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
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.
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"
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.
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!"
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 her.
-----Did she give you the name of those persons who were hereticated, the
names of those who did it or those who were present?
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 Sabartès, it would be astonishing
if she was not a heretic. She replied that God had given her great grace,
when she had left the Sabartès, 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.
------Have you denounced all or any of these heretical things to my lord
the inquisitor or to a bishop?
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.
Later in the same year as above, the12th 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 good Christians.
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! "
---- Did she tell you the name of this man?
That year, the Tuesday after the Nativity of St. Jean the Baptist (1 July
1320), 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.
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 (28 July 1320), the Monday where
Beatrice sent a boy to me from Belpech, to the place where I was dwelling,
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 favor, had not listened to them but had spoken to
the contrary and that he would hear nothing in her favor, 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.
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.
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.
I remained in the house with Beatrice the following night and I knew her
carnally, because we slept together in one bed.
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
-----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 goods.
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;
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 and observes.
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.
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 the original.
Note 9. Condemned to the Wall the 8th of March 1321, he saw, as Beatrice
his punishment commuted the fourth of July 1322, but into simple penitence,
without wearing the cross. (Hist. Inquisitionis, p. 294). The leaves recovered
from the sentence of 8 March 1321 contain the final details concerning him:
"....he said that in that year his wife came to find him and told him
that my lord the bishop of Pamiers had cited him in the matter of heresy
and that she wished at any price to flee, out of fear of this bishops. Although
he counseled her not to flee but to appear before my lord bishop, as he
said, and she refused, he payed her expenses and arranged to have her baggage
carried by a man whom he paid for these services, and promised her (although
he said that he had no intention of going there) to procure money, to return
to her and take her to Limoux, where she wished to flee. Meanwhile both
of them were arrested." (Arch. dép. dee l'Ariège, 127J).
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