Chronicle of the siege of Orleans - Latin 8838

Jeanne d'Arc's rehabilitation process, with documents from the conviction process.

Also know as: The manuscript of "d'Urfé

French title: Procès de réhabilitation de Jeanne d’Arc, avec les pièces du procès de condamnation . — Chronique du siège d’Orléans.

Manuscript in Latin. MS. Latin 8838.
National Library of France. Manuscripts Department.
Parchment. 293 ff. Binding redone around 1820, signed “REL. P. LEFEBVRE ”, restored in 1957, olive calfskin with gold frame.
The metal patterns on the cover, are corners and clasp fasteners of the old binding described above have been reused. Title “PROCES DE LA PUCELLE D’ORLEANS”, Louis XVIII coat of arms and gilt on the back of red skin. Golden slices. To ff. 224, 303v and 304, stamp of the Imperial Library corresponding to the years 1852-1870 with “MAN.” designating the Manuscripts, close to Josserand-Bruno, 289 type 31.

The manuscript of “d’Urfé is kept at the National Library under the ms coast. lat. 8838.
The only known copy of the episcopal writing of Jeanne d’Arc’s Rehabilitation Process, known as the Urfé manuscript. The Urfé’s manuscript appears to be an essential piece for the study of the Maid’s trials. From the 15th century, pages and notebooks were lost, and the disorder was increased by the additions copied in the 16th century. In 1957, Father Doncœur obtained that the binding was removed; he separated the pieces from the 15th century. additions from the 16th century. and he reclassified the notebooks.

The manuscript is kept at Bibliothèque nationale de France under the ms coast. lat. 8838.

The historian Jules Quicherat described it in his volume V, p.438: “It is a maximo folio volume, in vellum 51 by centimeters; gilded on edge, with binding in green calfskin, the back red morocco, with the cipher of Napoleon.

On the covers were brought back chiseled brass, which belonged to an older binding, namely, two vairé and stamped escutcheons, which are the arms of the house of Urfé, plus eight covers composed of ’emblems, where the numbers I and C are intertwined with the currency UNI (with the L facing and crowned by Louis XVIII according to P.Champion). Part of the manuscript of the Latin collection n ° 5970 (rehabilitation process) and that of d’Urfé, is copied by the same hand. They seem to be contemporary.

The Orleans manuscript was written on the order under Louis XII. This manuscript testifies the interest that Gravilles devotion to the memory of Jeanne, in memory of their grandfather Jean Mallet, Sire de Graville, master of the crossbowmen who had fought alongside Jeanne d’Arc.

Jules Quicherat and Champion believe that this manuscript comes from Claude d’Urfé. His wife, Jeanne de Balzac, inherited the manuscript from her mother Anne de Graville, daughter of Admiral Louis Mallet de Graville. From Honoré d’Urfé, our manuscript passed into the hands of M. de Chavannes, Thomas d’Ylan, and Fevret de Fontette in 1769. L’Averdy saw it in 1787 at the Dépôt des Chartes; from where it finally passed to the Library of Roy (la Bibliothèque du Roy).

The historian Jules Quicherat mention in 1849, that “It’s a such confusion that no one up to now has been able to identify or recognize it”.

And the historian Pierre Champion, who also studied this manuscript, assures that it took “all the palaeographic science of J. Quicherat, served by his clear intelligence and his marvellous knowledge of texts, to unravel and manage this chaos”. Two very distinct writings, notes Quicherat, “alternate with each other at various places in the manuscript. One is the cursive flow of time of Louis XII, the other is the most beautiful Gothic Chancery of Charles VII “.

Where does this misunderstanding come from?
Originally the codex, bound in vellum, contained a copy of the Rehabilitation Process in its “episcopal” (relating to a bishop) version. (The official versions of this trial are the “notaries” versions) a considerable mass of documents including a copy of the Latin version of the sentencing trial and French minute of the same trial. It was in this disastrous state that its owner found it in his Château de la Bâtie, at the beginning of the 16th century.

