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Visiting France

Joan of Arc’s ring makes it home after 600 years

media

A medieval ring that is said to have belonged to Joan of Arc is back in France after being bought by Le Puy du Fou foundation, a history-themed amusement park in western France, for €385,000 at an auction in London at the end of February.

The ring was owned by a man from Essex, Robert Hasson, who said it had been given to him by his father who bought it in 1947 for £175, or just over €200.

TimeLine Auctions said documents offered evidence that the ring belonged to the saint.

Legend has it that the ring was given to English Cardinal Henry Beaufort before Joan was burned at the stake by English clergymen. It has been in England ever since.

The ring remained in the Beaufort family’s hands for 500 years until the early 20th century, when Lady Ottoline Morrell gave it to artist Augustus John a few years before 1914.

However, Le Puy du Fou issued a contradicting version of events.

It claims the ring was confiscated by pro-English Bishop Pierre Cauchon during Joan’s teenager’s heresy trial, and that Joan repeatedly demanded her prized possession be returned to her.

But Cauchon refused. Instead, he gave the ring to Beaufort and he carted it off to England as a “symbolic spoil of war”.

The ring carries the inscription 'Jhesus Maria' as well as three crosses, and was made from either gold or brass.

Joan said she had it on her when she touched St Catherine, who appeared before her in a vision.

Finally, after 600 years, the ring was flown back to France last week.
Puy du Fou president Nicolas de Villiers national French TV station TF1 that the return of the ring was a "glorious return" for a "French treasure".

The foundation appealed to donors to help it bid enough for the ring, which will be officially unveiled this month.

Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431), nicknamed "The Maid of Orléan, or La Pucelle d'Orléans, is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Hundred Years' War with England and was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint.

On 23 May 1430, she was captured at Compiègne by the Burgundian faction which was allied with the English. She was later handed over to the English and then put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charge.

After Cauchon declared her guilty she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age.

 

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