Jehanne la Pucelle: the Examination at Poitiers, middle of March 1429

Sieur De Gaucourt (1)

I was at the Castle of the town of Chinon when Jehanne 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.

Maître François Garivel, Councilor-General to the King. remembers the examination and gives a list of the prelates and clerics.

...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...

Guillaume de Ricarville, Seigneur de Ricarville, Steward to the King.

...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...


(1)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.

Le système de défense médiéval à Orléans

The system of defense in medieval Orléans.

Le système de défense médiéval à Orléans a short video is found at the link below which explores the city's defensive works by archeologists examining the remains of the city from medival times.

Visit site with Pascal Joyeux (Joyous Easter, what a good name!), archaeologist in charge of operations, Inrap, and Françoise Michaud-Fréjaville, medieval historian.

Four searches were recently conducted previously due to the construction of a second line of tram for the town of Orléans. from the Place De Gaulle to l’Étape, they constitute a true excavation through the medieval city. These searches allowed for examination of the constitution and the evolution of a vast urban space, understanding city itself, its systems of defense and its immediate approaches.


The Educaton of Saint Louis IX

Every saint had a mother, Elena-Maria Vidal shows us one such mother whose instruction into the faith was instumental in the life of Saint Louis. For all those feminists in the Church who deny themselves to agitate for priestesshood, see what a real woman can do.

For a bit more on Blanche of Castile, mother of two Saints, go here...

St Louis, Pray for us.


Note: "... She said moreover that her mother taught her the Paster Noster, Ave Maria, Credo..." Jheanne d'Arc, Procès de Condamnation... (In MS 1119, the relevant passage occurs on f 12v, lines 22 - 23)

Children recieve all of their early instruction in the Faith from their mother. Blanche taught louis, as Mary taught the creator of the universe how to walk. Mary too taught Jesus, The Word Incarnate, his first words, no doubt it was daddy. Why should any woman want to be "more" than that?


The King is Dead; Long Live the Queen

From, Supremacy and Survival: The English Reformation, comes this:

...On March 8, 1702 (OS) William III died and his sister-in-law Anne succeeded him as Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland. His wife Mary died in 1694 after they came to the throne when Parliament deposed James II in 1689. The transition and the fact that none of Anne's children had survived meant that she began her reign as the last Stuart monarch...


For information about Louis XIV's heirs(he had his troubles too) go here...

17th century witch chronicles put online

Written during the Civil War (English) and in that context this should tell us alot about the 17th century mindset. Incidentely I have had many discussions with my OtC friends who regail me with the dastardly Inquisition in Spain, who are suprised to find that the Protestants tortured and burned witches, all over Europe. Foxesbook of martyrs

LONDON (Reuters) – A 350-year-old notebook which documents the trials of women convicted of witchcraft in England during the 17th century has been published online.

The notebook written by Nehemiah Wallington, an English Puritan, recounts the fate of women accused of having relationships with the devil at a time when England was embroiled in a bitter civil war.

The document reveals the details of a witchcraft trial held in Chelmsford in July 1645, when more than a hundred suspected witches were serving time in Essex and Suffolk according to his account.


I was going to place a picture with this post but I could not find one that depicted the cast in this one, namely English Protsetants. Even now the anti-Catholic bias exists.

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross buns have long been a symbol of Easter. Today they are sold in bake shops and supermarket bakeries throughout the Easter season. Each bun has an icing cross on top to signify the crucifixion.

In England, they were once sold by street vendors who advertised their wares with cries of "Hot Cross Buns! "Hot Cross Buns!"

Their street cries became a nursery rhyme....

Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Hot cross buns!
If ye have no daughters,
Give them to your sons.
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Hot cross buns

1 cup milk
2 Tbsp yeast
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
4 eggs
5 cup flour
1 1/3 cup currants or raisins
1 egg white

1 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped lemon zest
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1-2 Tbsp milk

Makes 24

In a small saucepan, heat milk to very warm, but not hot (110°F if using a candy thermometer). Pour warm milk in a bowl and sprinkle yeast over. Mix to dissolve and let sit for 5 minutes.

Stirring constantly, add sugar, salt, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and eggs. Gradually mix in flour, dough will be wet and sticky. Continue kneading until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough "rest" for 30-45 minutes.

Knead again until smooth and elastic, for about 3 more minutes. Add currants or raisins and knead until well mixed. At this point, dough will still be fairly wet and sticky. Shape dough in a ball, place in a buttered dish, cover with plastic wrap and let rise overnight in the refrigerator. Excess moisture will be absorbed by the morning.

