A trial that has become second in importance only to the Trial of Christ.
Probably one of the most significant and moving trials ever conducted in human history.

The trial of condemnation and the trial of nullification (or rehabilitation) were edited and published for the first time in their entirety by Jules Quicherat between 1841 and 1849. His edition of the condemnation trial was reedited for the Société de I’Histoire de France by Pierre Tisset and Yvonne Lanhers in three volumes published between 1960 and 1971. The rehabilitation trial was reedited by Pierre Duparc (3 vols., 1977-1989). Since his edition, it is customary to refer to the second inquest as the nullification trial.

Five copies were made of the official record. Manchon, the notary, wrote three in his own hand: one was given to the Inquisitor, another to the King of England, a third to Pierre Cauchon. These five copies were signed and authenticated by the notaries Manchon, Boisguillaume and Taquel, and were given the seal of the judges. “Of these five copies,” says Pierre Champion, the greatest modern authority on Jeanne d’Arc, “the one that Guillaume Manchon retained was given to the judges of the Rehabilitation proceedings on December 15, 1455 and torn up by order of that tribunal. According to the testimony of Martial d’Auvergne one of the copies had been sent to Rome; another copy was found at Orléans in 1475. Etienne Pasquier kept one copy for four years. Today there are three copies at Paris:

The original transcript of ‘Condemnation and nullification trial’ still exist today. Both can be read here.

Procès de condamnation de Jeanne d’Arc

01

Trial of Condemnation
Introduction
Contents: The 1903 English translation
Overview: of the trial: by Gerhard Rempel
On the trail: of Jeanne d’Arc: by Pierre Champion.
Introduction: to the trial of Jeanne d’Arc: by Coley Taylor.

02

Trial of Nullification or Rehabilitation
Contents: The English translation from 1903

Manuscripts of the
Condemnation and Rehabilitation Trials

London. British Library. Stowe 84.
Orlèans. Municipale 518 (anc. 411).
Paris. Bibliothèque de I’Assemblee Nationale 1119.
Paris. Bibliothèque Nationale MS lat. 5965.
Paris. Bibliothèque Nationale MS lat. 5966.
Paris. Bibliothèque Nationale MS lat. 5970.
Paris. Bibliothèque Nationale MS lat. 8838.
Paris. Bibliothèque Nationale MS lat. 17013 (anc. Notre-Dame 138).

The Trial Transcripts

The trial of condemnation and the trial of nullification (or rehabilitation) were edited and published for the first time in their entirety by Jules Quicherat between 1841 and 1849. His edition of the condemnation trial was reedited for the Société de I’Histoire de France by Pierre Tisset and Yvonne Lanhers in three volumes published between 1960 and 1971.

The rehabilitation trial was reedited by Pierre Duparc (3 vols., 1977-1989). Since his edition, it is customary to refer to the second inquest as the nullification trial.

Champion, Pierre. Le Procès de condamnation. 2 vols. Bibliothèque du XVe siècle 22 & 23. (Paris: Edouard Champion, 1920-1921).

Doncoeur, Rev. Paul and Yvonne Lanhers, eds. Documents et recherches relatifs à Jeanne la Pucelle. 5 vols. (Melun: d’Argences, 1952-1961; except vol. 5).

-Documents et recherches Vol. 1: La minute française de l’Interrogatoire de Jeanne la Pucelle, d’après le rèquisitoire de Jean d’Estivet et les manuscrits d’Urfé et d’Orléans (1952). A complete and reliable edition of the manuscripts cited, including that of Orléans, which was long considered useless but which has since been proven essential as the closest representation of Jeanne’s own words.

-Documents et recherches Vol. 2: Instrument public des sentences portées les 24 et 30 mai 1431 par Pierre Cauchon et Jean Le Maitre contre Jeanne la Pucelle (1954). An edition of the Latin text produced by the judge and vice-inquisitor with translation and full apparatus.

