BONIFACE, MARQUIS OF MONTFERRAT, BECOMES CHIEF OF THE CRUSADE - NEW CRUSADERS - DEATH OF GEOFFRY COUNT OF PERCHE
So he came to a parliament assembled at Soissons; and the main part of the counts and barons and of the other Crusaders were there assembled. When they heard that the marquis was coming, they went out to meet him, and did him much honour. In the morning the parliament was held in an orchard belonging to the abbey of our Lady of Soissons. There they besought the marquis to do as they had desired of him, and prayed him, for the love of God, to take the cross, and accept the leadership of the host, and stand in the place of Thibaut Count of Champagne, and accept of his money and of his men. And they fell at his feet, with many tears; and he, on his part, fell at their feet, and said he would do it right willingly.
Thus did the marquis consent to their prayers, and receive the lordship of the host. Whereupon the Bishop of Soissons, and Master Fulk, the holy man, and two white monks whom the marquis had brought with him from Ws own land, led him into the Church of Notre Dame, and attached the cross to his shoulder. Thus ended this parliament, and the next day he took leave to return to his own land and settle his own affairs-telling them all to settle their own affairs likewise, for that he would meet them at Venice.
Thence did the marquis go to attend the Chapter at Citeaux, which is held on Holy Cross Day in September (14th September 1241). There he found a great number of abbots, barons and other people of Burgundy; and Master Fulk went thither to preach the Crusade. And at that place took the cross Odo the Champenois of Champlitte, and William his brother, Richard of Dampierre, Odo his brother, Guy of Pesmes, Edmund his brother, Guy of Conflans, and many other good men of Burgundy, whose names are not recorded. Afterwards took the cross the Bishop of Autun, Guignes Count of Forez, Hugh of Bergi (father and son), Hugh of Colemi. Further on in Provence took the cross Peter Bromont, and many others whose names are unknown to us.
Thus did the pilgrims make ready in all lands. Alas! a great mischance befell them in the following Lent (March 1202) before they had started, for the Count Geoffry of Perche fell sick, and made his will in such fashion that he directed that Stephen, his brother, should have his goods, and lead his men in the host. Of this exchange the pilgrims would willingly have been quit, had God so ordered. Thus did the count make an end and die; and much evil ensued, for he was a baron high and honoured, and a good knight. Greatly was he mourned throughout all his lands.