March 14

March 14, 1431

Wednesday, March 14th. The Vicar of the Lord Inquisitor appoints a notary

The following Wednesday, the fourteenth day of the month of March, we, brother Jean Le Maistre above named, vicar of the lord Inquisitor, having confidence in the industry and integrity of the venerable and discreet person master Nicolas Taquel, priest of the diocese of Rouen, notary public by imperial authority, and sworn notary at the archiepiscopal court of Rouen, and having full confidence in Our Saviour, we retained, elected and ordained the said Nicolas notary and secretary in this trial, as is shown in more detail in our letters patent, sealed with our seal and bearing the sign manual of our notary public, of which the tenor is transcribed below.

And the next day in the prison of the said Jeanne, where we had assembled and where we required him faithfully to exercise his office, the said master Nicolas took oath before us in the presence of master Jean de La Fontaine, of Nicolas Midi, of Gerard Feuillet, and of many others.

Follows the tenor of the letters appointing the said notary

“To all those who shall see these present letters, brother Jean Le Maistre of the order of Preaching brothers, having full confidence in God and the integrity, zeal, competence and aptitude of the discreet person master Nicolas Taquel, priest of the diocese of Rouen, we have retained, elected and ordained the said master Nicolas, sworn notary of ourselves and the lord Inquisitor, and by these present letters we retain, elect and ordain him our secretary and notary, giving him license, faculty and authority to visit the said Jeanne and all other places where she shall be, to question, or hear her questioned, to swear in any witness produced, to examine the confessions and statements of the said Jeanne and other witnesses, to set down in writing, for our benefit, the verbal opinions of the doctors and masters; to put in writing each and every one of the occurrences of the trial, and to draw up in due form the entire proceedings, performing everything pertaining to the office of notary, whenever and wherever possible. In witness whereof we have affixed our seal to these present letters. Given at Rouen March 14th in the year of Our Lord, 1431,”

Signed: Boisguillaume. G. Manchon.

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The same day in the prison

The same day in the presence of master Jean de La Fontaine, commissary appointed by us the aforenamed bishop and by brother Jean Le Maistre aforesaid, in the prison of the said Jeanne in the castle of Rouen; and in the presence of the assessors, venerable and discreet lords and masters Nicolas Midi and Gérard Feuillet, doctors of theology; and also of Nicolas de Hubent, apostolic notary, and of brother Ysambard de La Pierre, witnesses, Jeanne was examined.

And first why she jumped from the tower at Beaurevoir.

She answered that she had heard that the people of Compiègne all of them to the age of seven years, were to be put to fire and to the sword, and she would rather die than live after such a destruction of good people. That was one reason why she jumped: the other was that she knew she had been sold to the English, and she would have died rather than fall into the hands of her enemies the English.

Asked whether the leap was made at the counsel of her voices,

She answered that St. Catherine told her almost every day not to jump, and God would help her, and the people of Compiègne too. And Jeanne told St. Catherine that since God was going to help the people of Compiègne she wanted to be there. And St. Catherine said: “You must be resigned and not falter; you will not be delivered until you have seen the King of the English.” Jeanne answered: “Truly I do not want to see him, and I would rather die than fall into the hands of the English.”

Asked whether she said to St. Catherine and St. Margaret these words: “Will God let the good people of Compiègne die so wretchedly?”

She answered that she did not say so wretchedly, but “How can God let these good people of Compiègne die who have been and are so faithful to their Lord?”

She said that after falling from the tower, for two or three days she was without food, and so injured by the leap that she could not eat or drink; yet she was comforted by St. Catherine who told her to confess and ask God to forgive her for having jumped out, and the people of Compiègne would have succor before St. Martin’s Day in winter without fail. Then she began to get well, and to eat, and soon afterwards recovered.

Asked whether when she leaped she expected to kill herself,

She answered no, for as she leaped she commended herself to God. And she hoped that by the leap she would escape and not be delivered to the English.

Asked whether when she regained her speech she denied God and His Saints, since this is stated in the evidence,

She answered that she did not remember that she had ever denied God and His saints, or blasphemed, there or elsewhere.

Asked whether she wished to abide by the evidence,

She answered: “I leave it to God and none other, and a good confession.”

Asked if her voices wanted delay in which to answer,

She said that St. Catherine sometimes answered her but that she, Jeanne, failed to understand on account of the noise of the prison and the tumult made by her guards. And when she makes a request to St. Catherine, then she and St. Margaret take the request to God and then by God’s order they give answer to Jeanne.

Asked whether when the saints come to her there comes a light with them, and whether she did not see the light when she heard the voice in the castle, and did not know whether it was in her room:

She answered that there is not a day when they do not come to the castle, nor do they come without a light. And as to the voice in question she does not remember whether she saw a light, or St. Catherine either. She says that she asked three things of her voices: one was her deliverance; the second was that God should aid the French and keep the towns which were under their control; and the third was the salvation of her soul. She asks that if she is taken to Paris she may have a copy of the questions and of her replies, so that she may give them to the people at Paris and say to them “Thus was I questioned at Rouen, and here are my replies,” and may not be worried again over so many questions.

And then since she had said that we the aforenamed bishop were exposing ourselves to great peril, in French “en grant dangier”, by bringing her to trial, she was asked what that meant, and to what peril or danger we exposed ourselves, we and the others.