-Documents et recherches Vol. 3: La réhabilitation de Jeanne la Pucelle. L’Enquete ordonnée par Charles VII en 1450 et le codicille de Guillaume Bouillé (1956). Edition with translation and critical apparatus of Charles VII’s preliminary investigation toward rehabilitation.

-.Documents et recherches Vol. 4: L’enquete du cardinal d’Estouteville en 1452 (1958). The text of the inquest of Cardinal d’Estouteville in 1452 edited, translated, and annotated.

-Documents et recherches Vol. 5: La rédaction épiscopale du procès de 1455-1456 (Paris: Desclee de Brouwer, 196 1). An edition of the “episcopal redaction” of the trial which led to Jeanne’s rehabilitation.

Duparc, Pierre, ed. Procès en nullité de la condamnation de Jeanne d’Arc. 5 vols. CNRS and Société de I’Histoire de France (Paris: Klincksieck, 1977-89). ‘Me definitive, complete edition of the documents relating to the rehabilitation trial. It is in this work that Duparc coins the phrase “nullification process” (Procès en nullité).

Oursel, Raymond, ed. Le procès de condamnation de Jeanne d’Arc. Preface by Michel Riquet (Paris: Club du meilleur livre, 1953). A modem French abridgement of Quicherat and Champion meant for the public at large.

-Le procès de réhabilitation de Jeanne d’Arc (Paris Denoel, 1954). Same as the last work, but for the rehabilitation trial.-Le procès de condamnation et le procès de réhabilitation de Jeanne d’Arc (Paris: Éditions Denöel, 1959). The more easily obtained edition of both of the preceding works.

Quicherat, Jules-Étienne-Joseph, ed. Procès de condamnation et de réhabilitation de Jeanne d’Arc. dite la Pucelle. Publiés pour la premiére fois d’après les manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Nationale, suivis de tous les documents historiques qu’on a pu réunir et accompagnées de notes et d’éclaircissements. 5 vols. Société de l’Histoire de France (Paris: Jules Renouard, 1841-1849; reprinted, New York: Johnson, 1965). The classic, exhaustive edition.

Tisset, Pierre and Yvonne Lanhers, eds. and trans. Procès de condamnation de Jeanne d’Arc. 3 voIs. Société de I’Histoire de France (Paris: Klincksieck, 1960-1971) An update and revision of Quicherat’s condemnation segment-a continuation of the work begun by Pierre Champion.

Preliminary inquiry

With the words “Here begin the proceedings in matters of faith against a deceased woman, Jeanne, commonly known as the Maid”, the trial records announce the start, on January 9, 1431, of the judicial inquiry into the case of Jeanne d’Arc.

The first order of business was a preliminary inquiry into Jeanne’s character and habits. An examination as to Jeanne’s virginity was conducted some time prior to January 13, overseen by the Duchess of Bedford (the wife of John, Duke of Bedford, and regent in France of the boy-king Henry VI of England). The Duchess announced that Jeanne had been found to be a virgin. At the same time, representatives of the judge were sent to Jeanne’s home village of Domremy and vicinity to inquire further into Jeanne’s life, her habits, and virtue, with several witnesses being interviewed.

The result of these inquiries was that nothing could be found against Jeanne to support any charges against her. The man who was commissioned to collect testimony, Nicolas Bailly, said that he “had found nothing concerning Jeanne that he would not have liked to find about his own sister”. This angered Cauchon, who was hoping for something he could use against her. He accused Bailly of being “a traitor and a bad man” and refused to pay him his promised salary.

