Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/507

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487
PENANCE OF IMPRISONMENT.

clergy, and laity of both sexes, permitted to prisoners. Husband and wife, however, were allowed access to each other if either or both were imprisoned ; and late in the fourteenth century Eymerich agrees that zealous Catholics may be admitted to visit prisoners, but not women and simple folk who might be perverted, for converted prisoners, he adds, are very liable to relapse, and to infect others, and usually end with the stake.[1]

In the milder form, or "murus largus" the prisoners apparently were, if well behaved, allowed to take exercise in the corridors, where sometimes they had opportunities of converse with each other and with the outside world. This privilege was ordered to be given to the aged and infirm by the cardinals who investigated the prison of Carcassonne and took measures to alleviate its rigors. In the harsher confinement, or "murus strictus" the prisoner was thrust into the smallest, darkest, and most noisome of cells, with chains on his feet — in some cases chained to the wall. This penance was inflicted on those whose offences had been conspicuous, or who had perjured themselves by making incomplete confessions, the matter being wholly at the discretion of the inquisitor. I have met with one case, in 1328, of aggravated false-witness, condemned to "murus strictissimus" with chains on both hands and feet. When the culprits were members of a religious order, to avoid scandal the proceedings were usually held hi private, and the imprisonment would be ordered to take place in a convent of their own Order. As these buildings, however, usually were provided with cells for the punishment of offenders, this was probably of no great advantage to the victim. In the case of Jeanne, widow of B. de la Tour, a nun of Lespenasse, in 1246, who had committed acts of both Catharan and Waldensian heresy, and had prevaricated in her confession, the sentence was confinement in a separate cell in her own convent, where no one was to enter or see her, her food being pushed in through an opening left for the purpose — in fact, the living tomb known as the "in pace."[2]


  1. Arch, de l’Inq. de Carcassonne (Doat, XXXIII. 143). — Concil. Biterrens. ann. 1246 c. 23, 25.— Eymeric. Direct. Inq. p. 507.
  2. Arch, de I'hotel-de-ville d'Albi (Doat, XXXIV. 45).— Bern. Guidon. Gravam. (Doat, XXX. 100).— Lib. Sententt. Inq. Tolos. pp. 32, 200, 287.— Arch, de I'Inq. de Carcassonne (Doat, XXVII. 13G, 150).— MS8. Bib. Nat., fonds hitin, No. 9992.
    The cruelty of the monastic system of imprisonment known as in pace, or