Confession of Grazide, widow of Pierre Lizier of Montaillou
The year of the Lord 1320, the 19th of August. Grazide, widow of Pierre
Lizier of Montaillou, having sworn on the holy Gospels of God to tell the
truth as much of herself as accused, as of other as witness, concerning
the fact of heresy of which she is strongly suspected and the incest and
the debauchery committed with her by Pierre Clergue, rector of the church
of Montaillou, appearing judiciarily, said and affirmed:
About 7 years ago, in the summer the rector came to the house of my mother
and demanded of me to let him know me carnally. As for me,, I consented
(I was then still a virgin and must have been 14 or 15 years old, so it
seems to me). He took my virginity in the grange where the straw is stored.
He did not do me any violence. He knew me after then quite often just until
the following January and that always at my mother's house with her knowledge
and consent to this. This always took place during the day.
Later, in that month of January, the rector gave me as a spouse to Pierre
Lizier, my late husband, after which this priest, with the knowledge and
consent of my said husband, knew me carnally often, and during the four
years that my husband lived. When my husband asked me if this priest had
had intercourse with me, I told him yes, and my husband said to guard myself
well against other men, with the exception of this priest. In any case,
the priest never knew me when my husband was at home, but only when he was
-----Did you know then or have you since learned that this priest was or
was reputed to be the first cousin of your mother Fabrisse? I never knew
it nor heard it said, nor that my mother was in any way related to this
-----If you had known that your mother was a first cousin to this rector,
though in truth outside marriage, would you have tolerated being known by
No. But, because this was pleasing to me and also pleasing to the said rector,
when we knew each other carnally, I did not think I sinned with him.
-----In being known by this priest, either before being married or during
the course of your marriage, did you believe it to be a sin?
Because at that time it was pleasing both to me and to the rector, I did
not believe it and it did not seem to be that this was a sin. But now, when
this would not please me, if I were to be known by him, I would believe
it to be a sin.
----- During some time you conducted yourself badly with this priest while
you had a husband. Do you believe or did you believe that it was equally
permitted to you and without sin to unite yourself carnally with your husband
and with this priest and reciprocally?
It seemed to me more permissible to unite carnally with my husband, nevertheless
it seemed to me and I believed as well that I sinned as little with this
priest as with my husband when I was known by both of them.
----- Did you have bad conscience of the fact that you let yourself be known
by this priest or did you believe that such intrigues were displeasing to
I did not have a bad conscience and I did not believe that this could be
displeasing to anyone, that I slept with this priest, because it was pleasing
to us, to him and to me.
----- If such a union had been forbidden to you by your husband, would you
have believed it to be a sin if you had then united with this priest?
Supposing that my husband had forbidden it, which he did not do, I would
not have believed it to be a sin if I was united to the priest against his
interdiction, because that was pleasing to the priest and to me.
-----Do you believe that if any man unites carnally with any woman, who
are not related within the degrees of consanguinity, whether she is a virgin,
deflowered, married or not, but if such relations are pleasing to that man
and to that woman, that would be a sin?
Although all carnal union between man and woman is displeasing to God, I
do not believe that persons sin in this manner, as long as it is pleasing
to both of them.
-----Since you believe, as you have said, that all carnal union between
man and women, even between husband and wife is displeasing to God, do you
believe that the union of man and wife is more displeasing to God than that
between those who are not married?
It is more displeasing to God that the unmarried unite themselves than when
they are spouses.
----- Do you believe that those people leading a good and holy life go to
paradise after death and that sinners go to hell and do you believe that
there is a hell and a paradise?
I do not know. I have heard tell that there is a paradise, and I believe
it. I have heard tell that there is a hell, but, that, I neither believe
nor deny. I believe that there is a paradise because that is a good thing,
from what I hear, but I do not believe nor deny hell, because that is an
(Interrogated in the same manner concerning the resurrection, she replied
that she neither believed it nor denied it, but that she had often heard
that we will rise again.)
----- Do you presently believe that when a carnal union is pleasing to a
man and a woman, that this is not a sin?
I do not believe that that is a sin.
-----For how many years have you remained in this belief?
Since the moment when I was known by that priest.
-----Who taught you this error?
No one, only myself.
-----Have you taught it to anyone?
No. No one has asked me.
After this the same year as mentioned above, the 21st of August, the
said Grazide appeared for questioning in the Chamber of the bishop's palace
of Pamiers before my said lord bishop assisted by Brother Gaillard of Pomiès,
substitute for monsignor the inquisitor of Carcassonne. Since she was suspected
of the manichean heresy she was interrogated by my lord the bishop:
-----Do you believe that God made all the material things which are to be
seen in the world?
