30.5.09

Joan at Orleans

29 April 1429, Jehanne the Maid Orleans Orleans at the head of the French Army to lift the siege of the city by the English.

+Jesus, Mary

King of England, and you, Duke of Bedford, who call yourself Regent of the Kingdom of France; you, William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk; John, Lord of Talbot; and you, Thomas, Lord Scales, who call yourselves Bedford's lieutenants, do right by the King of Heaven. Hand over to the Maiden, who is sent here by God the King of Heaven, the keys to all the towns which you have taken and violated in France. She has come here in the name of God to support the Royal family. She is quite prepared to make peace, if you are willing to do right, so long as you give up France and make amends for occupying it. And you, archers, soldiers both noble and otherwise, who are around the town of Orléans, in God's name go back to your own lands. And if you will not do so, await word of the Maiden, who will go to see you soon to your very great misfortune. King of England, if you do not do so, I am a commander, and wherever I come across your troops in France, I shall make them go, whether willingly or unwillingly; and if they will not obey, I will have them wiped out. I am sent here by God the King of Heaven - an eye for an eye - to drive you entirely out of France. And if they are willing to obey, I shall have mercy on them. And do not think otherwise, for you will never hold the kingdom of France from God the King of Heaven, the Son of Saint Mary; King Charles, the true heir, will hold it, for God the King of Heaven wills it; and this has been revealed by the Maiden to him, who shall enter Paris with a fine contingent of troops. If you do not believe the tidings sent by God and the Maiden, wherever we find you we will strike against you, and will cause such a great clash of arms there that not for a thousand years has France seen one as great, if you do not do right. And firmly believe that the King of Heaven will send greater force to the Maiden than you would be able to bring against her and her good men-at-arms in all of your assaults. And in the fighting we shall see who has the better right [whether God of Heaven or you]. Duke of Bedford, the Maiden asks and requests that you will not cause your own downfall. If you will do right, you could yet come in her company to where the French will do the noblest deed which has ever been done for Christianity. And reply if you wish to make peace in the city of Orléans; and if you do not do so, you will shortly contemplate your great misfortunes."

Written this Tuesday [in] Holy Week."


For years, vague prophecies had been circulating in France concerning an armed maid who would rescue France. Many of these prophecies foretold that the armed maid would come from the region of Lorraine, where Domremy, Joan's birthplace, was located. As a result, when word reached the besieged citizens of Orléans concerning Joan's journey to see the King, expectations and hope were high.

Joan arrived in Chinon in early March, at which time she met with the Dauphin. Following this, she was sent to Poitiers so that church officials and other dignitaries could examine her. Once she received ecclesiastical and royal approval, she joined the relief army which was being assembled in Blois.

It was from Blois that Joan sent the first of at least two letters addressed to the English forces besieging Orléans. In this letter, she called on the English to quit the siege, surrendering all the cities and territories in France which they then occupied, and return to England. If they refused, she promised that she would raise a "War cry against them that would last forever, she then said, I shall not write any further". It was a promise whose audacity was exceeded only by the accomplishment.



Jhesu+Marie!
Brantigny

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