Béatrice de Planissolles
Béatrice de Planissolles was a minor noble in the Comté
de Foix in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century.
She was born around 1274, probably in the mountain village of Caussou.
Béatrice was the daughter of Philippe de Planissolles a nobleman
later convicted of supporting the Cathar religion.
At around the age of twenty Béatrice was married to Bérenger
de Roquefort who was the châtelain of the small, and largely
Cathar, community of Aillou or Montaillou. Béatrice did not
care greatly for her husband and soon began a courtship with Raymond
Roussel, steward of the châtelain's estate. She was raped
bya man called Pathau Clergue.
In 1302 Bérenger de Roquefort died leaving Béatrice
a widow. At this point she became the consort of Pathau Clergue,
the man who had raped her. Soon she began a relationship with Pathau's
cousin Pierre Clergue, a priest and the most powerful man in the
village. This relationship lasted two years before Béatrice
decided to leave the village and remarry, wedding Otho de Lagleize,
another minor noble. He too died after only a few years of marriage.
In her older years Béatrice took up with a young vicar Barthélemy
Arilhac. After a number of years this relationship ended as Barthélemy
worried he would be placed in danger by Béatrice's Cathar
past. His concerns were justified. They were both arrested by the
inquisition and held for a year.
Béatrice first appeared before the Inquisition on Saturday
26 July 1320 at the Episcopal Palace in Pamiers. She had been summoned
Fournier, the Bishop of Pamiers, to answer charges of
blasphemy, witchcraft, and heresy. The charge of witchcraft was
supported by the contents of her purse, which included a variety
of "objects, strongly suggestive of having been used by her
to cast evil spells": two umbilical cords of infants; linens
soaked with blood, which was suspected of being menstrual, in a
sack of leather, with a seed of cole-wort; and seeds of incense
slightly burned; a mirror and a small knife wrapped in a piece of
linen; the seed of a certain plant, wrapped in muslin (which she
testified had been given to her by a pilgrim as a remedy for epilepsy);
a dry piece of bread; written formulae; and numerous morsels of
Barthélemy Arilhac was not punished, but Béatrice
With her husbands Béatrice is known to have had four daughters:
Condors, Esclaramonde, Philippa, and Ava.
Beatrice's case was particularly interesting. Click on the following
link for an English translation of Beatrice's
Interogation by the Inquisition
Montaillou, village occitan de 1294 à 1324, Editions
Gallimard (Paris, 1978),
abridged English version, Penguin (London, 1978), Book by Emmanuel
Le Roy Ladurie.