The Trial of Jeanne D’Arc
Wednesday, April 18th. Jeanne is charitably exhorted
Therefore on Wednesday, April 18th, 1431, we the said judges, knowing from the
deliberations and opinions of many doctors of sacred theology and of canon law, of
licentiates in law and graduates of the other faculties, the great number of serious
errors discovered in the answers and assertions of the said Jeanne, and knowing
that if she did not correct herself she exposed herself to grave perils: for these
reasons we decided to exhort her charitably and gently admonish her, and to have
her admonished gently by many men of honesty and learning, doctors and others,
in order to lead her back to the way of truth and a sincere profession of the faith.
To this end we did this day repair to the place of her prison, accompanied by
Guillaume Le Boucher, Jacques de Touraine, Maurice du Quesnay, Nicolas Midi,
Guillaume Adelie, and Gerard Feuillet, doctors, and William Haiton, bachelor of
In their presence we the said bishop addressed the said Jeanne, who then said she
was ill: we told her that the said masters and doctors had come in all friendliness
and charity to visit her in her illness, to comfort and console her. Then we reminded
her that for many different days in the presence of many learned persons she had
been examined on grave and difficult questions concerning the faith, to which she
had given varied and divergent answers which wise and learned men
considering and examining diligently had found to contain words and confessions
that from the point of view of the faith were dangerous; but because she was an
unlettered and ignorant woman we offered to provide her with wise and learned
men, upright and kindly, who could duly instruct her.
We exhorted the doctors and masters then present to give salutary counsel to this
Jeanne for the salvation of her body and soul and to conform to the duty of
faithfulness which bound them to the true doctrine of the faith. If Jeanne knew
others apt for this we offered to send them to her so that they should give her
advice and instruction upon what she should do, maintain and believe. We added
that we were clergy, that we were by our vocation, will, and inclination, disposed to
seek the salvation of the soul and assure that of the body by all possible means, as
we should do it for our nearest and for ourselves. That we should be happy each
day to furnish her with such men as would instruct her duly, and in a word to
perform for her all the Church is accustomed to do in such circumstances, for she
does not shut the fold against the lamb who would return. Finally we told the said
Jeanne to take good account of the present admonition and to put it into effect.
For if she should act in opposition thereto, trusting to her own mind and her
inexperienced head, we should be compelled to abandon her; that she must
therefore see the peril which would result to her in that case; which, with all our
might and affection, we hoped to avoid.
To which Jeanne answered that she thanked us for what we said of her salvation,
and added: "It seems to me, seeing how ill I am, that I am in great danger of
death: if it be that God desires to do His pleasure on me, I ask to receive
confession and my Saviour also, and a burial in holy ground."
Then she was told that if she wished to receive the sacraments of the Church, she
must do as good Catholics are in
duty bound, and must submit to the holy Church, and if she persisted in her
intention not to submit to the Church she would not be allowed to receive the
sacraments she asked for, except the sacrament of penance, which we were
always ready to administer. But she answered: "I cannot now tell you anything
She was told that the more she feared for her life because of her illness, the more
she ought to amend that life; that she would not enjoy the rights of the Church as
a Catholic if she did not submit to the Church. She answered: "If my body dies in
prison, I trust you will have it buried in holy ground; if you do not, I put my trust in
She was told that in her trial she had said that if she had done or said anything
contrary to our Christian faith ordained by God she would not wish to sustain it.
She answered: "I refer me to the answer which I made and to Our Lord."
Then, as she had professed to have many revelations from God through the
medium of St. Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret, she was asked this
question: "If some good creature were to come to you and affirm that he had
received revelations from God concerning your mission, would you believe him?"
She answered that no Christian in the world could come to her saying he had a
revelation about her but she would know whether he was speaking the truth or
not; she would know it through St. Catherine and St. Margaret.
