Footnote 647

Unlike the Duke of Alençon, Lord Dunois, etc, whose interaction with Jehanne was described in considerable detail, Rais makes his appearance as virtually little more than a name on a list. The notion, promoted by a few modern authors, that he served as her "bodyguard" is fiction (Jean d'Aulon performed that role), and the idea that they were "close friends" (which may apply in Alençon's case but not for Rais) is an invention drawn from his mere inclusion as one of dozens of commanders listed at various points in her campaigns.
Just to use some representative examples to demonstrate how Lord Rais is actually recorded in the evidence:

From "Chronique de la Pucelle": "The Duke of Alençon and the Maiden stayed in the town of Orléans for some days, during which time there came, along with great numbers of knights, the Lord of Rais, the Lord of Chauvigny, the Lord of Laval and the Lord of Lohéac - his brother - and other great lords, to serve King Charles in his army...
"Jean, Duke of Alençon, lieutenant-general of the King's army, accompanied by the Maiden and many great lords, barons, and nobles, among whom were my lord Louis de Bourbon, Count of Vendôme; the Lord of Rais; the Lord of Laval; the Lord of Lohéac; the Vidame of Chartres; the Lord of La Tour, and other lords..." (For the original language, see: Quicherat's "Procès...", Vol IV, pp. 238, 239).

Guillaume Gruel: "... those in the lead were Poton and La Hire, Penensac, Girard de La Paglière, Amador, Stevenot, and many men of great estate mounted on horseback. And my lord the Connétable [i.e., Richemont], my lord of Alençon, the Maiden, my lord of Laval, my lord of Lohéac, the Maréchal of Rais, the Bastard of Orléans [i.e., Dunois] and Gaucourt, and large numbers of lords..." (For the original language, see: Quicherat's "Procès...", Vol IV, pp. 318 - 319; Vavasseur's "Chronique d'Arthur de Richemont", p. 73; and Petitot's "Collection...", Vol VIII, p. 451.)

Enguerrand de Monstrelet: "And the Connétable, the Maréchal de Boussac [i.e., Lord Saint-Sévère], La Hire, Poton, and other commanders were appointed for the vanguard, and the rest, such as the Duke of Alençon, the Bastard of Orléans, the Maréchal of Rais, were leaders of the main division which followed fairly close behind the vanguard..." (For the original language, see: Quicherat's "Procès...", Vol IV, p. 371).

Perceval de Cagny: "The Maréchal of Rais, La Hire, Gaucourt, Poton de Saintrailles and other commanders were at Blois that day to escort her..." (For the original language, see: Quicherat's "Procès...", Vol IV, p. 5).

Jean Chartier: "And in the King's company were the Duke of Alençon, the Duke of Bourbon [i.e., Clermont], the Count of Vendôme, Jehanne the Maiden, the Lord of Laval, the Lord of La Trémoille, the Lord of Rais, Lord Albret, the Lord of Lohéac, brother of the Lord of Laval, and many other great lords and commanders..." (For the original language, see: Quicherat's "Procès...", Vol IV, p. 69).

Jacques le Bouvier (the Royal Herald "Berri"): "And there [at the attack on Les Tourelles] were the Lord of Rais, the Bastard of Orléans, the Lord of Gaucourt, the Lord of Graville, the Lord of Guitry, the Lord of Courraze, the Lord of Villars, my lord Denis de Chailly, the [Royal] Admiral my lord Louis de Culan, La Hire, Poton, the Knight Commander of Giresme [i.e., Friar Nicholas de Giresme], my lord Florent d'Illiers, the Bastard of Masqueran, Thibault de Termes, and many others..." (For the original language, see: Quicherat's "Procès...", Vol IV, pp. 43 - 44).

"Journal du Siège d'Orléans": "And he [the king] left Gien on Saint Peter's feast day, in the month of June, accompanied by the Maiden, the Duke of Alençon, the Count of Clermont - afterwards Duke of Bourbon - the Count of Vendôme, the Lord of Laval, the Count of Boulogne, the Bastard of Orléans, the Lord of Lohéac, the Maréchaux of Saint-Sévère and Rais, the Admiral of Culan and the lords of Thours, Sully, Chaumont-sur-Loire, Prie, Chauvigny, and La Trémoille, La Hire, Poton, Jamet du Tilloy, [Tudual de Carmoisen], called Bourgeois, and many other lords..." (For the original language, see: Quicherat's "Procès...", Vol IV, p. 180).

In one of the few cases in which his name is mentioned outside of a long list, he's still merely described as an example of the many lords who happened to have accompanied Jehanne in a specific assault:

Jean Chartier: "... and nevertheless [despite the water in the moats around Paris] she came with great numbers of men-at-arms, among whom was the Lord of Rais..." (For the original language, see: Quicherat's "Procès...", Vol IV, p. 87).

Out of this, modern authors have fabricated a story of close friendship and even alleged collaboration in Rais' later activities.
In fairness, the trend seems to have begun innocently enough: a few authors found themselves surprised by the juxtaposition of what one person has termed "the saint and the sinner", evidently being unaware that: 1) Lord Rais, whatever his faults may have been at that time, had not yet embarked on his infamous career of degradation at this early point in his life, 2) Even if he had, it was hardly rare to find disreputable men among the extremely varied group of commanders and mercenaries who were contracted haphazardly into the Royal army, a process over which Jehanne had no control aside from her attempts to reform the group she was stuck with.
Popular authors were often unaware of this, and still later authors then proceeded to embellish on the theme by adding entirely fictional embroideries in which Rais suddenly becomes the chief Royal commander and one of Jehanne's best buddies. It then became worse: ironically, a story that was originally spurred by astonishment at the differences between "the saint and the sinner" was gradually reworked into the claim that Jehanne's association with Rais would prove that she was "not a saint", and - worse yet - the related claim that she had introduced Rais to the mentality and beliefs associated with his later murders. The tale gradually grew in the telling until it no longer bore any resemblance to reality.
The reality was that there were a great many "sinners" in these French Royal armies, and Lord Rais was, at least at that time, by no means the worst of the bunch. The seemingly minimal level of contact he had with the saint does not distinguish him in that regard from the others: even commanders such as Gaucourt and Albret (who are usually glossed over entirely by many pop authors) would seem to have had a closer association with her, as we have some detailed accounts or other surviving evidence concerning this. Perhaps if these two had later committed a series of sensational crimes, modern sensationalistic authors would cite them more prominently.


Copyright © 2003, Allen Williamson. All rights reserved.

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