A letter from Louis 1, Count of Flanders 1322-1346, to King Edward 3rd.  


To the most excellent and most mighty prince Edward, by the grace of God, King of England and lord of Ireland

Most mighty and most dear lord, Jehan Cullin, burgess of Nieuport in Flanders and his companions, fishermen, have complained and shown to us that in this August last past they set out to sea with all their equipment for taking their [catch?], and with God’s help they took 14 lasts of herrings. Afterwards the people [of the land of?] ‘S Emont’[1] and others of England came with 6 ships and took the ship of our aforesaid burgesses and everything they had which was inside, and took the people and everything to Robin Hood’s Bay, where the people of the land took our aforesaid burgesses and led them to Whitby, where they pleaded them for their lives and were judged to be quit without challenge, by recognising them to be good people. However, neither their ship nor their goods were delivered or returned to them, as they have declared more fully. Wherefore, most dear lord, we ask you as amicably and sincerely as we are able that it may please you to render and restore the aforesaid ship and goods to our aforesaid burgesses, and also that you do as ought to be done by right and reason, for truly these are poor people, and will be driven to begging if the said restitution of their ship and goods is not made to them quickly, and by you in this, in aid of their rightful succour. Most dear lord, if it pleases you to do this in consideration of right, and at our prayer, we would be bound to you to do the same thing at your request, which we would do willingly, sincerely and as well as we could. Most dear lord, we wish God may keep your body and soul, and give you good and long life. Written at Male [Chateau de Maele, Bruges] in Flanders, the first day of March.

(from) The Count of Flanders, of Nevers and of Rethel

This translation was provided by Duncan Harrington FSG of

Editor's Notes:
(1) `S Emont [1]' could be `St Edmund' once the patron saint of England and King of East Anglia.
(2)The Count of Flanders was killed fighting for France at the battle of Crecy.
(3) Acts of lawlessness in the North Sea were frequent. As early as 1274 some Flemings disguised as fishermen attacked English fishermen killing twelve hundred (Federa, ii.23)
(4) Original letter can be
viewed here


  The reference to Ghent prompts the editor to refer to the Achievements page which includes an armorial bearing in the name of Storm of Ghent (Gand).