement.^ His son, another 
Richard, like hira in name alone, succeeded, and in 
the first year of the new reign, we hear of a peasant 
revolt that shows an extraordinary foreshadowing of 
the changes that were to come after the fateful 
thousandth year had passed. The keynote of the 
movement is struck in the strange word used by Wace, 
that occurs now for the first time in history : 

<' Asez tost oi Richard dire 
Ke vilains cumune faseient'' 

These downtrodden serfs, of mixed Celtic, Roman, 
and Prankish parentage, had actually spoken that word 
of fear to every feudal baron, a " commune." They 
established a regular representative Parliament with two 
peasants sent from each district to a general assembly 
whose decision should be binding on the whole. This 
was a considerably higher political organisation than 
the aristocratic household of their masters round the 
King. And bitterly their masters resented such 
forward and unscrupulous behaviour. The Duke's 
uncle, Rudolf, Count of Ivry, crushed the " revolt " 
with hideous cruelty, and sent back the people's 
representatives maimed and useless to their hovels. 
" Legatos cepit," says William of Jumi^ges, " trun- 
catisque manibus et pedibus inutiles suis remisit," adding 
with unconscious ferocity <'his rustici expertis ad sua 
aratra sunt reversi." But the germs of freedom did 
not die, for villenage in Normandy was lighter, and 

* L'iglise de PArceveskie 
De mensam plus riche fie 
Fist abatre e fere graineur 
A la Mere Nostre Seignur 
Plus lunge la fist e plus l^e 
Plus haute h miex empavent^ 

R. deR., 5851. 


'The Story of Rouen 

ceased far sooner, than in the rest of France. These 
first martyrs did not suffer in vain. 

If you look closely at the few carvings remaining on 
the churches of the tenth and eleventh centuries, you 
will understand the terror under which all men were 
crushed as the thousandth year drew nearer, which 
was believed to be the end of the world. Grimacing 
dumbly in their stiffened attitudes of fear, these thin 
anatomies implore with clenched uplifted hands, the 
death that shall save them from the misery of their 
life. A world so filled with ruins might well give up 
all hope on this side of the tomb. The revolt of the 
Norman peasants had been crushed in blood. The 
first religious persecutions had begun, in the slaying of 
the Manichean heretics at Orleans. The seasons in 
their courses seemed to fight against humanity, for 
famine and pestilence, storm and tempest swept down 
upon the land and the people died in thousands of sheer 
starvation. The Roman Empire had crumbled in the 
dust ; after it fell that of Charlemagne into the abyss. 
The chronicles of Raoul Glaber are full of the most 
gruesome details of cannibalism, of diabolical appear* 
ance{^, of tortures that cannot be named. The only 
refuge seemed to be within the walls of the churches, 
where the shivering congregations gathered, mute in a 
palsied supplication like the stone figures carved upon 
the walls above them. At last the terrible year 
passed by, and the stars fell not, nor did the heaven 
depart as a scroll when it is rolled together, and the 
kings of the earth and the great men and the rich men 
and the chief captains and the mighty men and every 
bondman and every freeman came forth from their 
houses and from their dens and from the rocks of the 
mountain, and went with one accord to give thanks to 
Holy Church for their deliverance. The wave of 
religious feeling swept from one end of Europe to the 
other, and nowhere was it so strong as in Normandy. 

Rouen under her own Dukes 

For the Normans saw their advantage in it, just as the 
first pirates had seen their gain in baptism. The laws 
of RoUo and his descendants were too strict for 
brigandage at home, so the more restless spirits started 
over Europe in the guise of pilgrims, << gaaignant," 
as Wace says, towards Monte Cassino, to St. James 
of Compostella, to the Holy Sepulchre itself. It was 
as pilgnms that they travelled into Southern Italy, 
where a poor Norman knight had been rewarded for 
his fighting against the infidels by the County of 
Aversa. Tancred of Hauteville, from the Cotentin, 
followed there. By 1002 the citizens of Rouen were 
already admiring the oranges, or "Pommes d'Or" 
which their adventurous <' Crusaders " had sent back 
from Salerno, as the firstfruits of that Kingdom of 
Calabria and Sicily which a Norman, Robert Guiscard, 
was to make his own. 

Meanwhile within the bounds of Normandy itself, the 
great religious revival went on side by side with growing 
civic and military strength. In 1004, Olaf, King of 
Norway, who had come over to help the second Duke 
Richard, was baptised in the Cathedral of Rouen. 
Sweyn, King 01 Denmark, and Lacman, King of 
Sweden, were in the city at the same time, and doubtless 
felt the same impulse to profession of the Christian faith 
when visiting their Scandinavian relatives. Rouen was 
indeed a gathering place for all the northern royalties, 
for Ethelred II. who had lost the Anglo-Saxon throne, 
was there as well, with his wife Enmia the daughter 
of the Duke. It seems in fact to have already become 
the fashion for princes of the royal house of Britain to 
complete their education by a little tour in France. A 
curious trait of the manners of the time is recorded by 
Wace, who describes one of the many banquets that 
must have been given so often during all these royal 
visits. He speaks of the long sleeves and white shirts 
of the barons, and relates the first instance of aristo- 


The Story of Rouen 

cratic kleptomania at a dinner-table, when a knight 
took a silver spoon and hid it in his sleeve (R. de R. 
7030). The reign of this second Richard and of hit 
son the third passed without much incident, and then 
came the sixth Duke, Robert the Magnificent as his 
courtiers called him, Robert the Devil as his people 
knew him. He is chiefly famous as the father of hit 
mighty son, and he did little in his capital of Rouen 
that is of interest beyond its walls, save the attempt to 
restore the Saxon princes Alfred and Edward to their 
father's throne, which failed because his fleet was 
stopped by persistent headwinds and could do nothing 
more than thoroughly subjugate the neighbouring fief 
of Brittany. After this, the Duke fell in, like all 
around, with the dominant religious passion, took up 
the pilgrim's cross, and died with his Crusaders at 

" A Faleize ont li Dus hant^,* 

says Wace, 

« Une meschine i ont am^e, 
Arlot ont nom, de burgeis n^.** 

And from this love-match with a tanner's daughter sprang 
William the Bastard in 1028. Though his father had 
insisted upon this child's inheritance on his departure 
for the East, the election of a boy of seven to the 
Ducal throne was naturall)!^ bitterly opposed by such- 
great baronial houses as those of Belesme and others. 
A period of anarchy and assassination was the obvious 
result. But Alan of Brittany, the Seneschal Osbern, 
and Count Gilbert stood staunchly by the heir. All 
three were murdered, and young William himself with 
difficulty escaped. Then Ralph of Wacey and William 
Fitz-Osbem attached themselves to the boy who must 
have shown promise of his greatness early to attract such 
faithful friendships through the twenty years of civil 
war that preceded his firm holding of the throne. He 

Rouen under her own Dukes 

had been knighted young, and he was soon to prove 
the strength of his right arm. But his first actions 
strangely enough are connected with the Church that 
overshadowed so much of public life. He made the 
mistake of giving the See of Rouen to the profligate 
Mauger (though the error was sternly corrected later 
on) just as he gave the See of Bayeux to his half- 
brother Odo* Benedictine monasteries began to flourish 
all over Normandy, chief among which was the Abbey 
of Bee, which in Lanfranc and Anselm was to provide 
Canterbury with two prelates later on. Religion was 
responsible, at the same time, for at least one benefit to 
the land in the famous institution of the << Truce of 
Gody" which was fully confirmed later on, and pro- 
claimed that from Wednesday evening until Monday 
mombg in every week the poor and weak were to be 
free from the oppressions of their overlords and from 
the tyranny of private war. And a still more valuable 
result of the prevalent religious enthusiasm was the 
gradual drawing together of Normandy and the Papal 
See which had its greatest outcome in the ** Crusade " 
against England. 

But William had much to do in his own Duchy 
before he could find time for any extension of his 
dominions. At Val-^s-Dunes he fought his first 
pitched battle, crying the " Dex Aie " of the Normans 
as he swept the rebellious barons, under Guy of 
Burgundy, oflT the field. Then feeling more secure in 
his own power, after he had taken Alen^on and 
Domfront and laid his iron hand on Maine, while 
Anjou and Brittany were too bent upon intestine strife 
to trouble him, he pacified the continual quarrels with 
Flanders by taking Matilda the daughter of its Count 
Baldwin as his wife. Descended from the stock of 
Wcssex, of Burgundy, and of Italy, with the blood of 
Charlemagne in her veins, Matilda was beautiful, 
virtuous and accomplished, and worthy to be the mate 


The Story of Rouen 

of one who set an example of domestic purity to all 
the princes of his time. W hat had been politic at first 
became a marriage of affection afterwards, strengthened 
no doubt by the opposition that at first arose. For the 
Duke's Uncle Mauger objected to the match as being 
within the forbidden degrees of relationship, and the Pope 
at the Council of Rheims actually pronounced against 
it. But now came the first-fruits of the policy which had 
already shown signs of drawing together Normandy and 
the Papacy. For it only needed a little pressure on the 
part of the Guiscards in Apulia to secure the consent 
of the Papal Legate to the banishment of Mauger to 
the Channel Islands, which he appears to have richly 
deserved for many other reasons, if Wace be right in his 
indictment; and after four years of waiting, Matilda 
was married to the Duke in the Cathedral of Rouen 

by the new Bishop Maurilius who 
finished the new church that was 
consecrated in 1063. Another objec- 
tion to the marriage received very 
different treatment. For in Lanfranc 
of Bee William had recognised the 
HGURE FROM THE ^^1^^^^ Italian who would be useful in 

BORDER OF THE ^ ., i • i ^i , t 

BAYEux TAPESTRY ^ouncil 38 much as m the Church, and 

it was through Lanfranc's personal 
intercession that the Papal authority had finally been 
brought to William. The " penance " inflicted for his 
wedding was, we may well believe, cheerfully per- 
formed in the building of the hospitals at Rouen, 
Bayeux, Caen and Cherbourg, and the two mighty 
abbeys (for William and for Matilda) that remain at 

Meanwhile the power of Normandy continued to 
wax greater. Even two centuries after this time it 
comprised a third part of the wealth and importance of 
the kingdom, and in the days of our own Fifth Henry 
no advice more dangerous to France could be given to 


Rouen under her own Dukes 

an English King than to preserve by every means the 
Independence of this Duchy. To the France of the 
eleventh century, it was a hr greater peril still. 
Sullenly hostile, or actively menacing, it was only by 
perpetual harassing that Normandy could be kept down 
at all. At last in 1054 the King roused all the cities 
of Central Gaul, Burgundian, Gascon, Breton and 
Auvergnat in one combined onset, and gathered them 
at Mantes, the natural frontier between Normandy and 
France. Duke William's strategy and daring were 
equal to his task. He divided the invaders into two, 
annihilated one division at Mortemer with very little 
loss, and watched the other with grim merriment as it 
vanished from his Duchy, afraid to strike a blow. 
Four years later France and Anjou came on for 
another attempt. Again the Duke was ready. He 
caught their hosts where the river Dive cut the army 
in twain, and fell suddenly with all his knights ana 
clubmen and a thundershower of arrows on the division 
that held the lower bank. King Henry had to watch 
in idleness above, while his rear-guard was being help- 
lessly cut to pieces. By the taking of Le Mans in 1 063, 
William made still further preparation for the greater 
fight that was to come. Presages of the coming 
struggle were not long in making their appearance. 

In 1064 Earl Harold on a pleasure-trip from 
England was wrecked upon the coast of Ponthieu. 
Duke William at once had him brought to Eu, where 
he met him and escorted him, in all good fellowship 
and chivalry, to Rouen. What actually happened 
during this important visit cannot be accurately deter- 
mined. But of a few facts there seems to be no doubt. 
If Harold, for instance, received knighthood at 
William's hands, he thereby became his "man." 
More probably he swore brotherhood with the strong 
Duke. Certainly he took part in the expedition that 
crashed a Breton revolt, and chased its leader to the 

E 65 

Rouen under her onvn Dukes 

dangerous quicksands of St. Michael's Mount Cer- 
tainly too, an oath of some kind was plighted between 
the host and his somewhat unwilling guest. In this 
the Duke must have made mention of the promise 
given by Edward the Confessor as to the English 
Succession. This Edward it will be remembered was 
one of the Saxon princes who had lived for some time 
in Rouen, and was always fond of his Norman mother 
and her friends. Mention is also made of a betrothal 
of William's daughter to the Earl. In any case, we 
may be sure that Harold was sufficiently engaged to 
satisfy the politic Duke before he was allowed to 
return to England. Nor may we imagine that the 
next news which came across the Channel was wholly 
unexpected. For as the Duke was hunting with his 
courtiers and squires in his pleasaunce at QueviUy, across 
the Seine from Rouen, a messenger brought the tidings 
that Edward the Confessor was dead, and that Harold son 
of Godwin had seized the throne. Wace describes how 
Fitz-Osbem paced up and down the hunting-hall with 
his master as they discussed the news, and the Duke 
soon made his mind up as to the course to be pursued. 
A message was at once sent over to Harold, reminding 
him of the famous Oath, which had been taken, as 
some say, and according to the suggestions in the B^eux 
Tapestry, over the sacred relics of the saints. What 
the Duke had expected and even hoped for, of course 
happened. Harold repudiated all knowledge of a 
binding agreement as to the Succession, and Normandy 
could thenceforth call upon the outraged Sanctity of 
Religion to help her in what was cleverly published as 
a Holy War. 

Now the full effects of the religious trend in William's 
policy were seen at last, as clearly as was the wisdom 
of his own carefully religious life. The champion of 
the poor, the fatherless and the widow, the worshipper 
and communicant in Rouen Cathedral, the builder of 

Rouen under her own Dukes 

hospitals and monasteries, above all the friend of 
LanfranCy was easily able to secure the voice of the 
Pope in ^vour of a claim based not on heredity, not 
on election, not on bequest, but made by virtue di the 
personal injury done to him by Harold, and made to 
avenge the insulted saints of Normandy by recalling 
pagan England into the fold of Rome. Never were the 
highest motives so skilfully interwoven with appeals to 
lower instincts in the mingled crowd whom the Duke 
William gathered to his standard. He had before 
this crushed the Norman rebels, conquered the men of 
Maine or Anjou or Brittany, defeated the King of 
France^ But this was a far greater task. Yet if 
Normans had won the Kingdom of the Sicilies, 
Normans should cross the sea to England and win 
that as well. And all the faithful of the earth should 
help them. It is a mistake to think that Normans 
alone conquered the land of Harold. From Flanders, 
from the Rhine, from Burgundy, Piedmont and 
Aquitaine, from all the northern coasts, an army of 
TC^unteers flocked to the standard of the Duke. And 
their leader went swiftly on to make preparations 
worthy of so great a host. While all the woods of 
Normandy are ringing to the axe, and all the ship- 
wrights' yards are sounding to the hammer, we may 
pause and see what this mighty expedition means to 

To Normandy it brings at once the climax of her 
power and the beginning of her fall. For a Duchy 
that was but secondary to the Kingdom over seas could 
never claim again the fuD strength of the rulers who 
had raised her first. By degrees she fell away from 
the land across the channel and became absorbed in the 
kingdom of which she was territorially a natural part. 
But, as we have seen, she had already done much 
towards the making of that kingdom in her indepen- 
dence, and when she formed an integral part of it herself 


The Story of^ Rouen 

she was its firmest bulwark against invasion f^om the 
North. In Rouen itself the beginnings of commercial 
greatness had been indicated, even before the coming 
of Rollo, by the Mint which had been established 
there, as a branch of that founded by Charlemagne at 
Quantowitch, which was destroyed by the first Pirates.' 
The money of Rouen was marked with the letter B 
to signify that it was the second in importance in the 
Kingdom. That the trade of the town soon justified 
this proud distinction on its currency is evident from 
the law of King Ethelred II., which exempted all 
Rouen merchants from taxation on their wine and 
" Marsouin " within the port of London. Other 
signs of commercial activity are to be found in bridge 
building, and the numerous Fairs which arose under 
the Norman Dukes. In 1024 a toll upon the wooden 
bridge of Rouen is recorded, and when in 103O9 it 
was destroyed by a revolt under Robert the Devil, 
the timbers were very shortly afterwards replaced, and 
remained until in 1 1 60 the Empress Matilda built the 
famous "Pont de Pierre" that lasted for so many 
centuries. Of the great Fairs of Rouen, the first 
seems to be that of St. Gervais, instituted by the second 
Duke Richard in 1020, which was given with the 
church of the same name to the monks of the Abbey 
of Fecamp. It is still held in June in the Faubourg 
Cauchoise. The Foire du Pre was next founded in 
1064 on the day after the Ascension by the great Duke 
William, under the auspices of the Priory of Notre 
Dame du Pre which his wife had built in the suburb 
of Emendreville across the river, where St Sever now 
stands. The church itself took the name of Bonne- 
Nouvelle when the Duchess heard, as she was praying 
there, that the .Victory of Hastings had made her 
Queen of England. Within its walls were buried the 
Empress Matilda, and the hapless Prince Arthur of 
Brittany. It was burnt down in 1243, and struck by 

Rouen under her own Dukes 

'. . . 

lightning in 135I9 destroyed during the siege by the 
'English in 1418, and rebuilt only to be destroyed again 
hj the Calvinists in 1562. In 1604 ^^ ^^^ rebuilt for 
the last time, but the rights of jurisdiction and of the fair 
given it by William the Conqueror were only surrendered 
to the town of Rouen in 1493. In 1070 the F6te de 
rimmacul^e Conception, called the P^te aux Normands, 
,wa8 celebrated for the first time in memory of a vow 
after a safe vovage. The Confr^rie de la Conception, 
sometimes called Le Puy, was founded in connec- 
tion with this, with the poems that were written each 
year in honour of the Feasts, which gave rise to 
the jocund office of the Prince des Palinods, of 
whom we shall hear more later. Their first poem, 
written by Robert Wace (the author of the " Roman 
de R0U9' who was bom in Jersey in 1 100 and died 
at the age of 84 in England) was called '^L'Estab- 
lissement de la feste de la conception, dicte la Feste 
as Normands." 

The most famous Fair of all was founded a little later 
byGuillaume Bonne Ame, forty-eighth bishop of Rouen, 
when he transported the body of St. Romain in a new 
and precious shrine from the church of St. Godard to 
the Cathedral. At this first procession in 1079 ^^^^ 
William the Conqueror and his wife assisted. The 
change had been necessitated by the great crowds of 
people who had come every year to receive pardons and 
indulgences at the shrine of the famous guardian saint 
of the city, and who thronged into the neighbouring 
fieldy called the Champ-du-Pardon to this day. When 
the saint's body had been removed to the Cathedral, 
the Foire du Pardon was held in his honour in the 
sune open space, and the whole ceremony was without 
doubt the beginning of that Levee de la Fierte which 
preserved the memory of St. Romain until the end 
of the eighteenth century. By William, the fair was 
originally fixed on two days in October, and in 1468 


The Story of Rouen 

its duration was still further extended.^ In the church 
of St. Etienne des Tooneliers, ^i^ch was put under 
the protection of the monks of St. Ouen at tiiis time, 
we can trace further evidence of the gradual consolida- 
tion of various trades ; even the institution of the curfew 
bell, at the assembly of Caen in 1061, shows that 
increasing commerce had insisted upon greater security 
in the public streets. The Parvis of the Cathedral, 
too, was at this time not merely a place of inviolable 
sanctuary, but an open space on which merchants could 
display their goods and erect booths without any inter- 
ference save from the canons. These shops ware built 
up against the crenelated wall that surrounded the Parvis 
until the quarrel between canons and bourgeois pulled 
them down in 1 1 92. The place was a frequent scene 
of coaflict, and also of amusement, for in spite of the 
presence of a cemetery which extended over the Place 
de la Calende and the Portail des Libraires and was 
only abolished in the last century, the mystery plays 
were often given here, using the cemetery as a ** back- 
ground," as was frequently done. Till 1199 bakers 
sold bread here. Till 1429 the ^'Marche aux herbes 
et menues denrees " was held here, and then transferred 
to the Clos aux Juifs. In 1325 the working jewellers 
also frequented this locality, and in the name of the 
great north porch of the Cathedral is still preserved the 
memory of the booksellers of times far more modern. 

The foundations of another cathedral had been laid 
in 990, where Robec and Aubette still defined an 
" lie Notre Dame de Rouen '* whose inhabitants 
were under the jurisdiction of the chapter-house. It 
was brought to a conclusion by Maurilius in 1063, and 
in the foundation and lower storeys of the northern 

^ The Champ du Pardon attained a grisly notoriety in the 
fourteenth century from the presence of the " fourches Patibu- 
laires ** or public place of execution upon the <* Mont de la 
Justice " in one comer of the field. 







Rouen under her own Dukes 

tower of the west facade (known as the Tour St. 
Romain) are perhaps some of the few relics that 
remain of the architecture of these destructive years. 
But a ^r more beautiful and more authentic fragment 
is to be seen close to the Abbey Church of St. Ouen, 
in the exquisite little piece of architecture known as the 
Tour aux Clercs in the north-eastern corner of the 
apse, (see Chap. VIII. ). This is part of the apse of the 
second abbey, which was begun by Nicolas of Nor- 
mandy in 1 042, finished in 1 1 26, and burnt to the 
ground in 11 36. Its fate was the common one of all 
ecclesiastical buildings of the time. In the next chapter 
we shall find but two more churches that can certainly 
be dated as before the years when Normandy became a 
part of France. The School of Art which gave a 
name to all those English buildings of which Durham 
Cathedral is the type and flower, left scarcely a stone 
in its own capital as a memorial of its source. Nor 
can Rouen point to a single building now remaining 
which was a palace or a prison of its Norman dukes. 
The greatest monument of its greatest duke is the 
Tower of London. Even the ruined Abbey of St. 
Amand, which was dedicated in 1070, does not now 
possess a stone that can be traced with certainty to the 
period of its Norman foundation. For whatever ruins 
now remain are those of the church built in 1274, 
whose tower was rebuilt after 1570, and whose last 
abbess, Madame de Lorge, died in October 1745. 



The Conquest of England and the Fall of 


<< En Normandie a gent molt fiere 
Jo ne sai gent de tei maniere ; 
Chevaliers sont proz € vaillanz 
Par totes terres conqn^ranz. . . 
. . . OrguiUos sunt Normant h fier, 
E vanteor h bombancier ; 
Toz terns les devreit Ten phusier 
Kar mult sunt fort a justisier. 

Robert Waci. 

IT is time to look more closely at the personality of 
the greatest Duke of Rouen. William the Bastard 

has been described^ as tall and very stout, fierce of 

visage, with a high, bald forehead, and, 
in spite of his great corpulence, of 
extreme dignity, whether on his throne 
or in the field. The strength of his 
arms, for which he was famous, was 
proved very early, when the chivalry of 
France went down before his boyish 

FiGDR. FROM THE j^^^^ ^^ Val-es-Duues. He evidently 

BORDER OP THE . ,, . -wj.. . .. ^ 

BAYEux TAPESTRY possessed all the true Vikmg attnbutes 

of physical power derived from Rollo, 
his great ancestor. In mental type he reproduced much 
of that Norman cunning which we have noticed as a 

^ << Justae fuit staturae, immensae corpulentiae ; facie fera, 
fronte capillis nuda, roboris ingentis in lacertis, magnae dig- 
nitatis sedens et stans, quanquam obesitas ventris nimium 
protensa.** — Will Malms: lib: iii. 


^be Conquest of England 

cbaracterisdc of the race. Both Maine and England 
he conquered by fraud as much as force. If he was 
a great soldier, he was a consummate statesman too. 
For as he used Fiance to conquer Normandy, so he 
used Normandy to conquer France, and both to con- 
quer England. Kindly to submissive foes, he was 
pitiless to stubborn opposition, and very dangerous to 
taunt. The town which hung tanners' hides upon its 
walls was answered by the sight of bleeding hands, and 
feet, and eyes, which had been torn from its prisoners 
and hurled across the battlements. The king who jested 
of the candles for a woman's churching, was answered 
by the blaze of a whole town. A comet flamed across 
the sky of Europe in the year of the great Duke's con- 
quest. Amid fire and tumult he was crowned at West- 
minster. Upon the glowing ashes of Mantes he met his 
death-wound. Through burning streets he was borne 
to his burial. He was not only the strongest of the 
dukes of Normandy, he was also one of the world's 
greatest men, whose work was not only thorough at the 
moment, but effective for all time ; whose purpose was 
fixed, and whose iron will none could gainsay. He 
rose above the coarse, laughter-loving, brutal, treacher- 
ous, Norman barons of his time, by the force of his own 
personal genius, and the acuteness of his own strong 
intellect. If it had necessitated a web of the subtlest 
intrigue to get together the vast host that was to con- 
quer England, it needed a vigorous and dauntless per- 
sonality no less amazing to keep together the fleet and 
army while they waited wearily for the wind, until 
Harold's own fleet (the one safety of England then, 
as ever) had dispersed, until the right moment came, 
and all his barons and their men-at-arms rushed eagerly 
on board, carrying their barrels of wine, their coats of 
mail, and helmets, and lines of spears, and spits of meat, 
and stacks of swords, as is recorded in the Bayeux 
Tapestry. With him went twenty ships and a hundred 


The Story of Rouen 

kni^U tent by the Abbot of St Ouen. Asotber ibip 
that miut have carried especial prayers wMi her froB 
Rouen was the " Mora," given by his wife Matilda, 
with a boy carved upon her stern-post, blowing hi* bom 
towards the cllfFs of Pevenaey,^ By the lantern on hei 
mast die seven hundred transport galleys sailed at night, 
and early :n the next dawn they landed, archers fint, 
then knights and horses, and marched on to Hasting*. 
How the Duke of Rouen conquered England, and 
bow he wrote it in his Domesday Book, is no imihedi- 
n of ours. By March in the next year he 


was back in his own capital, bringing with him, through 
the cheering streets, the Prince Edgar, Stigand lie 
Primate, and three of his greatest earls. There bis 
beloved wife met him, and gave account of the Duchy 

' WithlheBayeuxTapestryi/: Wace's descriplion. R.deR., 

" Une lanterne fist li Dub 
Metre en sa nefel mast de sua 

The Conquest of England 

she had guarded with Roger of BeaumoDt in his absence. 
There he at once dealt out rewards to the regular and 
secular clergy of the city, among which were the lord- 
ships of Ottery and of Rovrige in Devonshire. Mean- 
while the Normans were crowding to admire the trophies 
of victory. The banners from the battlefield, embroid- 
ered with the Raven of Ragnar, or the Fighting-Man 
of the dead Harold, and booty that brought wonder to 
the eyes even of citizens who had seen the spoils of 
Sicily. Nor did the Duke forget in the hour of triumph 
to be politic. He sent Lanfranc to the Pope at once, 
DO doubt with news that Stigand would shordy be sup- 
planted, and that England had been brought into the 
fold of Rome. For the warriors that Normandy had 
sent to the lands of the south, she was richly repdd in 
the learned doctors sent by Italy to the northern countries. 
Calabria and Sicily were counterbalanced by the arch- 
bishoprics of Lanfranc and of Anselm. At a synod 
held in Rouen some six years after his great conauest, 
William insisted upon reform in the morals oi the 
Church, upon strict rules of marriage, on an exact 
profession of the orthodox faith. He was not behind- 
hand in performing his part of the profitable bargain 
that had been made with Rome. 

In 1073 Maine started into revolt under Fulk 
Rechin,^ nephew of Geoffrey of Anjou, and William 
punished it by reducing Le Mans from a sovereign 
commonwealth to a mere privileged municipality. After 
this the King of England was constantly in his Duchy, 
where Robert << Short Hose," his unruly son, was 

* This was the prince who, according toOrderic Vital (Hist 
Bed. vii.) introduced the long tumed-up boots called *< pig. 
aces" which were one sign of effeminacy among the dandies 
of the Red King's Court, where <nen wore long hair, shaved off 
in front, wide sleeves, and the narrow and flowing robes which 
were a very characteristic change from the short tunic of the 
Conqueror's men, which permitted them to run or ride, or 
fight in freedom. 


The Story of Rouen 

giving perpetual trouble in Rouen and elsewhere, as 
Regent. So imperious were his demands for inde- 
pendence and immediate provision, that his father's stern 
refusal roused an attempt at open rebellion in which 
Robert attacked the Castle of Rouen, with the help 
of a few turbulent young nobles of his own unquiet 
persuasion. But the Conqueror grimly took their 
revenues and with them paid the mercenaries that 
warred them down. His son was compelled to fly, 
but came back again unwisely to the quarrel, with help 
from the French King behind him. At Gerberoi he 
actually wounded his father, without recognising him, 
and the Conqueror was only saved by the swiftness of 
a Wallingford man who sprang to his assistance. 

The truce that followed did not last. About this 
time occurred the marriage of William's daughter, 
Adela, to Stephen of Blois and Chartres, who became 
the mother of Stephen of England. The Conqueror's 
second son had died in the fatal New Forest, and in 
1083 died his faithful wife, Matilda, and was buried at 
Caen. The next years were very heavy in both parts 
of King William's dominions, and by 1087 the strain 
seems to have told even upon his iron frame. For in 
that year he stayed for treatment at Rouen, just as he 
had done before in Abingdon, and while he lay in bed 
King Philip jested at the candles that should be lighted 
when this bulky invalid arose from child-bed. Then 
William swore one of those terrific oaths which came 
naturally to his strong temperament — "Per resurrec- 
tionem et splendorem Dei pronuntians " — that he would 
indeed light a hundred thousand candles, and at the ex- 
pense of Philip, too.^ In August he devastated the Vexin 

* " Qant jo, dist-il, releverai 
Dedeiz sa terre i messe irai 
Riche offrende li porterai 
Mille chandeles li ofrerai.'' 

RobkrtWacb., a. 


The Conquest of England 

with fire and sword, and as he rode across the hot embers 
of the burning city of Mantes, his horse stumbled, and he 
was wounded mortally by the high, iron pommel of the 

He came back dying to his castle of Rouen, and 
was there borne from the noisy streets of the city to the 
Priory of St. Gervais, where we have already visited 
the ancient crypt of St. Mellon. Here for some days 
he lay in pain, though without losing speech or con- 
sciousness, and sent for Anselm from £ec. But the 
prior himself was too ill to get further than St. Sever on 
his journey to his master. So the Conqueror disposed 
himself to death, giving much treasure to the rebuilding 
of churches both in France and England, bequeathing 
Normandy and Maine to Robert, and with a last strange 
movement of apparent compunction, leaving the throne 
of England in the hands of God : 

« Non enim tantum decus hereditario jure possedi." 

As to the crowning of his son William, he gave the 
final decision to Lanfranc. His youngest son, Henri 
Beauclerc, the truest Norman of them all, was given 
^ye thousand pounds in silver and the prophecy of 
future greatness. After releasing all the prisoners in his 
dungeons, the Conqueror lay on his couch in St. 
Gervais and heard the great bell of the Cathedral of 
Rouen ringing for prime on the morning of Thursday 
the ninth of September 1087. Upon the sound he 
offered up a prayer and died. 

Within an hour his death-chamber was desolate and 
bare, and the corpse lay well-nigh naked. But the 
citizens of Rouen were sore troubled. "Malignus 
Guippe spiritus oppido tripudiavit." The news travelled 
from Normandy to Sicily in the same day. The arch- 
bishop ordered that the body should be taken to Caen, 
and by the care of Herlwin this was done, and the dead 
Conqueror was floated down the Seine to burial. As 


The Story of Rouen 

the funeral procession passed through the town the 
streets burst into flame, and through the fire and smoke 
the monks walked with the bier, chanting the office of 
the dead. When the corpse reached the abbey, a 
knight objected to the burial, because the land had 
forcibly been taken from him. So the seven feet of 
the Conqueror's grave was bought, and, not without 
more hideous mishaps, the body of Rouen's greatest 
duke was at last laid to rest. In 1793 ^^ ^^ tomb 
and its contents were utterly destroyed. 

Among the prisoners who were released at William's 
death was that half-brother, Odo of Bayeux,^ to whose 
skill and knowledge is due the marvellous pictorial 
record of the Bayeux Tapestry. Its inscripdons are in 
the Latin letters of the time, and its eleventh-century 
costumes, the short clothes easy to ride or run or fight, 
the arms depicted, the clean-shaved faces, are all very 
different to those which Orderic Vital describes as 
usual in the twelfth century. Neither Matilda the 
Queen, nor Matilda the Empress, could have 
embroidered the details on the border, and neither 
could have known so many facts as the Odo who 
was on the Council that advised invasion, who rallied 
the troops at Senlac when William was supposed to 
have been dead, who was made Regent of England, 
Count of Kent, and Bishop of Bayeux. It was to 
the advice of this rich, powerful, and intelligent 
prelate, that the new and feeble Duke Robert had to 
trust in the first year of his reign in Rouen. With 
all the vices of the Conqueror, Robert had neither his 
virtues nor his strength. The difficulties which met 
him first came from a cause too deep-seated for him to 
recognise either its value or its far-reaching issues. 

I have already described how the first attempts of 

1 According to Wace, Odo had been taken in the Isle of 
Wight and imprisoned in the << Tower of Rouen** for fbnr 
years. See <' Roman de Rou,** v. 14,298. 


The Conquest of England 

Norman peasants to found a '* commune '' had been 
crashed with horrible brutality. The movement now 
began again. It is perhaps possible that the very pre- 
eminence of the Conqueror over all his barons helped 
to emphasise the fact that the feudality which he 
employed for his own uses only, and threw away when 
he had done with, was not to be an order of things 
fixed by any eternal providence. When the King rose 
at one end of the social framework the people naturally 
came into greater prominence at the other. 

The truce of God, insisted upon by William him- 
self, had helped to the same end. For every male of 
twelve years old swore to help the Bishop to keep that 
trace, and by degrees his parishioners combined to 
organise the safety of their town, << ex consensu parochiari' 
orumJ* They used the resources for which all sub 
scribed, and placed them under the control of a 
^'gardien de la Confr^rie," or ^^ fraternarum rerum 
autos.** While these associations preserved the peace 
of the towns, the King was responsible for the peace of 
France. But the feeling of independence and the 
strength of union grew steadily among the citizens year 

Sr year. The rise of commerce, which has been 
ready noticed in Rouen, also contributed to this. 
As cities grew in wealth, they became more and more 
desirous of escaping from feudal rapacity and of regu- 
lating their own affairs by magistrates chosen by them- 
selves. In 1066 Le Mans had already done this. 
Ten years afterwards Cambrai followed the example. 
Noyon, Beauvais, Laon, Soissons, and many more 
clamoured for the charter of their liberty. In the 
absence of so many overlords at the Crusades the 
towns beneath the shadow of their castles seized the 
opportunity of strengthening their position. The same 
spirit of revolt began to work in Rouen as soon as the 
strong hand of the Conqueror was taken from the helm 
of government. But Rouen did not win her civic 


The Story of Rouen 

liberty until she had changed her own Norman dukes 
for the kings of France. The descendants of Duke 
William, feeble as they were, were still too near the 
feudal overlord to admit of rapid change. Yet the 
leaven was working already, and the disputes of the 
Conqueror's children fostered the unruly elements in the 

Scarcely three years after Robert had attained the 
Duchy he quarrelled openly with his brother^ the Red 
King of England; and Rouen was instantly in an 
uproar under Conan, a rich bourgeois, who probably 
sided with William Rufus, because he saw more 
chance of a commune under a distant king than 
in the presence of a duke at Rouen. In the days 
of the Conqueror there had been no tyrants or dema- 
gogues in the city, no armies in civic pay, no deal- 
ings of the citizens with other princes. But now the 
chance for an independent commonwealth seemed really 
to have come. However, the youngest brother, Henri 
Beauclerc, came from Cotentin to assist Robert in his 
difficulty, but not before the debauched and treacherous 
duke had been obliged to fly by the eastern gate of 
Robec into the faubourg of Malpalu, where he was 
cordially welcomed, and passed on to safety in St. 
Sever. Then Henri Beauclerc, "The Lion of 
Justice,'* took up the fighting for himself, swiftly 
beat back the soldiers of the Red King, threw Conan, 
the leader of the revolt, into the Tower of the Dukes 
by the Seine, and finally cast him down headlong 
from the battlements to die upon the stones beneath. 
The place preserved the name of " Saut de Conan " 
for many years, in the south-east corner of the Halles. 
So this nrst Artevelde of Rouen came to an untimely 
end, Henri Beauclerc, helped by Robert of Belesme, 
one of the de Warrens (whose tomb is in the church 
of Wantage), and by the Count of Evreux, proved far 
too strong for him and for his companion in revolt, 


I'be Fall of Normandy 

William^ the son of Ansgar, who had to pay a vast 
ransom as the price of disobedience, while many of the 
rebellious citizens were massacred, and this immature 
attempt to form a commune ended. 

The three brothers continued to quarrel, and to 
make it up again for some years. First, Robert and 
Rufus combine against Henry. Then Robert sends 
over troops to help the barons who were rebelling 
against his brother in England. Finally he went oS* 
with his Uncle Odo on the first crusade in 1096, 
pledging the Duchy in his absence to his brother the 
Red King, who, of course, seized it, and the real 
quarrel between England and France began. For 
when Normandy had been independent, Rouen blocked 
the road from Winchester to Paris. But as soon as it 
belonged outright either to one or to the other, the 
ancestral strife of French against English was certain 
to begin, and to go on. The revolt of Elias, Count of 
Maine, against the English King was repressed by his 
imprisonment — by Robert of Bellesme again — in the 
same Tour de Rouen that had seen the death of Conan. 
But Rufus never used his great gifts and power of ruling 
for anything but evil, and his brother Henry followed 
him, the husband of that descendant of Edmund and 
of Alfred who called herself Matilda at his coronation. 

When the weak and incompetent Robert Short 
Hose returned from his crusading, he had the temerity 
to lay claim not merely to his Duchy but to the throne 
of England with it. He naturally lost both, at the 
battle of Tinchebray, where Henri Beaucierc won 
Normandy, and beat the Normans with his English 
•oldiers. For many years Robert languished in English 
priaons until he died at Gloucester. And the Duchy 
he had lost throve infinitely under his brother's wise 
and prosperous rule, which gradually repressed more 
and more of the remnants of feudal anarchy and mis- 
rule. In 1 1 14, his daughter Matilda gained her title 

F 81 

T'he Story of Rouen 

of Empress by marriage with Henry V., but won her 
greatest fame by her second match — after this first 
husband's death with Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of 
Anjou, in 1125, from which Henry II. of England 
was to be bom. But Henri Beauclerc was unfor- 
tunate in his other children. For in 11 19 his sons, 
William and Richard, were drowned in the White Ship 
on their way to England. The occurrence caused a 
very painful and widespread sensation, for besides the 
brilliant young nobles of the suite, eighteen high-bom 
ladies, many of them of royal blood, perished in the 
wreck. In Orderic Vital, in William of Malmesbury, 
in Henry of Huntingdon, the story is fully set forth. 
The captain was the son of that pilot who had steered 
William the Conqueror to Pevensey in the good ship 
" Mora " built at Rouen. The weather was calm and 
bright with moonlight, and as the young princes urged 
their captain to row harder after their father's ship, he 
took a short cut along the treacherous coast, and the 
boat split open on a rock on the night of the 25 th of 
November. The only survivcy was a butcher of Rouen, 
called Berold, or Gueroult as Robert Wace gives the 

" Cil Gueroult de Roem esteit 
Machecrier ert, la char vendeit '^ . . . 

and he was only preserved because of the thick 
clothes he wore through the frost of the night, to be 
rescued by some fishermen next morning. 

•* Un peli^on avit ve8tu 
Ki del grant freit I'ont defendu ; 
Iver esteit, grant freit faiseit/* 

says the "Roman de Rou" (15,319), so that in the 
Rue Massacre (close to the Rue Grosse Horloge) at 
Rouen, one home was gladdened with good news after 
a catastrophe that threw at least three courts into 
mourning, and gave the succession of the English 

The Fall of Normandy 

throne to the great houae of the Plantagenets of 

Rouen had not remained entirely submissive to the 
Lion of Justice. In 1109 the King of France 
encouraged yet another rising of the citizens in Rouen 
and elsewhere against feudal power. And after, the 
wreck of the White Ship, Fulk of Anjou took the 
opportunity to push the claims of Duke Robert's son 
both in England and Normandy, but the rebels were 
badly beaten at Bourgtheroulde ^between Seine and 
Rille), and the Lion of Justice held a court in Rouen 
to judge them. Some were imprisoned in his Tower 
by the Seine, and some in Gloucester, while a satiric 
poet, named Luke of Barre, paid the penalty* of being 
a pioneer in scofhng politics by having his eyes put 
oat. At Henry's death in 1135, Matilda's infant 
hrir was still very young at Le Mans, and the 
usual anarchy followed both in England and in Nor- 
mandy that was inevitable when the direct male line 
of Norman Dukes died out. Of the two countries 
Normandy had perhaps the fate that was hardest to 
bear, for it was better to be ruled by any one than 
a Count of that Maine, with whom, as with an ec^ual, 
so noany centuries of battles had been fought. But the 
strong stock of Anjou and Maine soon took advantage 
of the weakness of the Northern Duchy, and in 1 1 44 
Geo£h'ey Plantagenet entered Rouen in triumph. 

'< C«u fulmen ab alto,'' 

nogs the poet, 

'< Neustria concutitur fulg^re tacta nova" 

To an inheritance so rich already, the boy Henry 
Plantagenet added all the dominions of Eleanor of 
Poitou by marriage, and after the anarchy of Stephen's 
reign in England had passed over, the Angevin Empire 
be^ui from the Pyrenees to the Firth of Forth. At 


The Story of^ Rouen 

ten years old the second Henry had been recognised by 
Rouen as her duke, and it can be easily understood 
that the citizens used every advantage it was possible 
to win from the years of his minority^ and from the days 
of uncertain authority before it. Already under Henri 
Beauclerc the municipality of Rouen had obtained ampler 
recognition than before. Its population increased accord- 
ingly, and was augmented by the extension of freedom 
to a considerable number of serfs. The bounds of the 
city itself were enlarged, and from the fact that a fire 
is recorded (in November 1131) to have destroyed 
the Hotel de Ville, near the Porte Massacre, in the 
Rue de la Grosse Horloge, we may gather that the 
municipality, whose rights in property were recognised, 
had been able to secure a common meeting-place for 
the discussion of its civic business. By iijo these 
meetings had resulted in a league, definitely made by 
the burgesses, to defend their rights against all feudal 
encroachments, a league which very nearly deserves 
that name of ^' Commune " at last, which was apparently 
first given in Normandy to Eu and to St. Quentm. 
Geoffrey Plantagenet, during his government of the 
Duchy for his son, had recognised the strength of this 
civic movement, by confirming the privileges of the 
citizens, and favouring the growth of this industrial 
corporation. In May of that same year the first law 
court of the town, as opposed to feudal or ecclesiastical 
justice, was also established, and called the Vicomt6 de 
I'Eau. It had the charge of all civil and criminal cases 
by river and by land, and kept the standard of the 
weights and measures. Its importance may be judged 
from the fact that in the hands of the merchants of 
Rouen was the monopoly of all wines sent by Seine or 
sea towards the north. The Confr^rie of these " March- 
ands de I'eau " had been accorded a special port, known 
as Dunegate, at Thames' mouth, by Edward the Con- 
fessor, and their monopoly extended also to the whole 


The Fall of Normandy 

trade between Normandy and Ireland, a trade they 
kept until the reign of Philip Augustus. 

Other corporations were also rapidly increasing in 
strength and importance. The tannners, whose 
especial church was St. Martin Sur Renelle, received 
the charter of their privileges from Henry II. of Eng- 
land. The "savetiers" and " cordonniers " enjoyed 
privileges that were more ancient still, which were con- 
firmed in 1371, in 1660, and in 171 5. The"cor- 
donniers" were united in the confrMe of St. Crepin 
at the Church of St. Laurent. The "savetiers*' 
joined the confr^rie of the Holy Trinity at the Abbey 
of St. Amand. The Church of St. Croix des 
Pelletiers still preserves the traditions of another con- 
fir^Cy that of the " Pelletiers-fourreurs," whose stat- 
utes dated from Henri Beauclerc. By 1171 the 
** Marchands de I'eau " secured a still further exten- 
sion of their privileges through the French King 
Louis VII. They were allowed to come up as for 
as Pecq to load their barges without interference from 
the Parisian confr^rie, whose commerce was limited to 
the same point. Forty years afterwards the two con- 
Mries united to make the best possible for each out of 
the commerce of the Seine ; and the effects of reci- 
{HTOcity became evident so soon, that even in 1 1 80 the 
merchants of Rouen and of Paris had already come to 
an agreement as to the transport of the salt from the 
mouth of the river which formed so important a part of 
every Norman landowner's revenue. 

This gradual increase in self-confidence and power in 
Rouen soon proved of direct importance to the King of 
England in a somewhat curious way. For when the 
King of France had roused one of the English royal 
princes to revolt, and Henry Plantagenet himself was 
obliged to come to Normandy to the rescue of his 
besieged capital, it was by the ringing of the bell that 
huog in the town belfry that the city was saved from a 


>h. -^1 

The Story of Rouen 

sudden attack by the French forces that must have 
proved successful. This was the famous bell known 
as ^< Rouve]/' which rings the alarum henceforth at 
every crisis in the history of the town, and its first 
public service to the municipality; which had hung it 
where the Grosse Horloge stands, was richly rewarded 
by King Henry. He freed the citizens of all duty on 
their goods on both sides of the Channel, he freed them 
from taxation and from forced labour, he confirmed 
their ancient privileges, and — most important of all — ^he 
gave them an established court of law, composed of 
burgesses, and presided over by a " Bailli." 

When once the impulse had been given in the right 
direction, it is astonishing to notice how fast were the 
developments of civic freedom and of commerce which 
go henceforth hand-in-hand throughout the story of the 
town. When the last sad years of Henry's perpetual 
struggle with his sons were over, neither of them dared 
to infringe the privileges he had so solemnly granted or 
confirmed to the municipality of Rouen. The accession 
of the Lionheart was signalised in the Cathedral chap- 
terhouse by the characteristic gift of three hundred barrels 
of wine, which the canons and the archbishops were to 
claim from the Vicomte de I'Eau, and this privilege 
the good ecclesiastics thoroughly enjoyed until the 
middle of the sixteenth century. The jurisdiction 
of the Vicomte de TEau itself, and of the new " Bail- 
lage" and the "Maire," was further developed and 
established in 1192 ; and the quarrels that are so per- 
sistent throughout the history of Rouen, between the 
civil and ecclesiastical authorities, found their expression 
two years later in a renewed and fiercely contested 
struggle about the rights over the Parvis of the Cathe- 
dral. The canons, as usual, held their own, and in 
the same year asserted their still more extraordinary 
right of releasing a prisoner by virtue of the Privilege 
of the Fierte of St. Romain, by giving their freedom 


The Fall of Normandy 

to two men, on the return of Richard from the Holy 
Land, because the privilege had not been exercised 
during his imprisonment abroad. There is an ex- 
tremely fine impression in wax of one of Richard 
Cceur de Lion s seals in the archives of Rouen, 
which is one of the few still existing in which he 
18 represented on one side as the Eling sitting upon 
the throne of England, and on the other as the Duke 
of Normandy riding in full armour against his foes. 
His is a character that gains from the mystery of 
romance cast over it* His career in France shows 
little that is creditable either to his head or heart. 

In 1 197 the same spirit of assertive independence 
was evidenced in the building of stone crosses in all 
parts of the city, which lasted until 1562, and re- 
corded that their Duke Richard had bought the 
manor of Andelys and the rock for his Chateau 
Gaillard firom the Archbishop of Rouen, at the price 
of two of the town's public mills, the manor of 
Louviers, the towns of Dieppe and Bouteilles, and 
the forest of Aliermont. The bargain had not been 
struck without great agitation, interdicts on the town, 
and outcries from laymen and ecclesiastics alike. But 
it was well worth any trouble and treasure, and the 
Lionheart's " saucy castle *' became the key of Nor- 
mandy. His miserable brother John would never 
have lost the Duchy had he kept the fort. But 
his reign was ever destined to failure and discredit, 
and after the murder of Prince Arthur, which is 
said to have taken place within the Tower of Rouen 
by the Seine, had added gross impolicy to unpardonable 
crime, the last descendant of Rollo, who was both 
a King of England and a Duke of Normandy, fell 
before the power of the King of France. Rouen 
surrendered to Philip Augustus, and Normandy be- 
came a French province. The change had been an 
easy one, for John was far more Angevin and English 


The Story of Rouen 

than he was Norman, and his Duchy was no longer 
the home that William the Conqueror had made a 
terror to his neighbours. 

Englishmen might indeed regret the loss of that 
motherland of heroes which had conquered Sicily and 
England too, and mourn to see her seven great cities, 
her strong casdes, her stately minsters, and her Teu- 
tonic people in a Roman land, all under the jroke of 
kings whom Duke William had beaten at Varaville, and 
King Henry had conquered at Noyon. But the loss 
was England's gain. It meant not only that England 
was united under a really English king, but that her 
Norman nobles had become her own Englishmen. 
Far more had resulted from the immigration finom 
the Continent, led by the Conqueror, than is usually 

appreciated. Its results were not 
merely such tangible documents as 
that charter of the liberties of 
London, signed by the great Duke 
of Rouen, which is still the most 
ncuRE FROM THE chcrished possession of the archives 
BORDER OF THE ^f ^j^^ Qj William's soldiers 

BAYEUX TAPESTRY -ri rn j i /• i 

were swirtly roJlowed by peaceral 
invaders far more numerous, whose influence was far 
more widespreading. Not only did every Norman 
baron and abbot bring his own company of chosen 
artists and craftsmen with him from France, but 
**many of the citizens and merchants of Rouen," 
says the chronicler, "passed over, preferring to be 
dwellers in London, inasmuch as it was fitter for 
their trading, and better stored with the merchandise 
in which they were wont to traffic." One concrete 
example of the resulting growth of trade may be quoted. 
Before the Conquest, weaving had not been practised in 
England as a separate craft for the market. By 1 165 
we find a kind of corporation of weavers at Winchester, 
who preserved their own customs almost as closely as 

The Fall of Normandy 

the Jew?, contributed indepeodently (like other aliens) 
to fiscal demands, and even chose their own aldermen. 
Almost the only name that remains to us of those ancient 
** portreeves *' oh London, who were the predecessors 
of its mayors, is that of Gilbert Beket, a burgher of 
Rouen, whose son Thomas was afterwards the martyr 
of Canterbury. No doubt these wealthy immigrants 
asnsted in the growth of the English towns, both in 
commerce and in freedom. The army, the navy, the 
universities, trade, and education, as we know them, had 
no real existence in England before the Conquest* The 
Normans brought in not only the most permanent, but 
the most important invasion of alien immigrants, who 
affected and directed the development of English habits 
and character, and of the English constitution. There 
18 little wonder that William had no lack of followers 
in his attempt, for the England of the eleventh century 
must have appealed to the Normans, the Picards, and 
Borgundians, of his mingled company, much as South 
Africa still calls our younger sons to-day, as a land of 
the promise of indefinite success. 

But a still further, and an even less recognised source 
of wealth that was a direct result of Duke William's in- 
vasion, may be found in the settlement of Jewish traders 
who followed him from Normandy, and especially from 
Rouen. These were the capitalists, who helped the 
King of England to collect his revenue in money rather 
than in kind. Though liable to special fiscal exactions, 
they were protected by the King from many of the 
taxes imposed upon their neighbours. They were estab- 
lished, as they had been elsewhere in Europe, in separ- 
ate ** Jewries," or places kept apart for them in every 
city. Never having been allowed to possess either land 
or the rights of citizenship, their wealth was nearly 
always in gold. The Jews, indeed, were already the 
capitalists of Europe. Many a castle and cathedral 
alike owed its existence to their loans. Everyone at 


The Story of Rouen 

once abhorred yet could not do without them. In 
Rouen their history is soon marked by massacre and 
crime. As soon as Duke Robert had gone to the 
Crusades in 1096, the townsmen rose against the in- 
habitants of the Rue aux Juifs, and murdered numbers 
of men with their wives and children* The great fire 
that took place in the Parish of St. Lo, between 1 116 
and 1 1 26, may very likely have been caused by another 
attack of the same kind. In any case, it was the un- 
happy Jews who paid the penalty; and still more 
trouble must have been caused by the fire already 
mentioned in 1 1 3 1 which raged round the Porte 
Massacre, close to their quarter. When Philip Aug- 
ustus drove them all out of France in 1182, the town 
of Rouen seized the opportunity to take possession of 
the synagogue and houses in the Rue aux Juifs, and 
the Jews were only allowed to return sixteen years 
afterwards, on the payment of large sums of money. 
In 1202 they were again mercilessly "bled" by King 
John, and the protection naturally accorded by this 
needy prince to their usurious practices was bitterly 
resented by the burghers. 

The fires that were of such continual occurrence 
even in the small space of the Jews' quarter were by 
no means confined, unfortunately, to that part of the 
city. I have had to notice several times already the 
repeated devastation caused in this way to a town that 
was still chiefly built of wood, and in the last days of 
the Norman Dukes the ravages of fire were excep- 
tionally widespread and pitiless. The year 11 16 was a 
peculiarly fatal one, and only ten years afterwards flames 
broke out in the Rue des Carmes, and devoured both 
the Abbey of St. Amand and the Abbey of St. Ouen, 
while the Cathedral itself only just escaped, and an earth- 
quake that immediately followed the fire completed the 
destruction of what little had been left standing within 
its area. But the Metropolitan Church which had been 

The Fall of Normandy 

struck by lightning and injured in 1 1 1 7, was not spared 
by the soldiers of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1136; and 
before the end of the century the whole of the building 
that William the Conqueror had seen consecrated before 
the invasion of England was destroyed by the flames on 
Easter Eve, and of the Cathedral built by his Bishop 
Maurilius where the Lion Heart received his crusading 
8Word and banner from the Archbishop Gautier^ 
QOthing now remains except the lower part of the 
Tour St. Romain. In that same terrible year of 1 200 
the first shrine of St. Maclou was also burnt to the 
ground with several other churches, and the fire swept 
through the southern parts of the city to the river itself, 
and even set alight some buildings of the Tour de 
Rouen which the Norman dukes had built, though the 
chapel must have been saved, for it is recorded that in 
1203 this building was given to his chancellor by 
John Lackland. But the ancient donjon to which 
Henri Beauclerc had added the palace standing where 
the Halles are now, and the fortifications which were 
erected near the spot by the same Duke, whose walls 
were strong enough to resist for three months a close 
siege by Geoffrey Plantagenet after the faubourg of 
St. Sever had been ruined, all this was utterly de- 
stroyed by Philip Augustus in 1204, and the Chateau 
of the French Kings was built near the Porte Bouv- 
reoil where the donjon still remains that preserves the 
most shameful record in the story of the town. Rouen 
has kept no memory of its native dukes. 

All this will explain how it was that the French 
King began his rule in a Rouen that was almost as 
stripped of buildings as the Rotomagus that Rollo took. 
But there was the vital difference that the " unarmed 
crowd '' had been replaced by burgesses conscious of 
their strength, by confr^ries whose privileges and 
statutes did not depend on bricks and mortar, and by 
citizens who had just begun to realise the value of their 


The Story of Rouen 

civic independence. The Knights Templars had of 
course their own commanderie in so important a centre 
of industry and wealth, but all vestiges of their habita- 
tion were swept away when the order was so mercilessly 
suppressed by Philippe-le-Bel. I have shown else- 
where that by 1312 this order had become as much 
the bankers of Europe as were the Jews of a century 
before, and that the charges of witchcraft had merely 
been trumped up by royal debtors who preferred hang- 
ing their creditors to paying their bills. The sign 
of the Barde or Barge Royale, now in the Mus^e 
des Antiquites is the only remnant of the Templars left 
in Rouen. A " Commanderie " that lasted far longer 
in the town was that of St. Antoine, which was 
established in 1095 ^^ ^^^^ ^^^ those suffering from the 
horrible disease known as St. Anthony's Fire. It 
continued its good work until 1 790. Another founda- 
tion that had its origin in the same charitable instincts 
was the Hospital of the Mont-aux-Malades, founded 
to care for cases of the terrible leprosy brought back 
by the Crusaders from the East. This was first in- 
stituted by the citizens themselves in 1 1 3 1 , and a few 
years afterwards was placed under the care of a priory 
of Augustinian monks. The Church of St. Gilles was 
then founded on the same spot, and the hospital's funds 
were increased by Guillaume Baril of St. Maclou. In 
1 162, Henry II. of England still further added to 
the revenues of the priory and hospital by giving it 
the rent and privileges of the Foire de St. Gilles 
with half of the octroi duty. It was to be held for a 
week on the first of September every year, and fourteen 
years afterwards the same king rebuilt the hospital 
entirely and placed the new church under the patronage 
of St. Thomas of Canterbury. 

This church is one of the few buildings of the time 
before Philip Augustus that you may still see. To 
reach it you go up the Rue Cauchoise, along the Rue 

7 be Fall of Normandy 

Sl Gervais, past the Abbey of St. Gervais, where 
the Conqueror died, and where the 'old crypt of 
St. Mellon still exists, then up a long and steep hill, 
on whose very summit is a village street with a broad 
iron raiHng that opens to your right into a pretty 
avenue of limes, with the worn steps of an old stone 
cross or fountain to the left of the church inside. At 
first you will be shocked and disappointed by the 
hideous modem restoration of the west front, with its 
side aisles, that are but poor specimens of pointed 
architecture. But go boldly inside and you will 
•ee the church of good, plain Norman work, dedi- 
cated by King Henry to the memory of the murdered 
English archbishop, and built by his chamberlain, 
Roscelin. The original building had the simple nave 
with its apse beyond, that we shall see on the other 
ode of the town of St. Julien. There is a further 
disappointment in store when you find the incongruous 
windows inserted in the chancel and the aisles that 
were added later on to the original nave. To under- 
stand what has happened you must go to the outside of 
the east end, and there you will see how the old round 
Norman apse was cut o^, and a squared end was stuck 
on instead with a large pointed window, and how a 
new outside roof was clumsily fitted on to cover both 
the aisles and the nave as well, a job so badly cal- 
culated that the tops of the eastern aisle-windows on 
both sides show above the line of roof, and the open- 
ings themselves are blocked. When I saw it in 1897 
the church was in process of being joined on to the 
religious buildings which surround it, and the closed 
eastern openings had been altered, in the north aisle to 
a round-headed recess, and in the south aisle to the 
altar of a chapel. But the five round-headed Norman 
arches of the nave remain, with the four smaller ones 
in the choir. Above the nave arches are five narrow 
round-arched windows which do not correspond with 


I'he Story of Rouen 

the pillars beneath, but are merely holes in a thick 
wall instead of spaces between vaulting-shafts, as they 
are in the perfect Gothic of St. Ouen. But even so 
these windows are far better than the incongruous 
pointed work in the newer aisles. There is no tran- 
sept, and the roof is a plain vault. The round columns, 
too, are quite plain, with slight carving here and there 
upon the capitals. And this is all that is left of the 
church which Henry II. ordered to be built in 1 1 76* 
Twenty-one parishes used to send their lepers to 
this hospital, and those who could not pay their fees 
were helped to do so from the parish purse. In 1 478 
each leper was obliged to bring with him (among other 
things), a bed with its sheets, all his body-linen and 
towels, his cooking pots and table ware, and various 
articles of clothing, besides 62 sous i denier for the 
prior, 5 sous for the servants,^ and three ** hanaps " or 
drinking vessels, one of silver. Evidently all this was 
not what a poor patient could often afford, and we 
find, without surprise, the parish St. John objecting to 
the rule in case of one Perrecte Deshays, who had been 
sent there by order of the officials, and could not 
possibly afford the list of necessaries claimed by the 
prior. So a compromise was made that for all lepers 
in the twenty-one parishes who could not give what 
the rules required, a sum of twenty livres from the 
parish authorities would be accepted as an equivalent. 
The treasurers of every parish were bound, in the 
public safety, to report to the proper town official every 
case of leprosy within their bounds. This official then 
took medical advice about the sick person, and if the 
leprosy was certified ordered the sequestration of the 
invalid. The acts in which these orders were carried 
out continue very frequent, even in the first half of the 
sixteenth century, and especially in the parish of Octe- 

1 The complete list has been printed from the archives of 
Rouen by M. Ch. de Beaurepaire. 


The Fall of Normandy 

Tille. The leper was conducted to the hospital with 
exactly the same ceremony as was used for the inter- 
ment of the dead, and was followed by all the members 
of the confr^rie to which he belonged, and preceded 
by a mourner ringing a dirge. One of the statutes of 
a confr^rie ordaining this procession has been preserved 
(Arch, de la Seine Inferieure, G. 5,238) : — " Le ser- 
oient tenus convoier jusques a sa malladerie le maistre 
et Tarlets portans leurs sourplis et capperons vestus a 
toolt la croix et banniere et clochette, et sy luy feroit 
Fen semblable service comme a ung trespasse en I'eglise 
o(^ il seroit demourant en lad. vOle et sy seroit led. 
Tarlet tenu crier par les carfours comme pour ung 

Another of these charitable refuges for lepers was 
built for Rouen by an English king in 1 183 at Petit- 
Qu^villy, outside the town on the south side of the 
Seine. The Hospital of St. Julien was placed by 
Eling Henry II. under the protection of the older 
Priory of Grammont, which is now a powder magazine. 
It was called the " Salle aux Pucelles," or " Nobles 
Lepreuses," because its patients were at first limited to 
royal or nobles families. In 1366 the " Maladrerie" 
appears to have outlived its original objects, and was 
changed into a priory, which retained the old chapel, and 
seems to have kept up a public hospital of wider scope 
under the patronage of Charles V. of France. It was 
then known as the Prieurl St. Julien. Later on it 
got the name of '* Chartreux " from the Carthusians 
who settled there when they were turned out of the 
Chartreuse de la Rose, which our Henry the Fifth 
had made his headquarters during his seige of Rouen 
early in the fifteenth century. It was to Quevilly 
also that the monks came for refuge when the be- 
sieging army of Henri Quatre wrecked their abbey 
on St. Catherine's Hill above the town. Something 
of all this changing history is perceived in the names 


the Story o/Roaen 

that the traTcller sees tn his way to the Bttle church 
to-day For he can cither go there from the Pmit 
Boieldieu in an electric car marked "Place Char- 
treux," or he may tell his coachman to drive hiro to 
the "Chapelle St. Julien, Rue de I'Horoice, Pctn- 
Qugnlly " Unlesa he enjoys hunting on foot for two 
■mall gabled roofs and a round apae, htddeo away 
in the comer of some ancient and twiating atreeti 
among deserted fields, dnving there will be far moK 
satisfactory, and the 
visit u well worth hn 

The little builduig, 
whose very uolatira 
has perhaps helped to 
preserve it, is now vwy 
justly classed among 
the best of the '* Moon- 
ments Histonque* de 
France ' m Not- 
mandy There u no 
tower On the Ime 
beneath the roof round 


according to the tradiiio 

the heads of hairy 
Franks and Saxony 
D of the older Norman archi- 
tecture at the Church of St Paul's, which we shidl 
next visit, near the river Near the western end, on 
the noithem exterior, ig a dilapidated Madonna, and 
an old bricked'Up doorway. But it is the inside that 
will chiefly repay you for your trouble. Through the 
triple portal of the west entrance, with plain round 
arches set on slightly carved Norman capitals, you pass 
at once into the nave. The whole effect is that which 
can be only given by simple, honest, and good work- 

7 be Fall of Normandy 

manahip. The restoration was carried out with a 
reverential conscientiousness that is far too rare, by M. 
Guillaume Lecointe, and by him this precious relic of 
twelfth-century architecture and art was given to the 
Commune of Petit-Qu^villy. A small arcade of en- 
gaged colonnettes goes right round the whole church ; 
the larger pillars have carved capitals, and there is the 
usual conventional Norman moulding on the round 

In the apse are four round-headed windows, all 
slightly smaller than the four in the choir and the 
six in the nave. In the chancel-arch there are two 
clustered columns, and also in the nave and apse. The 
others have plain round shafts. The simple vaulting 
of the choir and apse is excellently done, and on the 
roof above the choir you see the frescoes that are the 
chief treasure of the place, representing scenes from the 
Annunciation, the Wise Men, the FJight into Egypt, 
and other Biblical subjects. These paintings are 
boldly and well executed, and are of the highest 
interest. Indeed, their workmanship is such, that 
many antiquaries refused to believe that they were 
contemporary with the building itself. As if the 
little chapel had not suffered vicissitudes enough, it 
wit put up to public auction at the Revolution in 
1 789, and used by its new proprietors as a stable and 
granary. They were careful to cover the whole of 
their ceiling with a thick coat of whitewash, and it 
18 only in the last few years that the patriotic work of M. 
Lecointe has been completed by the careful recovery of 
these ancient paintings from beneath their bed of white- 
wash. Even then their value was not fully appreciated, 
and only when M. LeRoy had submitted certain de- 
tached portions to a chemical analysis was it proved 
that frescoes of the twelfth century had really been 

By this careful observer it has been shown that a 

o 97 

The Story of Rouen 

couch of sandy mortar was first laid on the stones of 
the vault, then a second layer, rich in lime, and 
especially in white of egg, was applied, and the 
surface was ready for the application of the colours. 
These are blue, green, yellow ochre, reddish-brown, 
black, and white. Cobalt blue, or ^^ azure,'' was only 
discovered in the sixteenth century by a German glass- 
maker. The blue used in these paintings is the true 
** outremer " of the twelfth century, the solid colour 
made from lapislazuli, which was worth its weight in 
gold. That it was employed at all, is one more evi- 
dence of the munificence of Henry II. in his foandft- 
don. The green is a mixture of this blue with the 
yellow ochre. The white was made of powdered t^ 
shells, and the black is lamp black. From the fitct 
that the colouring matter has in no case penetrated 
the prepared surface, but adheres to it, we may argoe 
finally that the process in which white of egg is the 
chief constituent was used to lay on the colours. 

Besides the heart of Richard Coeur de Lion, the 
Cathedral of Rouen contains another relic of the 
Norman days in the tomb of that Empress Matilda, 
who as Countess of Anjou, gave Henry Plantagenet 
to the throne of England, and died in 1167. Her 
rich sepulchre at Bee was pillaged by the English in 
1 42 1, and the restored monument was desecrated in 
1793, but in 1846 the original casket was discovered 
by the fortunate stroke of a pickaxe, and now rests in 
the Cathedral. In 1 1 24 the shrine containing the body 
of the famous St. Romain was opened in the presence 
of the King and Queen of England, and nfty-foor 
years afterwards, ^ the decorations made for it by 
Guillaume Bonne Ame had been taken for alms to the 
poor. Archbishop Rotrou made a new and more 
magnificent covering for the venerated relics that play 
so large a part in the story of the town. This new and 
Norman shrine it must have been which was carried by 


The Fall of Normandy 

the two prisoners, delivered by the Privilege of the 
Fierte in 1 194, but it has long ago been replaced by 
later work. 

There is but one more religious monument, the last 
building I can show you in this chapter, that has 
remained from these centuries until now. Walk along 
the riverside eastwards, and as the .^ - . 

waters flow from Paris towards you 
on your right, stop where the chalk 
dam of St. Catherine's Mount 
begin to slope downwards from 
the left hand of the road. Just 
between it and the river is the 
Church of St. Paul, which stands corbel prom the old 
where the first Christian altar re- ^°*^ °' '"^ ^^^'• 
placed the Temple of Adonis, and watched with St. 
Gervais and St. Godard the infant town of Rotho- 
magus arise. 

It was no doubt at the time when St. Romain him- 
•elf finally destroyed the Tarasque of idolatry that this 
first church arose above the ruins of the pagan shrine. 
But of Roman or Merovingian structures St. Paul can 
show no trace. It has, however, an extremely inter- 
esting early Norman apse, which is different to every- 
thing else in Rouen, and older than any other build- 
ing, save St. Mellon's crypt at St. Gervais. By 
going round the outside you can see three apses, and 
as you stand there, the midmost apse is the Norman 
building, that on your left is of the ninth century, and 
that on the right of the fourteenth. This Norman 
flat-buttressed and round-arched apse is directed to the 
cast of summer, while the new church in the same 
place points to the east of winter, and is almost at right 
angles to the older one. The corbels outside, beneath 
the roof, are carved with the hairy-bearded faces of 
conquered Franks and Saxons, who were thus set up to 
the perpetual derision of their clean-shaved Norman 


The Story of Rouen 

victors. The idea is as old as the Temple of Agri- 
gentum in 600 b.c., where the conquered Africans 
hold up the weight of the building, and recalls the 
barbarity of the primitive Sagas, which relate how the 
bleeding heads of enemies themselves were placed around 
the temples of the Norsemen. 

The nave goes back into some private property be- 
yond the churchyard, in which a forgotten tomb liei 
mouldering behind the railings. In the grass to die 
right of the old apse you can see a pointed arch spring- 
ing from a capital, which shows how the surroundiog 
soil has risen since the thirteenth century. This old 
building is all used as the vestry of the new church, 
through which you must pass to see the interior of the 
ancient buildings. Once vdthin them, you will find 
nearest to you the fourteenth-century work of which a 
fragment showed outside. Then comes the Norraaa 
chapel, that recalls the work in the abbey of St. George's 
de Boscherville. Beyond that again is the ninth-cen- 
tury '* Saxon " buildings. The archaic quality of the 
decoration is very notable in the capital that represents 
the adoration of the Magi, and indicates the relative 
importance of the personages by the size in which each 
is carved, just as is done in the Egyptian sculptures. 

