led the Crusade ?
Coats of Arms
Coats of arms
Them All ... "
Cathars still exist ?
Cross of Toulouse
Source Documents: Barthélemy Amilhac, Testimony to the
Barthélemy Amilhac, a priest was the husband of
de Planissolles from the famous village of Montaillou.
The town is famous largely because of what happened to its
inhabitants. They were all arrested on the orders of the
Bishop of Pamiers on suspicion of Cathar
sympathies - what the Roman Catholic Church regarded as
first appeared before the Inquisition
on Saturday 26 July 1320 at the Episcopal Palace in Pamiers.
She had been summoned by Jacques
Fournier, the Bishop of Pamiers, to answer charges
of blasphemy, witchcraft, and heresy, charges which were
not clearly distinguished.
had no choice but to implicate others in order to save
her own life. One such was the priest Barthélemy
Amilhac, her own husband.
Barthélemy Amilhac may have been fluent in Latin
but all not priests of the period were, so it is not clear
whether he gave his testimony in Latin, or in Occitan
which was then transcribed in Latin by the clerk.
Confession of Barthélemy Amilhac, priest, concerning
his complicity in and concealment of heresy
In the year of the Lord 1320, the 11th of September. It
has come to the attention of our reverend Father in Christ,
Monsignor Jacques, by the Grace of God Bishop of Pamiers,
that Barthélemy Amilhac, priest of Lladros in the
diocese of Urgel, has been an accomplice in heresy, in giving
assistance and counsel to Beatrice, spouse of Otho Lagleize
of Dalou, who was cited for heresy, and after appearing
before the Bishop, fled the bishopric of Pamiers and took
herself to other secret places. This Barthelemy knew that
Beatrice was a heretic and erred concerning the Christian
faith, and did not denounce her to the Inquisitors of heresy;
because of this he is strongly suspected of heresy himself,
and furthermore strongly suspected of witchcraft and casting
spells. He has been denounced for putting himself in concubinage
with this Beatrice, and after having known her carnally,
helping her to leave the bishopric of Pamiers where they
had lived together, to take her into his country, for the
purpose of there keeping her as his concubine or public
spouse, openly and with a pledge, according to the abuse
of that country; moreover he committed numerous and diverse
thefts in the bishopric of Pamiers.
was not a trial as we understand the term now.
The guilt of the accused was presumed from the start: It
was a crime not only to be a heretic, but a crime even to
be suspected of heresy.
My said Lord Bishop, wishing to interrogate him concerning
this subject, since he was arrested with the said Beatrice,
fugitive for heresy, had him brought before him in the Chamber
of the episcopal seat of Pamiers, with the assistance of
Brother Gaillard of Pomiès, substitute for My Lord
the Inquisitor of Carcassonne.
The said priest having appeared for questioning, My Lord Bishop received from him personally his pledge to tell the
pure and entire truth concerning that which preceeds and
other facts concerning the Catholic Faith, as much concerning
himself as charged as concerning others living and dead
as witness. This same priest, on the faith of his sworn
oath, vowed and set down what follows concerning the charge
of concealment of the heresy of this Beatrice, of which,
it is said, he had knowledge:
It was four years ago at Pentecost that
I left Dalou in the diocese of Pamiers, where I had remained
for three straight years. The last year, from the month
of January to Pentecost, I conducted myself badly with this
Beatrice and knew her carnally often in her house, which
was close to the church.
The first time, I was solicited by her. One day when I
was at the church teaching the schoolchildren of the town,
including two daughters of Beatrice named Philippa and Ava,
Beatrice told me to come see her that evening, which I did.
When I arrived in her house, there was no one present but
herself, and I asked her what she wished. She told me that
she loved me and that she wished that we could have carnal
relations together, to which I consented. And forthwith,
I knew her carnally in the room of that house. I did this
often afterwards, but I did not remain with her through
the night. We watched intently, she and I, for the moment
where her daughters and her servant were no longer at the
house and then we committed this sin.
