“Chevalier Pierre du Terrail seigneur de Bayard (1473 – 1524)
Born in the former province of Dauphiné, Seigneur de Pierre Terrail Bayard was a French knight, known in legend as ‘the fearless and blameless knight’. Indeed, so much so was he was a model of chivalric virtue that even today if you look up the word ‘Bayard’ in a dictionary then this is the definition that you will find.
As a youth he won the favour of Charles VIII of France, and he was knighted after the 1495 battle of Fornovo di Taro, in Italy. His reputation for valour was such that incredible stories were believed of him, such as, that he single-handidly defended a bridge against two hundred men. Bayard was twice captured, but his gallantry and chivalrous qualities secured his courteous release without ransom.
During the war between Francis I of France and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Bayard with a thousand men held the fortress town of Mézières for six weeks against an army of Thirty-five thousand.
His final escapade, however, was at the battle of the Sesia River in Italy. His army was perilously outnumbered and the enemy were heavily armed with that relatively new weapon, the hand gun which he saw as an unjust and unchivalrous device. After heavy casualties, Bayard’s army began to retreat, but Bayard himself was shot and mortally wounded by an arquebus. Before his army fled the field, Bayard, not wanting to be found in this wretched state requested that he be tied standing upright to a tree with a sword in his hand facing the advancing army. He was granted his wish and died defending his line.
Sans peur et sans reproche – without fear and beyond reproach
Chevalier = titre de noblesse
Pierre du Terrail = nom du seigneur
Bayard = nom du domaine et/ou chateau dont il etait seigneur