The chronicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet

From Enguerrand de Monstrelet, Chronicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet, trans. Thomas Johnes, vol. 1 (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853).

Table of Contents

Enguerrand de Monstrelet was from a noble family, and was probably born in the late thirteenth century. He followed a military career and may have been Enguerrand mentioned as the captain of the count of Saint-Pol in 1422. He retired to Cambrai in 1436 and died in 1453. He was an active participant in the last phase of the Hundred Years War. This phase of the war began after the death of King Charles VI in 1422.

When Charles died, most of northern France was either in English hands or in the hands of England’s Burgundian allies. The dukes of Burgundy, who were also became the counts of Flanders through a marriage alliance, were offshoots of the French royal house, but it seemed possible for a time that they would successfully build an independent state between France and Germany, a new kingdom of Burgundy. This did not happen, however. In 1429 Joan of Arc successfully rallied the French, and although she was executed in 1431, Charles VII “the Victorious” continued to build on his gains until 1453, when the war effectively ended with a nearly total French victory. After his win, Charles VII and his son Louis XI then turned their attention to their Burgundian kin. The decisive factor, however, was the death of Charles the Bold of Burgundy in battle in 1477. He left only a daughter as his heir and his lands were divided between the German Empire and France.

Throughout the Hundred Years war and the Burgundian attempt at independence, historians participated on both sides. de Monstrelet wrote on the Burgundian side, as did Thomas Basin, while Matthew d’Escouchy wrote on the French side. However, de Monstrelet began his chronicle in 1399, where an earlier French chronicler, Jean Froissart, ended his account, and d’Escouchy picked up from de Monstrelet. Therefore, although historians wrote propaganda for one side, they were acutely aware of what the other side was producing. De Monstrelet was highly successful as a historian; there are many manuscripts of his work and his history was printed very early in the history of printing.

De Monstrelet was in a particularly good position to give an account of Joan of Arc, because he was present when she was interrogated by Philip the Good of Burgundy/Flanders, and he had ample opportunity to talk to eyewitnesses of other phases of the war which he did not personally witness.

Originally prepared by Leah Shopkow. Associate Professor History Department, Indiana University.


A Maiden named Joan waits on King Charles at Chinon where he resided---The King retains her in his service

In the course of this year, a young girl called Joan, about twenty years old, and dressed like a man, came to Charles king of France at Chinon. She was born in the town of Drolmy, on the borders of Burgundy and Lorraine, not far from Vaucouleurs, and had been for some time hostler and chambermaid to an inn, and had shown much courage in riding horses to water, and in other feats unusual for young girls to do. She was instructed how to act and sent to the king, by sir Robert de Baudricourt, knight, governor of Vaucouleurs,1 who supplied her with horses and from four to six men as an escort. She called herself a maiden inspired by the divine grace, and said that she was sent to restore king Charles to his kingdom, whence he had been unjustly driven, and was now reduced to so deplorable a state.

She remained about two months in the king’s household, frequently admouishing him to give her men and support, and that she would repulse his enemies, and exalt his name. The king and council in the mean time knew not how to act; for they put no great faith in what she said, considering her as one out of her senses; for to such noble persons the expressions she used are dangerous to be believed, as well for fear of the anger of the Lord, as for the blasphemous discourses which they may occasion in the world. After some time, however, she was promised men-at-arms and support: a standard was also given her, on which she caused to be painted a representation of our Creator. All her conversation was of God, on which account great numbers of those who heard her had great faith in what she said, and believed her inspired, as she declared herself to be.

She was many times examined by learned clerks, and other prudent persons of rank to find out her real intentions; but she kept to her purpose, and always replied, that if the king would believe her, she would restore to him his kingdom. In the mean time, she did several acts which shall be hereafter related, that gained her great renown. When she came first to the king, the duke d’Alençon, the king’s marshal, and other captains were with him, for he had held a grand council relative to the siege of Orleans: from Chinon the king went to Poitiers, accompanied by the Maid.

Shortly after, the marshal was ordered to convey provisions and stores, under a strong escort, to the army within Orleans. Joan requested to accompany him, and that armour should be given her, which was done. She then displayed her standard and went to Blois where the escort was to assemble, and thence to Orleans, always dressed in complete armour. On this expedition many warriors served under her; and when she arrived at Orleans great feasts were made for her, and the garrison and townsmen were delighted at her coming among them.


Ambassadors are sent by King Charles, and the burghers of Orleans, to Paris, to negotiate a treaty with the regent, that the town of Orleans may remain in peace

At the beginning of this year, the duke of Burgundy arrived at Paris with about six hundred horse, and was most joyfully received by the duke of Bedford and the duchess his sister. Soon after came thither Poton de Saintrailles, Pierre d’Orgin, and other noble ambassadors from king Charles, with envoys from the town of Orleans, to negotiate with the duke-regent and king Henry’s council2 for that town to remain in peace, and that it should be placed in the hands of the duke of Burgundy, for him to govern it at his pleasure, and to maintain its neutrality. It was also pleaded, that the duke of Orleans and his brother, the count d’Angoulême, who had for a long time past been the right owners of the town, were now prisoners in England, and had been no way concerned in this war.

The duke of Bedford assembled his council many times on this matter, but they could not agree respecting it. Several urged the great expenses king Henry had been put to for this siege and the great losses be had sustained of his principal captains,—adding, that the town could not hold out much longer, for it was hard pressed for provision, and that it was a place more advantageous for them to possess than any other, supporting what they said by several weighty reasons. Others were not pleased that it should be put into the hands of the duke of Burgundy, saying that it was unreasonable, when king Henry and his vassals had supported all the risks and danger, that the duke of Burgundy should reap the profit and honor, with out striking a blow. One among them, called master Raoul le Saige, said, that he would never be present when they should chew, for the duke of Burgundy to swallow. In short, after much debating of the business, it was finally concluded that the request of the ambassadors should not be granted, and that the town should no otherwise be received in favor than by its surrender to the English. The ambassadors hearing this, made a reply, which they had not however been charged with, that they knew well the townsmen of Orleans would suffer the utmost extremities rather than submit to such conditions. The ambassadors then returned to Orleans, to report the answer they had received.

The duke of Burgundy was very well pleased with their conduct in this matter, and would not have disliked, had it been agreeable to the regent and council, to have had the government of Orleans, as much from his affection to his cousin of Orleans as to prevent it suffering the perils likely to befall it; but the English, at that time, in full tide of prosperity, never considered that the wheel of fortune might turn against them. The duke of Burgundy, while at Paris, had made many requests to his brother-in-law the regent, for himself and his adherents, which, however, were but little attended to. Having staid at Paris about three weeks, he returned to Flanders, where he was attacked by a severe illness, but by the attentions of able physicians he recovered his health.


The Maid with many noble French Captains of great renown reinforce and revictual the town of Orleans and afterwards raise the siege.

The English captains had continued their siege of Orleans about seven months, and had much straitened it by their batteries and towers, of which they had erected not less than sixty. The besieged, sensible of the peril they were in of being conquered, resolved to defend themselves to the last, and sent to king Charles for reinforcements of men, and a supply of stores and provision. From four to five hundred combatants were first sent; but they were followed by seven thousand more, who escorted a convoy of provision up the river Loire. With these last came Joan, the Maid, who had already done some acts that had increased her reputation. The English attempted to cut off this convoy; but it was well defended by the Maid and those with her, and brought with safety to Orleans, to the great joy of the inhabitants, who made good cheer, and were rejoiced at its safe arrival and the coming of the Maid.

