translated by Allen Williamson

Joan of Arc's Letters

"...And she asked if we had paper and ink, saying to Master Jean Erault, 'Write what I tell you...'"1
- from Gobert Thibault's eyewitness description of Joan of Arc's first letter to the English; from the testimony at the Rehabilitation Trial
Below is a list of letters which Joan of Arc dictated to the scribes in her army and the clergy at Poitiers or other locations. We have the full text (or virtually so) for 11 of these letters - five originals and six as copies. The remainder are known from references in various documents.
Links are provided for those which are currently online: entries include an English translation / transcription of the original language, contextual notes and commentary.


March 1429 - Letter to the Dauphin, dictated at Ste-Catherine-de-Fierbois; a reference is found in the transcript of the Condemnation Trial, but the text has not survived.

March 1429 - Letter to her parents, dictated at Ste-Catherine-de-Fierbois or Chinon; as with the previous letter, a reference is found in the transcript of the Condemnation Trial, but the text has not survived.

c. March 22, 1429 - "Letter to the English", sent around March 22, 1429, dictated at Poitiers and addressed to the Duke of Bedford and other English leaders; a copy of the full text was entered into the transcript of the Condemnation Trial, the "Journal du Siège d'Orléans", "La Chronique de la Pucelle", "le Registre delphinal de Thomassin", "Relation du greffier de La Rochelle", and Berne ms. 205; portions of it are also found in the recollections of the witnesses at the Rehabilitation trial.

Late March or Early April, 1429 - Letter dictated at Chinon or Tours and sent to the clergy at Ste-Catherine-de-Fierbois; a reference is found in the transcript of the Condemnation Trial.

April 30, 1429 - Letter, dictated at Orléans, which repeats her previous ultimatum to the English. Referred to in the testimony at the Rehabilitation Trial, but only a brief description is provided.

May 5, 1429 - Letter, dated May 5, 1429 and dictated at Orléans, fired by an archer to the English within Les Tourelles. Apparently recorded by her confessor, Jean Pasquerel, whose testimony at the Rehabilitation Trial contains a recollection of the text.

June 1429 - Letter asking the Duke of Burgundy to attend the coronation of Charles VII. Referred to in another letter to the Duke, listed below.

June 25, 1429 - Letter, dictated at Gien on June 25, 1429 and sent to the citizens of Tournai, announcing her victories during the Loire Valley campaign; the original survived in the archives of Tournai until the city's destruction during World War II.

July 4, 1429 - Letter, dictated at St. Phal on July 4, 1429 and sent to the citizens of Troyes, asking the city to declare itself for Charles VII; the full text was copied into the register of Jean Rogier.

July 17, 1429 - Letter, dictated at Rheims on July 17, 1429 and sent to the Duke of Burgundy, asking him to make peace with Charles VII. The original survives in the archives of Lille.

August 5, 1429 - Letter, dictated at Provins on August 5, 1429 and sent to the citizens of Rheims, announcing a truce with Burgundy and encouraging the city to stand fast. The original survives in the archives of Rheims.

Prior to August 16, 1429 - Letter, of which the contents are unknown, referenced in the archives of Compiègne.

August 22, 1429 - Letter, dictated at Compiègne on August 22, 1429 and sent to Count Jean IV d'Armagnac, in response to the Count's request for advice concerning which of the three rival Popes he should support; the full text was copied into the transcript of the Condemnation Trial.

Prior to September 14, 1429 - Letter, apparently dictated at Saint-Denis, the contents of which are unknown. A reference survives in the Archives of Compiègne.

September 22, 1429 - Letter to the citizens of Troyes, dictated at Gien, describing the attack on Paris. A brief reference survives in the municipal registers of Troyes.

November 7, 1429 - Letter to the citizens of Clermont asking the city to send supplies to her army for the siege of La-Charité-sur-Loire; a reference survives in one of the city's documents. A similar letter was dictated the same day by Joan of Arc's commander, Lord Albret. [click here for several letters concerning this siege written by various personages]

November 9, 1429 - Letter, dictated at Moulins on November 9, 1429, and sent to the citizens of Riom asking for supplies to be sent to her army. The original survives in the archives of Riom. A somewhat longer letter was dictated the same day by Lord Albret.

November 20 (?), 1429 - Dictated around November 20 and sent to Charles VII concerning Catherine de La Rochelle, one of Friar Richard's alleged prophetesses whom Joan of Arc would oppose as a fraud. Referred to in the Condemnation Trial testimony.

(unknown day), 1429 - Letter sent to the King of Navarre. A reference to the document has survived in an index of the Archives of the Parliament of Le Nain, but the document itself has not been found.

(Apparently early January, 1430) - Letters sent to the city officials of Tours asking them to give 100 écus to Hauves Poulnoir (the man who made her battle flags) to cover the expenses of his daughter Heliote's wedding. Referenced in three entries in the government registers of Tours dating from January and February 1430.

March 16, 1430 - Letter, dictated at Sully to the citizens of Rheims on March 16, 1430, encouraging the city in the event of a siege. The original survives in the archives of the Maleissye family.

March 23, 1430 - Letter, dictated on March 23, 1430 at Sully-sur-Loire and sent to the Hussites (addressed as "the heretics of Bohemia"), threatening to lead a crusading army against them unless they return to orthodox Catholicism. Recorded by Jean Pasquerel. A copy of the text survives in the archives of Vienna.

March 28, 1430 - Final letter to the citizens of Rheims, dictated at Sully on March 28, 1430; summarizes recent events and encourages the citizens to hold fast. The original survives in the archives of the Maleissye family.


Return to the main index page.

Copyright © 2000 - 2007, Allen Williamson. All rights reserved.

Letters:

-----------
1429
-----------

March

March

March 22

Mar-Apr

Apr 30

May 5

June

June 25

July 4

July 17

Aug 5

< Aug 16

Aug 22

< Sept 14

Sept 22

Nov 7

Nov 9

Nov 20

1429

-----------
1429
-----------

< Jan 19

Mar 16

Mar 23

Mar 28

Mar 23

-----------

Index Page