With these few relics the tale of Norman architec- 
ture in Rouen is finished. From a short survey of this 
town alone, no one who had never seen Caen or Cou- 
tances would imagine that he was in the duchy which 
possessed a school of architecture that was developed 
into Notre Dame, on the one hand, in the He de France, 
and into Durham, on the other, in England. In our 
own island the architecture before the eleventh century, 
which it supplanted, known as the Anglo-Saxon, was a 
primitive Romanesque of purely Italian origin, as shown 
in Bradford-on-Avon Church, which was built by 
Ealdhelm in Wessex long before the Conquest. This 
is the only entire building of the earlier style that we 

7be Fall of Normandy 

lum, though the towers of EaH'a Barton, of ByweU, 
of Sl Beoets u Cambndge, remain to show tta affio- 
ity to the styles of Italy and Western Europe, aod 
of the Campanilea Even when the Norman work first 
appears, it is not without a great deal of that Byzantine 
element which is expressed b; a spreading cupola and 
a central lantern 
But thi* early 
Norman building is 
very rar^ and that 
u why the three 
churches I have 
jnat descnbed in 
Rooen have a TaJue 
that is Kaicely 
realised by travellers 
who are m search 
for Gothic or Re- 
naissance architecture 
only. They are 
somewhat difficult 
of access too, and 
little known, but 
they will repay a 
nait> They show 
tlie fbnn of the Latin 
limb besides the apse, the choir beneath the central 
tower that replaced the Byzantine cupola, and a 
little vanltiDg in the aisles Onginally they had a 
flat ceiling for freseoes. This is a style that was 
neither that of Southern Italy nor that of Aquitaine 
It may have been a distinctively national development 
of the Lombard schools of Pavia or Milan But in 
any case, though purely local at first, it utterly aup- 
pbnted the Primitive Romanesque that had hitherto 
been the common possession of Western Europe just as, 
in luer centuries, the pointed style utterly swept away 

The Story a/Rou 

the round arch in all its forms of expression. An( 
•the coming chapters it is with the pointed arch that 
shall have more and more to deal. To Italy, \ 
imitated it helplessly, the Northern Gothic never becj 
even remotely national in its expression. The na 
Southern Romanesque was there only approprial 
replaced by the really Italian style developed in 
Roman Renaissance. But in the North, where 
early pointed arch had been at first only a mem 
of Paynim victories, or a trophy of early Saracc 
work, the pointed style as a school of architecture ' 
destined to triumph immediately it rose from the posit 
of mere ornament to the necessity of a construci 
feature. It was the problem of vaulting over a sp 
that was not square, which gave the pointed arch 
reason for absolute existence, its beauty of pro^ 
strength and adequate proportion. Some of 
noblest forms of its development are to be found in 
buildings we shall see later on in Rouen. 




A French Town 

Lifdi de piriete clurablt, e[ lignum, quod inter 

I V the Norman capital that Philip Augustus added to 
the royal domain of France was not particularly 
rich, u I have ghowa, in architectural beauty, it pos- 
MMed Kimething more eoduring even 
tlun rtooe, more vital than any school 
of architecture, something also far 
more precious as an indication of 
coining prosperity and strength ; and 
thii woa the beginning of the inde- 
pendence and wealth of the citizens 
of Rouen, as symbolised by the be- 
ginning of their Commune. This 
■pirit of independence, and bold 
awertion of consecrated privilege, was 
not limited to the laymen. Perhaps its most un- 
expected expansion is to be found in that Privilege 
de Sb Romain exercised by the Cathedral Chapter- 
bonier whoK beginning has been already mentioned 
in the fablei of the Church (see pp. 38 to 41). 
To appreciate the state of things in this connection, 
^lich Philip Augustus found in Rouen, you must 
recall two facts that I stated in earlier pages. 
They are, first, the institution of the Poire du Pai^on 
by the Conqueror (see p. 69}, and, second, the 
opponunity ot^red for experiments in independence 

The Story of Rouen 

whether civic or ecclesiastical, by the years of 
Stephen's anarchy in England, and of Henry Planta- 
genet's minority in France (see p. 84) between the 
years 1135 and 1 145. 

I am enabled to limit the date of the beginning of 
the Privilege de St. Romain to this particular inter- 
val, because a formal inquiry in 12 10 established the 
facts, on sworn testimony, that there had been no 
objection made to the privilege in the reigns of Richard 
Coeur de Lion or of Henry IL, and the details given 
of the procession to the Norman castle and the visit of 
the canons to the dungeons show that the machinery of 
ceremonial had already advanced to a certain degree of 
age and elaboration. In the first of these reigns there 
is indeed definite reference to the fact that no prboner 
was released in 11939 because the Lion-hearted Duke 
was himself a captive ; and as a graceful recognition of 
this courtesy the Chapter were permitted to release 
two prisoners in 1 1 94 to compensate for the voluntary 
lapse of one year. This again would show that the 
privilege was already known and recognised as tradi- 
tional and proper. We can go still further back in 
the process of limitation ; for Orderic Vital, who died 
in 1 1 4 1, describes the first bringing of St. Romain'sbody 
to the Cathedral, and says nothing either of the dragon 
or the privilege ; nor, indeed, could the essential part 
of the ceremony known as the " Levee de la Fierte *' 
have taken place before the jewelled shrine had been 
made (see p. 98) to hold the sacred relics which the 
prisoner bore upon his shoulders. Now it is not likely 
that Henry Plantagenet, when he came into his kingdom 
in 1 1459 would have permitted so grave a limitation of 
the royal prerogative to arise for the first time ; and, 
on the other hand, it is extremely probable that it 
should arise during the years of his minority, when, as 
we have seen, experiments in independence were quite 
the ^hion. It is therefore practically certain that the 
1 04 

A French Town 

PiiYildge de St. Romain began sooo after 1 1359 though 
not 80 late as 1 1 45. 

The year 12 10, already mentioned, is the first date 
on which an actual record exists of the liberated 
prisoner's name. His crime is not mentioned, though 
we know that it involved the penalty of death. But 
the date is important because of the inquiry insisted on 
by the governor of the Castle, when the Chapter of 
the Cadiedral claimed his release by exercising their 
Himous Privilege. When the dispute was referred to 
Philip Augustus, who was naturally anxious to con- 
ciliate the powerful clergy in his new domains, the 
chevalier Richard (who was the military protector of 
the abbey of St. Medard at Soissons), was given to 
the canons, and in gratitude for this escape from mortal 
peril,^ he granted the Cathedral the perpetual rent upon 
his public mill. 

From this case it is clear that so glaring a renuncia- 
tion of the incommunicable sovereign rights of life and 
death could only have been successfully obtained by the 
regular intercession made to each duke for the release 
of one prisoner every year ; and the origin of that 
intercession can be explained with perfect probability 
by the persistent mediaeval custom of the " Mysteries '' 
or Miracle Plays, which came into fashion as soon as 
the confif^ries of various trades had been consolidated, 
just about the time the craft guilds appeared in Eng- 
land, in 1 1 30, a date that fits in very well with the 
beginmng of St. Romain's *^ privilege.'' These 
Mysteries or Miracle Plays were, as has been noticed, 
often performed in the Parvis of the Cathedral, and 
their nrst object was to represent the truths of Scrip- 
ture to the people in the most intelligible and pictur- 
esque way. Ascension Day was one of the festivals 
of the Church which most especially needed some such 

^ « Cum essem in periculo corporis mei in regio carcere 
tpud Rothomagum detentus," he says. 


T'he Story of Rouen 

educational and popular celebration, to impress upon 
men's minds how Christ by ascending to His Father to 
free them from the Devil and from everlasting death, 
had opened wide the gates of heaven, and taken cap- 
tivity captive. No more striking significance could have 
been given to the meaning of the festival than by the 
public release of a prisoner who had been condemned 
to death. By slow degrees this release became an 
annual grace accorded to the Church in its holy office 
of public instructor. 

And it was no new thing to invest with such extra- 
ordinary privileges the powerful princes of a church 
which was the visible representative of Divine Pro- 
vidence on earth.i The bishops of Orleans, for in- 
stance, possessed even until the last years of Louis XV. 
the prerogative of pardoning every single criminal in 
the prisons on the day of their solemn entry into their 
episcopal see. This, at first sight, appears a wider 
power than any possessed by a bishop of Rouen, who, 
on one day in the year, voted as a canon in his Chapter- 
house for the release of one prisoner and his accom- 
plices. But the opportunity of the bishops of Orleans 
came only once in a lifetime, that of the Chapterhouse of 
Rouen was renewed against all opposition every year 
for some six centuries, and M. Floquet has discovered 
a manuscript which proves that the prerogative of 
pardon was granted in addition, within certain limits, 
to the bishop by virtue of his office, as it was in 1593, 
when Guillaume de Vienne entered his diocese in state 
on a Sunday in September 1393. Yet no historian 

1 Outside France the Bishop of Geneva is a famous example 
of this ecclesiastical right of pardon ; and even limiting our- 
selves to French Territory, apart from Orleans, we shall find 
instances at Laon, at Vend6me on the Fete of St. Lazare, at 
the Petit Chitelet of Paris on Palm Sunday, and at Embrun. 
But in none of these cases is there either proof or record of so 
continuous and persistent an exercise of the privilege as is 
found at Rouen. 


A French I'oivn 

seems yet to have noticed this most striking fact. How 
it must have impressed the popular imagination may 
easily be estimated from the known horrors of the 
dungeons and ^^ lakes of misery " in which, at Rouen 
and most mediaeval cities, the criminals were con- 
demned to linger. The " resurrection of the dead " 
would be no exaggerated description for the act of 
pardon which released a prisoner from the hideous dens 
of a twelfth-century jail. Certainly no act could more 
clearly fix on all men's minds the meaning of a sacred 
season and the power of the Church. 

In 1 1 35 the great fi^te of St. Romain, the most 
important yet held in Rouen, had been instituted for 
only about fifty years. Its pardons, its processions, 
and its ^r were still fresh in the popular imagination, 
and would be very likely to be secured as the chief 
attraction in the first great " Miracle- Play " that was 
given under the patronage of the Church at Ascension- 
tide, for they kept alive the memory of the patron 
saint of Rouen, who had delivered his city from the 
Dragon of Idolatry by means of a condemned 
prisoner. So the idea of the Ascension Mystery 
became inextricably connected with the great saint of 
the town, yet the Privilege itself was not exerted on 
his feast day, the 23rd of October, but on Ascension 
Day, when the Virgin was also represented as crushing 
the serpent's head. For two days in the great Ascen- 
sion Festival the flaming monster was moved before 
the cross through all the streets of Rouen. On the 
third day, which was Ascension Day itself, the dragon 
followed, bound and vanquished, behind it. 

So it is that we find this first recorded prisoner. Chevalier 
Richard, speaking of the " Privilege " as " «i Vhonneur 
de ia glorieuse Vierge Marie et de Saint Romain.*' ^ 

^ With this phrase in 1210 compare the words recorded in 
MS. 69 in the Rouen Library, where the privilege is spoken of 
as '' auordea la Sainte vUrge Marie et au lienheureux Saint Romaim^** 

in i»99- 107 

The Story of' Rouen 

fiy 121O9 therefore^ these two holy names had 
become definitely associated with the << Lev^e de la 
Fierte," and Xht JUrte was already raised upon the 
shoulders of the prisoner to signify the new yoke of the 
Christian religion which he took upon him in exchai^ 
for the sins from whose consequence he had been merci- 
fully delivered. Where Chevalier Richard, in 121O9 
raised the jewelled shrine of the relics of St. Romain, at 
the chapel of the old castle of the Dukes of Normandy, 
on the very same spot did Nicolas Behlrie and his w& 
raise it in 1 790, on the last occasion when the "Privil^e** 
was exercised. The custom had continued through the 
centuries in the place of its origin, though Norman 
castles had been replaced by the prison of Philip 
Augustus, though the fiaillage had been built, though 
the Englishmen under Henry V. had taken the town, 
though the Conciergerie of later reigns existed. The 
conservatism of the Church had led her thus uncon- 
sciously to preserve the secret of the origin of her 
Privilege from the days when the prisons of the last 
Norman dukes had been the only appropriate scene 
for her most striking and gorgeous public ceremony. 

The little open chapel built upon the same spot now 
(see p. 37), saw the last deliverance of 1790, and still 
preserves the name of the " Fierte St» RomainJ* An 
excellent and well-proportioned example of the archi- 
tecture of the sixteenth century, it was used for the 
first time in 15439 and shows in every detail of its 
construction and arrangement that it was expressly 
planned for this especial ceremony. Of the cere- 
mony itself I shall have more to say later on. For 
the present I must content myself with this neces- 
sary explanation of its origin and locality. From 
the lists of the prisoners I shall very frequently have 
occasion to take a striking example of the manners 
of the time, as the tale of the city is gradually un- 
folded, in which this Privilege de St. Romain is 

ji French Town 

perhaps the most exceptional and striking feature. But 
it is only by the second half of the fourteenth century 
that the names are written down with a sufficient regu- 
larity to admit of useful reference. During the thirteenth 
century, at which I have now arrived, there are only 
three names actually preserved, though the continuation 
of the Privilege is fully proved by the inevitable quarrels 
between the ecclesiastical and civil authorities, of which 
conspicuous examples occur in 1 207 and in 1 299. 

The canons did not shrink from laying the town 
under an interdict when the lawyers proved recalcitrant, 
and- took every opportunity to enforce the recognition 
of their permanent right of choosing their prisoner at 
the season of the year consecrated to the exercise of 
their peculiar privilege. The same Bailly of Rouen 
who had objected to this in 1299, found, to his cost, 
that it was dangerous to repeat his attempts to thwart 
the ecclesiastics. For when their freedom of choice 
was again infringed only three years afterwards, the 
Chapter brought the sacred shrine to the chapel in 
the Place de la Vieille Tour, and, after explaining 
what had happened to the people, they left this ven- 
erated palladium of the town out in the open square 
until their privileges had been recognised. For the 
Thursday of Ascension Day, for the Friday and 
Saturday following, it remained there guarded by 
certain of the clergy and by many pious citizens. 
Each day it was solemnly visited by a procession 
firom the Cathedral, accompanied by a sympathising 
crowd that daily grew larger and more vehement. 
By the Sunday morning the Baillage gave in, and 
the canons released the prisoner with a ceremony 
that was more than usually impressive after the oppo- 
sition that had preceded it. 

Such quarrels were the more probable just now, be- 
cause the ecclesiastics were thus tenacious of their << privi- 
l^e" just when the infant commune was beginning 


The Story of Rouen 

to feel its strength, when commerce was becoming 
regular, and even a town militia makes its appear- 
ance ; for die *^ Compagnie de la Cinquantaine,'' some- 
tames called the Arbal^triers, were able to trace back 
their foundations to 1204, when an inquiry was held 
and their privileges confirmed more than five hundred 
and fifty years afterwards. The conmiune itself was 
also fully approved by Philip Augustus, who confirmed 
its possession of certain common lands in the suburbs 
which had been granted by Duke Richard. By the 
same date the ^* bourgeois" or sworn freemen were 
exercising the free choice of their twelve councillors and 
twelve aldermen, and sent up to the King from among 
them three candidates out of whom His Majesty selected 
the Mayor of Rouen ; and this civic constitution lasted 
until 1320. It was revised by St. Louis, in 1255, 
and the same king reformed the civic expenditure by 
establishing the Chambre des Comptes which held its 
sittings in later centuries in the Renaissance building 
north-west of the Cathedral. In 1220 the commone 
obtained from the King for an annual rent of 40 iivres, 
the house and land of the Earl of Leicester close to 
the Porte Massacre, and the Church of Notre Dame 
de la Ronde, and there they built the Belfry Tower 
and the Hotel de Ville, which lasted until 1 449 and 
is still represented by the buildings in the Rue de la 
Grosse Horloge above the famous archway near the 
Hotel de Nord. 

This fief of the Earl of Leicester was but one of the 
many acquisitions by which Philip Augustus gradually 
bought out the feudal barons and made sure of Nor- 
mandy. Other property of the Montforts, and of 
William the Marshal ^ are examples. And if the 

^ M. Paul Meyer, head of the £cole des Chartes, has, I 
hear, just discovered a mediaeval poem about this interesting 
person, called the ^'Histoirede Guillaume le Marshal. '^ It 
was in the British Museum, and his edition will be of great 
interest to British history. 
J 10 

A French Town 

Eang allowed his burgesses their Hotel de Ville, we 
may be sure he destroyed the castles of the barons 
whene?er it was possible. Even that ancient fortress 
of the Dukes of Normandy, called the Tour de Rouen, 
or the Haute Vieille Tour, he pulled down, destroying 
their double wall and filling up their triple moat, and 
erected on the " Place Bouvreuil " the new castle of the 
kings of France, with its six towers and the donjon 
keep which still exists, and is called the Tour Jeanne 
d'Arc. The other buildings only lasted until 1590, 
though a mill could be seen for almost another century 
which was still worked by the water that ran from the 
stream of Gaalor which supplied the well of the casde- 
keep^ and was used later on for many other fountains 
in die city. By 1250 it had already been led through 
underground channels to the Rue Massacre, and by 
1456 the Fountain of the Town Belfry was established 
wluch is now represented by the Fontaine de la Grosse 
Horloge, built in 1732. The waters themselves come 
originally from a spring near the foot of the Mont- 
aux-Malades. In his new castle Philip Augustus 
ordained the Echiquier de Normandie, as the supreme 
Tribunal of Justice in the province, whose courts were 
to lie alternately at Rouen, Caen, and Falaise. 

Soon afterwards the land occupied by the palace 
of William the Conqueror was nearly all given up to 
the burgesses for purposes of their trade. They were 
permitted to extend the buildings to the quays provided 
they did not intercept trafHc on the river. By 1 224 
the drapers had obtained lands in the forest of Roumare 
for the proper manufacture of their woollen stuffs, 
which were always a staple of commerce in Rouen, 
and they used these '^ Halles " for the exhibition and 
•ale of dieir wares. The courtyard must have looked 
very much as it does to-day, with the addition of 
cloisters and open shop-fronts. By 1325 commerce 
had grown there so much that << sales in the dark " 


The Story of Rouen 

had to be forbidden by law. St. Louis granted the 
extension of the market-halls over the whole ground 
on which the Norman dukes had built, and established 
in 1256 the market called <^March6 de la Vteille 
Tour." This king was an especial fiiend of the 
Archbishop Odo Rigaud, and both were zealous in the 
reforms necessary to Church and State. In 1262 the 
Cathedral gave up to the King certain possessions outside 
the town in exchange for the public mills of Rouen ; 
and property was further centralised by the royal charter 
granting these Halles, with the March6 de la Vieille 
Tour, for an annual rent to the mayor and burgesses 
of the town, who were also given full rights of posses- 
sion in the streams of Robec and Aubette. St. Louis 
also established the right of the citizens to insist on 
their debtors coming to Rouen itself to adjust their 
legal difHculties, and further assisted commerce by 
prohibiting strange merchants from retail trade in the 
city, and by making all Jews wear a circle of yellow 
(called rouelle) on back and breast, as a distinctive 

The commercial privileges which I have already 
mentioned (see p. 85) were fully confirmed by Philip 
Augustus, especially with regard to exports to Ireland, 
while Louis IX. continued the gradual consolidation of 
the river trade in the hands of the Rouen merchants. 
What this involved, may be seen from the case which 
was brought before the Parliament of Paris in 1 272, 
when the Mayor of Rouen had seized six barrels of 
wine which a landowner was bringing (as he asserted) 
from his vineyards to his own house by river. Every 
quay along the bank was rapidly taken possession of by 
the merchants, and by 1282 the famous ^^Clos aux 
Galees, between the Rue du Vieux Palais and the 
Rue de Fontenelle, was built in the parish of St. Eloi 
as a dockyard for purposes of commerce and of war. 
But not long after this the space appears to have been 

A French Town 

needed for other purposes, and the real ^'Clos des 
Gal6e8 '' was moved across the river to the other bank 
at the end of the Empress Bridge, or <<Pont de 
Mathilde." In a charter of 12979 the change is 
marked by the name, " Neuves-Galles," and this occurs 
again in 1 308. It is remarkable as the first arsenal ever 
used for artillery in France; for cannon, arms, and 
powder were all stored here in later times, and here 
were built the ships that fought in the Hundred Years' 
War by Charles VL, out of wood from the forests of 
Roumare. Just before the great siege by the English 
in 141 8 the citizens destroyed it, but the name remained 
in the hostelry called the ^' Enseigne de la Galore." 
Then the "Grenier a sel " and the "Hotel des 
Gabelles" were built on the same spot; and finally 
yon can only imagine very vaguely where the first 
dockyards of Rouen were when you look now at the 
Caserne St. Sever. 

In tracing out the changes that have come in each 
century to the aspect of the town, it is not often we 
shall find a locality so persistent in its character as the 
Place de la Haute et Basse Veiile Tour, when once 
its military strength had been changed into commercial 
convenience. The older castle, originally built more to 
the north-west by Rollo, between the Church of St. 
Pierre du Chastel and the Rue des Charrettes, had long 
ago absolutely disappeared, and its place was taken by 
a Franciscan convent, given to the brethren in 1^48 by 
Archbishop Rigaud, who had been originally a monk 
of the Order; and the ruins of their building may 
be seen in the street which, as Rue des Cordeliers, still 
preserves their name. Another change that is still 
recorded in the nomenclature of the streets took place 
when Louis VIII. allowed the inhabitants to build 
gardens and almshouses in what had once been the 
moat of tlie old town walls. This you may trace in 
the name of the Rue des Fosses Louis VIII., formerly 

H 113 

The Story of Rouen 

the Rue de 1' Aamdne. In die same way the Rue des 
Cannes preserves the fact that the Carmelite monks 
brought by St. Louis from the Holy Land, migrated 
to the street that bears their name in 1 336, and remained 
there for a very Jong time. 

But everything did not go smoothly in the streets of 
Rouen while these pacific changes were in progress. 
In 1 2 1 3 the town was filled with the levy of counts, 
barons, and knights, with all their men-at-arms, whom 
Philip was collecting to attack the King of England ; 
and in 1 250 a far more disorderly and plebeian assembly 
gathered under the leadership of Andre de St* Leonard 
to express in the practical form of riot and pillage their 
disapprobation of the ten per cent, exacted by the 
Church for grinding corn in the ecclesiastical milk. 
Near the Pont de Robec and the Rue du P^re Adam 
flour and wheat were forcibly stolen, but Archbishop 
Odo Rigaud soon asserted his authority, by fining the 
ringleader 100 marks of silver, equivalent to about 
jQiooo sterling, and the dissatisfaction ceased. In 
the next year a rising, that had some slight degree of 
religious colour in it, gave a good deal of trouble, not 
to Rouen only, but to the rest of France. Bands of 
peasants, styling themselves " Pastoureaux," asserted 
their indignation at the captivity of King Louis IX. 
by chasing the archbishop out of his cathedral. From 
the ^ct that they had been joined, not merely by all 
the lazy rufHans of the neighbourhood, but by some 
burgesses, and even by certain municipal office-holders, 
we may infer that the privileges or prerogatives of the 
Church were once more the real objects of the dis- 
pute. Though the ecclesiastics were as usual strong 
enough to exact a public apology and absolution fix)m 
the mayor and his councillors, the strange frenzy 
spread to the Provinces ; men averred that the Holy 
Virgin and her angels had appeared to urge them to 
release St. Louis, and it was necessary for Queen 


A French Town 

Blanche herself to intervene before the trouble was 
stopped in Paris and many parts of France. 

This widespread affection felt for St. Louis may, 
perhaps, be explained not only by his personality, but 
by the fact that he was always moving from one part of 
his dominions to another, in spite of the obvious incon- 
veniences of mediaeval travel. I have already noticed 
some of the things he did for Rouen on his various 
visits. But such pilgrimages as that of 1255 to Adam 
Bacon, the solitary abbot of St. Catherine, cannot 
have failed to increase his local reputation. He cele- 
brated Christmas here in 1 264, after another short visit 
previously on his way from Pont de I'Arche to Bee, 
and in 1269 he came again from Port-Audemer. On 
every such occasion he prayed in the churches and left 
offerings suitable to his rank ; he ate in the refectories 
with the monksy he dispensed alms to the poor, and gave 
money or its equivalent to the hospitals. His charity 
was, mdeed, extraordinary, for Queen Margaret's Con- 
fessor has related that he not only fed the hungry at his 
every meal, but went round the beds in the sick houses, 
smoothing the pillows of the sufferers, speaking to them, 
and trying to supply their wants. 

It was when King Louis came with his mother, 
Blanche of Castile, to keep the Christmas of 1255 at 
Rouen, that the greater part of the choir, transept, and 
nave of the Cathedral as we see it now was finished. 
The monastical developments of previous centuries had 
done their work ; the power of the great abbots and 
priors, which raised them into feudal dignitaries, with 
large wealth and wide possessions, had reached its limit. 
The rise of the communes in every town, and the pas- 
sion for civic liberty which accompanied them and gave 
them birth, as we have traced it in Rouen, was taken 
advantage of by the archbishops in those fruitful years 
which lay between 11 80 and 1240. The royal power, 
personified here by Philip Augustus, was as much con- 

The Story of Rouen 

oeraed as die burgesses in the dimination of feudality. 
Even the great secular nobles were not averse to en- 
couraging a movement that appeared to coonteiact the 
importance of their most dangerous ecclesiastical rivals. 
So that religious and political motives came together, 
just at this one momentous period, to produce an en- 
thusiasm for building which has never been equalled 
before or since. The gradual development of the 
sacred edifice from the crypt, like that catacomb of 
St. Gervais, through the form of die Roman basiUca, 
with its simple nave and round apse, to the new de- 
velopments of choir and chapels, introduced by Suger, 
had not proceeded without leaving on the finished 
product — ^which has been called Gothic — the traces 
of its growth. And this is one reason why, until the 
fourteenth century at least, the Cathedral retained the 
mingled characteristics of a building that was both civil 
and ecclesiastical, that was used both for the divine 
offices and for political, even military assemblies. 

In what I shall have to say of the architecture called 
Gothic,^ I would not have it thought that I exclude the 
praise of beauty from every other form of building, for 
there are Renaissance buildings, for instance, in Rouen 
alone that would contradict such barren dogmatism at 
the outset. The reserve and the harmonious prc^xNtion 
of the Cour des Comptes have a value of their own 
quite independent of the Gothic unrestraint and revdry 
of carving in the Portail des Libraires. But I cannot 
conceal my preference for one form of beauty over 

^ In the matter of this word << Gothic/' I am of the opinion 
of R^nan, who writes: <' En Allemagne jusqu'au quatorzidme 
si^de ce style s'appeia ^ opus Francigenumt at c'est U le nom 
qu'il aurait dii garden'' If it is too much to expect of future 
writers that they will give up the phrase, let them at least 
follow the advice of Mr Moore and limit << Gothic ** to the 
French pointed school of the lie de France. Our owa archi- 
tecture has already received quite enough additional labels to 
prevent confusion 


A French T'own 

another, my delight in the most organic form of art the 
world has ever seen, the true " master art *' of Gothic, 
as opposed to that ^Mooking backward '* which was 
the Renaissance, to that defiance of the rule of progress 
which bade men advance to different developments of 
organic living forms in every single branch of life, except 
in the greatest art of all. The Middle Ages had in- 
herited a direct succession of harmonious forms, one 
rising out of another until the perfection was attained. 
Then came the Black Death, and the no less ^tal 
scourges of Commercialism and Bureaucracy. Men's 
thoughts apparently became so riveted upon the grave 
that they must go back to the art of the dead Romans 
and the formalism of classical examples to keep breath 
in their bones at alL And even so, they informed the 
skeleton with a new life. In such new creations of the 
aged spirit as the French Renaissance Chateaux of 
Touraine, or Rouen's Hotel Bourgtheroulde, they 
showed what vigour there was left, if only it had been 
permitted to remain original. Nor is there any hope 
of betterment in architecture, or any art, to-day, until 
something of the spirit has come back to us which made 
each citizen proud of the house he lived in, or of the 
House of God he helped to build, until the love of 
workmanship that built the old cathedrals has returned. 
Through those doors, which were shut sternly in the 
buct of princes under the Church's ban, the poor man 
gladly passed from the hovel that was his home. Out 
of the dark twisting streets whose crowded houses 
pressed even against the walls of the Cathedral, the 
homblest citizen might turn towards the beauty of a 
building greater and more wonderful than any that 
his feudal lord could boast. He found there not 
merely the sanctuary, not merely the shrine of all 
that was holiest in history or in creed, but the epi- 
tome of his own life, the handicrafts of his various 
guilds, as at Rouen, the tale of all his humblest 


The Story of Rouen 

occupaiioDf, the mockery of hit netghboun' fbibk% 
the leuoDi of the horror of an. For befwe the 
end of the thirteenth century, the handicraftsmen, lu- 
sociated into such gnilds as we have aeen io Rouen, 
had not only won their freedom from arbitrary oppres- 
sion, but had secured so large a share in the govern' 
ment of the towns, that within the next fifty yeai^ 
the heads of the communes were nearly always the 
delegates from the craft-guilds. The zenith of Gothic 
architecture coincided with this period of their triumph ; 
its bright, and glittering, and joyfijl art spread all OTcr 
the mtelligent world, and more especially m France ; it 
was not contented with merely architecural fornu in 
colourless cathedrals, bat 
decorated thera with carringi 
pamted in gay colours, uxd 
every space for pcturn, 
drew upon all literature fix 
Its materials. In Daole, 
Chaucer, and Petrarch, in 
the German Niebelungenlied, 
in the French romances, in 
the Icelandic Sagas, in 
Froissart and the chroaiden, 
: spirit; and each town smote 
upon the walls of its cathedral. 
Every village, even, had its painter, its carren, its 
actors ; the cathedrals that have remained are but 
the standard from which we may imagine the loving 
perfection to which every form of craftsman's art was 
carried. And their work gives us such pleasure now 
because they had such intense pleasure in doing the 
work themselves. 

For the masons had gone to iheir new task with 

a will. Freed from the thick and shadowy archwav* 

piled upon heavy piers, which had obscured the old 

priestly and dermatic Romanesque, the builder* of the 


A French Town 

new cathedral revelled in the new found Gothic of the 
people, and raised their soaring arches to the sky, and 
crowned their pinnacles with wreaths that flamed into 
the clouds. And upon every inch of wall they wrote 
and wrought upon the living stone, '< magistri de vivis 
lapidibus/' until every detail of the world of worship- 
pers was gathered up and sanctified by this expression 
of its new found meaning, as a part of the mystery and 
the beauty of holiness. 

It is significant of the democratic nature of this 
architectural outburst, that the first communes signal- 
ised their liberty by the earliest cathedrals, at Noyon, 
SoissoDS, Laon, Reims, Amiens, in the capital of 
France, and in the capital of Normandy. It was 
early in this same century (1203) ^^^ Normandy 
became part of the crown domain together with Maine, 
Anjou, Touraine, Poitou, and Limousin. Before the 
century was done, Languedoc, the County of Toulouse, 
part of Auvergne, and Champagne were also included 
in the royal domain. More than this, the Head of the 
Church himself had come in 1 309 to live in Avignon, 
and this movement had, no doubt, its effect upon religi- 
ons sentiment in the nation to whose charge St. Peter's 
representative committed himself; for religion had of 
course the greatest part in a movement that could never 
have been so widespread and so creative without its 
powerful motives ; but, even in spite of the immense 
unpulse given by the crusades, religion would never have 
got its opportunity at all, if <* politics " had not at the 
very moment been ripe for contemporaneous expansion, 
if the people and the King had not simultaneously been 
ready to give expression to a movement in which liberty 
and unity were the greatest factors. Thus it is that 
the cathedrals are the first visible basis of that French 
nationality into which the scattered provinces of Gaul 
had expanded, the first germ of that creative genius of 
French art which has not yet lost its right of place in 


The Story of Rouen 

Europe, the first clear record of the nadooal intellect 
And the people were not slow to recognise the meaning 
of the carvings that were placed where all who ran might 
ready placed there by men of like passions with them- 
selveSy copied often so directly from themselyesy that 
the cathedrals may be regarded as the great record 
of the ancestry of the common people. The em- 
blazoned tomb, or the herald's parchment, might fidy 
chronicle the proud descent of the solitary feudal lord ; 
but the brothers and kinsmen of his dependents were 
carved in their habits as they lived upon the church's 
walls, and there they work at their appointed tasks, and 
laugh at their superiors, unto this day. So the people 
filled their church with throngs of worshippers, with 
merry-making crowds, with vast audiences of the great 
mediaeval Mystery Plays, with riotous assemblages some- 
times not too decent, whose rough humour has been 
preserved for us in the thousand grotesque carvings 
of the time. 

I have been at this length in explaining the building 
of the cathedrals, because it would be impossible for 
you, without some such suggestion of their origin, 
to realise the meaning of the carvings which cover 
the great north and south porches of the transept at 
Rouen. I choose them first out of the mass of detail 
and construction in this enormous and heterogeneous 
building, because they are most typical of the feeling 
which gave it birth, and of the craftsmen who worked 
upon it. It is wellnigh impossible to attempt any 
explanation of the many styles, from the twelfth 
century to the sixteenth, which are commingled, super- 
imposed even, without any feeling in the mind of the 
architect, for the time being, except that of the imperi- 
ous need for self-expression, regardless of the fashions 
of his predecessor. In the great western facade this 
mingling of the styles is most observable. The angle 
towers are absolutely unlike, the arches are broken, the 
1 20 

A French Town 

pinnacles are smashed short off, niches are mutilated, 
and arabesques are worn away, yet in the healing rays 
of moonlight, the whole composes into a mysterious 
beauty of its own that will not bear the strict analysis 
of glaring day. 

But the Portail aux Libraires which Jean Davi, 
the architect of the Chapelle de la Vierge, built for 
Archbishop Guillaume de Flavacourt in 1278, will 
bear microscopic examination in every part, and the 
reverently careful restorations carried out some time 
ago by MM. Desmarest and Barthllemy have only 
brought to light the exquisite perfection of the original 
work. This gate to the northern transept got its 
name from the special trade which gradually was con- 
nected with that portion of the Cathedral bounds. I 
have already noticed how the Parvis was filled with 
various shops and booths, and this space before the 
northern gate was similarly appropriated by booksellers 
until at least some time after the sixteenth century was 
over. What I have to say now is connected with the 
actual portal itself. The fore-court once filled with 
bookstalls, that leads up to it, was only decorated in 
1480 by Guillaume Pontifz, who also erected the 
fine screen that opens into it from the Rue St. Romain. 
On the east side of this court you may see St. Genevieve 
standing with a Bible in her left hand, and a candle in 
her right. Upon one shoulder a tiny angel tries to 
kindle the light, while on the other a wicked little 
devil with a pair of bellows is perched ready to blow 
it out again. The panel decoration upon the buttresses 
of this north door has been selected by Mr Ruskin as 
the high- water mark of Gothic tracery before its decline 
began. It takes the form of blind windows carved 
upon the solid stone, and is certainly an exquisite 
example of varied, yet severe proportion and arrange- 
ment. Its plan expresses the true qualities of the 
material with a right regard for mass in decoration, 


iiifil nil i *liiiil1>lBMii .^. 

The Story of Rouen 

rather than for line, the fatal change which wrought so 
much damage after the earlier ruling principle had been 
given up. 

This same acute observer, blessed with more leisure 
time than I have ever had in Rouen or elsewhere, was 
able to make certain remarks on the detailed carvings 
of the door itself, which must be at least suggested in 
any other description. My own count of the separate 
carvings does not agree with that made by Mr Ruskin, 
and in a mere matter of mathematics I may be bold 
enough to differ publicly, where agreement is so inevi- 
table with the main thesis of his argument. Some idea 
may be obtained of the work expended on this one 
portion of the Cathedral alone, when I say that in the 
centre of the door is a square pedestal, on each of 
whose four sides are five medallions vertically arranged. 
Within the great encompassing arch, on each side, is a 
cluster of three more square pedestals similarly decorated. 
The arch itself has seventeen medallions upon each 
pillar, the top five on each side being cut in half by a 
moulding. Beyond the arch to right and left are two 
other pedestals with the same five ornaments on their 
two faces. Thus, if you count the smaller pillars only, 
there are twenty-four rows of five, or 1 20 medallions, 
and adding those on the arch, you get a total of 154. 
Even this is not all ; for on each medallion or panel 
its separate bas-relief is contained within a quatrefoil. 
None of their arcs are semi-circles, and none of their 
basic figures are squares, for each panel is slightly varied 
in size from its neighbours. The result is that intervals 
of various shapes are left at each of the four angles of 
every quatrefoil, and into each interval is fitted a differ- 
ent animal, which gives the astonishing result of 596 
minor carvings in this one doorway, all of them repre- 
senting living things, and all of them subsidiary to 
the larger subjects which they frame. If you measure 
these tiny sculptures you will find the base of the curved 


Tbe Story of Rouen 

triangle they adorn to average about four inches long, 
its height being just half that distance. When you 
look closer at those which are least worn away you 
will find them clearly enough carved to represent un- 
mistakably in one instance the peculiar reverted eye of 
a dog gnawing something in jest, and ready to run away 
with it ; in another, the wrinkled skin that is pressed 
over a cheekbone by an angry fist; in a third, the 
growth of wing and scale upon a lizard. 

Think of the life and energy that were pulsing through 
the brain of the craftsman who could so fill the sur£ice 
of the stone. Think of the time that he was ready 
to give up to patient chiselling at this one task till it 
was perfect to his mind. And then consider more 
closely the quatrefoils, small in themselves, which *vat 
yet far larger than the details which surround them. 
The best known is one that has suffered terribly in 
the wear and tear of nearly six centuries. It is the 
famous bas-relief of the hooded pig playing on a violin, 
a motive which recurs at Winchester and in York 
Minster. Its fingers are placed so accurately upon the 
bow that the method of playing has formed a type of late 
twelfth-century style in all collections of musical anti- 
quities. The Minstrel's Gallery in Exeter Cathedral 
may profitably be compared with it. This accuracy of 
execution in an essential detail shows the patient copy- 
ing from life which accompanied — and indeed was 
necessary to — the vivid imagination that could create 
so many non-existent monsters. For among all these 
grotesque chimeras and fantastic mixtures of the ani- 
mal and human element you will notice the creative 
faculty in its strongest development. These strange 
beasts, half man and half a goat, part woman and 
part fish, have each of them a reality of individual life, 
a possibility of visualised construction, that is marvellous 
in its appeal to the spectator. Another violin player 
appears upon this same door, this time with a human 

A French Town 

head set on the body of a beast, and beside it some 
small animal dances to the tune. 

The mediaeval carver was no mystic symbolist. But 
he felt so much and so vividly that when two strongly 
opposed ideas came into his head at once he had to ex- 
press himself by throwing them together into one newly- 
forged creation of a woman-ape, or a dog-man. He 
had besides his own thoughts all that strange gallery to 
draw from, of sirens, harpies, centaurs, which a dying 
mythology bequeathed. You may trace most of the 
Metamorphoses of Ovid on the walls of the cathedrals. 
Then there were the queer bestiaries of his own doctors, 
the early Mandevilles, the Presterjohns of the twelfth 
century, the Munchausens of all time. From these 
he inherited the Sciopod upon the door of Sens, the 
cynoscephalae, and ** men whose heads do grow beneath 
their shoulders." He lived, too, in an age far more 
pictorial, far more given to the living allegory, than any 
centuries to which the cold print of a book alone ap- 
pealed. Architecture, as he knew it, ceased when printing 
became cheap. But in his days the Bible of the people, 
the encyclopaedia of the poor, the general guide to 
heavenly or terrestrial knowledge of the mass of wor- 
shippers, was what they saw in the Mystery Plays, or 
what was carved for them (often inspired from the 
same dramatic source) upon the walls of their cathe- 
drals. When he had tried all these, there remained the 
thousand simple incidents of daily life, such as the 
mother welcoming her child which is on this Portail 
des Libraires and was copied from it (as is the case 
in six other instances) in the misericordes of the choir 
in 1 467, or the man who steals clothes from the line 
as FalstafF's ragged regiment did (a rufHan who is no 
doubt commemorated also in the name of Rue Tirelin- 
ceuil at Rouen), or the burglar walking off with a 
chest upon the southern transept, while the owner 
soundly kicks him and tries to take it back. 


The Story of Rouen 

This southern door is called the Portail de la 
Calende from the confi^rie of that name, but the 
derivation is rather uncertaioy and some authorities 
consider it refers to certain ecclesiastical assemblies, 
distinct from the synod, which were held four times 
a year in this part of the CathedraL The plan 
of the quatrefoils is much the same as that of the 
<< Libraires." Within the tall embracing arch it is 
indeed identical, but upon the arch itself fourteen 
panels are set on each side, and outside it are no less 
than three double clusters both to right and left, which 
increases the total of panels to 227. In this enormous 
number, I have already mentioned one; but perhaps 
the best known is that which illustrates a very popular 
mediaeval legend, the <<Lai d'Aristote/' which also 
recurs in the misereres of the choir. It suggests the 
eternal supremacy of woman over man, even the wisest, 
by representing the typical philosopher of the middle 
ages saddled and bridled by a gay lady of Alexander's 
court, who sits upon his back and whips him heartily. 
This is rather difHcult to see, as it is high up on a 
buttress beneath a statue at the side of the Rue des 
Bonnetiers. From mythology you will find here count- 
less sirens, some playing instruments before their victims, 
others, like the mermaid of the fable, admiring themselves 
in mirrors and waving a seductive comb. There is 
also yet another violin player, with his back towards 
you, playing to a dancer who is posturing head down- 
wards on his hands, like the daughter of Herodias upon 
the west facade. 

I have already given the name of one of the master- 
masons who were associated with this great pile of 
buildings, where the sound of chisel and mallet can 
have scarcely ever ceased from the twelfth century to 
the sixteenth. But Jean Davi's work was necessarily 
one of the last finishing touches upon a building that 
Others had reared in the mass for him to decorate in 

A French Town 

detail. The various churches that had been conse- 
crated on the same spot have been recorded in their 
turn, from the first primitive shrine of St. Mellon, 
in the fourth century, to that greater fane seen by 
the Conqueror, which was almost entirely burnt in 
1 200. The lower part of the Tour St. Romain is 
certainly a part of die cathedral St. Maurilius con- 
secrated. To say exactly when the work of recon- 
struction was begun which St. Louis saw completed 
has puzzled antiquarians far more diligent and learned 
than I am. But M. Viollet le Due has pointed to un- 
mistakable signs of work earlier than the rest in the 
two circular chapels of the apse, in the chapels of the 
transept, and in the two side-doors of the western 
fe^ade, which open to the aisles. M. de Beaurepaire 
has also demonstrated, from a close study of the Chapter- 
house accounts, that when Richard de Malpalu was 
dean in 1200, one Jean d'Andeli is spoken of as 
*^ Cementario, tunc magistro fabrice ecclesiae rothoma- 
gensis.'' He was also a relation of one of the canons. 
The Chronique du Bee gives the credit of initiating the 
design to Ingelramus, or Enguerrand, from 1200 to 
12I4; but this does not contradict the possibility of 
partners in the work, and that the choir at any rate was 
done before the Norman influence was much affected by 
the He de France, may be seen at once in the fourteen 
tall and strong round pillars with their simple capitals and 
massive round arches, which produce a very fine effect 
of pure solidity amongst the lighter pointed work sur- 
rounding them. After Enguerrand came " Durand le 
Machon," who dwelt in the same house that Jean 
d'Andeli had held on lease, and after him, again, the 
name of Gautier de St. Hilaire occurs before that of 
Jean Davi towards the end of the thirteenth century. 

The period of the first coming of Philip Augustus in 
the ten years after 12 10 is strongly marked by the in- 
fluence of the He de France, and by the French Gothic 


7'be Story of Rouen 

work of Suger, which at lirst swept out of its path every 
other style with which it came in contact. But by 
degrees the Norman transition re-asserts itsdf, and 
the northern pointed work made its appearance, whose 
history is completed in Eoglaod, and is a different 
school Trom the Gothic on the French side of the 
Channel. But every century and every style 
ha*e had itd say and 
left its miirk upon 
the ^bnc of Rouen 
After the thirteenth 
century had built 
choir and transepts 
and 3 great part of 
the nave and before 
its close had begun 

the decoration of the magniliccnt side portals, and the 
refinement of the Lady Chapel, the first thing the 

fifteenth century did ■ 
the choir after its own ma 
daws of the nave as well 
in the fourteenth century ai 
a rose window in the navi 

enlarge the windows of 
ner, and widen the wid- 

The only names we find 
• that of the architect of 
and a tomb of Charles 

A French Tou;n 

v., which ha^e both disappeared, and that of Jean 
de BayeoXy the boilder of the civic belfry tower at the 
Hotel de Ville. Bat the perpetrator of the enlarged 
choir windows was Jehan Salvart, who worked for 
Henry V. during the English occupation, and is for- 
given much, because he was with Le Roux at the 
finishing of the exquisite church of St. Maclou. The 
glass was put in by Jean Senlis. 

I may as well complete the tale of architects now 
that I have begun it, though the detail of their work 
is fitter given in the order of its making, later on. But 
it is so rare that these master-masons have left any 
traces of themselves at all, that I may perhaps be 
pardoned for giving the full list that is hardly possible 
in any other great cathedral in the world. Jean 
Roussel succeeded to his father of Bayeux in 1430, to 
be followed in 1452 by Geoffroi Richier for eleven 
years. Guillaume Pontifz was perhaps the greatest con- 
tributor of any of these later men. In the thirty-four 
years of his office, the stalls of the choir, representing 
the various crafts, were carved by several workmen, 
whose names will be given later, at the cost of nearly 
7000 livres, borne by the Cardinal d'Estoute ville, the 
Portail de la Calende was completed, a new top placed 
upon the Tour St. Romain, a frigid and unpteasing 
staircase built in the north transept to lead up to the 
canon's library, and the courtyard, with its entrance 
screen placed in the Rue St. Romain before the 
Portail des Libraires. He also began the Tour dc 
Beurre, but left it to be finished by Jacques Le Roux, 
who had done so much for St. Maclou, but died a 
poor man in 1500, and was buried beneath the organ. 
Within the lart of this tower that he built was hung 
the great bell ** Georges d'Amboise," thrr biggfst out- 
side Russia, which shared with ** Rouvel " the afTection 
of the citizens, which rejoiced the heart of Francis the 
First, and cracked with grief in 1786 at b'.-ing called 

I 12(j 

The Story of Rouen 

upon to ring for Louis XVI. It was his nephew, 
Rouland Leroux, whose help was called in when the 
canons desired to embellish their west facade and have 
a finer central door. This work was begun in 1 508 
with the money of Georges d'Amboise, and Pierre 
Desaubeaulx did the central tympanum. Jean Ther- 
oulde, Pierre Dalix, another Leroux, Nicolas Quesnel, 
Hance de Bony, and Denis Lerebours worked at the 
statuettes. A screen of open work (carrying the 
clock) was raised in front of the rose window, and 
four turrets were added, of which but one remains. 
So Rouland Leroux finished his contract in 1527, 
having left for himself a greater fame in the masonry oJF 
the central tower, whose base he rebuilt after the old 
stone spire had been destroyed by fire, and especially 
in the tomb of Cardinal d'Amboise, than ever he will 
gain by the patchwork of the west fagade. What he 
could do with a free hand and his own designs to begin 
with, may be imagined from the fact that he built die 
Bureau des Finances on the opposite side of the Panris 
and laid the first plans for the Palais de Justice. No 
wonder that he worked at Havre, at Beauvais, and at 
Angers, as well as in his native town. 

I shall hardly be blamed, I think, if among the full 
tones of a praise that must become monotonous, a 
single note of regretful misunderstanding cannot remain 
quite unheard ; and I must confess that in this western 
front so many unfinished and supervening designs occur 
that I find myself unable to imagine the meaning of its 
builders. Considering, first of all, the arrangement of 
its detail, I find elaborate flower-mouldings and re- 
naissance-work placed so high up that they can barely 
be distinguished as anything save light and shade, 
whereas upon the Portail des Libraires all such delicate 
work ceases at about 9 feet high, and the upper carving 
is done boldly in broad, simple masses for an effect of 
distance. But if this is bad flamboyant work, the 

A French I'own 

central gate itself is purer, and perhaps among the 
finest examples existing of the flamboyant style. There 
are four strings of niches round this porch from the 
ground to the top of the arch, each holding two figures ; 
every detail in them and about them is worked with 
the most elaborate and tender patience, full of imagina- 
tiye canringSy trellised with leaves and blossoms deep 
wrought in the stone. At this part of the western 
front and at the northern side-door I could never tire 
of looking. But the whole fagade I had to give up in 
despair, save when the moonlight softened it into a 
tracery of lace- work climbing to the sky, as delicate as 
the pattern of white spray upon a rising wave. 

The masonry upon the central tower I have already 
mentioned. In 1544 it was crowned, by Robert Bec- 
quet, with a light spire of wood, 132 metres in height, 
that was burnt by the lightning in 1821.^ The new 
cast-iron erection, with which it has been replaced, may 
best be described as possessing half the height of the 
Eiffel Tower with none of the excuses for the Colonne 
de Juillet, of which M. Alavoine, its architect, was also 
the designer. For the present I need only add that 
both the western towers could actually be placed, all 
but their last two metres, inside the nave of Beauvais. 
The nave of Rouen is but 28 metres high, and 136 in 
length, from the Portail to the apse of the Chapelle de 
la Vierge ; and as a matter of possible proportion it is 
interesting to note that the old spire could just have 
lain down inside it. At first it had no chapels, but 
these were built later on between the buttresses, as was 
done at Notre Dame in Paris. The transept measures 
50 metres in breadth, which is just the height of the 
great lantern above it, that is beneath the central 

^ In 1897 two men were still alive who saw it burn, and all 
the gargoyles vomiting molten lead ; they were M. Noel the 
Librarian, and le p^re Pepin, janitor of the Town Belfry. 


^be Story of Rouen 

From here, as from the heart of Normandy, flowed 
the life blood of Rouen through her arteries of traffic 
clustering round the great Cathedral. Within its walls 
the noblest of her dead are gathered, returning to the 
central shrine that gave them birth and being. With 
the completion of the first main bulk of its design the 
story of the town that built it is brought to a definite 
point of development. I shall no longer be obliged to 
go even as deeply as I have hitherto felt necessary into 
the details of the civic history, for Rouen is henceforth a 
part of France, and the seal of her nationality is stamped 
large upon her. Till now, she has been slowly growing 
out of the mists of aboriginal antiquity, through Mero- 
vingian bloodshed, to become the pirate's stronghold, 
and then the capital of the Northmen's Duchy. When 
she had fulfilled her mission by carrying French arts 
and Norman strength into the English kingdom, she 
lost a little of that individuality of character which 
I have traced through former pages, just as a mother 
loses the first bloom of her girlhood when her son 
is born. Though Rouen once more passed for some 
years into the possession of an English king, the days 
of her captivity — with its culminating shame — are as 
little agreeable for us to hear, as for her citizens to 
remember, and Englishmen will no longer take that 
vital interest in her each year's growth, with which 
a grandson reads the memoirs of his forefather. 

So I have somewhat altered the plan of the next 
chapters in accordance with what I suspect to be the 
sympathies of those who have done me the honour 
to follow me thus far. 

If you are content to let me guide you further among 
the many buildings, whose very origin I have not yet 
had time to trace, you will find that to nearly every 
one of them may be attached some brilliant episode 
that stands out in a century, or some over-shadowing 
personage whose life-story dominates a generation of his 

A French Town 

fellow-citizens. So that, as we visit these old walls 
together, they shall speak to us in no uncertain voice, 
of the lives of those who built them, and of the progress 
of the town. Until now, there have been but few build- 
ings to which I could point as the visible witnesses of 
my written word. So that my story has had to pro- 
ceed but slowly on its way, without the illustration 
which your eyes in Rouen streets could give it, making 
a gradual ground-work of which there are hardly any 
traces left. But with the building of the Cathedral I 
have reached a point where the tale of civic, or religi- 
ous, or private houses that are still to be seen, is the tale 
of Rouen, told on pages well-nigh imperishable. These 
mile-stones on our road henceforth become so frequent, 
that in passing from one to the other, I shall have 
hardly any need to fill the gaps in a history that is 
at once more modern, and more easily understood. 
And as we left off with the highest expression of 
religious fervour, the Cathedral, we may well pass 
on, for the sake of contrast, to the most visible sign 
of purely municipal development, the belfry of the 
old Hotel de Ville, the famous buildings of the Rue 
de la Grosse Horloge. 



La Rue de la Gross e Horloge 

Une rue d^icieuse ou le monde se pourm^ne, oil tousioun 
il y ha du vent, de I'umbre et du soleil, de la pluye et de 
I'amour. Ha! Hal riez doncques, allez-y doncquesi c'est 
une rue tousiours neufve, tousiours royale, tousioun imp^ale, 
une rue patrioticque, une rue a deux trottoirs, une rue ouverte 
des deux bouts . . . brief, c'est la royne des rues, tousiours 
entre la terra et le ciel, une rue a fontaine, une rue a laquelle 
rien ne manque pour estre c^i^br^ parmi les rues. 

npHE cluster of old buildings which are beneath the 
shadow of the belfry are perhaps better known 
to strangers than any other piece of architecture in the 
town. It is the focal point of Rouen, the centre of its 
civic life, and if you are fortunate enough to live quite 
close to it, as I did, you will find yourself in the best 
place for starting on nearly every expedition that your 
fancy may dictate.^ The Rue de la Grosse Horloge 
itself is one of those memorable thoroughfares of which 
nearly every old French town possesses at least one 
fascinating example, the kind of street that, in his 
" Contes Drolatiques," Balzac has so admirably de- 
scribed in making mention of the Rue Royale at 
Tours. A glance at even the few streets marked 
upon Map B will show its structural importance in the 
economy of the town. For the Cathedral has stood 

^ In venturing to suggest a few such expeditions in my 
appendix, I have found it convenient to assume that even if my 
reader were not a guest in the Hotel du Nord, he would invari- 
ably come to the archway of the Grosse Horloge to meditate on 
the programme for the day 

La Kue de la Grosse Horloge 

m different fbrmt vBfoa the fame ^x»c once the fifth 
century, and this atreet ataits from immediately oppoiite 
its western gate. In the earfiest days it was stopped at 
the other end by the gate dvoagh which the Roman 
road passed, across the Vienx Marche, towards Cale- 
turn (Lillebonne). In later times the Porte Mastacre 
was built there, which takes its name, not from the 
wholesale nuuder of the Jews in the adjoining quarter, 
but from the botchers who congregated close by in the 
Rue Nfassacre, or Roe des Machecriers ( Wace^s word 
for a butcher), which is called the Rut de la Boucherie' 
de-Massacre in a title-deed o^ 1 454. 

The Place du Vieux Mafche is a ^wl -Amovt as 
historic in its way as the Parvis of the Cathedral, so 
that there is interest at both ends of the Rue df: la 
Grosse Hoffloge. Its most terrible memory ii the burn- 
ing of Jeanne d'Arc, which fa» I shall show from 
Ldieor's plan in a later chapter) Utok pbce at die nnglf 
of the modem halls, and clote to the cemetery of the 
vanished church of St. Sauveur, on the samf spot in 
the Vieux Bffarche used since the earlier history of 
Rooen as one of the many places of yMic execution. 
The Rue de la Grosse Horloge has alto U-en called the 
Grande Rue, and serersl oth^ nanKrs which need mH 
be recorded here; for botii by geographical position 
and in its own right it ha« always claimed a large share 
in the interest of the citizens of Rouen. ^ Much of 
its once beautiful architecture has vaniihed alt/;getli«rr. 
The church of St. H'-rbland, for instance, once st/i^xl 
at its eastern extremity, opposite the Cathedral, i^ut 
of the Gothic work of 148^ not a stone Is to be 
seen. The stained glass windows were Uiught by a 
traveller in 1802, and by him taken to Itngland, after 
the Reroludon had suppressed the Church. 

^ Their afiectton w%« not alwayt gmnrifnatical, a« may U 
•een from tht old thle ** Roc du Or'/i Horl^^e " on the comer 
of die ttreet tonlay. 


The Story of Rouen 

A somewhat better fate has awaited the exquisite 
example of French Renaissance architecture which 
used to be at No. 129. Of this very remarkable 
house, known for uncertain reasons as the Maison de 
Diane de Poitiers, and certainly worthy of any court 
beauty of the time, the fa9ade has been carefully pre- 
served in the little square behind the Tour St. Andre 
in the Rue Jeanne d'Arc, As the upper storeys pro- 
ject over the road, it must have been built before 1520, 
the date after which such overhanging constructions 
were forbidden. Every inch of the wooden surface is 
covered with delicate arabesques and figures. The 
proportions of the various storeys are admirably indi- 
cated, and the wall-openings grow smaller as they rise, 
until the whole is crowned with an equilateral triangle, 
in which a round-headed arch on square pilasters Ills 
the central space. A round medallion with a bust is 
placed on each side of the second storey windows, and 
the floors are boldly indicated by deep lines of shadowed 
carving. The house, of which nothing but this marvel- 
lous fagade remains, was originally called by the sign of 
the Cock, and is known to have belonged on the 30th 
May 1525, to Jean Le Roy, who appears in the parish 
lists of 1 47 1 as a draper. His son Noel married another 
of the bourgeoisie, one Marion Ribault ; and from her 
possession until .the town bought it from the Hospital, 
which held it last, the line of title-deeds is unbroken ; 
th^ important point to notice being that it was built not 
by a noble, but by a tradesman.^ 

But it is the Grosse Horloge itself that is the jewel 
of the street. As you look at it from the west you can 
see constructions built in the Middle Ages, in the 
Renaissance, in the reign of Henri Quatre, and in the 
days of Louis Quinze. The Belfry Tower, or Cam- 

1 There is a charming picture by Bonington, who was par- 
ticularly attracted by Rouen, of " Le Gros Horloge," showing 
this house still in its old place in the famous street. 


La Rue de la Grosse Horloge 

panile, is, as is fitting to its ancient history, the oldest 
building of them all. There was a tower here from 
the earliest days when Rouen had a civic history at 
all, a <* Ban-cloque " to call her citizens together, 
which is mentioned in the city charters as a s3rmbol of 
her freedom. First hung here in 1 1 50, the old bell first 
saved the town in 1 174 during the siege by Louis VII. 
In the next century the bell was recast with the follow- 
ing inscription : — ^ie suis nomme rouvel rogier le 


not without significance, for though the King had 
given the ground for the new Hotel de Ville, it was 
only the Mayor, Le Feron, who in 1258 had a right 
to order the communal bell which called the citizens to 
their orderly municipal meetings, or summoned tliem to 
revolt against oppression. On the larger bell, originally 
used as the curfew, are the words: — ie suis nomme 


Pigache was Mayor in 1254, and Fessart in 1261. 
In February 138 1 Rouvel rang for the famous revolt 
of the " Harelle," and went on ringing the whole time 
the town was "up." So when young Charles VI. 
entered angrily by a breach in the Porte Martain ville, 
its treasonable clamour was silenced for some time. 
For this most blatant of the privileges of the commune 
was actually taken away altogether. Nor when he 
pardoned rebellious Rouen could the King be per- 
suaded to give back the bell or allow the belfry he had 
ruined to be set up. So the citizens humbly besought 
him that they might '^faire une auloge et la fere 
asseoir ou estoit le Beffroi de la dicte ville," and when 
King and Bailli had agreed, they craftily built a tower 
for their •* horloge" just like the lost and beloved 
belfry on the old foundations, and you may read on 
the bronze plate upon the southern side how this was 
done when Guillaume de Bellengues was captain of 


I'be Story of Rouen 

the town, and Jehan la Thuille was bailli for the 
King. Jehan le Bayeux took nine yean to build it 
as it is shown in Jacques Lelieur's manuscript of 1525. 
Begun by Jourdain Delestre, the clock was finished 
by Jehan de F61anis, began to go in September 1389 
with two small bells to mark the quarters, and was 
mounted on its proper platform in 1 396. The King's 
charter of 1 389 had made special and approving mendoo 
of the virtuous Cache- Ribaut, so he was set to ring the 
hours. But the wicked Rouvel had been given to two 
of the King's household ; and the town would not rest 
content without him, until, after many emphatic reminders 
of his royal pardon, the King was prevailed upon to 
give him back again, and he rings the curfew to this 
day. But he was not hung up until October I4499 
when, after Talbot had left the Vieux Palais, the 
Council joyfully gave orders to Laurent des Loges, 
'^ pour pendre et asseoir certaine cloche nomm^ Rouve 
estant en la tour du beffroy " ; and in the town accounts 
stands the cheery item of '^ Sept sous six deniers pour 
vin donne aux ouvriers," when it was hung on the 
very Saturday on which the Duke of Somerset was 
handing to Charles VII. the articles of capitulation. 
So when a French king at last came through the faoKMis 
street again, Rouvel, who had remained in the dignified 
silence of the conquered for sixty-seven years, made 
his joyful note heard again above all the clamour of the 
citizens, and rang a welcome to the freedom of the 
city, to deliverance from the English, to the return of 
the King who confirmed the ancient privileges of the 
Charte aux Normands, maintained the Echiquier de 
Normandie, and did, in fact, everything that was ex- 
pected of him except re-establish the Mayor. For 
the revolt of the Harelle had entirely deposed the 
Mayor from office. In 1389 his councillors were 
reduced to six, and it was only three centuries later 
that, in 1695, ^^^ ^^g once more appointed a real 

La Rue de la Gross e Horloge 

mayor oat of the usual three candidates presented by 
the towD. 

Then the bell ^^ Cache Ribaut " came down, as was 
but right of him, from his high place within the cam- 
panile, and Rouvel swung again on his home-beam, 
<< a la seconde croisee en ogive," and proceeded on his 
old business of proclaiming elections, festivals, and fires 
and curfews, and does so still. Affectionate flattery 
once called him a *^ cloche d'argent," from his peculiar 
tone ; but the most open-minded foreigner can hardly, 
I think, now take any other interest in his voice than 
that aroused by his long history, for he has grown 
somewhat hoarse from ringing no less than 650 strokes 
at nine each evening for so many years. 

The old clock shares with that of the Palais de 
Justice in Paris the honour of being the first in France. 
Guillaume Thibault and Guillaume Quesnel painted 
with fine gold and azure the face towards the Vieux 
Marche, which Olivier had made when he decorated 
both sides of the old Porte Massacre, and they set 
upon it the figures of the lamb and of the four evan- 
gelists. Its face was carved as it is now in the days of 
Frangois Premier, and on its one hand is still seen the 
lamb of Rouen pointing to the hours. You must by 
DO means omit to mount the tower and see the guardian 
wind it up, for the swing of its pendulum and the 
simplicity of its internal arrangements will be of the 
greatest interest The astronomical part, showing the 
phases of the moon, is quite modem, and is set in a 
separate place just behind the clock-face. As you 
turn into the belfry out of the arch or arcade you are 
actually walking on the old ramparts of the city ; and 
(m the wall you may read the number of strokes 
rang to mark disaster in each portion of the town, 
two for St. Sever, six for St. Gervais, one for Mont 
Riboudet, and so forth. From the topmost gallery 
look out at the many towers and spires which even 


The Story of Rouen 

now rise in such profiinon above the roofe of Rouen — 
St. Pierre du Chaste), St. Eloi, the firont of the Palais 
de Justice with the Tour St. Laurent beyond, St. 
Ouen looking (to my mind) far finer from that 
point of vantage than the Cathedral, which almost 
hides the delicate beauties of St. Maclou. Just 
below you is the Hotel de Ville, and the cour^ard 
which M. Detancourt filled with queer mythology in 
various stages of undress, ^< pour son agrement," says 
the guide. ^ To east and west runs the great arm of the 
river, with that amphitheatre of hills which holds 
the town pressed against the outside (rf* the bow like 
an arrow-head ready to be launched, and on the left 
of Mont St. Catherine you see the Dam6tal valley 
where every siege of Rouen had its natural begionii^. 
If you are fortunate enough to find one still alive 
who saw the seventeenth summer of this centary, Le 
P^re Pepin will show you too the ** tinterelles pre- 
sented by the Sieur de Mon in 17 13, which hang 
round Cache Ribaut to strike the hours ; and the son 
and moon, which are set in their old place again above 
the pavilion. 

I have already mentioned the name of Jacques 
Lelieur. His chief fame rests on the admirable plan 
he made in 1525 of the water-supply of Rouen, and 
incidentally of many of her streets. In Lelieur's mi^ 
which is a fascinating mixture of plan and elevation^ the 
Porte Massacre (in the Rue de la Grosse Horloge), is 
shown to be separated from the Hotel de Ville by a few 
shops. Two years after his drawing was made the 

^ This quaint courtyard is disappointing after you have 
reai De La Qu^riere's warm eulogies, and I have only found 
two occasions on which it became notable in the history of 
the town. In 1461 the Conte de Charolais lodged here with 
Regnauit de ViUeneuve, Avocat du Roi, whose house was 
known then as the ** Lion d'Or *' ; and when the White Rose 
triumphed in England, Margaret of Anjou found a refuge 
here by the orders of Louis XI. 













lAi. umuuoN riiD> THI AULT or 

■nr ctomc HoiiLOOt ^H 



The Story of Rouen 

great gate (which had shown signs of weakness a cen- 
tury before) was taken down and the present Taulted 
archway begun, which was finished in 1529. Miss 
James has made for me a careful drawing of the central 
panel of the entrados, which is now just above the 
street, and shows the Good Shepherd (which was, no 
doubt, suggested by the lamb in the arras of Rouen), 
copied from the seal of the Drapers' Company. 
<* Pastor bonus," says the legend, ^^animam soam 
ponit pro ovibus suis." Within the semicircular panel 
on each side are more sheep pasturing in a landscape 
and on all the strapwork, or <^ bandeaux," are 
carved delicate arabesques. The •* pavilion,** with 
its high roof above it, holds the famous clock of Jehao 
de Felanis. 

Besides the belfry and the archway of the dock, there 
was a public fountain set on this same spot ever since 
Charles VII. turned out the English. The oldest of 
these fountains in Rouen, drawn from the famous ^ring 
of Gaalor, had been in the Priory of St. Lo. The 
next was that set up by the Franciscans on the site of 
Rollo's castle, and for two centuries the pipe of this 
** Fontaine des Cordeliers '* passed close by the belfry, 
before it struck the Town Council that it might be well 
to provide water supply for citizens near the Vieux 
Marche, both in case of fire, and for other obvious 
reasons. So by 1458, the Cordeliers having been duly 
" approached " on the subject, the " Fontaine de Mas- 
sacre " was established at the foot of the belfry, and is 
drawn by Lelieur as a Gothic pyramid with five sides, 
as tall as the arcade. It showed signs of extreme 
dilapidation by the eighteenth century, and the wags 
wrote squibs about the broken statues of the Virgin 
and bishops by Pol Mansellement (or Mosselmen, see 
Chap. X.), in elegiacs as imperfect as their subject. So 
the Duke of Montmorency- Luxemburg, the Governor 
of Rouen and Normandy in 1728, magnanimously 

La Rue de la Grosse Horloge 

offered for the restoration of the fountains all those three 
thousand livres which the echevins had presented to him 
in a purse of cloth of gold • The affair [Progressed thence- 
forward with due solemnity. M. de Boze, ^'Intendant 
des devises et Inscriptions des edifices royaux/' wrote 
from Paris that the authorities of Rouen were to decor- 
ate their new fountain with the loves of Alpheus and 
Arethusa, because, said he, <<the Seine (which is 
Alpheus) comes from Burgundy and Champagne to 
your fountain in Rouen (which is Arethusa), to 
bear their mingled waters to the sea, by which is typi- 
fied your fidelity to the King to whom the monument 
is to be dedicated." So the name of " Ludovicus XV.'* 
duly appears with that of ^^ Franciscus Fredericus 
Montmorencius '* ; and mention is made of the allegory 
of Arethusa and Alpheus as aforesaid: '< Quorum fluctus 
amor dat esse perennes." The first sketch was made by 
the King's painter, and being much approved of by the 
worthy Mayor Coquerel, was executed in stone by Jean 
Pierre de France, ^'architect, sculpteur et entrepreneur," 
for the sum of 5700 livres, as agreed upon in August 
1733. In 1 794 the whole was considerably mutilated ; 
but m 1846 M. Ch6ruel put all in order as you see it 
to this day, and completed the strange harmonious mix« 
ture (rf* buildings dating from the Middle Ages to the 
eighteenth century. 

As 1 have already noted, the first ^< Hotel Commune 
de la Ville " was set near the Porte Massacre, close by 
the Town Belfry, with the vanished church of Notre 
Dame de la Ronde as its first municipal chapel. It 
probably stood just where the Hotel du Nord is now, 
when Henry Plantagenet granted the citizens of Rouen 
their earliest charter of municipal independence. The 
second "Town-hall" was that fief of the Count of 
Leicester on the opposite side of the street, which 
Philip Augustus gave to the burgesses in 1220 at 
an annual rental of forty livres, and it remained 


The Story of Rouen 

in a state of primitive nmplicity for more than two 
centuries. 1 

In 1525 Jacqiibs Lelieur, tracing the course of the 
spring Gaalor shows three large buildings on the old 
fief of Leicester, bigger than anything near them, with 
a Rez de chaussee, two stories above, and a third in the 
roof, the ground floor being arranged for open shops, 
with the principal entrance at one side. Lelieur him- 
self is shown (as may be seen in his small view of 
Rouen which 1 have reproduced) offering his manu- 
script to four municipal officers seated round their 
council -table, with a clerk at a side-desk. The walls 
at the right and at the back are panelled, and decorated 
on the left with fleurs de lys. 

The third Hotel de Ville was built when the old 
shops of the Rue de la Grosse Horloge began to tumble 
down. In June 1607 the first stone was laid according 
to the plans of Jacques Gabriel. By 1658 Gomboust's 
map of Rouen shows that the facade on the street was 
finished. It was in the Italian style with '^ rusticated '' 
blocks of stone, and had round arcades on the ground 
floor for shops. The building origmally formed a 
square, and the retreating angle may still be seen north- 
wards from the Rue de la Grosse Horloge. In the 
centre of the courtyard was a statue of Louis XIV. ; 
a chapel stood at the north-east with a pyramidal 
steeple of wood covered with lead. A fountain was 
placed at the east end (no doubt supplied by the 
old "puits"). In 1705 the entry upon the Grosse 
Horloge was opened by Jacques Monthieu, just where 

^ Though little could be done during the English occupa- 
tion, it must have been enlarged in 1440, for we 6nd in the 
archives of that century that reference is made at various times 
to (i) '' la salie du conseil du manoir de la ville/' (2^ *< galleries 
du manoir," (3) ** une salle de parmi ou ^taient les livres de 
ladite ville," (4) "une cellier," (5) '< une chapelle particuli^re," 
('6) " un jardin carr^," (7) " une cour carr^ devant la grande 
salle," and (8) "un puits. 


La Rue de la Grosse Horloge 

the Passage de I'Hotel de Villa is to-day. In 1796 
the whole building was sold to various proprietors for 
72,000 livres. 

