A crusading count of north-western France, this old campaigner is renowned for the strength of his arm, a fiery temper, and his loyalty to his king.
A Frankish knight more than 60 years old; still tall, proud and quite clearly very powerful despite his advanced years. He wears his mail and bears his weapons with the ease of a man many years his junior, and while he moves with some stiffness to his gait, the old knight looks like he could still hold his own in battle better than others half his age. His hair and beard are stark white, and his dark brown eyes glitter beneath bushy brows. In addition to his sword and dagger, the old warrior is armed with a battle axe. A surcoat of scarlet silk bearing two cloth of gold lions passant guardant belies his station as the influential and wealthy Count of St. Pol.
The Coat of Arms of Hugh Candavène IV Count of Saint Pol
Count Hughes de St. Pol of the House of Candavène is one of the highest ranking nobles to have undertaken the Fourth Crusade; only Boniface of Montferrat, Baldwin of Flanders and Hainault and Louis of Blois (in that order) technically outrank him. As a prominent direct vassal and friend of Phillip II, he is also one of the highest ranking and wealthiest nobles of France, giving him considerable influence over his fellow nobles. Finally his late wife, Yolande, was Baldwin’s aunt, and the friendship of the two noble’s is thus vitally important to the king’s hopes of tying the counties of Flanders and Hainault more firmly to the destiny of France.
Being well over sixty, Hugh is considerably older than the rest of the counts and barons that comprise the leadership of the crusade. As such, he brings much needed common sense and experience with warfare and crusading to the council. Indeed, some have found his attendance on the crusade to be more than a little noteworthy given both his advanced age and the relative youth of his contemporaries. Some say that he chose to take the cross because he was inspired by the great displays of piety shown by the young counts at Ecry; others that he merely craves one last stab at pious glory himself before death takes him.
Count Hugh took the Third Crusade, and earned great distinction for his prowess and bravery at Acre, gaining the personal approbation of no less than both Richard the Lionheart and Phillip II. The ultimate failure of that crusade to reclaim the Kingdom of Jerusalem clearly seems to rankle the old knight, and he certainly does not lack the courage of his religious convictions. Perhaps both his cynical detractors and high-minded supporters are both right concerning his motivations for joining the Fourth Crusade.
It is said that he tends to be the voice of caution, thriftiness and moderation in council, but that his anger is easily aroused when his age and experience are not respected. He clearly appears to dislike the apparent immaturity of the younger counts, some of whom have been known to goad him for his conservative manner. In general, he tends to side with his passionate kinsman, Baldwin, in the frequent leadership squabbles that frequently erupt. Like the rest of the nobles that have taken the crusade, Hugh has all but reduced himself to penury to see it succeed. He has even been forced to pawn his beloved surcoat (a gift from the Lionheart of which he is inordinately proud) several times merely to feed himself and his retainers.