The Trial of Joan of Arc
Chapter 1: Here Begin the Proceedings
By W.P. Barrett
IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, AMEN
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HERE BEGIN THE PROCEEDINGS IN MATTER OF FAITH AGAINST A DEAD WOMAN, JEANNE, COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE MAID.
To all those who shall see these present letters or public instrument, Pierre, by divine mercy Bishop of Beauvais, and brother Jean Le Maistre, of the order of Preaching brothers, deputy in the diocese of Rouen, and especially appointed in this trial to the office of the pious and venerable master Jean Graverent of the same order, renowned doctor of theology, by apostolic authority Inquisitor of the Faith and of Heretical Error in all the kingdom of France: greeting in the author and consummator of the faith, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
It has pleased divine Providence that a woman of the name of Jeanne, commonly called The Maid, should be taken and apprehended by famous warriors within the boundaries and limits of our diocese and jurisdiction. The reputation of this woman had already gone forth into many parts: how, wholly forgetful of womanly honesty, and having thrown off the bonds of shame, careless of all the modesty of womankind, she wore with an astonishing and monstrous brazenness, immodest garments belonging to the male sex; how moreover, her presumptuousness had grown until she was not afraid to
perform, to speak, and to disseminate many things contrary to the Catholic faith and hurtful to the articles of the orthodox belief. And by so doing, as well in our diocese as in several other districts of this kingdom, she was said to be guilty of no inconsiderable offenses. These things having come to the knowledge of our mother the University of Paris, and of brother Martin Billorin, vicar-general of the lord Inquisitor of Heretical Error, they immediately summoned the illustrious prince, the Duke of Burgundy and the noble lord Jean de Luxembourg, who at this time held the said woman in their power and authority, in the name of the vicar-general above mentioned, and under penalty of law, to surrender and dispatch to us, as ordinary judge, the woman so defamed and suspected of heresy.
We, the said Bishop, according to our pastoral office, desirous of promoting with all our might the exaltation and increase of the Christian faith, did resolve to institute a proper inquiry into these facts so commonly known, and so far as law and reason should persuade us, to proceed with mature deliberation to such further decisions as were incumbent upon us. We required the said prince and the said lord Jean also, under penalties of law, to surrender for trial the said woman to our spiritual jurisdiction; whilst the very serene and most Christian prince, our lord the King of France and England, summoned them to the same effect. Finally, the most illustrious lord Duke of Burgundy and the lord Jean de Luxembourg graciously consenting to these demands, and solicitous in their Catholic souls of the accomplishment of what appeared to them as helpful to the growth of the faith, surrendered and dispatched the woman to our lord the King and his commissioners. Thereafter the King in his providence, burning with a desire to succor the orthodox faith, surrendered this woman
to us, that we might, hold a complete inquiry into her acts and sayings before proceeding further, according to the ecclesiastical laws. When that was done, we requested the distinguished and notable chapter of the church of Rouen, charged with the administration of all spiritual jurisdiction in the vacancy of the archiepiscopal seat, to grant us territory in the town of Rouen for us to make this inquiry: which was graciously and freely given. But before preferring any further charge against this woman we held it wise to consult, with prolonged and mature deliberation, the opinion of experienced authorities in canon and civil law, of which, by God's grace, the number in the town of Rouen was considerable.
January 9th (1431). The First day of the Proceedings
And on Tuesday the ninth day of January in the year of our Lord fourteen hundred and thirty-one, according to the rite and computation of the Church of France, in the fourteenth year of the most Holy Father in Christ Martin V, by divine providence Pope, we the aforesaid bishop, in the house of the King's Counsel, summoned the doctors and masters whose names follow: my lord abbots Gilles of Ste. Trinité de Fécamp, doctor of sacred theology, and Nicolas de Jumièges, doctor of canon law; Pierre, prior of Longueville, doctor of theology; Raoul Roussel, treasurer of the Cathedral of Rouen, doctor of both canon and civil law; Nicolas de Venderès, archdeacon of Eu, licentiate in canon law; Robert Le Barbier, licentiate in canon and civil law; Nicolas Couppequesne, bachelor of theology, and Nicolas Loiseleur, master of arts.