On the morrow, which was a Thursday, Joan rose early, and addressing herself to some of the principal captains, prevailed on them to arm, and follow her,—for she wished, as she said, to attack the enemy, being fully assured they would be vanquished. These captains and other warriors, surprised at her words, were induced to arm and make an assault on the tower of St. Loup, which was very strong, and garrisoned with from three to four hundred English. They were, not withstanding the strength of the block house, soon defeated, and all killed or made prisoners, and the fortification was set on fire and demolished. The Maid, having accomplished her purpose, returned with the nobles and knights who had followed her to the town of Orleans, where she was greatly feasted and honored by all ranks. The ensuing day she again made a sally, with a certain number of combatants, to attack another of the English forts, which was as well garrisoned as the former one, but which was in like manner destroyed by fire, and those within put to the sword. On her return to the town after this second exploit, she was more honored and respected than ever.

On the next day, Saturday, she ordered the tower at the end of the bridge to be attacked. This was strongly fortified, and had within it the flower of the English chivalry and men-at-arms, who defended themselves for a long time with the utmost courage; but it availed them nothing, for by dint of prowess they were overcome, and the greater part put to the sword. On this occasion were slain, a valiant English captain named Classendach, the lord Molins, the bailiff of Evreux, and many more warriors of great and noble estate.

The Maid, after this victory, returned to Orleans with the nobles who had accompanied her, and with but little loss of men. Notwithstanding that at these three attacks Joan was, according to common fame, supposed to have been the leader, she had with her all the most expert and gallant captains who for the most part had daily served, at this siege of Orleans, mention of whom has been before made. Each of these three captains exerted himself manfully at these attacks, so that from six to eight thousand combatants were killed or taken, while the French did not lose more than one hundred men of all ranks.

The ensuing Sunday, the English captains, namely, the earl of Suffolk, lord Talbot, lord Scales and others, seeing the destruction of their forts, and the defeat of their men, resolved, after some deliberation, to form the remains of their army into one body, march out of their camp, and wait prepared for any engagement, should the enemy be willing to offer them battle, otherwise they would march away in good order for such towns as were under their obedience. This resolution they instantly executed on Sunday morning, when they abandoned their forts, setting fire to several, and drew up in battle-array, expecting the French would come to fight with them; but they had no such intentions, having been exhorted to the contrary by Joan the Maid. The English, having waited a considerable time for them, in vain, marched away, lest their forces might be further diminished, without prospect of success.

The townsmen of Orleans were greatly rejoiced on seeing themselves, by their dishonorable retreat, delivered from such false and traitorous enemies, who had for so long a time kept them in the utmost danger. Many men-at-arms were despatched to examine the remaining forts, in which they found some provision, and great quantities of other things, all of which were carried safely to the town, and made good cheer of, for they had cost them nothing. The whole of these castles were soon burnt, and razed to the ground, so that no men at arms, from whatever country they might come, should ever lodge in them again.


The King of France, at the requests of the Maid Joan and the noble captains in Orleans, sends them a large reinforcement of men-at-arms to pursue his enemies

The French within Orleans, and the captains who accompanied the Maid, with one common accord, sent messengers to the king of France, to inform him of their vigorous exploits, and that the English had retreated to their own garrisons,—requesting him, at the same time to send them as many men-at-arms as he could procure, with some of the great lords, that they might be enabled to pursue his enemies, now quite dismayed at their reverse of fortune and praying that he himself would advance towards the country where they were. This intelligence was very agreeable to the king and his council, and the advice readily, as may be supposed, attended to. He instantly summoned to his presence the constable, the duke d’Alençon, Charles lord d’Albreth, and many other lords of renown, the greater part of whom were sent to the town of Orleans. After some time, the king advanced, with a considerable force, to Gien, where many councils were held with the captains from Orleans and the nobles lately arrived, whether or not they should pursue the English. To these councils

the first person summoned was the Maid, for she was now in high reputation. At length, on the 4th day of May, the siege of Orleans having been raised, the French took the field with about five or six thousand combatants, and marched straight for Gergeau, where the earl of Suffolk and his brothers were quartered. The earl had sent frequent messages to the regent at Paris, to acquaint him with the misfortunes that had happened at Orleans, and to request speedy succours, or he would be in danger of losing several towns and castles which he held in Beauce and on the river Loire. The duke of Bedford was much angered and cast down at this intelligence; but seeing the necessity of immediately attending to what was most urgent, sent in haste for four or five thousand men from all the parts under his dominion, whom he ordered toward the country of Orleans, under the command of Sir Thomas Rampstone, the bastard de Thian and others, promising very soon to join them with the large reenforcements which he was daily expecting from England.


The Maid Joan, with the constable of France, the duke d'Alençon, and their men, conquer the town of Gergeau.---The battle of Pataye, when the French defeat the English.

The constable of France, the duke d’Alençon, Joan the Maid, and other captains, having, as I said, taken the field, advanced with their army to Gergeau, wherein was the earl of Suffolk, and from three to four hundred of his men, who, with the inhabitants, made all diligence to put themselves in a posture of defense. The place was very soon surrounded by the enemy, who commenced an instant assault on the walls. This lasted a considerable space, and was very bloody; but the French pushed on so boldly that the town was stormed in spite of the courage of the besieged, and about three hundred of the English slain, among whom was a brother to the earl of Suffolk. The earl and another of his brothers, the lord de la Pole, were made prisoners, with sixty or more of their men.

Thus was the town and castle of Gergeau won by the French, who after their victory refreshed themselves at their ease. On departing thence, they went to Mehun, which soon surrendered; and the English who were in la Ferté-Imbaut fled in a body to Beaugency, whither they were pursued by the French, always having the Maid with her standard in front, and they quartered themselves near to Beaugency. The whole report of the country now resounded with praises of the Maid, and no other warrior was noticed.

The principal English captains in Beaugency, observing that the fame of this Maid had turned their good fortune, that many of their towns and castles were now under the subjection of the enemy, some through force of arms, others by composition,—and that their men were panic-struck by their misfortunes, were very desirous of retiring into Normandy. They were, however, uncertain how to act, or whether they should soon receive succor; and thus situated, they treated with the French for the delivery of the town, on condition that they might depart in safety with their property. On the conclusion of this treaty, the English marched away through Beauce toward Paris; and the French joyfully entered Beaugency, whence they resolved, by the advice of the Maid, to advance to meet a party of the English, who they heard were marching to offer them combat, They again took the field, and were daily reinforced by new-comers.

Henry VI of England. Henry had a regent, because he was still a child. Because Henry’s mother was Charles’s sister, Henry was Charles’s nephew. The Hundred Years War was a war among relatives.

The constable ordered the marshal de Boussac,3 La Hire, Poton, and some other captains, to form the vanguard; and the main body, under the command of the duke d’Alençon, the bastard of Orleans, and the marshal de Raix,4 amounting to eight or nine thousand combatants, to follow it close. The Maid was asked by some of the princes, what she would advise to be done, or if she had any orders to give. She said, “that she knew full well their ancient enemies the English were on their march to fight with them,—but in Gods name advance boldly against them,—and assuredly they shall be conquered.” Some present having asked, “where they should meet them?” she replied, “Ride boldly forward, and you will be conducted to them.”

The army was then drawn up in battle array, and advanced slowly, for they had despatched sixty or eighty of their most expert men-at-arms, mounted on the fleetest horses, to reconnoitre the country and gain intelligence of the enemy. They thus marched for some time, until they came within half a league of a large village called Pataye. The men-at-arms who had been sent to reconnoitre put up a stag, which ran straight for the army of the English, who were assembling their men together, namely those who had come from Paris, as has been mentioned, and those who had marched from Beaugency,—and the English seeing the stag dash through them, set up a loud shout, not knowing the enemy was so near; but this shout satisfied the scouts where the English were, and a moment afterward they saw them quite plain. They sent back some of their companions with intelligence of what they had seen, and they desired that the army might advance in order of battle, for the hour of business was at hand. They immediately made every preparation with great courage, and were soon in sight of the enemy

The English, observing the French advance, made also their preparations with diligence for the combat. Some of the captains proposed that they should dismount where they then were, and take advantage of the hedge rows to prevent being surprised on their rear; but others were of a contrary opinion, and said they should be better off on the plain. In consequence they retreated about half a quarter of a league from their former position, which was full of hedges and bushes. The French were very eager to come up with them; and the greater part dismounted, turning their horses loose.

The vanguard of the French were impatient for the attack, having lately found the English very slack in their defense, and made so sudden and violent a charge that they were unable to form themselves in proper order. Sir John Fastolfe5 and the bastard de Thian had not dismounted, and, to save their lives they, with many other knights, set off full gallop. In the mean time those who had dismounted were surrounded by the French before they had time to fortify themselves, as usual, with sharp-pointed stakes in their front; and without doing any great mischief to the French, they were soon completely defeated. About eighteen hundred English were left dead on the field, and from one hundred to six score made prisoners, the principal of whom were the lords Scales, Talbot, Hungerford, sir Thomas Rampstone and several more. Some of the great lords were killed, and the rest were people of low degree, of the same sort as those whom they were accustomed to bring from their own country to die in France.

When the business was over, which was about two o’clock in the afternoon, all the French captains assembled together, and devoutly and humbly returned thanks to their Creator for the victory. They were very gay on their good fortune, and lodged that night in the village of Pataye, which is two leagues distant from Anville in Beauce; and this battle will bear the name of that town forever.

On the morrow, the French returned to Orleans and the adjacent parts with their prisoners. They were everywhere received with the utmost joy; but the Maid especially seemed to have acquired so great renown, it was believed that the king’s enemies could not resist her, and that by her means he would soon be acknowledged throughout his kingdom. She accompanied the other captains to the king, who was much rejoiced at their success, and gave them a gracious reception. Several councils were held in the presence of the king; and it was resolved to collect as many men-at-arms as possible from all parts under his dominion to pursue his enemies.

On the day of the battle of Pataye, before the English knew that their enemies were so near, Sir John Fastolfe one of the chief captains, and who fled without striking a blow, assembled a council, when he remonstrated on the losses they bad suffered before Orleans, at Gergeau and other places, which had greatly lowered the courage of their men, and on the contrary raised that of the French, and which made him now advise that they should retire to some of their strong towns in the neighborhood, and not think of combating the enemy until their men were more reconciled to their late defeats, and until the reinforcements should be sent them which the regent was expecting from England. This language was not very agreeable to some of the captains, more especially to lord Talbot, who declared that if the enemy came he would fight them.

Sir John Fastolfe was bitterly reproached by the duke of Bedford for having thus fled from the battle,—and he was deprived of the order of the Garter:6 however, in time, the remonstrances he had made in council, previously to the battle, were considered as reasonable; and this, with other circumstances and excuses he made, regained him the order of the Garter. Nevertheless, great quarrels arose between him and lord Talbot on this business, when the latter was returned from his captivity. Prior to the battle of Pataye, Jacques de Milly, Gilles de St. Simon, Louis de Marconnay, Jean de la Haye, and other valiant men, were made knights by the French.


The duke of Burgundy, at the request of the duke of Bedford comes to Paris, when they renew their alliances.

When news of this unfortunate defeat was known to the duke of Bedford and the council at Paris, he was very much disturbed,—and several, on hearing of it, wept in the council. They were also informed, that king Charles was assembling his forces to march and conquer all the country before him. In consequence of this, the duke of Bedford and the Parisians appointed a solemn embassy to duke Philip of Burgundy, to make him acquainted with the strange events that had happened, and to request that he would hasten to Paris, to advise with the regent and his ministers how to act in these extraordinary circumstances. The ambassadors on this occasion were, the bishop of Noyon, two celebrated doctors in theology from the university, and some of the principal burghers of Paris. They found the duke at Hêdin, related to him the cause of their coming, and earnestly required of him, on the part of his brother-in-law the regent and the Parisians, that he would be pleased to come to Paris with all diligence, to concert measures with them for the more effectually opposing their adversaries.

The duke complied with their request, and promised to be at Paris within a few days. He instantly assembled from seven to eight hundred combatants from his territories in Artois by whom he was escorted to Paris. His arrival gave great joy to all ranks, and for many days he and the regent held constant councils on the present state of affairs, at the end of which they entered into the following mutual engagement, namely, that each would exert his whole powers to resist their adversary Charles de Valois, and then solemnly renewed the alliances that existed between them. When these things were done, the duke of Burgundy returned to Artois, and carried his sister the duchess of Bedford with him, whom he established with her household at Lens in Artois. The duke of Bedford despatched messengers to England, with orders to send him, without delay, as large a body of the most expert men-at-arms as could be raised. In like manner he called to him the different garrisons in Normandy, and from other parts under his government, with all nobles and others accustomed to bear arms.

Some little time before, about four thousand combatants had been sent from England to the regent, under the command of the cardinal of Winchester, who crossed the sea with them to Calais, and thence marched to Amiens. The cardinal went from Amiens to Corbie, to meet the duke of Burgundy and his sister-in-law the duchess of Bedford, who were on their return from Paris. After they had conferred together some time, the cardinal went back to Amiens, and conducted his men to the regent, who was much rejoiced at their arrival. In these days, John, bastard of St. Pol, was sent to the duke of Bedford with a certain number of men from Picardy, by orders of the duke of Burgundy. The regent appointed him governor of the town and castle of Meaux in Brie, and gave him the sovereign command of all the adjacent country, to defend it against the power of king Charles, who was daily expected in these parts.


King Charles of France takes the field with a numerous body of Chivalry and men-at-arms.---Many towns and castles submit to him on his march.

While these things were passing, Charles king of France assembled at Bourges in Berry a very great force of men- at-arms and archers, among whom were the duke d’Alençon, Charles de Bourbon count of Clermont, Arthur count of Richemont constable of France, Charles of Anjou, brother-in-law to the king, and son to René king of Sicily,7 the bastard of Orleans, the cadet of Armagnac,8 Charles lord d’Albreth, and many other nobles and powerful barons from the countries of Aquitaine, Gascony, Poitou, Berry and different parts, whom he marched to Gien on the Loire. He was always accompanied by the Maid and a preaching friar of the order of St. Augustin,9 called Richard, who had lately been driven out of Paris, and from other places under subjection to the English, for having in his sermons shown himself too favourable to the French party. From Gien the king marched toward Auxerre; but the constable went with a large detachment to Normandy and Evreux, to prevent the garrisons in that country joining the duke of Bedford. On the other hand, the cadet d’Armagnac was despatched into the Bourdelois to guard Aquitaine and those parts.

The king on his march reduced two towns to his obedience, Gergeau and St. Florentin, the inhabitants of which promised henceforward to be faithful to him, and to conduct themselves as loyal subjects should do to their lord: and they obtained the king’s promise that he would rule them justly, and according to their ancient customs. He thence marched to Auxerre, and sent to summon the inhabitants to surrender to their natural and legal lord. At first, the townsmen were not inclined to listen to any terms, but commissioners being appointed on each side, a treaty was concluded, in which they engaged to render similar obedience to what the towns of Troyes, Châlons, and Rheims, should assent to. They supplied the king’s army with provision for money, and remained peaceable, for the king held them excused this time.

The king marched next to Troyes, and encamped his men around it. He was three days there before the inhabitants would admit him as their lord: however, in consideration of certain promises made them, they opened the gates and permitted him and his army to enter their town, where he heard mass. When the usual oaths had been received and given on each side, the king returned to his camp, and caused it to be proclaimed several times throughout the camp and town, that no one, under pain of death, should molest the inhabitants of Troyes, or those of the other towns which had submitted to his obedience. On this expedition, the two marshals, namely, Boussac and the lord de Raix, commanded the van division, and with them were, la Hire, Poton de Saintrailles, and other captains. Very many great towns and castles submitted to king Charles on his march, the particulars of which I shall pass over for the sake of brevity.


King Charles of France, with a noble chivalry and a numerous body of men-at-arms, arrives at Rheims, where he is crowned by the archbishop of Rheims.

During the time king Charles remained at Troyes in Champagne, deputies arrived from Châlons, who brought him the keys of their town, with promises of perfect obedience to his will. The king, upon this, went to Châlons, where he was kindly and with great humility received. In like manner, the keys of the city of Rheims were presented to him, with promises to admit him as their king, and to pay him due obedience. The lord de Saveuses had been lately made governor of Rheims, having a certain number of men-at-arms under him, to keep the town steady to the dukes of Bedford and Burgundy. On the arrival of the lord de Saveuses, the townsmen promised him that they would obey king Henry and the duke of Burgundy until death. Nevertheless, from fear of the Maid, of whose prowess they were told wonders, they resolved to surrender themselves to king Charles, although the lord de Chastillon and the lord de Saveuses wanted to persuade them to the contrary. These lords, noticing their obstinacy, quitted the town of Rheims; for in answer to their entreaties not to change sides, they had used very rough and strange expressions. The two lords then went to Château-Thierry.

The men of Rheims carried their resolution of submitting to king Charles into effect, as you have heard, through the instigation of the archbishop,10 who was chancellor to king Charles, and some others. The king made his public entry into Rheims on Friday, the 6th day of July, attended by a noble chivalry; and on the following Sunday he was crowned by the archbishop in the cathedral of Rheims, in presence of all his princes, barons, and knights, then with him.11 In the number were, the duke d’Alençon, the count de Clermont, the lord de la Trimouille, his principal minister, the lord de Beaumanoir, a Breton, the lord de Mailly, in Touraine, who were dressed in coronation-robes, to represent the noble peers of France absent at this ceremony.12 They had been, however, called over at the great altar by France king-at-arms,13 in the usual manner.

When the coronation was over, the king went to the archiepiscopal palace to dinner attended by his princes and nobles. The archbishop was seated at the king’s table, and the king was served by the duke d’Alençon, the count de Clermont, and other great lords. The king, on his coronation, created, while in the church, three knights, of whom the youth of Commercis was one. On his leaving Rheims, he appointed sir Anthony de Hollande, nephew to the archbishop, governor; and on the morrow of his departure, he went on apilgrimage to Corbeni, to pay adoration to St. Marcou. Thither came deputies fmm Laon, to submit themselves to his obedience in the manner other towns had done.

From Corbeni, the king went to Provins and Soissons, which places, without hesitation opened their gates to him. He made La Hire bailiff of the Vermandois, in the room of sir Colart de Mailly, who had been appointed to that office by king Henry. The king and his army next came before Château-Thierry, in which were the lord de Châtillon, John de Croy, John de Brimeu, and other great lords of the Burgundian party, with about four hundred combatants. These gentlemen, perceiving the townsmen inclined to submit to the king and not expecting any speedy succour, and being withal poorly provided for defence, yielded up the town and castle to king Charles, and marched away with their effects and baggage undisturbed. They went to the duke of Bedford at Paris, who was then collecting a sufficient body of men-at-arms to combat the French.


The duke of Bedford assembles a large army to combat King Charles.---He sends a letter to the King.

At this period, the regent duke of Bedford, having collected about ten thousand combatants from England, Normandy, and other parts, marched them from Rouen toward Paris, with the intent to meet king Charles and offer him battle. He advanced, through the country of Brie, to Montereau-faut-Yonne, whence he sent ambassadors to the said king, with a sealed letter of the following tenor.

“We John of Lancaster, regent of France and duke of Bedford, make known to you Charles de Valois, who were wont to style yourself Dauphin of Vienne, but at present without cause call yourself king, for wrongfully do you make attempts against the crown and dominion of the very high, most excellent and renowned prince Henry, by the grace of God true and natural lord of the kingdoms of France and England,—deceiving the simple people by your telling them you come to give peace and security, which is not the fact, nor can it be done by the means you have pursued and are now following to seduce and abuse ignorant people, with the aid of superstitious and damnable persons, such as a woman of a disorderly and infamous life, and dissolute manners, dressed in the clothes of a man, together with an apostate and seditious mendicant friar, as we have been informed, both of whom are, according to holy Scripture, abominable in the sight of God. You have also gained possession, by force of arms, of the country of Champagne,14 and of several towns and castles appertaining to my said lord the king, the inhabitants of which you have induced to perjure themselves by breaking the peace which had been most solemnly sworn to by the then kings of France and England, the great barons, peers, prelates, and three estates of the realm.

“We, to defend and guard the right of our said lord the king, and to repulse you from his territories, by the aid of the All-Powerful, have taken the field in person, and with the means God has given us, as you may have heard, shall pursue you from place to place in the hope of meeting you, which we have never yet done. As we most earnestly and heartily desire a final end to the war, we summon and require of you, if you be a prince desirous of gaining honor, to take compassion on the poor people, who have, on your account, been so long and so grievously harassed, that an end may be put to their afflictions, by terminating this war. Choose, therefore, in this country of Brie, where we both are, and not very distant from each other, any competent place for us to meet, and having fixed on a day, appear there with the abandoned woman, the apostate monk, and all your perjured allies, and such force as you may please to bring, when we will, with God’s pleasure, personally meet you in the name and as the representative of my lord the king.

“Should it then please you to make any proposals respecting peace, we will do every thing that may be expected from a catholic prince, for we are always inclined to conclude a solid peace, not such a false and treacherous one as that of Montereau-faut-Yonne, when, through your connivance, that most horrid and disgraceful murder was committed contrary to every law of chivalry and honour, on the person of our late very dear and well-beloved father duke John of Burgundy, whose soul may God receive!15 By means of this peace so wickedly violated by you, upwards of one hundred nobles have deserted your realm, as may be clearly shown by the letters patent under your hand and seal, by which you have absolutely and unreservedly acquitted them of every oath of loyalty, fealty and subjection. However, if from the iniquity and malice of mankind peace cannot be obtained, we may each of us then with our swords defend the cause of our quarrel before God, as our judge, and to whom and none other will my said lord refer it. We therefore most humbly supplicate the Almighty, as knowing the right of my lord in this matter, that he would dispose the hearts of this people so that they may remain in peace without further oppressions; and such ought to be the object of all Christian kings and princes in regard to their subjects.

“We, therefore, without using more arguments or longer delay, make known our proposals to you, which should you refuse, and should further murders and mischiefs be, through your fault, committed by a continuation of the war, we call God to witness, and protest before him and the world, that we are no way the cause, and that we have done and do our duty. We therefore profess our willingness to consent to a solid and reasonable peace, and, should that be rejected, then to resort to open combat becoming princes, when no other means can accommodate their differences. In testimony whereof, we have had these presents sealed with our seal.

“Given at Montereau-faut-Yonne the 7th day of August, in the year of Grace 1429. Signed by my lord the regent of France and duke of Bedford.”


The armies of Charles king of France and of the regent duke of Bedford meet near to Mont Epiloy.

The duke of Bedford, finding that he could not meet the army of king Charles to his advantage, and that many towns were surrendering to the king without making any resistance, withdrew his forces toward the Isle of France,16 to prevent the principal towns in that district following their examples.

King Charles, in the meanwhile, advanced to Crespy, where he had been received as king, and, passing through Brie, was making for Senlis, when the two amies of the king and the duke came within sight of each other at Mont Epiloy, near to the town of Baron.

Both were diligent in seizing the most advantageous positions for the combat. The duke of Bedford chose a strong post, well strengthened, on the rear and wings, with thick hedge-rows. In the front, he drew up his archers in good array on foot, having each a sharp-pointed stake planted before them. The regent himself was with his lords in one battalion close to the archers, where, among the banners of the different lords, were displayed two having the arms of France and of England: the banner of St. George was likewise there, and borne that day by Jean de Villiers, knight, lord of Isle-Adam. The regent had with him from six to eight hundred combatants from the duke of Burgundy, the chief leaders of whom were, the lord de l’Isle-Adam, Jean de Croy, Jean de Crequi, Anthony de Bethune,17 Jean de Fosseux, the lord de Saveuses, sir Hugh de Launoy, Jean de Brimeu, Jean de Launoy, Sir Simon de Lalain, Jean bastard de St. Pol, and other warriors, some of whom were then knighted.18 The bastard de St. Pol received that honour from the hand of the duke of Bedford, and Jean de Crequi, Jean de Croy, Anthony de Bethune, Jean de Fosseux, and le Liegeois de Humieres,19 by the hands of other knights.

When these matters were ordered, the English were drawn up together on the left wing and the Picards, with those of the French in king Henry’s interest, opposite to them. They thus remained in battle-array for a considerable time, and were so advantageously posted that the enemy could not attack them without very great risk to themselves; add to which I they were plentifully supplied with provision from the good town of Senlis, near to which they were.

King Charles had drawn up his men with his most expert captains in the van division, the others remained with him in the main battalion, excepting a few posted, by way of rearguard, toward Paris. The king had a force of men-at-arms with him much superior in numbers to the English. The Maid was also there, but perpetually changing her resolutions; sometimes she was eager for the combat, at other times not. The two parties, however, remained in this state, ever prepared to engage, for the space of two days and two nights, during which were many skirmishes and attacks. To detail them all would take too much time but there was one very long and bloody, that took place on the wing where the Picards were posted, and which lasted for an hour and a half. The royal army fought with the utmost courage, and their archers did much mischief with their arrows, insomuch that many persons thought, seeing the numbers engaged, that it would not cease until one or other of the parties were vanquished. They, however, separated, but not without many killed and wounded on each side. The duke of Bedford was very well pleased with the Picards for the gallantry and courage they had displayed; and when they had retreated, he rode down their ranks, addressing them kindly, and saying, “My friends, you are excellent people, and have valiantly sustained for us a severe shock, for which we humbly thank you and we entreat, that should any more attacks be made on your post, you will persevere in the same valor and courage.”

Both parties were violently enraged against each other, so that no man, whatever his rank, was that day ransomed, but every one put to death without mercy. I was told, that about three hundred men were killed in these different skirmishes; but I know not which side lost the most. At the end of two days, the armies separated without coming to a general engagement.


King Charles of France sends ambassadors to the duke of Burgundy at Arras.

About this time, ambassadors were sent to the duke of Burgundy, at Arras, by king Charles of France, to treat of a peace between them. The principal persons of this embassy were, the archbishop of Rheims, Christopher de Harcourt, the lords de Dammartin, de Gaucourt, and de Fontaines, knights, with some councillors of state. Having demanded an audience, some few days after their arrival, they remonstrated through the mouth of the archbishop with the duke of Burgundy most discreetly and wisely on the cause of their coming, and, among other topics, enlarged on the perfect affection the king bore him, and on his earnest desire to be at peace with him,—for which purpose he was willing to make condescensions and reparations even more than were becoming royal majesty. They excused him of the murder committed on the person of the late duke of Burgundy, on the score of his youth, alleging that be was then governed by persons regardless of the welfare of the kingdom, but whose measures at that time he dared not oppose.

These and other remonstrances from the archbishop were kindly listened to by the duke and his council; and when he had finished speaking, one of the duke’s ministers replied.

“My lord and his council have heard with attention what you have said; he will consider on it, and you shall have his answer within a few days.” The archbishop and his companions now returned to their hotel, much respected by all ranks, for the majority of the states were very desirous of a peace between the king and the duke of Burgundy. Even those of the middle ranks, although there was neither truce nor peace, came to the chancellor of France at Arras, to solicit letters of grace and remission, as if the king had been in the full possession of his power,—which grants, however, they obtained from the archbishop as chancellor.

The duke of Burgundy held many consultations with those of his privy council, which much hastened the conclusion of this business.


The lord de Longueval conquers the castle of Aumale from the English

The lord de Longueval, having been deprived of his estates, had turned to king Charles, and, by the means of a priest resident in Aumale, had gained the castle of the town, the chief place of that country, and held by the English. Four or five Englishmen were found within it, who were put to death; but the inhabitants were spared, on their making oath to behave in future like good Frenchmen, and paying a heavy ransom for their deliverance. This castle was shortly after repaired, re-victualled, and reinforced with men-at-arms, who carried on a continual warfare against the English and their allies in these parts. The duke of Bedford was much vexed at this; but he could not, by reason of more important matters, at the time go thither, nor provide any remedy. At this time also the castle of Estrepagny was taken by storm from the lord de Rambures and his men; but on the other hand, the fortress of Château-Gaillard was reduced to the obedience of king Charles, which is excellently situated and is very strong. In this castle had been confined for a long time that valiant knight the lord de Barbasan, who had been made prisoner, as has been said, by king Henry’s army at Melun. By means of this lord de Barbasan was Château-Gaillard won, and himself freed from prison. He gave the command of it to some of his people, and soon after joined king Charles, by whom he was most joyfully received and honored.

The castle of Torcy was also put into the hands of the French by some of the country people, who had connections with the English, and who betrayed it to the enemy. Thus in a short time were four of the strongest castles of the enemy recovered; and in consequence of their capture, those parts were very much harassed, both by the French and English.


The town of Compiègne surrenders to the French.---The return of the French embassy which had been sent to the duke of Burgundy.

When king Charles was marching from near Senlis, where he and the duke of Bedford been within sight of each other, he was detained at Crespy in Valois, and there he received intelligence that the town of Compiègne was willing to submit to his obedience. He lost no time in going thither, and was received by the inhabitants with great joy, and lodged in the royal palace. His chancellor and the other ambassadors to the duke of Burgundy, there met him, and informed him, that although they had held many conferences with the ministers of the duke of Burgundy, nothing had been finally concluded, except that the duke had agreed to send ambassadors to king Charles to confer further on the subject. They had learnt that the majority of the duke’s council were very desirous that peace should be established between the king and him, but that master John de Tourcy, bishop of Tournay, and sir Hugh de Launoy, had been charged by the duke of Bedford to remind the duke of Burgundy of his oaths to king Henry, and were against a peace with the king of France. This had delayed the matter,—and further time had been required by the duke to send his ambassadors. He had, however, nominated sir John de Luxembourg, the bishop of Arras, Sir David de Brimeu, with other discreet and noble persons, for the purpose.

About this time, sir Lyonnel de Bournouville, who had lost his town and castle of Creil, requested some men-at-arms from the duke of Bedford to reconquer one of his castles called Breteictre, which the French had won. His request was granted, and he took the fort by storm, putting to death all within it,—but he was so severely wounded himself that he died soon after.


The king of France makes an attack on the city of Paris.

During king Charles’s stay at Compiègne, news was brought him that the regent-duke of Bedford had marched with his whole army to Normandy, to combat the constable near to Evreux, where he was despoiling the country. The king did not leave Compiègne for ten or twelve days, when he marched for Senlis, appointing Sir William de Flavy the governor. Senlis surrendered on capitulation to the king, who fixed his quarters in the town, and distributed his army in the country about it. Many towns and villages now submitted to the king’s obedience; namely, Creil, Beauvais, Choisy, le Pont de St. Maixence, Gournay sur l’Aronde, Remy la Neuville en Hez, Moignay, Chantilly, Saintry, and others. The lords de Montmorency20 and de Moy took the oaths of allegiance to him; and in truth, had he marched big army to St. Quentin, Corbie, Amiens, Abbeville, and to other strong towns and castles, the majority of the inhabitants were ready to acknowledge him for their lord, and desired nothing more earnestly than to do him homage, and open their gates. He was, however, advised not to advance so far on the territories of the duke of Burgundy, as well from there being a considerable force of men-at-arms, as because he was in the expectation that an amicable treaty would be concluded between them. After king Charles had halted some days in Senlis, he dislodged and marched to St. Denis, which he found almost abandoned, for the richer inhabitants had gone to Paris.21 He quartered his men at Aubervilliers, Montmartre, and in the villages round Paris. The Maid Joan was with him, and in high reputation, and daily pressed the king and princes to make an attack on Paris.22 It was at length determined that on Monday, the 12th day of the month, the city should be stormed, and, in consequence, every preparation was made for it. On that day, the king drew up his army in battle-array between Montmartre and Paris; his princes, lords, and the Maid, were with him; the van division was very strong; and thus, with displayed banner, he marched to the gate of St. Honoré, carrying thither scaling-ladders, fascines, and all things necessary for the assault. He ordered his infantry to descend into the ditches; and the attack commenced at ten o’clock, which was very severe and murderous, and lasted four or five hours. The Parisians had with them Louis de Luxembourg, the bishop of Therouenne, king Henry’s chancellor, and other notable knights, whom the duke of Burgundy had sent thither, such as the lord de Crequi, the lord de l’Isle-Adam, Sir Simon de Lalain, Valeran de Bournouville, and other able men, with four hundred combatants. They made a vigorous defense, having posted a sufficient force at the weakest parts before the attack began. Many of the French were driven back into the ditches, and numbers were killed and wounded by the cannon and culverines from the ramparts. Among the last was the Maid, who was very dangerously hurt; she remained the whole of the day behind a small hillock until vespers, when Guichard de Thiembronne came to seek her. A great many of the besieged suffered also. At length the French captains, seeing the danger of their men, and that it was impossible to gain the town by force against so obstinate a defense, and that the inhabitants seemed determined to continue it, without any disagreement among themselves, sounded the retreat. They carried off the dead and wounded, and returned to their former quarters. On the morrow, king Charles, very melancholy at the loss of his men, went to Senlis, to have the wounded attended to and cured. The Parisians were more unanimous than ever, and mutually promised each other to oppose, until death, king Charles, who wanted to destroy them all. Perhaps, knowing how much they had misbehaved by forcing him to quit Paris, and by putting to death some of his most faithful servants, they were afraid of meeting with their deserts.

[In chapters 71-82, de Monstrelet treats other matters concerning the war, but does not mention Joan.]


The duke of Burgundy lays siege to the castle of Choisy, which he conquers in a few days.

When the duke of Burgundy had remained for about eight days in Noyon, he departed, to lay siege to the castle of Choisy sur Oise, in which was Louis de Flavy, holding it for sir William de Flavy. The duke’s engines did so much mischief to the walls of the castle that the garrison capitulated, on being allowed to march away with their baggage in safety. So soon as they had quitted the castle, it was demolished and razed to the ground. The duke built a bridge over the Oise, to enable himself and his army to cross toward Compiègne on the side of Mondidier. During this time the lord de Saveuses and John de Brimeu had been appointed to guard the suburbs of Noyon, with their men, and those of the lord Montgomery and of other English captains quartered at Pont l’Evêque, to prevent the garrison of Compiègne from cutting off the supplies from the duke’s army.

It happened on a certain day, that those in Compiègne, namely, Joan the Maid, Sir Jaimes de Chabannes, Sir Theolde de Valperghue, Sir Regnault de Fontaines, Poton de Saintrailles, and others of the French captains, accompanied by about two thousand combatants, came to Pont l’Evêque between day-break and sun-rise, and attacked the quarters of the English with great courage. A sharp conflict took place; and the lord de Saveuses with John de Brimeu, with their men, hastened to their support, which renewed the vigor of the English; they together repulsed the French, who had made good progress in their quarters. About thirty were killed on each side,—and the French retreated to Compiègne, whence they had come. The English from that day strengthened their position on all sides, to avoid a similar attack. Shortly afterward, John de Brimeu, going to the duke of Burgundy with about one hundred combatants, was suddenly attacked by a party of French in the forest of Crespy in the Valois, who had come from Attichy for this purpose, and to seek adventures, and without much defense made prisoner. The reason of his being thus taken was because his men followed in a file, and were unable to form into battle-array until the attack had commenced. He was put into the bands of Poton de Saintrailles, who, in the end, gave him his liberty on paying a heavy ransom.

When the duke of Burgundy had demolished the castle of Choisy, he quartered himself in the fortress of Coudun, within a league of Compiègne, and Sir John de Luxembourg was lodged in Claroi. Sir Baudo de Noielle war, ordered to post himself with a certain number of men-at-arms on the causeway of Marigny, and the lord Montgomery and his men were quartered along the meadows of La Venette. The duke was joined by some reinforcements from his different countries, having the intention to besiege the town of Compiègne, and reduce it to the obedience of king Henry of England.


Joan the Maid overthrows Franquet d'Arras, and has his head cut off.

At the beginning of the month of May, a valiant man-at-arms named Franquet of Arras, attached to the duke of Burgundy, was overthrown and taken. He had made an excursion with about three hundred combatants toward Lagny sur Marne, but, on his return, was met by Joan the Maid and four hundred French. Franquet and his men attacked them valiantly several times, and, by means of his archers whom he had dismounted, made so vigorous a resistance that the Maid, finding they gained nothing, sent hastily for succors from the garrisons of Lagny and other castles under the dominion of king Charles. They came in great numbers with culverines, cross-bows, and other warlike instruments, so that in the end the Burgundians, after doing great mischief to the enemy’s cavalry, were conquered, and the better part of them put to the sword. The Maid even caused Franquet to be beheaded, whose death was exceedingly lamented by his party,—for he was a man of most valiant conduct.


René duke of Bar lays siege to Chappes, near to Troyes in Champagne.

About this period the duke of Bar, called René of Sicily, collected from his duchies of Lorraine and Bar, and the borders of Germany, a considerable force of men-at-arms, commanded by that prudent and valiant knight the lord de Barbasan, who, as has been said, was detained by the English for a long time prisoner. The duke’s troops might amount to three or four thousand combatants; and he led them to besiege the town of Chappes, three leagues from Troyes, in which were the lord d’Aumont, his brother and many warriors, who diligently applied themselves to its defense. They also sent to the lords of Burgundy, to entreat that they would come to their aid in this time of need. In consequence, Sir Anthony de Toulongeon marshal of Burgundy, the count de Joigny, Sir Anthony and Sir John du Vergy, the lord de Jonvelle, the lord de Chastellux, le veau de Bar, and in general the greater part of the Burgundian nobles, to the number of four thousand combatants, assembled, and advanced toward the quarters of the duke of Bar, to offer him battle.

The duke, knowing of their coming, was drawn up ready to receive them, when the Burgundians were soon thrown into disorder, and returned to their own country. About sixty were killed or taken: of the latter number were the lord de Plansi and Charles de Rochefort. The lord d’Aumore was also made prisoner, with several of his men, when sallying out of the town to support his friends. His brother was likewise taken, and he was forced to deliver up the castle to the duke of Bar, who completely destroyed it.


The Maid is taken prisoner by the Burgundians before Compiège

During the time that the duke of Burgundy was quartered at Coudun, and his men-at-arms in the villages between Coudun and Compiègne, it happened, that about five o’clock in the afternoon, on Ascension-eve, the Maid, Poton, and other valiant French captains, having with them from five to six hundred combatants horse and foot, sallied out of Compiègne by the gate of the bridge leading to Mondidier, with the intent to attack the post of sir Baudo de Noielle, at the end of the causeway of Marigny. At this time, sir John de Luxembourg, the lord de Crequi, and eight or ten gentlemen, but with very few attendants, were with Sir Baudo. They had rode thither to consult with him on the best mode of directing their attacks on Compiègne. The French were very near to Marigny, before the greater part of the men who were unarmed could prepare themselves; but they soon collected together, and a severe conflict commenced,— during which the cries of ” To arms!” were echoed through all the English and Burgundian quarters. The English, who were encamped on the meads of Venette, formed themselves into battle-array against the French, and were near five hundred men. On the other hand, Sir John de Luxembourg’s men quartered at Claroi, hastened to the relief of their lord and captain, who was engaged in the heat of the skirmish, and under whom the most part rallied. In this encounter the lord de Crequi was dangerously wounded in the face. After some time, the French, perceiving their enemies multiply so fast on them, retreated toward Compiègne, leaving the Maid, who had remained to cover the rear, anxious to bring back the men with little loss. But the Burgundians, knowing that reinforcements were coming to them from all quarters, pursued them with redoubled vigor, and charged them on the plain. In the conclusion, as I was told, the Maid was dragged from her horse by an archer, near to whom was the bastard de Vendôme, and to him she surrendered and pledged her faith. He lost no time in carrying her to Marigny, and put her under a secure guard. With her was taken Poton the Burgundian, and some others, but in no great number. The French re-entered Compiègne doleful and vexed at their losses, more especially for the capture of Joan: while, on the contrary, the English were rejoiced, and more pleased than if they had taken five hundred other combatants, for they dreaded no other leader or captain so much as they bad hitherto feared the Maid. 21John II, lord of Montmorency, Escouen, and Damville, grand chamberlain before 1425.—So faithful to the royal cause, that he disinherited his two sons for being Burgundians. 22[Medieval Paris was very much smaller than modern Paris; some of the places mentioned as villages outside of Paris are now part of the city (Monmartre, for example).] 23[This would seem to be about the time that Christine de Pisan wrote her poem about Joan of Arc.] The duke of Burgundy came soon after from Coudun to the meadows before Compiègne, where he drew up his army, together with the English and the troops from their different quarters, making a handsome appearance, and with shoutings and huzzas expressed their joy at the capture of the Maid. After this, the duke went to the lodgings where she was confined, and spoke some words to her; but what they were I do not now recollect, although I was present. The duke and the army returned to their quarters, leaving the Maid under the guard of sir John de Luxembourg, who shortly after sent her, under a strong escort, to the castle of Beaulieu, and thence to that of Beaurevoir, where she remained, as you shall hear, a prisoner for a long time.23

[De Monstrelet deals with other matters in chapters 87-104,]


The Maid of Orleans is condemned to be put to death and burnt at Rouen.

Joan the Maid had sentence of death passed on her in the city of Rouen, information of which was sent by the king of England to the duke of Burgundy, a copy of whose letter now follows:

“Most dear and well-beloved uncle, the very fervent love we know you to bear, as a true Catholic, to our holy mother the church, and your zeal for the exaltation of the faith, induces us to signify to you by writing, that in honor of the above, an act has lately taken place at Rouen, which will tend, as we hope, to the strengthening of the Catholic faith, and the extirpation of pestilential heresies. It is well known, from common report, and otherwise, that the woman, erroneously called the Maid, has, for upward of two years, contrary to the divine law, and to the decency becoming her sex, worn the dress of a man, a thing abominable before God; and in this state she joined our adversary and yours, giving him, as well as those of his party, churchmen and nobles, to understand that she was sent as a messenger from Heaven,—and presumptuously vaunting that she had personal and visible communications with St. Michael and with a multitude of angels and saints in paradise, such as St. Catherine and St. Margaret. By these falsehoods, and by promising future victories, she has estranged the minds of persons of both sexes from the truth, and induced them to the belief of dangerous errors.

“She clothed herself in armor also, assisted by knights and esquires, and raised a banner, on which, through excess of pride and presumption, she demanded to bear the noble and excellent arms of France, which in part she obtained. These she displayed at many conflicts and sieges; and they consisted of a shield having two flower de luces, or, on a field azure, with a pointed sword surmounted with a crown proper.24 In this state she took the field with large companies of men-at-arms and archers, to exercise her inhuman cruelties by shedding Christian blood, and stirring up seditions and rebellions of the common people. She encouraged perjuries, superstitions, and false doctrines, by permitting herself to be reverenced and honored as a holy woman, and in various other manners that would be too long to detail, but which have greatly scandalized all Christendom wherever they have been known.

“But Divine Mercy having taken pity on a loyal people, and being no longer willing to suffer them to remain under such vain errors and credulities, permitted that this woman should be made prisoner by your army when besieging Compiègne, and through your affection she was transferred to our power. On this being known, she was claimed by the bishop in whose diocese she had been taken; and as she had been guilty of the highest treason to the Divine Majesty, we delivered her up to be tried and punished by the usual ecclesiastical judges, not only from respect to our holy mother the church, whose ordinances we shall ever prefer to our own, but also for the exaltation of our faith. We were unwilling that the officers of our secular justice should take cognizance of the crime, although it was perfectly lawful for us so to do, considering the great mischiefs, murders, and detestable cruelties, she has committed against our sovereignty, and on a loyal obedient people.

“The bishop having called to his aid in this matter the vicar of the inquisitor of errors and heresies in the faith, with many able doctors in theology and in the canon law, commenced with much solemnity and gravity the trial of the said Joan. After these judges had for several days interrogated her on her crimes, and had maturely considered her confessions and answers, they sent them for the opinion of our beloved daughter the university of Paris,25 when they all determined that this Joan was superstitious, a sorceress of the devil, a blasphemer of God and of his saints, a schismatic, and guilty of many errors against the faith of Jesus Christ.

“To recall her to the universal faith of our holy church, to purge her from her pernicious errors, and to save her soul from perpetual damnation, and to induce her to return to the way of truth, she was long and frequently charitably preached to; but that dangerous and obstinate spirit of pride and presumption, which is always endeavoring to prevent the unity and safety of Christians, held the said Joan so fast bound that no arguments nor exhortations could soften the hardness of her heart, so that she boasted that all which she had done was meritorious, and that it had been done by the command of God and the aforesaid holy virgins, who had personally appeared to her. But what was worse, she refused to acknowledge any power on earth but God and his saints, denying the authority of our holy father the pope, and of the general councils of the universal church militant.

“The ecclesiastical judges, witnessing her obstinacy and hardness of heart, had her brought forth before the people, who, with the clergy, were assembled in great numbers, when she was again preached to by an able divine. Having been plainly warned of the doctrines of our holy religion, and the consequences of heresies and erroneous opinions concerning it to the welfare of mankind, she was charitably admonished to make her peace with the church, and renounce her errors, but she remained as obstinate as before. The judges, having considered her conduct, proceeded to pronounce sentence upon her, according to the heinousness of her crimes; but before it was read her courage seemed to fail her, and she said she was willing to return to the church. This was heard with pleasure by the judges, clergy, and spectators, who received her kindly, hoping by this means to preserve her soul from perdition.

“She now submitted herself to the ordinances of the church, and publicly renounced and abjured her detestable crimes, signing with her own hand the schedule of her recantation and abjuration. Thus was our merciful mother the church rejoiced at the sinner doing penance, anxious to recover the lost sheep that had wandered in the desert. Joan was ordered to perform her penance in close confinement.

“But these good dispositions did not last long; for her presumptuous pride seemed to have acquired greater force than before,—and she relapsed, with the utmost obstinacy, into all those errors which she had publicly renounced. For this cause, and that she might not contaminate the sound members of our holy communion, she was again publicly preached to; and proving obstinate, she was delivered over to the secular arm, who instantly condemned her to be burnt. Seeing her end approach, she fully acknowledged and confessed that the spirits which had appeared to her were often lying and wicked ones; that the promises they had made to set her at liberty were false; and that she had been deceived and mocked by them. She was publicly led to the old market-place in Rouen, and there burnt in the presence of the people!”

This notice of her sentence and execution was sent by the king of England to the duke of Burgundy, that it might be published by him for the information of his subjects, that all may henceforward be advised not to put faith in such or similar errors as had governed the heart of the Maid.

Originally prepared by Leah Shopkow. Associate Professor History Department, Indiana University.


  1. Robert lord of Baudricourt and Blaise, bailiff of Chaumont, and Captain of Vaucoulcurs. His son John became a mareschal of France.
  2. Henry VI of England. Henry had a regent, because he was still a child. Because Henry's mother was Charles's sister, Henry was Charles's nephew. The Hundred Years War was a war among relatives.
  3. John de Béosse, lord of St. Sève and Boussac, marshal of France in 1424.
  4. Marshal de Raix is Giles de Laval, marshal de Retz, afterward burned for sorcery, and other infamous crimes.
  5. This John Fastolfe is the model for Shakespeare's Falstaff.
  6. The order of the Garter was created in the previous century by Edward III of England (1327-77); it was the second of the chivalric orders to be founded (in 1348; it was preceded by the Castilian order of the Band, c. 1330). The French king John II (1350-64) founded the order of the Star in 1351. Generally, to be a member of one of these orders, one had to be noble and beyond reproach, that is, one cannot be known to have committed an act considered contrary to one's honor.
  7. René's daughter, Margaret, was to marry Henry VI of England.
  8. Bertrand count of Pardiac, second son to the constable. He married Eleanor de Bourbon, heiress of la Marche, and became in her right count of la Marche, and afterwards duke of Nemours.
  9. The Augustinian friars began as various groups of hermits in northern Italy. After several unsuccessful attempts to organize these hermits into an order, they were brought together in 1256 and ordered to minister to townspeople. They adopted as their guide the Rule of St. Augustine, also the rule of the Dominican Friars.
  10. Renaud de Chartres, archbishop of Rheims, made chancellor in 1424, and again in 1428---cardinal in 1439---died October 4, 1445.
  11. In earlier centuries, the kings of France were crowned anywhere they liked, by any bishop they chose to name. However, the Capetian lineage (987-1792), to bolster its legitimacy, promoted the cult of the "Holy Vial" of St. Remigius of Rheims, and came to be crowned there. By the time of Charles VII "the Victorious" (1422-69), coronation there was obligatory. Although Charles's father, Charles VI "the Beloved" died in 1422, Charles was not considered king, but only the dauphin (crown prince), until his coronation in 1429.
  12. While succession in France was by heredity, there was a theoretical notion that the king was elected by the nobility of France. This had actually happened in 987, when the first Capetian, Hugh Capet, became king.
  13. That is, the royal herald.
  14. Of which Rheims is the provincial seat.
  15. John "the Fearless" of Burgundy was murdered in 1419.
  16. The Île de France, the region around Paris.
  17. Anthony de Béthune, lord of Mareuil and Hostel, killed in 1430 by the commune of Laon. He was the eldest son of John lord of Mareuil, killed at Agincourt [in 1415]; and had three brothers, Robert, Guy, and Jacotin of whom the former became lord of Mareuil after his death.
  18. Knightings just before a battle or just after were increasingly common in the 15th century. Those knighted before were generally noble; those knighted after had generally distinguished themselves in battle and might be noble or not, although if they were not noble, they were consequently ennobled by being knighted.
  19. Qy. Dreux, lord of Humieres, son of Philip and brother of Matthew, second lord of Humieres, and John of Humieres, who defended Corbie in 1431.
  20. John II, lord of Montmorency, Escouen, and Damville, grand chamberlain before 1425.---So faithful to the royal cause, that he disinherited his two sons for being Burgundians.
  21. Medieval Paris was very much smaller than modern Paris; some of the places mentioned as villages outside of Paris are now part of the city (Monmartre, for example).
  22. This would seem to be about the time that Christine de Pisan wrote her poem about Joan of Arc.
  23. De Monstrelet returns to Joan only in chapter 105.
  24. Two gold fleurs-de-lis on a blue background, with a crown at the top, supported by a sword.
  25. The university of Paris faculty of theology had been held as the authoritative body in the church since the middle of the thirteenth century, when Paris was declared to be the "Mother of Knowledge (parens scientiarum)" by the pope.