Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Trial of Nullification (Rehabilitation)


[Articles for Examination of Witnesses in the Second Inquiry of 1452 were prepared under the direction of Cardinal d'Estouteville and Brother Jean Brehal, Inquisitor. The witnesses were examined on twelve questions. Articles were also prepared under the direction of Philippe de Rose, Delegate for Cardinal d'Estouteville, the witnesses being examined on twenty-seven questions.]


[A Rescript was issued by Pope Calixtus III. ordering the Procedure of Revision for the Inquiry of 1455-6.]

The process to right the wrongs done to Jeanne was begun on November 7, 1455. Isabelle Romée, who was now somewhere between sixty and seventy years old, her two sons and a group of friends from Orleans, came to the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. Tearfully and filled with emotion, Isabelle approached the Pope's representative judges and began to recite her request for justice for her daughter.

"I had a daughter born in lawful wedlock who grew up amid the fields and pastures. I had her baptized and confirmed and brought her up in the fear of God. I taught her respect for the traditions of the Church as much as I was able to do given her age and simplicity of her condition. I succeeded so well that she spent much of her time in church and after having gone to confession she received the sacrament of the Eucharist every month. Because the people suffered so much, she had a great compassion for them in her heart and despite her youth she would fast and pray for them with great devotion and fervor. She never thought, spoke or did anything against the faith. Certain enemies had her arraigned in a religious trial. Despite her disclaimers and appeals, both tacit and expressed, and without any help given to her defense, she was put through a perfidious, violent, iniquitous and sinful trial. The judges condemned her falsely, damnably and criminally, and put her to death in a cruel manner by fire. For the damnation of their souls and in notorious, infamous and irreparable loss to me, Isabelle, and mine... I demand that her name be restored."

Jeanne's mother, overcome with grief, had to be escorted to the sacristy of the cathedral and thus began Jeanne's Trial of Nullification. The court took testimony in the cities of Paris, Rouen and Orleans as well as the towns of Domremy and Vaucouleurs. A total of one hundred and fifty witnesses came forward to tell the court of their memories of Jeanne. Finally on July 7, 1456, the court rendered its official decision.


MANCHON: Second Examination, 2nd May, 1452.

[Additional statements:]

I have heard that after Jeanne was taken captive by one of the company of the Count de Ligny, she was taken to the Castle of Beaurevoir and detained there three months; and then, by letters from the King of England to my Lord of Beauvais, she was taken to Rouen and put in prison.

The Bishop of Beauvais held with the English; and, before he took cognizance of the Case, Jeanne was put in irons: after he had informed himself, Jeanne, thus fettered, was given over to the custody of four English, although the Bishop and the Inquisitor had stated and sworn that they would themselves faithfully keep her. Jeanne was treated with cruelty, and, towards the end of the Trial, was shown the torture.

And thus she put on man's clothing and lamented that she did not dare to doff these, fearing that at night the guards might attempt some violence; and once or twice complaint was made to the Bishop of Beauvais, to the Sub-Inquisitor, and to Maitre Nicolas Loyseleur that some of these guards had attempted to assault her. The Earl of Warwick, at the statement of the Bishop, the Inquisitor, and Loyseleur, uttered strong threats should they again presume to attempt this; and two other guards were appointed.

I, as notary, wrote Jeanne's answers and defense. Two or three writers, who were secretly ensconced near, omitted, in their writing, all that was in her favor.

The Judges desired me to write also in such wise, but I refused.

Third Examination, 8th May, 1452. [Additional statements..]

I acted as notary in the Process, by compulsion of the Great Council of the King of England, not daring to contradict their order. The Bishop of Beauvais was not compelled to take up the Process against Jeanne. He did it of free-will. The Inquisitor was summoned and dared not refuse. The Process was carried Out by the English at their expense. The Promoter also was not compelled, but came of free-will. The Assessors and Doctors were summoned and dared not refuse.

[With regard to the comparison of the writing of the concealed clerks and the notaries, he adds that] the comparison of notes was made in the house of the Bishop.

Jeanne answered prudently and with simplicity, as might be seen in the Process. She could not have defended herself before such great Doctors had she not been inspired. The examination lasted for two or three hours in the morning, and sometimes as long again in the afternoon of the same day. She was much fatigued by the examination, for the examiners put to her the most subtle questions they possibly could.

