March 27

March 27, 1431

Tuesday, March 27th. The Promoter’s request. The articles he has prepared against Jeanne are read

The following Tuesday after Palm Sunday, the 27th day of March, in the room near ‘the great hall of the castle of Rouen, in our episcopal presence, and of brother Jean Le Maistre, vicar of the lord Inquisitor, assisted by the reverend fathers, lords and masters, Gilles, abbot of Fécamp, Pierre, prior of Longueville; Jean Beaupère, Jacques de Touraine, Nicolas Midi, Pierre Maurice, Gérard Feuillet, Erard Emengart, Guillaume Le Boucher, Maurice du Quesnay, Jean de Nibat, Jean Le Fèvre, Jacques Guesdon, Jean de Châtillon, doctors of sacred theology; Raoul Roussel and Jean Garin, doctors of both canon and civil law respectively; Robert Le Barbier, Denis Gastinel, Jean Le Doulx, Nicolas de Venderès, Jean Pinchon, Jean Basset, Jean de La Fontaine, Jean Colombel, Aubert Morel, Jean Duchemin, licentiates in canon law; André Marguerie, archdeacon of Petit-Caux, Jean Alespée, Nicolas Caval, Geoffroy de Crotay, licentiates in civil law; Guillaume Desjardins and Jean Tiphaine, doctors of medicine; William Haiton, bachelor of theology; Guillaume de La Chambre, licentiate in medicine; brother Jean Duval and brother Ysambard de La Pierre, of the order of Preaching brothers; William Brolbster and John Hampton: the said master Jean d’Estivet, canon of the churches of Bayeux and Beauvais, our Promoter, appointed by us in this trial, appearing in judgment before us, in presence of the said Jeanne, who was led into our presence, put to her certain supplications and requests in French, of which the tenor, literally translated, was:

“My Lords, reverend father in Christ, and you, Vicar, especially charged to this office by the lord Inquisitor of the wanderers from the Catholic faith, established and appointed throughout the whole kingdom of France, I, Promoter, appointed, charged, and ordained by you in this trial, according to certain information and examinations made on your behalf, I say, declare and propose that Jeanne here present should be brought to answer that which I shall ask, declare and put to her touching and concerning the faith. And I undertake to prove, if need be, by and under protestations, and to the ends and conclusions declared more fully in the requisition which I show and present to you as judges in this trial, the facts, rights and reasons declared and contained in the articles written and specified in the schedule. And I beseech and request you that Jeanne shall be made to affirm and swear that she will answer the said articles, each one severally, according as she believes or does not believe. And in the event of her refusal to swear, or declining or postponing it unduly, after you shall have enjoined her and she shall have been so summoned by you, she shall be accounted deficient and contumacious in her presence; and if her obstinacy requires it, she shall be declared excommunicated for manifest offense. Moreover, you shall determine a certain day as soon as possible for her to answer these articles, intimating to her that if she does not reply to them or to certain of them before the appointed day, you will hold these articles on which she has not given answer, as confessed, according as law, style, use, and custom wish and require of you.”

When this petition was pronounced the Promoter presented the accusation against Jeanne, in the form of final articles transcribed below.

After which we the aforementioned judges asked the counsel of the assessors. When the request and supplication of the Promoter had been seen, and the opinions of each assessor heard, we concluded that the articles exhibited by the Promoter should be read and explained in French to the said Jeanne, and that she should answer what she knew to each; and if there were points for which she asked a delay to answer, a reasonable delay should be granted her.

{First (1), Master Nicolas de Venderès said that, on the first article, it was necessary to force her to take oath. On the second, the Promoter had charged well, and it was proper to find her contumacious if she refused to swear. And on the third, it seemed to him, she ought to be excommunicated. And if she incurred the sentence of excommunication, they must proceed against her according to law. In the same way, if she refused, she should incur the sentence of excommunication.

Master Jean Pinchon asked that the articles be read to her first before any deliberation.

Master Jean Basset asked that the articles be read to her before pronouncing the sentence of excommunication.