Now when these men, as numerous as famous, were gathered together at the same time and place, we demanded of their wisdom the manner and the order to be followed herein,
after having shown as related above what diligence had been brought to the matter. The doctors and masters, having reached full knowledge thereof, decided that it was meet first to inquire into the acts and sayings publicly imputed to this woman; and decently deferring to their advice we declared that already certain information had been obtained at our command, and similarly decided to order more to be collected; all of which, at a certain day determined by us, should be presented to the council, that it might be more clearly informed upon the subsequent procedure necessary in the trial. And, the better and more conveniently to effect and achieve the collection of the information, it was this day decided by the aforesaid lords and masters that there was need of certain especial officers to whom this particular duty should be given. Consequently, at the counsel and deliberation of those present it was decided and decreed by us that the venerable and discreet person master Jean d'Estivet, canon of the cathedral churches of Beauvais and Bayeux, should exercise in the trial the office of Promoter or Procurator General. Master Jean de La Fontaine, master of arts and licentiate of canon law, was ordained councillor, commissary, and examiner. To the office of notaries or secretaries were designated the prudent and honest master Guillaume Colles, also called Boisguillaume, and Guillaume Manchon, priests, notaries by apostolic and imperial authority at the archiepiscopal court of Rouen; and master Jean Massieu, priest, ecclesiastical dean of Rouen, was appointed executor of the commands and convocations emanating from our authority. Further, we have had here inserted and transcribed at their order the tenor of all these letters, secret or public, that the sequence of the said acts might appear with greater clarity.
And first follows the tenor of the letter from our mother the University of Paris, addressed to the most illustrious lord Duke of Burgundy
"Most high and most puissant prince and our much feared and honored lord, we commend ourselves in all humility to your highness. Notwithstanding, most feared and honored lord, our recent letter to your highness, beseeching you in all humility that this woman known as The Maid, being by God's grace in your subjection, should be transferred into the hands of the justice of the Church that due trial might be made of her idolatries and other matters concerning our holy faith, and to repair the scandals that have arisen therefrom in our Kingdom, likewise the evils and unnumbered inconveniences which have therefrom resulted: nevertheless we have had no reply nor have we learned that any provision has been made to obtain in the affair of this woman a fitting discussion. But we greatly fear lest through the falsity and seduction of the enemy of Hell and through the malice and subtlety of evil persons, your enemies and adversaries, who put their whole might, as it is said, to effect the deliverance of this woman by subtle means, she may in some manner be taken from your subjection (which may God prevent!). For in truth in the judgment of all good informed Catholics, such a great lesion in the holy faith, such an enormous peril, obstacle or hurt to all the estate of this realm, has not occurred within human memory to compare with the escape of this woman by such damned ways without fitting reparation; but it would be in truth greatly to the prejudice of your honor and of the most Christian name of the house of France, of which you and your most noble progenitors have been and still are loyal protectors and the most noble principal members. For these reasons, most feared and sovereign lord, we beseech you again
in all humility on behalf of Our Saviour's faith, and for the conservation of the Holy Church and the protection of the divine honor, and also for the great benefit of this most Christian realm, that it may please your highness to transfer this woman into the hands of the Inquisitor of the Faith, and to dispatch her safely thither, as we formerly besought, or to surrender this woman or have her surrendered to the reverend father in God my lord bishop of Beauvais in whose spiritual jurisdiction she was apprehended, that he may try her in matter of faith, as it is reasonable and fitting for him to do to the glory of God, to the exaltation of our said holy faith, and to the profit of the good and loyal Catholics and the estate of this realm, and also to the honor and praise of your highness, whom may God keep in good prosperity and in the end grant His glory. Written. . . ." [no date].
