Cathars and Cathar Beliefs in the Languedoc
Bernard Benet of Montaillou


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Source Documents: Interrogation of Bernard Benet of Montaillou

 

 

 

 

Introduction to Jacques Fournier's Episcopal Inquisition

 

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers, created and conducted his own Episcopal inquisition in the first quarter of the fourteenth century. The interrogation of those suspected (or "vehemently suspected") of heresy usually took place in a chamber of his Episcopal palace at Pamiers. He sat judicially alongside a Dominican Inquisitor such as the Inquisitor for Toulouse or the Inquisitor for Carcassonne for the most important events but in most cases he sat with a Dominican from the local Convent in Pamiers deputizing for the Inquisitor of Carcassonne. Also present were various witnesses - Archdeacons, Priors, Rectors, Cistercian monks, Dominican friars, jurists and notaries. Notaries made notes in Occitan, and read them back in the same language "the vulgar tongue" before rewriting a final version in Latin. Witnesses were also sometimes questioned. None of the accused here had legal representation, and so faced a panel of legal experts - including one one of the finest canon lawyers in Christendom - alone.

Inquisitors are interested in three things:

  • Discovering and documented examples of "heresy" - any deviation from Catholic teaching (in one notable case for ridiculing the Catholic practice of placing a lighted candle in the mouth of sick people expected to die). Failing to report heresy was also an offense. Failing to report heresy also constituted heresy.
  • Discovering the identities of other "heretics" - those who had ever doubted any Catholic doctrine, who had associated with known heretics, or had been present as heretical events such as heretical preaching, Cathar baptisms ("heretication"), Cathar ritual greetings ("adoration"), or Waldensian ordinations.
  • Discovering details that might help identify other heretics, for example the Inquisitors are interested in what Baptized Cathars wore (usually black, dark blue or dark green clothes and cloaks with hoods) and where they meet.

Those accused were sometimes kept temporarily in a tower belonging to the Bishop under the control of the Bishop's jailer. Some, especially those facing more serious accusations were kept in another prison at the Chateau des Allemans, where hearings also took place.

Sentences were read out at separate public events, generally in a cemetery - either the cemetery of the Church of Saint-Jean-Martyr in Pamiers or the cemetery of the Church at Allemans. For a first offense fully admitted the accused might be imprisoned at a purpose built dungeon, called The Wall, in Carcassonne, or given a penance such as having to go on pilgrimage. If they survived the Wall long enough to be released, they would then have to wear conspicuous yellow crosses sewn into the front and back of their clothes. For second offenses (or first offenses where the accused refused to renounce their supposed errors) the penalty was death. Baptized Cathars and Waldensians both refused to swear oaths and this was itself sufficient to warrant death. Such "impenitent heretics" were burned alive in the graveyard immediately after the sentence had been announced. There was no appeal.

Sentences were not included with the deposition, but in a separate Book of Sentances, so all we have here are the words

.... pronounced the sentence on the said [name] in the terms which follow: "Let all know., etc." This sentence may be seen in the Book of sentences.

The medieval year ran from March to March, so for example our 1 February 1321 would be 1 February 1320 in medieval times. We denote it here as 1 February 1320 [1321].

 

 

The Case of Bernard Benet of Montaillou

 

Bernard's crime was to have failed to report to the Inquisition that he had attended a Cathar baptism (a Consolamentum, here called "heretication") at which he performed a ritual greeting (the melioramentum, here called "adoration") to a baptised Cathar (a Perfect, here called simply a "heretic").

 

 

 

Interrogation of Bernard Benet of Montaillou

 

 

 

 

 

 

26 March 1321,

Bernard Benet of Montaillou

In the chamber of the Bishop's Palace, Pamiers ???

 

 

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for the Inquisitor of Carcassonne,

Bernard Faissier, official of Pamiers,

Brothers Arnaud du Carla, O.P. of the convent of Pamiers,

Bernard de Centelles, monks of Fontfroide

David, monks of Fontfroide

Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary

 

 

 

The year of the Lord 1321, the 25th of March, Bernard Benet, son of Guillaume Benet of Montaillou, coming spontaneously before the Reverend Father in Christ My Lord Jacques, by the Grace of God Bishop of Pamiers, and Brother Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, appearing judicially in the presence of the discreet person Master Bernard Faissier, official of Pamiers, and the religious persons Brothers Arnaud du Carla, O.P. of the convent of Pamiers, Bernard de Centelles, David, monks of Fontfroide and of myself Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary of my said Lord Bishop, witnesses for this convocation, under the faith of an oath taken by him to tell the pure and entire truth, as much concerning himself as called as concerning others both living and dead as witness, in the matter of heresy and facts touching this crime, said, avowed and deposed as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

One day, but when I do not recall, after the Sunday of Quinquagesima (March 1, 1321), I was in my house. Bernard Clergue of Montaillou came to see me and called me into the courtyard of my house. I left with him and we went together, just the two of us, just below the house of Bernard Testanière of Montaillou. Bernard Clergue told me then that he wished to say something to me in secret, and asked me if I could keep this secret. I told him that I would do so gladly.

