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| Bishop of Beauvais |
Bishop of Lisieux
|Elected||21 August 1420|
Reims, Champagne, France
|Died||18 December 1442 71) (aged|
Pierre Cauchon (1371 – 18 December 1442) was Bishop of Beauvais from 1420 to 1432. A strong partisan of English interests in France during the latter years of the Hundred Years' War, his role in arranging the execution of Joan of Arc led most subsequent observers to condemn his extension of secular politics into an ecclesiastical trial. The Catholic Church overturned his verdict in 1456 and he was excommunicated posthumously in 1457.
Cauchon came from a middle-class family in Rheims. He entered the clergy as a teenager and went to Paris, where he studied at the University of Paris. Cauchon was a brilliant student in the liberal arts. He followed with studies in canon law and theology and became a priest.
By 1404, Cauchon was curé of Égliselles and sought a post near Rheims. He defended the University of Paris in a quarrel against Toulouse. Cauchon sought advancement through noble patronage. He allied himself with Duke John the Fearless of Burgundy and later his successor, Philip the Good.
In 1407, Cauchon was part of a mission from the crown of France to attempt to reconcile the Schism between the rival claimants to the papacy: Boniface IX and Gregory XII. Although the delegation failed to achieve its goal, it raised Cauchon's prestige as a negotiator.
Upon Cauchon's return, he found Paris in turmoil over the assassination of the Duke of Orléans under orders from John the Fearless. Many suspected that the duke had been having an affair with Queen Isabeau. University theologians sympathized with John and even published a justification of the murder as tyrannicide under the theory that the Duke of Orléans had been planning to usurp the throne.
It is also known that Cauchon had been the dean of the University of Paris, where he had studied, and that, by 1423, he became Henry VI of England's personal counsellor.
The French Estates-General opened in 1413 to raise funds for an expected war against the English. Cauchon formed part of a commission charged with proposing sanctions and reforms. During the riots of that year he was associated with the Burgundians and the Cabochiens (radical reformers) and was later banished from Paris on May 14, 1414.The next year, Cauchon became the official ambassador of the Duke of Burgundy. Bishop Cauchon supported the election of Pope Martin V. Shortly afterward, Cauchon became archdeacon of Chartres; canon of Rheims, Châlons, and Beauvais; and chaplain of the Duke of Burgundy. Cauchon took part in the royal marriage negotiations surrounding the Treaty of Troyes. He became Bishop of Beauvais in 1420.
Bishop Cauchon spent most of the next two years in service to the king. He returned to his diocese with the deaths of Charles VI and Henry V. He departed for a visit to Rheims in 1429 when Joan of Arc and the French army approached for the coronation of Charles VII. Cauchon had always allied with the opposition to Charles VII. Shortly after the coronation, the French army threatened Cauchon's diocese. He went to Rouen, seat of the English government in France.
The English regent, the Duke of Bedford, was anxious to preserve the claim of his nephew and charge Henry VI of England, grandson of Charles VI and nephew of Charles VII, to the throne of France, as per the Treaty of Troyes. Cauchon escorted Henry from London to Rouen as part of a clerical delegation. Shortly after he returned, he learned that Joan of Arc had been taken captive near Compiègne. The Burgundians held her at the keep of Beaulieu near Saint-Quentin.
Cauchon played a leading role in negotiations to gain Joan of Arc from the Burgundians for the English. He was well paid for his efforts. Cauchon claimed jurisdiction to try her case because Compiègne was in his diocese of Beauvais.
The goal of Joan of Arc's trial was to discredit her, and by implication to discredit the king she had crowned. Cauchon organized events carefully with famous ecclesiastics, many of whom came from the pro-English University of Paris. A mission to Joan's native village of Domrémy tried in vain to uncover adverse rumors about her.
The trial opened on 21 February 1431. During the first week of legal proceedings, the duchess of Bedford confirmed Joan's virginity. This prevented the court from charging Joan with witchcraft. The principal weakness in Joan's defense was her decision to wear male clothes. The court exploited Joan's religious visions to impute accusations of sorcery.
Concerned for the regularity of the proceeding, Bishop Cauchon forwarded an inflammatory bill of indictment to Paris in order to obtain the opinion of university clerics. In the meantime, the trial continued. Joan was unwilling to testify on several subjects. The court considered torture and gave her a tour of the torture chamber. Shortly afterward, she fell ill, possibly from food poisoning. The court decided against torture because of her poor health. The political risks of her dying in prison before a conviction were too great. The university returned what Cauchon considered a favorable opinion. The court proceeded to official admonition so that the defendant could make repentance.