Then follows the tenor of the letter from our said mother the University of Paris, addressed to the noble and puissant lord Jean de Luxembourg
"Most noble, honored and puissant lord, we commend ourselves lovingly to your high nobility. Your noble prudence knows well and recognizes that all good Catholic knights should employ their strength and puissance first to the service of God and then to the profit of the state. And most especially the first oath of the order of chivalry is to keep and protect the honor of God, the Catholic faith and His Holy Church. This oath you well remembered when you employed your noble power and personal presence to apprehend this woman who is called The Maid, by whom God's honor has been immeasurably offended, the Catholic faith wounded and the Church much dishonored; for through her, idolatries, errors, false doctrines and other evils and inestimable hurts have spread through the realm. In truth all loyal Christians
must cordially thank you for having rendered so great a service to our holy faith and to all the kingdom; and for our part we thank with our whole heart God and your prowess. But it would be a little thing to have done this if it were not followed by what is necessary to remedy the offense perpetrated by this woman against our sweet Creator, His faith and His Holy Church, with the other numberless misdeeds which have been told. And it would be a greater evil than ever, and a worse error would remain among the people; it would be an intolerable offense against the divine Majesty if it were to come to pass that this woman were set free, lost to us, which certain of our adversaries, it is said, would endeavor to obtain, setting to that end all their knowledge by the most subtle means, and what is worse, attempting it by silver or ransom. But we hope that God will not permit such a misfortune to visit His people, and that your good and noble providence will not suffer it, but will be able to meet the occasion fittingly; for if her deliverance took place, without appropriate reparation, it would be an irreparable dishonor to your nobility and to every one concerned: such a scandal must of necessity cease as soon as possible. And since in this matter delay is most perilous and prejudicial to the realm, on behalf of the divine honor, and for the conservation of the holy Catholic faith, and for the good and exaltation of the whole realm, we most humbly and heartily beseech that it may please your puissant and honored highness to dispatch this woman to the Inquisitor of the faith, who has urgently required and demanded her, in order to weigh the heavy charges which burden her, to the pleasure of God, and the proper edification of the people, according to good and sacred doctrine: or that it may please you to have her surrendered and delivered to the reverend father in God our most honored lord bishop of Beauvais who likewise has demanded her, and in whose jurisdiction, as has
been said, she was apprehended. The which prelate and Inquisitor are her judges in matter of faith; and every Christian is bound to obey them whatever his estate, in this case, under great legal penalties. And by so doing you gain the grace a love of the high deity; you become the instrument of the exaltation of the holy faith, and so increase the glory of your most high and noble name, with that of the high and most puissant prince our most feared lord and your own, my lord Duke of Burgundy. And every one will be charged to pray for the prosperity of your most noble person, which may 0ur Saviour, by His grace, lead and keep in all its doings and the end reward with an everlasting joy. Written . [at Paris, July 14th, 1431]
Then follows the tenor of the letter of the Vicar-General the Inquisitor addressed to the said lord Duke of Burgundy
"To the most high and puissant prince Philippe Duke of Burgundy, count of Flanders, of Artois, of Burgundy and Namur, and to all others concerned, Brother Martin, master sacred theology, and Vicar-General of the Inquisitor of the faith in the kingdom of France, greeting in Jesus Christ of true Saviour. Whereas all loyal and Christian princes and all other true Catholics are charged with extirpation of error arising against the faith, as well as scandals resulting there from among the private Christian folk, and whereas at this time it is reported and commonly said that through a certain woman named Jeanne, whom the adversaries of the kingdom call The Maid, at her instance in many cities, good towns and other places of this realm, many and diverse errors have beer sown, uttered, published and spread abroad, and still continued to be so, whence many hurts and scandals against the divine honor and against the holy faith have resulted and do result, causing the loss of souls and of many private Christians: which
cannot and must not be dissimulated nor pass without a fair and appropriate reparation. Now since it so happens that by God's grace the said Jeanne is at this time in your power and subjection, or in that of your noble and loyal vassals: for these reasons, puissant prince, we most lovingly beseech you and pray your said noble vassals to surrender the said Jeanne, through you or through them, safely and soon; and we hope that you will so do as true defenders of the faith and protectors of God's honor, and that none shall hinder or delay you (which God prevent). And with the rights of our office and the authority committed to us by the Holy See of Rome, we urgently summon and enjoin for the sake of the Catholic faith and under penalty of law all the above-said and every person of what state, condition, preëminence and authority so ever, as soon as possible with safety and fitness to send and bring captive to us the said Jeanne vehemently suspected of many crimes, and tainted with heresy, that she may appear before us against the Procurator of the Holy Inquisition, and may reply and proceed rightly according to the counsel, favor and aid of the good doctors and masters of the University of Paris, and other notable counselors therefrom. Given at Paris under our seal of office of the Holy Inquisition, the year 1430, the 26th day of May."