 

He told me then to go to Carcassonne to My Lord the Inquisitor and to tell him that I wished to confess something that had come back to my memory against certain people who had implicated themselves in the matter of heresy. This said, I told him that I had heard tell that about 16 or 20 years ago, Guillaume Guilabert, son of Jean Guilabert of Montaillou, had been hereticated during the sickness he was to die from; that Guillaume Authié, Arnaud Faure, Alazaïs, the wife of the said Arnaud Faure of Montaillou and Guillemette, the daughter of the said Jean Guilabert, and sister of the said Guillaume Guilabert, who was married at Gebetz to a man named Jean de Clémens were present at this heretication, but that the father of this Guillaume Guilabert had not been present.

 

He promised me that if I deposed and avowed this before the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, he would do the same before My Lord the Inquisitor before I left Carcassonne, that my crosses would be removed and that he would give me a field, called dels Molis, which had belonged to my father and which the said Bernard owned, as well as other pieces of property that he held, which had been my father's, which were now subject to My Lord the count because of heresy. He told me also that he would pay my expenses for the trip to and from Carcassonne.

 

He told me also that he was telling me this on the part of the rector, who had ordered that I should bear witness against the above-mentioned people. I said to Bernard: "How can I commit such a betrayal, and bear false witness against these people, and perjure myself about things I have no knowledge of?" He told me to say it boldly, because it was not a sin and that the rector had given the order after having been arrested and placed in the prisons of My Lord the Bishop. He also threatened me, implying that if I did not bear witness against these people, I would be burned.

 

I myself then promised Bernard Clergue to bear this witness, as much by reason of his promises as fear, although deep down I was not at all pleased. This said, we parted and later, during that entire week, he often repeated these words to me, particularly in that same place.

 

Did anyone hear what Bernard told you?

No.

 

Did you believe that what he told you was true, to wit that this betrayal, this false witness and this perjury were not sins?

No, on the contrary, I have always believed that these are sins and indeed mortal sins.

Later, Bernard Clergue came to find me one night, when I was already in bed, and made me get up; when I had gotten up and come towards him, near the portal called den Mamol, he repeated these same words concerning the betrayal of false witness, this threat and this promise, or words to the same effect, as he had done previously and I made him the same promise.

 

Did he make you swear to say or do these things?

No.

 

Was there anyone else present when you got up?

Pierre Estève was in the house, and he might have heard me get up. But I do not know if he heard me.

 

Later, the Thursday after the Sunday of Lent (March 12, 1321) when I had been warned by Bernard the preceding night that I would be leaving with him the following day for Carcassonne, to bear this witness, I arose that morning at dawn and headed toward Carcassonne. I found that Bernard Clergue and his wife Raimonde, and Pons Gary of Laroque d'Olmes, Bernard's nephew, had already left Montaillou, going towards Carcassonne; I followed them and met up with them while they were already eating in the house or tavern of Simon Fontrouge, in the region of Brenac. Upon seeing me, Bernard Clergue told me, and his wife and this Pons heard him, that I had done well to come, because if I had not come of my own free will, I would have brought as a prisoner in chains the following day to Carcassonne. Since I was fearful about this false witness which I was about to bear, I left them after we had eaten together and headed back towards Montaillou. Pons followed me, and rejoined me at the little drinking spot at Coudons, where I was drinking. He then said to me, on the part of Bernard, to come back and go with him to Carcassonne, and if I did not do so, he had an order from Bernard to arrest me and bring me chained to Carcassonne; and if he could not do it by his own means, he would raise a cry as against a heretic or a fugitive for heresy so that I would be arrested by the people of that region. Upon hearing this, and out of fear, although this displeased me greatly, I returned with this Pons, and found Bernard, who was waiting for us at the drinking spot of Galié. When Bernard Clergue saw that I had returned, he was very happy and we went together to Limoux. We lodged in the house den Cornas and that night after dinner Bernard took me aside and repeated to me exactly how I was to bear witness, making me the same promises as he had above, as well as the same threats. He added that I ought to ally myself with him and not be afraid of anyone, because he would protect me. And he gave me two pieces of silver (tournois d'argent), one for my expenses and the other to resole my shoes. The next day, he repeated the same explanations of the false witness that I was to bear and explained to me how I was to do it.

