A Burgundian crusader and diplomat.
Gilbert was born around 1386 in French Flanders and began his military career in the war against the English (1403-1404). He followed Jean de Werchin, seneschal of Hainaut, to the Holy Land (1405-1406), and went on to fight the Muslims in Spain under Jacques de Bourbon, count of La Marche (1407). He returned there in 1410. He was knighted in Prussia in 1413 and was made a prisoner fighting against the English at the battle of Agincourt (1415). After the Treaty of Troyes (1420), King Henry V of England and Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy sent Gilbert to the Levant to undertake a spying tour of Egypt, Syria, and the Dardanelles (he was unable to enter Turkey). He returned with a detailed report on the places and the harbors of the region, of which the maps are lost (1421-1423).
In 1428, Gilbert served as Philip’s ambassador to Sigismund, the Holy Roman Emperor and king of Hungary, in the matter of the crusades against the Hussites of Bohemia. Gilbert was one of the first knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece, founded by Duke Philip in 1430. He went to the Holy Land for the third time in 1446 to undertake a pilgrimage and a diplomatic mission to Cyprus. He took part in the Vow of the Pheasant, an event intended to raise support for a new crusade, in Arras in 1454.