translated by Allen Williamson

Joan of Arc's Third Letter to the English at Orleans
May 5, 1429


This is the third letter sent to the English (after previous letters on March 22 and April 30), written on May 5, 1429 during her self-imposed truce in honor of the Feast of the Ascension.
The note was delivered by a crossbowman who shot the letter into the English-held fortress of Les Tourelles. The English replied by calling her a harlot, at which she burst into tears.
The text of this letter comes to us from the Rehabilitation testimony of her confessor, Friar Jean Pasquerel (who apparently wrote it down for her); his description of the text was written into the transcript.
An English translation is below, with notes and commentary on the right; a transcription of the original language is also available.  
English TranslationNotes and Commentary
"You, men of England, who have no rightn1 to this Kingdom of France, the King of Heaven orders and notifies you through me, Joan the Maiden,n2 to leave your fortresses and go back to your own country; or I will produce a clash of arms to be eternally remembered. And this is the third and last time I have written to you; I shall not write anything further.

Jesus, Mary;n3
Joan the Maiden

I would have sent you my letter more properly, but you detain my heralds (in French: mes heraulx);n4 for you have detained my herald called 'Guyenne'.n5 Please send him back to me, and I will send some of your men captured in the fortress of Saint Loup, for they are not all dead."n6

Note 1: I.e., hereditary right to the crown. The war was fought over an inheritance dispute between the French and English Royal families.
Note 2: "The Maiden" or "Virgin" ("la Pucelle") was her chosen nickname, explaining that she had promised her saints to maintain her virginity "as long as it pleases God". Like most female saints, she would be canonized as a "Holy Maiden".

Note 3: "Jesus, Mary" was her standard 'slogan' which appears on many of her letters.

Note 4: This phrase (which I have italicized) was a note added by the scribe when translating Pasquerel's recollection of the text from French into Latin.
Note 5: "Guyenne" was his designation; he was a Royal herald who had delivered one of her previous letters and was subsequently imprisoned and threatened with burning by the English.

Note 6: The assault against St. Loup on the previous day, May 4, had resulted in English casualties of some 114 dead and 40 captured. She herself had saved one group of men from being killed by her troops.


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