 

Then we continued on to Carcassonne. When we were at the hotel, Bernard and Pons came to see My Lord the Inquisitor, or so they said and remained there until just about mid-day. I remained at the hotel with Raimonde, the wife of Bernard Clergue.

 

She told me that I would have to go to see My Lord the Inquisitor who was in the City of Carcassonne, and that I should make my confession before him as I had been instructed by him and give my false witness. But I should be careful not to say to My Lord the Inquisitor that I had been instructed and taught by the said Bernard to give this false witness, because if I were to say that, I would be entirely lost and destroyed. He told me not to say to My Lord the Inquisitor that I had come with him, but that it was by myself and freely, but with Bernard's counsel, who had counseled me to come here myself. I said to Bernard Clergue: "Will not one of you come with me to see My Lord the Inquisitor?" He said no, but that I would go alone.

 

I went along, then, into the house of the Inquisition, in the city. I found there the Inquisitor, and when I was in the hearing room, My Lord the Inquisitor received from me an actual physical oath to tell the truth. I said then that I had come by myself, pushed by my conscience, to reveal what I knew against several people, concerning heresy, a thing that I had never confessed anywhere else, but that I had just remembered. I wanted to come of my own free will to reveal it, according to the counsel that I have received from this Bernard Clergue. I added then that it must have been 16 or 20 years ago that the late Guillaume Guilabert of Montailloue, according to what I had heard, had been hereticated during the sickness of which he was to die and that Guillaume Authié, Arnaud Faure, Alazaïs the wife of this Arnaud Faure of Montaillou and Guillemette, the duaghter of Jean Guilabert, who was married at Gebetz were present at this heretication.
He then asked me if I had been present at this heretication. I said no. He asked me then from whom I had heard that this heretication had taken place; I replied that I did not remember. As to which heretic had hereticated him, I said that I did not remember.

 

This deposition was written down and when it was done I returned to the house where Bernard was, and told him the deposition that I had made in front of My Lord the Inquisitor.

 

He told me that what I had done was not worth a thing, if I did not say and depose that I had been present at this heretication. I told him: "How could I say such a thing when it is not true?" He told me that if I would not speak as he had told me to testify, then I would be burned, and worse would happen to me, if he could arrange it. He told me then that "those people", without naming them, had said to Guillaume Belot to go find the heretics or a heretic to hereticate the said Guillaume (whom the people of Prades d'Alion had heard about) and to take me with him. This Guillaume Belot replied that I was too young and I would not be able to follow him. They said that I would do fine along the way and that he must take me at all costs. And then this Guillaume, taking me with him, went to Prades and while I stayed outside the town, went in, then came back towards me and said that the heretic was not there, but that he could find him toward the col de Marmare. We went there together, Guillaume and I, just to the place called Pla del Angle. Guillaume then called one more time, but no one replied; then he went a little bit further and called a second time, but once again no one responded. When we came to the fountain called del Coulobre, Guillaume called once again, and finally someone responded. We were waiting for a while at this place and either Guillaume Authié or Prades Tavernier (the heretics) arrived, accompanied by Guillaume Dejean, the son of Pierre Dejean de Prades. Guillaume and I adored the heretic and took him just to the entryway to Prades. Then leaving this town, we went towards Montaillou, by the place called Matemajou, while Guillaume Dejean remained at Prades. And Guillaume Belot, the heretic and I went to the house where the sick man, the said Guillaume Guilabert was lying. We entered through the granary (pailler) and at the entrance Guillaume Authié and Arnaud Faure of Montaillou came to meet us. The heretic then asked the said Guillaume Guilabert if he wished to be received by him into his faith and his sect. Guillaume said yes. The heretic then made numerous genuflections, then put a book on his head and hereticated him, ordering that he neither eat or drink anything from this time forth. Present at this heretication were myself, Guillaume Belot, Guillaume Authié, Arnaud Faure, Alamande, the wife of Jean Guilabert, mother of the sick man and Guillemette, the daughter of the said Jean Guilabert, sister of the sick man.