Asked whether she thought God could reveal nothing to a good creature which she
would not know, she answered that she knew well that He could. "But " she added
"I should not believe any man or woman if I had no sign."
Asked whether she believed that the Holy Scriptures were revealed by God, she
answered: "You know it well, it is good to know that it was."
Then she was summoned, exhorted and required to take
the good counsel of the clergy and notable doctors and trust in it for the salvation
of her soul. She was asked if she would submit her acts and sayings to the Church
Militant, and answered in the end: "Whatever happens to me I will do and say
nothing except what I have already said in the trial."
Whereupon the venerable doctors above mentioned who were present exhorted
her as urgently as they could, to submit herself and her sayings to the Church
Militant, citing in explanation to her many authorities and examples from the Holy
Scriptures. And in particular one of the doctors [master Nicolas Midi], in his
exhortation, quoted this passage from St. Matthew, chapter xviii. "If thy brother
shall trespass against thee, etc.," and also, "If he neglect to hear the Church, let
him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican." This was explained to Jeanne
in French, and she was finally told that if she would not submit to the Church and
obey it she would be abandoned as an infidel.
To which the said Jeanne answered that she was a good Christian, and had been
properly baptized, and so she would die a good Christian.
Asked why, since she requested the Church to administer the sacrament of the
Eucharist to her, she would not submit to the Church Militant, as then she had been
promised the sacrament, she answered that she would not reply other than she
had already done on the question of submission; she loved God, was a good
Christian and desired to aid and support Holy Church with all her strength.
Asked if she did not wish a fine and distinguished procession to be ordained to
restore her to a good estate if she were not therein, she answered that she much
desired the Church and the Catholics to pray for her.
Wednesday, May 2nd. Public Admonition of The Maid
On Wednesday, May 2nd, in the year of Our Lord 1431, we the said judges held
session in the room of the castle of Rouen near the great hall of the castle,
assisted by the reverend fathers, lords and masters assembled at our order:
Nicolas de Jumièges, Guillaume de Cormeilles, abbots, doctors of law; the abbot of
St. Ouen, the prior of St. Lô, and Pierre, prior of Longueville; Jean de Nibat,
Jacques Guesdon, Jean Footer, Maurice du Quesnay, Jean Le Fèvre, Guillaume Le
Boucher, Pierre Houdenc, Jean de Châtillon, Erard Emengart, Richard Prati, Jean
Carpentier, and Pierre Maurice, doctors; Nicolas Couppequesne, William Haiton,
Thomas de Courcelles, Richard de Grouchet, Pierre Minier, Raoul Le Sauvage, Jean
Pigache, Jean Maugier, and Jean Eude, bachelors of sacred theology; Raoul
Roussel, treasurer of the cathedral of Rouen, doctor of canon and civil laws; Jean
Garin, doctor of canon law; Robert Le Barbier, Denis Gastinel, Jean Le Doulx,
licentiates of canon and civil laws; Nicolas de Venderès, archdeacon of Eu, Jean
Pinchon, archdeacon of Josas; Jean Bruillot, chantry priest of the church of Rouen;
Richard des Saulx, Laurent du Busc, Aubert Morel, Jean Duchemin, Jean Colombel,
Raoul Anguy, Jean Le Tavernier, Guérould Poustel, licentiates of canon law; André
archdeacon of Petit-Caux; Jean Alespée, Gilles Deschamps, chancellor, Nicolas
Caval, canons of the cathedral of Rouen; Guillaume de Livet, Pierre Carel, Geoffroy
du Crotay; Bureau de Cormeilles, licentiate in civil laws; Guillaume Desjardins, Jean
Tiphaine, doctors of medicine; brother Ysambard de La Pierre, Guillaume Legrant,
Jean de Rosay, curate of Duclair, brother Jean Des Bats, Eustache Cateleu,
Regnault Lejeune, Jean Mahommet, Guillaume Le Cauchois, Jean Le Tonnellier,
Laurent Leduc, priests.