She answered that she had said to us the aforesaid bishop, “You say that you are my judge; I do not know if you are; but take good heed not to judge me ill, because you would put yourself in great peril. And I warn you so that if God punish you for it I shall have done my duty in telling you.”

Asked what that danger or peril was,

She answered that St. Catherine told her she would have aid, and she does not know whether this will be her deliverance from prison, or if, whilst she is being tried, some tumult might come through which she can be delivered. And she thinks it will be one or the other. And beyond this the voices told her she will be delivered by a great victory; and then they said: “Take everything peacefully: have no care for thy martyrdom; in the end thou shalt come to the Kingdom of Paradise.” And this her voices told her simply and absolutely, that is, without faltering. And her martyrdom she called the pain and adversity which she suffers in prison; and she knows not whether she shall yet suffer greater adversity, but therein she commits herself to God.

Asked whether, since her voices had told her that in the end she should go to Paradise, she has felt assured of her salvation, and of not being damned in hell,

She answered that she firmly believed what the voices told her, namely that she will be saved, as firmly as if she were already there.

Asked whether after this revelation she believed that she could not commit mortal sin,

She answered: “I do not know; but in everything I commit myself to God.” And when she was told that this was an answer of great weight,

She answered that she held it for a great treasure.

The same Wednesday afternoon in the prison

The same Wednesday, in the afternoon, there appeared in the said place the venerable and discreet persons the lords and masters above named, Jean de La Fontaine, appointed by ourself and by Jean Le Maistre, vicar of the lord Inquisitor, the assessors Nicolas Midi and Gérard Feuillet, doctors in theology; and there were present also brother Ysambard de La Pierre and Jean Manchon.

And the said Jeanne first answered, concerning the immediately preceding article relative to the certainty she felt of her salvation, upon which she had been examined in the morning, that she intended the reply in this way: provided she kept her oath and promise to Our Lord, that is, to keep safe her virginity, of body and of soul.

Asked whether she need confess, since she believed by the revelation of her voices that she will be saved,

She answers that she does not know of having committed mortal sin, but if she were in mortal sin, she thinks St. Catherine and St. Margaret would at once abandon her. And she believes, in answer to the preceding article, that one cannot cleanse one’s conscience too much.

Asked whether since she has been in this prison she has not denied or blasphemed God,

She answered no; but sometimes when she said in French, ‘Bon gré Dieu or ‘saint Jehan,’ or ‘Nostre Dame,’ those who reported the words may have misunderstood.

Asked whether it was not mortal sin to take a man at ransom and to put him to death, a prisoner,

She answered that she had not done that.

And since mention was made to her of a certain Franquet d’Arras, who was put to death at Lagny,

She answered that she was consenting to his death if he had deserved it, since he had confessed himself a murderer, a thief, and a traitor. She said his trial lasted a fortnight; and he had for judges the Bailly de Senlis and a jury of the people of Lagny. And she said she had asked to have Franquet exchanged for a man from Paris, the landlord of the Bear Inn; and when she heard of the death of the landlord and the Bailly had told her she would be doing great wrong to justice by delivering this Franquet, she said to the Bailly: “As the man I wanted is dead, do with this fellow as justice demands.”

Asked if she sent money, or had money sent, to him who had taken the said Franquet,

She answered that she is not Master of the Mint or Treasurer of France that she should pay out money.

And, when she was reminded that she had attacked Paris on a Feast Day; that she had had the horse of the lord Bishop of Senlis; that she had thrown herself from the tower at Beaurevoir; that she wore a man’s dress; that she was consenting to the death of Franquet d’Arras; she was asked whether she did not believe she had committed mortal sin;

She answered firstly, concerning the attack on Paris, “I do not think I am in mortal sin,” and if she were, it is for God, and the priest in confession, to know it.

And secondly, concerning the horse, she answered that she firmly believes she did not therein commit mortal sin against God; for the horse was valued at 200 gold saluts, of which he received the assignment; nevertheless the horse was sent back to the Sire de la Trémouille to restore it to the Bishop of Senlis; nor was the said horse of any use to her for riding. Moreover it was not she who took it from the bishop. She added that for another thing she did not wish to keep it, since she heard that the bishop was displeased that his horse had been taken, and besides that, the horse was useless for men-at-arms. Finally and in conclusion Jeanne knew not whether the bishop was paid the assignation made to him, nor whether his horse was returned to him; she thought not.

And thirdly, concerning her fall from the tower at Beaurevoir, she answered: “I did it not out of despair, but in hope of saving my body and of going to the aid of many good people in need.” And after the leap she confessed herself and asked pardon of God. And this she received, and she believes it was not good, but rather wrong, to make that leap. She knew had been forgiven from a revelation of St. Catherine’s at her confession, at whose advice she confessed herself.

Asked whether she received any great penance,

She answered that a large part of her penance was the hurt she did herself in falling.

Asked whether she thought this wrong she did herself to mortal sin,

She answered that she knows nothing about the and refers herself to God.

And fourthly, concerning’ the man’s dress she wears,

She answered: “Since I do it by God’s command and in His service I do not think I do wrong; and so soon as it shall please God to command I will put it off.”

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