February 21

February 21, 1431

Wednesday, February 21st. The First Public Session

On Wednesday, February 21st, at eight o’clock in the morning we the said bishop repaired to the chapel royal of the castle of Rouen, where we had summoned the said woman to appear before us at that hour and day. When we were seated in tribunal there were present the reverend fathers, lords and masters:

  • Gilles, abbot of Ste. Trinité de Fécamp
  • Pierre, prior of Longueville-Giffard,
  • Jean de Châtillon
  • Jean Beaupère
  • Jacques de Touraine,
  • Nicolas Midi,
  • Jean de Nibat
  • Jacques Guesdon,
  • Jean Le Fèvre
  • Maurice du Quesnay,
  • Guillaume Le Boucher,
  • Pierre Houdenc,
  • Pierre Maurice,
  • Richard Prati, and
  • Gerard Feuillet, doctors of sacred theology;
  • Nicolas de Jumièges
  • Guillaume de Ste. Catherine, and
  • Guillaume de Cormeilles, abbots;
  • Jean Garin, canon,
  • Raoul Roussel, doctors of canon and civil law;
  • William Haiton,
  • Nicolas Couppequesne,
  • Jean Le Maistre,
  • Richard le Grouchet,
  • Pierre Minier,
  • Jean Pigache,
  • Raoul Le Sauvage, bachelors of theology;
  • Robert Le Barbier,
  • Denis Gastinel,
  • Jean Le Doulx, bachelors of canon and civil law;
  • Nicolas de Venderès,
  • Jean Basset,
  • Jean de La Fontaine,
  • Jean Bruillot,
  • Aubert Morel,
  • Jean Colombel,
  • Laurent Du Busc, and
  • Raoul Anguy, bachelors of canon law;
  • André Marguerie,
  • Jean Alespée,
  • Geoffrey du Crotay, and
  • Gilles Deschamps, licentiates in civil law.

In their presence there were read first the letters from the king upon the restoration and surrender of the said woman to us, then the letters from the chapter of Rouen granting us territory: the tenor of which is given below.

Then master Jean d’Estivet, appointed and constituted our promoter in this trial, reported that he had caused the said Jeanne to be cited and summoned by our usher to appear at the said place, on the day and hour prescribed, to answer the questions which should legally be put to her, as is clearly shown in the report of the usher affixed to our letters of citation.

Follows the tenor of the letters of citation and writ

“Pierre, by divine mercy bishop of Beauvais, being in possession of territory in the city and diocese of Rouen, by the authority of the venerable chapter of the cathedral of Rouen in the vacancy of the archiepiscopal see, for the purpose of undertaking and concluding the aforementioned matter, to the dean of the Christendom of Rouen, to all priests, whether curates or not, of this city and diocese, who shall see these present letters, greeting in the author and consummator of our faith.

Since a woman commonly called Jeanne the Maid had been captured and apprehended within our diocese of Beauvais, and had been surrendered, dispatched, given and delivered to us by the most Christian and serene prince the lord King of France and England as a person vehemently suspected of heresy, so that we should institute proceedings against her in matters of faith in view of the fact that rumors of her acts and sayings wounding our faith had notoriously spread not only through the kingdom of France, but also through all christendom, we, desirous of proceeding maturely in the affairs, resolved, after a diligent inquiry and consultation with learned men, that the said Jeanne should be summoned, cited, and heard upon the articles and interrogations given and made against her, and upon things concerning the faith.

Hence we require each and every one of you not to wait for another if he is summoned by us nor to excuse himself by another. Therefore peremptorily summon the said Jeanne so vehemently suspected of heresy to appear before us in the chapel royal of the castle of Rouen at eight o’clock in the morning of Wednesday, February 21St, to speak the truth upon the said articles, interrogations and other matters of which we esteem her suspect, and to be dealt with as we shall think just and reasonable, intimating to her that she will be excommunicated if she fails to appear before us on that day. Give us a faithful account thereof in writing, you who are to be present to follow it. Given at Rouen under our seal

Tuesday, February 20th 1431.”

Signed: G. Boisguillaume. G. Manchon

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The Usher’s writ

“To the reverend father in Christ, the lord Pierre by divine mercy bishop of Beauvais, possessing territory in the city and diocese of Rouen by the pleasure of the venerable chapter of the cathedral of Rouen in the vacancy of the archiepiscopal see for the purpose of undertaking and concluding the aforementioned matter, your humble Jean Massieu, priest, dean of the Christendom of Rouen, prompt obedience to your orders in all reverence and honor.

Be it known to you, reverend father, that in virtue of the summons you addressed to me, to which this present writ is joined, I have peremptorily cited to appear before you at eight o’clock in the morning of Wednesday, February 21st, in the chapel royal of the castle of Rouen, the woman commonly called The Maid, whom I have apprehended in person in the limits of this castle, and whom you vehemently suspect of heresy, to answer truthfully to the articles and interrogations which shall be addressed to her upon matters of faith and other points on which you deem her suspect, and to be dealt with according to law and reason and the intimation of your letters.

The said Jeanne replied that she would willingly appear before you and answer the truth to the interrogations to which she shall be subjected; that, nevertheless, she requested you to summon in this suit ecclesiastics of the French side equal in number to those of the English party and, further, she humbly begged you, reverend father, to permit her to hear Mass before she appears before you, and to inform you of these requests, which I have done.

By these present letters sealed with my seal and signed with my sign manual, I testify to you, reverend father, that all the foregoing has been done by me. Given in the year of Our Lord, 1431, On Tuesday preceding the said Wednesday.