So signed: Lefourbeur. Hébert.
Then follows the tenor of the summons presented by us Bishop of Beauvais to the said lords, the Duke of Burgundy and Jean de Luxembourg
"This is the summons of the Bishop of Beauvais to my lord Duke of Burgundy, Jean de Luxembourg and to the Bastard of Wandomme, on behalf of the King our sovereign and of himself as Bishop of Beauvais:
"Let this woman commonly known as The Maid, a prisoner,
be sent to the King to be delivered to the Church, that she may be tried, as being suspected of and slandered with having committed many crimes, such as sorceries, idolatries, calling-up of evil spirits and many other instances touching and opposed to our faith. And although she ought not to be considered as a prisoner of war (as it appears from what is said), nevertheless to reward those who captured and held her, the King is bountifully pleased to grant them up to the sum of 6,000 francs, and to the said bastard, who captured her, will grant and assign a pension for the upkeep of his estate of 200 or 300 pounds.
"And the said Bishop himself requires the aforesaid each and every one, since the woman was captured in his diocese and under his spiritual jurisdiction, to deliver her to him that he may fittingly try her. This he is ready to undertake with the assistance of the Inquisitor of the faith, and if need be, with the assistance of doctors of theology and of decrees, and other notable persons versed in judicial matters, as the case requires, in order that it be performed in a mature, holy and due manner to the exaltation of the faith and to the instruction of many who have been deceived and abused through this woman.
"And finally, if in the above manner they do not wish or consent to obey this injunction, and although the taking of this woman is not similar to the capture of a king, of princes and others of high estate (yet if such person were captured, whether king, dauphin or other prince, the King could at his pleasure ransom him by sending to the captor ten thousand francs, according to the law and custom of France), the bishop summons and requires the abovesaid in his name and the King's to deliver The Maid to him, giving as surety the above sum of 10,000 francs, for everything whatever. And the said bishop, in his own name and according to the form and penalties
of the law, requires her to be given and delivered to him in this manner."
Then follows the instrument of the summons for the surrender of the Maid
"In the year of our Lord 1430, the 14th day of July, indiction 8, the 13th year of the pontificate of our most Holy Father the Pope Martin V, in the castle of the very illustrious prince my lord Duke of Burgundy, in his camp before Compiègne, in presence of the noble lords Nicolas de Mailly, Bailly of Vermandois and Jean de Pressy, knights, and of many other noble witnesses, in great number, there was presented by the reverend father in God my lord Pierre, by the grace of God bishop and count of Beauvais, to the very illustrious prince my lord Duke of Burgundy, a certain schedule on paper containing word for word the five articles transcribed above: the which my lord Duke gave to the noble Nicolas Rollin, knight, his chancellor, who was present; and commanded him to convey it to the noble and puissant lord Jean de Luxembourg, knight, lord of Beaurevoir, to whom, when he came, the chancellor gave the schedule, which it appeared to me he read."
So signed: "This was done in my presence, Triquellot, by apostolic authority public notary."
