Fournier Register

Fournier Register

Fournier Register

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The Fournier Register is a set of records from the inquisition into heresy run by Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers between 1318 and 1325. Fournier was later to become Pope Benedict XII.


Fournier interrogated hundreds of individuals and had transcripts recorded of each interrogation. Fournier also demanded a great deal of detail from those appearing before him. Most of those he interviewed were local peasants and the Fournier register is thus one of the most detailed records of life among medieval peasants. The records have thus frequently been the focus of scholars, most notably Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie whose pioneering work of microhistory Montaillou is largely based on the material in the register.

Prior to Bishop Fournier the local authorities had done little to pursue local heretics, and the region was one of the last areas of France to be home to a significant number of Cathars. Fournier began a rigorous hunt for heretics upon his appointment and set up the new court at Pamiers. He personally supervised almost all of his operations. Fournier only very rarely turned to torture to extract information, and when he did so it was generally under explicit orders from his superiors. The great bulk of his interrogations relied on Fournier's verbal skill at drawing out answers. Ladurie reports the court as conducting 578 interrogations in the 370 days it was in operation.

The severest sentence was to be burnt at the stake, but this was rare, with this...
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