 

The heretication finished, all the above-mentioned adored the heretic in the heretical manner, saying three times: "Bless you, Good Christian, pray for us." Everyone also ate bread blessed by the said heretic and made an agreement with him that if they were to become sick unto death, they would wish to be received into his faith and his sect.

 

I said to Bernard Clergue: "How can I tell these lies, since this never happened or was spoken of?" He told me that it was necessary for me to say this, if I did not want to be burned. And he repeated this quite often to me that night. I promised him then that the next day I would confess this before My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne. And when I came back to Bernard, after having made this deposition before the Inquisitor, he told me that I had done well, and that he would protect me against all harm.

 

When I had made one of these depositions, Bernard Clergue and his wife Raimonde came with me to My Lord the Inquisitor who was in the city in the house of the Inquisition. The deposition made, as we were leaving the city together, Raimonde, the wife of Bernard, told him that he had committed a great sin in telling me to bear witness against the people as he had told me to. Bernard responded to his wife: "Be quiet, good woman, it is better for harm to come to others rather than to us." I told him, on the contrary, that the harm would return to him, Bernard.

 

Later I came back with him to Limoux and from there I went to Bélesta, where I have a married sister, named Esclarmonde, the wife of Guillaume Saint-Jean, then I returned to Montaillou.

 

Were you truly present at the heretication of the said Guillaume Guilabert, and did you go seek the heretics with Guillaume Belot as you have deposed before My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne?

No.

 

Did Guillaume Belot ever tell you that Guillaume Guilabert had been hereticated, or did anyone besides Bernard Clergue tell you this?

No.

 

Have you ever heard, or did any rumor run among the believers that this
Guillaume had been hereticated during the illness of which he was to die?

No, no that I know.

 

Has anyone or have any persons pressured you, instructed, bribed or made threats against you so that you would depose what you have just deposed before My Lord the Bishop, to revoke that confession that you made before My Lord the Inquisitor?

No.

 

Did this Bernard tell you why he wished you to make this false witness against the persons who were the object of this inquiry?

He told me that since Guillaume Authié, Arnaud Faure and Alazaïs the wife of this Arnaud had born evil witness against his brother, the rector of Montaillou, he wished that I would bear false witness against them, saying that they had been present at the heretication of Guillaume Guilabert, that they had adored the heretic, had eaten of his blessed bread and had made an agreement with him.

 

Have you told anyone, while you were in Montaillou, that you had made this false witness?

When I came back to Montaillou, I revealed this to the vicar, then the vicar brought me before Pierre Azéma, and I revealed this in their presence to the two of them, saying that I had been betrayed by this Bernard. And I recounted to them the substance of what I have just deposed above.

 

Interrogated concerning the heretication of his sister Alazaïs, wife of Jean Berthoumieu of Ax, who died in his father Guillaume Benet's house, he said:

 

About two weeks after the death of Alazaïs, my father Guillaume Benet told me, in his field called de l?Argelier, where I was working and harvesting beets, that his daughter had been received by the good men into their faith and their sect, and that Guillaume Authié had received her and made her a Good Christian. It was the late Guillaume Belot or Raimond Belot who had brought her. I do not recall which one he told me.

 

Interrogated on the heretication of his brother Raimond Benet, he said:

Three weeks after the death of Raimond, while I was with my father at the place called la Colel, he told me that his son Raimond had been made a Good Christian during the illness of which he was to die, by a Good Christian who was either Guillaume Authié or Prades Tavernier. I do not recall which of the two he told me. And he told me that it was Guillaume Belot who had come to hereticate his son.

 

Have you heard other people talk of the two heretications?

No.

 

Have you heard tell or do you know who was present?

No.

 

Were you yourself present?

No.

 

And since it is evident from his confession that he has born false witness in a matter of faith, by accusing innocent people, as he has said, he was arrested by my said Lord Bishop and he ordered him to be placed at once in the Château des Allemans, which is reserved for such people.

 

 

 

 

30 March 1321,

Bernard Benet of Montaillou

In the chamber of the Bishop's Palace, Pamiers ???

 

 

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for the Inquisitor of Carcassonne,

Bernard Faissier, official of Pamiers,

Brothers Arnaud du Carla, O.P. of the convent of Pamiers,

Bernard de Centelles, monks of Fontfroide

David, monks of Fontfroide

Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary

 

 

 

The 30th of March, before the bishop, Gaillard de Pomiès and the same witnesses.

