English Records

Below is a partial list of a sampling of the English records documenting their financing of the trial and Joan's "purchase", plus documents sent by the judges and assessors acknowledging English payment for their role in the trial. These further corroborate the many other sources - chronicles, eyewitness accounts, etc - which say that the trial, conviction, and execution were conducted by the English.

In the first category we have several documents detailing English efforts to raise and pay out the money that had been promised to John of Luxembourg as a reward for Joan's transfer; this group includes the following:
- Two of these, dated September 3rd and 14th, 1430, and issued by two of Henry VI's officials in Normandy (his treasurer Sir Thomas Blount and receiver-general Pierre Surreau) give a detailed summary of the tax levied on territories in English-occupied Normandy to cover the costs of, quote, "the purchase of Joan the Maiden" as well as to cover English military expenses; the second of the two letters includes several pages of entries showing the amount levied from each village in two districts (the Viscounties of Argentan and Exmes) under English occupation. Copies of these two letters were included in a third English document, issued on September 20th by Edward Apparvel, Esleu [tax official] of Argentan, Exmes, Domfront and St-Sylvain.
- Another pair of letters, one from Blount dated October 24th, 1430, the other from the treasury official John Bruce on December 6, 1430, document the next step in the process of covering the money paid out to "obtain Joan, who calls herself the Maiden, prisoner of war."
In the second category are a much larger group of documents which detail English payments to Cauchon, Courcelles, Beaupère, Midi, and other men who took part in the trial, some of which are as follows:
- In one dated January 31, 1431, Cauchon himself acknowledges having received 765 livres-Tournois from the English officials mentioned in the above documents, as payment to reimburse him for his previous negotiations to secure the purchase of "Joan, whom people call the Maiden" as well as for other services rendered to Henry VI's government during that time, for a period of "153 days" from May 1, 1430 through the end of September 1430.
- On March 1, 1431, the English government [in Rouen, which is where Henry VI and his council were located at that time] issued a document detailing payments given to several of the assessors (Beaupère, Touraine, Midi, Maurice, Fueillet, and Courcelles); the sum of 20 sous-Tournois per day was paid out by Thomas Blount to each of these men for the time they had spent thus far serving at Joan's trial.
- In a document dated March 4, 1431, the above assessors confirmed receipt of this payment, for their services in the trial, quote, "against this woman, who has named herself Joan the Maiden".
- On April 2, 1431, there's a document from Henry VI's Council to Sir Thomas Blount, ordering that a payment of 30 livres-Tournois (in addition to the daily salary mentioned above) should be given to Beaupère for efforts in "the trial of Joan who calls herself the Maiden". Henry (or rather his regent) makes note of the men whom "We had summoned to this aforesaid town [Rouen]" in order to conduct the trial; similar sentiments are expressed concerning "Our very dear and beloved daughter the University of Paris", the pro-English institution, stocked with Anglo-Burgundian clergy, which had dutifully called for the trial to be initiated.
- A document dated April 9, 1431 acknowledges payment given to the same assessors (120 livres-Tournois in addition to the 240 livres-Tournois they received over a period of 40 days) for their efforts against "this woman who has named herself Joan the Maiden".
- On April 14, 1431, Henry VI's Council authorized Thomas Blount to make a payment of 20 saluts to Jean LeMaistre for his assistance to "Our beloved and loyal counselor the Bishop of Beauvais" [Cauchon] in the trial of "Joan, who calls herself the Maiden".
- On April 21, 1431, Henry VI's Council told Blount to make a payment of 25 livres-Tournois each [total: 100 livres-Tournois] to Beaupère, Touraine, Midi, and Fueillet for their role in the trial "touching upon the case of the one who calls herself Joan the Maiden".
- On April 22, 1431, Blount sent a letter forwarding the terms of the above order (April 21st) on to Surreau.
- On April 27, 1431, Blount forwarded the order on the 14th to Surreau.
- On June 6, 1431, Henry VI's government authorized payment to Guillaume Erard of 20 sous-Tournois for every day that he had spent at the trial against "this woman who used to name herself Joan the Maiden".
- On June 8, 1431, Erard confirmed receipt of the above, which totaled 31 livres-Tournois for 31 days from May 6 through June 5 (as the Condemnation transcript itself says, the assessors were still wrapping things up after her death - in fact the last section of the transcript was not submitted until June 8th) for his role in the trial of "this woman who used to name herself Joan the Maiden".
- On June 12th, 1431, Beaupère, Midi, Maurice, and Courcelles acknowledged receipt of 102 livres-Tournois which was still owed to them [15 l.t. to Beaupère, 28 to Midi, 22 to Maurice, 37 to Courcelles] for their role in the trial of "this woman who used to call herself Joan the Maiden".
- Some of these payments were, in typical medieval fashion, long delayed: on July 29, 1437 a letter from Henry VI's government to John Stanislaw orders that a payment of 770 livres-Tournois be paid to Cauchon for his services in the "trial for heresy of the deceased Joan, formerly called the Maid".
- A similar document, on August 14th of the same year, also deals with the backpayments still owed to Cauchon.

