CAUCHON, PIERRE (d. 1442), French bishop, was born near Reims in the latter half of the 14th century. We find him rector of the university of Paris in October 1397. In 1413 he joined the Burgundian faction, and was exiled by the parlement of Paris. But on the triumph of his party this decree was annulled, and Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, gave him a canonry at Beauvais, sent him to the council of Constance, procured him the post of maître des requêtes in 1418, and finally in 1420 had him made bishop of Beauvais. But the people were hostile to him, and he was driven from his bishopric in 1429; whereupon he attached himself to the English court, and in 1431 endeavoured to procure the surrender of Reims to the English, so that Henry VI. might be crowned there. In this he failed, and Henry was crowned in Paris on the 17th of December 1431 by Henry Beaufort, cardinal bishop of Winchester, assisted by the bishops of Beauvais and Noyon. On the 24th of May 1430, Joan of Arc having been taken prisoner at Compiègne, within the limits of his diocese, Cauchon acted as her accuser, and demanded the right of judging her. Joan was taken to Rouen, whither Cauchon followed her, having been driven from Beauvais. He conducted the trial with marked partiality and malevolence, condemned the maid to imprisonment for life, and then, under pressure from the populace and the English, had recourse to fresh perfidies, declared Joan a relapsed heretic, excommunicated her, and handed her over to the secular arm on the 30th of May 1431. As, in consequence of this, it was impossible for him to return to his own diocese, he obtained the bishopric of Lisieux in 1432 by favour of the king of England. He assisted at the council of Basel in 1435, and died suddenly on the 18th of December 1442. Excommunicated posthumously by Pope Calixtus IV., his body was exhumed and thrown in the common sewer.
See Cerf, "Pierre Cauchon de Sommièvre, chanoine de Reims et de Beauvais, évêque de Beauvais et de Lisieux, son origine, ses dignités, sa mort et sa sépulture," in the Transactions of the Academy of Reims (1896-1898).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)