Let dough sit at room temperature for about a half-hour. Line a large baking pan (or pans) with parchment paper (you could also lightly grease a baking pan, but parchment works better). Divide dough into 24 equal pieces (in half, half again, etc., etc.). Shape each portion into a ball and place on baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

In the meantime, pre-heat oven to 400° F.

When buns have risen, take a sharp or serrated knife and carefully slash buns with a cross. Brush them with egg white and place in oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° F, then bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack. Whisk together glaze ingredients, and spoon over buns in a cross pattern. Serve warm, if possible.

The Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur used to bake these for my grammar school classes, way back in the day...



Mardi Gras

The annual day of bacchanalia (I can think of no other discription for it) is upon us. So instead of getting prepared for Lent by prayer, the world will now engorge itself on drunkeness and gluttony for the day. In ancient days it was the day upon which the fat meats would be finished with a feast, or carne vale farewell to meat.

Mardi Gras literally means "Fat Tuesday" in French. The name comes from the tradition of slaughtering and feasting upon a fattened calf on the last day of Carnival. The day is also known as Shrove Tuesday (from "to shrive," or hear confessions), Pancake Tuesday and fetter Dienstag. The custom of making pancakes comes from the need to use up fat, eggs and dairy before the fasting and abstinence of Lent begins.

Here is a link to Versailles and More where in Catherine Delors tell us about one particular Carnival at Versailles, and the appearance of the Marquise de Pompadour.



Norma Jean Coon Recants Ordination to the Diaconate

"I tell you, there will likewise be more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent." Luke 15:7

Pray for Norma Jean who has publicly recanted her ordination, expressed her submission to Rome, and accepted Church teaching on the all male priesthood. Read her story here.

This is not a small thing. Her humility in publicly repenting will touch the hearts of others opposing the Church and give hope to the faithful that their prayers for those committing heretical acts are not without effect.

May God bless Norma Jean and use her powerfully in the days ahead. "O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto Thine."

Read her recantation here...

Welcome home my sister in Christ...



The Maids Armor

" ...With this army Jeanne was sent. The King had caused armor to be made for her..."(1)
The Duc d'Alencon, Trial of Nullification

Armor was a very important part of the 15th century soldier. It had gone from the days of the lorica segmentata through chain mail to what was in the time of the Maid to complete sets of armor which covered the entire body. However this type of armor was expensive therefore it remained in the hands of the nobility, and royalty. The basic soldier could count himself fortunate if he possessed even the most even the most rudimentary helmet and Gambeson. By the time of the Hundred Years War, armor making had developed into a highly skilled profession. The latest improvements were incorporated into armor as well as better steel. While we do not know with exactitude what the Maid's armor actually looked like the print above is a fairly excellent representation from contemporary sources that are in existence and those which were most common.

The description "White harness" means that the armor is without any embellishments. In the miniseries, "Joan of Arc" with Lee Lee Sobieski, the armor she wears is not white harness. She has a lys on her chest and lyse around the besagues (small round 'shields' laced to the mail at the shoulder to defend the armpit.) contrary to modern belief armor of the time was about 50 lbs or so. The modern idea that has been passed down from the 19th century that knights had to be lifted up onto their horse by use of a crane is nonsense. The Constable of France, Bertrand du Guesclin, was noted for leaping onto his horse and climbing rope ladders while fully clothed in his armor. Jehannes armor was made for fighting in. She could be found in the thick of the actions urging the troops on. Her armor saved her on several occasions. While at Orleans, Jehanne wearing her armor was in fact wounded by an arrow, which penetrated her armor. She was taken from the battle, and the English perceiving an advantage in this screamed obscenities. They believed that they had won the encounter. Jehanne stayed behind the lines but returned just before dusk. This turn of events was a psychological blow to the English and to the French it appeared as a miracle

"...Jeanne was there wounded by an arrow which penetrated half-a-foot between the neck and the shoulder; but she continued none the less to fight, taking no remedy for her wound...."
Jean, Bastard of Orleans, Count de Dunois.

"...When she felt herself wounded, she was afraid, and wept; but she was soon comforted, as she said. Some of the soldiers seeing her severely wounded wished to "charm " her; but she would not, saying: "I would rather die than do a thing which I know to be a sin; I know well that I must die one day, but I know not when, nor in what manner, nor on what day; if my wound may be healed without sin, I shall be glad enough to be cured." Oil of olive and lard were applied to the wound. After the dressing, she confessed herself to me, weeping and lamenting..." Fr Jean Pasquerel, Trial of Nullification

"...The King's troops remained there from morning to night, and Jeanne was wounded: it was necessary to take off her armor to dress the wound; but hardly was it dressed when she armed herself afresh and went to rejoin her followers at the attack and the assault, which had gone on from morning without ceasing..." Louis De Contes, Trial of Nullification