At this time and previously, Guillaume of Montaut, the
rector of the church of Dalou, said often, in my presence,
that this Beatrice was a public woman, and refused herself
to no one who wished to have her. He said also that she
was a terrible heretic. At this time, I had not heard from
anyone else that she was a heretic, and the rector never
told me why she was. I did not hear from Beatrice any word
that resembled heresy.
Later, in the octave of Pentecost, when defaming rumours
circulated against us, Beatrice told me that I should not
remain for any price in the country, because she was afraid
that the brothers would do evil to her, and she said that
she herself did not wish to remain. She asked me then what
the priests of the country of Pallars did when they had
concubines or "housewives" ("focorias").
I told her that they kept them openly and publicly just
as the layfolk do their spouses, that these woman have dowries,
that their children succeed to the paternal and maternal
inheritance. The priests promise their concubines to maintain
them during their entire life and provide for what is necessary
and hold a wedding feast containing everything except the
sacramental vows of marriage, which are normally given in
a true mariage. And these priests are entitled to have concubines
and even widows; they give something each year (or nearly
so) to the bishop of the diocese, so that he will permit
them to live so.
Priestly celebacy had only recently been imposed and was
It was indeed normal, as the accused says, for priests
to pay to their bishops a fee for permission to keep a wife
or the equivalent of a wife.
(The point of priestly celebacy was to avoid the danger
of church roperty being diverted to the priest's family
after his death)
We decided then that we would leave for the country of
Pallars. Beatrice took her old clothes and 30 silver pennies
(libras turonenses), and preceded me by 2 days. She waited
for me at Vicdessos, then I followed her to Vicdessos and
entered with her into the country of Pallars. She had brought
along her daughter Philippa.
When we were at Lladros, we went to a notary. Beatrice
gave me title to her dowry of 30 pounds and I, for surety,
pledged all my goods and promised on my good faith that
if there were sons or daughters from our union, that they
would be heirs of myself and of her. I promised to provide
for their needs and to maintain them, both in sickness and
in health, and of all this was made a matter of public record
by Pierre de Lubersu, the priest of that place. I did not
make any other vows toward Beatrice, nor marry her, but
I kept her with me in the same house, and often in the same
place, in the same manner in which the priests of that place
maintain their "housewives" or concubines.
I remained with her thus for one year. At the time when
I was in my country with Beatrice, I quarreled several times
with her and called her a terrible old woman and a heretic,
reproaching her for coming from a heretical land. She replied
that I was a liar. We often had these words together. One
time when we were getting along well, I asked her if she
had ever seen heretics. She replied that she had not seen
them but she had been invited to see them when she lived
at Montaillou. She said, when she lived there, Madame Stéphanie
de Châteauverdun, who is dead, often sent messengers
for her to come see them. But Beatrice, who knew that she
was sending these messengers in order for her to come see
heretics, did not go for that reason. In the end Stephanie
sent her a message that she should do good to the Good Christians,
which the others called heretics. Beatrice, who wished to
take counsel concerning this, spoke to the rector of Montaillou,
who was her good friend and her comrade (compère,
compater) and ask him if it was good or bad to give something
to the Good Christians. The rector told her that it was
of great merit, because they were holy men, of whom it was
said, that they endured persecutions for God just as the
apostles and martyrs had; what they did, they did justly
and what they said was true, and therefore it was good to
give them something.
Good Christians = Cathars
He is refering to the priest Pierre Clergue
Then I said to Beatrice, "The priest who told you
this was a heretic." She replied, "No, he was
a good and honest man and known for such in the region.
I then asked "And you believed the advice of this priest?"