Interrogation

In a letter dated 20 February 1431 and sent to the assessors and others summoning them to appear the morning of the following day for the first public interrogation session of Jeanne, Pierre Cauchon cited the grant of jurisdiction within the city of Rouen by the chapter of the cathedral of Rouen for the purpose of conducting the trial against Jeanne. Without such a grant, he would have been unable to conduct the hearings as he was not in his native diocese. He also stated that Jeanne was “vehemently suspected of heresy” and that “rumors of her acts and sayings wounding our faith had notoriously spread”. This was the basis for the diffamatio, a necessary ingredient in the bringing of charges against a suspect. He also alluded to the expected absence of the Vice-Inquisitor for Rouen, Jean Le Maistre, whose presence was required by canon law in order to validate the proceedings. Lemaitre’s absence was later explained during the appellate trial by four eyewitnesses, who said Le Maistre had objections to the trial and refused to cooperate until the English threatened his life. The postwar appellate court would later declare these points to be violations of the Church’s rules.

In response to the summons of Bishop Cauchon on this same date, priest and bailiff Jean Massieu reported that Jeanne had agreed to appear in court, but she requested that ecclesiastics of the French side be summoned equal in number to those of the English party (as required by the Church’s rules), and she asked that she should be allowed to hear Mass. In response, promoter (prosecutor) Jean d’Estivet forbade Jeanne to attend the divine offices, citing “especially the impropriety of the garments to which she clung” according to the Trial transcript (Barrett translation). Her soldier’s clothing would increasingly become an issue as the trial progressed and the tribunal failed to find other grounds for a conviction. Several eyewitnesses later said she had been wearing a soldier’s outfit which had a tunic, hosen, and long boots that went up to the waist, all of which were tied together with cords, which she said she needed to protect herself from being raped by her guards (i.e., fastening the three items of clothing together made it difficult for the guards to pull her clothing off, but a woman’s dress would leave her more vulnerable since it was open at the bottom).

Ordinary trial

The ordinary, or regular, trial of Jeanne began on March 26, the day after Palm Sunday, with the drawing up of the 70 articles (later summarized in a 12 article indictment). If Jeanne refused to answer them, she would be said to have admitted them. On the following day, the articles were read aloud and Jeanne was questioned in French. The next two days, the extensive list of charges were then read to her in French. The Ordinary Trial concluded on May 24 with the abjuration.

1456 – Procès de réhabilitation de Jeanne d’Arc [LATIN 5970]

Folio 98
Folio 56
Folio 60v
Folio 62v
Folio 75
Folio 76v
Folio 77v
Folio 79
Folio 82v
Folio 91
Folio 91v
Folio 98

Introduction

By Coley Taylor.

A little over five hundred years ago there was a trial in the King of England’s military headquarters and capital in France — a trial that has become second in importance only to the Trial of Christ. The young woman who was examined, tried and condemned in that medieval, strong-castled town of Rouen has been the central figure of a whole literature of controversy. Shakespeare, Voltaire, Michelet, Schiller, Quicherat, Lang, Mark Twain, Anatole France, Frank Harris, Shaw, Paine and others far too numerous to mention have demonstrated by their writing about her that minds throughout the centuries from her time to the present find her as dynamic and challenging a figure as did the people of her own time.

The Maid’s followers believed that she came from God and adored her as a prophet, saint and military idol. The Burgundians and English were stricken with fear at her success and when she was captured condemned her as a witch and apostate. The Roman Catholic Church has canonized her as a saint. Mr. Shaw has hailed her as the first Nationalist and the first Protestant. Other interpretations of her personality are as completely far apart. Every book about her adds to the controversy.

Jeanne d’Arc was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431. It was not until some time later, almost certainly not before 1435 that the record of her trial was translated by Thomas de Courcelles, one of her judges, and Guillaume Manchon, trial notary, into Latin from the minutes taken daily during the process of the trial, together with all the forms of letters patent emanating from Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, Jean Le Maistre, Vice Inquisitor of the Faith, the doctors of the University of Paris and other dignitaries.

Five copies were made of the official record. Manchon, the notary, wrote three in his own hand: one was given to the Inquisitor, another to the King of England, a third to Pierre Cauchon. These five copies were signed and authenticated by the notaries Manchon, Boisguillaume and Taquel, and were given the seal of the judges.