Follows the tenor of the letters of the University of Paris addressed to us, Bishop
"To the reverend father in God and lord bishop and count of Beauvais. We observe with amazement, reverend father and lord, the great delay in the surrender of this woman commonly called The Maid, which is so prejudicial to the faith and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, especially as she is said to be now in the hands of our lord the King. Christian princes in
their zeal for the interests of the Church and the orthodox faith are wont, when a rash assault is made upon the dogmas of this same Catholic faith, to surrender the prisoner to the ecclesiastical judges so that they may hold and punish him forthwith; and doubtless if your paternity had lent more active diligence to the pursuit of this matter, the trial of this woman would already be proceeding before an ecclesiastical court. It greatly concerns you, since you are so great a prelate of the Church, to abolish the scandals committed in our Christian religion, especially when it is a matter of the judgment of a case which chance has brought into your own diocese. Therefore, to protect the Church from the grave injury of a longer delay, will your paternity deign in its zeal to endeavor with extreme diligence to see that this woman is delivered as soon as possible into your power and that of the lord Inquisitor of Heretical Error. When you have done this, be so good as to have her safely conducted to this town of Paris, where there are many wise and learned persons, so that the trial may be diligently examined and competently conducted, to the salutary edification of the Christian people and the honor of God: may He grant you especial aid in all things, reverend father. Written at Paris in our general assembly solemnly held at St. Mathurin, November 21st, 1431. The rector and the University of Paris."
Follows the tenor of the letter addressed by our mother the University of Paris to our Lord the King of France and England
"To the most excellent prince, the King of France and of England, our most feared lord and father. We have recently heard that the woman called The Maid is now delivered into your power, whereat we are extremely joyful, trusting in your
good ordinance to deal with this woman according to law in order to atone for the great harm and scandals she has notoriously occasioned in this kingdom, to the great prejudice of the divine honor, our holy faith and all your good people. And because it is particularly our task as it is our profession to extirpate such manifest iniquities, especially when our Catholic faith is involved, we cannot hide the long delay in justice which must displease every good Christian, and your Majesty more than any other because of your great obligations in gratitude for the high honors, goods and dignities God has bestowed upon your excellence. But although we have several times written to you in this connection, and do so by these presents, we must humbly beseech you, most feared and sovereign lord, with our humble and loyal recommendation, to avoid the reputation of negligence in so favorable and essential a matter, and for the honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ to command that this woman shall be shortly delivered into the hands of the justice of the Church that is to the reverend father in God our most honored lord and count of Beauvais and to the Inquisitor of France, whom it particularly concerns to know these misdeeds touching our faith; for then reasonable discussion of the charges imputed to her can be made, and such reparation brought as the case demands in order to protect the holy truth of our faith and remove every false error and scandalous opinion from the hearts of your good, loyal and Christian subjects. It appears meet to us, if it were your highness's pleasure, to send this woman to this city where her trial could be notably and competently conducted: for the discussion would resound farther from here than elsewhere if it were led by the masters, doctors, and other notable persons already present, and it is proper for the reparation of the scandals to take place there where her deeds have been published and excessively notorious. By doing
this your royal majesty will remain loyal to the sovereign and divine Majesty: may He grant your excellency continual prosperity and never-ending felicity. Written at Paris in our general assembly held at St. Mathurin, November 21st 1431. Your most humble and pious daughter, the University of Paris."
Here follows the tenor of a royal letter upon the surrender of the said woman to us, bishop of Beauvais
"Henry, by the grace of God king of France and England, to all those who shall see these present letters, greeting. It is well known how for some time a woman calling herself Jeanne the Maid, putting off the habit and dress of the female sex (which is contrary to divine law, abominable to God, condemned and prohibited by every law), has dressed and armed herself in the state and habit of man, has wrought and occasioned cruel murders, and it is said, to seduce and deceive the simple people, has given them to understand that she was sent from God and that she had knowledge of His divine secrets, with many other dangerous dogmatizations most prejudicial and scandalous to our holy faith. Whilst pursuing these abuses and exercising hostilities against us and our people, she was captured in arms before Compiègne by certain of our loyal subjects and has subsequently been led prisoner towards us. And because she has been reputed, charged and defamed by many people on the subject of superstitions, false dogmas and other crimes of divine treason, we have been most urgently required by our well beloved and loyal counselor the bishop of Beauvais, the ecclesiastical and ordinary judge of the said Jeanne, who was taken and apprehended in the boundaries and limits of his diocese, and have similarly