She said no. I told her that if she was in the bishopric
of Pamiers, or in a place where there was an Inquisitor,
I could have her arrested and that she knew much more concerning
heresy than what she said. Then she laughed and said that
curés more resolute in their faith than I, were of
the sect of the Good Christians. That same day, while we
were talking of this subject, she told me that when she
was living in Montaillou, a sick woman had remained in "endura"
for 15 days. After her death, she herself, Beatrice, was
with a woman of the place and there arrived another, her
comrade (commère) of the name of Clergue, who asked
the one who was with Beatrice if all had been done well
for this dead woman. She replied "well", that
nothing had been lacking, that there had been plenty of
time to do all that they wanted. The woman who had come
then said "Thanks to God, that all has passed well!"
"curés more resolute in their faith than I,
were of the sect of the Good Christians" - after a
full century of heavy persecution.
A rare reference to the Endura
- a form of suicide or euthenasia, according to taste.
Beatrice recounted a similar story in the course of her
She told me also that another person, at the time when
she lived in Montaillou, was gravely sick and asked her
sons to go seek out the Good Christians, who would save
her soul. Her sons said that if they brought the Good Christians
there they would lose all their goods. This sick woman replied
"You then love your goods more than my soul?"
According to Beatrice, although the Good Christians came
to this sick woman, they did not have the chance to hereticate
would sieze all goods, including property from the heirs
of anyone they adjudged heretic, even posthumously.
"heretication" was the Roman Church's name for
the Cathar ceremony of the Consolamentum
Did she give you the name of those persons
who were hereticated, the names of those who did it or those
who were present?
||As always, looking for further
people to investigate.
| She told me when she was engaged to Otho of
Lagleize her second husband and she had to come to Crampagna,
some persons of (the household of) Prades d'Alion came to
find her. These women said to her "What do you wish to
do? Why do you descend to the home of the dogs and wolves?
Now we have lost you, if you wish to go to the home of the
wolves!" Beatrice explained that by dogs and wolves,
these people and she herself understood the faithful Catholics
who lived in the low country. I told her that if people said
such things and if she were so often solicited to adhere to
heresy by the people of Montaillou and other places in the
Sabarthès, it would be astonishing if she was not a
heretic. She replied that God had given her great grace, when
she had left the Sabarthès, because if she had remained
there one more year, the heretics would have drawn her to
them, since she was strongly solicited to do so. I asked her
if she had seen these heretics, or given or sent them anything.
She said no.
dogs = dominical friars
wolves = Catholic clergy
Have you denounced all or any of
these heretical things to My Lord the Inquisitor or to a
No, not until now.
For how long were these reported vows
held between you and her?
About 4 years. Later, I remained one year
at the city of Carcassonne, in the church of St. Michael;
another year I stayed as priest at Sainte-Camelle near to
M. Pierre Arnaud, the knight, and that year I was employed
at the church of Mézerville.
Beatrice said at that time that God ought
to see to it that the priests, Priors, abbots, bishops,
archbishops and cardinals would no longer wish to sin carnally,
because in fact they were worse, sinned more in this way,
and wished to have women more than other men. Thus she strove
to excuse the sin of the flesh that she committed with me.
||What Beatrice said is consistent
with other sources of the period.
Later in the same year as above, the 12th of September,
in the Chamber of the bishop's residence, before the Bishop
and Gaillard of Pomiès.
At the time when I was living in Lladros with Beatrice,
she told me that when she was at Montaillou, many people
openly said that one ought to do good to the pilgrims and
all of the poor of the faith. They understood "the
poor of the faith" to be heretics, whom they called
She told me at this time that she had heard, when she was
at Montaillou, that a man of the region was gravely ill;
the priest brought him the body of the Lord, to give him
communion. When the priest said that he had brought the
body of the Lord and asked him if he wished to receive it,
the man responded "God protect me from eating the body
of the Lord, because that would be a very bad thing to do!
||Another reminder that the doctrine
of transubstantiation was at this period still viewed as an
Did she tell you the name of this man?
