Arrival at Chinon and the Trial at Poitiers


(Raoul, not Jean, de Gaucourt, Grand Steward, born 1370. Fought, in 1394, under the banner of Jean de Nevers, afterwards Duke of Burgundy, for Sigmund, King of Hungary, against Bajazet; and was knighted on the field of Nicopolis, from which only himself, his leader, and twenty-two other French nobles escaped. He defended Harfleur against Henry V., in 1415, and was a prisoner for ten years, being one of those specially named by Henry in his dying commands to Bedford as prisoners "to be kept." In 1425, he was ransomed for the sum of 20,000 gold crowns; in 1427, he aided Dunois at the victory of Montargis, and afterwards in the defense of Orleans.)

I was at the Castle of the town of Chinon when Jeanne arrived there, and I saw her when she presented herself before the King's Majesty with great lowliness and simplicity ; a poor little shepherdess! I heard her say these words: "Most noble Lord Dauphin, I am come and am sent to you from God to give succor to the kingdom and to you. "

After having seen and heard her, the King, so as to be better instructed about her, put her under the protection of Guillaume Bellier, his Major-Domo, my Lieutenant at Chinon, afterwards Bailly of Troyes, (Quicherat thinks there is an error of copy here; that Bellier could not have been Bailly of Troyes when that town was in the hands of the English, nor could he at any time have combined so high an office with the lieutenancy of Chinon.) whose wife was most devout and of the best reputation. Then he had her visited by the Clergy, by Doctors, and by Prelates, to know if he could lawfully put faith in her. Her deeds and words were examined during three weeks, not only at Chinon, but at Poitiers. The Examinations finished, the Clergy decided that there was nothing evil in her deeds nor in her words. After numerous interrogations, they ended by asking her what sign she could furnish, that her words might be believed? "The sign I have to show," she replied, "is to raise the siege of Orleans!" Afterwards, she took leave of the King, and came to Blois, where she armed herself for the first time, to conduct a convoy of supplies to Orleans and to succor the inhabitants.

[On the subject of the sudden change of wind and of the way in which the convoy of supplies was brought into Orleans, the witness deposed as the Sieur de Dunois. He added only this: Jeanne had expressly predicted that, before long, the weather and the wind would change; and it happened as she had foretold. She had, in like manner, stated that the convoy would enter freely into the town.

The declaration of the witness agrees equally with that of the Sieur de Dunois as to the taking of the Bastille, the raising of the siege, and the expulsion of the English.

On all the other points the Senior de Gaucourt is also in perfect agreement, in matter and form, with the said Sieur de Dunois, as to all that concerns the setting free of Orleans, the taking of the camps and the towns on the borders of the Loire.

He agrees equally on all points with what concerns the journey of the King for the ceremony of his consecration at Reims.

Jeanne, he adds, was abstemious in food and drink; nothing came from her lips but excellent words, which could serve only for edification and good example. No one could be more chaste, . . . she had always at night a woman in her room. She confessed herself frequently, being often in prayer, hearing Mass every day, and constantly receiving the Sacrament of the Eucharist; she would not suffer any to use in her presence shameful or blasphemous words, and by her speech and actions she showed how much she held such things in horror.]

MAÎTRE FRANÇOIS GARIVEL, Councilor-General to the King.

I remember that, at the time of the coming of Jeanne the Maid, the King sent her to Poitiers, where she lodged with Maître Jean Rabateau, then King's Advocate in Parliament. In this town of Poitiers were deputized [to examine Jeanne], by the King's order, certain venerable Doctors and Masters, to wit, Pierre de Versailles, then Abbot of Talmont, afterwards Bishop of Meaux; Jean Lambort; Guillaume Aimery, of the Order of Saint Dominic; Pierre Seguin, of the Carmelite Order Doctors in Theology; Mathieu Message, and Guillaume Le Marie, Bachelors in Theology, with many others of the King's Councilors, licentiates in Canon and Civil Laws. Many times and often, during the space of three weeks, they examined Jeanne, studying and considering her deeds and words; and finally, taking into consideration her condition and her answers, they said that she was a simple girl, who, when interrogated, persisted in her answer, that she was sent from the God of Heaven in favor of the noble Dauphin, to replace him in his kingdom, to raise the siege of Orleans, and to conduct the King to Reims for his consecration; and that first she must write to the English and command them to retire, for such was the Will of God.