The Duke of Bedford summoned Bishop Cauchon on 13 May, irritated by the expense and slowness of the trial. Cauchon then had the idea of setting up a situation designed to crack Joan's will. Led to the field of the abbey of Saint-Ouen, he publicly summoned her to abjure her heresy. Threatened with immediate execution, she agreed. Shortly afterward she recanted and was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431.
Cauchon could not hope to go back to Beauvais, which had fallen under French control. He was interested in a vacancy at the archbishop's palace at Rouen. Facing heartfelt opposition, he gave up that project. In December, Cauchon accompanied the Cardinal of Winchester to crown young king Henry VI in Paris. Finally, he obtained an appointment as Bishop of Lisieux (29 January 1432 – 15 December 1442).
When constable Arthur de Richemont returned to favour with Charles VII of France in 1436, Cauchon went as ambassador to the Council of Basel. He was active for the unsuccessful English side in the peace negotiations that ended in reconciliation between the French and the Burgundians.
Cauchon divided his later years between his new diocese and a residence in Rouen. His last action was to finance construction of a vault at the cathedral Saint-Pierre de Lisieux. Cauchon died abruptly of heart failure at the age of 71 on 15 December 1442 in Rouen. He was buried in Lisieux Cathedral beneath the vault he had patronised. There is not, however, any marking that indicates the exact location of his burial site, as if the population, at the time of his death, would have wished him to be forgotten as a posthumous way of punishment for his role in Joan of Arc's trial and execution. His skeleton, however, was re-discovered during a renovation of the pavement of the vault in 1931. When the renovation works were finished, no marking was added at all.
According to George Bernard Shaw in his 1923 play Saint Joan , Cauchon's body was later dug up and thrown into a sewer; in fact it was Jean d'Estivet, one of the promoters of the trial, who was found dead in a sewer.
Following the Retrial of Joan of Arc, Inquisitor-General Jean Bréhal drew up his final summary which pronounced Joan as a martyr convicted in a trial which violated Church law in pursuit of a secular vendetta. Pope Callixtus III excommunicated Cauchon posthumously in 1457 for his role in Joan's persecution and condemnation.
Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" or "Maid of Lorraine", is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years' War, and was canonized as a saint. She was born to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romée, a peasant family, at Domrémy in the Vosges of northeast France. Joan said that she received visions of the archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War. The as-yet-unanointed King Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief army. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted only nine days later. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII's consecration at Reims. This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory at Castillon in 1453.
Charles VII, called the Victorious or the Well-Served, was King of France from 1422 to his death in 1461.
Philip the Good was Duke of Burgundy from 1419 until his death. He was a member of a cadet line of the Valois dynasty, to which all 15th-century kings of France belonged. During his reign, the Burgundian State reached the apex of its prosperity and prestige, and became a leading centre of the arts. Philip is known in history for his administrative reforms, his patronage of Flemish artists such as van Eyck and Franco-Flemish composers such as Guillaume Du Fay, and the capture of Joan of Arc and turning her over to the English, who tried and executed her. In political affairs, he alternated between alliances with the English and the French in an attempt to improve his dynasty's powerbase. Additionally, as ruler of Flanders, Brabant, Limburg, Artois, Hainaut, Holland, Luxembourg, Zeeland, Friesland and Namur, he played an important role in the history of the Low Countries.
John the Fearless was a scion of the French royal family who ruled the Burgundian State from 1404 until his death in 1419. He played a key role in French national affairs during the early 15th century, particularly in the struggles to rule the country for the mentally ill King Charles VI, his cousin, and the Hundred Years' War with England. A rash, ruthless and unscrupulous politician, John murdered the King's brother, the Duke of Orléans, in an attempt to gain control of the government, which led to the eruption of the Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War in France and in turn culminated in his own assassination in 1419.
Lisieux is a commune in the Calvados department in the Normandy region in northwestern France. It is the capital of the Pays d'Auge area, which is characterised by valleys and hedged farmland.
Yolande of Aragon was Duchess of Anjou and Countess of Provence by marriage, who acted as regent of Provence during the minority of her son. She was a daughter of John I of Aragon and his wife Yolande of Bar. Yolande played a crucial role in the struggles between France and England, influencing events such as the financing of Joan of Arc's army in 1429 that helped tip the balance in favour of the French. She was also known as Yolanda de Aragón and Violant d'Aragó. Tradition holds that she commissioned the famous Rohan Hours.
