Depositions at Domremy 1455
Twelve questions were prepared for information to be taken in the country of the late Jeanne, commonly called the Maid.
Examination of Witnesses.
Of Greux, labourer.
Jeanne was born at Domremy and was baptised at the Parish Church of Saint Remy, in that place. Her father was named Jacques d’Arc, her mother Isabelle—both labourers living together at Domremy. They were, as I saw and knew, good and faithful Catholics, labourers of good repute and honest life. I lived much with them, I was one of the godfathers of Jeannette. She had three godmothers—the wife of Etienne Thévenin, Beatrix, Widow Estellin, both living at Domremy; and Jeannette, widow of Thiesselin of Viteaux, living at Neufchâteau. From her early youth, Jeannette was brought up with care in the Faith, and in good morals; she was so good that all the village of Domremy loved her. Jeannette knew her Belief and her Pater and Ave as well as any of her companions. She had modest ways, as beseemed one whose parents were not rich. Up to the time she left her parents she followed the plough and sometimes minded the cattle in the fields. Also she did the usual duties of women, such as spinning, and other things. I know she liked to go often to the Hermitage of the Blessed Marie of Bermont, near Domremy; I often saw her go there. She was there when her parents thought her with the plough or in the fields; and when she heard the Mass-bell, if she were in the fields, she would go back to the village and to the Church, in order to hear Mass. I have been witness of this many times. I have seen her confess at Easter-tide and other solemn Feasts. I saw her confess to Messire Guillaume Fronte, who was then Curé of the Parish of Saint Remy.
On the subject of the Fairies’ tree, I have heard that the Fairies came there long ago to dance; but, since the Gospel of Saint John has been read under the tree, they come no more. At the present day, on the Sunday when in the Holy Church of God the Introit to the Mass ‘Laetare Jerusalem’ is sung, called with us ‘the Sunday of the Wells,’ the young maidens and youths of Domremy are accustomed to go there, and also in the spring and summer and on festival days; they dance there and have a feast. On their return, they go dancing and playing to the Well of the Thorn, where they drink and amuse themselves, gathering flowers. Jeanne the Maid went there, like all the other girls at those times, and did as they did; but I never heard say that she went there alone, either to the tree or to the well—which is nearer to the village than the tree—or that she went for any other purpose than to walk about and play like her companions. When Jeanne left her father’s house, she went two or three times to Vaucouleurs to speak to the Bailly. I heard it said that the Lord Charles, then Duke of Lorraine, wished to see her, and gave her a black horse.
I have no more to say, except that in the month of July I was at Chalons, at the time when it was said that the King was going to Rheims to be anointed.1 I found Jeanne at Chalons and she made me a present of a red dress she had been wearing. I know nothing of the enquiry made at Domremy. When Jeanne went to Neufchâteau on account of the soldiers, she was always in the company of her father and mother, who stayed there four days, and then returned to Domremy. I am sure of what I say, because I went with the rest to Neufchâteau and I saw Jeannette there with her parents.
Messire Dominique Jacob
Curé of the Parish Church of Montier-sur-Saulx.
Jeanne was older than I. I knew her and remember her for the three or four years before her departure from home. She was a well-brought-up girl, and well-behaved; and she often attended Church. Sometimes, when the village bell rang for service, I saw her kneel down and pray with great devotion.
Widow of Estellin, labourer, of Domremy.
Jeannette was born, at Domremy, of Jacques d’Arc and Isabelle, his wife, labourers, good and true Catholics, honest folk and worthy, according to their ability, but not rich. She was baptised at the Church of Saint Remy. She had as god-fathers, Jean Morel, Jean de Laxart, and the late Jean Raiguesson; and as god-mothers, Jeannette, widow Thiesselin, Jeannette Thévenin, and myself. Jeanne was suitably instructed in the Catholic Faith, like other young girls of her age. Up to her departure, she was properly brought up; she was a chaste maiden, and of modest habits. She frequented with great devotion, churches and holy places; and, after the village of Domremy was burned, she went on Feast Days to attend Mass at Greux. She confessed willingly at festivals, principally at the Feast of the most Holy Easter, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. I do not think there was any one better than she in our two villages. She employed herself at home with many duties in the house, spinning hemp or wool, following the plough, or going to harvest, according to the season. When it was her father’s turn, she sometimes kept the cattle and the flocks of the village for him. When Jeannette went to Neufchâteau, all the village had fled. I saw her there, always with her father and mother. Up to her going into France, Jeannette had never obeyed any one or worked for any one but her father.