The original Process was written by me faithfully, in French, after the first session. Later, I believe it was faithfully translated into Latin. During the Process, and almost up to the close, Jeanne had no Counsel. I do not remember if she asked for one; but, towards the end, she had Maitre Pierre Maurice and a Carmelite to direct and instruct her.

On the day of her death, before the sermon and ere she left the Castle, she received the Body of the Lord by the order of the Judges, at her own request.

She was taken to the place of execution by a large number of soldiers-nearly four score. After the ecclesiastical sentence had been pronounced, and Jeanne given up, she was taken over to the Bailly, there present, who, without any consultation or sentence, made a sign with his hand, saying: "Take her away! Take her away!"

Fourth Examination, 17th December, 1455. [Additional statements.]

The sum of a thousand pounds, or crowns, was given by the King of England for the surrender of the Maid; and an annuity of 300 pounds to the soldier of the Duke of Burgundy who had captured her.

I was appointed notary in the Trial, together with a certain Guillaume Boisguillaume.

The copy of the Process was shown to me is the true Copy made. I acknowledge my own and my companion's signatures, and that it is the truth. Two other copies were made. One was given to the Inquisitor, one to the King of England, and one to the Bishop of Beauvais. This Process was made from a certain Minute written in French, by my own hand, which was given up to the Judges, and was afterwards translated from the French into Latin by Monsieur Thomas de Courcelles and myself, in the form in which it now stands, as well and as faithfully as possible, long after the death and execution of Jeanne. As for the Act of Accusation and other parts of the Process, Maitre Thomas de Courcelles had very little to do with these, nor did he greatly interfere with them.

With regard to the word Nota, written above certain Articles in the Minute, there was, on the first day of the Inquiry, a great tumult in the Chapel of the Castle at Rouen, where, that day, the interrogation was held, so that Jeanne was interrupted at almost every word, while she was speaking of her apparitions: Certain secretaries were there-two or three-of the King of England, who registered, as they chose, her words and depositions, omitting all her defense and all which tended to exonerate her. I complained of this, saying it was irregular, and that I would not be responsible, as clerk, in this matter: and, therefore, on the morrow, the place of meeting was changed and convened in a certain hall of the Castle, near the Great Hall, while two English were placed to keep order. When there were difficulties as to Jeanne's answers, and some said she had not replied as I had written, I wrote Nota at the top, in order that the questions might be repeated and the difficulties removed. Although it is mentioned in the Process that the Judges stated they had received preliminary evidence, I do not remember to have seen or heard of it; but I know that, if it had been produced, it would have been inserted in the Process.

Jeanne was brought to Rouen and not to Paris, because, as I think, the King of England and the principal people of his Council were there.

At the beginning of the Process, I was sent for to attend a meeting held at a certain house near the Castle, at which were present the Bishop of Beauvais, the Abbe' of Fecamp, Maitre Nicolas Loyseleur, and many others. The Bishop told me it was necessary that I should serve the King: that they meant to bring a fine case against this said Jeanne, and that I was to recommend another greffier to assist me. I therefore nominated Boisguillaume.

I met Lohier in the Church, on the day after the Bishop had asked him to give an opinion on the Process, and inquired what he you ght of it. He replied, that the Process was of no value, and could not be maintained, because it was conducted in the Castle and not in a legal court; that it concerned many who were not summoned; that Jeanne had no Counsel: and for many other reasons. He added that, in his opinion, it was their intention to put her to death.

A certain Maitre Nicolas de Houppeville was summoned to attend the Trial; and was in great danger, because he refused. Maitre Jean Lemaitre, Sub-Inquisitor, delayed as long as possible his attendance at the Trial, and was much vexed at being compelled to attend.

One day, when Jeanne was being questioned, Jean de Chatillon spoke in her favor, saying that she was not compelled to reply to the question put to her, or to that effect. This much displeased the Bishop of Beauvais and his following, and there was a great tumult at his words. The Bishop ordered him to be quiet, and to let the Judges speak.