"...During the assault on Jargeau... ...Jeanne made the attack; in which I followed her. As our men were invading the place, the Earl of Suffolk made proclamation that he wished to speak with me, but we did not listen, and the attack continued. Jeanne was on a ladder, her standard in her hand, when her Standard was struck and she herself was hit on the head by a stone which was partly spent, and which struck her calotte. (Head-covering without visor, "chapeline casque leger en fornie de calotte sans masque.") She was thrown to the ground; but, raising herself, she cried: "Friends! friends! come on! come on! Our Lord has doomed the English! They are ours! keep a good heart." The Duc d'Alencon, Trial of nullification

Recently armor that was reported to be la Pucelles was found in France. It appears at first glance to be that which was made for a child about5 feet tall. While in some respects it there is a possibility that it could be la Pucelle's I have to agree with Virginia Frohlick in discounting that it was. Her views may be found here. My conclusions are the same except for this addition, namely armor must fit the body. This is obviously armor for a male. Take note of the waist. This is not the waist of a young woman. To be able to move around in armor it must fit comfortably. Take note of my statement about Bertrand du Guesclin above. Having worn flak jackets in war I can say with out a doubt that if the armor is too big it is hell to wear, uncomfortable and it moves by itself. If it is too small and it does not provide adequate protection. Next, notice the helmet, the Duc d'Alencon specifically remarks that her helmet (he calls it a calotte) a sallet that had no visor. This was common for the day, and even Knights would not wear a visor, or would lift it to provide better visibility. There are no holes or dents visible in the armor, even with a good repair job this would have been necessary for the continued use of the armor. Even a patch would be seen at the left shoulder where the arrow went inches though her armor. Lastly this armor is too clean. Made of steel it should show signs of oxidization. I have viewed the armor in the Tower of London and even that shows some signs of patina. This is, in 2 words real shiny.

So where is The Maids armor? Perhaps we shall never know.

Virginia continues,"...Some historians believe Joan left her white armor in the Abbey church of Saint Denis, after her failed attempt to take Paris. Once King Charles and his entourage left the town of Saint Denis, it was retaken by the English. The English entered the church and stole Joan's armor and took it back with them to England. Regine Pernoud disagrees with this theory. She believes Joan did not leave her armor, but gave instead, as a votive offering, the armor of a captured Burgundian knight. This armor is now in the Musee de L'Armee at the Invalides, Paris..."

Perhaps it is rusting away in an attic in Luxembourg or Belgium, maybe it was melted for scrap during one of the incessant European wars. We may never know exactly what happened to this Saint's armor. In any event she leaves us with the armor of her Faith in God and in her sure knowledge that she was about God's business.

Parts of armor in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
Under Clothes - Linen Under-shirt and under-pants. Woollen stockings. Underclothes were important as they prevented the armor from chafing the Knights skin
Sabatons - these were the first armor to be put on. Sabatons was armor for the foot and consisted of riveted iron plates on the boots
Akelon - arming doublet
Arms - Layer of chain mail over the arms of the Medieval Knights
Besagues which were small round 'shields' laced to the mail at the shoulder to defend the armpit
Rerebrace for the defence of the upper arm
Vambrace for the defence of the lower arm
Greaves - Plate armor which protected the calf and ankles
Poleyns - Plate armor which protected the knee cap
Cuisses - Plate armor which protected the thigh
Chest Armor - Breast Plate
Back Armor - The Backplate
Faulds were rings of armour which were attached to the breast plate and protected the hips, abdomen and lower back of the Medieval Knights
Head and Neck armor - the helmet was called the Bascinet which had a skirt of mail called an aventail to protect the neck. There was also a great helm, and a sallet.
Face protection - A Visor was a detachable piece of armor which protected the face and eyes
Gauntlets -ringed metal plates over the fingers.
Spurs - Spurs were attached to the heel by straps and used to 'spur' the Knights horse on in battle. The spurs became a symbol of knighthood
Surcoat-A robe, with a belt around the waist, was placed over the body armor. The surcoat was emblazoned with the cote of arms or device of the Medieval Knights in order for identification purposes
Weapons - A Dagger and Sword were attached to the Knights belt
Shield - Carried in defence and displaying the Knights heraldic blazon, by the 15th century these were getting smaller and smaller as the armor became more incasing until they disappeared altogether.

(1) In the Accounts (formerly kept in the Chamber des Comtes at Paris), of Maître Hemon Raguier, Treasurer of War, there is an item relating to this suit of armor: ..."To the Master Armorer, for a complete harness for the said Pucelle, 100 livres tournois."... "