The enormous number of captives resulting from the vigorous operations of the Inquisition in Languedoc had rendered the question as to the duty of building and maintaining prisons one of no little magnitude. It unquestionably rested with the bishops, whose laches in persecuting heresy were only made good by the inquisitors, and the bishops, at the Council of Toulouse, in 1229, had admitted this, only excepting that when the heretic had property those to whom the confiscations inured should provide for him. The burden, however, proved unexpectedly large, and we find them, in the Council of Narbonne, in 1244, trying to shift their responsibility by suggesting that the penitents who, but for the recent papal command, would be sent on crusades, should be utilized in building prisons and furnishing them with necessaries, "lest the prelates be overburdened with the poor converts, and be unable to provide for them on account of their multitude." Two years later, at Béziers, they declared that provision for both construction and maintenance ought to be made by those who profited by the confiscations, to which might be added the fines imposed by the inquisitors, which was not unreasonable; but in 1249 Innocent IV. still asserted that it was their business, and scolded them for not attending to it, and ordered that they be compelled to do it. At length, in 1254, the Council of Albi definitely decided that the holders of confiscated property should make provision for the imprisonment and maintenance of its former owners, and that, when heretics had nothing to confiscate, the cities or lords on whose lands they were captured should be responsible for them, and should be compelled by excommunication to attend to it. Still, the responsibility of the bishops was so self-evident that some zealous inquisitors talked of prosecuting them as fautors of heresy for neglecting to provide prisons, but Gui Foucoix discreetly advises against this, and recommends that such cases should be referred to the Holy See.
- Concil. Tolosan. ann. 1229 c. 11. — Concil. Valentin, ann. 1234 c. 5.— Concil. Narbonn. ann. 1244 c. 4. — Coll. Doat, XXXI. 157. — Concil. Biterrens. ann.
In the accounts of the Sénéchausseé of Toulouse for 1337 there is an item of twenty sols expended in Nov., 1333, for straw for the prisoners to lie on, lest they should perish with cold during the winter. Other items, amounting to eighty- three sols eleven deniers, for the repairs of the fetters and shackles which they wore shows the rigor of their confinement— Vaissette, Éd. Privat, X. Pr. 798-99.