That year, the Tuesday after the Nativity of St. Jean the
Baptist, I went to Pamiers, and from there I sent a child
to Beatrice, who was then at Varilhes. He went to Rieux
de Pelleport and there found Alazaïs, the servant of
Beatrice. He told her from me to go see her mistress who
was at Varilhes, and to make her come to Mas-Vieux. The
above mentioned Beatrice came with Alazais to Mas-Vieux
after me, and we dined there in the house of a monk of that
church. After the meal, we went, by the road which is on
the other side of the Ariège, toward Pelleport. When
we were near Bénagues, Beatrice and I went into a
vineyard by the side of the road and there I knew her carnally.
The servant waited for us on the road. She had known for
a long time that I loved Beatrice. This sin consummated,
we resumed our journey. I walked with Beatrice and she told
me that Pons Bole, the notary of Varilhes, had told her
that he had heard bad news about her. She had asked him
"What news?" and he had told her that the Bishop of Pamiers wished to cite her.
||the day after the Nativity
of St. Jean the Baptist = 1 July (1320)
I said to her "Why would the bishop wish to cite you?"
She replied that she did not know why, and that she had
no fear, because she did not feel culpable, although this
Pons had told her that she would be cited for heresy if
she was not careful. She asked me then, if it would happen
that she was cited, if she should appear or not. I told
her to appear, because My Lord the Bishop would never do
any injustice to her.
I gave her then 15 silver pennies, and 2 pennies to Alazäis,
and I left them. We said nothing more and I did not see
her again until the Monday after the Feast of St. James
this year, the Monday where Beatrice sent a boy to me from
Belpech, to the place where I was dwelling, at Mézerville.
||the Feast of St. James = 28
This boy told me that a friend of mine, who was at Belpech,
had sent him to me so that I could go there to find her,
because she wished to speak to me. Since I had no friend
in this region, I asked him what this woman looked like
who had sent him, and he described certain traits of this
woman by which I knew that it was Beatrice. I went as soon
as possible to Belpech and found her in a house near the
castle. I took her away and took her to the house of Guillaume
Mole, a parchment maker of Belpech. We talked there in private,
without a witness. Since she was carrying a trousseau of
old clothes, I asked her why she had come and where she
wished to go. She replied that My Lord the Bishop of Pamiers
had cited her and that she had appeared before him the preceding
Saturday. He had received her severely and told her that
she was accused of heresy, in particular because she had
denied that the body of Christ was present in the sacrament
of the altar, and said that, if the true body of the Lord
was on the altar, even if it was as big as Mount Margail,
which is close to Dalou, it would have already been eaten,
by the priests alone. He told her that the heretics, Pierre,
Jacques and Guillaume Authié, had been in her house
at Dalou, that she had received, adored and aided them,
that she had had in her house Gaillarde Cuq, the divineress,
and had cast many spells with her help. When, she said,
she had denied all of this to My Lord the Bishop, he told
her that she was an evil heretic, that her father, Philippe
de Planissoles, had been a great heretic who had worn the
crosses and that bad fruits come from a bad tree (Mt. 7,17).
She was very upset about this, more so because My Lord Bishop,
whom My Lord the Archdeacon of Majorque and Pierre, the
rector of Pelleport, had supplicated in her favour, had
not listened to them but had spoken to the contrary and
that he would hear nothing in her favour, although she spoke
the truth. She was terrified also, because she had seen
many of the bishop's men in his Chamber and she had the
impression that they were going to arrest her immediately.
It seemed to her that My Lord Bishop was a terrible and
cruel man. He arrested both men and women, he had arrested
Dame Lorda (na Lorda) and her daughter and others who came
to him. Thus, her fear. Then, My Lord Bishop having given
her an order to return the following Tuesday, she returned
to Varilhes. Her daughters, Condors, Esclarmonde, Philippa
and Ava came to her house and made great lamentation. Messire
Pierre, rector of Rieux de Pelleport, told her that My Lord Bishop of Pamiers was a terrible man and that he had found
no sympathy from him when he had begged mercy for his mother.
