Joan of Arc’s condemnation trial took place in Rouen during 1431. This photo depicts the keep of the castle of Rouen and its surviving remnant of the fortress where Joan was held prisoner during her trial. It is now called the “Joan of Arc Tower.” Photo by Urban 2005; online via Wikimedia Commons. License: CC BY-SA 3.0


The English turned Joan over to the ecclesiastical (Church) authority. Many charges were brought against her. In addition to sorcery, heresy and witchcraft, Joan was also tried for the crime of wearing men's clothing. In medieval France, women who wore men's clothes had committed an offense against the Church.

The Bishop of Beauvis, a man named Pierre Cauchon, could not have been happier. A greedy, self-absorbed man—who wanted to become the next Archbishop of Rouen—Cauchon would try Joan. (Follow this link to view a drawing of the Bishop's stunning palace in Rouen.) A conviction would help with his ultimate objective to become a Cardinal of the Catholic Church.

Joan of Arc—and her trial—was the way to realize his ambitions.

Cauchon, however, did not want to take all the responsibility for Joan's trial. He sought the services of others, 117 in all, to help with the prosecution. He and the Inquisitor of France, Jean Lemaitre, would judge Joan. (Interesting to realize—isn't it—that Joan's accuser was also her judge? Interesting to ask—isn't it—how Joan's defense could possibly be fair when she was given no lawyer to represent her (or even to counsel with her).

As did the English, Cauchon wanted Joan to confess—of her own free will—that she had used witchcraft to win her victories. If that were true, sorcery would have put the Dauphin on the throne. If the Dauphin became Charles VII because of heresy, the English could once again make a claim for the throne of France. An English monarch would also make the Burgundians happy.

One would think that Charles VII, who owed his crown to Joan, would have helped her in every conceivable way. Charles, however, did nothing.

Joan's interrogation, before trial, lasted many months. The conditions she endured while in prison were unspeakable. Cauchon, the Bishop of Beauvis, had hoped that she would break and confess.

She did not.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 01, 1999

Updated Last Revision: Jun 21, 2019

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ACCUSES JOAN" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 01, 1999. Jan 25, 2020.
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