 

About 15 or 16 years ago, it seems to me, my father Guillaume Benet was mortally sick. When he started to grow weak, he said to Guillaume Belot who had come to visit him to take him to the Good Christians (that is to say, the heretics) so that they might receive him into their faith and their sect. Guillaume Belot brought the heretic Guillaume Authié to my father, who was sick in bed in the part of the house where the animals sleep. My father then, upon seeing this heretic, asked him to make him a Good Christian and to receive him into his sect and his faith. He could barely still speak when he said this to the heretic.

 

The heretic then placed a book on my father's head and hereticated him, and after this, he ordered that henceforth he should neither eat nor drink, which he did. During this heretication, I myself was present, as well as my mother Guillemette,

 

Bernard Clergue and Guillaume Belot of Montaillou, who all adored this heretic, after he had hereticated my father, by kneeling before him, with their heads bent and their hands placed on the earth, in the heretical manner and by saying three times: "May you bless, Good Christian, and pray for us." and the heretic replied: "May God bless you all and bring you all to a good end." When this was done, Guillaume Belot left with this heretic and I do not know where they went. I remained with my father and Bernard Clergue and my mother also stayed there.

 

Did you father agree beforehand that he would be hereticated?

Yes.

 

Have you avowed the heretications of your sister Alazaïs, your brother Raimond Benet and your father Guillaume Benet before My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne?

I do not recall if I avowed these or not.

 

 

 

 

31 March 1321,

Bernard Benet of Montaillou

In the chamber of the Bishop's Palace, Pamiers

 

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for the Inquisitor of Carcassonne,

Guillaume Audibert, licensed in Law and bachelor in statutes,

Arnaud du Carla, Dominican

Bernard de Centelles, monk of Fontfroide

David, monk of Fontfroide

Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary

 

 

 

After this, the same year as above, the last day of March, the said Bernard appeared judicially in the chamber of the bishop's palace before my said Lord Bishop, assisted by Brother Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, in the presence of the discreet person My Lord Guillaume Audibert, licensed in Law and bachelor in statutes, of the religious persons Brothers Arnaud du Carla, of the order of Preachers, David and Bernard de Centelles, monks of Fontfroide and of myself, Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, witnesses above-mentioned for these convocations; since he wished to revoke the confession and deposition that he had made on March 29th, as he said, he was given a physical oath to tell the truth in the matter of heresy, purely and completely, as much concerning himself as charged as concerning others both living and dead as witness. This oath having been taken, he said, avowed and deposed as follows:

 

About 16 or 20 years ago, I do not recall the time exactly, the late Guillaume Belot of Montaillou came one night to find me in the garden of my father's house, which was contiguous to the house, or else in the street near the garden and he told me that I was needed to go to Prades to find Guillaume Authié or Prades Tavernier, the heretics, so that one of those two could come to receive Guillaume Guilabert who was mortally ill, into their faith and sect. I told him that I was a child and I could not follow or walk with him. He told me that I could, on the contrary, because he would walk slowly enough that I could keep up with him. I then went with this Guillaume Belot, and came to the house of Guillaume Guilabert. We were going toward Prades by the road that is called the Serrat de Prades, and when we were near that town, I rested in the fields and Guillaume went into the town to find the heretics. A moment later he returned, telling me that he had not been able to find Guillaume Authié or Prades Tavernier, the heretics, because they had already left for the Sabarthès, and he had to follow them. We left then together, and when we came to the place called Au-dessus de l?Angle, he called out loudly but no one replied. Then we went together even further, and when we came to the spring at Coulobre, he once again called out loudly and no one replied. We continued a bit further, and he cried again a third time, and that time we heard someone reply and we awaited him. A moment later either Prades Tavernier or Guillaume Authié, the heretic arrived, I do not remember which one, but with him came Guillaume Dejean, the son of Pierre Dejean of Prades.

 

Then Guillaume Belot and I myself, on the order of this heretic, adored him in the heretical manner, saying: "May you bless, etc." then Guillaume Belot told him that he had come to find him so that he could go to Montailllou to receive Guillaume Guilabert, who was gravely ill. The heretic replied that he would do so gladly and we went together just to Prades. Guillaume Dejean left us there and went into the town. The heretic, Guillaume Belot and I went towards Montaillou, passing by the place called Matemajou and went right away to the house of this Guillaume Guilabert. We went in by the granary and from this granary Guillaume Authié of Montaillou and Arnaud Faure came towards us and welcomed the heretic and us. We entered all together into the house. Present and observing all that was done were: myself, Guillaume Belot the heretic, Arnaud Faure, Guillaume Authié, Alazaïs, the wife of Arnaud Faure, Alamande, the wife of Jean Guilabert, Guillemette, sister of Guillaume Guilabert, who was married in Gebetz and the sick man. The heretic asked Guillaume Guilabert, who could barely speak, if he wished to be received into this faith and his sect. He said yes. Then the heretic made deep genuflections and placed a book on the head of the sick man and hereticated him in my presence and in my sight, as well as that of the other people. And after having hereticated him, he gave him the order not to eat or drink anything in the future. This done, Guillaume Belot and I left and headed back to his house, while the heretic remained in Guillaume Guilabert's house. And I do not know where the heretic went after that. This Guillaume died of this sickness.

adored

 

heretic

 

heretication

In what place did this heretication take place?

