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THE TRIAL OF JEANNE D'ARC


Translated into English from the Original Latin and French Documents by W.P. Barrett.

Translated from the French by Coley Taylor and Ruth H. Kerr (Gotham House, 1932).


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IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, AMEN


HERE BEGIN THE PROCEEDINGS IN MATTER OF FAITH AGAINST A DEAD WOMAN, JEANNE, COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE MAID.


To all those who shall see these present letters or public instrument, Pierre, by divine mercy Bishop of Beauvais, and brother Jean Le Maistre, of the order of Preaching brothers, deputy in the diocese of Rouen, and especially appointed in this trial to the office of the pious and venerable master Jean Graverent of the same order, renowned doctor of theology, by apostolic authority Inquisitor of the Faith and of Heretical Error in all the kingdom of France: greeting in the author and consummator of the faith, Our Lord Jesus Christ.


It has pleased divine Providence that a woman of the name of Jeanne, commonly called The Maid, should be taken and apprehended by famous warriors within the boundaries and limits of our diocese and jurisdiction. The reputation of this woman had already gone forth into many parts: how, wholly forgetful of womanly honesty, and having thrown off the bonds of shame, careless of all the modesty of womankind, she wore with an astonishing and monstrous brazenness, immodest garments belonging to the male sex; how moreover, her presumptuousness had grown until she was not afraid to


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perform, to speak, and to disseminate many things contrary to the Catholic faith and hurtful to the articles of the orthodox belief. And by so doing, as well in our diocese as in several other districts of this kingdom, she was said to be guilty of no inconsiderable offenses. These things having come to the knowledge of our mother the University of Paris, and of brother Martin Billorin, vicar-general of the lord Inquisitor of Heretical Error, they immediately summoned the illustrious prince, the Duke of Burgundy and the noble lord Jean de Luxembourg, who at this time held the said woman in their power and authority, in the name of the vicar-general above mentioned, and under penalty of law, to surrender and dispatch to us, as ordinary judge, the woman so defamed and suspected of heresy.


We, the said Bishop, according to our pastoral office, desirous of promoting with all our might the exaltation and increase of the Christian faith, did resolve to institute a proper inquiry into these facts so commonly known, and so far as law and reason should persuade us, to proceed with mature deliberation to such further decisions as were incumbent upon us. We required the said prince and the said lord Jean also, under penalties of law, to surrender for trial the said woman to our spiritual jurisdiction; whilst the very serene and most Christian prince, our lord the King of France and England, summoned them to the same effect. Finally, the most illustrious lord Duke of Burgundy and the lord Jean de Luxembourg graciously consenting to these demands, and solicitous in their Catholic souls of the accomplishment of what appeared to them as helpful to the growth of the faith, surrendered and dispatched the woman to our lord the King and his commissioners. Thereafter the King in his providence, burning with a desire to succor the orthodox faith, surrendered this woman


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to us, that we might, hold a complete inquiry into her acts and sayings before proceeding further, according to the ecclesiastical laws. When that was done, we requested the distinguished and notable chapter of the church of Rouen, charged with the administration of all spiritual jurisdiction in the vacancy of the archiepiscopal seat, to grant us territory in the town of Rouen for us to make this inquiry: which was graciously and freely given. But before preferring any further charge against this woman we held it wise to consult, with prolonged and mature deliberation, the opinion of experienced authorities in canon and civil law, of which, by God's grace, the number in the town of Rouen was considerable.


January 9th (1431). The First day of the Proceedings


And on Tuesday the ninth day of January in the year of our Lord fourteen hundred and thirty-one, according to the rite and computation of the Church of France, in the fourteenth year of the most Holy Father in Christ Martin V, by divine providence Pope, we the aforesaid bishop, in the house of the King's Counsel, summoned the doctors and masters whose names follow: my lord abbots Gilles of Ste. Trinit… de F…camp, doctor of sacred theology, and Nicolas de Jumi»ges, doctor of canon law; Pierre, prior of Longueville, doctor of theology; Raoul Roussel, treasurer of the Cathedral of Rouen, doctor of both canon and civil law; Nicolas de Vender»s, archdeacon of Eu, licentiate in canon law; Robert Le Barbier, licentiate in canon and civil law; Nicolas Couppequesne, bachelor of theology, and Nicolas Loiseleur, master of arts.