On another occasion, when some one was advising and directing Jeanne on the question of submission to the Church, the Bishop said, "Hold your tongue, in the devil's name!" I do not remember the name of him who was thus spoken to.

One day, some one, whose name I do not remember, having spoken of Jeanne in a way which did not please the Earl of Stafford, the latter followed him, sword in hand, to some place of sanctuary; and, if they had not told Stafford that that place was sacred, he would have slain him.

Those who seemed to me most affected [against Jeanne] were Beaupere, Midi, and de Touraine.

One day, I went with the Bishop of Beauvais and the Earl of Warwick to the prison where Jeanne was, and we found her in irons. It was said that at night she was fastened with iron chains; but I did not see her so fastened. There was, in the prison, neither bed nor any kind of couch. There were four or five guards of the lowest kind.

[Manchon supplies a fuller account of the story given in 1450 as to the clerks having overheard Jeanne's confession to Loyseleur:]

After I and Boisguillaume had been appointed notaries, the Earl of Warwick, the Bishop of Beauvais, and Maitre Nicolas Loyseleur told us that Jeanne had spoken strange things in regard to her visions, and in order the better to know the truth about them, it was agreed that Maitre Nicolas Loyseleur should pretend to be from the Marches of Lorraine-Jeanne s own country and in the following of the King of France; that he should enter her prison in a layman's habit, and that the guards should retire and leave him alone with her: there was, in a room adjoining the prison, a hole, specially made for the purpose, in order that I and my companion might be there, and hear what was said by Jeanne. Thither we went, unseen by her. Then Loyseleur, pretending to have news, began to question Jeanne of the King's estate and of her revelations. Jeanne replied, believing him to be in fact of her own country and party: and the Bishop and the Earl desired us to put in writing what we had heard. I replied, that this ought not to be, that it was not honest to carry on the Trial by such means, but that, if she spoke thus in open Court, we would willingly register the words. And, ever afterwards, Jeanne had great confidence in this Loyseleur, who often heard her in confession, and would generally have private speech with her before she was taken before the Judges.

The interrogations sometimes lasted three or four hours in the morning; and sometimes difficult and subtle questions arose on the answers, on which she was further examined after dinner for two or three hours. Often they turned from one question to another, changing about, but, notwithstanding this, she answered prudently, and evinced a wonderful memory, saying often, "I have already answered you on this," and adding, "I refer to the clerks."

Long before the [Seventy] Articles were included in the Process, Jeanne had been many times examined, and had given many answers; and from these questions and answers the Articles were drawn up, with the advice of the Assessors. This was done by the Promoter, in order that the material, which was diffuse, might be put in order. Afterwards, she was examined on the whole; and it was concluded by the counselors principally those who came from Paris-that it would be well, and according to custom, to reduce these Articles and answers to shorter Articles, bringing together the principal points, in order to have the material in brief, for better and more prompt discussion. On this, there were drawn up the Twelve Articles; but I had no hand in them, nor do I know who composedor extracted them.

[With regard to a Note, dated April 4th, 143 I, written in French and contained in the Process, concerning these Twelve Articles, the other two Notaries Guillaume Colles or Boisguillaume, and Nicolas Taquel were summoned and questioned, together with deponent. They testified that:]

The Note is in the handwriting of Manchon, but as to who drew up the Twelve Articles we do not know. It was said to be customary that such Articles should be made and drawn up from the confessions of one accused of Heresy, even as in a matter of Faith was usually done, in Paris, by the Doctors and Masters in Theology. The corrections of these Articles were, we believe, put down as appears in the copy before us; but, whether these corrections were added or not to the copy of the Articles sent to Paris and to those invited to submit an opinion, we do not know. We believe not: for a note, in the handwriting of Maitre Guillaume d'Estivet, the Promoter, shows that they were sent by him on the following day without correction.

[Manchon was then asked, if he believed the Articles to be truthfully composed, and if there were not a great difference between them and Jeanne's answers. He replied that, what was in his Process was true. The Articles were not his doing.]