been exhorted by our very dear and well loved daughter the University of Paris, to surrender, present and deliver this Jeanne to the said reverend father in God, so that he may question and examine her and proceed against her according to ordinances and dispositions of canon and divine laws, when the proper assembly shall be called together. Therefore, for the respect and honor of God's name, for the protection and exaltation of His Holy Church and Catholic faith, we devoutly desire as true and humble sons of the Church to obey the requests and demands of the said reverend father in God and the exhortations of the doctors and masters of our daughter the University of Paris: and we command and grant, as often as the reverend father shall think fit, that this Jeanne shall be surrendered and delivered by our men and officers in whose hands she now is, so that he may question, examine her, and proceed against her according to God, reason, divine law and the holy canons. Therefore we command our said men and officers who guard this woman to surrender and deliver her to the said reverend father in God without contradiction or refusal, as often as he shall require, and we further command all our men of law, officers and subjects, English or French, not to occasion any hindrance or difficulty in fact or otherwise to the reverend father or any who are or shall be appointed to assist, participate in or hear the said trial, but if they are so required by the said reverend father in God they shall give them protection, aid, defense, guard and comfort, under pain of grave punishment. Nevertheless it is our intention to retake and regain possession of this Jeanne if it comes to pass that she is not convicted or found guilty of the said crimes, or certain of them concerning or touching our faith. In witness whereof we have affixed to these presents our ordinary seal in the absence of the great seal. Given
at Rouen, January 3rd, in the year of grace 1431, and the ninth of our reign."
Signed: "By the king, in his Chief Council. J. de Rinel."
Follows the tenor of the letters from the venerable chapter of the Cathedral of Rouen granting us the said bishop territory during the vacancy of the archiepiscopal see
"To all those who shall see these present letters, the chapter of the cathedral of Rouen having during the vacancy of the archiepiscopal see administration of all spiritual jurisdiction, greeting in Our Lord. On behalf of the reverend father in God and lord, Pierre, by divine mercy bishop of Beauvais, we have been informed that it is his lawful duty according to his authority as ordinary judge and otherwise, to institute an inquiry against a woman commonly called Jeanne the Maid, who abandoning all modesty, has lived a disorderly and shameful life to the scorn of the estate proper to womankind: and moreover, as is commonly known, she has sown and disseminated many opinions contrary to the Catholic faith and tending to the denigration of certain articles of the orthodox belief, wherein she appears evil-thinking, suspect, and defamed. The said bishop had proposed and resolved to institute proceedings against her since she was in his diocese and had therein committed all which was reported of her: now it came to pass according to God's pleasure that she was captured, taken and arrested in his diocese and within the limits of his spiritual jurisdiction, but that he had meanwhile been translated elsewhere. When this fact came to the knowledge of the said reverend father he of his own authority and by other means required and admonished the illustrious prince the Duke of Burgundy and the noble lord Jean de Luxembourg and the other warders of this woman to surrender her to him, for it was his lawful and reasonable duty
as the ordinary judge to institute inquiries and proceedings against this woman who, suspected of heresy, had committed so many misdemeanors against the Catholic faith, and who, it was said, had been captured, detained and arrested within the territory of his spiritual jurisdiction. These lords and the others who held Jeanne captive, being summoned to this end, both by the most Christian prince Henry our lord and king of France and England, and by our mother the University of Paris, obeyed these requisitions and demands: like faithful Catholics devoted to their faith, they surrendered and delivered this woman to our Lord the king or his commissaries, had her led to the city of Rouen where she was put into safe custody, and now, at the order and with the consent of our lord the king she has been surrendered, given up and delivered to the said reverend father in Christ. For many considerations and reasons, and especially upon careful reflection of the present circumstances, it has seemed meet to institute proceedings in this city of Rouen, according to the theological and canonical sanctions, and to carry out here the inquiries which appear necessary in this case, and, in a word, to perform all the varied business pertaining to. a suit of this kind, with all the consequent details. Certainly our bishop does not mean to put his scythe in our harvest, to act without our consent; hence he has requested us to grant him territory to assist his legal want and to perform all the acts pertaining to his suit. Therefore, approving the demand of the said reverend father, and deeming it both just and in accordance with the interests of the Catholic faith, we have granted, given and assigned him territory, and by the present letter give and assign him territory, both in this city of Rouen, and wherever in the limits of the diocese as shall appear necessary to him for all usages concerning this trial and for the execution, comprehension, decision and termination of everything pertaining