Though it is very degraded in its present state, you 
can still see the Doric and Ionic pilasters in couples, 
and the heavy circular tops alternating with triangles 
above the windows ; and though all those parts of the 
decoration which jutted out have been destroyed, there 
18 still a massive dignity about the building that would 
have thoroughly justified its better preservation. In 
any case the municipal authorities might have had some 
memory of the traditions of the old centre of their 
civic life, before they moved to the commonplace erec- 
tions on the north side of the Abbey Church of St. 

So, though little but the foundations remain of the 
original Hotel de Ville in the Rue de la Grosse 
Horloge, yet the stones of its successor are still 
there, and the belfry that rang out its messages is 
much more than a name ; so I have thought it con- 
venient to attach to them a few memories of the people 
of Rouen as they lived in the days before the great 
changes of the sixteenth century. In my next two 
chapters I shall have to pause for a moment over the 
English siege, and the death of Jeanne d'Arc, but 
the tenth chapter will deal with a few of the number- 
less churches of the town, and the eleventh with that 
Palais de Justice which is the triumphant signal that the 
sixteenth century had begun. If I am to give you, 
then, a glimpse, however short, of the people themselves 
in earUer years before they are overshadowed by the 
great names of prelates and of princes, this will be my 
hat opportunity. 

If any Norman were asked what was the most valu- 
able of the privileges which he possessed by right of 
citizenship in the earliest times, I suppose he would 
answer without hesitation that it was the Charte aux 

K 145 

The Story of Rouen 

Normandsy that confirmation, granted by Louis X. in 
1315, of the old " Custom of Normandy ** ascribed by 
tradition to Rollo and traced by record to William the 
Conqueror. It was also called the *< clameur de haro," 
and affectionate antiquarians derive the word from the 
" Ha Rou ! " with which a suppliant cried to the first 
pirate duke that ** wrong was being done." It is no 
mere artifice of fiction^ that this same consecrated phrase 
might have been heard among the Englishmen of the 
Channel Islands early in the nineteenth century, and 
even to this hour, that cry of " Haro ! Haro I a Taide 
mon prince, on me fait tort ! " preserves the custom of 
Normandy, and of Rollo the Dane, in Jersey, so that 
the sound of it << makes the workman drop his tools, the 
woman her knitting, the militiaman his musket, the fidier- 
man his net, the schoolmaster his birch, and the ecrivain 
his babble, to await the judgment of the Royal CoorL" 
It was soon after this confirmation of their ancient 
rights of justice, that the citizens lost for a time the 
privileges of their mayoralty owing to a financial dispute 
in 1 320, which necessitated the intervention of the King. 
The second epoch in the history of the commune be- 
gan, and penalties were adjudged for all cases of mis- 
demeanour or of shirking office. The equal, in Court- 
precedence, to a Count, the Mayor of Rouen was not 
merely the head of the Town Council, but sovereign- 
judge in matters of goods or of inheritance, with his 
own court and guards and prisons. On Christmas Day, 
to the sound of " Rouvel's " welcome, he marched in 
state to the Hotel de Ville, surrounded by his peers 
and counsellors and sergeants, all in livery with wands 
of office. But the Mayor was not allowed to collect 
his rates from the citizens unfairly, and the dispute 

1 See Mr GUbert Parker's novel, " The Batde of the Stroog,'' 
in which Jersey is carefully described, on p. 189, "A Norman 
dead a thousand years cries Haro I Haro I if you tread upon 
his grave," and p. 360. 

La Rue de la Grosse Horloge 

which followed Tbomas du fiosc's attempt to levy 
the Gabelle, or tax upon salt, led once more to Roy^ 
interTeotioD — the Kmg "put the communes under hit 
hand" as the phrase went, until the quarrel had been 
settled. The importance of the salt trade in Rouea 
has been already noticed, and the little salt-porter 
carred upon the Church of St. Vmceot, and now 
looking out from the south-east angle over the Rue 
Jeanne d'Arc, is a sign 
that the same trade lasted 
for some ceotunes later 
io the development of ■■■ 

Rouen's commerce 

It was not merely in 
peaceAil ways that the 
expansion of the civic 
power may be traced at 
this time. For the long- 
drawn misery of the 
Hundred Years War 
began in 1337, and nine 
years afterwards the King •' 
had to hurry to Rouen to ,j 
oppose the advance of -^ 
Edward III., who was 
already at Caen and 
threatened the capital of -n t 
Normandy. All ihe >t » nceht in thi soe junni 
woods of Bihorej, sajs da«c 

the chronicler sadly, had to be cut down to make 
" hedges and palisades around the menaced ci^ 
After the defeat of Creasy, the men of Rouen had a 
(till sharper taste of the realities of war, for the militia 
of the town, who had been hurried forward to re- 
IDforce the broken jrmy of the King, while their 
comrades at home were strengthening the defences of 
Rouen, came up with an English regiment near Abbe- 

7 be Story of' Rouen 

ville, and contributed a heavy share to that loss of ^ six 
thousand men of the communes" which Fioissart 

That the town stood in grave need of all these war- 
like preparations, as well against internal disorders as 
against enemies from without, may be imagined ftom 
the disquieting scenes of 1356, when Eling John 
came to the castle with a hundred men-at-arms, and 
arrested with his own hands Charles le Mauvais, King 
of Navarre, and four of his suite who were Bdsely ac- 
cused of treason. The Count of Harcourt, the Sire de 
Graville, Maubue de Mainnemare, and Colinet Doublet, 
were all beheaded on the Champ du Pardon that night 
in April, while the King looked on. The resistance 
of the citizens to this high-handed act of injustice was 
only quelled by the spreading of the news of the King's 
presence. But Philip, the brother of the King of 
Navarre (who had been sent to prison near Cambrai), 
took instant vengeance by ravaging the suburbs of 
Rouen, and calling in the Duke of Lancaster's 
English troops. It was in resisting this allied attack 
that the French King was beaten and taken prisoner 
at Poitiers. As soon as Charles le Mauvais got his 
freedom, two years later, he returned to rehabilitate the 
memory of his friends in Rouen. The body of the 
Count of Harcourt had been secredy removed from 
the public gibbet by his family. The three other 
corpses were taken down and borne to the Cathedral 
with great ceremony, where their innocence of treason 
was solemnly proclaimed. Excited by this open de- 
fiance of authority, the populace of the town rose 
against the Dauphin's men, seized the casde, and 
destroyed the Priory of St. Gervais with which 
they had a private quarrel of their own on the 
burning question of taxes. The commune only 
secured amnesty for its offences, and reconciliation 
with the Regent, by paying 3000 florins as a fine. 

La Rue de la Grosse Horloge 

No doubt the revolt had had some obscure connection 
ivith the horrible excesses of the Jacquerie which at 
the same moment had been desolating Paris. The dis- 
orderly bands of ruffians who had been discharged from 
the French army were, at any rate, a direct source of 
annoyance to Rouen later on, as indeed they were to 
almost every town in France in that unhappy time, and 
Bertrand du Guesclin himself had to come to Rouen in 
1364 to organise the army that finally crushed these 
licentious freebooters, and their ally, the King of 
Navarre, at Cocherel. 

Ever since the middle of the thirteenth century, 
frequent references occur in the records of the town 
to the various trades that, in spite of every drawback, 
continued slowly to progress towards riches and con- 
aolidation. Though the early commerce with England 
now died down, home industries flourished, and of them 
all, the making of woollen draperies soon became the 
pre-eminent commerce of the town, which in 1362 
dgnalised the fact by placing the lamb or sheep upon 
its civic seal, which henceforth appears upon the arms 
of the town, and is also placed so prominently on the 
archway of the Grosse Horloge, Rabelais will tell 
you of the prosperous merchants who bought flocks 
of sheep from farmers like Dindenault, to make the 
** bons fins draps de Rouen," for Pantagruel and Pan- 
urge journeyed with Episteraon, Eusthenes, and Car- 
palim to Rouen from Paris, on their way to take ship 
at Honnefleur, and they will explain to you (for I 
cannot) why the towns that grow so thickly round the 
capital become more sparsely scattered towards the sea, 
and in their excellent company you may appreciate the 
gallantry of Eusthenes towards the Norman ladies, and 
even savour faintly, as from afar, the bouquet of that 
Vin blanc d'Anjou which Pantagruel bought in some 
old hostelry beside the Eau de Robec. " Mouton de 
Rouen," says the old proverb, " qui a toujours la patte 


The Story of Rouen 

lev^," and her sons were ever ready from the earliest 
years to go their ways, " gaaignant,'* through all the 
trade-routes of Europe, where French and Spanish 
wines were to be bought and sold. And beyond 
them too ; for in 1 364 they had joined the manners 
of Dieppe in an expedition to the far Canaries, and 
even helped towards a little settlement upon the coast 
of Africa, from which the good ship " Notre Dame de 
Bon Voyage " brought home a cargo of pepper, ivory, 
and gold-dust that caused much speculation on the 
quays of Rouen. In 1380 a few actual forts were set 
upon the Guinea Coast, under the command of that 
brave Norman admiral, Jean de Bethencourt, the cham- 
berlain of Charles VI., who styled himself the King of 
the Canaries (most fascinating of titles ! ) before he died 
in 1425. 

But even commercial enterprise could not save the 
city from the ravages of the Black Death. In 1379 
it swept over the town, and carried off an enormous 
number of the bread-winners, for the extent of Rouen 
had now almost widened to the lines of the modem 
boulevards, and its population had steadily increased 
from the 50,000 of a century before. The plague had 
left a famine in its tracks, and as a " rich city,*' Rouen 
had been severely taxed for the necessities of war, so 
that when the regents of the young King ground down 
the citizens with more oppression and ill-considered 
taxes, there is small wonder that their patience came 
suddenly to an end, and they burst into open revolt 
in February 1381. These exactions came upon the 
citizens with a double sting. For not only were 
they exhausted by previous misery, but the good King 
Charles had upon his death-bed remitted these excessive 
imports, and left his heart to the Cathedral in token of 
his eternal good-will to the town of Rouen, where he 
had so often sojourned. So the explosion of popular 
indignation was instantaneous and terrible. While 

La Rue de la Grosse Horloge 

"Rouvel" claDged wildly from the belfry of the 
town, the cttizeas attacked the tax-gatherers, umet 

m piecei their tax-rolls, and then 

their offices, 
closed the city- 
gate* and put up 
the chains acroas 
the end of every 

In a tumultu- 
ous aod cheer- 
iag crowd, the 
citizens poured 
towards the 
centre of their 
dvic life, in the 
Horloge; Robert 
Deschamps, the 
Mayor, was put 
to instant flight 
for daring to give 
baiting counsels, 
and his private 
prisons were 
broken open. 
" No King can 
make the people," 
cried the mob. 

Ring," and 
forthwith they " a«i>iie horlooi and tui: 

Kized on poor tow «l,«v 

honest Jehan le Gras, a quiet, seemly draper; they 
robed him in a cloak that had just served its 
torn in the last Myatery Play, and they bore him 
in raucous triumph to the open square before St. 


J he Story of Rouen 

Ouen. << I forthwith abolish the taxes ! " stuttered 
the royal phantom in high dismay, while his subjects 
cheered vociferously, and every market-place roared 
approbation. " I deliver up the tax-gatherers to 
justice ! " and in a trice every tax-gatherer, and 
Jew, and usurer, and fiscal agent was haled towards 
the bridge and there beheaded, till the Seine ran 
red beneath. " I deliver up your cruel Mayors 
to justice ! " went on the quavering monarch, and 
forthwith five miserable men who had once been 
mayors of Rouen, fled from the Rue du Grand 
Pont, from the Rue Damiette, and from the Rue 
aux Ganders, and took shelter in the nearest ceme- 
teries, while their burning houses lighted up the town. 
" I deliver up the proud monks of St. Ouen to 
justice ! " continued poor Jehan le Gras, seeing 
that the mob had already begun to batter in the 
monastery gates,^ and in a moment more the archives 
and the ancient charters of the privileges of St. Ouen 
were in tatters on the ground, or burning among the 
desecrated walls they had protected for so many cen- 
turies. In his death-agony the trembling abbot signed 
the renunciation of his powers, while the crowd screamed 
at him till he was borne back to die. 

And now the mob was parted here and there by a 
procession of strong men who bore something with 
great pride and mystery, and held it, enveloped from 
all harm, above their heads. A whisper went round 
that grew at last into a shout of welcome and drowned 
all other sounds. "The Charter of the Normans! 
Hats off to the Charter ! God bless the good King 

1 It had always been a bitter grievance that St. Ouen held a 
monopoly of the public mills for their bakers, and the grotesque 
procession of the " oison brid^," in which two monks carried 
a goose by a rope every year to the Town Mill in the Rue 
Coquerel, had not sufficed to win their pardon from the lower 


La Rue de la Gross e Horloge 

Louis ! God save the Charter ! '' From the inmost 
shrine of the Cathedral, where it was kept beside the 
relics of St. Romain, the famous charter had been 
brought by four burgesses, bareheaded, upon a stand 
with golden feet. For seven and sixty years it had 
remained in holy keeping, with the great green seal of 
Louis X. hanging from its yellow parchment, and now 
the dean followed it into the streets with all his tremb- 
ling canons behind him. There was business to be 
done with them too, and they knew it only too well. 
** The Chapter will forthwith renounce," says Jehan 
le Gras, **that rent of 300 livres on the market- 
halls of Rouen ; you will sign the deed or take 
the consequences." So they signed, and the crowd 
passed on breathlessly to the next entertainment ; for 
on a scaffold hastily erected, there stood the King's 
Bailli, Thomas Poignant, reading (much against his 
will) the provisions of the sacred charter, while the 
crowd waited with pickaxes and hammers ready to 
rush and pull down his house at the least sign of 

So in a silence that was filled with possibilities, and 
broken only by the sound of the indefatigable <' Rouvel," 
who continued tolling feverishly night and day, the 
sentences of the charter of Normandy echoed over the 
square before St. Ouen, and when it was ended all the 
company swore upon the sacred cross to keep it faith- 
fblly, the royal draper first, then what few remnants of 
civic magistracy were present, then the canons and the 
whole clergy of the town, then the men of law, and 
lastly every citizen in sight Before night ended all 
the bloody doings of the day, the gibbet of St. Ouen 

i called the "fourches Patibulaires") had been torn 
own and burnt at Dihorel, and a solemn oath of 
amnesty for all acts of violence was exacted from every 
one who had suffered from the outrages of the mob, 
and at last poor Jehan le Gras was allowed to go home 


The Story of Rouen 

to his shop, without the faintest notion of what all the 
uproar had been about, and very thankfbl to give up 
his royalty and be an ordinary draper as before* 

Unfortunately the crowd, drunk with success, did 
not cease their riot with the deposition of their King. 
The next morning they attacked the casde Philip 
Augustus had set up in the Place Bouvreuil. But the 
garrison repulsed them ; Jean de Vienne, High Admiral 
of France, brought troops into the town ; the King's 
Commissioners were sent down in haste with r^nforce- 
ments, and heads began to fall with startling rapidity 
on the scaffold in the Vieux March6, for the town 
prisons were choked with the rebels who had been 
arrested. To all demands for pardon, the quieter sort 
of the inhabitants were ruthlessly told, *^ Go to your 
own King, Jehan le Gras, and let him save yoo." 
But the worthy draper had taken care to fly firom 
Rouen as soon as he could get out of his house, for he 
found the pains of royalty far outweighed its privileges. 
At last when Easter Eve dawned on a most unhappy 
town, news came that the young King with his uncles 
the Regents was waiting at Pont de I'Arche and would 
only enter armed and by a breach, into the town which 
had rebelled against him. 

So they battered down the walls by the Porte Mar- 
tainville, and the wives and mothers and sisters of the 
men condemned to death in prison helped the work, 
weeping at their task; and as they wrought, it was 
sure some woman's heart that had the sweet imagination 
to deck the town with joyous emblems, that so, by the 
mercy of God this young monarch of only thirteen 
years might perchance be moved to compassion, and 
bethink him of their former loyalty. So when the 
King came in, his eyes lighted only upon banners, and 
tapestries, and evergreens ; and flowers fell upon him 
from the windows, and the leaves of the forest strewed 
the roads beneath him, and from every comer came 


La Rue de la Grosse Horloge 

the cry of *« Noel, Noel, long live the King ! " The 
welcome had at first been the desperate cry of people 
in sore straits ; but at the sight of the boy himself, it 
turned into a genuine shout of admiration, for, says the 
chronicle, **he was of sovereign beauty both m &ce 
and body, and full of loving-kindness, and sweet charity, 
insomuch that all men who saw him were in great joy 
and love of him." 

But the Duke of Anjou would not allow the young 
filing's feelings to be moved ; and it was the Duke who 
as they p^sed the belfry bade <' Rouvel " to be taken 
down, because he had rung out the signal for revolt 
Yet the cries of " Noel, Noel ! '' continued every step 
of the progress through the town, until they gave way 
to a sUence that had an even greater effect upon the 
impressionable boy. For he was welcomed at the 

geat western gate of the Cathedral by the Archbishop 
uillaume de Lestrange, and by him was led before 
the sepulchre in which the heart of Charles V. lay 
buried, bearing testimony for ever to his love for 
Rouen. Then the King remembered how his father, 
each holy week, had signed many pardons, in memory 
of the God who had pardoned in those days the sins 
of the whole world. So he spoke the words of deliver- 
ance to Lestrange beside him, while the population 
crowded, still terror-stricken and uncertain of their 
fate, into the Cathedral, and filled its aisles with anxious 
feces, and climbed upon the pillars to try and get some 
view of the litde King near the altar, upon whose will 
so many lives depended. Then at last appeared the 
Archbishop, standing high where all might see him, 
and as he read the words of pardon which had just 
received the royal signature, you may imagine how 
the roof rang with a greater "Noel," a louder 
«<Vive le Roi" than ever had sounded in the 
Cathedral before. 

From every prison and jail in the city the prisoners 


Ibe Story of Rouen 

were hurried to the Mother-church ; with their fetters 
still upon them they fell on their knees and thanked God 
and the King for their deliverance, while their families 
hung round their necks and sobbed for joy to see them 
again alive. It was that moment on the eve of the 
great festival when all the bells of Rouen began to 
herald the coming of Easter. The great paschal 
candle had been lit in the Cathedral, and as the 
Archbishop turned from the joyfiil throng before him 
to the King still standing by the altar-steps, he welcomed 
the beginning of a reign that was blessed by^e giving 
of such happiness. And as the people crowded noisily 
out into the Parvis, and each wife took her husband 
home again, few thought of the misery, and the mad- 
ness worse than death, that was coming upon the young 
King who had set the prisoners free. 

There is one more tale, a very different one, that I 
must tell of this same life of the people round the 
belfry of the Grosse Horloge, if only to give you 
the contrast of the dealings of Louis XI. with the 
good citizens of Rouen, and to emphasise the moral 
of their sturdy independence. For though the com- 
mune was practically suppressed, in spite of the 
King's pardon, and though the results of this famous 
** Revoke de la Harelle " were felt until the society 
in which it had occurred had almost ceased to be, 
yet the character of the burgesses remained the same 
under whatever laws they lived, and their freedom of 
opinion continued under every rule. So that when 
every door in the Rue de la Grosse Horloge flew 
open on a morning in 1490, when every shop was 
filled with gossips eager for the news, and even 
" Rouvel ** himself was tingling faintly with sup- 
pressed excitement, you might be sure that another 
royal attempt was being made upon the liberty of 
these touchy subjects. And indeed a most astonish- 
ing thing had happened. For a horseman of the King 


La Rue de la Crosse ttorloge 

had suddenly spurred hot-foot through the town, and 
alighted at the shop of Maitre Jehan le Tellier, with 
the stupefying request for the hand of his only daughter 
Alice in marriage, by virtue of the King's command 
signed and sealed in his pocket. The belfry-fountain 
was humming like a swarm of bees as all the chamber- 
maids and goodwives in the street rushed up to fill 
their pitchers at the very moment when Le Tellier's 
housemaid happened to be filling hers. 

But the loudest in outcry of them all was a young 
merchant whose shop happened to be opposite, and 
whose complaints against these outrages on civic in- 
dependence and unwarrantable extensions of the royal 
prerogative would have warmed the heart of the most 
crabbed constitutional lawyer. His appeals to the 
sacred charter of Normandy were far louder than the 
rest, his invocations of the sanctity of the paternal tie 
far shriller. " What right," he cried, " had this Louis 
XL to reward the ruffians of his Court with pretty girls 
and dowries when his royal purse was empty ? What 
had made him choose Rouen, of all towns, for so 
unjustifiable a caprice ? " As a matter of fact, it was 
about the worst choice he could have made, and 
Madame Estiennotte about the most unlikely mother 
he could have picked out for the prosperity of his 
experiment. She began by putting off the horseman 
until her husband should come back from market, and 
the moment his back was turned, she fiew down the 
street to the Hotel de Ville, with half her neighbours 
at her heels, and laid the King's letter before the Town 
Councillors. Many of them were at once appalled by 
the royal seals and sign-manual. But fortunately, one, 
Roger Gouel, spoke up for the ancient privileges of the 
charter, loudly proclaimed that the business was not 
one of the public weal, but of private concern to Dame 
Estiennotte alone, and avowed himself her champion. 
It was perhaps lucky for Councillor Gouel that Tristan 


J he Story of Rouen 

I'Hermite was out of the way, bat the citizens were 
soon ready with their plan. 

Desile was bidden to Le Tellier's house, and met 
there, somewhat to his embarrassment, the entire 
regiment of the worthy merchant's relatives, including 
the girl's great uncle, Abbe Viote, one of the 
Cathedral dignitaries, who eyed him with a sancti- 
monious calm that gave him his first tremor of un- 
certainty. Demoiselle Alice was formally summoned 
into the family gathering, and announced her intention 
of remaining single with all the innocent and unafiected 
purity of a novice at a convent. After which, Madame 
presented the disappointed suitor with a letter for the 
King, wherein was duly set forth how that *^ she had 
received the royal letter asking for the hand of her 
daughter in marriage for the King's squire ; that as for 
herself and her family, both themselves and their goods 
were at the service of His Majesty ; that unfortunately 
her husband had not yet returned from market, and 
therefore other answer was as yet impossible save that 
her daughter in presence of the family had declared 
her unwillingness to marry ; that she prayed God to 
bless His Majesty with long and happy life, and was 
his humble and obedient servant, Estiennotte, wife of 
Jehan le Tellier." 

The wrath of King Louis, the sarcasms of Tristan 
I'Hermite, the laughter of Olivier le Daim; these 
things you must imagine for yourself, when that letter 
was read before His Majesty. But the fact remains 
that other and more pressing business called Desile 
away to foreign wars, and Demoiselle Alice consoled 
herself for her royally appointed suitor by giving 
distinct encouragement to the merchant opposite 
who had laid such stress upon the inviolable privi- 
leges of the "Charte aux Normands." The story 
went the round of Rouen, from the Rue du Hallage 
to the Hotellerie des Boos Enfants and back again, 


La Rue de la Grosse Horloge 

and you can almoet bear 

I echoes still in that old 

"des lieas ptgnoni algua 
comme de> ^plnei dorsalea 
Bombant les anglet concigues 
Sur lei Bolivet tranvera^ea 


And you will pardon me that for a moment I have 
tistenea to that muttered gossip, to the scandal that 
one old roof- tree 
whispered to another 
whilst It leant across 
the narrow street, 
aa some old woman 
mumbles secrets to 
her neighbour with 
bleared eyes wmk- 
ing beneath her 
shaggy brows 
There was far more 
talking in the streets 
then than there is 
DOW, especially in 
inch crowded little 
IS this 

a corniptH 
the Mait 
Haulage where 

taxes on the corporations and on goods sold in the 
market-halls were lened For in the fourteenth 
century for the 228,000 inhabitants of Pant there 
were only twenty four ' hotels " and eighty-six 
"ta*ems, ' and die similar disproportion in Rouen 
waa only made up for, in the case of the " genuine 

^he Story of' Rouen 

travellery'' by the unstinted hospitdity of sach monas- 
teries and hospitals as those at St. Catherine, St 
Vivien, or St. Martin. 

But the taverns or wine-shops did a roaring trade. 
On their benches the burgesses sat every afternoon 
discussing business matters with their lawyers over the 
light " vin du pays," or bought a few bottles of the 
** vin de choix," which was the recognised offering to 
preachers, judges, councillors, and kings alike.^ It 
was, in fact, no bad thing to be the advocate in a case 
when a rich monastery was concerned, for the Abbey 
of St. Gervais records about this time that it gave its 
judges and lawyers in one very critical lawsuit, a dinner 
at their favourite hotel, comprising fish and pears and 
meat and hypocras (no less ! ) and ginger and sugar 
and a hundred oysters. Not ip that order let us hope, 
though the bowels of men of law are traditionally 
tough, and the hospitality of the intention is undoubted. 

Till the end of the Sfteenth century mine host was 
called the " Seigneur " of his sign, as the " Seigneur 
de I'Ours, Seigneur de la Fleur de Lys ; " and though 
by the close of the sixteenth century we still find a 
"Dame de la Croix Rouge" for the hostess, her 
husband had become (I quote from the accounts in the 
Archev^che] "maitre du Pilier vert," or "mattre de 
I'Ecrevisse. But even earlier than the • fifteenth 

^ The Town Accounts are filled with such cheerful business 
entries as the following : << Avec Mons. Jehan Deiammarre qui 
fii clerc de la ville, a PEscu de France auprds la Madeleine le 
darrenier jour de septembre, is." 

''Pour boire au matin avec les advocas chiez Jehan le 
Bucher, 4s. Sd." 

" Pour boire avec le lieutenant du Maire,"and so forth. The 
fifteen taverns mentioned in the accounts of the jovial town 
clerk from 1377 to 1381 are all to be found going very strong 
in the sixteenth century. M. de Beaurepaire has preserved 
their fascinating names : — L'Asne Roye, Les Petits souliers, 
Le Fleur de Lys pr^s St. Maclou, Le Cygne devant St. Martin, 
Le Singe prds de la Madeleine, and many more. 


Ld Rue de la Grosse Horloge 

century it wai already powible Co get good lodging for 
the night at an hotel in Rouen, for a contract of 1395 
haa been preserved, made between Guillaume Blanc- 
baaton and Guiilaume Marc to fumieh forth a hoBtelry, 
much at we may imagine the Hotel dea Boot En&oti 
wa» furnished in its youtli. " Four casks of good wine 
at ten iivres," says this docu- 
ment ; " twelve good beds with 
twenty-four pairs of sheets ; 
eight cups and a goblet with 
a silTer foot ; a dozen ' hanaps ' 
of pewter," with pots and pans 
and pewter dishes innumerable.! 
In such an old courtyard as 
this of the "Eons Enfanta," 
with its overhanging balcony, 
and queerly managed stables, 
or in other old inns like No. 19 
Rue des Matelas, or No. 4 Rue Etoupee with its charm- 
ing "signboard," men sat and talked of their various 
trades, the cobbler, for instance, who is carved on the 
Cathedral stalls, with the clog-maker, and the wool- 
comber, and the carpenter, all met and gossiped of 

I No. 41 Rue del Bone Enfant) ii a capital example of the 
Fifteenth Century Timbered iDD. To the right of the inner 
yard » gallery juts out on crooked pQlan, the "ayant-tolieri" 
to common In medixial itreeti, and ihown in LeIIeur'i diaw- 
\n%». Queer gables Hm Into the air at odd comeri, and il 
you are Bufficiently hardened I0 medizval atmotpheres you 
may discover other stablea than the big shed at the entrance, 
and you will underttand the reason for the Notice "On ne 
r^pond paa det accident) qui peuient arrixr aux cheiaux." 
Through a dark narrow alit che phantom of a cobwebbed 
itable.boy will lead you into the blackened aged alabUi, and 
the ipire of the abandoned church of St. Croix da Pelletieri 

wine; hot sleep were poeiibiy unwiie, though "Room 
Number Ten" is almoit too &Kinating an apartment to 

L 161 

The Story of Roken 

their latest piece of profitable business, while the lawyers 
discussed the never-ending question of the Privilege de 
St. Romain with some learned clerk over their **vin 
blanc d'Anjou." By the fourteenth century the list 
of the prisoners released by the Cathedral Chapter 
begins to be very full and detailed , and we can quite 
imagine what was talked about in every tavern of the 
town as Ascensiontide drew near. 

In 1360, for example, the King's Mint was already 
established in the Rue St. Eloi, and you may still see 
it at No. 30 in that street as you go up on the 
right hand from the river to the Place St. EloL The 
'< Hotel des Monnaies " has been all whitewashed 
over, but there is a strong and ancient look about 
the windows on the street facade that warns you to 
go through the little passage-way, to find the soldiers 
of the Douane lounging about the courtyard inside. 
On the back of the houses that look out upon the 
street you will see the arms and cipher of Fran9oi8 
Premier, which show that in his days the Mint still 
remained in a house that was far older. And in 1360 
the " Officer of the Mint of the parish of St. Eloi," 
who quarrelled about the price of his chicken in the 
Parvis, "voulait avoir de la poulaille a son pris." 
He must have done his bargaining in very strong 
language, for one of the three brothers Sautel who 
kept the shop, smote him that he died, and it was to 
these brothers that the privilege of raising the Fierte 
St. Romain with pardon for this crime, was in that 
year granted. 

Only three years afterwards, Blanche, Dowager- 
Queen of France, had laid her hand by way of justice 
upon Jehan le Bourgeois of Neufchatel in spite of the 
fact that his murder had been pardoned by the canons' 
Privilege de St. Romain ; and from this case, and the 
following one in 1 39 1 , it appears that the pardon given 
to a prisoner involved that (apart from "civil" 

La Rue de la Gross e Horloge 

restitutions) he was released from any <* criminal " 
fine that might have been laid on him, and was of 
right to be restored to ail offices and goods held by 
him previous to his arrest. More than this, the 
Bailli of Rouen was not allowed to condemn any 
prisoner at all during the month that intervened 
between the <* insinuation of the privilege" and the 
actual ceremony of the pardon ; the " insinuation '' 
being the technical word for the annual formality by 
which the legal authorities were informed that the 
Chapter would inquire into the various prisons of the 
town> and proceed to make their choice before Ascen- 
sion. In one case a prisoner condemned to death 
{Robert Auberbosc in 1299) was only just saved 
though he was not finally chosen for the Fierte) at 
the last moment from the gallows, whither he had 
been taken during this sacred period, contrary to the 
rights of the chapter; and again in 1361 the Bailli had 
actually executed a man in the same interval before the 
canons knew, or could prevent it; and he was then 
and there solemnly excommunicated until full amend- 
ment had been made, for that he had been so wicked as 
to " violer le previlege et libertes de Feglise de Rouen, 
en vitup^re de la dicte eglise et de Monsieur St. 

The first woman to whom the famous privilege was 
accorded was Guillemette Gomont in 1380, of whom 
nothing is recorded ; but in the next year strangely 
enough another woman carried the Fierte, by name 
Jehanne Helart, the wife of Robert Cariel, who had 
slain Jehan Vengier ; and in 1 388 Estiennotte de 
Naples, who had been brought from Louvier to marry 
Guillaume Luart, of the parish of St. Vincent in Rouen, 
was pardoned by the Chapter in spite of having murdered 
her husband. In this example, as in many others, to 
our modern eyes, the motives which persuaded the 
canons to pardon the criminal they chose are scarcely 


The Story of Rouen 

intelligible, and I can only imagine that the key to the 
tragedy has been lost in most of such cases. But it is the 
women who are at the bottom of nearly all recorded 
crime in the long story of the Fierte, and when they 
are themselves chosen it is often at the end of a drama 
that surpasses in interest all the tales of mere masculine 
malefactors in the most interesting criminal record I 
have ever seen. I shall have occasion to speak of them 
later. For the present I can only take note of the 
cases that have been most prominent before the time ot 
the £nglish siege. 

The ceremony of the •* Levee de la Fierte " did 
not invariably meet with the approval of the people, 
as may be seen from the last case I have room to quote 
from this period. In 1394 Jehan Maignart, of the 
parish of St. Maclou, murdered Rogier le Veaatre^ 
with the assistance of two accomplices, Pierre Robert 
and Jehan Marie. After the procession of the public 
pardon on Ascension Day was over, the members of 
the Confr^rie of St. Romain were leading Maignart 
in triumph through the streets of Rouen, with a wreath 
of roses on his head, when suddenly a poor woman 
appeared at the corner of the Rue de 1* Ecole, and 
screamed to the prisoner that he was a disloyal traitor ; 
praying St. Romain that for his next crime he would 
not escape the hanging that was his due, for that now 
he was only screening the true criminals from punish- 
ment.^ The indignant Chapterhouse were only preyailed 
upon to overlook the crime of insulting their released 
prisoner by the full repentance of this woman. But 
*^ the Law " had heard her too, and it laid its hand 
promptly on the two accomplices. The canons io- 

^ Her exact words were carefully recorded by the horrified 
confr^rie : '' Ha 1 faux traltre, meurdrier, tu as pris ie fait sus 
toy, pour delivrer autruy ; tu t'en repentiras. Je pri si dieu et 
a Monseigneur Saint Romain que tu faches encore le £ut de 
quoy tu saies trainn^ et pendu/' 

La Rue de la Groste Horloge 

atantly objected, and a valuable precedent waa created 
by the decieioo of the King, before whom the Boal 
appeal of the case waa laid. By the royal charter, 
aigned in February 1395, the full privileges of the 
canons were upheld. The proc^a-verbal still exists 
upon a roll of parchment fairly written, nine feet in 
leogtb, with the evidence of eighty-eeven witnesses. 
The canons laid down ( i ) their right to the pardon ; 
1 the 

who "prinst e rou 
CD tubjectioD un g ao 
•erpent ou drag o 

this commein o 

should be prese ed 

(+, s, 6, 7, 8) h 
various details 

be b- 

fbrmality 1 
served from 

suspension o 
capita] punish m 
Ascension, the vi 
of the prisons, 
the choice of 
cnminal, to the p 
procenion ; (9 
most important) 
crinie he confe se to tn c 
which he is th p so 

he is restored to h hi 
and all hie ace m d 

full pardon (wi seq 

It had b«eo re ognued 

The Story of Rouen 

previous crimes were pardoned, for the act of pardon 
granted by the bailli to Nicole Lecordier in that year 
speaks of him as << d61ivr6 franc et quite de tous forfis 
. . • quielz qil soient, del tens en arri^re jusques au 
jor duL" And by 1 446 the charter of Charles VII., 
which is still preserved in the archives of the Cathedral, 
announces in May of that year that the prisoner who 
raises the Fierte " est absolz du cas pour le quel ii I'a 
lev6e et de tous crismes precedents.'' So that we 
reach the astonishing proposition that the Chapter- 
house of Rouen enjoyed a far greater power than ereo 
the royal prerogative of mercy, which only pardoned a 
specified crime ; whereas the Chapterhouse by a kind 
of baptism and regeneration from sin, started their 
prisoner afresh on a new life without any reference to 
his past misdeeds. What this involved I shall show 
when opportunity arises ; but the release of the accom- 
plices as well as the prisoner was an even more extra- 
ordinary extension of powers. It had abeady taken 
place before this test case, in a tavern brawl in 1370, 
in the crime of two drapers in 1 3 56, and in a very im- 
portant example when Guillaume Yon with another 
man of Pavilly were released after the slaying of a 
butcher; and the Seigneur d'Esneval gave sworn testi- 
mony that when a friend of the dead butcher publicly 
called the accomplice in the crime " a murderer,** that 
accomplice would have been delivered up to justice if 
the principal had not carried the Fierte. The retro- 
spective action of the pardon on the principal also 
extended to his accomplices, who began life afresh just 
as he did. And this extension was solemnly confirmed 
at the inquiry, from which I have just quoted. There 
is no doubt, however, that so excessive a " prolonga- 
tion" of the powers of pardon cannot have been 
allowed throughout the whole history of the Fierte ; for 
public opinion could scarcely have permitted a gang of 
ruffians every year to return to the full privileges en- 

La Rue de la Grosse Horloge 

joyed by their more honest comrades. So at the end 
of the fifteenth, and again at the end of the sixteenth 
century, we find it laid down that only those crimes 
named by the prisoner should be pardoned, if the 
Chapter thought fit, and that only those accomplices 
who appeared with him in the procession should share 
in his pardon. 

It was only in April 1407 that this long appeal was 
finally decided in favour of the two accomplices of 
Maignart, who bore the Fierte thirteen years before. 
But the Chapterhouse took good care that so much 
tedious and costly legal work should not be thrown 
away, and the strength of the precedents and charters 
they secured at this time was never entirely lost while 
the " Privilege " existed in Rouen at all. 

There is only one other matter much concerning the 
life of the people at this period for which I have space 
left, and that is their Mystery Plays. Two celebrated 
instances occur in these years before the invasions of the 
English and the siege of Rouen. In November 1365 
the King gave two hundred crowns of gold to a troupe 
of " dancers and musicians " who had played before 
him at the castle in the Place Bouvreuil. In 1374 the 
Confr^rie de la Passion was instituted at the Church of 
St. Patrice, and on Holy Thursday held a proces- 
sion in which all the instruments of the Passion of 
Christ were carried through the streets by children in 
the garb of angels. The Mystery that followed was 
given by the direct sanction of the Church in presence 
of the King, and in 1476 these representations became 
a regular annual performance, and the Confr^rie had 
developed by 1543 into a strong rival of that more 
famous Confr^rie de la Conception, or Puy des 
Palinods, of which I have already traced the beginning 
(see p. 69), in the verses of Robert Wace. 

The first of these old Mystery Plays had been merely 
copies of those F6tes de TEglise, of which I have 


The Story of Rouen 

spoken in suggesting the origin of the ceremonial at the 
Levie de la Fierte St. Romaio, and were in fact 
" tableaux vivants " of the religious office. Then 
dialogues were added, and the ** Drame Liturgique " 
appeared within the churches themselves. But the 
inevitable element of caricature and buffoonery soon 
necessitated an '^ outside show/' The traces of this 
transition may be seen in the Chapterhouse Records of 
Rouen. In 14519 for example, die Christmas mystery 
is performed ^'cessantibus tamen stulticiis et insolenciis, 
and in 1457 ^'ordinaverunt quod misterium pastorum 
fiat isto festo nativitatis decenter in cappis.'' The 
" jeux de Fous " had been forbidden by the Town 
Council in 1445 to be l^eld in the churches, and so was 
the " Procession de 1* Ane " (from which the anthem 
^' Orientis partibus adventavit asinus " has been so often 
quoted) with its prophets and sibyls, and the poet 

But in 1374 the Confr^rie de la Passion led their 
procession in all solemnity on the fUte day of St. 
Patrice from his church to the parish of their warden, 
and all the poor school children went before, and the 
last twelve wardens followed after, each leading a 
beggar man by the hand, whose feet they washed dur- 
ing the performance of their Mystery. And this 
continued until 1636. The last written << Myst^re du 
Lavement des Pieds " t^at exists was by one Nicolle 
Mauger, who laboured under the disadvantage of living 
in the same century with Comeille. 



The Siege of Rouen by Henry V. 

** War's ragged pupils ; many a wavering line 

Tom from the dear fat soil of champaigns hopefully tilled, 

Tom from the motherly bowl, the homely spoon, 

To jest at famine. . . . 

Over an empty platter affect the merrily filled ; 

Die, if the multiple hazards around said die." 

*T^HE Mystery Plays which I have just mentioned in 
*• the last chapter were undertakings at once so 
solemn and so popular that I can give no better idea of 
coming trouble than is contained in the fact of the post- 
ponement of the Mystery arranged by the Confr^rie de 
la Passion for 1410. On the 28th of March that year 
die sheriffs decided that, owing to the heavy obligations 
pressing on the town by reason of the quarrel with the 
Duke of Burgundy, and of the severe war-taxes 
depleting both private purses and public revenue, these 
entertainments must be given up. We find that this 
Confir^rie was not to be put off in 1415, and even 
repeated its play at Pentecost thirty years later ; but in 
1 410 their disappointment was only one of many signs 
of that disorder and poverty which finally laid Rouen 
open and defenceless before the English army. 

Already, in 1383, commerce and industry had 
tarred cruelly from the municipal anarchy which 
followed the suppression of the commune, and from the 
heavy fines for its rebellion imposed by the King. It 
was not for more than three centuries that the famous 
mayor re-appeared ; and this is no solitary instance of 


The Story of Rouen 

such an obliteration in the country, for though French 
Communes actually began before the Free Boroughs of 
England, they had not any of the qualities of perma- 
nence they showed in the nation where antiquity is more 
traceable in institutions than in such buildings as are 
still scattered in profusion over France. Another 
quaint little episode that shows the uneasiness of the 
town occurred in 1405, and is to be found in the 
deliberations of the Hotel de Ville for the 27th of 
September. Before Guillaume de Bellengues, Captain 
of Rouen, and his council, the question was discussed 
of the arrival of a certain Spanish captain, Pedro Nino, 
Count of Buelna, from Harfleur. Seventeen days 
afterwards he came, and it is interesting to observe 
that, in spite of relations with Spain which had begun 
long previously, lasted until after Corneille's day, and are 
still recorded in the name of the Rue des Espagnols, the 
good citizens of Rouen were very much upon their guard 
when Pedro Nino sailed up the Seine, and only allowed 
him to stay in their port and revictual on very hard 
conditions, one of which was the entire surrender of 
all offensive and defensive weapons. They also insisted 
on mooring his three galleys in a certain spot, keeping 
a strict guard over them, and not allowing any of his 
men in Rouen during the night. 

It happens that the personality of Don Pedro is not 
unknown to us, from other sources, and the bombastic 
account ^ written by his faithful squire, Gutierre de 
Gamez, has so many interesting points in it about 
Rouen at this date that I must refer to it, if only to 
bring out of its obscurity a book that is hardly known, 

1 The '* Cronica " beeins as follows : — " Este llbro ha 
nombre el Victorial, 6 fabla en ^1 de los quatros Principes que 
fueron mayores en el mundo. ..." It was published in 
Madrid in 1880, 236 pp. 4to, and was translated from the 
original Spanish by MM. Circourt and Puymaigre. (Paris, 
Victor Palm^, 1867, 590 pp. 8vo). 


The Siege of Rouen by Henry V. 

and almost deserves to rank near the more famous 
and extended chronicle of the " Loyal Servitor " of 
Bayard. Without going at any length into a life 
which does not concern us, I may say briefly that after 
his education at the Court of Castile, which he is said 
to have owed to his descent from the royal house of 
France, Don Pedro was commissioned at twenty-five 
years of age to attack the Barbary Corsairs in the 
Western Mediterranean. Ever since Du Guesclin had 
deposed Pedro the Cruel, and placed Henry of Tras- 
tamare upon the throne of Castille, the alliance between 
that power and France remained a political tradition ; 
and at about this time Charles VI. being at war with 
England, asked for help, with which Don Pedro was 
sent. He actually took a town in Cornwall, laid Port- 
land under contribution, and burnt the town of Poole. 
Returning to Harfleur, he was prevented by contrary 
winds from again crossing the Channel, and therefore 
decided to sail up the Seine and winter at Rouen. 
The luxury of the French nobles was only one of the 
many reasons of the weakness and disaster of the nation, 
and Don Pedro's voyage up the river seems to have 
been made pleasant to him by every chatelaine upon its 
banks, until he reached the Cios des Galees (which is 
rightly described in the "Victorial"), and met the 
somewhat gruff demands of the authorities of Rouen. 

They must have very soon changed their opinions, 
however; indeed, from the fact that in July of that same 
year the welcome and the gifts offered to Louis, Duke 
of Orleans, by the sheriffs were entirely contrary to the 
wishes of the population, who had just rebelled against 
his taxes, we may infer that a friend of that Duke, as 
Don Pedro showed himself to be on visiting Paris a 
little later, was not likely to have long been treated 
with hostility or even indifference by the civic officials. 

It is, therefore, hardly surprising that we soon 
hear of a love-affair in Rouen, and that too with the 


The Story of Rouen 

daughter of M. de Bellengues, the captain of the town 
himself. This lady had but just become awidow^after 
her marriage with Renaud de Trie, Admiral of France, 
which took place from the Hotel du Bee, before a large 
assembly of her father's friends in their parish church of 
St. Lo, with sixteen " Farceurs *' dancing before the 
procession to amuse the people. '* She is too good- 
looking," said the Captain, '< for me to prevent anyone 
from seeing her ; " and by this brilliant ceremony he 
gave a decisive check to the prevailing custom of secret 
weddings in a private chapel.^ The description of the 
Chateau of SIrifontaine, near Rouen, where the gallant 
Don first met the old and sickly admiral and his pretty 
wife, is as complete as almost any other I have seen, 
as a picture of a great French nobleman's house at 
the beginning of the fifteenth century. 

I have no space to quote the " Victorial " unfortun- 
ately, and from its pages I can only hint at the abun- 
dance you may gather of the ordered beauty and quiet 
of the place ; of the chapel with its band of wind- 
instruments and minstrels ; of the gracious orchards and 
gardens by the stream ; of the lake that could be 
drained at will, to choose the best fishes for the 
Admiral's table ; of the five and forty sporting dogs 
and the men who cleaned the kennels ; of the long 
rows of stalls, each with its horse, in the spacious 
stables; of the falcons and their perches and their 
keepers; of the separate lodgings of my lady, joined to 
the main building by a drawbridge, and filled with 
dainty furniture. There, too, may be read how Madame 
went forth so soon as she had risen from her bed, with 

^ M. de Bellengues lived in Michel Leconte's house, called 
the Manoir de la Fontaine, which was disputed by the parishes 
of St. LfO and St. HerbUnd. In it was a little chapel very 
fashionable for private weddings, and a mysterious apartment 
which could be hired for honeymoons. The Manor was 
bought in 1429, for the convenience of monks visiting Rouen, 
by the Abbaye du Bee, from which the street took its name. 


The Siege of Rouen by Henry V. 

her ten maid s-in- waiting, to a shrubbery where each sat 
in silence, with her rosary and her Book of Hours ; 
how they then set to picking flowers till it was time for 
Mass; how breakfast followed, with chickens and 
roasted game upon a silver dish, and wine ; how they 
all rode out together of an early afternoon, taking 
what gentlemen were there, and singing blidiely till 
the fields echoed as with the songs of Paradise. Into 
this delightful abode the old Admiral had invited the 
sea-captain, who was a guest of Rouen. The Spaniard 
was welcomed with a banquet on his arrival, at which 
his host, too feeble now to ride or hunt, did the honours 
of his house right courteously, providing sweet music 
during all the dinner, and a ball afterwards, at which 
his wife danced for an hour with the gay Don Pedro. 
After a ride round the castle grounds the visitor went 
ofF to Paris, and can hardly have been surprised, when 
he returned to Rouen and found the Admiral had died, 
to receive a message from the pretty widow to come up 
and hear the news. 

But the lovers were unlucky, for she might not 
wed again so soon after her widowhood, and he was 
under orders for the war, and had no permission for 
such dalliance from his master, the King of Castille. 
So he sailed away towards Harfleur, after many pro- 
testations of affection on each side, during an eclipse of 
the sun which came on as he left Rouen harbour, and 
much terrified his sailors. And the end of his little 
story is that he married Dona Beatrix of Portugal, 
and died in I453 ; while Jeanne de Bellengues 
espoused as her second husband Louis Mallet de 
Graville, Sieur de Montagu, Grand-Master of the 
Arbaletriers of France, and died still in her youth, in 
1 41 9. She was buried in the chapel of the Trinity in 
Rouen Cathedral, and all her husband's lands were 
confiscated by the English King. The intimate con- 
nection that existed at this time with Spain is exempli- 


The Story of Rouen 

(led again by the marriage of Robert de Bracquemont, 
who surrendered Pont de I'Arche to King Henry dur- 
ing the English advance on Rouen, with Inez de Men- 
doza, daughter of a high functionary at the Court of 
Castille, where he had been the French ambassador, 
and owned estates in Fuentesol and Pennarenda. 

I have mentioned the irritation of the populace when 
Louis d' Orleans was received so well by the sheriffs. 
But their disgust at '< the six barrels of wine, and the 
bales of royal scarlet " then presented may not have 
been merely political ; for many must have remembered 
how in 1390 the Hotel de Ville had actuaUy been 
seized for debt owing to the extravagant gifts of silver 
plate presented to Isabeau of Bavaria. The family of 
Mustel in fact had " fait mettre en criees et subhasta- 
tions le manoir de la ville/' And in times of such 
distress the citizens may well have objected to any 
useless ostentation on the part of their officials. 

Disturbances continued rife in Rouen through these 
terrible years of the weakness of the King. Chains 
had to be fastened permanently across many squares 
and streets in the town, which had become absolutely 
depopulated owing to the misery of such riots as that of 
141 1, or the still more serious outbreak of 141 7, when 
the perpetual quarrels of the Armagnac and Burgundian 
parties were reflected in the factions of the town. The 
burgesses declared for them of Burgundy, who posed as 
the " Progressives," or defenders of the people s rights, 
and therefore objected to the Bailli and the Chateau, 
as being the representatives of the Conservative and 
aristocratic Armagnacs, the gatherers of those hateful 
taxes, which had been doubled that year, and had 
thus made still more diflScult a commerce already 
crippled by constant changes in the currency. Per- 
petual imposts and extraordinary war-subventions had 
drained the town of its resources for some time. Every 
religious community had been forced to forego all 


The Siege of Rouen by Henry V. 

privileges and contribute like the rest. And after 
Bernard, Count of Armagnac, had assumed official 
direction of the Government, his excessive exactions 
made it easy to add the loss of Harfleur and the defeat 
of Agincourt, to the many sins of his party. The 
brigandage and violence of an Armagnac, Jean Raoulet, 
all along the Seine, brought home to the people of 
Rouen with an even more startling clearness the 
necessity for trying what the other side could do for 

So John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, had an 
easy part to play as the champion of the downtrodden 
people. On the 24th of April he sent a political mani- 
festo into the town (very much of the kind to which 
modem France has become accustomed) promising 
relief from taxation. Before swallowing the bait 
entirely the burgesses submitted the seals to examina- 
tion in Paris, but the drapers of Rouen scarcely waited 
for confirmation before they attacked the royal tax- 
gatherers with cries of" Long live Burgundy ! '* There- 
upon d' Armagnac sent three commissioners with a troop 
of Bretons and Genoese cross-bowmen from Paris. 
But the townsfolk would not let the mercenaries enter, 
seizing the keys of the town from the officials and 
mounting their own guard at every gate. The three 
commissioners, powerless without their escort, took 
refuge in the Chateau. The King's bailli, Raoul de 
Gancourt, refused to leave his post. He seems to have 
been a man brave enough to make his mark upon the 
stricken field of Agincourt, and intellectual enough to 
win a local reputation as a poet, a nature in fact some- 
what akin to Charles d' Orleans. But though he could 
make no head against the rioters he would not leave 
his honour behind him in the Rue Beauvoisine, and 
gathered round his hospitable hearth a few of the choice 
spirits of the town who joined him in deploring the 
excesses of the populace. 


The Story of Rouen 

Outside in the market-place Burgundian orators 
were rousing the passions of the mob, and chief among 
the leaders of the people were Alain Blanchart and 
De Li vet, a canon of the Cathedral, then in charge of 
the diocese during the absence of Louis d'Harcourt, who 
much preferred the amusements of a courtier to the 
pious seclusion of an archbishop. As soon as the news 
of all this reached Paris, the Dauphin himself, vdth a 
brilliant suite, set out for Rouen, and encamped in the 
fortress on St. Catherine's Hill, to the south-east of 
the town, between the Aubette and the Seine. A 
message sent him by De Gancourt, intercepted by the 
citizens, put the finishing touch to their resentment. 
Three men were picked out to rid them of the baillL 
One of them was Guillot Leclerc (afterwards beheaded 
for his crime), but Alain Blanchart had no share in 
the assassination, whatever you may imagine to be the 
meaning of Monstrelet's remarks. At midnight on 
the 23rd of July (the day of the Dauphin's arrival on 
St. Catherine) some masked men went to De Gan- 
court's door, begging him to receive a malefactor they 
had arrested. The moment the bailli appeared they 
fell upon him and left him dead in the gutter. Directly 
afterwards they rushed on to the house of his lieu- 
tenant-general, Jean Legier, seized him and his nephew, 
and threw them into the Seine, together with other 
prominent members of the Armagnac faction. 

The only result was a short blockade of the town 
by the Dauphin's troops and a military demonstration 
from the Chateau, which could be reinforced from 
outside through a postern to the west of the Porte 
Bouvreuil.-^ The citizens then surrendered, the Sire de 
Gamaches was made bailli, and Jean d'Harcourt (a 
relation of the absentee archbishop) was made captain 
of the town, with command of the castle ; but the 
Dauphin's party was not strong enough to punish as 
^ For the whole of this chapter see Map & 

The Siege of Rouen by Henry V. 

they wished, and Rouen was left in a state of ill- 
suppressed disloyalty. This broke out once more into 
rebellion at the beginning of the new year. Robert 
de firacquemont, made Admiral of France in April 
141 7 (whose Spanish alliances I have mentioned on 
p. 1 74), was sent down with troops as lieutenant-general 
of the King in Rouen, Gisors, Caux, and Honfleur. 
But he could not get into the town, and had to wait 
in the fortress of St. Catherine. During his short 
tenure of office the negotiations (preserved in the 
archives of Dieppe) which he was obliged to attempt, 
in order to secure some sort of coalition between the 
hostile factions against the English army, are a lamentable 
revelation of the dissensions of the time. When the 
supremacy of the Burgundians became inevitable, he 
went away, as we have seen, to Spain, leaving his 
opponent, Guy le Bouteiller, to take command of the 
castle of Rouen, and bring back with him Alain 
Blanchart with other democratic exiles ; and these two 
are prominent names in the siege that is to come, for 
Blanchart was made captain of the picked burgess- 
troop of the Arbaletriers of Rouen, Guillaume d'Hon- 
detot was made bailli, and Laghen, the Bastard of 
Arly, was made lieutenant.^ The Royalist Armagnacs 
were definitely abandoned, but, as we shall see, the 
unhappy town gained little in the crisis of her fate 
from her Burgundian sympathies. 

During all these days of civic anarchy the English 
troops were steadily advancing to their goal. Though 
no predetermined plan is proved to have existed in the 
mind of Henry V., the movements of his army resulted 
in a very definite and successful campaign. Landing 
on the elbow of the coast of Normandy, where no one 

^ During the same changes, Pierre Poolin was g^ven the 
office of Procureur-G^n^ral of Rouen, and Jean Segneult exer- 
ciied the functions of the Mayoralty, though without the actual 

M 177 

The Story of Rouen 

expected him, he cut the strength of her resistance in 
two by a rapid march from north to south, paralysing 
the warlike nobles of Cotentin, and forcing the hostile 
Angevins and the uncertain Bretons to remain neutral. 
Then, after sending out detachments to east and west, 
he concentrated on the Seine, crossed it above Rouen, 
and seized Pont de I'Arche so as to cut off her best 
communication with Paris, crush her between his fleet, 
his army, and his garrison at Honfieur, and ensure the 
conquest of Normandy beneath her walls. 

While the toils were thus closing in upon her, while 
she was being slowly cut off from crippled France, 
from Paris, where the citizens had nothing better to 
do than massacre the Armagnacs, Rouen sent hurriedly 
for help to the Duke of Burgundy. They only got 
brave words from his son, the Count of Charolais, 
who used all the taxes of the northern towns to 
fight against — ^not the English, but the Armagnacs. 
Paris showed a greater sympathy by instantly sending 
300 archers and 300 of their own militia. At last 
the Duke of Burgundy gave to a selfish policy 
what he had refused to patriotism, and realising that 
when his own party was in power the English were 
more enemies than allies, he sent 4000 men-at-arms 
to help the beleaguered city. In January Guy le 
Bouteiller had brought 1 500 more with him into the 
castle. The town itself could provide 1 5,000 militia, 
loo arbaletriers, 2000 artillerymen, and 2000 troops 
from the rest of Normandy, who had fled to Rouen 
when their own towns were destroyed, giving a total 
of 2 5,200 fighting men. 

Taught by the bitter experience of Caen, the burghers 
began their preparations by devastating the buildings in 
St. Sever on the south side of the bridge, and before 
the invaders were close up, they practically levelled to 
the ground nearly every house in the faubourgs outside 
the fortifications. With the stone thus sacrificed, they 

The Siege of Rouen by Henry V. 

rq)aired the breaches in their wallSf and itrcngthcnrd 
every tower, sowing ^'chausse-trappcs/' or MhAr)) threC" 
pronged irons in the fields all round the city. DeiidcM 
the cannon on the walls, each tower had three iMrae 
guns pointing in different directions, and eight NmHllet' 
pieces for fast firing. Antiquated weapons werr preisecl 
into the service as well, the balista, the three- mouthed 
trebuchet (the tappgete, or tryppgettc of the Ungliiih)f 
and the sling for hurling heavy darts and urrowi let up 
on the Porte Martainville. Besides this, they MnK 
every boat on the Seine, above or below the town^ m\A 
even burnt their two royal galleys when the progrfM fif 
the siege compelled them to prevent the Knglf«h from 
the advantage of their capture. Further iaxen Wft^ 
raised and cheerfully paid by layman^ eeclcmu^iiCf Htui 
soldier alike, and orders were isMJcd^ by the ttfUMi //f it 
tnmmet in every public square, that efery bofiMrhokl^f 
ahooid get in proritions for tiim mofithn, Mtt ftimffH m^ 
possible feat considering the scarcity r>f all UfdtS m Htft* 
mandy at the time. Finallv, v>me ihffomutfU (4 th& 
poorer classes were betoithed Cfot (A the U/wt^f ^hd n 
few drifted as ^ as Beaii^au and PatM, hoft th^ tMfff' 
ity wcfc swept back agwr* mt/> RfAier^ Ivy the -v/iv?f«#kf >y 
increasiBg tide of ha/ffd^m di.i^'n \t^p rlr*e ^Aty hy the 
Ei^fisb, to make fjie cask fA Uefikv^ v, tv^ivy ^k^)em 
months nore dhicukr The r«to(fs Wfre^ hi<i*/yt4 -jrh^m 
the £jnaie cane. 

On tiut Eof^zsh isdf^ ^.e K'ln^t v^rv .Kvm mimlv^M 
: 61,400 of all arm% du» (Uvxtin^^rA ^A ni* •r-fi*i#vi4 ^,^^ 
tsBfls aod borons wMnnted 'A t^^^yA^ UwMulm^ k^i^r^y 

loco carjcno^ri ind »'V^4.tvn r^WwM "V ^itiy, 
fcv:. »n^:n*»^^?, «(i>o^"''i» ^md .-niri^^ ; ti- 
the men vH^ i»?r>»r{ -}i#! :*r*^\Wj. Tni^ #aN» 
tiieferce -aiac .nt Rn^^lan/i, wi4 »ny -fimirtijfwv?!^ in •»» 
by bpse it ame knrf irr r#v», •]»»*«* ti/v-* *Ji<wi .-wM** i*> 
by eke iKiiitorcAiwnts -vf rh*? i^:«r: V yK-^r^^M, ^ ^ 

T'he Story of Rouen 

Duke of Exeter, of Sir John Talbot, and the Prior of 
Kilmaine. So that the total of the army that besieged 
Rouen was, at least, 45,000 men. This large force 
was brought across the Seine, partly by the old bridge 
of Pont de I'Arche, partly by a light and ingenious 
pontoon bridge made of planks supported on water- 
tight leather boats, which could be packed up and 
carried with the army on the march. 

The first appearance of the enemy was when the 
Duke of Beaufort (who had been Earl of Dorset in 
1 41 5), appeared before the walls to summon Rouen to 
surrender on terms. The citizens answered him with 
an attack of cavalry. On Friday the 2 9th of July, Henry 
V. set out from Pont de I'Arche by the right bank of 
the river, with a cloud of scouts before his army, savage 
half-clad Irishmen, armed with Hght shields, short jave- 
lins, and long knives, who plundered all the countryside, 
and rode into camp at night astride of the cattle they 
had stolen. That same evening, " the Friday before 
Lammas day," the King reached Rouen and placed his 
troops all round the town under cover of the darkness. 
The citizens awoke next morning to find Rouen girdled 
with English steel. The die was irrevocably cast. 
Abandoned by their king, by both the factions into 
which the rest of France was torn, the hardy burgesses 
resolved to stand firm for the honour of a nation which 
had left them to their fate. And, at first sight, the 
mighty walls, and moats, and towers must have made 
even the English hesitate before attacking a town that 
hadprepared so stubborn a defence. 

The account of the siege has very fortunately been 
preserved by two eye-witnesses, and we are able to 
check any French sympathies that may have crept into 
the accounts of Monstrelet, or of the Monk of St. 
Denys, of Juvenal des Ursins, or of the "Journal 
d'un Bourgeois de Paris," by comparing them not 
merely with the worthless " Chronique de Normandie," 

The Siege of Rouen by Henry V. 

at with Pierre Cochon'g " Chronitjue Normande," 
but with two far more impoitant aad more authoritative 
dcBcriptions, one preserved in Paris, the other in the 
British Museum. Both were written by men in the 


army of Henry V., whose names are unknown. The 
first is called the " Chronicon Henrici Quinli," which 
was brought to France by Pierre Pithou, and is now in 
the Bibliothfifue Nationale (MS. 6239). The aecortd 

The Story of Rouen 

18 a poem in contemporary English called the << Sege of 
Roan," of which 954 verses were published by Mr Cony- 
beare in ^' Archaeologia Britannica" (vol. xxi.), and 
676 verses by Sir Frederick Madden CiL vol. xxii.). 
Of English contemporary authorities, Otterbourne and 
Stow have something to say, but Walsingham is useless. 
Rymer's ** Foedera" has some important documents (vol. 
IV. iv.) and there are finally, of course, the archives of the 
town itself, which emphasise in many details the heroic 
patriotism and constancy of the citizens amidst the suf- 
ferings, as terrible as can be imagined, which preceded 
the ^1 of the town and the consequent subjugation of 
Normandy to England for thirty years. 

There is not much that you can still see of the city 
that was so splendidly defended, but 1 can at least point 
you to the very spot where King Henry the Fifth 
had his headquarters. By going eastwards out of the 
city, along the Rue d 'Amiens, which starts from the 
Place des Fonts de Robec, you reach the boulevard 
Gambetta, north of the streams of Aubette (along 
which runs the road to Nid de Chiens, the Norman 
dukes' sporting kennel) and south of that branch of 
Robec which passes by the Tour du Colombier. 
Though that part of Rouen's fortifications has dis- 
appeared, you may still see at the south-east angle of 
the old walls, a remnant of that Convent des Celestins 
founded by the Duke of Bedford during the English 
occupation. A little further northwards you pass the 
end of the Rue Eau de Robec, " ignoble petite Venise " 
as Flaubert called it, with its queer bridges and over- 
hanging gables, and finally in the Place St. Hilaire you 
will find the Route de Darnetal. Walk eastwards 
straight along it, until a small suburban road turns out 
of it upon your right hand, called the Rue de la Petite 
Chartreuse. This soon leads you to a large expanse 
of enclosed ground on the left of the road, surrounded 
by a fine bit of fifteenth-century wall ; the entrance- 

7 be Siege of Rouen by Henry V. 

gate 18 marked with the number 4. Within are several 
ruined buildings dotted about a quiet abbey close whose 
strange religious atmosphere has never changed in more 
than four and a half centuries. Close to the gate, there 
rises an ivy-covered column of dilapidated ancient 
masonry, which holds a much more modem seventeenth- 
century shrine, still commemorating " Notre Dame des 
Roses," as the laundresses call her. 

Far behind your right shoulder rise the spires of 
Rouen; away to the left is the church tower of 
Dametal; in the opposite horizon the great slope of 
St. Catherine rises to the sky. Within this quiet 
square Archbishop Guilkume de 1' Estrange built the 
Chartreuse de Notre Dame de la Rose, in 1386, 
rather more than a mile from the Porte St. Hilaire, in 
that cool valley between St. Catherine and Dametal, 
which is shut in by the interlacing arms of Robec and 
Aubette. Some fifty yards beyond the shrine I have 
just mentioned, you will see a half-ruined mediaeval 
building, which must have been the great hall of the 
convent. Traces of fourteenth and fifteenth century 
work have been found in it by the eye of faith, though 
the lower floor is now a kind of granary, and the upper 
storey is used as a big drying-ground by the laundry 
girls who live close by in the pretty old house that used 
to form a set of lodgings for the monks. Above its 
walls in 141 8 floated the royal flag of England, and 
within them the last act in the tragedy of the siege of 
Rouen was playea out. It is my good fortune that 
the drawing of this historic spot, made for me by Miss 
James, happens to be yet another picture in this little 
volume of a scene that has never, to the best of my 
belief, been given to English readers before. The 
King's headquarters, though close to Mont St. Cath- 
erine were beyond the range of the cannon of those 
days, and between him and the fortress Lord Salisbury's 
men were placed, with Lieutenant Philip Leech on the 


The Story of Rouen 

south side, and Sir John Gray to the west. Opposite 
the Porte Martainville was the Earl of Warwick's 
camp; and Edmund Beaufort, Count of Mortain, 
who became Duke of Somerset when he was made 
governor of Normandy, held the north side of 
the Aubette and completed the investment of St. 

North of the King's camp, Sir William Porter had 
at first held the ground before the Porte St. Hilaire, but 
the Duke of Gloucester was given the position as soon 
as he came up from Cherbourg, placing his two lieu^ 
tenants on each side of the stream, the Earl of Sufiblk 
to the south, the Marquis of Abergavenny northwards. 

Leaving the side on which the King's camp was so 
well guarded, if you passed west and northwards round 
the battlements of Rouen, you would have seen Thomas 
Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, guarding the Porte Beau- 
voisine, having as his lieutenants Lord Willoughby de 
Eresby and the Lord Chamberlain, Henry Fitz-Hugh, 
to the east, and John Lord Ross westwards. The 
Castle of Rouen and the Porte Bouvreuil were besieged 
by Lord John Mowbray, second son of the Duke of 
Norfolk, whose lieutenants were first Sir William 
Hanington, and later on Sir Gilbert Talbot, the father 
of the famous Earl of Shrewsbury. The fest gate, the 
Porte Cauchoise at the lowest western angle of the town, 
was beleaguered by Thomas Plantagenet the Duke of 
Clarence whose camp was in the ruined abbey of St. 
Gervais ; above him was the Earl of Cornwall ; and 
James Butler, Earl of Ormond, closed the investing 
lines towards the river. A glance at map B will 
make all this clear. 

Across the Seine, the whole of the ruined faubourg 
of St. Sever was under the command of John Holland, 
Earl of Huntingdon, whose business it was to guard the 
barbacan, or fortress at the south end of the bridge, 
and to keep up the English communications with the 

7 be Siege of Rouen by Henry V. 

south of Normandy. To do this he had a numerous 
stafF of lieutenants, Sir Gilbert d'Umfreville, Lord 
John Nevill, eldest son of the Earl of Westmoreland, 
Sir Richard Arundel, and Lord Edmund Ferrers. 
Finally, Thomas, Lord Carew, was given a roving 
commission to scout and forage with his light Irish 
troops and a body of hardy Welshmen under Jenico 
of Artois who is mentioned both by the English 
anonymous poet and by Holinshed. 

Within the walls of Rouen the roll of the defenders 
has but very modest names to contrast to the flower 
of English chivalry opposed to them. Of Guy 
le Bouteiller, captain of the castle at the Porte 
Bouvreuil, I have already spoken. One of his lieutenants, 
Jean Noblet, held St. Catherine, and the other, Laghen, 
the Bastard of Arly, kept the Porte Cauchoise with 
the goodwill of all the citizens who firmly trusted him. 
One of his subordinates is called <<Mowne-sir de 
Termagowne'* by the English poet. The names of 
all those who kept the walls are chronicled either by 
this authority or by Monstrelet. But the most famous 
of them were Alain Blanchart, captain of the Arbale- 
triers, who seems to have taken command of the whole 
militia and was the life and soul of the town's resistance, 
and Canon Robert de Li vet whose devotion and ardour 
inspired every non-combatant to assist the soldiers in 
their weary task and to bear their sufferings with a 
fortitude he was himself the first to show. 1 have 
mentioned 2000 refugee-warriors from other places. 
They seem to have been led by the men of Caen 
under a Lombard condottiere called Le Grand Jacques, 
or as the English poem has it: — 

" Guaunte Jakys a werryour wyse." 

The real operations of the siege began with a 
desperate sortie of the citizens from every gate at 
once, which was repulsed with slaughter. The follow- 
ing days were filled with spirited attacks on every 


Tbe Story of Rouen 

English captain who had not had time to fortify his 
post, attacks which only ceased when a huge ditch had 
been dug all round the town, with regular posts and 
covered ways, the whole under the guidance of Sir 
Robert Bapthorp, who was afterwards rewarded with 
the " Maison a I'enseigne de FOurs " in the Rue de 
la Vicomte. Meanwhile the English continued to 
make sure of their communications with Harfleur down 
the Seine, and to cut off the same route to the French. 
The Portuguese fleet helped them to blockade the 
mouth of the river, and even advanced upstream as far 
as Quilleboeuf. Most important of all, they built the 
Bridge of St. George of solid timbers sunk into the 
stream between Lescure and Sotteville, four miles 
higher up than Rouen, and guarded it thoroughly from 
all attack. Finally, Jean Noblet, cut off from all pro- 
visions in St. Catherine, had to surrender on the thirtieth 
of August, and a few days afterwards, Caudebec, the 
last hope of the city down the stream was forced to 
swear complete neutrality and to abide by the same 
terms which were eventually won by Rouen, an instance 
of heroic partisanship which proves the solidarity of 
Normandy and the loyalty of every outlying town to 
the capital. 

The results of all this were very soon visible, for the 
Seine was now completely in the power of the English, 
and the only problem that remained for the King to 
solve was to get his war-galleys high enough up the 
Seine to protect St. George's Bridge. He could not 
think of sailing past the town itself. He finally 
determined to drag the vessels across the narrow neck 
of land that lies at the southern angles of the great 
curve on which Rouen herself is set. The space at this 
point between the villages of Moulineaux and Orival is 
scarcely ^vq miles, as may be seen on map A. The 
galleys were hauled across under full sail with a favour- 
ing wind on huge greased rollers, and then indeed the 

T'be Siege of Rouen by Henry V. 

men of Rouen were face to face with the reality of a 
blockade which held them fast by land and water ; so 
they burnt their own last warships and set fire to the 
^unoos Clos des Galees. 