“Of these five copies,” says Pierre Champion, the greatest modern authority on Jeanne d’Arc, “the one that Guillaume Manchon retained was given to the judges of the Rehabilitation proceedings on December 15, 1455 and torn up by order of that tribunal. According to the testimony of Martial d’Auvergne one of the copies had been sent to Rome; another copy was found at Orléans in 1475. Etienne Pasquier kept one copy for four years. To-day there are three copies at Paris:

A. Bibliothèque de la Chambre des Députés. ms. no. 1119, the only known copy on vellum, and of large format, which Quicherat believed destined for the King of England by Manchon. It seems more likely, by considering the variations in certain titles and headings, that this was Pierre Cauchon’s copy . . . which Boisguillaume decorated. It was used in the preliminary work of the Rehabilitation and was part of the library of Parlement in the middle of the Seventeenth Century (III folios, 26×33 cm.).

B. Bibliothèque Nationale, ms. lat. 5965, a copy carefully collated and presenting numerous changes (erasures and crossings-out) and writing over in different handwriting (169 folios, paper, 29 x 20 cm., traces of seals).

C. Bibliothèque Nationale, ms. lat. 5966, a copy in uniform handwriting, without any writing over or scratching out, and of which the seals have fallen away since the time when Edmond Richer consulted it (220 folios, paper, 28 x 21 cm., traces of seals).

A capital letter in a manuscript in which we can see Jeanne being tried for heresy. This miniature, a scene from the trial, holds the only real portrait of Bishop Cauchon, seen here as the legal president of the high-backed chair (XVe siècle, BNF – ms lat 5969)

“These manuscripts have substantially the same value; they are authenticated copies, derived from a common original,” Pierre Champion assures us, adding that the variations betray chiefly the individual habits of the scribes who transcribed them, and are therefore insignificant.

The original source of these manuscripts was the Trial Minutes in French (minuta in gallico) which the notary Manchon wrote. To quote Champion further, “With his colleagues Pierre Taquel and Boisguillaume, Manchon recorded every morning during the trial the questions and Jeanne’s answers. After déjeuner, the three notaries worked in turn in putting the record in order. They had to do their work carefully, for Jeanne answered with prudence. Whenever she was asked about a point already treated upon, she did not answer anew; she had the notaries read her former answers. . . .

“These minutes, in French, formed a manuscript, paper, written entirely in Manchon’s hand; he showed it to the judges of the Rehabilitation [twenty-five years later]. It was from this record that the Latin translation which we have to-day was made. The French minutes, produced before the judges of the Rehabilitation, we no longer have. As Quicherat was able so brilliantly to prove, we have only a fragment of it in the d’Urfé manuscript, beginning with the Twelfth Session of the trial. . . .

“If we compare Manchon’s minutes with the definitive version there can be no doubt that the Latin version was built upon the minutes, of which it espouses exactly the form of the French, except for rendering the concrete and rapid words of our quick language in the more general Latin terms; we find here not French based upon Latin, but Latin based upon French. . . .” M. Champion points out, as others have, that the Latin translators, “when in despair of translating exactly, admitted the French words” used by Jeanne and her inquisitors.

This Trial Record, inconceivable as it must seem, has never, before this present translation, been completely given into English. Portions of it have been used. Many of the Maid’s biographers have consulted it, summarized it, or used as much of it as suited their purposes; some have translated important and lengthy sections of it. Its details are generally known. But the whole trial has never before been accessible to the reader who is not either a French or a Latin scholar, and editions in those languages are extremely difficult to procure.

Barrett’s translation, notably faithful to the original in letter and spirit, takes us into the very room with Jeanne and her judges: into the great room of the Castle of Rouen, into the tower cell where she was in chains and had to endure the cross-questioning of lawyer, skilled in subtle examination. We, as well as Jeanne, hear the formal letters of authority read out in court; the legal red tape of that day was no less ornate and magniloquent than it is at present. The court adjourns after dramatic and damning answers, to take up the burden next day or the day after. While she was “on the stand” questions were shot at her from all sides, as we may easily see for ourselves. Questions that some of her judges complain of as too subtle. She has no counsel to aid her, except her Voices, and she protests that she cannot hear Them, frequently, for the noise in the court and her prison drowns them out.