In the house of Jean Guilabert, father of Guillaume, and in the part of the house called the foyer (foganha) or in a room right next to the foyer, but I do not recall if it was in the foyer or the next room that he was lying when the heretication took place.

 

Have you deposed the same thing before My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne?

Yes, as in this present confession, or to the same effect.

 

If this deposition made before the Inquisitor is true as you now claim, why have you retracted it before My Lord the Bishop?

This year, about two weeks before Lent, Bernard Clergue of Montaillou came to my house and called to me. I went towards him and we went just below the house of Bernard Testanière. He told me then that My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne have received witness on the heretication of the late Guillaume Guilabert of Montaillou, witnesses who deposed that I, along with Guillaume Belot, had brought the heretic who had hereticated this sick man in his last illness. I told him that I did not remember this. Bernard told me to remember it, because the witnesses had already made their depositions and that if I did not depose the same thing at Carcassonne, I would be cited by My Lord the Inquisitor concerning this heretication. I began then to reflect and finally, I was able to remember how this heretication had taken place. And when Bernard came back eight days later, we found ourselves in the same place, we met again at this same place, and I told him what I remembered of this heretication, except that I did not remember that I had been present.

heretication

Bernard then told me to go confess this to My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, that he would pay my expenses and would even obtain from My Lord the Inquisitor that he would remove my crosses. I told him that I would go there for sure, and about fifteen days later, when I was on the plateau of the château of Montaillou, Alazaïs, the wife of Arnaud Faure, came by and she was carrying an empty sack on her head. She told me that she had heard tell that I was going to go to My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, to denounce the heretication of the late Guillaume Guilabert, her brother, which would do damage and dishonor the the dead Guillaume, and to her house, and that if I would abstain from doing so, she would give me a half dozen sheep, or even a dozen or anything else that I wanted. I told her that I would in no way renounce my denunciation of this heretication.

 

Who was present?

Just Alazaïs and I.

 

Guillaume Authié told me around the same time, and the door of den Fort: "And why do you want to reveal the heretication of Guillaume Guilabert?" I told him that this was because it was the truth. He told me then that if I would refrain from doing so, he would give me anything I asked of him. I told him I would not renounce this at any price. Toward the same time, Raimonde, the wife of this Guillaume Authié, came to my house and said: "And why do you want to inform on me (literally, weed me out)?" I told her that if Guillaume was at fault, it was not I who was informing on her but that he himself was responsible.

 

Later, the Thursday after the Sunday of Lent (12 March 1321), I was going towards Carcassonne with Bernard Clergue, who as was said above, preceded me with his wife Raimonde and his nephew Pons Gary, and I found them at the drinking place called Simon's, which is in the Brenac region. There this Bernard told me to go back, because it would be better if I would hide this heretication than if I would reveal it. I told him that I would either reveal it at Carcassonne to My Lord the Inquisitor or at Pamiers to My Lord the Bishop and I left Bernard. When I was at the drinking place at Coudons, Pons, who had followed me, came to me and told me on the part of Bernard to come back to Bernard and that we would go to Carcassonne, because it would be better if I revealed this heretication before My Lord the Inquisitor, rather than before My Lord the Bishop of Pamiers; he said this was because the people who had been present at this heretication, whom I wished to denounce, had already arrived at Pamiers to accuse me. This is why I returned and rejoined Bernard; I went with him to Carcassonne and deposed before My Lord the Inquisitor, one time, and in this deposition I did not say that I was present at this heretication. When I said this to Bernard, he told me that I had done nothing, since I did not say that I was present. I said to Bernard: "How could I say that, since I do not remember it?" He told me: "Say it boldly, because it is better for you to say it than not to say it." The next day I went before My Lord the Inquisitor and deposed before him that I was present at this heretication.