When I asked Jeanne why she called the King Dauphin, and not King, she replied that she should not call him King till he had been crowned and anointed at Reims, to which city she meant to conduct him.

Afterwards, the Clergy told Jeanne she ought to show them a sign by which it might be believed that she was sent from God; but she replied: "The sign given to me from God is to raise the siege of Orleans; I have no fear that it will be done, if the King will give me soldiers, as few as he may like."

She was a simple shepherd-maiden, who confessed often; she was entirely devoted to God, and frequently received the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

At last, after long examinations made at great length by clerics of various faculties, all decided and concluded that the King might lawfully receive her, and might send a body of soldiers to the siege of Orleans, for that there was nothing found in her which was not Catholic and reasonable.

GUILLAUME DE RICARVILLE, Seigneur de Ricarville, Steward to the King.

(Master of the Horse, Counselor and Steward to the Court. He was made prisoner in 1437, but ransomed from the English for 500 crowns. In 1459, he was sent by Charles VII to Bordeaux, in order to settle a dispute between the municipal authority and some English ships. He was living in 1472, and in receipt of a pension from Louis XI.)

I was in Orleans - then besieged by the English with the Count de Dunois and many other captains, when news came that there had passed through the town of Gien a shepherdess, called the Maid, conducted by two or three gentlemen of Lorraine, from which country she came; that this Maid said she was come to raise the siege of Orleans, and that afterwards she would load the King to his anointing; for thus had she been commanded by God.

Notwithstanding this, she was not readily received by the King, who desired that she should first be examined, and that he should know something of her life and estate, and if it were lawful for him to receive her. Therefore, the Maid, by the King's order, was examined by many Prelates, Doctors, and Clergy, who found evidence in her of good life, honest estate, and praiseworthy repute; nor was there nothing in her which should cause her to be repelled.

She lived honorably, most soberly as to food and drink, was chaste and devout, hearing Mass daily, and confessing often, communicating with fervent devotion every week. She reproved the soldiers when they blasphemed or took God's Name in vain; also when they did any evil or violence. I never observed in her nothing deserving reproof, and from her manner of life and actions I believe she was inspired by God.

MAITRE REGINALD THIERRY, Dean of the Church of Meung-sur-Yévre; Surgeon to the King.

I saw Jeanne with the King at Chinon, and heard what she said ; to wit, that she was sent from God to the noble Dauphin, to raise the Siege of Orleans, and to conduct the King to his anointing and coronation.

When the town of Saint-Pierre-le-Moustier was taken, by assault, Jeanne being there, the soldiers wanted to pillage the Church and to seize the sacred vessels and other treasure there hidden; but Jeanne prohibited and forbade them with great energy, so that nothing was taken away.

GOBERT THIBAUT, Squire to the King of France.

I was at Chinon when Jeanne came to seek the King, who was then residing in that city. Before this, I knew nothing of her; but henceforward I had more acquaintance with her, for, when I went with the King to the town of Poitiers, Jeanne was also taken thither and lodged in the house of Jean Rabateau. I know that Jeanne was questioned and examined in the town of Poitiers by the late Maitre S.T.P. I went with them by the command of the late Lord Bishop of Castres. As I have said, she was living in the house of Rabateau, in which house de Versailles and Erault talked with her in my presence. When we arrived at her house, Jeanne came to meet us, and striking me on the shoulder said to me that she would gladly have many men of such good-will as I. Then Maitre Pierre de Versailles told Jeanne that he had been sent to her from the King. She replied: "I well believe that you have been sent to question me, " adding, "I know neither A nor B."