Henry V. had before this written to London for 
proyisionsy in a letter to the Lord Mayor which is still 
preserved in the archives of the City, and took nine 
days to get to him. "And pray you effectuelly," 
writes the King, "that in al the haste that ye may, 
ye wille do arme as manie smale vessels as ye may 
goodly with vitaille and namly with drinke for to come 
Harfleu and fro thennes, as fer as they may, up ye river 
of Seyne to Roan ward, vith the said vitaille for the 
refresching of us and our said boost." The royal 
request was cheerfully welcomed, and the city of 
London hasted to send " Tritty botes of swete wyne, 
ten of Tyre, ten of Romency, ten of Malvesey, and a 
thousand pipes of ale and bare, with three thousand and 
five hundred coppes for your boost to drinke " — a "bote " 
being about 1 26 gallons. At the very moment when all 
this good cheer reached the thirsty Englishmen, the 
first pinch of hunger came upon the men of Rouen, as, 
one by one, their last communications were cut off. 
Their attacks upon the enemy became more frequent and 
more desperate every day. With artillery, with every 
weapon they could scrape together, obsolete or not, 
they kept a continual hail of missiles on the English 
camp, especially harassing the quarters of the Duke of 
Gloucester, absolutely preventing the King's soldiers 
from ever approaching near enough to mine their walls, 
and giving not an hour of rest to the English army. 

But Henry V. was too wise to waste a man. After 
he had cut off every avenue of help or hope, he sat quite 
still and waited, for he knew that death and disease 
were on his side, and that against inevitable starvation no 
city in the world could stand for long. The horror of 
this long-drawn agony was now and then relieved by 


The Story of Rouen 

such single combats between the lines as that when 
Laghen beat the Englishman who had challenged him 
before the gate of Caux, or by the hanging of a new 
French prisoner in the English lines and the retaliation 
of an execution on the walls of Rouen. But rations 
were growing pitifully small now, and another effort 
was made to get help from the King and the Duke of 
Burgundy. A messenger got through the lines and 
brought the stem warning of the citizens to those who 
had abandoned them. For Rouen cried " Haro ! " 
before the throne, and gave notice to the princes that 
if she was compelled to surrender to the English, there 
would be no bitterer enemy of the Crown than the 
capital of Normandy. They got the usual promises, 
and every bell in Rouen (save the captive " Rouvel" ) 
rang to welcome the good tidings of the messenger 
on his return. But nothing happened, and both at 
Alengon and at Pont de I'Arche the English King 
was easily able to put off the negotiations which were 
the only sign of help that Rouen got from Paris. 

And now famine itself began to grip the citizens by 
the throat. The Register of the Cathedral Chapter- 
house shows signs of scarcity of food only three weeks 
after the siege began, for fines are then imposed in loaves 
of bread. Then the bread usually distributed was given 
up, and money substituted. The last entry stops short 
in the middle of a pathetic sentence ..." parce que, 
dans le necessite du present si^ge, le pain ..." and 
it was not until the gates were opened that a clerk was 
found strong enough to go on writmg. By the end of 
September all the meat had disappeared, every horse and 
every donkey had been eaten, and wheaten bread was 
sold at a sovereign a loaf. The horrors of starvation 
need not any further be revealed ; but by the first days 
of December they had a peculiarly terrible result. To 
save their own lives, and keep enough miserable fodder 
for the soldiers to stand upright behind the walls, the 
1 88 

^be Siege of Rouen by Henry V. 

burgesses of Rouen had to turn out of the town all the 
refugees who had fled for safety to her walls from other 
cities taken by the English. Some fifteen thousand of 
them, men, women and children, tottered out of the 
gates and made feebly for the English lines. The 
chronicler himself was moved to pity : " Have ye pitee 
hem upone " he cries to the English King, " and yeve 
hem leve thens to gone '* ; but when they tried to pass 
through they found a row of pikes as pitiless as the shut 
gates of Rouen behind. Beneath the chill December 
sky these famishing spectres had to take refuge in the 
open ditch below the ramparts of the town. Without 
any shelter, ragged, defenceless, and feeding only on 
roots and bitter grass, grubbed from the war-scarred 
ground, they perished in hundreds every night, they 
died by the chance missiles of one side or the other, 
they went mad and hurled themselves into the watch- 
fires of the English. From the walls above, a priest 
sometimes would lean down with a blessing, or draw 
up an infant newly born into all this misery, baptise it, 
and lower it again to die ; but never a crumb of bread 
came out of starving Rouen. The Canon de Livet, 
whose stout heart no horror of the siege could break, 
was almost overcome at this last infamy of fate ; and 
standing high upon the ramparts he cursed the English 
army, and pronounced the anathema of excommunica- 
tion against its king. 

The citizens made one more attempt to break through 
that inflexible ring of death. Ten thousand of the 
strongest men who could still carry arms were picked 
out from the garrison, and every atom of eatable 
substance in the town was swept and scraped together 
to give them such a pittance as was grimly supposed to 
sustain them for two days. Two thousand of them 
dashed out of the Porte St. Hilaire and feverishly made 
for the headquarters of the King. Their very despera- 
tion sent them momentary victory, but their movement 


Tbe Story of Rouen 

was only inteDded as a blind to the main attack arranged 
from the castle gate, behind which eight thousand un- 
daunted skeletons rattled in their armour and prepared 
to deliver their last blow for freedom. Their front 
ranks were already past the moat, and the weight of 
their main column was upon the bridge, when suddenly 
the massive timbers groaned beneath them, and some 
thousand men-at-arms fell down into the ditch beneath. 
Cut off from their own men, those who had already 
passed were shot down at leisure by the English, while 
the ditch was filled with maimed and dead. Those 
who had not had time to cross were obliged to make 
a circuit and try to give assistance to their isolated 
friends outside by way of the Porte Bouvreuil further 
to the north and east. The miserable heroes who 
had attacked the royal camp were only got back into 
the town with fearful loss. To the discouragement of 
the failure was added the bitter suspicion of treason, for 
the great beams of the bridge were found to have been 
half sawn through. Their despair was accentuated by 
the death of the brave Laghen, who had at last suc- 
cumbed to the fatigues of fighting without proper food. 
At the imminent peril of their lives, but preferring 
death in the open to the starvation of rats in a hole, 
four nobles and four burgesses got through the English 
lines once more, with a last appeal to the Duke of 
Burgundy and the King, roundly denying all allegiance 
to them if no attempt to help were made. The Duke 
himself was base enough to answer that on the fourth 
day after Christmas help would come, and this though 
he must have known that there was no real chance of 
succour. But with a pitiable confidence in their leaders 
the envoys dragged themselves back to Rouen and bade 
the garrison hold out only for another fifteen days, and 
then they should be rescued. To men already starving 
we can scarce imagine what the delay of another fort- 
night meant. It was drawing near to Christmas. 

afttt ^i^iiBfa conrotwo piusa "were kssd iikhnmnii^ 
thoBr yhaimnnfe cif still Kombie tiuinHimy i^ut 
flOPEScftisd tfasir -fiffihlfliii; urmB id iuiinRm ^^nn i^ oxj 
HOflL ITiff ikiing "wbf Bending &od Bn£ dmiiL id lihesn 
lor tbr low of Him -viioe iarck -whe nrMiraigd cni tie 
■mmiw- T^hf* miBsrebk cigHUu g fc atr and fbsnk "vinib 
laAeiinifi cnes "i^wr hnui^^it xfac Huu'vjiig ^jBrriBaD id lie 
viBs HD WHTch ttffim ; fam "^aex mtv g»™w^ xbr BcrcDgdi 
to adfer Tiaiii a ^iirV longer, door i^ nesi dinr the 
GmilBfih Jina cloBed ut> la^xoi und hd man- fctod w id 

Odc hhb? tns&r dk^ipoiicanfim dir rmTSHro vfrt 
doDBed Id mfer iefiurr istc end ctciiKi. Ftdtid thr 
i^gptt bank oF liie Senu^ rvd Narz32:i! iicibk&. .lacqu» 
iftlaDOZsairt and liif Sire: d£ MareuiJ iirrtrmfiLcd tD drsT 
tke Eineiid) inxo jsl mnbiiiiraidc TTiirr iiad cmlr tvd 
ihwiwrnifl men, iiiii tfarr mipfa: "wdl ixsTfr CT-euied 
d mertfi'ju to nnder n TictcirioiB isJlj jowdiaii? 
tdie CCT, for ::ii* £«n|rii^ inifcgiDed i: mu thr 
ni^ BTxxnr nf rc»::u£ =:niit- i:: Ihbl. But 'Liit f^g^ 
jB'Diii :^ -vAvk :t iLciuo. ^ttiijl i^ mprrfiraBhpD 
lieir Eonn«r:~Jcnt tut it* fngh: :»t t 6ir Hm<Jif: 
bodj <of !di£- imsnrr. anr iiii:r iuic ijci|p& fad*'d iit^ drv 
beftirc liiir fiun. Tiist -tit iutefiJ nrMfn-n'Titi erf 
cam*- imr -^'cni^ -wEuyin l Hir*^ af TOTiL or 
iieh^ J or rwi, mcr* miKruuif: dsyi t:i» 
TTHtfifd ir THiu arc ii:r ti'J irrrx -tiiCiuiaTid 
ixad died uf siniint dif istrr yimi: trf BU'^*mitr. 
-wilk -wert BiiL mtar- "Sti*?!* ticii'U ai- Binin ai 
r, Sue flsmcioL ns^pix t:, -matt r^tTamiu* y-sacijci 
lie enenrr'i arrilisrjr uai :#?*ri :if n:- i'vai- Ss; 

the — ^'^^g ii lilt H.yi*i :i* V Ji*. vric yin t:* :«i-irF 

TbcT vansersi n. ran v\m. ;»ii» :a«in '-^ m\'XJwr„ 
vntol ther v*rt yrmpei •-: ::"-«i '-•^'fr *-: :»i i/r^tr, aiic 
tlieie lirr fuuzc Sr S-iliitrr. r 'Viiif:r»-ilit, whok 

- r 1 

The Story of Rouen 

NormaD lineage perhaps made him kinder than the 
rest. He was at last prevailed upon to take them on 
the second day of the year, a Monday, into the presence 
of the King. Though every hour meant a prolonging 
of their torture, the ambassadors fought foot by foot 
the conditions of surrender and calmly argued every 
sentence of the treaty with that Norman love of litiga- 
tion which now rose to its highest and most impassioned 
point. In the great hall of the Chartreuse de la Rose, 
they saw the cold, impassive, handsome countenance of 
the young English King, with that touch of sadness on 
it that foretold his early death, ^ and the detached 
nobility of manner which fitted a King who had ex- 
hausted every pleasure before he took, and worthily 
wielded, the responsibilities of power. 

The first request of the ambassadors was for the 
succour of the poor outcasts in the moat all round the 
town. But Henry only announced his firm resolve 
to take Rouen and all its citizens and to make those 
who had opposed his will '* remember me until the 
Day of Judgment." At last an armistice of two or 
three days was granted, and on the third of January a 
solemn meeting of the picked ambassadors of either 
side took place between the Chartreuse and the Porte 
St. Hilaire, where all the splendour of the English 
noblemen's caparisons and furniture was displayed, and 
the starving commissioners from Rouen made the bravest 
show they could beneath the Fleurs de Lys of France. 
Close to all this magnificence was the yet living horror 
of the moat, which was now almost filled up with 
dead. From time to time the heap of rags and withered 
anatomies heaved slowly, and the little spectre of a child 
crawled out, imploring food. And all day long the 
solemn arguments went on beneath the sumptuous 
pavilions of the English, until, after three days of 

1 The prophetic word " Jamais " was in the device upon 
the tapestry above him. 

The Siege of Rouen by Henry V. 

disciunon, the ambasudon of Rouen weat bock, nn- 
Batialied, into their city. 

"We aakid mykUle," taja the poet, "thef praferid una). 

That ii yuelle Co acconle with alle. 
Tho thay tretid an xlHj nyit 
And zic accorde they ne mjit." 

Both sides were indeed so resolute, that they "might 
have argued for a fortni^t without coming to an 

agreement." But the people of the city had starved 
long enough, and they drove back their emissaries to 
the Porte St. Hilaire, after one proposal, bom of mad- 

The Story of Rouen 

nessy had been made, to 8et fire to the town and then 
by every gate at once to pour out i^n the English 
camp with the whole population in a flood, and so 
win through or die at least with weapons in their 
hands. Some news of this despairing possibility may 
have suggested to King Henry that the representations 
of the Archbishop of Canterbury were not without 
their value. At anyrate he yielded to solicitation, 
granted another truce, and on the ninth of January 
opened negotiations once again. 

This time the pressure of famine was so hard upon 
the ambassadors themselves that they went on with 
discussions night and day, burning torches and candles 
when the sun set. At last a definite instrument was 
signed and sealed that guaranteed life and a free pass to 
the garrison, their goods to the citizens, and great 
portion of its privileges to the town. But the 
terms were hard enough. Three hundred thousand 
crowns of gold ^ was fixed as the ransom of the city ; 
the chains were to be taken down from every street ; 
ground sufficient for an English palace was to be given 
up, which was eventually chosen at the south-west 
corner of the town near the river ; nine persons, among 
whom were the Canon Robert de Livet and Alain 
Blanchart, were exempted from the capitulation and 
" reserved to the mercy of the King,** which in one 
case at least meant death. 

Upon a throne, and dressed in cloth of gold, Henry 
V. received the keys of Rouen from Guy le Bouteiller, 
in the Chartreuse de la Rose. Then the Duke of 
Exeter, as captain of the town, set up the English 
standard over all her gates and above the donjon of 
the castle ; and at daylight on the twentieth of January 
the French garrison filed out of Rouen across the Seine 
towards the Bridge of St. George on the left bank, and 

Eighteen million francs would represent the relative value 
of this sum nowadays. It was not fully paid eleven years later. 

The Siege of Rouen by Henry V. 

were stripped of everything, save one suit of clothes, 
by the English soldiers, as they went. Only two thou- 
sand men survived out of the six thousand who had so 
gallantly come into Rouen to help resist the enemy. 
While they escaped sadly into desolated Normandy, 
King Henry V. was advancing from the Chartreuse; 
he moved slowly round the city to the Porte Cauchoise, 
and behind him was borne a fox's brush swinging upon 
a lance.^ The bells rang and the cannon roared salute 
as he entered Rouen, but of the inhabitants scarcely one 
had strength to stand upright, not one had voice to 
cheer, and all besought for bread. Alone of the nine 
prisoners, Alain Blanchart was beheaded. But thirty- 
three burgesses were picked out to pay a special tax in 
ready money and imprisoned till it was delivered.^ The 
main sum of the ransom was disputed with the true 
Norman delight in legal quibbling, and not fully paid 
(or at least "arranged for ) till 1430. 

The imposition of this huge sum on a community 
already at the end of its resources had a lasting and 
terrible effect upon the town. The Chapterhouse were 
obliged to remit half their rents from the farmers ruined 
by the war. All debts had to receive special postpone- 
ment, and commerce suffered almost as fatally as 
agriculture. All over Rouen houses were continually 
being put up to auction for public or private defalca- 
tions, to be bought by those Englishmen who had not 
been already given estates as a reward for their services. 

1 No one has ever explained this to my satisfaction. But 
visitors to Heidelberg will remember the connection of a fox's 
brush with ttie Court Fool Perlieo, and various other legends 
of Renard which give the symbol, I fear, anything but a 
courteous significance for a foe beaten but not disgraced. 

3 The Englishmen recorded that some of their prisoners were 
put in the "Ostel de la Oloche dont avoit la ffarde Jehan 
Lemorguc." By this changed name is meant the humbled 
Hotel de Ville, where prisons had been managed in the 
lower stortys early in the fifteenth century. 


"The Story of Rouen 

The buildiogt of the Ahbey of St. Ouen were entirely 
occupied by the men of the Duke of Suffolk, so that 
the archbi^op of 14^23 waa unable to paM the oight 
before hie entry Id the abbey, as of immemorial custom, 
because the English lilled up every inch of it. Of the 
exquiate east end we can see now, not much more 
than the beautiful little "Tour aux Clercs" of the 
older abbey was standing in I419. But it may be 

Eut down as one of the few things creditable to the 
[Dgliah occupation that part of the nave was cert^nly 
finished uoder thnr eocouragement (see Chap. X.). 
Meanwhile the King 
took care to strengthen 
the castle at the Porte 
Bouvreuil, and the 
barbacan at the bridge ; 
and his own palace 
began to rise near the 
Tour Malsifrotte and 
the Porte du Pr^ d« 
U Bauille. Nothing 
now remains of it save 
the name of " Rue du 
Vieux Palais " in the 
Quartier St. Eloi (see 
map D). But it 
served in the Urst years aa a residence for the Duke 
of Bedford, and for the young King Henry VI. 

After the conquest of Rouen, one town after another 
fell mto the English hands. On September 23 in 
1419, the last resistance in Normandy was quelled 
at Chateau Gaillard. Mont St. Michael alone re- 
mained free until the English domination ceased and 
France joined her in her freedom. The King who took 
the dty of Rouen was seen there twice again. Id i 42 1 , 
with Catherine of France, his wife, he opened the 
Estates of Normandy. In 1421 he was borne through 

The Siege of Rouen by Henry V. 

Rouen on his funeral bier; two months before the 
crown of France would have been his. 

The Rouen besieged by King Henry V. can be 
almost exactly traced along the lines of the modern 
boulevards shown in map B. The extension east- 
wards, which is given in map £. with this chapter, took 
place chiefly during the fourteenth century when Rouen 
was rapidly growing to be the second town in the 
kingdom. In making the circuit of the walls you will 
remember passing the Tour du Colombier between the 
Porte Martainville and the Porte St. Hilaire. It is 
represented now by a picturesque old house standing 
four-square upon a buttressed wall above the stream, at 
the extreme eastern verge of the great enclosure of the 
hospital. It is still called the Maison des Celestins, 
and aged men over sixty are preserved there to live out 
in peace the autumn of their days. Both the name and 
the present occupiers are an appropriate reminder of 
one who is connected with some of the better memories 
of the English occupation, the Duke of Bedford 
who founded the Convent des Celestins, that was 
ruined by the Huguenots in 1 562, upon the land for- 
merly occupied by his Chateau de Chantereine, called 
"Joyeux Repos. 

This convent, which was also known as the ^< Val 
Notre Dame," is not the only trace which the Duke of 
Bedford's benefactions left in Rouen. He also took 
the Carmelite brethren under his especial protection, 
being no doubt supported in this charitable action 
by the English Carmelite confessor of Henry V., 
Thomas de Valde, who died at Rouen in 1430. But 
his most intimate connection with ecclesiastical Rouen 
is recorded in the archives of the Cathedral, where we 
are told that he left the chapterhouse in his will a 
beautiful golden chalice garnished with gems, a pair 
of golden censers and a silver-gilt crucifix, in memory 
of his being made a canon at his own request. And 


The Story of Rouen 

there is some irony in the thought that at the moment 
he was giving these proofs of his affection for the town, 
his councillors were, with his consent, pursuing Jeanne 
d'Arc with every subtlest form of legal and religious 

Scarcely a year after Jeanne had been burnt in 
the Vieux Marche, the Duke's wife, Anne of Bur- 
gundy, died at the early age of 28, and in addition to 
this private loss he had to submit to the consequences 
of a grave error of judgment in his second marriage to 
Jacqueline, daughter of Pierre de Luxembourg, Count 
of St. Pol, an alliance which gravely ofiended the 
whole house of Burgundy. In 1 43 J he died himself 
on the 14th of September, ^^die exaltacionis Sancte 
Crucis " as the chapterhouse entries record, in the same 
Chateau of Rouen where Jeanne d'Arc had suffered her 
last imprisonment. His body was embalmed and buried 
in a leaden cofHn in the choir of Rouen Cathedral by 
the side of the dukes of Normandy and the English 
kings his ancestors, beneath a magnificently sculptured 

He left the Celestins of " Joyeux Repos," near the 
Tour du Colombier,^ a small legacy, and benefac- 
tions to many other abbeys and churches in the town. 
Though the canons did not get their golden treasure 
by any means intact, or indeed get any part of it with- 
out protracted struggles, they always took good care 

1 After the Duke of Bedford had given the Celestins their 
Monastery, Charles VII. further assisted them by taking off 
all taxes on their wine. In recognition of this a monk used 
to dance and sing in front of the Monastic barrels as they 
were rolled past the Governor's house. Occasionally the 
combination of good claret and freedom from taxation over- 
came the monk's discretion, and the old proverb " VoiU un 
plaisant C^estin " preserves the memory of some such amiably 
festive ecclesiastic. The "Olson brid^" of the monks of 
St. Ouen was another instance of the way in which feudal 
privileges were commemorated by queer ceremonials which 
long outlived the society that gave them birth. 

I'be Siege of Rouen by Henry V, 

of his tomb, which was certainly in excellent preserva- 
tion before the Calvinists of 1 562 began a destruction 
which was completed by the Revolution. An inscrip- 
tion, however, was left on an adjacent pillar, and this 
was copied by Dugdale. The ostrich feathers and the 
order of the garter were shown upon the brass besides 
the epitaph. In 1866 his cofHn was found still in its 
original position on the right side of the altar, and 
nothing more is now left of him in Rouen. 



Jeanne (T Arc and the English 


« Je s^ay bien que les Angloys me feront mourir, croyant 
qu* apr^s ma mort ils gagneront le royaume de France ; mais 
quand meme ils seraient cent mille godons de plus qu'ils ne 
8ont pr^sentement) ils n'auraient pas ce royaume.'' 

OF the many interesting processions which must 
have taken place in the fifteenth century on the 
occasion of the great ceremony of the Fierte St. Romain, 
surely few can have been more impressive than that in 
which the Duke of Bedford, in his capacity as Canon 
of the Cathedral, walked among the ecclesiastics 
towards the little chapel in the Place de la Haute 
Vieille Tour where the freedom of the prisoner was 
declared before the assembled people. For in him all 
might see the outward and visible proof of an English 
occupation in its most intimate connection with the 
ancient traditions begun under his ancestors the Dukes 
of Normandy. But his presence is not the only sign 
that can be clearly traced of the interest which the 
English inevi^bly felt in the most extraordinary 
privilege of their new possession. As usual on every 
occasion when a new set of officials came in touch 
with this astonishing and deeply-rooted custom, their 
contact is marked by fresh expressions of dissent. So, 
just as Philip-Augustus had to uphold, against his own 
officials, the custom which every prince before him had 
sanctioned, in exactly the same way we find Henry V. 

Jeanne d^Arc 

affirming that the Privilege of St. Romain was of right 
to be exercised by the canons of the Cathedral accord- 
ing to their ancient precedents. And it is instructive 
that though his verdict was first pronounced in a case 
by which a native prisoner benefited, it was only in the 
next year, and again on some other occasions, that an 
Englishman was chosen to bear the holy shrine and 
win pardon for his sins. So strangely, indeed, and so 
strongly was the privilege exercised during these years 
of foreign dominion, that I cannot avoid the reflection — 
humiliating to Rouen as it is — ^that an attempt at least 
might have been made to exercise it in the case of the 
most famous prisoner ever in the donjons of the city, 
of the woman who would have been most worthy of 
those upon the roll of mercy to benefit by the protec- 
tion of the Church. But if any attempt was made in 
favour of Jeanne d' Arc, it has not been recorded, and 
this is one of the strongest reasons for my regret that, 
full as they are, these records of the Privilege are often 
only too obviously imperfect. 

The case io which objection was first raised was very 
naturally the first which occurred after the English flag 
had been unfurled above the city. In great surprise 
at the confidence shown by the good canons, the new 
bailli, Gauthier de Beauchamp, demanded an enquiry 
which was promptly held in his presence before the 
Cardinal Bishop of Winchester. On learning of the 
dispute Henry V. at once wrote to declare his rever- 
ence for the privilege established " En I'onneur et 
reverence du diet glorieux confesseur monsieur sainct 
Rommaing '' ; so Jehan Anquetil was duly delivered 
to mercy, after a crime to which modem civilisation is 
very rightly and unswervingly severe, and his accomplice 
was claimed by the Chapterhouse and delivered also. 
I confess it is beyond my powers to suggest the reason 
for so solemn a prerogative having been exercised by 
the highest dignitaries of the city's Cathedral in ^vour 


The Story of Rouen 

of a prisoner convicted of rape.^ If a privilege that 
can only have resisted official competition for so long 
because it was based on deeply-rooted popular support, 
could survive a choice of this kind, it is one of the 
strongest proofs of the changes in society and in public 
opinion which have fortunately appeared in civilised 
communities since the fifteenth century. 

In 1 420 a still more interesting case arose, which is 
the first that suggests to my mind the possibility of the 
canons' choice being occasionally influenced by those 
in authority, and if by them, then it is only too probable 
that other suggestions (not strictly religious in their 
nature) may have been made in other years when 
*< equity," according to our notions, does not explain 
their triumph over " law." For in diis year the manu- 
script records, ^'Pierre Lamequin, de la paroisse de 
Vize, en Angleterre, diocese de Salisbury ; ** an entry 
which inevitably suggests to English ears that Peter 
Lambkin of Devizes was the lucky prisoner. He 

^ In 1 43 1 another prisoner, Souplis Lemire, of Yvetdt, was 
pardoned for exactly the same crime. By a lie he induced 
Jehanne Corvi^re to mount behind his horse, rode with her 
into a country lane, where in the words of the manuscript, '< il 
la f^ry et frapa de plusieurs orbes coups, plus de i'espaoe de 
quatre heures, et lui fist la char toute noire et meudrie en 
plusieurs parties de son corps, et tant fist que il oult violem- 
ment et oultre le gt€ d'elle sa compaignie par grant force et k 
plusieurs clameurs de haro." In this case it was evidently the 
influence of the offender's family which procured him the 
Fierte, and his victim raised the *< clameur de haro " during 
the ceremony itself. For this she was obliged to apologise to 
the canons, but Lemire's conduct throughout had been so 
disgraceful that, though the Fierte had absolved him definitely 
of all criminal penalty, after eight years of discussion he was 
condemned in the civil courts to pay damages of 250 livres 
tournois to Jehanne. In 1540 the same principle was upheld, 
and it generally seems to have been the custom that any 
prisoner chosen should give surety for the payment of his 
civil penalties before he was released by the Fierte from his 
criminal sentence. 


Jeanne d^Arc 


killed a merchant at an outlying village, with a French 
friend to help him. Other instances occur in which 
the foreign army profited by the native privilege. In 
1429 the entry reads: "Thomas Grandon, anglais, 
de la paroisse de Hanniquem, diocese d'York/' whp 
killed two Scotchmen at Chambroix. In 1434 we 
find : " Guillaume Banc, anglais, de la paroisse de Saint- 
Bin, diocese de Carlisle,'' who slew one Saunders in a 
brawl, helped by a friend named William Peters. In 
1437, <^ Jehan Hotot, laique, de la paroisse de Sainte- 
Marie de Heln3rngan, diocese de Norfolk,'' who killed 
a pair of Englishmen in the country. In 1438, 
<^ Jennequin Bene ou Bent, anglais, de la paroisse de 
Bosc-Chatel, dioc^ d'H^reford, dans le pays de 
Galles," who killed an Englishman. In 1439, 
<*Jehan Helys, anglais, de la paroisse de Hest- 
Monceaulz, diocese de Cantorbery," who had stolen 
goods in Rouen, in company with one John Johnson 
and Thomas " Kneet."i In 1447, "Jean Houcton, 
anglais, de la paroisse de Langthon,en Ciindal, diocese 
de Dublin," who was charged with stealing a horse, 
alleging, in defence, that foraging was a common 
privilege of soldiers, and was subsequently convicted 
of robbing an innkeeper near the bridge of a silver cup 
six ounces in weight. Now that these names are 
brought to the knowledge of English antiquaries with 
more science and leisure at their disposal than are mine, 
I await with interest to hear whether any traces of 

^ This Ellis was particularly lucky, for the first prisoner 
chosen had been Denisot le Charretier, who was claimed as an 
ecclesiastic by the Archbishop, Louis of Luxembourg, who was 
also Chancellor of France for the English King. They tried 
to secure his deliverance, but the Chancellor was too strong for 
them, and the dispute was settled by the intervention of Talbot, 
Earl of Shrewsbury, who came in person to the Chapterhouse 
and persuaded the canons to renounce their right and choose 
another prisoner. 


The Story of Rouen 

these freebooters exist in the parish records of their 
Datiye towns.^ 

But, after all, the pririlege was not always exercised 
in one direction. Occasionally the feelings of the con- 
quered population had evidently to be consulted, as in 
1425, when Geoffroy Cordeboeuf was chosen to bear 
the shrine, who had murdered an Englishman at Saint- 
Aubin-sur-Mer. There was a lengthy discussion over 
this, during which it is recorded that the year before, 
the disputing canons in their ecclesiastical costume had 
gone to the tayem of the Lion d'Or to drink with 
Lieutenant Poolin, their opponent, in flat disobedience 
to the Cathedral statute of 136 1. It came out in the 
evidence presented that the canons were actually allowed 
to keep the keys of the prisons during Ascension Day 
and the three Rogation Days before it, and that they 
questioned the prisoners alone, without the jailers being 
present. In 1448 the same cause evidently suggested 
the liberation of no less than eighteen prisoners at once, 
who had banded together in the village of St. Trinite- 
de-Tankerville, and killed four Englishmen. The 
soldiers thoroughly deserved their fate, for they had 
brutally ill-treated two women, and killed one of their 
husbands, before the villagers took vengeance into their 
own hands. 

There is but space to notice very briefly the other 
more interesting cases in this period. In 1428 a 
woman, named Estiennote Prisart, who had stolen a 
silver cup from a priest, was pardoned. In 1441 some 
workmen on the Palace of the English King near 
"Mai s*y Frotte," who had thrown some trouble- 

^ These queerly distorted names are not the only ones that 
recall the English occupation. A still more vivid memory of 
it may be found in their old bowling green, which is still the 
** Boulingrin " of theBoulevard St. Hilaire(see Map B\ a word 
with which Brachet compares " flibustier," " poulie," and 
others. The " redingote " for our riding-coat is at once a more 
familiar and more modern instance. 

Jeanne d'^Arc 

some brawlers into the Seine, bore the shrine. The 
next year the privilege was enjoyed by a husband who 
had several times discovered his wife's infidelity with a 
neighbouring knight, and had killed her on finding that 
she also extended her &vours to a priest. This is one 
of the most intelligible instances of all; and in 1454 
its circumstances are almost exactly repeated in the case 
of Michel Manant, who also slew his unfaithful wife. 
Indeed, a French jury even of to-day is never very hard 
upon the <^ crime passionel,'' with which that nation has 
always had so much sympathy. A similar case of the 
** equity'' I have sometimes fancied I could trace 
occurs in 1446, when Nicolas Hebert stole four cups 
of silver, two belts studded with silver, twelve silver 
and ten gold spoons, having been unable to get any 
wages paid him after nine years of service with an 
advocate of Falaise. He was condemned to death 
and pardoned by the canons. 

I have already mentioned the famous Talbot (see p. 
203 ) in connection with the Fierte. He appears again 
in its records (as the Comte de Sursberik) in 1444 with 
a refusal to allow the canons to visit the prisons of the 
castle, because they contained Armagnacs and other 
treasonable enemies to the King's Majesty. But the 
usual processions and popular enthusiasm with which the 
canons replied soon made him change his mind, and 
the prisoners were duly visited both in << La Grosse 
Tour " or donjon, and in every other jail. His refusal 
had been particularly ill-advised, because in May of 
1 430 the canons had appealed from an obstinate jailer 
to the Duke of Bedford, and had obtained his per- 
mission to visit the donjon according to their 
ancient custom. That very winter the castle of Philip 
Augustus in the Place Bouvreuil was to hold its most 
famous prisoner. For when Jeanne d'Arc was brought 
to Rouen in December 1430, the prison of the Baillage 
(called *Mef prisons ou la ge61e du roi ")» whose arch- 


The Story of Rouen 

wav( you majr mil see near the stairway of the Rue da 
Bailkge, had been destroyed by fiiv in 14SJ ; and it if 
particularly mentioned thu she wu not ^iced either in 
thfl cells of the Hotel de Ville, where I ham *lread)> 
recorded that an Endirii jailer had beni jJaced, or in 
the " Ecclesiastical Prifons" of die Rue St. Romaio 
near the Cathedral, althou^ her whcde trial wu 
coodacted by ee- 
deoaMics, but a 
the "Chateau de 
Ronen," irtiere (id 
"priscHien of war 
and treaioBable 
febns" were espe- 
cially guarded. 
■hf-g^ At the (iege of 
|i^' Com[>iigiie,oii May 
"'' 2+. i+30t Jeanne 
d'Arc had been 
taken priaoDer by 
one of the men of 
John of Luxem- 
burg, and from the 
Eagliflh camp at 
Margny the was 
sent further off to 
the Chateau of 
BeauUeu. Within 
two days the Vicar- 
General of the 
, and the Univereity of Paris, had de- 
manded that she should be delivered over to the "Justice 
of the Church." And behiod both was a power 
stronger than either, the hatred of the English. They 
soon found a ready instrument in Pierre Caucfaoo, who 
had been made Bishop of Beauvais by the Dulte of 

Jeanne d^ Arc 


Burgundy, was chased out of it by the party of Charles 
VII., and now expected to get the Archbishopric of 
Rouen by the help of the English. It was he who 
bore the King of England's request to John of Luxem- 
burg that he would give up Jeanne d'Arc for ten 
thousand pieces of gold to the Church to be judged. 
Neither Charles VII. nor any French ecclesiastic (save 
the Archbishop of Reims) made any movement, so 
she was surrendered at the price of an army. After 
being taken to Beaurevoir, to Arras, and to Crotoy, she 
was moved by way of St. Valery, Eu, and Dieppe 
to Rouen. She entered the town by the valley of 
Bihorel, past the spot where the Gare da Havre now 
stands, and by way of the Rue Verte was led to the 
castle of Philip Augustus and placed in an iron cage, 
so that the smirched authority of English rule might be 
re-established by proving her, in the formal processes of 
law, a witch. 

Of the castle itself the only tower that now stands 
still bears her name. Almost the last scene of 
her imprisonment took place within the walls that you 
may visit here, though originally she was not placed in 
this donjon itself. For the original castle, built by 
Philip Augustus in 120$ to consolidate his role over 
John Lackland's fresh- won province, had consisted of 
an almost circular building, with six towers, a demi- 
tower, and this donjon which was built upon two thick 
curtain - walls and entirely interrupted the guards' 
<<chemin de ronde,'' on to which no door opened 
from its massive circular walls. The Castle of Arques 
(1038), and of Chateau Guillard (119$), are indeed 
older than this of Rouen, but the ruins of their donjon- 
keeps do not show anything like the character of the 
Tour Jeanne d' Arc, which is itself earlier in date than 
either Coucy (1228) or Pierrefonds (1390). More 
than this, a document of 1202 preserves the most 
interesting fact that this tower was planned after the 


The Story of Rouen 

dimensions and shape of the ^mous Tour du Louvre, of 
which Paris now possesses only a circle of white marble 
to mark the site of the royal tower that once stood 
where the south-west corner of the Louvre courtyard 
is now. 

The walls of Rouen's donjon are 4 metres 20 
thick, 46 metres in circumference at the base, and 30 
metres high. These last two measurements show a 
difference of only two metres from those of the van- 
ished Tour du Louvre. Before this chapter closes I 
shall be able to explain how it is that you are able to 
see in Rouen the most perfect presentment of a. 
thirteenth-century donjon in France, with two- thirds 
of the present building in its original masonry. Within, 
it took place most of the stirring events of histoiy after 
a change in dynasty had left the castle of the Norman 
dukes to develop gradually into a commercial instead 
of a royal or military centre. One of these, the arrest 
of Charles le Mauvais, and the execution of his four 
friends by King Jean le Bon, I have spoken of in 
earlier chapters. This, too, was the fortress that held 
out longest for the King when the Revolte de la Harelle 
Was at its height in 1382. Before its walls Sir Gilbert 
Talbot and Sir William Hanington sat down to besiege 
Guy le Bouteiller, who as captain of the garrison had 
it in his especial charge. Within it the eighty hostages 
for the ransom of the city, and the thirty burgesses 
especially punished with lugh fines, were imprisoned 
when King Henry V. took the town. It was still 
held by the English garrison when Jeanne d'Arc was 
brought to Rouen as a prisoner. It is the last visible 
relic of the royal homes of Rouen, for every other one 
has disappeared, from the first keep of RoUo to the 
Haute et Basse Vieilles Tours of his descendants, to 
the Palace of Philip Augustus and of the English 
kings, even to the fortresses of St. Catherine's Hill and 
of the barbacan beside the bridge. 

^ . <<„ .* J - 1 'j-.:.^si. ■ 


Jeanne d' Arc 

Once his prisoner was safe within the castle, the 
Bishop of Beauvais proceeded to ''pack his jury/' 
and choose his companions for the trial. His right 
hand man was Jean d'Estivet (or " Benedicite "). 
From Paris arrived Jean Beaup^re, who took Gerson's 
place as Chancellor, with Jacques de Touraine, Nicole 
Midi, and Thomas de Courcelles, all brilliant and 
authoritative theologians. From Normandy itself 
came the Prior of Longueville, the Abbe of Jumi^ges, 
Gilles, Abbe of F6camp and councillor to the English 
King, Nicolas Loyseleur, a canon of Rouen, and 
others. One alone, of those invited, Nicolas de 
Houppeville, objected to serving, because his direct 
superior, the Archbishop of Reims, had already dis- 
approved. He was only just saved from being 
murdered. No one else dared to differ with Pierre 
Cauchon, and several affirmed later on that they had 
voted in fear of their lives. Both the clerk of the 
court, Manchon, and Massieu, the doorkeeper, found 
their sympathies too perilous to express. This was 
because, though scarcely an Englishman was actually a 
member of the Court, the English kept the whole 
proceeding directly under their thumb, and to every 
appeal the same answer was returned — "The King (of 
EnglandJ has ordered it." The King's two upcles, 
of Bedford and of Winchester, watched that the 
orders were carried out ; and the price of every one is 
still recorded in the exact account-books of the time. 
The English never let her leave their castle till the 
end, so that any slight '' judicial error " might always 
be corrected if need were. 

They kept her first in an iron cage, then in one of 
the castle towers, with irons upon her feet, chained to 
a log of wood, and guarded night and day by four 
common soldiers. On the 9th of January 1431 the 
Bishop of Beauvais summoned in Rouen the council 
chosen for the trial, and appointed its officials. On 

o 209 

The Story of Rouen 

the aoth, Jeanne, being summoned to make her appear- 
ance before the court at eight next morning, b^ged 
that her judges might be more fairly chosen, and that 
she might hear Mass. She was refused both, and 
appeared on the 21st, in the chapel of the casde. 
Asked to answer truly upon oath all the questions 
put to her, Jeanne replied — ** I do not know on what 
points you wish to question me. You might perhaps 
ask me things which I will not tell you." After this 
she told how she was called *^ Jeannette " at home, and 
Jeanne ** in France," and knew no surname ; how she 
was baptised and born at Domremy, of Jacques d'Arc 
and his wife Isabel about nineteen years ago; she re- 
fused to promise not to escape if she could ; and would 
only recite the Lord's Prayer in confession to a priest. 
After Cauchon had begun, the next day's questioning 
was more gently taken by Jean Beaup^re, to whom she 
told of her care of the house at home, and of her skill 
in needlework, "as good as any in Rouen." The 
inquirers then went on to reveal the story of her 
"voices," and she firmly repeated her refusal to 
bind herself by a general oath as to every answer, 
saying that she had more fear of God and of her 
" voices," than of her conduct in that trial. Asked 
whether she was sure of the favour of God (a double- 
edged question at which some even of her judges mur- 
mured) she passed the danger by saying, " If I am not, 
may God help me to it ; and if I am, may God pre- 
serve me in it." 

BaiBed at this point by the innocent faith of this 
country girl, the university professor changed the attack, 
and approached questions of a more political importance, 
cleverly interwoven with the first appearance of her 
** voices " when she was a girl of thirteen at Domremy. 
But neither of treasonable partisanship nor of local 
superstitions could he convict her. She gave the names 
of her heavenly councillors as St. Catherine, St. Mar- 

Jeanne d^ Arc 

garet, and St. Michael, the same saint whose fortress 
held out inviolable against every English attack among 
the quicksands and the rushing tides of the north coast* 
Unable to find anything heretic or infidel in her replies 
on religious subjects, and only getting candid common 
sense in return for their suspicions, her judges turned to 
the idea of satanic inspiration and support. But it 
proved equally useless. Her patriotism shone clear 
above every trivial element in her long examination. 

The last public hearing of her evidence before all her 
judges was on the 3rd of March. The result of the 
inquiry was then collected to form the basis of a fresh 
interrogation in her prison, which was conducted on 
the loth by Jean de la Fontaine for a whole week. 
At the end of it Jean Lemattre himself arrived by order 
of the Chief Inquisitor. Nothing was added to the 
information already gathered, and nothing shook the 
firmness of the girl's replies. For only explanation 
she repeated, " It pleased God to do this by means 
of a simple maid, in order to rebuff the enemies of the 
King." Throughout, her negligence of trifles, her 
insistence upon the important points, her swift common 
sense, were the more conspicuous, because her judges 
persisted in reading their own meaning into all she 
answered to their subtle questions. Did they ask her, 
for instance, "Does God hate the English?*' she 
would reply, " I know nothing of the hatred or the 
love of God for Englishmen, but this I know, that 
they will soon be all thrust out of France, save those 
of them who leave their bodies here." 

On the much-disputed question of her masculine 
attire, she said she would wear woman's dress only 
when she heard Mass, and woman's clothing at her 
execution, if it came to that. The judges were per- 
fectly well aware of her proved maidenhood, and of the 
real reason for her dress, but they persisted — without 
result — in trying to trap her into dangerous replies. 


The Story of Rouen 

She was fax too direct and simple to be caught, just 
because she saw no << heresy" in an act of simple 

Her judges, strong and clever men as most of them 
were, themselves were tired out by the closeness and the 
duration of the trial. Yet this young girl, ^sting even 
from her prison-fare, was resolute enough to keep her 
head, and reply steadily through it all. But she refused 
to be troubled with unnecessary or merely reiterated 
questions, and claimed her right to feel as tired as were 
her judges when she felt it necessary. She was in &ct 
perfectly natural and frank throughout, even when the 
open expression of her thoughts was hardly politic for 
one in her position. Without the help of counsel, or 
of any to assist her, French or English, layman or 
ecclesiastic, she was even deprived of the friendly 
countenance or signs of anyone whose sympathy over- 
came for the moment his very justifiable fear of her 
persecutors. Even the consolations of her religion 
were denied her. The only semblance of advice she 
got was in the base and hypocritical attempts of a 
scoundrelly canon of Rouen Cathedral to teach her 
certain answers which might afterwards be used against 
her by her accusers.^ It is a shameful thing to have 
to record that the Earl of Warwick helped the Bishop 
of Beauvais to complete this villainy, and took clerks 
with him to listen at the door, but they refused to lend 
themselves to such dishonourable methods. 

Early in the week of Palm Sunday she was formally 
summoned to the great hall of the castle to hear the 

^ There is a quaint suggestion of repentance for all this in 
the cathedral of to-day. If you enter by the Portail des Li- 
braires and stand beside the north-east pillar of the great 
lantern, at your feet is the tombstone of one of these unjust 
judges, Denis Gastinel, and beneath it is the great Caiorifi^re 
that warms the building, a suggestively gruesome foretaste of 
the punishment which the modern canons evidendy think his 
conduct towards Jeanne d'Arc deserves. 


Jeanne d^ Arc 

seventy articles of the Act of Accusation against her. 
The web of calumny that had been spun out of her 
replies then first must have been apparent to her, and 
though silent for the most part, she quickly contra- 
dicted some statements, and pointed out the fallacy of 
others. Reproached for her unwomanly behaviour, she 
replied at once, "As for woman's work, there are 
plenty of other women who can do that " ; and asserted 
that before fighting at all, she had made every effort to 
obtain her wishes peacefully. She even recited the short 
prayer it was her custom to make when she needed the 
counsel of her heavenly visitors. 

After this the seventy articles were reduced to 
twelve, which resumed the whole accusation, and 
became the pivot of the prosecution. They were 
never communicated at all to the prisoner. They were 
based on her visions, her wearing of a man's dress, 
her attitude towards the Church, which meant, in &ct, 
her obedience to Poitiers and to the Archbishop of 
Reims, instead of to Pierre Cauchon, his subordinate. 

On Thursday the 6th of April Erard Emengard 
held a meeting in the chapel of the Archbishop's 
Palace at Rouen to deliberate over the twelve articles. 
You may still see the place where this went on. As 
you enter the gateway of the Screen to the Portail 
des Libraires from the Rue St. Romain, on the left of 
the forecourt before the great carved door, you will see 
an old building which in the August of 1897 was being 
repaired and reconstructed to provide a school for the 
children of the Cathedral choir. This house forms 
itself the western side of a courtyard into which a 
door has no doubt by this time (December 1898) 
been opened from the Rue St. Romain, between the 
large turret that projects on the left of the old screened 
entrance in the street and the next octagonal turret with 
a sharply pointed roof that is built on the wall of the 
Cathedral buildings. By whatever entrance practic- 



The Story of Rouen 

able, you must go into this courtyard and see the private 
chapel of the Archbishop, the old ''Chapelle des 
Ordres " which touches the north wall of the Cathe- 
dral choir. Within this chapel the council was held, 
that by its approval of the Twelve Articles of Accusa- 
tion pronounced the death-warrant of Jeanne d' Arc.^ 

In the midst of all these machinations the prisoner 
herself fell ill. Doctors were harried to her cell to 
save her for the vengeance of her judges, and the 
** processes of law *' were pushed forward more hastily 
than ever. On the 2nd of May she was once more 
confronted with the accusations made against her, in 
a long speech by the Archdeacon. She would add 
nothing to what had been already said. << Even if I 
saw the flames before me I should say what I have 
already told you, and do what I have done ; " and 
the clerk writes '^Superba Responsio" opponte the 

Determined to leave no means untried to overcome 
this resistance, her judges summoned her on Wednesday 
the 9th of May into the ** Grosse Tour du chateau de 
Rouen," the donjon which you can visit in the Rouen 
of to-day, by turning to the left as you go northward 
up the Rue Bouvreuil (see Map D). The room in 
which Jeanne stood to answer her accusers has been 
carefully restored, but it is obscured by the huge plaster 
cast of a statue by Mercie. The vaulting is the original 

1 The actual death-sentence, pronounced on the 29th of May 
by the forty-two judges in full council ran as follows : — 

" Mandons . . . que vous citiez ladite Jeanne a comparaitre 
en person ne devant nous demain, heure de huit heures du matin, 
au lieu dit Le Vieux March^, pour se voir par nous d^clarfe 
relapse, excommuni^,h^r^tique, avec Pintimation a lui faire en 
pareil cas — Donn^ en la Chapelle du Manoir archi^piscopal de 
Rouen, le mardi 29 mai, Pan du Seigneur 1431, apr^s la fete de 
la Trinity de notre Seigneur." 

Yet there is not a single mark or inscription to record the 
fact of which this lonely and neglected chapel was the scene 


Jeanne d^ Arc 

work intact, and on the keystone is carved the oldest 
existing shield of the arms of France, the six truncated 
Fleurs de Lys of Philip Augustus, which are repro- 
duced more clearly on the huge and lofty cowl above 
the chimney. Beneath the floor there is still the old 
well that supplied the garrison, a little to the left of the 
entrance, and rather further round is the small spiral 
staircase leading to the upper rooms, which are not so 

She was brought here because there was no room in 
her former prison for the instruments of torture, and 
the executioners' gear with which her courage was 
finally to be tested. Pierre Cauchon directed the 
proceedings, with Lemattre and nine others, of whom 
three were members of the Chapterhouse of Rouen, 
and one was Massieu the clerk. Besides these, the 
ushers and the guard of English soldiers lined the walls. 
Here it is recorded how she was threatened with tor- 
ture ^< if she did not avow the truth," and shown the 
instruments and the officials who were ready to admin- 
ister it. I will not attempt to translate the few words 
Jeanne d*Arc ever uttered whose echoes we may still 
imagine beneath the very roof that heard them. There 
is hardly a single other ^ place of which the same thing 
can be said. 

^ With all that happened before Jeanne came to Ronen I 
have no concern here, and I must take it for granted that you 
know at least the outlines. But to confirm the sentence to 
which this note refers, I may add that they still point out to 
you at Chinon the well where she alighted off her horse, and 
the house of the <' bonne femme ^ who sheltered her. Of the 
Tour du Coudray in the Castle of Chinon, as of the great hall 
on the first floor where she met the King, little save ruined 
stones remain. And it is not often that even so much as that 
is left of other places in which she is known to have stayed, 
such as the chamber in the Castle of Crotoy, the tower at 
Beaurevoir, the gate-tower of Compi^gne, or any of the celb 
in which she was confined within the Castle of Rouen itself 


The Story of Rouen 

In answer to the first threatening question the manu- 
script gives her reply as follows : — 

"Vraiement, se vous me deviez faire detraire les 
** membres et faire partir I'ame hors du corps, si ne 
^* vous diray-je autre chose ; et se aucune chose vous 
'^ en disoye-je, apr^s si diroye-je tousjours que vous le 
*^ me auri^s fait dire mr force. 

^* Item^ dit que, a la Sainte-Croix, oult le confort de 
" Saint Gabriel : * Et croiez que ce fust sainct Gabriel ; * 
*< et I'a sceu par les voix que c'estoit Saint Gabriel. 

*^ Item^ dit qu'elle (a) demande conseil a ses vcnx 
'^ s'elle se submectroit a FEglise, pour ce que les gens 
** d'eglise la pressoient fort de se submectre a I'Eglise, 
^* et ils lui ont dit que s'elle veult que nostre Seigneur 
<< luy aide, qu'elle s actende a luy de tous ses fais. 

" Item^ dit qu'elle sgait bien que nostre Seigneur a 
'* est^ tou jours maistre de ses fais, et que I'ennemy 
*< n'avait oncques eu puissance sur ses faits. 

^^ Item, dit qu'elle a demande a ses voix s'elle sera 
'< arse, et que les dictes voix luy ont repondu que elle 
" se actende a nostre sire, et il luy aidera. 

" Item, du signe de la couronne qu'elle dit avoir est^ 
** bailie a I'arcevesque de Reims, interoguee s'elle 8*en 
" veult rapporter a luy, respond ; * Faictes le y venir, et 
»< que je Foe parler, et puis je vous respondray ; ne il 
*' ne oseroit dire le contraire de ce que je vous en ay 
" dit.' " 

In 1455 the " Proems de rehabilitation " recorded the 
testimony of Mauger Separmentier, the executioner, 
who saw her during this scene in the donjon, whither 
he had been summoned, with his assistant, to administer 
the torture, if necessary. " She showed great prudence 
in her replies," he affirmed, "so that those who 
heard were astonished ; and this deponent retired with 
his assistant without touching her " (see Quicherat, 
"Proems," vols, i., ii., iii.). It is evident that if she 
had given them the least excuse, by any mistake in her 

Jeanne d^Arc 

replies, her judges would not have allowed the execu- 
tioner to depart idle. 

There are very few other places to which I can 
point you as witnesses of her tragedy. But, besides 
that chapel you have already visited, there is in the 
same district, between the north side of the Cathedral 
and the Rue de la Chaine, a whole labyrinth of twist- 
ing streets wherein lived the ecclesiastics who plotted 
her death.i 

In the Rue St. Nicolas (which turns eastward after 
the Cathedral Parvis from the Rue des Cannes) there 
is a small open square just opposite the opening of the 
Rue Croix de Fer ; within the walls of a house there 
are still preserved a few ruined stones of the Church of 
St. Nicolas le Paincteur, at the end of a courtyard. If 
you go round into the Place des Carmes, it is still 
possible to trace (at Nos. 27 and 31) some old vaults 
beneath the soil, by the ventilation holes just above the 
pavement. Close to this Church of St. Nicolas was 
the house of Jean Rub^, Canon of Rouen, with whom 
lodged Pierre Cauchon when he came to preside over 
the trial. It was there that, with Nicolas Loyseleur 
and others, those sinister discussions went on between 
every public examination of the prisoner. And in the 
house that rose above those vaults lived Loyseleur him- 
self. The present facade has been so altered since 
18 18 that only in the interior courtyard (if M. Laurent, 
Mayor of Rouen in 1897, and M. Sarrasin, the his- 
torian of Jeanne d'Arc, are kind enough to allow it) 
can you realise the age of the building. The thick 
walls and deep-set windows leave no doubt of the age of 
their construction. The vaults beneath are still more 
extraordinary relics of antiquity, with their massive 
round arches and double sets of substructures. The 
house itself was most probably given to the Cathedral 
in those days by the Duke of Bedford, who had already 

» See Map C. 


The Story of Rouen 

done much in the same direction ; and it was therefore 
very appropriately albtted as a lodging u> diat ooe <A 
the canons who was helping the English most effec- 
tually in their iniquitous task. , 
iUter the canons left the main block of Cathedral- 
bmldingg to go into lodgings in this quarter so near at 
hand, they still kept 
"•-=- —1, their; 
d their, 
a n the' 
Co dAlbane. Tbs 
qu 1 tie quadrangle 
s one of the pretuest 
nooks of old Rouen 
and I am fortunate 
nough o be ahle to 
show n ih d awing 
on p 2 8 how well 
woith while s to 
find the en an e to 
ju north of he 
Tour St. Rom □ id 
he angl of h Rue 
de Quatr Ven s. 
I wa p b bly fi St 
bull fo lo ters and 
3 emetery andafte 
wa d used me ely as 
a deamb 1 to m 
THco AN ra Bthbkyofhe 
" *" "■ chapterhouse, which 
remained here for so long, was always renowned for the 
purity and goodness of its bread, and loaves from it were 
often presented to distinguished visitors on occasions 
when the civic authorities were obliged either to rise to 
jewellery or to descend to nats. The " Salle Capitu- 
laire," now bdng restored from M. Sauvageot's designs, 

Jeanne d^ Arc 

used also to open on the cloister, and in it the canons 
transacted their temporal and spiritual business, includ- 
ing their famous choice for the Fierte St. Romain, and 
their trials of ecclesiastical prisoners. Crimes of ^< out- 
siders " committed "within the Cathedral limits were 
tried by a special tribunal in the Porter's Lodge, and 
he guarded the prisoners in the dungeon beneath the 
Tour St. Romain. Another more interesting duty of 
the same official was to care, during daytime, for the 
dogs who were loosed in the Cathedral at night to keep 
out sacrilegious robbers, a custom which lasted down to 
1760. But the Cour d'Albane took its name from 
the founder of that school for choir-boys with which 
it is most intimately associated now. Pierre de 
Colmieu, the Archbishop from 1236 to 1245, was 
also Cardinal d'Albano, and from him was named the 
institution he endowed to educate three priests, three 
deacons, and four subdeacons. Paid singers were 
unknown at that time; the services were long and 
pompous, and it took some time to learn them, so 
these men, all over twenty-one, were chosen as much 
for their ability to read and sing as for their good con- 
duct. They benefited again in 1401 by the bequests 
of Jacques Cav6, who is buried beneath the Tour de 
Beurre. There were seven of these singers in 144O, 
and it was one of Jeanne d' Arc's judges, Gilles 
Deschamps, who left money to provide the little choir- 
boys with the red caps they wear to this day to keep 
their little shaved heads from the cold. In 1459 
painters and sculptors were allowed to exhibit some of 
their work in this beautiful courtyard, <*if it was 
decent " ; and every year the canons and the clerks 
lit in this open space the ^* Feu de la St* Jean," and 
even planted their pious Maypole. 

But the memories of this quarter are not exhausted 
yet. Turn down into the Rue St. Romain. From 
No. 8 to No. 14 are the old canons' lodgings, where 


The Story of Rouen 

more of Jeanne's judges lived, and especially Canon 
Guillaume le Desert, who survived the trial longer than 
any of his companions. Near No. 28 is the Rtie des 
Chanoines. Close by, at the ** Ecu de Prance,'' lived 
Jehan Salvart, the architect who built the palace for 
Henry V. near Mai s'y Frotte. Within his house a 
workman saw, it is recorded, the iron cage made by 
Etienne Castille, in which Jeanne was chained by hands 
and feet and neck. At the tavern called ** Maison de 
Pierre ''1 Manchon, the clerk of the court, used to 
take his wine of an afternoon. On the nde next the 
Cathedral were the ecclenastical prisons, whose deepest 
dungeon was beneath the Tour St. Romain. Just 
opposite the screen of the Portail des Libraires is 
No. 74, a strange old house, carved with two bishops 
on the beams of the first floor, and three more upon the 
brackets above. The door may well be original, and 
the whole house is as old as the nfteenth centuiy. On 
the other side again, and just in face of the opening of 
the Rue Croix de Fer, is the "Maison Jeanne d'Arc,^ 
which has no right to that name beyond the possibility 
of her having seen it. For this strange remnant of 
Gothic woodwork that juts out above the pavement is 
no doubt contemporaneous with the trial that we are 
following out now. In August 1897 the Municipal 
Council announced its determination to pull it down. 
The Journal de Rouen^ which deserves well of every 
honest lover of antiquity, at once published a letter 
from M, Paul Dubosc, in which that zealous writer 
pointed out the unnecessary vandalism of the proposal ; 
Englishmen in Rouen at the time were not afraid to 
add their protests even in an alien tongue ; when I left it 
last year it had, at least, been standing long enough for 
Miss James to draw it (see p. 206) on the left hand 
side of an illustration that gives a very good idea of the 

1 Most of the dwelling-houses were of wood, which explaiot 
why so few are left 



Jeanne d^ Arc 

Rouen of the fifteenth century. The little Renais- 
sance doorway in the distance, at the angle of the Rue 
des Quatre Vents, is an entrance to the Cour des 
Comptes, which at the same date had just been freed from 
ruined encumbrances, and its lovely courtyard opened 
to the Rue des Cannes on the other side (see p. 288). 

This same old house was a canon's residence, and 
the property of the Chapter of the Cathedral before the 
Revolution. Some furniture-dealers bought it at the 
general sale of ecclesiastical effects. In 1893 it was 
sold to the State for 36,000 francs by Mr Dumont, 
to whom the Civil Tribunal had awarded it. The 
loss to the Rue St. Romain would be a serious one, if 
the house were finally pulled down. A fatal passion 
for << alignement " has Haussmannised Rouen quite 
enough already, and to strip the Cathedral bare of 
all appendages would be to forget the main object of 
mediaeval architecture in France. I have pointed out 
elsewhere that it was owing to a more settled state of 
society that the English Cathedral rose from the turf 
of a broad quiet close, as at Salisbury. In France the 
houses of the Cathedral towns crowded close round the 
walls that were their temporal safety at well as their 
q}iritual salvation. The Parvis of Notre Dame is a crea- 
tion of modem Paris. Many a church in Provence 
still shows by the machicolations and loopholes on its 
walls and towers that it could have played the fortress 
with a good grace whenever necessary. And it was 
no doubt because a French cathedral rose above the 
clustered houses round its base that its lines of archi- 
tecture spring so boldly to the sky, and that its detailed 
carving within easy vision was so close and excellent. 

This old Rue St. Romain may have received its 
name from the Hotel St. Romain mentioned in it in 
1466. In any case the name of the city's patron saint 
could hardly have been given to a more characteristic 
thoroughfare. By 1423 it seems to have been called 


T^be Story of Rouen 

the Rue Fftvnnerie, which it btereeting, becauae the 
workere in metal (whose trade u preBerred in their aid 
quarter of the Rue Dinanderie) were not natiTes of 
Rouen, bjt all came from Lomdne, and especially 
from Urvitle, a town within a few leagues of Dom- 
riiay. So that Jean Moreau, a maker of co[^r 
flagons in the 
Rue Ecuy^re, was 
especially chosen 
by Pierre Cauchon 
to go to his nattre 
place and make 
inquiries as to the 
truth of Jeanne 
d' Arc's statement 
about her birth and 

The next place 




Jeanne herself was 
the open space 
round the rising 
naTC of St. Ouen, 
then called the 
Cemetery, where 
we have already 
watched the 
farcicaJ royalty of 
the Revoke de la 
Harelle (p, 152). 
In thus tracing her footsteps, where we may still find 
them, I shall be showing you what little is left of 
the Rouen of the English occupation. Few of the 
towers and spires that rise now above the roofs of 
Rouen were nanding then. " Rouvel " indeed 
wa< in the Towo-Belfry, but uttered never a sound 

Jeanne d^ Arc 

in his captivity. Of the Cathedral the Tour de 
Beurre did not exist, the Tour St. Romain was scarce 
two-thirds its present height, the western facade was 
far simpler and smaller. St. Maclou was not com- 
pleted when Jeanne d'Arc died, nor the Palais de 
Justice begun. Of St. Ouen only the eastern end of 
the nave, the apse and the choir, with the far older 
Tour aux Clercs beside them, were being built; neither 
its central crown nor its rose windows yet existed. 
The French architect chosen by the English was at 
this time Alexander de Berneval, who had carried on 
the work of Jean de Bayeux and his son, the archi- 
tects from 1378 to 142 1. And you may still see 
where Jacques Theroulde (for Antoine Bohier) carried 
on the work which Bemeval's son left unfinished in 

From their scaffolding round the uncompleted 
arches the architect and his apprentices must have had 
a good view, on the Thursday after Pentecost in 1431, 
of those other scaffoldings erected in the Cemetery 
below them, on one of which sat Pierre Cauchon with 
the Cardinal of Winchester, while on the other stood 
Jeanne d'Arc. The ceremony, called the Abjuration, 
was a last attempt to frighten Jeanne into confessing 
that her " Voices ** had deceived her, and her mission 
was untrue. It succeeded only because of her physical 
weakness, and in forty-eight hours her moral courage 
repudiated it entirely. Proceedings began by a long 
sermon from Guillaume Erard, a celebrated preacher. 
When he called the King of France <* heretic and 
schismatic " she interrupted him at once to contradict. 
When he commanded her own submission to the 
Church, she replied that she was ready to answer to 
God and to the Pope for all, and that for all she was 
herself alone responsible. This was a confusing reply 
for her judges, when made before the great concourse 
of people who had assembled to witness this young 


The Story of Rouen 

girl's examinadon. They could only retort that the 
ecclesiastics there present were the representatiyes both 
of God and of the Pope, and that she must submit to 
them. They then ondered her ** to abjure '' publicly 
the various things of which she was accused. She did 
not understand what was required of her. Erard 
exclaimed that she must ^< abjure " or be burnt at once. 
At last he began to read her sentence of condemnation. 
Then, though she was conscious of no evil, she at 
last said, *< I submit myself to the Church.'' They 
hastened to read over the twelve articles of accusation 
already given, and the poor girl agreed] to them, pro- 
mising never to sin again and to submit herself to the 
justice of the Church. Massieu read to her a formula 
<<of some eight lines," according to his testimony 

There was some murmuring among the crowd dur- 
ing this long ceremony ; for while Jeanne was alive 
the English soldiery dared attempt nothing fresh ; and 
they only saw in her refusals to *^ abjure " an immedi- 
ate reason for handing her over from the ecclesiastical 
justice to the secular, whose ways were swifter. But 
merely burning Jeanne would not have been enough. 
She had to confess her sins, to disavow her mission, to 
be received into the bosom of the Church and pardoned, 
and then — to be discovered in fresh crime. One of the 
consequences of her ^' abjuration " was that she was 
wearing woman's dress that very afternoon. Two 
days afterwards (on Sunday) the ecclesiastics heard 
that she had changed to masculine attire again. They 
rushed to the castle to verify the ** relapse " they were 
so ardently expecting, but the English soldiers drove 
them out again, being very tired by this time of their 
unintelligible delays. On May 28th Pierre Cauchon 
questioned her, and she said that if they kept their 
word, to free her and let her hear mass, she would 
keep hers and change her dress, but that among men 

Jeanne d^ Arc 

2l man's dress suited her best.^ Asked if she bad 
heard her " voices " again — a deliberate trap to secure 
the certainty of proved " relapse " — she replied, ** God 
has told me by Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret of 
the pity and the betrayal that I have wrought in making 
abjuration to save my life, and that I lost my soul to 
save my life." To this the clerk added the fatal com- 
ment, " Responsio Mortifera." Jeanne realised now 
what her "abjuration" had really meant. The fear 
that had inspired it had passed, and she boldly re- 
affirmed her mission and her feith. It was all her 
judges needed. ** Farewell," cried Pierre Cauchon to 
Warwick and his English who waited in the castle- 
yard, ** be of good cheer, for it is done." 

By orders of the meeting of the 29th of May, 
already mentioned as held in the Chapelle des Ordres, 
Martin Ladvenu and Jean Toutmouille came to her cell 
early in the morning of the next day, and announced 
that she was to be handed over to the Secular Justice 
and burnt. " Helas 1 " she cried, with all the natural 
terror of a woman, " me traite-t-on si horriblement et 
cruellement, qu'il faille que mon corps net et entier, 
qui ne fiit jamais corrompu, soit aujourd'hui consume 
et rendu en cendres ! " She then confessed to 
Ladvenu, and after some discussion the sacred elements 
were brought to her, without any of the usual cere- 
monial accompaniments, and she received them with 
deep devotion. 

The last scene in her life now drew near. That 

1 The '* Proems de R^abilitation " reveals, on the testimony 
of Manchon the clerk, that her reply as recorded in tlie 
•' Proems de condemnation " was not correctly set down with 
reference to her change of attire. She resumed her male dress, 
though it meant tier death- sentence, because, as both Massieu 
and Ladvenu swore, several gross attempts had been made upon 
her honour since the scene in the Cemetery of St. Ouen ; and 
Pierre Cauchon cannot have been unaware that thin would 
certainly occur. 

P 235 

The Story of Rouen 

you may understand it, you must realise that the pre- 
sent Place du Vieux March^ has little except its name 
in common with the Vieux March^ where Jeanne was 
burnt. The map I have reproduced from Jacques 
Lelieur's plan of 1525 will show you very much what 
it was like in the fifteenth century (see map F), and 
will prove not only that it was far smaller in extent, 
but that many buildings round it then have now disap- 
peared without a trace of them remaining. In this cdd 
map the ^* Rue Massacre " must be understood as re- 
presenting that part of the Rue de la Grosse Horloge 
which extended from the Porte Massacre (see p. 135) 
to the Place du Vieux March€. When you stand in 
the Vieux Marche now, if you imagine that the houses 
of the Rue Cauchoise extended across the open square 
to the beginning of the Rue de la Grosse Horloge, 
you may realise how much less space there was in the 
fifteenth century. In those days, too, it must be re- 
membered that what is now the Place Verdrel was 
called the March6 Neuf, and that the old Marche aux 
Veaux has now become quite wrongly the Place de la 
Pucelle. How this mistake arose will soon be clear. 

M. Charles de Beaurepaire's untiring researches have 
established from recorded documents every house that 
stood round the Vieux Marche. The map shows that 
the Church of St. Sauveur (now vanished) stood near the 
Rue du Vieux Palais and the Rue de la Pie, with its apse 
turned towards the Grosse Horloge. Within its cemetery 
was erected the scaflxilding beyond the east end of the 
church on which Jeanne's judges stood at her execution. 
Near it was another stage at the end of the Market-Hall, 
and in sight of both was the place where she was burnt, 
marked by the " Escharfeut,*' recorded by Lelieur, 
and known to have been in the same place since 1233. 
It was well within the view not only of the judges but 
of a crowd in the Vieux Marche and the Rue Cau- 
choise, and its place is commemorated by the tablet 

Jeanne d^ Arc 

you can now read at the corner of the new Market- 

The mistake of the " Place de la Pucelle " arose 
because a monumental fountain was erected there for 
the first time, when Cardinal Georges d'Amboise, 
who really started the waterworks of Rouen on a 
proper basis, used the Fontaine St. Filleul for the 
benefit of the Quartier Cauchoise. The pipe was 
brought into the Marche aux Veaux because the 
level of the ground permitted a better fall for the 
water, and the town took advantage of the opportunity 
to turn the new fountain into a memorial of Jeanne 
d'Arc. The actual spot where she was burnt was 
never marked at all, until the tablet of to-day was 
set up ; for although the ^^ Proc^ de Rehabilitation " 
decreed that the scene of her execution should be 
consecrated with a cross, that cross was placed on the 
point of the wall of the Cemetery of St. Sauveur, 
which was nearest to her scaffold ; and this for the very 
good reason that the English (if for no other motive) 
would not allow another *' sanctuary '' (as all crosses 
were in the fifteenth century^ to be erected so near to 
the cemetery which was alieady holy ground itself. 
It was this commemorative cross which was replaced 
by the Fountain of St. Sauveur just before the larger 
monumental fountain was erected in the more con- 
venient (though less appropriate) situation of the 
Marche aux Veaux, now the Place de la Pucelle. 

Over the hideous tragedy of the Vieux Marche I 
have neither space nor inclination to linger. At nine 
o'clock on the 30th of May 143 1 she left the chateau 
of Philip Augustus in woman's dress, wearing a mitre 
on which was written, " Her^tique, Relapse, Apostate, 
Idolatre," with Ladvenu and Massieu beside her, and 
seven or eight hundred men-at-arms accompanying 
them. She wept bitterly as she went, and the people 
wept to see her sobbing in the cart. Even Loyseleur 

The Story of Rouen 

was overcome by his remorse, and was bidden to leave 
Rouen. In the Vieux Marche she had first to listen 
to the sermon of Nicole Midi, who formally delivered 
her to the Secular Justice. The Bishop of Beauvais 
then pronounced her sentence of excommunication. 
When Jeanne rose to implore the pardon of the people 
and the prayers of the Church, insisting to the end on 
the sincerity of her cause and of her King, there was 
hardly even an English soldier who was not touched 
with some compassion after the six hours of her 
suspense. Massieu handed her a roughly-fashioned 
cross which she placed in her bosom. She begged 
Isambard de la Pierre to hold another before her 
eyes until the end. The delay of the ecclesiastics had 
been long, but the civil powers were short. " Do your 
duty" was the only sentence she heard in the short 
command ^ to the executioner. Then she wept again, 
crying, ** Rouen, Rouen, mourrai-je ici, seras-ta ma 
maison ? Ah Rouen, j'ai grand peur que tu n'aies a 
soufBir de ma mort." The slow flames mounted from 
the scaffold which had been built to bum her slowly, 
and with the last word, *' Jesus,'' on her lips, she 

Her ashes were cast into the Seine. They were 
scarcely cold before the rumour of her saintliness, and 
the miracles of her passing spread through Rouen and 
through France. Soon afterwards Pierre Cauchon, 
Bishop of Beauvais, died of apoplexy. Nicole Midi 
was struck with leprosy within a few days of her 
death. Loyseleur died suddenly at Bale. The 
corpse of d'Estivet was found in a gutter outside the 
gates of Rouen. 

