Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

"Muerent Les Moignes!" la Revolte De Payerne (1420)

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

"Muerent Les Moignes!" la Revolte De Payerne (1420)

Article excerpt

"Muerent les moignes!" La revolte de Payerne (1420). By Matthias Wirz. [Cahiers Lausannois d'histoire medievale, Vol. 19.] (Lausanne: Section d'histoire, Faculte des Lettres, Universite de Lausanne. 1997. Pp. 336.)

On a Sunday in May, 1420, the cry,"Death to the monks!" was proclaimed by the burghers and others of the city of Payerne as they invaded the Cluniac priory with whom they shared space in the city and to the authority of whose prior they were subject. "Crows, crows! Caw, caw! was shouted one evening in the church, as the monks in their black habits chanted (or croaked) the divine office. For those of us who wear the habit of the monachi nigri and sing the divine praises daily in our abbey churches, an uprising such as that of the Payernois is to be ferently avoided! Quod absit!

This fine book by Matthias Wirz has as its stated aim not only to present the history of the insurrection which lasted almost the whole of 1421 and to identify the main players in the revolt but also to uncover its causes, surely multiple, and its significance. The primary source for Win's investigation is the proces verbale of the inquest launched at Payerne soon after the troubles by commissioners of the duke of Savoy, Amadeus VIII. One-hundred forty-eight witnesses were questioned by the three commissioners within a few weeks of the final acts of insurrection; while their responses may vary according to the intelligence or degrees of participation in the revolt, the strength of their feelings is evident throughout the testimony. …

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