Joan of Arc is a 1948 American hagiographic epic film directed by Victor Fleming, and starring Ingrid Bergman as the eponymous French religious icon and war heroine. It was produced by Walter Wanger. It is based on Maxwell Anderson's successful Broadway play Joan of Lorraine, which also starred Bergman, and was adapted for the screen by Anderson himself, in collaboration with Andrew Solt. It is the only film of an Anderson play for which the author wrote the film script. It is the last film Fleming directed before his death in 1949.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Beauvais, Noyon, and Senlis is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in France. The diocese encompasses the department of Oise in the region of Hauts-de-France. The diocese is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Reims. The current bishop is Jacques Benoit-Gonnin, appointed in 2010.
Thomas Basin (1412–1491) was a French bishop of Lisieux and historian.
The Burgundian party was a political allegiance against France that formed during the latter half of the Hundred Years' War. The term "Burgundians" refers to the supporters of the Duke of Burgundy, John the Fearless, that formed after the assassination of Louis I, Duke of Orléans. Their opposition to the Armagnac party, the supporters of Charles, Duke of Orléans, led to a civil war in the early 15th Century, itself part of the larger Hundred Years' War.
Georges de la Trémoille was Count de Guînes from 1398 to 1446 and Grand Chamberlain of France to King Charles VII of France. He sought reconciliation between Philip, Duke of Burgundy and Charles VII during their estrangement in the latter part of the Hundred Years' War. De la Trémoille was a political opponent of Arthur de Richemont within the French court. Most historians take a poor view of his career, assessing that he placed personal advancement before the public interest, though the traditional historical interpretation of the Grand Chamberlain as Jeanne d'Arc's opponent has been revised.
The Congress of Arras was a diplomatic congregation established at Arras in the summer of 1435 during the Hundred Years' War, between representatives of England, France, and Burgundy. It was the first negotiation since the Treaty of Troyes and replaced the 15 year agreement between Burgundy and England that would have seen the dynasty of Henry V inherit the French crown.
The siege of Compiègne (1430) was conducted by Duke Philip III of Burgundy after the town of Compiègne had refused to transfer allegiance to him under the terms of a treaty with Charles VII. The siege is perhaps best known for Joan of Arc's capture by Burgundian troops while accompanying an Armagnac force during a skirmish outside the town on 23 May 1430. Although this was otherwise a minor siege, both politically and militarily, and ultimately ended in a defeat for the Burgundians, the capture of Joan of Arc was an important event of the Hundred Years' War.
The Lancastrian War was the third and final phase of the Anglo-French Hundred Years' War. It lasted from 1415, when King Henry V of England invaded Normandy, to 1453, when the English lost Bordeaux. It followed a long period of peace from the end of the Caroline War in 1389. The phase was named after the House of Lancaster, the ruling house of the Kingdom of England, to which Henry V belonged.
Jean Bréhal OP was the inquisitor-general of France who led the effort to rehabilitate Joan of Arc.
Joan of Arc was a young French woman who said she had been sent to help Charles VII during the Hundred Years' War, which led to her capture by the English-allied Burgundians during the siege of Compiègne in 1430. She was then put on trial by a pro-English church court overseen by English commanders at Rouen, Normandy in 1431. The court found her guilty of heresy and she was burned at the stake. The trial verdict was later reversed on appeal by Jean Bréhal, the Inquisitor-General in 1456, thereby completely exonerating her. Considered a French national heroine, she was declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church in 1920. The trial is one of the most famous in history, becoming the subject of many books and films.
The Diocese of Lisieux was a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical territory in France, centered on Lisieux, in Calvados.
The dual monarchy of England and France existed during the latter phase of the Hundred Years' War when Charles VII of France and Henry VI of England disputed the succession to the throne of France. It commenced on 21 October 1422 upon the death of King Charles VI of France, who had signed the Treaty of Troyes which gave the French crown to his son-in-law Henry V of England and Henry's heirs. It excluded King Charles's son, the Dauphin Charles, who by right of primogeniture was the heir to the Kingdom of France. Although the Treaty was ratified by the Estates-General of France, the act was a contravention of the French law of succession which decreed that the French crown could not be alienated. Henry VI, son of Henry V, became king of both England and France and was recognized only by the English and Burgundians until 1435 as King Henry II of France. He was crowned King of France on 16 December 1431.
The conviction of Joan of Arc in 1431 was posthumously investigated on appeal in the 1450s by Inquisitor-General Jean Bréhal, at the request of Joan's surviving family. The appeal was authorized by Pope Callixtus III.
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