Cathars and Cathar Beliefs in the Languedoc
Confession of Guillemette, Widow of Pierre Battegay of Pamiers




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Source Documents: Confession of Guillemette, Widow of Pierre Battegay of Pamiers

The following is an English translation of the text of a "confession" made to the Inquisition, under Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers. It is dated 19 March 1320 by the modern calendar.

The year of the Lord, 1319, Tuesday the 13th day of the Kalends of April, Guillemette, the widow of Pierre Battegay of Pamiers avowed that which follows:

A year ago and a bit more, I had lost my daughter, Fabrissa, the wife of Jacques-Raimond Arnaud. One day, I don't remember exactly when, Mengarde the seamstress came to find me at my house and told me that she had also lost her daughter but that there was a man at Mas-Saint-Antonin who could see the dead and travel with them. They would leave their travail to take him along with them. He had seen her daughter (Mengarde's) and he had told her how she was doing. And she told me that if I wished she would arrange for this man to come see me and tell me what circumstances my daughter was in. I asked her to do it.

After this, one day, I was making a meal for a sick man and my son, Arnaud Battegay was skinning a sheep. This man from Mas came to my house and said he wanted to speak to me in secret. I told him he could speak to me when I was done with what I was preparing. When this was done, he told me that Fabrissa, my late daughter, gave me a hearty hello, that she had passed the vigil the preceding night in the church of St. Jean of Pamiers, and the following night she would spend in the church of St. Martin of Ollières, and the following in the church of St. Raymond, then the next at Mas-Vieux and the next at the church of Saint-Antonin. He said that the dead did no other penance than to keep vigil going from church to church. I told him that they must be suffering greatly because the cold was bitter. He replied that the dead would seek a house or a place where there was plenty of wood, and that they would make a fire with this wood and warm themselves by the fire.
He told me that my Fabrissa had come to see me and found me in bed. Then he told me, on behalf of my daughter, to have a mass celebrated for her and to put a half-pound's (demi-livre) worth of oil in the lamp that burned before the altar of St. Mary.

And then, this having been said, this man wished to retire, but I invited him to stay and dine, and we dined together, my son, he and I on bread, wine and meat. After the meal this man told me that my daughter was travelling with the late daughter of Na Nespla (Dame Nespla) and two other women and that she travelled as quickly as the others. I asked him how my daughter could go so quickly since she was pregnant and heavy when she died. He replied that my daughter was a strong and beautiful woman and that she travelled just as fast as the others. Then I said to him, "Since you see the dead and travel with them, ask my daughter if my son, Jean Battegay is dead or alive and where he is now. It has been a long time since he left and I have not seen him nor do I know where he is." He told me he would do it gladly.

A fortnight or so later, this man came to see me at my house and told me that my daughter sent her greetings and told me to give to a Franciscan the bread, wine and money that he would need for one day. When this was done, she would not ask anything more of me, because she would be able to go to the Repose of all Saints after this. This, he told me, is because no soul can go to Paradise, at least no soul of an adult man or woman, until the day of Judgement. But the souls of children who died before the age of 7 go forthwith into the glory of God.

He told me also, or so it seems to me that all the souls of men and women, when their penance is done (which they do by travelling from church to church) go to Repose, and then on the day of Judgement all will be saved. And then no soul of a man or woman will perish nor be damned. I said to him, "May it please God that no person be damned!"

Inquisitor: Did you believe what this man said?Guillemette:. No.

Inquisitor: Did you give him anything?
Guillemette:. No, except for something to eat.

Inquisitor: Have you revealed this affair to anyone or any other persons?
Guillemette:. Yes, to Ermengarde, the widow of Raymond of Belfag, and to Resplandie, the wife of Jean Serny and to the mother of this same Resplandie, in the room where they dwell.

And this Guillemette said that she repented of the above and that she was ready to complete all penance which the said Lord Bishop would impose on her, seeking humbly to absolve herself from the sentence of excommunication which she had incurred for the preceding.

Item, she swore on the four holy Gospels of God that if she knew anything concerning heretics and their believers she would reveal it and cause them to be apprehended as far as she was able and especially, that she would reveal all and each of those whom she knew to have sought out the said Arnaud for prognostication or anything similar and anyone who had participated in these events.

And then the said Lord Bishop absolved Guillemette from the said sentence of excommunication which she had incurred by the above events, if indeed she repented of these from her heart and if she had spoken the plain truth concerning herself and others, otherwise it was not the intention of the said Lord Bishop, as he said, that the said Guillemette be absolved from the said sentence of excommunication.

And then the said Guillemette asked that if she were to remember anything more concerning the above events, that she could confess anything that had returned to her memory without danger, and this was granted to her by the said Lord Bishop.

After this in the same year as above, the 7th of March 132, the said Guillemette appeared for questioning in the Episcopal seat at Pamiers before my said Lord Bishop and the religious person My Lord Brother Jean de Beaune of the order of Preachers, Inquisitor of the heretical deviation in the kingdom of France and named by the Apostolic See. She swore with her own hands on the four holy Gospels of God to tell the pure and simple truth concerning all facts touching the Catholic faith and heresy, as much concerning herself as informed against as concerning others living or dead, as witness. Then her confession was read and recited to her before my said Lord Bishop, who had already explained these in the vulgar tongue. She said that she wished to hold and persist in these avowals, attested to them once again, ratified and approved them saying that she wished to live and die in them.

Made the same year and day as above, in the presence of My Lord Germain de Castelnau, archdeacon of the church of Pamiers, Masters Menet de Robécourt, Barthélemy Adalbert, notaries of my said lord Inquisitor and master Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary of My Lord Bishop, who has received and written all that precedes.

After this the above said lords bishop and Inquisitor assigned to the said Guillemette a date to hear definitive sentence passed on the above mentioned facts, namely the Sunday immediately following, the 8th of March, at the cemetery of Saint-Jean-Martyr of Pamiers, a day which the said Guillemette accepted of her own free will.

That same Sunday assigned, the said Guillemette appeared before the said lords bishop and Inquisitor in the said cemetery and they pronounced sentence on the said Guilemette in the terms which follow: "Let it be known to all....". See this sentence in the Book of Sentences.

The persons named above, namely Mengarde, widow of Arnaud of Pomiès, Raymonde daughter of Guillaume Fauré of Saint-Bauzeil, Navarre, wife of Pons Bru, Arnaud of Monesple, priest and Guillemette, wife of Pierre Battegay of Pamiers, did not abjure during the proceedings taken against them above, but only at the sentencing when they were convoked in public, and there they abjured all heresy and belief of heretics, as is contained in the said sentence given against them.

And I, Raynaud Jabbaud, cleric of Toulouse, sworn to the service of the Inquisition, have, on the order of My Lord Bishop, faithfully corrected the said confessions against the original.
























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Author: James McDonald MA, MSc.
Title: Cathars and Cathar Beliefs in the Languedoc
Date last modified: 8 February 2017


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