Wife of Thévenin, cartwright [gave evidence similar to the preceding, as did] Jean Moen, of Domremy, cartwright, living at Coussey, near Neufchâteau, [and] of Saint Amance, near Nancy.
Messire Etienne of Sionne
Curé of the Parish Church of Roncessey-sous-Neufchâteau.
Many times I heard Messire Guillaume Fronte, in his lifetime Curé of Domremy, say that Jeanne the Maid was a simple and good girl, pious, well-brought-up, and God-fearing, and without her like in the whole village. Often did she confess her sins; and, if she had had money, she would have given it to him, he told me, to say Masses. Every day, when he celebrated Mass, she was there. I heard it said by a great number of persons that Jeannette, when she went to Neufchâteau, lived with a worthy woman named La Rousse; and that she always remained in the company of her father and the other inhabitants of Domremy, who had fled there.
Widow of Thiesselin of Viteaux, formerly clerk at Neufchâteau.
I often saw her confess to Messire Guillaume Fronte, the Curé of the parish. She never swore, and, to affirm strongly, contented herself with saying, “Without fail!” She was no dancer; and, sometimes, when the others were singing and dancing, she went to prayer. Jeannette was fond of work, spinning, looking after the house, and, when necessary, taking her turn at minding her father’s cattle. There is a tree by us called the Ladies’ Tree, because, in ancient days, the Sieur Pierre Granier, Seigneur de Bourlement, and a lady called Fée met under this tree and conversed together: I have heard it read in a romance. The Seigneurs of Domremy and their ladies—at least, the Lady Beatrix, wife of Pierre de Bourlement, and the said Pierre—accompanied by their daughters, came sometimes to walk round this tree. In the same way, every year the young girls and youths of Domremy came to walk there, on the Laetare Sunday—called ‘the Sunday of the Wells’: they ate and danced there, and went to drink at the Well of the Thorn. But I do not remember if Jeanne were ever under this tree. I never heard anything evil said about her on account of this tree.
Louis de Martigny
Squire, living at Martigny-les-Gerbonveaux, near Neufchâteau.
I heard that Jeanne, when she wanted to go into France, went first to the Bailly of Chaumont, and afterwards to the Lord Duke de Lorraine, who gave her a horse and some money. Bertrand de Poulengey, Jean de Metz, Jean Dieu-le-Ward, and Colet de Vienne afterwards conducted her to the King.
Thévenin Le Royer,
Cartwright, a native of Chermisey, near Neufchâteau, residing at Domremy, husband of one of Jeanne’s God-mothers [evidence similar to the preceding].
Thatcher, of Domremy.
One day, a man2of Burey-le-Petit came to seek Jeanne at Domremy, and took her to speak with the Bailly of Vaucouleurs: I heard say that it was this Bailly who sent her to the King. The soldiers having come to Domremy, all the people of the village went to take refuge at Neufchâteau. Jeannette and her parents did as the others did: she stayed there about four days, always in their company.
Perrin Le Drapier
Of Domremy, Churchwarden of the Parish Church and Bell-ringer.
From her earliest years till her departure, Jeannette the Maid was a good girl, chaste, simple, modest, never blaspheming God nor the Saints, fearing God. She loved to go to Church and confessed often. I can attest what I say, for I was then attached to the Church of Saint Remy, and often I saw Jeanne come there to Mass and other Offices. When I forgot to ring for Service, Jeanne scolded me, saying I had done wrong; and she promised to give me some of the wool of her flock if I would ring more diligently. Often she went with her sister and others to the Church and Hermitage of Bermont. She was very charitable, and very industrious, employed herself in spinning and divers other works in her father’s house; sometimes she went to the plough, or took care of the flock when it was her turn. When Jeanne left her father’s house, she went with her uncle Durand Laxart to Vaucouleurs, to seek Robert de Baudricourt, who was then captain there.