Then she was asked by them for what she had come. She replied; "I am come from the King of Heaven to raise the siege of Orleans and to conduct the King to Reims for his crowning and anointing" And then she asked if they had paper and ink, saying to Maitre Jean Erault: "Write what I say to you. You, Suffolk, Classidas, and La Poule, I summon you by order of the King of Heaven to go back to England." Versailles and Erault did nothing more on this occasion, so far as I remember. Jeanne remained in the town of Poitiers as long as the King did.

Jeanne said that her Counsel had told her she should have gone more quickly to the King. I saw those who had brought her Jean de Metz, Jean Coulon, and Bertrand Pollichon, (A nickname of Poulengey.) with whom I was very friendly and familiar. I was present one day when they told the late Bishop of Castres then Confessor to the King that they had traveled through Burgundy and places occupied by the enemy, yet had they always traveled without hindrance, at which they much marveled.

I heard the aforesaid Confessor say that he had discovered in a writing that there should come a maiden who would aid the Kingdom of France.

I do not know whether Jeanne was examined otherwise than as aforesaid. I heard the said Lord Confessor and other Doctors say that they believed Jeanne to be sent from God, and that they believed it was she of whom the prophecies spoke; because, seeing her actions, her simplicity, and conduct, they thought the King might be delivered through her [aid]; for they had neither found nor perceived nothing but good in her, nor could they see anything contrary to the Catholic faith.

On the day that the Lord Talbot, who had been taken at Patay, was brought to the town of Beaugency, I arrived at that town; and from thence Jeanne went with the men-at-arms to Jargeau, which was taken by assault, and the English were put to flight.

Jeanne assembled an army between Troyes and Auxerre, and found large numbers there, for every one followed her. The King and his people came without hindrance to Reims. Nowhere was the King turned back, for the gates of all cities and towns opened themselves to him.


It was Jeanne's intention that the army should go towards the Fort or Bastille of Saint-Jean-le-Blanc: but this was not done; and they went to a place between Orleans and Jargeau, whither the inhabitants of Orleans sent boats to receive the provisions and to take them into the town; and the said provisions were put into the boats and brought into the town. And because the army was not able to cross the Loire, it was decided to return and cross the river at Blois : for there was no bridge nearer within the King's jurisdiction. At this Jeanne was very indignant, fearing they would not be willing to fall back, and so would leave the work unfinished. Neither could she go with them to Blois; but she crossed the river with about 200 lances in boats to the other bank, and entered Orleans by land. The Marshal de Boussac went that night to seek the King's army which had gone to Blois; and I remember that shortly before the arrival of the said Marshal at Orleans, Jeanne said to Sieur Jean d'Aulon that the Marshal would arrive, and that she knew well he would come to no harm.

When Jeanne was in her lodging, she, being led by the Spirit, cried out: "In God's Name! our people are hard pressed." Then she sent for a horse; and, arming herself, she went to the Fort of Saint Loup, where there was an assault being made by the King's people on the English: and no sooner had Jeanne joined in the attack, than the fort was taken.

The next day the French in company with Jeanne went to attack the Fort of Saint-Jean-le-Blanc, and drew near to the island; and when the English saw that the King's army had crossed the water, they quitted the Fort of Saint-Jean-le-Blanc, and retreated to another fort near the Augustins. And there I saw the King's army in great peril. "Let us advance boldly in God's Name," said Jeanne: and they advanced on the English, who, now in much danger, held their three forts. (These three forts were on the left bank of the Loire; the fort of the Tourelles, of the Augustins, and of Saint-Privé were further west.) At once, without much difficulty, this fort of the Augustins was taken; and the captains then advised Jeanne to re-enter Orleans; but this she would not do, saying, "Shall we leave our men?" The next day they attacked the fort at the end of the bridge, which was very strong and almost impregnable, so that the King's army had much to do; and the attack lasted the whole day, up to nightfall. I saw the Senoschal of Beaucaire blow up the bridge with a bombard. When evening came and they despaired of gaining the fort, orders were given that Jeanne's standard should be brought to the fort; and this being done another attack was made on the fort, and thereupon without much difficulty the King's army entered with the standard; and the English fled, in such manner that when they reached the end of the bridge it broke down beneath them, and many were drowned.