^ As a matter of recorded fact no sentence was then pro- 
nounced on her save by the impatient soldiers. The Bailli of 
Rouen, Messire Raoul le Bouteiller, only said the words I have 
given above, as his lieutenant swore in the second Proems, and 
this is why the sentence is not recorded in the minutes of the 

Jeanne d^Arc 

Not a single attempt was made to rescue her in Rouen 
at the last, not a solitary effort had been made before to 
save her by the French. Judged by the Church, and 
appealing for fair hearing, Jeanne was not supported in 
her trial by a single French ecclesiastic. Not a single 
reference to her death occurs on subsequent occasions, 
when the Court of France had official opportunity to 
make it. An age still so strongly imbued with the 
principles of feudalism could not believe in that intense 
patriotism and worship of nationality which was as 
foreign to their instincts as was the doctrine of liberty 
of conscience. This peasant-girl personified them both. 
"II y a ^8 livres de nostre Seigneur plus que ks vostres," 
she had said in her first questioning at Chinon ; and 
laymen and ecclesiastics alike were unable to reconcile 
her with any scheme of philosophy they knew. In 
English writings there is no contemporary mention of 
her except a line in William of Worcester. Caxton's 
English Chronicles only give the lie that Shakespeare 
has preserved against her tainted purity. Thomas 
Fuller classed her with the Witch of Endor. It was 
not for twenty-four years that the very town which saw 
her martyrdom was moved to declare judicially her 
innocence. In the " Proems de Rehabilitation," begun on 
the first of June 1456, everyone who had known her 
came forward — too late — to testify to her innocence. 
On the seventh of July, in the presence of her brother 
and her mother's representative in the great hall of the 
palace of the Archbishop of Rouen, it was ordered 
that her memory should be publicly reinstated both in 
the Cemetery of St. Ouen and in the Vieux March6. 

The most astonishing thing in the whole story is, not 
that the prophecies were fulfilled, not what she did 
before her death, not even the memory of how she 
died, but the woman herself, and that is why I have 
reproduced as hx as was possible, from the text of 
Quicherat's volumes, all that she is known certainly to 

* 229 

The Story ^ Rouen 

have said and done id Rouen, aa b rec(»ded id the 
contemporary manuKiipts which he hat reproduced 
from the imouiea of her "Triale." The dcmjon of the 
caade, where ahe nood before her judges, is for thU 
reason the best memory of her that could poaribly hare 
been preserved. No other monument will ever be so 
appropriate, and in thdr patriodc and aucceaaful efforti 
to preaerve this building, the citizens of modem Rouen 
have done much to wipe out the shame of otlier days. 
It preBerves not merely the heroism of Jeanne. She 
had scarcely left it when the 
brave Xaintrailles was im- 
prisoned within its walls, but 
he must have escaped or been 
exchanged very soon, for at 
the end of December in the 
same year he was fighting the 
English ag^n at Lagny. In 
J. February of the following year, 
^^%ft 1432, another famous name is 
connected with the donjon, for 
in that month Ricarville with 
scarcely a hundred men behind 
him was let in by Pierre Aude- 
boeuf, and killed every one of 
the English garrison except 
the E^rl of Arundel, who was 
governor, with his immediate bodyguard. 

This remnaDt ba.rricaded themselves in the Tour 
Carrie, which Henry the Fifth had built to the north- 
west of the old rort,aJter the siege of Rouen. Ricarville 
hastily retired for help to Miirshal de Boussac, and 
during his absence his companions, attacked by rein- 
forcements of the English, were obliged to take refu^ 
in the donjon, where they were hotly besieged by 
artillery which seriously damaged the second storey of 
the tower. Forced to surrender after three weelu of 


Jeanne d^ Arc 

heroic resistance, the whole hundred were beheaded in 
the Vieux March^. For fifty days this handful of men 
had held the entire English garrison in check, and yet 
not a man had thought of rescuing Jeanne d'Arc scarcely 
a year ago. 

Jacques Lelieur's map shows that by 1525 a new 
roof had been put on the donjon, in the shape of a 
platform with embrasures. By 1591 Valdory, whose 
account of the siege by Henri Quatre I shall mention 
later, records that it was almost ruined. In 16 10 its 
remnants were spared, when the rest of the castle 
was demolished to make a practice-ground for the 
arquebusiers of the town. Aifter passing into private 
hands, the tower became the property of a convent in 
the eighteenth century. In 1796 it was sold to another 
private owner, who was warned to be careful of the well 
within the walls that was supplied by the spring Gaalor. 
By 1 809 some nuns bought it again, and for long the 
old donjon decorated incongruously a portion of the 
garden in the Ursuline Convent. In 1842 M. Deville, 
Inspecteur des Monuments Historiques, drew public 
attention to its value, and was supported by M. 
Barthelemy the municipal architect. The publication 
of M. Quicherat's five volumes of the "Trials," in 1 849, 
renewed the interest in all that had to do with Jeanne 
d'Arc. After a long and most creditable agitation, a 
committee, on which M. F. Bouquet served as secretary, 
was formed under the presidency of the mayor, M. 
Verdrel. The ground was bought from the Ursuline 
nuns, the trained advice of M. VioUet le Due was 
solicited, and by the active assistance of MM. Desmarest 
and Durand the tower was finally restored as you may 
see it now. 

Though the filling up of the moat makes it look 
shorter than it really is, a great deal of the old masonry 
remains intact, and so carefully has the restoring work 
been done that in the embrasures and recesses on both 


The Story of Rouen 

first and second floors you may still see the scratches 
and inscriptions of prisoners or sentinels, much as they 
are preserved in our own Tower of London. On 
Wednesday, the i8th of February 1874, the work of 
reconstruction was finished by the placing of the iron 
vane with its great fleur-de-lys upon the summit of the 
conical roof. It is the fourth floor, just beneath this 
vane, that is the most interesting of all the new work, 
as it presents a complete and accurate picture of 
mediaeval defences, showing both the wooden hoarding 
which projected beyond the walls in order to give 
space to hurl down stones and boiling lead, and the 
guard's chemin-de-ronde cut in the solid wall with its 
openings that communicate with each side. Its walls 
conjure up a flood of memories of the men and women 
who saw tliose solid cliffs of masonry before they fell 
into ruin and restoration : — 

*< Berthe au grand pied, Bietris, Allys 
Harembourges, qui tint le Mayne, 
£t Jehanne la bonne Lorraine 
Qu'Anglois brusl^rent a Rouen : 
Oii sont-ilz, Vierge Souveraine? 
Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan ? ** 

On the loth of November 1449 Charles the Seventh 
of France was riding through his own good town of 
Rouen; by his side were Jacques Coeur, Ren^ 
d'Anjou, King of Sicily, and Pierre de Breze. The 
English had surrendered Rouen, and all of them were 
on their way home again who had not left their bones 
in France. 



A City of Churches 

Et concupiscet Rex decorem tuuxn quoniam ipse est 
Dominus Deus et adorabnnt eum. Et filiae Tyri in muneribns 
vultum tuum deprecabuntur ; omnes divites plebis. Omnia 
gloria ejus filiae reg^s ab intus, in fimbreis aureis, circmnamicta 

A WALK from Rouen to St. Sever will leave you 
with the impression that Rouen has so many 
churches that she has to turn many of them into shops, 
while St. Sever has so many shops that several of them 
have had to masquerade as churches. But the many 
« sacred buildings '' you may see to-day are not much 
more than half of the churches and chapels of the six- 
teenth century which rose after the English garrison had 
disappeared. With the few exceptions I have already 
noted, Rouen has been almost entirely reconstructed 
since 1450, and in nothing can this be realised so 
well as in its churches. When Charles VII. first 
rode into Rouen, of the greater churches only the 
Cathedral was within a little of completion. St. Ouen 
hardly suggested yet the building that appears to-day. 

As I have said, it was during the English occu- 
pation that the nave was begun. The beautiful central 
tower was only finished by Antoine Bohier, who did 
much to make perfect the building that we see to-day 
as the fifth church on the same site. It received its 
name from St. Ouen, who was buried in the second 
church in 689. The monastery which was added 
to the third church was under the rule of Nicohs 

The Story of Rouen 

de Normandiey son of the second Duke Richard, in 
1042. This was destroyed by the usual fire, and 
the rebuilding was assisted by the Empress Matilda 
and Richard Cceur de Lion. The little remnant of 
beautiful Romanesque called the Tour aux Clercs, 
probably formed the northern apse of its transept 
When this church in turn was burnt in the same 
fire that destroyed the original churches of St. 
Godard and St. Laurent, the monks fled to Bihord 
with what could be rescued of their archives and 
their << treasure.'' At last, Abb^ Jean Ronssel, called 
Marc d' Argent, started the noble fabric that, muti- 
lated as it is, is still one of the finest monuments of 
later ^'Gothic" in existence. His first meeting of 
architects and master-masons was called in 1321, 
and then was in all likelihood decided the out- 
lines of that mighty plan which took a century and 
a half to approach completion — and well-nigh half 
a hundred architects. 

From the ancient refuge of his monks, the land on . 
which their feudal justice was administered, from the 
slopes above Bihorel, Marc d' Argent looked down 
and watched the first walls and buttresses of his Abbey 
rise from the soil. In that valley the quarries from 
which he drew his stone could still be seen scarce 
twenty years ago, with huge blocks of stone, rough- 
hewn nearly five centuries before, still resting upon 
mouldering rollers. He gathered funds from the 
Abbey Forests (which gave their timbers too) and 
from the generous donations of the pious. After 
twenty-one years of work, in which all his monks 
assisted the masons, he had spent about fiYe million 
franc8^ (in modem values), and by 1339 had finished 
the choir and chapels, the huge pillars beneath the 
central tower, and part of the transept. Of the 
first real "Maitre d'oeuvre," as so often happens in 
the tale of the Cathedrals, nothing is known. But 


A City of Churches 

the monks carved the clear keen features of his tace 
upon the funeral stone, 7I feet high and 4 feet 
broad, that is in the Chapelle St. Cecile, and beside 
it is a detailed drawing of one of the arches of the 
choir. Jean de Bayeux went on with the work from 
1378 to 13989 and his son Jean was Master Architect 
from 141 1 to 1421/ How intensely enthusiastic the 
monks were to complete their Abbey may be seen 
from their quarrel with the Town Authorities in 1 41 2 
and 14159 when every workman and every penny in the 
town was gathered to help strengthen the fortifications 
against the English. ' But the monks of St. Ouen re- 
fused assistance in money or in kind, lest by so doing 
they should cripple their beloved building. And their 
confidence was perhaps justified in that Alexandre de 
Bemcval, who was the architect from 1422 to 1441, 
worked under the delibrate encouragement of the Eng- 
lish garrison. His tomb is near that of the first un- 
known Master, and the plan of his ^mous Rose 
window for the south transept is carved as his most 
fitting epitaph. 

The two Bayeux had done the interior of the south 
door of the transept, but it was Bemeval who did the 
chapel of SS. Peter and Paul, and his son who, 
after 1441, worked at the central tower, the gem of 
the exterior. This younger Bemeval lies buried near 
his father, and the plan of his octagonal <' drum " is 
set above his grave. To that first magnificent con- 
ception the crown was not added until Antoine 
Bohier's days, between 1490 and 15 15, for whom 
Jacques Theroulde worked chiefly. The same 
Abbot completed the Sacristy, but the rest of his 
additions were not so fortunate in their execution, for 
the style of the end of the fifteenth century did not 
mate happily with the earlier work. The carvings 
and general style of the south portal, called <^des 
Marmousets," is for instance a striking deterioration 


l^be Story of Rouen 

from the bold ccmceptioiu and brilliaDt handiwork 
upoD the great transq>t gateways of the CathednL 
He added four more bays to the oare, unog gunple 
instead of double buttretsea, flamboyaDt work instead 
of rose vnaAoiit, longer arches, and a lower line <tf 
capitals. Under Cibo, his successor, the laet four 
bays of the nave were finished, and a splendid be- 

ginning made to the west front that has perished 
utterly, and been replaced by the miserable monstrosity 
of a fripd and ill-proportioned "restoration." Seldom 
haa that much-abuted word so richly deserved all the 
invectiTe that could be heaped upon it. By Lelieur's 
plan we know that in 1 535 the western front of Cibo 
scarcely can be said to have existed. But it cannot 

A City of Churches 

have been long after the reign of Francis I. that Cibo's 
architect carried his west front between 40 and 50 
metres high, because the crest and devices of that 
monarch were preserved in the old work. In 1846 
it will hardly be credited that so much of that old 
work still remained as may be seen in the drawing, 
copied from the sketch of a contemporary architect, 
which I have reproduced on page 236. From this it 
will be observed that one of the most ingenious and 
original devices of the Middle Ages at their close had 
been developed for the entrance to St. Ouen. 

A glance at the western fagades of the Cathedral 
and of St. Maclou will make clearer what I have to 
say. For the Cathedral is in almost a straight line 
along its west front, though the two towers at each 
end give almost a suggestion of a retreating curve. 
St. Maclou, on the other hand, shaped like the 
eastern apse of most churches, has a bold curve 
forwards from north and south, meeting in the central 
door which projects some way beyond the side doors 
on its own fa9ade, as may be seen from Miss James's 
particularly instructive drawing in the frontispiece. 
St. Ouen presented the only remaining third possi- 
bility, a curve inwards, in which the central door was 
pushed back, and at an angle on each side of it the 
arched portals of the aisles curved forwards, and 
above them rose two towers, each a reduced copy of 
that larger exquisite central tower which crowns the 
Abbey. Though the old masonry remained, and 
though a complete working drawing of the whole 
facade was discovered in the archives of the town, 
the job of pulling everything down and building the 
new and horrible spires was given to an architect who 
had already destroyed an old tower in the angle of 
the courtyard of the Palais de .Fustice, and had made 
a "grille'' for its fa<;ade filled with inconsequent 
anachronisms and errors. 


The Story of Rouen 

After this, your only consolation will be to pssi 
through the western gates as swiftly as may be to die 
interior. Its whole length is 416 feet 8 inchet, and 
the vault is 1 00 feet high ; the nave is 34 feet broad* 
and the aisles 22 feet This magnificent £ibric has 
had hard usage. After being sacked when it was 
scarce completed, by the Protestants in 1 562, it was 
turned into a museum by the Revolution, and io 1 793 
was used as a blacksmith's shop for making arms. 
Yet nothing can efface that first breathless senae of 
soaring height and beauty which impresses you 00 
your first entrance as you look up to the great windows 
of the clerestory, with the saints upon their silvery 
glass, set between the long slender shafts of columns 
that spring straight from the ground, and leap upwards 
like a fountain clear and undivided to the keystone of 
the roof. Though I was unwillingly bound to confess 
that even the old Rose windows disappointed me, the 
bunch of glaring cauliflowers which is the new western 
Rose is worse than anything in any building of this size 
and general beauty. But the other windows are an 
abiding joy, made of that exquisite moonlit glass, 
in which the colours shine like jewels, and are set as 

Nor is the Church without its claim to right of place 
in history as well as art. For the old Abb^ of 
St. Ouen was one of the most considerable in Nor- 
mandy. It held fiefs not only in the city, but in the 
For^t Verte outside, and lands all over the province, 
with the right of nomination to very many livings. 
From the Pope himself the Abbot held, since I2j6, 
certain valuable privileges in conferring minor digni- 
ties, and in the list of those who held that splendid 
post after the uncle of the Conqueror, are the names of 
d'Estouteville, de Lorraine, de Bourbon, de Vend6nie, 
de la Tour d'Auvergne, and lasdy Etienne Charles 
de Lomenie de Brienne, who was found dead in his 

The Story of* Rouen 

bed when the warrant had gone out for his arrest in 
1794. In 1602 only was the ceremony of the 
"Oison bride" given up, which commemorated the 
old privileges of the Abbot's Mills. Even longer 
lasted the ancient ceremony by which the monks re- 
ceived every archbishop on his entrance into Rouen, 
and on his death watched for the first night by his bier 
in their own abbey. In their cemetery you have 
already seen Jeanne d*Arc go through her mockery 
of "abjuration/' Within it, too, her memory was 
"rehabilitated." In this church young Talbot was 
laid to rest, who fell in the English wars. In its 
cemetery was received James II. of Gt, Britain, who 
was escorted, on his flight from England, by armed 
citizens of Rouen from the Chartreuse of St. Julien to 
the Abbey. 

And it may be that the old Sacristan, for your good 
fortune, will be living still to tell you of the greatest 
Englishman he has ever heard of, John Ruskin, who 
often looked into that quaint mirror of Holy Water, 
and watched the strange reflection of the arches soaring 
upwards in the nave. 

It was in the Abbey of St. Ouen that on a May 
Day of 1485, Charles VIII. held a great assembly to de- 
liberate over the concessions to the town after his famous 
entry into Rouen. To welcome him, poets, machinists, 
actors, tableaux vivants, marionettes, songs, comedies, 
and " mysteries," were gathered together regardless of 
expense. The Dukes of Orleans and Bourbon had 
arrived before him, and on the twelfth of April they 
were presented by the Chapterhouse with six gallons of 
wine of two sorts, and with loaves of the famous bread,^ 
in return for which each gave a golden crown to the 

1 Perhaps it was in honour ot these legendary loaves that 
the acrostic of SAC BL£ was composed from the six dioceses 
dependent on the archbishopric of Rouen ; S^z, Alencon, 
Coutances, Bayeux, Lisieux, Evreux. 

A City of Churches 

Cathedral Offertory. Two days afterwards arrived the 
King himself from Pont de TArche with a large and 
brilliant suite, including the second Louis de la Tremou- 
ille, who fought on every battlefield from St. Aubin 
du Cormier to Pavia, Philippe deCommines the historian, 
the "Comte de Richemont," soon to be King of 
England, and many others. 

On his way from the Faubourg St. Sever to his 
lodgings in the Chateau de Bouvreuil, five stages greeted 
his progress with loyal allegories. Each bore its title 
written above in letters of gold or blue or rose upon 
tin plates. The first was labelled "Repos Pacificque," 
and represented by means of seven personages an acrostic 
on the royal name of Charles. The second was ** Ordre 
Politique," and was of a most amazing ingenuity, for 
no less than forty-four persons were shown on three 
stages one above the other which all turned round 
slowly on one piece of timber. On the lowest appeared 
John the Evangelist with a little angel by his side 
pointing him upwards to the splendours of the Apoca- 
lypse ; in the middle twenty-four aged harpers sat and 
harped, with << lutes and rebecqs " in their hands ; at 
the top shone the " Agnus Dei," the lamb of Rouen 
from the civic arms, amidst a cloud of evangelists and 
rainbows. On the third stage, labelled <' Uncion des 
Rois," was figured, with divers changes of scene, 
the coronation and anointing of David, all arranged by 
Master David Pinel in token of the joy of Rouen that 
Charles VIII. had been anointed with the holy oil at 
Reims which had given strength to Charles VII. to 
turn out the hated English. ^< Espoir en la croix " was 
represented on the fourth by the victory of Constant! ne 
over Maxentius, with several " tirements de courtines " 
or changes of scene. The fifth, styled " Nouvelle Eau 
Celique," showed the blessings of the new reign after 
the sufferings of the old one by a fountain which watered 
the Tree of the People, so that leaves by a marvellous 

Q 241 

The Story of Rouen 

device appeared to flourish naturally upon it, ndiile wine 
was poured out from beneath for every patiei^^ to 
drink, and five fair damsels sang harmoniously. That 
evening all the shepherds and shepherdesses and other 
characters in these moving ^^ histories '' came down and 
played a ^^ mystery" before the King. But periums 
the thing that pleased the young Charles most of all, 
was that gay procession of young gentlemen of Rouen 
which caracoled before him on horseback, under the 
leadership of no less a personage than his majesty the 
King of Yvetot, the captain of the City Bridge. (See 
footnote on page 36.) 

In the next days he promised to confirm the charten 
of the town, assured the canons in the exercise of the 
Privilege St. Romain, and asked that the procession of 
the prisoner might pass by his chateau, which was the 
more appropriate as the man released had been con- 
demned to death for killing a groom attached to one of 
the royal suite, who had given wanton and continued 
provocation. Not till the seventeenth of May were 
the requests both of the ecclesiastical and the civic 
authorities fully granted at St. Ouen ; the spokesman 
for each had been Maitre Michel Petit, the ** chantre " 
of the Chapterhouse, and by that one fact, if by no 
other. King Charles must have been properly impressed 
with the importance of the Church in Rouen. 

Before he left the city, he could have seen the 
exquisite little shrine of St. Maclou in all the fresh 
untainted delicacy of its first achievement. **The 
eldest daughter of the Archbishop of Rouen,** this 
marvellous church was the result of one perfect and 
harmonious plan, and inasmuch as the design of its 
originator has been faithfully completed, it is far more 
of an architectural unity than its larger rivals, the 
Cathedral or St. Ouen. Of these three either one would 
make the reputation of an English town alone, and the 
jewelled chiselling and admirable proportions of the 


A City of Churches 

smallest of them make a fitting complement to the 
heavy splendour of the Cathedral on the one handy 
and to the dizzy altitudes of the Abbey on the 

The first Maclou, as may be imagined, was a 
Scotchman. He fled to Brittany, became Bishop of 
Aleth, and died in the Saintonge in 561. Ever 
since the tenth century a shrine had been erected to 
his memory outside the earliest walls of Rouen, in 
that morass which gives its name to the Rue Malpalu 
in front of the present church. Twice burnt and 
twice rebuilt, it became a parish church within the 
walls by 1 2 50. A larger building was soon necessary ; 
even during the miseries of the English Occupation it 
was determined to make the new church worthy of the 
town that already held the Cathedral and part of St. 
Ouen ; and before 1500 indulgences had been granted 
by Hugues, the Archbishop, by Cardinal d'Estouteville, 
and by twenty Cardinals of Rome, to raise sufficient 
sums of money. In 1437 P^^ire Robin, one of the 
royal architects from Paris, was paid 43 livres 10 sols 
for a plan and work that must have been begun some 
eighteen months previously with stone quarried in Val 
des Leux and Vernon. In 1470 Ambroise Harel was 
<<Ma!tre de I'oeuvre," and in I480 the same Jacques 
le Roux finished it who worked in the Cathedral. Of 
individual bequests that of Jean de Grenouville, who 
was buried in the Chapelle de la St. Vierge in 1 466, 
gave most help. From 14329 when the irreparable 
ruin of the old church was first recognised, until 1 5 1 4, 
the accounts for only seven years have been preserved. 
In 1520 the spire of wood and lead above Gringoire's 
lantern was placed on Martin Duperrois' platform, to 
which a man might ascend without the help of any 
ladder. In 1735 ^^^ ^^" removed, and b 1795 ^^ 
lead was melted into bullets, and the six bells of 1 529 
were recast into cannon. In 1868 M. BarthHemy 


The Story of Rouen 

erected the stooe Pyramid 83 metres high to hold the 
fine new bells.^ 

The famous canred doors have been attributed to 
Jean Goujoo, though there is only one figure (die 
" Caritas on the left panel of the central porch) that 
I can believe to be his own workmanship. In all the 
idea of plan is much the same. There are two difi- 
sions, of which the lower contains the ** practicable 
entrance," and is guarded by a caryatid on each side 
supporting two male figures. Along the lintel runs a 
line of brackets alternating with cherubs* heads sup- 
porting seven figures, four males in high relief with 
three females in low relief behind them. These figures 
in turn carry a square panel, carved in high relief aboTe 
them, representing different scenes on each door, chiefly 
suggested by the story of the Good Shepherd which 
is so appropriate to the staple industry of the town. 
They were begun by 1527 and finished before 1560. 
Jean Goujon was born in 1 520, and was killed during 
the Massacre of St. Bartholomew while carving on the 
Louvre. In 1540 he is known to have been at 
Rouen, and in the next year he worked both here and 
in the Cathedral. So that he may well have given 
the design for what he did not personally execute, 
though no documents exist to prove either. 

But if the doors are a trifle disappointing, though 
only so because of their great reputation, they certainly did 
not deserve to be mutilated by the Huguenots in 1 562 ; 
and in 1793 when a barrelmaker's child was slashing 

1 M. de Beaurepaire has collected a few other names con- 
nected with the building. It was first dedicated when Arthur 
Fillon was the vicar, who was a friend of Cardinal d'Amboise 
and afterwards Bishop of Senlis. After the disappearance of 
Pierre Robin, the first architect mentioned, another stranger 
called Oudin de Mantes is given control, with lodgings pro- 
vided for him in the Rue du Bac. In 1446 Simon Lenoir of 
Rouen (who took BernevaPs place under the English) worked 
at this church. 


ji City of Churches 

the heads of the it 
think of no better 
femeux patriote ! " 
to adorn, which 
was protebly the 
work of Ambroise 
Hare I, I ha»e 
already spoken in 
deecribing the 
exactly reverse 
plan of the origi- 
Dal west front of 
St. Ouen. It is 
one of the most 
delightful tours 
de force I know 

and when Miu 
James was draw- 
ing for me the 
froniispiece which 

pointed out that 
the idea of the 
curve had been 
deliberately eni> 
phasised to the 
spectator's eye by 
building the side 
porches narrower, 


with lower 

with an axe, the crowd could 

meot than " Celui-lk sera un 

Of the facade they were intended 

s the 

case in the central entrance. The central tympanum 
represents the Last Judgment, with the Pelican above 
it that typifies the Resurrectioa> You may appreciate 

The Story of Rouen 

at once the delicate tracer? of lacework in Mone which 
cavers this exterior and also the affectioD felt for its 
beauties by their guardians, if you will examine the 
model laboriously built up in wood and paper by aD 
old vicar io the mx- 
teenth centun. His 
ten yeus of^ lonng 
toil have beCB pre- 
aeired in the Mut£f 
dea Antiquity and 
few better proofs entt 
of contemporary ap- 
preciation of the fine 

The interior is 
tcarcely less intereit- 
iog, though it has 
suffered very much 
from modem religi- 
osity. Only forty- 
seven and a half 
metres long, by 
scarcely twenty-five 
in widdi, its height is 
nearly twenty- three 
metres in the three 
bays of the nave, 
rising to thirty-nine 
at the lantern. Its 

is the exquisite 
Escalier des Orgues, 
from which the stair- 
case to the organ loft at Ely was imitated. This waa 
built in 1 5 1 9 for two hundred and five livres by Pierre 
Gringoire, "Maistre Machonde Rouen." In examio- 
ing more closely that fragment of it, of which a plaster 

A City of Churches 

CMt hai been made for the Musee du Trocad&u in 
Paris, 1 could not help being atruck with the general 
resemblance of its plaa to the more famous staircase 
which adorns the exterior of the wing of Francis I. at 
the great chateau of Blots in Touraine, which was 
built almost at the same time, from the designs (aa I 
have attempted to pioTe else- 
where) of Leonardo da Vind, and 
was decorated later on with statues 
by Jean Goujon. This sculptor 
was only bom the year after St. 
Maclou's staircase was finished, 
but the main lines of the structure 
are so suggestive of the earlier 
work that I cannot but imagine 
this fine piece of French Re- 
naissance to be a deliberate copy, 
by a master strong enough to retain 
his own originality of treatment, 
of the main design that appears in 
the courtyard of Blois. 

Not all the churches of which 
Rouen is so full can boast even 
that measure of preservation which 
storm and time and the more 
devastating hands of man have 
spared to the three noblest of her 
religious monumeniB. Of St. 
Andre, for instance, only the 
tower remains, that stands alone 
above the Rue Jeanne d'Arc, 
like the Tour St. Jacques in Paris, a 
specimen of the later Gothic architecture. A 
still finer relic of an older past is that old church 
of St. Pierre du Chastel, which is now turned 
into a stable and coach-house at No. 4 1 Rue 
Nationak. Unless you look for it, you will miaa 

] admirable 

The Story of Rouen 

altogether the great statue of David and his harp, 
which is the one massive decoration of its strong 
and simple tower, and the carvings which may still 
be traced through the neglect and mutilation of 
centuries upon its western door. More degraded 
still, to even baser uses, is the Church of St. Cande 
le Jeune, which has become some kind of an electric 
manufactory, and may now be chiefly traced by the 
huge chimney which obstructs the sky as you look 
up the Impasse Petit Salut towards the Tour de 
Beurre of the Cathedral. Just opposite the entrance 
to the public library is another instance of barbarous 
neglect: the Church of St. Laurent. Once used as 
a magazine of shops of every kind, sometimes a lost 
home for decrepit carriages, sometimes a drying-house 
for laundry-women, these exquisite ruins of Renais- 
sance architecture have at last been rescued by the 
civic authorities, if not from evident decay, at any 
rate from further mutilation. The tower alone — but 
one among so many in Rouen — would be the proudest 
possession of many a larger English town. The 
balustrade is decorated by a pattern of letters, which 
pathetically express their hope of better treatment in 
the battered legend: "Post Tenebras Spero Lucem." 
Close to these eloquent ruins is a church that has 
had a somewhat better fate, for if St. Godard has been 
rather roughly treated, the beauty of its stained-glass 
windows has saved it from absolute destruction. In 
the chapel of St. Peter, due east at the end of the 
north aisle, is the great window that was made in 
1555 to represent St. Romain, who is shown at the 
top, on the left hand, dragging the Gargouille of 
Rouen to destruction with his sacred stole (see p. 39). 
Lower down, on the right, you must look at the King 
seated in his royal chair, and the hounds at play before 
him on the carpet. In the south aisle the correspond- 
ing window to the east has a tree of Jesse in its upper 

A City of Churches 

pan, aod beneath it one of the finest examples of ux- 
Ceenth ceotury paio^ng in Rouea work that reminds 
you of the work of Rembrandt Of these five figure* 
of old men, the last two on the nght are especially 
worthy of attentive study They were done in 
1 535-. To the right 
of this window in 
the same chapel, 
looking south wiutlt, 

window of about 
the same date, said 
to be copied from 
a design by Raphael 
and his school, of 
the life and gene- 
alogy of the Blessed 
Virgin ; but it is not 
so strong or original 
in treatment a a the 
last. Beneath it are 
two kneeling figures 
carved upon the 
tomb of the family 
of Bee de Li^vre. 

In the Rue Jeanne 
d'Arc is another 
church, St. Vincent, 
that must be vitited. 
I have spoken al- 
ready of the little 
labourer in tunic and 
breeches, with a sack of salt upon his back, who atanda 
upon the outside of the buttress to the south of the 
choir, and looks towards the river. It commemoratet 
the fact that, by letters patent delivered by Charlet VI. 
in 1409, the church (which was then much nearer to 

T'be Story of Rouen 

the river ) was allowed to take toll of every cargo of 
salt which came into the port, a privilege which was 
exchanged in 1649 for an annual payment of 140 
livres. Begun in 151 1 — or, as some say, 1480-— 
after the plans of Guillaume Touchet, St. Vincent 
certainly comes after St. Maclou in order of merit. 
Its choir alone is a magnificent specimen of the 
architectural possibilities of the smaller churches, 
and must have been finished before 1530, when 
Touchet's supervision ended. The splendid flam- 
bojrant western porch is not shown in Lelieur's 
plan of 1525, and was probably a later addition. 
The name of Ambroise Harel has also been con- 
nected with the work, but I have been unable to 
satisfy myself of the exact portions for which he 
may have been responsible. 

It is chiefly admired, and wrongly so to my mind, 
for the treasures of its interior. These consist not 
merely in the wonderful series of sixteenth century 
tapestries, of which M. Paul Lafond has publi^ed 
a detailed description, but in the stained-glass windows, 
of which the most celebrated represents the ass of St 
Anthony of Padua kneeling before the Holy Sacrament. 
The design is taken, it is said, from a drawing of Diirer, 
to whom also is ascribed the original suggestion for the 
window at the west end of the first aisle, of the Virgin 
and Apostles. North of the choir is an interesting 
glass-painting of the buildings of Rouen. 

But slightly west of the northern end of the same 
street you will find windows in the Church of St. 
Patrice which I think infinitely preferable, of their 
kind, to those which are the especial pride of St. 
Vincent. They are very justly placed in the first 
class of the ** monuments historiques " de France. As 
you enter the transept, turn due south, and the first 
window on your right is the "Woman taken in 
Adultery," which was moved here from the old church 

A City of Churches 

of St. Godard. The inscription on it is ** Honorable 
homme maitre Nicole Leroux licentie es loix advocant 
et Marie fiunel sa feme ont donne ceste vitreau moys 
de may Ian de grace 1 549 priez dieu pour eulx." In 
the right hand comer you may see the good William 
praying with his son behind him, and his wife in black 
is further otf to the left with her six daughters behind 
her, two of them in *' cramoisy taffetas, trimmed with 
northern peltry." In the Chapel of the Virgin in the 
north transept, the left hand window of the three 
over the altar depicts the life of St. Fiacre and St 
Firmin, and was put up in 154O in the days when 
Pierre Deforestier was in office, and Francois Baudoin 
was prevot. Of the three you see when looking due 
north, the farthest to the right in the transept was 
placed there in 1583, '*a Phonneur du grand roy des 
roys de St. Louis roy de France ; '' the middle window 
shows St. Eustace suffering mart3rrdom in the brazen 
bull which is being heated red hot, while above St. 
Hubert meets his miraculous stag. The farthest 
window to the left is dated 1538 ; it is the best, and 
Jean Cousin has been suggested as its designer. The 
donor prays in the right hand corner, and his wife 
with a daughter behind her is in the left. A well- 
drawn figure of an angel announces his message to the 
Blessed Virgin who is reading, and in the middle of 
the composition, near the bottom, lies a corpse in a 

The large window at the extreme end of the north 
aisle is also very fine. At the top is a woman in a 
car triumphing. Below, on the left, are Adam and 
Eve. Next to them is the Devil, and Death, whose 
swarthy skin is wrapped in a winding-sheet that seems 
to belly in the blasts of Hell. The story of Job that 
is painted in the first window on the left in the north 
aisle, also came from old St Godard. And all this 
wealth of stained glass is shown off wonderfully well 


The Story of Rouen 

in a church that is not too large to lose its full effect, 
and is planned with only a few light colunuu in the 
interior to impede the view of all of them from the 
centre of the nave. 

To three other of the many ecclesiastical buildings 
of Rouen can I direct you before closing this Chapter 
of Churches with the Cathedral that is mother of 'them 
all : St. Eloi, St. Vivien, and the Abbaye de St 
Amand. As you walk northwards from the river 
into the town up the Rue St. Eloi, the church from 
which it takes its name shows a fine south door that 
closes the perspective of the street. The design of 
the west entrance is bold and good, but the queerly 
mathematical plan of the Rose window above it, with 
its three triangles crossing in the circle, has not a very 
happy effect. The church now is little but the ruins 
of what was once a magnificent building and is used as 
the " Protestant Temple." The whole of the Place 
St. Eloi is worthy of a closer inspection than can be 
gained by merely walking through it, which you will 
be tempted to do at much too fast a pace on learning 
that the Rue du Panneret at its north-east angle leads 
directly to the Maison Bourgtheroulde in the Place de 
la Pucelle. Another characteristic little square is the 
Place St. Vivien which cuts the Rue Eau de Robec 
in two portions. If you are lucky enough to be there 
on a twenty-ninth of August you will see the famous 
F^te St. Vivien in full blast, with booths and merry- 
go-rounds, and travelling theatres, even a ** Theatre 
Garric a 8 heures, Nouveau Spectacle ! " But do not 
go on into the further recesses of the Eau de Robec 
without looking at the church, and give your keenest 
glances to the fine square tower with its octagonal spire 
that is classed among the Monuments Historiques. Of 
the ancient Abbaye de St. Amand there is perhaps 
less left than of any of the ecclesiastical buildings in 
this chapter. Its origin has been described already 

A City of Churches 

(see p. 71), and the gable with its buttressed wall that 
you can see best in the Rue St. Amand from the 
Place des Cannes are almost the only stones remaining 
of an institution that once took a very prominent part 
in the ecclesiastical ceremonies of Rouen. 

For when an Archbishop died, the Abbess of St. 
Amand took from his dead finger, as the funeral 
procession passed her gates, the ring that she had 
placed upon it at his installation. On the 19th of 
July 1 493) that ring still shone upon the hand of 
Robert de Croixmare, Whose corpse had just been 
brought into the Cathedral choir, arrayed in state, with 
mitre on head, and crosier in hand, with all his robes 
of office on him. That night the bier rested in the 
Abbey of St. Ouen, and as it passed the Abbey of 
Su Amand on its way back to burial, the Abbess 
must have wondered, as she claimed her ring, on 
whom she would bestow it next. The canons of the 
Cathedral were even more hasty in their eagerness to 
settle the important question, and the body of their 
late superior had been scarcely laid in state within their 
choir before they were deliberating in the Chapterhouse 
about his probable successor. As a mere matter of 
form — and we know how tenacious were these canons 
of their rights and usages — they had sent word to the 
King that the election of the next Archbishop was 
proceeding ; and their dismayed astonishment may be 
imagined when a message came from Charles VIII. 
that he << neither admitted nor denied tlieir privilege 
to re-elect." 

The King was not long in enlightening his faithful 
subjects as to his wishes in the matter. Georges 
d'Amboise, Archbishop of Narbonne, and lieutenant 
to his friend Louis of Orleans in the Governorship of 
Normandy, was clearly pointed out as the royal candi- 
date, without any room for misunderstanding. The 
Duke of Orleans himself joined in the " request " that 


The Story of Rouen 

saroured far too much of a command for ecdeaiaalicil 
independence. Ab if this were not enough, meteengen 
from the Court arrived post-haste; Baudricourt, a 
Marshal of France,, no less ; Jean du Vergier, a 
financial officer of the town ; and M. de C16rieu, 
the royal chamberlain; all these actually arrived to 
" negotiate " (presumptuous word ! ) with the finee 
and independent Chapterhouse. In great perplexity 
were both the canons and the town officials, upon 
whom commands, no less imperative, had also been 
laid; for the Chapterhouse would naturally not hear 
one single word from the civic officials on the subject 
of their election, and even to the royal messengos 
they would only reply that, at the election-day, some 
three weeks hence, ^'His Majesty should have no just 
cause for complaint." 

Three weeks, however, gave them time for profitable 
reflections. When next the royal messengers appeared 
in the Chapterhouse, in the persons of the President of 
the Parliament of Paris, and the Grand Seneschal de 
Breze, their reception was not so chilling as before. 
Every preacher in the town had exhorted his congrega- 
tion to pray that God would direct their proper choice. 
The revered shrine of St. Romain, that Fierte which 
represented the proudest token of ecclesiastical liberty, 
had been borne in solemn procession round the town. 
Public sentiment had been intensely agitated by the 
unwonted course events had taken. On the rateful 
2 1 St of August the Cathedral was packed with 
hundreds of the faithful, eager to be first to hear 
the decision of the canons. By three o'clock the 
ten bells of the Cathedral had summoned the canons 
to the matins which preceded the election that was to 
release the Church from widowhood, and give to Rouen 
a new archbishop. At last the Chapter assembled, 
the doors were shut, and every avenue to the Chapter- 
house was strictly guarded. At the last moment an 

A City of Churches 

aged canon, rising from hit death-bed to exercise hit 
most cherished privilege, tottered into the assembly to 
select a fnend to vote for him, and went back to die. 

Suddenly the door of the Chapterhouse opened 
again, and £tienne TuTBche the Chancellor uttered in 
a loud voice his last summons to all those who had the 
right to vote that they should forthwith enter. When 
it had closed again — for there was no reply — the solemn 
oath was administered to every canon that he would 
rightly and reverently choose the candidate he honestly 
thought best. Any excommunicated person was warned 
to retire, and Masselin the Dean began his exhortation 
on the importance of their choice. When he had 
finished, all save the electors themselves withdrew, 
and on the flagged floor of the Chapterhouse the 
canons knelt to the singing of the *'Veni Creator," 
and prayed for inspiration. Suddenly all leapt to 
their feet at once with one united shout of '* Georges 
d' Amboise shall be Archbishop ! " 

At once the great bells rang out to the town that 
the election had been made, while within the Cathedral 
every wall re-echoed with the shouts of '^ Noel, Noel ! " 
as the people heard that Georges d' Amboise had been 
elected. A few days afterwards a still larger throng 
assembled in the Parvis to watch the great ecclesiastic 
of their choice advance on bare feet mm the Church 
of St. Herbland and receive the episcopal ring from the 
Abbess of St. Amand, with the words, '* Messire, je 
le donne a vous vivant, vous me le rendrez mort." 
As he came nearer to the western gates, Masselin, the 
"Grand Doyen," formally presented to him the 
Cathedral, and received his promise of loyalty and 
honest government, sworn on the books of the evangel- 
ists, and not till then did Georges d' Amboise mount 
his episcopal chair and give his first blessing to the 
people of Rouen as their Archbishop. 

How well he fulfilled his vow, there are many things 


The Story of Rouen 

in Rouen to this day to tell, and the blessing diat he 
gave his congregation was not limited to things spntnal 
and unseen. His splendid public benefactions in regu- 
lating the water-supply of the town have been ahneady 
noticed, and may be better realised in Lelieur's carefbl 
drawings. His Cathedral remembers him by her 
western fa9ade, by the rich balustrades around the 
choir, now vanished, by numerous costly shrines and 
jewels in the Tresor, by that Tour de Beurre ^ which 
held '* Georges d'Amboise " the greatest bell outdde 
of Russia, that every outlying parish could hear, by the 
magnificent building which future archbishops jusdy 
called their palace. And the Province of which he 
became governor when Louis d'Orleans rose to be 
Louis XII., *^ avec le titre effrayant de reformateur- 
g^n^ral,'' owed him the blessings of peace from brigand- 
age and prosperity in commerce ; owed him, better than 
all, the firm and permanent establishment of the Courts 
of Justice. By all these, and more, he worthily has 
won the right to be considered by far the strongest and 
ablest Archbishop Rouen ever had. After his election, 
his nephew, the second Georges d'Amboise, was the 
only other primate the Chapterhouse was ever permitted 
to elect. The tomb of both is in the Chapelle de la 
Vierge of the Cathedral. 

I have but too short space or time wherein to tell 
you more of the interior of that great edifice, whose 
building I described when Philip Augustus made 
Normandy a part of France. But out of the multitude 
of interests that will stay your every step beneath its 
arches, there are a few things I must point out now, 
and leave the most famous of its tombs till later. 

As you enter by the western door, turn southwards 
into the Chapelle St. Etienne beneath the Tour de 

^ The name is said to have arisen from the fact that it was 
chiefly built by the fines paid by those of the faithful who ate 
butter during Lent. 

A City of Churches 

Beurre. The aecood moDumental atone on the right 
is in memory of Nicole Gibotun, and it i« one of the 
most exquisitely drawn face* that you vnlj see in aU 
Rouen. This face and both handi are incised in white 
marble, the rest of the body and dreu is indicated by 
red lines cut lightly in the alone. At his feet liec a dog 

holding a bone. After this, there is scarcely a monu- 
ment worth looking at that can elude your notice ; but 
as my business is to omit the obvious and point out the 
beauties which might escape unwarned attention, I shall 
direct you straightway to the choir, and more par- 
ticularly to the carved oak stalls. The seats, as is 
usually the case, turn up to form an additional rest for 
» »S7 

The Story of Rouen 

priests who had to stand through long and numeroiu 
services, and upon these under surfaces (called miseri- 
cordes) is an extraordinary series of earrings which yoa 
must look at, every one. 

They were made between the years of 1 457 and 
1469, and are in part owing to the munificence of 
Cardinal Guillaume d'Estouteville. The stalls as a 
whole are much deteriorated from their originally perfect 
beauty. The work at Amiens will suggest how much 
of the stalls of Rouen has been lost or wantonly muti- 
lated. Without the Archbishop's throne, which has 
been replaced by a heavy modem structure, the whole 
eighty-eight, of which two have disappeared, cost 6961 
livres to make, and the greater part of the figures were 
done by Pol Mosselmen (whose Flemish name was a 
terrible puzzle to mediaeval scribes) and Frangois 
Trubert. Two other Flemish carvers, Ltaureos 
Hisbre and Gillet Duchastel, occur in the complete 
list of eleven sculptors who were paid by the piece as 
recorded in the Chapterhouse accounts. The designs 
were made by Philippot Viart, " maistre huchier *' de 
Rouen, who received 5 sous 10 deniers a day for his 
work, and employed workmen so nearly his equals in 
skill that they got from 48. 6d. to 5s. for their time. 
The names of the sixteen " carpenters " he had with 
him are all preserved with the weekly account of their 
payments ; and though most of the work of the Flemish 
** sculptors" on the larger statues has entirely dis- 
appeared, the more modest position of the little 
carvings beneath the seats has probably saved them; 
and these are the work, as I believe to be most probable, 
of the Rouen "carpenters" whom Philippot Viart 

Their names are very ordinary ones ; such as Eustache, 

Baudichon, Lefevre, Fontaine, Lemarie, and the like; 

and their work is nearly all dedicated to perpetuating 

either those arts and crafts of Rouen with which they 



A City of Churches 

would be most familiar, or subjects similar to the med- 
allions on the north and south portals which I have 
already shown to be the stock-in-trade of the mediaeval 
workman. Many of the misericordes indeed are no 
doubt taken from the stone-work outside. As you 
turn one seat after another to the light, the life 
and habits and costume of four hundred years ago 
stand clear before you. There are the musicians with 
their cymbals, drums, and stringed instruments; the 
wool-combers with their teasels; the sheep-shearers 
and cloth-makers ; the cobblers and leather-sellers and 
patten-makers ; the barbers and surgeons ; the school- 
master with his pupils; the carver at work upon a 
stall ; the mason chiselling a Gothic arch or modelling 
a statue ; the blacksmith, the carpenter, the shepherd, 
the fisherman, the gardener in his vineyard, the mid- 
wife, the chemist at work among his test-tubes and 
alembics, the chambermaid cleaning up her rooms. 

Besides these records of the different trades, in one 
of the confr^ries of which every workman on these stalls 
must have been a member,^ there are many subjects 
more fanciful or grotesque which urged the sculptor's 
chisel to its work. Harpiea and sirens and lions with 
human faces; Melusina's gracious body ending in a 
serpent's tail ; all the characters of the famous <' F6te 
des Fous " to the very " Abbe des Comards " him- 
self; all the strange beasts of travellers' tales, and 
many a dream from vanishing mythologies. Ever 
since pagan times, the custom of disguising the danc- 
ing worshipper in a more or less hideous mask, had 
steadily persisted in certain of the more licentious 
festivals, and the riotous horseplay of the Middle 
Ages was the direct descendant of the Saturnalia of 
Rome. Too often, as I have pointed out before, 
the churches themselves were the scene of these 
abuses, which took the form not merely of bestial 

1 For the beginning of these confriries, see chapter ▼. p. 85. 


The Story of Rouen 

trave8tie8y but of diabolical disguises in which Satan 
and his imps were represented with all the Tigoiir 
of an intensely imaginative age. These were some 
of the sources of the grotesque caryings. For they 
were not symbolical. When they did not rep reie n t 
a concrete fact seen by the sculptor, they essayed to 
represent a composite thought by clapping together 
two forms suggesting opposite qualities, aod leafing 
the gap in their union to be supplied by the spec- 
tator. That gap in continuity is very noticeable b 
every real " grotesque." 

The " Lai d'Aristote," which occurred in the ex- 
terior carvings, is repeated here on the misericorde which 
is the ninth of the top row on the southern side. The 
gay young lady seated upon Aristotle's back wean 
the high two-homed headdress of the fifteenth cen- 
tury, and a long closely-fitting gown, with the open 
bodice that was the mark of the oldest profession in 
the world. She is controlling the philosopher with a 
bridle and a most murderous-looking bit between his 
teeth. I have already explained that Socrates and 
Xantippe are by no means intended here, and that 
the tale is represented of the downfall of Aristotle 
in his attempts to prove to Alexander the Great how 
easily the charms of woman might be resisted. The sub- 
ject seems to have tickled the Middle Ages immensely, 
and was especially likely to be popular in Normandy, 
where Henry d'Andelys, the author of the poem called 
" Lai d' Aristote," was born. A very similar tale of 
the gallant adventures of the poet Virgil occupied one 
of the lost stalls of this Cathedral, and in St. Pierre de 
Caen both were represented among the carvings of the 

There is one more tomb that you must see 

among the things that may most easily be omitted 

before you end a visit to the Cathedral, that is meant 
to remind you of what is usually forgotten. It is the 

A City of Churches 

small monument in the Chapelle de la Vierge, opposite 
the great tomb of the d'Amboises, and next to the 
magnificent sepulchre on which Diane de Poitiers 
mourns for her lost husband. It is generally passed 
over because its neighbour's grandeur, overshadows it, 
and it has very little left to show its value except the 
beautifully sculptured canopy and the exquisite carv- 
ings and initials on the columns at the side. This 
is the tomb of Pierre de Br^z^, Seneschal of Nor- 
mandy, who married Jeanne de Bee Crespin, with 
a dowry of 90,000 crowns; and it is he who 
entered Rouen with the King of France in Novem- 
ber 1449, when the English occupation ceased. 
He was a brave soldier and a bold adventurer, both 
then and afterwards. Tn 1457, filibustering on the 
English coast, he captured Sandwich and took a 
heavy ransom for the port. Six years afterwards 
Louis XI. sent him across the channel again to 
fight on the side of Margaret of Anjou. In the 
war of the League of Public Weal, he stayed loyal 
to his master, and was killed by the rebels at 
Mondhery in 1465. << Pierre de Brez^ tomba au 
premier rang," writes Commines, '^de la mort des 
braves. Le premier homme qui y mourut ce fut 
luy." The friend of Dunois and Xaintrailles could 
have had no better end. But it is more with the 
official than the man that I have here to do. 

The Seneschal of Normandy is an official who is 
found already at the Court of the Norman dukes 
when the province was independent. In the matter 
of justice and finance, he held supreme power next 
to his sovereign, and is called '* La Justice de 
Normandie " by Wace. He also presided at meet- 
ings of the £chiquier de Normandie in both his 
capacities, and it is known that such men as Odo 
of Bayeux and William Fitzosbern held this honour- 
able office. With the arrival of Philip Augustus in 


The Story of Rouen 

Normandy, the oflSce falls into abeyance until the 
English appeared in the fifteenth century with the 
Burgundian motto of freedom for the people^ and 
restoration of the ancient liberties of gOTenunenL 
The English officials were determined to carry out 
their projects thoroughly, and when once they wete 
fixed firmly in Rouen they began to look through 
the old charters of Normandy to see what ancient 
liberties they could restore. The Grand Seneschal 
of the Norman dukes (who had also been English 
kings) was soon discovered, and his office was 
promptly revived, and given in turn to Richard 
Wideville, William Oldhall, and Thomas, Lord 
Scales. The title these men had held as soldiers, 
with no idea of using it in its legal or financial 
sense, Charles VII. continued, on his return to 
power, as a suitable recompense for the services 
such favourites as de Breze had rendered him in 
his campaigns, and the sounding name of Grand 
Seneschal of Normandy henceforth entirely eclipsed 
the humbler title of Captain of the Garrison of 

In 1457 de Breze was exercising the original 
functions of the office in the Echiquier. Six years 
before, as the commissary of the King in place of 
Dunois, he had brought before the Assembly of the 
Province the vital questions of the confirmation of 
the Charte aux Normands, of the installation of a 
special financial machinery for the Province, and 
other measures necessary at the resumption of 
authority by the French. Though he fell tem- 
porarily into disfavour with Louis XL, and was 
obliged to consent to the marriage of his son 
Jacques with Charlotte, daughter of Charles VII. 
and Agnes Sorel, he resumed his post of Grand 
Seneschal on returning from his wars in England, 
and died in office. 

A City of Churches 

His son Jacques de Brezej Comte de Maullvrier, 
inherited the same distinction ; but having killed his 
wife, whose birth had shown its unfortunate effects 
too soon in flagrant infidelity, he was in turn dis- 
graced and fined, but in turn was also reinstated. 
His son Louis de Breze was given the apparently 
imperishable family heirloom of the office of Grand 
Seneschal in August 1490, and the great seal of the 
Senechaussee of Normandy was henceforth his coat 
of arms. More of a soldier and a courtier than a 
man of law or of finance, this de Brez6 left the 
duties of his office to a numerous staff, whose names 
have been preserved in the registers of Rouen. He 
married first Catherine de Dreux, " dame d'Esneval," 
and left his brother-in-law in charge of the duties of 
his office, when he left it. During this period it was 
that Cardinal d'Amboise organised the Supreme Court 
of the Echiquier de Normandie (of which Antoine 
Bohier, Abb^ of St Ouen, was a member), in the 
last years of Charles VIII., which, when the 
Due d' Orleans became Louis XII., was to blossom 
into the Perpetual Echiquier in the new "Palais de 

The organisation of this court did away with any 
practical necessity for a Grand Seneschal, but Louis 
de Brez^ was still allowed to keep the honour of 
the title, and even to take a seat in the court, 
which was soon to be called the " Parlement de 
Normandie ** by Fran9ois Premier. Louis de Breze's 
second wife was the famous Diane de Poitiers, who 
called herself " La Grande S^neschale '' until she 
died, and who put up the magnificent tomb in 
alabaster and black marble which has preserved her 
husband's memory ever since his death in 153I9 long 
after the •* Palais de Justice *' had been built to carry 
on for ever those legal functions which had once been 
a portion of the duties of his office. 



'Or 9a' — nous dit Grippeminaud, au milieu de ses Chats- 
fourrez — *■ par Stix, puisqu' autre chose ne veux dire, or 9a, 
je te monstreray, or ca, que meilieur te seroit estre tomb^ 
entre les pattes de Lucifer, or 9a, et de tous les Diables, or 9a, 
qu'entre nos gryphes, or 9a ; les vois-tu bien ? Or 9a, 
maiautru, nous aliegues tu innocence, or 9a, comme chose 
digne d'eschapper nos tortures ? Or 9a, nos Loix sont comme 
toiie d'araignes; le grand Diable vous y chaotera Messe, 
or 9a'. 

TO appreciate what was involved by the building 
of the famous " Palais de Justice/* which is 
perhaps the greatest pride of Rouen, I must needs 
bring before you a little more of the social life which 
made a court of law and justice necessary ; and I can 
make no better beginning than by quoting again, from 
the Record of the Fierte St. Romain, those instances 
after 1448 which throw the greatest light upon the 
manners and customs of the years when the Echiquier 
de Rouen first became a permanent assembly in its 
own House. 

In 1 453 occurs an entry which suggests that the 
modern idiot who plays with a loaded revolver and 
shoots his friend " by accident " has been in existence 
ever since deadly weapons were invented. A car- 
penter named Guillaume le Bouvier drew his bow at 
a bird which was sitting on a tree-top. The arrow 
glanced off a bough, rebounded from a stone, and 
killed the son of the Sieur de Savary. Twenty-two 
years before, a woman had been killed by a bolt from 


a crossbow in almost the same way^ and in 14 $7 a 
boy was shot by his brother in an exactly similar 
manner. In 1474 Bardin Lavalloys provided another 
particularly unfortunate example during a game which 
was in great favour at Christmas time, and consisted in 
throwing sticks at a goose which was tied by the leg 
to a tail pole. Jehan Baqueler missed his shot, and 
hit poor Lavalloys on the temple. A more serious 
weapon, the *' couleuvrine," a long thin cannon, was 
responsible for an accidental death in 1476. Guill- 
aume Bezet had made a bet that he could shoot at a 
gate better than his friends. His aim missed, and he 
killed a man sitting by a hedge not far oflF. A case 
that is still more instructive of the manners of the time 
occurred in 1475. Guillaume Morin, who was 
apparently making the best of his last chance of a good 
meal before Lent, had gone to feast with some 
neighbours on Shrove Tuesday, and when they had 
finished the beef, he threw the bone out of the window. 
It happened to be an especially large and heavy bone, 
and unluckily his little daughter of seven was just 
that moment returning from the tavern with more wine 
for the company. It fell upon her head from some 
distance and killed her. Another curious sidelight 
is thrown on fifteenth century society by the record of 
the next year. During a wedding-breakfast in Rouen 
Pierre Rogart upset the mustard-pot over M. Gossent's 
clothes. They quarrelled, the other guests took sides, 
swords were drawn, and the prime offender's nephew 
ran a man through; a crime for which the canons 
pardoned him. 

But these are rather of the nature of the modem 
" manslaughter." The " crime passionel " and the 
downright murder of malice aforethought, are even 
more frequent In 1466 Catherine Leseigneur was 
scolded and even threatened with a beating while in 
bed by her mother-in-law. In a sudden passion she 


The Story of Rouen 

sDatched up a large stone and killed the other woman 
with it* How a stone large and heavy enough for the 
purpose happened to be in a bedroom we are not told, 
but it is quite easily explained in the case of Jeban 
Vauquelin, who was annoyed while working in the 
fields by Lucas le Febure in 147 1 9 and killed him 
with the weapon that is as old as the first murder b 
recorded history, and seems to have been rather 
favoured in the fifteenth century. The year 147 3 is 
only notable because Etienne Bandribosc was deliv^ed 
by the Chapter contrary to the expressed wish of 
Louis XL, after he had killed a man who had in- 
sulted him. But in 148 3 the element of romance 
appears again. A priest called Robert Clerot, with a 
sword beneath his cloak, was accustomed to pester 
with his attentions a pretty seamstress in the parish of 
St Eloi. Her legitimate lover interfered, and, when 
the priest drew his sword, called in help and killed 
him with his dagger. Twice more in this period is a 
" couturi^re " the heroine of the Fierte. In the very 
next year Denise de Gouy, whose previous history is 
not pleasant reading, took service with a citizen of 
Rouen, and by means of false keys provided by her 
lover, robbed her employer of a considerable quantity 
of linen, using her special knowledge to pick and 
choose the best. She only escaped being hanged with 
her paramour by being about to give birth to a child, 
and was finally pardoned by the Chapterhouse. In 
1492 a dressmaker was far less fortunate. She was 
unable to satisfy a lady as to the fit of her stays, and 
this angry customer, whose name was Marie Mansel, 
gave her so shrewd a blow with her fist that the poor 
little dressmaker died in a week. The canons appar- 
ently so sympathised with the annoyances of a badly 
fitting corset, that they gave Marie Mansel her 
freedom. But the episode has its value in showing 
that the modern muscular female is not so new an 

:t day he a 


apparition ai she faacin. TradeemeD did not alwaya 

get the worst of it, however, in such dispute* as 

these ; for in 1 515 a butcher complained bitterly that 

his hair had beeo cut too short, in a barber's shop 

near St. Ouen. The mistake bo preyed upon his mtod 

that when he met the barber d ' ' 

the head and ran away iato 

the cemetery of St. Ouen 

But Nicolas Courtil pursued 

him valianily, armed only with 

the instruments of his calling 

and finally killed the butcher 

by stabbing him in the neck 

with a pair of scissors. 

Priests are almost as interest 
ing as the ladies in this extra 
ordinary record. In i J30 a 
curate from Marcilly hired 
Germain Rou for two 
sovereigns to hide a baby Id 
a chalk-pit, and then fled to 
Rome. The cries of the child 
were heard two days after 
wards by some travellers, and 
Germain Rou, condemoed to 
have his hand cut off and then 
be hanged, was pardoned. In 
1 53 J an even more flagrant 
crime is registered against an 
ecclesiastic. Louis de 
Houdetot, a subdeacon, had 
been so successful in his courtship of Madame Tilleren, 
that the lady's husband sent her out of the town to her 
father's house. But this did not stop the priest from 
continuing to visit her, and while M. Tilleren was in 
Rouen news was brought him that Houdetot had 
actually beaten M. de Cathevilie's servants in trying to 

The Story of Rouen 

get into the house. This was too much ; so 'miereo 
^^took a corselet of beaten iron (hallecrest) and a 
crossbow with a long bolt, and took a companion, 
named Justin, armed with a helmet and a long-handled 
axe, with five or six others." The gang, who 
evidently meant to make sure of their man, met 
Houdetot in a street in Rouen; Tilleren fired his 
crossbow on sight and shot him through the body ; a 
piece of summary justice which evidently appealed to 
the Canons of the Cathedral, in spite of the fact that 
the sufferer was an ecclesiastic. 

But in 1 50 1 a gallant priest intervened in the most 
creditable manner, and without any bloodshed, in a 
love-affair that should set all our promising young 
historical novelists by the ears to tell it afresh. There 
was a certain Jean de Boissey who was much in love 
with Marie de Martainville. Her mother was not 
averse to a wedding, but the father refused entirely. 
Luckily for Jean he was on excellent terms witli the 
lady's cousins, Philippe and Thomas de Martainville ; 
so the three friends with Pierre de Garsalle and other 
youthful sympathisers betook them to the Abbey of 
St. Pierre-sur-Dives to talk it over. Jean found an 
ally he could have hardly expected within the Abbey 
walls, for Nicolle de Garsalle, a relation of one of his 
comrades and a brother of the House, asked them all 
to stay to supper with him, and before the porter let 
them out again he had arranged a plan for carrying off 
the lady. The young men were delighted with this 
jovial monk's suggestions, and the next morning the 
whole company met again with seven or eight more 
ardent blades, and entered straightway into the Manor 
where the lovely Marie dwelt. Cousin Philippe 
stayed outside and kept watch at the drawbridge. In 
a short time — after adventures which are discreetly 
concealed — ^Jean and his friends came out with the 
lady, and the whole party made o£P to Caulde, where 


the betrothal was solemnised. The next day they 
rode to Cambremery and the happy pair were married, 
<< le sieur de Boissey," says the manuscript, " espousa 
sa fianc^ sans bans/ and no doubt Brother Nicolle de 
Garsalle helped to tie the knot. No less than sixteen 
persons being implicated in the capital charge of abduc- 
tion which followed, you may imagine how lively the 
Procession of the Fierte was that year, and the cheers 
of the populace as Jean de Boissey (begarlanded with 
roses, as all the prisoners were) moved along, no doubt 
with Marie on his arm, and the sturdy monk walked 
behind him from the Place de la Basse Vicille Tour to 
the Cathedral. The de Martainvilles gave the Chapter 
a large Turquoise set in gold, in token of their grati- 
tude, and the gem was at once placed upon the shrine 
to whose sanctity they owed deliverance. 

Few stories have either so romantic a beginning or 
so fortunate an end, in this record of the Fierte ; but 
the large number of prisoners then released has its 
parallel, is even surpassed indeed, on two occasions 
soon afterwards; for in 1522 the whole parish of the 
village of Etrepagny received the Fierte as accomplices 
of a young ruffian called de Maistreville ; though con- 
sidering that his victim was one of their own women, 
their ardent support of the man against all the officers 
of justice is somewhat inexplicable. In i j6o, when 
another whole village was pardoned, their sympathy 
with a fellow-labourer who killed a servant of the 
Overlord is more easily intelligible. But nearly all of ' 
the most prominent cases have a woman at the bottom 
of them. One that is especially instructive as to the 
morals and the manners of the public occurred in 1524. 

Antoine de la Morissi^re, Sieur de la Carbonnet, 
had, it seems, insulted Mademoiselle d'Ailly, and 
beaten her so badly that she died a short time after- 
wards with five of her ribs broken. So Etienne le 
Monnier, her relation, resolved to avenge her, and 


The Story of Rouen 

took oat a warrant against the ruffian who had killed 
her. Desiring to make quite sure that justice should 
not miscarry^ he took some fifty gentlemen, all armed, 
and accompanied the police-sergeant to the man's 
house. They found de la Morissi^re ^ in a somewhat 
compromising position, and he did not reply to their 
request for admittance. Le Monnier, determined to 
get him out, set fire to the roof in four places. The 
fellow then cried out that he would surrender, aad 
trusting to the presence of an officer of the law he 
came down. Le Monnier at once wounded him in 
the chest with a long pike, and two other relations of 
Mademoiselle d'Ailly hit him over the head with 
clubs, '^so that he fell to the ground as one dead." 
But le Monnier, seeing that he still showed signs of 
life, drove his dagger into his throat and finished him 
off. Two accomplices were actually hanged for this 
crime, but de Monnier, after paying 1200 livres to 
the dead man's family, and being unsuccessful in 
securing the royal pardon, was given the Fierte with 
the rest of his friends by the Chapterhouse of Rouen. 
Of the morality of those days you must imagine 
something from these instances. There are many 
more with which I have neither space nor inclination 
to shock susceptibilities more delicate than were those 
of a Cathedral Chapterhouse in the fifteenth and early 
sixteenth centuries. The tale of Jehanne Dan tot, for 
instance, in 1489, is one of the most astonishing stories 
of the lengths to which desperation and wickedness can 
drive a woman that I have ever read. A queer glimpse 
of the economy of certain households is provided by 
the record of 1534. Pierre Letellier married the 
daughter of Maitre Hoiiel, and by a clause in the 
marriage-settlement it was arranged that the father-in- 
law should board and lodge the young couple for three 

1 In the words of the manuscript the man << estoit couch^ 
avec una femme mari^, autre que la sienne." 


years. They had not lived in the house long before 
they were scandalised by the immoral behaviour of 
the old man, and Pierre naturally quarrelled with him 
about it. The ill-feeling between the two men came 
to a climax one night when young Letellier had been 
supping in the town, and coming back late found that 
his father-in-law had bolted the door. At length his 
wife heard his knocks, and as soon as she had let him 
in he roundly abused the servants for keeping him so 
long upon the doorstep. The old man at once ap- 
peared on the scene, without much in the way of 
clothing, it would appear, but waving a stout club 
called a "marcus." With this he beat Pierre about 
the head and shoulders until the young man lost 
patience and killed his father-in-law with his dagger 
or ** sang de dey." 

The taverns were of course as firequent a source of 
crime then as they are now. But the fashion of wear- 
ing swords has made a drunken brawl less fatal. The 
records of the Fierte might very well be used as a diction- 
ary of offensive weapons from the number of swords, 
daggers, maces, rapiers, clubs, and pikes their pages con- 
tain from year to year. It was at the double game of 
rapier and dagger that Marquet Dubosc wiped off old 
scores after a quarrel at the Sign of the Cauldron, near 
the Church of St. Michel, in 1502. He had been 
playing dice with a man named Chouquet, and in the 
quarrel that followed about payment, Chouquet had too 
many friends to be attacked safely. So Dubosc waited 
till the next day, gathered a few companions of his 
own, and killed his man in the woods near Croisset. 

In 1 5 1 1 the Chapterhouse records a tavern brawl 
that was settled on the spot. There had been some 
dispute about a woman between Le Monnier, a king's 
officer, and Jehan Canu, a lacquey. This man de- 
liberately chose out a few others to help him in the 
business, and then went to drink at the •* Barge," in 


The Story of Rot 

the Rue Eau de Robec, od a Dight when he knew Lc 
Monnler would come there to Mipper. The offica 
actually took the next table, and in a few mooientt 
swords were drawn, and Le Monoier was killed. 
Why Cauu and hiB nine accomplice* were pardoDed 
ig one of the mysteries oF the Fierte which I nppoK 
DO one will ever be able to unravel. 

If this somewhat dismal catalogue of crimea has not 
yet fully acquainted you with the state of society with 

It built t 

which tlie " Palais de Justice " was firsi 
the shortest glance at some of the sentences inflicted 
upon criminals who were not fortunate enough to bear 
the Fierte wil] be sufficient to show that the judges 
were almost as far behind our modem notions of pro- 
priety aa were their prisoners. And it must be 
remembered that the criminals I have just mentioned 
are far from being the worst of those brought up before 
the Courts of Rouen ; they are indeed those persons 
picked out by the assembled body of trained ecclesias- 
tics in the Cathedral Chapterhouse as worthy to escape 


from the horrors which a sentence in the fifteenth or 
sixteenth century involved. 

What these sentences were may be gathered from 
such examples as the following. In 1506 a man 
surprised picking pockets in the Court-room was taken 
into the great open space before the entrance and 
soundly flogged upon the spot. Few men escaped so 
fortunately. Assassins nearly always suffered the loss 
of a limb before the final mercy of hanging. In the 
same year several women, convicted of false testimony 
and spreading scandals, were stripped naked and beaten 
with rods in all the squares of Rouen. A thief 
suffered the same punishment; his ear was then cut 
off, and he was banished from France with a rope 
round his neck. On the 19th of March a miserable 
prisoner was drowned in boiling water by a sentence of 
the Bailly confirmed in the higher courts. In 1 507 a 
murderer was hanged in front of his victim's house. 
In 1 5 1 3 a highway robber had his right arm cut off 
and placed on a column by the roadside near the scene 
of his theft, his head was then placed opposite to it, 
and the mutilated body hung upon a gibbet close by. 
Forgers had a fleur de lys branded on their foreheads. 
Sacrilege was punished by burning the criminal in 
chains over a slow fire, oome burglars, in the same 
year, had their hands cut off, their arms pulled out with 
red-hot pincers, and were finally beheaded and cut in 
pieces. The next year some wretched coiners were 
boiled alive. Infanticides were burnt. Other crimes 
were punished by searing the tongue with red-hot iron, 
or by breaking the prisoner alive upon the wheel, and 
leaving him to die without food or water. A parri- 
cide was condemned to this, with still more hideous 
tortures added, in 1557. In 1524 a criminal nearly 
escaped his sentence altogether because his jailor s 
daughter fell in love with him, and asked the Court 
to be allowed to marry him. The question of sanc- 

8 273 

7be Story of Rouen 

tuary came up very often, as may be imagined, and 
only by very slow degrees were the privileges rf the 
holy places taken from them. 

Though many of these punishments hardly seem to 
recognise the humanity of the victim, the privilege of 
confession to a priest had been allowed to prisoocn 
condemned to death ever since 1397, at the instance of 
a famous preacher named Jean Houard, in years when 
even more barbarous tortures were still practised, though 
the strength of sanctuaries was, as some compensatioo, 
at its height. Judicial ideas, however, took a long 
time to become civilised; for in I408 a pig was 
solemnly hanged for having killed a little child. The 
invention of printing ^ no doubt did some good in thii 
direction, and by 1490 the first printer in Rouen, 
Martin Morin, was established in the Rue St. Lo, 
close by the spot where the lawcourts soon appealed. 
Lest you should think that the Palais de Justice of 
sixteenth century Rouen was even worse than the 
terrible chapters in Rabelais would lead his readers to 
imagine, I must tell you here the story of an advocate 
of Rouen that may in part make up for the gruesome 
pages which precede it. 