 

Then, when I had returned to Montaillou, Pierre Azéma of Montaillou threatened me gravely because I was going to depose and avow these things at Carcassonne before My Lord the Inquisitor and also because what I had deposed about this heretication was false and I could not prove it; and that for this I would suffer ill fortune. And he gave me advice to go before My Lord the Bishop of Pamiers and depose before him everything that I had deposed concerning this heretication before My Lord the Inquisitor, i.e. that I had been instructed and suborned by the prayers and threats of Bernard Clergue, and therefore everything contained in that confession was false. He advised me to do this in my house or in the garden, then later in the place called Trialh. Later, Pierre Azéma, before I had come back from Carcassonne, had taken my livestock under order the My Lord the count. For myself I wanted to make a complaint to the bailiff of Prades. Pierre Azéma told me not to go there, and he would return my livestock that day or the next. And since Raimond Trilhe, the vicar of Montaillou was also present there with Pierre Azéma, this same Pierre Azéma sent his son Raimond to look for Bernard Maury, consul of Montaillou. When he arrived, he told me that if I were to retract what I had said and deposed about the heretication of Guillaume Guilabert before the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, he would return my livestock. And he both suggested and told me to retract what I had vowed before the Inquisitor and to say that I had never been present at the heretication, nor had even known about it, and to depose this way before My Lord the Bishop.

 

This Pierre told me this in the presence of the vicar and the consul. And when we came to the château of Montaillou, Pierre Azéma ordered the lieutenant of the châtelain of the château to put me in irons and arrest me and to put me in the oubliettes in the tower of the château because, he said, I was going to depose on this heretication before My Lord the Inquisitor and because of this fact I was a fugitive from the county of Foix. And, thus arrested, I remained a prisoner in the château for two days and two nights, until Pierre Azéma took me, a prisoner as it were, to Lordat and along the way, between Caussou and Lordat, he insisted from me that I would say before My Lord the Bishop that the heretication of Guillaume Guilabert had never taken place, but that Bernard Clergue had indoctrinated me and forced me with threats and promises to depose as I had done before My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, when in reality this heretication had never taken place. He told me that if I did not depose thus, he would imprison me in the château of Lordat and see to it that I was hanged. He told me also that if I were to perjure myself before My Lord the Bishop, this would not be a sin, and that My Lord the Bishop would not see it as being anything bad. He told me also at Lordat and elsewhere that if I bore this false witness, as he instructed me, I would not be subject to death, and if I were, he would undergo it for me.

 

And, thus seduced and forced by this Pierre, I made my first deposition before My Lord the Bishop.
And he said nothing else pertinent.

 

 

 

 

7 April 1321,

Bernard Benet of Montaillou

In the Château des Allemans

 

 

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for the Inquisitor of Carcassonne,

Guillaume Audibert, licensed in Law and bachelor in statutes,

Arnaud du Carla, Dominican

David, monk of Fontfroide

Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary

 

 

 

After this, the same year as above, the 7th of April, the said Bernard, appearing judicially in the Château des Allemans before my said Lord Bishop, assisted by Brother Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, in the presence of My Lord Guillaume Audibert, the Brothers Arnaud du Carla and David and myself, Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary, witnesses for this convocation, since it appears from the deposition and avowals of persons who were present at the said heretication that the said Bernard did not assist at this event, and since he has said in his first deposition made before My Lord the Inquisitor that he was not present, and that, as a result of being indoctrinated by Bernard Clergue, he has said that he was present, he was asked if in realty he was present while this heretication took place. He said yes.

 

Since you were present, can you tell us on which side of the bed the heretic was standing when he arrived?

I do not remember.

 

Did the heretic ask the sick man if he wished to be received into their faith and their sect?

I do not recall if the heretic said this or not.

 

Were there any other persons present at this heretication than those who were the object of your deposition?

I do not recall.

 

Which person were you standing near when the heretication took place?

I do not know.

 

Did anyone arrive while the heretication was taking place or after the arrival of the heretic?

I do not know.

 

Did you see Guillaume Authié and Arnaud Faure adore the heretic after the heretication?

I did not see it, because when it took place, Guillaume Belot and I had just gone out.

 

Did you see Guillaume Authié and Arnaud Faure leave the house, while the heretic remained within?

Guillaume Belot and I left the house and Guillaume Authié and Arnaud Faure remained with the heretic and the other persons that I named above.

 

When he was hereticated, was the malade lying in the foyer (foganha) or in a room?

In the room just to the side of the foyer.