It seems that Claude d’Urfé between 1502 and 1558 tried to complete the missing parts with copies or translations of other works. The whole, in indescribable chaos, was finally numbered and magnificently bound. The main concern seems to have been to replace the missing folios with folios of the exact same format. “The lack of intelligence and incompetence in this conception, is surpassed only by the execution, since the current state of the manuscript proves that one could neither identify gaps or put the translated notebooks, back in their place” concludes Quicherat.

Mr. Porcher, chief curator of the manuscripts department at the national library, made the right decision by unstitching the notebooks and separating the texts of the two writings under the control of Paul Doncoeur. It was then possible to restore the original notebooks in order and to know exactly its shortcomings. In the new binding, blank folios replace the missing ones.

We can now read the only known “episcopal writing” of the rehabilitation process (but incomplete), as well as the French minute (also incomplete) and a Latin version of the conviction process which has been verified and certified by Manchon himself.

In the book “The rehabilitation of Jeanne la Pucelle – the episcopal drafting of the trial 1455-1456)” by Paul Doncoeur (1961) the rehabilitation process contained in this manuscript is publish for the first time.

Conservation history
The ms. Latin 8838 comes from Claude d’Urfé , whose wife Jeanne de Balsac was the heiress of his mother Anne de Graville, daughter of Admiral Louis Mallet de Graville, who had a French translation of the Trial of Jeanne made in the time of Louis XII of Arc. It was for Claude d’Urfé that the ms. in the 16th century.

In 1769 and 1790, the ms. still had the binding made for him, in wood covered with green velvet; in the center, a gilded bronze motif bore the shield of Claude d’Urfé, surrounded by the collar of the order of Saint-Michel; on the gilded bronze corners, there was the number “IC”, formed by two crossed Cs (Claude) enclosing an I (Jeanne), the motto “UNI” adopted by Claude d’Urfé in 1542. All these metallic ornaments have been reused for the modern bookbinding.

We find the same on two bindings from the 16th century. made for Claude d’Urfé: BnF, ms. Fr. 20853, reproduced by [Fr. The Passion for Illuminated Manuscripts, Paris, BN, 1991, 120-121 n ° 49, and Arsenal, ms. 3172, reproduced by A. Vernet, Les Manuscrits de Claude d’Urfé (1501-1558) at the castle of La Bastie, in Medieval Studies, Paris, 1981, 614-615. – In the 17th century, the ms. was in the library of Claude’s grandson, Honoré d’Urfé. He gave it to his friend Nicolas de Chevannes, whose son Jacques-Auguste de Chevannes, lawyer in the Parliament of Burgundy, bequeathed it to a great-nephew François Thomas, sieur d’Islan. François Thomas d’Islan’s library was sold to Paris in 1752.

Charles Fevret de Fontette, lawyer at the Parliament of Dijon, held the ms. of Thomas d’Islan and still owned it in 1769; cf. J. Lelong, Historical Library of France , new ed. by Fevret de Fontette, II, Paris, 1769, 184, n ° 17208 [bis]; on the links between the Chevannes, Thomas d’Islan and Fevret de Fontette families, cf. H. Omont, in Rev. libraries, XI (1901), 237-238 and n. – At f. 224 (old f. I), Baluze’s crossed-out signature suggests that ms. went through his hands. – Claude de l’Averdy found it in 1790 in the Legislative Depot at Place Vendôme: Charters and historical monuments, with its original binding in very poor condition; cf. Cl. De L’Averdy, art. cit. , 199.

It was deposited in the National Library during the Revolution. The manuscripts was exhibited at the end of the 19th century; cf. BN Department of Manuscripts. Notice of exhibits … , Paris, 1881, n ° 196.

Source : Bibliothèque nationale de France. “The rehabilitation of Jeanne la Pucelle – the episcopal drafting of the trial 1455-1456)” by Paul Doncoeur (1961).

Translation and edited from French to English online version. / Okt 18, 2020.