The Parliament of Normandy, as the Echiquier was 
called in 1558, had assembled in the Palais de Justice 
on the morning of the 26th of August, to discuss a 
case which involved the interpretation, if not the 
actual integrity, of the famous code known as the 
" Grand Coutumier de Normandie " ; and representa- 
tives of every court had been summoned to the hearing. 
A certain burgess of Rouen, Guillaume L'aurent by 
name, convicted of murder, had had his hand cut on 
before the west fagade of the Cathedral, and was then 
beheaded in the Vieux Marche. His goods and pro- 

^ Mr Gosse records in his " Modern English Literature** 
that it was a citizen of Rouen (Andrew Miller by name) who 
introduced printing into Scotland in 1507. 


perty had, as a matter of course, been confiscated by 
the State. His destitute orphans went to live with 
their grandfather, who soon died of grief. The 
terrible spectacle then followed of this old man's 
daughter trying to drive the children out of the 
house, because they could inherit nothing from a 
murderer. "Aulcun" ran the law, "qui soit en- 
gendre de sang damne ne peut avoir, comme hoir, 
aulcune succession d'heritage/' Against this clear 
decree the magistrates were powerless to help the 
orphans, indignant as they were at the inhumanity 
of their aunt. But the children appealed to the 
Higher Court. A brilliant advocate, Bretigni^res by 
name, had decided to oppose the " Coutumier " on 
their behalf, and the mass of people who had 
thronged the Parvis to see the father punished now 
crowded the Palais de Justice to see the children 

The Court assembled more slowly to hear his 
arguments, with the President St. Anthot at their 
head, a strong, wise, and enlightened man, after 
Bretigni^res' own heart. The advocate waited for 
the supporter of the law to open his case. The pre- 
cedents went back to Ogier the Dane, to Ragnar, to 
Rollo the founder of the town itself, who strove to 
put down the crime, of murder by extending the 
punishment beyond the criminal himself to his de- 
scendants, and thus appealing to the paternal instincts 
of the rough warriors they had to rule. 

Bretigni^res rose suddenly from his seat, crying that 
in Normandy alone was this inhuman decree allowed, 
that Rome herself had never dared to stain the statute 
book with such a penalty. The extension of the 
punishment to the children, far from proving a deter- 
rent, actually encouraged these hopeless and destitute 
orphans to exist by crime, since every avenue of honest 
livelihood was barred to them. Deprived of all their 


The Story of Roum 

father had possessed, they saw their relations in the 
enjoyment of an increased inheritance. Ruined by 
punishment for a crime in which they had had no 
share, they saw the prosperity of others increased by the 
operations of an unjust law, a law that might hafe 
served the turn of a more barbarous people, but which 
was now far more the relic of an ancient ignorance 
than a symbol of modem enlightenment. In an ^ 
when the judicial combat of the old code had ben 
abolished with the trial by fire, the changing costomi 
and growing ideas of the people in the rest of Normandy 
were not likely to preserve a custom so inhuman as that 
which the Court of Rouen alone still exercised. 

Amid a scene of intense excitement, as Br^gnikci 
ceased, all the king's officers in every other court in 
Normandy stood up, and in answer to the President, 
asserted that the law had never been carried out under 
their jurisdiction. It remained only for the Piesident 
St. Anthot to withdraw with his judges, and, as the 
Sovereign Senate of the Province, not merely to m- 
terpret law, but to make it. There was a long pause 
before they returned into the great hall, this time all 
dressed in their red robes bound with ermine. Id the 
solemn silence that ensued, St. Anthot declared the law 
null and void from disusage, restored the children to 
the inheritance of Guillaume Laurent, and reinstated 
them in the house from which their aunt had driven 

The people rushed into the courtyard carrying the 
orphans with them, and while the barristers were con- 
gratulating Bretigni^res, his little clients were borne on 
the shoulders of a cheering mob through the streets of 
Rouen to their home ; and from that day ceased the 
cruel law known as the " Arr^t du Sang Damn^.'* 

It was in the hope, no doubt, that benefits of this 
nature would be conferred upon the Province, that 
the great Cardinal d'Amboise and Louis XII. made 


the Echiquier de Normandle perpetual, and gave it the 
great Palais de Justice in Rouen for its home. During 
the English occupation the damage done to the Chateau 
de Bouvreuil had necessitated moving the £aster sessions 
of the Echiquier to the archbishop's lodgings in 1423, 
and on five subsequent occasions the Court (composed 
half of English and half of Frenchmen) had to hold 
its sittings in that part of the halls (on the Place de la 
Vieille Tour), where the weavers usually carried on 
their commerce. By the time of Louis XII. the 
Chateau de Bouvreuil was in better repair, but it 
was evident that worthier quarters were needed the 
moment Cardinal d'Amboise had obtained the 
immense advantage of making the courts perpetual. 
Its new home was soon decided upon. Already on 
part of the Clos des Juifs a large common hall had 
been erected, in which the merchants gathered to 
discuss their business instead of using the nave of the 
Cathedral ; and in 1 499 this hall was made into the 
west wing of the new palace, and called first the 
Salle des Procureurs, and now the Salle des Pas 
Perdus ; it is the great building on the left of the court- 
yard as you enter from the Rue aux Juifs. Its roof is 
like the upturned hull of some great ocean-galley, and 
all round the timbers, where the upper line of walls 
meets the vault above, a company of queer grotesques 
are carved which Rabelais himself might have sug- 
gested. You will notice especially the twisted spire 
upon the outward turret that overhangs the Rue aux 
Juifs, the broad sweep of the entrance stairway, and 
the admirable proportions of the arch above it. At the 
south end used to be the beautiful little chapel in which 
the Messe Rouge was sung for the ^^ Rentr6e de la St. 
Martin," and in which St. Romain's chosen prisoner 
knelt before he went out to the procession of the 
Fierte. Beneath are the prisons and dungeons of the 
High Court of Rouen. This is the building that 


Tbe Story of Rouen 

Lotus XII. ordered to be let up, and into which he 
transferred the Echiquier from the Chateau de Roua 
on tbe iitht^Marcb, 1511 i tbe first " Mease Rouge" 
was Ming here to celebrate that opening, and the ciuloin 
is preserved to this day. 

In 1508 Louis XII. eBtabtished in his new palace 
the jurisdiction known as that of the " Table de 

Marbre," becaoK I 
the Cathedral 
Chapterhouse sold 
for the use of tha 
new Admirah; 
Court an old 
marble tomb, 
round which tbe 
members aat m 
the great halL 
Corneille and his 
father were both 
officers of thu 
junsdiction later 
on In the same 
year was begun 
the "Grand 
Chambre" m 
which the Presi- 
dent held his High 
■" " J!l jfT""* Court, called i»w 

the Cour d'As- 
>A^, DC pm^^«-^oer*QON .oo« ^^^ ^^ ^^^_ 

ated with a mag- 
nificently carved eeihng in panels of polished wood 
It IB just behind that octagonal turret which juta from 
the centre of the main building exactly opposite 
the entrance from the Rue aux Juifs Withm this 
turret is the lovely little circular chamber which 
was reserved for the King's own use Its beauti- 


ful proportions break the symmetry of the long 
front wall, yet are clasped to the building by the 
cornice whence the line of gargoyles spring ; and in 
the same way the long and steep rise of the roof is 
broken up by the crests above each window that rise 
into the air in a pinnacled tracery of fretwork filled 
with carved arabesques and statues. Among them 
are the arms of France, supported by two stags, a 
memorial of the badge used by Charles VI. according 
to the story told by de la Mer. It is this central 
block of buildings that contains most of the original 
work of Roger Ango and Rouland Leroux. The 
wing on the right of the entrance from the Rue aux 
Juifs is modern, and though that part of the left 
wing which faces the courtyard is old, the fa<;ade 
upon the Rue Jeanne d'Arc at the Place Verdrel 
was rebuilt in 1842. The courtyard was originally 
enclosed by a fine crenulated wall like that round 
the Hotel de Cluny in Paris. This has been re- 
placed by a badly designed iron railing. But as a 
civic building, in spite of its railing and its new Cour 
d' Appel, the Palais de Justice remains the finest of its 
kind in Europe, and is superior to the Hotel de Ville 
both of Brussels and of Louvain. 

Of many famous ceremonies were these great Halls 
the scene after Louis XII. had built them. In the 
next reign Francis I. held a solemn ** Lit de Justice ** 
here, in order to do at Rouen as he had done at Paris, 
and ask the Parliament of Normandy to register the 
Concordat which Duprat, Boisy, and others in his 
suite had helped to frame. His entry into the city 
had been especially brilliant, not only because the 
King himself desired to impress the occasion on his 
faithful subjects, but because in the first prosperous 
years of a reign that seemed so full of promise, the 
citizens of Rouen were even readier than usual to give 
the loyal reception to their sovereign for which the 


The Story of Rouen 

town was famous. The officers and councUlon of the 
city were clad in velvet, and the burgeaaes in camlet 
and satin, and all were very anxious indeed to see the 
King, and get what was possible out of the vuit. 
The Italian victories, brilliant as they .were, had not 
been without their expense to Rouen aa to every other 
town in France, not in money merely but in the 
caring for hundreds of disbanded soldiers. Besides 
thitf the especial privileges of the city had to be 
upheld and confirmed, and particularly those appeals 
from the maritime courts which were settled l^ the 
jurisdiction of the " Table de Marbre." 

Those who were inclined to pessimism were re- 
minded that at Lyons, at Amboise, at Paris, and at 
Compi^gne, Francis had already favourably received 
the representations of the town, and had even told 
them : ^< Si vous avez este bien traictez par mes pr6- 
decesseurs, j'entens et veux vous traicter encore mieux." 
So that when the King had reached the Priory of 
Grandmont, the deputies sent out to meet hira were 
in excellent spirits. They were de Breze, Captain 
of the Town and Grand Seneschal ; the Bailli, Jean 
de la Barre ; the President of the Financial Court, 
Jean Auber ; and the President of Parliament, Jean 
de Brinon. By three o'clock these gentlemen joined 
the royal cortege and advanced towards Rouen itself, 
being met at the bridge by the Town Councillors 
bearing above the King's head a great and spacious 
canopy of cloth of gold, the highest mark of honour 
that the town could render. 

Before His Majesty rode the " Grand Ecuyer,*' 
Galeas de Severin, bearing the sword of state on 
a great white horse. On his right was Cardinal de 
Boisy, brother of Admiral Bonivet, and on his left 
Cardinal Antoine Bohier, the nephew of Chancellor 
Duprat. Next to the King was Monsieur d'Alen^on, 
whose powers as Lieutenant-Governor of Normandy 


were wielded by d'Amboise during his absence at the 
Italian wars. Behind him came Charles de Bourbon 
the Constable, who was to die as a rebel in Rome 
two years later. With them were John Stuart, Duke 
of Albany, nephew of James III. of Scotland; the 
Comte de St. Pol ; Louis de la Treraouille, the 
most brilliant knight of his time ; Maximilian Sforza, 
the eldest son of that II Moro who had been im- 
prisoned in the dungeons of Loches; Jacques de 
Chabannes; Anne de Montmorency, who had been 
one of the King's playfellows and grew up into the 
sternest Constable France ever had ; Guillaume, Sieur 
de St. Vallier, the father of Diane de Poitiers, who 
also learnt the horrors of Loches for his share in 
Bourbon's wild conspiracy ; the second Georges d' 
Amboise, himself Archbishop of Rouen, with their 
Lordships of Lisieux, Avranches, Evreux, and Paris ; 
Antoine Duprat, the Chancellor; and Florimond 
Robertct, the King's Treasurer, whose house is still 
at Blois. 

Men were thinking little of the future of this 
brilliant company as they passed through Rouen in 
the summer sunshine, and even on the south side of 
the river the welcoming pageantry began. For at 
the first " theatre " the King beheld a great Fleur de 
Lys, which opened and slowly displayed three damsels 
representing the virtues of His Majesty, of the Queen, 
and of Madame la Regente. The stream itself, on 
each side of the bridge, was gay with the flags and 
sails of every craft along the quays. Beyond it was 
a group of Titans, thunderstruck by Jupiter amid the 
stupor of the other gods in a dismayed Olympus. 
The next stage showed Theseus welcomed by Thalia, 
Euphrosyne and Aglaia, who led the hero to Pallas 
to receive from her the shield of Prudence, and take 
his place among the starry divinities. Need it be 
added that both Jupiter and Theseus were the King ? 


The Story of Rtmen 

Within the cemetery of St. Ouen three martial mcniks 
were storming the semblance of a guarded tower. At 
the Fonts de Robec appeared a wondrous similitude of 
the sky upheld by Hercules and Atlas, in the midst 
whereof disported a bellicose and most lively sala- 
mander, slaying a bull and a bear, in gracefbl 
reference to the victory of the Marignano, with thb 
astonishing quatrain: — 

" La Salamandre en vertu singuli^re 
Lors estaignit Phorrible feu de Mars 
Quant au grant ours emporta la bani^re 
£t du thoreau rompit comes et dardz." 

At the Parvis Notre Dame appeared the image of 
a marvellous great horse, rearing up his forefeet into 
the air, on which sat the effigy of the King, of so 
natural a mould that breath alone was wanting to its 
life, an ostentatious decoration which was done, say 
the Town Accounts with some pride, "pour ancune- 
ment ensuyvir et emuler le triumphe des Romains." 
All the streets were hung with gaily-coloured cloths, 
and tapestries fell gracefully in glowing folds from 
every window. All the church-doors, opened to 
the widest, displayed their ornaments and shrines in 
bewildering profusion. All the church bells, which 
had their signal from " Georges d'Amboise *' and 
" Marie d'Estouteville " in the Cathedral, were ringing 
lustily. And at last, his official reception over, 
Frangois I. was able to go to the lodgings pre- 
pared for him in the palace of the Archbishop. 
Neither he nor any of his suite were allowed to 
forget the welcome of the Town ; for, after the 
Chapterhouse had presented their traditional and 
proper loaves of bread and wine, His Majesty was 
offered a great golden salamander ("assise sur une 
terrasse," whatever that may mean) by the Town, 
who must have wished that they had got off as 


easily as the canons; for, in addition to this, the 
councillors gave to the Queen a golden cup, to 
Louise de Savoie a pair of silver-gilt goblets, to 
Princess Marguerite a silver-gilt image of St. Francis, 
to M. de Boisy two great ewers and basins, to 
Chancellor Du Prat six silver "hanaps" and five 
great dishes, all richly gilt. And no doubt both 
gifts and recipients had been carefully chosen with 
a view to securing an impartial consideration for the 
claims made by the Town. 

On the next afternoon, from the Priory of Bonne 
Nouvelle, rode in Queen Claude, dressed in a white 
robe of cloth of silver, on a white hackney, with 
Louise de Savoie, her mother-in-law, on one side, 
and Marguerite d'Alengon (afterwards Queen of 
Navarre) upon the other. And for the Queen was 
prepared at the Portail des Libraires a special 
"theatre,** wherein was represented a garden, and 
the Virgin Mary clad all in white damask, with a 
lamb beside her, feeding upon grapes and rosebuds, 
at which the clever Princess Marguerite must have 
laughed almost as much as at the clumsy quatrains. 
Every prisoner in the dungeon of the new "Palais 
de Justice'' and in every prison of the town was 
set free, except three especially **bad cases,** who 
were hurried to Louviers before Francis reached 
Rouen, and brought back to Rouen when he had 
got to Louviers. As a contrast to this unfortunate 
greediness of the law, it is recorded that many 
persons hastened to confess their crimes, got im- 
prisoned just before he arrived, and were joyfully 
delivered at his entry, all of which satisfied justice 
in 1 51 7 very thoroughly indeed. 

Some substantial results soon began to reward the 
Town and the Chapterhouse for all their loyalty, in 
the subscription of 10,000 livres from His Majesty 
(in yearly instalments) to the Cathedral Fund for re* 


the Story of Rouen 

itoriag the central ipire which had jutt been bamb 
Moat of what the Town CouacilJors denied wai 
a]io granted. So that everybody was choroc^hly 
wejl eattsfied with the royal visit, and rame £ttk 
choir-boys were so fascinated with the royal escort 
that when the King went to Louvien and Gaillmi, 
these litde runaways marched ofT with Lauticc's 
' ' > relate that the priests caught 

them at the next 
halt, and Dot <mly 
soundly flowed the 
truants, but todi 
away all their holi- 
days as well. 

But it mtist not 
be thought that the 
King had come to 
Rouen merely to 
delight his subjects 
with the sun of his 
presence and the 
^Tours of his con- 
sent. He had 
I business of 



'_ .!_... nature; and for 

aising the various 
d patriotic reasons, 
certain financial 
I very fair quarters 
t beautiful of the 
sixteenth century buildings have to do with finance. 
One of them is the "Bureau des Finances" (as its 
latest title rant, oppowtc the Cathedral at die corner 
of the Rue Amp&rej the other is the "Cour des 
Comptes," whose Eastern fegade and courtyard has 

sums he needed, both for personal ai 
there was already in existence 
machinery which was housed i 
■ " "of the 


just been opened to the Rue des CarmeSy north-west 
oF the Tour St. Romain. 

With the first of these the same King had to do who 
built the '' Palais de Justice." It was during his visit 
in 1 508 that Louis XI I., shocked with the narrow 
crowded streets all round the Parvis, destroyed the 
various money-changers' hovels, and ordered the build- 
ing of a " Hotel des Genlraux de Finance " on the spot 
where these had stood. The Church of St. Her- 
bland was only just finished at the corner of the Rue 
de la Grosse Horloge, and in 1510, Thomas Bohier 
asked the canons to allow a hut to be built in the 
Parvis for the convenience of his masons, just as the 
Church had done. In 151 2 the neighbouring citizens 
petitioned the Chapterhouse that this hut should be 
removed. It was between these dates, therefore, that 
Rouland le Roux, whose work on the Cathedral 
fagade you will remember (p. 130), began the build- 
ing of this exquisite house. It was certainly com- 
pleted by 1 541, and was probably used some time 
before that date. 

Mutilated and degraded to base uses as this fine piece 
of French Renaissance has now become, it is still possible 
to realise what Le Roux first built ; and in his heavy 
cornice I cannot help imagining a suggestion of Italian 
feeling made by that same King whose wars in Italy 
had given him a sense of proportion and of beauty 
that may be seen again in his desire to clear the 
surroundings of the Cathedral, an idea quite contrary 
to French mediaeval notions, and in his spacious plans 
for the great Palace of the Law. Be that as it may, 
nothing could well be more appropriate than the whole 
decoration of this corner house. Before shops had 
invaded its ground-floor, and advertisements had de- 
faced the exquisite line of carvings just above, 
the Rez de chaussee had seven low arcades whose 
pilasters and windows were carved with medallions, 



The Story of Rouen 

candelabra, and << grotesques'' in low relie£ 0?er 
the vaulted entrance was the shield of France, borne 
by the Porcupines of Louis XII. Above this is ao 
<< entresol " of tiny circular windows alternating with 
medallions of crowns held up by genii. The next 
storey has seven windows with beautifully carved 
pilasters. It is far better preserved than the rest, bat 
the two niches have lost their statues, and a corbelled 
tower was destroyed in 1827, when shops were first 
put in. 

The first General des Finances for Normandy was 
Thomas Bohier, whose fortunes I have traced at his 
Chateau of Chenonceaux in Touraine. He was as 
unfortunate as every other great financier of these 
centuries, and though his end was less ignominioiis 
than the disgracefully unjust punishment which Louise 
de Savoie inflicted on his relation, Jacques de Beaune 
Semblangay, his life was scarcely less troubled; and 
after leaving his bones in Italy with so many of the 
best of Fran9ois' courtiers, he bequeathed little but 
embarrassment to his son, and Diane de Poitiers 
took his chateau. His ofHce in Rouen he held firom 
1494, in the town where his brother Antoine had 
done so much for St. Ouen. Indeed every one of 
these ** Surintendants," even to Fouquet of more 
modern memory, is associated either personally or 
indirectly with so much of the beautifiil in archi- 
tecture and art that posterity has almost forgiven 
them mistakes which were due more to the regime 
they lived under than to their own shortcomings. 

After 1587 the prisons of the Hotel des Generaux 
were changed from the ordinary criminal cells to 
separate dungeons in the Rue du Petit Salut, where 
I have fancied I could still trace them in the gloomy 
cells at the back of No. 1 3 Rue Ampere, which tradi- 
tion assigns to the " Filles Repenties " of the eighteenth 
century. In 1554 the Hotel des Generaux was called 


Cour des Aides, and by the changes of 1705 it was 
joined to the Cour des Comptes in the Rue des Carmes, 
and the new Bureau des Finances took the house in 
the Parvis I have just described, which still preserves 
its name. In the general destruction of 1796 the house 
was sold to a private owner. 

The second Financial building you must see is the 
Cour des Comptes, whose courtyard opens on the Rue 
des Carmes,^ with another entrance on the Rue des 

Suatre Vents. This was originally the property of 
7 Rome, Sieur de Fresquiennes and Baron du Bee 
Crespin, who received there the Due de Joyeuse, 
Governor of Normandy. The large square which 
originally composed it was built about 1525, and its 
beauty may be imagined from the eastern fagade and 
the southern wing (containing the Chapel) which still 
remain. On this eastern front, the two stages above 
the ground-floor are of equal height, each with six 
windows, separated by pilasters of several different 
orders, decorated with capitals and candelabras and 
groups of mythological subjects, such as Mars, Venus, 
the Muses, and various instruments. The south wing 
is built in four round-arched arcades with flat Corin- 
thian pilasters, three of which are in the nave of the 
Chapel, and two in its Sanctuary. The second floor has 
square windows. 

What Rouen had asked from Charles VII, a cen- 
tury before she only obtained when Francis I. gave 
her a Cour des Comptes separate from the Financial 
Committee in Paris; but the boon was scarcely ap- 
preciated when it was discovered that the King not only 
levied taxes on local merchandise to pay his new judges, 
but also made quite a good thing out of selling the 

^ This clearance was effected in August 1S97, and Miss 
James took advantage of it to make her drawing from a point 
of view which has been invisible for centuries and may soon be 
lost again. 


Ibe Story of Rouen 

olTicM to the highest bidder. In 1580 the need of 
this Court began to be felt again, in a town which 
poueesed its owd High Court of Juttice, tuitably 
housed, and also its Financial Bureau in the Parrii, 
But all receivers of taxes had to go to Paris to wttle 
their accounts, so had all proprietors of liefs, all men 
who wished to register their letters of natuialintioa, 
nobility, exemption, or enfranchisement, and many otbcn. 
So in December of that year the Sieur de Bourdemy, 
then President of Parliament, established a separue 
Cour des Comptes at Rouen, modelled upon the Cotut 
in Paris, and held its first meetings in the Priory of Sl 
L8. In 1589 the house just described in the Rne 
des Cannes was bought 
by Tanneguy le Veneur 
for eight tliousand crowni, 
and the arcaded wing was 
consecrated as a chapel 
in IS93- In 1790 « 
w IS swept away like every 
similar organisation in 
, France, and to the fa« 

J^^ that it was probably for- 
*^ " gotten and built over, we 
owe the preservation even 
of what little still remains. 
Before you leave the 
atmosphere of Fiaaoce 
and Justice, which in thia 
chdpter 1 have striven to 
reilise for you round those 
monuments that alone 
recall the spirit of the 
age which built them, there is one more tale of 
Justice in Rouen which may perhaps leave a more 
charitable impression of the Palais de , Justice anil 
its officials. It has been told before by Etienne Pas- 


quier, but it will bear translation (and even shortening) 
for an English audience. In the days when Laurent 
Bigot de Thibermesnil was first King's Advocate in 
the Parliament of Normandy, one of those brilliant 
intellects of which the sixteenth century was so full, it 
chanced that a merchant of Lucca, who had lived long 
and prosperously in England, desired to come home 
and die in Italy. So he wrote to his relations to pre- 
pare a house for him in six months' time, and started 
from England with his servant, carrying his money and 
bonds with him. On his way to Paris he was known 
to have stopped at Rouen, but he was never heard of 

His servant, however, appeared in Paris, cashed his 
master's papers, and returned. Meanwhile the family 
at Lucca waited for a whole year and heard nothing. At 
last they sent a messenger for news to London, who was 
told that the merchant was known to have started for 
Rouen, and traces of the man were also found at the 
hotel in Rouen, where he had lodged before setting out 
for Paris. Then all searches and inquiries proved use- 
less; the merchant seemed to have vanished into thin air; 
and in despair the messenger applied for help to the 
High Court in the Palais de Justice of Rouen. An 
officer was at once appointed to conduct investigations 
in the town, while Laurent Bigot searched for evi- 
dence outside. The first thing the officer found out 
was that a new shop had been started in Rouen soon 
after Zambelli the Italian had disappeared. He at 
once determined to examine its owner, who was a 
stranger in the town, named Fran9ois ; and with this 
object he had him arrested on a trumped-up charge 
and put in custody. On his way to prison the man 
denied the charge, but asked, << Is there anything else 
you have against me ? " The officer at once went a 
little further, and taking the prisoner apart he roundly 
charged him with having robbed and murdered 

T 289 

The Story of Rouen 

Zambelliy but intimated at the same time that ^tfae 
matter might be arranged quietly." 

Frangois evidently imagined this to be a hint that a 
bribe might not be unsuccessful, and admitted that hn 
crime must have been discovered, but by what miracle 
he could not understand, for he had been alone at the 
time. However, when he was asked to swear to this, 
he withdrew hastily, recognising his mistake. The 
officer then remanded him, and searched for further 
evidence. Bigot meanwhile had been making inquiries 
all along the road from Rouen to Paris, until at 
Argenteuil he found a Bailly who had held an inquest 
over a dead body found among the vineyards. While 
Bigot was taking a copy of the minutes of this in- 
quest, a blind man came up to the hotel where he was 
lodged asking for alms, and, as he listened to their 
conversation, asserted that he had heard a man crjring 
out on the slopes above Argenteuil, and that when he 
had tried to find out what was happening, a second 
voice had told him it was a sick man in pain, and he 
had therefore gone on his way thinking no more 
about it. 

Bigot took him back to Rouen forthwith, and made 
him give the same story on oath before a justice, with 
the addition that he would certainly be able to recognise 
the second of the two voices he had heard. The new 
shopkeeper, Frangois, was then brought into Court, and 
after twenty other men had spoken, the blind man 
picked out his voice among them all, as that which had 
spoken to him on the slopes above Argenteuil. The 
test was repeated again and again, and invariably the 
blind man picked out the same voice. Francois, who 
had weakened visibly as each test proved successful, 
at last fell on his knees and confessed that he had 
murdered his master and taken the papers to Paris ; and 
the Court immediately condemned him to be broken on 
the wheel. 


I have been able to suggest but a very few of the 
thoughts which the Palais de Justice of Rouen should 
arouse in you ; and of many points in its history I have 
no space to tell ; as of the " Clercs de T^chiquier " 
called tlie ^' Basoche," a merry company established in 
1 430, and enlivening the records of the law for many 
centuries afterwards, as you will see at the visit of 
Henri II. But after all, the main impression is a very 
sombre one. The bitter sarcasms of Rabelais are but 
too well founded. Mediaeval justice was almost as 
terrible as mediseval crime, and both were followed 
only too frequently by death. For these old judges 
let no money go, however prodigal they were of life 
and suffering ; they scarcely ever let a prisoner go who 
had once got into the grim machinery of their courts ; 
and any miserable victim who was once cast into one of 
their many dungeons must have welcomed his release 
from lingering agony in death. 


x» „^ «.o. o. .. .aixi. ™- «. ™« J 




Sedentes in tenebris et in umbra mortis, vinctos in mendicitate. 

. . . Comme vsur un drap noir 
Sur la tristesse immense et sombre 

Le blanc squelette se fait voir . • « . 
. . . Des cercueils l^ve le couverde 

Avec ses bras aux os pointus, 
Dessine ses c6tes en cercle 

Et rit de son large rictus. 

THE artist who first truly understood the rendering 
of light is also the workman whose shadows are 
the deepest in every scene he drew. If I were to 
leave you with an impression of the sixteenth century 
either in Rouen or elsewhere^ — that was composed 
of gorgeous ceremonial, of exquisite architecture, of 
superabundant energy and life, and of these only, you 
would neither appreciate the many influences which 
wrought upon the men and women of those days, nor 
estimate at their true worth the changing events, on 
which we now look back in the large perspective of 
so many generations. And in that strange century the 
sorrow and the pain of a world in travail are as evident 



as its joy. The feverish excitement with which it 
grasped at life and pleasure is counterbalanced^ and 
explained by the ever-present horror of death in its 
most ghastly forms. 

When a fact of this eternal and natural significance 
is once frankly recognised and bravely faced, men do 
not think much about it afterwards, and say less. In 
the ages when the greatest of the cathedrals were 
built the personification of death is practically unknown. 
Archaeologists may imagine they discover it ; but I 
shall never believe that a single carving of it existed 
before the close of the fifteenth century. Life they 
knew, not only in all its varied forms, but as the soul. 
Sin they knew, and carved not merely in the full 
shame of the act but in the person of the father of sin, 
the devil, bat-winged and taloned, hovering over his 
prey on earth, or driving his victims after death into 
gaping Hellmouth where his torturers awaited them. 
But it was only when printing excited men's imagina- 
tions, when the first discovery of the ancient classics 
roused their emulation and stimulated their unrest, 
when the Renaissance in art increased their eagerness 
to express their thoughts and multiplied their methods 
of expression, when the Reformation turned their 
conscience to the latter end and to the unseen world — 
only at such a time of speculation and disquiet did 
Death himself appear, personified and hideously ex- 
ultant. The waters were troubled and the slime 
beneath them came up to the surface. Instead of the 
bold imaginations of God or man or beast which the 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries knew, you find a 
crowd of tiny imps and monkeys, like the verminous 
throng upon the Portail des Marmousets at St. Ouen ; 
the higher forms of creation disappeared before the 
presence of the Arch- Enemy. 

There arose not only a great contempt for the 
value of human life, but a gross familiarity with death. 

Hbe Story of^ Rouen 

The poor maoy dying in his unregarded thouaandiy 
clutched to his starved heart the one consolation that 
the rich could not escape contagion. To the jodge 
upon his benchy to the queen in her palace, to the 
cardinal in his state, to the king at his high festiral, 
to the yery Pope himself, death came as unerringly as 
to the ploughman sweating in his furrow. And the 
rich made haste to enjoy the little time they had. 
The best of that old life which remains to us is iti 
buildings. From them and from the carvings on them 
we can imagine the fruitful, busy, breeding existence 
of that hurrying sixteenth century. Painters and 
sculptors worked as in a frenzy, covering canvas by the 
acre and striking whole armies of statues into serried 
ranks of stone. Men fought with swords that weaker 
generations can with difHculty flourish in the air ; they 
wore armour that would make a cart-horse stagger. 
Quarrels, duels, riots, rapes, drinkiDg-bouts, gallantries, 
and murders followed one another in a hot succession 
that takes away the breath of modem strait-laced 
commentators. Life that came easily into the work! 
was spent as recklessly, and blood flowed as plentifully 
as wine. Rough horse-play and rude practical joking 
were of the essence of humorous courtliness. Immense 
processions filled with life and colour, jesting at every- 
thing sacred or profane, crowded with symbols decent 
and indecent, made up the sum of public happiness. 
Close at men's elbow lay the heavy hand of a merciless 
and bloodstained law. Once beneath the power of 
" Justice " the miserable prisoner had little hope of 
escaping before the legal Juggernaut had crushed him, 
and he was lucky who died quickest at the executioner's 
hands. The very criminals themselves sinned in a 
more stupendous fashion than they have had the 
courage to do since. 

If I have not wearied you with quotations from the 
record of the Fierte St. Romain, I will pick out but 


two more instances in this century to show you that I 
do not speak without book at Rouen. In 1 5 16, Nicolas 
de la Rue, whose sister had been married in Guernsey, 
discovered her in an intrigue with the commandant's 
son, and slew them both with one stroke of his sword. 
Thereon the commandant of the island called out 1 20 
foot-soldiers, but De la Rue armed the crew of his 
vessel, drove them off, killed two with his own hand 
and sailed away to Normandy. There he fell desper- 
ately in love with a lady near Surville-sur-Mer, and 
taking his men with him carried her off from the 
Chateau de Commare. After keeping her with him 
for some time under promise of marriage, he captured 
an English vessel on the high seas after peace had 
been declared on both sides of the Channel, and was 
condemned to two years' banishment. At the end of 
this time he returned to Harfleur to recover some 
twenty thousand livres (the produce of former piracies 
in the English Channel) which he had left in the 
keeping of Mademoiselle de Commare. 

But the lady had returned to her own family and 
carried off his money with her. When he followed to 
her house, she offered him only ten crowns, so he 
stayed in the village near by until he could devise a 
plan to get back his treasure. The lady called her 
friends and relations, and they tried to arrest De la Rue 
one morning in the market, with the result that several 
of them were badly wounded. At last a larger force 
managed to secure him, and threw him into a prison at 
Rouen on the capital charge of abduction. While 
there it was proved that he had stabbed a man to death 
in Harfleur in a quarrel about a woman ; that at Janval, 
near Arques, he had punished a fellow called Bonnetot 
for insulting a comrade, by running him through with a 
rapier, from which Bonnetot died ; and that in a quarrel 
about another woman he had dangerously wounded a 
naval officer with his dagger; and in these little 


TCbe Story of Rouen 

escapades no mention is made of the countless acts of 
piracy on the high seas, which can seldom have been 
accomplished without considerable loss of life* 

But this record is nothing to the second and lait 
example which I shall take from the prisoners of the 
" Fierte.'' In 1541 a young gentleman named Fran- 
9oi8 de Fontenay, Sieur de Saint- Remy, aged twenty- 
nine, was pardoned by the canons after a career which 
I can only sketch in the roughest outlines. When be 
was only fifteen, he got some friends to help him and 
killed a sergeant who had displeased him by carrying 
stories of his behaviour to his mother. When a Utde 
older, in a village of the Cotentin, at the request of a 
young lady he professed to love, he laid an ambush widi 
some friends for a Monsieur des Mostiers, but only 
succeeded in wounding him severely, and bardy 
escaped the execution that punished one of his com- 
rades in the same affair. Developing rapidly into a 
bravo of the first water, he attacked a man << at the 
request of le sieur de Danmesnil,'' and wounded him 
mortally with his rapier in the thigh. Being at a 
house in Montgardon with his mother and brother^ he 
held it against forty armed men who had come in the 
name of the law to arrest them both, shot an arquebusier 
with his own hand, and beat the troop off before the 
help for which he managed to send had had time to 
arrive. Nor was he without friends who were quite 
worthy of their company. 

In the year before de Fontenay himself enjoyed the 
Privilege de St. Romain, it had been extended, at the 
express wish of several members of the royal family, 
to four sons of the Baron d'Aunay, the Duke of 
Orleans being especially urgent in pointing out that 
these poor fellows had done nothing in his opinion that 
should debar them from the privilege. They were, as 
a matter of fact, merely charged with the following 
peccadilloes, among others. In the course of rescuing 


a friend from the Communal authorities at Saint- Avon, 
they used the town-foik so roughly that a man and a 
woman fell into a well during the dispute^ and were 
drowned. On their way to the wars they met a man 
with his wife upon the bridge near their home, and 
annoyed at not having enough room left for their horses, 
they dismounted, tied up the man's hands and feet, and 
beat the woman cruelly before her husband's eyes. On 
the death of their grandmother, who had married twice, 
they visited her second husband to get possession of 
certain legal papers, and when he resisted they ran him 
through the stomach with a rapier. Enlisted for once 
upon the side of justice, they were clamouring at a 
house for the surrender of a murderer who had taken 
refuge there, and when the owner opened the door they 
killed him with a slash across the body. Pursued 
themselves by the officers, they waited till they were on 
their own land, then turned and charged the men, 
sword in hand, secured their horses, and thrashed one 
of them with knotted thorns. Before they were finally 
taken by the sergeants of Rouen they had thrown 
themselves into the church of Aulnay and defended it 
against forty armed men, wounding several of them 
with crossbow-bolts before they surrendered. 

Our friend Fran9ois de Fontenay was acquainted 
with this gallant band of brothers through the house of 
Creance, with which both were connected ; and their 
sturdy resistance to the law of the land must have soon 
created a strong feeling of sympathy and admiration ; 
for the five men are found all joined together to 
accomplish the murder of one Boullart near Caen. 
Wherever de Fontenay went it soon became the fashion 
among the villages to oppose his progress; but this 
made little difference, for both at Neufbourg and at 
Fert-Mace, either by his own hand or by his servants, 
several " common people," who were so ill-advised as 
to get in the way were killed, and at Dun-le-Roy he 


T^he Story of Rouen 

was compelled to fight his way out, using the edge of 
his rapier right and left, << with considerable loss of 
life among the peasants." They had been the centre 
(and their swords were never idle) of similar rioti^ 
near Bourges, in the streets of Falaise, at Lisieuz, and 
elsewhere. More high-born foes were treated in jvit 
as summary a fashion. With his brother Jebui, 
Francois attacked his enemy St. Germain (a Coteatb 
magistrate) on the bridge at Lyons, wounded him fiDor 
times, and left him dead. His shoemaker was late in 
delivering some boots, so Fran9oi8 visited him, sword- 
in-hand, carried off two other pairs, and ^< has not yet 
been known to pay for them." Other necessities he 
had not scrupled to provide himself with in a «iii?i1? r 
way. Oxen and sheep from a farmer called Lemoyne, 
chickens from a priory near Bayeux, more sheep nom 
the Sieur de Grosparmy, horses from another fiumer, 
flour from a third. A husband who objected to giving 
up his wife at St. L6 was promptly wounded, so 
severely that he could only watch her helplessly as she 
was carried off. 

Such are a few of the crimes, of which Monsieur 
de Fontenay confessed the astonishing number of 
forty-two. After his acquittal of them all, by virtue 
of the Fierte, the canons were for some six months 
kept hard at work dealing out similar deliverances to 
the crowd of his accomplices who kept on appearing 
from every side, and clamouring for the mercy of the 
Chapterhouse. Though I can conceive no worse pre- 
cedent for the future of the Fierte, I need make no 
further comment upon the fact of de Fontenay's de- 
liverance, except that he was so well aware of the 
detestation he had inspired in many of his victims that 
he was afraid to make any public appearance in the 
streets of Rouen for fear of assassination. 

Remembering this man's career, turn out of the 
Place des Fonts de Robec, down the Rue Damiette, 


touchwarde, and I will ihuw ^oa the apot id Rouen 
that hat made me tell you something of hia history 
as a type of the young gallant of the sixteenth cen- 
tury. A* you paw the « Rue du Roder " (on your 
left at No. 54), the " Impasie des Hauta Manages " 
appeara a little further on. Any budding romance the 
name may suggest 
will not survive a 
walk of a few yards 
up its narrow and 

But at the end of 
the Rue Dam ettc 
behind the vista of 
old houses, the arches 
of St. Maclou will 
Kmpt you irresistibly 
towards the end of 
the road that curves 
out at the north 
west comer of the 
church, just opposite 
the famous fountain 
which has been so 
mutilated by the 
Huguenots. At this 
point turn sharply 
to the left, down the 
Rue Martamnlle 
eastward*. To the 
Bouth the Rue Mohdre flings at quaint legendary 
shadows towards the river. A little further on, a dark 
square opening makes a patch of black beneath the 
gabled windows of No. 190. That is the entrance to 
the Aitre St. Maclou, the oldest cemetery in Rouen, 
and one of the moat interesting in Europe. Pass 
through the dark passage into the open space beyond 

The Story of^ Rouen 

that 18 surrounded by old timbered hmnew, and go 
straight through to the little stairway that is opposke 
the entrance. From that slight eminence yea may 
look back upon the strangest scene you have yet 
visited ; if it is an autumn afternoon the little charity 
children will be running to and fro beneath the emUenu 
of death carved on the timbers above their heads, 
while the religious sisters, in their grey gowns aod 
wide white head-dresses move slowly to and fro beside 
them. It is the picture of another century, in its 
appropriate setting. 

As the sun sets slowly and the shadows gather^ this 
aged sepulchre of the dead of Rouen gradually gives 
up its secrets, and the ancient city of past centuries 
reappears to the grating of the rebec of the ** Danse 
Macabre." The broad boulevards of the morning sink 
into the soil, and in their place there gapes a mighty 
moat with massive buttresses above it. The Seine of 
yesterday grows wider, pushing the Quais back to the 
foot of the town walls, and above his youthful waters 
slope the rounded arches built by the Empress Matilda, 
wife of Geoffrey Plantagenet. The streets and houses 
shrink into a narrower limit, bounded by a line of 
bastions, with crenelated towers at intervals, and eight 
gates each with its watch-tower and drawbridge and 

Above the battlemented walls, the airy spires and 
mighty pyramids of the City of Churches rise from 
thirty-five parishes, and from four and thirty monasteries. 
Three donjon keeps dominate the town. Upon the 
St. Catherine's Mount a fortress holds the hill, and 
above it rise the towers of the Abbey of St. Trinite 
du Mont. Within every church the monuments and 
carvings are still fresh and unmutilated. The royal 
statues, long since lost, sleep peacefully in the Cathedral 
choir, and the pomp of death spreads its sombre 
magnificence in every sacred building. The old 


fountains are playing in the squares and streets. The 
fountain of St. Maclou, which had two figures like the 
Mannekin of Brussels ; the Croix de Pierre, with 
statues in every niche ; the St. Vincent, with its great 
dais overshadowing a group of the Nativity, and water 
spouting from the mouths of oxen in the manger ; the 
Lacrosse with the Virgin and her Child ; the Lisieux, 
whereon was carved the Mount Parnassus with Apollo 
and the Muses, Pegasus too, and a great triple-headed 
matron for Philosophy, and two bronze salamanders 
vomiting streams of water ; all the fountains that 
Jacques Lelieur has traced for us are perfect and are 
playing in the town whose streets he drew in 1525. 

The sky grows darker, and the rain falls, as it fell 
then, even more frequently than now; but we can pass 
beneath the " avant-soliers," those covered galleries 
that line the squares and market-places to give shade 
or shelter to the merchant and his purchasers, and 
behind their heavy timbers we shall be safe from the 
great wains of country produce, or the lumbering 
chariots of the town, with their leather hangings 
stamped in gold, dragged by the heavy Norman horses. 
The streets are as narrow as they were first built in 
Pompeii ; sixteen feet is thought enough for the 
principal arteries of traffic, others measure but ten feet, 
or even six, across. They are so crooked and the 
line of houses on each side is often so uneven that it 
seems as if the windings of some country footpath 
have been left in all their primitive irregularity, and 
decorated here and there with casual dwellings, while 
the gaps are filled in roughly as time goes on and space 
grows more precious every year. This haphazard 
arrangement has no doubt resulted in a certain pictur- 
esqueness of disposition and perspective, and even in a 
tortuous maze ot buildings very difficult for any foreign 
enemy to assault ; but it is obvious that the city's 
internal plan has owed nothing either to military or 


T^be Story of Rouen 

gesthetic considerations at the outset. For 
that were not paved at all until the fifteenth century, 
are only covered with rude stones, and look more fikie 
the interior of a vast open drain than anything ; pip 
and other animals stroll into them from the open 
doorways of the commoner houses, and even the richer 
families seem to consider that the highway is little 
more than a commodious dust-bin. 

Above the mire and stench of the street riae honsei 
which seem to topple forward into the morass beneath ; 
each storey overhangs the last, until the frowsy gaUci 
almost rub against each other at the top, and nearly 
shut out every breath of air or glimpse oi sky. Close 
above the pavement, and swinging in the rain, a multitude 
of signs and strange carvings blot out the little light 
remaining ; Tritons, sirens and satyrs are cheek by 
jowl with dragons, open-mouthed, their tails in monstrooi 
curves. Vast gilded barrels, bunches of grapes as huge 
as ever came out of the Promised Land, images of & 
Three Kings of the East, six-pointed stars, enormous 
fleurs de lys, great pillars painted blue or red, cocka- 
trices and popinjays and bears and elephants ; a whole 
menagerie of fabulous creatures hang over the lintels of 
almost every house ; for in the days when nambers 
are not, many habitations have to be distinguished by 
a sign besides the taverns and the hostelries and shops. 
Higher up still the long thin gargoyles peer into the 
clouded air ; clutching at the outmost edge of wall, 
they stretch as far forward as they may and are every 
one in actual service, spouting showers of rain and 
refuse from the roof into the crowded road. Upon 
the walls themselves, in low relief, every panel has its 
medallion, a classical head within a wreath of bay- 
leaves, a more modern celebrity ringed by the mottoes 
and emblems of his lineage. Above the doorway of 
the merchant is carved his galleon in full sail ; the 
armourer displays a brave scene, of a soldier hacking 


his way with an irresistible rapier through the mob of 
caitiffs who had been so foolish as to buy their swords 
at other shops ; over the next porch is carved a horse 
without a rider, hastening across the bridge to bring 
the tidings of the murder of his master in the suburbs ; 
elsewhere is sculptured the Holy City with a humble 
wayfarer approaching from one side, and a noble from 
the other. Every building has a character of its own, 
a personality apart from other houses in the street, and 
nearly all are gay with paint and gilding, and instinct 
with a natural feeling for artistic decoration that was 
only appreciated at its true worth after the Huguenot 
iconoclasts had wrecked it. 

Amid all this life and colour death and the taint 
of death are ever present, for every church is little 
better than a charnel-house, and in the crowded city 
nearly eighty cemeteries are packed with dead. Mag- 
nificent processions of princes and of great prelates # 
march through the town by day ; they are followed by 
the riot of the Mascarade des Conards, a burlesque 
throng of some two thousand fantastic dresses careering 
madly up and down the streets, chased by the <^ Clercs 
de la Basoche,'' or racing after every sober citizen in 
sight. It is lucky if the Huguenots have not seized 
the town and filled the churches with a mob of fanatics, 
smashing everything with hammers, and making bonfires 
of the sacred vestments in the streets, or if the Catholics 
are not just taking their revenge by burning their enemies 
alive or murdering Protestant children in their little 
beds. Even on ordinary days there is horror enough 
only too visible. You need not go so far as the gibbets 
just above the town where corpses are clattering in 
chains beneath the wind ; on the Place du Vieux 
Marche a sacrilegious priest is being slowly strangled ; 
in the Parvis Notre Dame a blasphemer's throat is cut; 
close by the churchyard, a murderer's hand is chopped 
off) and he is hurried away to execution on the scanold 


Tbg Story of Rouen 

by the Hatles. Prom a by-street the leper's bdl louDdt 
fitfully, and out of the darkened house beyond, men in 
St. Michael'i livery are bearing the laat victiinE of the 
Plague to burial within the city walU. Id i 522 there 
were jo,ooo of such burials b Roueo atone io st 

montha. Every gallant who goes by with his feathered 
cap and velvet cloak, his tightly-fiitiog hose and slashed 
shoe«, every lady in her purple hat and stiff-starched 
ruff, her gold-brocaded stomacher, and her sweeping 
skirt, every soldier swaggering his rapier, every sailor 
rolling home from sea, every monk mumbling his prayers 
over a rosary — all alike are breathing an infected 


poisonous air. The young girls from the country feel 
it most and fly from it the quickest, coming in to sell 
their eggs and chickens, with their woollen petticoats 
and gaily coloured head-dress, or meeting some lover of 
the town at a dark corner in the narrow, damp, ill- 
ventilated streets. Here and there a silent figure clad 
in blue stalks from one house to another and leaves the 
mark of a great white cross upon the fast-shut door or 
shutters, for within there is the Plague.- And upon 
every passer-by outside there blows continually the in- 
visible blast of pestilence from the countless graveyards 
pent up in the choking circuit of the walls. From the 
thirteenth century onwards the city has been swept with 
the desolating scourge of hideous disease. It was in 
1348, when the ravages of the Black Death were at 
their highest and 100,000 persons died of it in Rouen 
that this cemetery of St. Maclou was founded. 

Within the central space of the square court that you 
can see to-day is the actual ground which formed this 
ancient graveyard. Formerly there were two altars in 
it, one to the Slayer of the infernal Dragon, the mighty 
Saint of Sepulchres, the protector of the dead, St. 
Michael ; the other to the souls of the dead themselves. 
In many a country churchyard in France at the present 
day you may see a tall lonely shaft that rises above the 
tombs, generally with a tiny belfry at its summit, which 
holds the bell that rings at midnight to call the wander- 
ing ghosts to rest ; and at its base this '^ Lanteme des 
Morts " carries a small slab of stone on which offerings 
were placed at night. It was the Confr^rie de St. 
Michel who had charge of this, and of the burying 
arrangements of the city, and they bore upon their hats 
the image of their patron-saint as a badge of their sad 
calling. Twice before 1 505 this graveyard had to be 
enlarged ; by 1 526 three of the galleries that now sur- 
round it had been built, those to the west and south and 
east. The northern side was finished only in 1640. 

u 305 

The Story of Roua 

Of the older work there are atill thirty-one columO 
standing, some eleven feet apart, carved with subjecl 
from the famous " Dance of Death," the " DaM 
Macabre " of Rouen. 

But these curtains that circuraacribe the Bed ( 
Death have other emblems carved upon them too 
there is a double frieze of oak above the pillars, ani' 
it appears the skull and crossbones, the spade 
mattock, the fragments of pitiful anatomy that ma 
the ghastly trade of sexton in the stxteeoth ceal 
In the covered galleries, as they were originally, I 
richer burgesses were buried, though not one of thd 
memorial stones remains ; into the open space \ 
flung the poor proletariat, who had gone through Ufi 
marked with a yellow cross upon their arms, and fouD 
in death an undistinguished and promiscuous I 
Looking down upon them all in their last troubli! 
sleep, were the figures carved in high relief upon e 
pillar, groups that are eo mutilated now that only by tt 
careful drawings and descriptions left by M. Langlo 
long ago can we trace (aindy what was placed there b 
Denys Leselin the carver and his brother Adam, ; 
by Gaukier Leprevost, whose names are preserved i 
the church registers of St. Maclou. 

Each relief showed a group in which some liv: 
figure is dragged to death by a triumphant skeleton,: 
chief among them were our first parents Adam and E* 
the origins of death for every generation after. 

" Mors qui venii de mors de pome 
Primea en feme et puis en home 
Tu bats 1e tiide comine toiJe," 

On Other pillars were an emperor, a king, a high a, 
(table, a duke, a courtier, a pope, a cardinal, a bishi 
and an abbot. They seem to cr^, like Villon, W 
a phrase that is especially appropriate to a Roi 
cemetery ; 



<< Haro, haro, le grand et le mineur, 
Et qu'est cecy — mourray, sans coup ferir ? " 

Without the power to struggle, they are haled from 
their high places to the levelling tomb. 

Reproductions of the first Todtentanz of Hans 
Holbein the younger are now within the reach of every- 
one, and they have made these terrible imaginations of 
the early sixteenth century the common property of 
all who care to look at them. Designed just before 
1 526, when the horrors of the Peasants' War and of 
innumerable outbreaks of pestilence and famine had left 
fresh traces in the minds of everyone, they were not 
published until 1538 at Lyons by Melchoir and Caspar 
Trechsel. After the sixth edition of 1 562 no further 
addition to the plates is known. They were cut with 
a knife upon wood, and not with the ordinary graver, 
in 1527, or a little earlier, by Hans of Luxemburg, 
sometimes called Franck, whose full signature is on 
Holbein's Alphabet in the British Museum, which 
contains several sets of the impressions, believed to be 
engraver's proofs from the original blocks, such as exist 
also in Berlin, at Basle, in Paris, and at Carlsruhe. 
They have been frequently copied, but the best modem 
imitations in wood engraving are those made in 1833 
for Douce's " Holbein's Dance of Death," which 
come nearest to the incomparable skill of Hans of 
Luxemburg, and have been reproduced again, only 
in this last year, by George Bell of London. 

The oldest representation of this idea is probably to 
be found at Minden in Westphalia, and bears the date 
of 1383. But it was known also at Dresden, at 
Lubeck, in Lucerne, in the chateau of Blois, in 
Auvergne, and elsewhere in France. In all these 
places Death is shown dancing with men of every 
age and condition, and carrying them off with him to 
the grave. There is no doubt that the scene had its 
origin not merely in the imagination of the sixteenth 


The Story of Rouen 

century, but reached further back to the hideoai 
'* Danse Macabre " of the fourteenth centaryy when 
the Black Death was slaying high and low ao Gut that 
men were seized with a panic of hysterical cooTulsioD 
and leaped frenziedly about the streets and churches, 
even in the cemeteries themselves. The numberieis 
carvings on the cathedrals, representing the Devil and 
his myrmidons struggling for mastery with a livmg 
soul, provided an easy and instant suggestion* But by 
degrees the religious quality of the mania lessened and 
grew weaker. At last the purely material horror of 
extinction overcame everything else. It was no longer 
the Devil who seized a maddened ring of men smd 
women and danced them screaming into hell. Now 
it was Death himself who clutched every man by the 
sleeve and hurried him into the over-crowded ever- 
hungry sepulchre. If this was one thought of the rich 
who thought at all, it was also the only consolation of 
the poor, and therefore no more appropriate carvings 
for the poor man's cemetery of St. Maclou could be 
imagined by the workman of the sixteenth century. 

But if the poor had their Danse Macabre, the great 
ones of the city spared nothing to impress on their sur- 
vivors that the magnificence of their lives should foUow 
them even to the tomb. In the Chapelle de la Vierge 
of Rouen Cathedral are two of the most famous fimer^ 
monuments of the sixteenth century, and in one of these 
you will notice a very remarkable example of the way 
in which the sculptors of the rich understood their task. 
Their orders, no doubt, were to give of their best to 
celebrate the dead man's greatness ; their designs were 
evidently as unfettered by suggestion as by expense; 
and they had their inevitable revenge. Beneath the 
magnificent figure of the knight in armour lies the corpse, 
naked in death and as poor as the beggar in the street. 
In the Louvre you may see a monument by Germain 
Pilon that is even more suggestive of this feeling on the 


part of the artist. It is the tomb of Madame de 
Birague, Valentina BalbiaoL^ Under a sum]>ttiouf 
dress, covered with sculpture 90 delicate that the 
marble looks like lace, a thin and shrunken form 
can be distinguished. The waited hand holds a 
tiny book whose pages it has no strength to turn. 
Her little dog tries vainlv to awake her from a 
slumber that is eternal. A corpse that is almost a 
skeleton lies beneath. This is not the sincere expres- 
sion of the sorrow Villon knew; for we can easily 
imagine the unhappy Valentina's fate from our know- 
ledge of her husband, one of the hell-hounds of Cath- 
erine de Medicisy who was foremost in the Massacre of 
St. Bartholomew. This is not the old longing of the 
lover for his mistress : — 

Mort, j'appelle de ta riguear, 
Qui m'as ma maistresse ravie, 
£t n'est pas encore atfouvie 
Si tu ne me tiens en langueur. 
One puis n'euz force ne vigneur ; 
Mais que te nuysoit-eile en vie 

Deux estions, et n'avions qu'ung cueur; 
S'il est mort, force est que devie, 
Voire, ou que je vive sans vie, 
Comme les images, par cueur, 

It is the changed note of Ronsard's passionate regret 

that every lovely feature must be marred by 

Death : — 

** Pour qui gardes-tu tes yeux 
Et ton sein ddfcieux 

Ta joue et ta bouche belle 
En veux-tu baiser Platon 
Li-bas apr^s que Charon 
T'aura mise en sa nacelle ? ** 

1 This has been admirably described In Mrs Mark Pattlnon's 
volumes on the " Renaissance of Art In France/' thouffb fhf 
authoress refuses to admit that Michelet's view of Pilon's 
motive is correct. But in Vol. I. compare pp. 156 and 11. 


The Story of Rouen 

The work of Germain Pilon at the Louvre, and of the 
sculptor of the dead de Breze in Rouen Cathedral, 
whether that were Pilon himself, or Jean Cousin, or 
Goujon, has none of the gentle regret that reverences 
what it has once loved in life. There is in it all 
the fierce desire for personified destruction, all the 
hideous mockery of the rich man levelled with the 
poorest in a common corruption, which inspired the 
" Danse Macabre " ; but the sculptor's thought is 
expressed with the subtle handicraft of a supersensitive 
age, with a fury of achievement and a triumph over 
technical difficulties that is the very essence of the best 
French Renaissance. In the same spirit Ronsard 
continues his relentless comparison of the dead woman 
with the living mistress : — 

" Ton teste n'aura plus de peau 
Ny ton visaige tant beau 

N*aura veines ny arteres 
Tu n'auras plus que des dents 
Telles qu'on les voit dedans 

Les testes des cimetdres.** 

This complicated mental attitude had evidently not 
been reached when Rouland Leroux carved the great 
mausoleum for Cardinal d'Amboise, which is on the 
south side of this chapel, or if it had been attained by 
some men, neither Leroux himself nor Pierre Desau- 
beaulx his fellow-workman had been touched by it. 
The very inscription proclaims the exact reverse of that 
grisly triumph which is celebrated so clearly on the oppo- 
site tomb ; for the virtues of Georges d'Amboise are 
said to be superior to death : — 

" Pastor eram cleri populi pater aurea sese 
Lilia subdebant quercus et ipsa mihi 
Mortuus en jaceo morte extinguuntur honores 
At virtus mortis nescia morte viret. 

An optimism that may have been foreign to his age 
is appropriate to this sturdy and ambitious ecclesiastic, 

! C < 

The Story of Rouen 

who did not forget to do so much material good for 
his town of Rouen, with waterworks, and even drain- 
age, and fair new buildings spaciously designed; all 
this in spite of wider interests which did not stop at 
the tiara itself, of which all men said the great cardinal 
was worthy. Of the two statues that are now within 
the arched recess, the one on the right represents him, 
and it must have been an excellent likeness. It has 
been called a peasant face; and it is certainly no 
courtier who kneels there before the carving of his 
patron saint slaying the dragon. The square head, 
the deep brows, the heavy jaw and firm mouth, are 
not beautiful, but they are impressive, and they 
show a character as far removed from the peasant as 
it was from the voluptuary, as near akin to the ad- 
ministrator of Normandy as to the Cardinal of the 
Holy Church. I have little doubt that this was the 
handiwork of the Rouland Leroux who must have 
often seen him in the Cathedral, and who helped to 
build the great Palais de Justice, which was given to 
Rouen at his request. 

In the statue on the left hand, it is more possible 
that Jean Goujon (to whom so many things are 
ascribed without foundation) may have had a hand. 
For this was put up in 1 541, at least sixteen years 
after the first one, in memory of the second Georges 
d'Amboise, the nephew of the greater cardinal, and 
the last archbishop freely elected by the Chapterhouse. 
Of the multitude of carvings that are in the alabaster 
and marble round these statues, it is scarcely possible 
to give any description that will be intelligible, and if 
their value in history does not tempt you to visit them 
yourself, I can only point you to the drawing that 
Miss James has done to make these pages more 
intelligible. The niches on each side of the dragon 
contain six statuettes ; a bishop, a Virgin and child, St. 
John the Baptist, St. Romain, a saint, and an arch- 

bishop blesNDg. Above them curvea a large arch, 
with three pierced peodeDtiTca aod a frieze delicately 

carved with birds 

Above this met 
division ctt the 

the same j^e 
a* the sarco- 
phagus below i 
■ even small 
niches of the 
prophets and 
sibyls divide the 
six larger panel*, 
in which the 
Apostles are 
shown in pairs. 
Beyond these 
again is a crown 
of pinnacle* in 
open-work, al- 
ternating with 
statuettes in 
smaller niche*. 
The lowest por- 
tion, the sarco- 
phagus itself, is 
divided by seven 
pilaster*, each 
adorned with 
the figure of a 
monk, with rix 



statuettes of Faith, Charity, Prudence, Strength, Tem- 

The Story of Rouen 

perance, and Justice. All this amaziog compiicatioo 
of delicate handiwork was done for the sum of 6953 
livreSy 16 sols, 4denier8, which represents about 60,000 
francsy or ;^2400 to-day. 

On the opposite side of this chapel is the great tomb 
of Louis de Breze, Grand Seneschal of Normandy, of 
which I have already spoken. As an architectural 
composition it is, to my mind, infinitely finer than the 
other, though there is not only a lack of the obviooi 
sincerity that inspired Leroux, but there b also the too 
evident appearance of that triumph of Death which 
has been described in this chapter. Nor can I help 
fancying that it represents too the somewhat sinister 
triumph of a widow's cunning. For as I have drawn 
elsewhere the life and the ambitions of Greorges 
d'Amboise as the owner of Chaumont on the Loire, 
so I have become acquainted with that typical figure 
of the sixteenth century, Diane de Poitiers, at the 
home she took from Bohier at Chenonceaux ; and 
therefore her kneeling figure in the widow's weeds of a 
conventional sorrow suggests nothing better to me than 
the fashionable grief of the mistress of Henn II., the 
ostentation in mourning of the most rapacious and un- 
feeling woman of her time. 

Though the magnificent workmanship of the dead man 
at whose head she kneels reminds me more of G-ermain 
Pilon's methods, I can well believe that Jean Ooujon 
may have been responsible for the general design of the 
whole monument during the year we know he spent at 
Rouen in 1540, when he was twenty years of age. 
Men seem to have matured more quickly in those days 
than is possible in the slower generations that we know. 
But even if the graceful caryatides and every other 
carving is his work, I must still ascribe the strong 
treatment of the massive knight in armour on his war 
horse to the same artist who conceived the dead figure 
lying in its shroud beneath; and whether tliat artist 


were Pilon or Jeao Couuo, it is moat improbable that 
it should have beeo Goujon, for whom the work 
would have becD ju»t as much too early for tus owd 
age, as that of Pilon would have been too late for the 
suggested date of the enure monument. (That the con- 
trast of the dead and I'viog Seneschal was more than a 
mere court feah on of the t me I have of course 
only advanced my own opn on but even if it 
not so o thu case and o that 
of the Balbiani roooument and 
many others, the h.a that so 
e a cus om should have 
all e even more 

a led i 

significant than 

result of the magination of some 

few of the greatest sculpto «• 

In sketching the more sombre 
features of thu extraord naiy 
century t s mposs ble to omit 
any rrfe ence to those rehg oua 
troubles wh ch may have been 
already suggested to you by the 
kneel ng monks upon the tomb 
of Georges d Ambo se They 
we e as te nble id Rouen as in 
almost every other town in 
France, the violent deaths and 
tortures they made so common 
in the city cannot be omitted in 
any estimate of the horrors of the 
time ; and if 1 do not dilate upon them as their im- 
portance in history might seem to demand, it is because 
they arc chiefly responsible for the destruction or de- 
basement of most of those great architectural monu- 
ments which it is my chief buwness to describe. 
They were also responsible for the next two sieges 
in the story of the town, and in the first of these 

The Story of Rouen 

there is a tale that I must tell you, if only to 
show that if these men had the realisation of death 
ever present before their eyes, they were also very 
hard to kill, and did not yield to the Arch-Enemy 
so easily as many of their descendants in an age which 
tries its hardest to forget him. 

Encouraged by the news of the horrible massacre of 
Vassy, the Huguenots under the Prince of Conde seized 
Rouen on the night of April 15, 1562, pillaged the 
churches, and stopped the services of the Catholic 
religion. A few months afterwards the royal army 
marched to the rescue under the Constable Anne de 
Montmorency, Frangois de Guise, and the father of 
Henri Quatre, Antoine de Navarre, who was shot in 
the shoulder when directing the attack from the trenches, 
and died at Andelys a month afterwards. While the 
Protestants were defending the walls, a certain Frangou 
de Civille was ordered with his company to hold the 
ramparts near the Porte St. Hilaire, not far firom the 
Fourches de Bihorel. While at his post he was 
wounded by a shot from an arquebus, which passed 
through his cheek and shattered the right jaw-bone, at 
eleven in the morning on the 15th October. The 
bullet came out behind his collar-bone and tore his ruff 
to pieces. He fell down the glacis, and a foraging 
party stripped him and buried him hurriedly in a ditch 
near by, and there he was left till six that evening. His 
lacquey, Nicolas de la Barre, searching the ramparts for 
his master after the assault had been repulsed, saw a 
human hand sticking up out of the mud ; his companion, 
Captain Jean de Clere, kicked the fingers as he walked, 
and a peculiar ring de Civille was known to wear 
flashed in the light. The body was at once dug up 
and carried to the house of the Sieur de Coquerau- 
mont, in the Rue des Capucins. 

There for five days and five nights the servant 
watched by his master, " who lay in a lethargy,'* and 


was just beginning to show feeble signs of life when the 
enemy took the town by assault. On the twenty-eighth, 
some Catholic soldiers broke into his place of refuge, 
and finding a pestilent heretic lying ill, they threw 
him out of a window. Being lucky enough to fall upon 
one of the many dunghills which were beneath the 
windows of Rouen at that time, de Civille lay there in 
his shirt and nightcap for three days and nights without 
food or drink, and no one discovered him. At last, when 
the town was a little quieter, a cousin fetched him away 
to the Chateau de Croisset, and by July in the next year 
he had almost completely recovered his health. Though 
all this happened when he was only twenty-six, he lived 
to write an account of his adventures when he was 
seventy-four for the pleasure and instruction of posterity ; 
and he only expired for the last time at the ripe age 
of eighty, from an inflammation of the lungs caught 
by making love to a young woman underneath her 
window during a hard frost. 

The second siege in this century was occasioned by 
the troubles of the League. In 1 589 public anxiety 
had increased to such a pitch that the royalist 
Court of Justice was removed to Caen, while the 
" Ligueurs " held Rouen for the Due de Mayenne. 
In July 1 590 bands of armed men a hundred strong 
went shouting through the streets, and would have dis- 
armed the town-guard on the Vieux Marche had they 
not been stopped by Valdory, the district captain 
of the Burgess militia, who has left a detailed 
account of the disturbances of that unhappy time in 
Rouen. From his book it may be learnt that the 
" Vieux • Palais " of the English kings was still within 
the city walls by the river to the south-west, that the 
fort had not long been rebuilt near the Abbey of St. 
Catherine, that the Faubourgs were again destroyed as 
they were in 1 41 7 to leave no shelter for the enemy, 
and that the investing troops tried to cut off the stream 


The Story of Rouen 

of RobeCy 80 as not merely to deprive that quarter of 
its water supply, but to stop the public nulls. In 
November 1 59 1 Henry of Navarre used some ships to 
help him in his attack on Rouen, but the townsfolk, 
who refused to acknowledge a Protestant as their 
king, seem to have paid little attention to the naval 
demonstration, and finally chased his vessels out of the 
harbour and got possession of most of their cargoes of 
sheep, oxen, wine and other booty. The defence was 
brilliantly conducted throughout, and Valdory relates 
that when three hundred musketeers were requested 
for a forlorn hope, no less than two thousand men 
thronged to the officers' houses demanding weapons to 
join in the sally. " Rouvel " was very busy all the 
time in the town belfry, and rang furiously by night 
or day whenever the scouts gave notice that the enemy 
were likely to attack. Directly his notes were heard, 
every citizen rushed to his appointed place upon the 
ramparts, and waited without confusion for the enemy. 
They were good shots with an arquebus, too, for 
a captain was reported to Valdory as having killed 
one of the enemy's sentinels "at a distance of three 
hundred paces at least ;" and an equally successful shot 
is recorded at five hundred paces. 

They were even vain-glorious ; for Monsieur de 
Villars, says the same authority, desirous of a little 
diversion outside the walls, rode out with several 
gentlemen, and tilted at the ring beyond the ramparts 
under a hot fire, until he had had his fill of amusement. 
When the enemy could get to close quarters with the 
common folk they found them no easier to handle ; for 
as some of Henry of Navarre's soldiers were foraging in 
a garden for herbs, the gardeners rushed out and ** killed 
them with large stones." The town never opened its 
gates until Henry of Navarre repudiated his religion 
and became the King of France. Rouen, as well as 
Paris, was evidently "well worth a mass." 


One of the mo« interesting things about this lighting 

is the presence of a numerous body of Englishmen who 
had joined Biron and Henry of Navarre, under the 
Earl of Essex. Their Queen had offered a special 
prize for the first man who should 
make a successful shot at the de- 
fenders of the town ; but they do not 
seem to hare distinguished themselves 
particularly, and at last a hundred of 
them (chiefly squires) were killed. 
A hardy specimen of the race, how- 
ever, is mentioaed by Valdoty, who 
evidently kept his eyes open for 
good work, whether of friend or foe. 
This Englishman, after receiving four 
wouods from a cutlass on the head, 
" pretended Co be dead, allowed 
himstlf to be stripped by our soldiers, 
and dragged naked to the ramparts." 
While he lay there, desirous to make 
quite sure of their man, the Rouen 
sentinels (who must have been 
mariners from Dieppe) dropped a 
sm^ll cannon ball on his stomach, "but 
he did not seem to feel it," and con- 
tinued obstinately to remain alive. 
However, when the Sieur de Canon- i 
ville took him prisoner and bound ' 
up his wounds, with the object, ' 
apparently, of getting a ransom from , 
his friends, he seems to have de- i 
term in ed that no foreigner should uannev chuum, 
make money out of him, and died. ''-"'''■*°'> bekksiuii 

In the Church of West Hanney, near Wantage, 
in Berkshire, is the tomb of one of these English- 
men who fought for Henry of Navarre before the 
walls of Rouen, and it will be an appropriate 
3 '9 

The Story of Rouen 

eoding to this chapter of the dead if I close it with 
his epitaph ; — 

"Beneath this itone lyeth enterred the corpi of Sir Chrii- 
topher LTieot, Knight, twice high sheriiT of the coqdC)' et 
Berk (Husband of two wives both in the sayd conntye the 
former J»ne Ei.ei widdowe of Thoma. Emck of Beckett 
HoUK Eq. the iater Catherine Young widdowe of Willm 
YoDnge of Ba^tledoD Eq) Knighted in the cimpe bef«t 
Roane the xt! of Novemb 1591 by the bands of the French 
Kinge Henry the Fourth of yt name and King of Navarrt 
Who after hii traiailes in Germany Italy and PruuDce and d» 
evecDtion of justice unto the glory of God and the g;ood of his 
coancry ended his pilgrimage at Baslledon ye zxT at Aprii 


*^ Les gens de Rouen sont honnltes, 
Grans entrepreneurs d'edifices 
De theatres et artifices 
Es entrees des grans seigneurs, 
Roy prelatz et aultres greigneurs.** 

THOUGH Henri Quatre could not get through 
the gates of Rouen while the town remained 
faithful to the League, and considered him a heretic, 
the sturdy citizens were ready enough to accept a king 
of their own religion, and when the " Vert Galant " 
made his first solemn entry into the place in 1596, 
they welcomed him as heartily as any of his prede- 
cessors. You will remember that there were English- 
men with him when he was trying to get into Rouen a 
few years before, and it was to Rouen again that the 
Earl of Shrewsbury and a brilliant suite brought the 
Queen of England's greeting to her cousin of France, 
and sent him the famous Order of the Garter. The 
Ambassador was most appropriately lodged in a very 
famous house in Rouen, which itself formed a remark- 
ably complete memorial of the friendship between the 
same two thrones earlier in the century. The Maison 
Bourgtheroulde, at the comer of the Place de la Pucelle 
and the Rue du Panneret, contains indeed one of the 
best pictorial records that exists in Europe, not only of 
the meeting of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, but 
also of the decorations that were displayed there. 

