The northern side of the village, containing the church, belonged to the Manor of Vaucouleurs. In this part of the village, in a cottage built between the church and the rivulet close by, Joan of Arc was born, on or about the 6th of January, 1412. The house which now exists on the site of her birthplace was built in 1481, but the little streamlet still takes its course at its foot. Michelet, in his account of the heroine, says the station in life of Joan’s father was that of a labourer; later investigations have proved that he was what we should call a small farmer. In the course of the trial held for the rehabilitation of Joan of Arc’s memory, which yields valuable and authentic information relating to her family as well as to her life and actions, it appears that the neighbours of the heroine deposed that her parents were well-to-do agriculturists, holding a small property besides this house at Domremy; they held about twenty acres of land, twelve of which were arable, four meadow-land, and four for fuel. Besides this they had some two to three hundred francs kept safe in case of emergency, and the furniture goods and chattels of their modest home. The money thus kept in case of sudden trouble came in usefully when the family had to escape from the English to Neufchateau. All told, the fortune of the family of Joan attained an annual income of about two hundred pounds of our money, a not inconsiderable revenue at that time; and with it they were enabled to raise a family in comfort, and to give alms and hospitality to the poor, and wandering friars and other needy wayfarers, then so common in the land.
Two documents lately discovered prove Joan’s father to have held a position of some importance at Domremy. In the one, dated 1423, he is styled ‘doyen’ (senior inhabitant) of the village, which gave him rank next to the Mayor. In the other, four years later, he fills a post which tallies with what is called in Scotland the Procurator-fiscal.
The name of the family was Arc, and much ink has been shed as to the origin of that name. By some it is derived from the village of d’Arc, in the Barrois, now in the department of the Haute Marne; and this hypothesis is as good as any other.
Jacques d’Arc had taken to wife one Isabeau Romee, from the village of Vouthon, near Domremy. Isabeau is said to have had some property in her native village. The family of Jacques d’Arc and Isabella or Isabeau consisted of five children: three sons, Jacquemin, Jean, and Pierre, and two daughters, the elder Catherine, the younger Jeanne, or Jennette, as she was generally called in her family, whose name was to go through the ages as one of the most glorious in any land.