Those material things which which are good and useful to men, these things
God has made, such as men, the beasts which he eats or which serve for transport,
such as cows, goats, horses, mules, and the fruits of the earth and trees,
which one eats. But I do not believe that God made wolves, mosquitos, lizards
and other things harmful to men. And I do not believe that God made the
devil, because that is an evil thing and God has never done anything evil.
After this, the same year, the 16th of November, the said Grazide, leaving
the prison of the chateau of Allemans, in which she was restrained for 7
weeks and a bit more, because she did not wish, it seemed, to testify plainly,
appeared for trial in the chamber of the bishop's palace of Pamiers before
my said lord bishop, assisted by Brother Gaillard, and vowed and deposed
what followed of her own free will and spontaneously and as she herself
said, not by fear or threat of torture.
Between the moment when the rector deflowered me and that moment where
he gave me to my husband, one day, I do not remember when, I was at the
door on the Baille de Montaillou with my mother Fabrissa. The rector was
walking up towards the chateau and he rested a short while with us and we
talked jokingly of the sin of lechery. And then he said that to have relations
with a woman, as long as it was pleasing to her was not a sin. He said also
that one woman was as good as another and that the sin was the same with
one or with another. This said, he continued at once to the chateau of Montaillou.
-----Did he say similar words in other circumstances?
I do not remember.
-----Did he tell you that there is no hell?
-----Did he tell you that the devil had created certain things in this world?
-----Did you yourself believe that the carnal union of man and woman outside
of marriage is not a sin, because of the remarks of this priest?
Yes, and this is why I did not believe it to be a sin when I lay with him.
-----Have you believed that it is an equal sin to have relations with one
woman as well as with any other, because of the remarks of this rector?
No, on the contrary I have always believed that it is more grave to have
commerce with relatives than with other women. I told him sometimes that
I knew my mother Fabrissa was his first cousin. He told me that no one knew
anything about it, because the mother of the said Fabrissa had been the
daughter of Guillaume Clergue, the brother of Pons Clergue, father of this
-----Why did you not wish to confess from the beginning when you were taught
these errors concerning the sin of the flesh?
When I was cited, the first time, I came with Alazais Azema, who could not
walk well nor keep up with the others. On the road, she told me that the
rector of Montaillou had done much good for me, and he had married me, that
I should not speak ill of him, even if I should swear to tell the truth,
because it is a great thing to establish a person (i.e. Pierre has married
her to Pierre Lizier - he does not leave her to become a concubine or whore).
It was not a sin, I must remain firm and constant. I was afraid, also, if
I said the truth of the rector and his brother, that they would kill me
or maltreat me.
-----Do you wish to persist in your preceding depositions?
----- Do you repent of the errors that you have testified to have believed?
And she was instructed in the contrary by my said lord the bishop. This
instruction ended, she said and confessed that she believed and would believe
for all the days of life to come that all carnal coitus, except that between
a legitimate man and wife is a mortal sin.
Item she said that she believes and will believe in the future that the
carnal union of man and legitimate wife is not a sin.
Item she said that she believes and will believe always in the future that
there is a hell in which evil men and evil demons will be perpetually punished
(and a heaven where the holy men and saints and angels will be perpetually
Item she said she believes now and in the future that all men will be resurrected
in the same flesh that they have now, in which each one will receive according
to his acts, whether good or evil.
This done, the said Grazide swore and recited the formula which follows:
"I, Grazide, 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.
After this swearing, she renounced and finished and asked what sentence
would be passed on her.
Made the same year and day as above, in the presence of my lord the bishop,
Brother Gaillard, and Brother Arnaud of Carla from the order of Preachers
of the convent of Pamiers, and myself Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary of
my lord the bishop, who recited and wrote that which preceeds.
After this, the same year as above, the 7th of March in the house of the
Preachers of Pamiers.
Made the same year as above, in the presence of Brother Gaillard de Pomiès,
prior of the convent of the Preaching Friars of Pamiers, Brother Arnaud
du Carla, of the same convent, witness at these convocations, and myself
Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary of my said lord bishop, who has recited and
written all of this in the presence of master Barthélemy Adalbert,
notary of the Inauisition, who wrote also in his protocol the ratification
of the confession of the said Grazide.
And the Sunday assigned to the said Grazide, she appeared in the cemetery
of Saint-Jean-Martyr of Pamiers and was given her sentence by the said lords
bishop and inquisitor according to what follows "Let all know, etc."
See the sentence in this case 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
this confession against the original.
Notes - This is the practice of "cogotia", remunerated complaisance
of a husband which appears to have been quite general because in the treaty
of 1275 the count of Foix exchanged with the men of the Valleys of Andorra
the tax which they received from this practice against the law of Justice.
In saying that all carnal union is displeasing to God, [Grazide Lizier]
believes she is doing well, without realizing that she is enunciating an
essentially Cathar idea. In her other affirmations, in contrast, she is
consciously insolent, although the trial record has the appearance of naïveté.
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