Now when these men, as numerous as famous, were gathered together at the same time and place, we demanded of their wisdom the manner and the order to be followed herein,


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after having shown as related above what diligence had been brought to the matter. The doctors and masters, having reached full knowledge thereof, decided that it was meet first to inquire into the acts and sayings publicly imputed to this woman; and decently deferring to their advice we declared that already certain information had been obtained at our command, and similarly decided to order more to be collected; all of which, at a certain day determined by us, should be presented to the council, that it might be more clearly informed upon the subsequent procedure necessary in the trial. And, the better and more conveniently to effect and achieve the collection of the information, it was this day decided by the aforesaid lords and masters that there was need of certain especial officers to whom this particular duty should be given. Consequently, at the counsel and deliberation of those present it was decided and decreed by us that the venerable and discreet person master Jean d'Estivet, canon of the cathedral churches of Beauvais and Bayeux, should exercise in the trial the office of Promoter or Procurator General. Master Jean de La Fontaine, master of arts and licentiate of canon law, was ordained councillor, commissary, and examiner. To the office of notaries or secretaries were designated the prudent and honest master Guillaume Colles, also called Boisguillaume, and Guillaume Manchon, priests, notaries by apostolic and imperial authority at the archiepiscopal court of Rouen; and master Jean Massieu, priest, ecclesiastical dean of Rouen, was appointed executor of the commands and convocations emanating from our authority. Further, we have had here inserted and transcribed at their order the tenor of all these letters, secret or public, that the sequence of the said acts might appear with greater clarity.


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And first follows the tenor of the letter from our mother the University of Paris, addressed to the most illustrious lord Duke of Burgundy


"Most high and most puissant prince and our much feared and honored lord, we commend ourselves in all humility to your highness. Notwithstanding, most feared and honored lord, our recent letter to your highness, beseeching you in all humility that this woman known as The Maid, being by God's grace in your subjection, should be transferred into the hands of the justice of the Church that due trial might be made of her idolatries and other matters concerning our holy faith, and to repair the scandals that have arisen therefrom in our Kingdom, likewise the evils and unnumbered inconveniences which have therefrom resulted: nevertheless we have had no reply nor have we learned that any provision has been made to obtain in the affair of this woman a fitting discussion. But we greatly fear lest through the falsity and seduction of the enemy of Hell and through the malice and subtlety of evil persons, your enemies and adversaries, who put their whole might, as it is said, to effect the deliverance of this woman by subtle means, she may in some manner be taken from your subjection (which may God prevent!). For in truth in the judgment of all good informed Catholics, such a great lesion in the holy faith, such an enormous peril, obstacle or hurt to all the estate of this realm, has not occurred within human memory to compare with the escape of this woman by such damned ways without fitting reparation; but it would be in truth greatly to the prejudice of your honor and of the most Christian name of the house of France, of which you and your most noble progenitors have been and still are loyal protectors and the most noble principal members. For these reasons, most feared and sovereign lord, we beseech you again


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in all humility on behalf of Our Saviour's faith, and for the conservation of the Holy Church and the protection of the divine honor, and also for the great benefit of this most Christian realm, that it may please your highness to transfer this woman into the hands of the Inquisitor of the Faith, and to dispatch her safely thither, as we formerly besought, or to surrender this woman or have her surrendered to the reverend father in God my lord bishop of Beauvais in whose spiritual jurisdiction she was apprehended, that he may try her in matter of faith, as it is reasonable and fitting for him to do to the glory of God, to the exaltation of our said holy faith, and to the profit of the good and loyal Catholics and the estate of this realm, and also to the honor and praise of your highness, whom may God keep in good prosperity and in the en