That she was tried by an extraordinary confrèrie of experts Pierre Champion’s magnificent biographical researches, translated here in Dramatis Personae prove. Most of her judges were graduates and members of the faculty of the University of Paris which at that time served the church through a kind of dictatorship of the General Council. Many of them had served the King of England or his regent the Duke of Bedford, as ambassadors or councillors. Nearly all of them were at one time or another on the English payroll, directly, or indirectly through ecclesiastical appointments that were in the hands of the English King.

We see Jeanne pitted against sixty skilled politicians, lawyers, ambassadors, trained in all the complexities of legal questioning, all of them versed in academic casuistry. Most of them were avowedly her enemies. Her victories for Charles VII had driven many of them, including Bishop Cauchon, out of their dioceses, away from their seats of authority and revenue. They were of the University of Paris and Jeanne had threatened Paris. If she had succeeded in that they would have been utterly ruined.

She was imprisoned, not in the ecclesiastical prison where women would have attended her, but in the Castle of Rouen, at that time the English citadel, governed by the Earl of Warwick. The little English king lived there, and the regent Bedford. Jeanne was closely guarded and was kept in irons even when she was extremely ill. Her guards annoyed her and abused her and she lived in constant fear of them, although Warwick restrained them somewhat, for she was a valuable prisoner; the English had paid 10,000 livres for her. Ten or twelve francs was the price of a horse.

There has surely been no more dramatic or horrible trial in history than hers. Sixty of the ablest politicians and academicians, endowed with authority no less impressive because it was largely usurped, were summoned by their military masters to try, under the elaborate forms of law, a girt nineteen years old: an extraordinary girl whose military genius had made her the wonder of Europe, a King-maker, and the archenemy of her judges.

The world had seen nothing like her since Christ. The judges and assessors at Rouen knew as they assembled there that the eyes of Christendom were upon them and that dynasties trembled in the balance. They also were aware that the King of Heaven spoke through His saints. They knew that Jeanne had prophesied that she would raise the siege of Orléans and had done so. They knew that she had prophesied would have the Dauphin crowned at Reims. She led the Dauphin and his court through English-conquered territory to Reims, subduing Meung, Beaugency, Jargeau and Patay, and had seen him crowned Charles VII, King of France. She had captured the greatest English generals of the time. The judges as they awaited the formal opening of the trial could ponder on these wonders, and her faith that she was sent by God and Saint Michael. She was called putain, harlot, often enough by her enemies, but her judges knew that committees of women had examined her and found her an intact virgin. The latest such examination had been conducted by the Duchess of Bedford and her ladies.

Her judges must have known by rumor that at Beaurevoir, the castle of Jean de Luxembourg, who sold her to the English, the three Jeannes his, aunt, wife and daughter, approved of Jeanne and begged him not to sell her. The judges knew that an ecclesiastical examination at Poitiers, conducted by the Archbishop of Reims, then in exile, Cauchon’s superior in the Church, had found her good and a true Catholic inspired. This examination had been held before Charles was permitted to accept her offered help. They knew, too, that Le Maistre, Vice Inquisitor, was hesitant about proceeding against Jeanne. With all these things in mind, the judges must have gone in fear and trembling to the opening of the trial in the heart of the English military headquarters, for all their knowledge of their authority and power. They knew what was expected of them and they knew their own abilities.

The Trial Record shows us, day by day, how they prosecuted the case, and what their individual decisions were.

It is one of the most fascinating narratives in all history.

Coley Taylor

Credits & Resources:
International Joan of Arc Society – Medieval Sourcebook – Medieval History Sourcebooks – Wikipedia