Excerpt from Joan of Arc's Trial [Heckel]

[From Sex, Society and Medieval Women by N. M. Heckel]


Excerpts from the Orleans MS account of Joan of Arc's trial, imprisonment, and death:
Visit of the Judges to the Prison

(28th May, 1431)

The following Monday, the twenty-eighth day of May, the judges went to the prison, and found [Jeanne] dressed in man's clothing, that is, a robe, hood, and the other garments normally worn by men, which garments she had left off by order of the Church.

Asked for what reason she had again taken man's dress, she answered that she had done so just now.

Asked why, and who had induced her to do so, she said, of her own free will. And that nobody had forced her to do so. And that she preferred man's dress to woman's . . . She said further that she had again taken it because they had not kept their promise that she should hear Mass; that she should receive the Body of the Lord; and that she should be relieved of her fetters.

Questioned whether since last Thursday she had heard the voices of Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, she answered yes.

. . .

She said further that in saying that God had not sent her she had damned herself, for truly God had sent her. And since Thursday her voices had told her that she had done great wrong to God in confessing that what she had done was not well done.

. . .

It was then said to her that when she was on the platform before the judges and the people, when she made her abjuration, she had been adjured to tell the truth. And you admitted [they said], that you had boasted falsely that the voices you said you heard were those of Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret.

To which she answered that she never intended to have denied her apparitions, that is, that they were Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret. And what she said, she said for fear of the fire. And if she recanted, it was untrue.

She also said that she would rather do penance by dying, than bear any longer the agony of imprisonment.

And she said that never had she done anything contrary to God and the Faith, anything that they had made her revoke; and as for what was contained in the schedule of abjuration, she never intended it.

And she never intended to revoke anything, unless it was pleasing to God that she should do so.


(From The Trial of Joan of Arc. Trans. W. S. Scott. London: The Folio Society, 1956. 169-70.)

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