The Scottish Dimension in the Life of Joan of Arc

There is a major Scottish dimension in the consciousness as well as in the military activities of Joan of Arc.

Joan herself seems to have been much aware of Scotland and charmed by its mystique (as we are.) When she was awaiting an audience with Robert de Baudricourt at Vaucouleurs in February 1429, she stated that it was urgent for her to be taken to the dauphin.

 “I must be at the King’s side though I wear my feet to the knees. For there is nobody in all the world, neither king nor duke, nor daughter of the King of Scotland, nor any other who can recover the kingdom for France.” Regine Pernoud, Joan of Arc, p.35.)

Some 6,000 Scottish soldiers had arrived in France in 1419, four years after the massive French defeat at Agincourt, under the leadership of John Stewart, Earl of Darnley. The Scots saw considerable action prior to the arrival on the scene of Joan of Arc, and gained a major victory over the English on Easter Sunday 1421 at the Loire town of Baugé. On learning of this victory, the Pope of the day, Martin V, reputedly said “The Scots are well-known as an anti-dote to the English.” (This might be a good argument for maintaining the British union in the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence.)

 Joan of Arc’s Scots Guard, by John Duncan

A Scots Guard was formed for the immediate entourage for the dauphin around 1420.

When Joan was outfitted by the citizens of Tours, who provided her with armour for her military career, she also had her famous pennant designed and made. The pennant maker was one Hamish Power, a displaced Scot.

The Scots soldiers constituted about 25% of Joan’s army at Orleans. According David Kerr, author of St. Joan of Arc And The Scots Connection, Joan approached Orleans to the sound of the pipes playing the tune of “Scots Wha Hae wi Wallie Bled…” though the tune was titled “Hey Tuttie Taiti” at the time. A great story for a piper who is also a Joan of Arc afficionado!

John Stewart was killed during the English siege of Orleans just before the arrival of Joan’s army and is buried at the Saint-Croix Cathedral there.

John Stewart’s Tomb in the Orleans Cathedral

When Joan and the dauphin rode to the Reims Cathedral for the coronation on July 17, 1429, she rode with a Scots Guard of 60 men.

The role of the Scots in Joan of Arc’s activities are discussed and outlined in the following locations on the Web:

  1. La Garde Écossaise de Charles VII
  2. Les Écossais au Siège d’Orléans
  3. John Stewart of Darnley, Wikipedia
  4. St. Joan of Arc And The Scots Connection, by David Kerr
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2 Responses to The Scottish Dimension in the Life of Joan of Arc

  1. Keith Campbell says:

    Thank you for the website & information on Joan of Arc. If I may ask a question? On the reverse side of Joan’s Pennon, there is a blue egg, with a white bird flying in front of the egg, if a indication is being transferred, may I ask what type of bird does this respond to?

    • Arch Ritter says:

      Good Morning:
      Thanks for your interest in Joan of Arc!
      A good question and it never crossed my mind to ask it. Probably it is a white dove, often associated with the Virgin Mary and/or the Holy Spirit.
      Best wishes,
      Arch Ritter

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