Much of this is consistent with the testimony given by
The Authié brothers had re-introduced the Cathar
Faith to the area (from Lombardy)
"Adored" - According to the Catholic Church,
Cathars "adored" or "worshipped" their
This was a misunderstanding of a Cathar greeting ceremoniy
"worn the crosses" - yellow
crosses imposed by the Inquisition
as a punishment and badge of shame.
bad fruits come from a bad tree (Matthew. 7,17) - ironically
a favourite passage quoted by Cathars against the Catholics
in public arguments before the persecutions started.
He told her also that he had reproached My Lord Bishop
for destroying the people of the county of Foix, in citing
them for heresy and arresting them and that this caused
great distress to Madame the Countess of Foix. According
to what this rector told the daughters of Beatrice, My Lord Bishop had replied that the Countess of Foix did not love
him, that he wished to do his duty and it would not be for
her that he would cease to do what he did.
of Foix had for generations sympathised with the Cathar
This said, their despair was redoubled, and that same night
Pons Bole, notary of Varilhes said to Beatrice (or to her
daughters, according to what she told me), that it was necessary
for Beatrice to flee beyond the mountain passes because
on this side of the passes she could not rest in security
or avoid being arrested by my said Lord Bishop.
Then, for all these reasons, she fled, and came with her
things to Belpech. I told her to return and appear the next
day before My Lord Bishop, as he had ordered her, and that
she was wrong to flee, because she would be presumed guilty.
She replied that she would not go at any price, even if
My Lord Bishop gave to her the entire bishopric, because
she knew that he would arrest her at once. But, she said,
she wished to flee to Limoux, where she could hide. When
My Lord Bishop did not find her, he would cease pursuing
her, because he would not think any more of her. And she
asked me in tears to go with her to Limoux, saying that
she had no one else but me to give her aid and counsel.
I told her that I could not go to Limoux with her, because
the rector of Mézerville had hired me and it was
necessary that I be in the church around the time of the
Feast of the Invention of St. Stephen, which was close.
Beatrice's sister Gentille lived at Limoux
Feast of the Invention of Saint Stephen = 5 August
I remained in the house with Beatrice the following night
and I knew her carnally, because we slept together in one
The next day she asked me to come with her to Limoux, no
matter the cost. Since we could find no beast to rent at
Belpech, on the counsel of our host, who said we could find
an animal at Mas-Saintes-Puelles, I engaged a man of Belpech
to whom I gave as salary one tournois of silver, to go with
her to Mas-Saintes-Puelles and carry her goods. I went with
them half-way along the route. On the way, she insisted
so much, that I agreed to go with her to Limoux after the
feast of the Invention of St. Stephen, and that meanwhile
I would procure the money for our expenses. But I did not
promise her with my heart, I wished only to get away, because
when we were mid-route and I wished to leave her, she asked
me in tears to go with her to Mas-Saintes-Puelles. Out of
pity for her, I went there and when I was there I left her
and returned to Mézerville.
Did you give her money at Belpech or after
knowing that she was a fugitive for reason of heresy?
I only had 2 silver pennies. We spent one, she and I, for
our needs when we were at Belpech, and the other I gave
to the man from Belpech who went with us. But if I had had
any more money, I would have given to her willingly.
When she was at Mas-Saintes-Puelles, did
you send her anything?
Did you intend, after the feast of St.
Stephen to go with her to Limoux?
When I lived at Dalou, as vicar, I knew carnally two times
a woman of Cerdagne who lived in that town.