Labourer, of Greux.
When Jeanne left her father’s house, I saw her pass before my father’s house, with her uncle Durand Laxart. “Adieu,” she said to my father, “I am going to Vaucouleurs.” I heard afterwards that she had gone to France. I was at Neufchâteau with Jeanne and her parents. I saw her always with them, excepting that, for three or four days, she did, under their eyes, help the hostess at whose house they were lodging,—an honest woman named La Rousse. I know well that they only remained at Neufchâteau four or five days. When the soldiers had gone, Jeanne returned to Domremy with her parents.
Wife of Gerard of Syonne, near Neufchâteau.
Labourer, of Greux.
I saw Jeannette very often. In our childhood, we often followed together her father’s plough, and we went together with the other children of the village to the meadows or pastures. Often, when we were all at play, Jeannette would retire alone to “talk with God.” I and the others laughed at her for this. She was simple and good, frequenting the Church and Holy places. Often, when she was in the fields and heard the bells ring, she would drop on her knees.
Labourer, of Epinal.
Of her departure for Vaucouleurs I know nothing. But, at the time when she was thinking of leaving the village, she said to me, one day: “Gossip, if you were not a Burgundian, I would tell you something.” I thought it was on the subject of some marriage which she might have in her head. After her departure, I saw her at Chalons,—I and four other inhabitants of this place. She told us she feared nothing but treason.
Simonin Musnier, labourer, of Domremy.
I was brought up with Jeannette, close to her house. I know that she was good, simple and pious, and that she feared God and the Saints. She loved Church and Holy places; she was very charitable, and liked to take care of the sick. I know this of a surety, for, in my childhood, I fell ill, and it was she who nursed me. When the Church bells rang, I have seen her kneel down and make the sign of the Cross.
Wife of Gerardin, labourer, of Epinal.
From my childhood I knew the parents of Jeannette; as to Jeannette, herself, I knew her in my youth and as long as she remained with her parents. She was very hospitable to the poor, and would even sleep on the hearth in order that the poor might lie in her bed. She was not fond of playing, at which we, her companions, complained. She liked work; and would spin, labour with her father, look after the house, and sometimes mind the sheep. She was never seen idling in the roads; she was more often in Church at prayer.
I often saw her at confession, for she was my gossip, and god-mother to my son Nicolas. I was often with her, and saw her go to confession to Messire Guillaume, who was then our Curé. When all was well at the château, the Seigneurs and their ladies often came to walk beneath the Ladies’ Tree, on the Sunday of Laetare, which we call ‘the Sunday of the Wells’; and on certain other days, in fine weather, they brought with them the village boys and girls. The Seigneur Pierre de Bourlement and his lady, who was from France, took me there on the said Sunday of the Wells many times in my childhood, with other children. It was the custom to go every year, on this Sunday, to play and walk round this tree. Jeannette went with us, we each brought provisions, and, the meal ended, went to refresh ourselves at the Well. The same thing takes place now, with our children.
Wife of Jean Joyart, labourer.
My father’s house joined the house of Jacques d’Arc: so I knew her well. We often spun together, and together worked at the ordinary house-duties, whether by day or night. She was a good Christian, of good manners and well brought up. She loved the Church, and went there often, and gave alms from the goods of her father. She was a good girl, simple and pious—so much so that I and her companions told her she was too pious.
Messire Jean Colin
Curé of the Parish Church at Domremy and Canon of the Collegiate Church of Saint-Nicolas de Brixey, near Vaucouleurs.
While Jeanne was at Vaucouleurs, she confessed to me two or three times. It seemed to me, to my knowledge, that she was an excellent girl, with all the signs of a perfect Christian and of a true Catholic; she was fond of going to Church. I saw her at Vaucouleurs, when she wanted to go into France, and saw her mount on horseback; with her were Bertrand de Poulengey, Jean de Metz, Colet de Vienne, horse-soldiers and servants of Robert de Baudricourt.
Son of Jean Colin, labourer.