Signed: Jean.

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The Petition of the Promoter. Decision forbidding Jeanne to attend divine offices

After the reading of these letters the aforesaid promoter urgently required this woman to be commanded to appear in judgment before us in accordance with the summons, to be examined upon certain articles concerning the faith; which we granted. But since in the meantime this woman had requested to be allowed to hear Mass, we informed the assessors that we had consulted with notable lords and masters on this question, and in view of the crimes of which this woman was defamed, especially the impropriety of the garments to which she clung, it was their opinion that we should properly defer permission for her to hear Mass and attend the divine offices.

Jeanne is led in to judgment

Whilst we were saying these things this woman was brought in by our usher.

Since she was appearing in judgment before us we began to explain how this Jeanne had been taken and apprehended within the boundaries and limits of our diocese of Beauvais; how many of her actions, not in our diocese alone but in many other regions also, had injured the orthodox faith, and how common report of them had spread through all the realms of Christendom; how recently the most serene and Christian prince our lord the king had given and delivered this woman to us to be tried in matters of faith according to law and reason.

Therefore, considering the public rumor and common report and also certain information already mentioned, after mature consultation with men learned in canon and civil law, we decreed that the said Jeanne should be summoned and cited by letter to answer the interrogations in matters of faith and other points truthfully according to law and reason, as set forth in the letters shown by the promoter.

First exhortation to Jeanne

As it is our office to keep and exalt the Catholic faith, we did first, with the gentle succor of Jesus Christ (whose issue this is), charitably admonish and require the said Jeanne, then seated before us, that to the quicker ending of the present trial and the unburdening of her own conscience, she should answer the whole truth to the questions put to her upon these matters of faith, eschewing subterfuge and shift which hinder truthful confession.

She is required to take oath

Moreover, according to our office, we lawfully required the said Jeanne to take proper oath, with her hands on the holy gospels, to speak the truth in answer to such questions put to her, as beforesaid.

The said Jeanne replied in this manner: I do not know what you wish to examine me on. Perhaps you might ask such things that I would not tell.”

Whereupon we said: “Will you swear to speak the truth upon those things which are asked you concerning the faith, which you know?”

She replied that concerning her father and her mother and what she had done since she had taken the road to France, she would gladly swear; but concerning the revelations from God, these she had never told or revealed to any one, save only to Charles whom she called King; nor would she reveal them to save her head; for she had them in visions or in her secret counsel; and within a week she would know certainly whether she might reveal them.

Thereupon, and repeatedly, we, the aforementioned bishop, admonished and required her to take an oath to speak the truth in those things which concerned our faith.

The said Jeanne, kneeling, and with her two hands upon the book, namely the missal, swore to answer truthfully whatever should be asked her, which she knew, concerning matters of faith, and was silent with regard to the said condition, that she would not tell or reveal to any person the revelations made to her.

First Inquiry after the oath

When she had thus taken the oath the said Jeanne was questioned by us about her name and her surname.

To which she replied that in her own country she was called Jeannette, and after she came to France, she was called Jeanne. Of her surname she said she knew nothing.

Consequently she was questioned about the district from which she came.

She replied she was born in the village of Domrémy, which is one with the village of Greux; and in Greux is the principal church.

Asked about the name of her father and mother,

She replied that her father’s name was Jacques d’Arc, and her mother’s Isabelle.

Asked where she was baptized,

She replied it was in the church of Domrémy.

Asked who were her godfathers and godmothers,

She said one of her godmothers was named Agnes, another Jeanne, another Sibylle; of her godfathers, one was named Jean Lingué, another Jean Barrey: she had several other godmothers, she had heard her mother say.

Asked what priest had baptized her,

She replied that it was master Jean Minet, as far as she knew.

Asked if he was still living,

She said she believed he was.

Asked how old she was,

She replied she thought nineteen. She said moreover that her mother taught her the Paternoster, Ave Maria and Credo; and that no one but her mother had taught her her Credo.

Asked by us to say her Paternoster,

She replied that if we would hear her in confession then she would gladly say it for us.

And as we repeatedly demanded that she should repeat it,

She replied she would not say her Paternoster unless we would hear her in confession.

Then we told her that we would gladly send one or two notable men, speaking the French tongue, to hear her say her Paternoster, etc.;

to which Jeanne replied that she would not say it to them, except in confession.

Prohibition against her leaving prison

Whereupon we, the aforementioned bishop, forbade Jeanne to leave the prison assigned to her in the castle of Rouen without our authorization under penalty of conviction of the crime of heresy.

She answered that she did not accept this prohibition, adding that if she escaped, none could accuse her of breaking or violating her oath, since she had given her oath to none. Then she complained that she was imprisoned with chains and bonds of iron.

We told her that she had tried elsewhere and on several occasions to escape from prison, and therefore, that she might be more safely and securely guarded, an order had been given to bind her with chains of iron.

To which she replied: “It is true that I wished and still wish to escape, as is lawful for any captive or prisoner.”

We then commissioned as the safeguard of the said Jeanne the noble man John Grey, Squire, of the bodyguard of our lord the King, and with him Jean Berwoit and William Talbot, enjoining them to guard her well and faithfully, and to permit no person to speak with her without our order. Which, with their hands on the Gospel, they solemnly swore to do.

And finally, having completed all the preliminaries, we assigned the said Jeanne to appear the next day, Thursday, at eight o’clock in the morning, in the Robing Room at the end of the great hall of the castle of Rouen.

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