 

Was there anyone else present when Pierre Azéma told you to go to My Lord the Bishop of Pamiers to retract the confession that you had made before My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne and to say that Bernard Clergue had suborned and indoctrinated you to bear false witness against the dead man and the other persons named above?

There were present Raimond Marty, Raimond Trilhe, vicar of Montaillou, Raimond Authié, Jean Benet and Bernard Authié, son of the said Raimond.

 

Did Pierre Azéma promise you to give you anything for retracting your confession?

No.

 

Since you have been at Mas-Saint-Antonin, has Pierre Azéma talked to you about the retraction of your confession in front of anyone?

He spoke those words to me, but no one heard them.

 

After this, when he had been released from the prison of the château des Allemans for the feast of Easter and had been brought to Mas-Saint-Antonin, to remain there at liberty; since he had been enjoined by my said Lord Bishop not to leave this locality and the house of the bishop, this same Bernard, without asking permission fled the locality clandestinely and went towards Puigcerda. Then, since he had come back to Ax, around the time of the following Pentecost, Pierre Roussel and his wife Alissende had him arrested in that place, and had him brought as a prisoner to Brother Gaillard de Pomiès, Prior of the convent of Pamiers, vicar of My Lord the Bishop in spiritual cases and particularly in the affairs of the faith. My Lord the Bishop had him placed in the prison of the château des Allemans.

 

 

 

 

20 June 1321,

Bernard Benet of Montaillou

In the chamber of the bishop's palace, Pamiers

 

Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers

Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for the Inquisitor of Carcassonne,

Arnaud du Carla, Dominican

David, monk of Fontfroide

Jean Guilhard, monk of Fontfroide

Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary

 

 

 

 

After this, the same year as above, the 20th of June, the said Bernard was brought into the Episcopal Chamber of Pamiers, in the presence of my said Lord Bishop, who was assisted by Brother Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, in the present of the religious persons the Brother Arnaud du Carla, O.P., of the convent of Pamiers, David and Jean Guilhard, monks of Fontfroide and of myself Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary of my said Lord Bishop, witnesses for these convocations. His preceding confessions were read to him intelligibly and in the vulgar tongue and he was asked if he wished to persist and persevere in the said confessions. He said that everything that he had avowed and deposed above, he had vowed before My Lord the Bishop, but that the first retraction of the confession that he had made before My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassonne made before My Lord the Bishop, was not true, but that he had made it suborned and indoctrinated by Pierre Azéma. The other confession, on the contrary, are true, and he wished to hold them and persevere in them and he repents greatly of having made this retraction, as well as the other heretical acts he has committed and he wishes to do all penance and purge all punishment that our lords the bishop and the Inquisitor wish to impose on him for these misdeeds. And he abjured all heresy according to the formula below and asked for absolution:

 

I, Bernard Benet, appearing judicially before you, Reverend Father in Christ, Jacques, by the Grace of God Bishop of Pamiers, abjure entirely all heresy that rises against the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Roman Church, and all beliefs of heretics, of any sect condemned by the Roman Church, and especially of the sect which I followed, and all complicity, welcome, defense and frequenting of these heretics, under pain of punishment which is due in case of a relapse into the heresy here renounced judicially; Item, I swear and promise to pursue according to my power the heretics of any sect condemned by the Roman Church and especially the sect that I followed, and the believers, followers, welcomers and defenders of these heretics, and those that I know or believe to be in flight for reason of heresy, and to have arrested and sent, according to my power, any heretic at all among them to my said Lord Bishop or to the Inquisitors of the heretical deviation at all times and in any place that I learn of the existence of the above said or one amongst them;

 

Item, I swear and promise to hold, guard and defend the Catholic faith which the Holy Roman Church preaches and observes;

 

Item, I swear and promise to obey and defer to the order of the Church, to My Lord the Bishop and the Inquisitors and to appear on the day and days assigned before them or their replacements, at all times and in whatever place that I receive the order or requisition on their part, by messenger or by letter or in some other way, to never flee not absent myself knowingly in a spirit of contumaciousness and to receive and accomplish according to my power the punishment and the penance that they may judge good to impose upon me. And to this effect I engage my person and all my goods.

 

This abjuration made, the said Bernard renounced and concluded and asked that sentence be given, pleading that he might be treated with mercy in this regard.

 

And I, Rainaud Jabbaud, cleric of Toulouse, sworn in the matter of the Inquisition, have, on the order of My Lord the Bishop, faithfully corrected the said confessions against the original.

 

 

 

 


Translation by Nancy Stork, San José State University - to whom many thanks for permission to reproduce this text.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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