After this, the same year as above, the 7th of November,
the said Barthélemy appeared for questioning in the
Chamber of the bishop's residence before my said Lord Bishop
and Brother Gaillard of Pomiès, and his above confession
was read to him word for word and My Lord the Bishop asked
him if he persisted and wished to persist in all and all
parts contained therein and if he wished to add or retract
anything. He replied that he persisted and wished to persist,
and did not wish to add or retract anything. And then the
said Barthelemy swore and took an oath as follows and promised
under the oath taken by him, and under the pain that he
could incur if he fled for heresy, not to leave the province
of Toulouse without the special authorization of my said
Lord Bishop and to appear on the days he would be assigned
by him or his successors, and pledging his person and his
The tenor of this oath was the following
"I, Barthélemy, appearing for questioning
before you, Reverend Father in Christ My Lord Jacques,
by the Grace of God Bishop of Pamiers, abjure entirely
all heresy against the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the Holy Roman Church, and all beliefs of heretics,
of whatever sect condemned by the Roman Church and especially
the sect to which I held, and all complicity, aid, defense
and company of heretics, under pain of what is rightfully
due in the case of a relapse into judicially abjured heresy;
ie: He regognises that if he relapses and again accepts
the Cathar faith then he will be burned alive
Item, I swear and promise to pursue according to
my power the heretics of whatever sect condemned by the
Roman Church and especially the sect to which I held,
and the believers, deceivers, aiders and abetters of these
heretics, including those whom I know or believe to be
in flight by reason of heresy, and against any one of
them, to have them arrested and deported according to
my power to my said Lord Bishop or to the Inquisitors
of the heretical deviation at all time and in whatever
places that I know the existence of the above said or
any one of them.
Item, I swear and promise to hold, preserve and
defend the Catholic Faith that the Holy Roman Church preaches
Item, I swear and promise to obey and to defer
to the orders of the Church, of My Lord the Bishop and
the Inquisitors, and to appear on the day or days fixed
by them or their replacements, at all times and in whatever
place that I receive the order or request on their part,
by messenger or by letter or by other means, to never
flee nor to absent myself knowingly or in a spirit of
contumaciousness and to receive and accomplish according
to my power the punishment and the penance that they have
judged fit to impose on me. And to this end, I pledge
my person and all my worldly goods.
This pledge made, he asked absolution from the sentence
of excommunication that he had incurred for these actions
and was absolved by My Lord Bishop, if all along he had
plainly and perfectly told the truth as much concerning
himself as concerning others involving the crime of heresy,
complicity and concealment of heretics.
The above-mentioned Barthelemy renounced and ended this
affair and asked that judgement be rendered at once.
Made in the presence of My Lord Germain de Castelnau, Archdeacon
of the church of Pamiers, Brother David, monk of Fontfroide,
Brother Arnaud du Carla of the order of Preachers of the
convent of Pamiers, and myself Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary
of My Lord Bishop, who wrote that which precedes.
Fontfroide: a Cistercian
Order of Preachers = Dominicans
After this in the same year, the 5th of March, the said
Barthelemy appeared in the Chamber of the Episcopal seat
before my said Lord Bishop, and there My Lord Bishop ordered
him to be enclosed immediately in the prison of the tower
of the bishop at Pamiers, until the next Sunday (8 March
1321) and on that day to appear before him and Brother Jean
de Beaune, religious, Inquisitor of heretical deviation
in France commissioned by the Apostolic See, to hear definitive
sentence on the facts which precede, committed and confessed
by him in the house of the Preachers of Pamiers.
On that Sunday the said Barthelemy appeared in the cemetery
of Saint-Jean-Martyr of Pamiers, and was sentenced by our
said Lord Bishop and Inquisitor as follows "Let it
be known to all........" See this sentence in the Book
of sentences of the Inquisition....."
And I, Rainaud Jabbaud, cleric of Toulouse, sworn to the
service of the Inquisition, have on the order of My Lord the Bishop, faithfully corrected the above confessions against
Barthélemy Amilhac, priest, was condemned to the Wall
the 8th of March 1321, the same day as Beatrice.
This normally meant death within months or at best a few years,
but they were both fortunate:
Beatrice lived to see her sentence commuted to the wearing of
crosses on July 4, 1322 having survived immurred for over
Barthélemy had his sentence commuted on the same day
to simple penitence, without having to wear the yellow
crosses. Presumably a priest wearing a yellow
cross would be a badge of shame and embarrassemt to the Roman Church as much as the yellow
cross was to the wearer.
English Translation © 1996 by Nancy P. Stork, with anotations
by the webMaster.
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documents concerning Cathar Belief