Joan of Arc
or Jeanne la Pucelle. M. Octave Delepierre has published a pamphlet, called Doute Historique, to deny the tradition that Joan of Arc was burnt at Rouen for sorcery. He cites a document discovered by Father Vignier in the seventeenth century, in the archives of Metz, to prove that she became the wife of Sieur des Armoise, with whom she resided at Metz, and became the mother of a family. Vignier subsequently found in the family muniment-chest the contract of marriage between “Robert des Armoise, knight, and Jeanne D'Arcy, surnamed the Maid of Orleaus.” In 1740 there were found in the archives of the Maison de Ville (Orléans) records of several payments to certain messengers from Joan to her brother John, bearing the dates 1435, 1436. There is also the entry of a presentation from the council of the city to the Maid, for her services at the siege (dated 1439). M. Delepierre has brought forward a host of other documents to corroborate the same fact, and show that the tale of her martyrdom was invented to throw odium on the English. A sermon is preached annually in France towards the beatification of the Maid, who will eventually become the patron saint of that nation, and Shakespeare will prove a true prophet in the words -
No longer on St. Denis will we cry, But Joan la Pucelle shall be France's saint.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
More on Joan of Arc from Fact Monster: