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Here Begin the Proceedings

The Trial of Jeanne d’Arc. Translated into English from the original Latin and french documents. By W. P. Barrett. Published by Gotham house. 1932.

Chapter 1



To all those who shall see these present letters or public instrument, Pierre, by divine mercy Bishop of Beauvais, and brother Jean Le Maistre, of the order of Preaching brothers, deputy in the diocese of Rouen, and especially appointed in this trial to the office of the pious and venerable master Jean Graverent of the same order, renowned doctor of theology, by apostolic authority Inquisitor of the Faith and of Heretical Error in all the kingdom of France: greeting in the author and consummator of the faith, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

It has pleased divine Providence that a woman of the name of Jeanne, commonly called The Maid, should be taken and apprehended by famous warriors within the boundaries and limits of our diocese and jurisdiction. The reputation of this woman had already gone forth into many parts: how, wholly forgetful of womanly honesty, and having thrown off the bonds of shame, careless of all the modesty of womankind, she wore with an astonishing and monstrous brazenness, immodest garments belonging to the male sex; how moreover, her presumptuousness had grown until she was not afraid to perform, to speak, and to disseminate many things contrary to the Catholic faith and hurtful to the articles of the orthodox belief. And by so doing, as well in our diocese as in several other districts of this kingdom, she was said to be guilty of no inconsiderable offenses. These things having come to the knowledge of our mother the University of Paris, and of brother Martin Billorin, vicar-general of the lord Inquisitor of Heretical Error, they immediately summoned the illustrious prince, the Duke of Burgundy and the noble lord Jean de Luxembourg, who at this time held the said woman in their power and authority, in the name of the vicar-general above mentioned, and under penalty of law, to surrender and dispatch to us, as ordinary judge, the woman so defamed and suspected of heresy.

We, the said Bishop, according to our pastoral office, desirous of promoting with all our might the exaltation and increase of the Christian faith, did resolve to institute a proper inquiry into these facts so commonly known, and so far as law and reason should persuade us, to proceed with mature deliberation to such further decisions as were incumbent upon us. We required the said prince and the said lord Jean also, under penalties of law, to surrender for trial the said woman to our spiritual jurisdiction; whilst the very serene and most Christian prince, our lord the King of France and England, summoned them to the same effect. Finally, the most illustrious lord Duke of Burgundy and the lord Jean de Luxembourg graciously consenting to these demands, and solicitous in their Catholic souls of the accomplishment of what appeared to them as helpful to the growth of the faith, surrendered and dispatched the woman to our lord the King and his commissioners. Thereafter the King in his providence, burning with a desire to succor the orthodox faith, surrendered this woman to us, that we might, hold a complete inquiry into her acts and sayings before proceeding further, according to the ecclesiastical laws. When that was done, we requested the distinguished and notable chapter of the church of Rouen, charged with the administration of all spiritual jurisdiction in the vacancy of the archiepiscopal seat, to grant us territory in the town of Rouen for us to make this inquiry: which was graciously and freely given. But before preferring any further charge against this woman we held it wise to consult, with prolonged and mature deliberation, the opinion of experienced authorities in canon and civil law, of which, by God’s grace, the number in the town of Rouen was considerable.

January 9th (1431). The First day of the Proceedings

And on Tuesday the ninth day of January in the year of our Lord fourteen hundred and thirty-one, according to the rite and computation of the Church of France, in the fourteenth year of the most Holy Father in Christ Martin V, by divine providence Pope, we the aforesaid bishop, in the house of the King’s Counsel, summoned the doctors and masters whose names follow: my lord abbots Gilles of Ste. Trinité de Fécamp, doctor of sacred theology, and Nicolas de Jumièges, doctor of canon law; Pierre, prior of Longueville, doctor of theology; Raoul Roussel, treasurer of the Cathedral of Rouen, doctor of both canon and civil law; Nicolas de Venderès, archdeacon of Eu, licentiate in canon law; Robert Le Barbier, licentiate in canon and civil law; Nicolas Couppequesne, bachelor of theology, and Nicolas Loiseleur, master of arts.

Now when these men, as numerous as famous, were gathered together at the same time and place, we demanded of their wisdom the manner and the order to be followed herein, after having shown as related above what diligence had been brought to the matter. The doctors and masters, having reached full knowledge thereof, decided that it was meet first to inquire into the acts and sayings publicly imputed to this woman; and decently deferring to their advice we declared that already certain information had been obtained at our command, and similarly decided to order more to be collected; all of which, at a certain day determined by us, should be presented to the council, that it might be more clearly informed upon the subsequent procedure necessary in the trial. And, the better and more conveniently to effect and achieve the collection of the information, it was this day decided by the aforesaid lords and masters that there was need of certain especial officers to whom this particular duty should be given. Consequently, at the counsel and deliberation of those present it was decided and decreed by us that the venerable and discreet person master Jean d’Estivet, canon of the cathedral churches of Beauvais and Bayeux, should exercise in the trial the office of Promoter or Procurator General. Master Jean de La Fontaine, master of arts and licentiate of canon law, was ordained councillor, commissary, and examiner. To the office of notaries or secretaries were designated the prudent and honest master Guillaume Colles, also called Boisguillaume, and Guillaume Manchon, priests, notaries by apostolic and imperial authority at the archiepiscopal court of Rouen; and master Jean Massieu, priest, ecclesiastical dean of Rouen, was appointed executor of the commands and convocations emanating from our authority. Further, we have had here inserted and transcribed at their order the tenor of all these letters, secret or public, that the sequence of the said acts might appear with greater clarity.