Piracy’s history may be traced back to antiquity, to the beginnings of the history of seafaring. It was always teeming with explorers of all sorts, all looking for a fast buck. The most renowned of them are surrounded by a halo of romanticism, and their personalities are legendary.
The enigmatic Black Monk is mentioned in one of these medieval stories. He is a nobleman who lives on his own island and conceals his face behind a hood. Many traditions and even myths about Robin Hood are based on the exploits of a legendary pirate monk…
Who is Eustace the Monk, and where did he come from?
In actuality, the pirates’ mystery commander in a black hood was named Eustace Busquet. He was born into an aristocratic family. Baudouin Bousquet, Lord of the County of Boulogne, was the father of the future pirate. He was born in 1170 in the Course of Boulogne, which had been under the sovereignty of the County of Flanders from the end of the ninth century. The oldest son was to receive the title and estates, while the youngest was to become a priest, according to custom at the time.
As planned, Eustace entered the Benedictine order in Saint-Vulmar-de-Samer, also known as Saint-Vulmar. The ancient resting site of the Counts of Boulogne, this abbey was built in the 7th century in the Pas-de-Calais. The young guy found monastic life to be unappealing, and he did not stay at the monastery for long. He had already left the monastery in 1190. Then he became a bailiff in the service of Count Renaud de Dammartin.
Everything was great for a while, but then the count treated Eustace’s father unfairly. As a consequence of the serious damage to his position, he perished. The former Monk rushed to de Dammartin, enraged and thirsting for vengeance. Only the time frame for filing claims was very unfavorable.
The count had his own issues to deal with. He divorced his wife Marie de Chatillon, a relative of the Gallic monarch Philip II Augustus, during this time. Ida de Lorraine, daughter of another Count of Boulogne, was the count’s chosen bride. It was a crucial political partnership that would help Dammartin to break away from Flanders’ vassal rule.
As a result, the tally received another headache. Even though they had been friends since childhood and the monarch had previously forgiven Renault for a mistake, he fell out of favor with the king. During the Plantagenets’ war with the Capetians, the Earl was a staunch supporter of the Plantagenets. Dammartin defeated Busquet in a dispute in 1204. The latter was accused of embezzlement, and the land and its rights were to be taken away from him. Eustace, who had been humiliated, set fire to two of the count’s mills and kidnapped horses in retaliation. The former Monk started hiding in the woods and setting up ambushes, robbing any wealthy passers-by.
French Robin Hood is a legendary figure in British folklore
Many academics believe that Eustace’s deeds are what gave origin to the Robin Hood stories. The connections were unmistakable. The Earl of Boulogne and the Sheriff of Nottingham, the noble robber, disinherited, and the forest refuge… All of the components were common in comparable works at the period. It’s easy to see how their mutual effect works. The Plantagenets dominated almost all of modern-day France’s western region. On both sides of the English Channel, stories were recounted. Because the Anglo-Norman population in England was multilingual, such tales were simple to translate. As a result, Eustace was banned and stood on the criminal’s crooked track.
Mercenary for the King
The noble robber felt claustrophobic in the jungle at one point. After all, it was risky to keep going in the same direction. The pay isn’t great, and there’s a good chance you’ll end yourself on the gallows at any moment. As a pirate, Eustace Busquet set out to dominate the seas. Because of his previous calling, he was given the name Monk. He was the one who drew his elder brothers into the trade. The Monk was struck with a wonderful notion to use the well-known feuds between English king John Lackland and French ruler Philip II Augustus for his personal gain.
The kings were unable to split Boulogne in any manner. The Black Monk took advantage of the political squabble. With his self-confidence and insolence, he appeared before King John and left a lasting impression on him. Eustace was given command of a fleet of three dozen ships by the king. For a period, the pirate had a great deal of success stealing all French ships.
The Black Monk had his own island, complete with a well-defended fortification. From there, he and his crew embarked on marine plundering expeditions. The Monk had few French ships, so he invaded the English shoreline from time to time, looting affluent peasants. These ruses were not going to go undetected.
However, the pirate got away with it because of his devotion to the English monarch. John Landless was a frail, weak-willed individual. He was readily swayed by the opinions of others. In 1212, the well-known Count de Dammartin joined the English monarchy’s service. He did not miss the opportunity to exact vengeance on Eustace. The count detailed the identity of his former servant to the king in the darkest hues. The king’s favorable treatment of the pirate had come to an end.
The black Monk did not linger long in his grief and contemplation. He turned over to the side of King Philip II Augustus of France right away. The defector was kindly received by him. The British opted to conquer the pirate island without hesitation. Only the Black Monk proved too difficult for them, and their mission ended in a humiliating disaster. Philip took the majority of John’s European lands. Normandy, Maine, Anjou, Touraine, and Brittany were all captured by him.
The barons requested the Magna Carta’s promulgation in 1215. This was done to cut down on royalties. The monarch refused, and a civil war erupted, known as the First War of the Barons. The conflict was picking up steam. Philip II wanted to depose John Lackland and install his son Louis as King of England. A large number of English aristocracy endorsed this proposal. John passes away unexpectedly. In the contest for the crown, the barons opt to back his infant son Henry III.
Philip, of course, was not about to give up that easy. He fought for the crown once again. The Black Monk led the fleet. For some time, he was able to retain dominance at sea. Overnight, fortune went against the pirate. Admiral Hubert de Burgh, a seasoned commander, headed the British fleet. The pirate fleet suffered an unexpected setback in the subsequent combat. Only a few ships made it out alive. One of them was also pursued by the Black Monk.
A small group of pirates returned to their stronghold. Only here was there a setback. English ships appeared out of nowhere, encircled the flotilla’s survivors, and attacked. The pirates didn’t have a chance since the troops were too disparate. Eustace fought with the ferocity of a lion. At the same time, he was fighting off a dozen knights who were fully armed.
He lost his saber in combat and replaced it with an oar. The Monk was eventually beaten. He attempted to flee and took refuge in the hold. They apprehended him amid the supply containers. The ruthless pirate was carried onto the ship’s deck. With a large ransom, the black Monk attempted to lure the enemy. Everything was just for nothing. They were deafening to his request.
The pirate had been apprehended in the yard. The head of the deceased guy was severed and sent to London. They set a lance on it and rode it around the streets for the benefit of future revolutionaries. The Eustace brothers continued their maritime crimes for a while, but they did not endure long without a superb commander like the Black Monk.
After such humiliation, Philip realized that continuing to fight was futile. In 1217, he was compelled to sign the Treaty of Lambeth, abandoning his plan to make his son King of England. This brought the conflict to a close. The Black Monk is now merely a memory and a fictional hero in many works.