Loyalty of the Tribunal Members

The partisan leanings of the judges and assessors are also well documented. The French members are well known to have been supporters of the Anglo-Burgundian faction, and the chief judge, Pierre Cauchon, was additionally a paid advisor for the English occupation government. The promoter for the trial, Jean d'Estivet, was of much the same background, a colleague of Cauchon's and a loyal supporter of the English. The assessor Jean Beaupère had long worked with the English and received a pile of benefices from them. Gilles de Duremont was a member of Henry VI's council. Pasquier des Vaux served as chaplain for the Duke of Bedford (the English regent in France), and would also serve as a counselor for the English government. Raoul Roussel served in numerous capacities for the English, as master of petitions, ambassador, and other positions. Guillaume Bonnel had sworn allegiance to the English in 1418; Aubert Morel and Nicholas le Roux in 1420. Jean Graverent, the Inquisitor who gave his rubber-stamp to the trial, had sworn allegiance to the English in 1429. William Haiton, William Brolbster, Richard Praty and John Hampton were not merely pro-English, but were in fact native Englishmen. The list can go on, but hopefully these examples will suffice. The notion that the tribunal was made up of unbiased clergy, who were therefore supposedly opposed to her for theological rather than political / military reasons, was an idea invented by modern authors and Hollywood scriptwriters. It has nothing to do with history.
The life history of Pierre Cauchon is a good example of the partisan nature, and often dubious orthodoxy, of these men. Much of his life was spent in the loyal service of the Anglo-Burgundians: in 1413 he had been among the pro-Burgundian leaders who encouraged the Cabochien Revolt in Paris, inciting the revolutionary mobs to carry out assaults on Armagnac noblemen and their assets in the city. For these actions, Cauchon was exiled as punishment after pro-Armagnac troops restored order. In the direct service of the Duke of Burgundy, in 1415 he was sent to the General-Council of Constance to bribe the clergy there in order to keep them from ruling against Jean Petit, who had defended the Burgundian assassination of Duke Louis of Orleans. By an order dated July 26th of that year, the Duke of Burgundy sent Cauchon the usual material preferred by this Duke for oiling the machinery of state: eight large barrels of expensive red wine to use as the bribe.
In 1420 Cauchon helped negotiate the important Treaty of Troyes which made Henry V of England the heir to the French throne. Cauchon was rewarded for this service by being secured appointment as Bishop of Beauvais on September 4, 1420 with the help of his fellow Burgundians. He was then brought in as an advisor to the English occupation government in Normandy, paid 1,000 livres a year for this position. His name therefore turns up in numerous English government documents from this period, such as the letter sent by Henry VI's council on April 8, 1429 in which Cauchon is referred to as "Our beloved and loyal counselor the Bishop of Beauvais"; in a letter from Henry VI's government in April of 1426, where we find him among those present when the decree was issued; likewise in other such decrees by Henry VI's government on September 27, 1426, December 21, 1431, and so forth.
Cauchon's attempt to portray himself as a non-partisan and orthodox defender of the Faith - after bribing Church officials at Constance and the many other dubious activities carried out for his faction - is a bit of propaganda which has gained an undeserved measure of currency in modern times, via the movies and paperback books on the subject. Historians, on the other hand, have long viewed Cauchon for what he was: descriptive phrases such as "a renegade" and "a revolutionary prelate" have often been used. The financial documents cited farther above show who was buttering his bread. As the quotes from Joan show, she knew full well that he was a member of the Anglo-Burgundian faction, and therefore refused to submit to him and his invalid tribunal - for which she was supported by the theologians and Inquisitors who later investigated the case on appeal after the English were finally driven out of Rouen.

Copyright © 2002 - 2003, All rights reserved.