Depart from Vaucouleurs


St. Catherine Fierbois

In Touraine, not far from Chinon, lies the Church of Saint Catherine de Fierbois. After Joan was validated by the Dauphin but before she went to Orleans, Joan sent an armorer to collect a sword that was buried behind the altar of this church. She later testified that her voices told her the sword would be there. Charles Martel (Charlemagne's grandfather) left the sword in the chapel to commemorate his 732 victory in excising the Saracens. Joan loved the sword because of its relationship to Saint Catherine. Joan also stayed in the rectory near the chapel the night before she reached Chinon.


Joan journeyed from Vaucouleurs to Chinon for eleven days with six companions: Squire Jean de Nouillonpont (also called Jean of Metz), Squire Betrand de Poulengy, Julien (Betrand's servant), Jean of Honnecourt (Jean of Metz's servant), the royal messenger Colet de Vienne, and his servant Richard Larcher. Chinon's chateau is actually three castles in one and is strongly built. The castle is on a high ridge above the town which offers a good defensive position with steep drop offs on each side. This was a favorite residence of Charles VII in part perhaps because the Royal Lodging was a separate building from the main portion of the castle offering the Dauphin some degree of privacy and separation. Joan first met Charles in the Great Hall of the Royal Lodging. It took a great deal of debating among Charles VII and his advisors before they decided to allow Joan to see the him for some of them feared she might be mad. Once Joan was permitted to present herself before the court they tested her by saying another extravagantly dressed lord was the King. Joan was not fooled nor intimidated however and calmly delivered her message to the true Dauphin. The Maid was able to persuade him to listen to her but he sent her on to Poitiers to be examined by prelates, theologians, and masters of the university so that he could be assured that Joan was not a witch.


After seeing the Dauphin at Chinon, Joan was taken to Poitiers. There, she was examined by a group of churchmen who were appointed by the King. They met at several locations within Poitiers including: the house of a woman called La Macee and the Hotel de la Rose. Years later, one of the towers in Poitiers is still called 'Tour de la Pucelle' in memory of Joan.

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