The next day the King's army sallied out to give battle to the English; but, on seeing the French, they fled. When Jeanne saw them in flight and the French following after, she said to the French: " Let the English go, and slay them not; let them go; it is enough for me that they have retreated." On that day, they escaped from the city of Orleans and turned back on Blois, which they reached the same day.

Jeanne stayed there two or three days; and from there she went to Tours, and to Loches, where the King's army was preparing to go to Jargeau; and from thence they went to attack that town.

In war time, she would not permit any of those in her company to steal anything; nor would she ever eat of food which she knew to be stolen. Once, a Scot told her that he had eaten of a stolen calf: she was very angry, and wanted to strike the Scot for so doing.

She would never permit women of ill-fame to follow the army. None of them dared to come into her presence; but, if any of them appeared, she made them depart unless the soldiers were willing to marry them.

She was good not only to the French, but also to the enemy. All this I know of a surety, for I was for a long time with her, and many times assisted in arming her.

Jeanne lamented much, and was displeased when certain good women came to her, wishing to salute her: it seemed to her like adoration, at which she was angered.

MAÎTRE JEAN BARBIN, Doctor of Laws, King's Advocate.

I was sent to Poitiers, where I saw Jeanne for the first time. When she arrived at the town she was lodged in the house of Maitre Jean Rabateau; and while there I have heard the wife of Rabateau say that every day after dinner she was for a long time on her knees, and also at night; and that she often went into a little Oratory in the house and there prayed for a long time. Many clergy came to visit her, - to wit, Maitre Pierre de Versailles, S.T.P., sometime Bishop of Meaux, and Maitre Guillaume Aimery, S.T.P. There were also other graduates in theology, whose names I do not remember, who questioned her in like manner at their will.

I heard from these said Doctors that they had examined her and put many questions, to which she replied with much prudence, as if she had been a trained divine; that they marveled at her answers, and believed that, taking into account her life and conversation, there must have been in her something divine.

In the course of these deliberations Maitre Jean Erault stated that he had heard it said by Marie d'Avignon, (A woman called "la gasque d'Avignon," whose predictions made much stir at the beginning of the fifteenth century.) who had formerly come to the King, that she had told him that the kingdom of France had much to suffer and many calamities to bear: saying moreover that she had had many visions touching the desolation of the kingdom of France, and amongst others that she had seen much armor which had been presented to her; and that she was alarmed, greatly fearing that she should be forced to take it; but it had been said to her that she need fear nothing, that this armor was not for her, but that a maiden who should come afterwards would bear these arms and deliver the kingdom of France from the enemy. And he believed firmly that Jeanne was the maiden of whom Marie d'Avignon thus spoke.

All the soldiers held her as sacred. So well did she bear herself in warfare, in words and in deeds, as a follower of God, that no evil could be said of her. I heard Maitre Pierre de Versailles say that he was once in the town of Loches in company with Jeanne, when the people, throwing themselves before the feet of her horse, kissed her hands and feet; and he said to Jeanne that she did wrong to allow what was not due to her, and that she ought to protect herself from it lest men should become idolatrous; to which she answered: "In truth, I know not how to protect myself, if God does not protect me."

DAME MARGUERITE LA TOUROULDE, widow of the late Réné de Bouligny, Councilor to the King.

I was at Bourges when Jeanne arrived at Chinon, where the Queen was. In those days there was in the kingdom - especially in that part still obedient to the King - such great calamity and penury as was sad to see; so that the followers of the King were almost in despair: and this I know, because my husband was then Receiver-General, and at that time neither of the King's money nor of his own had he four crowns.

The town of Orleans was in the hands of the King, and there was no way of help. And in this calamity came Jeanne, and I firmly believe that she came from God and was sent for the relief of the King and his faithful subjects, who were then without hope save in God.