Master Jean Garin asked that the articles be read.

Master Jean de La Fontaine concurred with the opinion of Nicolas de Venderès.

Master Geoffroy du Crotay said that it seemed to him that it was necessary to give Jeanne a delay of at least three days before excommunicating her, and that we ought to hold her guilty if she refused to swear. This ought to be done because, in civil law, a three days’ grace is given in which to take oath before the law acts. ———————————–

(1) The matter in brackets appears only in the French minutes of the Trial, not in the official Latin version.

Master Jean Le Doulx agreed with him.

Master Gilles Deschamps asked that the articles be read to counsel her, and a day assigned for her to appear, and that she be advised to reply.

Master Robert Le Barbier agreed with him.

The lord Abbot of Fécamp said that it seemed to him that she was required to swear to tell the truth in all things concerning the trial, and if she had not been advised she ought to have an adequate delay. A day ought to be assigned for her to appear, and she should be advised to attend.

Master Jean de Châtillon said that she was required to reply truthfully, especially in all that pertained to her actions.

Master Erard Emengart agreed with the lord Abbot of Fécamp.

And Master Guillaume Le Boucher said that he did, likewise.

The lord Prior of Longueville said that in the matters that she did not know how to answer, it seemed to him that she should not be constrained to answer by believe or do not believe.

Master Jean Beaupère said that in the matters of which she was certain and which were of her own doing, she was required to reply truthfully. But in those matters in which she did not know how to reply, or which were legalistic, a delay ought to be given to her if she asked it.

Master Jacques de Touraine agreed with him.

Master Nicolas Midi agreed likewise, adding that if it was necessary to compel her to swear precisely, he wished to refer her to the lawyers.

Master Maurice du Quesnay agreed with the lord Abbot of Fécamp.

Master Jean de Nibat said that in all that concerned the articles he relied upon the lawyers; and as for the oath, she ought to take oath to tell the truth, in all things touching the trial and the faith. If, on other points, she had difficulty in answering truthfully, and she asked for delay it was necessary to give it to her.

Master Jean Le Fèvre said that he relied upon the lawyers.

Master Pierre Maurice said that she should answer what she knew.

Master Gerard Feuillet said that she was required to reply under oath.

Master Jacques Guesdon agreed with him.

Master Thomas de Courcelles said that she was required to answer; that the articles should be read to her and that she should answer at the time of reading them; and as for the matter of a delay, if she asked it, then it must be granted.

Master André Marguerie was of the opinion that she ought to swear to all that touched the trial. In the matter of the doubtful points, it seemed to him that time should be given her.

Master Denis Gastinel said that she ought to take oath, and that the Promoter was right in all that related to the oath. As for the later procedure, if she refused to take oath, he would ask to examine the documents first.

Masters Aubert Morel and Jean Duchemin declared that she was required to take oath.]

Then the Promoter took oath before us touching the accusation. When this was done we told Jeanne that all the assessors were ecclesiastical and learned men, experienced in canon and civil law, who wished and intended to proceed with her in all piety and meekness, as they had always been disposed, seeking not vengeance or corporal punishment, but her instruction and her return to the ways of truth and salvation. And, since she was not learned and literate enough in such arduous matters, we suggested that she should choose one or many of those present, and if she would not choose, we would give her some to counsel her touching what she should do and reply, provided that in herself she wished to answer truthfully. And we required her to swear to speak the truth.

To which Jeanne answered: “First, for admonishing me of my salvation and our faith, I thank you and also all the company. As for the counsel you offer me, I thank you for that too; but I have no intention of departing from the counsel of Our Lord. And the oath you wish me to take I will willingly swear, to answer truthfully on everything which concerns your trial.” And she took oath so, with her hands on the holy scriptures.

Afterwards, at our invitation and command the articles which the Promoter had shown us were read to her (by Thomas de Courcelles), and the contents of the articles of accusation were explained to Jeanne in French on the Tuesday and Wednesday following.

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