I believe that deliberation was not made on the whole Process, because it was not then in shape. It was brought into its present form only after Jeanne's death. Opinions were given on the Twelve Articles. The Twelve Articles were not read to Jeanne. [Asked again, if he had ever perceived a difference between these Articles and Jeanne's confessions, he said he did not remember. Those to whom they were shown said, that it was the custom to draw up such Articles; but that he had not given his attention to it, and that he should not have dared to argue with such great men.]

During the Trial I was seated at the feet of the Judges with Guillaume Colles and the clerk of Maitre Guillaume Beaupere, who was also writing; but there was a great difference in what we had written, and from this arose much contention.

When the Process was complete, opinions were asked for, and from these it was decided that Jeanne should be exhorted; she was leftto the counsel of Maitre Nicolas Loyseleur, who said to her: "Jeanne, believe me: if you will, you may be saved. Take the dress of your sex, and do all that you are told; otherwise you are in peril of death. If you do what I tell you, you will be saved, and will have much good and not much ill, and you will be given up to the Church." And then she was taken to a scaffold or platform. Two sentences had been prepared, one of abjuration, tile other of condemnation: both were in the hands of the Bishop, and, while he was reading the sentence of condemnation, Maitre Nicolas Loyseleur continued to press Jeanne to do what he had advised, and to accept the woman's dress. There was a short interval, in which an Englishman addressed the Bishop as a traitor, to which he answered that he lied. At this instant, Jeanne declared herself ready to obey the Church; and then the abjuration was read to her. I do not know if she repeated it, or if, after it was read, she said that she agreed. But she certainly smiled. The executioner was there, with the cart, waiting to take her to the burning.

On Trinity Sunday, I and the other notaries were commanded by the Bishop and Lord Warwick to come to the Castle, because it was said that Jeanne had relapsed and had resumed her man's dress.

When we reached the Court, the English, who were there to the number of about fifty, assaulted us, calling us traitors, and saying that we had mismanaged the Trial. We escaped their hands with great difficulty and fear. I believe they were angry that, at the first preaching and sentence, she had not been burnt.

What she had said in the abjuration she said she had not understood, and that what she had done was from fear of the fire, seeing the executioner ready with his cart.

[Asked, why they had administered the Sacrament to one declared excommunicate and heretic, and if she had been absolved by the forms of the Church, Manchon answered:] There had been much discussion among the Judges and their Counselors, whether they should offer her the Holy Sacrament, and whether she should be absolved at the place of execution; but I did not see any absolution granted to her. I was so disturbed that for a month I remained terrified.

She never revoked her revelations, but maintained them up to the end.

BROTHER PIERRE MIGIER, Prior of Longueville, in the diocese of Rouen, S. T. P., First examination, May 2nd. 1452, [evidence of no special value.]

Second Examination, May 9th, 1452. [Additional evidence:]

At the end of the first sermon at Saint-Ouen, when Jeanne was admonished to recant and she hesitated, one of the English ecclesiastics told the Bishop that he was favoring Jeanne, to which the Bishop replied, "You lie! It is my duty, on account of my profession, to seek the salvation of the soul and body of this Jeanne."

I was accused before the Cardinal of England as a partisan of Jeanne, but I excused myself to the Cardinal, being in fear of my life.

I think the notaries were truthful, and that they wrote with fidelity.

I do not know whether she asked for Counsel, but I think no one would have dared to counsel or defend her, nor would they have been permitted.

She was taken to execution, with great anger, by the English soldiers. When she was given up to the secular. The authorities by the Church, she began to weep and call upon "Jesus." Then I went away, having so great compassion that I could not witness her death.

Third Examination, December 16th, 1455. [Additional evidence :]

I heard that, during the Trial, there were certain men hidden behind curtains, who, it was said, were writing down the words and confessions of Jeanne; but I do not know if this is the fact. This I heard from Maitre Guillaume Manchon, one of the three Registrars of the Case. I complained of it to the Judges, saying that it did not seem to me to be a good way of acting. But whatever may be the truth of these hidden clerks, I believe truly that the Registrars who signed the Process were trustworthy, and that they faithfully reported what was done in the Trial.

As to the act of recantation, I know it was performed by her; it was in writing, and was about the length of a Pater Noster.

In an old book, in which are the sayings of Merlin the prophet, it is written that a maiden should come from an Oak-wood in the country of Lorraine.

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