I heard Durand Laxart say, that she told him he must conduct her to Vaucouleurs, that she wished to go into France, and that she would tell her father she was going to the house of the said Durand to nurse his wife. And this, Durand told me, was done; and then, with the consent of her father, she went to Vaucouleurs to seek Robert de Baudricourt.
Jean de Novelemport
Knight, called Jean de Metz.
Labourer, of Domremy.
Geoffroy de Fay.
Wife of Leroyer.
Cartwright, formerly of Vaucouleurs.
Jeanne, when she came to Vaucouleurs, lodged in our house. She said to us, “It is necessary that I should go to the noble Dauphin; my Lord the King of Heaven wills that I should go; I go in the name of the King of Heaven; even if I have to drag myself thither on my knees, I shall go!” When she arrived at our house, she was wearing a woman’s dress, of a red colour. At Vaucouleurs she received the gift of a man’s dress and a complete equipment; then, mounted on a horse, she was conducted to the place where the Dauphin was, by Jean de Metz, Bertrand de Poulengey, and two of their servants—Colet de Vienne, and Richard the Archer. I saw them depart, all six, and Jeanne with them. When she spoke of leaving, she was asked how she thought she could effect such a journey and escape the enemy. “I fear them not,” she answered, “I have a sure road: if the enemy are on my road, I have God with me, Who knows how to prepare the way to the Lord Dauphin. I was born to do this.”
Seigneur of Ourches, near Commerey.
I saw Jeanne at Vaucouleurs when she arrived to be taken to the King. Many times I heard her then say that she wished to go to the King, and that some one would conduct her to him, for it would be to the great benefit of the Dauphin.
This maiden always seemed to me very well behaved. I should have been well pleased to have had a daughter as good as she.
Tabellion (Notary) and Deputy Royal at Andelot.
Of Andelot, King’s Sergeant; [evidence similar to the preceding.]
Bertrand de Poulengey
Messire Henri Arnolin
Of Gontrecourt-le-Château, near Commercy, Priest; [testimony of no importance].
Messire Jean Lefumeux
Of Vaucouleurs, Canon of the Chapel of Saint Mary at Vaucouleurs, and Curé of the Parish Church of Ugny.
- Jeanne’s father went also to Rheims for the coronation. There still exists in the old accounts of the town an item for his expenses at the inn; and, in the Compte of the Treasurer Raguier there is also an entry of 60 livres tournois, paid Jeanne to give to her father. On the day after the coronation, Jeanne obtained from the King an exemption from taxes for the village of Domremy and Greux: this document, dated July 31st, 1429, still exists in the Archives of France. This exemption from taxes has now lapsed.
- Durand Laxart, her uncle.
- This is also called the “Fontaine aux Groseilliers”; the Latin name is probably intended for Rhamnus, the Buckthorn.
- Mid-Lent Sunday, the 4th Sunday in Lent; so-called, because the introit for the day begins, “Laetare Jerusalem,” &c.
- “Ad cameram regis.”
- Margaret, daughter of James I. of Scotland, who was betrothed to Louis, afterwards Louis XI.
- February 13th, 1428.
- March 6th, 1428.
- June 23rd, 1428.
- July 17th, 1429.
- Near Vaucouleurs.
- This covers the period of several visits, made between May 1428, and February 1429.
- The mother of Charles VII., who denied the legitimacy of her own son, being Burgundian at heart, and ratified the iniquitous Treaty of Troyes, so disastrous for France.
- In the text Vaucouleurs is an obvious misprint for Saint-Nicolas.
- He also gave her a horse; cf. previous depositions.
- Saint-Nicolas-du-Port—then a celebrated centre of pilgrimage—near Nancy. As both Poulengey and Laxart connect this pilgrimage with her visit to the Duke de Lorraine, whose residence was at Nancy, it is clear that Saint-Nicolas-du-Port is meant, and not the Chapel of St. Nicolas near Vaucouleurs.
- The village of Domremy, although in the territory of Lorraine, belonged to France, not to Lorraine; for administrative purposes it was a dependance of Champagne.
- May 13th, 1428.
- See Deposition of Jean Morel.
- This Chapel in the crypt may still be seen at Vaucouleurs.