thereto. Hence we warn all our subjects, of either sex, living in the town of Rouen and in our diocese, of whatever condition, and hereby enjoin them in virtue of holy obedience, to comply with, obey and lend aid and favor to the said reverend father in all that concerns this suit, and its consequences, by supplying testimony and advice and by other means. We allow and grant that every act arising from the inquiry shall receive its full and free effect according to law, as if it had been accomplished in his own diocese of Beauvais, whether it was in fact done by his authority, by his present or future commissioners or deputies or in conjunction with the Inquisitor of Heretical Error, or his present or future deputy, either separately or in conjunction, and shall be executed and concluded. We give and grant him, so far as is necessary and God will allow, all authority and power excepting the right of the archiepiscopal dignity of the diocese of Rouen in other matters. December 28th, in the year of Our Lord 1430"
Signed: R. Guérould
Follows the tenor of the letter concerning the Promoter
"To all those who shall see these present letters, Pierre, by divine mercy bishop of Beauvais, greeting in Our Lord. A certain woman commonly called Jeanne the Maid has during the course of the present year been taken and captured within the boundaries and limits of our diocese. On behalf of the most illustrious prince our lord the king she has been delivered and restored to us her ordinary judge, defamed as she was by common and public report, as scandalous and suspected of many spells, incantations, invocations and conversations with evil spirits and of many other matters concerning the faith, so that we could institute proceedings against her according to the legal form customary in matters of faith. And we, desiring to proceed maturely in the said matter of
faith, according to the legal form and upon the advice and consultation of a great number of our counselors in both canon and civil law who had assembled at our instructions in this city of Rouen (of which the spiritual jurisdiction had formerly been granted us to permit us to execute and decide this matter), we judged it both necessary and fitting to have a Promoter General appointed by us in this trial, with counselors, notaries or scribes, and an usher to execute the commands and convocations necessary in the course of the trial. Be it known therefore that being desirous of following both this advice and consultation and the legal forms, having full confidence in God and being duly informed of the fidelity, integrity, intelligence, competence and personal ability of the venerable master Jean d'Estivet, priest, canon of the churches of Bayeux and Beauvais, we have constituted, created, ordained and appointed the said Jean and do hereby constitute, create, ordain and appoint him our Promoter or Procurator in everything concerning the general and particular conduct of this trial. And we give the said Promoter or Procurator by these presents license, faculty and authority to sit and appear in court and extra-judicially against the said Jeanne, to give, send, administer, produce and exhibit articles, examinations, testimonies, letters, instruments and all other forms of proof, to accuse and denounce this Jeanne, to cause and require her to be examined and interrogated, to bring the case to an end, and to exercise all acts known to be proper to the office of Promoter or Procurator, according to law and custom. Therefore, to whom it may concern, we require submission, obedience, counsel and aid towards the said Jean in the exercise of his office. In witness whereof we have affixed our seal to these present letters. Given in the house of Jean Rubé, canon of Rouen. January 9th, in the year of Our Lord 1431"
Signed: E. de Rosières.
Follows the tenor of the letter concerning the notaries
"To all those who shall see these present letters, Pierre, by divine mercy bishop of Beauvais, etc. Be it known therefore that being desirous of following both this advice and consultation and the legal forms, having full confidence in God and being duly informed of the fidelity, integrity, capacity, competence and ability of master Guillaume Colles, otherwise called Boisguillaume, and of master Guillaume Manchon, priests of the diocese of Rouen, apostolic and imperial notaries and sworn notaries of the archiepiscopal court of Rouen, and subject to the consent and approbation of the venerable vicars of the archbishopric of Rouen during the vacancy of the see, we have appointed, elected and named them, and do now appoint, elect and name them notaries or scribes in this suit. And we give them license, faculty and power to have access to the said Jeanne as often as they need to question her or hear her questioned, to receive the oaths of witnesses, to collect the confessions of Jeanne, the sayings of witnesses and the opinions of the doctors and masters, and to report them, word for word, in writing to us, to put in writing all the present and future facts of this case, to set down in writing and draw up the whole proceedings in the proper form, and in short to perform all the tasks of a notary whenever and wherever suitable. In witness whereof etc." [as above].
