"Rouen! Rouen! Must I die here? Ah, Rouen, I fear you will have to suffer for my death!"
On May 30, 1431 Joan of Arc was burned to death in the Old Market Square in Rouen
Rouen was where Joan of Arc died on May 30, 1431, when she was burned to death in the Old Market Square (Place de Vieux-Marche).
Joan first arrived in Rouen in late December 1430 and was imprisoned in the castle of Philip Agustus. While officially a prisoner of the Church she was actually guarded by English soldiers under the command of Richard Beauchamp the Earl of Warwick. As the Burgundian Knight Aimond de Macy who visited her while she was a prisoner later described: "Joan was in the chateau of Rouen, in a tower situated toward the field."
Joan was held in a dungeon tower and court bailiff Jean Massieu later described her harsh treatment: "Joan slept with her legs held by two pairs of irons, her body wrapped round by the chain which, crossing the foot of her bed, was fastened to a great piece of wood, locked with a key. In this way she could not move from her place."
Joan lived as a prisoner in Rouen for the five months that her trial lasted until she was finally pronounced a relapsed heretic and taken the Old Market Square on May 30, 1431 and burned to death.
Her final moments were later described by Jean Massieu:
"On the Wednesday, the day which she was condemned, prior to her leaving the castle, Holy Communion was brought to her without due reverence, without stole or lights, which greatly displeased Friar Martin, who had heard her confession. I was sent to fetch a stole and lights, and then Friar Martin gave her the sacrament. And then she was led to the Vieux Marche, and beside her walked Friar Martin and myself, with an escort of eight hundred soldiers armed with axes and swords. And when she came to the Vieux Marche she listened to the sermon with great fortitude and most calmly, showing signs and evidence and clear proof of her contrition, penitence and fervent faith she uttered pious
and devout lamentations and called on the Blessed Trinity, and upon the blessed and glorious Virgin Mary, and on all the blessed saints in Paradise, naming many in her devotions, her lamentation, and her true confession of faith. She also most humbly begged all manner of people, of whatever condition or rank they might be, and whether of her party or not, for their pardon and asked them kindly to pray for her, at the same time pardoning them for any harm they had done her. This she continued to do for a very long time, perhaps for half an hour and until the end. The judges who were present, and even several of the English, were moved by this to great tears and weeping, and indeed several of these same English, recognized God's hand and made professions of faith when they saw her make so remarkable an end.
They were glad to have witnessed her end and said that she had been a good woman. When she was handed over by the Church, I remained with her, and she asked most fervently to be given a cross. An Englishman who was present heard this and made her a little one out of wood from the end of a stick and handed it to her. She received it and kissed it most devotedly, uttering pious lamentations and acknowledging God our Savior, who suffered for our redemption on the Cross, of which she had there the symbol and representation. Then she put that cross on her breast between her body and her clothes and humbly asked me to let her have the crucifix from the church so that she could gaze on it continuously until her death. I saw to it that the clerk of the parish church of Saint Sauveur brought it to her. When it was brought, she embraced it closely and for a long time and clung to it until she was tied to the stake.
While she was praying her prayers and piously lamenting, I was urgently pressed by the English, and by one of their captains in particular, to hand her over to them, as they were in a hurry for her death. While I was doing my best to comfort her on the scaffold, this man said to me, 'What priest, are you going to keep us here till suppertime?' Then without any formality or any reading of the sentence, they dispatched her straight to the fire, saying to the executioner, 'Do your duty.' And so while she was still uttering devoted praise and lamentations to God and the saints, she was led and tied to the stake. And her last word, as she died, was a loud cry of 'Jesus'."
Scene from movie Trial of Joan of Arc depicting Joan's death
A chruch named Saint Joan's now stands at the location of the Old Market square in Rouen
The simple sign below marks the spot where Saint Joan of Arc died.