The house is a good example of the transition 
between " Gothic " domestic architecture and that of 
the Renaissance. Built about the same time as the 

J be Story of Rouen 

Palais de Justice and the Bureau de Finances, it formed 
a part of that brilliant series of beautiful dwellings in 
which the early years of the sixteenth century at 
Rouen were so fniitfuL Its exterior fagade upon the 
Place de la Pucelle is so terribly changed and mutilated 
now, that unless you will refer to Lelieur's drawing, 
reproduced with Chapter IX., no view of its present 
condition can suggest to you the original design. Of 
that high roof with lofty crested windows, of the side- 
turret at the angle of the street, of the beautifully 
carved door, not a trace remains. The principal 
entrance built on the old Marche aux Veaux was placed 
between two heavy pillars, which had statues on them, 
and even before the traveller had passed inside, these 
suggested to him the motive which underlies the whole 
decoration of the house ; for these are the two pillars 
which were on each side of the English King's pavilion 
at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. Whereof the one, 
in the words of the English chronicler, was ** intrayled 
with anticke works, the old god of wine called Bacchus 
birlyng the wine, which by the conduits in the erthe 
ran to all people plenteously with red, white, and 
claret wine, over whose head was written in letters of 
Romayn in gold, * Faicte bonne chere qui vouldra.' " 
The other pillar was " of ancient Romayne work, 
borne with four lions of gold . . . and on the summit 
of the said piller stood an image of the blynde God, 
Cupid, with his bowe and arrowes of love, by hys 
seeming, to stryke the yonge people to love." But 
these have gone, and so little is left of the beauty of 
the fa9ade that it really will require some courage to 
believe what I have just said, and go through the 
wooden door in search of better fortune. 

It was the town house of the family of Le Roux,i 

^Called Le Roux d'Esneval in a genealogy of 1689, and 
perhaps relations of Louis de Br^zd's first wife, whom he 
married before Diane de Poitiers. See the end of Chapter X. 

7 be Story of Rouen 

a name which already has artistic associations for any 
lover of the architecture of Rouen, though I ha?e 
found no trace of relationship between the architect of 
the Cathedral fa9ade, the Bureau de Finances, and the 
Palais de Justice, and the lawyers who built and 
decorated this <^ hotel." Indeed I cannot imag^ it 
would be likely that a man of so much originality and 
power both in architecture and in sculpture would ha?e 
lent himself to the methods of decoration employed 
here, which, as you will see, are more appropriate to 
the accurately historical than to the freely artistic 
frame of mind. The man who made the fortune of 
the family was the second Guillaume Le Roux, 
husband of Jeanne Jubert de Vely, and one of the 
fifteen lay councillors called to the Perpetual £chiquief 
created by Louis XII. in 1499. He bought the 
estates of Tilly, Lucy, Sainte Beuve, and Bourg- 
theroulde, and built the " corps de logis *' in the 
interior courtyard exactly opposite the entrance. He 
also began the wings on the north and west, but left 
the great southern gallery to be completed by his son 
Guillaume, "Abbe d'Aumale et du Val Richer," 
who held several benefices under the great Cardinal 
d'Amboise, and derived his chief claim to importance 
from having been employed by Fran9oi8 I. in the 
negotiation of the celebrated Concordat which that 
king announced with so much solemnity on his entry 
into Rouen in 15 17. 

These two last facts may largely account for the 
decoration of the new wing the Abbe built in Rouen, 
and the carvings he added to the older walls ; for they 
are mainly suggested by one of the most magnificent 
occurrences in the ostentatious reign of a king whose 
visit to the town had no doubt enhanced the impor- 
tance of the Abbe in the eyes of his fellow-citizens. 
At any rate he was not likely to let them forget that the 
Francois whom he had helped in the matter of the 


Concordat was also the hero of the ** Champ du Drap 
d'Or." Though the house may have been begun as 
early as 1 486, when the second Guillaume Le Roux 
was married, it was not finished for some time after- 
wards, and we may put 1531 as the latest date, because 
the Phoenix of Eleanor of Austria shows beside the 
Salamander of her husband. Abbe Guillaume died in 
1532, before which year the carvings must have been 
completed, and they evidently cannot have been begun 
before 1520, the date of the Field of the Cloth of 
Gold, which was their chief inspiration, so that the 
carvings certainly have the value of almost contem- 
poraneous workmanship, and most probably the author- 
ity, either directly or indirectly, of an eye-witness. 
It may be as well to remember that to that gorgeous 
ceremony there was no possibility of any mere loafer, 
or any wandering unauthorised artist being admitted, 
because it is on record that everyone without a special 
permit was cleared out of the country in a circle of 
some four leagues ; and it is not too much to imagine 
that even if one who had had a hand in the important 
negotiations of the Concordat four years before were 
not in the King's suite, he was at least in a position to 
see and profit by the work of the artists who accom- 
panied Fran9oi8,^ to record his splendours and to make 
the best use of all their opportunities. 

Since 1820 the Maison Bourgtheroulde has practi- 
cally been a unique example of the style of decoration 
for which it is famous. Before that year "La Grande 
Maison " existed at Grand-Andely, not far off, with 
much the same kind of ornament upon its Renaissance 
walls ; but that has now vanished utterly, with the 
exception of some of the large statues which were 
bought at three francs the square foot by an 

' There were, of course, men to do the same kind office for 
Henry VIII. In the Hampton Court Gallery, see No. 342, 
and the notes in Mr Ernest Law's catalogue. 


The Story of Rouen 

Englishnuuiyi and taken acroM the ChaniMl to 
decorate a couotry-hoiue. It will therelbie be 
well worth while to consider in tome detail whstt 
the Bourgtheroulde carvings are, and how they 
originated ; for even if they do not appeal to as lo 
much as the original and thoroughly local work of 
other Rouen sculptors, they have a Yaloe of tbor 
own that may be considered entirely apart from anj 
aesthetic criticism of the sources of the carrer'a work- 

To begin, then, at the beginning, the eotrance-door 
on the inside of the court is decorated with medalHoo 
portraits, surrounded by garlands, of Francois I. (whose 
Jong nose betrays him) and the stout, square nee of 
Henry VII I. Both are bearded. The note of his- 
torical suggestion is struck at once. It continues still 
more unmistakably on the series of panek immediately 
beneath the window-sills of the wing on the left hand 
as you enter. On these is represented that useless 
pageant of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, by 
which Frangois (who posed as the protector of 
art and the Renaissance in France, though he did 
singularly little for either) tried to obscure the defeat 

1 It would be interesting to know whether anything cui be 
traced of them now. It is rather extraordinary to consider the 
numl>er of artistic objects which were carried off from Rooen 
in exactly this way. Apart from the windows of St. Her- 
bland, which I mentioned at the beginning of Chapter VII., a 
window from Saint Nicolas le Paincteur called the '* Visita- 
tion ** has been recognised by a canon of Rouen in Yorli 
Minster ; windows from Saint Jean sur Renelle were 
brought to I^)ndon, and exhibited, with others, about 
1810, by Mr Stevenson of Norwich; and other paintings 
on glass from the monastery of the Chartreux du Petit 
Qu^'villy also reached our shores. All of which \irould 
seem to indicate that we saw the value of good virorlc 
earlier in this century than the French did. But they have 
had their revenge since then ; and in the carving of the Maison 
Bourgtheroulde we have neglected to preserve one of the 
I>e8t memorials of England that exists in Prance. 

The Story of Rouen 

he had just sustained by the election of his solemn 
rival Charles V. as Emperor. The interview lasted 
from the yth to the 24th of. June i$20, and there 
the chronicler describes how the two Kings ^se 
virent et parlementerent ensemble apr^s midi enviroa 
les vespres, en la terre dudit Roy d'Angleterre, en 
une petite vallee nommee le valdore entre ladite ville 
d'Ardres et le chateau de Guynes." 

The third or central panel (which is the best carved 
and almost the best preserved) contains the actual meet- 
ing of the Kings. At the first (beginning from the left) 
is shown the Chateau of Guynes ; from the windows 
and galleries men and women are looking out, and on 
the ground before the gate are the small saluting-cannon 
of the period, almost invisible from the decay of the 
stone. A few of the last of the English suite ai« just 
issuing from the gates, some a-foot and some on 
horseback ; both men and horses wesy: great feathered 
plumes, and the men on foot have a circular head- 
dress of feathers like an aureole. In the second 
panel, two horsemen bearing maces ride in front of 
an ecclesiastic who carries a processional cross. 
Behind it is the great Cardinal Wolsey, in violet- 
coloured velvet, riding on a mule, with pages. 
Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, was with him; and 
the Order of the Garter, whose motto could be 
read upon a horseman's knee some sixty years ago, 
was worn by Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. 
It has disappeared now, and so much has gone 
with it, owing to the atmosphere of Rouen, which 
has more in common with Oxford than its archi- 
tectural surroundings, that the careful plaster-casts 
preserved in Paris (and photographed by the late 
M. Paul Robert in his "Trocadero" Series, iv. 29) 
will soon be the best memorial of sculptures, as valu- 
able to England as they are to France, and equally 
neglected by both. In 1821 M. Delaqueri^re 


issued a careful description of them (published by 
Firmin Didot, Paris), and to a second edition 
(published in 1841) he added a detailed drawing 
of the whole gallery by Polycl^s Langlois, and ^1^ 
larger drawings of each of the panels originally 
done, in 1823, for Nodier's well-known "Voyages 
Pittoresques/' It is the central panel from these 
that I reproduce here, and Miss Jameses draw- 
ing will show you the relative position of the 
procession and of the frieze of the Triumph 
above it on the left wing of the house. In 184T, 
plaster-casts could be bought from M. Rossi in 
Rouen. But these exist no longer, and, by com- 
paring the drawing made in 1823 with the carvings 
themselves, you will be able to appreciate how 
Rapidly the stone decays. It will stiU be possible, 
however (in 1899 at least), to discover on the 
mouldering surf|ce of the wall at least a trace of 
nearly everything that was originally there ; and your 
appreciation of the faithfulness of the sculptor to 
recorded fact will be still further increased if you 
can compare his work with the picture in Hampton 
Court, with the English contemporary versions from 
which I have occasionaUy quoted, and with such 
French accounts as that of du Bellay or Fleurange. 
The third and central panel is the culmination of 
the splendours of the whole. Each monarch, with 
his hat in his right hand, bows low in salutation. 
You will notice that Frangois wears his beard, but 
Henry is clean shaved like the majority of those 
present. This is another detail that is corroborated 
elsewhere, for the story is well known how Frangois 
swore he would not shave till he had seen the 
English King ; how Henry made a similar oath 
out of politeness, and broke it in impatience ; how 
the French ambassadors eagerly enquired whether 
this clean chin was to be construed at <*an un- 


l^he Story of Rouen 

friendly act," and were told that Henry's afiectioa 
resided not in his beard, but in his heart. The 
English King, says the chronicler, on that great occa- 
sion '' showed himself some deal forward in beauty 
and personage, the most goodliest Prince that ever 
reigned over the realm of England: his Grace was 
apparelled in a garment of cloth of silver of 
damask, ribbed with cloth of gold, so thick as 
might be ; the garment was large, and pleated very 
thick. The horse which his Grace rode on was 
trapped in a marvellous vesture of a new-devised 
fashion ; the trapper was of fine bullion, curiously 
wrought, pounced and set with antique work of 
Romayne figures." This carving shows that his 
harness was embroidered in alternate squares of 
leopards and roses. Close to him is the Marquis 
of Dorset, who bore the sword of State, with the 
Earls of Essex and Northumberland and others, 
besides the pikemen and guards, and the 400 
mounted archers, who were peculiar to the English 

Fran9ois wears embroidered cloth of gold, and bears 
a cape of heavier gold thread, sewn with gems. His 
chest and sleeves are covered with diamonds, rubies, 
emeralds, and pearls. His horse has the fleurs de lys 
embroidered on saddle and harness. Before him march 
the Swiss guard under Fleurange, who has left an 
account of the whole matter ; close by are Mountjoy 
and the other heralds, with the High Admiral and the 
great nobles. On the back of the last rider is carved 
the royal badge, that salamander which was seen 
miraculously to appear in effigy among the clouds while 
the CardinsJ was celebrating High Mass. The English 
chronicler describes the scene carved upon this panel 
as follows : — " Then blew the trumpets, sackbutts, 
clarions, and all other minstrelsy on both sides, and the 
King descended down towards the bottom of the valley 



of Ardres in sight of the nations, and on horseback 
met and embraced the two Kings each other ; then the 
two Kings alighted, and after embraced with benign and 
courteous manner each other, with sweet and goodly 
words of greeting ; and after few words these two noble 
Kings went together into the tent of cloth of gold that 
was there set on the ground for such purpose, thus arm- 
in-arm went the French King Francis the First of 
France, and Henry the Eighth King of England and 
France, together passing with communication." 

On the fourth panel, behind four mace-bearers, rides 
an ecclesiastic bearing what was once a double cross : 
the dove that flew above his head has entirely dis- 
appeared. Then comes Cardinal de Boissey, the Papal 
Legate, and among the other Cardinals (who may be 
recognised by their hatstrings falling on their chests) are 
those of Bourbon, Albret, and Lorraine. Much of 
this has been destroyed, but there is enough left to 
realise what Du Bellay says about the ruinous extrava- 
gance of the dresses : — ** Many of the Frenchmen,** 
he writes, <' carried the price of woodland, watermill, 
and pasture on their backs." Yet the taste of the 
Englishmen, who had not spent so much, was acknow- 
ledged to have produced as splendid an effect as the 
gorgeous outlay of the French; as Fleurange par- 
ticularly records of the English pavilion made of wood, 
and drapery and glass, '^ elle etait trop plus belle que 
celle des Frangais, et de peu de coCitance." In one point, 
however, the ladies of Paris asserted a superiority they 
have retained almost ever since; the Englishwomen 
confessed themselves beaten ; but when they followed 
the fashion of their &ir rivals, it was not much better ; 
for, says the truthful historian, <<what they lost in 
modesty they did not make up in grace.'* 

Most unfortunately, on the fifth and last panel, though 
the stair-rail has preserved some of its details better than 
any of the rest^ the superiority of these French ladies 


J be Story of Rouen 

cannot be sufficiently studied, though several of their 
heads may be seen watching the procession from the 
windows and balconies of Ardres. The plumed hats 
and horses of the escort are particularly clear here, and 
they are more numerous than in the famous ^< Triumph 
of Maximilian " or in the ** Entry of Charles V. into 
Bologna." The figure of the courtier just mountiDg 
his horse is the one I like best of all except the digni- 
fied personage who bears the cross before the French 

If the English ambassador in 1 596 was easily able 
to recognise the subject of these carvings, no less quickly 
would the Cardinal de Florence, the Papal Legate who 
came to Rouen in the same year, and was also lodged 
in this house, remember the originals from which were 
taken the carvings on the frieze above the windows on 
this wall. For though later generations have misund^- 
stood them, just as they imagined the lower carvings to 
be the Council of Trent, it is quite clear from some 
words first discovered on the stone in 1875, ^^^^ ^ 
frieze was inspired by the " Triumphs ''of Petrarch. 
These words are as follows ; and I have added thdr 
proper continuation and beginning in italics : — 

*' Amor vincit mundum 
PudicHia vincit amorem 
Mors vincit pudicitiam 
Fama vincit mortem 
Tempus vmcit fcunam 
Divinitas sen Eternitas omnia vindt.^* 

M. Palustre has pointed out that an edition of these 
"Triumphs" was published in Venice in 1545 by 
Giolito, with woodcuts ; and though this is rather too 
late for the carvings Sunless, as was the case with Hol- 
bein's " Todtentanz, ' we may imagine the cuts were 
known long before the book) it is a matter of common 
knowledge that the subject was a favourite one not only 
for such illustrations but especially for tapestry; as 


Agrippa d'Aubignl records of contemporary tapestries 
at Lyons: '^Elles representent quatre triomphes, 
chacun de trois partis. • . •" And it was also by just 
such chariots, cars, and elephants, or other animals, that 
virtues and vices were represented in the great proces- 
sions of the kings and queens at Rouen and elsewhere, 
processions which of course were often taken as the 
subject for tapestries commemorating their magnificence. 
In Petrarch's verses you may read : — 

<* Quattro destrier via piii che neve bianchi 
Sopr' un carro di foco un garzon cnido 
Con arco in mano, e con saette a' fianchi . . • 
. . . Vidi un vittorioso e sommo duce 
Pur com' un di color, che 'n Campidoglio 
Trionphal carro a gran gloria conduce. . . ." 

On the third of these upper panels (just above the 
meeting of the two kings), is a great car drawn by 
oxen, whose wheels are crushing prostrate bodies in 
the road beneath them. The fourth carving shows a 
stage drawn by two elephants. The fleshless head of 
Death is in the front, with a serpent coiling round his 
leg, and on the car is the figure of a woman blowing 
a trumpet, with a banaer. This is evidently the fourth 
line of the verse just quoted, ** Fama vlncit mortem*** 
On the fifth car, drawn by four beasts, is a great dais, 
and personages beneath it. Before it walks a figure 
with a turban, beside it another figure crowned with 
branches and carrying a tree. Emblems of the growth 
of nature dispersed in the design may perhaps suggest 
the passage of the seasons and the lapse of time, for 
** Tempuj vinclt famam.** The last line, " D'tvin'ttas 
omnia vincit^*' is very well illustrated, over the door. 
Drawn by a lion, an eagle, an ox and an angel, to 
symbolise the four evangelists, a great car supports the 
three Persons of the Trinity beneath a dais ; and 
under the wheels are crushed various uncouth figures 


The Story of Rouen 

representing heresies. Cardinals, popes, and bishopi 
accompany the procession. 

Though I have only mentioned, so far, two of those 
great royal entries into Rouen, for which the citizeas 
were especially famous, the details given in Chapter XL 
will alone suggest that the scenes taken from Petraich'i 
verses would be very appropriate to a house in this 
particular town. The still more gorgeous festivities 
arranged for Henri II. and Catherine de Medicis, 
which I shall mention later on in this chapter, are even 
more Uke the triumphal cars and set pageants here 
represented, which have lasted on in England in the 
somewhat debased form of our own Lord Mayor's 
show, and were perhaps themselves the symbolical 
descendants of the Triumphs of the ancient Romans. 

This gallery of the Cloth of Gold and the Triumphs, 
is decorated in every other part with beautifully de- 
signed arabesques, and is joined to the main fa9ade by 
an exquisite turret, which rises at the comer near the 
short flight of steps, and breaks up the straight line of 
the walls in a way that the early Renaissance builders 
were extremely fond of doing, before the transition 
period had advanced so far as to make them forget the 
principles of the rising line of " Gothic " and adhere 
solely to the horizontal line of the Italian. But this 
turret is even more remarkable for the carvings it bears 
than for the delicate taste which dictated its position 
in the whole design. Upon the two sides visible to 
the spectator from the courtyard it is covered with 
representations of the pastoral scenes that might be 
seen any summer in the sixteenth century on the hills 
near Rouen. To see them all upon these walls you 
will need a good field-glass, but they deserve the 
closest inspection that is possible. 

Standing by the door of the gallery, the first relief 
above the window in the turret shows a scene by the 
banks of Seine, in which men are swimming about and 

The Story of Rouen 

playing various tricks on each other in the water. Ob 
shore some labourers are cutting grast with long aeytha 
which have only one handle rather low down in thdr 
long straight stem^ and women are piling up what hai 
been cut for hay. In the distance the same scene ii 
continued, a man stops to drink out of his flask, a hawk 
is swooping down upon a heron, and trees and towered 
houses fill up the further space. Above it, and beneadi 
the next window higher up the tower, the coontry 
grows more mountainous, and sheep are pastaring 
among the fields. In front a gallant shepherd det hii 
mistress's garter, while she reproves his rustic forward- 
ness. Behind them a somewhat similar declaratioD of 
affection is going on. A third shepherd quenches his 
thirst from a round flask. A traveller on horseback, 
with a bundle tied behind him, rides up the winding 
road, near which stands a rude shepherd's hut on 
wheels, which is still used in many an upland pasture 
to this day. On the other side of the road is a wind- 
mill. Scattered houses rise above the hills, and amon^ 
the clouds is seen a flight of birds. Beneath is written 
the appropriate legend, " Berger a Bergere proptemet se 
ingere." Beneath the small window at the top of the 
tower on the same side, the game called ** Main- 
chaude ** is in full progress. A shepherdess blindfolds 
with her hand the shepherd whose head is resting in 
her la]), and his comrades stand ready to take advantage 
of his helpless position. Various modest sheep pretend 
they arc not looking, another man calls to his friend 
in the distance, and a fifth is pensively playing a 
hautbois in the usual miraculous countryside with 
artistically disposed tufts of clouds above it. The 
motto reads : — 

*« Passe temps legers nous valent argent 
Silz ne sont dargent ils sont de bergers.'* 

Turning to the other side of the tower, the carving 


beneath the highest window represents a jovial picnic 
under the same idyllic conditions. Out of a big bowl 
placed on a tree-stump, a shepherdess helps her lover with 
a spoon, another man makes his dog beg for a morsel of 
the food ; music is provided behind by a self-sacrificing 
person with the bagpipes, and a fourth shepherd stands 
in the distance with some sheep, like a martyr to his 
duty. The window beneath this is decorated with a 
sheep-shearing scene, which I have reproduced from the 
outline drawing by E. H. Langlois, published by 
Delaqueri^re in his *^ Description Historique des 
Maisons de Rouen" (Paris: Firmin Didot. 182 1). 
The presiding shepherdess carries on her work with 
the usual embarrassing distractions. By her side a 
musician plays his hautbois to a dancing dog. Just 
behind them a spirited chase after a marauding wolf 
is in full cry ; more houses, clouds, and birds complete 
the picture. The motto is "Nous somes des fins: 
aspirans a fins.** The last scene represents men fishing, 
some with nets out of a boat, others on land with 
various uncouth patterns of fishing-rod; everyone 
appears to be making a fine catch, but the extraordinary 
occurrence on the bank will entirely divert your atten- 
tion from the fish ; for a knight, who had evidently 
ridden down to see the sport, has been snatched out of 
his saddle by a burly flying grifHn, and his servant 
looks frantically after his disappearing body in the 
clouds. Untroubled by these strange events, a young 
woman walks calmly towards the castle, a little further 
on, carrying a basket of eggs and butter on her head, 
and above her some new kind of osprey flies away with 
a protesting pike. [See page 361.] 

As carvings, these charmingly naive representations of 
country life break absolutely every rule that is supposed 
to govern the art of sculpture. Their relief is very slight 
indeed, they have no definite limits, for they wander 
vaguely round the windows, with trees and running 

Y 337 

7 be Story of Rouen 

water and clouds and birds and houses all on the same 
plane^ and all with equal ^^ values." I have not the 
slightest doubt that just as the Field of the Cloth of 
Gold was copied from a historical tapestry of the event, 
just as the Triumphs of Petrarch were copied from 
tapestries that might well ' have decorated the town of 
Ax6xes on the occasion of the royal meeting, so these 
window decorations, which betray their origin even more 
than the carvings on the other wing, were taken direct 
from tapestries which may have been at Ardres in June 
1520, and certainly might have been seen in any great 
chateau of the period. Their very position on these 
walls is very like what tapestries were so frequently 
used for in the lavish mural decoration of the time. 
Every house hung out its best embroideries and 
tapestries and gaily coloured cloths; and the way in 
which these windows break into the background of each 
design represents the very probable result of draping a 
long piece of tapestry round the window of a house. 
The Chateau of Blois is known to have contained just 
such " bergeries *' in the rooms of Anne of Brittany ; 
at another chateau in Touraine, the Chaumont of Greorges 
d'Amboise (the friend of the builder of this house in 
Rouen), may be still seen needlework, in pink and old 
rose, of country scenes, in the rooms used by Catherine 
de Medicis. Finally, in the inventory of the tapestries 
of Philip the Bold of Burgundy, drawn up soon after 
his death, you may read such entries as the following: — 

" Ung autre petiz tapiz de bergerie, sur champ vert, sem^ de 
bergiers et de bergieres . . . un^ autre vielz tapiz de haulte 
lice ouvr6 de jeunes hommes et temmes jouans de plusieurs 
jeux . . , arbres, herbaiges, ciel fait a faucons." 

This might really represent the original needlework 
from which Abbe Leroux chose the subjects for his 
carving, and that the origin was some tapestry of this 
fashionable kind I see no reason to doubt, especially 
in the town which preserves in the Church of St. Vin- 


a. likgADI HI Tun lUUOH 

The Story of Routn 

cent some of the finest sixteenth-centory tapestries in 

The flat textile kind of carving all over the house, 
which rises to excellence of workmanship in relief only 
in the meeting of the two kings, lends itself irresistibly 
to the same conclusion. And for this reason I ha?e 
not that extravagant admiration of it, viewed purely as 
work of art, which may be better reserved for concep- 
tions that are more original in the mind of the sculptor, 
and of more local interest in the town for which the 
work was done. As an example of the passion for 
processions and decoration, however, few better could 
have been chosen in Rouen than this Maison Bourg- 
theroulde, and I have therefore dilated on it at some 
length, to emphasise the spirit of life and colour that is 
the main subject of this chapter. But a far more im- 
portant reason for these details is the ^ct that the Field 
of the Cloth of Gold carved on this gallery, is of the 
greatest value and interest to all Englishmen as one of 
the few representations of that famous pageant which 
exist either in England or out of it. 

The only place near London where it can be con- 
veniently studied is in the gallery of Hampton Coun 
Palace. In that collection you may see, in No. 337, 
Henry's embarkation from Dover on the 3i8t of 
May in the Great Harry or Henri Grace de Dieti^ as 
she had been " hallowed" in 1514. And in No. 342 
is a large painting 5 J feet high by 13 feet, 3 inches 
long, of this meeting of the kings between Guinea and 
Ardres, which confirms in a very remarkable way 
many of the details in the Maison Bourgtheroulde. 
It is not by Holbein, though he is known to have 
done similar work that has not survived, but may have 
been painted either by John Browne or Vincent Volpe 
or John Cruste, all of whose names are mentioned in 
connection with court pageants of the reign. A small 
outline of this picture is very possibly connected with 


our earliest notions of English history, for it is pre-* 
fixed to Mr Murray's edition of Mrs Markham's 
" England." Mr Ernest Law's catalogue of the 
Hampton Court pictures gives further details in con- 
nection with it, and for a longer description refers his 
readers to the third volume of the State papers of 
Henry VIII., and to " Archaeologia," iii. 185-230.^ 
I cannot leave this subject without expressing the 
earnest hope not only that our own National Portrait 
Gallery may soon be able to let the public see some 
good reproduction of a scene that is of the greatest 
historical interest, but that efforts may be made to 
secure the better preservation of the original carvings 
in Rouen. The connection between that city and 
England is of long standing. It was the capital 
of those Norman dukes who conquered us at 
Hastings and flooded us with their art, their learning, 
and their civilisation. It was the most cherished 
foreign possession of our King Henry the Fifth, 
who died too soon to wear the crown in Paris. 
It has been the especial pilgrimage of our best his- 
torians and archaeologists and artists almost from 
that time until the present day. The " Monuments 
Historiques " in which it is so rich are being worthily 
cared for by an enlightened government, and I must 
believe that the sympathy and kindness extended by 
every authority in Rouen towards a visitor who 
honestly confessed his interest and carefully explored 

^ In November 1774 the Society of Antiquaries published 
a large engraving of this picture (which is still procurable) 
by James Basine, after a drawing by £. Edwards from the 
original then in the Royal Apartments of Windsor Castle. 
In this you may see the Fountains of Bacchus and Cupid 
running wine, in front of the English Pavilion, which is full of 
windows. The Salamander of Francis floats in the air above. 
In 1 78 1 the same engraver copied the companion picture of 
the embarkation of Henry VIII. from Dover in the *< Great 
Harry," after a drawing by S. H. Grimm. 


The Story of Rouen 

many of its inexhaustible treasures, would be more 
than doubled if that interest were expressed by some 
representative body like our Society of Antiquaries. 
That society would once more deserve well of its 
country, in the interests of both history and art, if it 
would come forward with some suggestion either to 
the Ministre des Beaux Arts, or to the local authori- 
ties. The Maison Bourgtheroulde is now in the safe 
hands of the Comptoir d'Escompte de Rouen. Every 
English traveller goes there to change his notes ; and 
every Englishman must see with regret that the 
English portion of these valuable carvings is the one 
that is most damaged. This was inevitable from their 
position ; but further injury can at once be prevented 
by shielding them with glass. If these modest pages 
which bring the subject before the notice of a some- 
what wider, and perhaps a more influential public, 
succeed in suggesting some movement that will, I am 
confident, be welcomed in the best spirit by French- 
men on the spot, I shall feel that the *< Story of 
Rouen " has not been told in vain. 

There is another house belonging to a famous 
citizen in Rouen, which is very different, but perhaps 
even more characteristic of the place; and with our 
walk towards it we may resume that discovery of the 
life of the town which I am just now concerned that 
you should realise. To reach the Maison Caradas 
you have a pleasant choice of paths. As you stand 
outside the Maison Bourgtheroulde and look east 
towards the Cathedral towers, the first street that 
goes south towards the river is the Rue Herbi^re, 
on your right out of the Place de la Pucelle, and 
that will bring you out by the Douane on the Quais. 
An even better way is to take the Rue de la Vicomte 
quite parallel to this, but further east, which passes the 
western gate of St. Vincent, and is full of interesting 
old houses from the Rue de la Grosse Horloge to the 


river. As you pass down it now there are some 
wonderful old houses on your right, and a fine court- 
yard at No. 25. Still a third choice is the Rue 
Harenguerie, which takes the same direction from 
the south door of St. Vincent, and by this I usually 
passed myself, for the sake of weaving stories in my 
mind about No. 21, a house that Balzac would have 
delighted to describe, with an open staircase in the 
comer of its old courtyard. 

The names of streets have often a fascination in 
themselves, and this one has probably been called 
the same ever since the herring market was set 
upon the quays in 1408. I wish I had had space 
to tell you more of these old names, which nearly 
all preserve a little local history, when they have not 
been stupidly and unnecessarily changed. But you 
may take this as a type of what many another will 
suggest, and in the laborious pages of the excellent 
M. P^riaux you may discover much more for your- 
self. The sale of herrings, which was always a large 
and an increasing business on the northern coasts, 
was organised in 1348, and by 1399 a barrel of 
"harengs caques" was sold for no sols. "Brusler 
tout vifz comme harans soretz," says Rabelais, of 
the poor regents of Toulouse University; and your 
salt herring from Guernsey, Scotland, and Biscay 
was in much request at the old market on the 
quay between the Porte St. Vincent and the Porte 
du Crucifix, where on large tables and slabs of stone 
the fishwives hired places from the Sergents de la 
Vicomte d'Eau to sell their eels from the Marne, 
congers from La Rochelle, trout from Andelys, fresh 
herrings from Le Havre. You may see the scene still 
in a stained-glass window of the Cathedral, and you 
may well imagine the state of mind of the old poet : — 

" Nul n'orra toute la dyablerie 
Ny le caquet de la Pessonnerie." 


The Story of Rouen 

Like everything else, it was under holy patronage, 
and fishwives prayed at the shrine of St. Julxn 
I'Hospitalier, the saint whose story Flaubert, another 
child of Rouen, has so wonderfully told. The wag^ 
of the seventeenth century called these ladies ^^noo 
angeliques mais harangeriques " ; but on fast-days 
every burgess and innkeeper and monk was glad 
enough to go to them; for was there not even ao 
"Abbaye aux Harengs** no further off than Mantes, 
and what better present could the Archbishop think of 
sending to his friend the Archdeacon than 2000 salted 
herrings in a specially holy barrel ? 

All the sound of the chaffering and howling of 
prices has gone into silence long ago in the old 
Rue Harenguerie of to-day, and you will be glad 
to turn into more lively quarters by taking the 
corner to your left, eastwards, down the Rue des 
Charettes. It is lighted up every now and then by 
a break in the houses and a glimpse of the river to 
your right, though it is more of masts and sails than 
water you will see. As you walk along, the name of 
a street that turns northwards on your left hand should 
be familiar if you have followed me thus far ; for it is 
called Jacques Lelieur, as is only right and proper, to 
commemorate the name and fame of one who did a 
great deal of good in the Rouen of his own day, and 
has made it much more interesting to ours. iHis house 
is No. 18 in the Rue Savonnerie, which continues 
the Rue des Charettes in the same direction, and 
you will know it by the tablet on the wall. It 
has two fine gables with excellent woodwork upon 
the street-facade ; though showing slight traces here 
and there of restoration, it was well worth keeping 
in good order as the house of an artistic burgess of 
the sixteenth century who lived up to his position in 
the town. 

To Jacques Lelieur we owe it that I am able to 


show you part of the most complete representation of a 
town in 152 c which is known to exist. For he drew 
the course of the various fountains and water-conduits 
in Rouen, not only in plan, but adding the elevation 
of the various houses, as may be seen on map F in 
Chapter IX., so that you may actually walk down 
every street and see what he saw three hundred and 
seventy years ago. All that part which was lucky 
enough to be comprised in his plan of the waterworks 
is accurately preserved in his naif and faithful drawings, 
in which the scaffoldings are put in as carefully as the 
finished buildings. The rows of gables that occur so 
often are not quite planed away into rectilinear dulness 
yet, as you may see along the Rue des Faux, or even 
Eau de Rebec here and Uiere. But the greater part of 
what he drew is only a melancholy memory, and the 
background of the old life of Rouen can only be re- 
called fi'om his drawing now to frame some such sketch 
as the present one of the inhabitants who have vanished 
with it. The view of the town at the end of this 
chapter contains a little microscopic vignette in the 
centre showing the artist presenting his famous Livre 
des Fontaines to the civic dignitaries. It is on foiu* 
long bands of parchment, of which the Hotel 
de Ville carefully preserves one, and the fourth 
is in the City Library. The drawings are done in 
black ink, with the houses coloured a pale yellow, the 
roofs shown with red tiles or bluish slates, the grass 
touched with yellowish-green. Besides being a secre- 
tary and notary of the Royal Courts, Lelieur held 
office in the town as councillor, sheriff, and finally 
President of the General Assembly in the absence of 
the bailli and lieutenant in 1542. He was crowned 
for his poem in the famous poetic tourney of the Puy 
des Palinods de Rouen, and he owned two or three 
fine estates outside the town. 

The object of our little pilgrimage is nearly reached 


The Story of Rouem 

DOW, aod afler you have admired the carviDga 
front of No. 4I, atop at the qtiaiot dweliiDg markc 
29. This is the Maiaon Caradaa, and its position at 
corner with the open apace of the river beyond it 
enables you to see it well all round. The slope of 1' 
ground upwards, which I noUced in earlier chaptei 
especially pronounced here, ^nd shows how much 
bankment had to be done before the town was real])>^ 
rescued from the swamps and mud-flats of the Setae. 
The fashion of building each upper storey to DTerlap 
the one beneaili is very evident here, and the effecu 1 
suggested in the last chapter may be vividly realised | 
as Regnier^ putt; it with his usual frankness: — 

n td dugout 

This ia 

e of the houses drawn in Lclieur's book al 
of the Rue Tuile, with the Fontaine Liaieux 
near it, that is now merely a grotesque ruin of its 
former splendours. So much uncertainty is exhibited 
by the beat local authorities aa to the real owner of the 
MaiaoD Caradas that I shall not pretend to solve the 
problem here. It is clear, however, that the word n 
a surname, or one of the by-namea so common in the 
first years of the sixteenth century when this was built ; 
and it is possible that it preserves one more auggestioo 
of the connection between Rouen and Spain, and 
means " amiable," as in the phrase, " Bien o nuJ , 
carado." For the root of the word is evidently !o the 
Greek X'^F'^' ^nd is found in the Gaelic " cara" ftta 
friend or ally), and the Breton "Caradoc," who was 
the CaractacuB of Roman days. 

If yovi will follow me a little fiirther in the same 

' Regnier bad come to Rouen to be treated by Lesonneur, 
a famous local specialist ; but he unfortunately eelebiatej his 
recovery with a little loo much Vln d'Espagne, and died in 
the Rue de la Prison in 1613. 


direction, as the Rue de la SaTonoerie becomes the 
Rue des Tapiaaiers, you will find the corner of the 
aged Rue du Hallage on your left marked by an ancient 
parrot in a decrepit cage. He has been living there for 
BO long that he is certain to be there to blink at any new 
arrival in the next half century, and as you pa»s him 
you will remember the pairot who was discovered in 
Central America, fiill of years and knowledge, in a 

village where not a single inhabitant understood what 
the bird said. He had been Tound among the ruined 
houses of a people who had vanished utterly, and be 
had become the sole repository of syllables that have 
been never heard elsewhere. If anyone could really 
understand him, I have often fancied that this ^ed 

The Story of Routu 

bag of feathers at the coraer of the Rue da Hallage 
could use the most astonishing language about the 
things that he has seen, for he could hardly be in a 
better place in Rouen than this strange street that 
crawls beneath shadowed archways to the Marcli6 aox 
Balais and the Rue de I'Epicerie. It takes its name 
from the Maison du Haulage, where the merchaott 
paid town dues upon their goods, and a few steps 
further in the Rue des Tapissiers will bring yoa to the 
Halles themselves, to which you enter through a huge 
black archway that gapes upon the Place de la Bane 
Vieille Tour. Upon the left are some of those old 
^'avant soliers" which you have seen in Jacques 
Lclieur's drawing of the Place du Vieux I^arche, the 
covered causeways formed by projecting walls propped 
up by heavy timbers. There is much hideously vulgar 
modern decoration to spoil the full e£Fect» but tJie main 
outlines of the old building are all there, and you may 
imagine what it looked like for yourself. 

On each side, as you enter the dark tunnel, great 
warehouses stretch out to right and left, still on the 
same spot where Charles V. gave Rouen the Halle aox 
Drapiers in 1367. Since then they have been con- 
stantly filled and constantly rebuilt. Beneath your feet 
are immense vaults that have been used since 1857 
for storing oil and goods under warrant, and in the 
South Hall are piled the famous " Rouenneries " 
and coloured cottons, and those "draperies'* which 
have been famous almost since Edward the Confessor 
allowed the Rouen merchants to use his Port of 
Dungeness, and the town was granted the monopoly 
of the Irish trade, with the exception of one ship a 
year from Cherbourg. 

When Warwick the Kingmaker made a memorable 

visit to Rouen in I467 as an ambassador. King Louis 

XI. ordered the town to furnish the English with all 

they wanted at his expense, with the result that ^* tons 



les gens de I'ambassade s'en retouradrent chez eux, 
y^tus de damas et de velours^ et de ces draps fins et 
precieux qui asseurent au commerce de Rouen la supe- 
riorite sur toutes les villes du royaume." That "supe- 
riority " lasted well through the sixteenth century, and 
when Huguenots fled from Rouen to Westminster 
and Rye and Winchester, they were nearly all cloth- 
makers and silk- weavers. Such names as the Rue aux 
Anglais, the Rue aux Espagnols and others preserve 
the memory of commercial ventures that are even more 
picturesquely suggested by the ships carved here and 
there upon old house-fronts in the town. Nor did 
Rouen conmierce stop at England, Spain, Portugal, 
Ireland, Flanders, or other countries of the old world. 
Her citizens, as we have seen, had known long ago a 
" King of the Canaries,** and it was no doubt at the 
suggestion of either Spanish or Portuguese companions 
that Rouen ships saileid on towards the Guinea Coast, 
to the Cape Verde Islands, and "the Indies,** even 
across the Atlantic to Brazil, whence they brought 
back the rare wood called by Jean de Lery "ara- 

^ The native name for this staple of trade was ^ ibirapitanga,'' 
and with it they shipped across monkeys and parroquets for 
the ladies of the French Court. That there was a considerable 
rivalry with Portugal in these matters may be gathered from 
the remark in Marino Cavalli (Venetian Ambassador to the 
Court of France^ that a Portuguese vessel was burnt off Brazil 
in 1546. But tne first document on Brazil ever published in 
France was the account of the savages exhibited before Henri 
IL in 1550. It is probably written by Maurice S^ve and 
Claude de Tillemont and was published in 1551. Before that 
year it will be remembered that the only works about America 
known were the book of Fernandez in Spanish, Ramusio's 
account in Italian, and the letters of Cortes in German. After 
it, Thevet's <♦ France Antarticque ** appeared in 1558, and 
Nicolas Barrd's letters in 1557. So that the book of the 
entry of Henri II. has the importance of filling a gap in 
*' American Literature.'' 


The Story of Rouen 

Though various *< savages " were seen there 
the most famous occasion of the appearance of real 
Brazilians in the streets of Rouen was the particulaily 
magnificent reception given by the citizens to Henii 
II. and Catherine de Medicis in October 1550. They 
were accompanied by Marie de Lorraine, daughter ik 
the Due de Guise and Queen-Dowager of Scotland, 
who met at Rouen her little daughter Marie Stoait 
then eight years old and receiving a perilous education 
at the French Court which she was soon to rule during 
the short reign of Frangois II. Marguerite de France^ 
daughter of Francois I. was there too, and Diane de 
Poitiers, just over fifty years of age, who maintained 
over the King the same influence she had exercised 
over the Dauphin when she first came to Court from 
Normandy. It is interesting to note that her nephew 
Louis d'Auzebosc was pardoned by the Fierte St 
Romain seven years afterwards. 

Besides the « theatres" and "Myst^res," which 
you will remember were presented to Fran9oi8 I., the 
citizens determined that in case mythology and sym- 
bolism had lost their pristine charms, an absolutely 
novel entertainment should be given to the King on 
this occasion. So on the fields between the Convent 
des Emmurees and the left bank of the Seine a great 
sham fight was arranged between a number of Norman 
sailors and fifty " Brazilian savages ** of the newly dis- 
covered tribe of Tupinambas, " naivement depinct au 
naturel," which may be understood as "clad only in 
their own skins and a few stripes of paint." They 
must have felt the climate of Rouen in October 
slightly raw, but no doubt the sham fight kept them 
warm, and everything seems to have gone off very 
pleasantly. The ladies were especially interested in 
these unknown creatures, and the King devotedly 
displayed the triple crescent of his lady Diana through- 
out the entire performance. There was much singing of 



anthems and decoration of the streets, but the Indians 
were evidently the " pi^ce de resistance." ^ 

Besides the music in the town, of which I repro- 
duce an example at the end of this chapter, an enter- 
tainment was provided for the King and Queen and all 
the ladies in the great Palais de Justice, with which 
those rogues, the gay members of the " Basoche," 
must have been heartily in sympathy. For Brusquet, 
the Court jester, went into the Advocate's Box, and 
before the Queen upon the seat of justice, with all her 
ladies round her, he pleaded several important causes 
both for the prosecution and for the defence, " et 
faisait rage d'alleguer loix, chapitres, et decisions, et 
luy croissoit le latin en la bouche comme le cresson a 
la guelle d'un four," the whole being a satire on the 
well-known Norman passion for a law-suit, which was 

1 In that year was carved for No. 17 Rue Malpalu the 
« enseigne " of the Brazilian savages, which has only disap- 
peared in the last few years. It is difficult to say that any 
ecclesiastical carvings are meant for Indians, for I have seen 
figures with plumes and tattooing and tomahawks in a French 
church of the thirteenth century which were merely meant 
for peculiarly gruesome devils ; but the feathered dresses and 
bow and arrows of the figures in the Church of St. Jacques at 
Dieppe are of an age that may very well agree with this ap- 
pearance of Brazilians as public characters in France. 

In 1565 Godefroy*8 <<C^r^monial de France " records that 
they were again shown to Charles IX. at Troyes, and Mon- 
taigne's questions to them in 1563 will be remembered. They 
replied that what astonished them most was (Essais I. xxx.) 
to see so many strong men armed and bearded (meaning the 
Swiss guard probably) obeying a puny litde person like the 
King. They were also fairly puzzled at seeing men gorged 
with plenty and living in ostentation on one side of the road, 
and starveling ruffians begging their bread in the gutter on the 
other without attempting to take the rich men by the throat, 
or even bum their houses. On which the essayist's comment 
is << Tout cela ne va pas trop mal ; mais quoy! Us ne portent 
[)oint de hault de chausses," a truly Rabelaisian reason for their 
want of intellect I 


The Story of* Rouen 

appreciated as much by the good people of Rouen ai 

by their royal visitors. 

But to finish this chapter with a glimpee of the 
people themselves, I must take you back to that old 
Rue du Hallage, in which our memories of Rooen'i 
trading voyages suggested the festivities of this royal 
entry. And I can imagine few greater contrasts than 
that from the spacious courtyard of the Palais de Justice 
to the view of the queer twisting streets and commoD 
habitations that you will get by standing in the Place 
de la Calende and looking down the Rue de I'Epicerie 
towards the river. As you wander down it you must 
look at No. 14, an excellent type of early sixteenth- 
century building, with its old figured tiles and high 
gable, and the division between the ground floor and the 
next storey strongly marked by carvings and brackets. 
You are now not only in a typical part of the old city, but 
on ground that has borne the name since the fourteenth 
century, and earned it (as did the Rue Harenguerie) 
from the kind of commerce carried on there. You 
have already passed the Rue des Fourchettes on your 
right, and a little further on is a still more fascinating 
name, the Marche aux Balais, where brooms were sold 
in 1644, after their modest commerce had been for- 
bidden near St. Martin sur Renelle. On one of the 
small houses round it is the date 1602, and near it the 
carving of a salamander, which evidently gave its name 
to the Rue de la Salamandre, which had originally been 
known as "Mauconseil" ever since 1280, a name that 
is almost as appropriate to its darkness now as *< Sala* 
mandre " must have been suggestive of its condition in 
the sixteenth century. It needs very little imagination 
to conceive amid these surroundings just such a ** Cour 
de Miracle " in Rouen as Victor Hugo described in 
Paris. And, indeed, it js but quite lately that a con- 
glomeration of tottering and leprous houses, with- 
out owners, and never entered by the police, was 


torn down. The Rue CoDpe-Gor|e, the Rue de 
rAumone, especially the horrible Clog Sc Marc, 
have not long been swept away. Every cellar and 
every attic aeemed to communicate by tortuous and 
filthy paBsages with the next. No visitor was ad- 
mitted who had not the hall-mark of crime visibly 
upon him, or was not a member of that loatfasome 
confraternity of j^, 

thieves and beggars 
who lived by their 
raids upon society 
at large. 

Straight out of 
the March6 aux 
Balais the Rue du 
Hallage burrows 
under the ancient ' 
houses towards the 
river, hemmed in by 
walls on all aides, 
that catch up every 
breath of air that 
moves, and shut out 
nearly all the light. 
The backs of its 
crowded dwellings 
you can see from 
the great square 
into which the Rue de I'Epicerie directly leads, the 
Place de la Haute Vleille Tour, where yon must go 
forthwith and see the beautiful little building that was 
set up for the great ceremony of the Fierte St. 

This was the ceremony that gave their one great day 

in all the year to the drowsy archways of the Rue du 

Hallage ; for the Marche aux Balais and the Rue 

Salamaodre and the Rue de I'Epicerie itself, were 

* 353 

The Story of Rouen 

all crowded to sufiPocation. Every AscensioD-tide, 
from the reign of the Norman dukes until the ReTola- 
tion, not these streets only, but every window in the 
houses, and the very roofs above, were crammed with 
people waiting for the great annual procession in which 
the prisoner was set free. I have quoted many extracts 
from the records kept by the Chapterhouse of theie 
occasions, because the list has provided typical ifi«»tfl»w^ 
of men and manners in Rouen from the thirteenth 
century onwards. And I can close my tale of the 
most brilliant portion of Rouen's history in no better 
way than by suggesting to you something of the interest 
and the excitement created by a processional cere- 
mony, which may itself be taken as typical of the 
people's life. 

From the earliest hour at the breaking of the dawn 
of Ascension Day, the whole of Rouen was thinking 
and talking of nothing else except the prisoner, and in 
every quarter of the city the interest in him took a 
different form. All the countryside of Vexin and of 
Caux had trooped into the town with women and 
children in their Sunday best. From the attic 
windows of the Rue de I'Epicerie girls in flapping 
white head-dresses leant across the road and screamed 
their good fortune to the neighbours opposite ; for 
these were some of the best places to see the cere- 
mony, and in 1504 the crowd who scrambled for 
them was so great that the roofs fell in. The open 
square itself was gradually filling up ; the gay Cau- 
choises who were chambermaids at the Auberge de la 
Herche were doing a roaring trade; soldiers of the 
Cinquantaine in green velvet doublets were taking 
their morning draught at the Trois Coulombs, before 
each man shouldered his arquebus and went off to 
keep his guard; even the Crieurs des Trepasses had 
come out into the light, their strange black cloaks all 
sewn with silver skulls. At last eight o'clock struck, 


and there was a general movement towards the Parvis, 
for the luckiest in the front rows of the crowd could 
look through the Chapterhouse door and actually see 
the preliminary meeting of the canons about the 
choice of their prisoner. But the door was soon shut, 
and at last the crowd could only hear the solemn 
notes of the ** Veni Creator '* sounding from within, 
as the good ecclesiastics prayed for divine direction in 
their solemn office. At last a name was written 
down, sealed up and given to the Chaplain de la 
Confr^rie de St. Romain, who passed solemnly out 
with the fatal missive in his hand, and the canons at 
once proceeded to fill up the interval of waiting with a 
huge dinner. 

Followed by a number of the citizens the chaplain 
took his way towards the Palais de Justice. There, 
too, ever since eight o'clock everyone had been ex- 
tremely busy. Two by two the members of the 
High Court of Parliament in their scarlet robes had 
marched out of the Council Chamber, with their four 
state officials in violet preceding them, and a guard of 
the Cinquantaine before. In this chapel they all 
heard the " Messe du Prisonnier," and then sat down 
to the enormous repast called the " Festin du cochon," 
with which (on a smaller scale), every public body 
and every household in Rouen fortified themselves 
for the doings of that splendid day. By the end of 
dinner the chaplain and his cartel had arrived, and the 
whole courtyard of the Palais was ringed with crowds 
of people. Accompanied by his Prevot and four 
other members of the Confr^rie St. Romain, the 
chaplain was escorted into the great hall, the name 
was solemly read out, and the officials of the Parlia- 
ment went to the particular gaol in which the prisoner 
happened to be kept. Bareheaded, with his irons still 
upon one leg, the man was brought quickly to the Con- 
ciergerie, that his name might be enregistered as a 


The Story of Rouen 

formal prisoner of the Palais ; for all the legal bodki 
were particularly touchy about their own prerogatiYes. 
When a man could not walk he was carried, as was 
Antoine de Lespine in 1602, who had been wounded 
in a duel two days before, and could only be got to 
the Conciergerie in a clothes-basket. 

After certain solemn preliminaries the prisoner was 
brought into the great hall, and while all the conn- 
cillors stood up he knelt before the president to receiTc 
admonition for his past sins and pardon for the future. 
Still bareheaded, he was then led out by the ** huissien" 
of the court through the great open space in ^nt, and 
as his foot touched the pavement of the street beyond, 
a signal set the great bell Georges d'Amboise ringing 
from the Cathedral tower. At the sound, every 
steeple in Rouen rocked with answering salutations 
^^Rurajam late venerantur omen.** From every parish 
church for miles round the ringers, waiting for the 
^* bourdon's '' note, sent out a joyful peal in chorus, 
and every villager drank bumpers to the prisoner's 
health. Himself, a little dazed we may imagine with 
this sudden tumult in the streets and in his heart too 
at deliverance from death, he marched along with the 
arquebusiers beside him, through a cheering crowd 
towards the old Halles. There the authority of the 
law let go its grip, and he was handed over to the 
chaplain and the deputies of the Confr^rie St. Romain, 
who took him to an inner room. There he was given 
refreshment, his chains were struck off and wound 
round one arm, and he was dressed in fresh clothes. 

Meanwhile, after the Cathedral choir had sung a 
solemn Te Deum, the great procession of the church 
had moved out of the Portail des Libraires, chanting in 
mighty unison **Chri8te quern sedes revocant patemae," 
down the Rue St. Romain to the western gate of St 
Maclou, where choir-boys met them bearing lighted 
candles and swinging incense. And the chaplain 



brought the prisoner out into the Place de la Haute 
Vieille Tour, and leading him up the right-hand steps 
of the Chapelle de la Fierte, presented him to the mass 
of people in front just before the procession arrived 
from the Cathedral. So he knelt bareheaded and 
kissed the holy shrine which two priests had borne up 
to its place; the Archbishop addressed him in the 
hearing of his fellow citizens, and before them all he 
made confession, receiving his absolution as he raised 
the shrine of St. Romain thrice by its bars upon his 
shoulders, while all the people cried " Noel ! Noel ! " 
Then a confrere de St. Romain put a garland of white 
flowers upon the prisoner's head, and holding one end 
of the shrine himself he gave the prisoner the other, 
and all men put themselves in order for the march back 
up the Rue de I'Epicerie to the Place de la Calende 
and so to the Parvis and the western gate of the 

As the first notes of the " Felix Dies Mortalibus " 
were chanted by the priests, a hundred and twenty poor 
orphans moved forward, each carrying in one hand a 
wooden cross all wreathed with flowers and in the 
other a great loaf of bread. Behind them came the 
shrines of all the saints whose churches guarded Rouen, 
each with the Confr^rie over whose interests they 
watched ; St. Blaise with his wool-merchants, St. Jean 
with the orange-sellers, St. Sebastien with the hatters, 
and many more ; each marching confrere wreathed in 
flowers, and every shrine attended with its special 
banner and its priests and candles. These were followed 
by the archers of the Cinquantaine, and the banner of 
their great Dragon, who appeared again upon a lofty 
pole, swallowing a fish ; by a band of sweet music and 
of singers chanting melodiously their "cantiques and 
motets " ; by all the burgesses of Rouen walking 
decorously two by two; by the choir-boys of the 
Cathedral and two hundred of the clergy, the canons 


The Story of* Rouen 

in violety and the greater dignitaries in soutanes of red 
silk ; by the ofHciating canon, and lastly by the Arch- 
bishop himself, blessing the people as he went along. 

As the chanting died away, after a short intoral 
came the beadle all in violet livery bearing the great 
" Gargouille " of the town, and followed by a rabble 
of laughing, screaming lads in modey, swinging bladders, 
and throwing flowers and cakes about the street — that 
note of ribaldry without which no such procession was 
complete — ^and then came suddenly a silence, for the 
most holy shrine of St. Romain passed by, borne by 
the prisoner and a priest. The last seven prisoners 
followed him, bareheaded and with torches. And then 
the laughter and the cheering broke out again as more 
burgesses tramped along with bouquets in their hands, 
and young girls all in white with garlands of flowers 
about their bosoms scattered blossoms on the bystanders, 
and more guards and soldiers closed up the procession 
and kept the crowd from breaking through its ranks. 

By this time the first line had reached the Parvis, 
and as the voices of two priests singing on the sunmiit 
of the Tour St. Romain floated down upon the people, 
all men passed in through the Portail de St. Romain (A 
the Western Front, under the great shrine held cross- 
wise, so that all who went beneath received the blessed 
influence. When everyone had entered, and the shrine 
was once more on the High Altar, the Grand Mass 
was sung, and the prisoner was once more publicly 
exhorted by the Archbishop, before he was taken away 
again by the Confr^rie St. Romain to a great feast in 
the Master's House which was the real celebration of 
his return to freedom. 

The life of a sixteenth -century French town has 
often been described before, but I am particularly 
fortunate in being able to sketch you something of 
what went on in Rouen, not merely with the back- 
ground of Lelieur's drawing, but even with the sound 



of the music which was heard in her streets ; and, if I 
mistake not, the one is as unknown to English readers 
as the other. It has been said that Guillaume le Franc, 
a musician of Rouen, actually composed the tune known 
as the "Old Hundredth," originally set to the 134th 
Psalm in the Geneva Psalter, and used by English 
Protestants for the looth about 1 562. It was Handel's 
opinion that Luther composed it, and to Claude 
Goudimel, who was assassinated in the St. Bartholomew 
of Lyons, the honour has also been attributed; but 
local patriotism insists upon le Franc, and after reading 
the specimen of local musical talent I shall give you, 
I believe you will be readier to allow that Guillaume 
le Franc may have done what his fellow-citizens 

The madrigal I have printed here was written in a 
rare old book I found in the Library of Rouen.^ It 
was most kindly copied out for me on the spot by 
M. Baurain, and Mr J. A. Fuller- Maitland was so 
good as to decipher the ancient notation and provide 
me with a score that anyone can play and sing to-day. 
He has also written the last paragraph of this chapter, 
and with his learned explanation I may leave you to 

1 Its title-page is too good to be lost, and runs as follows, 
without the charming spacing and lettering of the original : — 

" Cest La Deduction du sumptueux ordre plaisantz spectacles 
et magnificques theatres dresses et exhibes par les citoiens de 
Rouen ville Metropolitaine du pays de Normandie, A la sacree 
Maiest^ du Treschristian Roy de France Henry secod leur 
souverain seigneur, Et a Tresillustre dame, maDame Katharine 
de Medicis, La Royne son espouse, lors de leur triumphant 
joyeux et nouvel advenement en icelle ville, Qui fut es fours 
d'Octobre, Mil cinq cens cinquante, £t pour plus expresse 
intelligence de ce tant excellent triumphe, Les figures et 
pourtraictz des principaulx aornements d'iceluy y sont apposez 
chascun en son lieu comme Ton pourra veoir par le discours de 
I'histoire. . . . Avec priuilege du Roy. On les vend a rouen 
chez Robert le Hoy Robert et Jehan dictz du Gord tenantz 
leur Boutique Au portail des Libraires. iSSi'" 


The Story of Rotten 

the enjoyment of a song that has neyer been pubfiibed 
since 155 if and t|iat will reproduce for joa^ for the 
first time since then, the sound of the welcome giten 
to Henri II. and Catherine de Med^ds as they entered 
their good town of Rouen in 1 5 50. 

In the history of music this four-part song is 
interesting as giving evidence of the general cultiva- 
tion in music that must have prevailed among the 
French people at the time. In the present day we 
are apt to think of the madrigal or motet writers as 
a class of specialists working at elaborate harmonic 
and contrapuntal problems for their own delight, but 
as having little influence on the national acceptance 
of music. Nothing could be further from the truth, 
as far as England, the Netherlands and Italy were 
concerned; and in France, where the art of the 
simple tunes of the troubadours represents for lu the 
typical national* music of medixval times, it is im- 
portant to have a document which shows as clearly 
as this does the kind of music which was recognized 
as suitable for a great pageant. In style, the French 
school of the sixteenth century differs not at all from 
that of the Netherlands, of which it is generally re- 
garded as an ofF-shoot (see Grove, "Diet, of Music 
and Musicians," vol. iii., p. 267). In the works 
of Pierre Certon, Claude Goudimel, and others, 
would be found many compositions constructed on 
similar lines to the example here given ; that is to 
say, that the rules of madrigal writing are strictly 
observed, although the preference for massive treat- 
ment of the opening of each line seems to point to 
the use for which it was intended, viz., to be sung 
in the open air. There are not many instances of 
works of this class apparently meant for female voices 
only, and there may have been some reason for this 
connected with the general plan of the ceremony. 
The little piece is in the Dorian mode, and in the 



clearly and correctly 
Tour separate giana on 
double page. In GCor- 
the accidentals, which do 
the original, have 
added in brackets. It is, of 
impoasible to sucmiBe who 
may have been the author, but it is 
that, wlioever he Was, he 
leniarkable skill in 
■writing effei 
aider ' 

which he worked, with nothing 
lower than the second alto part 
for hi a baas, it is aurprlaing to 
notice the sonority of austained 
tone that is got by skilful dis- 
position of the harmonies, while 
the beautiful antiphonal effect at 
the point "Vive !e Roi " is of 
a kind that must appeal to hearers 
of .ill classes and periods alike. 


Soprano i. 

Soprano 2. 

Alto i. 


g , ^ - 

^ * la 

Lou • ange et gloi - re 

en ac 




Alto 2. 

Lou - ange et gloi 

re en 




Lou - ange et gloi - re en ac -ti - on . . dc 



Lou - ange et gloi - re en 

ac-ti • on 

ment (for 
^sractice only). 



paix vray 






-G G- 


teur : 

Par qui la Fran - 

t> o G r J 




-G G — 

-G & >3 

H 1 Q 

la paix vray . 





teur : Par qui la Fran - 





-G G- 

-d— J 


la paix .... vray 

au-teur: Par qui la Fran - 






paix vray 




fsr -7jr ~d- ~^- -&- 
au - teur: Par qui la Fran - 




■G G- 



■G G- 

H ^ 

r— t 










<3I (S(- 

I I ( 

i I I 

z=— _CL- _q— 4— ^- 
-J5- -^- -^- -^ -«- 



— ^H 





en seur re - pos em - bras 











-© — (S 


re - pos em -bras 



ce en seur re ' pos 





se, Ses 






seur re » pos 



9 ^- 










i: ~cr 


se, Ses 





T P^ gg 





-& — (©- 









ve son Roy de 



son Roy, vi - ve, V^ - ve son Roy de 



-Q — Q- 





Vi - ve son Roy, Vi • ve son 

Roy de 






son Roy, vi 



-& r—G 



Vi - ve son Roy 












-G — & 


H H- 







ce bien pro - tec - teur 

Soubz qui de paix 







ja P" 


ce bien pro - tec - teur 

Soubz qui de paix • . 


-G G- 


l_X_^ ^_ 



ce bien pro - tec - teur Soubz qui de 






ce bien 

pro - tec - teur Soubz qui de 


J — <«3 («= a J 



* This note is G in the originaL 



■& — ©- 



pies jou - 3rss 


di - vers^. , peu 

1 — ' — I \ 

. . . di - vers . . peu 

pies . . jou 











• ^ Q - 

di - vers . . . peuples jou - yss 





Dont luy est 

deu . 




-« — &- 





Dont luy est 

deu . 

cy - bas - 




Dont luy est 

deu cy - bas . . joye 

• * • 






Dont luy est deu . . . . 



—o--e>- _ 



cy - bas 






- g> O 




-o- -jP.-f-pr 





The previous croichel suggests xYx^x. \\xv& uox* ickoxi^^ \ifc "^ ^a^x, 



:5~p~ pit.g 


■l O ■ Q l O ^ 


bas joye et hon-neur, Puis que les 








-lO .©-r 

• ©h 




joye et hon-neur, .... 

Puis que les 










hon-neur, Puis que les cielz . . de la paix 



et . . hon - neur, 



-t© — o- 

1.^-^ I 

Puis que les cielz 

■&—& — &- 

n©— C- 




^ f=^ 


"?^ <^ 







" G l O i-g> B a^ 




la paix s'^ 

siou-yss - ent, 

Puis que 



cielz de la paix s'6 - siou - yss 




-r~i — 











ent, Puis que les 


^S^— !S^.--<=-*-d— ^^ 


de la . . 


paix s'6-siou - yss 

I I. ! 










Q" -I 








1©- is- 

les cielz . . de la paix s'^ 

siou-yss - ent 


«— ©- 




Puis que les cielz de la paixs'^-siou- yss • ent 

-(b) r- 1 I ■ I , (p-r 

cielz de la paixs'6 



siou • yss • ent 

— (t) — 



. que les . . cielz 

de la 

paix 8*^sioa-yss • ent 




Note. — /or /i&^ benefit of those not learned in Six^ 
teenth^ Century Musky it may be interesting to hint that 
the melody is written here for the Second Soprano, and to 
addyfor their encouragement^ that the experiment of per~ 
forming this Madrigal^ unaccompanied^ with tivo laSes^ 
and two male voices in the Alto parts y proved perfectly 
successful^ thanks to the science oj Mr Fuller-Maitland 
and the goodwill of the singers. 


Literature and Commerce 

Tille blen marchande 
le de la mer grande 

D'alier chercher bien loin Tambra, la poreelaine, 
Le Sucre, la mmcade, et rant d'excellents vim . . . 
. . Soye, oQate, tabac, dtapa de laine, polsson, 
Bois, bledi, sel, bescars, lout lu^ Tieiit \ foison. 

SUCH popular feativala as that 1 have just described 
upOD Ascension Day are of very ancient origin, 
even if they do not date back to that earliest" FSte aux 
Normands," whose institution you will remember in 
1070. Two years afterwards began the Confr^rie de 
la Vierge to which Pierre Dare, Lieutenant- Genera I 
for the King, gave fresh lustre when he was elected its 
Master in i486. Though older poems ('ike that of 
Robert Wace) are connected with the ConfrSrie, to 
2 A 369 

The Story of Rouen 

him 18 due the beginning of those <^ Palinods ** sung b 
honour of the Virgin in the Church of St. Jean des 
Pres, which were called the " Puy de Conception,'* like 
the Puy d' Amour of the Provencal troubadours. The 
name probably originated in the refrain which ran 
through all the various metres allowed in the poems 
which were sent in for competition, as Pierre Grognet 
describes in 1533 — 

<< On y presente les rondeaulx 
Beaulx pallinotz et chans royauix 
£t sappelle celle journee 
La feste du Puy honor^." 

In these rhymes are preserved just those details of the 
people's life for which we have been looking. Great 
events and mighty personages in the world outside are 
passed unnoticed. The important trivialities of the 
householder's existence are the main theme of every 
verse. The Muse Normande of David Ferrand is a 
collection of such fragments of many ^^ Concours des 
Palinods" from its beginning till his death in 1660. 
They are chiefly written in that ** langue purinique ou 
gros normand " which was the distinctive patois of the 
working classes, and especially of those ^* purins " or 
** ouvriers de la draperie " who dwelt in the parishes of 
Martainville, of St. Vivien, and St. Nicaise in the city. 
You may hear it to this day in the villages of Caux. 
Here the gossip of the populace is reproduced, and 
you read of the burdens laid upon the people, of the 
abundance of wine (which did away with any need 
for beer), of the rivalries of corporations, of the 
amusements of the town, the mysteries and Miracle 
Plays, the Basoche, and the rough practical joking of 
the populace. 

One of the most important subjects, for our purpose, 
in all David Ferrand's verse is that famous ** Boise de 
Saint Nicaise," round which a seventeenth-century war 

Literature and Commerce 

waged, more bitterly and fiercely disputed than half the 
contests which take up the pages of your sober royal 
histories. You must know that this ^< Boise de Saint 
Nicaise " was an enormous beam of wood, chained by 
iron bars and links to the church walls, where every 
evening the gossips used to gather in the cemetery and 
talk over the scandal of the parish, or regulate the pro- 
ceedings of the town. Thrice in 220 years had Rouen 
been besieged, once by the English and twice by its 
own countrymen, and each time the virtues of the 
famous ^' boise " had saved it from pillage and desecra- 
tion. Upon its black and shining length the disputes 
of every century had been heard and settled : masters 
had brought up their quarrels with the workmen, mer- 
chants had wrangled over sharp practice in their busi- 
ness, girls had been summoned to receive a lecture from 
the elders of the parish on the flightiness and immodesty 
of their behaviour. No parish had ever such a pal- 
ladium of its dignity. And you can easily conceive 
the derision and contempt with which the mighty 
** boise" was treated by the boys of the rival and 
neighbouring parish of St. Godard, who used to sing — 

<* Les habitants de Saint Nicaise 
Ont le coeur haut et fortune basse." 

This was a bad pun on the choeur^ or choir, of the 
church that was too good for its worshippers. For 
there was a great contrast between the populations on 
each side of the dividing line. St. Godard was filled 
with magistrates and mighty men of law, who lived in 
sumptuous houses and carved their coats of arms upon 
their massive sideboards, who quoted Malherbe, and 
approved the early efforts of a young man called 
Corneille, and prided themselves upon the delicacy and 
scholarship of their speech. In St. Nicaise, on the 
contrary, you heard little save the "purinique," or 
patois of the workmen ; in narrow, dark, and twisting 

37 » 

7be Story of Rouen 

streets the drapers and weavers and dyers carried on 
their trades and earned their bread by the sweat of 
their brow. Their children had to work early for 
their living, and helped the business of their parents 
when still in the first years of their youth. No wonder 
these who ** scorned delights and lived laborious days " 
laughed at the effeminacy of their neighbours, saying 

<* Aux enfants de Saint Godard 
L'esprit ne venait qu* a trente ans.** 

By 1632 this feeling of rivalry and mutual distrust had 
been sharpened into positive hatred ; for, of course, 
when the troubles of the Ligue had come, and St. 
Godard had declared for its old kings and saints, 
St. Nicaise had openly professed belief in Villars and 
Mayenne, and almost raised a chapel to the memory of 
Jacques Clement the assassin ; and you may imagine 
the gibes of Royalist St. Godard when the tide of fortune 
turned against the rebel parish. Athens and Sparta 
were not more different, or more hostile. One day 
the smouldering fires broke into flame. It was the day 
of a procession when, at the very meeting line of the 
two parishes, the clergy of St. Godard, splendid in 
gold and embroidery, with a cross of gold before them, 
and behind them a line of ladies richly dressed and 
escorted by red-robed magistrates, were moving in 
procession, with the banner at their head presented by 
the Lady President of Gremonville, whereon the 
figure of the patron saint was embroidered upon crimson 
velvet hung round with cloth of gold. Consider the 
disdain of these fine ladies for the modest little gather- 
ing that walked, across the way, beneath a little banner 
of ordinary taffetas bearing a tiny effigy of St. Nicaise, 
worked in worn colours of old faded pink, and followed 
by a crowd of workmen clad in blouse and sabot and 
rough woollen caps. At a certain point the contrast 

Literature and Commerce 

became unbearable. The workmen, with a shout of 
fury, made a sudden rush upon that hateful new banner 
of St. Godard, tore it from the standard-bearer's hands, 
and threw it in the muddy waters of the boundary- 
stream. How the two processions got home after that 
you may imagine for yourself. It says much for the 
control of the respective clergy that there were no open 
blows at once. But that night St. Nicaise was vulgarly 
merry, and St. Godard wrapped its wrongs in ominous 
and aristocratic silence. What the songs were that 
those workmen sang in the cemetery of St. Nicaise you 
can read in a queer little book written by one ^^ Abbe 
Raillard" in 1557, an "Abbe des Conards," who 
imitates Rabelais when he tries to be original, but is of 
far more value when he merely reproduces what he 
heard, to wit, " la fleur des plus ingenieux jeux chan- 
sons et menus flaiollements d'icelle jeunesse puerille, 
receuilly de plusieurs rues lieux et passages oil il estoit 
r^pandu depuis la primitive recreation, aaze, jeunesse et 
adolescence Normande rouennoise." 