I did not see Jeanne until the time when the King came from Reims, where he was consecrated. He came to Bourges, where was the Queen, and I with her. When the King approached, the Queen went to meet him as far as the town of Selles-en-Berry, and I accompanied her. While the Queen was on the way, Jeanne encountered and saluted her, and was then taken on to Bourges, and by command of my Lord d'Albret lodged in my house, although my husband had said that she was to be lodged with a certain Jean Duchesne.

She remained with me for the space of three weeks, sleeping, drinking and eating [in the house]. Nearly every night I slept with her, nor did I ever perceive nothing of evil in her, but she comported herself as a worthy and Catholic woman, often confessing herself, willingly hearing Mass, and many times asking me to accompany her to Matins, which at her request I often did. We often talked together, and I would say to her: " If you do not fear to go to the attack, it is because you know that you will not be killed": to which she would reply that she had no greater security than other soldiers. Sometimes Jeanne would tell me how she had been examined by the Clergy, and that she had made them the answer: "There are books of Our Lord's besides what you have."

I heard from those that brought her to the King that at first they thought she was mad, and intended to put her away in some ditch, but while on the way they felt moved to do everything according to her good pleasure. They were as impatient to present her to the King, as she was to meet him, nor could they resist her wishes.

They testified as others did to the purity of her conduct and influence. Jeanne told me that the Duke de Lorraine who was ill, wished to see her, that she talked with him, and told him that he was not living well, and that he would never be cured unless he amended; also she exhorted him to take back his good wife. (The devoted Margaret of Bavaria, who was separated from him on account of his evil life.)

Jeanne had great horror of dice.

I remember that many women came to my house while Jeanne was living there, and brought Pater Nosters and other religious objects that she might touch them; but Jeanne laughed, saying: "Touch them yourselves. Your touch will do them as much good as mine. "

Jeanne was very liberal in almsgiving, and willingly succored the poor and indigent, saying that she had been sent for their consolation. I have no doubt that she was virgin. According to my knowledge she was quite innocent, unless it be in warfare. She rode on horseback and handled the lance like the best of the knights, and the soldiers marveled.

SIMON CHARLES, President of the Council.

The year in which Jeanne came to seek the King was the very year in which the King sent me as ambassador to Venice. I returned about the month of March, at which time I heard from Jean de Metz, who had conducted her, that she had visited the King. When Jeanne came to Chinon, there was discussion in the Council as to whether the King should hear her or not. And first she was questioned as to why and to what end she had come; and she began by replying that she would answer nothing except to the King.

She was compelled, by order of the King, to state the cause of her mission. She said she had two commands from the King of Heaven: the one to raise the siege of Orleans, the other to conduct the King to Reims for his coronation and anointing.

Hearing this, some of the King's Council said that the King ought not to put faith in this Jeanne; others said that, as she declared she was sent from God and commanded to speak to the King, the King should at least hear her. The King desired that she should first be examined by the Clergy and Ecclesiastics, and this was done; after many difficulties it was arranged that the King should hear her. I have heard the Seigneur de Gaucourt relate that, when she was at Orleans, the King's people had decided it was not well to make the attack. This happened on the day when the Fort of the Augustins was taken and he, de Gaucourt, had been commissioned to guard the gates of the town that none should go out. Jeanne, discontented with the orders of the generals, was of opinion that the King's soldiers with the people of the town should go out and attack the fort; and many of the soldiers and people of the city agreed with her. Jeanne told de Gaucourt that he was a bad man, saying to him: "Whether you will or no, the soldiers shall come; and they will succeed this time as they have succeeded before." And, against the will of the said Lord de Gaucourt, the soldiers left the city and marched to the assault of the Bastille of the Augustins, which was taken by force. My Lord de Gaucourt added that he had come that day into great peril.