Follows the letter appointing a counselor
"To all those who shall see these present letters, Pierre, by divine mercy bishop of Beauvais, etc. Be it known that desirous of following both this advice and consultation and the legal forms, having full confidence in Our Lord and being duly informed of the fidelity, integrity, competence and ability
of the venerable and prudent master Jean de La Fontaine, master of arts, licentiate in decrees, we have made, ordained, charged, appointed and retained the said master Jean in the quality of counselor and examiner of the witnesses to be produced in the trial by our promoter: and we give and grant the said master Jean license, faculty and authority to receive the said witnesses, to put them on oath and examine them, to absolve them conditionally, to draw up and cause to be drawn up in writing their depositions, and to perform everything pertaining to the office of one duly appointed counselor, commissary and examiner, everything we should ourselves do if we were acting in his place. In witness whereof we have affixed our seal to these present letters. Given in the house of Jean Rubé, canon of Rouen. January 9th, in the year of Our Lord 1431."
Signed: E. de Rosières.
Follows the tenor of letters appointing the executor of our mandates
"To all those who shall see these present letters, Pierre, etc. Be it known that desirous of following both this advice and consultation and the legal forms, having full confidence in Our Lord and being duly informed of the fidelity, competence and prompt diligence of the discreet master Jean Massieu, priest, dean of the Christendom of Rouen, we have appointed, retained and ordained him executor of the mandates and convocations emanating from us in this trial: we have granted him license and by these present letters grant him all license of that office. In witness whereof we have affixed our seal to these present letters. Given in the house of Jean Rubé, canon of Rouen, 9th January in the year of Our Lord 1431."
Signed: E. De Rosières
January 13th, 1431. Reading of the evidence against Jeanne
On the following Saturday, January 13th, we the said bishop assembled in our dwelling at Rouen the following lords and masters: Gilles, abbot of Ste. Trinité de Fécamp doctor of theology; Nicolas de Venderès licentiate in canon law; William Haiton and Nicolas Couppequesne, bachelors of theology; Jean de La Fontaine, licentiate in canon law and Nicolas Loiseleur, canon of the cathedral of Rouen. In their presence we set forth all that had been accomplished in the previous session, and requested their advice upon the subsequent procedure in the case. In addition we read to them certain evidence collected both in the district where this woman was born and elsewhere, and also certain memoranda prepared upon particular points indicated earlier in the said evidence or referring to common report. When all this had been seen and heard the lords and masters decided that certain articles should be duly prepared so that the matter might appear in greater distinctness and better order, and they could more certainly decide whether there was sufficient matter for the institution of a summons and trial in matters of faith. Therefore in accordance with their advice we resolved to proceed to the preparation of such articles, and we appointed to this effect certain notable persons of especial learning in canon and civil law to assist the said notaries. And they, diligently complying with our command, proceeded to draw up the said articles on the following Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
January 23rd, 1431. Decision concerning the preparatory information
On Tuesday, January 23rd, the following lords and masters appeared in our dwelling: master Gilles, abbot of Fécamp Nicolas de Venderès William Haiton, Nicolas Couppequesne,
Jean de La Fontaine and Nicolas Loiseleur. In their presence the articles which had been drawn up were read, and we requested their most prudent counsel upon the articles and upon the subsequent procedure. They informed us that the articles were drawn up and prepared in a good and competent form, that it was fitting to proceed to the interrogations corresponding to these articles: and declared that we the said bishop could and should proceed to draw up the preparatory information upon the acts and sayings of the prisoner. Following this advice we resolved and commanded that this preparatory information should be prepared, but since we were otherwise engaged we appointed the venerable and discreet master Jean de La Fontaine, licentiate in canon law, to conduct this inquiry.
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