Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Nicolas Loiseleur
One of Joan's Judges in Rouen


Joan of Arc with her tormentors in Prison Painting by Isidore Patrois
Nicolas Loiseleur acted as a spy in Joan's prison cell
to obtain evidence to use against her in her trial.

Nicolas Loiseleur, Aucupis, was born at Chartres and was master of arts at Paris in 1403. He was not admitted as bachelor of theology until October, 1431. Already canon of Chartres in 1421, he was made a canon of Rouen in the place of Martin Ravenot, who remained faithful to France. He fulfilled for the Chapter many delicate missions, going to Paris, for example, to take part in various trials. On July 8, 1429, he was delegated, with Baudribosc and Basset, by the Chapter of Rouen to deliberate the matter of an embassy to Rome. He was, without doubt, a man greatly regarded by the English government.

A deputy to the Council of Bâle with Midi and Beaupère, Nicolas Loiseleur went from Rouen to Paris "for the liberties of the Church". He did not attend the Council before 1435, when he sustained with the University men and the clergy of Charles VII the theory of the preeminence of the General Council over the Pope. This was no longer the opinion of the English government nor that of the Chapter of Rouen, which sought to have its ambassador return. He was, seemingly, rather badly received in England, where Henry VI secretly supported Eugene IV. Nicolas Loiseleur was later, in 1438, recalled, on two occasions. In 1439 the Fathers at the Council sent him, as lawyer, to the Diet at Mayence; in 1440 by sentence of the court of Rome, he was deprived of his benefice as canon of Rouen. He lived at Rouen, in the rue de la Chaine (the present-day Place des Carmes) in a house of which his brother-in-law, Pierre Le Marie, and his sister Thomasse were the concièrges. Cauchon was one of his frequent visitors. He died at Bâle, after 1442 and before the Rehabilitation proceedings.

Nicolas Loiseleur, intimate friend of Pierre Cauchon, was equally linked to Nicolas Midi, one of Jeanne's bitterest enemies; he played a perfectly odious rôle in the Trial, that of the false confessor, but completely in accordance with inquisitorial procedure. (Eymeric, Directorium Inquisitorium, Romae, 1585, p. 466, Col. 2, cautela nova) G. Colles assures us, none the less, that he wept while witnessing her death. But this much is certain, that he was not banished from Rouen, as has been written of him, nor was consideration of him subject to any attainder because of any conduct of his during the Trial. He is mentioned as a Norman by Pius 11 (de Gestis Basil concilii, in the Opera omnia, Basileae, 1551).
(Biography from The Trial of Joan of Arc by W.P. Barrett)

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