The King made a treaty with the people of Troyes, and entered the town of Troyes in great array, Jeanne carrying her banner by his side. Shortly after, the King left Troyes and went with his army to Chalons, and thence to Reims. When the King feared to find resistance at Reims, Jeanne said to him: " Have no fear! for the burghers of the city will come out to meet you;" and she said that, before he got near the city of Reims, the burgesses would meet him. The King feared their resistance because he had no artillery or engines for carrying on a siege, in case they should prove rebellious. Jeanne told him that he must go forward boldly and fear nothing, for if he would go forward like a man he would soon obtain all his kingdom.

BROTHER SEGUIN DE SEGUIN, Dominican, Professor of Theology, Dean of the Faculty of Theology of Poitiers.

I saw Jeanne for the first time at Poitiers. The King's Council was assembled in the house of the Lady La Macée, the Archbishop of Reims, then Chancellor of France, being of their number. I was summoned, as also were Jean Lombart, Professor of Theology of the University of Paris; Maitre Guillaume le Maire, Canon of Poitiers and Bachelor in Theology; Maitre Guillaume Aymerie, Professor of Theology, of the Order of Saint Dominic; Brother Pierre Turrelure; Maître Jacques Maledon; and many others whose names I do not remember. The Members of the Council told us that we were summoned, in the King's name, to question Jeanne and to give our opinion upon her. We were sent to question her at the house of Maître Jean Rabateau, where she was lodging. We repaired thither and interrogated her.

Among other questions, Maitre Jean Lombart asked her why she had come; that the King wished to know what had induced her to come to him. She answered, in a grand manner, that "there had come to her, while she was minding the cattle, a Voice, which told her that God had great compassion for the people of France, and that she must go into France." On hearing this, she began to weep; the Voice then told her to go to Vaucouleurs, where she would find a Captain who would conduct her safely into France and to the King, and that she must not be afraid. She had done what the Voice had ordered, and had come to the King without meeting any obstacle.

Thereupon, Guillaume Aymerie put to her this question: "You assert that a Voice told you, God willed to deliver the people of France from the calamity in which they now are; but, if God wills to deliver them, it is not necessary to have soldiers." " In God's Name !" Jeanne replied, "the soldiers will fight, and God will give the victory." With which answer Maître Guillaume was pleased.

I, in my turn, asked Jeanne what dialect the Voice spoke? "A better one than yours," she replied. I speak the Limousin dialect. "Do you believe in God ?" I asked her. " In truth, more than yourself!" she answered. " But God wills that you should not be believed unless there appear some sign to prove that you ought to be believed; and we shall not advise the King to trust in you, and to risk an army on your simple statement." "In God's Name! " she replied, "I am not come to Poitiers to show signs : but send me to Orleans, where I shall show you the signs by which I am sent: and she added: "Send me men in such numbers as may seem good, and I will go to Orleans."

And then she foretold to us - to me and to all the others who were with me - these four things which should happen, and which did afterwards come to pass: first, that the English would be destroyed, the siege of Orleans raised, and the town delivered from the English; secondly, that the King would be crowned at Reims; thirdly, that Paris would be restored to his dominion; and fourthly, that the Duke d'Orleans should be brought back from England. And I who speak, I have in truth seen these four things accomplished.

We reported all this to the Council of the King; and we were of opinion that, considering the extreme necessity and the great peril of the town, the King might make use of her help and send her to Orleans.

Besides this, we inquired into her life and morals; and found that she was a good Christian, living as a Catholic, never idle. In order that her manner of living might be better known, women were placed with her who were commissioned to report to the Council her actions and ways.

As for me, I believed she was sent from God, because, at the time when she appeared, the King and all the French people with him had lost hope: no one thought of nothing but to save himself.

I remember that Jeanne was asked why she always marched with a banner in her hand? "Because," she answered, "I do not wish to use my sword, nor to kill any one."

When she heard any one taking in vain the Name of God, she was very angry; she held such blasphemies in horror: and Jeanne told La Hire, who used many oaths and swore by God, that he must swear no more, and that, when he wanted to swear by God, he should swear by his staff. And afterwards, indeed, when he was with her, La Hire never swore but by his staff.

Virginia Frohlick-Saint Joan of Arc Center