Here is a chorus which no doubt resounded on that 
night of victory over St. Godard — 

" Jay menge un oeuf 
La lange dun bceuf 
Quatre vingt moutons 
Autant de chapons 
Vingt cougnons de pain 
Ancore ayge faim," 

or this, again — 

" Gloria patri ma mere a petri 
Elle a faict une gaiiette 
Houppegay, Houppegay j'ay bu du cidre Alotel (^w)." 

Unfortunately, after having gone shouting to bed, 
the men of St. Nicaise slept sound without a thought 
of possible reprisals. But the young bloods " across 
the way " were all alert. Waiting till the change of 


The Story of Rouen 

guard at St. Hilaire should make that customary noise 
of clinkiDg arms and tramping feet which every citizen 
would recognise and forget, sixty of the bravest cham- 
pions crossed the Rubicon and advanced in the depth 
of the darkness to the cemetery of St. Nicaise. With 
heavy labour they broke up the sacred chains, de- 
tached the time-worn rivets, and dragged off the 
famous timber, the " Boise " of St. Nicaise, the pal- 
ladium of the obnoxious parish. The next morning 
the gossips discovered to their stupefaction that there 
was no log to sit upon ! Following a few traces that 
were left here and there, the horrified drapers and 
tanners found the smoking remnants of their cherished 
wood scattered in the square of St. Hilaire, surrounded 
by a laughing crowd of the children and young men of 
St. Godard. Vengeance was plotted on that very 
evenings and a smart skirmish took place up and down 
the streets of the aristocratic quarter, in which the 
victory of the velvet doublets only roused redoubled 
ardour in the men of smocks and leather aprons. The 
Palais de Justice and the majesty of the Law was 
obliged to intervene. The Due de Longueville, Gov- 
ernor of the Province, tried to smooth over the crisis 
with the gift of a new and most enormous log ; but 
nothing could replace the relic that was gone. At last 
the good priests of each parish set to work to heal the 
breach, and soundly damned each hardened sinner who 
attempted to break the good peace of the town with 
further quarrels. Messire Francois de Harlai, Arch- 
bishop of Rouen, aided their efforts, and at last the 
feud died down ; but the event was never forgotten : 

" Done qu*o mette o calendrier 
Qu'o dix huitiesme de Janvier 
Fut pris et ravy notte Boise 
Boise dont j'etions pu jaloux 
Et pu glorieux entre nous 
Que Rouen n'est de Georg d'Amboise." 


Literature and Commerce 

David Ferraod's ** patois " has preserved a good deal 
of the life and humour — racy of the soil — that gave 
Rouen her character, even after the sixteenth century 
was over. Something of the old life and its bravery 
lingered a little longer, and in the more pretentious 
Latin poems of Hercule Grisel you see how all these 
fStes and jollities lasted on till well into the seventeenth 
century. The F^te St. Anne, when boys dressed as 
angels and girls as virgins ran about the streets ; the St. 
Vivien, which was a great popular fair in Bois Guillaume 
and in the city ; the Festin du Cochon, when Parliament 
was dined ; the Pentecost, when birds and leaves and 
flowers were rained upon the congregation from the roof 
of the Cathedral ; the Feast of the Farmers, in Nov- 
ember, when the principal dish of roast goose was pro- 
vided by a crowd of boys who had to kill the wretched 
bird by throwing sticks at it, as it fluttered helplessly 
at the end of a high pole ; the Papegault, when the 
Cinquantaine, or Company of Arquebusiers, went a- 
shooting to settle who should be the Roi d'Oiseau, 
very much as it is described in Germany in the pages 
of Jean Paul Richter ; the Jeu d' Anguille in May, 
when there was a jousting match upon the river like 
the water tournaments of Provence; the jollities of 
Easter Eve, when bands of children went about 
the streets shouting derision at the now dishonoured 
herring, and pitching barrels and fish-barrows into 
the river; the greatest and most impressive ceremony 
of all, the Levee de la Fierte, upon Ascension Day 
— all these festivities made up a large part of 
the life of the real Rouennais of the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries, which was so narrowed and 
restricted in itself that it took every opportunity of 
expanding into a common gaiety shared by all the 
neighbours and the countryside. 

The river was a scene of far greater bustle and 
activity and picturesqueness than it is now. Like 


The Story of Rouen 

the Thames, the Seine lost half its beauty when 
the old watermen disappeared. The harbour of the 
sixteenth century was always full of movement: 
sailors were always spreading over the riverside 
streets into the coundess inns and drinking-places ; 
the river was full of boats going to and fro ; the 
bank upon the farther side was the fashionable 
promenade of all the ladies of the town ; the 
bridges were filled with idlers who had no better 
business than to look on. At the f^te called the 
Gateau des Rois all the ships were lit up in the 
port, and every tradesman in the town sent presents 
to his customers : the druggists gave gifts of liqueurs 
and condiments; the bakers brought cakes to every 
door ; the chandlers brought the <^ chandeUes des 
Rois " to every household. At the favourite meet- 
ing-places of Fonts de Robec, or the Par vis Notre 
Dame, or the Eglise St. Vivien, the housewives 
gathered to watch their husbands drink and gamble, 
or bought flowers from the open stalls, or chaffered 
with the apprentices who stood ready for the bargain. 
Meanwhile, from all the forests near, the children of 
the poor were coming in with bundles of the faggots 
they were allowed to gather free ; at every large 
house parties were gathering, each guest with her 
special contribution to the common fund of sweet- 
meats and of fruit, some even had brought bottles 
of the famous mineral water sold at the Church of 
St. Paul, and the Confr^rie de St. Cecile was 
hard-worked distributing its musicians broadcast to 
the many private gatherings that called for pipe and 
tabour. Then as the evening lowered, men told stories 
over the hearth of the girl who had seen three suns at 
once upon the morn of Holy Trinity from a neigh- 
bouring hill-top, or of the luck of their compare 
Jehan, whose boy, born on the day of the conver- 
sion of St. Paul, was safe for all his life from 

Literature and Commerce 

danger of poison or of snake-bite. All these 
customs and superstitions are reflected in Hercule 
Grisel's Latin verses, which he begins with a need- 
less apology — 

<' Rotomagi patriae ▼erra volo pandere mores, 
Quia captuxn patriae damnet amore suae ? ** 

No one will blame his patriotic love of every detail 
of the life around him; and though the Latin that 
he uses might well have been exchanged for his own 
language, it must be remembered that even when Mal- 
herbe and Comeille, Racine and Boileau, were writing 
French, the older language kept a firm hold on such 
men as de Thou, Descartes, Bossuet, Arnauld, and 
Nicole, who desired to appeal to European audiences. 
**Victnnis Latium debet habere liber" was their 
motto; and by Jesuits and Oratorians, University 
dignitaries and ecclesiastics, lawyers and doctors, the 
same language was used as that in which Hercule 
Grisel has preserved the life of the town from 1615 
to 1657. 

The greatest name of seventeenth-century Rouen is 
Pierre Comeille,i " ce vieux Romain parmi les fran- 
9ais " as Voltaire called him ; and we may be grateful 
that after getting the second prize for Latin verses in 
the third class of the Jesuit College,^ he gave up stilted 
aflPectations for the vigorous phrases of his mother- 
tongue. Though his brother Thomas passes over the 
little episode in silence, his nephew Fontenelle lets us 
into a literary secret which reveals Corneille's first love 
af&ir in Rouen. In the comedy of "Melite," the 
heroine is Catherine the daughter of the Receveur des 
Aides, Eraste is the poet himself. In real life, Thomas 
du Pont, the Tircis of the play, supplanted his friend 

1 The portrait of him reproduced in this chapter was etched 
on steel in 1644, from a drawing by Michel Lasne of Caen. 

' The fine chapel of the Lyc& Corneille, with its facade 
upon the Rue Bourg I'Abb^, is well worth visiting. 


The Story of Rouen 

and married the lady. It was to another Rouen ac- 
quaintance that Corneille owed the advice to study 
Spanish plays, which resulted in his imitations of de 
Castro, and no doubt the many Spanish families then 
settled, for commercial reasons, in the Rue des 
Espagnols and elsewhere, helped to turn the young 
poet's thoughts in the same direction. His evident 
knowledge of the details of legal procedure, when it 
cannot be ascribed to the natural Norman turn for 
lawsuits, is accounted for by his position as Avocat du 
Roi and one of the Admiralty Court (called the 
« Marble Table") of Rouen. Though in the « Cid" 
his law is Spanish, and in *< Horace" it is a para- 
phrase of Livy, yet Corneille was the first to realise 
that the speeches of lawyers, which were then litde 
known to the general public, would form a very inter- 
esting scene upon the stage. His inmiediate success 
proved the worth of the idea. But that such success 
was possible at all is even more extraordinary than any 
particular form it may have taken. He created types 
for well-nigh every kind of dramatic literature in 
France, in the midst of his work as an advocate, among 
serious family troubles, through years of plague, of 
popular riots, of military occupations. 

His house in the Rue Corneille, formerly the Rue de 
la Pie, is still preserved, though the front has been 
damaged by the widening of the street, and it is marked 
by a bust of the poet over the entrance. In the last 
few months it has been put up for auction, and it may 
be hoped that the town authorities have taken advan- 
tage of the opportunity to secure it from further mutila- 
tion. For it has been not merely the home of Pierre 
Corneille and his brother Thomas, but the meeting- 
place of several other men distinguished in French 
literature. In the summer of 1658, for instance, 
Moli^re brought his travelling troupe to Rouen, and 
set up his theatre at the bottom of the Rue du Vieux 


Literature and Commerce 

Palais. There he played in "L'Etourdi" and "Le 
D6pit Amoureux," which Corneille went to see, and 
tradition says that the most distinguished of her audi- 
ence fell in love with du Pare, the pretty actress, 
from the spectators' seats, not improbably on the occa- 
sion when his own play of "Nicom^de" was being 
performed. It is certain at any rate that Moli^re, who 
was then some thirty-six years old, visited Corneille, 
who was sixteen years his senior, and already famous 
in the wider world of literature. And it is at least 
curious that only after the six months during which his 
visits to the elder poet must have been both frequent 
and fruitful, did Jean Baptiste Poquelin become recog- 
nised as the Moli^re of << Le Malade Imaginaire," a 
play, which I confess I would rather hear to-day 
than anything Corneille ever wrote, even though 
Parisian audiences can still patriotically endure almost 
the whole series of his heroic dramas. This was not 
Moli^re's first visit to Rouen, where a peculiarly 
dark and dirty street preserves the memory of his 
light-hearted appearances. For there is his signature in 
the town registers of 1643, when he was only twenty- 
one, and as the date is November 3, the coincidence of 
time has tempted patriotic antiquarians to suggest that 
his first delut in public was at the famous Foire du 
Pardon. What Rouen looked like at this time you 
may see in the view, reproduced from Merian's engrav- 
ing of 1620, printed with this chapter. 

Even if the language and ideas of Corneille's plays 
do not touch a sympathetic chord in these days when 
the musketeers of Dumas and the bravery of Cyrano 
de Bergerac hold the stage on both sides of the 
Channel, it is impossible to refuse to Corneille a 
very high position in any estimate of French dramatic 
literature. With that estimate I am not here con- 
cerned, but in sketching the history of his birthplace, I 
may be permitted to suggest some of the influences 


Ttbe Story of Rouen 

which may be traced from it upon his work. And in 
addition to those already mentioned, I would especially 
refer to an occurrence some time previously, which left 
its undoubted marks upon the writing of Corneille, and 
may also serve to introduce you to yet another interest- 
ing figure in the tale of Rouen. For when he was 
only thirty-three, when he had won fame with the 
** Cid," and had followed up his success by ** Horace " 
and by *' Cinna," Corneille had the advantage of meet- 
ing a family of particular distinction. 

In 1639 the father of Blaise Pascal was sent down 
to Rouen as an ^'Intendant du Roi." Though but 
sixteen, the youth had already attracted the notice 
of the mathematical world by his treatise on conic 
sections. Even when only twelve the precocious boy 
had worked out the solutions of the first thirty-two 
propositions of Euclid unaided. While at Rouen he 
invented a calculating machine, and got a workman in 
the town to set it up. In 1646 he made his famous 
experiments on the vacuum before more than five 
hundred people, including half a dozen sceptical Jesuit 
fathers. Though his famous letters on the burning 
question of Jansenism were not written until 1656, 
after he had returned to Paris, yet the religious influ- 
ence of the family must have been a strong one upon 
all their intimate friends, and it is hardly too much 
to suggest that under this influence Corneille wrote 
"Polyeucte** and "Theodore," even if it be too 
great an extension of the idea to suggest that Racine's 
" Esther " and " Athalie," even Voltaire's " Zaire," 
were also due to the same impressions. 

It is pleasant to imagine that cultured circle, con- 
versing over the troubles of the time or arguing on 
literary and scientific subjects. There were two girls 
in the Pascal family, the pretty Gilberte, who very soon 
married a young councillor of Rouen at twenty-one, 
and Jacqueline, five years her junior, who won the 

The Story of Rouen 

prize at the Puy des Palinodsy and had the honour of 
an ode from Corneille on her literary success. There 
was Berthe Corneille too, the mother of Fontenelle, 
and though Thomas was but young, he may well have 
had his share in a friendship which must have been very 
attractive to his older brother. This house of thdrs 
in the Rue Corneille was not the only one in which 
Pierre wrote his tragedies. Indeed, I imagine it was 
more the town-lodgings of his legal father, and only 
used by the sons when business kept them near the 
Law-courts. In the country outside, at Petit-Couronne 
south of the Seine, Corneille did nearly all his best 
work ; and in estimating that work it is well to re- 
member that he was not merely bom at Rpuen, but 
that he lived and wrote there till he was fifty-six. 

The Pascals left Rouen in 1648 during the dis- 
turbances of the Fronde. They had come there in 
even more troublous times, for the riots called the 
"Revolte des Va-nu-Pieds" had only just been quelled 
before their arrival. The salt-tax had already created 
strong discontent in Southern Normandy, and in August 
1639 a tax on the dyers roused the men of the Rue 
Eau de Robec into such hot rebellion, that they killed 
the King's officer and burnt the tax-gatherer's house. 
In the same street to-day, which must be but litde 
changed, you may still imagine the furious assemblages 
by those black dye-stained waters that flow muddily 
beneath their multitude of bridges from the Place des 
Fonts de Robec to the eastern confines of the town. 
Chancellor Seguier was sent down with several thousand 
infantry and 1200 horse, called the " Fleaux de Dieu," 
and kept the gallows as busy as at any Black Assizes 
for some three months. 

One sad result of all this was that many of the 

festivities described in the earlier pages of this chapter 

never came off at all in 1640. " En ceste annee," says 

the local chronicler sadly, " il n'y a point eu d'estrennes, 


Literature and Commerce 

Tij chante ' Le Roy Boit.' En la maison de Ville n'y 
eust point de gasteau party, ni le lendemain a disner." 
And the Joss of the famous " F^te des Rois " at the 
Hotel de Ville was something more than ordinarily 
unfortunate. For it was celebrated each year with 
much pomposity, to the sound of all the carillons of 
the town ringing lustily while every member of the 
Council " tirait le roi de la f^ve," and the lucky winner 
of the Bean, after being presented with a wax basket of 
artificial fruit (for the sixteenth century is over now), 
at once gave his comrades an enormous feast, at which 
the toast of the evening was received with loud cries of 
"Le Roy Boit." Nor was this the only festivity 
indulged in by the City Fathers. The "Feu St. 
Jean " was solemnly lit by the senior sheriff, to the 
sound of pipe and tabour. The ** BCiche de Noel," 
or Yule log, was burnt in the Grande Salle. Here 
the different members of the Estates of Normandy 
were feasted, here the civic ceremonials were con- 
ducted with many presents, speeches, and "toasts." 
And the industries of the town seemed to flourish, in 
spite of the miseries suffered under Richelieu. Trade 
spread to England, Spain, Africa, Florida, Brazil ; 
even with Canada a brisk bartering of furs went on, 
and in 1627 the baptism is registered in the Cathe- 
dral, early in December, of Amantacha, a native of 
Canada, who was "held at the font" by Madame 
de Villars, and the Due de Longueville, to be blessed 
by Monseigneur Francois de Harlay. Half a century 
later, it was from Rouen that Rene Cavalier de la 
Salle set out to explore the Mississippi and the Gulf 
of Mexico ; and by a Rouen diplomat, Menager, was 
drawn up in 17 13 the Treaty of Utrecht, against 
which modern British inhabitants of Newfoundland 
are complaining so bitterly in 1 898. 

But for Englishmen a far more interesting fact in 
seventeenth-century Rouen is that Lord Clarendon 


The Story of Rouen 

died at No. 30 Rue Damiette on December 7, 1674. 
The house is standing still, behind a garden that is 
shut oflP from the street by high gates, and is not open 
to the pubHc, though by a fortunate accident I was 
enabled to see it in the August of 1 897. It is known 
as the Hotel d'Aligre, and as the property of Made- 
moiselle Le Verdier is almost unchanged since the 
great exile lived in it two centuries ago. There are 
three windows on the ground floor and a basement 
Between the two windows of the first floor is a 
medallion held by two figures. On each side of the 
circular pediment is a little *< Mansard" window in 
the roof, and on the pediment itself are two statues. 
The windows are all decorated with carved flowers 
and wreaths, and the cornice beneath the eaves is 
prettily ornamented. This is the main facade looking 
out on the interior court. The garden front has less 
decoration, but is an extremely elegant example of the 
simple town house of the period. Among the shrubs 
the fountain for which Lord Clarendon especially 
asked still plays in its old stone basin, and beyond the 
trees is the Cemetery of St. Maclou. 

He had lived, during his exile, in Montpelier, 
Moulins, and Evreux, and at last he moved nearer to 
England and wrote pathetically asking to be recalled. 
Seven years, his letter says, was the term of God's 
displeasure, yet for more than seven had he borne the 
displeasure of the King. A longer life no man could 
grant him, he asked only that death might not come 
to him in a foreign land, but in England near his 
children. His prayer was not granted, and in 1674 
the archives of the Hotel de Ville in Rouen record 
that the King of France had allowed " Monsieur le 
Comte de Clarendon, Chancelier de PAngleterre " to 
live where he pleased within the kingdom by consent 
of His Majesty of Great Britain. The house now 
leased by Monsieur le Comte (goes on this sad little 


Literature and Commerce 

record) used to have a small lake in the garden, and 
Monsieur desired that water might again be directed 
into it. The request was granted that same month 
at a meeting held in the Town Hall. 

The first mention of a building on this spot is in 
the Town Records of October 1448, when it is called 
** Hostel des Presses de la Rue de la Miette," a 
name for the street which seems to show that this 
**Damiette *' is at any rate not of eastern origin. The 
word ** Presses " is connected with the story of Rouen 
trade by the fact that it commemorates the presses set 
up for pressing and finishing cloth by one of that family 
of Dufour who did so much towards the decoration of 
their parish church of St. Maclou. The house that is 
standing now was built (though without its later seven- 
teenth-century ornaments) by Guillaume le Fieu, who 
had been treasurer of the Stables of Catherine de 
M^^cisy or "Receveur de I'Ecurie de la Reine" in 
1558, and the Archives of the Department now pos- 
sess, by the gift of later occupants of the house, a very 
interesting manuscript of his accounts for a year in 
this capacity. By the untiring diligence of M. Ch. 
de Beaurepaire these have been analysed, and his paper 
describing them, though too detailed to be reproduced 
here, is of the highest importance for any writer attempt- 
ing to describe the habits of a queen whose abilities as 
a horsewoman were so highly praised by Brantome. 
Guillaume le Fieu had evidently considerable financial 
abilities, for we find him promoted, later on, to be 
** Receveur General de la Generalite de Rouen," and 
finally " Maitre Ordinaire de la Chambre des Comptes 
de Normandie," so that he is also connected with the 
two beautiful buildings, so difiPerent in style and date, 
which were described in Chapter XI. 

In No. 30 Rue Damiette he died in 1 584, having 
scarcely completed the house before his daughter 
married one of the King's secretanes. In January 


The Story of Rouen 

1 646, an old lease shows that the house was owned by 
Henry Dambray, ** Conseilier au Parlement," and it 
was by him let for a year to Lord Clarendon. . It was 
called the Hotel de Senneville until the Revolution, 
when it became the property of the families of Pom- 
mereux and d'AlIigre. Though Lord Clarendon 
was first buried in Rouen, when his grand-daughters 
(through the marriage of the Duke of York, brother of 
Charles IT., with his elder daughter) became Queens 
of England, his remains were transported from Rouen 
to Westminster Abbey, where they now are. 

The last scene by which this tale of Rouen was 
connected with the history of France was when Cap- 
tain Valdory held the town against Henri IV. And 
in leaving for a moment more domestic details of the 
city's story, I can suggest the transition no better than 
by telling you of another literary claim which Rouen 
archssologists will not permit a visitor to forget, the 
authorship of the famous " Satyre Menippee," which 
did as much as any political pamphlet could ever do to 
reveal to the people the true character of the Ligue, 
and to restore their affection to that King Henri whom 
for so long they had refused within their gates. This 
immortal piece of sarcasm and good sense was written 
after the Etats de la Ligue of January 1 593. De 
Thou said, *' le premier auteur de I'ecrit est, croit-on, 
un pr^tre du pays de Normandie, homme de bien. . • ." 
And the edition of 1677 gives his name as ** Monsieur 
LeRoy, chanoine de Rouen, qui avoit este aumosnier 
du Cardinal de Bourbon." In the portions before 
each harangue, he mentions the tapestry in Rouen 
Cathedral, the Revoke de la Harelle, the Foire St. 
Romain, and other details, with an accuracy and aflPec- 
tion which betray the citizen. He went blind in 1620, 
and died in penury in 1627. 

The troubles of the League had barely died away 
before the agitation of the Fronde began, and after the 


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Froode princes had been arrested in January 165O9 the 
Duchesse de LfOngueville tried to continue the r61e of 
her husband, though his party had ^rly been laughed 
out of Rouen. Her own attempts were thwarted by 
Mazarin, who brought the little Louis XIV., then 
only twelve years old, to Rouen for fifteen days in 
February 1650. The Revocation of the Edict of 
Nantes repaid this hospitality in somewhat untoward 
^hion, for it reduced the population of the town by 
20y000 souls (of whom many carried their trade to 
England or the Low Countries), and commerce 
almost disappeared. **Men live/' cried St. Simon, 
<< on the grass of the field in Normandy." 

Yet the exhaustless vitality of the town was not 
easily tapped. In 1723 Voltaire found nothing to 
complain of, and in the Rue aux Juifs the first edition 
of his ** Henriade " was printed by Robert Viret. In 
1 73 1 he came back, and in the Rue du Bee, or the 
Rue Ganterie, had many pleasant conversations with 
M. de Bourgtheroulde, M. de Fresquienne, and others, 
but he left his little sting behind him as usual, and it 
remains so true that I must reproduce it here, on the 
theme — ** Vous n'avez point de mai en Normandie." 

" Vos dimats ont produit d'assez rares menreiiles 
C'est le pays des grands talents 
Des Pontenelle des Comeilles 
Mais ce ne fat jamais I'asile du printemps." 

As the eighteenth century progressed, commercial 
prosperity returned with extraordinary rapidity, and the 
town shows every sign of making an intelligent use of 
its opportunities. A mission is sent to Smyrna and 
Adrianople to learn the textile methods of the East; 
dyers in the Rue Eau de Robec are busier than ever ; 
the Ouartier Cauchoise is set apart for industrial work, 
for silE and wools and linens; there is a great store- 
house for grain, a huge <* Halle des Toiles ; a Bourse 


r sALO-r. t»"i f^f*^' 'J-> 


Literature and Commerce 

for business men. In 1723 a new '* Romaine,'' 
or Custom- House, was built, which involyed the de- 
struction of the Porte Haranguerie and the Porte de 
la Vicont^ and upon its triangular pediment was placed 
Coustou's beautiful carving of ** G)mmerce/' of which 
I reproduce a drawing in these pages. After the 
Revolution the << Tribunal des Douanes" was held in 
the Maison Bourgtheroulcfe, until in 1838 the present 
*^ Douane " was built by Isabelle, and Coustou's relief 
was set beneath its rotunda inside. The various for- 
tunes of the Custom- House of Rouen have been de- 
scribed by M. Greorges Dubosc, another of those 
patriotic antiquarian writers, in whom Rouen is richer 
than any provincial town I know. His large volume 
on the architecture of the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries gives so complete and accurate a list that I 
am fortunately relieved from any discussion of a period 
with which I must confess an uninstructed want of 
sympathy. But I owe it to his insight that the beauti- 
ful courtyard (illustrated in this chapter) in the Rue 
Petit Salut (now No. 1 3 Rue Ampere) was not put 
down as sixteenth century in my notes, a date to which 
I was inclined by the fine open staircase and doorway 
on the right of the courtyard. On its left is an un- 
doubted Renaissance pillar, probably taken from its 
original position in another place, and high above you 
rises a gabled window with carved sides. 

The only historical event I have been tempted to 
connect with this spot is the entry of Louis d' Orleans 
in 1452, who is said to have lodged in the ** Hotel 
d'Estellan, Rue Petit Salut." But the house is worth 
visiting if only to speculate on the dungeon windows in 
the comer of the little street outside, and to look up 
the Impasse Petit Salut a little further on, where the 
Tour de Beurre rises with an extraordinary effect of 
solitary beauty above the twisted roof trees into the 


The Story of Rouen 

By the time of Louis XV. it becomes somewhat 
difficult to find the interesting men of this or any other 
French city ; you must look for them in the anti« 
chambers of the Due de Choiseul, in the robing-rooms 
of the Pompadour or the Du Barry. In 1774 Rouen 
saw the typical sight of the Duchesse de Vauguyon 
reviewing her husband's troops. When Louis XV. 
passed through the town, and the Pompadour was seen 
smiling by his side, the citizens' reception of the doubt- 
fill honour was a very cold one. And when Louis 
XV L paid his call of ceremony upon the Mayor, a 
still more melancholy presage broke the harmony of 
the peal that welcomed him from the Cathedral belfry, 
for the great bell Georges d'Amboise — which weighed 
36,000 pounds, and had rung in every century since 
the great minister of Louis XIL gave him to the town 
— cracked suddenly, and was never heard again. He 
has a successor now, but his own metal was used for 
quite another purpose. When the Revolution broke 
out, the bronze that had served to call the faithful from 
all the countryside to prayer was melted into cannon 
and roundshot that were to send the Royalists to 
heaven by much quicker methods. 

Rouen passed comparatively lightly through the 
Reign of Terror. Only 322 persons were guillotined 
in the whole of Normandy, and the local justices be- 
headed nearly as many in suppressing the disorders that 
followed the general disorganisation of society. Even 
on the 1st of November 1793 we ^^^^ ^^ *^® ^^^ night 
of Boieldieu's " La Belle Coupable " performed at the 
Theatre de la Montagne. And though Thouret is 
sent up as Deputy to Paris (and afterwards to draw 
up the Constitution), though the irascible Marquis 
d'Herbouville is always making a disturbance, though 
the " Carabots " revolt and break out into pillage, it is 
only when "Anarchists" from Paris come down to 
trouble them that the good folk of Rouen ** draw 


Literature and Commerce 

the line/' Id fact, they hanged the over-zealous 
Bourdier and Jourdain upon the quay just by the 

It is interesting that no less a personage than Marat, 
then plain Dr Marat, had several Memoires crowned 
by the Academy of Rouen, one of them on Mesmerism. 
Voltaire thought little of his capabilities then, but the 
<< ami du peuple " left a gentle reputation in the town, 
and is even credited with having preserved an old 
illuminated manuscript under his mattress during some 
riots that threatened its safety. A more authenticated 
fact is that Charlotte Corday came from Caen, and 
popular tradition insists still that it was from the carving 
of Herodias on the facade of Rouen Cathedral (which 
the townsfolk call <' La Marianne dansant," for some 
unknown reason) that the suggestion came to her of 
saving the People from their Friend. 

The great Napoleon first saw Rouen in its capacity 
as a trading centre. Its industry very soon recovered 
after the Revolution, and an actual *< Exposition " was 
organised in the Tribunal de Commerce, which was 
inspected by Josephine and the First Consul Bonaparte. 
He returned as Emperor, and in 1840 the city solemnly 
received him for the last time, when his body was 
brought back from St. Helena and passed beneath the 
first bridge across the Seine at Rouen. 

The kings who had been deposed with so much 
bloodshed and fanfaronade, reappeared as if nothing had 
happened when Louis Philippe laid the first stone for 
the pedestal of Comeille's statue carved by David 
d' Angers. In 187 1 that statue was all draped in 
black. The streets of Rouen, hung with funereal 
emblems, were all in the deepest mourning, every shop 
was closed and every window shuttered. Upon the 
plain of Sotteville a great army was manceuvring to 
and fro to the sound of words of command in a strange 
tongue. General ManteufFel, the Duke of Mecklen- 


The Story of Rouen 

burghy and *^ Prince Fritz " had led the German army 
of invasion into Rouen, and from December till July 
they occupied the town and its surrounding villages* For 
the last time Rouen was in the hands of foreigners. But 
the traces of this catastrophe have absolutely disappeared. 
The ruin of the Revolution and the iconoclasm of the 
religious struggles have left far deeper marks; and 
Rouen, sacked by the English, and occupied by the 
Germans, suffered more injury at the hands of her own 
citizens, than either from Time or from any foreign foe. 

In the last half of the eighteenth century it was that 
Rouen lost most of her mediaeval characteristics, under 
the levelling regime of Intendant de Crosne, whose one 
good work was the building of the boulevards. Hardly 
as much change was wrought when the great new streets 
of 1859 were cut that swept away the old infected 
quarters of the fifteenth century. The Revolution, that 
is responsible for the debasement of St. Lai^rent and 
St. Ouen, among many other atrocities, did most injury 
in abolishing those picturesque local bodies, like the 
" Cinquantaine " and the ** Arquebusiers," and substi- 
tuting for them a meaningless ** Garde Nationale.*' Its 
efforts at " national " nomenclature were fortunately in 
most cases abortive. 

The Rouen of to-day, though so much taken up 
with commerce, is not unworthy of her great tradi- 
tions. A town that in art can show the names of 
Poussin, Jouvenet, and G6ricault ; and in letters, 
Gustave Flaubert, Maupassant, and Hector Malot, 
has not been left too far behind by older memories. 
But it is in the number of its citizens who have devoted 
themselves to the history and the archaeology of their 
own town, their "Ville Musee," that Rouen has been 
especially blest. In Farin the historian, in M. de 
Caumont the archaeologist, in Langlois, de la Queri^re, 
Deville, Pettier, Bouquet, Periaux ; above all, in 
Floquet, the town can point to a band of chroniclers 

Literature and Commerce 

of which any city might be proud. To all of them 
I have been indebted. And no less does this sketch 
of their city's story owe to those who are still living 
within its streets, and still ready to point the visitor to 
their greatest beauties: M. Charles de Beaurepaire, 
whose work in the Archives is of the highest value, 
and to whom I am indebted for nearly every refer- 
ence to the records of the town ; MM. Noel and 
Beaurain, who preside over the Library ; M. Greorges 
Dubosc, M. Jules Adeline, and many more. 

Scarcely a year before these lines were written one 
more link between Rouen and the literature of the 
world was lost. In August 1 896 died a '* Professor 
of German " in the Lycee de Rouen, who had held 
her post since 1882. There had lived Camille Selden, 
in a quiet seclusion, from which she published the 
** Memoires de la Mouche." Universally beloved for 
her sweetness, her simplicity, her gentle nobility of 
soul, she was the unobtrusive friend of all the best 
spirits of the day. Upon her there seemed to have 
fallen some few mild rays from the genius of Heine, 
whom she loved so well. Her last days were spent in 
studying the correspondence of two great citizens of 
the town which sheltered her, Bouilhet and Flaubert. 

My task is over ; and I can but leave you now to 
discover for yourself the many details, which, for lack 
of space and leisure, 1 have perforce omitted. Yet in 
this " Story of Rouen " you will find, if you read it 
where it should be read, all the typical occurrences 
which have made the city what she is, strong in 
commerce, strong in traditions, strong above all in 
the memories of her sons. 

« Streneth is not won by miracle or rape. 
It is the ofTHpring of the modest years, 
The gift of sire to son, thro* these firm laws 
Which we name Gods ; which are the righteous cause, 
The cause of man, and manhood's ministers." 



A fevj more interesting walks in Rouen 

IT was in my mind at first to place here an itinerary I haa 
planned by which it would be possible to visit ererythin? 
of interest in Rouen in six days, starting from the Hotd 
du Nord near the Grosse Horloge, and returning to the same 
spot. But it is perhaps better after all that you should visit 
the places mentioned in my chapters as the spirit moves you, 
and that I should merely set down in these last pages a few 
old streets or houses which you must not miss, merely because 
I have had no space to speak of them before. 

Returning from the Chartreuse de la Rose, it will be good to 
take the Route de Lyons la Foret past the ch&teau called 
Nid de chieru (a name which preserves the memory of the old 
Dukes' Kennels) where Henri IV. was entertained. Yon 
will see the seventeenth-century house on your left, between two 
railway bridges which cross the road, just before the Caserne 
Trupel. Continue by the same road, keeping the Aubette on 
your right, and turn round the wall of the great Hospital 
enclosure till you reach the Rue Edouard Adam^ and pass the 
Rue Eau de Robec which is beautiful on each side of you. 
Pass the new Fontaine Croix de Pierre^ and as you turn down 
the Rue Orhe look quickly at the backs of the houses on the 
Robec, and then swing to the right up the Rue da Champs, 
At the Rue Matelas you must stop. St, Fivien^s Church closes 
the quaint vista of the street, and at No. ip is an aged doorway 
to a dark courtyard, and beyond that, a charming turret stair- 
case on the roadway with a gallery outside ail wreathed in 
roses. The gables and the woodwork and the shadowed 
windows make up an exquisite little picture of mediaeval 
domesticity. When you return again to the Rue Orbe, look 
down the Rue Pomme <tOr to your left, and then turn up the 
Rue Poisson and admire the beautiful choir of 5/. Nicaise^ 
remembering the story of the famous " boise '* I told you in the 
last chapter. Up the Rue St. Nicaise, past the Rue Ploquet, 



the hideous slit of the Rue ^Enfer opens on the left, so you 
tnm away to the Rue Roche opposite, and keep swinging to 
the left up the Bmt de la Cage and so on to tlie Bftulroard 
Bumvoitime, The Place du BouUni^riH, where I liave no doubt 
the English garrison of 1420 played at l>owls, is still green 
and inTiting a little to your right. But pushing on still 
westwards to the left you come to the Boulevard Jeamme d^Arc^ 
and pass the road that leads northwards to a fascinating Cider- 
tavem in the Champi des Oueaux. A little further on is the Rue 
Verte Reading northwards to the Railway Station and south- 
wards to the Rue Jeanne d*Arc and the river) and at last you 
reach the Place Cauchoise and the Rue St, Gervaii which mounts 
to the north-west. Look at No. 31 (the Menuiserie Bri^re) 
as yon pass, for the sake of the charming old wooden gallery 
in Its courtyard, and then at No. 71 with its pretty eighteenth- 
cen tnr y panels like plaques of Wedgewood, an ornament which 
it closely imitated in the medallions on the wall at the corner 
of the Rue Chastelievre, After visiting St. Genrais come back 
to the Place Cauchoise and take the Rue Cauchoise until 
yon reach the Rue des Bom Enfants^ where at No. 134 died 
Pontenelle. As you pass the Rue Etoupie stop to look at the 
•ign of the house at No. 4, built in 1580. If you are wise 
yon will lunch at the old inn at No. 41 Rue des Bons Enfants, 
admire the stables, and inspect Room No. 10. Refreshed and 
fortified, go straight on, across the Rue Jeanne d'Arc into the 
Rue Ganterie and so by way of the Rue de I'Hdpital to the 
crossing of the Rue de la R^publique. Almost in front of 
yon on the other side is the queer little alley called the Rue 
Pait Moutmt and as you pass down it you will see how much 
bigger the streets look on my Maps (for the sake of being 
clear) than they are in reality. This leads you across the 
Place des Ponts de Robec to the beginning of the Rue Euu de 
Rebec where you will notice at once, on the left, the house at 
No. 186, with the sign which shows the faithful horse returning 
from the scene of his master's murder to bring the news into 
the town. No. 223 on the other side at the comer of the Rue 
de la Grande Mesme is fine, and so is No. 187 at the angle of 
the Rue du Ruitsel, All the while the inky water is trickling 
under countless bridges on your left hand (<< Ignoble little 
Venice" Flaubert calls it ail in <* Madame Bovary," which 
gives you, otherwise, the worst impression of Rouen in any 
book I know), and swarms of little children chatter and play 
about the cobblestones, while women throng the countless 
dens and cubbyholes, until you fly for shelter into one of the 
numerous curiosity shops and buy a fifteenth-century door- 
knocker manufactured expressly for your visit. Past the 



Place St. ViTien and the Chnrch, the Eau de Robec still 
continiies ; and, as the Rue du Pont \ Dame Renaude opens 
on your left, there is a good house at the comer of the opposite 
street. Further on to the left a great building with over- 
hanging eaves stretches from 34 to 50. Then, over a broader 
bridge, the Rue des Ceiestins goes northwards, and this street 
of bridges ends in the g^reen trees of the Boulevard, with a 
lovely Wew of that Maison des Ceiestins which the Duke of 
Bedford endowed, far to your right in the distant comer of 
the old wall of the Hospital 

Comine^ back by the Robec (for it well deserves looking at 
from each end), when you reach the Rue de la R^ublique 
turn northwards for a sight of the south front of St. Ouen, and 
then leave the Place de I'Hdtel de Ville by way of the Rue de 
VHopital due west. No. i is an exquisite Renaissance house 
with its colonnade and arches and carved capitals. In the 
courtyard within is a beautiful doorway of the same period set 
at right angles to the street fa^de. Upon its entrance 
columns (which are double, one set above another) two deli- 
cately moulded statuettes of women are placed on each side of 
the slender upper shaft. Over the door is the motto — 
"DomiNuS MICHI ADIUTOR," the same which occurs 
above the arms of Cardinal Wolsey on the terra-cotta plaque 
at Hampton Court This fine house extends some way down 
the street, and leads you pleasantly onwards till the Rue 
Socrate opens to your left. Go down it and glance on each 
side as the Rue dee Fossee Louis Fill, crosses your path. At 
the end is the great Palais de Justice. Beyond that (you may 
go through Louis XII. 's archway or keep the Palace wall upon 
your right) is the Rue aux Juift^ in which No. 35 is an exact 
model of its ancient predecessor In the Rue du Bee there are 
remains of fine houses and spacious courtyards, and through it 
you arrive at the Rue de la Grosse Horloge and the great arch- 
way that holds the famous clock of Rouen. 

The only other houses I can remember as worthy of a 
special visit are Nos. 5, 7, and 18 in the Rue St, Etienne des 
Tonneliers^ which opens out of the Rue du Grand Pont just 
before the quays. Where the Rue Jacques Lelieur enters it are 
the mins of a lovely church fallen upon very evil days. All 
over Rouen you may find walks equally interesting, but I have 
done enough in suggesting a few of the most typical. 



Momuments clmses pctrmi Us Monuments Htstoriques 

de France 

Hots Classe. Cath&lrale (fitat). 

Maison Corneille, Petit Couronne (Depart.). 
L Classb. Chapelle de St. Julien des Chartreuz a Petit 

St. Godard (yerri^res). 
St. Maclou. 
St. Ouen. 

St. Ouen (Chambre on Tour aux Clerct). 
St. Patrice. 
St. Vincent. 
n. Clabse. Tour St. Andr^. 

Cath61rale, Salle Capitulaire et Cloltre. 
Fontaine Croix de Pierre (Mus^ des An- 

St. GtTYzU (Crypte et Abside). 
Aitre St. Maclou. 
Choeur de St. Nicaise. 
Chapelle de la Fierte St. Romain, a la Vieille 

nL CLA88E. Eglise Mont aux Malades. 
Eglise St" Paul (abside). 
St. Vivien (clocher). 


Museums and Libraries 

The Musee des Antiquitu at the northern end of the Rue de 
la R^publique contains some very interesting prehistoric re- 
mains ; a quantity of Merovingian relics, such as axe-heads, 
finger-rings, lance-points, necklaces, buttons, buckles, needles, 
combs, and pottery ; the standard measures of Rouen from 
the sixteenth to the eighteenth century ; lead crosses with 
formulas of absolution stamped upon them from the eleventh 
to the thirteenth century ; medals and tokens of many local 
abbeys and confr^ries ; coins of the Dukes of Normandy from 
91X to 1216; an deventh-century Oliphant; some glass 



mosaics ; and the statue of Henri Court Mantel from his 
tomb in the Cathedral. All these are in the first room. In 
the next are Roman vases and glassware ; some fine bronze 
weapons; and a large Gallo-Roman mosaic; also «lra 
Capucine/' as the first municipal fire-engine was called, 
which was only instituted in 17 19. It was only in 1686 that 
any organisation at all was made to prevent fires, and the 
first << Pompiers de Rouen'* were created in 1800. These 
facts, in connection with the general use of wood for common 
houses even till late in the sixteenth century, explain a great 
deal of the terrible destruction by fire in every quarter of the 
town. In a third room are gathered together some pood 
examples of tapestry and furniture, and in a room by itsdf is 
a magnificent mosaic from Lillebonne. Of the inner quad- 
rangle and the front courtyard I have spoken already in earlier 

The Mtuet de Raten in the Rue Thiers has four separate 
divisions each worthy of your attention. The Jirst is the 
beautiful garden which stretches westward to the Rue Jeanne 
d'Arc. The second U the Town Libraryy which is entered by 
its own door opposite the Eglise St. Laurent. In my list of 
authorities I have mentioned books which can all be obtained 
in the Library, where there are excellent arrangements for the 
student to work and take notes from as many books as he 
likes, and keep them together from day to day. Amone its 
more remarkable manuscripts are Anglo-Saxon writings of the 
tenth century, illuminated " Heures '' of the fifteenth century, 
the " Missel " of Georges d'Amboise ; there are also several 
" incunables d'imprimerie de Rouen," and other rare works ; 
by the help of M. Noel, M. Beaurain, and their capable 
assistants, no student of civic or departmental history can fail 
to find all he desires. For more careful researches into 
original authorities he will do well to consult M. Charles de 
Beaurepaire, who presides of the Archives^ near the Prefecture 
in the Rue Fontenelle ; and he will find further documents of 
interest in the Hotel de Ville and the Library of the Chapterhouse^ 
which is reached by way of the staircase out of the north 
transept in the Cathedral. The Mfr</ division of the Mus£e de 
Rouen is the Gallery of Faience and Ceramics, The enamelled 
tiles for Constable Montmorency, called the '^carrelages 
d'Ecouen," which bear the mark, "Rouen, iS4*»*' "were not 
made by Bernard Palissy, but by the man of whom a record 
exists in May 24, x <45) '* Masseot Abaquesne, esmailleur en 
terre demeurant en ia paroisse St. Vincent de Rouen." After 



1565 this « terre ^mailUe " is not made here any more, but in 
1645 Esm^ Poterat is the best malier of porcelain in France, and 
was the founder of the &mous Rouen school of the '<fond jaune 
ocr^** in which Guilleband and Levavasseurwere conspicuous for 
their " style rayonnant " in the seventeenth century. On the 
right of this gallery is a very fine example of this style, with 
blue arabesques, and in the same room a queer mixture of 
localities is observable in the Chinese figures dancing the 
dances of Normandy, to the tune of Norman bagpipes, in a 
queeriy Celestial atmosphere. There is also the femous 
<< violon de faience " to be seen. The fourth and most im- 
portant division is, of course, that which contains the pictures, 
and by a very sensible arrangement those which have especi- 
ally to do with the ancient or modern history of the town are 
usually gathered into one gallery, which is of the highest 
interest to any student of the history of Rouen. Some two 
hundred and fifty prints, drawings, and paintings of local 
interest may often here be studied In the g^eries them- 
selves. No. 4x5 is a view of Rouen taken from St. Sever by Jean , 
Baptiste Martin who died in 1735. It shows the gates of the 
town, even the Vieux Palais on the left, the wooden bridge, 
the He St. Croix full of trees, the old piers still standing of the 
Empress Matilda's Bridge, and a fashionable assemblage on 
the Cours la Reine, by the St. Sever bank. After reading 
this book, you will find few pictures more interesting as a re- 
production of the various pieces of architecture now vanished. 
Out of a list of pictures most kindly made for me by M. 
Edmond Lebel, the keeper of the Museum, I will select a few 
which must on no account be missed. 

Earlt W0RK.M- 

No. 411. EU:ce homo Mignard. 

„ 54. Concert sur une place publique . . Berghem. 

Paysage Ruydael. 

„ 570. Portrait Velasquez. 

„ 494. Le Bon Samaritain . . . Ribera. 

» 53^- Chasse au Sanglier . , , Sneyders. 
„ 285. Portrait de Tauteur .... Jouvenet. 
„ 481. V^nus et £n^ ..... Poussin. 

„ 54. Vierge et Enfant . Sandro Botticelli. 
„ »io. Vierge et Enfant (avec portraits) Gerard (David). 
„ 573. Vision .... . Veronese. 
„ 316. Baigneuses Lrancret. 



After 1800. — 

No. 265. La belle Z^ie . 
115. Paysages . • 
j^tudes Diverses 
152. La Justice de Trajan 
544. Un metier de chien 
259. £tude8 Diverses . 
97. Portrait 
„ Tete 
489. Le Pilote . 





• Ingres. 

• Corot. 


Stevens (Joseph). 


Francois Millet. 

. * Bonington. 

• Renoiif. 

Drawings. — 

No. 811. £tude .... 
833. Figures .... 

795. Visite de Bonaparte a Rouen 
737. Vue de Rouen in 1777 

796. £tude .... 
856. Diverses Etudes . 

j^tudes .... 











No. 937. Napoleon (marbre) 

959. Gdricault (tombeau, marbre) 

946. Armand Carrel (bronze) 

934, Pierre Corneille (terre cuite) 

941. Boieldieu (marbre) 

985. Fonteneile (marbre) . • 




David d'Angers. 


Dantan Jeune. 

. RomagnesL 



Though I desire to express my indebtedness to all the works 
mentioned in these pages, the books given in the list that fol- 
lows are those which should be first consulted by anyone who 
wishes to follow on completer lines the story of the town 
which I have been obliged to shorten. The commonplace of 
artistic, or historical, or architectural literature I have omitted. 
Those who know it will easily recognise the passages in which 
I have made use of Freeman, of Ruskin, of Viollet le Diic, of 
Michelet, of many other standard works. Those who yet 
have it to discover can find it for themselves in any library. 



But the undermentioned works, some of them only to be found 
in Rouen itself, are worthy of the attention of any student 
who wishes to carry his researches further into one of the 
most interesting of French mediaeval cities. All the publica- 
tions of the << Soci^t^ Rouennaise des Bibliophiles -' and of the 
« Soci^t^ des Bibliophiles des Normandes *' may be consulted 
with advantage, and every volume of *' Normannia *' issued by 
the << Photo Club Rouennais/' 

Histoire du Parlement de Normandie — A, Floquety 1 840, 7 vols. 
Histoire du Privilege de St Romain — A. Floauet, 1833, 2 vols. 
Anecdotes Normandes — A, Floquetf second edition, 1 883. 
Rouen Monumental au XVII«>e et XVIlI«no gi^cle — Georges 

DuhoJCf 1897. 
Dictionnaire des Rues de Rouen — Nicetas PeriauXf 1871. 
Histoire Chronologique de Rouen — Nicetas Periauxy 1874. 
Sculptures Grotesques de Rouen — Jutes Adeline^ 1878 (illus.). 
Description Historique des Maisons de Rouen — E, Delaquerieref 

X821 (illus.). 
Description, etc., vol. ii., 1841 (illus.). 
Si^ge de Rouen (141 8- 19) — M, L, Puheuxi 1867. 
La Danse des Morts du cimeti^re St. Maclou — E» H. Langlois, 

1832 (illus.). 
Stalles de la Cath^drale de Rouen — E. H, Langloh^ 1838 

Rouen, Rouennais, Rouenneries — Eugene Noel^ 1894. 
Rouen, Promenades et Causeries — Eugene Noel^ 1872. 
L'Ancien Bureau des Finances — Georges et Andre Duboscy 1895. 
Peintures Murales du yill^^ si^de — G. A. Le Roy^ 1 895. 
Tapisseries de Saint- Vincent — Paul Lafond^ 1894 (illus.). 
Le Donjon du Chateau (Tour Jeanne d'Arc) — F, Bouquet^ i^77* 
La Muse Normande {David Ferrand^ 1625-1653), 5 vols., Rouen, 

Myst^re de I'lncarnation, etc., avec introduction, etc. — P. le 

Verdier, 1886. 
Description des Antiquit^s de Rouen — Jacques Gomboutt^ 1655. 
Roman de Rou (by Robert Wace), edited by F, Pluquet, 2 vols., 

Le Livre des Fontaines (J Lelieur), edited by T. de Jolimont^ 

1845 (illus.). 
Les Quais de Rouen — Jules Adeline, 1879 (illus.). 
Les Pastes de Rouen (H. Grisel), edited by F, Bouquet^ 1870. 
filoges de Rouen (P. Grognet, etc.), edited by Ed, Frere, 1872. 
La Friquass^ Crotestyllonn^e — *< A66e Eaillard" 1604. 
Rouen Pittoresque, drawings by Lalanne, text by various hands, 

1886 (iUus.). 

2 C 401 


Rouen qui s'en va — JuUt Adeline^ 1876 (illus.). 

Rouen Disparu — JuUs Adelinr^ 1876 (illus.). 

Rouen lUustr^, drawings by Allard, text by various hands, 

% vols., x88o (illus.). 
La Tapisserie de Bayeux — H, F, Delaunay^ 1824. 
Una Pete Br^silienne \ Rouen en 15C0 — F. Denis, 1851. 
Rouen au XVIe si^de (d'apr^s J LeDeur, i$z^y— Jules Add'me, 

1892 (illus.). 
Tom beaux de la Cath^raie de Rouen — A. Devilie, 1 881. 

The works published by M. Charles Robillard de Beaure- 
paire deserve special mention by themselves. The student 
should consult every one he can discover. They are chiefly 
in the shape of paper pamphlets, containing invaluable re- 
prints from the manuscripts of the town, with notes and 
introductions. Published, as they ought to be, in several 
collected volumes, they would make an extraordinary con- 
tribution to the history of Northern France from Norman 
times to the present day. I have consulted and quoted so 
many, that I have no space to give all their titles, but the 
few which follow are merely those which were of the 
* greatest importance to me in the pages which have gone 
before : — 

Memoire sur le lieu du supplice de Jeanne d'Arc, 1867. 

Don Pedro Nino en Normandie, 1872. 

Due de Bedford a Rouen. 

Accord conclu par Robert de Braquemont, etc. 

La S^n^chauss^e de Normandie, 1883. 

Les £tats de Normandie sous Charles VII., 1875. 

L'Ecurie de Catherine de M^icis. 

Notes sur les L^preux. 

Notice sur une Maison (}e la rue de la Grosse Horloge. 

Les Architectes de Saint Maclou. 

Logis de Lord Clarendon en 1 674, Rue Damiette. 

L'Ancien Clos des Gaines, 1869. 

Charles VIII. a Rouen, 1853. 

Les Tavernes de Rouen au XVI siecle, 1867. 



Abbayb de St. Amand, 15 ; 71 ; 

Abingdon, 76. 
"Abjuration" of Jeanne d'Arc, 

AlTRE St. Maclou, 399 etc 
Alain Blanchart, 194. 
Aligrb (Hotel d*), 384 etc. 
Ampbrb (No. 13 Rue), 389. 
AndrA (ot.), 347. 
Anglo-Saxon Architecture, 100. 
Ansblm, 40 ; 63 ; 77. 
Antiquaries (Society oO, 341 ; 343- 
Antiquit^s (Muste des), 7; 12 

etc. ; 33 ; 397. 
Architects (of Cathedral), 136 etc.; 

X39 etc. 
Argbnteuil (Tale of the murder 

at), 388 etc. 
Aristote (lai d'), 360. 


Arpbnts (Rue des), 4. 
ArrAt du Sang Damn6, 375. 
Athanagild, 36. 
AUBBTTB, 3 ; 70. 

AuDowERB, 35 ; 39. 
Authorities, 400. 


Bag (Rue du), 15. 
Bala IS (March6 aux), 353. 
Bapaume, 3. 
Basoche, 391. 
Basse Vieille Tour. 5. 
Bataillb (Pr6 de la), 53. 
Baybux Tapestry, 66 ; 78. 
Bbaurbpairb (Charles Robillard 
de), 403. 

rtSAURAIN, 2^9. 

Bbauvais (Bishop oO, 3o6 etc. 

Bbauvoisinb (Porte), 54. 

Bbc fHotel du), 172. 

Bedford (Duke oO» 197; 198. 
Belfry of the town, 139. 
Bbllbngues (The Story of Jeanne 

de), X73. 
Bergbribs carved on Maison 

Bourgtheroulde, 334. 
Bernard the Dane, ^3. 
Bertrand du Guesclin, 149. 
Bestiaries, 135. 
Bigot (Laurent), 389 etc. 
Blind man of Argenteuil, 288 etc. 
Blois (Theobald of), 46. 
BoHiER (Thomas), 286. 
Boise de St. Nicaise, 370 etc. 
Bois Guillaume, 2. 
Bonne Ame (Bishop Guillaume), 69. 
Nouvelle (Church), 68. 

Bonsbcours, 3. 
BoNS Enfants (Hotel des), 161. 
BouLiNGRiN (Place du), 6. 
Bourgtheroulde (Maison), 9; 83; 

331 etc. 
Bourse (Quai de la), 48. 
Bouvreuil (Castle oQ, 5. 
(PorteX 91. 

Brazil, 349. 
Brazilian FSte, 350. 
Brazilians, 351. 
Br£z£ (Jacques de), 263. 

( fomD of Louis de), 314. 

(Pierre de), 261. 

Brunhilda, 3^ etc. 
Bureau des Finances, 385. 
Burgundians, 175. 
Burning of Jeanne d'Arc, 338. 

Cache Ribaut (bell), 9 ; 137. 
Calende (Place de la), 43 ; 48; 

Canada, 383. 


Canaries (King of the), 15a 
Cantblbu, 3. 
Caradas (Nf aison), 346. 
Carmes (Rue des), 7 ; 90; Z14. 
Carvings of Maison Bourgther- 

oulde, 338 etc. 
Cathedral, 115 etc. ; 256 etc. 

Architects, 126 etc. 

Catherine de Medecis, 350. 
Catherine (Mont Ste), 2. 
Cauchoise (Place), 6. 

(Rue), 6. 

Cauchon (Pierre), 306 etc. 
Caudebbc, 186. 
C^LBSTiNS (Couvent des), 197. 
C^LBSTiN (Joyeux), 198. 
Cembtbry of St. Maclou, 299 etc. 
— — of St. Ouen, 222. 
Champ du Pardon, 69. 
Channel Islands, 52. 
Chapel of the Archbishop, 213. 
Chapbllb de la Fierte, 5 ; 37 ; xo8 ; 


St. Juhen, 96. 

des Ordres, 214. 

Charles V., 129. 

VI., 155. 

VII., 232. 

VIII., 40. 

VIII. in Rouen, 240 etc. 

le Mauvais, 148. 

Chartreuse de la Rose, 182. 
Chartreux, 95. 
Chassbli&vrb (Rue), 17. 
Chastel (St. Pierre du), 5. 
ChAteau, Gaillard, 87. 
Churches of Rouen, 233 etc. 
Civille (F'ran^ois de), 316. 
Clarendon's House at Rouen, 383 

Clement (St.), 42 ; 48. 
Clercs (Tour aux), 71. 
Clock of the Town, 139. 
Clos aux Calebs, 112. 
Clos aux Juifs, 7b. 

ClOVIS. 21. 

Commerce, 85; 112; 349; 369 etc. 
Commune (of Rouen), no. 
CONAN, 80. 

Conception (Confrferie de la), 69. 
CoNFRkRiES, 79 ; 85. 

(carvings), 259. 

CoNFRkRiE de la Conception, 69. 

de la Passion, 168. 

CoNFRfeRiE de St. Michel, 305. 
St. Romain, 356 etc. 


CORDAY (Charlotte). 391. 
CoRDELiBRS (Rue oes), 5 ; 48. 

CORNBILLE, 377 etc. 

(Pont de Pierre), 7. 

CouR d'Alb.ine, 218. 

des Coinpte«, 287. 

CousTOu's Bas Relief, 389. 

Crbpin (St.), 85. 

Crimes. See Records of the 

Croix (He St.), 3. 

(St., des Pelletiers), 85. 

Crosnb (Intendant de), 392. 
Cryptb, St Gervais, 9 ; 18 etc. 
Custom-Housb, 389. 


D'Amboisb (Tomb of the Car- 
dinals), 310. 
Damiettb (No. 29 Rue), 12. 

(No. 30 Rue), 384 etc. 

(Rue), 299. 

Dansb Macabre, 306 etc 
DarA (Pierre), 369. 
Darn^tal, a. 
Death, 392 etc. 

personified, 293. 

itecture, 1x9. 
Dbnis (Rue St.), 15 ; 48. 
D^TANCOURT (Maison), 140. 
Donjon of Chateau de Bouvreuil, 

208 etc. 
DuDO of St. Quentin, 40. 


Eau db I^obbc (Rue de 1), 6. 
Edward the Confessor, 66. 
Eglisb St. Paul, 99. 
Election of Georges d'Amboise, 
253 etc. 

fLOi (St.), 23 ; 42 ; 48. 
MBNDREViLLE (St. Sever), 68. 
Enfants (Hdtellerie des Bons), 9. 
English Army of 1418, 179. 
Englishmen and Rouen, 326. 
English Palace, 196. 
Englishmen with Henry of Na- 
varre, 319. 
Entry of Francis I., 280 etc 
Ep4b (Rue de 1'), 6. 
Epicbrib (Rue de T), 9 ; 352 ; 353. 


ONDBviLLB {St. Sever), sj. 
SSSS^M ToDnelim (St), 70. 

— dEt Roin, 383. 

.0 or'thc Doili or Gold, 31& 
tTi<Cliapelkdels), 3. 
-(i^T<ed=l.) 69. 

— (PriiOMls reliMtd bF)> 1*3- 

— (Rrcord of lh(), afti 

GsevAis (CrypH! Si.l, g ; "8 « 
(Fur of Si.). 63. 
(Prioiy otSi.),i7; 77- 

loujoB {J«aii>. "44- 

rAmbiMw (Eltclioo), 1 

HlLAimK (Si.), a. 

(Plice St.), «. 

H0LBBIM, »;- 
HaxuKEdeUVUIc, ije 

(Rut de U GiosM 

HOTMt Boiirglheraulde, 

HOlW.doVille.84; 1.0: T«. 

HuCH II.'(Aic^l>ubop), sB. 


(Rue), 7 ! '5- . 

(Tout),!; 6: »««■ 

Lai d'AiiHcxe, 196 ; 960. 
Ubfrahc, 63; £4:871 7Si J] 
I.ATIH Luneiiag*, 377- 
L»iiiiBKT(Bi,),as; J*a, 
LlCOlNTB (GuillsuoiBl, »7' 
LSLIBUH U"'*!''*''' Si ™ J 4° ' 

liltouK (Rouland), 130. 
LbRouk, 3^i. _ .„ 

LeSTKAHGB (Aichfaiatiop trDlJlt 

Lion (Potte Guillaume), «; *- 
m (Pari* of St.). 90- 
{Priory St.), >5 

Lothaib (of France). 57 
Louis (orF™ace),j3. 
Louiad'OuUenwt, SI. 

i-»"»yM;*;i .t™^, 

-XIV., 387 

- XV 590. 


(St,H. d« lil 

(St., Sm Rene 

HVAL'WDTkmen, iiB. 

MnloH (St.), 17 : i8- 
Merbiiitk (Geoige). rfij ; 19 

\i. "co™r^= di li.), 3« 
lAorRouea, 147. 

CLH Plavs. las- 



Museum, 6. 

Music sung in 1550, •^fa. 

Mystbry Plays, 105 ; 167. 


Napolbon (the Great), 30X. 
Nation ALB (No. 41 Rue), 48. 
Newfoundland, 383. 
NiCAiSB (St.), 17. 

(story of St.). 371. 

NiD DB Chibns, 183 ; 394. 
Norman Architecture, lox. 
Norm AMDS (F£te aux), 69. 

Odd of Bayeux, 63 ; 78. 
Old Houses, 304 etc. 
Old Hundredtn, 359. 
Ordbric Vital, 40. 
Osmond, 53. 

OuBN(St.), 5; 6; 17; 35 ; 48; 
333 etc. 

(Cemetery of St.), 332. 


Ours (Rue aux), 15 ; 43 ; 48. 

Palais (Rue du Vieux), 6. 
de Justice, 15 ; 43 ; 377 etc. 

Palinods (Puy des), 69. 

Pantagrubl, I4Q. 

Papegault, 375. 

Pardon (Champ du), 69. 

■ (Foire du), 69. 

Parvis of Cathedral, 4 ; 6 ; x6 ; 43 

70 ; 86. 
Pascal, 380. 
Pastourbaux, XX4. 
Pecquignv, 53. 
I'BDRO Nino, 170. 
Petit Qu6villy, 3 ; 95 etc. ; 97. 

Salut, 389. 

Petrarch's "Triumphs," 333. 
Philip Augustus, 6 ; 90. 
Pictures, 309. 
Pierre db Br^zA, 361. 

(Eglise St., du chastel), 48. 

(Fontaine Croix de), 13. 

Pilon (Germain), 308. 

Place de la Calende, 43 ; 48 ; 70. 


Place de la Haute Vieille Tour, 

du March^ Vieux, sx. 

de la Pucelle, 3a6 ; 337 ; 33X. 

de la Rougemare, 56. 

Verdrel, 43. 

de la Vieille Tour, 354. 

du Vieux March^, 336 etc. 

Pont Boieldieu, 96. 

de Pierre Comeille, 7 ; 68. 

de TArche, 46. 

(Rue Grand), 7. 

de Robec (Place des), 6 ; x6 ; 

PoNTiFZ (Guillaume), 129. 
PoRCUPiNB device, 386. 
Portail de la Calende, X36. 

des Libraires, 6 ; 70. 

' aux Libraires, 131 etc. 
aux Marmousets, 235 ; 993. 

Port Morant, 16. 
Porte Beauvoisine, 54. 
Guillaume Lion, 4. 

Potbrne, 43. 
Pr£ de la Bataille, 53. 
Pretextatos, 85 ; 39 ; 3X ; 32 ; 33. 
Prisoners released by the Fierte, 
364 etc. 

released by the Privilege St. 

Romain, 395 etc. 
Priory of St. Gervais, 17. 
St. Lo, 15. 

Privilege St. Romain, ^7 ; X04 etc. 
St. Romain (Prisoners of). 

X63 etc. 

St. Romain (Records of the). 

395 etc. 

Procession of the Fierte, 354 etc*. 

Psalms c. and cxxxiv., 35a. 

Punishments of the XVIth cen- 
tury, 373. 

Puy de Conception, 370. 

Puy des Palinod.s, 69. 


QuENTiN (Dudo of St.), 40. 

QufiviLLV, 66. 

(Petit), 3 95 etc. 


Rabelais, 149. 

Ragnar Lodbrog, 45. 

Records of the Fierte St. Romain, 

163 etc.; 300 etc.; 364 etc ; 395 



Rehabilitation of Jeanne d*Arc, 

Reign of Terror, 390. 
Religious Wars, 315. 
RftpuBLiQUE (Rue de la), 7. 
RAvoLTE de la Harelle, 150 etc. 

des Va-nu-Pieds, 38a. 

Richard (the Fearless), 53; 58. 
Richard II. (Duke), 68. 
Richard Cgbur de Lion, 86 ; 87 ; 

RiBOUDBT (Mont), a. 


RoBBC, 3; zs; 48; 70; 382. 

(Eau de), 48. 

(Fonts de), 15; 43. 

Robert (The Devil), 62. 

^Duke of the Franks), 49. 

(The Magnificent), 63. 

■ Short Hose, 75 ; 81. 

(Son of the Conqueror), 78. 

RoLLO (RolOi 45* 
Rolf the Ganger, 46. 
Romain (St.)« 37 etc. ; 4x ; 69. 

(St.j his shrine), 98. 

(Privilege of St.), 37 etc. ; 

104 etc. 

(Rue St.), 6. 

(Tour St.), 7X. 


Roman de Rou, 69. 
Romanesque, x8. 
RoNSARD, 309. 


Rou (Rollo), 45. 
RouGEMARB (Place de la), 56. 


RouvEL (bell), 9 ; 86 ; 137. 


Rue des Chanoines, 320. 

■ des Charettes, 113, 

■ Croix de Fer, 2x7. 
Damiette, 384. 

■ St. Denis, 48. 

Dinanderie, 222. 

St. Eloi, X62. 

de I'Epicerie, 352. 

de la Grosse H or lege, X34 etc. 

des Fossfe Louis VIII., 42 ; 


de I'Hdpital No. i, 396. 

Massacre, 42. 

St. Nicolas, 2x7. 

aux Ours, 42. 

St. Romain, 210 etc. 

de la Salamandre, 352. 

RuissEAU (Rue du), 6. 

RUSKIN, X3X ; X32. 

Sacristan of St. Ouen, 58 ; 940. 
Saint Denis (Rue), 15. 
Marie (Place), x6. 

Salamandre (Rue de la), 353. 
Sang Danin6, 275. 
Satyrs M6nipp6e, 386. 
Saut de Conan, 80. 
Savonnerie (Rue). 344. 
** Sege of Roan " (Poem), 132. 
Selden (Camille), 393. 
Seneschal, 36x etc. 
Sbrifontaine (Chateau de), X73. 
Sever (St.), 3; 17; 68. 
Siege of 946, 53- 

of Rouen by Henry V., 169 


Sieges of Sixteenth Century, 3x5 

Sigebert, 35 ; 27. 
Sixteenth Century, 294 ; 300 etc. 
Sotteville, 3. 
Spain and Rouen, 173. 
Staircase of St. Maclou, 345. 
Starvation in Rouen, x88. 
St. Am and (Abbess oOt 953* 
St. AndrA, 347. 
St. Catherine's Mount, 99. 
St. Clement, 43. 
St. Eloi, 43 ; 352. 
St. GervaiSi 5. 
St. Godard (windows), 248. 
St. Hbrbland, 41 ; 135. 
St. Hilairb, 2. 
St. Julien (frescoes), 95 etc 
St. Laurent, 248. 
St. Louis, XX4. 
St. Martin, 30. 
St. Maclou, 243 etc 
St. Ouen, 5; 35; 48; 55; X52 ; 

233 etc. 
St. Patrice (Windows), 250. 
St. Paul (Church), 99. 
St. Pierre du Chastel, 5. 
St. Quentin, 84. 
St. Romain, 37 etc. ; 4x ; 69. 

(Fete), 107. 

(Record of the Privilege), 

163 etc ; 200 etc. ; 264 etc. ; 295 

(Shrine), 98. 


St. Sbvkk, a. 
St. Vihcbnt (Eglise), 147. 
-— -- 249; 250 ; 338. 
St. ViviBN, 252. 

Talbot, 205. 

Tapissibbs (Rne desX 15. 

Tbstimony of Jeanne d'Arc, 316. 

Thibks (Roe), 6. 

Thoubbt, 390. 

Tomb of the Cardinab d'Amboise, 


of Louts de Bf6s6, 3x4. 

T0NNELIKK8 (St. Etienne des), 70. 
Tour ( Place de la Hante VieilleX 38. 

(Basse Vieille), 5. 

de Beurre, X29 ; 256. 

aux Clerc^ yx. 

■ da Colombier, X97. 

-Haute VieilleX S- 

Jeanne d'Arc, 5 ; 205 ; 207 ; 

214 etc. : 230 etc. 

de Rouen, 57 ; 8x. 

St- Andr6, 247. 

St Romain, 91 ; 71. 

Valdory (CaptainX 3x7. 
Velocassss, X4. 

Vbsorkl (Place), 15. 
Vbxin, Z4. 

VicomtA db l*Eau, 84 ; 86. 
ViBUX Biarch^ (Place du), 6. 

Palais (Rue duX 6. 

Vital (OrdericX 40. 


Wacx (Robert), 57 ; 69. 
Wallingpord, 76. 
Wantagb, 80 ; 3x9. 
Wbst Hannby, 3x9. 
Whitb Ship, 82. 
William the Bastard. 62 ; 72. 
William thb Ck)NQUBROR, 72 etc 
William op JuMiftcES, 40. 
William Longsword, 50. 
William Rupus^ 80 ; 81. 
Workmen (Medueval), X19. 

Xaintraillbs, 23a 

YvsTdT, 36 ; 242. 





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